Posted by: Aspie Noodle | February 15, 2013

Huh. So, my body is a vegetarian?

I’ve been eating meat all my life, and I’ve been eating lots of dairy products as well. When I was a kid I’m sure me and my sister consumed up to a litre of milk per day, since it was meant to make our bones stronger due to the calcium. It was supposedly good for our teeth too.

As an autistic individual I’ve had a lot of texture issues with food. I’ve always hated potatoes, and anything that had a similar texture. So, no beans, and no legumes of any kind. I was a very picky eater, but my parents (and that was one of their few mistakes they did regarding my unknown autism) forced me to eat. Literally making me sit at the table for hours, staring at the cold food on the plate until I’d be so exhausted from crying that I try a bite, and then throw it all up again.

I was very skinny and malnourished, until around age 11, when puberty kicked in and I started eating a lot of sugar and wheat products (pasta, pastries, bread) and I became pudgy.

I’ve had a short period of eating pescetarian (no meat, only fish) when I was 14, but that didn’t last long in a household so focused on eating meat-potatoes-vegetable meals.

In my adult life I’ve gone on low-carb diets about four or five times. Just to shed a few pounds, and to–as was advertised by so many advocates–feel better inside and out. Lots of body builders swear by low-carbing.

A low carb diet cuts out sugar (which truly is bad, for anyone) and grains, flour and anything bread-related, but increases animal protein and fat intake.

Those diets always worked well for me. Too well, actually. I always lost weight very fast to the point of looking unwell (according to others), but I never actually felt better physically. In fact, a lot of things became worse. I felt constantly hungry, sluggish, crampy, foggy-brained, extremely stressed and, well, unhappy and out of control.

But okay, a few others on this diet also felt that, and since I’ve also increased my vegetable intake and cut out sugar, I thought I can’t be doing anything wrong.

Well.

Turns out that I was.

I have blood type A, and according to research, people of this blood type have low amounts of stomach acid, and they have real trouble digesting animal proteins and fat. Go figure.

In essence, meat is poison to my body, because I cannot digest it. Whereas someone with blood type O, who thrives on animal protein does beautifully, and will feel wonderful on a low carb diet. To me it’s torture.

I’ve only heard about this blood type related way of eating yesterday. Yes, one day ago. I’ve read a lot about it last night (but the actual book “Eat Right 4 your Type” is still on its way in the mail) and as of this morning I am cutting out all meat and most seafood, and will slowly wean myself off dairy. I’ve also started reintroducing carbohydrates again. Not slowly, as advised for low-carbers, but oat meal right this morning. And what do you know, I haven’t been hungry all day.

Now, according to the author of ER4YT, wheat is still bad, as is refined sugar. So not eating that was good. But the meat protein was apparently responsible for producing even more cortisol (as if people with autism need even more cortisol!), and I’ve had some pretty shitty weeks recently when it comes to stress and especially with having meltdowns. It hasn’t been this bad in a long time!

Another thing are menstrual cramps, which have been so bad I’ve fainted while eating low carb/high animal protein foods. I should have taken the hint!

Also, I used to do a lot of high energy sports (as I’ve mentioned in my Martial Arts post from a few days ago). I used to go to the gym too, and I had a personal trainer who measured my body fat and muscles. At some point during low-carbing, I had a body fat % of 17. That is way too low, especially for a woman who is not a professional athlete. Additionally, the muscle training I was doing, did not actually build up any muscles.

Well, since I was only eating animal proteins, and next to no plant proteins, my body was pretty much starving because it had no use for the proteins I was providing. It was eating all its own fat cells, plus actual muscle tissue. Huh. No wonder I felt so horrible.

It also advises people with blood type A to stay away from high energy sports and do things like yoga instead. Ha! At least I have come to that conclusion myself, albeit slowly and painfully. High energy sports need lots of protein, which I simply do not get from meat, because my body cannot extract it. It just sits there and rots in my gut. Nice. -_-

So, what now?

Well, big giant lifestyle change is going to happen. It’ll take a while until I get it right, and of course the list of foods I can and cannot eat according to the ER4YT plan will need to be carefully tested. Just because I have a genetic disposition toward certain foods does not mean it’s impossible other factors have been at play when it comes to food tolerances as well.

But it’s a great start.

Strangely enough the personality type description for Blood type A fits rather well with someone on the high end of the autism spectrum.

And since eating meat and dairy is pretty bad for an autistic individual with blood type A (poison to an already sensitive body & extra cortisol), this might actually seriously alleviate stress and immune system problems I have.

Well, so far, on day one I feel great. Since I am going to be flushing poison from my system I’m sure some not-so-great days will follow, but this is a long-term investment that will need time to fully go into effect. I will keep this blog updated about the effects changing the food I eat will have regarding my autism.

I’ve been on quite a long quest of finding the right nutrition plan for me. I’m already an organic foods shopper, having cut out preservatives and most additives (organic foods also have additives, but only a few). But I always felt that I was still doing something wrong. Eating so many vegetables and fresh dairy products along with free range organic meats still had me feeling crappy, when you’d expect me to feel so much better than on junk food. I had the ideal weight, but inside I still felt all wrong.

This might actually be it. The way to eat for me.

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Responses

  1. I came across your blog because I started following ER4YT posts. I have read the book and am considering the diet. I don’t know my blood type yet and I have been unable to guess from the descriptions in the book. My memory wants to say I have Type A (which is why I appreciate your post so much), but I could be wrong. I do really like yoga a lot though. Since I like all foods and am reasonably healthy, it’s difficult to even explain why I am drawn to ER4YT. I just am. And I want to be as healthy as I can be. I’ll be interested in seeing how it works out for you.


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