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Today’s guest post is from Erica at Edible Attitudes. Erica is a high school student who has been healing her health problems through food. She even wrote a book about it! I’m so happy for her discovering this at such a young age! Be sure to like her on Facebook. Today she shares her story with us:
Hi everyone! I’m Erica and I blog over at Edible Attitudes. I’m very excited that Chloe gave me the to opportunity to share my story with you today!
I just turned 18. Kind of a big deal for anyone but this year is extra special to me because it is the first birthday in three years since I started a variety of elimination diets that I am truly feeling better. Let me jump back and explain what I mean.
I’ve always had some type of health problem but starting in fourth grade was when my battle with chronic joint inflammation began. It originated in my ankles and then spread to my knees. I am softball catcher and for a while I just assumed it was because of catching. Soon the pain had crept into my finger, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. I had tendentious in almost all major joints by my sophomore year of high school.
Now I don’t blame my parents for not taking me to a doctor or taking it more serious. I would talk, more like complain, to them but they weren’t in my body and they didn’t understand. Soon, I stopped bringing it up as much and I started to have a higher pain tolerance. I knew that what I was going through wasn’t normal but it was normal to me because I was use to it.
So when I was going freshman year of high school and could barely walk anymore because I was in too much pain, even with my acquired tolerance, my parent and I knew it was time to do something.
There were four major stages or attempts in the process of regaining my health to eliminate the joint inflammation.
First came physical therapy. It wasn’t enough.
Next was starting to eliminate foods. I was taken off of gluten, soy, MSG, sugar, dairy, and corn and put on two supplements. It wasn’t enough.
Step three was starting GAPS. As a junior now, this was the first big improvement. Pain was going away and so were some of my other symptoms but then I plateaued and couldn’t reintroduce foods without the return of the inflammation. It wasn’t enough.
Finally, step four was removing salicylates. April 2013 I was diagnosed with a salicylate sensitivity and I was restricted to about 20 food. It was hard but so worth it because in only a month all of my pain, five years of pain, was gone!
This year I played my first softball season without coming home and sprawling out on the couch to ice every joint for almost 45 minutes. I didn’t take several rounds of Advil to get through just one day of a tournament. I didn’t dread walking up stairs. I didn’t shuffle around the house because my knees hurt too much to bend.
The best part is that as I have reintroduced foods the inflammation hasn’t returned because I have reversed my salicylate sensitivity and no longer have a leaky gut!
These health issues have caused a lot of concern about college. At one point, I was questioning whether or not I should leave my home to go to college right out of high school because I was making no progress. I’m happy to say that not only am I pain free but I plan on going straight to college and hope to play softball.
I’ve had make some careful decisions though. I looked dorm layouts and ruled out many colleges because I wouldn’t have kitchen in the dorm and less control over what I eat. Location of the school was even considered when thinking about my access to getting real food or how get my to doctor appointments.
That is why my birthday is special to me. I have more foods back into my diet than my birthday. I’m pain free for my first birthday in five years. I’m going to college next year and I’m not terrified about what will happen to my body because I know I can do it and that I’ve worked hard to get to this point.
You can read more of my story in my book, A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy, by purchasing it as an ebook for $1.99 or a paperback for under $6. It also contains a lot of the lessons I have learned about how to overcome the mental side of food restrictions and be a “normal” teenager.
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