Many of us suffer with achy joints, bones and muscles, myself included. This often leads to fatigue, lack of mobility and depression. My journey is a long one but I feel that it is beneficial to share. In the effort of not boring my readers, I will try to make this a "long story short."
At 29 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was young, apparently unhealthy and had no clue how this would affect my daily life. Before my diagnosis I struggled to get out of bed. Not only was I chronically tired but the cramps in my feet and calves were intensely painful and I had started putting on weight. The doctor gave me a prescription for hypothyroidism and said I would be on it the rest of my life. However she did not tell me how my eating habits would continue to keep me in a chronic state of inflammation.
In the early years of my disease the synthroid helped. I lost weight and felt generally "okay." As the years passed though the daily pill became less and less effective. Adjustments to the medication weren't helping like they used to and I started to regress. My face, hands and legs were constantly swollen. My joints hurt. My weight fluctuated, diets weren't working and I was getting frustrated.
Have you ever heard the saying "you are what you eat?", or read an article about how 80% of health related issues are caused by what you ingest? Without any guidance I began researching. I tried every elimination diet on the internet. I stuck with these diets for at least 3-6 months and sometimes up to a couple of years. My initital thought being, if I lost weight I wouldn't be in anymore pain. THAT'S NOT TRUE. Ditch the idea that if you are thin enough you won't be in pain. Get rid of it!
Here are some diets to stay away from if your main concern is inflammation:
The Egg Diet - 2 weeks
Basically you eat EGGS and "healthy fats" (avocados, olive oil, some cheese etc.) I did this for 2 weeks with no cheating. Pros: I lost weight!! Cons: completely unsustainable (eggs get old fast), gassy and no significant reduction in inflammation. Recommendation: I wouldn't. It's weeks of your life you won't get back.
The Cabbage Soup Diet - 1 week
Recipes for "Cabbage Soup Diet" are all over the internet. It is a strict diet with no wiggle room. Pros: you will lose weight, however this will be water weight. Cons: unsustainable for long periods of time, no reduction in inflammation, once you go off regiment you will gain everything back. Recommendation: good for a quick 5-7 lbs. if you need to fit into that bridesmaid dress but not good if you're looking for a lifestyle change.
Vegan Diet - 2 years
I did this for 2 years. No meat at all. No animal byproducts at all. I was able to get creative with vegetables and herbs and spices. I ate vegan bread and I chose plant based meat, making delicious patty melts, meatball spaghetti and "chicken nuggets." Pros: I felt good about myself for not killing animals to consume. Cons: I felt more horrible because of all the chemicals and processing of plant based meat. Like utterly horrible. Every joint in my body constantly hurt. Also, demasiado caro!! (which in spanish means "it's TOO EXPENSIVE) Regardless of what you may have read, if you're on a budget then veganism isn't for you.
Vegetarian - 2 years
A diet of vegetables, eggs, grains, dairy. I felt okay on this diet but something was still keeping me sick. I felt about 70% but I desparately wanted to be at 85% or 90% maybe even find a way to get to 100% but given my age I was pretty sure that would be impossible. Pros: I felt better, my skin cleared up, I lost a little weight Cons: I still didn't feel completely healed of my inflammation. Some days were good and some bad
Pesco- Vegetarian - 1 year
Same diet as above, add fish. Pros: I love fish and veges. Cons: I still wasn't eliminating inflammation
Herbalife, ItWorks, Stacker, Stacker2, 317 (for women), Apple Cider Vinegar, Phen Phen, Phentermine and every other kind of pill diet known on the market. Pros: NONE Cons: racing heart, no benefit for inflammation, ZERO and I mean ZERO benefit. Please do NOT use pills as a fix it for weight loss or inflammation. It will not work!
After all the years of generally consistent pain I wasn't getting the results I desired. Which first and foremost was relief from inflammation and second was significant weightloss.
I didn't list them all in this post but it was "more than I can count." I needed a change. I needed a LIFESTYLE change. I was DESPARATE! I continued to feel tired, weighted down and achy. It occurred to me that there was only one elimination diet I had overlooked. The keto diet. I had eliminated everything but sugar, starches and carbohydrates in my previous diets. I decided that it wasn't going to hurt anything to try one more diet. I had spent years dieting and I viewed this as a new adventure. Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn't. I was determined.
In my next post I will walk you through week by week of how keto rapidly became the most effective diet for me. I will take you down a road that could lead to a change you never thought possible. I will post recipes and support. I will do everything I can to help you on your journey. Keto was the lifestyle change that changed my life.