Fast forward a year and a half: my Rheumatologist has me on medicine to suppress my immune system and prevent it from attacking itself and causing inflammation in my body. After being on Enbrel and then Humira, I was battling persistent yeast infections (yuck), nausea, digestive issues (double yuck), and feeling generally crummy. So I sought professional help in the form of a highly recommended gynecologist with a holistic perspective. We ran some tests and figured out that yeast was growing throughout my digestive system. Yeast is perfectly normal in the body (you have it too so don't think I'm gross), and a normally functioning immune system kills it off when it starts to overgrow. However, if your immune system is weakened or suppressed by medicine, yeast will take the opportunity to spread itself throughout the body. This yeast overgrowth in my body was impairing my digestion and causing the general feeling of icky-ness I had been experiencing.
So about a month ago my doctor figured all of this out and put me on a "kill the yeast and heal the gut" plan. She is also confident it will help manage some of my AS symptoms. Apparently the body goes into a mini state of inflammation when digesting carbs. Since my body is already in a state of inflammation, lessening this carb-induced inflammation should make my medicine more effective. I'm still researching this, but I'm intrigued.
So essentially I have been on a low starch/no sugar diet for the past month. I can't eat any wheat, corn, rice, oats, peas, beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, squash, sugar, syrup, jam, honey, or food starch. The only fruits I can eat are apples, pears, and berries. I also can't drink beer or wine, which sadly means no Pyramid Hef with lemon during these hot summer days. Frankly, I feel a bit like I'm on the Atkins diet. I can't even eat quinoa, and the only sweetener I'm allowed to use is stevia and it has a funky aftertaste. I've also realized that as little info as there was out there about using diet to manage AS, there's even less about this crazy diet I'm on. So I thought I would share this experience with you, world. I'm hoping my experiences will help some other clueless AS sufferers, or will at least be mildly interesting to some of my friends and family. :)
And now, a recipe.
Since I love me some sweets, I have been searching for some dessert replacements that don't taste like crappy health food. Three days ago I created this beautiful concoction, and it's quickly become my new favorite thing:
Chocolate Berry Blend
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup frozen strawberries (unsweetened)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries (unsweetened)
3 scoops Biggest Loser protein powder in Chocolate Deluxe
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stevia packet
Blend it in the blender and you're good to go! Savor something that tastes like chocolate raspberry mousse. Yum! I'm pretty confident this would be good frozen too, and served like a fudgesicle/very hard ice cream, though I haven't tried it yet. You could even made fudgesicles if you froze small amounts in paper cups and stuck a popsicle stick on plastic knife in them to use as a handle. Enjoy!