Saturday, February 7, 2015

New year, Renewed Commitment

I haven't updated in awhile.  I only see the liver doctor once a year now, but that might be changing.  I'll find out Tuesday.  I only get my blood work done every 3 months, though I only did it twice last year.  It was a super busy year, and I just didn't do as well as I'd hoped.

I've still remained 100% grain free of course, but some of my other good habits of working out and morning green drinks got inconsistent.  I've also been eating more sugar and legumes that I did before.  All these things combined, and my numbers are up, my symptoms are worse, and I have new symptoms now of joint pain, extremely dry mouth and eyes.  Not good.  So back to research I went.  I knew I had to step up my game in order to fight this.

So, I've decided to go to the complete AutoImmune Protocol (AIP).  It's pretty strict, but I'm not ok with dying sooner than I have to, I have a family that I'd like to see grow up/old.  I am engaged to be married soon and he and I have decided to do this together.  He already ate a fairly strict diet, much like I do, so the change isn't exceptionally hard on him (except not having spicy food), but I will say he is an exceptional man for doing it.  In fact, our whole house is AIP complaint for all meals.  We have 3 girls aged 6,8 and 9 and they will not be getting separate meals.
Grains are out completely, but we do allow them some nuts, seeds, chocolate and dairy in limited quantities for their school lunches and for treats.

Today completes the first week of the AIP for us.

The first couple of days without any coffee, sugar or chocolate were actually much worse than I would have thought they would have been.  Usually the worst addiction is wheat.  Many people don’t know this, but wheat can cross the blood brain barrier like opiates (heroine, morphine, oxycodone).  This is part of why it is so addictive.  And it can cause actual, physically painful withdrawal symptoms when taken out of your diet.  But I did that 3 years ago, and it honestly wasn’t that bad for me.  I also have a pancreas problem, Not AI, that caused me to have to eat very low carb for a long time.  So I haven’t eaten many wheat products for 16 years now (minus a short stent of thinking fresh, homemade whole wheat bread made the difference from the highly processed kind a few years ago, which it does not).

Those first few days I felt so tired, had headaches and generally felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  I hadn’t expected much of anything because I didn’t think this was such a HUGE change from our normal eating, so this was a bit tough for me to accept.  After about the 3rd day I started feeling better.  I actually made it to the gym this week too, which is pretty amazing.  Today I’m feeling pretty good as far as the diet change goes.  My hip and knees still hurt, but it is slightly less than it was.

I don’t expect miracles in just 1 week.

Generally the diet is fine.  Not having any chocolate or coffee is really the worst of it for me, but choosing life over coffee is an easy choice.  Our daughters haven’t really even noticed much of a change, I think, except that we've all talked about it.  We never had bread or any grains at a meal anyway.  Just now there’s also no dairy or legumes as well.  Those are 2 things we probably used fairly commonly.  Today was the first weekend morning breakfast to make.  We can’t have eggs, so instead we made homemade turkey sausage and sweet potato hash.  Turned out pretty good, but I think the girls would have preferred my grain free waffles or an omelet…Maybe in a few months.

Besides hopefully fixing, or at least preventing further damage of my liver, this diet has had some really cool side effects too.  My fiancé and I actually get to cook together now, not him cook and I bake.  We’re doing it together.  And it makes us feel closer.  This ‘thing’ we’re doing together, for us.  I REALLY like that.

So it’s been a week.  I’m feeling better from the initial drag, but we probably have many more weeks to go before other things improve, but I’m in it to win it - WE’RE in it to win it! :)

For all the people I know with AI, and for those I haven’t met yet- I plan to continue to update the progress of things.  There needs to be a better solution to AI diseases.  Taking a pill to (marginally) manage symptoms, and even cause worse side effects is just no way to live.  We exist, having moments of less pain where we can enjoy life, but that’s not enough. I actually want to FEEL better, to GET better.  With the AIP and other lifestyle changes, I hope to accomplish that.

For those that don’t know what the AIP is, the short list.

Don’t eat:
* Grains
* Pseudo grains
* Legumes
* Nuts
* Seeds
* Sugars (including honey, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners)
* Dairy
* Night shades (here's a good list
* Eggs

Do enjoy:
* Meat
* Seafood
* Sea vegetables
* Green leafy vegetables
* Cruciferous vegetables
* Fruit
* Gourds (squash, pumpkin, etc)
* Sweet potatoes
* Alliums (onions, garlic, shallots, etc)
* Spices as long as it doesn’t fall into a category above
* Coconut

We also have a green, blended drink ever morning with:
* Frozen fruit
* spinach
* kale
* carrots
* cucumber
* lime
* aloe cut from a plant
* aloe juice
* coconut water
* parsley
* avocado
* Milk Thistle Extract

With the right fruit, the smoothie is delicious.

And for those interested, besides my liver meds, these are the supplements I take (some are for AI in general, some are due to my liver disease specifically):

Fat soluble vitamins / and because my liver doesn’t process them: A, C, D, E, K and Calcium/Magnesium
Gut healing: Probiotics, Digestive enzymes, L-Glutamine, NAC, Betaine HCL +Pepsin, slippery elm
For SIBO / Yeast overgrowth in the gut: Anti-microbial, Caprylic Acid
Krill Oil
Biotin (my liver meds make my hair fall out)

Some Good Resources:
Wheat Belly Book by William Davis, MD