The last couple weeks I’ve been thinking much more about my diet and how it can affect/ease/increase my pain and symptoms. I’ve seen a dietitian (not overly helpful, but some) and my naturopath and I have been talking diet too. It’s not that I’m sceptical. I know that some foods are moe inflammatory than others. And I’ve made an effort these past few weeks to cut back on dairy, eat less processed foods, and cut WAY back on sodium (to try to avoid prednisone weight gain). I thought that the overall effect of diet was pretty mild though. When I was asked about “trigger” foods, I sort of brushed it off, knowing there were certain foods I just can’t eat because I don’t digest them (eggs, onions and most anything containing “fake” sugars-particularly diet pop), but not knowing of any that would set off pain or headaches, etc.
Until this weekend. Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and we spent the day out with friends at the golf club (beer and cards and basketball) then a local pizza joint (pizza and beer) and back to the house. I didn’t drink a ton of beer, but over the course of the day I certainly drank a lot more than I have recently. And for both lunch and dinner, my meals consisted of pizza. By the time we got home last night about 10 pm, I was not doing well. Mega headache. Hurting everywhere. Absolutely wiped (in all fairness, it was 10pm, but still). I managed to make it until 11, but I was miserable. And so despite a houseful of people, I took myself up to bed, took an Ambien, and slept. A total wake up for me as to diet and “trigger” foods. This was a definite, food-related incident for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever noticed something like this before, blowing my theory out of the water that my my diet wasn’t affecting my flares in any real way.
I thought it was the beer that did it. So last night I took down a TON of water, same with all day today. Today was better, but I was still achy and tired, a bit more than nomal the past few days. Turns out I think I was wrong on that though being my “trigger”. Tonight, out of laziness, I ate the last two squares of my BBQ chicken pizza and the crust/sauce of a deep dish slice (having removed the pepperoni and cheese). The reaction my body had seemed almost instant. Within 10 minutes, I had a splitting headache, the roof/back of my mouth had swollen and I felt like crud again in general. While I’m sure the beer didn’t help last night, it appears as though pizza is not a friend of mine.
Now I’m left with questions…and a splitting headache. Is it pizza in general? The BBQ sauce? The cheese? The crust (gluten)? I’d been fighting the idea of the elimination diet and removing meat, dairy and gluten from my diet for 3 or 4 weeks to see what, if any, the effect would be. I’m now a believer and will probably start sooner rather than later. I still think gluten is going to be next to impossible to eliminate, particularly since I’m coming up on a big period of travel for work over the next several months. But, I now feel the need to do this, and to start planning out my meals more carefully. Last weekend I bought a book on a whim – Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health – when I was at BN. I think I’ll spend some time tonight perusing its pages and recipes.
But the moral of this long, rather boring story: I’m now a believer that my diet affects my pain and my headaches, at least, or maybe especially, during a flare. It’s going to be a while before I brave pizza again. If anyone has tips or experience with this, I’d appreciate hearing from you, particularly if you have suggestions on eating out (considering I’ll do this for days, if not weeks, at a time…)