Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Last Hurrah

For the past six years I've been on a mission to improve my health, especially my energy levels and my skin.  Both, when less than stellar, can show signs of an imbalance and mine certainly were indicating a health issue.  I visited many doctors, took countless notes, ran a bunch of tests, changed my diet several times, embraced a regular fitness routine, and procrastinated on a mind/body practice.  And on Friday I finally got my answer.  

I recently started seeing a new doctor in the city who specializes in functional medicine.  I had a health care specialist in FM a few years ago but she moved her practice after my first visit.  And these doctors are hard to come by.  My current doctor ran the test that confirmed what I believed was ailing me.

This story, told in the non-TMI version, is meant to inform in general and be a resource for anyone facing similar issues.  It is not meant to offer advice on a means of diagnosis nor treatment (that is always to be determined with one's doctor).  With that said, my test results confirmed an overgrowth of not-so-great bacteria in my gut.  Everyone has this particular strain in their system but the "how much" is what can make or break health.  It never helped me to see what I call "mainstream" GI doctors because none of them that I met recognized Candida overgrowth as a possibility.  But practitioners with a focus on functional medicine do. 

So what did I need to do in light of this recognition and my test results?  I'd have to starve this refraining from sugar...all sugar.  Period.  This would include large staples in my diet: glutinous grains like wheat and oats, all fruits, and beans.  And it would include removing alcohol and caffeine.  The plan today is to keep these items off my table for a minimum of 30 days.  Supplements will also be used to help accelerate removing the bacteria from my system and building up the good bacteria (one important strain was completely missing from my system - YOWZA!).

I woke up today feeling a little bummed by having to do all of this.  First of all, it's isolating.  Everyone else eats fun food while I'm chugging a green juice or salad.  I'll miss most of my comfort foods.  I also expect to go through some sort of withdrawal phase from not having sugar in my system. 

The good news is that all my friends are supportive and they are on full alert that I might, from time to time, get jealous of their food and look like I want to punch them.  Many people who have detoxed have attested to these feelings.  Some of my gals have also gone through this specific detox and diet, so having them as a resource is a HUGE plus.  I'll be getting more vitamins and minerals because the foods that are "allowed" on this diet are mostly veggies and tofu and nuts.  Prior to this diet, when I had the option of eating out and having a vegan pizza or Chipotle over loads of veggies or home-cooked meals, I always picked the former.  With this diet, the veggies finally win.  Yay for them.

The timing on all of this is perhaps perfect as I just started a nutrition course and the class resources will help down the road.  All good things.

After reviewing the results on Friday morning, I decided to have a last hurrah before starting my diet on Saturday.   

Favorite vegan pizza for lunch.

Dinner at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

More on the diet later.  Good eats to you!

P.S.  Here's a great video that describes Functional Medicine:

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