Monday, July 22, 2013

The Not So Super, Grover. N=1 AIP Experiment

If you've read my blog this past spring, you know that I had quite a few illnesses.  I had noro virus in February and then three bouts of bronchitis.  During that time, my doctor's loaded me up on antibiotics and other medications.  When I finally seemed to over all of this nonsense at the end of May, I started breaking out on my legs. At first it was just bumps.  I have fairly sensitive skin and figured that I was likely having a reaction to the final round of strong antibiotics I was on.  Then those bumps started itching like crazy.  My theory changed to bug bites from mowing the yard.

When nothing over the counter worked, I went to my general practitioner who quite frankly had no idea what it was on my legs.  She prescribed an anti-histamine and a steroid cream.  Neither did a thing. As I had started eating really clean again, I wondered if the rash on my legs wasn't keto rash or candida die off.  I decided to go to a nurse practitioner off of  the Paleo Physician's Network.   She called the MD of the office in to take a look.  She immediately said that it was chiggers. Really?  She told me to go buy some compression socks (that weren't cheap) and apply a different prescription cream.  As I am a good patient, I complied.  No improvement.  I tried every crazy Chigger remedy I could find on the internet. No improvement.

Sexy compression socks.
I cannot describe how badly my legs itched and how awful they looked.  Nothing I was given by either doctor helped.  I finally went in to see my dermatologist, which I should have done in the first place I guess.  She said that while chigger bites look similar to what my legs looked like, that probably wasn't what it was.  She biopsied one of the bumps.  She prescribed a more powerful steroid cream and I anxiously awaited the results. 

The verdict?  Grover's Disease.  Its also known by the more ominous name, transient acantholytic dermatosis.  Of course, this is one of those annoying conditions that doctor's don't really understand very well.  For as bad as it sounds, luckily, really all it does is break your skin out into extremely itchy bumps.  It will come when it wants and resolve itself when it wants.  My dermatologist believes that my current outbreak could be caused by all of my illnesses or the medications that were prescribed to treat them.  Heat and sun is known to aggravate it.  Wonderful.  It's summer.  In Texas.  The only treatment is basically steroids.  There are some theories that Grover's is an auto-immune disorder, so I decided I would try the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and see if there was any difference.

My decision wasn't immediate.  As my legs seemed to be healing, at first I hoped that would be the end of it, but then I started breaking out on my hands and arms.  I'll spare you the pictures.  Rest assured its not pretty and worse, there is the itching, the horrible non-stop itchiness.  What did I have to lose?  Absolutely nothing.  I started this experiment  on July 1.  

As I blog ahead a few posts for sanity, I've just now gotten to the beginning of the AIP compliant recipes that I have been preparing.  For a while, I thought I might not say a thing about it until after it was over and just blog along as to try to remove any stigma that following an Autoimmune Protocol may have, but then Mickey Trescott kindly provided me with a review copy of her Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.  I figured that there wouldn't be any secret once I started posting several recipes from her book as well as other AIP compliant recipes I've found from other authors, so I'll just let you all in my N=1 experiment right now.  

I hope you will see that these are just great paleo template recipes that can be enjoyed by everyone. They just happen to use seasonings that comply with an Autoimmune Protocol.

In reading about other's experiences with an AIP protocol, the biggest concern you see is its restrictiveness.  For me, since I already eat a pretty strict version of the paleo template, I've not really any difficulty with it.  To help me stick to the protocol, I've removed the spices that I typically use that are not AIP complaint form my spice rack and lazy susan so I just won't think about them. 

I can say that I am lucky in that I only have to cook for myself and I have no one else's palate to please. Also, I've managed to avoid eating out for the most part.  Eating out enjoyably is pretty close to impossible on this protocol with the spice restrictions.  So long as you do not have to eat out, its really not that bad.  

I was a bit sad when I went through my frozen meal reserve in my freezer and had to clean out everything that didn't fit the protocol.  What a sad empty freezer.  Don't worry, I didn't throw away the food, I just moved it to my garage freezer so I could make room for some AIP compliant food.  I prefer to look at is the freezer full of opportunity.    

Is it a sad empty freezer or a freezer full of opportunity?
So, over the next few weeks, you'll be seeing some AIP compliant recipes.  Don't freak out!  I still won't eat food I don't enjoy and hope you'll enjoy the recipes as much as I have.  

Blog News:  After a year of blogging, I'm finally getting around to a few things that I've wanted to do for a while.  You may have noticed, I've added some tabbed pages to the blog right under the header. The first tab will take you directly to my Etsy store, Cavegirl Couture where you can shop for a apron or perhaps a broth cloth.  The second tab is to a table of contents, if you will, to my Efficient Exercise Paleo Movement posts.  The final tab, tips & tools, is where I'll put tips I use routinely in my kitchen and I've listed the tools I find useful in my kitchen.  

Photo Credit:

Super Grover