You pull me back from time to time. Tired and with a long to-do list, something compels me to return. The bread is gluten-free, which means I am not allergic to God here. I study random patterns in the gingerbread colored brickwork while meditating to advent hymns. My empty tank is filled when they light the peace candle. I buy beads to help the unhoused and accept a milkweed pod which may feed Monarchs on their way to Mexico next fall. A woman whispers, “I love your fairy hair” and I smile. We are all still young inside.
This morning I awoke to a swollen ring finger joint that hurts when I bend it or even when I touch it. My knees ache and my feet ache when I walk. Blissfully, my shoulder pain has subsided, but my left elbow is still sensitive to touch and my right thumb is painful to bend [so I don’t bend it].
My rash had receded, my joints were beginning to quiet. I had started back on plan and had a string of wheat-free, low-carb days only to hear a siren song of cake last night at a home party I attended. The host said, “you must taste my Preacher’s Cake- homemade with pineapple and nuts- I found the recipe on Pinterest.” I guess she had me at Pinterest, because delectable cake images flashed across my mind at that moment. “Just a tiny slice,” I said, because I am apparently deep in denial that wheat actually is the primary cause of these myriad ailments- joint pain, skin rashes, congestion, fatigue. I say that I believe that wheat is the culprit, with my mouth, but I don’t say it yet with my behavior because either at some level I am in denial or I have not reached a bottom that would allow me to say ‘no more.’
I know that I must sound like the whiniest of the whiny with this blog focused so much on my eating and health worries, but I don’t conceptualize myself that way. I see myself as strong and stoic and hardy. I am also a natural detective and so I find myself trying to ferret out the cause of any symptoms that make my life harder or give it lesser quality. I don’t trust doctors, and given the clusterf*@% that is autoimmune disorders and the way my Hashimoto’s is misunderstood by doctors who insist they know how much and what kind of thyroid replacement I need, I prefer to treat myself with diet and exercise whenever I can and be ready to tell health professionals which direction to point when I am forced to sit on the crinkly paper in their offices.
I believe that the progest/estrogen compounded cream is helping in general and I think with my joint pain in particular, but every time I eat wheat, I exacerbate symptoms and get sent back to square one or at least square 5 or 10. Last night as I walked to my car after the party, literally 30 minutes after ingesting wheat, I found myself itching intensely in my stomach and chest, and I thought, “oh, &*@%.”
Trial and error has shown me over the past two years that my body cannot process sugar and carbs in any kind of an efficient manner, and that I feel best when I eat paleo and minus processed wheat and sugars. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a paleo world. I live in Roxboro, NC, where there is a processed/simple/carb around every corner and at every event. There is no health food store. I have to drive to Whole Foods in Durham to find the coconut milk I like, the one with vanilla flavor and no sugar. I can’t find good quinoa here or any alternative flours. The restaurants do not lean heavily on fresh green ingredients, although I do have some places I can get a quick salad that passes the muster. It takes a tremendous amount of planning to stay on plan, especially when I am busy and/or stressed.
If you eat paleo, have Hashimoto’s, are near menopause, or feel like you have wheat sensitivities, feel free to weigh in. I’d love to hear what works for you and share some tips and recipes. Message me. We’ll talk.