From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

ED Day 21- Finale

I’m done!  No, I am not supposed to be done, but I am calling it quits.  I made it 3 weeks, but I did not make it to the goal of 5 symptom free days.  I am not even going to bore you with the last few days of food.  You all already know basically what it was!  I do, however, want to give you guys an overall assessment of my 3 weeks and what I learned.  The first 2 weeks were pretty darn good.  There were still some minor tummy troubles along the way, but I shed some weight and overall I felt pretty good.  This last week was the pits!  I needed a nap almost every afternoon.  I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open.  I really feel like it was some version of the carb-flu phenomenon.  I don’t know why it took so long to hit me, since most people seem to experience it within the first 5 days.  I also had a lot of digestive issues the last few days.  Bloating, cramps, gas, constipation.  Either something I was eating in my limited diet was giving me a lot of trouble, OR the high stress level of the past week was to blame.  I am leaning towards the stress.  My boys started a new homeschool program and we were behind and needed to homeschool up to 11 hours on a couple of days just to catch up.  Add that to homeschooling my daughter, soccer, dance, gymnastics, church, family obligations (it was my brother’s birthday and there was lots of cooking), cooking 6 meals a day (3 for my family and a different one for me), household chores, and the ongoing financial stress we are under.  I think I have really underestimated how this ongoing stress can garner acute reactions in me.  I had noticed in the past how my husband and I could have a fight and my stomach would “blow up” a few minutes later, but I always tried to downplay it.  I think this is probably because the stress factor seems like the hardest thing to change.  Stress is always going to be there.  My doctor has told me that I am hyperreactive.  My body overresponds to all sorts of stimuli.  The one that he has dealt with the most is my over reaction to any medications (I can only take really small doses).  But I think that I just naturally hyper react to all sorts of stimuli in my life even if you don’t see it on the outside.  It feels like this is just in my nature as a person and the power to change it may be out of my reach.  This is why I go from diet (Candida, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, elimination diet, FODMAP free) to diet.  I am always hoping that something will click and give me this perfect health I am so desperately searching for.  Of course, it is not that simple.  So for now, I am taking it day-to-day.  Trying to keep my stress level low.  Only fixing one meal for the entire family and seeing how it goes.  Of course, I will keep you updated of any progress I make:)

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ED Day 17 & 18

Ya’ll…I REALLY cheated today!  Not just a drink this time.  My kids all wanted “normal bread” to take in their lunches this week so I made the Sandwich Bread from Against all Grain.  I have made “paleo bread” before and my kids usually turn their noses up at it.  Not this one.  My daughter especially really loved it.  And it looked so good fresh from the oven.  So I took a sliver off the end and dunked it in ghee.  Oh My Goodness!!!!  I haven’t had good fresh-baked bread in about 4 years!  It was such a treat.  As far as I can tell it didn’t give me any digestive distress.  At least not immediately.

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So that was breakfast and it was yummy!

Lunch

1 oz of turkey, 3 oz. wild caught tuna, olive oil, carrot puree

Dinner

5 oz. grass-fed ground beef, olive oil, organic steamed spinach

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Symptoms

I felt pretty good today.  No digestive issues.  Still have itchy bumps and my hair is still falling out a little.

Day 18

Today was hard!  My boys started Veritas Classical Homeschool yesterday and come to find out, we are a week behind.  So we homeschooled for 11 hours today.  And we are still behind.  Oh, and both our vehicles are in the shop. And our hot water heater has a leak.  And our roof has a leak.  And the treadmill broke.  And our phone is only working sometimes.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.  I tell you guys this to say that I think it was stress that caused my digestive symptoms today.  I was bloated and cramping for a good part of the day, but especially after dinner.

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Breakfast

Organic steamed spinach, turkey cooked in lard, drizzle of garlic olive oil

Lunch

Grass-fed ground beef and carrot puree

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I am finally starting to get really sick of these food, ya’ll!  I think the taste of that bread did me in;)

Dinner

Carrot puree and zucchini with homemade pesto

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I just didn’t feel like eating meat tonight.  I thought just the veggies wouldn’t sit as heavy, but my tummy still hurt really bad after this meal.  STRESS!!!

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ED Day 12

Homeschool Mother’s Day Out started back today.  Finn LOVES it.  She is such a social butterfly.  Let’s just take a peek at her week to make my point.

Monday- gymnastics

Tuesday- dance and soccer

Wednesday- Build-a-Bear birthday party

Thursday- homeschool mother’s day out and spending the night with her great-grandmother

Friday- pajama party at her gymnastics gym and spending the night with a friend ( I probably would have made her stay home but I am going to see The Band Perry so I needed a babysitter)

Sound exhausting or what!!  She is a mover and a shaker:)

photo(29) Breakfast

turkey, lard, spinach, chives, drizzle of garlic oil

My tummy hurt for a few minutes afterwards? The truth is, I’m not really hungry in the morning (or the evening for that matter).  I just feel like doing something that looks more like intermittent fasting right now might be hard on my system.  So I eat breakfast.  I may play around with cutting it out or eating it later in the day once I am done with this ED experiment.

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Lunch

Applegate Farms turkey (so hopefully less junk than the deli meat I had a few days ago), organic green beans in ghee, carrot puree, and an olive oil dip

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Dinner

Ground turkey, pesto, green beans and carrot puree

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I was a little off today.  I think I had a little of the “carb flu” phenomenon.  I know Day 12 is kind of late in the game to have it, but I never do things by the rules.  Other than that, I still have the itchy bumps.  But now they have moved to my hands and feet.  It’s certainly not the worst thing ever, but I just have this deep need to know what is causing them.  I’m sure I could put some anti-itch cream on them, but it’s not really the itching that bothers me, but the fact that they are there.

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ED Day 9

Finn made me breakfast in bed this morning.  She didn’t get to be very creative since my diet is so limited, but she didn’t seem to care.  It was the standard turkey and spinach with chives and a drizzle of garlic oil.  It was especially good since I didn’t have to make it myself.  I look a little naked in the picture below because I am.  Finn had told me not to get out of bed, but I snuck out and took a walk before she got up.  When she came in to “surprise” me I was quickly trying to change back into my jammies but didn’t have time and just jumped under the covers to feign my surprise;)  It’s not indecent right?  Just pretend I am wearing a strapless dress to bed.  So sweet that my daughter now to serve my food with digestive enzymes:)  Actually Finn is only wearing her undies and an apron so maybe it just runs in the family;)

IMG_2546 Lunch

More turkey and spinach, like you couldn’t have guessed!

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Dinner

Carrot puree and zucchini

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I only had carrot and zucchini at dinner because I still felt full from lunch.  I think it was because I am still constipated.  It’s not that I am not going at all, but it is not often enough and too difficult to go.  Other than that, I still have some pain in my left calf and my itchy bumps.  BUT…I lost 6 pounds in the first 8 days!!!  Yay!!! I truly was not doing this to lose weight, but I was hopeful that eliminating some problematic foods would reduce my inflammation and help me shed a little weight.  I am hopeful that is what is happening.  I don’t really feel like I am eating a ton fewer calories.  I am eating 900 calories of fat a day without even considering the veggies or protein so I figure it has to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1600 calories. Plus I am not working out as hard.  I am walking and doing some very low-key bodyweight stuff for like 10 minutes most days.  That’s it.  Hopefully the trend will continue and I can drop more of these unwanted pounds:)

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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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American Girl Doll Swimming Slumber Party

Finn on her throne

Finn on her throne waiting for the party to start

Is that a mouthful, or what!  But that is the type of party Finn (my daughter) wanted for her 6th birthday.  I was a little nervous, considering I had been keeping 2 kids for friends (plus my 3, of course) of mine for the 3 days prior, but the party went off without a hitch.  Yay!!  The girls were dropped off about 5:00 on Friday night and they played dress up while I made dinner.

First round of dress up

First round of dress up

We had a make your own nachos bar with chicken, organic beef, organic corn chips and all the fixins.  Totally gluten-free, but not exactly paleo.  That was kind of the theme for the food…ALWAYS gluten-free, mostly dairy free, and as little sugar as I could get by with without having a riot on my hands.  After dinner, we did the cake and ice cream thing.  My girl loves all things pink so I made a gluten-free, dairy free strawberry cake that turned out really good!

Can I eat this whole thing myself?

Can I eat this whole thing myself?

We then did a few crafts, the best one being painting t-shirts my mom made for all the girls’ American Girl Dolls.  The girls were so well-behaved and really took their painting seriously.

American Girl T-Shirts

American Girl T-Shirts

After craft time, we all got in our jammies with the intent of watching the American Girl Doll movie, McKenna, but about  20 minutes in, the sugar from the ice cream and cake must have kicked in because they totally lost interest in the movie and went back to dress up and dancing.

All my fancy girls

All my fancy girls

All the girls and all the dolls

All the girls and all the dolls

By about 11:25, I had them all in bed.  I had 2 girls that had never spent the night away from home before so I had to do a little bit of tickling and hair stroking, but by midnight I had them all sleeping soundly.  We got up the next morning and made eggs, sausage, gluten free pancakes and fruit.  We then hit the pool!

Enjoying our Paleo picnic

Enjoying our (mostly) Paleo picnic

We swam for hours. I had the best time with these sweet girls!  No judgement, just total fun.  I got my workout in pulling them around in the pool and dancing on the deck for hours.  We downloaded the soundtrack to Teen Beach Movie and it was a giant hit!  My last 2 girls left at 5:00 and good thing because about 6:00 I finally hit the wall!  Complete exhaustion! But it was totally worth it.  I couldn’t help reminiscing about all the slumber parties my mom hosted for me growing up.  My house was always the slumber party house.  My first one was my 7th birthday and we still talk about it to this day.  My mom let us watch Footloose!  Seriously?  Oh, well…I don’t think it ruined any of us;)  It’s funny how things come full circle.  Sometimes it takes that for me to appreciate all the things my mom did (and still does) for me.  She turned my house into a virtual palace for my daughter’s party.  It was a magical 24 hours that none of the girls will ever forget.  I think we’ll do it again. Next year:)

My Mini Me and her Mini Me

My Mini Me and her Mini Me

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What Went Well Wednesday

First strawberries of the season

First strawberries of the season

1. I slept until 7:45!  Unheard of!

2.  Finn had her annual acrobatics and dance recital rehearsal.  She was super cute!

3.  My Aunt Chery, my mom, my grandmother and my cousin all came to watch her at the rehearsal.  I felt so blessed that they would spend 3 hours out of their night to come watch her.

4. Had a romantical morning with my hubby;)

5. Did a short sprint after my morning walk and it went well.  I was a little concerned that I might have lost some of my aerobic capacity since I haven’t been running or WODing, but it was surprisingly easy.

6. Enjoying lots of reading on Jen’s borrowed kindle. Blessed to have such a generous friend:)

7. Calls from friends just to let me know they are praying for me.

8. Made an Egyptian collar necklace with Finn.  This absolutely makes the cut for What Went Well because I am not a crafty person so it feels like a huge triumph when I make something with my crafty kids.

Just another day:)

Just another day:)

My Egyptian Princess

My Egyptian Princess

 

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What Went Well Wednesday

I’m not going to lie to you guys, it was hard to come up with a list today.  This is not the post to list my grievances, so I will do that later.

1.  Played a fun game of Mario Yatzee with my boys

2.  Took a walk with my daughter

3.  Watched Rise of the Guardians snuggled up with all three of my babies

4.  We got all of our homeschool assignments done for the day

5.  A baked sweet potato with grass fed butter and cinnamon that hit the spot

6.  My second go at bone broth didn’t make me want to puke:)

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Church…the hardest place to go paleo?

So I finally decided not to take the cracker part of communion today.  For the longest time, I just didn’t even think about it.  For all my vigilance in other areas, it just didn’t occur to me that I was taking in a dose of gluten with my communion.  I think it was because I wasn’t thinking about nourishing my body but rather my spirit when it came to taking communion.  As I have continued to struggle with a degree of digestive issues I have been looking at things that could be contributing and this came to mind several months ago.  You would probably think that once I made the connection I would have immediately cut it out, but I was very reluctant to do so.  First off, it is a sacred ritual and we really don’t have very many of those in the Church of Christ.  My church is a very liberal version of the Church of Christ denomination, but there are still very few things like that.  I have been to Catholic, Methodist and Episcopalian churches that were (in my opinion) pretty heavy on the ritual type things.  I was a little turned off by them when I was younger, I think because it didn’t feel authentic to me.  But as I have gotten older, things like that seem to hold more appeal. I have realized the connection is dependent on me, not the ritual per se.  The point is, communion felt like a sacred ritual that I didn’t want to give up.  And secondly, I think I had this notion that God would surely suspend the laws of nature and gluten sensitivity during communion because, come on, it’s COMMUNION. It wasn’t like I was trying to rationalize eating one of the ever-present donuts that are in abundance at Sunday service.  So today I just took the juice.  I’m wondering next week if I should take my own gluten-free cracker with me?

On a similar note, I have found that between the donuts and snacks in Sunday school, it is hard to keep my kids gluten-free at church.  In the beginning, I spoke to their teachers and even sent snacks with my youngest.  Over time, I somehow got out of the habit of doing those things.  But today my boys’ (who are 10) teacher told us that they are the only 2 boys in the class who never eat a donut when all the other boys run to the kitchen to get one.  And my daughter (who is 5) told me today that they had 2 snacks in class today but they both had wheat and gluten so she didn’t eat them.  I was super proud.  They are listening to me.  And they are trusting the information I give them and making decisions to benefit their health even when I am not around.  That is obviously what I want.  I want them to know that they have the power to impact their own health and they don’t have to just do (or eat) what everybody else is doing.  And I am choosing to believe that God brought these revelations to me at church today to let me know that we can go gluten-free at church and it will be ok, communion cracker or not:)

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My sweet nephew

Just needed to share a picture of my sweet nephew. I am his favorite aunty😊

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