A Long Overdue Update on my Health

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I am happy to give a long overdue update on my health. I am currently feeling better than I have in a long time; however, I am still having some symptoms that need to be managed. As I mentioned in the last blog post, I have been working with an endocrinologist and an internal medicine doctor. They have both been amazing. For the first time in forever, I have a team of doctors, who are looking at my health as a whole and that has lead us to some answers. Some of the answers are good and some of them are bad.

Starting with the good news:

-The positive Lupus blood test turned out to be a false positive caused by my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

-I am no longer suffering from severe chronic tachycardia (elevated heart rate). One of my medications turned out to be the culprit. My doctors and I worked together to wean me off of it. As soon as I came off the medication entirely, the tachycardia went away. I have been tachycardia free for four whole months!

-The treatment plan, my doctors and I have put together, is managing my pain well. My baseline is a four on the pain scale. After years of living with a benchmark of seven, I never believed we would have my pain so well managed.

Now on to the bad news.

-The testing came back on my thyroid, and I am in the beginning stages of either Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Graves disease. They are both autoimmune diseases which affect the thyroid. We will not know which one I have until it progresses further. In the beginning, they have the same appearance on ultrasounds.

-My body is still struggling to process and store vitamins and minerals correctly. This is especially true when it comes to vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and Iron. My doctor has put me on a vitamin D and B-12 supplements. While he would like me on an iron supplement, I have a history of not tolerating them well. So, we are holding off at this time. If my iron levels fall much further, we will have no choice but to supplement, regardless of how sick the iron makes me.

-My cholesterol levels are mildly elevated, which is a new symptom that has presented in the last eight weeks.

-I have developed a sun sensitivity.

My immune system is going haywire. My doctor believes that I am suffering from polypharmacy. Essentially, all of the medications that I am taking to treatment (aka be a functioning person) my pain conditions are wreaking havoc on my immune system. We have reduced my medication load as much as possible. Having done that, we are trying to treat my symptoms using a combination of diet and lifestyle changes. Hopefully, by making these changes, we will see improvement in the symptoms and possibly reverse some of the damage to my immune system.

Regardless, of what new curve balls life throws at us, we continue onward. We keep trucking along and making the best of everything. I refused to allow my pain to beat me and I refuse to let these autoimmune issues beat me. My family needs me, and I refuse to fail them.

Breakfast the Feingold Way!

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Certain aspects of breakfast was challenging to make feingold friendly. The hardest part was cereal….my kids love cereal. Momma does too! However, most brand name cereal is filled with artificial crap; especially the fruit loops my kids love.

While, I haven’t found a feingold friendly fruit loop cereal I have found some great cereal options and my kids have a pretty wide variety to choose from!

Cascadian Farm Organic is a wonderful line of products. They have some pretty kid friendly cereal that match the flavors offered by conventional cereal. We love their Chocolate O’s and Cinnamon Crunch. We haven’t tried their Fruitful O’s yet but I am hoping to find them and see if they could be a replacement for the Fruit Loops my kids adore. They also make some fantastic granola and granola bars.

We are also a big muffin family but I can’t seem to make good muffins from scratch for the life of me. I’ve tried multiple recipes but just haven’t found a good one yet. However, the muffin mixes I was buying were full of junk…they didn’t even have real berries in them! Therefore, we hadn’t made muffins for breakfast since we started moving over to th feingold diet.

Image my happiness when I came across Duncan Hines Simple Morning Muffins. These seem to be very new because I was unable to find the brand listed on their website. These muffins are yummy and have no artificial ingredients in them. They come in Cinnamon Streusel, Blueberry Streuel , Triple Chocolate Chunk and Apple Cinnoman mixes.

We do lots of french toast, waffles and pancakes made from scratch which means I needed a good feingold approved syrup. The most logical choice is pure maple syrup. However, its expensive and well my kids aren’t the most conservative when it come to using syrup. So, I save that for special occasions like Christmas morning! However, finding a pancake syrup that is feingold friendly and doesn’t have HFCS (which we try to limit) is not easy. Log Cabin makes a wonderful one called Log Cabin All Natural Table syrup. The only thing I don’t like about it is the bottle it comes it. (It pours out very quickly and in large volumes.)

We typically pair one of the above mentioned items with a green smoothie or yogurt and fruit.

Snacking Feingold Style

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About a month ago we were at our wits end with Paul. His behavior was out of control. My husband and I were at the point that we were considering putting him on medicine for ADHD….assuming we could get a dx for him. (He is to young at this point in time; even though our developmental pediatrician believes Paul has ADHD.) After several changes we have had some progress with Paul’s behavior and life isn’t as chaotic. The biggest thing we did was pull him from preschool and bring him home. The other big change we have made is diet.

Over the last month I have started to move the family towards a Feingold diet; meaning no artificial colorings, flavors or preservatives. I have been making the changes slowly but surely and still have lots of work to do. However, we have seen some noticeable changes in Paul’s behavior. He seems to have better control of his impulses and is listening better.’

For me I have found the hardest thing about the Feingold diet was finding easy snacks to have on hand that didn’t have a bunch of junk in them. Here are a few of my finds:

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish- these have been a great find and a fantastic replacement to cheese it crackers. I was pleasantly pleased to find last week when I went shopping that Goldfish colors are free of artificial colors.

Animal Crackers by Healthy Helpings- Bjs Wholesale Club where we have a membership at has their own brand called Berkley and Jenkins. This brand carries a line of kid friendly foods that are feingold friendly. They carry both plain and chocolate animal crackers in giant tubs.

Fruit Snacks- It took me a while to find a fruit snack for my kids and it also took them a while to make the change without fussing. We finally settled on Mott’s All Natural Fruit Snacks. The are nice because you can find them just about anywhere and don’t have to go to a specialty store.

Granola Bars: We love the granola bars by Nature Paths Organic. They have a ton of flavors- from your regular run of the mill ones like peanut butter, chocolate chip and peanut butter/chocolate chip ones to more exotic ones like Apple Pie Crunch Chia.

Yogurt: Depending on what is on sale I purchase either Stoneyfield Organic, Brown Cow, Wallaby or Greek Gods Yogurt. All of these brands are feingold friendly.