Monday, May 11, 2015

Seven Weeks In - DHwRF

This past Saturday marked the end of Week 7! (Catch up on what I'm doing here: Digestive Health with REAL Food - Take 2.)

This week I made a homemade hazelnut creamer for my coffee and used the creamer to reintroduce hazelnuts. The creamer was SO DELICIOUS. (Recipe here.) Like seriously, so amazingly yummy. So I proceeded to drink a lot of it over the next few days.  I honestly thought nothing of it and wasn't watching my symptoms very closely, because I didn't expect that there was any possibility that hazelnuts would bother me.  I'd never had any reaction to nuts in the past that I'd been aware of.

I started drinking a small amount of the creamer on Sunday night, and proceeded to drink a decent amount once or twice daily every day after that.  Monday I was fine and was traveling for work. Tuesday I seemed fine also, but by Tuesday night on my way home from the work trip, I was dragging and seriously struggling to stay awake despite plenty of sleep the night before. Wednesday I woke up and found my body to be achy, tense, and fatigued.  I chalked it up to the traveling the two days before.  Thursday was worse than Wednesday.  My body felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  I was exhausted and began losing my ability to concentrate.  My eyes started feeling dry and burning more than normal (an autoimmune symptom for me).  My whole body hurt and ached.  I started getting a headache as well. I thought to myself, gosh, this feels just like when I'm having a severe autoimmune flare. And then it clicked.  Oh my gosh.  It felt like an autoimmune flare because it WAS an autoimmune flare.  The hazelnuts must be making me sick.

I went back and forth in my head.  No way, surely not the hazelnuts.  But then I was like, what else could explain these horrible symptoms?  So I decided to stop drinking the hazelnut creamer.  My last beverage with it was Thursday afternoon.

Friday morning I woke up feeling absolutely horrible, but expected it.  Fatigued, body aches, headache, eyes burning with dryness. I dragged myself out of bed and had some decaf coffee WITHOUT creamer.  Wondered how long it would take for the symptoms to subside.

Fortunately, by Friday afternoon, about 24 hours after the last consumption of the hazelnut creamer, my headache had faded, my muscle aches were less noticeable, and my fatigue had lifted quite a bit. I continued to get better and better after that, and by Saturday evening I felt like a normal person again.

I'm still a bit shocked by the whole thing.  I'm flashing back now to the number of almonds I was eating before starting the diet seven weeks ago.  It was a lot.  I was making and drinking homemade almond milk and creamer regularly, and I was using the almond pulp to make homemade Lara bars which I was eating on a very regular basis.  What if I react to almonds the way I react to hazelnuts? What if it was the almonds making me so sick??

So hazelnuts are out, and honestly now I'm terrified to try any other tree nuts.  The good news is that I do not have a noticeable reaction from one or even maybe two exposures.  It's when I eat them several times in a row that I start experiencing negative effects.  So I suppose I could still have them once in a while without anything horrible happening.  But after the way I felt, I don't want to touch them with a ten-foot pole.  I felt like POO.

I've actually decided now that I'm going to try to reintroduce (cow's) milk and see what happens.  I want so badly to have some type of "milk" in my diet;  nut milks are now out, and I'm not a fan of the taste of coconut milk which is the typically recommended "safe" milk.  I had about a cup of cow's milk over the weekend, after I was feeling recovered from the hazelnut incident.  Nothing noticeable stood out to me afterward.  I did feel a little icky the next morning, but it didn't seem like a normal autoimmune reaction, and Dave was feeling icky also so I think it might have just been some type of bug going around.  I'm waiting a couple days to make sure nothing happens with one exposure, then I'll try drinking it several days in a row to see what happens.  I LOVE milk in my coffee, and I've always assumed that it was triggering symptoms for me, but now I get to actually find out.  If it does cause an autoimmune flare for me, I'm hoping that knowledge of the symptoms will be enough to keep me away from it and kill my desire for it, as seems to be the case with the hazelnuts.

On a less exciting note, I also reintroduced kale this week after removing it one or two weeks into the elimination diet.  Everything went fine with kale. :)

And as for my other symptoms, there wasn't too much exciting on the digestive front this week. Same ole, same ole.  Occasional pains and bloating after I'm stupid and either eat too much fruit or too much in general.  No obvious reflux symptoms this week, yay.  We covered the autoimmune symptoms above - they were horrible.  And as for cravings, I'm now craving chocolate, so I may try reintroducing that after I figure out the milk. :)

Alrighty, that's all 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
Six Weeks In - DHwRF

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