Monday, June 3, 2013

Amy's Bandwagon: Taking Care of My Health for Myself and My Family

As part of The Gluten Free Health Challenge, Amy will be sharing her journal entries here the first 3 Mondays of every month from now until December.  She'll be receiving free health coaching from Mia Davis of Blissful Chicks Wellness and Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel during this period.

Hi, my name is Amy and I have food issues.

With my husband after running a 5k

For as long as I can remember, bread has been a huge staple in my diet. I remember being a little kid and my grandmother's best friend would bring a baked loaf of Italian bread over, and we would call it my birthday cake. I grew up with eating pretty bland and limited foods. My mother tried to feed us healthy foods, but she was not all that adventurous in the kitchen.

I pretty much always remember having digestive issues. I finally decided to talk to the doctor around the year 2000, and was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Around the same time, I was having blood pressure issues. I wasn't even thirty and I had stomach issues, reflux, and blood pressure issues. Around the same time, my husband was diagnosed with systemic Candida, and went on an anti-Candida diet. He did fabulous following this diet, and I, on the other hand, attempted to follow it and failed. For the short that I followed it, I felt so much better. At the time, he was following the Body Ecology Diet and was eating mostly green veggies, some low sugar fruits, and some protein. He did not eat gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy, all my trigger foods. I continue to eat all the foods I loved, but put on weight and felt terrible.

Fast forward to summer 2011. I was married with three children: a three year old and two year old twins. I was feeling better, but not great. At that point, I had decreased the amount of trigger foods that I ate, but I still ate them. I was feeling better, but not perfect. I was eating more veggies, which I think made a difference. I talked to my doctor who agree to me having an IgG blood test. My understanding of this test is that it is a test that shows food sensitivities, not food allergies. The biggest issue with this is that the symptoms of food sensitivities can show up days after eating the offending food(s). When I got the results, I was amazed at how many foods were listed as sensitivities. I attempted to eliminate these foods, but again, found it really difficult and wasn't able to completely follow through.

About nine months later, my oldest was diagnosed with Autism. He was four when he was diagnosed. A year prior to this, he was having breathing issues, and it was recommended that we eliminate foods to see if he had a potential food allergy. We had met with an ENT (Ear, Nose, & Throat) doctor who was thinking that he needed surgery for his tonsil and potentially adenoid removal. After stopping dairy, which was something he absolutely loved, not only did his breathing issues stop, but he started sleeping through the night and stopped scratching his skin to the point that it bled. We then moved on to have him have the IgG blood test. The test showed that he had issues with dairy and gluten. Once we removed gluten from his diet, he seemed to "wake up." The dietitian we met with mentioned that we would see this once gluten was removed from his diet. We definitely see more Autism symptoms when he eats food that he shouldn't.

Another reason that I really need to do this is: I was recently diagnosed with the BRAC2 gene mutation. This mutation puts me at a higher risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. I have a pretty big family history of breast cancer, and I really don't want to go through what my family members have gone through. I have decided that I am not going to have prophylactic surgery, like Angelina Jolie recently did, and watch my diet instead. Given that I have these food sensitivities, I need to stop eating those foods so that I am not putting stress on my body that is not needed. Hopefully the less stress my body is under, the less chance I have for getting cancer.

At this point, I don't seem to have as many digestive issues, except when I overindulge in the foods that I shouldn't be eating. What I do see is that I still have foggy periods, low energy no matter how much sleep I get, some decreased mood issues (nothing significant, but it's there), and decreased motivation. I am hoping that this challenge will help me to follow through with my food addiction issues and help me stop eating the foods that aren't good for my body.



mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hi Amy, Thank you so much for sharing your story. (It sounds a lot like mine!) I thought you might be interested in a Nature of Things episode that discusses Autism and the "Bacterial Theory" I found it fascinating and it connects with your discussion about your Son. Thanks again for sharing! ox

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, Thank you for writing your story. You're a really good writer! I haven't dealt with autism in my family (but plent of other things) so it's interesting to read your story. I keep hearing about the gluten connection to autism and now your story makes it that much more personal. I am SO rooting for you and your familiy. Can't wait to read your future posts and to see what you learn and discover. Big hug, Dorothy


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