Well, well, well.  I’m afraid I’ve fallen off the wagon somewhat.

Days 4 and 5 I started feeling better and no longer was having pain when I ate, so that was good.  I ate the shakes,  Italian Roasted Veggies, a salad from Chipotle with fajita veggies, guacamole, and tomato salsa, home-dehydrated apples, my homemade granola, fruit, and stuff like that.  Still not eating very small quantities, and hungry often.

Day 6, more of the same.  Shakes, leftovers, Carrot Ginger Soup.  But we had friends over and they brought pizza and chocolate chip cookies.  I was tired of being starving and ate some thin crust Mediterranean chicken pizza and a cookie.

Day 7, shakes, leftover soup, Grilled Portobello Mushrooms (recipe as written, no cheese added) with roasted broccoli and cauliflower and 1/2 baked sweet potato.  That was a tasty meal, and a pretty good day overall.  I did eat some gluten-free crackers.

Today, Day 8:  shake, salad, fruit, cabbage roll casserole with mushrooms in place of the meat (meh…not great).  And then I had an apple with a little cookie butter.

So the thing is, I’m not really into it this time…I never was.  So my willpower is just a smidge higher than zero.  I’ll keep making and eating the food for Craig, and it’s good for me too.  I haven’t eaten this many vegetables in a long time!  But I’ll probably color outside the lines sometimes.

Sorry, folks.  I’ll keep posting meal ideas and recipe links if I find something good.

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Having been on so many other restrictive diets, I am familiar with using unusual ingredients and methods to come up with something edible.  Many of the recipes for the Autoimmune Protocol can work, sometimes with slight adaptation, for the SPPP.

I looked at several different AIP recipes for granola, and because of ingredients I did/did not have, took some of the ideas and did my own thing.  I didn’t really even measure, so this is approximate.

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup flaked and/or shredded coconut, unsweetened (I used a combo)
  • 3/4 cup tigernut flour
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Combine to make a thick batter (if necessary, add more flour or coconut to make a spreadable consistency).  Spread about 1/2″ thick on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  After this time, it should be firmed up.  Chop it up into chunks with a spatula, spread evenly on the pan, and put back in the oven for another 15 or 20 minutes, or until your preferred level of crunchy/chewy is reached.


Notes:

I realize tigernut flour is a specialty ingredient that few people are likely to have in their pantry (btw, tigernuts are not nuts at all, they are tubers).   I happened to have some from my stint with AIP.  You could try using coconut flour, although it will act differently.  It absorbs moisture like crazy and I don’t think you’d need as much of it.  Or perhaps ground flax or hemp seeds would work.

I consider this a snacking granola, but you could try it with some compliant coconut or hemp milk if you want to eat it like cereal.

Take this recipe and make it fit your diet:

  • For AIP, omit the sunflower seeds and add more coconut or chopped tigernuts.  Add dried fruit if you tolerate it.  Also make sure you are using alcohol-free vanilla.
  • For Paleo, add nuts and dried fruit as desired.  If you don’t have tigernut flour, try using finely ground almond flour.

Full disclosure:  I have not been feeling well for about a week.  It was mostly digestive upset, and eating made me uncomfortable.  I just kind of figured it would work itself out and I would go ahead with the cleanse.  Unfortunately, it’s stuck around, and with the restricted food availability, I haven’t been eating much.  I’m not a big eater in any circumstance, so when I say I’m not eating much, I mean probably not enough to keep a bird alive!

Day 2:

Breakfast:  smoothie and 5 Cleanse pills

Lunch:  I made soup with vegetable broth, the leftover veggies from day 1, 1/2 can diced tomatoes, and Italian seasoning (ate maybe 1 cup)

Tried to drink another smoothie in the afternoon and take more Cleanse; could only drink a very small amount.  I did later have a few plantain chips with salsa.

I decided the Cleanse pills were not helping my stomach and intestinal upset, so have stopped taking them.  I suppose that means I’m not fully doing the program, but my main goal was to improve my diet, so I will keep up with the food restrictions.

Day 3 (today):

I woke up feeling pretty bad…shaky, out of breath, heart pounding.  I drank the smoothie and that seemed to help a little.  Then I ate 1/2 a pomegranate and that helped a wee bit more.  I’m guessing I just haven’t been eating enough (maybe low blood sugar?), but I still don’t feel like I really want to eat, so it’s a catch 22.  I had a very small amount of salad for lunch.  For supper, we had lentil chili using this recipe (I added celery, cumin, smoked paprika, and a smidge of cayenne).

In an attempt to have something around for me and my son to eat other than vegetables, I did manage to make, and snack on, some “granola”.  It’s actually quite good.  Check out the recipe.

Well, I wouldn’t call this a strong start, but it was okay.  What seemed like a fridge full of vegetables yesterday is pretty much gone at the end of the first day!  My 16 yr old son is doing the cleanse along with Craig and me; three people can go through a lot of salad greens quickly!

Breakfast:

Craig made the smoothies with frozen berries, spinach, coconut milk, chocolate Complete, Fiber, and water.

I took 5 Cleanse capsules instead of the prescribed 7.  I figure 7 is enough for a 180 lb man, so a 95 lb woman could get by with fewer.

Lunch:

“Baked” sweet potato (microwaved) with grass-fed butter and cinnamon.  Half an avocado with lemon juice and s&p.  Sugar snap peas.

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Snack:

Another chocolate shake with 1/2 banana, although I only ended up drinking 1/2.

5 Cleanse capsules.

Supper:

Sauteed medley of zucchini, onion, garlic, mushrooms, red pepper and tomatoes over quinoa.

Snack:

Berries with coconut milk

5 Cleanse capsules

Notes:

The chocolate and vanilla Complete powders are sweetened (with monk fruit, I believe).  It’s okay, but I found it almost too sweet, and with my sweet tooth, that’s surprising!  I plan to use the plain powder most of the time.

I did feel hungry several times today, but it was manageable.

We stocked up on vegetables at Trader Joe’s yesterday, and Thursday I have a box coming from Green Bean Delivery.  Green Bean very conveniently delivers your choice of mostly organic and/or local produce and groceries right to your door on the schedule you set.  I may do a separate post later about this and other ways to source organic products.  But for right now, all I’m saying is my fridge is full of veggies!

Last time around I wrote a Tips post, and I said I wished I had planned ahead because I  had a fridge full of produce but was always just trying to figure out what to do with it at the last minute, and that led to some frustration and failed meals.  However, meal planning has never been my strong suit, even though I can see the wisdom of it! So I don’t have a specific schedule for this time around yet, but I have been doing some research and hunting for recipes and ideas.

In 2011 when I last did this cleanse, I don’t think Pinterest was around yet, or if it was, it was in its infancy.  I joined Pinterest back when you had to be invited by a current member, so I feel like I was one of the founders…ha!  Anyway, now it’s a treasure trove of everything imaginable, and I’ve started gathering some SPPP-appropriate recipes on this board.   A lot of the AIP recipes that I’ve pinned may also fit the guidelines.

Following my own advice, I plan to make a big bowl of basic tossed salad, and large batches of quinoa and lentils, to keep in the fridge.    A couple jars of compliant salad dressing will also come in handy.  My favorite is still the Simple Sicilian.

I can’t say I’m super excited to get started tomorrow, but I have been growing tired of my junk food diet, so I guess I’m ready.  Out of all the diets I’ve done, I’d say this is the easiest, so I’m not worried, just trying to steel myself to get cooking again!

Bring on the veg!

First, a synopsis of the last two years.  In early 2015, I was more or less following the Wahls Protocol…not perfectly, but in general was eating healthful and clean foods.  I didn’t feel like I was having any results, and so in April I stepped it up to the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP.  It’s even more restrictive!  I followed it pretty strictly from April 13 through the end of July, so 3 1/2 months.  I did not feel better; I felt worse.  I was down to 82 lbs and just weak.  In August I added back some nightshade spices, a little dairy (butter), and some gluten free grains.  Eventually I went back to normal but kept it gluten free.  I felt better just in general, but had no noticeable affect on my MS symptoms (either when on the AIP or afterwards).

On Labor Day weekend we took an impromptu trip to the beach and all food restrictions flew out the window.  From that point on, I was completely unrestricted.  By the end of the month I decided I needed to do something for general health, so for October Craig and I did a Whole 30.  This I pretty much followed to a T (there were a few times I did something that was out of the “spirit” of the W30, like drinking an ingredient-compliant mango smoothie for some sweetness, but never cheated with forbidden foods).  Again, I felt some improvement in general health, but no affect on MS symptoms.  I did not do re-introductions as suggested by W30, but went back to normal near-SAD diet. In April 2016, we started another W30, but ended up only doing a W15.

Since then, my diet has been pretty atrocious. In the last 6 months or so, my status has really worsened.  Walking is difficult; I sometimes have a hard time even just getting around the house.  I can’t say that definitively that food has contributed to my decline.  In all my diet forays, keeping track of symptoms etc., I have never found any direct correlation between food and symptoms one way or another.  There were never any obvious food triggers that affected symptoms negatively, but neither were there any positive effects.

However, I still believe that it is possible for food to affect disease, and certainly that better food choices are beneficial to anyone’s health.  So in the back of my mind, I always felt that I would get back at it at some point.  I was just dragging my feet mainly because it takes so much effort and energy to cook this way.  There is very little in the way of convenience food for this lifestyle, and cooking, often several times a day, is mandatory. And I sincerely do not have the strength to do it.  Fifteen minutes in the kitchen (prep, cooking) totally does me in to the point of being unable to walk.

Then a couple months ago, Craig got the great idea to do a Standard Process 21 Day Cleanse with his patients.  He jumped in with both feet without really even giving it any thought He does have experience with the program in that he has “prescribed” it for patients before, but he has never done it himself.  He asked if I wanted to do it with him.  I was reluctant, and then I realized that I was going to be participating whether I wanted to or not.  Because what he didn’t consider is that he doesn’t cook!  To be fair, he’s the one out working all day, and I have always been the domestic one, and he can pull together a meal if necessary.  But planning out 3 weeks of specialized meals and preparing them is foreign to him.

I still don’t know how I’m going to manage all the physical work of it.  I know Craig will help, but again, I hate to ask him to start chopping and sauteing as soon as he walks in the door after a twelve hour day.  I do plan to take some of my own advice from the first time I did the SPPP (so glad I kept this blog!), and prepare some things ahead of time.

So there it is!  January 10 we start the 21 day program along with about 15 of Craig’s patients.  I’ll try to keep up a log of it here, like last time.

Dr Wahls recommends keeping track of how you’re feeling, symptoms, and changes while on the protocol, so you can look back and see progress.  I think this is a good idea, and one that I’ve never been good at; therefore, I’ve often been unsure whether or not anything I’m doing is helping.  Some people report dramatic changes, but I’ve never had that, so I really need to be on the lookout for subtle changes.

My main symptom is leg weakness.  My feet are constantly numb, but that doesn’t usually bother much by itself.  It’s not being able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes that is the most troublesome for me.  I also have poor balance, which means walking takes even more energy than it should.  When I go to a store, I always have to use a cart because it helps with support and balance, even if I’m only going in for one thing (but that is very rare because I just don’t have the energy to spend for one item).

I have definitely seen a change for the worse over the last 5 years.  Even though I would wear out before my friend, 5 years ago I used to be able to spend most of the day shopping with her.  Now I wouldn’t even attempt it.

Baseline weight: 87 lbs.  That sounds bad, but I’m only 5ft tall (in shoes!), so it’s not terrible.  Even so, I wouldn’t want to lose any more.  Plus, I have no muscle (muscle=pounds)!

Baseline symptoms: leg weakness has actually seemed a little bit worse this week since I started paying more attention to getting the correct vegetable categories/amounts.  That’s discouraging, but I have heard that it is possible to get worse before you get better.  My left leg is usually less cooperative than my right, and this week its been giving me “zingers”, which throws off my balance and gait even more.

Fatigue: I don’t usually have any problem sleeping, but do have to get up to go to the bathroom at least once every night, and often 2-3 times, which means it’s not as restful as it should be.  I often take an afternoon nap.  I don’t think I have the debilitating fatigue that is often associated with MS, but certainly my energy levels are sub-optimal.