Woohoo! Hit 50 days since starting my blog and being on the elimination diet. Anytime I get a chance to throw math into the mix, I definitely will. That’s the math teacher in me! Last blog I promised a more detailed break down of how the diet is going, so on day 50 I present you the RUNDOWN- with the diet and my upcoming half marathon!
RECAP – The elimination diet is not a diet about carbs, calories or how much you eat. The elimination diet is a 70-80 day process which starts with a detoxification (phase 1), followed by phase 2 which is a neutral phase and ends with the reintroduction phase (phase 3), where you slowly add back foods to see the relationship your body has with them. See my blog post on 3 P’s: Planning, Prepping and Phase 1 for more information about phase 1. WHY am I doing this again? 3 main reasons. 1) My support system who always advised me about other avenues that might be beneficial with autoimmune diseases. 2) Wanting to share my experience with others who live a life with a chronic illness and 3) The BIG reason. My husband and I hope to be blessed with a family one day. The safest decision was to stop all medications. Shortly after stopping medicine, all of the symptoms of RA quickly showed up. I had to try anything that might possibly help, give me some sort of relief or provide me with some insight. Check out Why I chose to do the “Elimination Diet”if you missed it to read the full reasons.
The reintroduction phase has been an interesting process. When you reintroduce foods, you are testing foods that may trigger a reaction. My main goal was to see if any foods trigger a flare up of increase inflammation, pain and stiffness. However, there are many obstacles to RA and other variables that come into play. This is my first time being off medication in 15 years, so my body is definitely adjusting. Weather in New Jersey lately has been the furthest from consistent which can play a part as well. New Jersey saw Nor’easter after Nor’easter with weather temperatures being in the 80’s one day to back in the 40’s the next. Flares come in two varieties: “predictable” and “unpredictable”. “Predictable” flares have a known trigger such as food, overexertion, stress or infection. “Unpredictable” flares are when flares occur but there is uncertainty to why they are present. After all a part of RA is that your body’s immune system attacks itself and inflames the protective membrane inside the joints. This is what I have been battling with while trying to play detective; is it the the trigger food, another precursor or is it an “unpredictable” flare? All questions that I continuously ask myself.
There are 19 different types of foods that get reintroduced. Foods that usually do not cause much of a reaction get reintroduced first and they increase with more intolerable foods as the process continues. So far I have done 12 of them. In order they have been citrus, nightshade vegetables, beef, pork, sesame, walnuts/pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, the rest of the nut family, sugar, and chocolate. Each item had its own limitations and specificity. I discussed the first four foods in previous blogs. The recent items have been sesame, nuts, sugar and chocolate. The only foods I saw a noticeable change with were peanuts and chocolate. The morning after I introduced peanuts to my diet, I had a brand new flare up in both my knees. That morning I could not bend either of my knees. I continued with the peanuts and the next morning my knees did not experience the same flare up. I did experience stomach cramps and bloating with the peanuts that I was not experiencing before though. With the inconsistent results, I decided to remove peanuts from my diet for now and try to reintroduce it at a later time to see if I get the same results. I live for chocolate and was really looking forward to reintroducing it. The chocolate tasted so smooth and delicious but my stomach didn’t have the same thoughts on the subject, as I experienced grumbling and pains for the first couple of days. It certainly was not a happy welcome back party whatsoever. My stomach took all 3 days to allow it to be tolerable again in my system. I did not notice any change though as far as flare ups are concerned, which is my main goal for the diet. The more high risk food items that are more concerning are coming up and I am curious to see how and if they will affect me.
Check out our Jerseys that came in the mail this past week! We are beyond excited to wear them. Wearing this jersey on Saturday has so many different meanings and emotions for me. I know I am not going to be running this run to get a personal record. Not being able to run at my best kills the competitor inside of me. However, putting this jersey on means I am STILL in charge of my disease. Training has certainly been difficult. Every step I run I feel pain. I googled search to try and see how many steps I would be taking during the half marathon. How many steps will I be showing RA who is boss! It stated around 10,000 steps for 5 miles. I thought, “yes! a math problem!” In fact myself and my co-teacher, Mr. D, just got done teaching this same concept. So I opened up a notepad and did the math. About 26,200 steps. It was not the steps that shocked me, but the quote that was on the random page I turned to in order to do the math. HOW BEYOND PERFECT!
I have a dream that one day Autoimmune diseases will have a cure. I am up for the challenge (yes this is the competitor in me back at it). I will continue to run miles to chase my dream; no matter how painful, frustrating, and/or tiresome the fight may be. My shadow is a constant reminder and motivator of the dream that I am chasing. I love that I get to share these miles with another shadow, my husband. I want to personally thank everyone who donates that is helping me chase my dream. With every donation I get a personal letter mailed to me letting me know that you are supporting myself along with the 50 million other Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases. Like I mentioned in my past blog, you will be my extra spoons on Saturday. Every step of the 26,200 steps that I take, I will be thinking of the support you have given me.
Three days left and below are three special girls (my nieces and God daughters that I simply adore) that sent me this supportive picture. They are right! I GOT THIS! Saturday I will continue to #SlayRA!