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 16

I think this might have been my first symptom free day!!!  If you don’t count the weird bumps.  And I’m not counting them.  Maybe that’s cheating, but I don’t care;)

Breakfast

Still super low on food around here.  Had a little turkey and a little tuna with olive oil and carrot puree.  I also had my bone broth again.  This is the most gelatinous bone broth I have ever made.

photo(37)That is was it looked like out of the fridge!

Lunch

Turkey/tuna and zucchini cooked in ghee. I made ghee on Sunday.  I burned the first 2 batches!  $24 to get one small jar of ghee.  I don’t know what was wrong with me Sunday.  I also can’t believe my sweet hubby went back to the store TWICE to get me grass-fed butter.  It is so wonderful to be loved!

Dinner

Salmon cake with green onions, chives and spices, cooked in coconut oil. The one I made the other day was gross, so my husband made this one and it was much better.  He just has the touch with certain things.  Oh, that sounded a little randy;)  I also had more zucchini with fresh basil and oregano.

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I started taking liver pills today with lunch and dinner.  What are liver pills you ask?  Just what it sounds like.  Cooked liver chopped into tiny pieces and frozen.  It looks just like cat food.  I thought the kids would think I was crazy, but I guess they are getting accustomed to my “odd” eating habits because my 6-year-old daughter asked for a liver pill!  I am trying the liver pills because I really believe in the healing/nutrient powers of grass-fed liver, but I just can’t seem to get it down without it triggering my gag reflex.  I’ll post a picture of my “cat food” tomorrow:)

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ED Day 15

I was really hoping to drop a couple more pounds this second week, but it was a no go.  I weigh exactly what I did 1 week ago.  I know, I know, this is not about weight loss per se.  I just got my hopes up with the 6 pounds in week 1.  And even though it is not about weight loss, resistance to fat/weight loss is one of my issues that I was hoping to help resolve by figuring out what foods agree with me.

Breakfast

I was in a hurry before church and I am still really low on food so I had 3 oz. of wild caught tuna (canned), olive oil and carrot puree.

Lunch

Pulled pork, garlic olive oil, green beans with lemon olive oil

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Dinner

I had the rest of the leftover pork, olive oil green beans.  Thrilling!

Symptoms

I was still a little sleepy.  Not sure if this is delayed carb flu or something else.  I also just felt kinda blah and full even though I didn’t eat all that much.

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ED Day 13

So The Band Perry was AWESOME last night!  Such fun with friends.  Outdoor concerts are the bomb!  I may have indulged in a few hard ciders.  Maybe;)  My food, however, was totally clean despite all the goodies that were flowing around for the 2 hours prior to the show.  We had to get there early to stake our claim since we had a group of 14 that wanted to be together.  I had my salmon and spinach without a second thought.

Breakfast

Ground turkey, pesto, zucchini cooked in ghee, green onions

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Lunch

Applegate Farms turkey slices, garlic olive oil, carrot puree

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Dinner

I intended to eat  before the show, but it was just too early and I wasn’t hungry.  I threw a can of wild salmon in a bowl and threw in some steamed spinach.  I drizzled it with some extra virgin olive oil and took it to the show.  It was good in a pinch.  Being on this diet has shown me that I really can be satisfied with super simple choices when I need to be.

Symptoms

I still have the itchy bumps.  Well, not all the same ones.  They clear up, but more come in their place. Still perplexed about this phenomenon.  I also had some tummy upset last night before I ate at the show.  Once again, I think it was due to waiting too long to eat.  I don’t understand the mechanism, but sometimes if it has been 5-6 hours since I have eaten (but only at night- this never happens until at least 4:00) I will get bloating and cramps.  How can something create bloat when there is no food in there??  I just haven’t figured this one out.  I don’t even have any theories.

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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 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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