Experiment in recovering my own health

juicer

juicer (Photo credit: Shockingly Tasty)

I have spent the past several years working on recovering my own health and restoring endocrine function through various methods. While we continue to chelate, after 100+ rounds I felt that maybe there were other factors also holding me back on some of my goals. Adrenal function, thyroid function and fatigue have often been obstacles that I just can’t seem to overcome. I am still allergic to gluten as well.  My thyroid fluctuates a lot and is hard to regulate with medication. I primarily think this part of the autoimmunity hypothyroidism. And that I think is the result of toxicity or viral/bacterial issues. I am speculating of course based on what my body does, how it responds to things and my research. But anyway, I was rather tired of it all, literally.

I’ve spent 4 years avoiding gluten strictly in hopes it would help improve my thyroid function or possible play a role in healing my gut. However, 4 years later, it has not done either one.

Removing gluten did help cure my adult acne, reduced fatigue, and my adrenals are less stressed without it. I was able to take less adrenal support, and my chronic thirst stopped (salt wasting). And the best part, I had a lot less digestive problems of course.

I’ve been really upset by my hair loss. Its been going on for three years now with no end in sight. It’s gotten pretty thin. I have lost probably 50% of the hair I used to have. That’s pretty frustrating for anyone.  I’ve tried almost all the supplements recommended that are supposed to stop or treat this. None has worked. No tweaking of my thyroid meds really did anything except the time I was on so much T3, I was practically hyperthyroid. But you can’t stay hyperthyroid and over medicated either. So that wasn’t the answer.

I finally caved in and went to a dermatologist after two other physicians didn’t really seem to know why my hair won’t stop falling out. And lo and behold I am pretty anemic. And what makes me mad about this is that my primary doc never bothered to run an iron panel after I asked her about this. I have a history of anemia off an on most of my adult life.  But no, she just ran a regular CBC and said I was fine. I got the lab report and my MCV was low which always happens when I have low iron.  Anyway, this dermatologist took a peek at my labs that the thyroid doc runs to monitor my thyroid and ferritin and instantly recognized that my ferritin was pitiful. (12)

It had gotten so bad that I was getting dizzy, very short of breath just walking from my bed to the kitchen, light-headed and seriously so tired I could barely move. I felt like someone took a few pints of blood out of me.  So this doc tells me that the meager 25 mg of iron I was told to take by another doctor would never touch my level of anemia. I needed A LOT of iron to fix this and it would take up to 6 months. Oh joy.

In the past I have had problems tolerating iron, but some research revealed this may be caused by a bacterial problem. So after doing a parasite cleanse, gut cleanse and bentonite I can take iron now. I had read that a bacterial problem may cause symptoms when taking iron by feeding the bacteria. So bacteria….gone.

But before I get to the point of where my chronic anemia finally tanked let me back up the story here to July 2013 a mere 6 months ago when

I reached critical frustration with all these things. When I reach that point I do something drastic.And drastic is what I did.

I eat healthy and I was pretty darn crunchy and holistic already. But…..maybe there was more than gluten going on.

I had watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” which gave me a revelation that maybe I needed to really examine things mean green juicemore clearly. I was sick and tired of taking a ton of supplements every day just to get through a day. Without these vitamins, I was too tired to get done what I need to do. My thyroid was doing its usual up and down. Get on a decent dose, feel fine, then suddenly go hyperthyroid or hypothyroid and start all over again with dosing.  I had consistent blood sugar issues that did improve somewhat with high dose chromium for a while but never completely went away. Improved, but not gone. Oh and we won’t mention the extra 25 pounds I was carrying from baby number two. Sure I had lost 20 pounds going off gluten 4 years earlier, but that was the weight I gained on hydrocortisone which was another failure to treat my adrenals. I sure could use to lose a few more.

I got this idea that I’d try a juice fast or what’s called a “juice reboot” which is supposed to purge your body and reset your system, while helping it heal, and calm down the immune system.  I had no idea how someone with a blood sugar issue that had to eat breakfast right away upon waking would manage it. But….something needed to change.

I read up on juicing, and set a plan that I would take it day by day. My plan was to do a 15 day juice reboot, but I would be happy if I lasted 4 days. Some of the sicker people do 30-90 days cleanses but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure by aiming too high. I already had a juicer because I did juice off an on as was convenient and used these as a replacement for snacks sometimes.

On day one I made enough juice to last me the day/evening which equated to about 6 twelve ounce mason jars and all the herbal tea and water I could drink. The plan was to drink but not eat anything but these freshly extracted juices for 10 days. I could have as much as I wanted as often as I wanted.  And I did. I used whatever fresh fruit, greens I could get to make my daily juices. I also juiced in some fresh ginger or pineapple to improve digestion and reduce inflammation.

So no dairy, no poultry/meat, no grains, seeds, nuts nothing…Only fruit and vegetables, water, and hot lemon water, or mint tea.  Surprisingly this was a lot easier than I thought. I had more energy and I did not get much of a detox reaction like others reported. I did pee a lot, and I mean A LOT. Its like I’d drink a juice and have to pee some 20 minutes later. I also found relief from sluggish bowels after years of battling this with supplements, probiotics etc.

I managed to drink tons of kale, swiss chard, mixed greens, spinach, green apples, pineapple, berries, plums, peaches…you name it! This method allowed me to get in large quantities of nutrients that you could not possibly get from chewing all these greens. You’d have to graze constantly 24/7 to take in this much produce if you didn’t juice it.

I began to really enjoy the juice drinks. It’s like my palette woke up and fruits and veggies had a taste I craved now. I lost my craving for sugar or sweets entirely.

Within a few days I noticed my skin was so clear and smooth and didn’t look so pale anymore. My gut was working great. I did have to urinate at night for the first few nights but this eventually resolved.

I was able to stop my adrenal and thyroid support entirely and I felt fine without them for the first time since starting them some 6 years ago. I stopped all my supplements. I wanted to really reset my system and then see what I had left after that.

All in all, I lost 24 pounds without lifting one finger to work out, other than pushing produce through my juicer every day.  The weight literally fell off, 1-2 pounds per day and then after a few weeks it slowed to 2-3 pounds a week. But anytime I plateaued, I’d add more juice or plant-based foods and more would come off. I’m now a normal healthy weight for my height.

I did run into a few snafu’s on my journey. By day 4 of juice only my blood sugar was really a problem. I was getting shaky and weak between juices despite having a lot of them frequently, so I added more greens and less fruit.  Turns out as much as I love fruit, I need to go easy with it. Joe’s website recommends an 80/20 ratio for juice, with 80% vegetables. Those with blood sugar issues do better sticking close to this. I also added some quinoa, sunflower seeds, and nuts to my diet in order to continue but this resolved my symptoms so I could continue the reboot.

After 10 days of this modified juice fast plan, I began to incorporate plant-based foods like beans, nut butters, seeds, dried fruit, etc., into my diet while still drinking lots of fresh juice.

I continued my plant-based diet until just a few days ago when I tried butter for the first time since July. I didn’t notice anything negative but I don’t plan to eat it regularly. The holidays brought a few more challenges where I tried a bit of dairy and some sugar. The dairy caused some acne. The sugar some itching in my ears so I will continue my plant-based diet for now only trying an occasional food for intolerance here or there.

I have enjoyed exploring new recipes and now make a mean vegan taco! I’ve also mastered black bean burgers and some other items that are super tasty like gluten-free, vegan pizza! Ironically my son even tried the black bean burgers and black bean brownies!

Around late fall I began to notice a return of fatigue, which usually based on my history is my thyroid slowing down as it does every fall. My labs revealed that indeed I could use some thyroid meds again.

The labs results showed up in the mail with a note scrawled on the bottom from my doc saying “Thyroid and iron looked better in June. What did you do? Call me!”. She didn’t know I was off my meds of course.

Well damn, I thought, guess my thyroid can’t sustain on its own that long. I reluctantly had to restart my thyroid meds, and instantly noticed that my adrenals didn’t like that. I had to take some adrenal cortex extract to be able to take the desiccated thyroid. Boogers!

Then to make life more fun, I started noticing leg cramps and jaw clenching at night. That’s a sign I was not getting enough minerals. I added in zinc, calcium and magnesium. Then as fall crept up and I went back on thyroid meds, I began to notice shortness of breath, weakness, and dizziness upon standing. I thought maybe my adrenals were worse than I thought, but the symptoms didn’t respond to more adrenal support.  It took me a bit to figure it out but it was low iron. This lack of minerals was later confirmed by the finding of two cavities by my dentist..oops!  And then having my iron checked when I voiced my complaints to a dermatologist that my hair had been falling out for 3 years but it was worse now confirmed my iron was lower than before.

I’ve often been told that I should be able to get all the iron I need from the plants I drink, since I do drink plenty of dark leafy greens, however my experiment has shown this is not true in my particular case. My ferritin actually went down a few points after going plant-based. I’ve always has problems with anemia, and I’ve never been much for eating meat, but I used to eat eggs and apparently some other foods that had iron. In any case I was put on 65 mg of iron twice a day by the doc and told to give it 6 months for my hair loss to stop. Ack!

It’s been a journey that has led me to learning that when you do a juice reboot you really should continue to take your multivitamin/minerals. But indeed dairy and meat/poultry were in some way affecting my body and my hormones because I’ve gained clearer skin, more energy, less menstrual dysfunction/symptoms, resolution of a long ongoing plantar wart that just went away on its own, normal gut function for the first time in my adult life and my blood sugar symptoms are pretty much gone….plus the unintended consequence that I’m 24 pounds lighter! I can’t complain about that!!

 

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One thought on “Experiment in recovering my own health

  1. Pingback: Chelating Adults- I’ve beaten ALA | The Edge of Autism

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