Tag Archives: allergies

Embarking on a new adventure

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And one I’m not terribly excited about nonetheless.

After much reading of books and blogs and much discussion with several friends who’ve made the leap, I am going gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free.   

Immediately.

I am waiting another month, for the good of all mankind, to go caffeine free.

I am in considerable grief about saying goodbye to my favorite food group- processed- and full of confusion as I dropped all the Cokes off at the communal office kitchenette.  I may have to go back in and, with a sharpie, write on all the  bottles “NOT FOR YOU AMANDA.”  And then, most tragically, I ended my quite lengthy relationship with the best, most dependable, tastiest men on the planet (except for you James Franco)- Ben & Jerry.  SOB.

There are several reasons why I’m making this switch- first, there have been studies showing significant improvements in RA patients who follow gluten free diets.  Since I’m not doing well right now, going gluten free definitely can’t make things worse.  So, why not? Second, if the phrase “you are what you eat” is really true, then I am a Chocolate-Caramel-Macchiato-Lean Cuisine-Calzone-Coke-Easy Cheese-Angel Hair Pasta-Bottle of Red Wine-Chicken Wing rather than an actual person. Third, I’ve always had food sensitivities and allergies.  I’m allergic to shellfish and avocadoes- allergic to the point that when I accidentally get these in my system, I immediately develop huge sexy Angelina lips that are so NOT sexy because they are accompanied by some pretty impressive wheezing and (wait for….wait for it) EAR SWELLING.  Let’s just say that I was the complete life of a Superbowl party one year without intending to be.  Cringe. I’m also lactose intolerant.  It would make sense to me that if 3 known foods lead to some very violent reactions in my body, it is possible that another type of food could lead to a less pronounced and immediate reaction.

I’m at the point where something’s got to give and I need to make sure I have all my bases covered.  This is something I’ve been considering for awhile and something that at this moment I feel like I can’t put off any longer.  I’m also dropping the last remnant of dairy in my life (cheeses) and eliminating sugar (at least in a refined form- I’m still eating natural sugars.)

So yes, back to the events of this week.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

My weekly trip to the grocery store yesterday took me over an hour.  I’m usually in and out in 15 minutes- I walk in, grab some oranges, and then head for the freezer section.  But yesterday, I walked in with a list and had to read the ingredients on all of the packaging before I put it in my cart.  I also switched grocery stores- from Harris Teeter to Trader Joe’s because TJ has a more extensive gluten free/ organic selection- so I had NO CLUE where anything was.

I am happy to report that I can eat corn tortillas and found gluten free refried beans and soy cheese.  That is my favorite meal, as disgusting as it sounds.  So, suffice it to say that I shall not starve although I am about as excited at the prospect of “soy cheese” as I usually am about dental work.

My immediate goal for now, besides that whole “I have no freaking clue how to cook thing” or that irritating “so I’ve read the book, now how do I really do it” is to find replacements for the things that I crave and/or eat frequently.  There’s just no way I’m going to succeed at this if I don’t.  And quickly!

To do this, I have emailed our local culinary school to see if they offer continuing ed classes that would help me to better understand what I can eat and how I can prepare it.  And maybe, just maybe, they can include a quick little seminar on Water: Tips For Boiling.  LOL.  

This could be interesting.

I feel like such a dirty hippie. :)

Does Trader Joe’s sell patchouli? 

Note: give me a day or so and I will have my reading materials posted for those who may be interested.  If you’d like to start where I started, do a Google search on “wheat gluten mechanism AND rheumatoid arthritis.”

Almost…but not quite.

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I almost love this time of year.

The warmer weather (high 80’s for the past few days!), enjoying a glass of vino on the back patio after work, joints not being stiff and achy from the cold.  And then there’s all of that yellow stuff.  I left one of my clients this afternoon and witnessed a pollen tornado when the wind blew slightly. 

Allergies.  Ugh.

I got in my car and promptly called my eye doctor to order a new box of contacts so I can throw the ones currently caked to my eyes in the trash.

Pre RA, I had serious allergy issues starting in high school.  I was the unlucky butt of the high school gossip machine when, for a whole week during an especially rough allergy season, I threw up every morning in the high school bathroom.  Yes, they thought I was pregnant- friends, teachers, the whole lot of them- and even though I assured everyone that my boyfriend of the time and I were doing nothing that could even remotely cause a pregnancy, it was still highly awkward to have to field those questions, especially when my parents heard about it.  For the record, we realized after a week of this that it was caused by my taking a new prescription of allergy meds in the morning on an empty stomach.  The vomiting stopped when I started taking them at bedtime.  Yes, I’m still slightly defensive of this.

In college, I wound up having to take allergy shots and continued to do so for about five years.  The results were immediate- I remember calling my parents several months after I started them to inform them that I had just been on a hayride. Success!

I’ve always wondered about the interaction between allergy shots and RA.  I mean, I know that if you have serious issues with one thing of the autoimmune variety that it does predispose you to having serious issues with another.  When I was first diagnosed, I really wanted to go back on allergy shots to see if this would help.  I based this off of the fact that I had had such tremendous relief from allergies and that if the shots could train my body how to appropriately respond to allergens, then maybe just maybe it could retrain my body’s response with rheumatoid arthritis. 

I mentioned this to my first rheumatologist and he shot it down immediately.  Oh well.

Apparently, from what he told me, this could actually make it worse.  I can kinda see where he’s coming from with that- I guess that these are two different responses with one immune system- but I have always been curious.  An out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system, right?

So, while the allergies subsided, the RA ran wild.  My only solace is that allergies tend to change over time- I read somewhere that they run in seven year cycles- so I’m hoping that the RA will surprise me and do the same.

And for now, I will continue to almost love this time of year…with a healthy dose of Zyrtec.