Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beyond TSW : Autoimmune Protocol + Histamine Intolerance

Since starting TSW in January, I have had a sense that I need to do more for my body than simply "stop steroids."  Not only does it make sense that the human body will heal faster, and more completely, if given the correct fuel (food!) but, considering my own story, I've still been trying to pull the puzzle pieces together to find an exact cause/remedy for my original skin issues.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've always had minor skin issues, but things really spiraled out of control about 2.5 years ago (at a time when I had not used steroids in years!).  I was not a "regular" steroid user until these unexplained (and terrible) rashes starting appearing in my adulthood.  For this reason, I am not satisfied that I will heal completely from stopping steroids alone.  For me, it's just Step 1 in a process.  As I've been undergoing TSW, I have been in a constant search for more information about how to heal my skin issues and also heal all of the other damage that the steroids did to my body (besides the skin).  I believe that I am finally starting my journey down the correct path to healing my body completely!

To preface, I had previously started experimenting with the GAPS diet, but found myself having horrible reactions to leftover broth/soup, so I abandoned ship.  I know now that my reactions were histame-related (more information on this below).  Although the GAPS diet did not work for me, specifically, I still believe that it could be an excellent approach for healing for others.


Instead, I am embarking into:

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (her website: The Paleo Mom)


For those who know me, they know that I've eaten a mostly Paleo diet for over 3.5 years now (by mostly I mean 90-95%).  My diet has been fairly clean for a long time now, so parts of this approach are nothing new to me. However there is A LOT of information that I a.) did not know, b.) now understand the importance of incorporating for my own specific healing process!  On the whole, her approach is a bit more strict than "normal" Paleo, but for good reason!

Here's the rundown:

Besides the normal NO grains, NO legumes, NO dairy, the diet also excludes:
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • nightshades
  • coffee (of all the foods I am avoiding this is actually the saddest part for me)

Now that I'm not medicating myself (with steroids and only using antihistamines when absolutely necessary), I am also learning that I have a very severe histamine intolerance.  (Interestingly, The Paleo Approach also has a section about histamine intolerance outlined in the book!)  The great thing about not medicating yourself with drugs is that you can actually listen to your body and what it's telling you about the foods you eat.  

Therefore, I am also excluding the following foods (which are allowed on the normal Autoimmune Protocol, but should be avoided if you have histamine intolerance):

Veggies:
Spinach
Avocado

Fruit:
bananas
grapes
oranges
pineapples
strawberries
tangerines

Fermented anything (meats, sauerkraut, etc)

Leftover meat (histamine levels rise A LOT once a meat is cooked/leftover)
Pork
Certain Fish (there's a whole list of types of fish to avoid due to histamine content)
Green Tea
All alcohol


Christopher made this list for me as a guide (it's hanging on our fridge).....




One thing I need to change about this list (besides the Green Tea that I crossed out), is Chicken.  Chicken is allowed, but shouldn't be as much of a staple as red meat which has a better balance of Omega-3's, etc.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the list of "Foods to Avoid",  I am feeling empowered by the "Foods to Eat" list!  It's limiting, sure, but there are a lot of delicious foods that I am allowed to eat so I'm focusing on those!

So far, I'm almost a week into this diet.  I had a few mess-ups during the first 2 days (both histamine-related) so I got off to a pretty rocky start.  Hopefully I've gotten the mistakes out of my system so I can proceed with the healing.  Within the next few days, I'm going to try to post my day-to-day diet on here to start creating a log of my food intake.

To wrap things up, it feels really good to take your health into your own hands.  Everyone undergoing TSW probably understands this at least in part (we're all going against the advice of our doctors to try to heal ourselves, aren't we?!).  For me, gaining my health back does not simply boil down to "stop steroids," I believe it's going to take more than that (especially if I want to avoid having to visit ANY doctors' offices for a long, long while).  I never understood the desire for "true health" fully before--even when I was eating Paleo prior to my skin condition!  Health has so much more meaning for me now than simply "being skinny."  And now, it's even taking on more meaning than "clear skin."  I want to take care of my body and not abuse it in anyway; I want to help my body function at it's highest levels.  For me, it's taken a debilitating circumstance to knock me upside the head so I can learn about real health.

More soon!


4 comments:

  1. I just officially started doing Paleo two weeks ago, I've been eating clean since the start of TSW 10 months ago but I finally stopped wheat and dairy and my itching went down a lot and my legs started to clear up too. I think food really is the best bet for healing TSW. I've loved the challenge and I can see it makes you feel empowered too! Really lifts up the mood to be able to do something. Hope you're doing well and good luck with this!

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  2. This is interesting and similar to the health journey in currently undergoing. This may sound dumb but what is TSW? The Autoimmune Paleo is an amazing book! I was following the aip diet and flooding my system with fermented foods and spinach and all the healthy food that cause terrible reactions to people with histamine intolerance to find out i am histamine intolerant! I was a vegetarian for 10 years prior so it's been a rough ride honestly but I too feel I'm finally on the right track. I hope things are going well with your new approach!

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  3. I've had much worse eczema and other food issues since my son was born. Through lots of reading I discovered the histamine intolerance. I'm already on a strict diet (I've always been allergic to gluten and dairy). But the more food I cut out the worse I seem to be doing! I do take supplements to try to counteract the allergy problem (tested and given to me by a health specialist). I've been following the Paleo diet and just started doing the AIP also. Any suggestions?

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  4. Just wanted to stop in and say I'm 1 month into my TSW and I'm doing a sort of modified GAPS + Low Histamine + AIP + My own sensitivities diet. I love that I found your blog!

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