As my second week on the Liver Support Protocol draws to a close, I’m reflecting on the fact that I still feel like shit. I’m not surprised. Healing my body is going to be a long road. I’ve been eating in accordance with the Autoimmune Protocol for around six or so months now, so it feels like I’ve been trying to heal for a while, but the fact is that my implants were only removed eight weeks ago. It’s still early days.
I realized after publishing my last post that I had forgotten to talk about a few important things: caffeine & sleep.
Caffeine is out on Dr. Wentz’ protocol. Coffee is out on the Autoimmune Protocol, so I’ve been off coffee for quite some time. I was actually off caffeine for a while too, but I started drinking green tea a few months back. I was off the tea for a few days post-surgery, & I intended to stay off, but once I stopped taking my pain meds I started getting caffeine headaches & I just didn’t want to deal with them at the time.
I didn’t want to just go cold turkey off the tea. Instead, I started weaning from it the week before I started the Liver Support Protocol. It was kind of a pain; I had to cut my tea bags in half & then strain the leaves out once they steeped for a while. After a few days I was down to a quarter of a bag, then nothing a few days after that. I never got any caffeine headaches, which was a plus. I did, however, have to go take a nap in my car on my first work day without caffeine. I don’t think it was truly the lack of caffeine that was the problem. I think it’s the fact that my sleep is terrible.
I’m not sure what’s causing my ridiculously restless sleep. Seriously, it’s obnoxious. My original theory was that it was the fault of my husband snoring & my dogs moving around. That theory was put to rest when he volunteered to sleep on the couch for a few days & took the dogs with him. My best guess is that there isn’t just one cause. I think it has something to do with my gut health [or lack thereof], hormonal imbalances, & perhaps my body attempting to detox. I suspect detox might be a factor because my sleep’s been more restless since surgery [not that it was good before]. I must admit that I hoped cutting out caffeine would help, but alas, it doesn’t seem that it has.
I’m exhausted during the workweek from lack of sleep. The restlessness of my sleep means that it’s nonrestorative. Plus, once the time I spend technically awake during the night is subtracted, I’m only getting about seven or so hours per night. That might seem sufficient to a lot of people, but those with autoimmune disease really need more. You can’t just “catch up” on the weekends, either. Once you’ve accrued a sleep debt, it’s not so easy to get out of it [just like regular debt!]. I don’t think it’d be as big an issue if my sleep weren’t so restless; I’d actually be getting around eight & a half hours on weeknights if that were the case.
The Adrenal Recovery Protocol has a focus on sleep, but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to sleep well or long enough to make any kind of difference. I’m already in bed by nine as it is. I’m going to attempt to move bedtime up a bit during the Adrenal Support Protocol & see if that helps.
So, back to the Liver Support Protocol. I honestly have no idea if it’s helping. At the very least, I’m hopefully setting the stage to have more success with the adrenal & gut protocols. There’s also always the possibility that I’m not seeing improvement because I’m detoxing. Trying to get rid of all the crap that’s been pent up in your body for years can make you feel not-so-good. On the bright side, I don’t stink so bad anymore.
Again, I wasn’t able to afford all of the supplements. I left out the liver support powder & curcumin because they were the two most expensive. With my luck, they’ll end up being the most important of all the supplements. Speaking of being able to afford things, I’ve continued to cook with stainless steel [Dr. Wentz suggests not cooking with stainless steel for the duration of the Liver Support Protocol because of heavy metals]. I bought my set of pots & pans not even a year ago. I wasn’t about to buy more. [For the record, she does suggest using cast iron. I have a cast iron pan but have not taken the time to season it yet.] When all’s said & done, I’m not really concerned about my pans. On the other hand, if you’re cooking with Teflon or the like, you probably should consider replacing them as they can leach toxins into your food.
I fully intended to make some of the green juices from Hashimoto’s Protocol. I really did. I bought a bunch of green apples & celery & even cilantro, which I hate with a fiery passion. Cilantro is supposed to be really good for detox, so I was going to suck it up & just get it down. & then I didn’t. Perhaps I’ll take the plunge another day. Side note: you can get cilantro as a liquid supplement, but I have yet to find an AIP-compliant one.
Speaking of food that I hate: if anyone knows a way to make salmon doable for someone who doesn’t like seafood, please bestow your wisdom upon me. I have always hated seafood, but since being on the AIP I have tried eating some for the omega 3 content. Ugh. So far I’ve tried scallops, cod, & salmon & have enjoyed exactly zero of these. I really want to like salmon, or even just be able to tolerate it. It’s not even that it tastes bad. I have some kind of mental block. I tried making some last weekend & I literally almost vomited it back up after I swallowed. Not pretty. [The same thing happens with organ meats, unfortunately.]
Speaking of food in general, I decided to try some reintroductions over the weekend. As far as I know, you really aren’t supposed to attempt reintroductions until some gut healing has occurred. I’m obviously not there yet. I’ve tried a few stage one reintroductions in recent weeks, including ghee, green beans, & black pepper. I can’t say I feel any different with these added back in. I decided that I wanted to try to reintroduce egg yolks, partly because they’re good for you but mostly because I wanted to try & make cassava pancakes without them turning out like crepes. [For the picture below, I used this recipe with a few AIP modifications.] So, I had egg yolks Friday & Saturday. I don’t think they’ve affected me in a bad way, but if they caused any gut symptoms I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell. In any case, they won’t be an everyday sort of thing. I’m not big on eggs unless they’re making up a pancake.
Speaking of pancakes, I need to cut down on the carbs. I’ve been sort of in denial for a while about the fact that a lot of carb sources simply don’t make me feel good. I get easily irritated, cranky, & anxious when I eat them. I made some cassava tortillas this weekend, which were delicious, but shortly after I ate some my heart started beating faster & I could feel it in my chest. According to Dr. Wentz, many people with Hashimoto’s have dysregulated blood sugar. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what I’m experiencing. Blood sugar aside, it would likely be beneficial to reduce certain carbs for a while in order to try & starve my Candida. This will be so much fun! [Read: carbs are my favorite &, while the part of me that wants to get better is ready to do this, the rest of me is just like NO.]
I haven’t been seriously keeping track, but I think my carb intake has been lower while on the Liver Support Protocol [except for the whole cassava tortillas & pancakes situation]. I only worked three days this past week because I had Friday off [I have every other Friday off, which means some weeks are tolerable & some weeks are depressing] & I was off Thursday because I had to go to my post-op appointment. On the days I went to work, I had zoodles & spiralized carrots with avoziki sauce [on Monday I had about seven cups of the spiralized vegetables raw, because that seemed like a good idea…]. I can officially say that, after a few weeks of eating lots of zoodles & avoziki sauce, I’m over it. At least for now. I also had a peach & some coconut butter with my breakfasts. For lunch I had a hamburger patty, nightshade-free ketchup from Practical Paleo, plantain fries from The Healing Kitchen, broccoli, & sauerkraut. Dinners were meat & veggies as per usual, plus I discovered the miracle that is tostones [also from The Healing Kitchen]. On Thursday I needed an on-the-go breakfast, so I had an Epic Bar & my Berry Beet Collagen Smoothie.
I had hot lemon water first thing in the morning most days [usually during my commute] throughout the Liver Support Protocol. I didn’t have it the last few days because my teeth started feeling funky. After not having it for about two or three days, my teeth started feeling normal again. I imagine the lemon wasn’t playing nice with my enamel. It’s also entirely possible that I was having too much lemon. I don’t usually use lemon, but suddenly I was having hot lemon water & a bunch of avoziki sauce, so maybe the combination was just too much for me.
All in all, even though I don’t feel much different at this point, I think supporting my liver with the extra supplements will prove beneficial. I didn’t get to this point overnight, so there’s no reason to think it’s going to be a quick fix. Hopefully this healing journey will help hone my patience skillz.
On to the Adrenal Recovery Protocol!
Wentz, Izabella. Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. N.p.: HarperCollins, 2017. Print.