Your Flora

Ok, this is an insanely long article, but fits with my whole leaky gut thinking.

Maybe we’re not meant to be so sanitary after all. Would love some comments/thoughts on keeping more good bacteria in your intestines, mouth, and on your skin.

Weird day today. My RA is flaring a bit, and I have no idea why. The weather is being very strange, super high winds with brown-out conditions (winds blows dirt from the farms up into the air, and it’s like fog). Hopefully it’s just a blip, and life will be normal tomorrow. It’s not that horrible, but I had a big day, and that complicated it slightly.

The good news is that my hives have been way better the last few days. Still itchy, but no hives. I’ve been cutting back on high histamine foods and eliminated bananas for over 2 weeks now. Something good seems to be happening. I’ll be happy if I can “cure” myself of that, as thus far I’ve stumped 2 doctors and have been procrastinating on going to a third, despite the recommendation!

Take care!

Oops! Live and learn

Well, vodka isn’t Paleo. It’s a grain-based alcohol. Not that I dirnk a wot, mabe 1-2 dwinks a munth (yeah, the typing was a joke!) Still, that might explain some things. I’m not as anti-grain as I thought. Live and learn. Life goes on.

Found this website with “no grain” alcohols. Rice and corn are grains, so it’s not a 100% Paleo friendly site… and no white potatoes either, but the list is helpful!

Ok, it’s Memorial Day, and my husband and I busted our butts in the yard all weekend, mowing, trimming, ripping out shrubs, planting, cleaning off the patio, etc… I ate 2 enormous meals today, and wasn’t hungry (was actually quite stuffed). And even better news, I didn’t pitch the weed whacker over the fence (who invented those heinous contraptions with the tangling self-feeding line???)

I had this idea to try to make a skillet meal. I tried yesterday, and it was ok. Better today. This is my own lame recipe. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), sausage, bacon, sweet potatoes, onion, italian seasoning, and 2 eggs cracked over it all. It was awesome! Precooking the bacon in the microwave before adding it to the skillet helped it be crispier.

My husband made huge grass-fed t-bone steaks and sweet potatoes. I ate an entire t-bone! Plus a few squares of mint chocolate, and a DRINK.

Did I ever mention that we bought half of a grass-fed cow? We have a freezer full of really awesome beef from a woman who won’t eat meat she didn’t raise herself (she’s been in remission from ankylosing spondilitis for decades with dietary changes, and she treats her cows like pets. I’d say like family, but that would be weird). Anyway, some day I’ll have to make a post on the experiences of buying a cow! I wish we had a better source for bacon/sausage/pork.

Happy summer!

What do I eat and my working theory….

Yesterday, I met up with a group of Paleo folks at a Paleo bistro in Denver! Who knew there was a Paleo bistro in Denver???? It seems like the Denver and Boulder Colorado areas have a rather large Paleo following, and I’m thrilled about that, as we’re not too far.

One of the things I heard from people was that they tried to convert some others to the Paleo way of life. In my own personal life, I’ve made a few converts, and online I may have also. I think with my autoimmune stuff, people are able to see how much more energy I have, how much weight I lost, how much better I am moving around (my coworkers are so kind to point these things out, and it keeps me going!) Rather than force Paleo down anybody’s throat (yes, there are people I REALLY wish would try it), I’m simply aiming to show that this is what I did, and this is what happened. Maybe, just maybe, when people are ready, they can give this a go.

I think part of the scare people have is freaking out about what they’re going to eat. People think Paleo is raw cucumbers and carrots (as I heard in a story yesterday). I eat REALLY well. And I can eat a lot…. I mean a lot! It seems like my volume of food has stayed the same, and I don’t get nearly as hungry as I used to (something nearly the whole Paleo group agreed upon yesterday). It does take a while to find the right ingredients and recipes to get you going, so I think telling you what I eat on occasion might be helpful.

2 days ago:
Macadamia nut tilapia sticks (recipe from Paleo Indulgences cookbook)
Warm Arugula Salad (a staple in our house, Everyday Paleo cookbook)
* These were leftovers, so my warm salad was really cold!

Sausage (sometimes a go-to when I’m in a hurry)
Cashew cranberry almond trailmix

Peppermint chocolate (shhhh!)

Chocolate lovemuffin from the Paleo bistro…. SO good, but didn’t fill me up

Snack:leftover macademia tipalia sticks

I can’t remember what I ate for lunch… sad, I’m getting old!

Dinner: enormous Portabello stuffed mushrooms (from everyday Paleo)
chocolate coconut milk ice cream (So Delicious brand… shhh!)

Such a sinful day! Did I mention I lost another pound?

My working theory:
Leaky Gut Syndrome. I have had some degree of belief in this theory since the first time I started reading about it 10 or more years ago. Of course the medical community was not on board with it, but I kept open to it. I think that is the part of Paleo that makes the most sense to me. There are some foods that irritate my intestinal wall, allowing things the get through and into my body that have no business being there. Autoimmune reactions result. Robb Wolf talks about this extensively in his book (which I lent out and need to get from the library so I can reference again). I think Paleo is doing a lot to help me put the right things in my body, but I think I need to do more to heal my intestines, so hopefully a little cheat doesn’t freak my body out. Probiotics are still a hit and miss for me, and I wonder if it’s enough.

I’m not a big fan of the doctory shows… The Doctors, Dr. Oz, etc… I wonder what their motives are and what pharmaceutical company is paying their salary. Anyway, I happened to catch an episode of Dr. Oz, which had a guest who was speaking in my leaky gut language, so I watched that segment. He brought on a woman who said she had RA and had gotten her symptoms under control in 3 months with this program of a almond milk/fruit/vegetable/protein powder shake, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and some other stuff I hadn’t heard of. It fit into Paleo relatively well (except the protein powder… no Paleo versions I could find). I tried a modified version of it (no protein powder and no berberine, simply because I couldn’t find it anywhere). I can’t say this has done squat for my RA, but it definitely changed my bowel habits in a better, but slightly constipated way. I think there are some more answers to be found there, and I need to do some more reading. I am also quite anxious, but nervous, to try berberine. The wikipedia article talks about it and its impact on TNF and interleukin 6 (if you have RA, you probably know those). It might be worth a read. If you’re interested in the info from the show, you can google Dr. Oz, 3 day cleanse, and berberine. It should come up.

That’s it for now! Comments are so appreciated!

16 Months Paleo, A BIG Update

Well, my blogging fell apart. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be very good at it. My son got out of school yesterday for summer vacation, and for some reason I thought I should pop on here for an update. Under gobs of spam comments (Ugh, I HATE that), I got several good comments, comments about people wanting to try this, people who are wondering if it might help them. Well, I cried! Seriously! I was thinking I was talking to myself here!

So, here’s the update. I love Paleo. I’ve been at it 16 months and have lost 46 pounds. I went from a size 16 to a size 4. I had one question about a person who didn’t need to lose weight, but wanted to try it, stating he/she had lost weight due to RA. My understanding is that RA speeds up a lot of stuff in your body, making you lose weight. In the olden days, before RA meds, people with RA were very thin (have a pic of my great grandmother illustrating that point). Now-a-days, I think it’s more common to be overweight due to RA because many of the meds (especially steroids) can cause weight gain. I’m not a doctor, so this is NON-MEDICAL advice (yes, ask your doctor), but I think if you slow down your disease activity, your weight is likely to stabilize. I would also talk to your doctor about an exercise program, as I find exercise puts a little weight on me, but I also struggle (needed a physical therapist) to find exercise I could do without setting off my joints. In other words, I think Paleo is probably worth a try, especially if it decreases your disease activity.

I have been finding so many good things to eat! My new sin is coconut milk ice cream (So Delicious brand). Don’t get the cookie dough flavor (not Paleo), but I believe the chocolate, mocha, and mint chip all pass the Paleo test.

I am still following these rules:
NO grain
NO dairy
NO legumes
NO tomatoes (most people can eat them, but apparently I can’t)
NO white potatoes
100% of the time on the above rules.

My cheats:
I have some sugar (chocolate, cinnamon roasted almonds)
I have some alcohol (the clear, non-grain ones, vodka, rum)

My positives:
My weight is down to 139. I have much much much better energy. My blood pressure is way down (was up to 130s over 90s, now down to 90s over 60s, maybe a little too low, although I struggled with low BP pre-RA). My RA is way better managed, but it still takes active management. I can go 8 days without my 2 day/week Enbrel shot without pain, but I still need the Enbrel. I do wonder if I totally cut the sugar and alcohol and boosted the exercise if I could stop, but I’m not there, and I’m not perfect. The diet makes me feel SO MUCH better that I’m not very tempted to cheat anymore. Once in a while I do crave a deep dish Chicago-style pizza, but no pizza yet!

My setbacks:
I’ve been having neck issues, likely due to previous RA problems. My ligaments are not tight, and I have what the physical therapist called “an instability.” My neck loses stability, pinches nerves, and causes wicked pain shooting down my arm (either side) that makes me completely beside myself in pain. This is new, but has had a slow progressive start due to carrying a raft on my head last summer. I just graduated from physical therapy for the second time with this issue.

I’m itching. I am terribly itching. I am breaking out in hives 1-3 times per day. I’ve had mild to moderate itching problems since my thyroid (Grave’s Disease, one of my 5 autoimmune conditions) went crazy in 2007. Despite killing off my thyroid, my itching never went away. About 2 1/2 months ago, I started breaking out in hives, first on my legs, now all over. I’ve seen my regular doctor and a dermatologist. No answers other than my histamine level is high (I can take a stick and “write” on my arm. Within 1 minute, the letters will be giant welts on my arm… a cool trick, very itchy!) My next stop is an allergist.

Do I think the welts and hives could be related to the diet? Possibly. When starting Paleo, if you have autoimmune conditions, they recommend cutting out tomatoes, eggs, peppers, and some other things initially. Then you can re-introduce them and see what happens. Tomatoes give me hives. Is there something else giving me hives in the diet? Possibly, but I just can’t seem to figure it out. My current objectives are to cut out bananas for 3 weeks (1 week into that now), then coconut (will be pissed if I’m allergic to that), the chocolate (tried that for a week before, but want to do it longer). The dermatologist thought I could be allergic to my thyroid medicine, and that’s a very high possibility, but I can’t live without it, so what do I do then??? Gotta see the allergist.

Solve the itching issue.
Get my son semi-Paleo (he’s 7, and is slow to try new things).
Continue enjoying this new-found level of health I haven’t seen in a long time.
Get to downtown Denver to the Caveman Cafeteria (Paleo food!)

Awesome website:
Awesome recipes, especially stuffing and apple fritters!

Get a new website going. If you haven’t been to it, we have had a website since 2006: It was great and we had a lot of moms for a long time, but I’m not in that “new mom” place anymore and am thinking about starting a Paleo/RA/something or other website. I would love some feedback, and thank you so much for the comments. They really do help! I wasn’t very motivated to talk to myself, but I have readers now!!!!

You can also visit me on Facebook under Moms With RA.

Take care, all!