Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired

This post is my way of holding myself accountable for the health journey I’m finally ready to start.

I’ve been on a sixteen-year journey with autoimmune disease. In the last several years, the inflammation in my body increased, my joints started swelling more, and my pain increased along with the inflammation. The fatigue got worse too. Sometimes I think the fatigue is the worst part.

We’re not just talking tired. We’re talking complete and total – hard to function as a normal adult – exhaustion. This is the kind of exhaustion that is overwhelming and life-altering.

With a busy career, that sometimes required long hours no matter what was happening in my own life, all of my energy went toward being able to succeed at work. When I came home, there was nothing left. I often talk about being an introvert as the sole cause of my not getting out, making new friends, dating, etc.

The truth of the matter was {and is} that I couldn’t function. I only had enough energy to get through my work week. My evenings and weekends? I was running at a deficit. There was nothing left to give. There is nothing left to give.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

– Hippocrates

As a result of the constant struggle to be healthy and get in remission, I started taking a series of “biologics.” I started with injections at home and then when I was at my worst, I started receiving infusions at an Infusion Center near home.

There was one drug that seemed to work and work well – within 48-hours of every infusion, remicade made me feel like a million bucks. But continuously throughout my treatment, as my hair fell out and I read about what is in that drug & the others like it, I grew more and more uncomfortable with them.

The longer I’ve been on them, the sicker I get when I catch bugs from my son. My last cough {we are talking scary, hacking a lung cough, here} lasted three months until I could get a nebulizer at home. The stomach flu, respiratory infections, etc. hang on and on.

And yet, inflammation markers don’t decrease and in multiple cases, they’ve continued to increase, as have questions and concerns I have about other test results that indicate active disease. In the last round of tests this week, one particular result that’s always high – is even higher now.

If I read up on how that test is used, it can demonstrate current disease activity {i.e., I’m not in remission} in autoimmune diseases like mine. I know, I know. I’m not a doctor and neither is the Interwebs.

But guess what is not doing me any good at all? Doctors and traditional medicine. So I’ve decided to figure this out on my own. My immune system is being suppressed by these biologics {one famously made out of mice “protein”}, I’m getting sick with every little bug, and yet they do nothing for the pain and inflammation.

So guess what? I’m done.

Done.

Done.

Done.

Over time, I have read about many others in my situation. They were sick and tired and not getting better – all the while, they were being pumped full of awful drugs that in some cases, made them sicker. I’m in several Facebook groups with folks like these. Folks like me.

But there are also some within these chronically ill communities that I follow, that fight back – for their health. They find healing and remission, without dangerous {aka “high-risk”} drugs.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading, watching, and following along. I’ve toyed with a few ideas – like the keto diet. But a full blown keto diet is not for me. I’ve settled into a belief that the Paleo “diet” is, however. Though much of what is at the heart of keto, stripped down, is right on {we need good fats to survive & thrive}.

About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn’t exist 100 years ago.
― Larry McCleary,

The new drug I’ve been on is doing very little for me. I’m not surprised. Honestly, neither is my rheumatologist. So why? Why am I taking this serious medication that is doing me no good?

I’ve seen no benefit. But I have seen a benefit to the therapeutic levels vitamin D I’m taking, thanks to Rodan + Fields. It isn’t helping my pain levels, yet. But it sure has helped my fatigue & energy. My energy levels are dramatically improved.

So let’s get this straight . . . dangerous meds are not working and cause me to get random viruses. Vitamin D has increased my energy level causing me to get more done in the last four weeks than I have in nearly a year.

This is my public way of holding myself accountable. I’m making some changes which include going off of the immune suppressants. I’m going to be cutting out grains & legumes, reducing my dairy intake, and cutting out processed, refined sugar. I have been mostly gluten free since 2009. But I’m fully committing now, after a nice chat with my new GI doctor.

I’m going to take my supplements daily. Which ones? All of them. Ha. Probiotics, fish oil, enzymes, vitamins, iron, magnesium, etc.. I’m going to drink more water. I’m also going to be using CBD oil. My GI doctor has recommended a specific brand but I’m going to do a little research before purchasing.

I’ve wanted to try CBD for some time, because I’ve heard great things about the way it impacts inflammation and pain levels. On a recent trip to Asheville, I purchased a cream from the Asheville Salt Cave, made with CBD, essential oils, Himalayan sea salt, and a couple other ingredients. Using it on my hips, on my trip, I was able to get in and out of the car on my long drive home, with zero pain. None. I got out of the car like I was a kid.

Wait . . . isn’t that what these “high-risk drugs” are supposed to do?

Getting home without pain & stiffness in my hips? That might as well be a miracle. Since getting home, when I use it, my hips are in great shape. When I don’t use it, I have a lot of pain and stiffness getting up from my desk, in and out of the car, etc.

I’m so done with this traditional medicine nonsense. It’s getting me nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place. But the truth is, I don’t believe modern medicine wants a cure for what ails us. They want to treat symptoms – not cure disease.

If you take any time at all to watch any food documentaries out there these days, they are powerful reminders at how our first world life in America, has caused us to change and manufacture what is supposed to be food – into something that resembles it – but is not actually food.

I’m going to make changes. I’m going to eat actual food. And I’m going to hope and pray for a total transformation of my health.

If you’re a Paleo {or keto, or AIP} person, I’d love to hear your favorite tips, websites, and recipes. Care to share? I’m not sure how I’ll often I post on my blog, but I hope I’ll find time to share some of this journey. In the meantime, I would love to hear about your experiences.

Drunken Mushrooms? Why not?

FullSizeRender_1

I’ve lost my cooking mojo. I really have. I hate that. But it is what it is. Last night, I was alone in my kitchen {Pandora serenading}. That was glorious. Wonder of wonders . . . I cooked. I’m so glad I did.

I haven’t had a mushroom dish in a while so while in Morehead City on Saturday, I found a mushroom mix (oyster, portobello, shiitake) from Harris Teeter that was perfect.

As usual, I used a recipe {found here} as my starting point but deviated from it to fit my tastes and what I had on hand otherwise.

Before I get to the recipe, I have a confession . . . I’m scatterbrained sometimes. I have 50 things going on at once and since I’m not a very good recipe follower, my distraction level when I’m cooking is high. Really.

I used to think prepping beforehand – my ingredients measured out and ready to go – was a waste. But it honestly makes life so much easier for me in the long run. I highly recommend it if you are easily distractible as I am. 🙂

IMG_1724

What could be better than olive oil {and butter}, garlic, onion, sherry & mushrooms? Nothing I tell you.

Ingredients: 

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Butter {actual butter, dude}

Wild Mushroom mix {or whatever you have}

1/2 Half Red Onion

2 Garlic Cloves

1/2 Teaspoon sea salt

3-4 Tablespoons Cooking Sherry {If you’re going for drunken mushrooms, go all out.}

2 Teaspoons of Fresh Thyme

Fresh Parmesan {See recipe above for goat cheese option which would also be DELISH. I just didn’t have any.}

Reserved 3/4 Cup of Pasta Cooking Liquid

Pasta of your choice {I use Barilla’s Gluten Free pasta.}

  1. Heat a skillet over medium to high heat. I have a very hot gas stove and tend towards medium.
  2. Start heating water {with olive oil} for pasta.
  3. I added 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet, once hot. This differs from the recipe linked to above. Julia cooked her mushrooms in butter and olive oil. So yeah. I do too.
  4. I thew in my mushroom mix. IMG_1735
  5. Saute until they start to brown slightly. Don’t move them around much.
  6. Add onions, garlic and salt to the mushrooms. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes until onions soften. IMG_1738

7. Add the sherry to the mushrooms and then cook until it’s evaporated. I added a squeeze of fresh lemon. I don’t know. It’s a thing with me.

8. Drain pasta {except for the 3/4 cup}.

9. Add thyme to mushrooms and then toss pasta, water from pasta, and mushroom/onion mix.

10. Add fresh Parmesan and toss again.

11. And then . . . eat, ya’ll.

This was so good. It hit the spot. Maybe I’ll cook again tonight?

 

Honey Lemon Chicken with Pasta {Gluten Free of Course}

Honey Lemon Chicken, Chicken,

Listening to: No music for me tonight. Fixer Upper was my soundtrack.

Drinking: La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc 2014

It’s been a crazy few weeks, dudes. My house still isn’t in order even though I moved two months ago. I’m not a huge fan of the set-up of the living room or kitchen so I’m not feeling super motivated to cook. Or to do anything for that matter (#realtalk). But I cooked. And it was good.

IMG_7098

As for my house, I love houses with tons of light. My house is very dark. I feel like I live in a cabin in the woods. The yard has trees everywhere. I LOVE this. I really do. But everything is so dark and I have sucky cameras or my iPhone so when I’ve taken photos  . . . well, they’re not looking so hot. Don’t let my photos keep you from trying this. It really is quite good.

IMG_7101

The recipe needs some tweaking for next time, but it’s still a winner overall. I slightly adapted a recipe from Averie Cooks, after finding the recipe on Pinterest today. I will probably do some more tweaking the next time. It was much sweeter than I anticipated. Here is my adapted recipe. You can find the original at the link just above.

honey lemon chicken with pasta, gluten free

Ingredients

1/2 box of your favorite pasta. I used Barilla Gluten Free spaghetti noodles.                                                                         1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

Directions

Mix the honey, lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt/pepper to a bowl and whisk. Once ingredients are combined, set aside.

Heat water for pasta and then add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a pan to cook the chicken. In addition to the salt/pepper in the sauce, I lightly seasoned the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken about 6-7 (these chicken breasts were quite thick – less time may be needed) minutes per side. Mine had such a nice color to it – perfect. Once the water is boiling for the water, add your pasta. I added olive oil to the water as gluten free pasta can be clumpy.

After about 10 minutes, add the sauce to the pan. Boil the sauce with the chicken, until it thickens. Stir often.

Once the pasta was done, I drained it and then tossed it slightly with a pat of butter and squeezed more lemon onto the pasta. At this point, I thought it was sweeter than I expected so I was looking for something to cut through the sweetness a bit.

Add the sauce and chicken and then toss! I sprinkled some parmesan on, in addition to the extra lemon to even out more of the sweetness.

While sweeter than I expected, this was delish!

I don’t buy lemon pepper seasoning which is an ingredient in the original recipe. Nonetheless, I don’t think I’d add that next time. What I will do is cut down the honey and add some more lemon.

Try it!