So my commitment to eliminate dairy, all grains and refined sugars for thirty days hit a few minor bumps along the way. Two weeks into the program, I decided to try a small piece of bread and was doubled over with stomach pain within minutes. I was in a restaurant celebrating Makenna's birthday and a bit embarrassed. I convinced myself it was a fluke and indulged in a cheese-free quesadilla the following afternoon where I was immediately in so much pain I couldn't stand long enough to make more for the kids. I no longer believed it was a random reaction. I referenced Practical Paleo and learned stomach pain would occur if I needed to eliminate that food permanently. I have to admit I was surprised. I believed dairy was the contributing factor to all the inflammation remembering how much worse my psoriasis got once I started eating yogurt. I had at one point in history cut back on dairy and noted improvement in my overall inflammation. I still suspect dairy plays a role.
When I ate bread and one time had pizza (in a serious moment of weakness) it took days to get back on track. Each set-back taking longer to recover from as the addition of those foods impacted me more than I expected. Whereas I am still not completely pain-free and my psoriasis has not cleared up as much as I had hoped, I am feeling so much better than I did when I embarked upon this little experiment 30 days ago. For the first time in almost a decade, I step out of bed without pain in my feet. That is worth celebrating. When pain is the first encounter of the day, facing the day feels a bit daunting at times. I have never been a morning person and can't say that I have developed a new love of mornings in the last 30 days but admit my energy level is incredible and caffeine is not the motivating factor. I still drink tea because I enjoy it. I am stubbornly holding on to it at this point because this diet feels like one sacrifice after another as it is. I simply don't NEED tea to pry my eyes open in the morning anymore. I am also going to bed without pain in my hips or knees every night. Once again, it has been a long time since I could last report that.
The diet involves a lot more meat than I easily consume so I am slowly increasing it over time. I didn't follow the 30 day plan laid out in the book or by the nutritionist I first consulted because rich foods like roast duck with cherry sauce or mustard glazed chicken thighs for breakfast are bit tough on the budget and my stomach! I am grateful for fresh produce this summer and hope to continue finding resources for it throughout the winter but meat will have to increase over time in order for me to continue eating this way. Discovering beans were also eliminated threw me for a loop....I love hummus, beans in soup and black beans. Toss out rice and cheese and I have pretty much given up my favorite Mexican meals. The pasta and cheese knocking Italian off my menu too. It's a sad realization.
Celebrations with sweets have been hard. I love cheesecake. I love cookies. I love cake balls and all of those things have been in the house over the course of the last 30 days. Those were likely my weakest days, or were they the weepiest days? Either way, challenging. Just in the last week, I have started jumping on the trampoline with the kids again without painful swelling as result. My headaches have been significantly reduced. I am not taking anti-inflammatory medications anymore. Grateful for such positive results for sure but I am not going to lie, it isn't easy. I still miss my favorite foods. I will try to add some dairy on a day I feel brave but deep down, I know it's not going to be tolerated.
So the diet? It's most likely a new way of life and not a temporary experiment. Accepting that truth is taking time and I still feel down thinking about all I will be giving up in order to stay off serious immune suppressing medications. My traditional oatmeal birthday cookies from my dad are off the table as they will literally make me sick. My mother in law's holiday treats are something I look forward to every year. Not only will I struggle with avoiding them but know she will be annoyed too. Family dinners will be tough all the way around. Theresa is a vegetarian so we've already laughed about "Jack Sprat"....between the two of us, a normal "platter can be licked clean". A sense of humor will be vital I suspect and over time I hope to further develop that because I am not laughing when everyone else is eating fresh corn on the cob (a grain!!!) or ice cream in front of me. There are times when I am so hungry, I want to quit and eat junk food. However, knowing how much healthier I am as result of the changes I have made, I can't bring myself to do it. I am still in the learning stages.....more and more to learn as I go but I can't see myself turning back now.