Guest Blog Post – My Wife!

Hello everyone, I have a special treat for you! My wife will be doing my first ever guest blog post. As a type 1 diabetic that has been off medication for going on 4 years, my wife has been a big supporter of my efforts and instrumental to my mission to stay medication free.

What she has to deal with is no easy task. For most dinners, Amanda will have to make 4 separate meals, 1 for me, 1 for her, 1 for our son Aiden and 1 for our daughter Madison. She tries her best to make sure we all eat healthy, but it can be exhausting managing my raw-vegan focused diet along with feeding two toddlers, oh, and not to mention herself.

Unfortunately, ever since our 2nd was born, my wife has been experiencing health problems as well. But she has taken steps to improve her diet which has significant reduced her ailments. Amanda actually does not follow a vegan diet like myself, but she has had success with other avenues. I am very proud of Amanda and her efforts and am excited to let you hear her story…

Amanda’s Story

Hi! My name is Amanda Steve and I am Matt’s wife. After I had my 2nd child, I started to experience a lot of strange symptoms such as joint pain, tingling all over my body, blurry vision in my left eye and severe fatigue among other things.

I went to my doctor who ran some bloodwork and due to an elevated antinuclear antibody (ANA) of 1:640 and family history, they thought I might have Lupus and referred me to a Rheumatologist. Many autoimmune diseases such as Lupus cannot be diagnosed with bloodwork alone. Luckily, the Rheumatologist told me that I don’t currently have Lupus although it could be early stages that we should keep an eye on over time.

Dr. Cole to the Rescue

It is scary when you experience symptoms and can’t make them stop. You can’t help but wonder if you will have them for the rest of your life or if they will even get worse. Like my husband, I could not accept what was happening without taking action. At first I just cut out gluten and discovered that my joint pain immediately went away. I still wasn’t feeling 100% though so I decided to seek out a functional medicine expert named Dr. Will Cole in Monroeville.

Functional Medicine, the Better Choice

Functional medicine looks at the root causes of why your body isn’t working the way it should instead of conventional medicine that might just prescribe pharmaceuticals. Through running additional bloodwork, a saliva test, urine test and stool test, Dr. Cole had determined that I had leaky gut syndrome, adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalances, hormone imbalances, inflammation markers, low vitamin D and a few other items such as food sensitivities to dairy, eggs and gluten.

Most people that are having symptoms of autoimmunity often have similar underlying issues that cause them such as inflammation, so I feel strongly that the process listed below can help most people with autoimmune disease if they are currently following a Standard American Diet.

Amanda’s Diet

The diet I have been following is very similar to the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP), which is a stricter version of a Paleo diet removing all grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, cocoa, nuts, seeds, butter and eggs and a few other foods. The diet focuses on eating mostly vegetables (6+ cups per day), high quality meats and seafood, healthy fats and limited fruit.

The point of this diet is to remove foods that most commonly cause inflammation in people. Overtime you can add things back in one by one spacing them out over several days to see if they impact you. This is also known as an elimination diet. While you start to feel better within the first few weeks of eating this way, it can take years for your body to completely heal depending on the amount of damage.

The Results Are In

After one month on this diet, I felt much better. After about 2 1/2 months all of my symptoms were gone. I haven’t had my bloodwork rechecked just yet, but I have no doubt that most of my levels are normalizing just by the way that I feel. I’m still experimenting with what my body can and can’t tolerate, but this diet works. If I eat something that my body doesn’t like, I can get symptoms back for days up to almost a week even. However, it is comforting that I know I will feel great if I just go back to the basics.

So, at this point when I see a piece of cake, it honestly doesn’t look good to me anymore because I know how sick it will make me feel and how terrible it is for my body. I can honestly say that I don’t feel deprived because I can make my own version of desserts, pancakes, pizza, bread etc. The most difficult aspects of this diet in my opinion are going out to eat and social gatherings. Bringing your own dressing for a salad at a restaurant and making a compliant dish to share for parties are the best ways I have found to overcome these challenges.

When looking at your overall health you also need to focus on items other than diet such as keeping stress levels low, exercise and reducing your exposure to toxins that are in most conventional cleaners, cosmetics, and bath and body products. I don’t think there is one diet that fits everyone. Vegan might work best for your body like my husband and a paleo diet might work best for someone else with an autoimmune disease. It is up to you to take the time, energy and effort and commit to testing out what works best for your body.

Family Picture!

Some of my followers have said that I need to include more photos in my blog to liven it up! So, here you go…this was a family picture from last weekend when we rode the Gateway Clipper boat in downtown Pittsburgh. Who says a married couple with auto immune diseases can’t have fun…