So just at the start of the year I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease called Palindromic Rheumatism. It's similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis but also a little different. Basically in a nut shell my immune system is mistakenly attacking my joints. It results in debilitating pain in either one joint at a time or worse case scenario, multiple joints at a time. I've had days where I can't get out of bed, nights where I can't sleep because every tiny movement results in terrible pain. And I've discovered that I have joints in places I never would have thought...like my throat and jaw... and when I've had flares in those joints I've had to drink smoothies for two days straight because it's too painful to swallow or open my mouth. And doing simple every day things like turning a steering wheel or opening a zip lock bag has sometimes been impossible due to the pain. And sewing...well let's just say I've lost many days of work these past few months.
I won't go into detail about my drug options to control this disease. But they're pretty heavy duty drugs...ones that are used to treat malaria and others that are immune supressors that have a host of side effects. So I've been fighting the drugs kicking and screaming.
Enter a paleo and whole 30 diet. There's a ton of research to suggest that wheat, dairy and sugar cause inflammation to your joints which is essentially is what is happening to mine. So I embarked on a paleo and whole 30 diet. And I shouldn't call it a diet..because really it's a life style change...I'll forever be on this diet. And before I give any of you out there with an auto immune disease false hope that this diet will rid you of your disease, It may not. Or maybe for some of you it will....but it didn't completely work for me. However, it has helped and overall has made me much healthier which is why I'm choosing to stay on it.
I'm not going to go into detail about what paleo or whole 30 is. But it's basically grain free, dairy free, sugar free and gluten free. And let me tell you that before I started this I knew people who were paleo and I thought they were nuts...how could you not eat cheese?! Or pasta?! And omg what about beer?! I was a big beer drinker! But once this crazy disease hit my system I was ready to try absolutely anything and I've been pleasantly surprised that it's not that hard. And Pinterest has become my new best friend. Pretty much every recipe I've found is thanks to pinterest. All of these recipes are a bit more involved as you're basically always making things from scratch. But once you get used to that it just becomes a part of your routine. I always set aside about an hour in the evening to cook and make enough for leftovers so we can have some the next day.
Anyhow, the results of this diet.....Has it gotten rid of my auto immune disease? Sadly no....It has decreased the pain though...I rarely have attacks that affect all my joints at once. Now it's typically just one or two joints at a time. Which I still can't really live with so I am exploring medication. But, overall this diet has given me more energy and really I just feel healthier. And yes I've lost about 13 pounds. I didn't have a ton of weight to lose so I wouldn't want to lose much more. And do I cheat on this diet? Yes...once in a blue moon...it's not like I'm allergic in a to wheat or dairy in a sense that it's life threatening....and I think with an auto immune disease it's cummulative..meaning that if I eat it several times in a week I will for sure feel it and have pain flare ups. But if I treat myself to pizza on my birthday I'll be just fine. And if I go to someone's house and they serve corn on the cobb I'll probably still eat it even though it doesn't fit into the whole 30 diet...a little bit of corn once in a blue moon won't kill me! And you know what...the longer I eat paleo the less I crave all of that stuff. I also drink a lot less alcohol. I drink a lot more club soda and iced tea and I thought that giving up beers when I go out with my friends or on a sunny day in the back yard would be brutal. But you know what? It's been just fine!
Alright...this post is long enough so I'll share some of my favorite paleo recipes that I've discovered:
Above is one of my favorite sweet treats to make...I think they taste more like girl scout samoas than twix bars but whatever.