HOW DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT FOODS ARE CAUSING AN INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE? I AM BECOMING AFRAID OF FOOD. I FEEL LIKE IT'S HURTING ME EVERY TIME I EAT. I'Ve BEEN TRYING TO STAY AWAY FROM GLUTEN AND DAIRY, BUT EVEN THEN I WAkE UP AT 4 AM EVERY DAY WITH A WRENCHING PAIN IN MY RIBS, LIKE SOMETHING IS PISSING MY GUTS OFF.
I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH SJOGREN'S SYNDROME A FEW YEARS AGO, AND IT'S SO FRUSTRATING THAT EVERY TIME YOU VISIT A DOCTOR TALKING ABOUT THE PAIN, THEY JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU MORE PILLS. I'M FINALLY DELVING INTO THE INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY WITH AIP PAGES DIPPING MY TOES IN. TOO MUCH INFORMATION SCARES ME SO I'VE BEEN AVOIDING IT.
UGH, HAVING A LOW-ENERGY, HIGH-PAIN DAY AND THOUGHT I'D FINALLY REACH OUT TO SOMEONE.
Dear Afraid of Food,
I'm sorry to know you're struggling with a flare up right now. Food should be medicine, not something you fear. I know it can be hard to navigate our conventional healthcare system where there's a pill to answer every ailment, only to cause others down the line. It sounds like you're coming around to the idea that a holistic approach could work for you, and I think that's awesome! While I believe it is the best way, it certainly isn't the easiest. Here are the steps I recommend you take to determine which foods are triggering your flare.
1. Find a functional doctor and holistic nutritionist near you. It helps to have the support of a medical team to run the right labs and get to the root of what's causing your disease. If you're looking for a list of these, you can find Nutritional Therapy Practitioners and Consultants by going to www.nutritionaltherapy.com/directory/map. You can also check out Autoimmune Wellness' resource page to find support groups in your area. I found my healthcare squad through joining one of these groups and getting recommendations from local AIPers.
2. I recognize nutritionists and functional docs aren't in the budget for everyone. Plus, some people are so traumatized from seeing conventional medical providers that they may need time before stepping back in a doctor's office (been there!). When that happened to me, I got Mickey's book, Autoimmune Paleo. She lays out the AIP diet with SUPER SIMPLE, delicious recipes, and it’s way less overwhelming than cruising the internet. It guides you in eliminating potential triggers until you're feeling better, then helps you add them back in one at a time to see if you have reactions. This diet is a serious commitment, but I found it to be the best way to determine foods that were problematic to me. The good news about the AIP diet is that it isn't meant to last forever. People typically do it 3-12 months before they start reintroducing.
3. While AIP is a great place to start, some of us still had symptoms on it after 3-6 months. If that’s the case with you, it’s imperative you connect with a functional doc to figure out what else could be going on (for me it was SIBO and Candida from a decade of a processed vegan/vegetarian diet).
It hurts my heart to know you've been feeling afraid of food lately. I love this quote by Heather Morgan, "Every time you eat or drink you're either feeding disease or fighting it." You can absolutely find the foods that have been feeding your Sjogren's Syndrome, but it's going to take some serious dedication. One thing I like to do on a monthly basis is write down the reasons WHY I choose to stick to my diet and lifestyle changes. For you, it could be "I want more energy, I don't want to be afraid of food, I don't want to be on pills for the rest of my life." Put that in a place you'll see it every day or keep it in your pocket and take a peek at it when chocolate chip cookies start to tempt you.
You are not in this fight alone, lady! There are tons of autoimmune warriors in this battle with you. If any readers have additional suggestions for how Afraid of Food can determine which foods cause inflammation, please share your tips in the comments.
*******I am not a doctor. This is what worked for me on my healing journey. If you feel you need immediate attention, please schedule an appointment with your medical providor********