Here’s my week 1 (left) and week 7 (right) comparison.
Please excuse the unshaved legs. It is what it is.
So, it’s still there and still noticeable. But, it is lighter and has less defined borders. Within the GA lesion, there’s less definition as well.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the time of day has some affect on what the GA looks like. Strangely, in the evenings, it looks much lighter; that’s the opposite of what I would have expected. I guess I assumed that maybe being up and around would do something with the blood flow and make it appear darker. That doesn’t really make sense I guess, since this has nothing to do with blood flow. It only has to do with the autoimmune response of my body to something. So, what I’m kicking around in my mind right now is that maybe it’s lighter in the evening because I’m drinking and eliminating during the day; that means I’m flushing out anything that I might be reacting to. During the night, everything is just hanging out in my body. I wouldn’t even call this a theory; more like a grasp at some dangling straws.
In case you are wondering, I always take my pictures in the morning. So, even at it’s worst, it still looks improved.
I’ve decided to not do weekly posts. They were a lot to keep up with, and the change is so slow that I was really getting discouraged with such a granular comparison. I’ll try to find the right balance.
I’m still plugging along. The hardest thing right now is making food for my family. I’m definitely in a rut with what I eat; and really, that’s fine. I have no desire to mix things up. But, my family’s eating preferences probably aren’t as boring as mine. I’ve definitely been struggling to keep their options diverse while mine have become less so.
Also, in comparing week 1 (left) with this week (right), I can’t really convince myself I see much difference. So, the wind is a bit out of my sails right now.
I’m still seeing downward movement with my weight, and I feel good, so those two things are enough to keep me motivated.
This week’s summary is going to mainly be about the change I’m seeing. The granuloma annulare on my ankle seems to have faded a bit, and that makes me ridiculously excited. The harsh light in my bathroom does me no favors here; I promise that it is definitely is far less in-your-face under normal lights. The pictures below start with week 1 on the left and go to this week on the right.
I’m not going to claim it’s a major difference, but the image on the far right shows a lighter coloring and the edges are less distinct than the previous two images. When looking at it in person, it doesn’t appear to be the angry red-purple color it had been.
Even the slightest change is exciting to me, because I haven’t seen it do anything but grow, since 2010, unless I was using steroid cream or if I was pregnant–in both cases it went away.
I’m not seeing that much change with the GA on the top of my right foot, so, no side-by-side comparison for now.
Week 3 Stats:
I tried a couple of non-typical–for me– foods this week. AIP isn’t just about eliminating foods, but it’s also an opportunity to eat nutrient-dense foods that will help your body heal. I thought I’d try salmon and beef liver.
The salmon was an epic bust. I cannot stand fish; I had a bout of food poisoning my senior year in high school–on spring break no less!– and I haven’t been able to eat it since. Shrimp and lobster, those things are fine. Anything with fins, instant nausea. But, I thought I should pull up my big girl panties and try again. I really did cook it well. It was flaky and moist. It was flavored well with dill and lemon. Really, it tasted good. But the minute that salmon was in my mouth, I had to fight the urge to hurl. I struggled through the entire piece, but the leftovers sat untouched in my fridge. My 4-year old, who was very excited to help cook it, took a bite and also rejected it. She told me the next day that I was “chopped for that fish.” Maybe we watch too much Food Network together.
I tried a beef liver pate recipe from Autoimmune Paleo, and that was much more successful! We have A LOT of beef liver from a half steer we bought back in June. The liver has been taunting me from the freezer so I tackled it a few nights ago. The recipe I used included bacon, so, you know, it was the best opportunity for this to taste good. The only modification I made to the recipe was to puree some of the bacon with the liver instead of only stirring in the bacon chunks. I feel like that was a good call. The recipe made a lot of pate, so I’m going to freeze half of it and try to eat some of it weekly.
I noticed this week that my gas from the first week has mostly subsided. I still don’t know the cause, but I’m glad for the progress. I also have a belief that the granuloma annulare has lightened ever so slightly on my ankle, but it’s possible that this is my very wishful thinking. Time will confirm or deny this belief.
[Update: I feel more strongly a couple of days after this post that it has changed a wee bit; what makes it look different to me that you can’t see in the picture is that it doesn’t seem to be as raised as it was.]
Week 2 Stats:
Beef Liver Pate – Autoimmune Protocol (Mickey Prescott)
The first week of AIP wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. I think having been mostly Whole30ing already–except for during the end of December–helped a lot. It didn’t seem that difficult to remove a few more items from the meal plan. I thought I’d really miss eggs; I miss how cheap of a protein source they are, but I’m not counting down the days until I can eat them again.
Speaking of cheap, this protocol ain’t. I had been eating a lot of eggs. I used tomatoes to stretch a lot of meals–spaghetti sauce, flavor in meatloaf, etc. Now I’m eating meat and veggies pretty much three times a day. Meat is expensive. I go through veggies VERY quickly. I’m going to experiment in the coming weeks to see how I can get the cost down AND not have to go to the grocery store 3 times a week. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Much like the Whole30, within a couple of days of starting AIP, my joint pain virtually disappeared. I mean, I was having some serious joint pain in the later part of December. It might never cease to amaze me that something I’m eating can cause so much pain. My sincerest hope is that I reintroduce correctly this time to determine what it is that causes such inflammation in me.
The last thing I noticed was that this week, I had a serious amount of gas. Sorry; it is what it is. This surprised me because I never really experienced it on Whole30, and what I’m eating now is pretty much all on the Whole30 meal plan also. I’ve googled and not much comes up about why this might be. The few things I’ve gleaned is that it could reflect a sensitivity to something I’m eating or it could be a sign of a shift in gut flora. If it’s the latter, that’s great! If it’s the former, that’s strange.
Week 1 Stats:
I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Life got in the way, and truth-be-told, I’m not really good at multi-tasking more than two things at once. So, life and work won out. I’m back though; new year, new protocol.
When I did the Whole30 last year, I suspected that I might need to try the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I’d like to get rid of my granuloma annulare (GA). I, and all doctors apparently, have no idea what causes it, but the doctors do categorize it as an autoimmune disorder. That’s some tidbit of information anyway. Interestingly, I’ve had pretty bad allergies to so many things as an adult, and it has made me wonder if there’s a correlation.
I won’t rehash it here, but I do buy into the Paleo philosophy that our bodies process some things we put into them really well (real food), and poorly process–or don’t at all process– other things (junk). This is why I tried the Whole30 and had what I felt like were fantastic results that further solidified what I’ve been reading and internalizing about what we eat and how it affects us.
Lately I’ve been reading more from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, who blogs at The Paleo Mom. She has a PhD in medical biophysics (yes, I give that a bit more stock than the average paleo blogger) and used the AIP to clear up her lichen planus…which sounds a whole lot like GA.
So, knowing that I already buy into the root of Paleo, and knowing that other people have found success treating similar autoimmune conditions with AIP, it’ll come as no surprise that I suspect that the GA is caused by either something I’m putting in my body or something I’m putting on my body. And that I think AIP might be helpful to me. What I’m most concerned about is the length of time I’ll need to be on AIP before I can expect any results. It took a long time for my body to start trying to notify me of issues, so I expect it to take a while for me to notice any changes. I’ve read to give AIP at least 90 days before you start reintroducing foods. That means 90 days of no coffee, no nightshades, no nuts and seeds, no alcohol, in addition to what the typical Paleo framework would exclude. It’s daunting. I’m not sure that I’ll make it the 90 days, but I’m going to start today and see how it goes. I’ll post daily food pictures to the well-nourished lives Facebook page and I’ll summarize the results I’ve noticed weekly here on the blog.
- You probably can’t really see it in the third image on my arm…that one has seemed to clear up fairly well on it’s own. My feet, though, not. at. all.
thepaleomom.com: My Experience with the AIP to Treat Lichen Planus
Prior to my Whole30, I’d been trying to live a predominantly Paleo lifestyle. I just believe in it; it makes sense to me. So, even with all the knowledge I’d already internalized about Paleo (while not sticking to it 100%), my Whole30 results are surprisingly different and more than I expected. Some of the things I’ve noticed include:
The granuloma annulare has not cleared up and I can’t tell any difference in it. It’s possible that my body is reacting to something other than what I’m eating or it’s possible that I might just need stay the course longer and let my body continue to heal. It went away when I was pregnant with with my youngest (your immune system lowers during pregnancy) and it took a couple of months for it to resolve then. It’s not too bothersome, so I’m not going to stress out about it; I’ll just keep avoiding pedicures. Sigh.
I saw more and different benefits than I expected. I’m not entirely sure why. I suspect that my body is probably more sensitive to sugar and other “things” in the food I’ve been eating than I had recognized. The next step is to try to reintroduce foods that I feel like I cannot live without and see how my body reacts to them; I should have eliminated foods for long enough that I’ll be able to recognize how my body feels after I eat any that are potentially inflammatory. There’s not a ton I’m dying to have back, other than wine, chocolate, and maybe some cheese. But because I now fully recognize that my stress foods are alcohol and sweet stuff, I’m going to really have to monitor those two.
And there you have it. I’m not going to just jump back into the way I was eating. I’ll probably still seem like I’m being a PITA when I don’t eat something that seems incredibly normal to someone else. But I don’t want to go back to feeling like I did (I just can’t), and I still have some things I want to accomplish. I want to see if I can get back into running now that I’m not hurting so much. I want to keep being able to roll around on the floor with Emma and Aurora. I want to be able to run away from the zombies during the Apocalypse without peeing myself because I’m obese and inflamed (did anyone read this far?).
Thanks to everyone who followed along and cheered me on. I really do appreciate it. Facebook* lends to a lot of negativity in the world, I think, but I feel like I was able to use it to my advantage with this project. So, to my friends near and far, I appreciate you all.
One last thing, if you are looking to do a Whole30 of your own, I’d be happy to cheer you on!
*I initially documented my journey on my personal Facebook page.