Tag Archives: healing

Healing Update

Nearly six months ago I had a medical emergency which left me physically and emotionally depleted.  Anemic from blood loss and weak from the experience, antibiotics destroyed my gut flora and the stress induced adrenal fatigue.  It’s been a long process, but  I’m finally feeling almost *normal*.

Since the antibiotic treatment, I’ve been sensitive to many foods that weren’t a problem before: egg whites, coffee, chocolate, nuts, tapicoa, and even small amounts of white rice were bothersome in addition to the usual gluten, casein, lectins, and glycoalkaloids (nightshades).  Some caused significant inflammation and pain.  Cross-reactivity is a beast.

Yes, I know: be patient.  That’s much easier said than done.
We want to be back to our old selves pronto!  I am no exception.

Healing and recovery is/has been a two-pronged approach:

  1. Remove the irritants: gluten, casein, lectins, phytates, etc.  Usually in the form of grains, legumes and dairy.
  2. Consume the building blocks the body needs to heal: bone broth! organ meats and bone marrow;  fermented foods such as lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchee or kombucha; plenty of grass-fed, pastured meats, eggs and wild fish;  clean, organic fruits and vegetables; and commercial probiotics from reliable sources.

This time it took a bit more time and effort to heal than the first go-around.  I was so frustrated I resorted to following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).  Sarah of The Paleo Mom is a scientist and provides some of the very best guidance in autoimmune disease healing available.  Her insights proved very valuable to me on this leg of my journey.  Thanks, Sarah!

So  after all that, I was very pleased to have NO apparent reaction to the ingredients in the carrot cake cream pies we ate for Hubby’s birthday last night!  Almond butter – check.  Eggs – check.  NO shooting pains down my legs in the middle of the night, NO creaking and cracking and ripping of joints getting out of bed the next morning, NO congestion.  NO pain.

Glory Hallelujah!

I even nibbled a few Enjoy Life chocolate mini-chips since they were right there in the baking cupboard…I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know I may be able to eat these foods again on a regular basis.  Lord knows, I’ve missed my (gluten/dairy/soy-free) chocolate, eggs, nuts and seed-based spices!

And I’m finally losing the weight from pregnancy and the autoimmune flare afterward.  From a vanity perspective, I’d gotten used to looking good and wanted to fit into all my size 6 clothes again.  After losing 65+ lbs the first go-round, it’s been really tough on the ego to struggle with this. Restoring my health and energy are the top priority, but looking good is definitely the proverbial cherry on top!

cherry on top

You Are What You Eat

marrow bones

roasted marrow bones

You are what you eat.

Quite literally.  But there’s a disconnect for most people: they do not really know what our bodies are made of.  Sure, they get the protein, vitamins and minerals part, but most people do not realize that our brains and nervous system are about 90% fats, for example.  Or just how much of these compounds we really need.  USRDA values on labels aren’t really helpful.  After discovering the Paleo way of eating, I started looking for guidance and found sources like the West A. Price Foundation promoting traditional dietary wisdom.

I’ve been eating Paleo for about a year and a half with great results.  I healed from autoimmune disorder(s) and regenerated physically from the inside out, losing about 65 lbs in the process.  All was going swimmingly until my recent health crisis.  Now, after suffering complications from a miscarriage, I am left weak, possibly anemic and undergoing antibiotic treatment to prevent infection.  How do I recover?

First, the weakness and possible anemia.  This is no doubt due to the excessive hemorrhaging I suffered.  To rebuild my blood supply, I looked to the wisdom of traditional people in addition to modern science.   “Like feeds like” is often quoted – and this makes sense if you think about it.  The building blocks are the same.  So I roasted a selection of grass-fed beef bones to make bone broth, including a few marrow bones.  Marrow is where the body produces blood cells. It is a very rich food, so I was only able to eat the contents of one (pictured above).  The others joined the knuckle and neck bones for broth, which I have consumed daily for both protein and minerals.

Additional vitamins and minerals come in the form of Himalayan pink salt, vegetables and fruits, with a boost from a multivitamin and fermented cod liver oil / high vitamin butter oil blend.

To boost hemoglobin, I sauteed a pan of grass-fed beef liver – the best source of bioavailable iron.  I found it most tasty when cut into small strips and sauteed in lots of ghee with Himalayan salt.  I’ve also had plenty of egg yolks and red meat.

The body also focuses on detoxing post-partum.  To avoid being overwhelmed by this process, I obtained a liver support supplement containing milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke, beet root, goldenseal and turmeric. I was tipped off to detox action by facial and neck acne in addition to night sweats.  The liver works hard to eliminate excess estrogen and other wastes after pregnancy.

After spending nearly two years cultivating healthy gut flora, I am dismayed that it is being decimated in an effort to prevent pathogens from taking hold.  Antibiotics do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria – they kill them all.  Fortunately, I was able to visit the GAPS Diet website for a supply of high-quality, diverse probiotics.  The Bio-Kult, Prescript-Assist and NTV Adult Complete arrived in the mail this weekend.  Once I complete the 10 days of Doxycycline, I’ll begin a 30-day regimen of these three plus Mercola Complete to recolonize these friendly bacteria in my gut.  Lacto-fermented foods are also on the list, including my favorite Bubbies Kosher Dill Pickles.  They are the BEST!

In addition to all this good stuff, I found that I am craving sweets.  I try hard to resist, as I do not want to encourage candida overgrowth in this vulnerable state, but my body/brain is quite insistent. Coconut oil will likely be my best defense against the “yeastie beasties”, as I just cannot seem to deny these cravings.  I’m trying to eat fruits rather than other forms of sugar, so I at least get some vitamins, minerals and fiber along with the sweetness, but it is challenging.

All I can do is take it one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other on this journey back to health.

Returning to “Normal”

faith hope love rocks 2

Life is slowly getting back on track.
Much love and many thanks to family and friends for all their love and support.

It just takes time and placing one foot in front of the other each day.

During times of trial, self-care is more important than ever.  My family and I have been very conscious of maintaining as much positive routine as possible, with an emphasis on adequate sleep and solid nutrition.  When grieving, it’s so easy to neglect mealtimes and take the easy way out (= takeout).  A concerted effort to have family mealtimes has kept us close, well-nourished and healthy.

We continue to have faith, hope and love for each other.  We wish you all the same.

YES+: True Testament to the Healing Power of Paleo

Lee's Anniversary Gift

My husband’s 14th Anniversary Gift – exactly what he’s always wanted.

An incredible testament to the power of the Paleo lifestyle to heal, regenerate and literally turn back the clock if ever there was!  At the age of 45 I now find myself pregnant. While it was a surprise, it was very welcome.  My husband and I always wanted another child but did not think it possible, given my health issues.  After a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy that nearly claimed my life, we had our son – a miracle.  And now God has granted us another, nine years later.

Truly a miracle!  Considering that a woman over 43 has only a 1% chance of conceiving, and I am missing a tube due to surgical removal of the ectopic pregnancy – that’s about a half percent chance of conceiving a child.  And it happened for me.

Now, the OB-GYN was far less excited than my husband, and pointed out that there was a 50-70% chance of miscarriage.  (Talk about a downer!)  But we have successfully reached a very big milestone.  The ultrasound today confirmed a heartbeat and proper growth.

I had been “holding my breath” in fear and avoided sharing the news because it didn’t feel real.  Well, the cat’s out of the bag now, come what may.  I hope sharing this story will give hope to others struggling with infertility.  With proper nutrition, almost anything is possible!

As you can imagine, my days have been filled with reading nearly every Paleo pregnancy guide and blog experience out there, and the anecdotal evidence is encouraging.  I’ve discovered a number of Paleo women who have given birth in their 40’s with minimal or no complications.  Many had children before going Paleo, and the experiences were radically different.  (Much like them) with my first child, I was very ill from moment #1, suffered significant weight gain and delivery complications.  So far, I’ve felt normal except for some digestive upset early on and tiredness this week.

Over the past year and a half I focused on healing my body from autoimmune disorders (thyroid and celiac) by focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods while avoiding the non-Paleo (sugars, grains, legumes and dairy).  I’ve mentioned my consumption of bone broths, fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil and bone marrow in my posts.  These foods are also considered traditional fertility foods – and fertile they are, my friends!  Building healthy gut flora via probiotics and fermented foods was a simultaneous priority, as was eliminating environmental toxins as much as possible.

My fear has now given way to excitement and anticipation.  Baby is due to arrive around October 19th.  My husband is convinced it is a girl, but only time will tell.  For now, Mommy, Daddy and Big Brother-to-Be are all happy and well.  Follow along on our journey.

Baby 02-28-2013b_edited-1