Saturday, December 31, 2011

PreGAPS part three

Just received my large free jar of coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  Along with organic tomato paste and some all natural deodorant.

One of the things I've been doing over that last several months is trying to reduce my exposure to toxins.  I figure if I'm having to get weekly IVs of glutathione so my body can rid itself of toxins maybe it is a good idea not to come in to contact with toxins in the first place.  I already ate organic and drank filtered water so that rules out those sources but I was still using dishwasher detergent, shampoo, soap and deodorant.

Last month I went "poo-less", as it is commonly known in the blogsphere.  I'm now using a mixture of 1T of baking soda to 1c of warm water instead of shampoo and 1T of organic vinegar to 1C of warm water instead of conditioner.  It works AWESOME!!!  My hair is soft, easy to comb out, full of natural curls, and much less oily than it used to be.  My scalp is also less itchy.  I thought my head had gotten greasier over the years.  Now I think the shampoos have become less effective.  I would shower every morning and look like a greaseball by the end of work and I was at a desk or lab bench most of the time.  Now my hair stays clean for 2-3 days.  Woohoo!!

I've also been on a quest to find some natural deodorant.  I just can't go deodorant free.  I stink.  Particularly with the hot flashes I've been experiencing lately.  I bought a solid but the scent was too overpowering.  I just got a new roll on today from Tropical Traditions.  The scent is a bit strong at first but it quickly calms down to the tolerable range.  Now I have to see if it works all day.  It has coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils and a few other innocuous ingredients in it.  A vast improvement over the chemical laden antiperspirant I was using.

Since I don't wear makeup that isn't an issue.  I already use an organic fluoride free toothpaste.  All I'm left with now is soap and moisturizer that I need to find replacements for.  BTW, toxins are readily absorbed through the skin which is why I'm worried about this stuff.

As far as the dishes go, the soap is highly caustic and quite nasty to ingest.  Hubs always uses too much of it and my glass would always have a ring of soap bubbles in it when I filled it up with water to drink.  Hence, when I use regular dishwasher soap I run the dishwasher a second time on a short cycle with no soap.  This rinses off the dishes.  I could (but haven't yet) put vinegar in the rinse dispenser which will also help rinse the excess soap off.  I was using Biokleen soap which was awesome.  It left the dishes squeaky clean without any soap residue without having to run the dishwasher twice.  When I ran out hubs went back to the regular crap.  I need to buy some more of the good stuff.  It even comes in a scent free version.

We are still using old school Tide for our laundry.  I'm just not that worried about my clothes.  I should be but I'm focusing my energy on cooking.  I have found recipes to make your own laundry detergent but I don't have the energy to make the stuff even though it is pretty easy.  I did buy the borax for it but still have to find the washing soda.  Maybe I'll have my kid grate up the bar of fels naptha I have hanging around in the laundry room.

I've also been trying to stay away from inhaling stuff.  This can be difficult since hubs is a gearhead at heart and is always out in the garage building cars.  This means all sorts of airborn nasties floating back into the house such as gasoline or paint fumes.  Ugh.  He makes fun of me now but I don't care.  I'm trying to reduce my toxic load so that my body doesn't have to work so hard.

While I have been having detox baths with either epsom salts or baking soda about once a week, the GAPS diet calls for a nightly detox bath and rotates through a series of bath additions: epsom salts, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and seaweed powder.  I have to order the powder still.

In general things are buzzing along.  Prep is well underway.  I have a second source for beef bones and tallow and I'm going to comparison shop with Whole Foods tomorrow since they are a tad expensive.  $5/lb for bones is a bit excessive.  They should run about $2.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pre GAPS part two

I'm making some progress in my prep work.  I've ordered the Internal Bliss cookbook.  I checked Wellness Meats and found that they were out of beef bones, chicken backs and tallow.  I'll have to wait to order more.  I found a cheaper source for the fermented cod liver oil I'm supposed to take.  The manufacturer sells it for half the price of the GAPS site.  I won't get that for a few weeks since I don't need it until stage 2 or 3 of GAPS which will be roughly the third or fourth week of January.

I also talked to hubs.  I told him that he will have to sneak ice cream in the garage while I'm doing this.  The temptation will just be too much for me if there is anything in the house.  He agreed to support me on the diet.  When I asked him what he would eat he said we'll just wing it.  I told him that the food won't be that great for a couple of weeks until I can add some variety and a few more cooking methods back in.  I told him that he could always stop for a burrito on the way home if he gets sick of the weird food.

I am very scared that I'll cheat.  I'm weird about food.  I wish... No I LONG, I PINE for normal food.  I love sandwiches and cake and cookies.  I love a bowl of good pasta once in a while.  I love ice cream.  However, these foods no longer love me.  I keep trying to tell myself that what I am doing is healthier for me.  That I'm doing this to fuel my body with nutrient dense foods.  That I'm using food to heal my guts and possibly heal my CFS.  But, OMG the temptation.  The cravings.  For instance, hubs eats normal bread.  The craving tonight for a regular ham sandwich was unbelievable.  It didn't matter that I wasn't hungry.  It didn't matter that it would give me many pains in my intestines.  It didn't matter that I would end up burping up stomach acid at 5am.  By God I wanted an F'n ham sandwich.  I managed not to succumb.  Not sure if I'll be able to do this for a whole month though.

What I did instead of making myself a yummy ham sandwich was poach a hamburger.  This is one of the GAPS recipes.  You poach it in bone broth.  I made it with some peas.  While this was tolerable, it is not the most tasty thing to be eating.  More like chewing on fishy shoe leather.  However, I can deal for the first couple of stages of GAPS with this.  I'm thinking a lot of poached fish will be in my near future.  I like that way better than poached burgers but I do want to rotate through different meats while on the diet so that I get different nutrients.

I'm beginning to suspect that these specific food craving are actually fat cravings.  I want to drink coffee for the cream in it.  I want the ham sandwich for the mayonnaise.  When I was drinking raw milk I would have a nice big glass of milk and I didn't have these problems.  Maybe when I get more fats into my diet during GAPS these weird cravings will stop.  Prior to the intestinal virus I was getting most of my dietary fats from dairy products.  I'm still not back up to the dairy intake I was on prior to the illness.  I seem to have way more cravings now that a few weeks ago.  I've been on a low fat diet for 20 years now.  I just not used to eating a high fat diet yet.  I'm learning though.

More Kitty Humor

funny pictures - Datz me before Jenny Craigz.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Pre GAPS part one

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet.
Warning this post is going to ramble cuz I'm in the middle of crashing from the exciting wonderful weekend I had with my family.

 I've been thinking about doing GAPS for a while now but have been too scared. I was worried that it would make me really sick like the elimination diet did in the spring. So what changed my mind? Having that nasty intestinal infection.

While it was going full tilt, I looked up the foods I could eat on GAPS Intro diet knowing that these foods are easily digested which would give my guts a break and a chance to heal from the infection. For over a week I subsisted on chicken broth, chicken soup, soft boiled eggs, pears and butternut squash soup.

Even though I was horribly sick and in pain, I also had days in between where I felt fine and had no pain at all even though I had stopped all of my meds and supplements. That is right; no joint pain, no back pain, no muscle pain, no headache. I also had a clear head. No fog. I could read books no problem. I had tons of energy. I got a lot accomplished when I wasn't having "an episode" and as long as I adhered to the strict diet. I slowly added foods back in but I'm still not back to my old diet.  I'm eating dairy again but not a lot of it and no raw milk and no yogurt.

So despite having an intestinal virus and despite eating a severely restricted diet, I didn't keel over. I didn't get sicker like I did this past spring. I even felt better from the CFS in between the bouts of intestinal torture. Now that I'm eating grains again and cheated like crazy over the Christmas weekend all the aches and pains are back. I've had to start the Celebrex again. I'm crashed today.

The other thing that I'm taking into consideration is that the pain meds I've been on damage the guts. I've had serious problems with malabsorption of just about every vitamin and mineral they've tested for. I've been taking aspirin or Vioxx or Celebrex for years now. Probably almost ten years. This has got to cause some serious damage and would explain the sudden wheat intolerance that hit me about six years ago.

I was also reading on Ncubator yesterday about a woman that has recovered most of her functionality after 15 years with severe CFS with a combination of things, a biggie being diet.

So what is pushing me over the edge from thought to action?  Well the ebook "What can I eat now? 30 days of recipes and tips for the GAPS Intro diet" is on sale for $14 from Cara at Health, Home and Happiness.  I bought my copy yesterday.  And I just found out that a 30 day challenge is starting over on Our Nourishing Roots on Jan 15th. This will give me just enough time to order supplies in and get the required reading done. I'll try to report on my progress here.

GAPS Plans for this week:

  • Tell hubby what I'm going to do.  Discuss it with him so he doesn't try to temp me with trips to the ice cream store or bring chocolate mousse home (yes he did that to me during my intestinal infection and I was stupid enough to eat it).
  • Order Internal Bliss cookbook from the GAPS store and any other supplies I need.  I already own the GAPS book and Nourishing Traditions.
  • Get together an order for US Wellness Meats for soup bones and beef tallow.  I'm going to have to watch their website since they are frequently out of both.
  • Start collecting GAPS recipes.
  • Read the book.  (this is going to be a toughie since I can't read/comprehend text when I'm crashed)
  • Maybe start introducing some of the foods into my current diet.  Try them out and see if I like them.  I love the squash soup.  I've also made cauliflower soup which was good.  My fav versions aren't GAPS legal since they both have dairy in them which will be a no no on the Intro diet but it is a start.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tummy Trouble Part 2

Had my follow up with the doc today.  He thinks my intestines became infected.  He doesn't know how or with what.  Nothing showed up in my tests.  If it was bacterial there was no trace of it in the poo sample.  If it was viral it wouldn't show up.  He told me that viruses tend to be 24 hour things so being sick for over a week didn't make sense.  Since I seem to be on the mend he is going to let it go for now and have me check back in with him in two weeks.  Maybe it was all the activated charcoal and bentonite clay I ate that cleared things out of my system.  Maybe I confounded the tests.  Maybe I confounded the bugs.  It is all speculation at this point.

I've had some odd side effects from this lack of intestinal fortitude: I seem to be able to eat wheat now with no repercussions and I have way fewer aches and pains than before.  I'm also quite warm this evening although the room temp is the same as ever.  Because of my belly aches I stopped all my meds.  I did fine for several days before succumbing to some joint pain.  I started on my Celebrex again which nipped that in the bud.  I decided (and doc agreed) not to start the hydrocortisone again.  It is a nasty med that needs to be used with caution.  However, I am sitting here pain free in the middle of a major rain storm.  This is unheard of for me.  Rain typically kills me.  It has for years.  What is different now???  Why do I feel fine???

I'm just wondering if I just had a "health crisis".  These often happen when a massive change in body chemistry occurs.  It is the state of getting worse just before getting better.  I've been on my new diet since August.  I don't always behave but I'm probably about 80% compliant.  I know I've managed some healing with it.  My head is clearer.  I have a little bit more energy.  I can read books again.  I've been able to read science papers occasionally.  I've been able to plan more often.  I've driven myself around to local appointments occasionally.  Maybe this week of poo is the beginning of my recovery.

I want to get excited but that is foolish.  I keep reminding myself that I have to live in the moment.  Now is the only time that I have and I have to work with the energy level I have at the moment.  But I want to be optimistic.  I want to jump up and down and do my happy dance.  I'm feeling better.  I want to be better.  I want to recover.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tummy Troubles

"I am so rumbly in my tumbly."  -Pooh

But in my case it wasn't due to hunger.  Yes, my stomach bug got worse.  Yes, I almost ended up in the hospital due to dehydration.  I've had a CT scan which came back fine and a stool sample done.  Still waiting on the results of the latter.  It seems I can only eat chicken soup, eggs and fruit or I start to feel sick again.  At least I managed to stay home.  I got my appetite back today again.  I ate a real dinner instead of soup.  It remains to be seen if it messed me up again.  I do need to make more soup since it is very healing for the guts.  I'm now seriously considering doing GAPS since I'm barely eating anything anyway.  It would hardly be a stretch for me to do intro GAPS for a week and build back up to full WAPs.

My being sick got me reading about gut health.  In my travels, I ran across this series of articles on GERD and gut health which is very very interesting and explains why I'm starting to have so much trouble with my guts of late.  I have now been on Celebrex for two years straight which is the longest I've ever been on it continuously and I've been taking hydrocortisone since the spring.  Both of which damage the lining of the stomach. Gee I wonder why I'm having so much trouble!?!  So without further ado I give you:

What Everybody Ought to Know About Heartburn and GERD
The Hidden Causes of Heartburn and GERD
More Evidence That Bacterial Overgrowth is Responsible for GERD
How Your Antacid Drug is Making You Sick (part A)
How Your Antacid Drug is Making You Sick (part B)
Get Rid of Heartburn in Three Simple Steps

While some of these articles don't apply to me since I was only on proton pump inhibitors for a very short time, the rest of the information rings true.  Some things I can vouch for:

  • drinking water makes me worse (dilutes what little stomach acid I have)
  • drinking lemon water or kombucha makes me feel better or at least doesn't make things worse
  • eating yogurt makes me feel better
  • drinking raw milk makes me feel better
  • lying on my stomach will often bring stomach acid up (it forces the valve to open due to pressure and bloating)
  • going almost grain free has helped
  • going almost sugar free has helped
  • drinking peppermint tea helps
  • drinking/eating ginger helps

Now I'm wondering if I can go without my pain meds for an extended period of time so I can get my guts working properly again.  That would be wonderful!!  I love food and would really like to be able to eat again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Long Time No See

Or long time no post in my case.  I've been riding the relapse rollercoaster and am presently getting over a stomach bug that laid me up for two days.  I'm still a bit off but I've got my appetite back even though I'm still very limited with what I can eat.

I've been busy watching TV and movies.  Nikita is my current TV obsession.  Not sure why exactly that show appeals to me so much.  The characters are mean and manipulative but the acting is pretty good and the plots don't always turn out the way you expect which I love.  Highly entertaining.  

My other TV viewing includes, Revenge (another bunch of mean characters: this time mean rich people instead of mean assassins), Warehouse 13 (fun SF), Eureka (more fun SF), Fringe (modern day X-Files), Suburgatory (quirky comedy), Spongebob (yes I like Spongebob) and Shaun the Sheep (UK claymation with no words!! and very funny and hubs likes it too).  Once in a while I also watch the UK version of Being Human (it can be a bit gruesome so this isn't everyday fare).  Also I started Vampire Diaries but got bored of it.  I might go back when I run out of more interesting things to watch.

I've been pretty lucky with movies lately.  I enjoyed Limitless which is an SF piece.  Hubs read the book but the movie sounds better (more upbeat).  I finally watched The Truth About Cats and Dogs.  While I've finally decided that Uma Thurman's acting is spotty at best (loved her in Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction but she was terrible in this movie and The Producers), I liked the other lead woman in this and the lead guy is so easy on the eye.  It is a modern day Cyrano de Bergerac with the genders reversed.  The Producers (the newer version) was fun to watch.  Bed & Breakfast was an okay romance.  The predictable plot dragged this movie down.  A better romance was Morning Glory which I enjoyed.  Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton were great as cranky news co-anchors.

With help from the hubs (yes, I've been a bit brain foggy these last few weeks) I finally got a book loaded onto the iTouch.  I'm now listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It is wonderful!!  It is a story told through letters written just after the war in England.  I love the way it is read by multiple actors as well.  It helps me keep the letters straight.  I highly recommend the book and audiobook and I've only listen to about an hour or so of it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Zinc

There is this neat stuff that I heard about from another blogger, Cheeseslave.  It is called Zinc Tally.  It is a simple test for zinc.  Now I've been taking a heavy dose of zinc since the spring and was getting curious how my levels were so that I could either quit taking it or maintain my dose.  I happened to notice a bottle of the Zinc Tally on my chiropractor's desk.  I asked him if I could get tested.  You take a few ounces and swish it around in your mouth for ten seconds if it tastes like nothing you are short in zinc.  If it tastes terrible then you are fine.  Somewhere in between and you are deficient but not horribly low.  Guess what?  To my surprise I was deficient.  Yup.  No taste at all.  How weird is that?  I've been on this stuff for over six months now.  Of course, it is one of those supplements that I've not been good about taking thinking I had too much in my system.  So now I need to get a better zinc supplement.  I've been taking 20mg of monomethionine (heck I have no clue what it is and I took geochem).   I need to check with my doc and find out what I should be taking cuz this stuff isn't cutting the mustard.

http://www.metagenics.com/pics/products/main/zinc-tally.png
BTW, you can get Zinc Tally from iherb.com.

Trust & Betrayal Part 2








Sunday, December 4, 2011

A New Plan

I need a new plan.  I am now in my third spectacular crash within the last six weeks.  As soon as I start feeling better I start cooking, house cleaning and driving.  And the inevitable happens.  Why do I do this to myself?  I guess I want to feel normal.  I want to act normal.  I want to have a clean kitchen to work in.  I want good real food to eat.  I want to make yogurt and bread from scratch.  I want to drive myself to appointments.  I want to be able to walk into the docs office under my own steam.

I spent last week driving myself around town.  I went to the shrink, the chiropractor and the masseuse. I cooked yummy real food dinners and made myself omelets and sauteed kale for breakfast everyday.  I picked my kid up from the bus stop.  What was my downfall?  I did the dishes.  I was sick of the kitchen being a mess.  On Friday I showered, dressed, made breakfast, went to a massage, did the dishes and picked up the kid.  Wow!!  I haven't done all that in one day in a dogs age.  I got back from the bus stop and collapsed on the couch.  I'm still there three days later.  I've been using the walker to get around the house when I can even manage to get up.  Why oh why??  I know better.

So I need a new plan.  Instead of being driven by instinct, which apparently is out to get me, I need to come up with something more structured so I don't end up permanently stuck in bed.  I also think I have to go over this game plan with hubby so that he understands what is going on and doesn't expect me to exceed my limits.  Like someone said it is like having a car that only get $5 of gas per week.  Once the gas is gone that's it for the week.  I have to plan my trips better.

So.
Hum.
Now what?

I think forced resting is going to have to be part of this.  What I did back in September worked well: do something then lie down for at least 20 minutes.  So, shower: lie down.  Cook: lie down.  Dress: lie down.  Drive: lie down.  Etc.  No cheating.  I might have to set a timer to limit my internet activities when I first get up in the morning.  It is like a drug.  I have this urge to go online first thing. It often compresses my schedule when I have to go to an appointment and the rest periods are the first to go.  I need to not do this.  Facebook will still be there in the evening when I can take my time going through things.

And back to the no sugars, no grains, no cheating part of the diet.  Back to at least a Paleo diet plan.  I think I'm going to have to enlist my doctor or my nutritionist for help to incorporate all of the vegetables for Dr. Wahls diet.  I need to be able to eat cruciferous vegetables without the heartburn or Prilosec.

The Plan:
Forced rest periods
Day off between appointments/trips
Make doc/nutritionist apt to take care of stomach probs
Back on Paleo diet with as much veg as I can handle comfortably

Goals:
Being able to cook breakfast and dinner each day
Make juice daily
Being able to make simple items such as yogurt and easy Paleo baked goods (baked goods reduces the urge to cheat on the diet)
9 cups of veg a day: 3 cruciferous, 3 mixed colors, 3 others/fruit
Being able to drive to local appointments
No more major crashes

Diet

This is one of the reasons I decided to change my diet:



Despite the drastic crashes, I am doing better than I have been during this past year.  I'm driving and cooking again.  I'm still not up to the nine cups of fruit and vegetables that Dr. Wahls recommends but I'm getting there.  My biggest problem has been gastric acid.  The cruciferous vegetables produce stomach acid.  The week I managed to eat tons of vegetables with spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, or brussel sprouts at most meals I thought my stomach was going to sear a hole right through my chest.  I've backed off the amounts but have added kelp and digestive enzymes to my supplements and am going to add sulfur as well.  Here is my current average day:

breakfast: sauteed greens (kale, chard or spinach) with 1 or 2 pastured eggs either poached or as a cheese omelet with sage
snack: yogurt and Paleo bread (a bread made with almond flour and flax meal)
dinner: pastured meat, 2 veg and sometimes a starch such as potato or rice
late meal: fruit, cheese and nuts
drinks: raw milk, kombucha (fermented tea), fresh carrot juice with a beet added in, filtered water, black tea with raw milk no sugar
treat: handful of dark chocolate