|A little cut & shave & these guys would be Paleo hotties!|
I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease in February 2012. My doctor woke me up from an endoscopy, confirmed the blood test results from earlier & basically said, "Go forth & eat gluten free & don't call me in the morning . . . or ever again really." Although I had not suspected Celiac at all, I was not totally unfamiliar with the gluten-free concept. Even luckier, my husband was very supportive & got right on board with me. We immediately went to work learning about label reading, places I could "safely" eat out & eagerly reading all the tales of Celiacs who got diagnosed, went gluten-free & suddenly regained perfect health.
That is not what happened though. In fact, my first attempt at eating out after diagnosis was horrible. I got VERY ill from french fries fried in oil that was shared by breaded chicken strips. So ill that 24 hours later, I went to urgent care. We met a doctor there who knew a little more about Celiac Disease. He was one of my first clues as to how much I needed to change my diet. He told me quinoa was not a good idea for a damaged system like mine. "It's very hard to digest," he said.
It didn't end there. The longer I was gluten-free, the sicker I got. I started having anaphylactic allergic reactions to the foods I was told I could still eat. It was horrible & I started to get desperate. My specialist doctor was caring, but didn't seem to have answers. I kept asking, "Are there other foods that my body could see as gluten now?" "No" was the answer over & over. I went to other doctors, "Are some of the medications I am taking bad for my damaged intestine?" "No" was the answer over & over.
Then I had a conversation with a woman named Annie. She mentioned a few ideas she had about how certain nutritional approaches could heal a disordered system. She used the word "lectin" & pointed me to a few websites. I was off & running after that. If the mainstream system could not help me heal, I would figure it out on my own. I found an alternative clinic & learned about cross-reactivity. My body thinks milk, chocolate, teff, & corn are the same as gluten. I did an enormous elimination diet & learned I also had extreme sensitivity to soy & egg. I realized that using things like birth control* & Advil (NSAIDS), despite their benefits, were further damaging my already injured digestive system.
Most importantly I learned about the Paleo diet (I hesitate to use the word "diet," this is really a lifestyle.) & an adaptation of Paleo called Autoimmune Protocol. I started eating AIP & my gluten antibody levels dropped for the first time. I stopped having anaphylaxis & a terrible brain fog lifted. Slowly some of my pain started to dissipate. The most miraclous thing of all though, was my emotional health. Within a few days I stopped having panic attacks. I stopped taking any Xanax to manage anxiety, because my anxiety was gone. I stopped crying all day & bursting out in anger easily. Depression that I had barely been managing disappeared. I was still my same worrier self, but it was not the crippling fear & heavy dread I had been carrying for months.
I forced my doctors to run more & more tests (I say forced, because they insisted there was nothing more wrong than plain old Celiac). As I got a fuller picture of my vitamin & mineral deficiency, I started supplements. My small intestine may never return to perfect, normal functioning, so I needed to do everything I could to add to the vitamins & minerals I was having trouble absorbing through my new healthy, ancestral diet. I also found out that I had a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO, which is very common in Celiacs, which had to be treated. AND, I had some unfriendly little friends that came back to the U.S. from West Africa with me. Normally, they would have been beaten out of a body after that much time, but my impaired GI tract had been unable to fight the parasites off. I took a treatment course for that too & followed up with lots of probiotics.
Six months later, I am so much healthier. It's because I eat funny (funny weird, not funny haha) now:
No Legumes (this includes soy)
-Avoid the grain at all costs. (I, of course, will NEVER consume wheat, barley or rye again.)
-Try to do as much organic, unprocessed stuff as possible & as much grass-fed, organic meats or wild-caught fish as possible.
-Get lots of good for you oils/fats: Cold-Pressed Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, & Avocado.
-Best results come with avoidance of alcohol & coffee.
Autoimmune Protocol Basics (the additional step for those with autoimmunity):
All of the above +
No Nightshade Veggies (Tomato, Potato, Eggplant & Hot & Sweet Peppers, this includes alot of spices)
It seems crazy, right? How can I eat at all? There's so much that's "out." Why do I eat so funny? I eat funny, 'cause I can feel in my body that it's working. All the right ingredients are there for all the right processes to take place internally. All the extras, that gum up the works, are gone. I eat funny, 'cause our ancestors were intuitively good chemists. Admittedly, our ancient chemists didn't have a Coldstone Creamery or a Cheesecake Factory down the street . . . the gigantic lifestyle change of eating Paleo/AIP next time.
*Stopping birth control, especially as a treatment for Endometriosis, took a lot of careful consideration & I feel it was the right decision for me. However, I think each woman needs to evaluate carefully her unique set of pros & cons with the help of her gynecologist.