If at first you do not succeed, try try again. And again. And again. And again.
I’m 2 years into dealing with autoimmune and digestive disorders, and still battling hard to find a way to treat them. Some days I feel like things are going in the right direction. On others I feel worse than ever and can’t imagine how I will continue. I’ve never found a safe ground, no place of normality from which to build. And I’ve tried everything. To treat my gut dysfunction, SIBO, cortisol dysregulation, gastritis and Chronic Fatigue I have tried every healing diet out there (anti-inflammatory, anti-candida, SCD, Advanced SCD, GAPS and Paleo). Still no joy. To keep on searching for an answer, and sticking to the regimes, seems impossible sometimes.
And I don’t do things by halves. Oh no. I spent 7 weeks eating only carrot, chicken broth and chicken on Stage 1 of the GAPS Introduction diet (usually only up to a week long). I spent 9 weeks eating only fatless meat, fish, carrot, green beans, courgette and avocado on the Advanced SCD Intro diet. To no avail. My symptoms still persist.
So, I did more research. I bought more books. And on February 7th 2014, I started the Autoimmune Paleo diet. BUT, not only did I start this new and extremely restricted diet in order to address the serious autoimmune problems I am currently suffering, I have strong suspicions that I am also FODMAP and Histamine intolerant…combined with my fat intolerance and avoidance of anything that will worsen my gastritis, this means that the only foods I am ‘allowed’ to eat, until I see some improvement in my symptoms, are: grass-fed, organic, fresh meat (no leftovers or precooked or preserved/ smoked meats); fresh, wild-caught fish; lettuce, cucumber, kale, turnip, swede, carrot, ginger and fresh herbs. That’s it. Not exactly varied eh?
How can I possibly keep doing this to myself? Where does someone find the strength to keep going when there is nothing but illness all day, and meagre, tasteless food for every meal? Do you feel like this too when you are following a diet to restore health, or having to make similar lifestyle changes to treat illness?
My point, and I’m sure I had one, is this: there is no way that I can ever give up. If I have gone through an entire year of eating not much more than 5-10 foods for weeks on end, then I must be motivated to do so. And when I remember what that motivation is, to get my life back, then I know I have to carry on. I deal with food cravings every hour of every day, my body is screaming for fat and sugar and bigger portions of protein. But if I give in now, it will make living through each of those terrible, hard, sometimes impossible hours pointless. There has to be an answer. And there are no short cuts when it comes to digestive health and autoimmunity.
What I think I’m trying to impart is that there is always something else to try. Some other diet, some other treatment, some other supplement. I thought I had exhausted all of my options a year ago when I finished 3 months of a strict anti-candida diet. Oh how wrong was I?! That diet was gourmet, with grains and teas and spices galore allowed. Since then, spiralling down through ever decreasing circles of grain, lactose, sugar, FODMAP, oxalate, salicylate, histamine and fat free diets I’ve come to appreciate every single food, every cooking method and every opportunity for nourishment that I come across. It has made me so very grateful. And so very motivated to regain my ability to eat, to enjoy, and to appreciate every last drop of enjoyment whilst it lasts.
Don’t give up health seekers. We’ll get there. It might be a long road, but life at the end of it will be so much sweeter than you ever knew possible, because the hardships that forge your strength and appreciation now will mean that “the odds”, from this point onwards, “will be ever in your favour”.