Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bumps in the Road

I skipped posting yesterday. I missed writing, but was grappling with a nasty migraine. The shakiness hasn't quite gone, but I do want to quickly share my thoughts.

I have been getting migraines since I was about 22. Over the years I have eliminated any food triggers I could identify (not foods really, but additives: MSG and sodium metabisulfite, and all sulfites to some extent). When I stopped eating wheat almost nine years ago, I became less sensitive to other things. I believe there is a multiplying effect when we are exposed to multiple irritants, at least that was the case for me. None of the foods implicated in causing migraines have ever seemed to be trigger foods for me.

Now the main causes are my hormones (and I am peri-menopausal, so that's pretty unpredictable these days!) and my jaw muscles. For the last year, I have been working with a local holistic dentist on my TMJ and other jaw muscle issues. The last two migraines I have had seem to be related to this work. Which is both awful and wonderful--something is changing, and I can almost watch it make a migraine! I can feel how different my bite feels today than it did a few weeks ago, and I am sure this is the main reason I developed that 14 hour headache.

Yes, it feels good to identify the cause of a problem. But that does not make it go away. I have seen my chiropractor this week, and that helps me to feel better, but what I have is an entrenched pattern that doesn't really go away with adjustments. I can only hope that the bite guard will eventually be successful and that my body will stop protesting the retraining!

In the meantime, I ended up doing a couple of non-GAPS (at least, definitely non-Intro and fairly advanced) things to help me through without medication. Chocolate. Chocolate seems to help my migraines (it could be the magnesium, and it could also be that theobromine has a magic to it. For the record, caffeine does not help my migraines at all.) I also have some herbs that help, so I use what works. It's better for my gut than the large amounts of ibuprofen I have taken in the past... I also use cold washcloths on my head, and I eventually got into our hot tub to relax.

I felt guilty, though, as is I were letting myself and you all down. Silly, when I am wrestling with the beast, I know, but there it is. I had to talk sternly with myself through the whole night and day of pain. Doing what works, and what will keep me from the intense nausea and vomiting I sometimes experience, seems a sane choice. Still, I mourn my "textbook" experience of Intro.

I noted today that Baden has also been dealing with some similar issues--those of choosing to do what works for onesself, even while in Intro, and of forgiving ourselves for "not doing it perfectly".  Baden and I, and perhaps a few others, are doing Intro this time as a sort of re-commitment or tune-up. We have done it before, and therefore have some idea of what our particular issues might be. So if we write that we ate______ (whatever that might be) that does not really mean it's advisable in Intro, especially the first time through.

And that is partly why I feel so bad, because I want to set an example, a path that others can follow as they struggle with their own issues. And, while I don't think that carving my own solution is bad in and of itself, I feel that it muddies the waters a bit, making it harder for others to discern what to do in a sticky situation.

As Baden also describes, I was wrestling with whether to say anything, whether to brush this little indiscretion under the rug. I do believe, though, that you would rather hear about my struggles honestly described, not prettied up for your benefit. I can only hope that it helps to hear that I am not so stoic and perfect, that I couldn't endure a 14 hour migraine without some relief!

I did finally add the nut butter to my pancakes, a small amount on two different days. I think that is fine, as I would have expected heartburn as a first warning sign, and that didn't happen.  So I am on Stage 4, and I have added olive oil--so nice to have! I made a "salad" of cooked beets with lemon and olive oil, along with Moroccan spicing, which was wonderful to eat and to share! Next up: Roast meat and juicing. I think we will have roast chicken tomorrow, so that comes first. I'll let you know how it goes...

Hopefully you are still with me, on this bumpy journey. Please do let me know if there are any topics you would like me to address! I would love to have this be a more interactive process...

Have you ever gone into an endeavor with full enthusiasm but stumbled in your execution? How did that make you feel? What did you do about it?


Debbie said...

Dear Justine,
Thank-you for sharing your beautiful and honest writing. I hope that you are feeling much better. Having to do whatever self-care is necessary during a migraine seems very important. I tend to be too much of an "all or none" person, and life is just not that way ! It helps to know that there are times that not everything will go perfect on this GAPS journey, and the fact that you have had health and healing without being 100 percent perfect is inspiring.
I am struggling away on day 8 of GAPs intro, and I so appreciate you as a mentor of "one who has gone before." An honest mentor is the only kind to have!
Thank-you also for your great Spring dandelion post. We continue to have Winter here in Northwest Montana, but I know it won't be long until our lawn becomes that wonderful mass of yellow. Have always wanted to do something with what I consider a lovely flower,so now have great ideas !
Best to you!

Linda K said...

Justine...I have been loving your blog posts!! Lately I have been experimenting with changes in my own diet. After drinking raw milk for so many years and learning more about Ayurveda I have realized that my Kapha constitution does not do well with dairy especially in the springtime. Colton is just like me and would get swollen adenoids and have problems breathing at night every year around this time. We are both off dairy right now and are doing very well. He has no more congestion at all & I have noticed some personal changes in my body shape that I like much better :) And every time we have had dairy the next day we both have runny noses so I know right now we need to steer clear of it. I will experiment with a bit again in the summer and see how we do....
I would like your take on Iodine supplementation. I have been supplementing us all with Lugos Solution. Mainly since the massive radiation leak in Japan (I dont trust the govt and it is suspicious to me that this horrible accident have ZERO news coverage so soon) and also because I know most of us are very iodine deficient already. We dont eat sea vegetables and we only eat fish once a week. Our food is not iodized so I have feeling are deficient. What are your thoughts??

Justine Raphael said...

Hi Debbie--

Thank you so much! I fumbled through writing, not sure if I was being clear. I appreciate your support, as well as your finding the post(s) useful.

Well, I have a brother-in-law in the Helena area and have been hearing that things are shifting toward Spring, if slowly. Perhaps there are good dandelion greens to gather now, as they are less bitter before blooming. You may find other things too, things that are a bit less fussy about the cold.

People do deep fry the blossoms, but even a GAPS version is pretty far away for both of us! The wine is celebratory, though probably also medicinal. The cordial we use medicinally--it's calming, and helps the digestion. A tiny amount (in a lovely cordial glass) is the perfect thing after a stressful day while waiting for dinner!

Happy Gathering!

Justine Raphael said...


So glad you stopped by!

Yes, each of us has to figure out what works for ourselves--and at any particular time that may be different, so we have to stay sensitive and aware...

Iodine--that's complex. Dr. Brownstein believes everyone needs it, due to bromine (and other halogens, like fluoride and chlorine) exposure. On the other hand, there are those that feel that iodine supplements can aggravate autoimmune thyroid conditions--which can be latent. In my experience, using Lugol's and then Iodorol tablets, I ended up with nodules on my thyroid. I had long suspected issues with my thyroid, but that was sort of scary.

If you want to take iodine, read Brownstein's book, look at breastcancerchoices.org , make sure you are all taking all of the companion nutrients--so that you don't turn the solution to one deficiency into another, potentially worse problem.

I have been taking seaweed for most of the last year. Not HFS kelp, but wonderful, live green seaweed from either Ryan Drum or from Mendocino Sea Vegetable company. My most recent mix is from Barbara at Mendocino, and includes Kelp, Dulse and others. I am starting to take it again after a break during this time of early Intro.

I highly recommend that route as a safer alternative to commercial iodine preparations. It's a real food, but I can sprinkle the small bits on my food and not have to eat seaweed dishes (a hard sell for my family, and not even something I can work in every day for myself)

There are those that will say it's not enough, but I don't believe it. The people who survived the WWII atomic bombs with no radiation effects were eating miso soup with seaweed in it every day. Not iodine supplements. And they were more exposed than you will ever be (unless Turkey Point goes kerplooey, but that's a different issue).

I hope that helps some. Maybe something I should blog about?


Karen said...

great post! Thanks for the iodine comment. I buy sea salt and always wonder if we are iodine deficient! What about nori paper? I'll look into other sea vegetables to add to my soups. Also, I sent you an email that you wanted to add to your blog about salt loading. Maybe I missed it. Is it on your blog? THanks, Karen

Justine Raphael said...

Hi Karen,

Nori isn't very high in iodine. In my understanding kelp and bladderwrack are the most effective, but there may be others--I am no seaweed expert!

Yes, I answered you here: http://thenewhuntergatherer.blogspot.com/2011/04/ferments-food-and-refrigeration.html

Make sure you don't have bleached white "sea salt" which is highly processed...


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