Day 22 to 6 Months – Week 14

What I Learned in Week 14

What is Gluten?
I recently went to the farmer’s market and a friend of mine Ruth owns a gluten-free bakery called Epiphany.  According to the data I received, I learned that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  It binds the baked goods together when it goes through the rinsing process after yeast is added.  Without it, baked goods would simply fall apart.

Why is Gluten Bad?
Gluten is very durable and very difficult to digest.  Some people are intolerant to gluten and the body cannot break down this protein.  When the body attempts to absorb the whole protein, it gets stuck in the gut lumen (a.k.a little hairs in the lower intestine) that absorb nutrients.  The body tries to solve this problem by bombarding the protein with white blood cells (body’s defenders) and keeps attacking this unbreakable protein.  This fight damages the gut lumen and in extreme cases, destroys the gut lumen completely; this inhibits the body from absorbing other nutrients from other foods.

What are the Symptoms?
When the body attacks itself in this way, it’s known as an autoimmune dysfunction and can be quite destructive.  Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain / cramping / bloating.  Subtle chronic symptoms include weight loss, irritability (especially in children), depression, and skin problems such as dermatitis & eczema.

Who is Gluten Intolerant?
A modest estimate of people with some gluten intolerance is 1 in 7 people while some say it is as high as 1 in 4 people.  Some who cannot have any gluten whatsoever (such as people with celiac disease) is as many as 1 in 133 people.

How Did Gluten Get So Bad?
Unfortunately, gluten we have today is nothing like it was in biblical times.  Through innovations in technology applied to farming over the last 200 years, the breeding of wheat became more productive and tasty; the wheat Jesus would have eaten was nowhere to be found.  It is estimated that wheat now has 50% more gluten than it did 200 years ago.

I Might Have Gluten Intolerance.  How Can I Fix This?
There are two ways to test and both don’t require any medication.  1st, stop eating any kind of gluten for two weeks and see if your symptoms reduce / removed.  The body is amazing at healing itself and the gut lumen should heal itself.  To confirm those findings, there are tests specifically made for gluten.  I myself took one of these test (Cyrex test – Array 4) and am waiting for the result.

My Health in Week 14

  • Overall:  My 1st week back in Naples and I’m learning to do everything myself – which is a good thing.  Besides taking much more protein (mainly fish), simple chores and exercises are helping me become more flexible.  Also I am now going to Jubilee Chiropractic 3 times per week and it’s been difficult (I’ve had a few painful screams come out from there), but quite helpful and my trigger points of pain are starting to be removed.  I’m also getting a minimum of 9 hours of sleep per night.  Basically, I’m eating the best I know (5-6 times a day), exercising / stretching the best I can, realigning the spine, and resting as much as possible.  I have an upcoming trip late next week (out of the country) and I won’t let this disease rob me of that pleasure!
  • Current Areas of Concern:  Trigger points below my right & left shoulder blade, spinal area between my shoulder blades, left side of chest (muscle pull from pulling up from rope), mid-lower back of stiffness, right side rib area & below locks up / stiffness, and ankles swollen.  Keep in mind these symptoms aren’t as bad today as they were two weeks ago.
  • Starch!  Unknowingly, I had some baked cod with cornmeal (full of starch – big NO NO) from Food & Thought on 4/23.  However, I am VERY happy to say that I didn’t not receive any long-term flare-up from it.  This is very good news as it shows my gut is really healing itself and I can take more doses of starch than I could a month ago.  I’ve also been able to eat a small amount of cooked beans (again, a good amount of starch there) and will start to incorporate them more next month.
  • Organics of Naples: I tried an organic food co-op by using my Groupon and I must say the delivery went great (the site was confusing, but they just recently updated it).  Since the farmer’s market will be ending this weekend, it might be good to keep using them throughout the summer along with the health food stores.  Typically, farmers don’t grow organic food from now until September / October in south Florida – too much heat.
  • Timing:  I’m learning more each day that the time I eat foods (especially meat) along with a digestive enzyme are important for my inflammation.  For example, the morning times I seem to do quite well with 3 eggs along with my side of cooked veggies.  Snacks and lunch throughout the day seem to fare well (and get better each day).  However, dinner has become quite tricky.  I’m finding that a “full meal” during dinner with meat (even a big salad) can bring me down with tightness and inflammation.  I’m still experimenting, but have to work on the amounts of foods I can have after 6pm, digestive enzymes, and introductions of harder digestive foods (meat, nuts, etc.)  Of course this complicates things as I need to find ways to gain weight.  If anyone has any ideas, please put a suggestion in the comment box below.
  • New Pillow:  Trying a new pillow out that Jubilee Chiropractic suggested. It’s called a mid-core pillow and it helps correct your neck posture as you sleep.  Others have used it and swear by it.  I’ll review it next blog post.
  • Dr. / D.O. Alessi I will be taking the Vitamin Deficient test (costs around $500) from Spectracell Labs + get the results of my other lab work on 4/30.  Once done with the Spectracell test, it will take 4 weeks to get the results back.
  • Supplements:  I am no longer taking Zyflamend and should be removing the Proglyco SP in a few days, Pylicorin within the next 1-2 weeks.
  • Enbrel:  It has been 9 1/2 weeks since my last shot.
  • My lowest weight was 134 lbs. and a BMI of 18.77 (4/25).

Day 22 to 6 Months – Week 13

Before I begin this post, I want to personally thank my mother and father for all the love, compassion, and time they’ve put into my healing.  These past few months have been physically the most demanding in my life and they helped every step of the way.  I wish them plenty of rest and relaxation – you deserve it!

Info for Week 13

On 4/12 I learned new information on Antioxidants from Dr. Oz:

  • Yellow & Orange Antioxidants – Contains lots of vitamin A that boosts our immunity from bacteria.  Cook carrots whole so nutrients cannot escape.  Bananas ripened bring out more antioxidants.
  • Green Antioxidants contain Isothiocyanates – act like soldiers and take away the free radicals.  Prep broccoli by cutting them & waiting 5 minutes before lightly steaming them.  Buy fresh parsley & when eating cabbage, enhance the iron in it by combining with Vitamin C products like OJ or strawberries.
  • Purple Antioxidants contain Anthocyanins – prevent damage & heal the damage already done by the cells.  The more deep the purple hue, the better.  Cabernet wine (1/day women, 2/day men max), prunes, plums, and berries are all deep hues.
  • Most important Antioxidant – Green Antioxidant – studies from cultures who use vegetables mainly in their diet were less likely to get cancer and have a healthier & longer life.
  • Antioxidant breakfast power smoothie – 1/2 cup blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries with 1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice.
  • Shake the berries that are in the containers.  If they don’t move much, there’s mold in there & reduces the antioxidants.
  • Lunch is 1 cup tomato soup with green salad (with kale & broccoli florets).  Combining these two has been known to reduce prostate cancer.
  • Dinner is salmon (poach, steam or broil).  Try not to put on the grill as the charring effect induces cancer-causing HCA.  Rosemary added to salmon reduces the HCA & you use less salt when adding Rosemary.
  • Kitchen cures:  For a splinter, cut a ripened banana peel and put the pulp side down and wrap with a bandage.  The enzymes pull and break down the splinter overnight.  Apple cider vinegar is used to reduce dandruff.  Spray at the root of the hair & really massage it in.  Take a towel (towel turban) for 20 min., then shower, shampoo, rinse & repeat.  The acid breaks down the sebum that the bacteria & yeast thrive on.  Do it 3 days in a row, then 2X per week for maintenance.  It’s also known to make hair “bouncier”.  Muscle craps can be reduce by drinking pickle juice.  The acid in the juice that it works before it’s absorbed so there’s a receptor in the esophagus or in the stomach to stop the cramp.  Licorice sticks that can soften and break down a calluses.  Grind 4 with 1/2 Tsp sesame oil, rub on callus, and non-absorbent talfa bandage / band aid overnight.

My Health in Week 13

  • What a Week!  Overall, I moved from Venice back down to Naples, switched my diet to more meat, learned my inflammation results, saw my family DO (Dr. Alessi), and reorganized my life in 2 days.
  • The beginning of the week saw heavy amounts of inflammation in the shoulder-blade & upper back areas, continued fatigue & trigger points of (shooting) pain.  A combination of the hot tub & daily chiropractic home rehab helped out in Venice
  • Learned that my Sed Rate (tests my inflammation levels) was “extremely elevated“.  Normal levels are 0 to 15.  Mine was at 100 on 4/4.  Based on information I learned from the doctors I met, it’s due to the Enbrel leaving the body & allowing the floodgate of inflammation to come through.  However, as this level dramatically increases, it has also decreased quite a bit since the 4th.
  • Getting Out of Bed:   Since I’m on my own in Naples now, my father came up with a way for me to pull myself up with a rope.  I use the neck brace to keep my neck still while lifting up and adjust the bed to firmer setting if I need more stability lifting my body out of bed.  Lastly, the pillow is very adjustable around my head and neck while I sleep (I don’t need much elevation from my neck but need support as I slightly tilt my head while sleeping on my back.
  • Getting Better:  Over the week I’ve noticed a decrease in fatigue (can go 5-6 hours instead of 4 when taking the ibuprofen), ability to bend and pick things up a little easier, get back to bed quicker, went to Jubilee on 4/17 & was able to lie down on my front and back (1st time in months), and people say I’m sounding better.
  • Getting Worse / Same:  Still losing too much weight, wake up 2-3 times a night, still have swollen ankles, inflammation on the sides & upper back, saliva getting stuck down my throat, and difficulty breathing due to inflammation.  I also lied down to ice myself at Jubilee on 4/17 and it was very difficult to get up (lots of shooting pains).  That still means my body can not handle anything remotely stiff to lie down on.
  • Saw Dr. / D.O. Alessi on 4/16 and recommended I eat more protein (meat) & drink more water.  I’m also approved for new tests = Comp Metabolic Panel, Lipid Panel, CBC with Diff w/ Pit, Amylase, Antinuclear Antibodies, CRP, Sed Rate, TSH (3rd Generation), Uric Acid, Urinalysis, Vitamin D (25-Hydroxy), and Testosterone Free Lipose.  I will also be taking a chest X-Ray as it can be difficult to breathe while inflamed.  He also suggested a Vitamin Deficient test (costs around $500) from Spectracell Labs.  Once done, it will take 4 weeks to get the results back.
  • Supplements:  I am no longer taking Gut Repair I and should be removing the Proglyco SP, Pylicorin, & Zyflamend within the next 1-2 weeks.
  • Enbrel:  It has been 8 1/2 weeks since my last shot.
  • My lowest weight was 134 lbs. and a BMI of 18.73 (4/16).