If you were in my home, right now, you might mistake it for a pharmacy. Pill boxes, bottles, refrigerated supplements, a time stamp for everything I ingest (I consider this my own private Clockwork Orange)–this is what happens when you endure years of stress and neglect your body. We are ephemeral; rarely do we consider the damage we inflict simply by the small infractions we impose on ourselves daily, which invariably snowball into crimes against our body. Demonstrable neglect. The very opposite of self-care.
As you may have read, I toasted a friend’s imminent life change with a small bowl of pasta. Never did I realize the severe effect cacio e pepe would have on my body. Never did I think that I would race home to vomit and writhe in pain. I couldn’t even have imagined that I’d wake the following morning with hives on over 50% of my body, to have them cover 80% of my body the following day.
I have the photographs. I’ll spare you the horror.
After making an emergency appointment with my GP of ten years, the very brilliant Vincent Pedre, who just happens to be friends with my nutritionist, he examined my severe case of hives (I can’t even begin to describe the itch, burn and sting. The very thought of it brings me to tears), listened to my history with Dana, and concluded that I have a severe gluten sensitivity and a leaky gut.
What is a leaky gut, you ask? Unbeknownst to many of us, we have it, even if the symptoms haven’t kicked in yet. Think of your GI tract as THE part of your body responsible for absorbing nutrients and dispelling waste. The walls of the tract are strong, semi-permeable, however, gluten is a big molecule. The more gluten you eat, the more the molecule smacks against the tract. Dana visualized this as tapping her finger against her palm and then punching her palm with her fist (gluten, over time). After time, the membrane breaks down and all that waste the body was supposed to expel? Well, welcome to the bloodstream. Won’t you come on it? We have candy here.
For the LOVE, people. FOR THE LOVE. Essentially, my GP and nutritionist said that gluten is a guest that’s not welcome in the house of Felicia. The hives were a GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, GLUTEN. K, THANKS.
Right now, I’m on an emergency batch of steroids and prescription-grade antihistamines to get rid of the hives and quell the itch. After 12 hours, the hives have faded about 50%. Now the work begins. I’m off gluten (we’re talking strict, people) for nine months, and I’m taking the below L-Glutamine to repair the damage to the cell wall of my GI tract, so I don’t get flare-ups like this anymore. My doctor ran a test for celiac and D2 genetic testing to see if I’m receptive to any specific diseases.
The good news in all of this chaos? I’m aware. I finally know what’s wrong with me and I have the ability to manage it. The gluten-free options are more abundant than ever, and within the next 6 weeks I can start to introduce dairy (cheese!) back into my diet so I don’t feel so restricted.
The better news? I’m losing weight, a steady two pounds a week. YAY!
On to my food diary! My FOOD DIARY got a huge thumbs up this week. Lots more veg than the prior week, although I can do with a little more protein in my full-veg meals. Dana was a little skeptical about the Snapea crisps, to which I groaned, they’re only 110 calories per serving and gluten-free! To which she responded, we’re not talking about calories; we’re talking about nutrition. How are these faux-healthy chips serving you?
They ease the pain of life without gluten???
I kind of love how my GP and food coach keep me in check, ready to tell me about myself. I’ve got an awesome team, and while this week has been harrowing on my body, I feel good. Healthy, strong, in-control, self-aware.
More importantly, I’m exercising self-care.
Note: My journey (and food diary) are meant to inspire you, not as a means for you to directly emulate. My supplements and food plan have been completely customized for me, my body type and my health goals. In short, what might work for me may not make sense, or work, for you.