From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

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 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 4

I had a little variation in my food today, so I decided I would go ahead and list it.

Breakfast

5 oz. turkey cooked in lard (just got this from US Wellness Meats and thought I could vary my fats some more)

1/2 cup cooked organic spinach

1 organic green onion (green part only)

drizzle of garlic-infused oil

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Lunch

Totally the same.  I finished the last of the salmon cakes (which I use loosely since without the egg they were more like salmon crumbles).

More zucchini cooked in homemade ghee with fresh basil and oregano.

Made another batch of carrot puree.  It’s amazing how sweet this tastes when you aren’t eating anything else with any sugar.

Quick word about ghee-  I thought I hated ghee because I bought some about a year ago and it is still in my fridge.  However, the ghee that I made at home is delish so if any of you thought you didn’t like it, try making it yourself:)

Dinner

6 oz. grass-fed ground beef

1/2 cup of leftover zucchini from lunch

1/2 cup steamed organic green beans

2 Tbsp homemade pesto (4 cups basil, 1/2 cup garlic oil, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste)

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Symptoms

Mostly good news!  No headache.  Slept well.  Energy level was good.  So good in fact that I was kinda jonesing to go for a run, but I didn’t since I am really trying to stay low-key on the stress level for this first week.  I did go for a walk instead.  It was just too beautiful not to.  We are having the CRAZIEST weather here. It was 59 degrees this morning. In Memphis!  It is normally 90 upon waking!!  Totally a blessing from God, especially since our A/C is on the fritz!  Back to symptoms.  Let’s continue with the good part.  My face has totally cleared up.  And my gums are better. Yay!!!  My legs are still broken out with itchy bumps.  And I did have some moderate bloating and cramps after dinner.  They only lasted about an hour and then they were completely gone which is pretty good compared with how long they sometimes last.

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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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Catching Up

Ok, so I know I have been remiss about posting over the past week.  I expect all of you to forgive me:))  Just as everyone else on the planet, I have been crazy busy.  I am also trying to decide where I want to take this blog.  I feel like I may have outgrown the current format.  I still want to document where I am going, especially with my health and fitness journey, but it make take me a while to find a new groove, so hang with me, will ya?

My sleeping habits have been all over the map since my last post.  A couple of nights of no sleep, a few nights of deep dreamless sleep, a night of truly erotic dreams (gasp!) and then one dream where Jesus came to me.  I know, weird. FYI, Jesus didn’t speak to me this time, He just comforted me when I lost my daughter in the dream.  Still, it was the first time I had seen Jesus (asleep or awake) and it was pretty cool.  Not sure if the image was based on reality or  my own personal idea of Jesus’ appearance, but either way it was magical.

I have been working out consistently since my last post.  CrossFit, running, Zumba and Bodyrock.  I am improving upon my run time, slowly but surely.  My last 3 mile run was 29:24.  CrossFit has started this new Levels testing.  We had the tests for achieving Level 1 today and I made it!  Yeah me!  I don’t have my sheet in front of me but I think I can remember most of it.

1. 500 unbroken jump ropes

2. 20 unbroken box jumps (20 inches)

3. 15 unbroken thrusters (55 pounds)

4. 80 air squats in 2 minutes

5. 60 sit ups in 2 minutes

6. 20 burpees in 1 minute

7. 400 meter run 1:55 (finished mine in 1:35)

8. 15 unbroken push press ( 55 pounds)

I failed with the wall balls, which was 15 unbroken wall balls with a 14 pound ball.  I only got 7.  Since we only had to pass 8 item I was still good.  I also did 3 consecutive pull ups without a band so that was big stuff for me.

I went to a new accupucturist last week.  It was interesting and I loved my time spent on the table.  I find those needles totally relaxing.  Very zen.  However, after my first treatment my hair started falling out in clumps.  Small clumps, but clumps none the less.  Very strange.  I don’t think I am going back right away.  Also, I am out of money.

Other health news, I have spoken on here before about the state of my thyroid.  The last time it was tested, it was at 5.9.  Much too high, and in need of medication according to my doctor.  Of course, I refused medication and told her I wanted to work on it on my own first.  She is gracious and lovely and knows that I never do anything she says, so she said fine.  Come back in 3 months and let’s at least make sure it isn’t getting worse.  I went back last Friday and got the test.  My results came in today and my numbers was 2.274, a huge success.  The normal range is 0.35-5.50.  I still think it needs to come down a little more, but this is huge progress.  It does however leave me wondering why I haven’t dropped some of this weight and why my hair is still falling out???  Maybe with a little more time that will improve.  I’ll keep you posted.
The food around here has been good, but pretty standard for us.  I did make a new chicken nugget recipe called Fool’s Gold from Eat Like a Dinosaur tonight and the kids loved it.  Finally.  Most of my recipes lately have left my boys going to bed hungry.

Fool’s Gold Chicken Nuggets

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Update

So I really got behind on my blogging while traveling.  Our class schedule was brutal.  The information, however, was life changing.  I love what I do and the people I get to do it with.  Such a blessing.  And then this computer keeps crashing.  Several times I have been mid blog (unsaved of course) and lost my progress and not had the time to make it up.  I have decided to give a brief overview of what I thought about the Whole 30 (even though it is technically unfinished).  I may do it again because my gym is doing one coming up in September, but for now, here is what I learned and what I am thinking about for the immediate future.

I did not find the Whole 30 to be very difficult while at home.  Actually, because I kept my meals so simple, it was really easy.  Going out, however, was a real challenge.  I could make some aspects of it work, but it was really hard to make all aspects come together at any given meal that was not prepared in my home.  I absolutely plan to keep following the plan when I am eating my meals at home (which is about 95% of the time).  We rarely eat out unless we are traveling.  I did not lose any weight.  I wish I had.  It was not my primary motive for doing the challenge, but it would have been a welcome side benefit.  I just got the Well Fed cookbook and the Eat Like a Dinosaur cookbook hoping to appeal to my children.  My plan for now is to start preparing some meals from those books, maybe cooking my way through both of them to broaden our repertoire and find some things that the kids really like.  As I said earlier, I may do the challenge again with members of my gym starting in September, but I will make a decision closer to time.  I also learned through this challenge that I have a really hard time digesting nuts.  I was getting ill every time I had nuts as a snack.  I seem to tolerate a few thrown on a salad ok, but more than that was tearing me up.  I wish this weren’t the case, since I love all sorts of nuts, but it was good to be able to identify the issue and move toward healing it.  Another bonus is that my hair has stopped falling out.  It had been falling out due to my thyroid condition for about 6 months.  It had gotten so thin that I finally cut it off to make it look and feel at least a little thicker.  It took about 2 weeks on the Whole 30, but then the hair loss stopped.  I am hoping that this means that my thyroid is coming back into a better balance.  I don’t retest until September 1st so we’ll see. One of the most important things I am working on is stress.  Normally, the way this ended in such a messy fashion would stress me out to no end.  I have always been in the mind set of if I can’t do it perfect, then I just won’t do it.  I have realized that much of my health issues and my weight issues are tied to my stress level and the stress hormones that I keep my body under WAY too often.  So I am letting go of any stress over the imperfections and I am taking away the aforementioned lessons.  I intend to take the rest of today to grocery shop, clean house, catch up on homeschool, etc and then resume “normal” blogs tomorrow.  FYI- I did go to CrossFit yesterday and today so I am back on track with that.

Just an FYI- last night as I was cooking a gluten-free, dairy-free meal for 12, and  I burned my left hand pretty severely.  My husband had pulled a pot out of the oven that I normally use on the stove top and I grabbed it and moved it!  We’re talking blistered up, skin left on the pot kind of a burn.  Lucky for me, I have light therapy equipment.  I got on it fast and today I was able to wear a glove and do pull ups and snatches at CrossFit.  I also took my daughter to get her ears pierced for her birthday.  Here are a couple of pictures.

Right after ear piercing- a few tears

Showing off gifts

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Daily Log

Sleep – 11-6:45

Exercise – 60 minute treadmill walk at 4.0

Breakfast – 3 scrambled eggs in 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup organic strawberries w/1 tbsp chopped pecans

Snack – 1/2 orange, handful almonds

Lunch – 5 oz chicken with 2 tbsp basil pesto, 1 tbsp pine nuts, 8 kalamata olives

Snack – 1 orange, handful raw mixed nuts

Dinner – same as lunch

Other – had a girl’s night in with my best friend since elementary school.  Her husband was traveling to Uganda so we watched funny tv shows and tracked his flight in our pjs.  I had 1 1/2 glasses of wine, 1/2 cup of coconut milk dairy free, gluten free ice cream and 4 baked Doritos.

Symptoms – Hair loss has improved considerably.  Bloated and nauseated today:(

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Daily Log

Sleep – 1 1-6:10 Went to sleep very quickly and slept soundly. Awesome!

Exercise – 60 minute walk on treadmill at 4.0; 10 mins on rebounder; 12 minutes of Bodyrock with my husband.  He is starting a workout program today. Yeah!  He’s in pretty good shape, but he’s never been an exerciser.  I can’t wait to see the progress he makes.

Food

Breakfast – 1 chicken sausage link, 1 cup hashbrowns made with purple sweet potatoes.  I saw these “purple sweet potatoes” at Whole Foods and decided to get a couple.  I didn’t think they tasted anything like sweet potatoes.  They were not sweet at all.  They were more like a turnip or rutabaga in my opinion.  That being said, I did like them.  Just not what I expected.

Snack – ThinkThin Bar

Lunch – 2 cups organic spinach, 1/2 tomato, 1/2 avocado, 4 oz turkey burger, 2 tbsp olive oil dressing, 1 orange

Snack – 1.5 oz dark chocolate, 2 tbsp peanut butter w/coconut oil.  I bought this peanut butter with coconut oil today and I think it was a mistake because I LOVE IT!

Dinner – 3 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp coconut oil with 2 tbsp basil pesto

Other – My hair has stopped falling out over the past couple of days!  Praise God!  Praying that the streak continues:)

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