Modified Unicorn Fuel for Gut Healing

IMG_8696When I first heard about Mary Shenouda “The Paleo Chef” recipe, Unicorn Fuel, I HAD to try it ASAP! After all, I had all of the ingredients already. It takes your coffee up another level. Currently, I just started an H. Pylori supplement protcol and the Whole 30 Diet. My naturopathic doctor wants me to limit my coffee to once a day, and encourages green tea as it is gut healing. So the other day I made this with coffee, and I was crawling on the walls. I only used one cup of coffee, with one cup of almond milk. Here is the original recipe:

2 cups coffee (who really drinks only 1 cup?)
1 tablespoons MCT oil (optional, and if it’s your first time only 1/2)
1 tablespoons grass fed butter
1 teaspoon powdered maca
1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of cayenne

The taste is unique, and phenomenal! It’s a tad labor intensive, but worth it once in awhile. I am concerned that one cup of coffee gave me such jittery effects. After perusing a few YouTube videos on H Pylori and healing, I realize that it’s probably a much better idea if I give up the coffee for now. I can always come back to it later.

So my modified adrenal saving, no jitters Unicorn fuel is simply using 2 cups of almond milk for my liquid. I also need it sweet, so I add about 10 drops of vanilla stevia. Warm it up on the stove, and its like a hot drink. Now this is a lot of liquid, so you may as well make this a snack. So you need protein in it. You have two choices. A serving of beef protein powder like JJ VIrgin’s grassfed beef protein, or a serving of gut healing beef collagen powder. You can use this or this or whatever you like. So here is my modified recipe that gives you fat, energy, and protein!

2 cups non dairy milk
1 tablespoon MCT oil
1 tablespoon grassfed butter (Kerrygold is good, or ghee)
1 Teaspoon powdered maca
1 teaspoon raw cacao
1 serving grassfed beef protein powder or 1 serving collagen powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of cayenne
10 drops of Nunaturals vanilla alcohol free stevia, or your sweetener of choice

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Now go get em unicorn! ūü¶Ą Save that gut and those adrenals!

 

Why I decided to take my thyroid medication at night

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I forgot how annoying it was to wake up, take your thyroid med, and wait one hour before eating anything. ¬†And basically I have to hold off on all other supplements to be safe because absorption can compete with this med. Mary Shoman has a great blog that explains all the details about how to take your thyroid med here. ¬†I wondered if there was a better way. So I looked up taking thyroid meds at night and found a research study that demonstrated that when people took it on an empty stomach at night, they had higher levels of thyroid hormone in their body than when they took it in the morning. They did not show a significant change in quality of life however. ¬†Mary Shoman’s blog to the rescue! I’d like to experiment myself and try this. I have a habit of snacking late at night which is not a great thing anyway. So I decided to make sure to stop eating two hours before going to bed. ¬†There was no explicit instructions on what they did in the study to take the med at night, so I’m going to make my own executive decision to make sure I have not eaten in two hours, and then take it!

Bolk, N. Visser, T. et al. “Effects of Evening vs Morning Levothyroxine Intake: A Randomized Double-blind Crossover Trial.” Archive of Internal Medicine. 2010;170(22):1996-2003.

I hope that more research is done on long term benefits, if there are any, by taking these meds at night. This study was based on three months of taking it the morning, and three months of taking it at night for a total of six months. I decided to take it based on not having to wait to eat or take my supplements when I wake up in the morning.  Hopefully, I will see if this works for me. I think three months is enough time to determine this.

 

 

 

Coffee Enemas: why would you want to do one?

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Our liver certainly has a big job!

 

Our livers are amazing at detoxing our bodies every second of the day. ¬†It is one of the hardest working organs in our body. They also go through a barrage of assaults all the time due to our environment, our lifestyles, and our stress levels. Whether its excess alcohol, prescription drugs, poor diet, too much sugar (candida), viral infections, autoimmune disease, toxic chemicals, or air pollution, we need to give it up for the liver! We are even fighting cancer every single day, every single one of us! What a job it has and does for us. ¬†Dr Sandra Cabot , “The Liver Doctor”¬†says these are the¬†vital functions of our liver:

‚ÄĘ Fat metabolism ‚Äď this helps with your weight and cholesterol levels
‚ÄĘ Detoxification and filtering of your blood. This helps your energy level, plus ability to think and concentrate
‚ÄĘ Destruction of unhealthy cells and bacteria
‚ÄĘ Manufacturing of essential proteins which are necessary for healthy immune function
‚ÄĘ Maintaining hormonal balance; especially breaking down excess estrogen
‚ÄĘ Generating the energy and warmth to keep you alive

If you have 4 or more of the following symptoms, you may have a sluggish liver according to Dr Cabot.

Do you suffer with?

Fatigue
Abdominal bloating
Discomfort or pain over the liver (the liver is situated in the right upper abdominal area)
Accumulation of abdominal fat with a ‚Äúpot belly‚ÄĚ and a roll of fat around the upper abdomen known as the ‚Äúliver roll‚ÄĚ
Indigestion and/or intolerance of fatty foods
Reflux and heartburn
Hemorrhoids
Fatty yellowish lumps in the skin and often around the eyes ‚Äď these are called xanthelasma
Overheating of the body
Excessive sweating
Body odor
Bad breath
Coated tongue
Red itchy and/or dry eyes
Itchy skin
Skin rashes such as dermatitis and psoriasis
Brown liver spots on the skin
Acne rosacea on the face
Redness of the palms of the hands
Hot and/or burning soles of the feet
Headaches, especially associated with nausea
Gallbladder problems
Unexplained weight gain
Inability to lose weight even whilst dieting
High blood pressure
High blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
Unpleasant moods

Do any of these sound like you? I could say 6-7 fit me, including inability to lose weight even while dieting! This has been the bane of my bikini competitor goals because I have tried for the last five years without success, only go put on fifteen lbs in the face of working out and eating well. So the next question is, what can we do about it? Although the answer is complex, the focus of this blog post is coffee enemas which are a great way to get a sluggish liver going.

Coffee Enemas

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The first time I tried a coffee enema and used organic brewed coffee.  I was scared! Ah, those were the amateur days!

MindBodyGreen breaks it down well. Here are 10 reasons why you should try a coffee enema:

Reduces levels of toxicity by up to 600%.
Cleans and heals the colon, improving peristalis.
Increases energy levels, improves mental clarity and mood.
Helps with depression, bad moods, sluggishness.
Helps eliminate parasites and candida.
Improves digestion, bile flow, eases bloating.
Detoxifies the liver and helps repair the liver.
Can help heal chronic health conditions (along with following a mainly raw plant based diet).
Helps ease “die-off” or detox reactions during periods of fasting or juice fasting, cleansing or healing.
Used regularly in the Gerson Institute treatment protocol for healing cancer patients naturally

You will not absorb the caffeine like you would taking it orally.  But you must use regular caffeinated and organic coffee, never decaf or you will not receive any benefit!

How to do a coffee enema? 

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Because if you are going to do it, do it right!

Look to amazon to purchase your coffee enema kit first. Although there are many kinds and different prices, I use this one, and it cost only $4!¬†You can even just brew regular organic coffee in your coffee maker as usual for the first time, just to get your feet wet. But I’m going to recommend purchasing the organic coffee especially made for coffee enemas, which is not roasted completely so it’s still green. Using this coffee is better, because it has more caffeine and palmitic acid in it. So you will get even more benefits from better quality coffee. You can also get this on amazon too right here.¬†Read about this particular coffee enema coffee brand SA Wilsons right here.¬†You also need to get lubricating jelly, or use coconut oil to lube the end of the enema tube.

  1. Use 2 TBSP of coffee and add it to 3 cups filtered water in a pot.  Get it boiling, then bring the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat. ¬†Let it cool down. Then strain it. I pour it into my vitamixer for easy measuring and pouring into my bucket. ¬†I also add large ice cubes to hurry the cooling process down. Just enough to melt so don’t go crazy and make the whole batch ice cold. Your final amount will be 6 cups of fluid. Use a clean finger to touch and feel if the coffee is cooled to touch.
  3. Pour it into your enema bucket but make sure your clamp is clamped off so it does not come right out. I use a kid’s size hanger to hang the bucket on a towel rack in the bathroom. ¬†It needs to be elevated while you lay on the floor so gravity will pull it in. I also set up a yoga mat on the floor, with a towel on top, and a pillow to lay on.
  4. For the first time, I would have some chill out music on, meditation music from youtube nearby, and maybe diffuse some essential oils too.  You will need to relax as much as possible.
  5. You will need to take your bottoms off and if you are cold, keep some socks on. ¬†Sit on your towel, and after lubing the end of the enema bucket, insert the tube into the rectum and go in about 1¬†inch. ¬†It’s all an estimate. It should not hurt! If it hurts, reevaluate what you are doing wrong because it should not hurt. Lay on your right side. Get comfortable, and unclamp the clamp.
  6. You will feel the fluid go in and may start cramping. If you do, clamp it. ¬†Then when it subsides, go at it again. Repeat this until the fluid is all in. This may take up to 5 minutes. After it’s all in, clamp it and take it out. I cap it, or wrap a tissue around the end. You can rub your tummy for comfort, or even do some yogi upside down moves like a handstand or just lay on your back with your hips in the air (like a hip thrust) for as long as you can. ¬†You WILL have waves of cramping that will subside. ¬†You may not be able to hold it for 15 minutes the first time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Try your best to hold it in and deep breath slowly. ¬†Relaxing is key. You will hear your tummy make some wild noises, and that’s a good sign that the gallbladder is releasing bile. ¬†You are stimulating the liver! Yay!

After you held it in, go to the bathroom and it will be an orgasmic release you have never had before! I say this in jest, but it is true.  You will feel lighter and cleaner. You may have to sit a little while, or go now and maybe 10 min later to get it all out. Sometimes it does not fully come out right away, but generally it will not be something like you are going to the bathroom for hours. You will probably be ready for a shower after this.

Clean your bucket with some good dishwashing soap, let the hot water run through the tubing. I also rub the end with the soap and rinse really well. ¬†Make sure it’s dry before putting it away. ¬†You did it!

You can do these everyday, but realistically once a week is good.  Cancer patients doing the Gerson therapy protocol are even doing this 6x a day! So it seems to me that you cannot become addicted to enemas, although mentally, you might!

Key Points: 

Use filtered water only.

Use organic regular caffeinated coffee only.

Make absolutely 100% sure the coffee is not hot before proceeding with the enema.

Try whatever modalities relax you. Like 4-7-8 breathing from Andrew Weil, MD. 

Do it knowing that you love yourself, and you are worth the trouble. 

My experience with a 4 day modified bone broth fast

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This awesome book talks about bone broth benefits and it has recipes

One of the strongly encouraged things to do on the Pathogen Purge step (on the Gut Thrive in 5 Program) is to do a 4 day bone broth fast. ¬†It was encouraged to do this at the beginning of the Pathogen Purge as a way to get a head start to starve the bacteria in the gut. Let’s look at the key point benefits of bone broth:

  1. Heals leaky gut
  2. Overcomes food intolerances and allergies
  3. improves joint health
  4. Reduces cellulite
  5. Boosts the immune system

How fantastic does this sound? But it was going to be tough eating minimal food for 4 days. Needless to say,¬†¬†I waited to do this, and kept putting it off. I didn’t want to do it while at work, then I didn’t want to do it when on the weekend we went to Six Flags either. I ended up doing it at the very end, like a procrastinator would and worked 3 out of 4 days anyway. I just decided, it was never going to the right time. Since I have Hashimoto’s, I am tired all the time, and since starting the program I have come to experience hypoglycemic symptoms ¬†that I had not had before including anxiety and increasing headache when I went too long without eating. Because of this, I decided to do the modified version. I also have been checked, and do not have diabetes, so this was an odd observation for me, but valid nonetheless.¬†Per the program,¬†I had 3 options. All of the options consist of 48 ounces of broth a day. I ordered the broth from The Brothery¬†and had purchased 6 bags for this program, at 24 ounces each. You can easily make your own, but I chose convenience so convenience will cost more. It really took the stress out for me and that is worth so much to me right now. ¬† I purchased a combo of beef and chicken. ¬†Honestly, the beef was not so good to drink as the chicken was. I would buy all chicken next time if I did this again.¬†There is also¬†Pete’s Paleo however¬†there are many more broth providers that deliver and I encourage you to find one you like. I just found out there is a new low FODMAP bone broth maker called Gut RX Gurus and if I would have heard of them before, I would have ordered from them instead. Considering I am positive for SIBO, it would have been a more perfect choice. ¬†I don’t think it makes a huge difference, however if you know you have SIBO, why not go low FODMAP on the broth right? Low FODMAP in a nutshell for this article’s purpose just refers to carbs that do not aggravate SIBO. You can always make it yourself too. The key is simmering the bones for a long time (anywhere from 8 hours to 24 hours) with vinegar to extract the collagen, so make sure you are searching for a true bone broth recipe.

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I bought chicken and beef broth from The Brothery.  I prefer the chicken over the beef and squeezed half a lemon in my cup.  Yum!

The first option consisted of a pure bone broth fast.  You would have 12 ounces of broth for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You would add a tablespoon of collagen for extra protein, a pinch of sea salt for the adrenals, and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil.  I could not use the microwave either, it had to be heated on the stove.  I took a thermos to work to avoid using the microwave. Make sure to pour very hot water in the thermos for 5 minutes before throwing out the water and pouring your hot broth in it. This will keep it hotter longer.  In between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, my snack would include a green juice. Only green juices with no fruit in it is allowed. Dinner was 1 tsp of ghee added to the broth, instead of coconut oil, plus 1 cup of berries.

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Grassfed collagen derived from cows, tastes like nothing!

The modified version has more food in it as well as the bone broth for people with hypothyroidism, or adrenal fatigue. ¬†I would add in anyone with hypoglycemia would probably fit here too. This was the one I chose to do. ¬†You do everything the original version says to do, with a modification to have the berries in the morning. ¬†For breakfast you can steamed greens and 2 poached eggs or 4 oz turkey sausage and 1 cup of berries. I had Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage and 1 cup of raspberries which I bought from Costco some mornings. Some days I had steamed kale and the eggs. 2 cups of steamed collard greens or kale is a lot of chewing. I did not enjoy that so much. For lunch you can add 4 ounces of baked, broiled, or steamed fish and 2 cups of steamed mixed veggies legal for your Plan. (no illegal veggies here for me). Here I had no time for cooking, so for 2 days I ate a can of tuna with some lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper as my fish. Simple! Dinner consisted of 4 ounces of lean protein and 2 cups of steamed non starchy veggies. I mostly had chicken breast for dinner, and either collard greens/spinach/ or carrots. ¬†Sometimes I cooked the carrots in a little grass-fed butter and omitted it from the broth. ¬†For the green juice, I purchased Greens 1.5 from the Pressed Juicery. ¬†¬†If there is an organic greens juice you can find bottled, without any fruit, I would recommend that first. I tried and liked the taste of Greens 1.5, and did not know of any local organic bottled pressed juices until later. ¬†Urban Remedy was brought up by a friend that it was the same concept as Pressed Juicery, but they were organic. ¬†I have yet to try their juice, but I plan to visit sometime. Extra bonus for those who have a Pressed Juicery near them. ¬†They make fabulous vegan fruit and almond milk soft serves made with dates for sweetness and it looks like frozen yogurt. ¬†You can even put fresh toppings on it. Check that out if you get a chance to visit one. My daughter loves the fruit soft serve and she gets¬†chocolate chips on it, and I loved the chocolate almond soft serve.

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Greens 1.5 from the Pressed Juicery. Loved it!

The last and third option is for vegans/vegetarians and those with a known histamine/glutamine intolerance.  Bone broth is high in histamine/glutamine which is why is someone knows they are sensitive to that, it would not be recommended to drink bone broth. This option consists of young green coconut gel and meat, Bieler’s broth, vegetable broth, and green juice without fruit. Fresh, young, green, organic coconut water/gel  comes from an immature coconut. A sample day would look like 12-24 ounces of vegetable broth for breakfast lunch and dinner. Add a pinch of sea salt, a touch of coconut oil or ghee, and a young green coconut gel to breakfast and lunch only. Same thing applies here for snacks; drink your green juice!

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Bone broth, coconut oil, collagen, and berries. Sausage also a part of breakfast, not in the picture.

Everyday I drank 1 gallon of filtered water. ¬†I was used to drinking 1/2 a gallon, but considering I was somewhat hungrier, I increased the intake for not only to quell the hunger but also to enhance the detox. Since I worked as well, I found myself to be getting extremely hungry 2 out of the 4 days when my break did not happen on time but more than an hour later and I found myself with a headache that began to increase in intensity. ¬†It was becoming hard to concentrate, and I was feeling shaky, and somewhat irritable. After finally eating “dinner” of greens, protein, and broth, the headache remained. Luckily, a coworker had shared some oranges from her trees with me, and I dug into one ravenously. In about 45 minutes my headache began to finally subside. ¬†I am so grateful that I had that orange, since my body was telling me it was not happy. There was plenty of chocolate circulating that day and I was sincerely hoping I would not have to give in, to relieve these symptoms. ¬†I would of regretted it. ¬†I am not sure how others have fared on a modified fast like this, but I would imagine if you did not have to work it might be easier. ¬†I would suggest if you were planning on it and had to work, to just go with the modified version and have an extra fruit with you, in case you feel those kinds of low blood sugar symptoms.

I felt calm, accomplished, and clear-headed when the fast was over. I think taking the pathogen purging supplements was a great compliment to the fast and I felt like I was doing all of it with great purpose. ¬†I lost about 5 pounds, which is about all of the weight I’ve lost being on this program and it’s been 5 weeks. ¬†I’m not sure how it’s possible I would still have weight loss resistance, but I am not stressing. ¬†My focus is on healing and maximizing that healing every way I can.

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Believe you can

 

 

 

2015: A year of 4 nutritional experiments ūüĎôūüėę

I’ve always had this secret desire to obtain bikini competitor leanness. I am not talking about the Hawaiian tropic bikini contests. That is a completely different story. This is a division in the world of bodybuilding. These competitors are not as lean as true ‘bodybuilders’. The bikini division demands a good 12-15% body fat unlike bodybuilders who demand single digit body fat.

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Amanda Latona, aka the booty queen, is one of the most well known bikini competitors. She is so genuine and down to earth and has the ideal ‘bikini competitor’ look

 

One of my favorite events to attend is the Bikini Olympia in Las Vegas in September. ¬†I admire the discipline, work, and dedication to the process that these women go through to compete, and I personally think they look awesome! I experimented in 2014 with using a Bodybugg (which is just like the fitbit) and wore that thing for over a year on my arm. I was relentless and sometimes would wear it at night even. When I would work out, sometimes I would burn up to 3000 calories! I tried to mix up my workouts by changing my lifting routine and adding HIIT training. ¬†I experimented with eating 2,000 calories, then 1,900, then 1,800, then 1,700, then 1,600, then at 1,500 I said no thanks! I am not enjoying this anymore and I felt like I was starving and not losing weight! Well, and I kind of was, when you consider my average burn every week was 2500 calories a day. ¬†So why wasn’t I losing at 2,000 calories? I should of been losing, if the whole calories in versus calories out is true. I’m a true example to tell you it’s not! I had a lot of underlying hormonal issues that were a pressing problem that was hard to identify at the time. ¬†But I didn’t give up hope.

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Having fun at the Bodybuilding.com Booth at the fit expo. Olympia 2013. That is a giant pill behind me. Don’t ask me, I don’t know. ūüėŹ

Come end of 2014 I decided to hire a bodybuilding coach. Surely they knew something I didn’t.

Nutritional Experiment #1 The bodybuilder coach diet: 1400 calories

After I paid up and got my meal template, I was worried. If 1500 was painful, this is going to be tough. ¬†And it was. But I paid money to this coach, and I mentally invested myself in committing to this diet. ¬†There were weeks when I would do awesome, and the scale would budge a little, and then I would go crazy and overeat. It was so hard to control my cheat meals. I was hyper focused on what I was going to eat next, and how hungry I always was. Because you see this coach also gave me the most intense weight lifting workout I’ve ever done. ¬†I would get so exhausted after working out first thing in the AM that I would want to pass out on my bed after showering but I couldn’t because I had to go to work! I thought to myself this is what bikini competitors do. They have these days, they keep pushing. I have to keep pushing. ¬†Unfortunately this pushed my hormones into even more dysfunction, leading me into adrenal fatigue with worsening gastric distress problems that I was in denial about. ¬† It was very difficult to maintain discipline and did not feel sustainable. ¬†For the pain I went through, I had little results. Finally, my 6 months with them ended, and I had very little to show for it except for some increased endurance and a little more muscle. ¬†Definitely not what I committed myself to. I started this in August 2014 and completed six months in January 2015.

I took a break after this. I maintained a healthy diet and continued to work out.

Nutritional Experiment #2 The Alternate Day Diet

I had been reading and following Dr Sara Solomon for a few years and she is a fitness celebrity who is a walking billboard of intermittent fasting success. ¬†After researching I decided to purchase the book on the Alternate Day Diet written by a Doctor. ¬†It consists of eating 500 calories 3x a week in the form of a meal replacement. ¬†The other four days you eat healthy normal portions of food. I knew how to do that, and was careful not to overeat. It was not hard to diet 3x a week versus 7 days a week. ¬†It was challenging, but sustainable, provided I saw results.¬†At the same time I joined Orange Theory Fitness. ¬†This was a type of exercise model that combined using weights and high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts while maximizing your intensity using a¬†heart rate monitoring system. They were doing a 6 week challenge so I thought the application of this diet and 3x a week would be the shake up I needed to bust my plateau. ¬†I tried doing the 500 calorie days on my workout days and opposite workout days. ¬†Neither seemed to help me recover as fast as I wanted to. I consumed calorie free branched chain amino acids before, during, and after working out which is ideal when you are fasting and working out. It’s like consuming zero calorie protein. ¬†I was exhausted all the time and intensely sore for most of the week. ¬†I pushed so hard for those 6 weeks. ¬†In the end I had lost zero pounds, zero inches, but again just gained some endurance and felt somewhat stronger. ¬†For the work I put in, that was extremely disappointing. ¬†I learned later that this sort of fasting when one has autoimmune disease may worsen the adrenals. This totally explains my daily exhaustion and zero results. I began this in June. ¬†Experiment failed.

Here is a short video recapping what the Alternate Day Diet is about: click me (please be kind, its my first video! ;-))

Nutritional Experiment #3: the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).¬†By this point, my gastric distress symptoms seemed to be a constant daily pain. I would use the restroom frequently, and was sensitive to random foods. My psoriasis was constant and worsening and I was needing topical steroids to help it. Perhaps my weight loss resistance was deeper than a calculation or macro balancing. Perhaps my hashimoto’s was getting worse and my hormones were resisting change. I might have made my adrenals worse. I began researching about the autoimmune protocol, commonly known as AIP. This protocol is very particular, and very limited in that it is not easy to go out to eat. You have to plan ahead of time or bring your own food. I organized my cabinets to be AIP friendly, with my daughters regular food on other shelves so I would know my boundaries. I purchased multiple books like Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach, and¬†Mickey Trescott’s The autoimmune paleo cookbook. ¬†I bought Breanna Emmitt’s He won’t know it’s Paleo¬†and Angie Alt’s The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook.¬†These were all great books and I recommend all of them. As you can see, when I want to learn a method, I do everything I can to prepare myself for maximum success. ¬†I recommend reading about AIP on Sarah Ballantyne’s blog, The Paleo Mom. I cooked up many interesting things that I never knew were possible. ¬†With AIP there is no measuring or counting calories, you eat to satisfaction. ¬†I drank bone broths, didn’t eat out and didn’t have wine. I avoided coffee, and drank black tea with lemon. I utilized some supplements recommended by Chris Kresser. ¬†I started this in August and lasted thru October. I even joined a FB support group/program to guide me through it. My gut issues remained, and I lost no weight. In fact, it seemed like I was starting to gain slowly. Experiment failed.

Nutritional Experiment #4: The Repairvite Diet

I gave myself a break from the discipline of never eating out and always having my food prepped. I then consulted with my previous alternative healthcare practitioner, Dr David Clark, DC.  We had drawn labs and devised a plan to start the Repairvite Diet.  I ordered over 400 dollars worth of a 1 month supply of supplements. The Repairvite Diet is basically AIP or Paleo on steroids. You cannot get any more strict than the Repairvite diet, next to a bone broth fast. I decided I would start this program on December 22, 2015.  Yes right before Christmas! I was tired of feeling tired, not getting results, and feeling worse. I was ready to get committed again.  See my post on my experience with the Repairvite Diet. I also went to Disneyland on New Years Eve and remained on point for 30 straight days with zero caffeine, avoiding nuts, seeds, and nightshade vegetables as well as high glycemic fruits.  I get to January, and have no positive change to report to my Dr. He tells me that if it was an inflammatory issue, I should of had remarkable results, and perhaps its something else. He decides to presume me as having a gut infection, called SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and wants me to go on a low fodmap diet for 2 weeks to see if there is change.  This was overwhelming and discouraging news to me.  So I decided I would take a break. Next post I will talk about what SIBO is, how I got tested, and what treatments are available.  Plus my next plan to tackle it all.

 

Why I say hell no to soy forever!

 

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Life as a kid drinking milk.  It sure tasted good though!

As a child I always had stomachaches. I would often ask to the go to the nurse’s office in high school and once in a while I would ask to go home, but most of the time the nurse told me to lay down until I felt better. It would always be after lunch and I would be so bloated and gassy that it was uncomfortable just to sit upright in my school chair! Ironically, no one ever asked me what was I eating? Not my mom, not the nurse, and I certainly didn’t talk about it with my peers. I’m still in awe at how far behind conventional teaching of nutrition was back then within nursing and medicine. The worst part about that, it is still VERY far behind.

From the very beginning, you are told that everyone needs dairy. Thanks FDA! It‚Äôs interesting to me that the food groups at the time required dairy and grains (the MYplate still does), and now that I know about food politics, it all makes sense. (And yes, you can live and thrive without dairy and grains. They are taken out of many anti-inflammatory diets such as the Paleo Diet, the Autoimmune Protocol, Repairvite Diet, and recommended by many nutritionists such as JJ Virgin to heal your ‚Äėgut‚Äô. Shhhh, don‚Äôt tell the FDA!)

I never pieced that it was milk causing me distress, since I had skim milk every morning and didn’t have a reaction then. ¬†Nor did I notice issues with all milk products. That doesn’t mean I didn’t react more often, I just maybe didn’t notice it as much or was in tune with what was going on with my body. ¬† I remember having a box of skim milk with my lunch every single day¬†as that was what I drank to stay ‘healthy’. I think the thought never crossed my mind that something healthy could be what’s hurting me. ¬†It was not until college that the lightbulb went on and I realized that milk was a major factor in my daily bloating. I’d religiously have my milk with cereal in the morning. My new loved routine was¬†going to Starbucks to study and have an ice cold Frappuccino. It started to annoy me when¬†I‚Äôd keel over in gassy pain and would have to leave the place to go lay down at home! I truly needed to be annoyed with intensity to pay attention to what my body was saying. ¬†It seemed to be the dose that made the poison, so I don’t believe that you have to have a reaction to a food every time, to know you are sensitive to it. ¬†The clarity was bonking me in the head with the answer.

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How many times do I have to bonk you?  ~ says milk

 

Soy milk had just become popular at the time, so I decided I’d try and switch. It was easy and I loved the taste. Plus the crazy bloating was gone! I was about 19 when I made the switch. I drank soy milk every morning with breakfast, or I would order a Soy Latte at Starbucks. These habits would be consistent for the next 10 years of my life.

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My knight in shining armor arrived. Little did I know I would be betrayed.

I had no chronic conditions and was not on any meds, but at 32 years old, I experienced a tragic life threatening acute illness. I became sick with flu like symptoms, had strange stomach pangs, and had to be admitted to the hospital where I had to be intubated and spiraled downhill. After a week of possibly saying goodbye to life on Earth, I pulled out of it. There was never a diagnosis for what happened to me, besides ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). I was generally healthy, besides the lactose intolerance. It was amazing to wake up from that and realize I was given a second chance at life.  This gave me a new inspiration and I joined Weight Watchers. I became super motivated and active so I could be the best role model I could be for people. About 10 months after my near death experience, my period just stopped coming. I couldn’t be pregnant, and I was not under any intense stress physically or mentally. I was not even under 22% body fat, so low body fat was not a factor. I waited a few months before finally going to the doctor and asked to be tested. My doctor tested me for all the hormones that could be responsible for my period stopping.

Everything came back normal.  He told me he did not know what to tell me, or why it stopped coming, but that since my labs were great, it was nothing to worry about.  

This did not ease my mind. I had not had a child yet and I wanted one so I questioned what this could mean- could I not get pregnant? Not having a period is not normal. So I pushed him with more questions and he told me, ‚Äúif you are worried about having a period, then go on birth control‚ÄĚ. That was my only solution. I went NINE months without having a period, so it didn‚Äôt look like it was going to come back on its own and there had to be a reason for this, this doesn‚Äôt just happen to normal healthy people.

I began to do research about my symptoms (halting of menstruation) and was shocked at what came up. There was not a lot of literature or true evidence to back it up at the time, but it circled back to soy.

 

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I read a controversial article stating that soy could put women into a perimenopausal state. This was the only common denominator in my life that could explain what was going on. I had a history of using birth control pills on and off for about ten years which I believe might have also been a factor in my autoimmunity to come, but I had been off of it for more than 5 years by the time this happened. Thankfully, almond milk was just beginning to hit the shelves, so I made the switch again. I then had the doctor put me on the lowest dose of birth control pills available. I had quite a few bad reactions with this, including moodiness, weight gain, and low libido. ‚ÄúThis was a nightmare,‚ÄĚ I thought, ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt keep doing this.‚ÄĚ So after 3 months of the pill, I switched to almond milk (and with some serious praying) I stopped taking the pill and my period resumed on time on its own from then on out.

I became pregnant 6 months later- after 6 months of having a regular period on no birth control pills and no intake of soy whatsoever. I do believe there is a God and that he answers prayers!

Soy contains chemicals that mimic estrogen and lower testosterone levels.

The current research is still controversial (is this because of Monsanto‚Äôs control over one of the top 3 GMO crops in the US?) Some studies say that too much soy in your diet can affect your thyroid because soy contains goitrogens. Unlike other goitrogenic vegetables, soy does not reduce these factors when cooked. It can cause breast cancer and impair fertility. (Wait, I thought it PREVENTED breast cancer?! Another one of those ‚Äėcontroversial‚Äô subjects folks!)

 

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American GMO soy is like a drug. An experimental mass dosed birth control drug. We ingest so much of it, thanks to Big Food and many people are now paying the price.

Fermentable soy is really only the healthy form of soy, not unfermented. And in small amounts. Fermented soy includes tempeh, natty, miso, and soy sauce. Unfermented includes tofu, edamame, and everything else made from soy. You even have a choice to give your infant soy formula, which I find to be the most frightening of all (birth control for babies, anyone?). You decide, but after my experience, I won’t gamble and don’t feel the need to supplement my diet or my child’s with soy products whatsoever. If we have sushi one night which is rare, I’ll perhaps allow for some edamame and soy sauce (if I did not bring my coconut aminos) but on a daily basis, that would be a definite no. #BYEFELICIA

“But the Japanese eat soy, and they are healthy!”

Well no, they have not only an entirely different type of lifestyle and diet overall than we do in America, but they do not eat large amounts of processed GMO soy like we in America eat. They do not eat soy hotdogs, fake processed soy meats, or consume large amounts of soy in general whether its soy milk, soy ice cream, or tofu. Soy is also used as a filler in a large majority of processed foods, and soybean oil is a common cheap oil also used in restaurants and processed foods.

Why Soy is promoted as a health food.  (This article gets me fired up, and although he did not emphasize GMOS he does mention big business, marketing, and profits. That is huge and I think a major factor as why we are pushed to believe by many establishments that soy is healthy.)

The interesting thing is that I developed Hashimoto‚Äôs with my pregnancy. (Read here for my post on what Hashimoto‚Äôs is). Remember soy affects your thyroid?¬†¬† This means I always had the genes for it, I had leaky gut (intestinal permeability is the scientific term), but perhaps years of soy foods heavy estrogenic effects brought me to the cliff of autoimmunity. The stress of pregnancy on my body so soon after I swore off soy was the push over that cliff. Any kind of stress, whether physical, mental, or physiological can trigger an autoimmune gene to turn on provided you have leaky gut. And many people have this, but conventional medicine does not recognize it for some reason despite over 11,000 research articles on PubMed¬†so how would you know if you had leaky gut?¬†Most people don’t know what it is, and I sure didn’t at the time. (Read here to find out what leaky gut is, and its symptoms)

It’s been 6 years since my pregnancy, and I have had a regular period since. I avoid soy always remembering what it did to me. Soy lecithin is actually one ingredient that is not the soy protein or oil, and is safe for people like me with autoimmune disease, per my doctor. Of course, GMO free is always preferred. I look forward to the day when all food is labeled! #JustLabelIt

Why do consumers want GMO’s labeled?

Dr Mercola talks about soy links to brain damage and breast cancer. 

It was difficult to find research that mentioned soy causing perimenopause since I’ve tried to look some up for this article. I assume this is because Google is selective¬†of what they want you to see and are probably paid from companies that benefit from the lies of the giant GMO soy industry, the star being¬†Monsanto.

The Whole Soy Story book  ( a raw and truthful book written by a nutritionist with a PhD)

Well, I think the answer could not be more clearer. ¬†I only wish my Dr, and those school nurses would of known enough to ask me, “What are you eating?” sooner.

 

30 days of the Repairvite Diet: mistakes, revelations, and what now?

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I am grateful to have this blog to be accountable to, for I have had some close moments of getting way off track. ¬†Knowing I would have to report that really made a difference! I thought that the first few weeks would be the hardest, and although I started this diet right before Christmas, it was actually the last two weeks that I found myself craving chocolate hard. ¬†You see, chocolate and I have had an ongoing love affair, and we had to break up at the start of this nutritional experiment. ¬†It was not easy, and it had to be cut off in pure denial. I was good at denying it for awhile, but I started to have a tough time again, even though I had gone more than two weeks straight without it. The saying that cravings go away with time, I’m not sure I believe that. But was it physical or psychological, or both? Who knows. ¬†I found out however that the more I said in my head “I’m craving chocolate so bad right now” the more I made that craving stronger and real. One of the things I did differently this time around, was that I did not stroll the aisles of Trader Joe’s to see what new chocolates/gluten free sweets/ice cream they had. ¬†If I missed that aisle, I was always greeted at the checkout, just in case I forgot to look at the chocolate. ¬† Given this obstacle, I realized I needed a different, less tortuous approach to grocery shopping. I got in, and got out as soon as I could. ¬†I pretended like I did not even see it at the checkout, even though I knew I did.

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This is me, every time I go to the store. Every time I am at work. Every time…well how about just all the time!

But this last week, due to a variety of stressors, brought on a strength that was dying to fail me. I was at work one night, and I have a particularly high stress job as an intensive care nurse, and had yet another opportunity to fail.  I rolled my eyes in my own sarcasm, as if I was not impressed with myself and these cravings, and asked God for help at the same time, remembering this verse:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

So I prayed in my head, “God thank you for helping me get through this so far. Please help me stay strong, I’ve come too far to give up and reverse my progress. ¬†I want to succeed, and I feel so weak right now. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Please help me succeed. I know you would not put me in a situation I cannot handle.”

And I did not do it.

I believe in the power of prayer.  You have to put your heart into it, blind faith, and belief that there is a higher power that wants to see you victorious. And do not ever forget, there is also another higher power that wants to see you fail. That latter part, I think that is what really motivated me that night.

God is with me through the easy times, and the hard.  He is always there.  And He will always be the comfort in hard times, you just have to be relentless in praying to Him.

Mistakes: After some careful evaluating of foods I was eating, I realized I had made some mistakes and was eating legumes, specifically sugar snap peas and green beans, that are a NO NO on the repairvite diet. ¬†It didn’t snap in my mind (no pun intended) that these could be legumes, and I had them throughout the diet. I’ve added these specifically to the foods list to help others not make the same mistake.

Fortunately, my Dr said it was ok for me, if that was the worst that happened.  Next to my Disneyland green tea adventures I wrote about in my other blog.

I’ve also added some other foods to the list, that my Dr. clarified highlighted¬†here.

Review of symptoms: I debated about writing these things about myself. Things are about to get real.  But I understand that I cannot help people unless they realize that I am going through the same thing they are, so I am opening myself up here. Get ready for some TMI. (Too much information)

I have noticed that I don’t have nearly as much gas anymore, and I feel lighter. However, I still alternate between having diarrhea and constipation (I’m so thankful for modern man’s invention: the BUTT wipe. Hey, I am not ashamed! ), I have lost no weight in 30 days which is incredibly strange, given the strict food list on the Repairvite diet. I still have tough to treat dandruff. This is a chronic condition that apparently can be put into remission like any other autoimmune disease, and the only thing that works for me is topical steroids. Definitely not what I want to do long term because steroids can indirectly shrink¬†the adrenals. ¬†I still have more energy at night, and I’m very tired in the morning. ¬†Hashimoto’s and adrenal fatigue are correlated in many people. And adrenal fatigue is not recognized in conventional medicine as a real condition, yet. ¬†This is unfortunate, as so many people suffer from this and accept it as a way of life. So many people are dog tired, no matter how much caffeine they pump into themselves, and just live burnt out everyday. Our high stress lives compound the stress on our adrenals. I know that in time, it will become a true medical diagnosis just as depression was not accepted as a true medical diagnosis at one time. From a saliva test, we found out that my adrenal fatigue showed my cortisol levels to be disproportionately higher at night and lower in the AM instead of vice versa. This explains my tiredness in the AM, and energy at night. I’m not sure if it would take me longer to treat by diet to see results, or if we need to switch gears to Plan B. I will speaking to my holistic Dr soon about these results.

I highly value holistic practitioners.Although I have been trained in conventional medicine, they have opened my eyes to a world of true medicine: holistic healing. Instant gratification is a concept we demand in conventional medicine. This works well in acute settings, but it doesn’t have the best reputation in chronic settings. Instant gratification¬†does not work in the long run, and does more harm than good often times.

A peek at my shopping cart below!

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My Costco basket: Including organic apple cider vinegar, organic sweet potatoes, cinnamon, halo clementines, kiwis, blueberries, Epsom salts for baths, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil for high heat cooking, beets, and organic ground turkey

Now that you got appropriately TMI’d , reflect on the kinds of symptoms you have that bother you, and you have just lived with and accepted as part of life. ¬†Know that gas and irregular stools are NOT normal, and regular stomachaches aren’t either. ¬†I would of never thought my skin issues were something that could be put into remission, and I am on a mission to figure out how.

Food is medicine. Medicine is food.  This is an underestimated fact not readily translated to the people in America.

There is hope. ¬†It will take trial and error, but there is an answer you haven’t found yet. ¬†Don’t give up.

Next blog post is about my follow up with my Doctor.