Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Marisa's Menu: Taking a Step Back in Order to Move Forward

Welcome to the second month of The Gluten Free Health Challenge. Marisa is sharing a post today as she continues in her search for optimal health.  To learn how you can invest in a month of mind*body*spirit coaching with Marisa's coaches, e-mail me at iris@thedailydietribe.com, subject line "MBS Coaching."

(Galarama Event during VidaVegan Conference 2013 in Portland last month. I am entering the gluten free/vegan sundae bar, courtesy of SoDelicious.)

Why do I keep accidentally buying or making things I am ultimately allergic to or intolerant of? Am I becoming less vigilant? And if so, is that actually a good sign in the sense that it means I am relaxing, living in the moment, not worrying, and truly just taking each day as it comes without extra stress?

What sucks is that I think I know the answer to that. Yes, that is precisely why. I am in a better place. I am way less prone to worry now. I have found some balance in that respect. But when I do find balance, something terrible like getting sick for days (possibly weeks) is enough reason to go back to my old ways (in my sick thinking pattern). It triggers those fears that manifested a worrying type of behavior in the first place. This all started back in childhood. If you have control of things, it feels safe - at least that is how the brain of someone who suffers from anxiety thinks.

I am going to focus on the positive side of this by embracing the fact that I made progress. I am living more in the present, to the point that unfortunately I do become prone to more missteps here and there. But in the grand scheme, it is so much more worth it. I know this. But I would still like to stop making those mistakes. Mainly because I feel as though they hinder my healing each time I expose my body to something it views as an invader and chooses to fight with an immune response of some kind.

(Tasting room at Harvester Brewing in Portland last month. I got to meet the folks in charge and it was so refreshing to hear other people who are so passionate about gluten free products. And I tasted said products, confirming that they are top notch beers. My friends who went with me are not gluten free, and they loved the beer!)

I also have an answer from my prior post, Dangerous Grains or Deadly Nightshades. If you can recall my first encounter with those annoying nightshades that are causing me so much grief lately, I had contacted a restaurant to find out if they could help me determine if the cookies that I adored so much were the culprit of my inflammation. I heard back from the establishment and am thrilled at how they handled my inquiry. I am even more thrilled to tell you that they not only informed me of the ingredients, but also provided me with the recipe. Here's the link to the recipe for all of you: Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies.

These are some delicious cookies! And my hope is that with some experimentation, I can come up with a modified version sans the offending ingredients. The inflammation/bad reaction I suffered from those cookies likely came from a combination of the following ingredients:
Garbanzo bean flour and potato starch - So there WERE nightshades involved. Not surprised.
Flaxseed meal - I still don't fully know which seeds bother me and why. But the word SEED is present here. So I have been avoiding most seeds after my horrible reactions to both sunflower and hemp based products.
Applesauce - Normally I can do apples in small portions once in a while (so I doubt this was a factor). But perhaps when coupled with the other triggers, it might have been.
Sugar - There are a few kinds of sugar in these cookies. And I normally don't eat very much sugar. So this may have played a part. 
Gluten Free Frosted Flakes - These contain corn meal (grain) and sugar.
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks - Blend of canola, soybean, and flax oils, and soy protein.

Another update that transpired after getting my last IV at the Sastun Center for Integrative Health and my very productive sessions with my health coach, Eryn, may fall under the category of TMI (my apologies). But it needs to be shared. As of yesterday afternoon, I am no longer living with the Mirena IUD inside of me. I had it put in over four years ago to prevent my endometriosis from returning and to at least shorten, if not stop, my painful periods, which were lasting up to three weeks. It had never occurred to me that this foreign object implanted in me could very well be harming me even while it was also helping. All of this is still to be determined. But I do know that at the time I got the Mirena, I was eating a vegetarian diet (high in soy), plenty of gluten, and a ridiculous amount of dairy. I went through a gallon of milk by myself every five days on top of the dairy I was getting from my cheese addiction. So I clearly was not at my optimal health at that point, and I know that most of my issues seemed to be as simple as inflammation. Most of this inflammation went away once I cut out the inflammatory foods from my diet. My doctor, Jane Murray, who I adore, believes that endometriosis is an autoimmune disease and could very well be an associated symptom with other disorders and gut related issues.  

What if my endometriosis did not need to be treated by two surgeries, years of continuous birth control pills, and eventually the Mirena IUD? Honestly there's nothing I can do about that now. I did the best I could with the information I was given, and I really did trust my doctor at that time. She was an excellent surgeon and suffered from endometriosis herself. She didn't perform any surgeries, prescribe any medications, or suggest any treatments that she had not already been through herself. She was the guinea pig, and I found comfort in that.
But she was also straight up Western medicine. When I finally did tell her I suspected my issues were related to diet, it was not received well. She was still supportive of me. But I realized at that point that I desperately needed to get to the root of where this stuff was coming from and fix that. This is where my integrative medical experiences came in. So here I sit, after living the past (??) not sure how many years with hot flashes, hormonal imbalance, painful weird cycles, and the longest PMS ever. My last two tests confirmed I had the estrogen of someone in her 90's. So what good was that Mirena doing for me anyway? I dodged any more cysts or obvious endometriosis thus far. That's good. But things are not as they should be. So it's gone. Adios, synthetic hormones residing in a copper device inside of my body. I am anticipating some transitional symptoms and am hopeful that they won't include any of the nonsense I dealt with prior to getting the IUD implanted. Because as I said already, I was in a different place of health status when I got it. I was eating things that my body deemed inflammatory, and I was also coming off years of daily birth control pills.  

I am excited to see what starting fresh and allowing my body to attempt to function naturally will bring. If anyone else has any experience or knowledge on this type of thing, please share. I am hoping that the menopausal type symptoms that I have been having will either stop or perhaps I could just go through menopause and be done with it already! I already feel like this part of being a female has been more challenging than it should ever be. I have never had kids, but feel like my body has experienced pregnancy. And to be getting menopause symptoms from age 37 on just makes me want it all to be over.


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