Well, hello there!
I’ve been gone for a while. I took some time away from blogging in order to create and implement a strategy for my health. I had felt my health was declining for many different reasons, including excess stress, poor diet, and poor stress management. I knew I HAD to make a change before my health went further down the toilet, so after leaving my job in March 2014, I took 9 months off from work. I spent several months -600 miles from home, where I reconnected with family and old friends. I spent many hours looking over the lake. I also spent my days with my beloved dog, Bella, who has terminal cancer (who was given a devastatingly short prognosis in December 2013 and to the surprise of her doggy oncologist and family vet IS STILL HERE!). I meditated and yoga’d daily. I read a lot of books. I spent time alone and I decided to be quiet; very quiet, for a long time, so I could listen to what my body was trying to tell me. I realized that I was DONE working for the corporate world and driving an hour each day in city rush hour traffic, I was done with the stress and would return to working once I found a small company in the suburbs, where I live. Money was no longer the priority; health and sanity were.
As many of you know if you follow me on twitter or Instagram, I have followed the Paleo way of eating for about a year and a half. I have been working toward cleaning up my way of eating over time, and recently, I decided to try the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet. It is similar to Paleo, however it excludes a few more foods, including nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc.) and certain spices (paprika, black pepper, cumin, etc.), and initially excludes things like eggs, nuts, seeds, until after the elimination period, at which time you will reintroduce one food at a time to see how your body reacts to it. I already know I am allergic to dairy and raw onions, as I was diagnosed after a skin test and a blood test at the allergist’s office. Not anaphylactic allergic, but I will experience symptoms of discomfort when I eat these foods. But I have wondered if other foods may be the cause of my bloating, acne and fatigue. The fatigue has been debilitating; on my days off I would sleep 15-16 hours throughout the day and night. I was so fatigued that I could not get up to do even simple things around my house, like dishes, cooking, picking up rooms or even showering.
Having 3 autoimmune diseases, I am always interested in reading research on foods that help or harm your body when you have autoimmune diseases. I have also been searching out blogs and YouTube channels of others who try to manage their autoimmune diseases with diet and lifestyle. I have been following the Paleo Cajun Lady on Instagram and reading her blog, and she is very inspiring to me. She recommended the book The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, an expert on autoimmune diseases, so I purchased it this week. This book will take me a while to get through; as it is almost 450 pages! It seems to have everything you have ever wanted to know about autoimmune diseases and diet. I then purchased AIP Batch Cook program from Mickey Trescott, who provides videos that walk you through the cooking process in real-time. Her recipes are absolutely delicious and I have been eating them for a couple of weeks now.
I will tell you I am a firm believer that diet is a big factor in one’s ability to manage his/her autoimmune disease(s). I’m not saying food can cure you; but it sure can affect your management and your day-to-day functioning if you are not eating right. An example for me was when I had been eating clean for quite some time, and then in a weak moment with friends I ate 2 slices of gluten free pizza. Having not eaten grains in so long, I began to not feel well; bloated and sluggish. I had been feeling great for so long and had achieved good blood sugar control, and then I ate that pizza and it set me back health-wise. Not only did I feel a little icky and bloated, but my blood sugar soared high, and it took the better portion of a day to get it down in a normal, healthy range. I wanted to kick myself in the pants. I was so mad at myself! The pizza was SO NOT WORTH IT!
At my wedding earlier this month, I was proud of myself for not having any gluten free cake at my own wedding! I had shredded meat and veggies, and for drinks all I had were several bottles of water. No alcohol! I’ve never viewed myself as disciplined and sticking to things is hard for me. But if you have ever heard the phrase “sick and tired of being sick and tired” then let’s just say that’s where I am at right now, and that mentality has helped me to stick to a diet that improves my health and gives me energy and clear skin.
Now, I am NO expert on Paleo, AIP diet, autoimmune diseases or anything else, so please don’t think I am handing out advice and saying that YOU should follow this way of eating. I am only sharing my own personal experience with you on my blog. Your situation is your own and you have to make those decisions for yourself.
Nowadays, life is good. I have a great job at a small firm 8 minutes from my house (exactly what I was looking for!) I am married to someone who is very supportive of me and my many autoimmune diseases, food allergies and chemical allergies. He loves me very much. (Again, exactly what I was looking for!) I still enjoy daily yoga and meditation practices, which helps me manage stress and anxiety. I take my time cooking and enjoy the process of putting lots of love and care into my food. And of course, I still spend lots of time every day with my very special dog, Bella, whom I hope will be here for years to come.
If any of you know of other autoimmune disease or AIP blogs or YouTube channels, please let me know!