Week 1 √
What a coincidence and yet perfect way to kick off my elimination diet with entering
into March, which is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month. I definitely want to share with you how the first week went, but want to give tribute to the month and share two key points about Rheumatoid Arthritis to help spread the awareness.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis is very different than osteoarthritis (which is the common form of arthritis). Osteoarthritis comes with age and is the normal wear and tear on joints. RA is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues including joints and in some cases internal organs.
- It is a systematic disease, which means it can attack the entire body. People with RA have a higher risk for developing other infections as well as causing problems with their eyes, mouth, skin, lungs, and heart.
Being aware and continuing my knowledge about the disease has played a huge impact on trying to stay one step ahead of the disease even when it tries to push me back 100 steps or at times when it feels like a mack truck running me over. With the elimination diet, I hope to continue my knowledge and learn how and/or if food plays a role in how I feel physically.
Day 1 and Day 2 were phase 1, the detox phase. During this phase, you can only eat
green smoothies and pureed cooked vegetables in homemade stock. Planning so much ahead of time really helped get through these two days. We (my husband and I) had all the ingredients ready to make smoothies and had the soups ready to go for lunch and dinner. During these two days, the immune system becomes calm and it is essentially clearing the gut. Two main things I discovered during this phase: 1) boy do you have to go to the bathroom a lot with all the liquids you are digesting and 2) I really underestimated how much you take chewing for granted. I also noticed I was getting headaches at the end of both nights. This was supposed to be normal though according the forums I read, because your body is having withdrawals from not having sugar, caffeine and other food it is used to obtaining.
PHASE 2: Wednesday marked the first day of phase 2 and we had our first meals all
ready to go and couldn’t wait to eat solids. The first couple days of this phase, I had some minor cramps in my stomach that felt like a stitch along my left side. My stomach and body was getting used to this new way of eating and leaving out items that my body was used to getting. Our first dinner was homemade brown rice tortillas with quinoa, black beans and sweet potato tacos. Our first dinner was incredibly delicious and the recipe book made going into this week much easier.
Every day I have been documenting in a food journal what I have been eating, symptoms I have been feeling and any additional notes. Today is day 8
since I started and still have what I call my now “normal RA symptoms”. These symptoms have become my norm since I have been off medicine which includes morning stiffness, joint inflammation primarily in my hands and feet and fatigue. The morning stiffness and pain lasted for majority of the day on many days. Although I am still feeling the same “normal” pain and stiffness, I do have to say that it is not lasting majority of the day and I have felt relief after a couple hours being up and moving around. I am looking forward to hopefully continue to see this progress.
KEYS TO MY SUCCESS SO FAR:
- Lots of planning ahead and prepping: We made sure that the kitchen is fully stocked with all compliant food. This is really important to make sure that we are using all ingredients that go by the diet. It was very convenient before to stop at Wawa on my way to work to grab lunch if I wanted something that I didn’t have made. I can’t do that now, so making sure we are planned and prepped ahead of time is a must.
- SUPPORT SYSTEM: This is what the Elimination Diet book calls “Creating a Food Tribe”. Normal habits have been changed, food I normally eat went out the window, and this has been exciting but at times very overwhelming. I am trying to deal with a new routine while trying to gain control and continue to be one step ahead of my RA on those days that mack truck is trying to come through my bedroom door in the mornings. My husband has been such an incredible team player with joining me on this journey which has made it so much easier. We are able to share in on shopping and cooking, joke about missing the foods we wish we were eating, and we are most importantly looking forward to celebrating the wins I hope to be encountering. I can’t thank him enough for supporting me through this process. This past Sunday, my mom had the family over to celebrate my niece’s birthday. They were having a Shopkins theme party with the menu being tacos. My mom made sure that she had a special menu all prepared just for me! I was so beyond appreciative. She even printed out the additional recipe book that is the online version and created a special binder recipe book for me. I have the best food tribe!
Looking ahead…Phase 2 continues this week. I will continue to track my eating, my symptoms and see what is to come. I said in the beginning of this entry that continuing my knowledge has played a huge impact in gaining control of my RA. In order to have power though you need to put that knowledge to action. That is exactly what I am trying to do through this blog and through this process.
YES this is the math nerd and teacher in me below! I love it!