Thursday, April 09, 2015

My Whole 30 Adventure

So I've been following a Paleo diet pretty haphazardly for the past few years. Since Alita was born, I haven't really been paying too much attention to my own well being except to notice that my pants were getting tighter and tighter. My eating was controlled most of the time with random binges mixed in. Also, lots of wine. More wine than I care to admit out loud. Thanksgiving weekend, I had a terrible case of heartburn. Not a surprise, even though I rarely get heartburn, since I was eating like these were the last carbs on earth, yet it was painful and would not go away no matter how many Tums I ate. Around the same time, I was itchy and covered in red bumps. It looked like mites or something gross were eating me. I used a steroid cream, which helped, and got on a course of steroids. As soon as the steroids ended, the rash came back. I itched everywhere and had this awful heartburn. I was miserable! Our entire Christmas holiday was spent with me taking Vicodin 2 at a time around the clock and still whimpering while Rob took care of the kids. After completing a second round of steroids, 2 rounds of Elimite, and still having a rash (now kinda diagnosed as chronic hives - and by kinda diagnosed I mean my primary care doctor shrugged and I did a lot of online research) and heartburn, which felt like someone standing on my chest 24/7, I started seeing specialists. An allergist didn't think the 2 were connected unless maybe I had the h. pylori bacteria - we took a blood sample for that which later froze in their lab pick-up box. I left that office with no information but a handful of prescriptions. At least my symptoms were under control at that point. Next stop, gastroenterology! The doctor suggested an EGD scope (upper GI with biopsy) - and hey wasn't that fun! Besides inflammation, nothing of note was present in this test but at least I've met my deductible for the year. Oh and more prescriptions. At this point, I'm taking my regular meds for high blood pressure and depression and an additional 14 pills a day - some twice a day, some just in the morning, some just before bed. At least I'm not taking Vicodin any more, since the symptoms are all controlled, but this does not feel like a sustainable solution. Especially since if I miss one dose, all the issues come back within hours. Based on the story of Joe Cross, who used juice fasting to cure himself of chronic hives, I started researching dietary changes that might help me. Something in my body is making the histamine receptors go crazy, and we don't know why. Ultimately I chose an elimination diet, since it's not advised to go from straight crap diet to juice fast without something healthy in between. I was already a fan of Paleo, so I decided to try Whole 30. I loved the It Starts with Food book and the perspective of "Giving birth is hard, giving up x-item for 30 days is not hard." I was nervous about giving up wine, but knowing that alcohol is a culprit in heartburn, histamines, and other health issues, I took the plunge. I decided not to cut back on any of my medications until after 30 days. There are some online resources that were invaluable to me (I'm looking at you NomNomPaleo and TheClothesMakeTheGirl), and I did a lot of shopping. And chopping. I have never consumed so many vegetables. I started making my own mayo and ghee. Everything I cooked was delicious. I was eating *really well* and felt amazing. I had so much energy and so much less moodiness. I made one juice every day, loaded up with ginger and veggies. I looked forward to that daily juice and did not even notice that I wasn't drinking wine.

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