*** This blog is not to be prescriptive nor give you advice, merely to show you my way of navigating true health in a jungle of advice and pharmaceutical pressure. Please do your own research, ask your own specialists or contact those I have used if you wish to find out more about your personal condition and symptoms. To your very best health. ***
Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
What a week of introspection, realisation and revelation.
I am three weeks into the AIP programme as prescribed by Dr Datis. It’s working wonders in many ways.
I know that I am doing lots of things at the moment that are all directed towards improving my health internally, mentally and physically. However I feel so different already that I am laying a lot of the credit onto the food.
I know I talk a lot about how well I was eating before. I was. If it sounds like bragging then I apoloigise, however I place as high a value on my diet like people do on their holidays, beauty treatments or wardrobe. It seems that way wasn’t suiting me. Something in my previous mix has caused inflammation, puffy face, lack of oomph and a feeling so desperately unlike anything I’ve felt before that I am only now beginning to realise what a dark place I’ve been in for quite a while.
Whilst these symptoms aren’t all directly related to the food I was eating, the impact they have creates a cascade of events in the body that have created the apparent symptoms.
What’s not in my diet now that was before?
- Gluten free oats, that was about the only grain I was eating as I already knew that the others weren’t suiting me.
- All nightshade veggies: aubergine (didn’t eat many of those), tomatoes, peppers, chillies.
- Nuts and seeds
- Pulses and lentils (not a lot of these either as I already knew they didn’t agree with me).
- Alcohol (not a big drinker, but would probably have had wine each weekend at some point)
What am I eating now?
- Meat, fish and vegetables. That’s pretty much it. But it’s working a treat.
How have I noticed the difference in this third week?
- No cravings at all for any regular foods. I’ve also had no hunger unless the gaps between meals are overlong. Twice this week I’ve missed lunch and I’ve been ravenous for my dinner. One of the rules of the programme is to manage blood sugar so this isn’t ideal. But I’ll work to avoid that next time.
- Each week I train at REV5 in Windsor. It’s a strength based session to help me maintain my much reduced metabolism due to the hypothyroidism. I already love it there and how I feel afterwards, but I’ve noticed that these very heavy weights seem smoother to move, I can’t say easier because it isn’t and using the word lighter when it’s actually heavier is wrong too. But the power and endurance I have now has changed as I’ve got further into the eating plan. Even my coach commented on it.
- I’ve successfully raised my blood pressure to a near normal range. Having low blood pressure isn’t something to aim for. We need the pressure of the circulation system to get blood and oxygen to all our extremities and that includes the hands, feet and brain. Lack of oxygen in the brain is not to be encouraged. My blood pressure has been consistently low (98/58 range to 107/60). I’ve been adding Himalayan salt to every meal and this week I managed to get my blood pressure to a more respectable 112/72 (normal is 120/80). If you can get your BP within 10 points either side of this you’re in a good place.
As a side note, a lower resting heart rate is not the same thing and a useful guide to cardiovascular health and fitness. Average is 72. Mr Strickers has a resting heart rate in the 40s!!
- My mental state has started to feel very good. However it’s been in these moments that I’ve realised that I’ve been in a very dark place this year and longer. Having done some reading around it, it’s down to the link between dopamine production (reward and pleasure responses) and the thyroid. I won’t go into it here, but suffice to say that I’ve been to places in my emotions untapped before. It’s so bloody great to be getting out of that again. This hasn’t been just down to the diet, I have been supplementing with some natural dopamine and it’s been very effective and positive.
- Also this week the sun came out. Good grief that was needed. I’ve been like a lizard wherever possible getting solar powered. Interestingly I read in Dr Datis’s book on the thyroid that 90% of auto-immune thyroid sufferers (Hashimoto’s) have a genetic disease affecting their ability to process vitamin D. The defect is on the cells vitamin D receptors and not enough can get into the cells. He recommends people with Hashimoto’s to aim for top end range to give the body a fighting chance. My Vitamin D is below where it should be, I’m supplementing and sunning…
How have I noticed the difference in this third week?
Less than positively …
- I still have cold hands and feet most of the time. Even when I think that they aren’t cold, I place my fingers on my wrists or face and they are chilled.
- The constipation isn’t letting up unless accompanied with some natural laxatives. I am not worried about it, I can tell my body is going through some changes.
- My sleep has been very short. I am going to bed between 22:00 and 22:30 and falling asleep immediately. However then waking at 02:30 most mornings. And ready to get up (not conducive in a marriage). I tend to lay there until 05:00 and then take some very early walks. I love this time of day, but recognise that I can’t sustain this. Once again, I am not going to worry about it. This too will pass. In the meantime I am enjoying the sunrises.
- The two days I missed lunch this week I also had quite busy, full on days. Those familiar feelings of overwhelm and not getting it all done instantly made me want to have a drink. A glass of wine or beer. It was interesting to recognise the trigger. It wasn’t food I wanted, but booze.
- I’ve had a skin outbreak of dermatitis herpetiformis this week. I get these when I’ve been glutened or eaten something that my body doesn’t like. I don’t know what it was as I’ve been clean as clean at home food wise. However I had two salads out this week and there could have been some cross contamination there (if I a not a coeliac I’ll be really surprised!)
This week I also investigated chiropractic treatment for some help in identifying why I wake up and use my head pressing into my pillow to turn over.
I went and visited the lovely Kelly at Dynamic Family Chiropractic in Caversham.
This became another ‘why-can’t-I-be-normal?’ moment!
Actually I want to express my right to brag a little… we learned I have an extra vertebra and joint at my sacrum. How cool! Also a straight neck, not an S-shaped one (not at all ideal) and scoliosis of the spine (again, not to be aimed for). Excellent, it was definitely a morning of discovery.
The problem areas in my spine on my neck and back sit around the nerve points for throat and head (thyroid and sight/smell/hearing) and the back ones for digestion and liver. No surprises there then that everything is being exacerbated.
Things to work on this week…
- Increase my high intensity interval exercise to improve oxygenation to the brain. You need to breathe deeply and rapidly. I’ll be at Fit Camp if my sleeping allows or doing run sprints.
- Maintain food plan.
- Doing my spinal health exercises from the chiropractor twice a day.
- Add in fermented foods to one meal a day.
My final point to reflect on this week has been the realisation how bad things had got for me mentally and physically.
It’s a change that is so slow and pervasive that it’s hard to spot it happening. The few people I’ve mentioned it to had no idea. And that includes my husband.
I may at some point write more about this and how it’s affected me, but for now I am focusing on what I want, not what I don’t and also recognising what I’ve done to move me instinctively forward to keep me going. I think that’s a way better way of helping someone else if they’re reading this than reading about my woes.
So what have I done?
In no order of importance here’s what I’ve realised I do in times of adversity.
- I never think that my current situation is forever. I always see it as a phase.
- My instinct is to read, learn and find out what I can (to the point of obsession when I get too wrapped up in my own shit). But then taking one thing to implement. It gives me a feeling of progress and action.
- I’ve been uncharacteristically unproductive. I’ve not got too bogged down in this lack of activity, I knew it would come good.
- For the first time in 48 years I’ve listened more to my body and done nothing a lot of the time; and I mean nothing. Naval-gazing at best.
- I have walked almost every day. It keeps me sane. I need to be outside each day.
- I’ve kept up with my good eating. Even when I’ve been in the midst of all this, my diet was still good (even now I know some of those foods weren’t great for me).
- I’ve been attending weekly strength training sessions at REV5. I love this time for me. When I look back over this year, I feel that REV5 has been the one thing to keep me going each week. Why? It’s shown me that there is always progress even if it’s tiny. It gave me something I was good at to look forward to each week and it’s so perfectly, perfect for my introverted-let-me-have-some-space-to-think personality that I feel nothing but calm there.
- From the ongoing reading and learning I’ve tweaked my food, drinks, supplements to improve my mood, energy and skin. This is working, I’ve had several compliments on how I look – I feel healthy for the first time ever.
- I’ve kept myself to myself a lot.
If you’ve read until this point, thank you. However I want to make sure that this doesn’t become a prescriptive blog. This is my process and includes my oddities and quirks. If you need some pointers please ask, but don’t expect what I am doing to work for you too, I think this lovely picture sums it up beautifully.