Monday, April 14, 2014

Allergy and food sensitivity

Allergy and food sensitivity....

I have had this ongoing battle for literally FOREVER with allergies... and sensitivities...
For a large part of my adult life it was manageable and I took it in my stride...
and yes I had itchy...patchy skin at times...but that was me...and I got on with it.
But then I had a little health hiccup ... 
and its been a roller-coaster ride ever since.

I have kept a journal on a side blog just as a record for myself...
and I have collected a few beautiful readers along the way...
but today I had a little more info to share and thought maybe it might be interesting and beneficial either to others...or to me if I were to share it here.

I feel as though I bang on about my sensitivities and allergies far too much...
I hate being that person who cant eat this....or cant eat that...
who cant put that on their skin....and who spends far too much money buying books...
visiting alternate treatments....and adding supplements to my cupboard that I cant even tolerate.

I am embarrassed talking about it among my friends...
I feel contradictory...
I blame food in one conversation.....and in another I blame stress...
or maybe a product I used....and the truth is....it is all of those things...
and its difficult to navigate and manage.

The hardest part is that I now have a list of foods and products that affect my skin..
and another list that affects my stomach..
and yet another list that gives me migraines...
and even then I'm in trouble..
My lists aren't accurate enough....its pretty clear I am still eating foods that aren't suitable...and more than likely omitting foods that I could be enjoying.

Just as a visual...(oh how we all love a visual haha) Here are a few recent pics from my sensitivity diary I keep on my phone...I can only get skin shots...its impossible to record every time my stomach feels like this on the inside or my head is splitting in half.
Fortunately I have the sweetest.... most patient husband.... who when I miserably tell him I have reacted to something....will always start listing the foods he believes it could be...his words are always...
"Ok....what have you eaten?" then between us....we try to nut it out.

But it makes me sad.... that I fritter and waste both his and my hard earn t money on chasing the answer..
I couldn't count the amount of dollars I have spent on specialists... alternate therapists..lotions.... supplements... food alternatives....books...access to online sites...
not to mention fuel as I trek to Adelaide for appointments.. and follow ups.
Its not about the money though....its about the fact that after ALL of that...
I am in exactly the same spot...albeit a little worse than I have ever been.

My dear hubby is frustrated by my enthusiasm at every new step when I come home excited that 
"This is the key...this is it....it all made sense.."...only to find that a few weeks in that I am no better...more disillusioned... guilty at the money wastage yet again....and I plunge into miserableness. 
He is always the counter-balance.... when I am over excited he brings me back to earth...and when I am so miserable and down about it all....he brings me back up.
I never actually tell him how much I appreciate that in him....I sometimes hate that he doesn't get all excited along with me...but when I'm having a bad reaction and feel so blotch...itchy and red...he loves me anyway....and I love him to bits for that.

So...
I have tried...
The usual dermatologists...immunologists... I've had allergy testing...skin pricking...and all amount of steroid creams...prednisolone...and antihistamines.
Then in the few years....
I visited Naturopath one  - I had liveblood testing...and followed a 12week detox... for a number of problems... including adrenal fatigue and leaky gut... I came out the other end feeling much improved but still something wasn't right...I was still having flare-ups.. and as my old habits crept in I began to feel achy... fatigued and unwell again.
I ate low Salicylate for some time....and it helped...but wasn't exactly the answer... some of the foods on the high-sal list I tolerate....and then I react to others that are low-sal...so it was not clear cut.

So I visited Naturopath two - I liked him a lot...and he soon had me feeling better in myself...he had my adrenal fatigue sorted....but his expertise wasn't on individual food sensitivities...and at that time I was fairly certain the Tamoxifen I was taking for my BC was affecting me...and he wasn't 
(and quite rightly so) prepared to make any recommendations regarding that so I sought out Naturopath three...who was a GP as well ... she was in more of a position to bring a valid argument to the table over the Tamoxifen and also had some great suggestions about my diet as well. I was disillusioned after a few months though when I had a mountain of supplements ...and my stomach was worse than ever...
 and I found the supplements were contributing to that.....so I stopped going.

I gave up for awhile....I thought I could nut it out myself...
I began a diary...and kept a record....including photos of bad days
I kept up my exercise...and ate well....although at times it was hard...and I was frequently envious at what others could eat....and I couldn't.
Oh how I would love to tuck into a bowl of bircher muesli....with berries and yoghurt...
but nope...I don't tolerate oats....berries or yoghurt!

So....it was a few weeks ago ..in a state of fed- up...that I made a decision to follow another lead I had been given.... yes...it was Naturopath 4 (Gosh I hadn't realised it had been that many)
This time I was tested for foods ....and it was interesting...
A lot of the foods I already avoided were on my 'sensitive list'....good job super-sleuth Mardi!
but some others were added... the big daddies being.. Gluten and Dairy...
So.... I have a 12week healing plan...
then hopefully some of the foods will be added back.
I have been giving my healing plan a good shot which means..
I have a restricted food list..
My diet it to include a lot more protein and larger meals....
and I had to stop any intense cardio activity.. just while my body is so inflamed... this goes a little against my usual way of thinking....but I am giving it a chance.
I'm a  few weeks in.....and I cant really notice any benefits just yet...but I know these things are never an overnight fix...so I am not discouraged in the least.

What I found interesting though was that a few months prior I had stumbled across 
"The Low Histamine chef" - Yasmina Ykelenstam ..
I had read....and read her blog and a little light bulb went off....it sounded a lot like me.
(Obviously knowing how easily I can latch onto something as 'the answer' I was cautious)

So at this consultation....and for the first time ever....I was told that I have a histamine related disorder..and having had read so much about it previously....I was almost excited that if nothing else.....I had maybe found a pathway that summed me up more accurately.

There is a wealth of information on the web on histamine disorder...
and just this morning I read through this list....
and although I by no means have every symptom....I do have a lot in common with this list.
I also know that its utterly ridiculous to just assume I have something because it sounds like me...and because someone does a "woo woo" test and tells me I do....in order to be certain it would require actually being tested and diagnosed medically.
But....in all honesty I doubt I would bother at this stage...
I feel from my reading that I its something I could be mindful of without the need for testing.

I bought Yasminas book...
I love the concept of not only reducing foods that irritate but including foods that are anti-histamines as well.

I guess now...I persist and see how I go.

I would love to hear any experiences anyone has to share...
its through sharing resources and ideas.... that some of the best answers are found.
x Mardi x

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

week six and seven...

Time is scarce here...
I am luck a duck paddling...
its all calm above the surface...
but Im paddling like mad underneath.

I find it very hard to juggle it all...
To work full time...plus the extra shifts I do regularly...
 commit to an hour each day of gym...
find time to hang out with the family...
plan... cook and eat well three meals a day...
follow some crafty pursuits that are like gym for my soul..
stay in touch with everyone...
keep the house clean and clothes on our backs...
make head space for the extras like some friends who are going through  tough times 
(marriage breakdowns are tough) and those jobs at work that just hang around in your head for awhile.
Plus all the incidentals that are thrown in on top...

I think everyone can relate to this scenario.... its a sign of the times...
we all try to be super Mums...and its not easy.

Just how do you juggle it all?

I have found that if I am 100% committed to exercise and my nutrition I don't have any time left for crafty pursuits.
If I split my time with exercise and craft.... my nutrition slips a little...
If I split my time between the kitchen and craft... I cant keep up with the exercise regime...
If I juggle it all ...I'm in constant sleep debt...I skip sleep between night shifts... I get tired...I get cranky..
I feel overwhelmed. I don't know how to strike the best balance.

So anyway.... this is where I am at...
My nutrition has been 'not perfect' I have found I'm slipping in some lazy meals... and my coffee consumption has climbed again.... which I know makes me feel acidic and achy.
My exercise has been consistent at 2-3 gym sessions a week...and my repeated statements about starting my running again hasn't come to fruition yet.
I completed a fitness test at the gym and was quietly happy with the results... I have some work to do to get back to where I was ....but I wasn't too far off.
My back / chest has been a lot better... not perfect but much better.
My weight? unchanged!
My clothes? looser!
My mindset? Keep it up... small steps... big results.








Sunday, February 9, 2014

week five

Argh...Im behind the eight ball again...
So this last week...
I measured up...
In 5 weeks I have lost a total of 10 cms which I am pretty happy with.
I have lost a few cms from each of my body measurements...and my clothes are fitting better...
however...I have lost zero weight.

My back is feeling much improved which has enabled me to increase my gym sessions which I've enjoyed.

My energy levels have been better too..
 which is great seeing as though work has been tough in the heat.and I've worked extra shifts meaning I've had less sleep than usual.

All in all I can see big improvements.






Friday, January 31, 2014

week four

Just a quick check in this week...
I am running late.... but that's ok...
I was just looking back at week one and realising how much improvement I have actually made.
My back / chest has improved a lot.
Its not perfect yet and I made another trip to the Chiro this week which may have helped slightly...but its a marked improvement from a month ago.

My one big and constant success has been my diet...
is it cheeky to say I have been pretty spot on with it.
On the few occasions I have eaten out..or had poor food choices I have not enjoyed the feeling afterwards and its really cemented in my mind the impact that my food sensitivities have on my well being.

I have found that I feel well when I avoid..
 dairy (although I do tolerate small amounts of skim milk)
chocolate
reduced amounts of salicylates
and only small quantities of grains.

My diet is predominately vegetables.. lean meat and small amounts of fruits.

My weight this week..... finally down 400g
(however I am not hinged on the number....seeing as I am fitting back into some tight shorts with ease and hadn't lost anything on the scales at that stage/) 

Exercise - a couple of gym sessions...although I am finding too much impact causes my back to ache.
I had intended to ease back into running this week but I am a piker....the weather is ridiculously hot....and I want to ease into it...enjoy it...and stick with it....so I have given myself a leave pass until the heatwave passes.

I am thinking next week might be a good week to re-check my measurements...and maybe increase my gyn sessions too.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week three

Its a case of one step forward two steps back at the moment...
The pain resolves only to return at times...
I am still trying to work it out in my own mind what the trigger is...
it seems to be certain positions...like driving...or any repeated use of my arms at a height....like a lot of hanging of washing....although at times it doesn't bother me.
The worst part is that each time the pain arrives its more in my chest than my back...
and I immediately give myself a 'skippy heart' just at the mere thought that it may be heart related.

Couple that with a very hectic few weeks...lots of emotional burdens with friends...
and life in general and I feel exhausted and stressed.
It really frustrates me.... 2014 was going to be my year to unwind....simplify....and live a calm and centered life....I had visions of getting it 'ALL' together...
my diet...my exercise and my headspace...
but at this stage I feel as far away from that as ever.

I am however very determined to continue and not let this shaky start rule the remainder of my year...
I sort of think of it as part of the journey...and to get to the end goal I have to navigate all the twists and turns.

Its easy to get caught up in all the things that aren't going to plan...like...
my minimal exercise...
the fact that after three weeks I have not lost even a gram of weight...
and that I feel as disorganized and anxious about upcoming events than ever..

but instead I am patting my back over the things that I have got right...like..
making time to craft and relax..
being kind to my body as it heals and not pushing it with intense exercise...
eating well 80% of the time..
making sure I get my daily greens and plenty of water..
as well as listening to my meditation App ...which I am trying to make a daily habit.

This morning I headed to the gym for my first session of the year...
I was apprehensive but also eager to see just how my body responded to the cardio session...
my heart seemed to sail through without missing a beat...
but my chest and back are sore from anything that requires arm outstretched movement...
which helped to confirm in my mind it is back related.

I guess Ill just see how it goes...
The aim this week.....continue what I'm doing right ...and add in some more exercise. 



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week two...

I am so relieved.... 
that after a few weeks of the most hideous back / chest pain it has slowly resolved itself.
I am making every attempt to stay that way...
so I am keeping myself moving...
being careful how long or what position I sit in...
and taking exercise gently.
I am not back at the gym....but I have squeezed in some nice long walks.


Food wise I have been sensible...
Each day I have juiced.... my new favourite..carrot...apple....celery...cucumber
and kale is the best in my opinion.... I've drank one as a meal replacement for either breakfast or lunch and that has worked well in the heat we are having.

Dinners have been simple....Ian has cooked meat on the BBQ each night and we have had salad.
Nothing fancy.... just simple..easy....and tasty.

Its also been a hectic week with very little sleep....
Work was challenging and I suffered the most ridiculous insomnia after one particular shift..
(I listened to my hypnosis relaxation App three times that night and still sleep evaded me.)
This frustrated me...
in my mind 2014 was going to be stress free... and easy going...
I was annoyed that this particular day...coupled with another worry had really played so much with my head space.... I felt rattled...and I still do... I hate that feeling.
I wish I could let things slide....not take so much to heart...its something to work on.

My weight....exactly the same
(no loss this week.... however I feel better in myself...so will see what next week brings)



Monday, January 6, 2014

Kicking off - Week one...

Its been a tough slog this week...
My back and chest pain has increased to the point I can barely concentrate on anything else...its so frustrating.
I have analysed...self diagnosed and worried myself half to death.
It got to the stage that I was struggling at work...and needed to take a couple of night shifts off.
I saw the Physio who confirmed my suspicion that it was most likely originating from my back...
but also felt a visit to the Dr to check my heart was a box worth ticking.
So off to the Dr..
and an ECG and some bloods..
and the same conclusion...
its more than likely an issue with my back.

The annoying part is...its not like a typical back pain...
I have no sharp pain...no spasm...no grabbing or increase on movement..
all I have is a chronic ache that is mainly spread across my chest and in my thoracic back...
its a wearing... dull....persistent ache.

In my misery I contacted a friend who is a masseur and I went for a massage...
I was incredibly sore and apparently very tight across my shoulders and back...
and in his opinion also...the pain I have is more than likely all associated to that.

So....I have another Physio appointment and another massage booked for this week...
its only a matter of days before I need to be fit for work again...
and at this stage I feel exhausted and pathetically weak from pain.

I even wondered tonight if perhaps I could have Ross River Virus affecting my back...
it seems to be a real neuralgic pain...and I am also so fatigued...headache ridden and it was only a few weeks ago I was covered in a rash.....all classic RRV symptoms..
if only I had thought of it earlier and had it included in my blood tests.

Anyway....aside from that...
I have been feeding my body well
Each day we have juiced....and I have made sure both Briony and I have got plenty of greens.
Today's was Chinese cabbage...cucumber...carrot....apple and lemon..

Salads have been our staple this week...
We have eaten them for lunch and dinner...
My favourite has been chicken..mango and avocado all mixed together with half a bag of mixed lettuce and a handful of snow pea sprouts..its like eating a little plate of heaven,
Another evening we had chicken Caesar salad made with lettuce and sprouts... paprika and polenta coated chicken....some crispy bacon... homemade sourdough croutons...a boiled egg....homegrown cherry tomatoes...Mums mayo and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese... omg.

I have not exercised....
I am truly not up to it at the moment...and its not a nice feeling...
I hope that very soon I can begin to get active again.

Today was weight and measure day....
I wanted to see just what damage I had done...and where I was at....
It wasn't actually as bad as I thought... but I do have some work to do and I am hoping to share my progress each week as I update.

I made the decision this morning to cut out coffee and wine (other than the occasional social event)
It was while meeting with a friend for coffee that I noticed my energy levels zapped...and a headache creep up....so I just feel that at the moment while I am detoxing that it would be wise to give my body a rest.
The thought of my morning without coffee scares me...so it will be a challenge tomorrow to go without.

So week one wasn't as I planned...
I had never intended to be still suffering this damn back pain...
and its stifling my attempts to get back into exercise...
so frustrating.

But..
its just a hiccup in the road...
 it will pass...so its onward....and upward...
and Im looking for some positive achievements by week two.