From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

What Went Well Wednesday

I am going to admit that I didn’t keep a list yesterday like I did last Wednesday, so this may not be completely chronological.  But here are the highlights of the last few days.

1. Increased my deadlift to 135#.  I know, I know…that is still a light deadlift, but it is the first time I have been able to increase my weight without back pain so I am stoked!

2. Increased my benchpress to 75#. (FYI- these aren’t maxes, they are just working weight doing multiple sets of reps)

3. Had a girls’ CrossFit lunch with 10 ladies from the gym.  We awesome food, fellowship and fun.  I love these ladies like family:)

4. Got my new digestive enzymes with HCL.  Seriously hoping that they help with the bloating.

5. Haven’t had a night this week where I was up all night! Yeah!!

6. Got a 2 hour massage from a massage therapist, CrossFitting friend.  Heaven!

7. Only one of my kids required an expensive antibiotic for the pink-eye that ran through our house.

8. Took a long walk with my boys. (picture below)

9.  Discovered Chris Kresser’s podcast and love it!

10. Made hubby made me awesome sweet potato chips!

Hello Kitty Sleep Mask

Hello Kitty Sleep Mask

My Newphew, the Easter Bunny

My Nephew, the Easter Bunny

Coop and Pres on our Walk

Coop and Pres on our Walk

 

 

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Hormones Part 2…Low Progesterone

According to the quiz in Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book, I have low progesterone.  This did not surprise me, as it was low the last time I had it tested.  It was in the “normal” range, but at the very low-end of normal.  Add in the fact that apparently my testosterone is converting to estrogen and you likely have a scenario of estrogen dominance.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that my progesterone is technically too low, but in relation to my estrogen, it is too low.  Unbalanced.  The story of my life these days!  The steps that she recommends that I am incorporating right now are:

1. Vitamin C- She recommends 1,000mg per day.  I am currently taking 800mg.  I have played with it a little and I don’t think I can take more than this without getting loose stools.  TMI, I know.  You can always count on me for that;)

2. She highly recommends hanging out with others.  This is because of women’s coping mechanism of “tend and befriend.”  I am a naturally social person.  I LOVE being with others.  However, when I am not sleeping and my hormones feel wanky, I sometimes want to hide in my bedroom.  For me this step means making a conscious effort to go to the gym even if I am not working out.  To accept that lunch invitation even if I have to cram myself into a pair of pants that feel too tight.  To go to that party, even if only for a little while, because inevitably I feel better and sleep better when I stay connected to the people that I love.

3. No Joe- Not a problem since I don’t drink coffee, but I expanded it to include caffeine in general.  For me, this meant no kombucha which I was already giving up due to the AIP. (Autoimmune Protocol)

4. No wine-  I rarely drink wine anyway because it makes me feel junky.   It screws with my sleep and gives me CRAZY heartburn.  I would love to indulge in it once in a while because I truly like the taste, but this is one more reason why I will be staying away.

5. Chasteberry- She highly recommends chasteberry for balancing progesterone.  She suggests two brands and since one is from Germany and I couldn’t read the site, I went with the one I could get at my local GNC.  It is called Fertility Blend.  It has a proprietary blend of chasteberry along with vitamin E, B6, B12, folate, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium.  My plan is to try this for 1-3 months depending on the results I get.

I am having some hormone panels done tomorrow, so I will have some updated info, which of course, I will share:)

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Easing into the autoimmune protocol…?

Alright, I am taking the first step.  I am not even going to tell you guys where I am headed with this because I really don’t know.  There is a part of me that wants to go in whole hog and really do this AIP.  But it is HARD!  So I am going to ease in and see if I get some results one food at a time.  I am going to start with my kombucha.  I realize this isn’t the first food people think of with AIP.  The biggies are eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades.  However, kombucha contains yeast and that is often a problem for people with autoimmune issues.  And as much as I love my kombucha in the morning, my husband is convinced that it is giving me gas.  He’s probably right.  I didn’t have it while we were at Disney and the gas was noticeably better even though I was eating other things that I normally wouldn’t eat.  Presley is the only other one in the house who likes kombucha so he is getting the rest of my stash.  If there isn’t enough improvement with dropping the kombucha then I will decide what I want to deal with next.  One step at a time is all I can manage right now.  I’m not even totally convinced that the digestive stuff is food related.  I am convinced that my biggest issue right now is lack of sleep.  I know it is hormonally driven and over the course of my investigating, I have realized that all of my digestive complaints can be explained by my hormonal imbalance.  I just have a strong gut feeling that nothing else is truly going to resolve until my sleep issues are resolved.  To this end, I have listened to several of the webinars on The Healthy Life Summit.  They have only served to cement my idea about the sleep.  The first one I listened to was Chris Kresser’s talk on Chronodisruption.  As a light therapy practitioner, most of the info was repeat, but he did have a couple good studies that I hadn’t heard about and his presentation was super easy to follow.  The next one I listened to was Liz Wolfe.  Seeing as I already have the Skintervention Guide, her stuff was also mostly repeat, but I just LOVE her.  Last night while cooking dinner I listened to Vanessa Romero.  Her story was so similar to mine that I cried.  I wanted to cry a little more when she said it took her a full year to regain her sleep cycles. Oh my!  But after a few moments, I felt hopeful.  Healing takes time and I know this.  Her story and her transformation are truly inspirational.  I encourage you guys to check her out.  Especially if you have ever suffered with adrenal fatigue.

Here is an example of why I am hesitant to go full force with the AIP.  I made these for the kids this morning, but I just had to have one fresh out of the oven with some grass-fed butter.  So good.  All of Danielle’s recipes are awesome.  Try this one, you won’t regret it- Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chip Streusel.

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

Last night when I went to read to Finn and tuck her in, I found her doing this.  I’m not really sure where she picked it up.  She does do yoga with me sometimes, but I don’t really chant and she was “ommmming” to beat the band!

Finn getting her "OM" on!

Finn getting her “OM” on!

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Hormone Upheaval and Consequent Plan

Alright, so while I was super thankful that I wasn’t dealing with anything more serious, my wack-a-doodle hormones are definitely causing some upheaval in my life.  Today I am going to lay out for you guys (but really for myself) what my plan is to address the issues.  After reading (twice) The Hormone Cure by Dr. Sara Gottfried and reviewing the hormone testing I have had over the past 4 months, I have come up with what I think is a good starting place. It is going to sound overwhelming when I lay it out, but I really believe it is doable.  I currently have issues with cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and thyroid.  Honestly, there are probably some other issues at play too, but I think these are the major players and that if they get balanced the other things will fall in line.  As I have mentioned before, my body has a hair-trigger.  There are times when this is good.  I think I caught my autoimmune diseases really early because of it.  I knew so quickly that something was wrong and it took me only a matter of months, rather than years with many people, to get them diagnosed. Another positive is that I often respond to herbal therapies really well and really quickly.  I am praying that will serve me well in this quest with my hormones.  The flip side is that I respond (often negatively) to even small amounts of stress.  And I can tolerate very few drugs, even at the lowest possible dose, because I have huge reactions and side effects.  I was truly hoping that the testosterone and Armour Thyroid would be workable for me.  They were easy and inexpensive to fit into my life.  However, the “easy” road has rarely been my chosen path it seems and while I did throw myself a short pity party, I have decided to pick myself up and see the glass as half full.  My current prayer is that over the next 3 months I will be able to balance my hormones naturally and be able to share my story with others that it is possible.  The longer and more arduous path is often the memorable in the long run anyway, right?  It has been my experience that my struggles are often what leads to my greatest lessons and rewards.  It has been through them that I have seen what I am really capable of and come to know some of the qualities of my own character that I most cherish.  So here go….let’s break this down.

High Cortisol- I think this bad boy hormone is the root of all my troubles.  It is the one that is throwing my adrenals and everything else of balance.  There are times when I think I have it managed, but then as I said before, something comes along and throw me under the bus.  Here are the recommendations that I am putting into place.

1. Yoga- different types, on my own, as my schedule permits, generally in 10-20 minute increments

2. Dark Chocolate- Need I say more?

3. Massage- trying for once a week between my husband and trading off with a friend who is a massage therapist

4. Chanting- for me this will probably mean singing.  Singing has always brought me lots of joy.

5. Forgiveness- I learned several years ago to put this practice into my life when I was healing from my autoimmune stuff, but it is always a good reminder, especially the notion of forgiving myself.

6. Orgasm- Ok, I won’t go into too much detail here, but we all know it is good for our stress levels.  Dr. Gottfried recommends a certain kind of practice called Orgasmic Meditation or OM for short.  It requires a partner, but lucky for me I have a very willing husband;) I think he may have watched a video and even ordered a workbook on the topic because this is very serious business;)

7. Targeted Supplements- B5, Vitamin C, Phosphatidylserine (PS), Fish oil, L-theanine, L-lysine, L-arginine, L-tyrosine, and the  family of ginsengs.  There are other supplement recommendations, but these are the ones I am starting with, some of which are already part of my routine.

She recommends the elimination of gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol but these are not really part of my daily routine so I didn’t include them in my list.  The chocolate will actually be adding a little sugar to my diet, but I am getting at least 70% organic dark chocolate so I am going to overlook the sugar content, at least for the recommended 2 weeks.

I hadn’t planned on splitting up these posts, but due to length, I think I will.   So look for the installment on low progesterone tomorrow.  Titillating, right?

And even though it seems random, I am going to leave you with a picture of my sweet nephew.  Dr. Gottfried recommends focusing on the things that are right in your life and he is definitely a source of joy for me.  So there, I have tied it in:) (Totally not tied in- I just want you guys to know that EVERY time I type the word definitely, I misspell it).

Yes, I am super cute!

Yes, I am super cute and you do smell a little funny!

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Few more pics and other random stuff

It has been a wonderful and challenging weekend.  I went into Friday, after 4 nights of no sleep, feeling pretty lousy.  In fact, I cried most of the day.   It was really more like wailing, sobbing, generally having a nervous breakdown.  No sleep, autoimmune flare and whacked out hormones will do that to a gal.  I got it together by Friday night to go to the Florida Georgia Line concert with my dear friends for my belated birthday celebration.  Despite the exhaustion, it was such an awesome show!  I had a blast!  They played pretty much their whole album and some super fun covers.  I was so glad I drug my tired butt out of the house:)

Yesterday I went to a funeral for a very dear friend’s mom.  It was a beautiful memorial to her life.  I had friends from the gym step in to watch my kids at the last minute.  When I say last minute, I literally mean that I took my kids up to the CrossFit gym and said, “I need to go to a funeral, can anyone take them?” (I had made prior arrangements, but they fell through).  My boys went home with one family and my daughter with another.  Finn ended up spending the night and having a blast.  My boys spent the whole day with their friend as well and it just left me feeling so blessed.  To have multiple friends who are willing to take your kids with no notice and feed them and love them all day.  Well, it is just a gift!  Love my girls at the gym!

Then at church today I went forward and asked for prayers for a medical test I am having on Tuesday morning.  I will take ya’lls prayers to if you want to give ’em.  I’ve been having some “lady problems” that have been persisting and I should get some answers on Tuesday. I hadn’t really been too scared until this weekend and with all the emotions and hormones flowing I just got scared.  It could turn out to be very minor.  I am praying it will.  I will certainly let you guys know what transpires.  Until then, any prayers lifted up on my behalf would be greatly appreciated:)  I’ll leave you with some more pictures.

Presley striking his best Gaston

Presley striking his best Gaston

Me staying paleo with my giant pork shank. Delish!

Me staying paleo with my giant pork shank. Delish!

Teacups= a face of pure fun!

Teacups= a face of pure fun!

The moment I go to take of my coat at Disney!!

The moment I go to take of my coat at Disney!!

Jenn and I after the FL/GA Line show!  Such fun!!

Jenn and I after the FL/GA Line show! Such fun!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Still catching up…

Not  sure when I will really be caught up!  I need to set aside a time that is devoted to this blog, but between 3 kids, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, working and the self care it takes to keep myself running the time seems very limited!  I know I am not the only one.  If any of you out there have any tips for how you carve out blog time and make it more manageable I would love to hear them.  If any of you are homeschoolers and have any great curriculum tips, I would love to hear those too.  I am feeling prompted, hopefully by the Lord and not my own inner neuroses, to change homeschool curriculum again.  What we are doing feels overwhelming and just boring!  There were times when it has been fun, but it’s not any more.  I think my kids need more hands on activities, more fresh air, and more time to pursue individual pursuits.  I also started homeschooling so I could really give them a good Biblical foundation and Bible has gotten totally squeezed out around here due to “more critical” subjects.  In this world, I am pretty sure that a strong faith and character are pretty darn critical themselves!

On another topic, I am in a bit of a flare. I don’t know if it is due to being “off” my eating at Disney or stress or probably a combination of the two.  I wish I could always figure out my triggers, but life is never that easy.  While I did remain totally gluten-free at Disney (which is pretty easy because they are so accommodating), I did have cheese and sugar.  I have a love of the gluten-free bakery, Babycakes, in downtown Disney so I went there twice.  I’m sure some soy and corn snuck their way in as well over the course of the week while I was unaware.  The things that are out of whack are mostly hormonal with a touch of digestive upset.  In my quest for answers, I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sarah Gottfried last night.  I can’t really make any recommendations yet because I haven’t finished it, but I will say that it is chock full of info!  I took the tests that she gives to assess hormonal imbalance and I clearly had 1. High Cortisol, 2. Low Cortisol (obviously at different times than the high cortisol) 3. Low Estrogen 4. Potentially low Progesterone 5. Low Thyroid.

None of this was really news to me.  A little overwhelming to look at on paper, but not news.  I briefly looked over her management strategies and some of them I already use.  There are also a few that I want to try. I’ll keep you guys updated on what I decide to try and how it is going as I progress.  My time is up for today, but here are a few pics from Disney:)

starwars_good

Kids ready for Star Wars adventure. We rode this three times.

Gluten Free Pizza and Brownie from Pizza Planet

Gluten Free Pizza and Brownie from Pizza Planet

Sometimes I crave pizza so this was a nice treat.  I only ate half and the brownie, while gluten-free, was made of almost 100% sugar so I had to forgo that.  I let the kids have about a 1 inch piece and then we just chucked them!

Finn mesmerized by Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios!  All my kids are big fans of live theater of any sort!

Finn mesmerized by Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios! All my kids are big fans of live theater of any sort!

Dinner at Hollywood and Vine

Dinner at Hollywood and Vine

Kind of a messing looking plate, but the food was really good.  Those mashed potatoes were for my boys but I did taste them and they were awesome!  The salmon (which I am sure was not wild caught) was very tasty and tender as well.  And the pork was off the hook!

 

 

 

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21 Day Sugar Detox- Day 19

Just 2 more days!! I’m not sure why I am really excited because I have no plans to go on a sugar bender.  Guess it just feels good to finish something.  Except a book.  Lately finishing books has felt a little sad.  I LOVE that feeling of suspense, of not being able to wait til I have a quiet moment to pick up my latest and bury myself in a world that is not my own.  Bittersweet for sure.  And Downton Abbey!  That did not feel good to finish last night!  Why in the world did they do that??  I think maybe they are going to try to hook up Tom and Mary.  Doug (my hubby) says no, but I think they have worked too hard to give Tom awesome hair to not make him center stage!  More on topic, I am feeling better today. My joint pain is not getting any worse and my energy level and sleeping are improving.  I went to CrossFit today.  I can’t really do snatch because of the inflammation in my elbow, so I did backsquat and clean.  I went up by 5 pounds on each of those lifts so I was happy.  Slow and steady!  The WOD was 5 hand stand push ups, 5 pull ups and shuttle runs across the gym for 8 rounds.  My time was 6:57 which seemed pretty good. I did my HSPU off a box, but I did my pull ups without a band:)

Here’s some pictures of a few of the things going on around here:

Liver Stew

Liver Stew

This was the second attempt at liver and it was much easier to eat than the first.  My husband made it once again because I still haven’t worked up to cooking it myself.  But I will!

Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver/Butter Oil Blend

Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver/Butter Oil Blend

Finally got my Fermented Cod Liver Oil!  It comes highly recommended by Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe.  I am only taking about 1/4 tsp right now to get acclimated.  We’ll see how it goes.

Sausage and spaghetti squash "pasta"

Sausage and spaghetti squash “pasta”

This was breakfast for me today and it was so good!  I found this pastured, local sausage and then added it to cooked spaghetti squash with a little full fat coconut milk, ghee and parsley.  Very yummy!

Pork Burgers over Arugula

Pork Burgers over Arugula

Lunch- Pork Burgers from Paleo Indulgences. I used some Tessmae’s Zesty Ranch over it and it was quite yummy!

Popsicle eating sickies

Popsicle eating sickies

My 3 babies all eating popsicles.  A rare treat around here- generally only allowed when they are sick, which they all are:(

 

 

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21 Day Sugar Detox- Day 14

Another great night’s sleep!  I can never express my gratitude when I wake up refreshed after 8-9 hours of sleep.  After years of intermittent sleep (on a good night), it is so great to be filled with joy when I open my eyes in the morning.  I actually think it is worth the years of no sleep to experience the true joy I feel now for simple things that I ABSOLUTELY took for granted.  I know you guys have to be tired of hearing me praise a good night’s sleep, but it just never gets old to me.  It reminds me that His mercy is new every morning and I get a new opportunity to be the person I so desperately want to be.  What a gift!

On another note, I went to CrossFit today.  I strung a few double unders together during the warm-up so that was totally awesome!  Lifts were snatch (my nemesis) and front squat.  Not much to report there, except I did go up 10 pounds on my snatch.  I’m still not getting all the way into my squat.  Practice, practice, practice.  The WOD was 3 rounds (1 minute each) of push press, air squats, box jumps and rest.  I did pretty good, but after those air squats there were a few times when I thought I might not make it onto my 20″ box.  FYI- I am 5’1″ so 20″ can feel pretty far for these little legs.  I kinda want to try a higher box (just to see) but the next level is 24″ and think that might be a bit much.

In the evening, I took the boys to the Monster Jam.  One of my dear friend’s daughter was singing the national anthem and she had extra tickets. She did such a beautiful job.  It was my favorite part of the evening.  The boys seemed to like the truck stuff (as boys are apt to do), but I thought it was a little boring and a lot loud.  My friend’s husband is a pilot so he brought super awesome headphones for the boys so the noise didn’t even phase them!  I did have a pair of earplugs that my hubby wears at FedEx but I wasn’t super good about keeping them both in because I really wanted to converse with my friend and that was too hard to do with them in:)

Monster Jam

Monster Jam

Boys First Trip to FedEx Forum

Boys First Trip to FedEx Forum

It was fun to be out with my boys doing something they wanted to do.  We were all starving when we got home and my husband had made the BEST meal ever.  It was so good that I asked him to make it again for breakfast today.  Sadly, it just wasn’t the same today.  Maybe it was because I wasn’t as hungry.  Maybe it was because he never uses a recipe or measures anything so recreating the same thing twice is really difficult for him.  I am going to try to get him to perfect it and write it down so I can share it with you guys.  It can become my first truly original recipe post!

 

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21 Day Sugar Detox Days 12-13

I just need to say that I slept 9 hours last night so I am so excited this morning!!! Yeah!! The last 2 nights I didn’t sleep at all.  I did however read 2 complete novels that were pretty awesome.  I came off my thyroid meds because I think they were giving me anxiety and heart palpitations.  I don’t know for sure if it was the cause or not, but I didn’t feel it last night so we’ll see. I thought at first that I felt wonky because of the 21 DSD, but then it went on too long for that to be the case.  Then I thought it was “lady business”, but that came and went too so I was left with the new thyroid med.  I guess we’ll see how I do without it and then make a decision with my doc.  I feel the need to confess that I fell off the 21DSD wagon on Valentine’s Day.  I split a small coconut vanilla tart with my kids.  It was literally only a few bites, but I wanted to offer full disclosure.  It was yummy and I don’t feel guilty, which I think is awesome.  I am already planning to do the 21DSD again towards the end of March.  I had such a sugar issue that I think it is going to take multiple times for me to get where I want to be.  As an example, I have been having the sugar-free allowed “treats” every day during this go around.  Even though I am not getting the sugar, I think I am still psychologically addicted tothe treat mentality.  I would like to do it again without the allowed treats.  Or at least cut them down.

On another topic, we ran 3 miles at CrossFit on Wednesday.  I am not a huge fan of running and I hadn’t done more than a 400 m sprint since coming off my hiatus in December.  I did the whole 3 miles (in the freezing cold) and it was mostly fine until my knee started hurting during the last 1/2 mile.  Hopefully it won’t give me any problems at the gym today.  Yesterday I was so tired from 2 sleepless nights that my only exercise was a walk with the kids.  It actually turned out to be the best part of my day.  My daughter held my hand the whole way and talked her face off.  My boys would periodically turn around from in front of us to say “love you mom.”  My sweet babies.  It was a blessed Valentine’s Day!

Thanksgiving Meatballs, avocado, spaghetti squash, cauliflower/parsnip mash

Thanksgiving Meatballs, avocado, spaghetti squash, cauliflower/parsnip mash

This was lunch on Wednesday.  There was a 5th meatball but I literally forgot it in the toaster oven and it caught on fire!  Like a serious flames shooting out fire.  I had to wake my husband to put it out and then the kids and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon at my mom’s house due to the smoke!  The 4 I ate were delicious.

I made “healthier” peanut butter cups for the kids for Valentine’s Day.  Here’s Finn after one of hers.

Enjoying a Peanut Butter cup with Breakfast

Enjoying a Peanut Butter cup with Breakfast

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