On Thursday I was due for my latest scheduled blood test to assess the status of various counts in the context of a supposed condition, aplastic anemia. I had been eating wheat-based products daily for just over two weeks leading up to the test, to see whether this would make any difference to the results - I explain more about this in Doctors and Nutrition Part 2 - My Wheat Experiment. I am pulling together the results from the last few years into a chart to provide context and will post about the results in a day or two.
Elephant's EarSince Wednesday night was the last night before the test, I decided to have a good dose of wheat just to be sure. Conveniently, I was eating at an Indian restaurant that night and this afforded me the opportunity to combine business with pleasure by ordering a garlic naan the size of an elephant's ear instead of my normal salad. The more astute amongst you will recognise the signs of classic dietary rationalisation. My resolve has not yet returned to its normal iron-like state after the festive indulgences so I allowed my weaker self to be convinced that this was necessary despite having previously determined that a lower daily dose of wheat was appropriate.
Regardless of the necessity of guzzling this pizza-sized, reeking slab of dough, it provided me with most of the necessary ingredients to replicate my supposed sleep-inducing meals - a large amount of tryptophan-rich poultry (I also had a half roasted chicken) and a large amount of carbohydrate.
ChocolateAnother tryptophan-rich food I had consumed as part of my Christmas feasts was chocolate. I certainly had no intention of re-visiting the kind of sugary nasties I had been eating a few weeks prior, but as luck would have it we had in the house a block of unsweetened chocolate Mrs M had bought on a whim for cooking. This I consumed voraciously, with Mrs M just managing to muscle in to acquire a small piece for herself. It's actually rather nice - or at least I found it nice as someone whose taste buds are not daily dulled by sugar-laden junk.
Worst Night's Sleep in MonthsDid I sleep well? No. In fact, ironically, I had one of the worst night's sleep in months. As usual, a few hours of solid sleep gave way to the familiar broken, restless slumber. There is a small amount of caffeine in chocolate, but the fact that the problems were later in the night suggests this was not the issue. A counter argument would be the timed-release idea that forms part of the hypothesis, but as I say, the amounts in chocolate are small.
I don't intend to turn this into a Seth Roberts style self-experimentation series, not least because I am simply not willing to subject myself to these foods regularly. The Wheat Experiment was probably a one-off and after that and the festive season, I feel like a several-month run of strict Paleo is called for.
DairyHowever, the one difference that stands out between the recent test and the feasts over Christmas is dairy. Milk is a tryptophan-rich food, and over the festive season my feasts invariably culminated in some kind of dessert with lashings of cream, custard or both. My recent naan, chicken and chocolate event, did not. Perhaps at some point in the future I will take the opportunity to continue this entirely unscientific research...
High Carb Feasts Could Help You Sleep
Doctors and Nutrition Part 2 - My Wheat Experiment