Elimination Diet

Around the end of August or early September, my blood glucose numbers started to rise. I was occasionally at 150 or even 170 in the morning, and at lunch, I would be 130-150 after a very low carb breakfast and a physically active morning. Odd.

Usually if I ate a low carb breakfast, sausage and eggs or similar, combined with house cleaning during the morning, I’d easily be below 100 come lunch time. Often I was in the 90’s, and if I was late for lunch, even by 30 minutes, I’d be shaking (a sign of low blood glucose) and in the 70’s or 80’s.

This wasn’t happening anymore. Hmmm, what is going on?

At first I tried to eat even lower carb meals, eggs/sausage/brie/pickles became a favorite breakfast combination. I tried to snack on carb-free/low-carb things throughout the day. My go-to snacks were cheese, cottage cheese, and veggies with dill dip.

After a couple weeks, I was getting really frustrated. I had just come off another accidental gluten ingestion that messed up my blood glucose readings, and I was feeling very defeated.

Is this what my life is going to look like? Going from one accidental gluten ingestion to another? Constantly searching that that “wrong thing” I ate? Am I going to be living in anxiousness about when I should go back on insulin?

I know. I tend to have catastrophic and snowballing thoughts: one thing leads to the next worse thing which leads to the next…The next thing you know, I’ve convinced myself I’m dying of cancer. (kidding. sort of.)

I let this trend go for about 4 weeks. By the end of that time, I was pretty certain I needed to get back on Toujeo, the long acting insulin I had been on initially after my Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I hated the thought of this. I felt like a failure.

Was I just not trying hard enough? Was I eating too many carbs? Did I unknowingly eat gluten (again!) and kill my pancreas more? Am I just overtaxing my pancreas with too many carbs? Was it just a time bomb and my pancreas would die off anyway? Was all that I read about gluten true? Have I worked so hard for nothing????

So many questions! So many questions with complicated answers! There were too many variables, and I felt overwhelmed and not sure where to even begin to look for the answer.

Sometime back in the summer, a friend had suggested a book to me, The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases by Dr. Amy Meyer. Intriguing title, no? Type 1 diabetes in an autoimmune disease, so I thought I should check it out. What could it hurt?

I checked the book out of the library, and I began to devour it immediately. Everything Dr. Meyer explained about how autoimmune diseases worked was up to snuff with the other information I’d read (Gut by Giulia Enders, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, MD, and many other articles, medical studies, and blog posts).

I was hooked. I knew she was on to something as I’d already made many of the changes she suggested. The primary one being giving up gluten.

Her solution to basically all autoimmune disease?

Change your diet. Move your body some. Get enough sleep.

These are all the same things I read in Grain Brain and on Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve seen it over and over and over again in regards to a huge variety of physical ailments.

There is a caveat: most of my sources aren’t talking about Type 1 diabetes. I wonder why? Maybe everyone’s pancreas is long dead before they think to try diet changes? I’m really not sure, but the principles work. I’m a walking, talking, real-life experiment, and it is working.

Back to the book, I’m all in until I get to the 30 day reset diet (or elimination diet). It is strict. It is extreme. It is expensive. The diet eliminates everything that causes inflammation in the body. Once the inflammation is under control, some of the items can be added back in after the 30 days.

I figure I’ve got nothing to lose, and I might as well give this a try before going back on insulin. What could it hurt?

Dan is all in, as always. He is the utmost supportive in all of my health issues and endeavors, and we decide the whole family will go on the diet. It simply isn’t fair for me to be deprived certain foods with my family eating them in front of me, and it also isn’t fair to make two different meals at mealtime (Which I quickly found out was impossible. These meals took so much time and effort to make!).

Let me describe diet to you:

Positive spin: You may eat meat, fruit, and vegetables (except nightshades).

Negative spin: No gluten, no grains (no corn, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, spelt, etc), no legumes, no nuts, no nightshades (tomatoes and peppers), no eggs, no dairy, no coffee (will the world end?!?!)

Oh. my. goodness. What do I eat? I was on regular rotation of oatmeal and eggs/sausage for breakfast. I was left with only sausage. Ah! What do I eat for breakfast?!

Because of this conundrum, it did reinforce that I needed to follow her meal plan exactly, and I did. i bought every ingredient and followed every recipe. Some  were good, others were not. We ate it anyway. We drank bone broth with our breakfasts and ate more vegetables than I thought were possible.

Guess what happened? You already know, don’t you?

It worked.

Immediately, my blood glucose numbers returned to normal (my Type 1 diabetic normal, <130 before meals and in the morning).

What. In. The. World.

::Step on soap box::

If I wasn’t a crazy crunchy momma before, I sure am now. Our diets are literally killing us, and we are so happy to not change it just for the gratification of a sugary donut or bowl of pasta or heaping ice cream cone.

::Step off soap box::

Full disclosure though: I only stuck with the meal plan for two weeks. It simply wasn’t tasty enough, and the price tag was killing our budget. So I took the principles, and I made my own meal plan. I did start to slowly reintroduce foods after two weeks too (too soon according to Dr. Meyer!) because my children needed nuts to snack on! Our snacking options were extremely limited!

So far I have reintroduced nuts, eggs, nightshades, and coffee. All is well in blood-glucose land with these additions. It’s been 5 or 6 weeks since I started the diet, and I’m doing so good. I’ve been having the occasional alcoholic beverage (wine or hard cider), and that is doing fine too. Right now my (our) diet is grain free (this eliminates all gluten too, gluten is really the primary key to autoimmune issues) and dairy free.

I am planning to try some dairy to see if I can handle that. I’d LOVE to be able to eat dairy again, but it is highly inflammatory. I suspect it is the cause of my elevated blood glucose in August and September. As I tried to eat lower and lower carb meals and snacks, I ate more and more dairy: cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, brie, goat cheese, etc. etc. I am not hopeful that it will work for me to eat it again.

And now with the holidays looming, I have big research to do! How to make a paleo thanksgiving meal?!

P.S. A grain-free, dairy-free diet is called paleo. It’s everywhere, thank goodness! I have no shortage of recipes and sources for tasty food!

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