For anyone who is following my posts, I haven’t mentioned what I eat… or more so, what I don’t eat. I have been following a healing diet quite well for a while now. Next month will be my two year anniversary of eating the way of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (informational links at the bottom). It has saved me from many of my own nasty, buggy little symptoms. Itchy areas of skin without rash or hives, full body itching, swollen upper and lower eyelids, dark purple circle under the eyes. Intense pain with the lightest contact. The kind of light touch that is just getting grazed by something feels like a punch that’ll knock the wind out of ya.
AIP has been good to me, there has been some healing just from what I choose to eat.
For example, I do not eat nightshades therefore no white potatoes, no eggplant, no peppers of any kind, no tomatoes. If I eat a nightshade, my tummy is fine and you would think all is well. Until the next day — I wake up with two ultra puffy eyelids and significantly purple bags under the eyes — not in a vain way, more in an obvious “Holy sh!t, who punched you in the face?!” way.
For the past week and a half, something with me has been “off.” The anxiety is back and I am worrying once again about things I know better will be JUST FINE but I can’t help myself. The worry takes over. It is far beyond a mind over matter issue; it must be acknowledged that this is intellectually out of my control. My mental state is merely a manifestation of what is happening invisibly, physically.
There is research going on now to study that much of the human mental states, whether you call it mental health or mental illness, are biologically based. When I remember my resources on this topic, I will share them with y’all — they just aren’t on the tip of my tongue right now. I know for myself that my mental state is very much a manifestation of what’s going on biologically for me. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but it makes a lot of sense to me based on my own experience.
I don’t know what is going on with me right now, but something is off. So I did something new, I went off the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) wagon. I have been eating Paleo foods and some SAD (Standard American Diet) foods for the past few days. I know perfectly well they cause me physical inflammation and flares, even the gluten free and Paleo food items. But they I ate, and here I am, itching relentlessly as I type.
I kind of want to kick myself for not having the willpower to avoid those foods. But this is not about willpower, this all about anger.
Today marked the end of it. A bite of two different foods most people take for granted made my stomach tighten up and hurt like the dickens within half an hour. It wasn’t enough that this morning I already woke up with stiff, achy joints and barely able to stand up from the bed on my own — a shadowed reminder of what daily life with untreated Lyme used to look like in my bedroom every morning. Today’s aches and pains are without a doubt caused by all the non-AIP foods I have been eating. Cumulatively, my body can’t handle that many attacks at once. My immune system is barely online and I am fully responsible for this attack. This is the way it works with leaky gut. The wrong foods down the gullet cause the immune system to attack its own body. Even the brain experiences inflammation and affects thinking, clarity, processing.
And I am lost. All I can do is stare blindly at the things I need to get done. Even the daily routine things. I’m frozen like a possum playing dead, waiting for this invisible storm to pass.
Even though I’ve been doing this for a week and a half, it wasn’t enough — I had to eat 3 spoonfuls of cottage cheese and some gluten free crackers with butter. Today. Now my head is in a vice — a migraine with horrible fatigue started setting in within 30 minutes of eating that taken-for-granted, crap-for-my-body-but-you-go-right-ahead-and-have-at-it food stuffs.
It ain’t easy going AIP but it’s much harder not following the protocol. Today is the last day of my emotional eating BS because I can’t handle the itching anymore. I might go crazy from the itching alone.
More than anything, I want to hug myself because I need love and kindness to be able to gather my mental resources, beat my biology and take in a deep breath and climb back up on that wagon. Self-love doesn’t come easily for most of us.
I finally figured it out and fessed up to my own BS as to why I’m eating this way. It’s not an issue of temptation or willpower. It’s straight up anger. Anger is driving me to nibbles, bites and chomps of cottage cheese, caramel, gluten free products made with rice flour, and milk chocolate. Two weeks ago, I had a follow up appointment with blood work results with my doc. There was good news and bad news. The bad news was that the old bad news from 6 months ago hasn’t gotten any better and has in fact gotten worse. I feel helpless and flat out pissed off that none of the amazing and powerful diet changes I’ve made have helped this trouble spot. I should be celebrating what IS working, no matter how small, but I’m stuck on the bad news. It’s a head fuck — media tells you that food is the way to alter blood sugar and insulin levels. I have been pre-diabetic for quite some time thanks to chronic inflammation, and it’s recently been getting worse. I am on the cusp of being diabetic even though my AIP diet is TIGHT on these issues. So my supplements have been changed to help my body process sugars better and my doc is having me eat a ketogenic diet until my insulin resistance goes down.
My response to that was to head swiftly in the opposite direction. Instead of starting a ketogenic diet — which would be small eliminations from my current AIP diet — I decided to eat all.the.things.
Eating the way I normally do (AIP) really has removed a lot of factors in the blood sugar mystery. Now the doc and I know that my insulin resistance is high due to stress. Body stress. The stress my body is under from having to deal with several chronic infections. There is nothing else I can do to control this. My body is doing everything it can to fight Lyme & Co., and I can’t ask it to do more. I must be patient. Healing takes time. Things I know and preach but don’t ask me to believe it today.
Stress internalized looks like blood cells that don’t know what to do with new sugars in the bloodstream. Confused and on lock down. So I stress out from the inside out, not from external pressures upon me. It’s my body, dammit. This big mystery on the inside is a hot mess, screaming that it’s stressed out and I’m on the outside, with no way to help or soothe this overtired, sick body. Stress. Insulin resistance that keeps going up. “This way to Diabetes.”
AIP has been a way to stop aggravating my already worn out, under attack body. AIP truly is a healing diet and lifestyle. So here we go, back on the wagon — there might be a bit of anger stuffed away in my back pocket to be rediscovered on the journey, but most of that straight up anger at my own body was left behind in the cottage cheese container and all the other inflammatory foods I tossed in the garbage.
Here are two of my favorite AIP resources: Jessica Flanigan, Clinical Nutritionist and Sarah Ballantyne, PhD