Went to see my functional medicine doctor this morning after an ok semester overall, but a crazy performance week which led to a major crash. I got 5 hrs of sleep a night, I spent full days and then some on the piano/driving, on some days didn't have time/energy to eat more than snacks here and there, and I relied on caffeine and sugar to keep myself going. All this shocked my system, because I had spent my Thanksgiving Break getting plenty of rest and eating nothing but healthy meat, vegetables, and just a little fruit with no caffeine, not even decaf coffee. Fast-forward to the end of my performance week, and I've collapsed 10 times (sometimes from low sugar, sometimes from low blood pressure going from sitting to standing, sometimes from pure fatigue). I'm so exhausted I can't get up without at least a little caffeine, and I'm too tired to eat a complete meal in the morning.
I discussed my routine with my doctor, and he said we should plan ahead for a musician's lifestyle that will naturally include some weeks that are crazier than others, allowing for little rest/eating time. So I need to be able to fast intermittently. That way, if I encounter another week like my crazy week last week, my body can get through vigorous rehearsal hours without feeling like it needs to eat extra snacks to get through it. Which would positively affect blood sugar regulation, which affects fatigue, etc etc.
So here is my master plan for taking health to the next level towards New Year's:
WEEK 1 (Monday, 12/4-through Saturday, 12/9):
*Rest as much as possible Monday and Tuesday to recover from feeling brain dead and hungover from last week.
*Eat mostly soup, smoothies, and pureed vegetables (mashed sweet potato and mashed cauliflower are so, so good!), easy stuff to digest when I'm tired.
*Prioritize sleep, pacing, etc above ALL else. That in and of itself helps me manage blood sugar, and it helps me think clearly so I can make wise decisions.
*Wednesday through Saturday: eat 4 meals a day with NO snacks. Log calories and sugar. Make sure I eat enough calories, limit sugar to <20g daily.
*Stick to meat, vegetables, fruit (AIP).
WEEK 2 (Sunday, 12/10 through Saturday, 12/16):
*Same as above, but move to 3 meals a day.
*Reintroduce a couple types of nuts, 1 at a time (I've heard combining a strict elimination diet like AIP with other protocols like intermittent fasting can put extra stress on the body, so I want to be able to incorporate some nuts into my diet pretty quickly)
*Move breakfast back a 1/2 hr.
*Establish a window for eating during the day. Don't eat before or after that window.
I also have a yeast and/or bacterial imbalance going on, and I think all the stress and sugar hasn't helped my digestive system at all, so I'm going to include as many naturally antibiotic/antimicrobial foods in my diet as I can, along with coconut oil, a little kombucha and sauerkraut (for their probiotics), and a probiotic supplement a couple times a week. Then in a month if I haven't improved between these actions and my low sugar diet/lifestyle improvements, we can do more work in this area.
Other tools to improve digestive health and overall health:
*I just bought Dr. Sarah Ballentine's Organic Collagen Veggie Blend. It includes collagen protein, 3 full servings of vegetables, and 1 full serving of low-glycemic fruit. It doesn't taste as weird as it sounds, and I have started adding it to smoothies. I also plan to either make or buy bone broth for its gelatin/collagen, and I bought Great Lakes gelatin to use in making healthy gummies.
*I have been ordering local greens weekly from a CSA this past month and adding the variety of greens to our meals whenever possible. Every week, a variety of leafy greens is delivered to our door, I don't even have to think about it. Then I just grab a handful of them when I grab my hamburger from the fridge for dinner, for example. It's awesome.
One puzzling thing: my doctor gave me an enzyme supplement this semester. If I take a half capsule or more, I get wiped out and almost lightheaded. The same thing, only worse (very nauseous and lightheaded), happened when I took another enzyme supplement a couple years ago by myself. My doctor has no idea why I'm reacting to something that should be helping me absorb nutrients. He's gonna research it and get back to me.
The end. It's a lot, but I have a clear plan for being in great shape by the time the next semester starts, and my schedule is MUCH more reasonable the rest of the month than it was last week, so I am looking forward to being able to focus on myself and starting to feel better!