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Thread: A Colorado Girl's Journey to Healing and Health page

  1. #1
    OutdoorAmy's Avatar
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    A Colorado Girl's Journey to Healing and Health

    Primal Fuel
    I decided to start a new journal rather than keeping going with the one I initially started on these forums over a year ago because my circumstances and goals have changed so much from when I started.

    When I started eating primal in spring of 2012 it was with the primary goal of losing weight to look "hot for training camp". When I fell off the wagon in the fall, after losing 40 lbs., I started having GI trouble and it became apparent that something more than just my lifestyle was contributing to my weight. I think there is underlying inflammation (partly caused by lifestyle but also, probably, caused by a disorder, which, I'll grant may itself be partly caused by lifestyle). In any case that has changed my goals from weight loss oriented to healing oriented. (Why I No Longer Have a Weight Loss Goal)

    This week I am finally getting the endoscopy testing to try and diagnosis what has been causing my abdominal pain and elimination issues. I am so eager to have answers but even more eager to get back to eating paleo!

    I've been eating SAD food, including gluten, every day for the last 3 months for the sake of getting an accurate diagnosis. In that time I gained back 15 of the 40 lbs. I lost and also noticed how much worse my allergies are this year than they were last (despite only moderate pollen levels). So it's abundantly clear to me how much inflammation and immune reaction I get when I eat a SAD diet - and only didn't notice it before because it was "normal" to me - and I hadn't had any experience with something better.

    In any case - come Saturday I'm back to paleo 100% and I can't wait!
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  2. #2
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    Today is going to be tough. Clear liquids all day in preparation for my test. And some serious prescription strength drain cleaner. going home from work early today to relax, watch TV and let the gook work its magic.

    Tomorrow hopefully we'll be at least one big step closer to answers - if not actually have some answers right away. (If it's Crohn's or UC they should be able to tell pretty quickly with just a visual scan - I hope).

    Then Friday afternoon I can get things ready for the return to paleo - cooking bone broth, shredding chicken, buying veggies and fruit.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  3. #3
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    DCarr10760 is offline Senior Member
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    Good luck with the testing! I hope you find out the answers. I just finished reading "Wheat Belly" and while I don't (thankfully) have any food sensitivities that I am aware of, I am swearing off all wheat products completely. I've mostly done this already as part of Paleo/Primal eating. But now its for general health and fitness as opposed to just weight loss.

    If you haven't read it already (and if you are interested) I would definitely recommend it.

    DC
    Height: 5' 10"
    Starting Weight: 292
    Starting Primal Weight: 275
    Current weight: 230
    Goal weight: 172
    Body Fat 27.5

  4. #4
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    Crohn's and UC are now all but off the table. If they are there they are in remission. There were however polyps in my colon, which can be left behind from UC or Crohn's flare ups. So they will be doing biopsies of those as well as testing a biopsy for microscopic colitis. There was also gastritis in my stomach (which could be autoimmune or H.Pylori) and signs of inflammation in my small intestine that they also biopsied - so celiac is very much still on the table.

    I didn't get any answers today like I would have if it were an active Crohn's or UC flare - but that's okay. I'm glad they actually found some evidence of the inflammation and symptoms I've been feeling and hope that the biopsy results will give a more definite result when I have my follow up appointment in a couple weeks.

    In response to DCarr - I've definitely read it - I think I've read almost all the big paleo books now - Primal Blueprint was the one that got me started with primal for weight loss over a year ago - but I've read Wheat Belly, Dangerous Grains, Good Calories Bad Calories, Primal Body Primal Mind, The Paleo Solution, Practical Paleo and the book I'm using to guide my elimination diet (which starts tomorrow) - Digestive Health with REAL Food.

    I'm using that to try and figure out which foods I personally do the best with. Especially since an autoimmune disease of some kind is still on the table for me - and a leaky gut is almost definitely part of the problem, with or without autoimmunity - so I am starting a pretty strict paleo diet focusing on healing now that I'm done with the screenings (hence the name of the journal - as opposed to the weight loss goals that initially brought me to primal a year ago).

    The testing itself was really great though. The prep was the worst. But once I got to the hospital today everything was really good. My prep nurse was really sweet and she was talking to me about paleo and probiotics and such - definitely took a holistic view of health - and encouraged me to check into a naturopath or nutritionist after my testing is done. The doctor was really nice, and they actually brought me color pictures of my insides and went over their discoveries with me when I was awake. (Which I never got when my gallbladder was taken out).

    This afternoon I started making some bone broth. Went grocery shopping for produce for the coming week (my freezer is already stocked with all the meat I need for at least the next couple weeks - if not the whole month). Packed my paleo bento lunch for work tomorrow. And have otherwise just been enjoying my day off.

    My elimination diet starts tomorrow and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some healing before I even get to my follow up appointment.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  5. #5
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    First day back on the paleo wagon has gone pretty well. I did have some slightly un-paleo coconut yogurt (because I didn't want to waste it) as well as a glass of Sierra Mist (just to finish off the bottle). But it was all gluten free!

    Had a little yogurt at breakfast. Chicken thigh meat, carrots, mandarin oranges, yogurt and lemon water for lunch. Chicken thigh meat in bone broth for dinner. Yogurt with organic chocolate chips for dessert.

    I also walked to work today (a little over a mile round trip) - so I got my sun and my slow movement in.

    Tomorrow my plan is for a banana for breakfast, deli chicken and prosciutto rolls for lunch, with carrots and salmon with baked zucchini for dinner, an orange for dessert. I plan to do yoga in the morning and walk to work again.

    Basically this is my overall plan for the rest of this first week . . . .

    Acceptable foods for this week:
    Carrots (cooked)
    Zucchini (cooked)
    Spinach (cooked)
    Oranges
    Ripe Bananas
    Pastured Chicken
    Grassfed Beef
    Wild Caught Fish
    Bone Broth
    Ghee
    Coconut Oil
    GF Full Spectrum Salt
    GF Basil

    Supplements:
    NONE

    Drinks:
    Water between meals
    Lemon water with meals

    No food after 7pm, to give time to digest and prevent stomach upset while trying to get to sleep. Try to space meals every 3-5 hours with no snacking for cleansing waves to do their work.

    Exercise for this Week:
    Walk to work every day
    Yoga on Wed and Sun morning

    Relaxation for this Week:
    Friday night epsom salt soak
    Daily 15 minute breathing break (preferably after work)

    Next week I plan to add raw version of all my veggies as well as supplementation with fermented cod liver oil. In the third week I plan to add a probiotic to that (the Monday of the third week will also be when I have my follow up with the GI). The fourth week I plan to start introducing other low-FODMAP and SCD friendly foods.

    I'm hoping to get to the point where I can tolerate all the SCD-friendly paleo foods on a regular basis, including some FODMAPs, yogurt, aged cheese, nuts and seeds. I'd also like to be able to eat gluten-free grains and organic full-fat dairy in treats around the holidays and for my birthday. (Just because I know it would be easier on me and my family if I could eat crustless pumpkin pie, gluten free dressing, and a gluten free cookie or cake as a rare treat).
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  6. #6
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    Second day back is in the books. I didn't follow my plan perfectly - but what I love about paleo is that because I focused on getting protein, natural fats and veggies first - when I caved and ate some chocolate I was still well within my macronutrient and calorie range goals for the day. (I know, it's not primal to count calories - but I like to keep accountable in that way and it helps me see how my food really breaks down in terms of satiety compared to macronutrients and calorie intake). It's great to be able to eat what I want and not have to stress that my whole day is thrown out the window!

    I did my yoga this morning. It was nice and relaxing and I felt much looser afterwards, less tense. I also walked to and from work again. It was humid today, so I felt a little sticky, but that's okay.

    Tomorrow my plan is pretty similar to today - banana and/or orange with bone broth for breakfast, prosciutto and chicken rolls with carrots for lunch, bone broth, steak and zucchini for dinner. Walk to work. Relax for a while after work with deep breathing.

    My symptoms were already getting better just because of the sun (I think low vitamin D may have played a role in the attacks), but they seem to be getting a bit better each day. It's hard to say yet though. I do still have some blemishes, including one cystic one on my face and my energy levels aren't great yet either. Only 19 more days before I can reintroduce more foods and really get into a more complete and less limited paleo diet.

    The fancy probiotic I ordered online has come in, so I can pick it up when I go to the post office tomorrow. I also found some good gluten free and soy free dark chocolate at the grocery store so I stocked up for the next time a craving hits - so I can have that instead of the cheapo stuff that's always freely available at work.

    Wednesday I've got almost the whole day off of work so I plan to spend some time prepping more lunch stuff for my bentos.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  7. #7
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    Day 3 is in the books and things went pretty well. I'm using Spark People to log my food and get an idea for where my macronutrient ratios are. I'm actually having a hard time getting enough calories!

    My MCT oil and probiotic came in the mail today and I plan to incorporate them into my diet plan starting next week along with fermented cod liver oil.

    I've noticed my allergies have been non-existent the last couple days. The pollen level for my main allergen was low yesterday though, so I can't say yet if this is because of returning to paleo or not. And truly, this late in my allergy season, I think it will have to wait until next year's grass pollen season to really know for sure if paleo has made a big difference in my allergy symptoms.

    Before going to bed tonight I plan on trying to make a sweet carrot dessert of sorts by cooking carrots in water and vanilla, the pureeing them with cinnamon and little ginger. Like apple sauce, but carrots. (Since apples are a FODMAP and I won't be having them for a while, but hopefully by September when they are in season - I'm already looking forward to apple and squash paleo breakfast muffins or apple and pear paleo custard . . . ).
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  8. #8
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    Done with my first week back to paleo. I only had one urgent movement all week and it was the day that I cheated a little and had homemade zucchini "bread" that was mostly egg but had about a quarter cup of gluten free flour in it as well. Apart from that I've been strictly grain free and well within my calorie range every day.

    I also walked to work every day but Thursday (because it was raining and I was running late).

    It's also been a full week since my scans so I could get the results any day now. They said they'd call with the results, even though I also have a follow up visit with the GI a week from Monday.

    Since my symptoms have been better already and I'm also already bored with the options I have for eating I decided to start reintroducing some more foods this coming week. Still avoiding nightshades and high FODMAP foods, as well as high lactose dairy. I might start reintroducing some FODMAPs in low doses next week though. That would get me to a full SCD paleo sooner rather than later and that's where I plan to stay.

    So this coming week I'm reintroducing berries, winter squash and lettuces (spinach, butter and iceberg is what I bought for this week). The recipes I have planned to try this coming week are: seasoned beef lettuce wrap sliders, crab cakes with salad greens, chicken bacon spinach salad, squash and cranberry muffins, and later in the week I may try beef and broccoli and chicken broth made with onions and garlic - if I continue to be symptom free. With those foods added to what I already have I feel like I could actually camp out for a while and not feel like I needed to reintroduce too many more foods until I really had a craving (since almost all my favorite fruits and veggies would be included by then).

    I know they say you don't need as much roughage/fiber as SAD and My Plate says you do - but I do feel like I need more fiber just based on the consistency of my stool . . . and berries, squash and lettuce will definitely provide that.

    I have been having troubles getting to sleep lately, and I'm not sure if it's the heat or caffeine from the chocolate - so I'm going to try and remove the chocolate for the next week and see if that helps - and also see if I can get some help installing a window AC unit to use just to make my bedroom a little cooler in the evenings. If that doesn't help then I think it's time to reintroduce heavier exercise than walking a few times a week to sap more of my energy before bed.

    Today I'm doing IF until I feel truly hungry - which hasn't been yet. Plan to take a nice long walk with the pooch in the mid-afternoon or early evening today and tomorrow . . . and I'm planning to take a nice relaxing epsom salt soak in the evening tonight while I listen to my favorite paleo podcasts.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  9. #9
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    Got my endoscopy results back. The doctor still thinks it's consistent with IBS, but based on all my symptoms and the results of the endoscopy I now think it's most likely to be Crohn's that is either in remission or is mostly in a spot not covered by the scans (which is possible, since the scans did not cover my full small bowel).

    Here's why I now think it is Crohn's:

    Increased risk of Crohn's in European and Jewish ancestry (check)
    Increased risk of Crohn's more than 20 years after an appendectomy (check)
    Increased risk of gallstones in Crohn's patients (check)
    Melanosis coli may be caused by chronic colitis or IBS in absence of laxative use/abuse (check)
    Intestinal lymphangiestasia may be caused by Crohn's disease (check)
    High platelet counts in conjunction with low iron levels may be attributed to IBD (check)
    Chronic gastritis may be a result of Crohn's (check)
    Poridge-like (type 6) BMs with steatorrhea (check) (though I get type 7s and tenesmus too, which is more common in UC)
    Recurring knee and hip aches (check)
    History of canker sores (check)
    Most likely to develop between 15 and 35 (check)
    Abdominal pain attacks and more mild cramping (check)

    I just don't want to be one of those people who keeps paying huge doctor bills trying to find a diagnosis. I know many Crohn's patients that, unless they present with serious weight loss and classic symptoms, get the IBS diagnosis and may go year before finding out the truth.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

  10. #10
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    Got a call from my doctor's office today and he wants to put me on prescription strength antacids for my gastritis that was described in the pathology report I received on Monday as "mild and inactive" (though chronic). I've never had heartburn as a primary complaint and there were no signs of ulcers so I'm a little annoyed that I just get this call - "I'm calling in this prescription, just take it and come back in 4-6 weeks".

    The thing I've hated most about this whole process is the feeling that I'm just a guinea pig. Unlike previous doctor's (especially with KP) where I got a copy of my test results, this time my doctor's just look at the reports, tell me their findings and what they expect me to do - without even letting me see the results for myself (including my blood work and MRI) and without talking to me about alternatives. I could get a second opinion I suppose, but that might cost me more and be hard to find in a rural area like where I live now.

    I insist upon being an empowered patient - which I think annoys many doctors. I am not against allopathic medicine nor do I think that all alternative treatments are better simply by virtue of being "natural". But I DO insist on being informed about my health and being empowered to make those decisions for myself with informed consent - rather than just taking a prescription because some doctor says so. And since this gastritis has been asymptomatic and is apparently mild and inactive - why should I jump straight into a prescription strength medication instead of exploring dietary and lifestyle changes first? In either case I'm going to have to follow up in a few weeks to see if symptoms are improving. If the diet and lifestyle changes aren't helping in another month and a half, then I would be fine with taking the prescription medication - but right now it seems like too much too soon for me.
    Healthy Bucket List:
    • Summit all of Colorado's 14-ers
    • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    • Do a real pull-up
    • Run a 5k
    • Be "Hot For Training Camp"



    Check out my journey at Outdoor Amy's Blog.

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