Food Sensitivities and Girlie Problems

The consequences of my week of rebellion extended further than I originally expected. As the yeast infection cleared, it left in its wake a pretty severe autoimmune flare “down there”. I’m assuming the infection triggered my immune system, which went overboard and didn’t know when to quit. This was a new experience for me, as my issues have always been oral flares, which are exponentially more painful and debilitating in comparison. At least with this one, I could still eat.

And recovery was pretty quick, thanks in part to helichrysum essential oil. That stuff is crazy expensive, but works wonders when it comes to general healing and pain relief. And a little goes a very long way. I’ve been using (topically) a 95/5 blend of olive oil/helichrysum oil- and it’s been very effective.

I’m still playing with my nutrition plan. Based on recent and past experiences, there are a few things I’ve learned about my body. One, I have a hard time processing sugar- whether it’s white sugar, agave nectar, or honey- I can feel it almost immediately when I’ve had too much and I know this negatively affects my metabolic processes. Two, caffeine exacerbates this issue with sugar and makes it even more difficult to keep it balanced- leaving me with lots of cravings and panicky moments of low blood sugar. Three, dairy (whether raw or pasteurized, organic or not, cultured (like yogurt and kefir) or not) makes me slightly congested. Ghee (clarified butter) does not have this effect, but I’m not sure about regular butter. This congestion lets me know that my body is having some sort of immune-reaction to dairy, so I really should avoid it. At least until I give my gut more time to heal. I may have to experiment more with goat milk and the products made from it, since I’m not sure if it affects me the same way, but for the time being, I’m going to avoid cow milk and anything made from it.

Then there’s soy, corn, and gluten. None of which I’ve noticed a reaction to, but read enough about that they all make me nervous. So, to avoid that crazy, insect-stomach exploding BT toxin in GMO corn, I will not eat any corn, or anything made from corn, that is not organic. When it comes to soy, I will only eat organic, fermented versions (tempeh, miso) or completely unprocessed organic soybeans (edamame). And, until this disease is in remission, I’ll still be avoiding gluten. Once I’m well, I may incorporate some sprouted/soaked organic wheat or sourdough.

So that’s my basic plan. Plus I’ll be sticking to organic meats and eggs. And avoiding pork, shellfish, and fish that don’t have fins/scales (like catfish) in an attempt to implement (sort of) the Maker’s Diet (book by Jordan Rubin).

This week, I’m down to 14 mg on my prednisone taper. Dealing with a few uncomfortable oral lesions, but not a big deal.

Here’s some of what I’ve been eating.

Breakfast: 2 organic eggs, Applegate farms turkey breast (no nitrites/nitrates, humanely raised), spring mix greens and fermented veggies.


My new favorite treat- dried figs with goat cheese and cinnamon. Sooo good.


Chicken salad for dinner, dressed with homemade mayo watered down with fermented veggie juice.


And a chocolate milkshake: frozen banana, cup of ice, dates, coconut milk, almond milk, vanilla extract, sprinkle of cinnamon, carob powder, maca powder, 2 cups of spinach, and a few drops of stevia. I swear it tastes like a Frosty from Wendy’s.


The Week of Rebellion

Well, I got frustrated with the fact that I got seriously sick again after 6 months of nearly perfect eating (as far as I understand nutrition) and total focus on consistent supplementation and funneling all of our resources Into my health and recovery. I was pissed. What was I doing wrong? And what’s the point of working so hard and sacrificing so much (especially financially) if nothing has changed.

In an act of rebellion, I relaxed (slightly) on my diet. I drank coffee for the first time since I left the hospital in January. I’m pretty sure I actually got high on that first cup. Had a small cup with raw goat milk or cow cream and raw organic honey for the next 4 days (except the one day I had coffee at a friends house and used flavored creamer (gasp!)). Anyway, after a few days I started noticing how jittery I felt. And there was a moment in the grocery store when I felt like my blood sugar suddenly plummeted and left me shaky and starving and panicky- leading me to scarf down a whole package of goat cheese in the car before driving home. I remember that kind of thing happening regularly in the past, but I’d forgotten about it, because it hasn’t happened in the past 6 months. Conclusion? Coffee is not right for me. At least not caffeinated. Lesson learned.

In my rebellion, I also ate whatever I wanted at play dates and parties that week. Gluten? Yum. Dairy? Yum. Sugar? Yum. GMO? Yum. Why deprive myself at social functions if I keep getting sick anyway? Yeah, well. There was a consequence for that.

For women who take a lot of prednisone, yeast infections are very common because decreased immunity creates a prime environment for the fungus to thrive. Apparently, my healthy, low sugar diet was protecting me from this terribly uncomfortable side effect, because after my week of rebellion, I have a raging one. I’ve had issues with oral thrush along the way, but haven’t had any problems “down there” until now. And lemme tell ya- this discomfort is not worth those sugary (albeit delicious) desserts. It’s just not.

I didn’t deviate much from my usual plan at home (aside from 2 bowls of sugary cereal- only in the house as a treat for my daughter), but I did try incorporating some raw dairy into my diet. Got a little congested (I’ve noticed that before in response to dairy) and got lots of cystic acne in my T-zone. All around my mouth and nose and between my eyebrows. I haven’t had acne like this since college. Not sure if it’s a reaction to the stress of everything, the dairy, or the toxins in all the cheat foods I was eating- or a combination of all of that. I hadn’t realized how good my skin had actually gotten, so that’s additional motivation to keep me on track with my nutrition efforts.

Coming off my week of rebellion kinda feels like coming home from a crazy drunken spring break or Mardi Gras. It was fun, but I’m still suffering the consequences. And I never want to do it again.

Not everything that I ate was horrible. Here’s some pics of some good things. Sorry- no evidence of the bad stuff.

Ingredients for amazing chicken salad. Including my homemade mayo- emulsified in my new vitamix! Yay!


Chicken salad sandwich on a gluten-free bun with fermented veggies on the side.


Ingredients for organic roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary. In the bowl: crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.


Once they cooled, I tore all the meat from the bones (keeping it in the fridge for more chicken salad) and then put the carcasses in the crock pot with lots of water, herbs, celery, carrots, a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt, and let it go for 24 hours. The bone broth is supposed to be very healing for the gut. I’ve been drinking it most mornings since giving up coffee (again).


This green smoothie tastes like a vanilla milk shake. No joke. Frozen banana, ice, full fat coconut milk, tons of spinach, a few dates, vanilla extract, maca powder, and a few drops of stevia. So, so, so delicious.


Raw Dairy

A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, and I guess I needed some down time to figure out where I’m going/what I’m doing with my approach and treatment plan. I’m still figuring things out, but I’m excited to start tapering off this prednisone next week. And, while I doubt I’ll continue to blog everything I eat, I intend to post any significant changes to my nutrition plan and favorite recipes, etc.

My most recent change is adding a bit of raw dairy into my diet. I found a great little shop that distributes raw dairy and pastured eggs from local farms, and bought raw yogurt, kefir, cow cream, and goat milk yesterday. Plus 2 dozen pastured eggs and a couple of dragon fruit (soooo yummy!)



I’ve also introduced occasional organic coffee back into my diet. Had it this morning with raw cream and raw local honey. Oh. My. Goodness.


For breakfast, I had homemade granola (oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, agave nectar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract- all mixed up and baked at 350 for about half an hour, then added raisins) with raw yogurt. The yogurt is a much thinner consistency than what you buy at the store, so that’ll take some getting used to, but the flavor was great.

All the raw dairy is labeled “for pet/ag use only”. It’s illegal to sell it for human consumption in Florida. It freaks me out just a little bit (am I going to drop dead from some crazy bacterial infection after consuming this stuff???) and by buying raw dairy am I inserting myself into a movement of hippies and conspiracy theorists that buck the system for the fun of it? I don’t know. But breaking the law is kind of fun. And if half of my research into the health benefits of raw, grass fed milk is legit, it’s totally worth it.

Grateful Flow

I’m in a much better place now. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physically, things are moving forward slowly. I’m on day 2 of no fever, and my energy level improves a bit each day. I’ve lost most of my voice and it’s still extremely painful to eat and drink, but I no longer choke as I try to swallow. I nearly passed out from the pain after taking a sip of pomegranate juice this evening. I don’t know what I was thinking.

A bizarre physical side effect of something during this process (I think the high dose steroid injection) was the overnight disappearance of the baby belly I’ve been lugging around since my daughter was born nearly 3 years ago. Despite my overall lean build and relatively active lifestyle (when I’m not sick) I’ve had a protruding belly that makes me look about 3 months pregnant. It completely disappeared overnight. My husband noticed immediately. “Where’d your belly go? I mean- it is FLAT! That’s crazy!” I’m actually expecting it to gradually return as the steroid effects wear off. But it lets me know that there is, indeed, something going on in my gut. The protruding belly has obviously been a result of some sort of inflammation, rather than the baby fat/post baby lack of muscle tone that I thought it was. And, while a flat tummy is fun and all, I see this as a red flag that I have severe digestion issues that need to be addressed if I am to regain my health.

Emotionally, I received a lot of support this past week from a precious old friend whom God sent for a visit at just the right moment. She’ll never know how much our conversations helped to ground me and center me in the midst of all this chaos.

Spiritually, I gained a lot from church on Sunday. My infectious disease doc’s PA attends my church, and waited to speak with me after the service. She participated in my care during the hospitalization, so she knows my history. She asked how I was doing, and I just said, “Not good. It’s the same as before.” She hugged me and started praying in earnest for all the specifics that only she could understand about what I’m dealing with. The lesions, the thrush, for my throat to open up… She cried with me.

I’ve also been reading a surprisingly amazing book by the actor from Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, called True Strength. My mom gave it to me shortly after the hospitalization in January, and I just never got around to reading it. It’s about his battle and recovery from 3 strokes in his mid-thirties. One of the parts I like most is when one of the specialists he sees suggests he do something called the Grateful Flow. It basically entails thinking of a few things you’re truly grateful for until you feel that energy flow open up (sounds kooky- but I feel it quickly when I do this- it flows out of/into my heart chakra- again, kooky, I know). Anyway, once the energy opens up, you fight the urge for further thought and simply pray for wisdom and a quiet mind. This part has proven more difficult for me so far, but I think it’s the type of thing that takes practice.

I’ve been so enthralled by the book (and I’ve had a lot time on my hands) that I decided to look up those old Hercules episodes on Netflix. Yeah. I don’t recommend them. Maybe they were great in the early 90’s, but wow. Just wow. I’ll just stick to his book for now.

And in my grateful flow recently: I’m pretty sure I’ve evaded hospitalization on this one, I can eat and drink (albeit very little), my precious husband is a gem, my dad is alive and functioning quite well (all things considered), my God is by my side and offers me constant guidance and comfort, and He has sent me exactly who and what I needed, exactly when I needed them. Faith is belief in the promise of things that have yet to be seen. I’m still struggling to have faith in God’s promise for my healing. But He’s working on me.