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These are the foods I’m eating this week.

Only these foods.

I’m in the midst of an elimination diet and these are the foods that my body does not have any sensitivity to. I’ll explain.

As I’m sure you know, I’ve been struggling for 2+ years with an assortment of not-so-fun symptoms that wax and wane, but that have recently (since February) gotten much worse again. Turns out, in addition to fatigued adrenal glands (and perhaps in part because of them) I may have something called Leaky Gut. Now there’s something you want to rush to your computer and blog about eh? And, I do apologize for whatever intestinal image, you might now be wishing was not plastered across your mind. While the area of “gut problems” unfortunately lies between conventional and alternative medicine–I am, as I read and learn, quickly becoming a believer and eagerly adhering to the proposed recovery regimen.

Symptoms: Anxiety, brain fog, bloating, fatigue, low grade, chronic (abdominal, joint & muscle) pain, confusion & fuzzy thinking, constipation, gas, headaches, irritability, depression and memory problems.

Causes: NSAIDS (the Naprosyn I took for my toe for a year), a diet with plenty of sugar, white flour and other processed food (now a thing of the past), caffeine (I’m not a coffee or pop drinker, but I had used Crystal Light energy drinks daily for a long time!), low zinc/B6 (that’s me), candida and stress (compromised adrenals)

In short, I have been dealing with systemic inflammation that makes me feel CRAPPY and since this proposed intestinal leakage is stressing my adrenals on the inside, they will not be able to heal, until we clear up the gut issues first.

I’m working with an MD, who is also a functional practitioner (this means she is open to a wide range of research and practicing many of the more alternative treatments) who took about 7 viles of my blood and ran several tests to discover among other things that I have a mild intolerance (IgE) to gluten and that I am also sensitive (IgG) to a long list of foods, including all grains! Particularly annoying foods are asparagus (my favorite green vegetable), cranberry (weird.) and corn (in practically everything these days.) I won’t be eating these for 6 months or more. Equally threatening are the following: basil, cloves, cumin, curry, dill, fennel, sage, majoram, paprika, rosemary, thyme, ginger, oregano, parsley, peppermint and vanilla–seriously! My doctor said she had never seen someone “light up” the spices and flavorings page like I do, and those are just the worst offenders, that I’ll be steering clear of for a long time (six months with a slow reintroduction.) I’m less sensitive to allspice, cinnamon, mustard and nutmeg. How about three cheers for a bland diet? Now I know why I’ve always been a bit of plane jane when it comes to food.

Anyway, just thought I’d check in and let you know what I’ve been doing in my spare time (relearning how to eat!) I’ve been completely off sugar for four weeks and truly not missing it, and I’ve been off wheat and gluten grains for 2+ weeks. I do miss my Dave’s Killer Bread! Overall, I feel so much better and now, since Monday, I have a renewed sense of hope that the Stacy I miss so much might make a come back. I had pretty much given up on that notion and so I am completely overjoyed!

Since most of you know her, I feel compelled to give my dear friend Cathy Z a shout out, because she played a critical role in my thus far journey to health. It was because of her Move More Eat Well class that I started listening to the Dishing Up Nutrition podcast, which gave me the sometimes daily encouragement I’ve needed to give up processed junk food and move in the direction of a whole foods diet.

Thank YOU Cathy!

Note: Clark is doing great and so am I.
I did process for the better part of a week, which was so good. I truly believe that an extended commitment to scrapbooking has enabled me to not only recognize significant/ transitional times but to feel them more deeply. I absolutely enjoy processing both good and hard emotions. At least most of the time. I’ve started a blog for Clark (elderjulian.typepad.com) that will eventually become a book, chronicling missionary training and life.  It’s most definitely a work in progress, but it counts (remember, It ALL Counts!) and it will keep extended family and friends in the loop for the next two years!

Comments

  1. Cathy L. says:

    Hope this new way of eating will help you feel better. Always great to hear from you, even if it is regarding your gut! When I read your list of things to avoid, and basil was first on the list, I gasped! NO BASIL?!

  2. Hope it works well for you, Stacy. I have to thank Cathy for mentioning that podcast as well, because I have learned so much and it has changed my life. I have ulcerative colitis and, because of the podcast, have given up gluten and started a good probiotic. My symptoms have improved 90%. It has been up and down a little, but overall much improved. Was there some sort of testing that told you what you were sensitive to or did you eliminate everything and add these things back in? Just curious.

    • Hey Jan — so glad you’re feeling better! Yes, it was a blood test for food allergy and sensitivity. Find a good doctor and then ask them to test you!

  3. I’m glad that you can see improvement already. Good luck- and good health.

  4. Wow . . . Amazing stuff here, Stacy. I’m both excited and alarmed for you – that is really going to take some huge amount of dedication to follow through with all of this, but I am sure that based on how you have been feeling, it’s something that MUST be done. I admire your courage so much, and wonder just how much the things I am putting into myself may be making such a difference to my health and feelings. Really something to think about.

    • I am shopping very differently these days. It is amazing what a little information can do — and I always felt like I ate pretty healthy too!

  5. I hope you are feeling much better soon. I completely relate to feeling horrible and learning the foods I was eating were majorly contributing to it. I am also very NSAID sensitive, but it was more of a psuedo-allergy, due to another autoimmune issue I had. I became not only NSAID sensitive, but sensitive to all salicylates (tomatoes, olive oil, almonds, berries, squash, spices – basically every thing delish). My condition is currently in remission, so I am doing a reverse elimination diet and adding things back in. Yesterday I had carrots! Yum! Hang in there, it is hard, but you can do it and you will feel so much better :)

  6. Welcome to the no-grains club! I’ve been off grains for over a year now due to possible leaky gut, intestinal symptoms, autoimmune disease. While it hasn’t fixed all my ills (I recently was discovered to have extremely high lead and mercury levels as well, so that’s the next project for improvement!), it has helped immensely to limit my diet to unprocessed foods and zero grains. I eat meat, used to eat fish, chicken, lots of vegetables and a little fruit. I’ve lost some weight and have also lost a lot of unhappy symptoms.

    I used to be big on breads, now I rarely even think about them. I can pass up my old favorites with no regrets. Once you realize a food is like poison to your body, it makes it a lot easier to give it up.

    Best wishes on your wellness journey!

  7. I hope you continue to do better. I’m in Cathies MMEW class. I also listen to Dishing up Nutrition. I suffered for MANY years with abdominal problems. I thought I had irritable bowel syndrom or even Chron’s disease. I have eliminated all processed foods and sugars and have felt so much better. Continued good health!!!!

  8. WHAT?!?! None of those spices and herbs????? EEEK! Admire your dedication and hope that this works out for you. Here’s to feeling better…. CHEERS! (Drinking plain, old ice water.)

  9. Jennifer says:

    Stacy – I am another “welcome to the club” person. I found out that I have celiac disease about 5 years ago and have other inflammation issues as well. The transition is tough, but after you get used to it, you feel so much better that you don’t miss the foods you can’t have at all. My favorite thing was having the brain fog go away. I hope you start feeling a lot better soon.

  10. Marina D-K says:

    Love your commitment to getting to improving your health and combating your illness. I am certainly not headed in the right direction with those causes you listed…aaahhh. Hope this is the start of you feeling a million times better! And I’m always in awe of your positive attitude. Love the blog you’ve started for your son what a great way to share his experience with all your family members. Very cool! and totally agree it all counts =)

  11. Thanks for this update, Stacy. I have been wondering how you’ve been feeling lately and I truly hope that you can begin to feel healthy again.

  12. Tammy B says:

    It makes me so glad to hear that you have a doctor that is really taking your problems seriously! I have my fair share of ‘gut’ problems. I don’t eat much dairy (only yogurt and cheese) and not much bread. I cut out a lot of processed foods as well. I can’t eat very many raw vegetables or fruits due to an allergy, so eating healthy is really hard. I’m also scared to eat new foods and even foods that I used to love that are fairly good for you! I’m thinking that I need to see a nutritionist and get a hold of this problem!

    I wish you all the best and hope that you continue to feel good. Hopefully the bad days will be few and far between!!

    • Tammy,
      I bet you would love the podcast I linked to. I’m actually going to have a phone consultation this week — so, you don’t have to live there to get help!

  13. So glad to hear you’re feeling better. Best wishes for continued improvements! Herbs and spices are nice, but not as nice as the return of your good health and state of mind.

  14. SherriS. says:

    Dearest Stacy I hope that you will continue to feel better every day! I’m wheat allergic and off it 6 years now. I’m sure you are overwhelmed right now but it will get easier. There are terrific blogs for recipes and thankfully better food labeling.

    Wishing you the very best on your road to recovery!

  15. Kary in Colorado says:

    Oh, Stacy, I know what you are dealing with! My husband is celiac and our 17yo son has been extremely allergic to corn since he was a baby. Yikes. Yes, it is a challenge, but you will feel so much better, it will be worth it. Not only that, you won’t eat any processed food because virtually all of it contains corn (and if not corn, gluten . . . ). We realized the other day that we haven’t had fast food for 16 years! I hope you feel better, physically and mentally. Once my husband eliminated gluten, his chronic depression disappeared. Interesting how many things are linked to what we eat.

    Cathy’s class has been wonderful–thanks for all those amazing BPC classes!

  16. Life is definitely a journey, and I’m so glad that yours may be heading in a better direction now! I’m so sorry you haven’t been feeling well but am thrilled to hear that it isn’t something more serious/life threatening. Anytime you need some encouragement, just let your readers know. We’ll be glad to try to lift you up or at least lighten the load like you have done so often for us. Bon (bland) appetit!

  17. Nicky from Canada says:

    Hoping that this will help to give you back your health!!

  18. So glad you’re on the road to discovery and recovery! I hope you are finding out just how many wonderful blogs and Pinterest boards are devoted to delicious sugar and grain-free recipes. It takes some work to get used to cooking this way, but it becomes second nature pretty soon.

    My grain-free recipe board is called “Unbreaded”, and it is found here: http://pinterest.com/tracey/unbreaded/

  19. Look into the GAPS diet. I have the book at home, but I am out of town for a couple days. It is intended to help heal the gut. You can contact me for additional information if you would like.

  20. Kathy Jo Camacho says:

    Hang in there Stacy and heal! :) You’ll be you in no time!

  21. Lynn in FL says:

    So glad to have you back, Stacy, and glad you are feeling better! It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to change eating habits, so be proud of yourself for the progress you are making! The old Stacy will be back in no time….and meanwhile, don’t worry…your diehard fans love any form of Stacy, and we’ll be here for good processing and bad! Also glad to hear Clark is doing well…but I knew he would, with the years of love, training and preparation for the big world he received from his super mom. Love and hugs, Stacy, and keep moving in the directions you are going….you’ll get there!

  22. Every time I read your blog Stacy I learn something! I recently eliminated wheat, dairy, caffeine and as much sugar as possible (that is in EVERYTHING) from my diet “just to see” — and I feel soooooo much better. Joint pain has greatly diminished, energy is up and all those carb cravings are gone (that’s the amazing part to me, I was a total carb addict) so much more. I think this is only the start. I’m off to check out that podcast. I hope you continue to feel better!

    • BethBG — you sound like me, I couldn’t believe that my carb cravings were eliminated after a few days of real food in the right combination. Crazy! I have to say, that while I’m not craving a brownie, I do miss them — so I need to learn how to make a good, healthy alternative!!

  23. Hey Stacy….I can totally relate to what you’re going through! I was diagnosed with IBS 8 years ago after suffering for years with GI symptoms and just feeling bad. I always get strange looks when people watch me eat……beef, lettuce, spinach, and most heavily processed foods just don’t work for me!!! Have you seen forks over knives? It has a very interesting link between cancers, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity to animal protein. I found the information very interesting, but don’t think I could go vegan…….Ever!!! Hang in there & know you aren’t alone……there are lots of folks out there with food sensitivities and allergies!

    • I’m loving all of the good advice I’m reading in my comments — thanks Rita, I’ll check it out!

  24. Stacey, in relaying this blog post to my daughter, she, her husband and children have been gluten-free for over a year, she recommended a book called Wheat Belly, written by a cardiologist, that may be helpful for you. She said there is also a website, just type in Wheat Belly. You may have already read this book. Stay strong, sending prayers for healing.

    • Debbie,
      Thank YOU. I’ve listened to a podcast with this doctor as a guest and been to his website. So it’s not only the gluten, but everything he had to say that is motivating me to give up wheat! Very interesting stuff for sure!

  25. 1. I recently learned that people of Irish decent are more likely to have problems with gluten so its on my list to learn more about that – my aunt went gluten free about a year ago and she says she feels amazingly better. I want to give it a try. I thought the memory thing was just a symptom of a busy mom life, it would be amazing to be able to get my memory back like it used to be. I seriously remember nothing and have all sorts of systems for covering up for my lame memory; scrapbooking is one of them ;)

    2. You son’s blog is so awesome. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    3. I’ve been reading the Imagine book & I’ve been reading it out loud to my family at bedtime and my kids (8 & 10) love it (not so much the chapters about uppers & downers but the ones about Pixar; we’re in the Barbie chapter) – my daughter says “I don’t understand all of it, but keep reading”.

    4. Tell your dad (bigfoot fan) about that Mermaid movie ( http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/other/videos/mermaids.htm ) on Animal Planet – its a mockumentary that is really fun to watch since it is done so serious.

    5. So! Funny! that you shared the 12 video story on PRT! That sort of thing (ie. I’m a real human) makes us all love you more.

  26. Beth S. says:

    Stacy, I’ve been trying to improve my diet and do some of these same things. A dear friend shared this recipe and I thought of you because you could substitute it for brownies.
    In a Food processor combine:
    1 cup walnuts (I used cashews)
    1 and 1/3 cup pitted dates
    3-4T cocoa powder
    add a little salt, if you want
    If it’s too dry, I just added another date or two. It is pretty crumbly but I try to pack it together a little and put some in the microwave for about 15 seconds and eat with a spoon and its pretty close to a brownie and there’s no flour or refined sugar!
    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  27. Hi Stacy,
    Thanks for sharing this to help others. I would appreciate any advise about how to find such a doctor. My son has the same problems, and I have taken him to a pediatric gastroenterologist, but he was not tuned into the food connection. He said my son does not have celiac, but I still believe that my son has a gluten intolerance, because I’ve seen the difference when we take it out of his diet. But I would really like to find a doctor like yours. Any suggestions?

  28. thanks again for sharing!

  29. Wishing you many blessings on your journey to feeling better!

  30. I hope you start feeling better soon, Stacy. I, too, feel for you- I have been recently diagnosed with IBS among other things related. Feeling crappy on top of being a mom and everything else we do is not a fun thing. I hope you find the right balance so you can be your self again.

    • Thanks Tanya, you too — I’m reading everything I can and learning and sticking to my diet and my perpetual headache has vanished!!

  31. Stacy, I have been struggling with many of the same things as you have. One thing that has helped me is NAET. It is an allergy eliminating technique that has been vey helpful for me. I could not even be in the same room as someone peeling an orange but now I can drink orange juice with no problems. Have your doctor look into it or find someone who is already practicing. You won’t be sorry. Hope you start feeling better soon.

  32. Stacy, I wanted you to know that my former stake president and good friend is/will be Clark’s mission president in South SLC. Pres. Miller is a wonderful man and his wife Elaine is just incredible! I know that you would love Elaine . . . the things that woman can do with a few decorating odds and ends. As well, she has over 25 absolutely identical scrapbooks! Your boy will be watched over and loved.

  33. Hi Stacy: You might like to check out Dr. Libby Weaver http://www.drlibby.com/ She has written too books – Accidentally Overweight and The Rushing Womens Syndrome. I went to a talk she gave recently and one of the areas of the body she explained were the poor adrenal glands. It is fascinating what the should be doing and what stress in particular does to them.

    She speaks very much about cutting out sugar; eating non-processed food and she is very big on green vegetables.
    Do not be put off about the accidentally overweight title – this is not a diet book. She explains how the different organs and systems of the body interact with each other.

    http://www.wheelers.co.nz/browse/author/2694864-libby-weaver/

  34. Allie.Duckienz says:

    Heya Stacy,
    as I posted on the Twelve message board I too have a leaky gut (although unlike you I haven’t had much luck with doctors) that caused fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I am now VERY sensitive to a LOT of foods. It was hell for the first year. The second not so bad and I am now into the third. I am very lucky that my ex fiancee went on the same diet as me when we were together and that his parents cook clean, healthy food. I now live them while I gain the strength back to live on my own again. 30 and needing 2-5 naps a day is crazy! All because of my adrenals being out. I have seen MANY doctors over the years but just told that it is stress, go home. IT IS STRESS, help me ahhhh. Anyways, living a better quality of life and getting better. Keep up the amazing work. I have so much love and respect for you to be willing to open yourself up and be a role model Stacy. Seriously, thank you for all you do!

    • Allie,
      Wow! We are health twins, eh? I’m learning that this isn’t an easy recovery, that’s for sure — but, I think I’m finally getting the information I need and am on the right path. I’m so glad you’ve got a place to live and be supported in this. So glad you’re taking Twelve (we all need a good creative distraction!) Thank YOU for your kind words too :)

  35. Peggy M says:

    wow, surprises on those spices! My dr last year recommended working with a “caveman” diet, which most of us know as Paleo. Basically, it is an elimination much like you went thru. A lot of people think it’s a low carb, but it’s really about eliminating foods that our bodies weren’t really designed to eat, like grains (I don’t feed them to my dog so why am I eating them?) and sugars. Mostly things we added to our human diet after we became an agricultural society. I’ve eliminated virtually all grains so far, done Diane Sanfillipo’s 21 day sugar detox and I feel a whole lot better overall. If/when I do eat the normal standard American Diet (SAD), I know it the next day. Grains will bloat me or totally disagree with me to the point that I feel as if I have the flu. I wouldn’t have searched this out on my own, but based on my constant run down feeling & the need to rebalance my hormones, my dr felt it was appropriate to move this way. People ask me what I eat now & I’m surprised how when they hear that I don’t eat bread they think I can’t eat anything. Currently, I’m reading “It Starts with Food” by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. They began their journey on an elimination diet to bring about their well being.

    Good luck with the changes.

    • Peggy,
      I’ve been listening to Diane’s podcast and learning LOTS about the Paleo diet — right now, that’s pretty much what I’m doing. I do feel better and all the indicators (poop, etc..) are improving. CRAZY how far off we American’s have gotten, when it comes to a truly healthy approach. I always thought that I was eating a healthy diet (with a brownie or two thrown in for good measure!) How wrong I was.

  36. Ugh. We are right there with you. Zoë, Eden, and I all just recently had food sensitivity tests done. Eden’s came back yesterday and she sensitive to: eggs (whites, yolks, and duck eggs), dairy (cow and goat), gluten, wheat, and whey. This is in addition to a severe tree nut allergy. Feeding that little lady is certainly going to be challenging, but at least we now know why she has been so itchy for her entire life! I wish you the very best luck! Food elimination is difficult, but you will feel SO much better! (((Hugs!)))

    I can’t thank you enough for suggesting the Wheat Belly blog. I am about 1/2 way through the book and it is all I can do not to toss out every single wheat containing food in our home. When I told Zoë that she was having a food sensitivity test done last week she said, “I don’t care if wheat makes me bloated and gassy! I’m eating it anyway!” Oye.

  37. So proud of you for being disciplined and trying to fix what’s wrong!

  38. Thanks so much for sharing your personal info regarding diet changes, etc. It made me stop and think about what I need to do!! Also love listening to Dishing up nutrition, lots of good information to learn, it keeps my 40+min drive to and from work interesting. And, I am going to buy Wheat Belly, have already checked out the blog and listened to Dr.Davis. I need to make major changes in my eating habits and his book will be the catalyst to me new healthy lifestyle. Thanks again for sharing Stacy and good luck with your efforts too, keep us posted if you can.

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