Sunday, September 20, 2015

Managing a flu/fever with a chronic illness

glass thermometer
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A few weeks ago, I was shivering under 5 heavy blankets with a fever.  While all bundled up in my bed, I thought back to the last time I was battling a flu.  It was about 2 years ago when I was early in my Colitis journey. I was hit with a stomach bug which eventually triggered a pretty bad flare. Since I was quite inexperienced with how to manage the newly diagnosed chronic illness, I was afraid to take any over the counter medication, I was even afraid to take any natural remedy like oil of oregano or garlic as they can also increase digestion symptoms, so I roughed it out by taking lots of Epsom salt baths. I remember even drinking water hurt my insides but I had to keep myself hydrated with coconut water. I had terrible hunger pangs from not eating for 5 days and ended up loosing a pound a day.

This time around I am more confident how to nurse myself back to health. I believe the year of being on AIP has really healed my gut. My body is much stronger to deal with seasonal sickness. Don't get me wrong, the fever was not fun! I slept most of my day. My children were worried as they watch me shiver but I assured them that I will be ok, whereas 2 years ago, I really didn't know how I would get myself out of the flu.

The million dollar questions about AIP is "how long does it take to heal?" I used to count how many months I was on the protocol, but I don't anymore. I just know that this is the right direction for me to continue to support my health. It is a lifestyle, not a diet.

Besides rest,  here are some of the home remedies I used to help speed up the recovery ( disclaimer: I am not qualify to give medical advice nor can I suggest medication even though the following are remedies )
  • Cell salt: Ferr Phos can help with inflammation like fever in the body
  • Epsom salt bath. 2 -3 times a day and I made sure to stay hydrated 
  • I added Lavender and rosemary oil in my bath and in my diffuser. I am learning more about using essential oils to support my health so stay tuned for more. 
  • I up my Vitamin C supplement to bowel tolerance. This means I increase dosage in small increments ( 250mg - 500mg) until I get loose stool. I have to be careful with this one as I don't want to trigger my UC symptoms
  • I increase my Vitamin D supplements for a few days until I feel improvement
  • LOTS of bone broth
I tolerate Astragalus well if the my cold and flu is a stubborn one. While I was researching for this post, I finally read up more about the TH1/ TH2 pathway dominance theory. There are a lot of information out there on this healing path and we don't assimilate the knowledge well until we are ready for it. I am finally ready to understand more about this theory. It looks like I am most likely ( not proven by testing )TH2 dominant according to the two links by Mickey Trescott listed below. 

Preventative measures 

The following are what I practice to ward off the germs

Oil pulling - removes bacteria/ viruses hiding in our mouths
Neti pot - removes bacteria/ viruses hiding in our nasal passage
Drink more hot teas - hot teas help loosen mucus
Getting enough Vitamin D
Again... bone broth! I find a 10-12 hours simmer works best for me, longer cook time can increase the histamine. This article from The Paleo PI explains why. 

Here is a great article from the Paleo mom about How long is it going to take to? Finding Patience with the AIP

These link shares Mickey Trescott at The Autoimmune Paleo's explanation on the Th1/ TH2 pathway

If you are fighting a flu I hope you feel better soon. Get lots of rest and stay hydrated and if you try any of the remedies on my list, let me know which ones helped.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AIP/ Paleo in Vegas

My hot yoga balcony studio

I am finally sitting down to finish off my Vegas travel post after listening to Phoenix Helix's podcast on Paleo Travels. If you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend you do even if you don't have a trip planned in the near future.

I was a bit apprehensive about this trip to Las Vegas mid August. Firstly, it was the first flight travel since my diagnosis; packing my kitchen in the van for a road trip is easier than condense packing that involved security checks and liquid limitations. Secondly, I wasn't sure how I would take to the extreme hot desert temperature. Thirdly, we were there for work ( tradeshow time ) so it was easier and cheaper to stay on the strip and not rent a car. I was unsure where I would buy fresh produce. However,  my excitement to be traveling sans children for the first time - EVER overcame all my distresses. 

What I packed: the million dollar questions for AIPers

Beside the usual canned and dried goods ( canned smoked oysters, plantain chips, coconut apple bars ), I cooked up this seared ahi tuna, broccoli and purple yam meal and packed it in a cooler bag to eat on the plane. Luckily, I wasn't hungry on the flight so I ate part of this as my late dinner at the hotel. Note the children utensils for airport security purpose?

I haven't been to Vegas for probably 7 years so when my husband said that he would books a nice hotel because I was coming, I didn't know what to expect. To my delight, we stayed at the Cosmopolitan which were originally built as apartments so the rooms had a fridge, dishwasher and microwave. The fridge part was already filled with overpriced beverages but there was room in the freezer to put my food. The tuna lasted well in the freezer as I snacked on it over the course of my stay. To prevent temptation I covered the tray "moment of weakness" candies and snacks on the counter with a towel. I also pre-made and froze some of Kaiku lifestyle's plantain pancake as another source of AIP carbs. 

Testing the heat

I start my day with hot yoga on the balcony. The reason why people pay more money for hot yoga classes is because the heat makes you more flexible and bendy. 20 minutes later and I was sweating.

Then I went to the pool for a dip, I was the only person in the oddly shaped pool trying to do some form of laps.

After I cleaned up,  I made my way to the trade shows to meet my husband. If you have been to Vegas, you will know how every hotel looks so much closer than the seem.  You can usually see the hotel you are heading to but because they are so big, you still have be walk at least 15 mins. I was sure glad I packed my snacks for the tradeshow because their prices for fruits was crazy - a banana or apple was $5US. In the evening, I was pleased to find a little market place where I bought some fresh produce at decent prices for the rest of our stay.

Here are a couple dinners I had on the Strip.
Taro chips mushroom avocado ceviche appetizer at Carson Kitchen. I gave the cherry tomatoes to my husband.
BBP ( Bobby' Burger Palace ) - burger on salad greens, again hubs got the tomato 

For lunch on our last day in Vegas, we tried the buffet at the Wicked Spoon. Here is the true test how I fare with all the food.  - selective, not quantity but quality. Meats, Roast beef, house cured bacon, crispy pork, smoked salmon, carrot mango ginger lime juice, gluten free dessert

Grilled salmon
Being very cautious with my selection
smoke salmon
Carrot, ginger, mango juice
My Five finger shoes stood up to the test

So how did I do with all my initial concerns about this trip?

On the Strip with no car? No problem as I was prepared with compliant food, I was not bothered with walking as long as I stayed hydrated and look for shade if I am out in the sun. I think the extra Vitamin really powered my body.

Food? The heat actually decreased my appetite, with the extra activities like pool time, tradeshow and  just plain experiencing this surreal city, I ate less. And I did find some normal priced produces while we were off the strip. The buffet wasn't as scary an experience as I imagined. Just because it was there, doesn't mean I had to eat it. I really enjoyed the foods I chose and went back for seconds. 

How did this trip improve my health? My body really benefitted from the sunlight and heat, I am unsure whether my body reacts to heat differently comparing to before but the extreme heat seems to be what my body loves. I joked that I will become a leather faced retiree living in Palm Spring. This was such a great little recharge getaway. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids but being able to just focus on myself and my husband is a real treat for any parent once in a while. All I focused on was getting enough water and how to get to my next destination - the simple joy on wonder!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sweet Beets and Plantain burger patty

Restaurants usually add a lot of sugar in their food to improve taste and make them addictive. Here I am using naturally sweet vegetables like beets and ripe plantain to make these AIP low FODMAP burger patty as irresistible as the ones in dining out meals. Hope you like it!

Makes 12 patties  Prep time 15 mins  Cook time 10 mins

  • 2 lbs ground pork ( pastured raised are best ) 
  • 3/4 lbs ground beef ( pastured raised are best ) 
  • 1 small beet root ( golf ball size ), peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium ripe plantain, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 leek ( greens only for lowFODMAP), clean and cut into 1" sections
  • 1 tsp sea salt ( I used pink himalayan salt)
  • 1/4 tsp AIP 4 spice mix or cinnamon
  • Frying fat of your choice ( I used coconut oil here) 

  1. Put all cut vegetable ( except plantain )  into food processor and pulse into ( roughly rice size ) small pieces,  add plantain last, ripe plantain will make mixture into a paste. 
  2. Mix in salt and spice/ cinnamon
  3. Empty mixture into large bowl and hand mix in ground meats, you can also stir with wooden spoon or use a masher
  4. Heat frying pan on medium heat, add fat
  5. Form mixture into 2-3" patty size and fry until cook ( 3 - 5 mins each side) Keep in mind that the Beets will make it more reddish so it might be safer to cook longer. The vegetable keeps it moist and tender. 
  6. Serve with your favorite sides or double portion and freeze exta.