So the diet continues. I haven’t really started re-introducing foods yet, because I don’t feel well. On the other hand, the few times I’ve goofed, I’ve felt even worse than usual the next day. On Wednesday, I went out to dinner with the wonderful Orlando Independent Authors group and while I ordered off the gluten-free menu, there was something in my food that I probably shouldn’t have eaten. I needed a nap by 10:30 Thursday morning and spent most of the day feeling desperately in need of caffeine. Since it’s actually not a natural state to need caffeine–our bodies ought to be able to function without stimulants and I’ve been off it for over a month–it was a reaction to something.

C’est la vie. The reaction was inspiration to decide that it was time to take this stupid diet to the next level. While I’ve done great on the restriction phase, omitting a purely crazy number of foods from my diet, I haven’t done nearly as well on the nutrient-dense part of the plan. Ideally, I am supposed to eat ten cups of greens a day. Now, even that measurement annoys me. How do you measure ten cups of greens? Are they tightly-packed or loosely-packed? Cooked or raw? Is a cup as much as you can stuff into the cup? I have no idea, but I’ve resigned myself to the principle of eating a lot of greens. That one’s not hard to manage, since I do anyway. Ten cups worth? Eh, probably not. But five, easily, so I can up that.

Next up, at least a tablespoon of fermented food daily. I’ve been managing that two or three times a week, but frankly, it’s gross. I choke it down, occasionally gagging, but reminding myself that it’s medicinal, not food, and no worse than cough medicine. I still haven’t done it every day, because, well, because knowing something is good for me doesn’t make it more bearable and some days I just don’t feel like it, but I am resolved now to start. Every day, a fermented food. For… two weeks? I should probably make it thirty days, but I think I’ll start with two weeks. I suspect that’ll be enough to prove to myself that it’s worth doing, because I have definitely started to wonder whether my road map of good days and bad days might be tracking pretty clearly with the day after I’ve choked down some sauerkraut being a good day. But two weeks ought to be enough to see whether that tracks, as long as I stay good about everything else.

But the last items on the list — last because they’re the only other things I’m not doing, not last because there are no other rules for AIP — the last items are to eat bone broth every day and organ meat four to five times a week. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck some more. I honestly don’t know if I can manage these two. They say to just heat the broth and drink it like coffee or tea as a morning beverage. It revolts me. And organ meat — just no. But I want to feel healthy again. So last night I made my first attempt at organ meat.

Chicken heart pate in a christmas tree mold

Offal pate

Behold. Chicken heart pate . Yes, it’s molded with a Christmas tree on top. That’s because the only container I could find (I’ve been using my containers prolifically what with making soups and stews and freezing portions) was an old Jello mold of my mom’s. I could have made it a heart-shaped pattern or a couple of other options, but the Christmas tree amused me the most. Doesn’t it look disgusting? Grey mystery meat.

If you’d seen it cooking, it would have looked even grosser. Chicken hearts sometimes have blood in them and when you try to trim the fat off, the blood comes out in clumps. It’s revolting. Even the thought of it is forcing my cheeks to pull back in a disgusted expression. Ick.

Taste-wise, though–eh. It’s not so bad. It has pear, onion, garlic and applesauce in it and I’ve eaten it on slices of pear and slices of apple. While I wouldn’t choose to eat it regularly, it won’t kill me to treat it like the fermented food and try to manage a serving every other day while it lasts. I’m counting a serving as two tablespoons, so it’ll last a while. Three-quarters of it is already bagged and in the freezer, giving me three or four weeks worth, I hope.

But the real picture I need is one of the three dogs. For the entire hour I cooked it, they were pains. Every time I turned around, the three of them were lined up behind me, eyes intent, tails flapping on the ground, quivering with hopeful anticipation. If I decide I can’t eat it, they will happily take it off my hands. And the next time I need to get Zelda to take a pill, I know exactly what I will go for.

In a related diet note, I now weigh a number that I fully expected never to see on a scale again and … I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s definitely bringing up lots of past stuff for me, enough so that I wish I could afford to go back into therapy for a while. Not because I’m worried about my current weight, but just because I can see how I’ve got some unresolved emotional issues about the meaning of weight and what it says about how we present in the world. It might be good for me to get some clarity around my subconscious crap.

Thinking it out, I was content being ten pounds overweight. My self-image was/is that I was/am a comfortably plump, middle-aged mom type, safe and non-threatening. Safe and non-threatening. Interesting choices of words. But I’m back into the normal weight range and my collarbones are noticeable again and … it’s less comfortable for me. I feel like I’m starting to look fragile again and I don’t like it. I don’t know why it matters–I’d have to lose 45 pounds to hit my (extremely unhealthy) 23-year-old weight and that is definitely not going to happen. But… hmm. Being that thin was one way of being invisible. Being mildly overweight is another way of being invisible. Yeah, this is why I need therapy. Oh, well, maybe my nutrient-dense offal is also high calorie and I’ll drift back up to my comfortably plump zone.

And now I should go write some book words. Or maybe go for a swim. The season is almost, almost over, but I swam yesterday and it was lovely.