Feeling Better – Part 2 (Diet)

"The Perfect Diet" by Fatal Potato deviantARt.com

“The Perfect Diet” by Fatal Potato deviantARt.com

I’ve started this post at least 4 times….how to explain my diet and why it has changed without telling you my whole history with food and health.

Let’s try to put it in a as few words as possible.  Years ago I had a lot of pain and health issues including Gastrointestinal (GI) issues that no one could really explain.  They gave me lots of labels and none really fit.  Eventually I found out I was “slightly” allergic to wheat, so I quit eating it.  I felt better.  I decided to stop eating gluten all together.  For many reasons.  That’s not what this post is about though…so to make this shorter I’ll leave that there.

I also have migraines, gastritis and irritable bladder…all of these require me to be picky about certain things I eat.  For instance, I can’t have caffeine, red wine, I have to be careful about chemicals in foods, acidic and spicy foods….all kinds of things.  Even my beloved dark chocolate can cause me trouble.  (I am allowed small amounts.  So I savor it.)

What else do you ask?  I have Meniere’s disease as you all know.  With that comes a low salt diet.  I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  And last but certainly not least, I have Fructose Malabsorption. I was going to try to explain this here, but again….trying to make it as short as possible, so I found that Wikipedia really did a good job explaining this, so just click on the word and it will take you there and you can read all about it.  After being diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption I had to really change my diet, it was hard.  I was put on a diet called low FODMAPs.

blog.katescarlata.com

blog.katescarlata.com

I love the description of FODMAPs Kate Scarlata gives on her blog.  Check it out.  FODMAPs Basics.

Here is the list of foods I was given, what I could eat, what I couldn’t eat, how much of this and that…..I never got this right and found out some of it I still couldn’t eat.

FODMAPs Checklist

So why did I still need to change?  As I said…I couldn’t get it right!  I’ve been following Kate Scarlata’s blog for a long time.  She is a Registered Dietitian and a huge advocate and authority on the low FODMAP diet.  She knows her stuff.  So when she worked on a book, a diet book no less, that was based on low FODMAPs I was intrigued.  I wondered, why a diet book.  But I looked at it and found, this will help me.  This book could help a lot of people.

Kate says, “21 Day Tummy is a plan designed for the person with digestive symptoms that also needs to lose weight BUT if you want to just enjoy the amazing recipes and learn more about gut bacteria, inflammation, belly fat and how that all connects to your health…I think it’s a great read with excellent science for just about everyone!and I agree.

This book starts off with a very scaled down version of the low FODMAP diet.  It has now grains in the first 5 days.  It does have potatoes.  You have a Belly Blaster Smoothie for Breakfast every day for a while.  I thought this would be torture for me, I have always been a big breakfast person, but even after I was able to start eating other things for breakfast I have stuck with my smoothies.  If I eat a “real” breakfast, I normally have a smoothie for lunch.  I really like them.  They are good, and like a meal in a glass.  I have one and I’m not hungry for hours!  I do mean HOURS!  It’s funny, I turned to Stuart the other night and said, “How come I can have a smoothie for breakfast and not be hungry for hours and have a full dinner and be hungry in less than 2 hours?”  He said, “Me too!”  Funny huh?

So I have used this diet as an elimination diet.  It has fewer foods than the low FODMAPs main list to start.  It has great recipes!  Everyone knows how tight we have been on money, so I checked this book out of the library 3 times!  Then I got a $50 Amazon gift card for my birthday and finally bought it.  I also bought the cookbook.  We’ve been cooking exclusively out of these books since the beginning of June.  However, we have eaten out a few times.  Try moving like we have and not eat out a few times.  But I have stayed pretty true to the diet.

How has it worked?  Wow!  I have more energy than I have in so very, very long.  My tummy is flatter than I’ve seen it in years.  I lost 5 inches in my stomach the first week.  When I eat something that doesn’t agree with me I can bloat so much that I will suddenly gain 6-10 inches in my waist, I have measured it.  It is so painful!  This has stopped.  I accidentally got something the other night and was shocked.

I’ve lost 26 lbs since the beginning of June, most of that in June.  When I started the diet it started coming off very fast, I’m glad it slowed down, I was getting saggy skin.  My body couldn’t keep up with the rapid weight loss.  It is still coming off, slow and steady.  However, I have lost my “food baby”.  Yes that’s what we used to call my tummy.  Almost every time I ate, I would suddenly look pregnant.  I don’t look that way any more.  I still have weight to lose, but my digestion is so much better, and I just feel better.

I had a physical in June, just a few weeks after starting this diet.  My triglycerides where in range!  They were lower than they have been in 20 years!  Yes 20 years!  I have weighed much less and been much more physically fit in those years.  My doctor was thrilled.  My bad cholesterol was a tiny bit high, but just a very tiny bit.  Every thing looked really, really good.

Is my diet the catalyst to making me feel sooooo much better.  Where my gut is concerned, YES.  Has it helped my fatigue, I would say Yes!  Does it make me feel good, Yes.  When your stomach doesn’t hurt and you aren’t worried about passing gas or running to the bathroom, or if your pants are going to fit after you eat…you feel better.  Plus, I’m in smaller clothes.  How cool is that?  But really, that’s just the icing on the cake.  My tummy doesn’t hurt any more.  I am having regular poos.  I know that what I’m going to eat isn’t going to hurt me.  And I love my smoothies. haha  Getting some of my figure back is nice, and yes, it is giving me some sexy confidence back.  So that is pretty darn special.

Is it helping my headaches?  Maybe.  Is it helping my dizziness?  Maybe.  There are too many other factors going on at the same time to be able to tell, if the diet has helped  This is not a diet for Meniere’s or Migraines, but I think everything is interconnected, so I’m sure everything I do affects all of me.

I know you are all wondering….what exactly are you eating?

are you really wondering that?   I could give you a list of the foods, but without the book to explain things to you, and tell you why certain foods are good for your tummy and why other foods are bad for your tummy….I don’t think it would help that much.  I know having the list of foods given to me didn’t help me much at all.  But the book really helped.  Remember, I just checked it out of the library….3 times….before I bought it.  If you, or someone you love, have any tummy troubles, I think it’s worth checking out.

The low FODMAP diet is the diet for people with Fructose Malabsorption, no doubt about it.  However, it is also becoming the main diet to treat those with IBS.  They are finding that it is also helping those with many other intestinal disorders: IBD…Crohn’s, Colitis….ect.  Oh…many people were also raving about having their acid reflux go away.  Unfortunately mine didn’t, but as I said, I have gastritis.  I need to have another endoscope, that part of my tummy issues didn’t go away.  Drat.

The low FODMAP diet is ideally supposed to be followed for 2-6 weeks under the guidance of a registered dietitian or nutitionist, and at that time they will advise you how to introduce foods back into your diet to recognize your personal triggers.  This is often hard because there are so few dietitians or nutritionist who are well versed in the low FODMAP diet.  Luckily, this is changing as the diet is becoming more understood and well known in this country.  The 21-Day Tummy book does have guidelines in the back to help you reintroduce foods to see what may be your personal triggers.

I haven’t been willing to try to add new foods into my diet yet due to all the stress of moving, I will start adding in new foods soon and will hopefully finalize my diet in the near future.

So now you know a little bit more about my diet.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Next part 3 in the Feeling Better series….Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

It’s been a very rough week.

It has been a very hard week.  I won’t go into details as it concerns people in my family, and I won’t talk about my family on my blog again.  I’ve been contemplating all week simply closing my blog and disappearing, or making it private.  But that’s stress talking, I’ve found so much support here and I want to think I’ve given a lot of support and information here too.  Plus I need a place to go and just get it out.  Even when I can’t talk about all of it.  Let’s just say, it’s settled for now….maybe.

Photo by Vincent Morrison – Manipulated by Wendy Holcombe
If photos could show feelings…

On the 15th, I got hit with a huge stessor!   I was under extreme stress and confusion for hours.  Finally, things were calming down.  I was relaxing in bed, tying to breathe in the ill feelings I felt towards me, and breathe out happiness and goodness to all.  I decided to have a little pineapple Greek yogurt, with a banana and nuts for desert.  It is delicious.  Well, what I got to eat of it.  Right when Stuart brought me my decadence, I had that Wonky feeling in my head…so I took my pills and hoped it was just a blip on the radar.  (Yes I know, how could I think of eating if I was feeling Wonky, but I’ve been having a lot of Wonky spells that just turn into nothing lately.) Unfortunately, before I was even finished with my treat the world was in full spin!  This was one of the longest attacks I’ve ever had….and one of the strangest.  It was Meniere’s, not vertigo caused by a migraine.  I went through all the stages…and all the grossness. (some how while throwing up I bashed my elbow on something, and it has had a knot on it since then.  It’s getting better, but I was afraid I had broken it the next day.)  Again, all the throwing up and losing all bodily functions.  Not being able to lift my head, except to put it in a bucket.  (I even threw up on our brand new carpet….not much, thank goodness, but Yuck!)

So the vertigo kept changing speeds, it would be wild, so fast I couldn’t recognize the things spinning by, then it would slow down to the point I thought it was going to stop any second….I even dozed off a few times, just to be jerked awake by vicious spinning again!  This went on for over 16 hours.  Luckily I didn’t throw up the whole time, I did keep heaving though.  Even before I threw up the first time, I would have the worst muscle spasms and just heave, like I had dry heaves, but nothing had started yet.  This often happens to me when I have an attack, at he beginning at least, I can’t figure out why.  Why does it have to hurt so bad??

Even after the spinning stopped for the next day I kept feeling like they would start back up, I couldn’t walk straight.  It was a very rough 2 days.

On Friday I had an appointment with my headache pain specialist (neurologist).  I was supposed to get Botox shots for my migraines.  Many people have had good results from this procedure.  I was a bit nervous, they do 31 shots in your head and neck/shoulder area.  Alas, I did not get it done.  Once again our insurance did not send a pre-approval, they didn’t deny it, but they didn’t approve it either.  Just like with the Cochlear Implant.  What a pain in the butt that was.  Luckily, they did pay for most of it.  They didn’t cover a procedure that cost about $500, testing the device after they hooked it up to me to make sure everything worked right.  Can you believe?  What if they hadn’t tested it, and later found out part of it wasn’t working?  I’d have to go through another surgery to replace it.  How bizarre.  Stuart called the insurance company on Monday, I have been approved for the procedure, it just seems no one knew it.  So now I have to get another appointment with this doctor…..hope it’s soon.

Sunday I had another scare. but not with vertigo.  Really I wasn’t scared, it’s happened before, and I’ve been checked out, still it’s uncomfortable and yeah, it’s a bit scary.  I had heart palpitations.  I figured out why, but it lasted a long time.  I wasn’t as careful Sunday about what I ate or drank.  I do not drink caffeine very often, and if I do, it’s just a little bit.  I also don’t eat much sugar.  Well…I wasn’t so bright on Sunday.  We were out and I had Mandarin Orange Green Tea, not thinking that Green Tea has caffeine.  That would have been fine, but later in the day we were at a store and I started feeling funny, and very thirsty, we couldn’t find anything that didn’t have either caffeine or sugar.  I decided to take the caffeine since I wasn’t sure if the sugared drinks had fructose.  I only drank about half of the soda.  After dinner I decided to have some ice cream we bought, it is Fat Free, and I was thinking Sugar Free too.  Not bright.  I only had about half a cup, but it was enough.  I started feeling strange.  I thought my blood sugar had dropped, so I ate some protein. But it didn’t work.  I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my hubby and I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.  The doctor told me to massage one side of my neck, and it should help, she also said to put something cold on my wrist.  Well I did both, for a long time.  This lasted longer than I was comfortable with.  Finally, things slowed down….and all was alright.

I hate how much I have to watch everything I put in my mouth.  It would be difficult enough if that was all I had to deal with, but dealing with all my food issues and my other health issues is hard!  I’m dealing with it, and I’m lucky I can eat as much as I can…right?  I just need to be more diligent.

 

Well that’s all for this past week.

I promise my next post will be on a happier note.

Ask me about it!

Question image__by_MultiCurious at deviantArt.com

I got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers LinLori.

I know many of you probably have questions for me, about my Cochlear Implant, any of my health issues…..ranging from Bipolar I to Chronic Pelvic Pain….and the newest diagnosis I haven’t even mentioned here yet….Vulvar Vestibulitis.  You may want to ask how I deal with certain things (like grieving for Sandy), or about my relationship with my husband.  You may even want to ask about my food issues.  Or what my favorite things are….whatever….I’m here to answer your questions.  If I possibly can.

Ask anything.

You all know I’m an open book…I don’t mind telling the details…so if you want to know something, now is the time to ask!

Come on ask….you know you want to know.

What to say, when you don’t feel like talking?

Depression by ninykinin via DeviantArt.com

I’m sorry to my followers, my friends, that I have not been around much.  I am a bit overwhelmed by so much that has been going on that I haven’t told you about, and I’ve been sucked into a depressive state.  I keep trying to pull out of it, I even have a new medication, but I’m still just blah.  I wake up in the morning, and often feel awful for the first hour or two, it takes me a while to feel like a real person, then when I actually feel alright, I think what reason do I have to get out of bed?

I don’t find pleasure in the things I used to be so passionate about, like art, cooking, blogging….ect.  I do still find pleasure in reading, perhaps it is an escape?  I also still find pleasure with my husband, just being next to him makes me feel better.

I will be seeing my psych. tomorrow, I’ll discuss this with him, and we’ll see if I should increase the antidepressant I’m on, or try something else.   I’m sure he can help pull me out of this.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m normally very positive.  This turn of emotions has hit me like a wall, I don’t feel like myself.  I need to get my positive outlook back.

The ironic thing about this, I’m actually much better.  I have the weird feelings when I first wake up, but I think that’s because I’ve been horizontal for so long that my cerebrospinal fluid raises a bit, and I have to sit up for a while, and take my medicine before I feel better.

I’m still having migraines, but they aren’t as intense.  I’m still having Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV), but not as often, and when I do it doesn’t last as long.  Maybe I’m just getting the medication in faster, all I know is it’s better.  I’m still having chronic migraines though, yes they are better, but they still knock me out of commission for a while, so my doctor is starting a new treatment plan.  We want to get it where I’m having much fewer migraines, not just less intense.

No Meniere’s vertigo!

My surgery has FINALLY been scheduled!  July 19th, I will receive my bionic ear!  (my implant is from Advanced Bionics…so I can literally say I will have a bionic ear!)  Two weeks after surgery they will turn on the cochlear implant.  (I wrote a post telling all about the processors I chose, but that’s the one WordPress deleted half of, so I need to finish it again…I will try to do that soon, so you can see what will be hooked to the side of my head.  I’m sure you are all eager to see that!  : )  Just wait until you see it actually on my head!

Other things that have been happening:  We got new carpet.  We replaced our worn out couch.  We had our mattress replaced under warranty…it wouldn’t bounce back.   So the house is full of chemical smells, and I’m so sick!  I keep trying to stay in rooms with less chemical smells, but I’m still coughing so much my throat is sore, my head hurts, I’m so tired all the time….ect.  I’ll be so happy when I can breathe in my own house again!

Tell me is it normal to feel down when you start feeling better?  Yes, I’m feeling better but not to the point that I can do everything I want.  Since I feel better, I’ve begun to resent that I can’t drive, I can’t have that independence.  I hate that Stuart has to be with me for me to leave the house.  I know with the uncertainty of vertigo it’s even dangerous for me to walk around the block by my self.  I resent that I have to be careful of all the food that I eat.  We took a little trip this weekend, and it was so very hard to find food that I could eat.  I felt horrible, every time we wanted to eat it was such an ordeal.  It’s not so bad locally, we know places that are safe, but I didn’t think about not being able to find safe food on the road.   We tried so hard to make sure everything I ate was safe for me, but still I got sick.  On the way home we had to stop numerous times so I could run to the bathroom.  I was so embarrassed to have that happen in a public restroom.  eww.

I used to find it a challenge and a pleasure to cook even with my restrictions.  I thought it was interesting to figure out how to change a recipe so I could eat it.  Now I resent that I can’t eat some things.  That I can’t cook whatever I want.  I don’t like this feeling.

Oh, I almost forgot, I had a birthday.  July 2nd!  My husband is a dear man, he celebrated my birthday for 4 days, and I’m getting my main present today!  So, still celebrating… he’s done something sweet for me every day since Friday!  He really made up for the one time he forgot my birthday!  haha  Funny thing, I thought I was turning 50 this year.  Stuart and I were walking along one day last month and mentioned my birthday, I said that this one was a big one, he asked why 49 was big for me, I said, “No, I’ll be 50!”  He looked at me, and said “No Wendy you will just be 49”.  I was sure I was going to be 50!  He said, “What year is it?”  I said, 2012….Ooooh!  I guess I’ll be 50 next year.”  How silly was that?  Here I’d been telling people for months that I was turning 50 this year!  hahaha

Well, I think that’s all I can purge out of myself at the moment.

I will try my best to blog more often, I really want to become passionate about it again.  I’ve missed my friends.

Word Cloud – #HAWMC 30

Today’s Prompt:  Word Cloud. Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further. http://www.wordle.net/

I did a little bit of a different take on this prompt.  I hope you like it.

Word Cloud Collage by W. Holcombe 2012, April

The Challenges of Summer.

Phineas and Ferb courtesy of The Disney Channel

As Phineas and Ferb say:

There’s 104 days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it…

Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve been in school and had a “summer vacation”, but I have always loved summer.  For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt better in the summer.  I hurt less, and I just want to get out and do more.  Longer Days and Warmer Nights…life is good.

The challenges of Summer?

  1. I over do it because I feel better, then I pay for it!
  2. I get over heated easily and don’t realize it because I love hot weather.  (although we lived in Palm Springs, CA for a while…it was too hot there!)
  3. I over extend myself.  I have a hard time saying “No”, I seem to think I can do anything during this time of year.
  4. I often end up eating things I shouldn’t, and get sick.  (I just don’t plan well.)
  5. Again, I get too hot before I realize it!
How I can over come these challenges?
  1. Well, this should be easy, just do less!  However, it’s often hard to tell when I might be over doing it.  I guess my best option here is to pay more attention to what my body is telling me.  And REST OFTEN.
  2. Limit the amount time I spend in the heat.  Don’t just trust that I can tell when I get too hot, or thirsty.  Set a time limit, and stick to it.  And DRINK A LOT of water!
  3. I need to remember, I can only do so much!  And sometimes, I can’t do anything.  I feel guilty when I tell people I will be somewhere and then I can’t show up.  I need to tell more people either, “No.”  Or “Maybe.”  If people don’t understand, then do I really want to be doing anything with them?
  4. Since I have gluten and fructose intolerance, there are a lot of things I can’t eat.  Too often I go out and don’t realize we may not be home when I get hungry.  I must plan better for this.  Make sure there will be food I can eat at parties.  The easiest way to do this is to bring something.  When we are going out and about I need to make sure we will be near places I can eat, or keep food with me.  I used to carry protein bars in my purse that were gluten free so I’d always have something.  Now, it’s more difficult.  I haven’t found a protein bar that doesn’t have things I can’t have because of the fructose.  I must find something!!
  5. I used to never get over heated.  I have a convertible, and I love to drive and feel the heat, and wind.  On Wednesday, I was on my way home and got stopped due to road work.  I was sitting still for about 20 minutes.  When I got home I felt sick, and dizzy.  I got way too hot.  How can I prevent this?  I have to keep WATER with me.  Not soda, WATER!  If I get stuck in traffic, I need put the top up and turn on the AC.
What do I want to accomplish this summer?
  1. Complete all the requirements for becoming a licensed foster parent.
  2. Perhaps take a vacation…something we haven’t done in a very long time.  Even a long weekend would be nice.  But traveling scares me…I’ll have to be prepared.  And we really don’t want to leave our dog.
  3. Take care of me.  (read *pamper* here)
  4. Read more books.  I really don’t know if this is possible, but I’ll give it a go.  (I love to read!)
  5. Enjoy my birthday!  (July 2nd)
  6. Spend time with hubby.  (I don’t really care what we do, just as long as we do it together.)
  7. Enjoy my pets.  Especially Sandy, on July 2010, the vet told us that Sandy had 6 months to a year to live.  I don’t think anyone told her!
  8. Enjoy driving.  (something I haven’t been able to do much for the last 2 years.)
  9. Enjoy our garden!  This is the first year we’ve tried growing a vegetable garden.  I keep looking at a friend’s garden and think…”Wow, why does their garden look so much better than mine?”   Oh yeah, they aren’t using all organic practices.  Let’s just say I now understand why organic produce cost so much more.
No matter what your plans for the summer, be sure to take care of yourself.  Keep things close to you that make you feel good.  For example: I take a bath every night right before I go to bed.  It really helps me get to sleep, feel more relaxed, and hurt much less.   I put lotion on every night, often my husband puts special peppermint lotion on my feet.  (My feet get hot at night and the peppermint makes them feel cool.)
Spend time with people who are good for you.  Avoid people who are toxic.  (you know who they are, you may feel like you have to spend time with them for some reason or another, maybe they are family, but you don’t.  Just say “NO”.  You can do it.  I know you can.)
Enjoy yourself.  That’s the most important thing.  Find ways to make your life easier, and more enjoyable.
Then pass it on.  Let other’s know what secrets you have found that make you feel better.
What’s your plans for the Summer?

What’s in your Medications?

I posted this on my other blog Wendy Cooks, but thought it important enough to post it here too.

When you have a food allergy or intolerance it is very important to know what all the ingredients are in our medications.  However, it can be hard to find reliable information about the inactive ingredients.  I’ve asked my pharmacist to be sure to check the ingredients, but they are busy, and I’m sure some of them don’t actually check.   When I was diagnosed with Fructose Intolerance (malabsorption), I asked my pharmacist to check to ensure there were no ingredients in my medications that would make me sick.  He told me that I wasn’t on any liquid medications so I didn’t have to worry.  I wasn’t really happy with that answer, so I looked up the ingredients in the medications I bought that day.  I soon found that one of my medications had Mannitol in it, something I should not be taking.  It was easy to rectify, I just called my doctor and got a prescription for the regular tablets.  However, if I had taken the pharmacist at his word I would have wondered why I was continuing to get sick.  (and unfortunately, I had to pay for 2 prescriptions)

I was looking at the Health Resources listed on my library’s website, and I found this wonderful site.  Pillbox, is part of the US National Library of Medicine, it gives “rapid identification, (and) reliable information” on medications.  Pillbox, has two ways you can check for your drugs.

One is a Quick Search, and one is the Advanced Search.  I used the Advance Search, simply because I found it first.  The Quick Search has photos of the medications, it is still under development, so some medications may not have photos.

In the Advanced Search, just fill in what you know about the medication, and it will give you a list, choose your medication and it will give you all the information you need.  I tried it on a few of my medications, including an over the counter allergy medication.  One I put in the name, one I just put in the description, and one I just put in part of a description.  For most it found the medication I was looking for, the only one it didn’t find was one that is labeled as a pharmaceutical food supplement.  It gave all of the ingredients on all of the medications except the over the counter allergy medication, but they are listed on the box.

I hope this will help you and give you more peace of mind about the medications you are taking (or giving to your children).

http://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/index.html

Please let me know if you use the Pillbox site, and how well it works for you.

Feel free to comment and subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss a post.