The Elimination Diet of Sadness

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.

Seeya, soy.
Regards, rice.
Toodles, tomatoes.
Later, ‘taters.

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.

Think of something you’re grateful for.

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.

Me during Warrior III, every single time.

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.






















Letters to my miscellaneous anatomy.

Dear Thyroid,

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.

Good job.

Fuck you.

Dear Tits,

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.

Dear Legs,

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.

Dear Booty,

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.

Dear Uterus,










Why I sleep with otters.*

(*Because I don’t have enough weird fetishes represented in my search terms as it is.)

I fail at sleeping.

If there’s one thing I will forever be jealous of, it’s Nutty Hubby’s ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. He can nod off in almost any environment, no matter how public, loud or uncomfortable, in five minutes or less.

For me, trying to sleep means it’s time for every little solitary minute detail of the world to come flooding into my head for thorough dissection and analysis; a maze of intrigue created by my brain, to be solved before I am allowed the sweet respite of slumber.

For Nutty Hubby, trying to sleep is…wait, trying? People have to try to sleep? No no no no no. Do or do not, there is no try! LOL BRB ZZZZZzzZZzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzz…

If I didn’t love him so much, I’d hate him.

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There’s life in these legs yet.

Where, oh where, did my old body go?

You know all those scenes of Demi Moore in G.I. Jane, where she’s kicking her own ass with exercise as sweat runs down her freshly shorn head? That used to be me in high school. Except, y’know, with hair.

I was on the track and field team as both a sprinter and a distance runner.

I participated in cross-country meets.

I was on the basketball, volleyball, and badminton teams.

And I was absolutely, positively unstoppable in the weight room.

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Life is too short for boring socks.

It’s been said often, and with good reason: it really is about the little things.

I didn’t feel like writing today. I haven’t felt like doing much of anything all week. Getting out of bed this morning and yesterday was a struggle; Monday and Tuesday I was too out of it to even bother putting up the fight. I’m sick of being sick, I’m tired of being tired, and my energy reserves are running on empty. But at least I have my goddamn Tweety Bird socks on. And that matters more than you might think.

Hold on to your hats, we’re going to get all real in here for a moment.

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