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Little Things, Big Effects!

Onions

I thought I might peel back the layers of my health onion in the past few months. I wanted to take a look at how each piece of my health puzzle has weighed in on making me so sick. After all, things DON’T just happen over-night, and they don’t fix themselves with one magic pill either.

So where did I go wrong?

I was eating healthy. I was exercising 4-6 days a week. I had taken out gluten and dairy – as my body couldn’t process either one. How did my body continue to take such a hit each time I was cross contaminated and why was it missed?

COFFEE:

Remember how I had taken out coffee (which I dearly loved, but recognized something about it made me sick – like gluten?) Well, it seemed anything from that roasting type process was an inflammatory to me – personally, but it causes problems in many people with auto immune disease. Normally it’s a fabulous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory… but for me, it just isn’t safe. After 6 months off of coffee… I decided I would try some again at the end of September.

Within a week. I had uveitis.

On steroid eye drops and dilation drops, and realizing coffee could have played a part… I gave up coffee right away. Within 3-4 weeks my uveitis improved. By the time I met with the uveitis specialist, he said it couldn’t be uveitis, because it went away too quickly… he claimed it was scleritis. My eye doctor said it wasn’t. You see where this got me.

“People have it for months, sometimes years,” the specialist said.

“But I’m fairly certain of what triggered mine, couldn’t that make it go away more quickly?” I questioned.

“There have been no studies tying it to diet,” he touted.

Now of course there are no studies that would tied coffee specifically TO uveitis… because for some, it’s probably not an inflammatory. I also predict MOST people with uveitis and auto immune disease in general aren’t making the gluten/gut permeability connection – to know that other foods could potentially be seeping into their blood stream and causing more symptoms.

BUT, if you’re as in tune with what is setting off your body as much as I have had to be …. you just might.

As well – YOU should. YOU are an expert of you. No one else.

Personally, I was shocked to realize how many foods I consumed on a regular basis, were making me sick – but I call that being aware, and taking responsibility for my health by avoiding those foods, vs. continuing to make my auto immune disease issues worsen, and broaden.

When I had my food cytotoxin report done, it confirmed that same thing – coffee was highly inflammatory to my body – and was breaking down my white blood cells. Tea was also in the category. I didn’t notice the SAME effects from tea as I did from coffee. Other things like rice, and almonds were in there – which most know that even gluten-free grains are usually loaded with rice flour.

REMOVED ALL GRAINS, STARBUCKS TEA….

However…

As I removed those foods recommended from that blood test… I saw an improvement in my health. The only two things I had changed that first month, while doing my other homework of tests… was removing foods on the list and changing to a higher quality fish oil. Both things contributed to an improvement – but I was still … so tired. Clearly my immune system and thyroid were just not making progress on their own.

THYROID ENERGY SUPPLEMENT

So after that, I added in Thyroid Energy, and was making more progress… I was hopeful. The systemic pain had gone down significantly – but was still random. The energy was improved, but I didn’t feel “like myself” yet.

As I’ve made more changes I kept coming back to my Starbucks tea, and knowing I just didn’t feel that super after having it. Usually not immediate – I just felt… foggy, and more tired. Not the effect I was looking for from caffeine.

“I wonder what else can help me improve?” I considered. I started taking that CoQ10 enzyme and L-Glutathione, as well as Milk Thistle for liver support as more toxins left my body.

CoQ10 and L-Glutathione ADDED IN

After my second meeting with my naturopath – and going over most of my results… I started on a half of a grain of natural Armour and a few other vitamin supplements. It took about a week, and I really started feeling – more and more improvements.

ARMOUR THYROID ADDED & A LOADED PROBIOTIC at 256 billion (yes, even more powerful than my daily dose of 50 billion!)

Because I have eliminated so much from my diet – it’s pretty easy to figure out when something doesn’t agree with me. While seemingly strange to most – it’s my reality – and the reality of most people with auto immune disease issues.

A week later a thoughtful friend brought me some organic white tea leaves to try making her favorite tea, since I had success with an organic green/ginger tea. I read everything I could about their brand of tea, the leaves, etc. I had two cups one night – smooth, delicious.

The next day I regretted it. I hurt all over, and was so foggy all day…

It just shows me that once you have gut permeability issues from gluten or yeast damage… it can be completely random what sets your system off – things that SEEM like they should be good for you.

The damage may be the unthinkable, or unimaginable – but it’s very real and sometimes crazy frustrating.

So now I’m on the auto immune disease protocol diet. While I hate “labels” – it’s the best way to explain partly how I eat “works”… It’s a modified Paleo diet. No grains, dairy, yeast or soy. Some organic meat, eggs, organic fruits and veggies, juices, and supplements.

When people say, “What CAN you eat?” The answer is – plenty. I eat LIVE premium foods and am making efforts each day to remove toxins from our house and our family’s lives. When you know better, you do better. I just didn’t realize how each “little” decision I made impacted my health so GREATLY.

I’m feeling strong and wonderful right now and I’m so thankful for my health! I used to take my health for granted. It’s true that you don’t often know what you have, until it’s gone! Now I protect my health, and I work at it every day as I try to live not as a patient, but as a person!

My husband I were counting our blessings this weekend and I stated, “I really thought I was dying.” He said, “You were dying.” and agreed he thought I was going to continue to worsen. What a helpless feeling, as a spouse. Thanks be to God, the Restorer of my health. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to make the best choices and choose health.

“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.”

Psalm 41:3

Countdown On!

This tasty treat was 2 cucumbers, a lemon and some parsley - JUICED.  Pretty GREEN and a great detox drink to help start boosting my liver.

This tasty treat was 2 cucumbers, a lemon and some parsley – JUICED. Pretty GREEN and a great detox drink to help start boosting my liver.

Bob Harper’s online group has really saved me from giving up on my workouts this last year.

Keeping it fresh with workout plans, and videos for “Living Fit” (one on one session examples) and “TEAM BOB” group workouts.  Always great explanations, and usually 15-30 workouts.  The library stays on there, so you can access them whenever you’re feeling like something fresh.  Personally, I love it.  There are also recipes, message boards, and tons of great insight and encouragement.  I don’t utilize half of what it entails – it’s worth the investment to me.

One of the recent ones I loved was a 10 to 1 workout.  You need a set of weights, a kettle bell and a mat if you have one.  The moves were:

Thrusters (weighted)

Renegade Rows (push up with a weight pull)

Kettle Bell Swings (American style – all the way up)

Broad Jumps (mat length)

You do exactly what it sounds like – after a warm up, you start by doing each exercise 10 times, then 9, then 8, etc.  So following 10 thrusters, you do 10 renegade rows, and so on… until you’re doing 1 of each rep, and have a cool down.  It reminds me of a chipper – but something a little different for the W.O.D. (workout of the day).  He has always been incorporating warm-ups of a half mile or mile.  I have just been running in place while watching a quick show, or catching up on some news briefly – you really CAN run anywhere.  No excuses!

I worked out 6 days in a row this week, that hasn’t happened in a while.

I even did a longer (hour-long) workout from Bob that I haven’t tried in a few months.  I felt pretty good about that, and praised God for the progress He is making in my health.  The multiskeletal pain is so much less, it’s insane.  I feel like the “bleeding” as far as that is concerned, has stopped from increasing out of control.

I know it’s stress, and mineral/vitamin/food related – but I can tell you taking out those inflammatory foods that were wrecking havoc – due to leaky gut – makes me wonder how many people have mega fibro/chronic fatigue/auto immune issues with symptoms from various foods doing the same thing!!

I know – I wouldn’t have believed it either – until I experienced it… 

“And wherever He came, in villages, cities or countryside,

they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored Him

that they might touch even the fringe of His garment.

 And as many as touched it were made well.”

Mark 6:56

Probiotics – When, Why and How Much?

YUM.  Here is some Guava Juice and recently started drinking.  I found it at HyVee in the health food area, or in our local food co-op store.  There are multiple flavors, but I've only tried two.  The others didn't appeal to me.

YUM. Here is some Guava Juice and recently started drinking. I found it at HyVee in the health food area, or in our local food co-op store. There are multiple flavors, but I’ve only tried two. The others didn’t appeal to me, this was hands down my favorite.  Naturally fizzy, great probiotic and antioxidant drink that is low in calories too!

It’s been said for thousands of years – that all disease starts in the gut.  I would believe that.  The health of our guts – are extremely important.  I’ve learned the hard way what leaky gut leads to… vitamin malabsorption, auto immune disease, thyroid issues, blood sugar issues, cancer, fibroids, headaches… the lists are endless.

When we had just 4 children, we seemed to have the stomach flu often.  It was awful.  Four children, ages 4 and under – you know what that means… rarely a toilet hit.

A good friend then shared with me that eating more yogurt daily would help keep the good bacteria from being over-run by the bad invaders…including YEAST which is fed by sugar.   So we tried it – seven years ago we started.  Truly, we have had FAR less stomach issues, {and even fewer when we realized some of the stomach issue were gluten related.}, and strep.   However, I’m not sure the quality of the yogurt was doing much to stop the yeast over growth in my children’s guts and probably was a main factor in why our immune systems are completely shot.Yes, I’m certain the sugar in the yogurt wasn’t helping much at all.

The problem can be … the quality of the yogurt… or kefir {click link to learn about KEE-FUR}, or acidophilus supplement.

A few keys are… it needs to be LIVE.

… so if you’re getting a supplement off of the shelf… and it’s not COLD – it’s not live.  You need to get something out of a cooler case.  If you have an organic or whole foods type of store – they will be able to point you in the right direction.

The next is the AMOUNT of live bacteria.  Billion sounds like a HIGH number, but 1 billion is on the extremely LOW end of what most people need. {those who are trying to heal a leaky gut, and or rebalance a gut after yeast over growth or antibiotic consumption – like ME}  So if you’re eating a yogurt a day, and hoping that’s going to fix it … think again.  We’re talking 50-200 billion a day for people needing to heal – which might take several months.  After that, they can drop it back to 15-50, but might need that indefinitely.  Most people who just took antibiotics now and then will need the 15-50 billion a day, and could settle back to a 1-15 billion on a day-to-day basis after things get turned around.

I know for me, being on TONS of antibiotics for multiple breast , ear and sinus infections didn’t help my gut matters… then my cross contamination issues – I know a high dose is necessary for me to get healing and rebalanced.

Currently, I’m trying 32-35 billion a day… and I believe that’s too low.  I can tell a difference, which is awesome – but I’m ready to step it up.  No more Mrs. Nice Girl…  I want a healthy GI tract for 2013… and I believe I’m on the way.

HOPE.

Recently we had started having some of our children drink kefir daily.  The key here is making sure we get an organic, gluten-free, dairy-free (although it’s from dairy, so that’s impossible…)  ours is 99% lactose free and from our food co-op store.  We mix a flavor with an original to lower the sugar content.  So that said – make SURE you watch your sugars in anything like kefir or any probiotic or drink and look for the word RAW, or unpasturized.

I giggled recently at a “healthy” mainstream juice that touted it had just a “tad of sugar”…  Oh… 28 grams of sugar.  Holy Moly!  Yikes!  Pass.  I still try to shoot for at or around 10 – max.

Probiotics boost immunity, can help your repair your immune system – lessening allergies/asthma, and aid in digestion as well {sluggish colon – give this a try!}…  it’s definitely an area worth taking a look at when detoxing your system.  Be prepared to spend $25 – $60 for something like this … but remember – once again, this IS your medicine.  Only it’s not DESTROYING your body, and causing additional problems.  It’s rebuilding your system.

40 calories, and only 7 gms of sugar.  Not bad.  Buying tip - my husband always says - when trying something new, go for what has sold the most - it's indicitive of what is the best choice.

40 calories, and only 7 gms of sugar. Not bad. Buying tip – my husband always says – when trying something new, go for what has sold the most – it’s indicative of what is the best choice.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

Can THAT Really Be Making Me Sick?

photo

One of the things I’ve researched, was how foods (other than gluten) can cause people with leaky gut to get really sick…  I had read that as your gut is healing, the foods that make you ill can even change.

How could this be?

Well, essentially when gluten isn’t processed well in your system, it causes leaky gut, and through that your body attacks the food, or the food attacks your body.

Sometimes people notice this, through diarrhea, or it’s less obvious as it slowly breaks down your digestive tract and immune system, other times people are constipated.  Regardless, it’s not normal to have to take anti-diarrheal medicines for life, any more than it is to have to take laxatives regularly either…  and your energy level shouldn’t be repeatedly down.

Your body is trying to tell you something…. and that’s the only way it can speak.

We need to listen.

So part of my appointment at my naturopath was a Cytotoxic blood test.  It’s where they take your blood, separate blood from plasma and mix the blood with a food – to see what type of reaction it causes.

If you have a leaky gut, then some foods can actually cause an inflammation process in your system… foods that one might normal think are GOOD for them, will attack the body.  More importantly, your white blood cells.  Your immune fighters.  This is actually a suspect for why many people have auto immune diseases triggered, and poor immune systems.  Your body is fighting something all the time… and you can be low on those white blood cells, to conquer colds and viruses – by the very food you’re trying to eat to be well.

So, being the skeptic I am…  I’ve read a lot on what is the best way to determine food allergies – including quackery reports on who thinks this isn’t a valid test.  While I had gone to an immunologist…. and done the skin testing, a lot of what I read said this isn’t really a good test.  {Since you don’t put food on your skin – it obviously reacts different in your gut.}  While what you put on your skin IS absorbed…. this just wasn’t effective for me (at all!) Considering my tests from the immunologist shows I had “zero” food allergies – I would agree.  This didn’t work for me, and I knew it was wrong.  CLEARLY I was having problems with other grains, peanut butter, coffee… and lots of other things.

My body was starting to think a flare was normal.

So, with that said… I had also read that Cytotoxic testing can be done incorrectly… or (and this was from medical doctors) that it wasn’t “proven” to be helpful.  Thankfully Kansas is a state where my N.D. has to be licensed to practice, and the facility checks out with the BBB. This isn’t some fly-by-night operation, and their goal is to help you be well by finding the source of the problems, so your whole body can be well vs. just masking issues with prescriptions.

Well, I can simply tell you my experience so far…

I think it’s right on the money.

I got a list of foods that measured on a reaction result of mild reaction (1), moderate reaction (2), moderately severe reaction (3) and severe reaction (4).  I didn’t have any foods that were 4s, but I did have several 3s, and 2s as well as some 1s… and the results were very interesting.  Some of the foods I don’t eat…  but several of them I do.

Keep in mind they have no idea what I eat.  I just went in there fasting for 12 hours… and they took my blood.  The foods that were causing problems are attacking my white blood cells – destroying them… and that would explain a lot of my continued problems, with auto immune disease and digestive issues.

My top problem starters?  Cantaloupe, Avocado, Cabbage, Squash (including zucchini), coffee (no surprise there!), and BHA/BHT (an additive, watch those plastics and products with these!)

Next in line were some more fruits that I eat often… Pineapple, Watermelon, Apple (I ate these daily!), Garlic, Tomato, Turkey (yep,I know…), salmon, tea, almond (and almond milk and flour), chocolate, oats, rice (since MOST products and GF grains are made with rice flour…you see my problem processing any grains?), navy beans…

Lastly were the 1s…. Grapes,Strawberries, Carrots, Hops, Honey, Pinto Beans, Fluorine, Pecan, and Yeast.

You might wonder why wheat, and gluten are not on the list.  It’s because celiac is not an allergy.  Remember that these are MY inflammatories currently…  we are all created unique, so there is no reason to believe they would cause YOU any problems… other than gluten and dairy, which gum up most people’s system.  Any good nutritionist will tell someone with chronic illness, cancer or auto immune disease that gluten and dairy should be the first things to go.

Back to allergies, – they often make us think of sneezing, watery eyes…  but I hadn’t considered it breaking down my body as well.  Some of them weren’t causing GI issues… but the inflammatory process is systemic.  So each was causing different affects.

So… what to do?  Take those foods out forever?  Not necessarily.

They recommend removing the 3s for 12+ weeks, the 2s for 8 weeks and the 1s for 4 weeks… and then rotating one new food in every 3 days to see how my body responds, noting any changes.  They also suggested (to maximize my health) that these foods might be good to leave out of my diet… OR minimizing them greatly.  1-2 times a week tops after the 3 months removal.

For me, things like coffee – are a no brainer.  I don’t desire to make myself sick.  I know I took it out for 5 months – tried it again, and still got sick.  Hence the uveitis.  There is no doubt in my mind that causes systemic inflammation in my body because I feel like that was measurable to me.  I’m assuming the combination of the other foods – in any given meal… or multiple meals… hasn’t been my friend.  I can’t tell you how often I make fruit “salads” with pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and the like…

I’ve been enjoying pears… and oranges… and bananas… and guava juice.  Huh?  Yeah.  I know… but it’s actually very good.

So, there you have it – that’s one test result back that – so far – seems to be helping!!  My pain in one week is improved a lot.  Not 100% but definitely improved.

As far as leaky gut, and your body not being able to absorb vitamins, as well as causing OTHER major problems – you can envision why this is VERY bad for your body.  You might also be able to imagine how this can snowball in a bad direction.

For instance, if you see a rash on your body – you often treat the rash with a topical ointment.

Does the source of the rash just “go away” if you slather it in ointment and you can’t see the rash?  NO.  It’s more likely the inflammation is just going on somewhere else you can’t see.

A better thing to do is also seek out what is the cause for the rash, instead of just treating the symptom.  The same thing goes for cysts, and cancer… not that you shouldn’t treat the outward symptoms – but you need to try to determine the SOURCE, and make the necessary changes for health.

If you think this is some good stuff, just wait for what I have on tap next.  My head is getting clearer…  Watch out!

 “For I say, through the grace given to me,

to everyone who is among you,

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,

but to think soberly,

as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

 For as we have many members in one body,

but all the members do not have the same function, 

so we, being many, are one body in Christ,

and individually members of one another.”

Romans 12:3-5

NOW Do You Feel Better?

Need some great ideas for gluten-free snacks while traveling? Here are a few of our family’s favorites with the usual fruits and veggies!

My husband came home from work last week and said he ran into someone who was inquiring about my health.  It’s always awkward for either my husband or I to discuss all of this with someone who a) has no understanding of celiac disease or b) really doesn’t want to listen to what it all entails, but has every answer for you.

“All those changes you’ve made to her diet, and she still isn’t well?” he asked.

I shook my head when he told me this… and I’m sure my husband couldn’t help finding himself a bit defensive.

Auto. Immune. Disease.

Eating gluten-free for someone with years of undetected celiac disease doesn’t suddenly = health.

Don’t we wish!

It has gotten rid of the neuropathy, and the chronic left side pain – several things have improved.  Other foods however, have caused gut inflammation – because my body confuses it as gluten.  I know my body is absorbing vitamins better – my finger nails are growing – but my hair still falls out in droves.  I also know every time I’m glutenated again – it’s another assault on the gut and a step in the wrong direction.

This isn’t some quick-fix trick.  Especially when your body has been battling something for so long.  It might be tolerating things for a long while, and once it’s trying to heal a leaky gut – things you never realized were a problem, are a real issue.  The fact that I was having the neuropathy I was, is a sign things were going right into my bloodstream.

Frustrating?

Majorly.

Even more difficult to explain to someone else?

YES.

Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it.

Sometimes I’m hurt that other people don’t get it, or even try to.

I know most people just want to help and they want to say something encouraging.  They just don’t know what to say.

“Hey, such and such restaurant has a gluten-free menu.” they say.

I smile and nod while thinking.. “Awesome.  Well… I can’t EAT there, because ‘gluten-free menu’ doesn’t equate into the level of sensitivity I have with cross contamination and they’re TERRIBLE about preparation. A dusting or one crumb makes me sick for a long time.  REALLY sick.”

If I actually SAID THAT, I would get the look of 5 horns growing out of my head.

Do I want to go from feeling perfectly great – to terrible for days/weeks for one meal out?

NO.

Do I never want to be invited out again?  Definitely no.

So much for feeling normal.

No wonder people can become depressed for avoiding social situations.  It’s draining trying to explain things to people who don’t understand, and aren’t willing to listen – and then trying to figure out how to appear normal.

What person in their RIGHT MIND would like that, or do that on purpose?

Thank you.  No one would.

But I also know, that being healthy right now, is way more important than testing the waters “just because” or what have you, when I can simply plan ahead.

This is when I really grab ahold of God – and His Word and promises.

We live to glorify Him.

He understands us, because He made us.  He understands our hurts, our frustrations, and battles.  BIG or small.

When we went to Iowa a few weeks ago, I actually did really well – not eating grains, and being extra careful to not order any food that might be cross contaminated. With the exception of our last eat out, on the way home.  I gave in and had pizza.  I now get it – gluten-free pizza (outside of the home) is a TERRIBLE choice for me.  Just too many chances for cross contamination.  Even my husband and kids got sick on that one.

If in doubt, it’s best for me to go without.  I go without a lot.  I’m not saying that to complain – it’s just what works best right now, so I’d rather go without.

It’s an adjustment.

Maybe my gut will heal sooner than later.  Our bodies are amazing creations.

I definitely have more good days, than bad – and it’s nothing like it was.  That’s progress.

Right now I just try to focus on keeping my family eating healthy – in hopes that they won’t ever get to where I am.  It drives me, and keeps me extra thankful to God.

What generations of family would have appreciated to know.  Thankfully, we do!

Praise be to God.

** If you struggle with celiac, gluten issues or leaky gut – stay tuned I have a great book to share with you soon that you won’t want to miss!

“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.”

2 Samuel 22:50

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