From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

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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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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Autoimmune Skinny Paleo Plan

So I started a new weight loss plan today.  Story of my life. I have struggled with weight since 6th grade.  Or at least body image.  As a 35 year old woman, I now realize I never had a true “weight” issue.  My body image issue, however, has been a very real issue for over 20 years.  I can’t remember if I have written about this on the blog before (I can’t remember a lot of things these days), but I I have, my apologies.  To be succint with a 20 year story…it all started at a school fitness day.  Remember those President’s fitness tests?  Well, we had one in 6th grade and we all had to weigh in front of each other- something I am sure wouldn’t happen these days- and I weighed 104 pounds.  Someone watching said, “Oh my God, she weighs more than a hundred pounds!”  Well, my child’s mind immediately thought, “Over 100 pounds is too much!”  Mind you, I was the same height I am now, so 104 pounds was definitely not too big.  That is what got the ball rolling and add to that the careless comments by other friends, media and social pressure and my own need for perfection and you have a recipe for disaster.  I was anorexic, bulimic, an overexerciser, diet pill user and consumer of all types of weight loss products.  I even did Zerona a few years back (which sent me into huge flares with my autoimmune disease and didn’t even work). I have no doubt that the physical and mental stress of my “eating issues” played a very significant role in the evolution of my autoimmune and other health issues.

Back to the present…when I went Paleo nearly 2 years ago, I thought my “weight issues” would be solved.  You hear all these magical stories.  I thought I would automatically find my “happy weight.”  THIS DID NOT HAPPEN.  In fact, I have gradually put on 20 pounds after going Paleo.  Yes, you read that right, I put on 20 pounds after going Paleo. Am I the only one???  About mid-way through this journey, I found out that I was hypothyroid.  So I thought, ok, that is the problem.  Surely, once that is worked out, the weight will fall off.  After multiple medications, I have finally found one that I can tolerate with out insomnia and heart palpitations (Westhroid) and my thyroid is improving, but still no weight loss.  So, this past Sunday it all came to a head and I had what my Dad call a “come apart.”  Ok, who am I kidding? I had a giant, f- bomb dropping, crying on the bathroom floor, dry heaving nuclear meltdown!  My sweet kids wanted me to go watch them launch the rocket they had made and I LITERALLY could not fit into anything that wasn’t pjs.  I had this vision of more nights crying on the floor between the toilet and the wall as my family and friends went out and lived their lives. I don’t want that!  So my plan? Well, it’s going to sounds a little (or maybe a lot) crazy, but here it is…I am doing Bob Harper’s Jumpstart to Skinny for the next 21 days.  With modifications.  I have made it autoimmune paleo friendly.  People in the paleo community don’t often talk about it, but I still think that calories count to a certain extent. I am working under the assumption that even though my food is super clean, it is still too many calories for my small, not quite 5 ft 2 in frame.  So I used Bob’s calorie restricted recipes but made substitutions for things that were not Paleo.  I then further adjusted it to make it autoimmune friendly and low-FODMAP.  Yes, this means it is very restrictive and will be very repetitive.  But I just need to see if the problem really is that I am unwittingly taking in too much food.  My only other theory is that due to my health issues, my body is still holding onto a lot of inflammation that is causing me to gain/resist losing weight.  In that case, I guess I just have to be patient and pray for money to buy a new wardrobe.  I’ll post once a week to let you guys know how my experiment is going.

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Autoimmune Protocol Step 4

Yesterday was my first day without nuts!  This might seem inconsequential, but it turns out that I eat a LOT of nuts.  For instance, I realized that I had nuts at every meal one day last week.  I had pine nuts in the pesto I put over my eggs at breakfast.  Then I had toasted pecans on my chicken salad at lunch.  I don’t always snack during the day, but that particular day I had some almond butter with strawberries.  And then at dinner we had sliced almonds on our green beans.  While every day is not that nut heavy, it is going to be an adjustment.  I do think that the autoimmune protocol is helping though so it will be worth it.  I haven’t had any really bad bloating for 7-10 days now.  I have had some mild discomfort a few times, but that is still a vast improvement.  There is also still some stuff going on with my skin that I suspect could be autoimmune/food related.  Hopefully the nut removal will help.  Only time will tell.

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Autoimmune Protocol…Step 3

Step 3 for me is cutting out nightshades.  This will mainly be tomatoes and peppers for me.  Eggplant and white potato are included, but I rarely eat those anyway.  I don’t think I am going to cut out spices yet.  Honestly, I hope I don’t have to, but my husband cooks dinner around here a fair amount and he loves using all sorts of spices and I don’t really want to lay yet another restriction on him when cooking.  He is always so good about cooking to suit my needs.  I am crazy blessed in that regard. On this autoimmune topic,  I feel that I should tell you guys that I had some kombucha the other day.  I thought it settled fine, but then later on I did have some short-lived bloating.  Who knows if it was related to the kombucha or not.  I have such a hard time telling.  My bloating/stomach distress has been better the past few days.  Not really sure what to attribute it to though?  I started some new digestive enzymes that could be kicking in.  Or maybe it is dropping some of the autoimmune foods?  Or maybe dropping the FODMAPS?  Maybe it’s the bone broth I have been drinking every morning?  This is why I don’t like changing multiple things at once, but I was SO desperate for some relief that I didn’t care at the time.  I have been emailing back and forth with my doc about what has been going on and he wants me to come in for a “pow-wow” as he called it.   Hopefully we will be able to piece together a more sound plan for what is going on with me.  I’ll keep ya posted:)

 

 

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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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Health Update…Good News!!!

So it was all clear at my dr. appointment yesterday!  Well…almost.  They do think I have a hormonal imbalance, but of course we all knew that already, right?  My OB thinks that the testosterone that my general doc has me on is converting to estrogen and causing my symptoms of tender breasts, headaches, insane crying episodes and abnormal bleeding.  I know that is crazy TMI, but that’s just the way I roll. I am SO thankful to the Lord above that there was no evidence of cancer, polyps or anything else.  It is a huge weight off my shoulders.  However, it leaves me wondering what to do about these hormones!!  My system is so delicate that it responds on a hair trigger.  I always take the most natural and smallest dose of whatever I am on and I often still get results that are more dramatic than necessary.  I am searching for that sweet spot that puts me in a blissful state of homeostasis…aaaahhhh, I can just feel it.  When I get there, it will be wonderful.  In the meantime, I am eating paleo, talking with my doc about how to adjust my meds and supplements, and dialing down my exercise.  I am trying not to do anything that raises my cortisol.  I am still going to CrossFit because they are my family, but I am just doing the warm-up and lifting and a little very easy rowing.  No WOD for the time being.  I am doing a little yoga and pilates at home, along with some walking when the weather cooperates.

Yesterday's Breakfast

Yesterday’s Breakfast

I am experimenting with pastured eggs at the moment.  I had been off of eggs until my trip to Disney.  I am still not sure if they bothered me or not.  I am planning on doing the autoimmune protocol strictly during the month of April and posting more about my food.   The above breakfast was sausage, 2 pastured eggs with lots of sauteed veggies sprinkled with Lewis Labs Brewer’s Yeast, and some avocado.  It was yummy!

Mint Chip Shake

Mint Chip Shake

I made this twice last week for the kids at breakfast last week and they loved it!  Mint Chocolate Chip Shake I used coconut milk instead of almond milk and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.

Cooper with his standard after drink mustache!

Cooper with his standard after drink mustache!

 

 

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