The Damn Diet

Four months into the autoimmune protocol diet and all I can think is “this damned diet.” Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I do feel better. Less bloating, fewer headaches, no sugar cravings or really food cravings, less brain fog. Even the Brewmaster admits I search less for my keys and my phone.

But what a pain in the ass! We just came home from a bar “soft” opening. Three Van Houzen beers will be on tap there, and the Brewmaster is happy to be a part of a small, family owned joint called “The Barbershop” in Coralville, Iowa. They have a small, simple menu of bar food which they were sampling today. None of which I could eat. The owner, Daniel, kindly tried to feed me this afternoon. He felt terrible that I couldn’t have their burgers, which are infused with delicious, melting cheese. The chips and pico de gallo they make are made with flour tortillas, so that was out. Forget the family recipe of pasta salad, the veggie burger that had sweet potatoes as a binder, the tortilla soup, and so on. It became uncomfortable for me as I tried to explain to them that there was NO WAY they could cater to my weird food needs.

Alien. As in, I started to feel like one. Add explaining to them that I’m deeply in love with someone who makes amazing beer that I can’t consume…ridiculous.

Yesterday I re-posted a funny blog on Facebook that slammed paleo baking. Having had more recipes fail than succeed, I was right there with the author. Almond and coconut flour absorb all the liquids, and it just makes for crumbly, weird textures. For a laugh, complete with images, see the post here:

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Paleo-Diet-Experience-37631676

Basically, I have had to lower my expectations even below where they were for gluten free baking, which says a lot. For several years I have not expected a bagel to taste like a bagel. I’ve grown accustomed to bread with holes in it that falls apart as soon as you put anything moist on it. Dry cake, healthy tasting pancakes. But Paleo baking has taken things to a new level.

I have added eggs completely back in, deciding that the headache I thought I might have gotten from egg whites was a fluke. Paleo baking without eggs in general is completely dismal. I’ve also added cashews, almonds and tomatoes back into my life with success.

Friday night the Brewmaster and I finally had a movie night, at home, watching “Wild” which I had enjoyed reading last summer. We gorged on sweet cherries during the movie. It seemed healthy enough, but I do remember saying, “We are going to pay for this on the john tomorrow.” I had no idea. Apparently I really can’t do cherries, and have been ill for two days. Massive stomach cramps, nausea and general “wanting to crawl under a rock and hide” feelings. Now I am paying attention to Fodmaps, which Paleo Mom explains much better than I could ever hope to here:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/08/modifying-paleo-for-fodmap-intolerance.html

Cherries

I could beat myself over the head and wonder why my body is so reactive. I had a similar moment when we were invited to friends’ and I felt bad that I couldn’t each much, and decided to just go for an ear of sweet corn. I paid for that the next day. I could hate myself. I could hate life.

But something someone commented on the funny paleo post on Facebook resonates. “There has to be something other than food.” Food is not my life. Sure, it has given me a lot of pleasure and I have innate memories, especially from living in France, of food and social events. But I have other things to feed my soul: a dog walk, being held by the Brewmaster, chatting with my son about his Houston Ballet Academy experiences, or watching Ballet Boy perform. Playing Bach or Brahms on my cello. There is so much more to life than food.

Tomorrow I see my functional medicine doctor. I will talk to her about adding some grains back in. I’ve read about cross-sensitivities and I’m concerned that my Hashimoto’s antibody levels haven’t improved. In the best case scenario, the Hashimoto’s disease may still be destroying my thyroid, in the worst case, it could be attacking my brain and causing early dementia or Alzheimer’s. The damn diet may cause discomfort around others, but it has become a very comfortable routine at home.

I have much to learn about my body, but I am now listening. Hopefully it is not too late and I can reverse some of the damage that having a highly inflammatory immune system has caused. After a busy week, I can’t wait to get back into a yoga routine, do some running, and feel better. In the meantime, nap anyone?

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