Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

The Diagnostic World Continues — Celiac Disease

I spoke with my doctor about the results of my CAT scan and they were normal.  No blood clot.  Yay.

I reiterated — as I sometimes HAVE to do — about the magnificent bloating, remedied by the 17-Day Diet.  I pointed out that my “IBS” symptoms are under control now.  I told her again that it is an elimination diet, but that I had buckled and eaten pizza this weekend with bad results.

Humorous story:  my boyfriend’s grandson’s birthday party was last weekend and they had pizza.  I had two pieces.  The kind that are cut in squares.  Small.  After the second piece, I had that derailed locomotive feeling barrel-assing through my intestines.  They had an outdoor party, but everyone came inside due to rain.  The apartment was teeming with family members, friends and their kids.  The bathroom is central.  Very central.  I clenched my butt,  trying so hard not to succumb to my digestive system’s awful impulse.  The sun came out and it was almost time for cake.  I wanted to yell, “Wow!!! Look how NICE it is OUTSIDE!!!”

Due to the outdoor stuff being wet, they had the singing and candle-blowing on the porch.  I went into the bathroom.  I couldn’t do it.  Not enough time.  I briskly walked out.   I finally made it to the bathroom during the presents-opening which came blessedly soon.  Armed with air freshener, I had a hit and run with my diarrhea.  Don’t ask me how I made it .  I don’t know.  But rest assured, my friends!  It was a pressing issue!

I told the doctor about the instantaneous diarrhea and the subsequent bloating and fatigue.  I asked her if food sensitivities can cause nerve pain and joint pain and fatigue……. she admits it does.  She discussed elimination diets and how the key is to implement things eliminated ONE at a time to discover what I’m sensitive to, and suggested a “food diary.”  She asked if Celiac runs in my family. I told her no.

After getting off the phone, I realized I should have mentioned how my mother is on this same diet and doing fabulously and my father is on a gluten-free diet and has lost tons of weight and has more energy than I recall his having in years.  More strangely:  they’ve been divorced for 32 years and do not talk.  The fact that BOTH are doing this sort of thing is peculiar.  Maybe there’s something undiagnosed?  Even just one of them.

She asked if I wanted a Celiac test, cautioning me that there aren’t really other reliable blood tests for allergies.

So I had my blood drawn on Tuesday.  Arriving at work with another lab bandage – the white square of gauze with medical tape-, a coworker asked me what they had done now. I told her Celiac and she cringed.  I told her I sort of hoped it was positive.

“NO WHEAT?  Never?!”  She asked incredulously.

I told her how abstinence from a certain food would be easy.  These ups and downs with “Lyme” are not.  I told her Celiac would be more “treatable” and that cycles of not feeling well would be at least somewhat  easier to predict, avoid, etc.  She nodded sympathetically, but I really don’t think anyone could understand that if they don’t feel it.

I think you have to feel the disappointment in waking up tired and in pain after weeks or even days of feeling well.  The longer you feel better, the more bitter the disappointment.  Likewise, the shorter the duration, the more cheated one can feel.  I think you have to feel the balloon in your soul quickly deflate when you’ve finished a course of treatment and think you’re “fine now” only to become crippled and exhausted again.  I think you have to walk a mile enthusiastically in my shoes because you couldn’t walk that mile last week ——- with that wonder in the back of your head, wondering if you should actually enjoy this because it won’t last. I think you have to sleep on the couch for a night because you couldn’t get upstairs to your bed.  I think you have to fall asleep exhausted and wake up in the same state, wondering why you even bother trying to take a nap when it brings no relief.  I think you have to feel like your body is being impaled from within, impaled with scorching iron fireplace pokers with an electrical charge to fully understand the magnificence of the pain — an acute pain that would make you faint were it not so sporadic. I think you have to have your cupboard filled with supplements and buy JUST one more because you think “this might work this time.  This might help.”    I think you have to lumber down the aisles of the pharmacy looking for a new over the counter pain med because the last one stopped working; you have to decide whether or not to replace Motrin with Aleve or Tylenol, wondering if enough time has spanned since the last time that one stopped working.

So do I hope I have Celiac?  Yeah.  Yeah I do.  And I don’t want to be disrespectful to people with Celiac.  If you’re reading this and you have it, then wasn’t it easier to contend with once it had a name and a protocol?  I don’t necessarily WANT to forego birthday cake, pizza, cereal, and other favorites.  I don’t necessarily WANT to go to a party and find there’s nothing at all that I can eat.  I don’t WANT to go to a party to find that all I can eat is the celery and carrots on the veggie tray.  I don’t want to be invited to dinner at someone’s house and find that they are serving lasagna and nothing more.  That must be terribly awkward — and is it polite to ask someone what they’re having if you’re invited to dinner at their house?  Sure if it’s a friend or family member, then that’s cool.  What if it’s your spouse’s boss?  What if you’re going to meet your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents for the first time and they invited you to dinner?  So I respect how hard it must be.  I imagine I would respect it a lot more if I had to avoid gluten and I would respect it a lot more if I had years of experience doing just that.

I just don’t want to feel like this anymore.  And I’m continuing to hope against hope that perhaps there is something I can do about this.  I think I’m also hoping for some validation from the medical community that I may never get.

I mean, “Chronic Lyme” does not exist, right?

I am slowly becoming prepared for how hard it must be to have Celiac Disease.  The other night was my boyfriend’s and my anniversary and we went out to dinner.  I ordered one of the few dinners there that did not involve pasta — and I don’t like fish, so that narrowed the choices as well.  There were three things I could pick from.

The waitress brought us a basket of bread – warm bread – and it smelled nice and tempting but I remembered what had happened after I ate pizza – whether it was gluten intolerance or a coincidence.  That squashed the lamentations about not being able to have bread.  Next, came my salad.  Covered in croutons. I picked them off and put them on a plate, brushed their crumbs off of the top as best I could.  After finishing the salad came a BIG stomach cramp.  Trying to maintain my composure, I pressed my stomach under the napkin on my lap and tried to keep a poker face.  My eyes kept bulging and my boyfriend asked what was wrong. I told him it was a magnificent cramp.  Gas maybe?

Please no diarrhea here!

I hoped it wasn’t the croutons.  Could I be THAT sensitive?  Or is this something else? If it’s not the croutons/wheat then what now?

My dinner was Chicken Marsala with potatoes and “fresh vegetables in season.”  I was now fearing that maybe they would thicken the sauce with flour like I usually always did with my gravies and things.  Dinner was good.  No aftermath.  The fleeting cramp was threatening, but nothing came of it.

Last night we went out for ice cream.  After my wheat-free week, this seemed like a reward.  Looking at the list of  flavors, “Cookies and Cream” sprang to mind.  Nope.  Nope.  Can’t do that.

Uhh…….. Can’t have a cone.  Have to have it in Styrofoam .

The ice cream joint, ever progressive, offered “gluten free” cones.  Jim pointed this out to me, but I had read a little about Celiac and a great site suggested steering clear of substitutes at first.  The rationale is that the digestive system has some healing to do and it’s best treated with “fresh foods.”  I have chosen to adhere to that.

Whether or not I actually have Celiac, there is something wrong that appears to be tied in to food.  I so want to know what it is.

Prior to my test, I asked friends with it about what I need to do for the test.  One (a nurse) said that they measure enzymes and that the enzymes are present when someone eats gluten.  She told me that I should not abstain from it.   So? I ordered a BIG calzone from our local pizza place.   Having worked there years ago, I recalled their enormous bags of wholesale flour that read “High Gluten Flour.”  I hoped they still used it.  The calzone was delicious.  My stomach violently rumbled before I was finished, and after swallowing the last bite I had diarrhea.  It wasn’t worth it.  But, if I test positive, then this was a good last hurrah.

As someone who is in A.A., they tell me  to remember “my last drink.”  [To people who can drink socially, “drink” does not mean the last drink in literal terms — not our last martini, our last beer, or our last sip of aftershave because we had no booze in the house …… it’s to remember the last stretch of drinking, our last binge, our last evening drinking, whatever the case may be.  The intent is not to remember what it tasted like or to tempt us; it’s to remember the consequences.  In the end of an alcoholic’s drinking, the consequences are generally BAD].  At any rate, if I have Celiac then I need to remember my last “gluten.”  I need to remember the consequences.

Strangely, after living it up this weekend with gluten, my joint pain has arrived within a couple of days.  Brain fog was fairly immediate.    I was also rather pissy for a few days — and that’s not like me.  It was very hard to overcome.

I’ve been experimenting with meds.  I have been off of Zoloft [an antidepressant my primary gave me for muscle weakness/fatigue] for two months.  I have been off of low dose naltrexone for a couple of weeks.  Due to the nerve pain returning last night, I am going to make haste to get a refill on my prescription today.  Strangely, I have read that LDN is used to help manage Celiac Disease [which is an autoimmune condition and not a “food allergy.”]  Is the nerve pain tied into the diet I enjoyed a few days ago or is it a result of the lack of LDN?  I don’t know.  I’m not playing with it, though.

At any rate, the past few days have given me a new appreciation for people who have Celiac Disease — even just selecting things to eat in a restaurant.   I thought it would be easier than this.  I thought it would simply be “don’t eat bread” and “don’t eat pasta.”  Period.  It’s trickier than that. I’ve also read about people who are incredibly sensitive and have been “cross contaminated.”  Maybe a little flour sprinkled  on someone’s chicken breast because it was next to the order that was being breaded or battered?  Then there is the knee-jerk reaction to order ice cream with cookies in it.  Then there’s the croutons on salads.  Then there’s the fear that if you ask for them without croutons that they’ll put them on by mistake and try to pick them off.   Then after a couple of bad experiences — and the bad experiences can bring symptoms for days or weeks – then who can trust dining out again?

So while I said I sort of hope this is Celiac, please know that I’m not intentionally impugning the difficult lifestyle of someone with the condition.  But I am trying to think “positive.”

 

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17 Day Diet Take Two / One Month Later

I have lost 18 lbs.   The first 12 were QUICK, but now it’s slowed down considerably.  And that’s okay.

I actually urinate regularly.  No more camel-hump/potbelly growing and distending throughout the day as I consume liquids.  My bowels are ……. normal!  I have had a couple of IBS incidents in the past month, but I mean that:  just a couple.   Both leaned toward diarrhea.  There’s been zero constipation.

My body retaliated with an acne breakout (but contrasted with Lyme Disease symptoms, that is NOT a big deal), so I started oil pulling again.  My skin cleared up rapidly.  Rapidly.  I’m suspecting there may have been internal candida, too – something I have thought myself to struggle with since all of the antibiotics.  While I did not “herx” with a candida die-off (aside from, perhaps, the acne and initial headaches), my tongue is now a healthy pink color.  Before it had some whitish thing going on …… a telltale sign.

While I have not followed the diet to a T — I had corn on the cob during the first 17 days. I have had pizza (from a place that makes sourdough crust sans yeast).  I have had pasta.  All in moderation.    I had a tiny slice of cake last night, one of exactly two servings of sugar in the past month.  That tiny slice of cake was bliss, but I almost couldn’t finish it.   I could feel my body chemically reacting to it ……. and I can’t articulate that much better.   I have been drinking diet soda, though more moderately.

What I have stuck to:  

1. Two servings of fruit a day

2.  8 Glasses of water

3.  Two servings of probiotics (Greek yogurt [higher in protein] with some polaner all-fruit – no sugar added/sweetened with fruit juice and a hint of lemon extract to make that Greek yogurt sour taste more palatable)

4.  Protein daily — perhaps not as much as I should

5.  Lots of “cleansing veggies.”

6.  BLACK coffee with some ice coffee exceptions that included cream but no sweetener — I can count those exceptions on one hand.

So this is, as they say in A.A., “Progress not perfection.”

My joints have been faintly creaky on occasion, but for the most part ….. nil.

NO nerve pain except that jab in the groin a few weeks back and a couple of pings in my ears.   Had the jab in the crotch not been so epic on the pain scale, I might have forgotten that isolated incident and the ears.

Headaches are gone.

Brain fog?  Gone.

Lyme Disease?: 

My doctor, before referring me to the Rheumatologist, said very clearly “I do not think you have an active infection [Lyme Disease].”  In the ER, when I was brought in with heart attack symptoms last week, the doctor asked about my medical history.  He was surprised that after I was “cleared” of Lyme, no one did another test to prove it.  However?  My first two tests were negative, so I don’t know if I could be convinced.  I would like to just believe my labs and put it to rest, but I don’t know if I could.  How many tests could convince me?  Ten?  I don’t know.

The Rheumatologist did NOT like my Lyme treatment.  My specialist was rather a one hit wonder:  Ceftin.  She tinkered with the dosage and tinkered with the duration of treatment ….. but overall, once I finished my first course which was Doxycycline, it was just Ceftin, Ceftin, Ceftin.  I lost count after 18 months (3 months here, 6 months there ……).   He asked me if I was treated with other medications and listed some, including one I can’t recall that contains Quinine.

So it sounds like some people in the medical community have quietly alleged that I might still be infected — whether through maltreatment or through not being properly ruled out again.  But this is what I despise.  There is NO protocol at a higher level for doctors to follow.   Hence?   No one is on the same page.  It also seems like one line of treatment might be effective for one person but not for another.  I think this should be studied, too, so that there can be a Plan A, Plan B and so forth.

I googled “Lyme Research Grants” and came up with multitudes of monies offered to people who have a good game plan and proper qualifications.  While I think we’ve come a way since my diagnosis in terms of education, I think there’s a lonnnnnnnnnng way to go.    And with all these research grants out there, why are we still ‘here?’

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Navigating the Diagnoses World ……. Yet Again.

Today I saw a Rheumatologist. Some things I liked, and some I did not.

I did NOT like his readily wanting to diagnose me with Fibromyalgia. I believe it exists, yes, yes. But I think it’s become a catchall for doctors who have given up on trying to diagnose someone. My BIG issue with it is this: Myalgia means MUSCLE PAIN. I do NOT have muscle pain. It seems to be the one tissue in my body that does NOT hurt. Nerves? YES. Joints? YES!!! He did the press test that I’ve had so many times before. I do not meet the criteria and he shrugged that off, mentioning that not everyone feels that pain during the test.

He did talk about Drug-Induced Lupus. Have you heard of this? There are three drugs that have higher instances of causing this:
1. Quinidine
2. Hydralazine
3. Procainamide

However, there are “at least 100” that can cause this. Among them are long-term use of antibiotics. The Rheumatologist was floored when he heard I was on them for as long as I was and he dropped his clipboard when I told him the milligrams.

“More than EIGHTEEN MONTHS?” He blinked in disbelief. “That’s common in India! But in a First World Country?” [He is from India].

My problem with the Lupus talk is the fact that I don’t get rashes. That was part of my f**kin’ problem in the FIRST place! NO RASH. Therefore NO LYME TEST.

But? I like that he is thorough and thinking of everything – everything inside and outside the box.

I’ve read more about Drug-Induced Lupus and it seems the symptoms are a pinch different (?) than Systemic Lupus. Here’s info from the Lupus Foundation of America:  http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_newsroom.aspx?articleid=377&zoneid=8

They took 15 vials of blood from me today. I stared at the lab orders and tried to take it all in and memorize it. Nahhh. I just know there are tests for indicating Sjogren’s and RA, then Lupus. I LOVE that he is thorough.

He asked for my medical history, focusing me on when the joint issues started. I tried to take him through the Lyme issues beginning with hypothyroidism and progressing to neurological. He rushed me through that a bit. I got to the joint stuff and he asked me what my diagnosis looked like and why I was referred to a specialist. He seemed to be stuck on my initial tests being negative. He ultimately said something about “belief systems” and how “chronic lyme is a part of your beliefs system…. is it not? And your doctor’s?” I shook my head and told him I am keeping an open mind.

Yeah. I B.S.’ed him a little. I am done with being dismissed just because I don’t believe my Lyme Disease has been entirely eradicated. Yeah. I was on Ceftin for months and months and months. If it was to work, wouldn’t it have worked in the first place? Maybe it did SOMETHING. Maybe it simply kept pace with their freakin’ replication. And now I’m off of it.

I told him about my Herx reaction when I took antibiotics for strep last year. He nodded and stared at me. Then he asked if I was ever given ____________ for Lyme. I forget the name. Black something? Blackin-something? I said no. He asked if I was sure. I told him very firmly that I had Doxy to start and all that came after that was Ceftin. He said, “Hmmmm. No? It has quinine in it.” I said no, but did tell him I use tonic water for nerve pain – and that it WORKS.

He kept asking if I have an opiate addiction and was perplexed by Low Dose Naltrexone. I explained it is LOW DOSE. I explained I needed it for my nerve pain. That it WORKS.

He seemed to possess one of those airs of the doctor who does NOT like lay people knowing more than he does. I did not explain the Low Dose Naltrexone or its function. Now that I think of it, I don’t know how well I conducted myself in there. I felt like I had to be a bit loose the first time. Have to get to know him.

So 15 vials of blood. I felt very woozy after! He said to call in 7-10 days about the labs and my next appointment is in November. I told him about the 17-day diet and how well I’m doing – except my HANDS and I had to work in south county today so the driving/steering was painful and I had to pry my hands open after [typing isn’t bothering me but handwriting is intolerable]. He said for now we will not treat me with anything. If I’m doing alright then we won’t rock the boat. Agreed.

An interesting aside with the 17-Day diet. Last night I had the tiniest bit of spaghetti – my first carbohydrate in 20 days. I was exhausted. The fatigue hit me and I fell stone-cold asleep on the couch. Felt a bit foggy today: gradually the fog lifted in layers. Maybe I do have a food allergy/sensitivity of some kind.

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17 Day Diet Take Two – Day 15

I have probably been making too many little concessions for myself.

Today I made curried chicken with green peppers and onions, summer squash and zucchini. Yay. GOOD.

But ……. I felt compelled to have a tiny helping of jasmine rice. Technically I am supposed to do this sort of thing on day 18, but I did not go all out and count today as day 18. That was the only faux pas.

Looking through the back of the book, I noticed “Cultural Considerations.” There is a new list of veggies for Asians. There are different foods for Indians. It permits “fresh cheese” under Hispanic. Fresh cheese. Hmmm……..

So I had eggplant parmigiana with FRESH mozzarella (the wet kind …. not the freshly-purchased “normal” stringy kind from a pizza joint). Oh and it was lovely. Homemade marinara from chunky red tomatoes, caramelized onions, garden fresh basil ……. and eggplant. I recommend baking eggplant rounds at 425 F for 15-20 minutes so it gets crispy and even a little charred looking around the edges. THEN put the sauce and cheese on and turn down the over to 350 F until the cheese is melted. This way it does not get too mushy.

Mmmmmmm

Another concession. I’ve been forgetting the green tea. I adjusted last time. It’s not THAT. I just forgot to bring it to work once. I forgot to have it at night once. Poof. Habit broken.

I’ve been drinking diet soda. I have two diet pepsis at work [harm reduction! It’s down from like 6!] and an A&W diet root beer at home at the end of the day. That gives me a whole lotta ahhhh. I’m a recovering alcoholic – 9 years at this time, God willing I’ll keep at it – and it gives me that reward thing at the end of the day. The ahhhh that I thought I was getting with beers and boozes – but sans the amnesia, headache, nausea and bad decisions. BUT. I do make it up with extra water. One diet soda is a negative water. Two waters become one. Six waters become five. So? I go crazy with the water to make it up.

One night I had a SMALL piece of steak and one ear of corn. My Achilles Heel is bread, pasta, cake. I have abstained. I also have abstained from Dunkin’ Donuts’ large ice coffees with cream and sugar. THAT has been tough. I have had two medium ice coffees with cream , no sugar. That’s something, too. It was more like “social drinking” in terms of coffee, though. 🙂

So here I am. Thirteen pounds lighter, more energized, very nearly pain free, and in good spirits. I see a rheumatologist in a couple more days.

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17 Day Diet Take Two: Day 10 – and Info about Leaky Gut Syndrome

I have not update my progress in a while. So here I am!

I have lost 12 lbs. Six pounds were in the first two days, so I’m trying not to think of timelines and feeling discouraged by the daily ounces I’ve been losing.

The other day at work, the elevator was broken. I work on the 5th floor. Miracle of miracles: I could do the stairs!!! Toward the end of the day, I had to back down some of the stairs because my knees were rebelling, but for the most part I was up to it. I probably did the 5 flights of stairs FOUR or FIVE times.

I mowed the lawn the other day, and if you’re a regular reader you may be aware that I have done this before. Well? This time it didn’t feel so much like work and I did not have to uncurl my hands afterward.

At the end of a day I sometimes feel very sleepy, but it is the kind of sleepy one feels after having worked and not the Lyme-caliber fatigue. My headaches are gone. My tongue is now PINK and not white (an indicator of internal candida). On occasion I have had a little jab of nerve pain. Another improvement is my menstrual cycle. It is less heavy and clotty [TMI? Sorry!] I have cramps again, which is bad news in its own right, but a spin of normalcy on anything I do is GOOD.

In six days I am scheduled to see the rheumatologist and I do not have much to report. My singular symptom – that’s worsening – is floaters. The computer screen looks like it’s pulsating and moving with “molecules” and squiggly lines. I don’t know if this is some sort of herx reaction? [PS. Forgive me if there are typos in here or little grammatical hiccups — I am relying on the red squiggly underlines to tip me off because it’s difficult to read lately ]

What I’m wondering is if I have a food sensitivity as well. I have read a lot of about Leaky Gut Syndrome, happening upon the condition by accident during my research. If you’re wondering what “leaky gut syndrome” is, it’s damage to the intestinal lining. How does this tie into Lyme Disease?

Some Leading Causes of Leaky Gut:
1. Lots of antibiotics
2. Lots of NSAID medications such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen
3. Caffeine

Lots of us lymies are “guilty” of that. Don’t we sometimes get carried away with the caffeine when we’re in a big bout of fatigue? Don’t we take pain medications for our joint pain and other malaise? Antibiotics go without saying. I, myself, lost count after 18 months (3 months here, 6 months there).

When the lining of the intestines are in good working order, they have little gaps in the cells that permit vitamins and nutrition to seep through into our blood stream. When they are damaged, the cellular gaps expand and other things can get through such as food particles and gut bacteria – both good and bad.

Symptoms are often confused with food allergies, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and skin conditions.

Leaky Gut Symptoms:

1. Bloating
2. Gas & cramps
3. Abdominal pain
4. Joint pain
5. Neurological symptoms
6. Food sensitivities
7. Acne
8. Fatigue
9. Brain Fog
10. Constipation
11. Heartburn
12. Gum Disease
13. Depression
14. Autoimmune Deficiency
15. ADD
16. Dermatitis such as Eczema and Psoriasis
17. Headaches and migraines
18. Systemic Candida (nail fungus, etc.)
19. Colitis
20. Celiac Disease
21. Thyroid conditions
22. Crohn’s Disease
23. Arthritis

Here’s one article about it: [if link fails, try to copy and paste this: http://www.leakygutsymptoms.com/%5D

Notice that the symptoms increase in severity?

I have read many articles about it and the consensus seems to be:

1. The symptoms – and that they increase in severity
2. Treatment – Addresses the CAUSE of the intestinal permeability. Often it has to do with nutrition. This is like an elimination diet so that the intestines may heal. This is a good resource: [links sometimes fail me! If this doesn’t work, copy and paste: http://www.liverdoctor.com/liver-problems/leaky-gut ]
3. The medical community seems divided over the authenticity of the existence of Leaky Gut, so treatment usually falls on the patient or the Holistic / Natural Medicine community

I am mentioning this because if you are new to Lyme Disease and are on antibiotics then you may want to consider going on a cleansing diet to prevent this happening to you. If you take lots of antibiotics and eat lots of refined foods, sugars, yeast, wheat, et al, you are feeding the bacteria you are trying to kill and also making a happier home for yeast inside your gut. Make sure you consume plenty of probiotics, and try to consume ones with MANY different cultures not limiting yourself to the typical acidophilus.

What Made Me Happen Upon Leaky Gut?

Well? I was at work with a client the other day and my mouth became very dry. I could not get something to drink that very moment so I grabbed a couple of mints on my desk. The mints came from our Health Insurance company in a package with their logo so there was no list of ingredients and such. I suspected they may have sugar, but they’re the size of baby aspirin and I was THIRSTY. It brought me relief but I almost promptly became bloated. My stomach, by the end of the day, was rather distended. The mint was certainly the trigger.

I googled “mints and bloating” and came to find Sorbitol is a common ingredient that many are sensitive to and that it causes bloating. Here is an article if it interests you: And here’s a copy and paste option for you: http://www.foodintolerances.com.au/food-intolerances-sorbitol.aspx

Reading about it over and over, I came to find the term “leaky gut syndrome” attached. That led me on another tangent.

So here I am. Perhaps it is leaky gut. Perhaps it is not. But I am DEFINITELY doing better physically on this diet. Mentally too. Emotionally too. I highly recommend it!

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17-Day Diet Take Two – DAYS 4 & 5

Things have changed slowly since I’ve last written.

I’m down a total of 8 lbs in five days. The first two days resulted in about 3 lbs/day and tapered off to about a pound per day – which is still amazing.

I enjoyed revived energy, but this evening I took a lonnnnng nap. Unlike my normal fatigue, this sleepiness resulted in my waking up refreshed and I’m subsequently up later than I wanted to be!

I’m sweating more – this has to be good!

My joint pain is improving in my hands, gone in my knees save mornings.

There are more Chicken Sausages I’ve tried. There were some organics with apples and tasted rather breakfasty. Unlike the sausages I used for the ratatouille, the ingredients listed on this package were less transparent: “and other spices ….” They tasted suspiciously sweet and I think “sugar” could be covered under “and other spices.” I’m going to be more aware of that, methinks! My sleepiness seemed to follow dinner when I included these, so I’m hoping it’s not a sugar crash of sorts that I had.

At any rate, things are going well. I’ll probably blog less frequently now that the results are less shocking. 🙂

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17 Day Diet Recipe !!! Ratatouille with SAUSAGE

Sausage? Sausage, you say?

Indeed.

In BJ’s Warehouse I happened upon organic chicken sausages: “Sweet Italian.” They were a bit pricey. But I can only do SO much with chicken in the Accelerate stage. Its ingredients: Organic skinless chicken, water, sea salt, organic dried green peppers, organic paprika, organic fennel seed, organic black pepper, organic dried onions. That’s IT. No sugar. No preservatives. No fats, fillers, and strangely named things. It’s by Billinski from Cohoes, NY. I love spicy foods so I tend to be a bit immune, but this packs a little punch. My boyfriend who does NOT like spicy foods much had a second bowl.

Taking it out of the package, the sausage link felt damp and rubbery-floppy like a cheap frankfurter. I was unnerved. Its appearance wasn’t even too dissimilar save the visible spices. I fried those puppies something crisp and they’re INCREDIBLE. This is the BEST Ratatouille I ever made. And I’ll share:

2 Italian Eggplants (the little ones)
2 Little Zucchinis
1 Whole Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
2 VERY ripe Tomatoes or 1 can of crushed
2-3 Garlic Cloves Pressed
1/2 package (4-5?) Organic Chicken Sausage Links
Coarse Black Pepper
Coarse Himalayan Salt
Herbs De Provence
1 heaping tablespoon pesto
Splash of red wine vinegar
Olive Oil (Spritzed from a Mr. Misto or in a spray form)

1. Preheat Oven to 400F
2. Cube vegetables and spread on sprayed cookie sheet(s)
3. Spritz the tops with olive oil (or drizzle, but you’ll get more fat this way – even if it’s good fat. Eggplant seems to be an oil-sponge, though. That’s the other reason I prefer my Misto and its moderation)
4. Place in fully heated oven for 30 minutes. At the end, parts may be a little black. I like it this way, YOU may not. If not, check at 20 minutes then 25, etc.
5. Meanwhile …. fry those sausages! I pierced mine with a fork when they started to look like they were expanding and bubbling. Get ’em crispy. Slice them then and fry the slices.
6. Set aside the sausages and saute garlic in a splash of olive oil.
7. Add tomatoes and stir in pesto and seasonings (in amounts you like).
8. Splash of red wine vinegar
9. Add sausage slices and vegetables.
10. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour

*Note: the pesto was my own, homemade pesto. It DOES contain pine nuts. I didn’t see this on the OK list for the 17-Day diet. However, it is a fairly nominal amount when this appears to serve 6 or maybe 8 *

*It will taste WAY awesome that minute, but even better the next day!*

Honestly, that sausage was PHENOMENAL. And I know everything that’s in it!

I bought chicken sausage (other brands) – one with chipotle and the other with apples, maybe a breakfast sausage? I’ll keep you posted.

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Sometimes Turkey Burgers are BLEHHHH! Or …17 Day Diet Take Two / Day THREE

Turkey burgers do NOT impress me. Why’d I waste a good dinner on those? I can’t seem to come up with the right condiment to make them more than palatable, but they were a bit snazzy with sauteed peppers and onions. And NO bun.

I’m still not craving carbs like I did the first time I did this. Maybe I had it all inflated in my head and reality couldn’t live up to it? I’m even okay with black coffee. I have yet to abstain from diet soda, but I’m having small quantities and it’s easy to make up the water.

So today:

I’m down 2.8 lbs since yesterday
Total so far: 5.8 lbs.

(Remember, I weigh myself in the morning, so this is my weight prior to “day three”, my weight after TWO days on the diet. Also remember I took on TONS of water QUICK so this is extreme. Last time I did this, I lost 2 lbs the first day and then by day 17 I had lost 10 lbs. That’s NOTHING like the progress I’m making now ….. so don’t expect anything so insanely quick and dramatic).

I mowed the lawn today!

Meals:

Morning – YOU guessed it! 2 eggs & 1/2 grapefruit (scrambled the eggs with salt, pepper and tons of oregano – no liquids added)

Snack – Plum

Lunch – Tossed salad with leftover chicken breast in it and homemade creamy garlic dressing (yogurt, a hint of fat free mayo, lemon juice, garlic, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)

Snack – Plain yogurt with strawberry Polaner All-Fruit (Yes I keep pushing them, NO I’m not a salesman)

Dinner – 2 turkey burgers with a hint of pesto and sauteed peppers and onions

Snack – Preview taste of my ratatouille made tonight for dinner tomorrow (substituted Organic Chicken Sausage for the verboten pork kind — it was floppy and damp like a cheap uncooked frankfurter but I fried it up to glorious crunchiness and it’s AWESOME) and more yogurt.

Symptoms / Improvements:

Knees were PERFECT today.
Hands stubbornly arthritic, but not as bad
NO headache. NO neck ache.

Mental clarity! I can’t believe the difference!
I feel more positive. I can’t explain it. There’s an elevation in my overall mood – though this tends to accompany feeling better! No. Wait. There’s more to it. I cannot articulate it.

Stomach visibly smaller. I wore my own pants today (my weight gain was so rapid and unexpected I had to borrow pants from Mom. ). They were among the larger pairs of my pants, but still MINE. 🙂
Bowel Movements are normal these past two mornings — I tend to be one extreme or the other.

Temperature increased – due to my thyroid, my baseline temperature has been in the mid 96F range. Since the morning of Day 2, it has been in the high 98’s! Means my metabolism is improved as well as my immune system (can’t kill infections with a low temp, can we?)

Queasiness comes and goes ….. but I’m glad I didn’t delay. I’m glad I did this.

I sweat today! (Remember I have Hypohidrosis – another lovely issue that evolved after contracting Lyme) – and I sweat REAL good!

Venting ‘Cause These Things Aggravate Me:

People find out you’re on a diet and they have good intentions. People who have known me for YEARS are explaining to me the benefits of exercise!!! People who KNOW I was very athletic before being sick (and during my 10-month remission and a short while after – once I got my body up to snuff again). I used to hike up mountains! I’d ride my bike great distances when I didn’t have my son! I am appalled that I’m being spoken to like I have just been some couch potato my whole life.

Then someone said, “Well that’s what happens when you start eating healthy.” Like I wasn’t before? REALLY? Just because I ate BREAD doesn’t mean I didn’t eat healthy. If someone brings cookies to work for everyone, I have one! Sometimes two! But it’s not an everyday thinnnnng!!!! I also counted calories off and on for a while in recent weeks to have something to take to the doctor. My average caloric intake was about 1500! That is NOT a valid reason for gaining 30 lbs spontaneously over 6 weeks. It’s NOT. It’s NOT excessive. I don’t eat a lot of salt. I don’t just shun the salt shaker and then throw back some salami and canned soup thinking I’m “low sodium.” I REALLY am not excessive with salt! I make homemade meals where most of the ingredients are known. I do not add Xanthan Gum or other peculiar things, and certainly none with color names and numbers. I might snack on some popcorn at night if my boyfriend makes it. I’m not a closet eater. What you see is what you get.

After Christmas I gained a few pounds. I deserved it. I ate desserts every which way every where I went. I deserved that. THIS is different.

The last time I was on this diet there were no snarky comments so I’m pretty stunned by all of this. There are people I work with who haven’t known me terribly long — I would be more understanding of that. These are people who have known me for a long time! I don’t GET it.

I have to remember what Steve from my AA step meeting says – “don’t complain and don’t explain.” If I keep “explaining” then I’m trying to “make” someone understand something that they’re possibly incapable of understanding. I need to just shrug and say “whatever.” What people think of me is none of my business.

Today it’s not that easy.

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17 Day Diet Take Two – DAY 2

I’m weighing myself. I started yesterday (day 1) in the morning.

In 24 hours, I have lost 3 lbs.

The book admits the first thing to go is water, so I’m not promising any miracles here. I am SEVERELY bloated/retaining water so that may be a mitigating factor to my atypical results. But! This is a good piece of cheese to get me through the maze.

Today I broke down and had black coffee. I am allowed “Truvia” (or Stevia). I’m not crazy about it. I remembered a Vietnam Vet I knew who drank black coffee. I said, “Bleccch! How can you drink it black?” He chuckled and said, “They never had cream and sugar in the jungle.” Something about that resonated with me today. Haven’t thought about it in years.

Today’s Symptoms / Changes:
* Woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed! Only hit “snooze” a couple of times. I was clear-headed and energetic. I can’t believe it.

* Less acute joint pain in hands

* Sore knees in morning, aggravated by going downstairs. Relieved by walking around.

* Reduced appetite / feeling of fullness

* Clear-headedness

* More energetic

* Water retention in evening (?) – had a salty dinner 🙂

Supplements:

– NONE

– Using Himalayan salt on food. Ingesting vitamin c through natural sources in a large volume . Not EXACTLY the salt protocol to a T, but……. why not?

Food today:

– Breakfast: 2 fried eggs and 1/2 grapefruit

– Snack: One black plum

– Lunch : Chicken leg and salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing (bottled stuff often contains mysterious ingredients as well as SUGAR)

– Snack: Plain organic yogurt with a spoonful of Polaner All Fruit & Green Tea

– Dinner: Chicken Breast with salad and steamed broccoli

– Snack: Plain organic yogurt with a spoonful of Polaner All Fruit & Green Tea

It’s not SO bad. I went grocery shopping to mix things up a bit and got some turkey burgers, ground turkey, more chicken for some inventive stir-fry’s with veggies, and chicken sausages for ratatouille.

I’ll be back!

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17 Day Diet Take 2 – DAY 1

About a year ago I blogged about doing the 17-Day Diet. I had heard great things about it from real people I really knew — and it turns out, it is low glycerine and anti-inflammatory, even if it doesn’t intend to be. This is good for we Lymies.

So ! I have been blogging about taking coconut oil and doing oil-pulling. This is stopped for now. The diet is very strict about what it identifies as “friendly fats”: Olive Oil & Flax Seed Oil. Period, Amen. I’m not going to rock the boat. Likewise, I’m not taking Manuka Honey at this time. I’m following the diet to a T.

Day 1:

It SUCKS. I’m alright with not craving carbs [yet], but my whole life I have been a caffeine pig. I drink nearly a pot of coffee each morning , have an iced coffee in the afternoon, and scads of Diet Pepsi in the interim. The reduction in caffeine is KILLING me. And while I don’t think of myself as a sweet-tooth or someone who eats much sugar ……. those coffees each have sugar in them and it adds up. Then there’s the Half and Half. The fat adds up, too.

Now it says something in the first chapter about not drinking soda – maybe even in omission of the “what to drink” list (it lists water, water, water ….. 8 glasses/day and green tea. It says coffee is okay with Truvia and probiotic milk [blehhhh]). LATER in the book it mentions it’s okay ‘But don’t tell me.’ He adds that you should consider this -1 water and you must compensate. To get from -1 to 1 you need to drink 2, correct?

I’m going to note my symptoms as I progress on the diet:

Today:
Headache (Probably from caffeine cessation)
Neck pain (Joint pain)
Neck/Shoulder Pain (Muscular)
Creaky knees – hurts to go downstairs
SORE hands (Arthritis/Joint Pain)
Mild nausea at night
Sleepiness (not like the fatigue I get ….. just VERY sleepy ……. probably from the caffeine cessation)

My recommendations? Start this on a weekend or a couple of days you don’t have to work.

What Prompted This?

I was ballooning. Inexplicably. I’ll take credit or blame where it’s due, but my weight gain was really uncalled for. And it was fast. And it seems to be mainly water. I’ve been careful not to go crazy with the diuretics, but it’s tempting because that little bit of relief is such a relief! I know rebound fluid-retention is possible.

In the spring is when it started. I wanted to go on the diet – I did, I did! But I had labs due in early July (I have a deductible and that’s when the year changes, plus I am slated to see a Rheumatologist in August so why spend $1,000 when I could spend $500?) AND because this is anti-inflammatory, I didn’t want my labs done “at my best.” I wanted to do it RIGHT after the labs because I’m in my sister’s wedding party September 1st and the dress quickly went from looking GOOD to not fitting. But? I had a stomach bug. A BAD one. And queasiness has been tormenting me occasionally ever since. I didn’t want to rock the boat.

Why today? Well? Last night was my sister’s Jack & Jill and I did the photography. That and the damp weather/threat of rain killed my hands and knees. I’m not sure my stomach is up to this, but I HAVE to get better. That week-long bout of feeling awesome has tapered off (the week after they switched up my thyroid meds) .

What’s On the Menu?

The book mandates some general things:
* 2 Probiotics/Day
* Servings of Green Tea [I loathe Green Tea, but found fruit flavored ones I can tolerate]
* 8 glasses of water
* 2 eggs and no more per day (or four egg’s worth of egg whites if you’d rather — special chapter for people with cholesterol issues)
* Certain fishes and poultry. NO other meats
* “Cleansing Vegetables” (surprisingly this includes slightly more sugary ones such as tomatoes). Unlimited quantities
* 2 Servings of fruit (There’s a list that ranges from some berries and plums to apples and pears with grapes and citruses) . They recommend none past two. I bend that rule slightly since the rationale has to do with burning off carbs …. I tend to be my most energetic later in the day and stay up late at night.
* NO breads/starches/sugars/etc.
* Sweeteners: Stevia. They discourage nutrasweet and such, but it’s an ingredient in “sugarless yogurt” that they have Okayed.
* Certain cheeses – such as low fat feta or blue cheese crumbled on salads. Blehhhh.

MY Pattern:

Probiotics – I like plain yogurt (I spring for the GOOD stuff — organics such as Nancy’s. I buy it in Guido’s, a local grocer’s. It’s from Oregon so I imagine if we can get it in Massachusetts, it must be accessible throughout the U.S.) mixed with some Polaner All Fruit. I tend to look forward to this. It seems a good antidote to carb cravings, too.

Meats – I HATE fish. I can’t get around it. Sooooooo. I cook lots of chicken. I do stir-fry’s with different ingredients (like tomatoes and fresh basil with garlic one night, oregano and lemon juice with lots of black pepper another) so it seems less mundane. If I’m dying for beef or something more, ground turkey fried with onions and Worcestershire Sauce does the trick

Veggies – I tend to snack on carrots and celery a lot . A good dip for it is Tzatsiki (plain yogurt with shredded cucumbers and garlic with some Parmesan). I throw other veggies in with the chicken stir fry. There’s great recipes for tomato soup! Variety is the key to making this diet not only bearable but enjoyable.

Eggs – this seems to be my breakfast every day , two fried in a splash of olive oil with half a grapefruit

Fruits – I love ’em all on the list and, like I said, I bend the 2 o’clock rule due to my biological clock

Soda ? – I’m weaning myself. Today I had two, which is GREAT for someone like me. And I had the extra water, too. I’m sloshing.

Seventeen Days???

Yeah. There’s 4 cycles of 17-days. First 17 are pretty strict. Next 17 incorporate lean beef and some grains such as corn and brown rice and couscous (these on alternate days – the other alternating days are just as strict as the first 17 days) . The next 17 incorporate other things and such. It’s worth it to get the book, but they have a website. Here it is: If it doesn’t work [sigh] then copy and paste: http://www.the17daydiet.com/

I tend to stick with it more when I read the book because it explains why and helps me “buy into it more.” I’ll write more as I go.

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