From Here to Health

My journey back from autoimmune disease

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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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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A Peaceful Day

So despite all the challenges that have been going on lately, today has been such a peaceful day and I have been thankful.  I have had really bad headaches for the past 3 days that are gone today.  Yeah!! I’m pretty sure they are related to my hormones.  I am really hoping that my hormones are just in some sort of flux that is going to level out to this beautiful, calm place of homeostasis.  Autoimmune conditions are really challenging in that so many things can become triggers.  It really seems like as soon as I have some sort of “program” down pat something else pops up.  I won’t lie, it gets me down.  But not for as long as it used to.  Like in all areas of life, change keeps coming and you just have to keep adapting.  When I stop to try to “figure out” why I could eat coconut one day and be fine and then the next time I can’t seem to tolerate it, it just makes me crazy!  I think so much of it has to do with stress.  I can eat things on vacation with no problem at all but then try to eat them at home and they tear me up!  So often the rhyme or reason just seems too elusive to figure out.  Probably because I don’t need to figure it out.  It is that constant need to know and be in control that is at the heart of so many of my issues.  But back to today…I slept in because I went to bed with a migraine and didn’t fall asleep til after midnight and then the cat came to get me up for breakfast at 3:50am and then my daughter got in my bed around 4:30am!  My energy level has remained pretty constant today despite my disordered sleeping over the past few nights.  My boys are sick (again!) so homeschool was light today.  I did all of Finn’s work with her and then my mom took her until about 3:00.  Makes me realize how much work she is!  She loves school, so homeschooling with her is a complete joy, but once that is done for the day it is hard to shake her.  She demands my attention.  She just isn’t a child that plays well on her own.  While she was gone, I was able to go for a walk and listen to another of my paleo podcasts and squeeze in some yoga.  Things that I can technically do while she is around, but she wants to do them with me and talk to me the entire time so I don’t get the same benefit of clearing my head space.  The other lovely thing about today is all my food has been already prepared for me.  Well, I make meatloaf in the crockpot last night which was leftover for today and I have soup in the crockpot for dinner tonight.  The hubs bought me Paleo Slow Cooking by Chrissy Gower and I have really been enjoying it.  Finn is currently crying in her room due to the lack of my attention so I will leave you guys with a few more Disney pics and see you later.

Cooper and Doug enjoying gluten free dessert at Hollywood and Vine

Cooper and Doug enjoying gluten free dessert at Hollywood and Vine

Finn enjoying her bed

Finn enjoying her bed

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for the second time and this room was SO much better than our last room.  Last time Finn has to sleep on what looked like a dry rotted 1950’s camp cot and this time she had the precious fold out bed with a real mattress and a picture.  She was super happy!

My filet with spinach at potatoes at Le Cellier.

My filet with spinach at potatoes at Le Cellier.

This is my boys favorite restaurant at Disney.  They both had steaks that were 4 times the size of mine and ate every bite!

 A little Disney crazy:)

A little Disney crazy:)

 

 

 

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21 Day Sugar Detox – Days 15-18

Sorry I have been MIA for the past few days. Both my boys have some flu-like virus thing going on, so that has disrupted the normal schedule around here a bit.  I can’t believe I only have 3 days left on the challenge!  I also can’t believe that I’m not jonesing for some sugar.  I mean, sure, I would take it, but it’s not like the only single thought that I am having 24/7 which is what I expected.  I have learned so much through this process.  I started out thinking that is would just be about the sugar addiction.  As time went on I realized that the physical things going on had to have a deeper root.  After some research, I think it is likely that I have SIBO (small intestine bowel overgrowth) or some other type of gut dysbiosis.  It doesn’t come as a shock.  I have always been prone to yeast issues and this is a similar deal.  I think the reason that I have been having such a difficult time physically with this 21DSD is because I am having some die-off effects.  From my reading, it appears that you can have a worsening of symptoms when you go through this phase.  So…I think I am going to have to stick with the no/low sugar approach for some months to come.  I have also taken on the paleo autoimmune protocol (no eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds) because my systemic inflammation is up.  I thought it would improve since we all know that sugar is inflammatory, but per the usual, my body didn’t respond in the typical way.  Instead of giving up and going back to the sugar though, I am going to stick it out.  I think my gut is just not fully healed from the Celiac and leaky gut issues.  The past 2 years have been full of lessons learned.  Sometimes I wish they would have all come at once so I wouldn’t have to keep going through this cycle, but then I’m sure I would have just been overwhelmed and possibly given up.  In His perfect timing, God has given me just enough information to make progress without making me feel like it was impossible.

On the more day to day stuff, I have been walking, CrossFitting and doing a little yoga.  I would love to find a yoga studio I could go to a couple times a week, but I don’t think it is feasible at the moment so I am doing it at home.  We did G.I Jane at CrossFit on Monday and I was pretty pleased.  I did the level 1/2 which was 75 burpee pull ups.  My time was 9:39 which I thought was respectable, especially considering that I am not in top form.  Not much else going on.  I still haven’t finished the Downton Abbey season finale, but I know about the giant spoiler.  It was bad enough with Sybil, but now Matthew?!  I’m going to try to finish it tonight so I can actually see what happens.

This was my breakfast this morning.  I though it was delish!

chicken sausages, spinach, rutabaga hash

chicken sausages, spinach, rutabaga hash

My boys finished this Lego project.  I thought it was good for a couple of 10 year olds:)

LEGO Taj Mahal

LEGO Taj Mahal

 

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January 31, 2013

First off, I just published a random, half-finished old post.  Forgive me.  I’m not sure how it was still hanging around from months ago.  I should have deleted it, but when I saw my nephew’s sweet little face I just couldn’t do it.

I’m still getting the hang of writing these in the morning. I should probably jot down a few notes during the day so I don’t forget things.  I know that I slept well because I have slept great all week! Something I am so grateful for every morning!  And throughout the day as my kids (or whatever) test my patience.  I can deal SO much better when I have been sleeping.  It was Thursday, so no CrossFit.  I did 35 minutes of yoga in the afternoon, but that was it for exercise.  Part of me is wanting to go back to CrossFit on Tuesdays, making it 4 days a week, but part of me doesn’t.  I’m conflicted.  I would actually like to find a yoga studio that I can go to a couple of times a week, but all the good ones are way across town.  We’ll see. Maybe something will fall into my path.

Interesting food news- I ate sardines for breakfast!  Liz Wolfe talked about how good the omega’s were for your skin so I gave it a shot.There is lots of Omega talk at the gym too, but I don’t tolerate those vitamins very well.  They always make me nauseated. Plus, I always think if you can get it from food you are better off.  I think your body tends to assimilate and use it more efficiently that way. I thought the sardines would be nasty and hard to choke down, but they weren’t bad.  I put a little avocado with it, and I almost enjoyed it:)

My CrossFit girls and I met at LuLu Lemon to help Diane spend a gift card she got for Christmas.  I was totally wantin’ me some leggings and this super cute jacket, but I resisted.  First off, the trip wasn’t about me and second, I really didn’t need to spend the money.  After LuLu, we went across the street for lunch which ended up lasting 2 hours.  We all ordered the same thing which we got a little tickled over.  It tends to happen when you all eat paleo.  Options were limited.  We talked and laughed, talked and laughed, and talked and laughed.  We actually had other patrons of the restaurant giggling as they overheard our bawdy talk:)  It was super fun! I love those girls!!

My CrossFit Girls at Sharky's

My CrossFit Girls at Sharky’s

 

 

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January 29, 2013

Finally put some darkening material over my windows and it is awesome!  I’m doing well at going to sleep before 10:30.  It has been ranging from about 9:45 to 10:30 and I think that’s pretty good.  So far the thyroid med seems to be agreeing with me.  I haven’t noticed any major changes, but it certainly isn’t giving me any problems.  I made the kids (ok, I ate some too) the Easy Peasy Pancakes from Paleo Parents.  They were easy and they were really delish!  For dinner we had the Pad Thai from Well Fed.  The kids didn’t eat it we well, but the hubby and I thought it was great!  I am going to try to get back to putting some pictures on here.  I was using Instagram and then my account got all messed up so I quit.  Anyway, not much exercising to speak of today- some rebounding and 25 minutes of yoga.  I planned on taking a walk but I just curled up and read a book instead.  Oops:)

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January 22, 2013

Today was a low key day.  I love it when one of those days comes along on a weekday where I don’t have anywhere I have to be at any specific time.  Sure, I’m still a homeschooling mom of 3 with a part time business so I wasn’t lacking for things to keep me busy- but I just like it when I don’t have to “get dressed and get somewhere” if I don’t want to!  It was a day off from CrossFit so I took an easy 30 minute walk while watching The Biggest Loser.  In light of all my adrenal issues it makes me wonder how those people can work out like they do and not risk adrenal fatigue?  I know they need to lose the weight, but it seems like the way they do it might not be the best way?  Anyway, I also did 30 minutes of yoga (15 this morning and 15 this afternoon).  I have Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl Workout on my Kindle and I love that I can take it anywhere in the house (or outside for that matter) and do it.  So convenient.  Can you guys tell I’m in love with my Kindle Fire HD???  I will admit that Bethenny is a little annoying, but the workouts are good.  They are challenging strength wise but they don’t get my heart rate up which is good since I am trying not to do much cardio right now.

Couple other pieces of good news- I got my latest round of blood tests back and things looked better.  My testosterone was up from 16 to 28.   Granted, my doctor would like to see it closer to 60, but that is still nearly double and I do think it is making me feel better.  My thyroid numbers look pretty normal at this point but due to my history he thinks they still need to be tweaked so he has me starting a low dose Armour thyroid this week.  We’ll see how that goes.  The last piece of business- No Belly Bloat tonight!!! Woo Hoot!!  I’ve been listening to the Everyday Paleo podcast and they addressed a similar issue and seemed to think it was either from too many veggies (which seems weird, I know- think it has to do with too much fiber, especially if you have suffered from any digestive issues) and/or an issues with fructose digestion.  I think I could fit into both of those categories so I am trying to keep and eye on my evening meal since it seems that is when I am most susceptible.

I started reading Liz Wolfe’s Paleo skincare guide last night so I will let you guys know what I think about that soon.  I already started doing the oil cleansing (which I love) and using Grandma’s Lye soap (which I also love).  My hubby has bad problem skin (cyctic acne) so I can’t wait to see what I can do with him.  Using oil on his face pretty much creeps him out, but he trusts me so he is going to let me boss him around in this arena for a while and see what happens:)

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Daily Log

Sleep- Better, but still not great.  Felt a little hot.  Kinda hormonal I think.  Finn got in the bed with me at some point as well.

Exercise- Due to my multiple injuries (both shoulders and left hip) I decided I should take the day off from CrossFit.  I did do a 12 minute Bodyrock circuit and a 5 minute Bodyrock abs with Doug in the afternoon.  I also did a Bodyrock yoga (mostly stretching) for 30 minutes before bed.

Food

Breakfast

Leftover Hot Plate from last night and Avocado

Lunch

Chipotle Salad with Pork and Guacamole

Finn and I had lunch with a friend today.  We ate at Chipotle.  I had a salad with pork, pico, salsa and guacamole.  It was delish!  Finn had been begging me for ice cream, so I took her next door to Yogurt Mountain.

Cake Batter Yogurt with Gummy Worms Anyone?

I let her put 2 gummy worms on her yogurt which she thought was super awesome.  I must mention that I did sample the peanut butter and the espresso and they were both really good!

Dinner

Country Captain Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower

These recipes were from Well Fed.  I have been really pleased with the food from this book so far.  I could have eaten the entire bowl of mashed cauliflower, but I restrained myself because it makes me “blow up” if I eat too much of it.

 

 

 

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Daily Log

Sleep- It was good.  I went to sleep easily and woke up refreshed.  Only caveat was that Finn woke up around 2:30 screaming.  Nightmares again:(  I tried getting in bed with her but every time I tried to leave she would wake up and say “Mommy, don’t leave.”  So I ended up just taking her to bed with me.

Exercise- Active Rest Day so no CrossFit.  I did a Bodyrock Flow workout at 8am.  It was 30 minutes of a yin yoga stretching routine and I loved it.  I felt so relaxed afterwards and the time flew by.  Normally when I do something “slow” like that, I tend to get restless.  Not this time.  At 10am the kids and I went to Shelby Farms (a large local park) and did a 3 mile walk.  Once again, it was a slow pace.  It was hot and my 5 year old got tired.  I think I was holding her scooter about a quarter of a mile in!  After the 3 miles, we played at the playground.  Finn got stuck in a tree after climbing the ropes course.  I went up and down, up and down trying to figure out a way to get her down.  Finally, a nice man offered to help me.  I went to the top and was able to pass her down to him. Whew!  I thought I was going to have to tell her to jump and just hope for the best.

Cooper on the Ropes Course

Finn walking the line

Presley Just a Swingin’

When everyone was still riding their own scooter

Food

Breakfast

Last Night’s Hot Plate with a Scrambled Egg on Top

This was SOME KINDA GOOD!  The kids even ate it!  Will definitely be doing it again!

Lunch-  We splurged today.  The kids wanted a treat and I really didn’t have anything to give them so we stopped by Kroger and got gluten free pizza.  Definitely better than fast food (which is what they wanted), but not the greatest either.  They loved it though and we had such a great morning.


I had a pack of nitrate free, uncured pepperoni from Whole Foods so I jazzed up the pizza with those.  We split the two evenly between the four of us but I couldn’t finish mine. Probably because I am not used to eating things like that.

Dinner

Grass-fed Beef Short Ribs

Grass-fed Beef Short Ribs with paleo BBQ sauce and broccoli

Ok, so I had never made short ribs before, but let me tell you they are AWESOME!  I adapted a recipe from Pioneer Woman (whom I happen to love even though I can never really make any of her food anymore).  Then I made this paleo BBQ sauce from Eat Like a Dinosaur.  The meat was so tender and yummy and the sauce was super.  The kids loved every bite. I don’t think I will make this too often simply because of the price.  The ribs alone were $30.  Our food budget is a more than our mortgage already so this will only be a “sometimes” dinner. And honestly, the 4 pounds I bought weren’t really enough.  My husband’s portion was kinda puny.
For dessert I made the kids a Paleo Chocolate Milkshake from Eat Like a Dinosaur.  It was not a hit. I tasted it and thought it was fine, but they knew that there were dates and an avocado in there and they just couldn’t get past it.  My husband said it tasted like a Bill Cosby Jello Pudding.

 

 

 

 

 

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