Disclaimer: this post is dedicated to a certain monthly female inconvenience. If you find yourself uncomfortable with the general discussion of surfing crimson waves, having the painters in, the women’s curse, etc., come back again tomorrow and I promise you there will be no further mention of Dracula’s teabags or the like.
Sometimes we have to do terrible things in the name of being healthy.
Terrible, horrible, sugar-free, wheat-free, potato-free, cauliflower-“rice”-eating things.
Pray for me.
In a nutshell, I finally bit the bullet and acknowledged that despite all the progress I’ve made damping down the hellfire of my thyroid-murdering autoimmune disease through fitness, mindfulness and supplements, there was still more work to be done, and maybe I should quit whining about the poor digestion and hangover-like symptoms that inevitably follow eating shit I know is bad for me and just, y’know, stop eating shit that’s bad for me.
Trouble is, there’s a lot more shit that might be bad for me than I had realized.
Apparently, autoimmune diseases go hand in hand with having a gut lining like Swiss cheese. Funnily enough, this is generally not something you want your innards to resemble. Having a leaky gut means that a bunch of the crappier, more unhelpful things in your food, things that would normally get unceremoniously ushered safely and stealthily out the pooper chute, suddenly have the green light to waltz right on into the bloodstream instead and trigger all kinds of fun immune and allergic responses once there.
Imagine if a flash mob started a pillow fight in a glue factory. That kind of bullshittery.
Leaky gut can also interfere with iron absorption – which makes sense seeing as my body can’t store iron to save its life – as well as vitamin B12 absorption.
One of the symptoms of B12 deficiency is impaired mental function.
Don’t pretend like this doesn’t explain a lot about me.
So just how do you help repair your leaky gut so it’ll quit exacerbating your fucking autoimmune disease and making you stupid?
Well, according to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, you stop eating everything good in life and wallow in a pit of leafy green cruciferous misery.
I may be overreacting just a touch.
Truth be told, I love 99% of the things I’m allowed to eat on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol).1 They’re flavorful, nutritious, and items I actively crave whenever I’ve been on too long of a sugar and fast food naughty binge.
It’s the things I normally love to cook/serve with those things that are tough to lose.
And where there are some things I definitely knew ought to be off my table already based on personal experience (sugar, alcohol, dairy), there were a few no-no foods that took me by surprise.
Bell peppers? Fuck my life. Nutty Hubby and I practically live off roasted peppers.
Green beans and peas? Noooooo.
Sunflower seeds? But…but…
Almonds?! But healthy people keep practically screaming at you to eat almonds!
Sorry, them’s the rules.
Oh yeah, and no ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, and no coffee either, so I guess in the event that I get a migraine I’ll just have to stick with the old-fashioned method of wishing it away.
If there’s one thing my first AIP shopping trip did for me, it was alert me to just how much random shit goes into store-bought food. Twelve days ago I never would have thought a little safflower oil or mustard seed or maltodextrofragilisticexpialidocious snuck into a product could ever be a dealbreaker, but here we are.
It’s pretty astounding how many simple things I can’t buy now thanks to just one or two contraband ingredients. This chicken broth should be okay, right? No, it has corn starch in it. How about this beef broth then? Nope, tomato. (Never mind that there’s a totally separate “Tomato & Spice” version by the same company; apparently all the beef broth must be tomatofied.) Well, what about this other brand…CANE SUGAR?! SERIOUSLY?
On the bright side, I can have bacon! Oh wait, THEY ADD SUGAR TO THAT TOO.
Okay, breathe. It’s only for a month.
Welcome to my new mantra, by the way.
It’s only for a month, it’s only for a month.
Unless it’s not.
A month is the bare minimum a person should be strictly AIP before they can start trying to reintroduce foods. The reality is it can reportedly take several months or even years to see enough of an improvement to reach this stage.
I’m really, really hoping I don’t end up on the “years” end of this spectrum.
Because I’m only 11 days in and already the lack of potatoes is making me super envious of Mark Watney, and that dude was stranded on friggin’ Mars.
Yes, that’s right, I’m jealous of a fictional character who went through horrible thing after horrible thing trying to survive alone on another planet, because he at least had potatoes to eat and I don’t. I’m aware that my priorities may be a tad skewed.
Blame it on the lack of B12.
1 The 1% being kombucha. Fuck kombucha.
I don’t know what I did to deserve this.
Did I sleep funny?
Get out of a chair too quickly?
Have the audacity to bend over and pick something up without half an hour of preparatory stretching?
Or has my body just arbitrarily decided to select a new and unexpected focal point into which to pour all its malice and angst?
Whatever the reason, my spine has gone into protest mode in a fresh and horrible way far removed from the general full-body hypothyroid achiness to which I’ve become reluctantly accustomed over the years.
This is not the slow burn of chronic autoimmune assholery. This is FUCK THIS THING IN PARTICULAR stabby pain, and the fact that none of my usual tried and true pain relief tactics are working on it is sending me on a one-way spiral into murderous rage. We’re talking a serious case of pain anger here. I’m pangry.
(Urban Dictionary has several definitions of “pangry” involving a range of things from lack of sex to a desperate need to use the washroom. I reject those definitions and substitute my own.)
The rational part of me knows violence isn’t the answer.
The pangry part of me wants to take a steak knife to my own vertebrae.
This is by no means a new train of thought for me. I absolutely adore fantasizing about all the barbaric ways I could punish my body for its insubordination, and would, too, if it weren’t for those meddling
Like, I’m pretty sure you can only endure so many migraines before you have at least one passing epiphany where a good old-fashioned DIY trepanning suddenly sounds like a FANTASTIC idea.
Similarly, around the five hour mark of trying – and failing – to find some way, any way of positioning my body at my work desk that might alleviate the feeling that a starved beaver was gnawing its way methodically through my backbone, I was more than ready to start gleefully plotting revenge.
I texted Nutty Hubby to discuss strategy.
Me: Oh. My. God. I have never wanted to just rip out my own spine so badly. Where’s a Predator when you need one?
Nutty Hubby: They’re not known to be accommodating.
Me: I don’t need accommodating. I need spine rippey-outey. Which is what they do for a living. If I keep provoking one long enough I’m sure I’ll get the desired outcome.
Nutty Hubby: Though depending on how advanced their scanning is, they may deem you as “sick” and therefore not worth the trophy.
Me: Fine. Whatever. They can kill me in any other way that suits them and leave my carcass un-trophified. Just so long as I’m put out of my misery.
Nutty Hubby: True, that would still work.
So the good news is I have a plan.
Bad news is that finding a Predator is really, really hard, on account of they’re kind of invisible most of the time.
I might have to settle for Sub-Zero instead. But nobody tell him he’s my second choice. Don’t want to hurt the poor guy’s feelings.
In case any of you got the mistaken impression from my last post that I’ve actually started to get my shit together and grow as a person, just know that I’ve been missing 1/4 of an eyebrow for the better part of two weeks. Because I’m a moron.
Following my wild success with Doctor Google’s recommendation of Brazil nuts to help babysit my temperamental thyroid hormones, I paid the good doc a return visit to address the issue of my skin and some concerning topography thereof.
Namely, a metric crapload of tiny, annoying bumps on my thighs and upper arms.
I’ve had these things on my legs for ages. They were originally confined solely to my inner thighs and knees, so I always just assumed my skin was irritated from years of wearing skinny jeans. The things we do for fashion, right?
But recently they started to show up on my arms too. And I definitely haven’t been wearing skinny jeans on those. At least, that I know of. I suppose it’s technically possible that someone’s been sneaking in at night and clothing my upper extremities in tight denim just to fuck with me, but if that’s the case then I have bigger problems than a few patches of bumpy skin.
Anyway, after some creative keywording and a string of “yikes, thank fucking god I don’t have that” Google image searches, I finally discovered the culprit behind my disgruntled dermis: keratosis pilaris.
The good news is it’s harmless. It’s just a simple keratin build-up that blocks the hair follicles and makes a nuisance of itself.
The bad news is, no one really knows why it happens, and so there’s no way to prevent it from rearing its ugly head. And all you can really do when it does is throw acid on it until it whimpers and runs away.
I’m not kidding. The recommended treatment is acid; albeit of the alpha-hydroxy, lactic, or salicylic varieties and not something like drastic like hydrochloric or sulfuric, but at the end of the day you’re still basically burning your skin off for the sake of vanity.
…okay, so I’m vain enough that I figured it was worth a shot.
I made the rounds of a few forum discussions on the subject, and people seemed to have the most success with the lactic acid, so I went to the drugstore and picked up a bottle of that.
Y’all, this is making it really hard for me not to start taking all my medical advice from strangers on the internet. Because within a week my legs were as smooth as a baby’s behind. Hell, I’m not even sure my skin was this supple when I was a baby. Seriously, acid is AWESOME.*
*Statement applies to lotion only. Don’t do drugs, kids.
But while my legs were celebrating their long overdue facelift in almost no time at all, my arms remained as stubbornly bumpy as ever, even after two weeks of treatment. This made no sense to me. My upper arm skin couldn’t be more resistant to chemical exfoliants than the scaly, battle-scarred surface of my long-suffering knees, could it? There had to be some variable I hadn’t taken into account.
And then it dawned on me: the humble razor.
Before every slathering of acid-laced lotion, I had showered and shaved my legs, presumably fucking up the tough surface of my little keratinoid molehills and thereby allowing the acid to better penetrate and do its work.
Couldn’t hurt to try, right? So fuck it, I guess I’m someone who shaves their arms now.
And I’ll be goddamned if I wasn’t right on the money about that being the difference, because my arms AND my legs are now silky smooth 24/7 and there’s a good chance that if I don’t stop constantly feeling them up they’re gonna start playing the Divinyls every time I walk into a room.
So by now you’ve probably figured out what happened to my eyebrow.
Don’t judge me. Face shaving has been a beauty trend all over the internet for the last two years. I’m not the only sucker who’s tried it.
Granted, most of those other suckers probably managed to exit the experience with about 114% more eyebrows than I did, but still.
Guys, I was SO careful. I planted myself in front of the mirror and I looked into my eyes and said firmly, “Nutty, you are coming out of this with two intact eyebrows. Period.” And then I went to work. Slowly. Methodically. And I did a damn good job, if I do say so myself.
So perfect a job that as I completed my last stroke, I instinctively flicked my wrist in a triumphant flourish.
Pro tip, people, wait to do your flourishing until you put the razor DOWN.
The eyebrow will grow back, but the jury’s still out on my dignity.
I’m not quite sure exactly how it happened, but apparently 2017 has become the year of Nutty Quits Being A Doughy Weakling And Goes All GI Jane On Fitness.
Okay, so that doughy weakling bit may be a bit unfair. I mean, it’s not like I’ve spent the last several years sitting around on my duff twiddling my thumbs instead of exercising. I’ve always done my best to keep active, occasional brief lapses aside.
That said, after the past several months I’m finding that what I would have considered a challenging workout back in January I can now only describe as laughable.
It all kind of started with nuts. Appropriate, I know.
Following my last dismissive walk-in clinic experience that resulted in, surprise surprise, no results, I did exactly what you’re not supposed to do and turned to good old Doctor Google for advice. Long story short, I began supplementing my diet with Brazil nuts because the selenium is supposed to hand-hold my stupid thyroid hormones and help them do their thing.
And holy shit, guys, IT’S ACTUALLY WORKING.
I mean, mornings are still the worst. Stress still aggravates my symptoms something fierce. I’m certainly not “cured” by any means, and don’t have any illusions that I ever will be. But I’m also not freezing cold all the time anymore, and more importantly, my muscles are no longer giving up on me well before my workout sessions have a chance to do me any real good.
I’ve gotten back just enough of the old Nutty to give me hope.
And I’m taking advantage of it. Every bit. In case it doesn’t last. In case something else gives out, like it always seems to. Knowing my luck, I’ll develop a selenium allergy and then we’ll be back at square one.
So in the meantime, I push. I push and I work and I sweat and I kick my own ass while I still can, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m not finally getting some results.
For the first time in a long time, I find myself instinctively coming up with more reasons to get my body moving than excuses not to.
It’s fucking fantastic.
I’ve started going to power yoga again. My crazy (in the best possible way) teacher likes to talk us through challenging poses by having us think of something we’re thankful for. In my first few weeks of class I considered all manner of things to whisk my mind away during these short moments of reflection; the wealth of natural beauty at my city’s doorstep; my love for Nutty Hubby; the simple enjoyment of a deep gulp of cool, thirst-quenching water…dear god I’d give my left fucking tit for some water right now…
Packed classes + relentless vinyasas = intense collective body heat = Nutty rehydrates a lot.
But then something shifted. I remember the exact day I noticed. I recall being smugly pleased with myself for having made it up into a handstand for two whole seconds, besting my previous record by…two whole seconds, probably. And as we moved on into my nemesis, Chair Pose, for once I didn’t automatically try to escape from the experience. I kept my breath slow and steady. I sank deeper into my leg muscles, relaxed my shoulders, and really goddamn went for it. I was the chair. Not a chair with a rickety leg or a loose seat or a missing rail. Just a regular ol’ chair, fuckin’ chairin’ it up.
“We’re going to be here a while,” came the soft voice of our teacher.
“Breathe. Think of something you’re grateful for.”
It came to me, unbidden.
I am grateful for this. Because right now, in this moment, I don’t feel broken.
And I started to cry, because it was true.
I never thought it would be true again.
Here it is, the start of a brand new year – a time of renewal, of positive change, of hope…
…and there you are, the same lazy asshole, wallowing in your own filth and doing absolutely nothing productive with your existence.
You make me sick.
Literally and figuratively.
You’re a 2-for-1 sale on sickness.
Jesus Christ, Chesty La Rue, why can’t you be more like Busty St. Clair? CUP SIZE IS NOT A RACE. I don’t know what you think you’re trying to prove, but nobody likes an overachiever. Why don’t you just go ahead and shrink back down to a more reasonable order of magnitude like your sister there on the left and we’ll forget this whole thing ever happened? I’m fed up with having the goddamn Odd Couple staring back at me in the mirror; sort your shit out.
Yes, we have started jogging again. No, it isn’t the end of the world. Quit yer bitchin’. You think you have problems now? Just wait until I decide we’re up to another squat challenge like the one we did last summer. THEN WE’LL SEE WHO’S LAUGHING. (Neither of us, because OH GOD IT BURNS.)
Dear Digestive Tract,
Thanks so much for choosing the past year to induct me into the “need to drink a tall, swirling glass of psyllium fiber every day to poop right” club.
Really. It’s great. I don’t feel like I’ve become my grandparents at all.
Not one bit.
I know you have one of the most thankless jobs around here, getting sat on all day and being in such unavoidably close proximity to my less endearing bodily functions (see above), but hot DAMN do you look good in those new workout pants I bought us.
I’m sure you already knew that from the way I’ve been staring at you in oh, I don’t know, every reflective surface we pass, but I just thought I’d say it anyway, just in case you were somehow oblivious to how totally rockin’ you are.
DIE IN A FIRE.
For the first time in months, I’m inhaling a large mug of coffee at my desk instead of tea.
This is because I had the nerve to somehow get 4 1/2 hours of sleep last night instead of the usual 3, and if there’s one thing my body hates, it’s when I try and do something nice for it like give it an extra hour and a half to rest and recuperate. So of course now instead of feeling refreshed I’m actually more tired, because reasons, and coffee is the only thing keeping me from passing right out on my keyboard and getting an ‘i’ in my eye.
I’m also currently on the tail end of a nasty two week illness that I can only describe as some kind of unholy viral cold-flu-gastroenteritis ménage à trois, and the fear that any particularly forceful cough might cause me to accidentally shit myself is still very real and present.
Speaking of shit, Madam Rorschach is up to her old antics again (after a lengthy and much appreciated stretch of hibernation) and has resumed laying waste to the office restroom as though she’s in competition with the US election over who can make the world a less pleasant place to live in. Her timing is impeccable, since between the plague ménage and that old bitch Aunt Flo showing her ugly face in town this past week, this Nut has had ample need to visit the workplace commode and then some.
Finally, in the First World Problems category of suck, it appears that my favorite suede boots in the whole wide world have finally reached a state of shabbiness I can’t ignore – despite my best efforts at denial – and will have to be sent off to live on a farm. So today is their last hurrah; one final day of clackety-clacking around town with me before we part ways forever.
TL;DR: I’m beyond tired, multiple things are shitty, and my most beloved boots have one foot in the grave.
So naturally, I’m…elated?
It started Wednesday. I found myself grinning out of nowhere, for no other reason I can think of except that I was alive.
And even though Wednesdays are the day that the Boss Lady comes in to pick apart my weekly reports and throw all our company policies into a tumult in her efforts to make things more efficient around here, I still left the office wearing that same stupid grin, and it’s yet to waver for so much as a second.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this happy ‘just because’. It feels almost ridiculous, in the best possible way. All the little things I habitually take inventory of to remind myself that life is worth living have suddenly been amplified to Giant Heaps of Amazeballs level awesome, practically throwing themselves in my path to the extent that it’s only a matter of time before I convert to Orthodox Disney and just start spontaneously bursting out into song.
I don’t know how long this will last or what convinced the storm clouds in my brain to suddenly part and offer up this glittering ray of sunshine, but thank you. Thank you for the light.
Something has kicked my insomnia into tryhard mode. I can’t pinpoint the exact culprit(s) for 100% certain, but if and when I do, they will die a slow and horrible death.
When I was fifteen and suffocating in the depths of suicidal depression, my parents took me to see a psychiatrist. He was a balding, unattractive man in his fifties, and he insisted on beginning every sentence with my name as if I had somehow forgotten it upon stepping into his office.
1. Best known as the Benny Hill theme song. Properties: Ability to make ANYTHING funny while listening to it. – Urban Dictionary1
2. If you haven’t yet had the privilege of discovering Benny Hill This, then today’s your lucky day. – The Nut