Five months later….

Huh…I guess I got busy.

Actually, that’s no joke.  I left my full time job and I now work from home, which has been a dream of mind for a long time.  I’m much happier but also much busier.  Entire days fly by in what feels like a few hours.  I like the work I’m doing now much more but I have a hard time creating boundaries so that I actually stop working sometimes.

I’ve been doing the Autoimmune Protocol for about 4 months.  I’ve lost 20 pounds and I feel great almost every day.  I eat tons of veggies now – at least it feels like tons – probably 4-6 cups a day.  Shooting for more like 9 though.

I’ve realized that this blog is a little pointless.  I guess that’s why I went away for 5 months.  I’ve been trying to decide if I can turn it into something useful.  It’s not your typical blog – it’s more like a journal.  What’s the point?  I don’t know if it helps anyone, and while it was useful for me I don’t know if it’s still useful.

So I’m trying to decide what to do at this point.  I feel like I went through a lot on this blog and learned a lot along the way – It seems a shame to just quit.  Any thoughts on making this blog relevant?

 

Let the Healing Begin

I quit my full-time job.  Friday was my last day.

As I lay in bed meditating the next morning I realized that the stress of my job had nothing to do with overwhelming responsibilities, or being busy, or the commute, or obnoxious coworkers…it was the social interaction.  It was having to talk to people all the time.  My whole life I’ve been fighting against the part of me that is quiet and doesn’t feel like talking much.  I’ve learned to look like an outgoing person when I need to – to make appropriate small talk and to be a good listener, to share just enough about myself but not too much.  I’m not a natural when it comes to unwritten social rules, so believe me when I say they took years to learn.

So now that I’m not working I can turn off the act.  I don’t have to be that person anymore – lighting up like a Christmas tree when someone walks into my office.  I should mention that I really love people.  However, my job was in Human Services.  I was constantly having to talk to people and often wade through socially uncertain waters.  But no more.

So many health conditions are related to stress.  What might happen when I’m only doing work I like and that feeds my soul and makes me proud of who I am?  I kind of can’t wait to see.  I’ll also be focusing on more meditation, more movement, more red light, more cooking and less compromising on food quality.  So I expect this to be the start of a very positive change.

Here’s something interesting.  I can eat anything now – well, I haven’t tested everything, but a whole lotta things.   The only thing is, I need to take 2 Culturelle probiotics per day.  If I take 2 a day I have no intolerances.  Isn’t that interesting?

Diet and Career Updates

I quit the vegan thing.  For the moment.  I am not convinced yet that eating animal products is necessarily inflammatory, and I was having trouble with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, largely because I just don’t know how to do it and don’t have much time right now to learn.  It would involve learning to cook with ingredients I’m not that familiar with yet – which I don’t mind doing – but I’m lacking time.  I’m still eating mostly plants, but when I feel like having an egg or meat I eat it and don’t stress.   My blood sugar is up again, but I’m also now eating more fat so it’s hard to identify the cause.  I’m also having small amounts of dairy and don’t feel any different in comparison to my month off of it.

What DOES seem to make a difference is that I increased my Culturelle Probiotics to twice a day.  I don’t seem to be reacting to foods much at all when I do this.  Yesterday I had nightshades (potatoes, tomato sauce), meat, small amounts of dairy (cheese), wheat/gluten, and felt great all day.  And I continue to feel great today.  The only thing that I’ve really changed is that now I’m having Culturelle twice a day – I started this last week around the time I stopped vegan-ing.  So I’m leaning toward my health problems being largely driven by inflammation (with the mood swings related to brain inflammation) secondary to release of cytokines, perhaps due to high-histamine foods, which is (thankfully) modulated to some extent by Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (Culturelle).  Do I have evidence for this?  Like real evidence?  Science?  Not yet but I’m going to do some research.  Stay tuned.

I also quit my job.  Well, the main one.  I have several.  The one where I’m supposed to be there at a certain time, until a certain time and which supplies me with health insurance – that one I quit.  Well, gave notice.  And my stress level has dropped significantly.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time – years.  But I’ve been afraid to leave the security of a “real job” with benefits.  We don’t have a lot of money saved, and my husband is currently unemployed, but I think staying in a job you don’t like can’t possibly be good for your health – even if it has good health insurance.  I do have some work I do from home which I’m hoping to grow, and I have other ideas for generating income from home, but this is very much a risk for me.  I’m betting on myself though.

Not Looking Good

I don’t think I’ll be able to continue eating this way.

It’s so restrictive and I’m struggling to get enough actual nutrition.  A lot of vegans rely on nightshades (potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes) and other high-histamine foods (e.g., bananas, and avocados) and they’re not too afraid of nut and seed oils.  They are also not restricting fats, as I am in order to reverse hyperglycemia (i.e. diabetes).  So I’m left with a lot of legumes that are giving me nonstop gas, dry salad leaves, and vitamin deficiencies.  I’ve started having fantasies about eating eggs, ferchrissakes.  And then there’s the wheat problem.  I think most vegans can eat carefully selected breads and tortillas – but I’m not doing well with wheat either.  When I eat it my mood takes a turn and I feel tired all day.  I stop losing weight and my hot flashes get worse.

I’d really like to get at the root of my own inflammation, but I don’t know if this is worth it.  It’s been nearly a month since I’ve eaten meat, dairy, or eggs and it’s been several days since I felt really good.  I feel like I’m relying on vitamin supplements, and my blood sugar is still too high after eating.

Maybe I’ll stay off dairy and add organ meats, seafood, and eggs back in.  I just don’t wanna anymore.

Starch Solution – Day 23

Blood sugar this morning was 102.   Weight 204.  Yesterday’s post-meal blood sugar was 225 – I had eaten a bunch of rice and corn with no fiber, fat, and not much protein, so that’s pretty much as bad as it gets, but still that’s too high.  I’m going to have to be more careful about food combinations to be sure there’s something in there blunting glucose.

I have an amazing and easy split pea soup recipe to share.  Get a 16oz bag of split peas.  Rinse them.  Throw them in the slow cooker on high for 10 hours with 8 cups of water, a Tbs of salt, some diced onions and garlic.  The end.  I use this split pea soup all the time – I’ll have it over rice or spinach, or with mushrooms – it makes everything taste better.

I’m going to get labs done at the 1 month mark to see if things are going in the right direction, so probably next Thursday.   I have really gained an appreciation for how easy it is to get your nutrition from meat and eggs.  This vegan stuff requires a whole new plan.  I’m such a whiner.

Nutrition Update

Here I am on Starch Solution, day 21, and I have some updates.

  • My blood sugar was 83 this morning.  The highest it got before this was 197, so that’s over a 110 mg/dL drop.
  • Blood pressure still a bit high, despite 2 medications.  I recall seeing on some documentary that the blood pressure gets high due to endothelial damage that interferes with nitrous oxide production, resulting in more rigid, inflexible veins.  Given that there’s tissue damage involved I would assume it’ll take longer to reverse this.  I hope it can be reversed because I’m tired of these meds.
  • It occurred to me that I’m putting myself at risk of gallstones by eating so little fat, so I bought some raw pumpkin seeds – a good source of nutrients, they say!  Ate a tablespoon of them yesterday morning and felt sick all day.  Mmmm…oxidized rancid polyunsaturated oils.  Excellent.  Threw the bag away and will not be trying that again.  Need to find a way to slightly increase fat intake – up to, say, 20g/day – without exposing myself to all the PUFA.  I guess coconut oil on vegetables or something.
  • Trying to get more potassium in the diet I bought a can of hearts of palm.  Tasted ok but my tongue swelled.  Done with those too.
  • Did I mention my fasting blood sugar was down to 83?  Weight is also down about 5 pounds.

 

Deficiencies

Here are screenshots from Cronometer detailing what I ate yesterday.  I made no effort to be perfect – this is very similar to what I’ve been eating recently.  Well actually the Toasted Cinnamon Squares were not an every-day thing…but they were really good so they might become an everyday thing.

diet1

diet2

diet3

So maybe I have a little work to do.  This probably explains my increase in canker sores.

If I add in my multivitamin and vitamin D capsule it looks like this:

nutr1

nutr2

Even with supplementation I’m lacking choline (used to get it from eggs), calcium (used to get it from dairy), chromium (don’t know where I used to get that), and potassium (have been low for a long time).

I know it’s ideal to not need supplementation, but I’m going to start with these nutrients as they seem to be the harder ones for me to get.  Fortunately Cronometer’s Oracle tells me where to find good sources of these nutrients:

Choline

chol

Uh oh…it’s all animal stuff.  Gonna have to do more research.

Calcium

cal

Hm…lots of dairy…fortified cereal and other stuff… Maybe just more spinach.

Chromium

Hm….that doesn’t seem to be an option for the Oracle.  I’m going to have to do further research on this one too.

Potassium

potass

Ok, well this gives me some ideas.  So many high-potassium foods are high in histamine (avocados, bananas) or are nightshades (tomatoes) so I’ve been having a hard time with this one.  Looks like I could be trying hearts of palm and bamboo shoots, among other things.