Friday, November 7, 2014

FAQs (aka, questions I’ve been asked at least once)

I tried to explain a lot in my introduction blog, so if you’re ever wondering, “Why the heck is Laura doing that?” refer back there.

So, here are five questions I’ve been asked, plus one I want to ask you:

1. What are you eating and not eating, and why?

I’m trying to completely avoid eating wheat, dairy, and eggs. I don’t know for sure if I’m sensitive to all of these foods, but they are very common problem causing foods. I do know that milk is a problem for me, but I don’t know if it’s because of lactose or casein or both. If it’s just lactose, then butter, cheese, and 24-hour fermented yogurt (the type in the supermarket is usually only 2-3 hour fermented) should be fine. I’m also pretty sure that gluten is a problem as well because I never feel well after eating pasta. Eggs, however, I’m hoping to discover are fine, but have yet to determine for sure.

To find out if you are sensitive to a food, you must first eliminate it completely from your diet for a long enough time that it completely leaves your system - it could take weeks. Then test a small amount and see how you feel. However, if you’re sensitive to multiple foods but only eliminate some of them, you won’t know if your problems are being caused by one you reintroduce or by one you never eliminated. It’s complicated. Anyway, right now I am experimenting and am in the elimination stage. Unfortunately I keep getting foiled by school lunches.

I’m also trying to reduce my sugar intake, including foods that the body quickly turns into
sugars, like rice, corn, and potatoes (in addition to wheat). I use it as a treat sometimes, though, like honey in my tea, cinnamon & sugar sprinkled on fried corn tortillas, or sweet potatoes with a drizzle of peanut oil and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Recently I’ve noticed a possible correlation between legumes (like soy beans, fava beans, peanuts, & lentils) and indigestion, so I’m thinking about trying to reduce that in my diet as well. Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

I’m also trying to avoid processed foods because of the additives and also how the manufacturing process can alter the food itself, making it much less nourishing and potentially even bad for your health.

However, I’m not worrying about fats. Fat has been vilified for decades, but recently available information (books, articles, studies, etc) shows that a high-fat low-carb diet is actually far better for the body than a low-fat high-carb one. Especially if it’s based on real food, not processed food. And most cooking oils are heavily processed, so that’s a fat to avoid! But fat from meat, fish, coconut, olives, avocado - these are good things!

So, I’m trying to eat lots of vegetables, meat, and fish, home-cooked as much as possible. I’m trying to use fruit just as a treat, because of the high sugar content. I eat cabbage salad with coconut milk and fish for breakfast, and if I could choose my lunch I would have a large salad and some meat, like pork chops. An ideal dinner in this season might be chicken bone broth soup with lots of vegetables, a seaweed salad, some liver, and a persimmon for dessert. Plus some fermented foods with any meal, like yogurt (soy or coconut), kimchi, miso, or natto, for the probiotics.


2. Have you ever tried just having lots of “bad” stuff around - do you just eat it all right away, or does it lose its sense of “special” and become more mundane and easier to resist?

I have not exactly tried this, but I don’t think it would work. Take peanut butter for example. Peanut butter is pretty much my kryptonite. I can put away 2,000 calories worth of peanut butter in one sitting without even thinking about it. The 100% all natural peanut butter (no salt, sugar, or anything else, just peanuts) that I like is not always available at Kaldi or Jupiter (our two import stores here), so when I can find it I like to stock up. The plan being that I’ll have enough to last me even when it’s not being sold at either store. But it never lasts long! I can eat one or two jars (or probably even more) every week without getting tired of it.

3. Have you ever tried barefoot running?

No, I haven’t. I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions about it, although I don’t really have an opinion myself. It appears that there needs to be more research done before any possible benefits or issues can be known for sure.

From what I’ve read, it seems like the main benefit of barefoot running is that it changes how you run, from heel-strike to forestrike, which is better for your legs. I don’t think I’ve ever been much of a heel-striker, but then again I’ve never actually watched myself run. I know I’m not a heel-striker when I walk, though, and in fact sometimes catch myself walking around on my toes for no reason at home.

I am curious, and wouldn’t mind giving barefoot running a shot, but I’m also very cheap and don’t want to buy those special “barefoot” shoes. And running with no shoes at all on sidewalks and roads doesn’t sound very safe. As a kid I used to spend my summers barefoot as much as possible, and I remember stepping on thistles, sharp sticks, bees, and glass, so that wouldn’t be good to do again!

4. What kind of exercises do you do at home?

I get bored quickly if I do the same workout every day, so I try to rotate through a few favorites plus try new ones a few times a week. In the morning I either go jogging or go on YouTube and type in “low impact cardio workout.” I used to just jog every morning, but because of my shin splints I’ve started to do at home workouts instead. I do low impact because it’s quiet, and at 6:00am I’m sure my neighbor wouldn’t appreciate me jumping around! It’s also a nice way to warm up and get going without having to throw myself into it when I’m still half asleep. These workouts tend to be good for beginners as well because they are less intensive. For example, I did this one earlier in the week, and I highly recommend it for anyone just getting into exercising.

To give myself more of a workout, I did it three times in a row. Added hand weights could also make it more challenging.

In the evening I like to do a more intense workout. Here are a few that I’ve been enjoying recently. - This yoga one doesn't seem intense, but man does it leave me sore the next day! 

You may notice that there’s quite a bit from Jillian Michaels, a well-known trainer from The Biggest Loser. My friend recommended her workout videos, and it turns out that they’re a great challenge and I don’t find her annoying like so many others. That’s the great thing about sharing, and one of the things I hope comes out of this blog! My goal is communication and sharing between people with similar goals or values, so please don’t hesitate to comment!

If I’m feeling completely worn out in the evening, I’ll do a slower paced yoga video. This one in particular I found to be good for beginners and very relaxing.

5. Where do you get chia seeds in Japan?

Well, my parents very kindly buy them in the U.S. and give them to me as a gift, but if that’s not enough I buy them on Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can put your settings in English so you can navigate the page. You can even search in English for many products, although searching in Japanese usually gets more results. This is a good way to get not only chia seeds, but other things like quinoa and spices too.

Now I have a question for you!

What are some good non-food rewards that I can give myself when I successfully don’t succumb to a craving?


  1. Since most of my food cravings are caused by unresolved worries or fears in my life, the only way for me to successfully resist the cravings is to deal with my upsetting problems. Once I have done that, it is reward enough in itself. So I keep journals all around me in the house, on my computer and in my purse and even in the refrigerator. Writing often allows me to get a good handle on what is really bothering me and to do something constructive about it.---Your loving Grandma B.

  2. I bought chia seeds on Very simple to do. I just haven't used them yet.

    1. They're great sprinkled on a salad or stir-fry, or added to smoothies and soups to make them thicker. They made my smoothie so thick, my little blender gave up and quit!