Friday, September 25, 2015

The autoimmune protocol diet

I've finally realized that in order to stay functioning with the least amount of pain and cognitive issues, I MUST follow the autoimmune protocol diet. Of course, everyone has to customize to their individual needs/sensitivities.

At the basics for reasons that are best explained in books I'll list below, here is what I now follow in a nutshell:
  1. No sugars, not even artificial sweeteners (which are worse than real sugars) only exception is honey in my tea as a special treat once in a while.
  2. No processed foods - eliminates most inflammatory foods in one fell swoop, including dropping sodium and sugar intake!
  3. No grains (gluten and oats make me dizzy, tired, and a few hours later cause tummy discomfort; rice just immediately causes gas.)
  4.  No dairy (I've learned it is a BIG and immediate source of inflammation for me all over and even out to my skin in the form of a lifetime of acne; my complexion is beautiful now!)
  5. No legumes (soy is a definite problem for me; peanuts, peas and cashews to lesser degrees where I can tolerate them on occasion and only in small amounts. I don't eat beans anyway, so no loss there.)
  6. No tomatoes/nightshades (the exception is potatoes on occasion, which I can tolerate quite well)
  7. Lots of water throughout the day
Sorry, but no matter what I did, I couldn't not eliminate some of those foods. I wanted to keep them, but I found that eliminating them all was the only way to feel like I might have a normal life.

Every other whole food is actually pretty good to me now, although there are some that I must limit, like fermented foods (too high in histamines).

For my specific issues (Hashimoto's), I must also limit iodine. Too much makes my thyroid swell and feel like its crushing my throat.

And to balance blood sugar, I also limit fruits as much as I can to a max of 3/day.

You'll find MUCH greater detail in these two books (which I've read after figuring out my diet):

The Autoimmune Solution
The Autoimmune Solution is a great, general, easy-to-understand overview of what the author refers to as "The Myers Way". She is a licensed M.D. specializing in functional medicine. You'll find her way is identical to many other autoimmune protocols anywhere on the internet. But here it's in one book with a section of recipes at the end.
In The Paleo Approach, Sarah Ballentyne goes into great depth about why we should avoid certain foods and the detailed effects they have on our bodies that make them problematic for sufferers of autoimmune diseases. I'm still reading it but find it extraordinarily helpful. However, it is like a medical textbook in all the details of cytokines, B-cells/T-cells, mitochondria, etc. Be prepared for some heavy reading. I enjoy the details very much, but someone else may not want the nitty gritty minutiae of how our bodies function. In that case, you're better off sticking to the book above.

In addition, I've also discovered this gem of a little book, thanks to research on hypoglycemia (recommended on a forum that came up in my search), which has been an occasional problem for me:
I've tried balancing my diet a few different ways and discovered that this works great for getting a restorative sleep. I've mentioned it in previous posts but want to say that I've learned to eat like this whenever I can.

Here is the basic eating plan I find works best for me, thanks to The Adrenal Reset Diet suggestions of carb-loading:
  • Morning first thing: hot water with lemon (to cleanse the liver and aid digestion)
  • Breakfast: 2-3 eggs/other meat (I love morning eggs!) + a serving of fruit/vegetable
  • Morning snack: nuts/seeds and/or small serving of fruit
  • Lunch: Meat (chicken/beef/other) usually more than the tiny 3 oz. recommended + green leafy vegetable + other veggie/fruit
  • Afternoon snack: tea and/or other whole food like a raw veggie and/or nuts/seeds
  • Supper: all veggies and/or one fruit (depending on fruit prior in the day) depending on how hungry I am by then
  • Before bed: a small snack of veggie/fruit and/or nuts/seeds
I limit fruits to no more than 3/day to limit my sugars and try to consume them in conjunction with a protein or fat to slow the metabolism of the sugars. Berries are the main go-to. However, if I do wake up at 2-3 am (usually warm and wide awake), I'll go for anything that's quick to get my blood sugar back in balance to lower my cortisol so I can fall back to sleep, and it works. I also try to limit my nuts/seeds to small quantities.

As you can see, I don't eat heavy proteins with each meal, focusing them in the morning and early afternoon (the richness of B vitamins usually perks me up, which may be part of the reason I don't want to sleep when I have them later in the day). This is what has proven to lead me to better sleep at night, which the body needs to repair/regenerate itself. No more endless insomnia!

I am continually refining the things in my life that I can do to boost my immune system and decrease inflammation. Keeping a journal has helped a great deal, but these books would have helped me even more had I found them sooner.

I've cleaned up our household in other ways and switched to a wake-up light as recommended in The Adrenal Reset Diet and find them helpful, as well as refined my supplements (most nutrients come from my food now that my digestion is better), but this post is about the diet, so I won't get into the other details. I hope this helps others searching as I did for relief from their symptoms.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Finished and in progress

This is completely finished and to be released early (September 26):

Available for preorder from online retailers and ready to go for only $0.99 for a limited time!

And then, there's this:

A cover for the latest short fantasy that I've been working on. It's expanded a bit from where I thought it would be in length, but that's made it even more compelling. the tagline at the bottom reads "Seeing through the eyes of another can shatter the lies they choose to believe." I'll have a description for that upcoming, but first I have to finish writing the story. This one will be available only from Amazon and free through Kindle Unlimited.

Both of these are shorter than novels and only available as ebooks.

After this, I'll finish Nemesis.

Monday, September 7, 2015

New kitten

I don't think I've shared any pics of the newest family member. This is the barn-kitten turned housecat that I couldn't resist adopting from a friend's barn...Jack (Sparrow/O'Neill/Samurai (very appropriate considering the little needles on those white paws)/Harkness). All cats in the household are named after SFF characters. "Jack" may seem ordinary, but he's named after many characters we like.

I swear he's part ragdoll:

Dargo is not BFFs with Jack, but tolerates him. When Jack plays, he gives Dargo a run for his money. Jack is pretty fierce and very bold, much more so than Dargo. Serves Dargo right for all the times he's been rough while playing with Suki >:)

I'm not sure if you can tell, but jack is the prettiest brown tabby with tuxedo markings.

Jack has been with us for a month, has been neutered, and goes in for his final set of kitten shots this week. Litterbox training him was never an issue. Barn-to-house cat was the most natural transition for him. And he was well socialized with humans and other cats so much that he's very loving to the point that I know when it's time to get up in the morning by the cold wet nose and face full of fur shoved into my cheek.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Inventing recipes...Squash

So, I can't have tomatoes, or pasta, or pizza for that matter. What can I eat when I can't have most grains or nightshades? Squash!

Squash spaghetti

I have had "spaghetti" zucchini as meals before. I love zucchini, and you don't even have to cook to enjoy it. Just shred lengthwise and you're done in seconds.

The sauce I thought up on my own. It is a different kind of squash, a sweet squash. I think it was butternut squash. I can't remember because I had cooked it a few months ago and cut it up into individual serving pieces, bagged it, and froze it. I took out one of the larger pieces, thawed it in the microwave, and pureed it in my Ninja with a little water. I then dumped it into a small saucepan with a tiny bit of butter (for the flavor only), a little extra virgin olive oil (for the flavor), and some coconut oil. I then Ninja'd a leaf of savoy cabbage, a little bit of green onion, and a medium clove of garlic with some water and dumped that into the saucepan. I got that all simmering then added some dried basil and fresh oregano and some fresh onion. I simmered off some of the water to thicken it and blend the flavors. It didn't take long. The sauce was literally awesome-sauce in my opinion. I had enough for this serving with just enough extra for lunch tomorrow. The sauce would be good with other pairings too.

The white pat is goat cheese. I love goat cheese! A little with each bite added the perfect flavor. I debated just putting it into the sauce but didn't know how that would turn out, but on the side was perfect. Chevre makes a nice condiment or base in recipes, especially when you're trying to avoid certain dairy proteins.

I've had a little reaction but nothing major. It's not the squash or the ingredients (maybe the cabbage--goitrogens can cause problems for me), but it's not unusual for all food to cause a slight problem; it's more troublesome that even sipping water makes my neck hurt sometimes. I just live with the fact that my thyroid doesn't like anything I do anymore and eat as healthy as I can.

ps--this is quite filling!