I wanted to give you the update on my belly…Patti was asking how my doctor visit went, so I figured that I’d tell all of you together.
The backstory is that my entire life (since about age 18) I have had belly issues – like extreme constipation and stomach upset.
This all began about the same time that my mom stopped being responsible for my food and I took on that task myself. Once I had my own car and my own money, I went a bit cray cray. College and the years right afterward were filled with pizza, doughnuts and beer. Guess what, my belly rebelled big time!
Now that I’m in my adult life, I realized that I was not feeling well. I was bloated, sluggish, had stiff joints and many stomach issues. Enter patti - phoodmoose – the paleo diet – tons of research – Keto eating – mindfulness and meditation - etc.
I have now been gluten free for over 5 years because I realized that bagels give me migraines and hot flashes – not to mention constipation. There are many gluten free options out there, but I try to limit those, because all that simple starch is not amazing for my stomach either.
I’ve tried many, many things to get myself to vibrant health and I’m still on that path. As recently as last year, I was noticing that my finger joints were swollen, sore and achey. My mom has arthritis in most of her joints which causes her tons of pain and I do not want to live like that.
When I realized what was happening, I did something about it. I didn’t want to just head to the doctor for some pain meds to take every day for the rest of my life. I wanted to turn back the clock a bit and figure out how to eliminate some of the symptoms.
I did a ton of research on arthritis to realize that it is commonly caused by inflammation in your body. Yes, there are other reasons out there, but I’m not a doctor, so I’m not going there.
Basically, inflammation is caused by your body fighting with the food you eat or environmental triggers. Your body is not happy with these items – so it causes inflammation to fight them off. Your body might not like something simple like garlic or nuts. Everyone is different.
This whole process took me a few weeks to do the research, then I went on an elimination diet for 3 and half months to get out all the possible trigger foods. I cut out anything that might cause an autoimmune response, including nightshades and FODMAPS.
I started with a general autoimmune protocol - AIP. No dairy, eggs, nuts, grains, seeds, beans or alcohol.
I also took out nightshades - certain fruits and veggies that many people are sensitive to and can cause inflammation and trigger arthritis, including: tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant.
I also eliminated FODMAP foods. These are specific carbohydrates that many people don’t do well with. They pull water into the intestines, may not be digested well, and can ferment, causing symptoms of gas, bloating and cramps. This includes wheat, beans and dairy. I eliminated onion, garlic, stone fruits, sweeteners and all soy.
I also upped my water intake and now drink a gallon of water every day. It was hard for about a week, and now its just what I do. It helps keep me hydrated so my body functions better. This has really helped things move (hint hint) and up my movement since I go to the bathroom more often.
Things went well and I started re-introducing foods after 3.5 months. I stared with eggs one week, nuts the next, then chocolate and butter. I went really slowly so that I could notice which foods caused me issues.
I was able to determine that animal dairy causes me a rash 24 hours after eating it, garlic causes stomach distress within 1 hour. Peppers and apples do not agree with my digestion either.
At the beginning of this entire process, I had made an appointment with a doctor. He is a GI doc that also practices functional medicine. He is super popular and it took months to get in to see him.
I’ll give you a quick run down of the two hour appointment. I started with why I was there and my current symptoms. Then I detailed my entire life from birth onward. How my family situation was, stress levels, what we ate, how I did in school, friend circles – everything. We talked about all kinds of emotional pieces of my life and how they relate to body symptoms.
He did a physical check up as well – swollen thyroid, but that might be my normal. Rheumatoid arthritis in my fingers. And Dysbiosis. Years of poor eating, alcohol and stress have screwed up my gut. Continuing to restore balance in my gut will help with my GI issues, skin sensitivities and arthritis.
I’m back on the low FODMAP diet and will continue to limit nightshades and avoid gluten and animal dairy and anything else that I know I don’t do well with. I have to up my fiber intake to 40-50 grams per day. That means prune juice and Metamucil every day. I was put on a regimen of high dosages of turmeric, vitamins B, C and D and a probiotic with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
I have to do some labs to test my C Reactive Protein (inflammation marker) and Vitamin D levels. I go back in 3 months for the re-introduction phase. He’s got a whole plan for that.
Autoimmune Protocol, healing diet information and recipes
The Autoimmune Solution, by Amy Myers, MD
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