Good News

There was no plan to update the blog quite so soon. In fact, just to keep myself in as much balance as possible these days, I’d told myself I’d commit to one post per month. However, the goal here is to share what I know in the hopes it will help others who are just starting out on a journey toward answers and healing. We are reinstating our spring/summer quiet hour (At this latitude the daylight hours are almost an hour longer, so my kiddos need some down time in the middle of the day, and so do I!), so I have a few minutes to get this out there.

Rewind to a year ago. We were just getting ready to make a really big road trip following a truck carrying all our worldly possessions. The usual stress of a move and the inability to stick with a diet threw me into a flare almost as violent as the one that initially sent me hunting hard for help. I am allergic to the usual meds for Lupus, so my rheumatologist in Texas gave me a prescription for prednisone. She knew that I’d made it my goal to remain as un-medicated as possible, so she made me promise I would get it filled and actually put those little pills in my mouth faithfully for as long as it took us to get settled here. It was obvious she was concerned about the most recent round of blood work.

I’d been seeing a functional physician, but since we were doing everything possible to add some last-minute padding to the down payment we’d been saving for a house for 9-10 years, I chose not to return for another follow up. Functional physicians and naturopaths are notoriously expensive and many of the tests and services they offer can be ordered up a la carte right from your personal computer. She did help me work some things out however, and I’m glad I saw her and hired a naturopath when we could afford it.  If you have the money, by all means, do it! We don’t… especially now that we live in one of the most expensive economies in the nation. But, if you can afford it, a functional physician and/or naturopath will get you on the fast track to getting where you need to be. Most do not file with your insurance but give you a receipt with all the medical codes that you can file yourself. A couple of my blood tests were covered. If you are willing to do a lot of your own research, there’s an immense amount of information in some really helpful books out there. I’ve found a few in our local library! I’ll share the titles that have contained the best information for me in another post.

I just returned from a follow up with my new rheumatologist in Virginia. She is fantastic. Yes. She is a traditionally-trained rheumatologist. But, she is infinitely more informed in the whys and wherefores regarding AI cluster diseases than my rheumy in Texas, and she is all for her patients staying as far away from meds as possible. I described my diet and these were her words today. “Oh! You’re doing the auto-immune protocol. Good for you! Keep at it. It’s helping!” They’re coming around folks. And they accept your insurance! {wink}

Just so you’ll know, I still deal with symptoms off and on. I was on the protocol and VERY strict with it for close to two years. I won’t lie. It’s hard. It’s a lot of work. This diet is more strenuous than strict paleo. It means sitting and watching (and worse… smelling great food) as everyone else eats stuff you used to eat while you gnaw at a salad with no dressing. It also means learning how to cook in a whole-new way and discovering some pretty amazing flavors that you never knew existed while feeling better than you ever thought you would again. Your kids and spouse will be eating and feeling better too! That’s fodder for another post as well.

Double-strand DNA still popped up on my labs, but the disease was largely inactive. I was running like a beast and mostly enjoying a mobility and strength I had not realized before starting on this adventure. Based on my own research and symptoms, I have probably been dealing with Lupus on some level without a diagnosis since I was a teenager. I ran a half marathon on this thing (the protocol) in 20 minutes under my goal time. Turns out, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do under the circumstances. More on exercise later.

I have not been back on the protocol for very long and I haven’t stayed nearly as strict as I was prior to our move. I indulge in an occasional Dr. Pepper. I have cheese here and there and I sneak Chick fil A fries. Praise be to God, as of this morning, my lab work looks just like it did pre-move when I was headlong into sticking to this diet at all costs. I am a living example that this works.

A word of warning. If you are or suspect that you are dealing with poor health as a result of auto-immune disease, adding stress (self-inflicted or external) will absolutely put you under no matter what you put in your mouth. Our pastor put it so well this Sunday. We can’t live our lives in performance mode hoping for accolades and happy endings. That’s so far off the mark, it’s not even funny. We exist to bring accolades to our Heavenly Father. We’re going to mess up. We’ve already received grace for that.

I’m sharing a couple of easy charts from Mickey Trescott’s blog that line out the protocol. Mickey Trescott is my favorite blogger and author on this subject. She is straightforward and to the point while covering a very broad range of topics related to this issue. These lists are rather daunting. Frankly, if you choose to do this and you decide to be strict with it, you won’t even be able to grab an Epic bar or a Mama Chia pouch for a snack at the very beginning.

Here are a couple of simple go-to recipes that are AIP compliant and my very own. I eat them frequently, especially when I’m low on time.

Mango – Pineapple – Banana – Strawberry – Avocado Smoothie

  • 10 oz water
  • two ripe bananas broken into fourths
  • 1/2 an avocado (If  you don’t really like avocado, you can’t taste it in the smoothie. It gives a creamy texture to your smoothie and provides beneficial oleic acid [a good fat].)
  • 8-16 oz of frozen fruit (I like the mango, pineapple, strawberry blend at Giant and it’s on sale this week 2 for $5.)
  • 2 T  Great Lakes Collagen for protein and beneficial amino acids

I have this smoothie almost every single morning with breakfast. It makes enough to share with two hungry kiddos and a hubby. If you’re just making it for yourself, half the recipe but leave in all the avocado to get as much of that good stuff as possible! Often I’ll pair it with a ground beef patty or cod bites that I’ve pre-cooked and stowed in the freezer. We own a Blendtec blender that I love and use 1-3 times daily on this diet. I know Vitamix will work on this smoothie as well as the Ninja brand blender.

Turmeric Chicken

  • 2-3 chicken breasts cubed
  • Himalayan sea salt (rich in micronutrients) to taste
  • lots of turmeric
  • coat the chicken in turmeric and salt
  • I use a hefty amount of olive oil or ghee for cooking on the stove top
  • cook in a sturdy cast-iron or stainless pan until you get some crispiness in the pan and on the chicken (less if you’re not into crispiness)
  • serve on a big bed of salad greens

Another idea… make burger patties simply seasoned with salt and pepper with a good pastured meat (lamb, beef, bison), throw them in the freezer and re-heat for your breakfasts. Or, eat your leftover meat from dinner the night before (This is what I try to do as much as possible.) I can’t always have that amount of protein first thing in the morning, but it makes a huge difference when I do.

More than anything, this journey has been an intensely spiritual one for me. We’ve been reading Prince Caspian to our kids every night before bed this spring. My husband reminded me of a stunning phrase from our reading a couple nights prior as I sat making notes during the sermon on Sunday… “Aslan gets bigger as you get older.” Isn’t that the truth? Doesn’t God get bigger as we get older? He’s become huge and near and so, so loving and graceful toward me through all of this.  And as crazy as it sounds, that makes me thankful for Lupus. And he’s not any more huge or near or loving or graceful than he ever was. It’s all about perspective… a perspective that hardship affords.

I’ll leave you with this thought…

“A renewed mind has an utterly changed conception, not only of of reality, but of possibility. A turn away from the kingdom of this world to the Kingdom of God provides a whole set of values based not on the human world, but on Christ’s. Impossibilities become possibilities.”  from Discipline: The Glad Surrender  ~Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

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