I don’t hurt.
Let me say that again: my joint pain has disappeared.
I realized this on Monday during my workout. My hands weren’t achy, I didn’t feel the need to crack my knuckles, and I just – didn’t hurt, anywhere. I had quite a contrast that day when I went out to lunch with new friends. I chose a salad, and I didn’t even think to ask about the ingredients of the balsamic salad dressing. About 10-15 minutes after eating, my hands began to ache – just a little bit, but enough to notice.
My educated guess, from things I have read and observed in myself, is that there was sugar in that salad dressing. Sugar triggers inflammation. And inflammation = joint aches.
The eczema on my hands has also gone away, and I’m hypothesizing that nightshades are a big culprit. The first day of the reset, May 19th, I ate mustard-glazed chicken thighs for lunch, and the patch where eczema flares on my right hand started itching. I checked the ingredient list of the organic mustard, and there was paprika in it – a nightshade! That was the only thing that could’ve triggered it at that meal. I also observed that, after the eczema calmed down, that eating an orange made it itch again, which is random and not a nightshade. Since then, I have not itched except when I accidentally ingest a nightshade substance.
Memorial Day weekend is when I totally fell off the wagon, and I’m certain I was “glutened.” We started off the weekend right, at True Food Kitchen in Phoenix. Dr. Andrew Weil owns it and it’s based off his anti-inflammatory diet and focuses heavily on organic, properly-sourced foods. But things went downhill after that. When we got back from our trip, I was so excited to get back on the reset! My stomach took the rest of the week to recover from the gluten contamination.
Whenever I would feel digestive discomfort, I’d take a veggie capsule filled with 5-6 drops of my Digestive blend essential oil, 2 drops of wild orange, and 1-2 drops of peppermint if the discomfort was upper GI. That would usually start providing relief almost immediately, and peppermint on the stomach is so soothing!
I also discovered a protocol that has greatly supported better digestion! I read in the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo that drinking a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a shot of water, 15 minutes before a meal, helps stimulate production of stomach acid (HCl). Many people are wrongly on anti-acid medication and are completely eliminating stomach acid, which is NECESSARY for proper digestion and nutrient absorption! I was, unfortunately, on Prilosec for a short time when the doctor thought I had GERD or an ulcer. Low stomach acid can lead to more serious things like bacterial infections and malnutrition.
So I began doing a shot of water and ACV 15 minutes before my meals, and I felt a remarkable difference! Whenever I would fail to drink the concoction, my stomach would uncomfortably rumble after eating. Diane also writes that it’s important to not drink much, if any, water during a meal, because too much prohibits the production of HCI for digestion.
My husband and I have been eating grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chicken – and it IS possible to find deals on these high-quality products! Eating Paleo should NOT have to break the bank. I have felt very satisfied after eating, especially if I have the proper ratio of protein, carb, and fat for my body at each meal. During the day I generally do not crave sweet food anymore, but I’ve found that later in the evening (after 10 PM) I do. I reach for healthy choices like whole fruit and shredded, unsweetened coconut, but sometimes I overdo it with dried fruit and dates, which are naturally very sweet. So I need to find a solution for that. Using a Metabolic essential oil blend helps curb sugar cravings, even if you’re not trying to lose weight.
In addition to food choices, I have been focusing on other areas of wellness:
- Essential oils – Can I say just how much I love my oils?? Essential oils are like shoes – you can’t have too many! (Note: I’d rather own a lot of EO’s than shoes.) I incorporate them into every aspect of my day, and I’m thankful for them in acute, chronic, and preventative situations.
- Sleep – This past week, I have not been faithful about this, as I have averaged less than 7 hours of sleep a night. For the first two weeks, I was doing quite well, averaging 7-8 hours a night. However, I have not yet mastered the skill of staying away from the computer right before bedtime.
- Exercise – Last week I was a bit lax, but this week I have exercised Monday through Friday. I do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions, which are great because they only take about 30 minutes. I also include running or the elliptical occasionally for a change of pace and training.
- Sun time and stress management – Immediately following my morning workout, I sit in the sun for 10-20 minutes with my favorite devotional and journal. It is quite soothing to soak up Vitamin D and have quiet time with the Lord and write out my thoughts for the day. I have also begun a separate journal for writing out two gratitude items and two victories each day…even if a victory is “I cooked a healthy and delicious dinner for myself and Mark.” Using Google Calendar helps me to be more realistic with my schedule, because it forces me to block out adequate time for each task.
There’s only one week left of my wellness reset, and then it’ll be time to start introducing “gray area” foods! I’m so happy with how this experiment is going. Natural solutions WORK!
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