Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The next step

It took me about 6 months to become acclimated to life on medications - physically and mentally. During those months of diagnosis and adjustment, I had doctors appointments each week. Complications had manifested in so many ways that I was seeing a DO (my GP), a gynecologist, an ENT, a rheumatologist, a podiatrist and a chiropractor (I may have forgotten some as well!). It felt like every time I went to one of these appointments something else that was wrong would pop up. I was feeling pretty defeated. Oh yeah, and during that time I also fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle. The 500 festival mini marathon rolled around in May. I couldn't run the race. I had signed up in November, but just physically wasn't in a place to run last year. That was heartbreaking. I love races. I love the comraderie and the nervous tension. Plus the sense of accomplishment at the end. But I couldn't do that to my body.

That weekend I decided it was time to get up off my lazy ass and stop letting Sjogrens live my life. So I signed up for a half marathon in Charleston, SC (I completed that two weekends ago) and a couple weeks later I joined Team in Training and trained for another half in October 2011. I also raised a couple thousand dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I made some new friends and I got my energy back.

But it's still been a struggle. I still feel like crap sometimes. In November I started seeing a new chiropractor - one who has worked extensively with autoimmune disorders. Early in January I had blood drawn for a food sensitivity test. I got the results back yesterday.

I am sensitive to several things - the big ones don't really surprise me, but they are going to change my life. I needed those lab results to make the next move and change my eating lifestyle. And it's time to do that.
The big things I have to avoid are:
  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Casein
But in addition, I also have milder sensitivities to yeast, kidney beans, egg whites, peanuts, peppermint, rye, swiss cheese and yogurt. And for the record, I also found out my thyroid, blood sugar and cholesterol are doing fine.

My current plan is to cut all of those out for the next six months. After that I may consider adding some of the milder sensitivity foods back, but I'm not sure yet. Gluten and most dairy is probably out for good.

The good news is that meats are all fine (as long as they are not processed), fruits and veggies are all okay and rice is still in my diet. Dairy and breads are pretty much gone. I'm kind of excited about the new challenge. I've had a few "Crap, no ice cream?!" moments, but for the most part, I'm looking forward to shopping and figuring out my new plan. Here are my biggest to do items right now:
  • Figuring out which restaurants I will be able to eat at. 
  • How to fuel my body for athletic endurance - I plan to do my first triathlon this year and mini. Many of my energy foods will no longer be an option.
  • What snacks should I keep in the car/at work, etc for those days that I need something quick, but fast food isn't a good option? 
  • Will the whole family eat like me? Tonight I plan to pull pretty much everything out of the pantry and reorganize putting the things I can't eat in one place. 
  • Where to shop and how much to budget. We already get GREEN Bean Delivery so that helps, but I need to get up to Trader Joe's sometime soon and figure out what my new staples will be and what I can still get at the regular grocery store. 
So now I get to the purpose of this blog. I know my new lifestyle will require more planning than normal. I hope to use this journal to help me do that. It will probably also function as my sounding board and a place to vent some frustration at times. Lastly, I hope that it also may help others who might be facing similar situations. I have a life I enjoy, but I also have some health challenges. I hope to conquer those challenges and incorporate new habits into the life I already have.

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