What am I supposed to eat?

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My food intake was severly restricted for the next two months. Caffeine, alcohol and almost all sugars, including those in fruit, were to be avoided. This seemed daunting, to say the least. Another look at my red, swollen fingers and I jumped into the deep end of the pool. Skin is our largest organ, often the overlooked one, and mine was in rough shape.

Within 7-10 days, there was a significant difference in my fingers. The deep burning itch was nearly gone. No new blisters had formed and some of the cracks were healing over.

I felt like I was eating vegetables and plain meat, fish and chicken all day. To make a cup of hot water more exciting, I would add a drop of peppermint and pretend I was having a coffee. I’d wrap my hnds around the warm mug, close my eyes and recall the memories of rich dark coffee with a stupid amount of cream. That is how I drank coffee, it had to turn the right shade with real cream, not milk, not whitener or any other chemical concoction. The smell of peppermint would hit my nose and the spell was broken. The mornings turned into plain hot water and the peppermint water was saved for the evening to soothe away the day. I found almost every herbal tea tasted the same, so I stopped buying them.

Movie snack food used to be chips and dip. I was now snacking on cut veg and plain smashed avocado. No more microwave popcorn either. I would nibble on a counted amount of raw nuts.

My follow-up visit with the Naturoapth was very encouraging. “We are on the right path,” he said smiling (cue the fist-pump). I was motivated and determined to have my skin completely healed, so I forged onward. Foul tasting supplement after vile smelling drop.

Six weeks into this dietary journey, I noticed a few things: ny fingers and hands were almost back to normal, my elbows were nearly clear of their scaly red patches and my clothes were looser. The healing skin, I had hoped for, the looser clothes? Well, that was an unexpected, yet welcome bonus. We don’t own a scale but going from my last known weight to what I was at (according to my parents scale) there was an 18 pound difference.

At the 8 week point, my food sesntitivity testing was repeated. I was allowed to start adding some of the previously forbidden foods back in slowly. Add one thing, several times a day, for several days, watch for reactions and repeat. I was still to eliminate: sodium nitrate, msg, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, rye, spelt, wheat, saccharin, lemon, plums, flaxseed, curry, thyme, oregano and baker’s yeast. This list was much more manageable.

I remember adding a bit of feta cheese as my first thing. My salad game got an upgrade. That first salty, tangy bite was out of this world. I was adding only one tablespoon, but, my tastebuds were in heaven! My skin remained calm. I continued adding previously off-limit items in the same fashion.

That first cup of coffee? Oh man! I can’t even describe how rich and dark and soul soothing it was. Mornings were going to be alright in my world once again. First glass of red wine? Well, I had to sip that the entire evening. Having eliminated all alcohol for two months and the weight loss made that first glass very potent.

The road ahead no longer seemed hopeless. I was now able to eat some of the things my family was enjoying. During my healing, I continued baking for my family. I longed to sink my teeth into a warm, homemade banana chocolate chip muffin. I decided to try to convert some of my recipes so I could enjoy them too.

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I have a what overgrowth?

Candida. Leaky Gut.

Never heard of either of them.

My inaugural visit with the Naturopath went something like this:

He looked at my fingers, hands and elbows and smiled. “I am pretty confident this is food related,” he said in a very soothing voice, “we can help you.” If I was capable of doing a cartwheel, I would have done so right on the spot. He booked me to have a food sensitivity screening test and we wold talk after to discuss our path to healing my skin.

The skeptic in me looked at the Electrodermal Screening Tool and scoffed inwardly. I put on my polite game face and sat opposite the technician who was about to conduct the test.

She pulled out several wooden trays of tiny glass vials that stood row upon row in some sort of secret order. I had to hold one part of the device in one hand and she placed each test vial in the machine and touched the tip of the screening tool to finger on the other hand. The machine made all kinds of whale-song noises and various gauges reacted to each and every glass vial. This went on for quite a while. I really was wondering what I signed myself up for, plus I was paying for this too. The testing completed, I was to wait in the reception area for the results.

Well, apparently I was sensitive to almost everything I ate. I was to stay away from: wheat, barley, buckwheat, amaranth, kamut, quinoa, millet, rye, spelt, msg, sodium nitrate, saccharin, horseradish, peas, onions, cherries, lemons, pineapple, plums, raspberries, raisins, flax, poppy seeds, baker’s yeast, coffee, wine, cottage cheese, vinegar, hops, curry, pimento, cinnamon, thyme and oregano.

Some things were no big deal. I had never heard of quinoa or kamut. I didn’t eat things with saccharin. You could chase me around the block with hot stuff like horseradish. Wait a second . .  . no coffee? No wine? No bacon (msg and nitrates)? So no more pizza, toast, and a whole world of stuff I really enjoyed eating. I really liked baking (and eating) cookies and cakes and all the sweet stuff. Coffee is a food group right? This might be harder than I thought.

I was sent away with a bag full of supplements to heal my Leaky Gut and Candida overgrowth (didn’t know what either was or that I had them).  I dutifully ingested Slippery Elm Bark, Vitamin A with very specific dosages, Essential Fatty Acids in drop form, something specifically targeted to kill off the Candida and a few other goodies whose names escape me. These things were taken with very specific protocols. Some with food, some on an empty stomach, some once a day and some several times a day. Some tasted quite nasty and others were bordering on pleasant.

Grocery shopping and eating was about to change.

 

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