Friday, May 3, 2013

Good News, Bad News and Worse News - But Progress Towards Solving the Adrenal Mystery

So I got my IGG Allergy tests (including Candida) back from the Naturopath. I had an awesome recipe to share today for Baked Enchilada's but it will have to wait until next week. Today I'm just going to talk about my adrenal journey. If this is where your eye's glaze over feel free to come back another day when I'm back in recipe mode. 

But today its all about solving my adrenal fatigue mystery. I have fairly severe adrenal fatigue and don't want to be on adrenal support for the rest of my life so I'm pretty determined to figure this out.

As you might know, I have a pretty much lifelong history of stomach aches (self-diagnosed IBS), insomnia, severe sugar cravings and poor immunity. And probably a relatively high-stress lifestyle - I tended to push myself to the limit at times and am a bit of a high anxiety person. Okay - that's probably a bit of an understatement. I am high anxiety.

Anyway, in 2010/2011 I went through some REALLY stressful times. Had one of those years where I just had it piled on me and it finally broke me. Living off adrenaline and coffee just didn't fuel me anymore like it used to........I burned out. I felt terrible. So on top of my lifelong friends noted above, I also went through some pretty severe anxiety, panic attacks, brain fog, memory issues and extreme fatigue. Oh yeah, and anger and shoulder/neck/throat tension that got so bad I was in excruciating pain for 18 months. Fun times.

It took a while but I eventually ended up at a Naturopath. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I got B12 injections, took adrenal support, made some lifestyle changes (more childcare, earlier to bed) and got relatively better. Or at least well enough to try for baby number three. 

At that time I also got IGG food sensitivity testing done. These IGG allergy reports are done based on a blood sample and basically identify foods that are reacting to cause an immune response in your body. I'm not going to get into the details but that's not a good thing. 

The test I did included the top 90 foods. They are split into dairy, fish, fruit, meat, nuts/grains, vegetables and miscellaneous. When those test results came back I was reacting to all sorts of things across the board. Dairy - 3 foods of the 8 tested. Fish - 8 of the 11 tested. Fruit - 11 of the 16 tested. You get the picture. My body was having an immune response to almost everything. 

Lot of the reactions were low but I was still having a reaction. The problem was that it made it near impossible to identify what my actual food sensitivity was. I wasn't about to cut out all those foods.
What was apparent was that I had severe "leaky gut" syndrome. My stomach lining wasn't working probably so all sorts of foods were passing through to my blood stream but we weren't able to pin point what the trigger might be. And frankly, I wasn't fully into the whole "you are what you eat" mentality yet. Like I said, I got better "enough" based on my old standards and didn't really end up doing much with this information.

Fast forward to 2012. Another baby. Gave up caffeine during my pregnancy and started sleeping better for the first time in my life. After baby was born I had lots of weight to lose.  And through fate, luck and lots of reading I ended up going down the gluten free, low-carbohydrate eating path. It started off as a means to lose weight (and it worked) but I started feeling incredible. More energetic than I have probably felt my whole life. And that was the catalyst for me to completely overhaul my entire diet and go "clean". 

So I was (and am) sleeping much better, my digestion is working properly (when I am faithful to my diet guidelines), my immune system is working better (almost no colds or flu's this year) and I had lots of energy. Great. 

Except something was still not right. I started getting anxiety again. My sugar cravings are ridiculous. I get really hungry and I get moody. I'm not a moody person - I don't like it. That sounded moody - darn. So back I go to the Naturopath. Diagnosis - ADRENAL FATIGUE. Again.

But that doesn't really make sense. I'm not stressed out at all this year. I am having an awesome year. I am loving every single minute of maternity leave. I am eating clean. I am exercising. I am sleeping (okay - baby is a pathetic sleeper but I get enough sleep that I generally don't feel tired). I find it really odd that a person would have adrenal fatigue when they aren't stressed in the least and they have lots of energy.

Ahhh, but other things can stress the adrenals. Namely, sleep and digestive issues. So what is going on. I don't want to feel like shit anymore. I want to have patience with my kids. I want this figured out. 

First, I went back on adrenal support and I tell you those pills work for anxiety. They are natural and awesome. But I don't want to stay on them forever..........in my dream world I wouldn't be on any supplements except maybe Vitamin D. 

Next, we got tons of blood work done. Result - anemic. Dangerously low iron levels and lowish B 12. That explained why I was starting to get severely fatigued and dizzy. 

Then I did the stomach acid test. Result - very low stomach acid. Okay - makes sense that I'm getting anemic and low B 12 if my stomach is not absorbing anything. 

But why. 

So I decided it was time to get my food panels re-done. And I got my results..........................I haven't discussed with my doctor so this is just my interpretation but here goes.

THE GOOD NEWS

This is one section of the report which shows how I am reacting to fruits. 
The number of foods I am reacting to has been reduced significantly. Seriously.  In 2011, I was showing some sort of reaction to about 62 of the 90 foods tested. This time I was only reacting to 21 of the 90 foods. And most of these reactions were very low. This leads me to believe that my clean eating has significantly helped with my general leaky gut problem. Yay - happy dance. That's awesome. I've worked hard on my diet so I'm really glad it is doing something to help me with these problems. Yes - I am proud of myself. Big pat on the back.

And given now we can clearly see what I have sensitivities to now, there is a chance that cutting out these foods could cure me? Cure stomach issues I have had since childhood. I'm hopeful. Maybe. That would be so cool.

THE BAD NEWS

The bad news was that what I am having moderate/high reactions to are the following:

  • Whey 
  • Yogurt
  • Yeast
  • Banana's
  • Pineapple
  • Mushrooms
Okay - I can deal with that.............except the yogurt and banana's. Most people would freak out about the yeast but I don't give a crap. I gave up donuts and bread months ago and I can live without it. And I love mushrooms but I can live without them. There are lots of options for whey protein so other than $100 worth of protein powder in my basement that needs to be eating (drank) that's okay. 

But banana's - I LOVE banana's. They are awesome in banana bread. They are awesome in a smoothie. They are portable. They make an awesome topping on my Chia porridge. 

And yogurt. Really. Don't take away my yogurt. Please.  OMG - I will never eat yogurt topped with banana's again.

And this time its pretty apparent that these are my food sensitivities. These results aren't hard to interpret. My leaky gut is not making the results hard to read. My body does not like banana's and it does not like yogurt. I'm going to have to ELIMINATE them from my diet. I want to cry but I will do it. Because it will be worth it if it solves the adrenal mystery. 

THE WORSE NEWS

The whole banana ordeal is really a mute point. I can't eat banana's anymore anyway.........I can't eat any fruit. I don't know what the heck I'm going to eat. I have a seriously high Candida overgrowth.

I don't swear much but I want to swear. A string of swears.

That sucks. Those buggers love sugar. You get rid of them by eliminating sugar. Including fruit. Including everything. The Candida diet is RESTRICTIVE.

If you know the kind of diet I have been eating, most people would find it restrictive. Ha, its a walk in the park compared to the Candida diet. No dairy, no coffee, no sugar (except Stevia), no fruit. No sweet potatoes, beets. The list goes on.........and on.

I suspected that I might have had this. But I was tested for it in 2011 and only showed a moderate reaction. I'm so much healthier now and eat so much better that I thought, prayed, hoped that my suspicion wasn't correct. But I was right.


So my "mama's pantry" is going to have to change yet again. And my recipes are probably going to start looking different again. No more apple butter sauces. No more Greek yogurt in everything. No more chocolate everything. No more maple syrup or agave.

If this sounds like a pity party, it is.

Buts its only because I know that I'm going to do what I have to do to fight this beast. This sugar crazed beast called Candida.

But if it means I can get better, fully better and be the best version of myself at some point then I will do it. And if my sugar cravings don't consume my thoughts and I'm not hungry all the time that would be just fabulous.

If this seems like a lot of information. It is. I'm just working things out for myself. And I'm sharing along the way. I used to be too proud to show my weaknesses - I liked being known as an efficient little Type a machine. Well, look where it got me. Burn out. So I'm sharing my journey and maybe it will help someone out there. If you don't feel great or your moods are all over the place there are people and tests that can help you figure things out. You don't necessarily need pharmaceuticals. You might just need to give up banana's. Hey Mom? She doesn't read my blog so she won't see this but I think she should.

I am blessed to have the resources to get these tests run. They aren't cheap. But they are definitely something to think about. So wish me luck and say a prayer that I can find the willpower to do what I need to do.

Have a great weekend!

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