Saturday, March 28, 2015

One Week In - DHwRF Update

Well I've completed one full week of the Digestive Health with REAL Food elimination diet, with a few personal modifications for my own health and sanity.  Here's what I've been eating:

uncured bacon, ideally sugar-free (not DHwRF-approved, but included in my personal diet because it was fine last time I did the diet and reintroduced it)
uncured lunchmeats, salami, and pepperoni (not DHwRF-approved, only included because we were traveling in the car all day many days, now removing them from my diet)

green beans
kale (not DHwRF-approved, but included because it's healthy and I really like it)
raspberries (not DHwRF-approved, but included to help fight possible h. pylori infection)
broccoli sprouts (not DHwRF-approved, but included to help fight possible h. pylori infection)
lemon juice, fresh
lime juice, fresh

coconut oil
MCT oil
olive oil
garlic-infused olive oil
Himalayan pink sea salt


kombucha (both store-bought and homemade)
unsweetened hot tea (mostly rooibos, green, and chamomile; not all DHwRF-approved, but included for sanity and soothing of digestive system)

gelatin (Great Lakes grass-fed)
Monuka honey (not DHwRF-approved, but included to help fight possible h. pylori infection)

Things I am NOT eating that I miss oh-so-much:
  • any fruit besides raspberries
  • chewy granola-bar-type foods
  • chocolate
  • almond milk
  • Did I mention coffee??
I sure hope that I don't find out coffee gives me issues when I reintroduce it.  If it does, one of my dear friends (or my poor husband) is going to have to come drag me out from under my covers because I'm going to go into long-term mourning.

So one week into the diet, have I experienced any improvements??   Yessiree!!  And thank goodness. Because I've experienced worsening of many symptoms, also.  Which is supposedly what happens when your body goes through a "detox" like this.

Digestive symptoms:  My jabbing abdominal pains and nausea have completely disappeared. Bloating has decreased significantly but is still a daily occurrence.  Alternating diarrhea/constipation has leveled out and disappeared.  So overall, minus the daily bloating, my digestive system is acting like a somewhat healthy digestive system.  Hurray!!

Reflux symptoms:  I know this is a subset of the digestive system, but it's somewhat a separate issue for me.  Prior to doing the DHwRF diet the first time, I had never noticed reflux issues much.  But now they are becoming more noticeable, I don't know why.  In case you're curious, here's a little side story about my worst experience ever with reflux:  The other night, after taking my nightly supplements and climbing into bed, I was awoken to severe pain in my esophagus.  I sat up immediately, and it felt like all my pills were climbing their way up my esophagus, jabbing themselves into the walls of my esophagus as they went.  There was some burning, but more than anything, pain and the feeling that all my stomach contents were now residing in my chest and making their way to my throat.  I quickly made my way into the bathroom in case I threw up, and ran through my head the possible causes of this.  I know that I have slow stomach transit and that my sphincter between my stomach and my esophagus hangs open, thanks to my recent endoscopy, so clearly reflux is going to be a potential issue.  But it didn't seem that there should be enough food in my stomach to cause such severe reflux so late after dinner. Then I wondered if perhaps there was gas buildup, and the gas was forcing the supplements upward.  So I started chugging water to make myself burp.  I'd drink a gulp, then try to burp.  Drink a gulp, then try to burp.  Sure enough, within a couple minutes and quite a few burps, the pain had resided and it felt like everything was back down in my stomach.  Whew.  But now, three days later, I am STILL experiencing pain in my lower esophagus when I eat and drink.  Like seriously, something got really messed up in there.  All I can imagine is that the stomach acid and pills eroded away my esophageal wall and now I have to wait for it to heal.  It was crazy and so, so painful!!

Autoimmune symptoms:  Much, much worse.  I had this occur the first time I did the diet, and so it's not shocking that it's happening again.  At first it was just super-intense sugar cravings and tiredness. The tiredness has gotten gradually worse, and now I'd call it full-blown fatigue.  I get body aches, chills, and feel so drained of energy that it's hard to walk across the room.  These symptoms will hit me and last anywhere from a couple hours to a day.  Then suddenly they'll vanish for a bit and I'll feel like a normal person.  To help with these issues I'm taking hot Epsom salt baths, sleeping as much as I can, and today I picked up some activated charcoal and castor oil to do castor oil packs.  Sleeping has proven to be very necessary.  I slept 12.5 hours two nights ago and 10 hours last night.  And this wasn't just laying in bed because I felt lazy.  I was OUT COLD.  So my body is definitely craving rest.  Thank goodness Dave is fully supportive of this and does all he can to make sure I sleep as long as needed.  In terms of brain fog, it still feels as it did prior to starting the diet.  Not incredibly severe, but I'm still having a few issues with focus, anxiety, and word recall.

Cravings:  Oh goodness.  Give me sugar.  Or coffee.  Please, please, please, sugar or coffee. (And just for the record, I drink decaf coffee.  So I'm definitely missing the coffee, not the caffeine.)  And actually, if you would put the sugar and the coffee together, um, I would be so absolutely giddy. Those are my main cravings.

An extra perk I've noticed:  I can sing better.  There's much less phlegm in my throat and I can sing more clearly and easily.  It's pretty exciting. :)

I'm so grateful for my friend Misti who is doing the diet with me.  Almost daily, one of us texts the other to say, "I really want Starbucks."  It's comforting to have someone else experiencing the same self-denial and cravings, yet staying strong through it with me.  And there's that accountability there, where I don't want to cheat because then I'll have to tell her.

So all in all, it's been a hard week.  I've had a lot of cravings for things I'm not allowed to have.  I've lashed out at my husband for eating certain foods in front of me.  I've been fatigued and cranky. BUT.  I do see improvement, and I know that things have to get worse before they get better.  So I just keep my eye on the prize and continue marching forward.

To anyone else going through any type of elimination diet, kudos to you.  It's rough, but we've got this. :)

You can read about why I'm doing the Digestive Health with REAL Food diet here:

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