Now that Relay for Life is over for another year, I feel the opportunity to take a breather and start blogging more.
I blogged before about the difficulties I have with my acne. I've been on amoxicillin now for a year and a half and the last 6 months I have definitely noticed a drain on my body. I was tired all the time, I'd wake up still tired. Doing a workout was a chore. I'd fall asleep in the car on the way home from work. My mood swings were like clockwork on Day 13 & 14 of my cycle. It was insane. I found myself in a position where I had to decide - what's worse? Acne or feeling like this? I decided I didn't want to feel like crap anymore so I made an appointment to visit a naturopath in Charlottetown named Gretchen MacLean.
We sat down for an hour and a half and Gretchen nodded her head and didn't seem shocked or surprised by any of the details I gave her. The tiredness. The mood swings. The urge for sugar around my cycle. The trouble with weight gain. I told her I didn't want to take the pill, which was recommended by the specialist in Moncton and my family doctor. I was extremely relieved when she told me I didn't have to. Here's what she told me.
1) Being on antibioitics long term should result in regular yeast infections (sorry boys). When I told her I never had one in my life, that was a big clue. I've told this to many doctors before and never got an answer. Just an "Oh! Well count yourself lucky! You should probably eat some yogurt though." Gretchen told me that the yeast is probably in my gut somewhere and that's precisely why my body craves sugar. Clean eating for a week or 2 starves the bacteria and the yeast looks for sugar to thrive. It was a ticking time bomb and I finally had the reason why it was so hard lately. Huge relief.
2) Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and Aspartame have to go. Some research has shown that it can cause an insulin response and be detrimental to weight loss. There is also the uncertainty about whether or not they cause cancer. Recommendation - no more artificial sweenters. I can have unpasteurized honey, pure maple syrup and agave nectar for sweeteners. Stevia is also allowed.
3) Caffine. No more. I was drinking coffee in a desperate attempt to keep my energy levels up and in the process was taxing my adrenal system. No more caffeine. The first 5 days were rough, headaches, felt like vomiting but I got through it.
4) Progesterone. I've been tracking my cycles using an iPhone app for the last 2 years. I've been regular like clockwork. For the past 6 months I decided to track every time I had a mood swing too. I noted that they always occurred around cycle day 10-13 which is ovulation time. Our hypothesis at this time is that my progesterone levels are low. Gretchen prescribed a progesterone cream which I take nighly from cycle day 14 until the day my period starts. It's a gentler way than taking the pill and I absolutely love it.
5) Blood work. I told Gretchen all about my past experiences with allergy testing. She advised we should do a range of bloodwork to test for food sensitivities. We also took some blood to test my yeast levels. The results should be back in the next 2 weeks. I can't wait to see what they say. My blood will be tested against 187 different foods to see what I may have a sensitivity too. I'm guessing wheat and dairy but time will tell.
6) Diet. Welcome Primal Blue Print - free range eggs, grass fed beef and chicken. Grain fed animals are higher in Omega-6 and are usually fed antibiotics. What the animal eats - you eat. I have moved to grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs. It's more expensive but worth it. The taste difference in beef is night and day - yummy. Always good to support local farmers too. :) Carbohydrate sources should come primarly from fresh fruits and veggies. We aren't cutting gluten at this point but that may be recommended when the blood work comes back.
7) Omega-3 supplement - High potency Omega-3 supplement which I take daily.
8) Probitioic - I take a high quality probitioic daily with food.
9) Herbal Tincture - I'm taking a herbal tincture daily to help my adrenal system.
I've been following this program for the past 4 weeks and I can already see a big difference. I'm not falling asleep in the car on the way home. I haven't had a mood swing. I dropped 6 lbs. I have more energy and I wake up in the mornin before the alarm clock goes off. I feel like my memory is improving. I don't need to be reminded of things a million times. Little things that we probably take for granted are starting to improve. Skin wise I'm doing okay. I still take my antibiotic but not daily. This week I took it once in 5 days. The hope is to cut it out completely.
I know this is a long post. I hope I didn't bore everyone. If anything, I hope sharing this post will give others hope that may be struggling with a skin or medical condition where they aren't getting answers. I never would have went to see Gretchen if a co-worker hadn't recommended her so highly. I felt like I had nothing to lose, and his good word gave me the push I needed to go visit. I'm very happy I did. :)