Sunday, May 3, 2015

Six Weeks In - DHwRF

Six weeks in!! (Wonder what I'm talking about? Read here: Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2.)

The coffee and strawberries I reintroduced last week have seemed to be A-OK. Yippee! (Especially for coffee.) This week, I tried out the most non-fake coconut-based coffee creamer I could find in Whole Foods. I decided that rather than trying to reintroduce each ingredient in it, I would just give it a whirl and see what happens. It was a no-go. Both times I drank it, I felt off, and felt like it bloated my stomach and made me really uncomfortable. I have no idea what part of it made me feel sick, but I'm dropping that one and don't plan to try it again. I've found a homemade recipe for hazelnut creamer, so I'm going to let hazelnuts be my next reintroduction and see if I can make a healthy non-dairy creamer at home. I also reintroduced romaine lettuce, which I don't expect to give me any issues. So far I don't think it has.

Here's the roundup of my symptoms for the week:

Digestive symptoms:  I've been feeling "off" after some meals, with a few jabbing pains and some bloating, even though I'm eating the same safe foods that I've been eating for six weeks now. The pains and bloating aren't so severe that they limit me in any way, but I'd rather they be gone nonetheless. I'm not sure what's going on with that...I don't understand why they haven't seemed to go entirely away yet. I've also had some "off" days in the bathroom this week. When times like this happen, I never know if I somehow got cross-contaminated with gluten (I've learned that I am INCREDIBLY sensitive to trace amounts of gluten) or if I'm reacting to foods I've been eating.

Reflux symptoms: I really haven't had any reflux issues this week. Hurray. :)

Autoimmune symptoms: Autoimmune symptoms have been great. I still have occasional issues with word recall, but otherwise there's no noticeable brain fog. For sleep, I'm finding that I can get by on less and less...I got 7.5 hrs a couple nights this week and was totally fine. The alarm clock had to wake me, but I wasn't dragging through the day or anything. Unfortunately, last night I only got six hours, and I'm really struggling today. So six hours of sleep is not an option.

Cravings: I still really crave sugary foods. A lot. I'm simply a sweet food lover, and I don't know how to change that. I usually fill my cravings through banana chips, raspberries, or strawberries, all of which bloat me if I eat too many. And it's really hard for me to stop before I've eaten too many. It's a daily struggle. If anyone has any tips, please share.

Alright, that's all for this week!

If you'd like to catch up on my past weeks, you can find them all below.

Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2
One Week In - DHwRF Update
Two Weeks In - DHwRF
Three Weeks In - DHwRF
Four Weeks In - DHwRF
Five Weeks In - DHwRF

Monday, April 27, 2015

Five Weeks In - DHwRF

I'm five weeks in, as of this past Saturday. So far in that this diet is starting to feel like my normal life now, which is rather crazy.

The awesome news is that I'm definitely feeling some healing. Hurrrrrrray!!

My cold continued into this week, which left me feeling gunky and with a stomach ache in the mornings, I assume from all the drainage. I also had issues with foods causing immediate sharp gas-type pains when I ate them in the evening but not when I ate them earlier in the day. It was rather bizarre.  Overall I've been feeling better and wanted to reintroduce something, but given these evening GI issues, I decided to be careful with what I selected.   So I reintroduced decaf coffee (yaaaaaaayyyy COFFEE!!) and strawberries.  The reasons for my choices were this:  1) I knew from last time I did the diet that coffee wouldn't give me digestive symptoms.  I am only concerned about whether it gives me autoimmune symptoms, mainly brain fog, and my brain fog has been good for many days now.  So I knew I had a good baseline to start from.  2) Our local strawberry patch just opened up and my sons and I bought some strawberries this week.  They looked SO DELICIOUS.  I looked it up, and strawberries are very unlikely to cause any issues (they are allowed on both a SIBO diet and AIP).  So I decided to go ahead and reintroduce them too so I could enjoy the berries with my sons.  Totally worth it.  They were delicious. :)  Neither the coffee nor the strawberries have given me any noticeable symptoms so far.  I'm going to watch the coffee carefully for at least five days, up to a week, to make sure my brain fog doesn't return, but so far so good.

Below is the roundup of my symptoms this week. (If you're just now jumping in and would like to know what in the world I'm talking about, you can check it out here: Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2.)

Digestive symptoms:  My only symptoms have been occasional bloating and the sharp gas-like pains I experienced a couple evenings, mentioned above.  Otherwise I've been good.  It's been wonderful.

Reflux symptoms: Reflux hasn't been noticeable.  I've had a couple meals where I felt like my food was staying in my stomach too long, as if it weren't digesting.  I felt bloated and overly full even though I hadn't eaten in quite some time.  In those cases, I took either a betaine HCl pill or an enzyme pill, depending on what I'd most recently eaten, because I assumed that my stomach was having a hard time breaking down the food.  Both times the pills helped.

Autoimmune symptoms: Autoimmune symptoms have been pretty good.  If I let myself wake on my own in the morning, I sleep about 9 hours, which isn't bad.  Brain fog hasn't been bad and word recall is pretty good.  I struggle occasionally but not often.  This aspect of my health is definitely affected by whether I have a cold or some other bug affecting me.

Cravings:  I am really, really craving Mexican food.  Probably because my husband and sons have been eating Mexican a few times lately, and I have to sit around and smell it without getting a taste. Other cravings are about the same as they have been.  I would love some chocolate or a granola bar. Or something crunchy other than banana chips and spinach chips.

Overall, my health continues to improve but seems to be plateauing a bit.  I'm starting to reintroduce some foods, which makes me super excited.  Variety sure tastes great when you get used to eating the same 8 foods over and over and over.

If you'd like to catch up on my past weeks, you can find them all below.

Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2
One Week In - DHwRF Update
Two Weeks In - DHwRF
Three Weeks In - DHwRF
Four Weeks In - DHwRF

That's all for now!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Krewson Lee at 5 Years Old

This post is so long overdue, but fortunately kids stop changing as rapidly the older they get.  So although Krew turned 5 years old over a month and a half ago, I'd still consider what I share in this post to be about the same as what I would have shared back then. :)

Dearest Krewson Lee,

You turned 5 years old on March 5th, and a month and a half later you are now approaching the end of your first year in preschool.  You have grown and learned so much, and I'm so grateful for the wonderful year you've had.  You now know all your letters and can write them fairly legibly, and you're even learning to read some smaller, simpler words.

I love seeing your artwork from school, especially when I get to view it on the wall next to all your classmates' artwork.  The reason is this:  you always do something different from everyone else.  You always go outside the "rules" a little and add a little extra something.  Whether it be an orange-stemmed flower or a cowboy with stamp prints all over his face, very rarely do I see you do exactly what you're instructed to do.  I talked with your teacher about this, and she said it's just your personality, not necessarily a desire to break the rules.  I love that.  My little creative kid.

You took hip hop classes for a couple months over the last year and right now you're in soccer.  You seem to enjoy both, although you struggle with shyness and lack of confidence.  If we can convince you that you're awesome, then you really do well.  But if you start feeling unsure of yourself or forgotten in a mix of kids, you tend to pull away and quit trying.  It's something we'll have to learn to work with as you get older and probably start participating in more activities.

You're really starting to enjoy playing with your little brother, which is just wonderful.  Now that he talks well and you can communicate, it's really opened a lot of doors for the two of you.  You play make believe, build together, play cars, etc.  You really get along pretty well despite your different personalities.  I pray that your relationship continues to grow.

You are still our quiet, often melancholy child.  Oh, you have your goofy, crazy, loud moments.  But your average personality is one of quietness and introspection.  You typically prefer to do quiet activities like build, color, paint, and draw rather than play make believe or play with cars.  You will spend hours and hours building with Lego sets, but playing with cars will typically only last ten minutes, tops. Your favorite time to act crazy goofy is when I'm trying to take some normal, decent pictures of you.

You are still a little guy, ranking in at the 18th percentile for height.  You're wearing mostly 4t clothes and size 11 shoes.  You did grow two inches in the last year, though, and you're maintaining your place on the charts.

You are still emotional and sensitive, and we have to be gentle with our reprimands.  It really doesn't take much to discipline you, other than some strict words and occasionally sending you to your room. Very rarely do we have to actually take away a toy or privilege.  A talk is usually sufficient. You still get in a lot of "moods" that affect everything in that moment, and it can be hard to deal with you when you get in these funks.

We've decided to hold you back a year before sending you to kindergarten, so you'll be back at your current preschool next year for Pre-K.  We're hoping it will give you some time to grow emotionally and socially before heading into the big school.  Also, given that you're a little guy, we think it will be beneficial for you to grow a little physically as well, although that wasn't the main reason for holding you back.

If anyone would like to see your personality in action, we did a video interview right after you turned 5-years-old, which can be viewed here:

Alright sweet boy, that's all for now.  We love you so much. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When It's My To-Do List vs God

Yesterday I was driving Krew to school, feeling anxious and torn up inside. My morning had been hectic, I had tons of to-dos I wanted to get done while Greyden and I were at home during Krew's school hours, and yet I hadn't spent any time in my Bible yet. I'd told myself the night before that I was going to get up early in the morning and do my Bible time, but instead I had listened to my sick body screaming for more sleep and so I missed my quiet time window. Now, a couple hours later, as I drove Krew to school and the boys chattered in the back seat, I kept going back and forth in my mind. "I have to do my Bible time. But I don't have TIME to do my Bible time. But I must. But then nothing else will get done during that time. But I need to read my Bible..."

Suddenly this random thought (or perhaps God-given thought) crossed my mind. I pictured a different scenario. What if a friend called me right then and asked to come over during Krew's school hours to talk? How would I reply?

I knew immediately what I'd do. I'd tell her yes of course, please come on over. And then I'd tell myself that the to-dos could wait, I had a friend in need, and God would take care of everything else for me because I was following His will to support a friend in my life.

Then I flashed back to my present moment. God was asking me to put my to-dos aside to talk with Him. Why did it seem so much easier to push everything aside for a friend than it did for God? If I believed God would take care of my to-dos and my schedule so I could talk to a friend, how much moreso would He take care of my to-dos and schedule so I could talk to Him??

Well that was food for thought.

So I came home, stuck Greyden on the iPad (because heaven knows he won't let me get any focused reading done otherwise), and dove into my Bible. I read the passage of Luke 8:43-48, in which a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years shoved her way through an intense crowd to touch Jesus' cloak, believing and knowing that she would be healed if she could just lay her fingers on him. My Bible commentary then said the following about the passage:

"Many people surrounded Jesus...It was virtually impossible to get through the multitude, but one woman fought her way desperately through the crowd in order to touch Jesus. As soon as she did, she was healed. What a difference there is between the crowds that are curious about Jesus and the few who reach out and touch him! Today, many people are vaguely familiar with Jesus, but nothing in their lives is changed or bettered by this passing acquaintance...Are you just curious about God, or do you reach out to him in faith...?"

Suddenly after reading this I realized: I should be like this woman in my quiet time with God. I should pursue it like my life and well-being depend on it -- on Him. If I would only view my time in His presence as the answer to my problems -- as is actually the case, and as this woman did -- how much more peace would I have? And how much more devoted to Him would I be? How much better would my day be? He should be the fuel that gets me through the day. To try to plow through the day without fueling up is neglectful, and I've faced the implications of it many times before. By the time the sun goes down I find myself exhausted, irritable, and feeling defeated. But on those days when I meet with God in the morning and focus my eyes on Him, everything else fades away and a hope fills my heart and I know it's all going to be ok.

So how about you? How's your time with God? Who is winning in your life? God or your to-do list? Are you pursuing Him with the fervency of a bleeding woman, or are you just a passerby in the crowd, hoping to catch a brief glimpse of Him sometime throughout your day? I'm certainly not perfect at this, but I'm trying more and more to pursue Him and push all else aside for that time. When I do, I know He'll take care of the rest.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Four Weeks In - DHwRF

Well, yesterday marked four weeks on the DHwRF basic elimination diet.  Unfortunately, I'm still not at the point of being able to reintroduce foods.  This past week didn't go exactly as I'd planned.

First, I got a cold, which knocked my whole body off whack.  Then I had a stressful week and we also had a vomiting episode with our youngest son (his health story is a million blog posts on its own), and I found myself overeating as a way to cope.  Anyone else do this kind of stress eating?  I hate that I do it.  I'm actually reading a book right now on how to learn to control it.  It's amazing to me that even on this limited diet, I can still find a way to overeat.  I got sick on spinach chips, ghee bites, and bananas (which I reintroduced last week).  Ridiculous.

Anyway, between the cold and the emotional overeating, my body was not happy.  I had a lot of digestive pains and issues.  It was really disappointing.

Nevertheless, here's the round up of my symptoms this week:

Digestive symptoms:  As I mentioned, it was a bad week.  A lot of bloating, jabbing pains, and nausea.  All my fault for eating to soothe myself rather than fuel myself.  On a positive note, no issues with diarrhea or constipation.

Reflux symptoms: I felt a little bit of reflux at the beginning of the week, but otherwise nothing. Also, a really exciting update on this aspect of my health is that I was able to take a betaine HCl pill and enzyme pills this week without experiencing any resulting burning or nausea.  This is HUGE for me!!  Every time I took either pill in the past, I would experience extreme burning or nausea and would even vomit at times.  Over the last month and a half, I have been taking a lot of supplements to try to heal my stomach lining, and I am SO EXCITED that it seems to be working!! I'll have to write a separate blog post about my regime I'm following and why I decided to follow it.

Autoimmune symptoms: I've been tired this week, but I'm pretty sure it's just due to having a cold. This week I also had dry mouth symptoms and a leg ache so severe that I had to use a heating pad in bed.  On a positive note, my brain fog continues to dissipate and my word recall is improving.  I'm finding that I can actually focus on difficult or annoying tasks, which is a huge improvement compared to a month ago.  I continue to have bouts of anxiety (I think I've forgotten to report this in weeks past, but it's been ongoing), but I'm learning that they usually happen when I'm feeling overstimulated with too many to-dos.  So when anxiety hits, I try to seek some quiet and calm myself down and find a way to reduce the input.

Cravings: As with last week, cravings are totally manageable until I get stressed.  And then I would do about anything for some chocolate or a chewy granola bar.  This ties into that emotional eating mentioned above.  It's a struggle for me.

Alright, I think that's all.  If I have a good week in terms of brain fog, I may try reintroducing (decaf) coffee soon.  I know it doesn't give me digestive symptoms, but I removed it from my diet because I want to be sure it doesn't cause my brain fog.  I don't think it does, but better safe than sorry.  I want to be 100% sure it's not making me sick, because it's a beverage that I'll drink quite often.  And yes, I do decaf.  Caffeine turns me into a crazy, anxious, jittery mess.

If you'd like to catch up on my past weeks, you can find them all below.

Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2
One Week In - DHwRF Update
Two Weeks In - DHwRF
Three Weeks In - DHwRF

'Till next week!