Paleo – Update

So, I had been feeling horrible (cold, not sleeping, can’t think, word retrieval problems, weak, lazy, gained 8 pounds, etc…) My thyroid (which was radiated in 2007 and no longer functions) had gotten too low.  I was feeling dreadful.  AIP was going horrible. That was over a month ago.

Where am I now?  I’m a little over 4 weeks into my thyroid med change.  My head is clearing a lot.  I can think and process again, but am still having some mild problems with word retrieval.  I’m not freezing cold. I lost 2 of those 8 pounds, I’m finally sleeping well again, and hey, I even started to exercise again!  I wonder if my exercise laziness was my thyroid falling all along.  2 more weeks, and I may go in and see what my thyroid levels are.

In the meantime, I’m not trying anything challenging.  I’m going to get to summer and see what I want to do.  This may or may not mean trying AIP again.  What I ate yesterday (hubby’s birthday week, so we’re eating yummy stuff):

Breakfast:

  • Banana pecan pancakes with 100% maple syrup
  • Green tea (which I’m tolerating better…. had been making me itchy)

Lunch:

Lunch was a plethora of yummy bad things yesterday.  We went to Trader Joe’s (Colorado just had 3 of them open last month) for the first time.  Sometimes you need a place to get quality junk food!

  • Chunk of leftover grass-fed steak
  • Sweet potato chips with peach salsa (which had tomatoes in, and I tolerated them, no hives!)
  • A taste of dark chocolate
  • A taste of mint dark chocolate
  • A taste of ginger dark chocolate
  • Spicy dried mango slices
  • More green tea

Dinner:

 

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Fighting It or Learning from It?

There’s a lot of “noise” when it comes to rheumatoid disease.  I call it “noise” because there’s all of this stuff going on in your body and in your life that you learn to adapt to. Like the furnace running or the hum of the computer, we learn to adapt to many things and tune them out.  For the most part, this is a good thing.  Imagine all of the sights, sounds, smells, and textures that could drive you crazy if you didn’t adapt to them!  What happens though, if you start tuning out stuff that is your body’s way of warning you?  Hmmm.

In my attempts to “combat” my rheumatoid, I’ve thought of Enbrel, methotrexate, ibuprofen, prednisone, etc… as going in and doing a combative effort to grab hold of my body, fight my immune system, shrink my inflammation, and gosh darn it, make this RA go away.  I no longer think of this as the best way to control my RA.  Instead of fighting, I’m now trying to listen… harder.

In all fairness, I think I’ve always tried to listen to my body.  I think my ability to listen was compromised though.  Instead of trying to tune out the furnace and the computer, I was trying to tune out the radio, tv, fan running, son crying, dog barking, big itchy tag in the back of my shirt, and the stinky fish in the trash can.  When I was first diagnosed, I kept a diary of what I ate, the weather, my sleep, etc…  It never showed me anything meaningful.  If I did the same thing now though, I think it might show me what’s been there all along.  There was just too much background noise to see it.

What I now know:

  • I can’t eat grains.
  • I can’t eat white potatoes.
  • I can’t eat tomatoes.
  • I can’t eat most dairy.
  • I need to sleep well all the time.
  • I need to keep my stress level down all the time.
  • I need to exercise all the time.
  • I need to feel generally happy and have a positive outlook.
  • I need to keep my vitamin D level up and my thyroid level in check.
  • I need to wear really flat shoes.

How did I learn these things?  Well, I followed some advice of some folks smarter than me, who were finding success in more natural ways to treat their autoimmune disease.  This brought me to Paleo, and the understanding that the fuel I’m putting in my body does make a difference.  And so does everything else.

Wow, put those first 4 rules of mine in the context of the standard American diet, and there’s no wonder I couldn’t hear it.  I was eating those things pretty much every day.  Stress and sleep?  I used to work at 4:00 AM when diagnosed.  That was probably a big problem.  You can’t see all of those things individually when you’re doing them all the time.  At some point, you have to break it down, get away from it all, and see what happens.  How did I do it?

I started a few years before going Paleo.  I was seeing a psychologist to help me in coping with some stress in my life, including trying to get my RA better.  At a certain point, I wrote a list of things that I thought might help my RA (getting my sleep better, physical therapy, cutting out processed foods, etc…) and I started into them.  First it was physical therapy, then an exercise program, then my diet, and then do you know what happened?  All of that background noise decreased, and I was able to see my rheumatoid much more clearly.  My body IS trying to tell me something.  I AM doing some things wrong, and I NEED to stop.  My immune system IS trying to help me, but I’m NOT helping it in return.  Do I know it all yet?  No.  There is still some background noise.  Am I making progress?  Yes, enormous progress, and I will keep trying to listen until I figure it out.

Here’s the other thing.  This isn’t anything special.  This isn’t anything you can’t do.  It may be a change in the conveniences you’re used to, but it really isn’t very hard.  Make a list of things you think your body might be trying to tell you, and change your life so you can listen if that’s really what it’s saying.  I think if you get your food list really simple for a while (like EAT REAL FOOD, something that grows and you eat whole or something that has a face).  I think the Paleo or Primal diets are an excellent way to cut down the background noise to help you listen.  Can YOU do this?  Yes YOU can.

Things that helped me:

 

Paleo – GMOs and Glyphosates

For over 17 years, I’ve had constant thoughts about how my body got to this weird, sick place.  It sort of drives me a bit crazy.  Well, then there’s the fact that I am a bit crazy.  I was reading some Facebook posts recently on people’s thoughts about GMOs.  What are GMOs?  They’re genetically modified organisms, and in this case, I am thinking about our food.  Supposedly 80% of processed food contains GMOs, as in somebody changed our food using some science, well beyond my understanding.  They changed what used to be nature’s food into science food, and without safety testing, threw it into our food chain.  What?  When did that happen?  Yeah, I didn’t realize it either…. 1994, according to Wikipedia.

Well, I, in my constant thoughts about my RA (was it stress, food, poor sleep, etc…), have thoughts about GMOs.  See, they were introduced in 1994, and I got very sick in early 1996.  Makes you wonder, huh?

So, I was reading another article: Glyphosate: What You Don’t Know Might Be Killing You and listening to Robb Wolf’s podcast, episode 95.  This got me thinking even more.  In the podcast, Robb Wolf has a guest, Dr. William Davis, author of the Wheat Belly book.  Dr. Davis had some awesome insight into how we got to genetically modifying our food.  According to him, we got nervous in the 1970s or so about having a stable food supply (aka, too many people and not enough food).  So, we started researching ways to increase yields from crops, and apparently we were quite successful.  My husband believes some folks even won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in this area.  I wonder if this is what those researchers had in mind when doing their work.  Anyway, wheat plants got shorter in height, which made it so they could be planted closer together and yield more per acre, like 10 times more.  Fast forward even more, and groups like Monsanto have developed plants that are genetically modified to be resistant to the weed killer, Round Up.  Round Up contains glyphosate, which according research that’s coming out, is very toxic.  So, plants that are genetically modified are doused with Round Up over and over, and then YOU EAT IT!  I get to see this all summer long, as I live in a farm turning to suburban area where a plane zips by our house dumping chemicals all summer long.  And although I don’t know for certain what the chemicals are, I do know that we feel sick after the spraying (which has been as close as 10 feet of our property, but even 2 – 3 miles away has an effect).  Supposedly a BILLION pounds of Round Up are sprayed every year, making their way into our food and water supply.  Concerned?  You should be!

Not only that, but many plants are becoming resistant to glyphosate and are now becoming noxious weeds, as I’ve read about particularly with canola.  Not worried about Round Up?  Well, how about this?  Monsanto has developed corn that produces its own toxins.  These toxins break open the stomachs of certain insects.  And yes, this corn is in our food.  Think of all of the foods with corn syrup…. your sodas, your kid’s Halloween candy.  You’re eating food that’s not been tested for safety in humans.  Oh, and a study came out linking it to autoimmune disease.

Well, how did this happen?  Certainly our government would protect us from such things, right?  Well, it does let this happen when you have men like Michael Taylor, former attorney for Monsanto, working as the Deputy Commissioner for Policy for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Yeah, you really should read the Wikipedia article on him.  It’s quite enlightening.

You should also read the Wikipedia article on Monsanto itself.  Let me highlight some of the things that stress me out about it. 

Monsanto has the technology to stop plants from making their own seeds (aka, the seeds you get out of your garden pumpkins wouldn’t grow if you planted them), making everybody dependent on Monsanto seed.

Monsanto developed and sold recombinant bovine somatotropin (also known as rBST and rBGH), a synthetic hormone that increases milk production.  This milk (available at your local grocery store) was found to have increased levels of insulin-like growth factor 1.

Monsanto was the maker of Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs.

Monsanto spent $6.3 million lobbying Congress and the USDA in 2011 and spent $8.1 million fighting California’s Proposition 37 to label GMO foods.

There was a list of folks with US government and Monsanto ties.

The company has patented seeds, aka, patented life. 

Mostanto developed the drug Celebrex, now owned by Phizer.

In 2005, Monsanto was the largest conventional seed company.

In the grand scheme of how I think about my RA, I try to control my life in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc… The scary thing is there is so much crap in our food that’s not labeled, that I may never figure out how to totally get well.  Scary, huh?  If you really want to learn about some of this stuff, I highly recommend watching the movie Food Inc., which you can stream from Netflix if you’ve got it.

Unleashing my stress on the world,

Lori