From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

ED Days 5-8

I have been out of town to visit family and friends in Nashville so I have fallen behind on my blogging.  Oops!  Life happens.  I actually started not to do this Elimination Diet because I knew about this trip, but I decided there were ALWAYS going to be things that could potentially trip me up and be a challenge so I needed to just go ahead and push forward.  No time like the present, right?

Let’s start with Thursday.  I was actually still in town on Thursday.  And let me lay it all on the line…I cheated!!  I just want to be totally transparent.  I went to a Pure Romance party at one of my best friend’s homes and we had a little to drink.  Ok, it was more than a little.  One or two is my norm (and that is rare), but I had 3-4ish;)  We started with shots of 360 grape vodka (this was in the car).  No worries- we had a DD.  I think the general consensus was that if we were going to sit around and talk about all the “unmentionables” that get mentioned at these parties then we might need a few before we walked in the door:)  Once we arrived, I added my vodka to some seltzer water.  As if that wasn’t enough, my friend had bought me apple ginger hard cider (cuz she loves me and knows I love cider) and I hadn’t had that flavor so I had to have 1 of those too!  It was yummy!    I didn’t really have any major issues related to the alcohol.  I didn’t sleep as well as usual, which is typical when I drink, but other than that I fared pretty well for an old broad that rarely drinks.  FYI- the party was a hoot!!  We were so silly.  It was tons of fun until the youngest member of our little group ended up over the toilet.  We had to laugh a little that the 21-year-old newlywed just couldn’t hang with us soccer moms;)  I don’t even think I should bore you guys with the food because it has been so incredibly repetitive.  Let’s just hit the highlights of the next few days:)

Before we got in the car for the Pure Romance party.  Are we posers or what?

Before we got in the car for the Pure Romance party. Are we posers or what? I obviously didn’t get the memo about the white pant!

I took a lot of food to get me through the weekend at my brother’s house.  I made up a batch of salmon cakes (my husband did it actually). He can somehow get them to stick together even without the egg.  I do not have that talent.  Then I took my big batch of carrot puree and some cooked green beans and zucchini.  Top it off with my pesto and there you pretty much have most of my meals.  We did end up going out twice.  The first time was dinner Saturday night and the restaurant had grilled chicken breasts with cilantro and green beans on the side so while mind-numbingly boring, it was diet appropriate.  We went out again after church on Sunday and I had grilled rainbow trout and grilled zucchini.  I feel pretty certain that there was a low quality oil in play and some seasoning that was questionable, but I seemed to tolerate the meal just fine.  I even went to a birthday/graduation combo party for a friend who was graduating from a nurse practitioner program (her daughter was turning 3) and there was lots of food, cake, ice cream and booze and I just wasn’t even tempted.  I drank my sparkling water and ran my mouth and was totally satisfied.

Addy digging into her cake

Addy digging into her cake

As for symptoms- I am currently suffering from some constipation.  I know, TMI, but we have already talked about that.  I pretty much don’t know the meaning of TMI!  I started out on this diet with the opposite problem, but now the pendulum is swinging all the way to the other side.  I also had a little mild discomfort after the Saturday night restaurant meal, but it went away almost as quick as it came.  The only other issue I’m having is a weird charlie horse type cramp in my left calf.  I woke up Sunday morning with it.  I have had 3 of these types of cramps lately.  I am wondering about dehydration or magnesium deficiency?  Not sure.  I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, so maybe I will have some more info after that.

The kids outside the restaurant Saturday night.  We had to limit the stolen rocks from the rock garden!

The kids outside the restaurant Saturday night. We had to limit the stolen rocks from the rock garden!

Salmon and carrots yet again.

Salmon and carrots. Surprised?

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ED Day 3

I know it is crazy boring, but Day 3 looked just like Day 1 and Day 2 as far as food goes.  The strange thing about it is that it really hasn’t bothered me.  My cravings have been SO mild.  What is up with that???  Usually when I start some program like this the cravings are OFF THE CHARTS!!!  I try to come up with ANY random excuse I can to indulge in something off plan.  And this is the strictest plan of any I have ever been on.  I am seeing that alone as a total blessing and success:))

As for symptoms, they were a little different today.  Let’s keep the good news rolling first.  I had no stomach pain today!  Woo Hoot!! That is a rare occurrence.   I don’t have horrible stomach issues everyday, but I usually have some sort of minor discomfort at the very least.  Today, nothing!  Ok, well, nothing is not really true.  While I did not have any pain or bloating, I did have loose stools.  I know that is TMI, but modesty about bodily functions left me long ago.  When you are really suffering, you get to where you don’t care what you have to tell… doctors, practitioners, friends, random strangers, whoever might be able to help.  And I am hoping some information in my story will help somebody at some point, so I am not holding back on the gory details.  Back to the poop, it was only a couple of times, but it was definitely loose and the food was not fully digested.  I have been out of my digestive enzymes for 2 days, so I am thinking there is a real possibility that it is more due to that than to the change in diet.  Or could be a combination.  Maybe by the end of this process I won’t be so dependent on the digestive enzymes.  We’ll see.  My hair loss was also better today. But my gums were still super sore and my legs are still broken out with the itchy bumps.

Because I have been out of bone broth, I have been drinking grass-fed gelatin in my rooibos tea.  Rooibos tea is a little bit of an acquired taste I think.  I have gotten to where I like it.  Especially when it it the only option besides water or bone broth!  This Great Lakes gelatin dissolves in cold drinks and you can’t taste it at all.  I don’t think it is as good as drinking grass-fed bone broth, but it is a good quick option.

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ED Day 2

So I am not going to bore you guys with a list of foods today because it was EXACTLY the same as yesterday.  If you want to know, just check out the ED Day 1 post.  I foresee this happening a lot because it is easy and let’s get real…how many ways can I do these 4 veggies??  My meat will probably rotate around based on what the rest of the family is having.  We just got a giant box of meat from US Wellness Meats so I will be trying to cook those selections in a way that is ED friendly.  Luckily my kids don’t really care.  They often prefer dinner to be simple.  They like to have a hunk of meat and just dip it in something yummy so that works out in my favor while I am doing this.

Moving on to how I felt today.  In a word- BETTER!  Granted that is not saying overmuch since I felt like totally doody on day 1, but I’ll still take it.  No headache today for starters.  And the skin on my face is clearing up. The bumps on my legs are another matter. My hair was still falling out today, but at a MUCH slower pace.  I was only picking them off myself like 2-3 times an hour versus constantly all day long!  My biggest issue today was probably my sore, bloody gums.  I don’t really know what to make of that except to say that I think it is hormonal and must have some type of inflammatory component to it as well.  Hopefully healing the gut will cut the inflammation.  I also experienced some bloating/gas issues in the later afternoon (3-4 hours after lunch).  It was mild compared to how bad it is at times.  Weirdly, it felt worse than it looked.  Normally when I feel like  that, I look 4-5 months pregnant and that didn’t happen.  I still felt it, but the visual was definitely different.

I had one other success in this arena yesterday.  This is going to sounds silly…..but I didn’t buy gum!!  I know.  Sounds redonk, but it really felt like a victory for me.  Whenever I commit to something like this, there is always some way in which I cheat.  I hate to say it, but it is true.  And this time, I can’t afford to cheat.  It could really screw up my results and this is WAY too important.  After 3 years of experimenting, I really need to know what foods I can tolerate and what foods I can’t.  I know there are a lot of tests out there that could help me in this endeavor, but the truth is that I just can’t afford them right now.  Plain and simple.  So this is it. I stood there reading gum labels and trying to justify how this would be OK but my less crazy voice won out and I put it all back.  Thank heavens for small victories, right?

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ED Day 1

Just to clarify, this is not day 1 of my erectile dysfunction.  I’m just betting that by week 2 I will be too lazy to type Elimination Diet every day so I’m shortening it now:)

I’m going to start off these posts letting you guys know exactly what I ate and then follow-up with how I felt.

Breakfast

6 oz. turkey cooked in coconut oil (enough to cover the pan)

1/2 cup cooked organic spinach (cooked in extra-virgin olive oil)

Topped with 1 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil, green part only of green onions, and Salt & Pepper

photo(26)Lunch

5 oz. wild canned salmon mixed with sautéed carrots, chives, green onions, parsley and salt & pepper

1/2 cup carrot puree- steamed carrots blended with coconut oil and cinnamon

2 medium zucchini cooked in homemade ghee with fresh basil

photo(25)Dinner

5 oz. pastured pork shoulder cooked in the slow cooker with organic green beans and organic carrots

1 Tbsp of homemade ghee/garlic olive oil blend with parsley

photo(24)OK…so that was the food.  I had no snacks and nothing to drink except water. The food was a little boring but it certainly wasn’t bad.   Which is good, because I will probably be eating about the same thing for the rest of the 3-4 weeks.  I’m sure the blog is going to be about as boring as my diet, but hang in there with me.  I am hoping that using this protocol will lead to some serious healing and answer all those questions I have about which foods I actually can and can’t eat.

Now let’s talk about how I felt.  I felt like sh*@!!  I don’t know that it had much to do with the food.  As a matter of fact, I think it had very little to do with the food.  It was the first day of my lady cycle and I have been having migraines on that day for the past 6 months.  Yesterday was no exception.  Add to that that our AC went out on Friday and I live in Memphis, TN where the heat index is 110 in August and you have a pretty miserable scenario:(  Let’s tack on the fact that my hair started falling out in mini clumps yesterday and you can see why I felt like sh*@!  I know the migraines and hair loss are related to my female hormones because they follow a very predictable pattern.  I am hoping that the ED will help with this, but I will just have to keep monitoring it and let you know how it plays out.  If I don’t have a migraine on the first day of my next cycle, I will be relatively sure that this diet has a lot to do with it.  Crossing my fingers!
As for digestive symptoms, they were mild. Still had a my normal mild degree of bloating that I always have.  I also had some mild acid reflux at bedtime.  But, I was never hungry and the cravings were pretty mild considering it coincided with my period.  Stay tuned for Day 2:)
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Elimination Diet

I have  been reading Digestive Health with REAL Food by Aglaee Jacob.  It is an incredibly comprehensive book covering all aspects of IBS and other digestive issues.  She covers symptoms, treatment, underlying causes, supplements, testing.  If it relates to digestive distress you can bet she covers it in this book!  While most of the information was not new to me, it is great to have it all in one place as a reference.  Through reading the book, I have been inspired to do an elimination diet.  I have tried multiple elimination diets over the past few years, but never exactly as she lays it out.  I would try doing the autoimmune protocol for a while, then the low-FODMAP diet, then the 21 day sugar detox.  Sometimes I would feel a little better, sometimes a little worse.  Then inevitably something would creep back in.  These diets are tough!!!  Life is busy, other family members want different meals (who wouldn’t), finances get tight, etc.  Also, now that my health isn’t as bad as it was it is hard to find the same motivation.  But, “not as bad” is not the same as GREAT!! And I want great!  So, for the next 3-4 weeks (her timeline) I am going to do this elimination diet.  I am choosing to blog about it daily because she highly recommends keeping a journal and I would rather keep it on here than on paper.  Plus, maybe it will encourage someone else to do it:)  The guidelines look like this:

I can eat:

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Organ Meat

Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, Ghee, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Duck Fat, Tallow or Lard

Bone Broth

Carrot, Zucchini, Spinach, Green Beans

Unrefined Salt, Chives, Cinnamon, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs, green part of green onions, garlic/herb infused oil

Sparkling Water, Rooibos tea

I am not going to lie…it sounds boring as hell.  However, as a person who still turns to food when bored or stressed, I am praying that this elimination diet will help in that domain as well.  I don’t see how turning to those foods to relieve boredom and stress would be very effective!

According to Jacobs, I need to be symptom free for 5 days before I consider introducing a new food.  I will be keeping up with symptoms on each  blog post or at least giving each day a rating.  Just so I don’t forget, here is what my BEFORE symptoms look liked:

Symptom Frequency Severity
Bloating Almost Daily Moderate
Abdominal Pain 1-2 X Times per week Moderate
Flatulence 1-2 X Times per week Moderate
Belching Rarely Mild
Feeling of Urgency Rarely Mild
Acid Reflux 1-2 X per week Mild
Fatigue 1-2 X per week Mild
Depression 1-2 X per week Moderate
Brain Fog Almost Daily Moderate to Severe

Bowel Movements:   Frequency 1X a day  4 on poop scale

Other:  headaches (especially around my cycle), itchy hands and feet ( few times a week), itchy bumps on arms and legs ( comes and goes), irritated gums, sensitive skin

Alright.  There it is.  I have no delusions about this being easy, but I know it needs to be done.

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