I Can Do Anything For 10 Days

I will preface this post by warning you, the reader that it veers off my usual kitchen-related musings. I felt it important enough however, to not just share my experience in the hopes of maybe relating to someone else, but also because my decision to invest in my wellness directly impacts the food I eat and the way its prepared.

No sooner had I finished writing a post on why I eat what I do, when my diet decisions came to a grinding halt. I had changed doctors to one I knew practiced a holistic approach, but was also covered by insurance, thank the good Lord. The first time I sat in front of her and described my thyroid issues, the acid reflux, and my frequent unexplained fevers, she told me in 10 minutes that something was not being addressed by the way my eyebrows looked. Damn it! I penciled those suckers in that day too.

As is her approach, she ordered a full blood panel which included 9 vials of blood. Count them, 9! This coming from someone who has a preferred phlebotomist. She also asked me about joint pain. Huh? Yes, I’m sore, but that’s from the weights I lift at the gym, running, and the Bikram yoga, or so I thought then. She put me on a gluten-free diet without blinking.

Ok fine. I’ve got this. I eat clean, mostly meatless, no soda, all organic, very little dairy, no alcohol. It can’t be that hard not to eat wheat, I said. The first step is always denial. My next bargaining step in the process of grieving my former diet, was anger at the crazy prices they charge for gluten- free pasta, a loaf of bread, gluten-free flour. WTH? After I made cookies and zucchini bread with my flour substitute, I came sliding into depression when I realized it just doesn’t taste the same. The bread isle at the grocery store suddenly smelled like heaven and all I wanted was my breakfast cereal. Acceptance: meeting Lindsey from onemotherofaday who said exactly the same thing as my doctor, “substituting for the gluten is defeating the purpose of eating whole foods instead.”

No sooner do I get the gluten-free thing handled, then my lab results came in testing positive for Lupus. Again, WTH? I’m a tad shocked because I’ve had experience with Lupus through my spouse whose had it for 15 years. It all makes sense though; the unexplained fevers and my compromised immune system, the acid reflux, hair loss, thyroid issues, fatigue, even the joint pain which I always attributed to something else. I might add here that there is a myth that healthy, fit people who eat right should be healthy. As if those efforts negate the chances of any disease. I’m here to add to the tally who believes that is false. While certainly being fit and eating healthy help those chances, they are also not the sole cause for a lack of illness, specifically autoimmune disease. I am grateful for my doctor, however, who finally took all the pieces, which had been dealt with separately, and put them together.

When my doctor and I discussed my results and my out-of-control estrogen levels and antibodies, we understood each other from the word go. I would be willing to do whatever I needed to control my symptoms with diet and supplements and without medication. As I said, 15 years of experience being married to someone with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, I can safely say, I’ve run the gamut of all the medications and their side effects. One big side effect being the correlation between taking Enbrel (a popular medication that treats Lupus and RA symptoms) and developing cancer of the Parotid Gland. I guess you could say my options were weighed for me.

The first thing my doctor did was to prescribe a 10 day detox, with the intent of flushing the through-the-roof estrogen levels. A shake and a supplement for breakfast, a very strict meal at lunch with no sugar, no salt, no dairy, no gluten, no caffeine, no nothing it seemed. Another shake and a supplement for dinner and fruit or veggies for snacks.
I already eat clean, I said. I got this. Day 1.5, not so much. My head was pounding and although I didn’t take my temperature, I felt a fever coming on and the familiar exhaustion and achiness. Mind you, the last fever took 8 days and a round of antibiotics before it finally left.

Day 3, I woke up in the morning feeling so much better; much like you do after you’ve had the flu for a week and you finally feel normal again. My headache was gone, the swollen joints had dissipated and I had some energy. The one thing I noticed, however, was my craving for sugar. I craved donuts, which I normally don’t even like, icing on cookies, and I wanted to stick my face in a pie. I craved sugar like a crack addict going through withdrawals. Day 8: I spy a tootsie roll in a candy dish at the bank and I would’ve punched a baby in the neck for it. I allowed myself half.

By Day 9, I had moments of clarity where I counted just how many symptoms disappeared: the shoulder pain I thought was because I did a yoga pose incorrectly or slept wrong, the fatigue I had been feeling and the lack of energy, the swollen and achy joints in my elbows and knees, and clearly the 360 degree turn of the oncoming fever.

Giving up that many foods wasn’t easy, especially since I had to ship all my powder and supplements to my parent’s house in Texas, where I visited for 4 days. I brought my own food to two different restaurants. God knows, I had to pass up those delicious pies, cookies out in the open, and I didn’t get to eat Texas BBQ. The result, however, was worth every second of sacrifice.

What I came away with is the ridiculous amount of sugar I must’ve been consuming to want to lick an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts. It’s been said that even more than drugs, America is addicted to sugar and I believe it. Sugar is in everything and we don’t even think twice about it. I’m going to start thinking twice about it from this point on. No more flavored creamers, no sweetened lemonade or fruit juices or bottled sauces, etc. I’m not going to eliminate it completely, but I’m sure as hell going to do a better job of controlling it.

I’m also waiting for my doctor’s prescription of my diet based on the body analysis she will be doing. Until then, I’m going to eat Paleo, which according to research, is the best match for an autoimmune system. It incorporates what I was already doing with the gluten-free, less sugar and oils, no dairy or legumes, and plenty of meat, which I’m sure will have the XY’s jumping for joy.

I’ll keep you posted on this journey and it’s ever-changing paths. I don’t have all the answers and I’m still a newbie navigating my way slowly and patiently, but I do know that eating well also means living well…



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Categories: 10 Days Of Anything, Meals


Diligent seeker of health and nutrition, Paleo follower, and creative culinary practicer...


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