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If you follow me on Instagram or if you have been following this blog for a while, you might have noticed I've been posting Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) recipes. And if you've read my story of how I started to feel AMAZING on and after AIP last summer you'd probably be wondering why the heck I went back on AIP (AIP is a strict elimination diet that aims to stop any inflammation and identify any food sensitivities you may have) . I mean, last time I wrote about it I was definitely on the road to recovery. What happened?
Well, I got “glutened”, that's what happened.
It occurred over Thanksgiving. We travelled to visit my husband's family, and I was trying my best to eat as well as I could. One afternoon I was in our room trying to get my 2 year old to nap and my husband shows me the menu of the Thai restaurant we were to get take-out from that night. I quickly looked through it and thought “ok, that meat sauce probably has gluten in it, those noodles are made with gluten, hmmm, ok, I'll get the fried rice since that probably is the best option”.
Now you have to understand, I've only known I was Celiac since last June so I'm still learning and it's interesting how my mind remembers that certain things have gluten in them and forgets others. I know, for example, that Twizzlers have gluten in them. I know that you can't lick envelopes because there typically is gluten in the glue. I know most sauces have gluten in them to thicken them. I even know that soy sauce usually has gluten in it.
But in this case I was tired, I was distracted, and it didn't even occur to me that fried rice probably has soy sauce in it. Not even a thought in my head. Not so much that even when I was laying on the bed in the fetal position a few hours later feeling like I had swallowed a very sharp, multiple edged knife that had gotten lodged in my intestines did I even think of it. It literally took me a week to make the realization that there had been soy sauce in the fried rice and that I had gotten a dose of gluten. D'oh! (As I mentioned in my How My Health Failed on Paleo posts, my form of Celiac affects my brain and it certainly showed as I had a major case of the “stupids” there for a while – but it apparently also effects my intestines too! OUCH!)
So… since gluten-related antibodies remain in your body for 3-4 months after ingesting even a teeny tiny amount of gluten, I had a rough road ahead of me in terms of inflammation. But to make matters worse, the holidays were next up on the agenda, so I just kind of introduced eggs, coffee, and corn (things I knew my body gets confused with gluten) and ate them at will. Paleo baked goods galore, chocolate, alcohol, etc were part of my diet during that time. And I let stress get to me as well as letting my bedtime start to slide later and later. I wasn't exactly feeling great but I pretty much ignored all symptoms and went on with my business.
And then in late January I noticed I was having a Hashimoto's flare and that my adrenal fatigue was starting to come back as well. Dum dum duuuuum! Yeah, that was an eye-opener to me that I needed to change something. Lab results even confirmed it. A Hashi's flare for me looks like this:
- I lose lots of hair. Like every time I run my fingers through my hair I get 10-20 strands coming out.
- I get insomnia, mostly between 2-3 am
- My periods get super heavy, I spot a lot, and I get bad cramps
- I gain weight
- My hands and feet get cold and I just feel much colder in general
- I just feel a low-level exhaustion all the time
- I get anxiety
- I have low libido, sorry honey
- I start to get pimples, ack!
So I decided to go back on AIP to help quell any inflammation I had and then quickly reintroduce the things I knew that worked and slowly introduce the ones that I wasn't sure of. AIP to me is the quickest way I have found to address all my issues and get back on my feet so it will be my go-to any time I have a major incident like getting glutened or any time of major stress, etc. But unlike the first time I did it I don't think I'll need to be on the full elimination portion for long. The first time I was on it for 3 months but this time only 1 month. You only really need to be on it as long as it takes to start feeling better.
It's now been over 2 months since I started the 2nd go-around and I have introduced all nuts, seeds, nightshades, and even coffee and it's going well. Pretty much every single one of those symptoms are gone now. I have a blood test later this week to confirm that my thyroid is officially getting better and then I'll introduce eggs and hope it doesn't all go downhill.
The most important lesson I've learned from this is that I need to find balance in my life in terms of diet and lifestyle. Last summer when I was on the AIP I was in HEALING mode. Everything I did was focused on healing my body. Then during the holidays I was in “normal life” mode. What I needed to do is to find a balance between the two, something sustainable that I could do long term. Am I there yet? I'm not sure. I'm working on it but I take it day by day and listen to my body. But I'm back to feeling fantastic and I hope I get to stay this way. I can't always control what goes in my body and I refuse to live in fear of eating out because I need to have a life as well. As many have said, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so it will take time. And I do have to say that I have an eBook on relaxation techniques coming out mid-May that I have actually been using a TON to center myself and relieve stress. Funny how you write something for others and you wind up using it more for yourself! But I've found stress relief to be paramount to me feeling better, so it's something I really am emphasizing now.
Here's to hoping the next few months continue the upward trend!
*In the pic above the books featured are all Autoimmune Paleo Protocol-specific. From the left is the Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, Nourish, and He Won't Know It's Paleo.
To learn more about the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol and how it can help you if you are suffering from autoimmune issues or if you are trying to discern whether particular foods cause issues, check out my Autoimmune Disease 101 series (it's free)
Make Paleo easier, faster, less expensive, and way more fun with all the resources in my Freebie Library! Click on the picture to find out how to access it.