Elimination: Week 2

Today is the last day of week 2. I have successfully eliminated corn products from my diet, which is no easy task. Corn products include but are not limited to corn, corn starch, corn flour, corn meal, and corn syrup. These ingredients are in nearly everything that is prepackaged. There are the obvious things, like corn chips and popcorn. However, it is also in soda, candy, most condiments, some sweet tea, and even some meats if the animals were corn-fed. The list goes on, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now.

If you are looking to eliminate corn products from your diet, this website will be useful. It lists the various corn products and byproducts and what they are typically used for, including cosmetics. The most important thing is to read the labels when shopping.

The thing I found most startling was that prepackaged honey mustard contains both corn starch and corn syrup. It’s my favorite condiment, so that is a shame. Tonight, I did find paleo dijon mustard. I’ll be alright. I double-checked the ingredients and it is fine for me to use it until I eliminate seeds.

I just stepped off the scale and my current weight is 255.4. I’m up almost half a pound, but that could even be due to the fact that I weighed myself in the morning on Sunday last time. Honestly, as much bacon as I’ve eaten this week, I expected to have gained more back. Tomorrow begins the elimination of all other grains: rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, etc. I can do this.

As a reward for not giving in to the plethora of corn products in my path this week, I have ordered Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It by Dr. Josh Axe. This book was recommended to me by my dermatologist. I checked it out from the library and I’m only a couple of chapters in, but it aligns well with the other book I read and the research I’ve been doing. It has a lot of helpful information that I’d like to hold on to, so I decided to buy it.

On a side note, I learned today that potatoes are one of my trigger foods. I had eaten a small amount of potatoes three days in a row last week. On the third day, a bump appeared on my lower lip. I’ve had them before but didn’t know the rhyme or reason for it. They are like a cross between a pimple and a blister. Anyway, I hadn’t had any potatoes since then until today. Today, I had a large serving of potatoes and a new bump appeared on my lower lip within an hour.

Nightshade elimination is the week after grains, but I’m going to go ahead and eliminate potatoes now. The flare ups just aren’t worth it. I’ll eliminate the rest of the nightshades when I get there.

Follow-up Appointment

Today was my follow-up with my dermatologist. I dreaded going because I knew today was the day that I had to tell him that I will not take Humira. I did so, and he proceeded to ask me how he could change my mind. He can’t.

  1. I don’t do well with medication of any kind. I either have an allergic reaction, or I develop one of the side effects. Humira has too many possible side effects that are, in my opinion, worse than HS.
  2. I have read, from more than one credible source, that following the auto-immune protocol and a paleo diet puts HS symptoms into remission. The dermatologist even agreed that the root cause is leaky gut and that doing these things will help.
  3. I will not be coerced into becoming part of someone’s drug study.

He then told me that he supposed he could put me on 30 days of Doxycycline. I was beyond frustrated at this point. I had already said that I didn’t want any more medication and that the Cephalexin and Rifampin he’d just had me on to prepare me for the Humira had given me extreme nausea and abdominal pain. Furthermore, I had told him on my first visit that I’ve had Doxycycline a couple of times before and it is no longer effective on me. However, I think the worst thing is that he knows that HS is not bacterial and is still trying to prescribe antibiotics for it.

I want to give my way, the natural way, a try before I resort to any life-changing drugs. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I’ve only been on the elimination diet for two weeks, which isn’t enough to have seen many results and definitely not enough to have an idea of which foods are my triggers. So, I’m soldiering on.

I want to give a shout out to my neighbor, Sue. She stopped by the library to bring me a thank you gift for watching her pets while she was on vacation. She said she had baked some banana bread for me, but then she saw that I was no longer eating bread. So, she went to the grocery and got some blackberries, a cucumber, and an apple for me. She explained that it’s because blackberries are preventatives for cancer and auto-immune diseases, cucumbers are the best tasting green vegetables, and Fuji apples are her favorite. It is invaluable to have people who support you when you are trying to change your eating habits. Thank you, Sue!

Elimination: Week 1

Technically, my first week was a week and a half, but I have completed it. I have successfully cut wheat products from my diet! I also lost some weight! On New Year’s Day, I weighed 256.2 pounds. I am now down to 255 pounds. I had not originally planned to reward myself for this, but my planner suggested a reward for accomplishments and I think that’s a good idea.

I am a very food motivated person. As such, I have always rewarded myself with food. I do realize that this is a bad behavior and I need to change it. I decided to reward myself with items that will make healthy eating easier and more fun, but occasionally also with a book because I love books.

HydraTrak water bottle.

For successfully completing the wheat eliminating phase, and losing some weight, I am rewarding myself with a water bottle. I know, it sounds boring. It’s important. I don’t drink enough water because I have a hard time remembering to track it on my apps. One of my co-workers has the HydraTrak water bottle and I think it’s amazing! I ordered one for myself and it should arrive tomorrow. You move the rings up to the top for each cup of water you drink. I think this physical method of tracking water will be beneficial to me.

Today begins week 2 of the elimination diet. I will continue to not eat wheat products, but I am also no longer eating corn products. This includes anything with corn syrup or corn starch, so no more sodas. It will also cut out some soups and a variety of other things. Not easy, but doable.

Elimination Diet & Symptom Tracking

One of things that Tara Grant recommends in her book is tracking symptoms as you eliminate and reintroduce foods from and to your diet. I love journaling, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Clever Fox daily planner.

I have been talking to my co-workers about this and one of them recommended the Clever Fox daily planner. I looked into it and ended up ordering one because I think it’s going to be perfect for what I want to do. They come in a variety of colors. I chose purple.

One of my favorite things about this planner is all of the space for planning. Yes, I’m a nerd. There are, of course, the daily log pages. There are also weekly overview, monthly overview, and weekly review pages. This planner also includes space for encouragement and rewards for doing well.

Goal planning.
Monthly overview.
Weekly overview.

I’ve decided to ease into the elimination, as you can see from the monthly overview. Step 1 is to eliminate gluten, but that’s such a wide range of all of my favorite foods that I thought I’d set myself up for success by breaking that down into phases. I’m also spending a week and a half on the first phase. This is primarily because I’m starting today, in the middle of the week and I think it will be hard for me to remember to start a new phase in the middle of the week moving forward. Secondary considerations are that it will give me more time to get used to this new way of life, and that I have a friend joining me on this quest in solidarity.

Daily log.

I wish that I could start this year off fresh. Unfortunately, I’m on antibiotics for the first two weeks. This could interfere with the symptom tracking and it means I’ll have to pay very close attention during the reintroduction phase to see what gluten is doing to my body.

Ultimately, I feel really great about moving forward on this journey to my personalized paleo diet. I hope that you will find this information useful in some way.

Diagnosis: HS

I won’t rehash the entire history of what I’ve been going trough. You can read that on the My Story page. Suffice it to say that I have been suffering with a disease for the last fifteen years and saw several doctors for it. None of them knew what it was or had any answers for me. A co-worker, a fellow librarian, told me that she thought I might have Hidradenitis Suppurativa. I did some reading on it and I was certain that she was right.

Today, I saw a dermatologist who specializes in HS. He confirmed that yes, I do have it. I had done some research on it and already decided that I’m going to try switching to a paleo diet before I resort to medicine. Medicines treat the symptoms, not the cause. The cause, as confirmed by my dermatologist, is a problem in the gut biome. Leaky gut syndrome, as it is commonly called.

My dermatologist agreed that a paleo diet would be a smart move and would help with this disease tremendously. However, he also recommended that I take Humira. I will not. Especially after talking to him. To me, the risks far outweigh the benefits. It can control the symptoms, but it doesn’t address the root cause. The dermatologist told me that if I ever want to have children, I should not take Humira. I don’t know if I want children or not. I do know that I don’t want the option to be taken from me unnecessarily.

I have a plan of action; I just needed a diagnosis. Humira will be my last resort, but I’m moving forward with following the auto-immune protocol.