Still struggling, but seem to have hit a plateau. I don’t think this flare will get any worse. Now it’s just a matter of being patient and waiting it out. Today was day 3 on the couch. Mentally feeling a little stir-crazy, but physically, I just don’t want to move. I did get up at one point to clean up the kitchen a bit, and to make these…
Chai Fried Bananas
It’s 2 bananas fried in a tablespoon of salted ghee and sprinkled with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and clove. These are such a yummy treat. Makes a fantastic dessert. And no need for additional sweeteners whatsoever. The bananas caramelize and each bite is like cracking into creme brûlée. When it hurts so much to eat, I really need something that is so delicious that I’ll endure the pain. This did the trick. I ate all but 6 or 7 pieces. That was the only solid food I had today. But staying nourished with smoothies and warmed, spiced coconut milk. Felt like I had a hard time staying hydrated today. It just hurts and is so tiring to keep drinking water. And I make a mess because it dribbles out around my swollen lip. Would’ve loved some coconut water. I always feel so hydrated after drinking that stuff.
Ok, so, when I took these pictures I had no intention of posting them anywhere. It was purely for my own information. But the change has been so drastic, and this is a big part of how I’m gauging what foods are inflammatory for me or not. I’ve talked before about how much my bloated, distended stomach was reduced after eliminating grains. I wish a had a “before eliminating grains” picture, because that was where the most noticeable difference happened. I easily looked four months pregnant (and I showed a LOT at four months!). But here are 2 pictures of my stomach 3 weeks after eliminating grains.
I’d say I was down to about 2 months pregnant-looking in those pictures. And my stomach stayed that way for several weeks. Then, during this recent flare, it shrunk even more. Flares sometimes end up being sort of forced detox periods for me (as long as I can avoid pain meds). But even during flares, I typically eat eggs. It’s a soft, slippery, easy to swallow food that works when my mouth is all jacked up. We just happened to be out of eggs this week, and I was too sick to go shopping, so we were eating (or in my case, mostly drinking) other things. I think this further shrinkage may be due to the inadvertent elimination of eggs. Though I’ve eliminated and reintroduced them before with no noticeable reaction, if I was consuming other inflammatory foods at the same time, it’s unlikely that I would’ve noticed. Anyway, here’s my belly pics from this morning (five weeks after eliminating grains, two weeks after the previous pictures… I swear I’m not sucking in and I have not done a single core exercise in, oh, about 6 months).
My stomach is almost as flat as my husband’s now- and he’s a very lean guy. I think there still may be a very slight bit of lingering inflammation, but it is greatly reduced. So I should be able to notice as soon as it returns and identify the offending foods. Since I have no other digestive issues (thankfully) this is the best way for me to recognize what foods are messing with my digestion and causing the autoimmune reactions throughout my body.
I’ve said this before, but I want to reiterate… I’ve looked 4 months pregnant for the past 3 years (ever since the birth of my daughter). Even when I lost a huge amount of weight (and was down to 116 lbs, at 5’7″ and with my build, that’s way too skinny) I still had the baby belly. I knew it wasn’t an issue of fat, but I figured it had something to do with my stomach muscles not being the same after being so stretched out during pregnancy (I was REALLY huge- like abnormally huge- strangers often thought I was having twins). I thought I just needed to work on my core strength and build those muscles back up. Then, when I had a crisis situation back in June and had to get a high dose (80 mg) steroid injection on top of doubling my usual prednisone dosage to 40 mg per day, my stomach suddenly shrunk (even flatter than it is now- it was practically concave). Once that happened, I knew instinctively that the belly was caused by some sort of severe inflammation in my digestive system. My doctor (nice guy, saved my life in the hospital, but clueless about my disease and digestive health) said the steroid injection would not have caused my stomach to go flat. He suggested that perhaps I had had a large bowel movement. Lol. I was like, “Ummmmm, no. I’ve had this belly for 3 years. I don’t think it has anything to do with bowel movements.” The four-month baby belly returned within a week, but I knew finding how to reduce that inflammation through my diet would be key to my long term healing process.
So, even though at this point I am still very sick, I find encouragement in this progress. I WILL get there. I WILL be well. Eventually. 🙂