Working my way back to AIP. Again.

It’s been well over a month since I finished my antis and I have a few flares on my unmentionables. They are at the front, so don’t rub when I walk and I’ve actually learnt to accept them. I realised that just because I am having a flare, it does not have to mean I am a failure or that it is game over. It is just part of my life and if it pops up in an area that doesn’t cause me too much grief, I’m happy with that!

I really am trying to be good. I had been writing a food diary religiously and I do plan to get back to my nutritionist doctor. I have ordered more Bactivit and more Permeaprotect and have been taking it all as advised, along with cod liver oil. Do these things work? Who knows?! 

Going back to AIP eating is a tough call. The best part is that eating mostly paleo/AIP for the past two years means that jumping back in the saddle is not too scary, although I can’t say I’m 100% back on board just yet. However, I rarely eat processed foods, so that’s no biggy. I never drink any sodas or fruit juice, so nothing to miss there. I have cut out wine for the past two weeks – I didn’t even drink when we went to visit some vineyards. It doesn’t take as much effort to say no anymore and I guess coming to terms with the longevity of the disease has stopped me being so emotional about having to be denied certain foods. That’s not to say I’ve got it cracked, but it’s just that if I look at where I was a year ago, it really has gotten easier and easier.

We currently have a freezer full of bones, carrot peels/ends and celery just waiting for my stockpile of stock to run low. We have a slow cooker ready to make the stock if it does get low. We have pork belly curing in the fridge ready to make the next batch of bacon. We have a bag full of measured out ground spiced pork sausage for breakfast. I have sliced onions and frozen them in weeks worth of portions, ready to use and peeled and halved all the garlic I need for the week. I have peeled and topped and tailed carrots in a tupperware in the fridge – easy for a snack or to use in my recipes.

We do all of these things as a family, which takes a lot of the effort out of them and even if I am in the kitchen prepping food, Mr B will be helping by entertaining Baby B or sorting out another meal and Ty will be folding washing or unloading the dishwasher. There is definitely about having a complete group effort that takes the pressure off and makes the whole thing much easier.

I am still battling with a bit of a sugar dragon. Tonight I caved and as I have a whole bag of beautifully ripe avocados, I indulged myself and made an avocado chocolate dessert using 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, organic honey, coconut oil and of course avocados all thrown in a blender and whipped up into chocolatey heaven. No reactions yet and even though it was a little avocadoey, I really could see how avocados can be used as a creamy substitute in puddings. I reckon if there had been another stronger flavour in there (mint perhaps?), I really would not have tasted the avocado at all. In any case, it was delicious and filling and not forgetting that if I was eating like any normal person, I would’ve just made one of the healthiest chocolate mousses out there!

My Paleo Success story!

I sent in my Paleo story to paleoplan.com and the lovely Neely Quinn sent me an email to say it had been published. Have a little read ūüôāScreen Shot 2013-09-25 at 15.08.30

http://www.paleoplan.com/2013/09-24/paleo-success-story-losing-weight-healing-hidradenitis/

 

A fortnight post-Clindamycin and Rifampicin

It has been two weeks since my last antibiotic pill. I am in remission. I did feel absolutely fantastic….then my stomach went a little crazy.

It started Wednesday evening and followed the next day. I was working and was a little worried, but managed to control it all until I got home. Then it really was bad! I was feeling pretty weak by then, as I had just been drinking chicken soup (hardly chicken soup – just hot water with an organic stock cube, as we have no homemade stock due to freezer fail – see earlier posts). I managed a trip to the pharmacy with the wee one and purchased some Immodium and some super expensive probiotic. I then dealt with two more days of gastric distress and working really hard, trying to placate Inner Hypochondriac who had completely written me off as a terminal IBS sufferer.

A few days later and I have some perspective. It turns our Inner Hypochondriac was wrong once again. In fact, everyone in the family had a dodgy tummy and we’d all had some sort of bug. On the plus side, I lost 5 pounds and I look fabulous ūüėČ

The Hidradenitis is behaving itself. There have been no flares. I still haven’t got my cooking mojo back. It is exacerbated by working and no hob/freezer, but it doesn’t mean we’re not eating amazingly tasty food, it just means I’m not being as creative, which is a shame. I¬†have been mainly eating salads and basic proteins – fish, chicken, duck and steak. Steak hasn’t made me flare, which is strange, as it used to. It may be the fact we are buying it from a local butcher and it could be less pumped full of antibiotics etc. Who knows? I am also eating plenty of raw milk cheese – Gruy√®re, Comt√©¬†and recently Saint F√©licien – very stinky! Before my dodgy tummy, I was also eating a little bit of my organic homemade bread, made from spelt flour. I let it do a double rise, before I cook it and it doesn’t make me flare. I know I really shouldn’t eat bread, but occasionally I have felt the urge to eat it and as my work has been pretty physical, I’m not about to get stressed out about what I should and shouldn’t be eating on top of being physically tired. It has been fine if I just have a small amount and needless to say, I only ever eat the bread I make.

So far, so good. Generally being kind to myself. Generally working really hard. Generally loving life ūüôā

Hello Day one, I’ve missed you.

I’m done messing with my diet (she says for the 17th day in a row). No, but seriously, I really need to stop using these antibiotics as a crutch and start clean-eating again. I am a month into my 10 week course of Clindamycin and Rifampicin and although taking antibiotics goes against everything I believe in, I have to say the results are amazing. I am barely leaking at all, and the persistent swelling has decreased so much so, that I can throw myself down into a seat and there is no pain. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. HEAVEN!!!

Excellent, you say, no need to write anymore blog!¬†Actually, no. These tablets are like a holiday for me. A little respite from real life. They are toxic and have horrible side effects. They can cause liver disease. They make my tongue furry (which swilling my mouth out with apple cider vinegar has cured, by the way). They have brought back my peeling, dry, itchy skin on my feet. They make me need to poop – and it’s not a pretty picture. I have to eat loads of sauerkraut (which actually isn’t too bad). They make me tired, a little out of sorts.

Most of all, I feel the opposite of how I did when I started the autoimmune diet. I feel like I am poisoning my body instead of healing it (did I mention I was a drama queen?). I was trying to heal my leaky gut with all that lovely, nourishing, home-cooked good food and now I am attacking my insides with chemicals.

Such a dichotomy.

Whilst I’m not looking a gift-horse in the mouth (that’s a really weird idiom!), I am only on these tablets short-term. I am still anticipating that after my 10 weeks is up, I am only going to get some major remission going on by sticking to my autoimmune protocol diet. In the meantime, I want to take advantage of the healing that has happened. I want to keep those sinus tracts shrunk, or healed or whatever has happened to them. I want to wear my bikini again and agin. I want to wear mini-skirts all summer, without Micropore peeping out of the bottom. I want to enjoy the freedom of spending under 2 minutes in the bathroom, because I have no dressings to change. I want to have a go on a Space Hopper. I want to sit comfortably with my baby on my knees, without wincing when she wiggles. I want the whole, entire and wonderful healed-upness of my Hidradenitis Suppurativa to stay just the way it is.

Today I got busy. I went to an amazing farmer’s market of organic goods¬† Lidl and bought as much of the fresh produce as I could fit in the bags I was carrying (it’s in the ghetto and they don’t have baskets). Their organic range is CHEEEEAP! They also stock the cured ham that I eat. It lists only ham and salt as the two ingredients and it’s cheaper by at least 2 euro here than in any other local supermarket. The only other packaged item I bought from there was Perrier.¬†I dodged the drug dealers on the way out and Mr B did the rest of the food shopping at Auchan – the actual, biggest supermarket I have ever seen. So big, I walked for about 5 minutes before I even reached the food section. So big, I think it may be bigger, even, than Sam’s Club in Slidell, Louisiana! Maybe not as big as a supermarket in Texas, though. I digress.

I made a meal plan for this week to keep me on track. We kicked off tonight with cod, marinated in a lime, garlic, coconut oil sauce with fresh parsley and basil, Himalayan pink salt and organic cracked black pepper. This was served with sautéed green beans, oyster mushrooms, onion and garlic and all cooked by the lovely Mr B!

De-li-cious! Made even more tasty, because I didn’t have to lift a finger to cook it!

For the rest of the week, main meals are as follows (not in any particular order):

  1. Easiest roast chicken ever¬†–¬†¬†Instead of leeks, which we don’t have, we ‘ll be subbing courgettes in to this dish and serving it with salad. Who says roasties can’t be served up with a salad??
  2. Chicken and vegetable curry – using leftover chicken, homemade coconut milk, homemade curry paste (excluding paprika and chilli), ginger, garlic, onion, carrots and homemade chicken stock (I use this recipe, with frozen leftover peels and chicken bones). Served with cauliflower rice, fried with peas.
  3. Healthy Gluten-free Life’s Dutch Oven Pork – as featured on Nomnompaleo’s page. Love our Le Creuset Dutch Oven¬†cocotte, which cooks food so evenly and keeps it moist. We’ll have that with saut√©ed broccoli, onion and garlic all fried in silky smooth organic coconut oil of course! Perhaps a side of salad, too.
  4. Large wild gamba, marinated in lime, garlic and ginger, seared on the griddle and served with my scrummy roasted sweet potatoes. And salad. And probably sauerkraut for me.
  5. Asian chicken thighs – again Michelle from Nomnompaleo’s recipe. What? Again? Yup. Each time I Googled the ingredients, hers was way up there and looked delicious, with only a few ingredients that I needed to remove to adapt for the autoimmune protocol. Served with salad.
  6. Sweet potato and prawn soup, which we’ve adapted from an¬†Everyday Paleo¬†recipe. We’ll have some leftover coconut milk and prawns (there are two kilos in the freezer and we’ll have to defrost the lot , so we’ll cook ’em all and throw some back in the freezer for this dish.

Et voila! That’s me all sorted for the week. I hope to all that is Holy and Mighty that there are no more sh*t storms this week and I manage to keep on track (and off the incredible Bordeaux wine).

Day one is done…..

Antibiotics. Day….bleurgh…can I quit yet?

I am not a happy bunny. My tummy is getting worse and trips to the restroom have increased significantly. I am trying to deal with my Inner Hypochondriac, normal logic, a chaotic moving house schedule and a two-year old. It’s pretty tough trying to give them all some dedicated time, especially as mostly, I just want to sleep. I am fighting the urge to quit, but am being sensible and just increasing my fluid intake. Lots of lovely organic herbal teas, fresh ginger and lemon infusions and strictly no coffee.

I stopped taking Sauerkraut the day before yesterday and it is since then that my tummy has gotten worse. Coincidence maybe, as we are now Day 10 and the antibiotics may have just slaughtered all my good, internal gut bacteria. Or, who knows, perhaps the Sauerkraut really was helping? Obviously I’m back on it. A huge bowl at breakfast only to be told by Mr B that it makes more sense to have them apart from the antibiotics. I knew that really. Well, I didn’t, but it does make sense, so I researched it and it says, yes – at least two hours after the antibiotics. I’ve also just had a huge bowl of fermented raw whole milk yoghurt. I’ll eat some more Sauerkraut later. A little bit of overkill (‘scuse the pun), but I like to be proactive.

Whilst I was buying the Sauerkraut at the organic shop, I stopped to take a look at the probiotics. I couldn’t find any that weren’t in maltodextrin or didn’t contain other unsavoury ingredients. The main probiotic that they use here is Brewer’s Yeast, also know as¬†Saccharomyces_cerevisiae¬†and it’s ‘close cousin’¬†Saccharomyces boulardii¬†(the strain often found in over-the-counter probiotics). I’m not sure if I should take this yeast. I am yet to find any conclusive, scientific evidence online that tells me which yeast is good, which is bad and whether or not I can take them with an autoimmune disease . I’ve found plenty of sites selling their yeast products, that state their yeast is fine, but I’ve been duped by the food industry for so long, there’s no way I would even consider this information advisory in any way shape or form! I’m sure the medical/scientific explanation is out there somewhere. Voila!

Despite my gastrointestinal distress, my HS is much better. It is less inflamed and hardly leaking at all. I had paprika and chilli flakes last night for the first time since going autoimmune and I did have a mild reaction. Nothing too bad, just more leaking and a little painful late last night and this morning, but it’s all calm again now. That’s one more food stuff I can cross off my list. I am not as sad as I thought I would be – there will be no mourning for chilli today. I’m sure I previously consumed enough to last me my whole lifetime anyway.

So life goes on. I won’t quit the antibiotics just yet and I will be taking it easy. Mr B tells me just to keep resting, so that makes me feel better about the whole thing. I do what I can around the house and whatever isn’t done can wait. As usual this methodology works well for me and I am being quite productive. In particular, I’m looking forward to a peaceful end of the day and making dinner tonight – pizza. Home-made dough bases for the others and a sweet potato or cauliflower crust for me with spinach, cured ham (cured with salt), raw cheese Comte, olives and capers.

Probably with a side of Sauerkraut.

The Bridget Jones of dieting and yam-yams.

8 days. 8 days of antibiotics and 8 days of eating clean. Supposedly.

I’m happy to say that I have only missed one dose of my antibiotics. Not happy because I’m intoxicating my lovely gut with these drugs and a missed dose means a health break for my insides. No, happy that with the chaos of moving out, I have managed to remember to take them so often. It helps that Mr B is on board and I get the odd gentle reminder to get my ass of the sofa at night and take them. If I’m going to trial this antibiotics thing, I’ve got to do it 100% otherwise, what is the point?

My update on the antibiotics…well, I have still got the unmentionable going on in (and then swiftly out of) my stomach, although it is only happening once a day, so it’s bearable. ¬†I have no gouty symptoms anymore, but what I do have is overwhelming tiredness. Like the type you get when having a flare (or a hangover). Just ridiculous I’m-gonna-lie-down-right-here-on-the-tiles type tiredness. Tiredness that makes my fuse reaaaaally short. The same as when you’re horomonal. That kind of tiredness. I’m hoping it’s yet another one of those symptoms that will gradually fade away, but until then I am having to be extra kind to myself, in order to achieve anything. Otherwise my Inner Perfectionist (she lives on the opposite side to my Inner Hypochondriac) keeps getting really cross that I am not getting my chores done, efficiently or at done all in some cases. I’m ignoring her and the Hypochondriac. Let them battle it out together. I’m just too tired to listen to either of them.

A new side-effect is yam-yams. This term may not be a familiar term to you, but you’ll see it makes true, onomatopoeic sense. Have you ever had a dry mouth from surgery, or from taking medication? When you are so dehydrated , your mouth feels like the inside of Ghandi’s flip-flop, in the desert, after he’s walked a few hundred miles? Well, yam-yams is the sound your mouth makes when you try to rehydrate it without actually drinking. When you suck your tongue and open and shut your mouth. Yam, yam, yam. This is what I have. Constantly. Despite drinking a fish pond of fluids daily. Still, I won’t die (really, Inner Hypochondriac, I really won’t.)

Then there’s my diet. Hmmm. I am mostly doing good. Lots of beautiful meals, but little creativity going on. Roast chicken or pork. Roasted vegetables. Pan-fried fish. Saut√©ed courgettes, garlic and onions. Roasted sweet potatoes. In cubes. In wedges. In bigger chunks. Lots of smooth coconut oil, lavished all over everything I cook. Lots of raw coconut. Tinned fish. Sauerkraut. No grains, bread, pasta, sweets, processed food. ¬†Ok, no processed foods apart from two or three. Dried apricots and wine. And a little cheese. I had one glass of beautiful, high-quality, red wine at a Wine and Cheese party Saturday night. You would think that I would have learnt my lesson after nearly dying the day before of all the side effects of my meds; instead I ignored the potential cirrhosis of the liver and sipped a lovely glass of Burgundy.

I am Bridget Jones. Of the diet world. I make poor choices, repeatedly.

To be fair, the wine didn’t cause me to flare, neither did the raw milk cheese, called Langres (delicious by the way and from a beautiful little Fromagerie, where 95% of their stock is cheese made from raw milk). Maybe this lulled me into a false sense of security.Then came the dried apricots….

Yesterday, I was baking for Ty’s school fair. My Sugar Dragon was mocking me, as it always does when I’m baking. How tough is it to wash your hands every time a bit of chocolate or cake mix touches your fingers? To put the dark chocolate-smeared spoon straight in the dishwasher, fighting every instinct to put it in your mouth?? So, I caved and had a few apricots. No big deal, I thought, I’m on killer antibiotics, so it should be all right…

WRONG! The apricots have the highest fructose content of anything in the house (apart from the dried figs – thank goodness I didn’t see those!). Fructose and anything high sugar causes me to flare. In fact there is so much fructose in those little, seemingly harmless, gooey balls of organic, dried fruit, that I would probably have been better off licking the dark chocolate off the spoon.

So, take antibiotics if you want. Or don’t, it really is an individual choice that may even change over time. However, if you are going to make one personal choice that helps you to heal, try to cut out the sugar. It does seem that sugar, along with heat and humidity, really does affect so many people’s Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It is not that easy, especially if you live with others who happen to exist in a world where school fairs demand cakes. Especially if you continue to feed your inner Sugar Dragon, instead of slaying it. But it is definitely worth it in the end.

Today’s conclusion. An autoimmune protocol diet (with no added sugar) definitely works and hopefully Bridget Jones will learn to accept this very soon.

Day 8 and the jury is still out on the antibiotics. Now, where did I put my pint of water? Yam, yam, yam……

A trip away from my comfort zone.

I’m a little unnerved this week for two reasons.

Firstly: there are two bank holidays – tomorrow and the next day.

For those who live in the UK, you’ll know this normally means epic panic buying by most of the nation, who are compelled to stock up like there is going to be a war/food drought. I went shopping the day before yesterday and there was hardly anyone in the store. Maybe I was a day early or maybe in France, as they are used to the supermarkets being shut on a Sunday, they just buy their normal shopping, safe in the knowledge that unless we really piss North Korea off, we will all be able to go and buy our usual food on Friday. In any case, I set about my shop like a true panicked Brit, wondering what someone who only eats fresh food does when all the shops are shut?? Cue, a little more panic and then huge stockpiling of salad making ingredients….rocket, iceburg lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, lemons, limes, oranges, olive oil. My trolley looks like I am about to open a restaurant for rodents, but my panic is subsiding. I’ve bought the lemons, limes and oranges to make a three citrus fruit vinaigrette after my reaction to vinegar (or was it the artichokes? Who knows?!) I plan on making a whole jar of it, so whenever I fancy some more salad, I’m good to go.¬†¬†This time of year and with a little vinaigrette, I can eat piles and piles of salad.¬†I also buy plenty of tinned mackerel, veggies and soya stuff for the wee one. I know soya products are no good, but I feel my hands are a bit tied as she’s lactose intolerant and I can’t find any other substitutes here. The reason I’ve bought yoghurts leads me to reason number deux….

We’re going on holiday.

I don’t mean an all-inclusive fortnight in the sun with no kids, but a lovely coastal, family holiday just an hour’s drive from here, in a self-catering apartment. We are going with 2 other couples, their baby and a dog. They are a lovely combo of French, Brazilian and Ecuadorian and are bound to bring plenty of milk products like yoghurt, that I’ll need to substitute when the little bubba spies them. I am happy to get away, but a little bit apprehensive. Not only will I be away from my (tiny) kitchen, but I will be sharing meals with four other people. I don’t think my diet is too restrictive – I can make delicious huge main meals that everyone can enjoy. However, I am worried about the little things that others may notice, like turning down cheese, bread and wine or eating a cooked plate of courgettes and mushrooms for breakfast, when everyone else is eating cereal. The worst fear is having to say no to a dish because it has an ingredient that I can’t have. We have all agreed to bring food for two main meals, but we’ve also said not to worry too much about my dinners as I will bring extra food just in case. It’s just annoying to be different though or make others feel like they’re excluding you, right?

Anyhow, I have bought enough food to see me through – pretty much for the whole 5 days. I am thoroughly prepared and pretty organised, if I do say so myself. I have made my vinaigrette, we’ve packed the drill and hammer to open the coconuts and there is enough stuff to see that we live comfortably for the duration of our stay. I’ve been packing and repacking, making sure I have all my dressings and medicines, cleaning the house, tackling the ever-growing pile of washing and organising the girls.

I’m exhausted. Holiday, anyone??