Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year Coming in Hot!

Hello Hashimoto friends, I hope you're having a fabulous holiday season!

Somehow it's the end of the year and I am rushing to work done, get the Christmas decorations taken down and stored, get the house cleaned, and get ready for the final holiday of the year.

I'm an introspective kind of gal and this time of year is always filled with reflections on the previous year. 2015 has been stressful and difficult but overshadowing the hardships are the victories. I've had a life changing 7 months starting with that fateful visit to Dr. Jessica, and the book she loaned me. It was a hard read, I confess - not just because of the sceincy subject matter, but also because of the dawning realization that someone finally "got me", understood the battles that Hashimoto's brings, and offered solutions.

Solutions!

After years of being told I would just have to learn to live with hair falling out in clumps, weight gain for no reason, skin problems, brain fog, to name but a few of the chronic symptoms. "Eat less and exercise more!" the endocrinologists repeatedly evangelized while I was running as many as 15 miles weekly and consuming 1,200 calories daily. The humiliation, the exhaustion, the feeling that maybe I was overeating or cheating, or just not good enough. It's a horrible beat down to be subjected to for years on end. My confidence was waning, my mind was tired, and my heart was broken,

Here's the link again for any newbies: Hashimoto's Root Cause Book

I was skeptical, sure. I was frustrated beyond reason before I started, but jumping in with both feet was the only way for me. I told my birthday to go screw and started the NEVER EVER diet in May, then after reading the above book, took far more drastic measures (start here to read that part of my journey). I have reaped the rewards, and am living proof that there is life after receiving a Hashimoto's diagnosis.

Nope, it's not easy. In fact, looking back, I'm flabbergasted at how hard it really was. The results though, I cannot accurately express to you how worthwhile the process has been. 

This past weekend I was feeling very shitty due to overindulging in delicious (but AIP friendly!) foods and drink. It was severely cold, we had a fire going all day, we enjoyed some champagne and wine, rich foods, etc. It was a fine holiday celebration but it was dragging my ass down big time.

On Saturday I decided to draw the line: no more overindulgence. I put myself on roasted veg, lean protein and bone broth with fermented cabbage and immediately felt better. As of today I've lost 3 holiday pounds, my energy is back and there is a pep in my step. I'm telling you, this works! Sticking to it can be hard sometimes but you can do it. Once in a while I fall off the wagon. I'm human. The important thing is getting back on the wagon and righting the ship and doing everything I can to stay the course once righted. 

If I can do it, you can do it! Pinkie swear.

Next year, I decided a month ago, will be the year of running. I want to beat my peak performance year (2011) and get back into the swing of serious running. Not trying to win races (nay!) but getting back my stride. To this end I have joined with two friends to take on 2,016 miles in 2016. It will mean averaging 13 miles per week - and I am PSYCHED!

Until we meet again, Happy New Year. Here's to good health, good times and good YOU! Cheers!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Temptation & How I Beat It

December 23rd, 2015

Happy Christmas eve-eve one and all! Also Happy Festivus, if you celebrate that. It occurred to me as I was stalking the grocery store shelves last night that I have an odd, seemingly counter-productive way of dealing with all of the temptations the winter holidays present. It totally works, or I wouldn't bother, so here goes:

Smelling.

Prior to this year I can honestly say that I've never made it through a holiday season without cheating in some way. I never had any gluten, but lots of sugar and high-carb flours were employed in unsuccessful attempts to recreate my favorite cookie recipes. It never really worked out but I ate my mistakes. Not good! And most definitely not Paleo, let alone AIP.

It started quite by accident whilst attending a Christmas happy hour put on by the owners of the building I work in. These folks are all about Christmas (a sentiment I can appreciate!) and they put on the Ritz for the holiday; the entire public area is decorated tastefully with twinkling lights and garlands of golden fabric, toy trains, twinkling stars, and the ever present sound of carols playing over the sound system. I go to this happy hour to have a glass of wine, knowing full well that I can't eat any of the wonderful food they cater in for the event. 

This year folks from our company took up residence at a table adjacent to the milk and cookies table, which included a decorate-your-own-sugar cookie station (new!). I work with normal people who can eat food, and they hit the cookie table hard. 

Let me be very honest with you: I was close to tears when we pulled up next to that table. In my previous life, before I knew what was wrong with me, I was a Christmas cookie Queen. I made at least 6 kinds and gifted them to everyone, including myself. I made classics from my childhood and a few that I'd picked up along the way, plus a new one each year. It was crazy. I spent a fortune on butter, Crisco sticks, flour and sugar, not to mention delicious things like macadamia nuts, white chocolate, brandied cherries... I could go on. I won't. Suffice to say, I miss my damn cookies.

My friend and employee, also an artist, was the first person on the decoration line. She decked her cookie out and grabbed a couple of other selections from the table.  After she ate them I asked if I could have her napkin to blow my nose, and when I put the napkin up to my nose I inhaled.

Er. Mah. Gerd!

Eventually I blew my nose, but mostly I just took in the aroma. It was better than eating them, believe it or not. After a few good sniffs I no longer wanted a cookie, and my stomach actually started to hurt a little. Like, ouch, I know eating that would hurt me (thank you brain!) and I was done. Had enough. It was quite the breakthrough let me tell you!

A few nights ago my hubby made his mother's famous Swedish meatballs (something he can make gluten free) with a delicious sauce that is strictly verboten for me, there's nothing AIP about it. Well this year I encouraged him to make them the normal way and enjoy. He did. When I thought the aroma was about to kill me, I hoped the Crockpot and took a big whiff - and was done. 

Seriously - try this! 

But whatever you do, don't taste. Trust me, you don't need to. Just give yourself a chance to take in the scents of the season without putting them in your mouth. I promise it will make you feel at least a little bit better.

I'll have another update for you in a few days regarding my setback and improvement of same. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Not So Fast: We Need To Talk About Winter

December 17th, 2015

Lord what a series of setbacks I have suffered, and I'm chalking it all up to the season. Listen, I have always hated winter - always. Since my kidhood outside of Chicago, to Pennsylvania, back to Illinois, on to Colorado... and then it stopped, because I was in southern Nevada, and then I moved back to Colorado. See, winter is merely a state of mind in southern Nevada (for the most part, at least) and I imagine it's the same way in any of the warmer climes. The shortage of daylight was a little bit of a bummer, but you could be outside all times of the year and not hate being outside. Running was awesome in the winter (as long as I could manage it during the hours of sun) and there was rarely snow or ice or freezing temps. Not for nothing, you get used the hot part of the year and 50's feel like freezing temps after a while but you can totally overcome that with the power of the mind.

Anyway...

After all the progress I've made this year, it all seemed to come to a screeching halt shortly after Thanksgiving. That's when the weather turned, and it snowed some, and now it's frigging cold. We had days of clouds and wind, and it's far too cold to be outside for any extended period of time. For normal people, is what I'm saying. If you're skiing or something, sure. I don't ski. I used to but I got to an age where paying lots of money to slide down a mountain and freezing my face off just didn't seem worthwhile any longer, so I stopped.

I digress again, sorry about that.

So I gained a couple of pounds while I was trying to lose a couple. Not that big of a deal. Cut out snacks and cut way back on honey consumption, and nothing. Then the hair started to fall out in handfuls. That's a sign, a big one. Then stress set in because nothing is very certain in life right about now, so there's that. Then I started to be sluggish and sleepy all day long. 

Some of this is being combated with supplements. The sleepy all day syndrome, for example, is being addressed by the fabulous Dr. Jessica and a supplement she recommended called Gaba Calm. It has worked near miracles for me in just a week; I'm taking two before bed and when I wake up I'm awake, I'm refreshed, and I'm ready for the day. It's fantastic.

But the hair - oh, the hair. This is an oldie but goodie. I haven't had that symptom in quite some time. 

And the eczema, Lord help me. But that I knew would be coming back, it's pretty much inevitable. 

Most recently, brain fog came back. 

I'm hovering just under 152 pounds, a net gain of almost 7 since I reached my goal. It's upsetting but not totally unexpected; still, it drives me insane because I've worked so hard, and changed my whole life, and haven't compromised in the slightest.

Bowels started misbehaving too, and upon inspection I noted that I was pooping undigested food again. I doubled my Betaine HCL with Pepsin, and started taking L-Glutamine again. This has helped some, and at least I'm not pooping strings of spag squash any longer, but I'm not nearly as regular as I was. Hence the sluggish feelings and brain fog. As the bowel goes, so goes the rest of the body, I say.

Sigh...

I went to see Dr. Jessica today and she informed me that I am dealing with leaky gut again, and I can't for the life of me figure out why, or how that happened. I was thinking the other day that I need to go hard core again, do a cleanse after the holidays (or start one during the holidays, it matters not, for I cannot and do not cheat on my diet (except at Disneyland, and I'm not going to Disneyland)), and I guess that's what I need to do. Button it all up, go back to easily digestible foods, hit the bone broth hard, lots of fermented goods, etc. 

She has given me something to help with the leaky gut, but it has to be food related (doesn't it?). I just can't figure out what is causing the strife. I've been on the same foods with very few additions or exceptions since August. Why would I have  flare all of the sudden?

One word: winter. 

I have no scientific proof, but I think I'm on to something. Hypothyroidism combined with the time of year when our ancestors slept more, packed on pounds to stay warm, and just stunk because they were spooning a fire wrapped in animal hides - there must be something in our hidden brain chemistry that flips a switch. Put that in the same arena with the slow thyroid and BAM, you have a cage match that not even clean living, organics and whole foods has a hope of winning. 

Again, I sigh...

Anyone else having this kind of trouble? Talk to me! I don't want to be the only one.