I spent the last week experimenting a bit with what I ate. Driven by curiosity, I spent a week eating all of the traditional breads and grains. Months ago, I had wanted to see how my body reacted to eating wheat bread because, having chosen a more "paleo" diet out of lifestyle choice rather than because of any allergic reaction, I didn't really know what my body would do with it.
So, I made fresh focaccia and smothered it with avocado, just to see what would happen. A headache ensued, and I figured the two were related. Still, results didn't seem conclusive, since a few weeks later when I tried again, seeking some sort of pattern in reaction, I got no headache at all. Which of course begged the question: was it the bread that caused the headache in the first place?
I had to know. This last week I wrote down everything I ate, adding in some bread here and there. To be honest, I'm in such a habit of not eating grains that I had to make a real effort to buy bread rolls. I wrote down exactly how I felt afterwards, and tried to just generally listen to my body.
Have any of you done this before? A week-long experiment to see how you feel? It was harder than I thought it would be: Hard to change the way I eat, for one, but also hard to feel sure of yourself as you write anything down. I found myself doubting what I was feeling and what I wasn't.
Honestly the swirls of doubt muddied my conclusions. My journal would go like this:
- 1 piece of bakery bread toasted with goat cheese, steamed asparagus. Reaction: sharp headache. But I also think I drank too much coffee.
- 8 crackers, Cauliflower Parsnip Soup, Grass-Fed Sausage. Reaction: none. I did only eat 5 crackers though.
- Ciabatta roll with goat cheese, tomatoes with basil, balsamic reduction. An apple and a square of chocolate. Reaction: Pounding headache and brain fog. Am I just stressed?
- And on. Every bullet clouded with a line of doubt.
How is anyone supposed to draw any conclusions when they are filled with this much conflicting information! So instead I am going to focus on what I know:
- Eating a couple of crackers here and there (or, ehem, crust on pumpkin pie) will likely not make me feel horrible
- Eating a full piece of bread for breakfast might give me a headache, shorten my patience, and just generally cause inflammation. But since I'm not positive, I should continue listening to my body and feeling out what works and what doesn't.
- My body knows best. I should listen to my body and try not to doubt it. I should also be open to what it's telling me, and maybe do something about all of that stress I noted, because that can't be good.
- Sometimes you just need a big old bowl of veggies. And when that's what you need, you should make this salad.
Serves: 6 | Total Time:
- 1 bunch dinosaur kale
- 10 ounces arugula
- Perils of 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 pound brussels sprouts
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the cubed butternut squash in the avocado oil and spread out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until squash is tender through and crispy on the edges. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
- Remove stems from the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place in the bottom of your salad bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, rug the oil into the kale to begin to soften the leaves.
- Add the arugula to the bowl and toss with the kale. Top mix of greens with crumbles of goat cheese, pomegranate perils, pepitas, and cooked butternut squash.
- Slice brussels sprouts into think slices, as if to shred them. Add to the salad.
- When ready to eat, drizzle salad with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette and toss.