Grain Freeze

I’m sure this entry will fall well beyond the boundaries of good taste and T.M.I.

You may not recover.

Or share a sofa with me again.

Or a pizza.

Ok, fair enough…like I share pizza.

Or invite me for a beer.

Also do not share beer.  Noted.

But you likely won’t be surprised that I tapped this entry out.

Cuz it’s about poop.

But here’s the deal, I’ve had the scoots for a few months now.  The runs.  The Hershey Squirts.  I’ve taken the Browns to the Superbowl enough to make Seattle Seahawks fans jealous.

I knew something had changed.  I thought maybe it was my stress level.  You know, working three out of 12 months in a year can create a very different type of stress.

“He only worked three months this year?  And he can’t even post one blog a week?  Sheesh.”

But I digress.  Unsurprisingly.

Back on point.  Also, shut up.

Maybe it was stress.

The odd thing was that I had also noticed my tolerance for alcohol had changed.  For the worse.  As a career level tippler, you would think my tolerance would increase as I pickled myself, but my experience was quite the opposite.  I was suddenly and embarrassingly a lightweight.

I tried to deny it.  Blame the switch from reds and ambers to IPAs as the cause for the intestinal distress and surprise drunkenness I was frequently experiencing.

Stress + Moving to PDX = a lot of beer drinking.

It also created a lot of burbling in my gut.

But why?

I had also noticed that some of my favorite foods were treating me differently.

Literally, like shit.

Pizza…I’ve long celebrated my constitution for it’s tolerance of dairy.  Bring on the cheesy goodness that America ruined.  Go ahead, ask an Italian, I’ll wait…they’ll back me up.  We took a delightfully light snackish food of theirs a loaded it with too much sauce and too much cheese and too much of anything else that we put on it and made it a complete meal.

I made it a frequent meal.

I made up diet pizza.  Diet pizza = one piece.

Hitting the Ramen places in PDX to indulge my noodle soup passion was an incredibly tasty and sadly uncomfortable situation.  The noodles stayed in me, but the soup essentially ran out in much the same state that it went in, and nearly immediately.

What is it with Portland and Seattle?  Portland is nailing the Ramen dishes and Seattle has long embraced Pho while giving Ramen the shoulder.  The rivalry between the two delicious soups isn’t nearly as strong as the Sounders/Timbers brouhaha, but it’s there.  Me, I can’t choose a favorite and am excited to return to Seattle and get my soup on whenever I can sneak in a visit.  Although, last time I was there, I had to cheat and grab a bowl of Ramen at the new Ramen House that opened down the street from my old place with the ex.

Wow.  It’s like I can’t focus.  Sorry.  Stream of consciousness writing…you’ve got front row seats in real-time.  Who dares me to just hit “Publish” after I slam my finger down on the final period at the end of my last sentence?  No proofing?  Life on the edge stuff, there.

So, obviously, something was up with my gut.

I frequently found myself clenching in a sweat inducing, non-kegel-beneficial manner and trying not to crack myself up or burst into tears as I played a specific Jack Nicholson line from The Bucket List in my head:  “Never trust a fart”.

I took a few months to consider the issue and ponder it, carefully noting my potential cause and effect observations.  Usually when I came to the next day.

I joke.

I was noticing the lowered alcohol tolerance for beer but not liquor or wine.  That was fun research.  I was also noticing a lot more squishy fat and overall bloating.  I bemoaned the fact that my beer belly was not solid and barrel-y like other fat, middle-aged white guys seem to get.  I was maintaining my ability to not be hungover after a night of drinking, but I was experiencing overall drunkenness longer.

Wheat based pastas and crusty, bready goodness were causing me a lot of gas as well as some pretty impressive-yet-uncomfortable butt-geysers.  I would cry on the inside, knowing that what I suspected to be the case was rapidly proving itself to be true.

I was growing intolerant to wheaty grains.

That’s the theory.

Here’s the proof I’ve generated based on an extremely unscientific experiment.

I took a week off of beer.

That which doesn’t kill me…

I noticed an immediate reduction in overall fluff.  Not drinking makes motivating myself to the gym a lot easier.  Worried that I might have an “oopsies-poopsies” moment on leg day is a big de-motivator.  So getting back to the gym for some routine workouts and cardio obviously contributed, but the combination of less beer calories, less gassy/bloaty bad reactions to the excessive grains in my diet and more caloric burn was a good combination for shedding ten pounds pretty quickly.

It probably didn’t hurt that my body wasn’t hoarding water because of the dehydrating effects my bathroom tragedies were having on my system.  Plus, exercise usually causes an overall increase in my water intake.  Those two factors caused my body to basically just release all of the water it had been holding onto to offset the drought conditions this Grain Reaction had put it into.  Water weighs a lot…

After a week of no beer – ok, “no” = two in this scenario, but that’s probably a 95% reduction – I was A) ready to make some more changes in the interest of science; and B) fast becoming a fan of ciders.

For week two, I made an attempt to limit the amount of wheat I consumed.

This was fairly traumatic for a guy who couldn’t pick between Italian and Mexican foods if I had only one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life.

You can count on me to enthusiastically embrace a weekly Pizza Night! as part of my normal diet.

Mac and Cheese is church to me.

What the hell, why not throw in a quick and easy tomato based pasta dish during the week, too…just for balance.

So cutting down on wheat grain was gonna seriously kill my culinary game, not to mention put a wrench in my self-enabled wine pairing with pasta night.

That said, I have a few nice go-to quinoa recipes that I love, it was a matter of changing my focus toward that type of substitute for my beloved default Italian cuisine.

It was not as good with wine.


Fortunately, I found an “Ancient Grain” based pasta…I ate a half pound of it the first time I tried it…I had expected sticky, chewy grossness from this substitution and was delighted in the opposite result.

Literally de-lighted.  I mentioned I ate a half pound of it, right?  Oof.

But, while I might have grown quite a food baby after that meal, it stayed in my stomach versus riding through my body like I was a roller coaster and shooting out the other end moments after hitting my stomach.

So there’s that.

And after two weeks of Chris-style effort, I can say that being conscious of what I have put into my body grain-wise has resulted in an ass that isn’t constantly convulsing.

Grandpa-style ass cheeks that aren’t perma-clenched.

A quiet belly…that is smaller.

And happier.

I’m sleeping better.

I’m happier.

I’m fairly impressed with myself for the approach I used to note the cause and effect relationship between my treacherous, aging body and the traitorous comrade it has in my digestive tract and what I carelessly tossed down my gullet.  More impressed with the moderate amount of restraint I was able to employ in making some big-sounding changes to my diet and the reward and comfort those changes brought me.

And I did it without indulging in the hyperbole our culture seems to be wrapping around Gluten Intolerance right now.  Personally, I think it’s the new Bulimia or Anorexia:  a serious situation for some, but not as prevalent as anyone who craves to be a size 2 or smaller would have you think.

Now…who’s grossed out?

You think I just pushed “Publish” without re-reading?  Safe bet.  I’m kind of balls out like that.

I’m gonna go have a cider.  Try a Finn Ridge Currant Cider if you can get your liver on one!  Great stuff.

Grain Freeze

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