"Do you feel healthier since going on your diet?"
This is the question I've heard the most in the last few months. I mean, aside from basic questions like, "How's it going?" or, "Did you go to bed at 3 again?" or, "What are you eating? Can I eat that?" (which is only asked by Hambone, the official Serious Eats dog, and it's not so much spoken as desperately transmitted through his glistening puppy eyes).
My not so encouraging answer: "Not really. Maybe less asthma, but otherwise I feel about the same." Not that I expect drastic changes so soon; it's only been about one and a half months since I started my healthier diet to prevent allergic reactions to food. The rough guidelines:
- No deep fried food (Alas, after a month of avoiding french fries, I've caved in two times so far.)
- No spicy food (I've cheated on this a few times too, but unlike with the fried food, it was accidental)
- No pizza (pretty easy to stick to since I didn't eat much pizza in the first place)
- Wheat only once a week (At first I wanted to cut it out completely, but it was too damn hard. And I must admit I ate wheat two days this week. Also, I still use soy sauce with wheat in it. I keep forgetting to look for the non-wheat kind.)
- Fewer non-wheat products (I tend to eat rice when I go out, but I've stopped cooking it at home.)
- More fruits and vegetables
The biggest changes since I started my diet:
- Don't need to take as much asthma medication (Perhaps not much of a victory since my doctor prescribed me a pretty large dose to begin with, but I'd like to believe this is an effect of the diet.)
- Cook way more often than ever before (The best formula I've learned so far is lemon + ginger + coconut milk + anything tastes pretty good, but I have yet to reach the point where I'd feel comfortable feeding anyone else the stuff I cook, assuming I want that person to like me.)
- Eat way more squash and potatoes (Pretty sure I've eaten more squash in the last one and a half months than in my whole life before then.)
- Eat way more nuts and dried fruit (Prunes are da bomb. And I'm not talking about poop bombs. You probably weren't even thinking about poop bombs. BUT YOU ARE NOW. You're welcome.)
- Eat way more bananas
- Eat way more yogurt
- Eat way more spinach
- Eat way more carrots
- Eat way more chocolate (mostly because I had accumulated a stash of Norwegian chocolate since last spring—a stash that lasted quite a long time until I started my diet, which sounds like the opposite of what should've happened)
- Eat way more snacks in general as long as they're not wheaty or fried
So what I'm trying to say is that I still eat a buttload. Maybe not as much as before—man, I ate a lot before—and not as unhealthily as before, but surely more than my sedentary 5'1" self needs to be stuffed with. It's just taking me some time to get used to these new eating habits and to learn when to, um, stop eating. (First step: Buy fewer snacky things.) My mom thinks I lost some weight, but I can't say I feel like I have. Not that I care much; it wasn't my goal. I haven't gained weight, at least.
I'm fine with the way things are going. I'm not on this diet to transform into a beacon of glowing health—that would require doing a bunch of things I'm not doing now, like eating more healthily, sleeping more than six hours a night on a regular basis, and physically exerting myself until I reach the "sweating" stage. For now, I'm on this diet to be moderately healthy, decrease my chances of having an allergic attack, and more easily identify what I'm allergic to.
And identify, I HAVE. The results of the food allergy blood test I did back in January, pictured in the chart up top, helps guide my food choices (although I still eat some of the "orange zone" food without a problem, I'm avoiding eating, say, five of them in one go), but that test can't tell me everything. It couldn't tell me that I'd have an allergic reaction to day-old cole slaw—cole slaw that was benign the first day I ate it—or, as I found out yesterday afternoon, that a few bites of a pluot would give me the mega-wheezes.
Or maybe I should've known. Peaches and almonds are on my allergen list, and pluots are in the same genus. (What can I say; Prunus just doesn't enter my mind when I'm shopping for groceries.) But I've eaten lots of almonds and prunes lately without any problem. Maybe the pluot I ate yesterday was just a dick.
Here's what went down. After eating a few slices of the pluot, the lymph node under the left side of my chin started swelling, the floor of my mouth got mildly swollen (this is usually the first thing to happen when I get an allergic reaction), and not long after I went into crackly-flubby-lungs-ugh-WTF-can't-breath-so-good-(or-feel-compelled-to-be-grammaticallly-correct) mode. It wasn't nearly as bad as that time a pomelo took over my respiratory system, but bad enough to render me useless. It took about 45 minutes for me to feel normal again, at which point I was still mindset of, "Bluuh I don't wanna do nuuttinnn bllrurughgh [words degenerate into slurring] [shoves head into a pillow]."
So to pass the time, I poked around my YouTube subscriptions and, to my glee, saw a new WANK video (that is, "Wonderful Adventure Now Korea," duh) from Eat Your Kimchi. And thus I spent about half an hour watching Eat Your Kimchi videos while regaining full use of my lungs. It's one of my favorite YouTube channels (some other fave YouTubers: Freddie Wong, Nathan Barnatt, DJ Flula, Natalie Tran, Ninja Sex Party, and Henry Philips) and I hope some of you like them too. Because if you don't, I will judge you really hard. In a negative way.
For those who don't know what Eat Your Kimchi is, here's a super short summary: Four years ago, husband and wife team Simon and Martina moved from Canada to Seoul to teach English and in their spare time made awesome, funny, well produced videos about Korean culture. Loads of em. Today they no longer teach English; the success of EYK allows them to be full-time bloggers.
Their productivity astounds me. Shooting and editing videos (and blogging about the videos) is about 10000% more complicated than what I do, and I can't even pump out one blog post a week, nor can I keep up to date with editing my photos. (Granted, I have a full-time job, but even if I didn't, I don't think I'd be that productive.) How do I...I just...what...blurgh...aarhrhg [flails frantically, like swatting at invisible gnats].
- Eat Your Kimchi - "Korean Shabu Shabu"
Their latest WANK—more specifically, a FAPFAP, "Food Adventure Program For Awesome People"—is about Korean shabu shabu. If you're into sexy close ups of a bubbling pot of vegetables and meat and other good stuff, this is for you. Sadly, I've stopped eating Korean food ever since I started my diet because two out of the three last times I ate Korean food, specifically soondubu, my body reacted with mild to moderate lung wheezes. I'm sure there's some Korean food I can eat—I might just have a problem with spicy Korean food—but to be safe I've avoided all of it.
- Eat Your Kimchi - "Wonderful Adventure Now Korea" playlist
I'd recommend starting at the first WANK to get the lay of the land (or browse their channel of over 300 videos). What I love about the videos in this series is that they're not just, "Hey look at this cool thing in Seoul! Here's some info about it!" but, "Hey, look at this cool thing in Seoul and WATCH US FIND THE BEST ENGRISH and WATCH US FIND A KPOP IDOL and WATCH US COMPETE IN THIS RANDOM CHALLENGE then WATCH THE LOSER MAKE A FOOL OF HIM/HERSELF." Simon and Martina are a perfect blend of silly, funny, intelligent, and informative. And quite possibly the coolest couple out there. And they make me really really really really want to go back to Seoul (I've visited once, back in 2009).
Well, I lost an hour of my life tonight, so it's time for bed at this ripe hour of...4:40 a.m.? FFFFFUUUUUUUU-anyway, my next post will be about stuff I ate that didn't trigger an allergic reaction. [thumbs up]