14 April 2014

What's Working for Me

It seems like once a month I’m telling my mom, “Once I added in ___________/took out ________ you wouldn’t believe the difference it made.” I’ve been on this elimination diet journey for almost a year now, and I’m still figuring out what my body is reacting to and how it reacts, not to mention what “advice” to take seriously. There are so many sites out there claiming they have the one diet or method that will cure whatever ails you. The more I read the more I realize that we don’t value enough what we put in our bodies and each of our bodies will react differently. I’ve gotten better at recognizing the signals my body is giving to me, but it’s still too much of a guessing game.

As I said, I’ve been working at this for almost a year, but I feel like I’ve made some really good progress in the last three months. At the end of the year, I realized that I hadn’t taken care of myself as I should have during the holidays. For 30 days, starting in January, I ate a GAPS Intro diet. When those 30 days were over, I started testing some foods that I had allergic reactions and digestion problems with previously. I haven’t noticed a problem adding back some starches like steel cut oats, yams, and sweet potatoes. Inflammation responses in my body are still on high alert, though. It seems like I have a rash when I eat some nuts and nightshade vegetables/seasonings. Dairy makes me congested. While I don’t seem to have any pain eating real sourdough bread, I think the gluten might be affecting my bowel movements (TMI?). And processed sugar, does something… it not helping, that’s for sure. Like I said, digestion = guessing game.

All this is still a vast improvement from where I was before this all charade began! I used to feel unbearable upper-quadrant pain that sent me to the emergency room, nausea every afternoon, fluctuating appetite, draining energy, and achy joints. I feel more normal now. I use an anti-inflammatory diet and list of supplements that help me stay healthy normal. I am not in any way qualified to give medical advice. This is just what has worked for me recently, and it could honestly change next week.

Vitamin C: As I have an autoimmune disease, it makes sense that higher doses of vitamin C appeared to have the biggest impact on how I felt. Allergic reactions lessened dramatically under this protocol. Now on a daily basis, I only need the vitamin C in my multi vitamin. But I turn to this protocol when my feels taxed, whether that’s Crohn’s or whatever colds is circulating this season.

Now Liver Detoxifier and Regenerator: My lab results showed elevated liver enzymes often this past year. While I don’t need it at the moment, it helped to take these pills at the same time I was taking higher doses of vitamin C.

L-Glutamine: Glutamine is supposed to protect the lining of the intestinal track, which is pretty important when leaky gut is a culprit. While I took more during my GAPS Intro diet, I now take 1 tsp each morning.

Multi-vitamin:  I try to supply my body with the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs. I noticed early on that after taking some brands vitamins in the morning, I would have an immediate allergic response. I switched to Freeda’s SCD multi-vitamins and haven’t had a problem since. These vitamins are made for people following the specific carbohydrate diet, so they are food sensitivity friendly.

Quercetin: Among other benefits, quercetin is supposed to help with allergies and histamine levels. I’ve also heard that vitamin C works best when accompanied by a flavonoid like quercetin.

Probiotics: I prefer to eat my probiotics by making or buying fermented foods, as I'm under the impression that fermented foods have a greater variety of strains than the probiotics you find in the pharmacy. If you're looking for a pill, Bio-Kult probiotics are recommended for GAPS patients and have helped me with bowel irregularity (sorry, TMI, again).

Digest Gold: Though I'm really good with my diet at home, digestive enzymes cover me when I don't have as much control over what food are available for me to eat (social gatherings and travel).

MegaFood Blood Builder: This isn't exactly for Crohn's, but this little pill, taken once a day, helps improve my circulation and has calmed down cramping. I definitely see a difference when I don't take it.

I'm still looking for answers, but I'm glad that I have a toolkit that is working for me now. This has certainly been a trial, but I am grateful that I have been blessed with an inquisitive mind, some self control, and many medical resources to figure out how I can find help or help myself.