Food Mystery Timeline/Overview 2015-2018

Hey everyone!

So I feel great still. It’s been almost a year since I started only eating beef, and things have been consistently improving. I’m still trying to solve the mystery behind my food problems so I’ve written out as much as I can to give myself clues (and anyone else who is also suffering mysteriously). This is a long one, but if people are interested here it is:

Initial symptoms in 2015 prior to dietary changes:

  • Ideopathic arthritis – Severe. Not the type that just “goes into remission”. That’s more likely to occur during puberty, and it’s extremely unlikely with arthritis that causes joint deterioration and a need for multiple replacements as a teenager. In 2015 it was in my right wrist, both shoulders, right knee, right big toe, both thumbs, both sides of my jaw, some finger joints, both elbows, lower back, and occasionally other areas. I was worried I was headed for a wrist replacement. Medicated with Enbrel and Methotrexate and Tylenol 3.
  • Ideopathic hypersomnia (chronic fatigue) – Severe and debilitating. Slept for approximately 18 hours a day if unmedicated. Medicated with Adderall.
  • Itching skin – Severe. Particularly itchy on the legs but also everywhere else a bit. Wore fake nails so that I wouldn’t scratch my legs until I bled in my sleep.
  • Mouth ulcers – Came and went.
  • Floaters – Constant. Not particularly severe compared to everything else.
  • Cold sores – Occasional. Medicated with Valacyclovir quite effectively.
  • Skin rashes – Severe. Blistering rashes that came and went on my bum, shoulders, chest, legs, face. Medicated with Dapsone.
  • Cystic acne – Could have been worse but felt pretty severe. Medicated with Dapsone.
  • Dishydrotic Eczema – Came and went. On fingers and if it got really bad, also on toes, elbows, and knees.
  • Restless leg syndrome – Came and went but was always there a bit. Severe enough to stop me from sleeping. Medicated with Gravol (over the counter).
  • Depression/Anxiety – Rare hypomanic episodes as well. Constant. Severe. Debilitating without medication. Medicated with Cipralex.
  • Breaking nails – Minor, but my nails wouldn’t grow. Extremely weak and peeling.
  • Dry skin – Wasn’t much of a concern.
  • Oily hair – Wasn’t much of a concern.
  • Pale – I was incredibly pale and couldn’t tan. Wasn’t much of a concern but I did wonder why I was too pale for makeup.
  • Constipation – Wasn’t really aware of this until it went away.
  • Bloating – Constant. Worse after meals.

Tests performed:

  • Bloodwork – Pretty normal, elevated white blood cell count, low vitamin D3, low zinc. No rheumatoid markers.
  • Stool test – Pretty normal, possibly a less diverse microbiome than I should have, signs of Strep and Candida. Ignored these results initially because I didn’t understand the validity of the information I was getting.
  • Lyme test – Negative, going to repeat

Treatments tried:

  • medication through the medical system for 15 years – biologics, immunotherapy, amphetamines, pain killers, SSRI’s, SNRI’s, mood stabilizers, antibiotics, surgery
  • high dose vitamin D3 therapy
  • probiotics along with probiotic friendly food in small quantities to build a tolerance  –  didn’t work
  • Candida diet, sugar free diet, low carb diet, keto diet, SCD, GAPS

THE BEGINNING:

1992 – born via c-section

1993 – Strep infection, given antibiotics and suffered from a bad candida infection after

1994 – show signs of arthritis

1999 – show signs of depression and get diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

2000 – start Enbrel and Methotrexate and Naproxen and have cortisone injections

2002 – start antidepressants (Prozac)

2003 – take antibiotics 2 times for bronchitis. It doesn’t work and eventually take antibiotics intravenously for pneumonia. More cortisone injections.

2004 – take antibiotics for bronchitis. Switch to Celexa from Prozac

2005 – take antibiotics for bronchitis

2006 – take antibiotics for bronchitis

2007 – take antibiotics for bronchitis

2008 – take antibiotics for bronchitis. Start birth control. Cortisone injections.

2009 – take antibiotics 2 times for bronchitis. Turns into pneumonia. Get hip and ankle replaced. Start taking Welbutrin and increase Celexa dosage.

2012 – Increase Welbutrin. Have a seizure from increased Welbutrin dosage. Go on an antibiotic (minocycline and vitamin d3) regimen for autoimmune disorders for months. Get strep throat and take more antibiotics.

2012-2013 – Gain weight and feel miserable in every way worsening quickly in university. Try and adjust antidepressants with no success. JRA re-diagnosed as JIA (juvenile ideopathic arthritis as I have no blood markers of disease). Mental health worst it’s ever been.

2014 – Start getting skin problems.

November 2014 – Antibiotics again and I tried probiotics and had severe abdominal pain and almost threw up. Decided probiotics were not for me for years.

December 2014 – A skin rash on my face doesn’t heal for 5 weeks.

January 2015 – Stop taking Methotrexate (which I’d been on for 15 years) out of concern that some of my skin issues were side effects. See no improvement in skin issues but no change in arthritis.

May 2015 – Get entire extended family to do 23andme to see if I can find a genetic problem. No such luck. But I do find out I have the Celiac gene and start using Dapsone for skin issues. It works perfectly. Cut out gluten strictly after realizing my itchy rash might be a sign of Dermatitis Herpetiformis, and Celiac Disease (even though I don’t have any abdominal pain). See about a 20 percent reduction in skin rash and perhaps a mood boost but it’s hard to quantify. It’s summer and maybe I just feel a bit better anyway. Stop the Enbrel to monitor arthritic symptoms to see if maybe it was a gluten issue.

June 2015 – Diagnosed formally with Ideopathic Hypersomnia after seeing a sleep specialist.

LOW CARB:

September 2015 – Go to “low carb-ish”. All organic. Rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, salad greens, coconut oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, meat, fish, eggs. See a drastic reduction in symptoms within the first month. Skin heals. Lost weight and bloating is insanely reduced. Arthritis is greatly improved. Suddenly have a flat stomach. Constipation (which I didn’t realize I was suffering from) is gone.

October 2015 – Successfully reintroduce apples, pears, peaches, beet sugar, honey. Unsuccessfully try and reintroduce almonds and cheese and bananas. Suddenly lactose intolerant and allergic to nuts (tested by an immunologist), both of these are new.

November 2015 – After recovering from the cheese and almost introduction, wait a month and don’t reintroduce anything, depression lifts suddenly and itch disappears. Stop taking antidepressants (after 15 years of high dose SSRI).

December 2015 – Convince Dad to go low carb. Fatigue greatly improves. After serious soy cravings, try to reintroduce soy in massive quantities. Suffer from the worst depressive/anxious episode I’ve ever had, unmedicated. Symptoms last a month and include all of the symptoms mentioned above including a hallucination.

January 2016 – Recover from soy and stop taking Adderall and Tylenol 3 and birth control. Completely unmedicated. Try to get rid of all outside factors to see what the hell is going on. Have reactions to pumpkin and white sugar (makes me feel drunk). Stop eating rice after difficulty digesting and bloating afterwards.

February 2016 – Accidentally have gluten and have a month long reaction from that.

March 2016 – Notice nails are stronger.

April 2016 – Unsuccessfully try and reintroduce grapes. Get a feeling like I’ve had 4 alcoholic shots after introducing grapes. What on earth is that? Fermenting sugar somehow?

May 2016 – Unsuccessfully try and reintroduce casein and lactose free whey.

June 2016 – Unsuccessfully try quinoa.

August 2016 – Unsuccessfully try kelp noodles (why do these even exist?)

September 2016Feel better than I’ve ever felt before. On the low carb diet seen here (except also including apples and pears).

October 2016Unsuccessfully try and reintroduce sauerkraut for probiotics. Begin a horrible autoimmune flare up and think “screw it, I’m not doing this horrible reaction again for the 10th time, I’ll just medicate”. Go back on antidepressants, and antibiotics and T3’s.

November 2016 – Don’t get that much better after the sauerkraut reaction.

December 2016 – Pregnant. Don’t get better. React to sulfites.

January 2016 – Autoimmune symptoms and depression won’t go away. Pregnancy? Or from the last round of antibiotics? Skin randomly breaking out. Random itching. Face is very puffy. Random mouth ulcers.

February 2016 – Drop most fruit. Things minorly improve.

March 2016 – Drop sweet potatoes and carrots and apples. Have severe sugar cravings. Things minorly improve.

Things don’t really improve after that. Chronic fatigue is gone, depression is there but not crippling like before, arthritis is painful but manageable, itching is there, face is puffy. Not nearly as sick as before but definitely sick, and definitely much sicker than when I first went low carb before the pregnancy and antibiotics.

ALL MEAT:

December 2017 – Switch from eating all meats, fish, and salad greens to just eating meat. Stop after a week and go back to salad because of the “transition symptoms” (bloating, diarrhea, dizziness). Salad immediately improves digestion but I wake up the day after, itchy, depressed and arthritic so I go back to all meat. Arthritis and itching improves in a week. I lose approximately 10 pounds of pregnancy weight in 10 days that I hadn’t been able to lose eating salad… And by salad I mean organic olive oil, salt, pepper, organic apple cider vinegar, organic lettuce, sometimes organic arugula, organic olives. Pretty meagre salad.

January 2018 – Drop chicken and turkey after experiencing dizziness and drunken feelings about 15 minutes after ingesting, and switch to only beef and salt and water (with the occasional bourbon/vodka which is somehow tolerated). Drop fish too just in case.

February 2018 – Unsuccessfully try to reintroduce organic olives (no added ingredients). Suffer from a 3 week long bout of depression and arthritis and skin issues, but with improved digestion (less diarrhea). Mood starts to recover about 3 weeks after the olive reintroduction at the end of February.

March 2018 – Asymptomatic, still cases of upset digestion. Less bloating after fattier foods. Mood stable but not as positive as when first going very low carb.

May 2018 – Asymptomatic, still cases of upset digestion. Ability to digest fats slowly increasing still. Mood boost. Went from feeling pretty flat (but not depressed or anxious) to having some positive mood fluctuations.

June 2018 – food poisoning or something similar. Start small floor exercises for strength.

July 2018 – get a cold from Scarlett for the first time. Smoke some weed to help with the body ache. Have a flare up afterwards (body odour, arthritis, brain fog, anxiety). Caused by the cold or the weed. I’m thinking it was the cold because it’s repeated since then without weed.

August 2018 – Accidentally eat some pepper. Hardly any. Don’t suffer from a huge flare up but definitely see a change. Arthritis (the same usual joints, right big toe, right wrist, jaw, shoulders, knees), body odour, and this time I get a rash I have gotten before around the bra strap area. Cut out salt at the end of August to see if it’ll resolve continual digestive upset (diarrhea).

September 2018 – digestion improved within 3 days of cutting salt but everything tastes like cardboard for the next 5 weeks.

October 2018 – Try to reintroduce salt 5-6 times. Digestion upset within 15 minutes of having ANY salt. Keep the salt out. Start going to the gym every two days. Definitely limited muscle pain and fast recovery. Strength increasing quickly and within 3 weeks I can start to see muscular improvements. Fat starts tasting like water instead of greasy. How strange is that!? The greasy taste is literally gone. Now it’s like water. So weird.

November 2018 –  Okay we’re in the now, now. Digestion is still iffy. Diarrhea. Makes me think something is up (and it’s not due to the diet because Dad’s is fine).

 

Current symptoms: 

  • Inability to eat anything other than ruminant animals without having an autoimmune flare up.
  • Can still drink vodka and bourbon without having a flare-up.
  • Susceptible to colds/flus while travelling. BUT they no longer turn into bronchitis and then pneumonia.
  • Possibly suffering from more of a flat mood than when I originally went low carb. Very difficult to tell. I’m extremely stable and not depressed, and I’m happy but I think I was more elated when I first went low carb. I think I’m more stable now, but less excited.
  • Stools are still loose. Something is up here.
  • Minor skin breakouts somewhat randomly on my back.
  • No arthritis, no anxiety, no brain fog, everything is gone.

Differences between this diet and low carb (when low carb was working for me):

  • I think I was more excited mood-wise on low carb
  • More stable mood-wise on this diet
  • Weigh more by 5 pounds, but less body fat
  • Absolutely zero cravings. I had cravings on the low carb diet
  • Less hungry. Can eat 1-2 times a day. Had to eat 2-3 times on low carb.

Why write this all out?

I’ve done this diet for almost a year and found great relief from it. The carnivore community has a belief that this is the way that people are meant to eat. I almost agree. I think that people should eat a lot of meat, and were built to eat mainly meat, but I’m not completely convinced that all plants are completely evil. I think it’s obvious that we should be able to tolerate at least some plants without suddenly having an autoimmune disorder. Maybe they should only be eaten if we run out of meat. But maybe not. I haven’t completely made up my mind. I think people would be healthier in general if they ate a high fat mainly meat diet. There’s evidence that this diet heals leaky gut which I’m sure I was suffering from. My guess would be I’m not anymore, but that hasn’t stopped my inability to even consume ridiculously small amounts of plant matter. So how do we fix the underlying problem?

Clues:

  • My WBC was high and now it isn’t (confirming on next blood test). Sign of infection?
  • Whatever the underlying problem is, it’s clearly treatable with this diet.
  • I can’t tolerate probiotics even in minute quantities.
  • Whatever it is, the symptoms are worse in the morning when I do have a reaction.
  • Previous Candida overgrowth is now resolved (confirmed through stool testing).
  • Bacterial infections (like Lyme) can cause autoimmune symptoms and there are anecdotal reports that it’s treatable with an all beef diet. So is it bacterial?
  • Epstein Barr Virus can cause autoimmune-like symptoms and seems to be treatable with an all beef diet. So is it viral?
  • Dad has a similar problem, at least in regard to the mental aspect. So does my Grandpa. Is that genetic? Is it a genetic susceptibility to certain infections? Is it an infection that’s somewhat infectious?

CURRENT BEST GUESS:

  • I’ve had a number of guesses over the years, starting simply with gluten and Celiac Disease, then Candida overgrowth, then type III hypersensitivity reactions, MCAS, lyme disease, leaky gut, SIBO, etc., there were more.
  • I believe my microbiome is super messed up, although much less than before. A c-section birth, and then antibiotics before the age of 1 plus a possible genetic predisposition to be more sensitive immune-system-wise. I think antibiotics messed me up, plus anything else that provoked my immune system at a young age (vaccines? who knows?), and I went into hyperactive overdrive. I’ve been on antibiotics more than 20 times and for long stints of time. I’ve taken at least 5 different types.
  • I believe eating gluten started the gut damage which led to leaky gut which led to food sensitivities from proteins leaking into my blood.
  • I think antibody build up from the food proteins (type III hypersensitivity reaction) was partly the cause of the arthritis.
  • I believe eating a high sugar diet caused gut dysbiosis including a Candida overgrowth and possibly SIBO. Candida may have been affecting me systemically.
  • The high fat all beef, which has been shown to heal leaky gut, has resolved my (most likely) leaky gut, as well as the Candida overgrowth. It has also reduced other types of bacterial strains in my microbiome which has only led to better health for me. That’s not necessarily ideal, but it’s helped me.
  • I believe I have some sort of underlying problem making my immune system super sensitive. Obviously. I haven’t gotten less sensitive on this diet (I don’t think). I don’t think it’s purely genetic because what’s the evolutionary benefit of being allergic to everything? My guess is it’s some sort of bacterial infection that’s not particularly easy to test for.

NEXT STEPS:

  • Re-test for Lyme with a more up to date test (original test was from when I was 8)
  • Test for EBV
  • Do more in-depth stool testing.
  • Fecal Matter Transplant – I’m going to figure out how to do this in the new year sometime after my ankle surgery (January). I think this is the fastest way to see if it’s a microbiome issue. They basically take donor poop and put it in you. The problem with probiotics (other than the fact they give me autoimmune symptoms), is that they don’t seem to alter microbiome if you stop taking them. They work transiently. If my problem is some sort of infection that we haven’t been able to find, that’s been put into remission with diet, and it affects the gut, FMT might be a fast way to find out without having to figure out exactly what the infection is. There’s evidence that it can help mood disorders and autoimmune disorders so it’s worth a shot I think.

BOTTOM LINE:

  • I am basically asymptomatic. The only symptom I have of anything wrong is a very sensitive digestion. Diarrhea. Removing salt helped but it seems to be back. I have a pimple every now and again on my back… That’s it for symptoms. Arthritis is gone completely, mood is stable completely, no itching, face is clear, no bleeding gums, no mouth ulcers, no cold sores, no stuffy nose, no floaters, tons of energy, skin isn’t as dry, nails are strong, no restless legs, no cramping muscles, etc.
  • I’m thrilled that this all beef diet has eliminated my symptoms. It’s wayyyy easier looking for answers when you’re not half dead/dying.
  • I could do this diet forever and be thrilled to be healthy. BUT, I do believe there’s an underlying problem, and I’m so sensitive I can’t eat out and I get paranoid if I’m in a kitchen I don’t know, and I end up getting hit with things every so often that are out of my control. I also get autoimmune symptoms when I get a cold and I can’t control that. It would be better if that were just gone.
  • I don’t believe I will ever go back to eating “badly”. Grains will always be out, sugar will always be out, fruit will always be limited, I’ll probably need to avoid high lectin foods. I just can’t quite understand why I was doing so well low carb, then took antibiotics, then had a pregnancy, and now I can’t do that anymore. Clearly, something changed.
  • I need to figure out what’s wrong because Dad isn’t as careful as me and he keeps getting hit with things in restaurants (because he’s out so much). The diet isn’t as sustainable for him because he’s so sensitive. If he could tolerate little bits of things on his food he’d be fine. And even if we’re supposed to be mainly eating meat as a species, you shouldn’t be that ill if something just touches your meat. So there has to be another explanation.

TL;DR

Almost a year on all beef. Digestion still isn’t perfect. Still unbelievably sensitive to anything that isn’t a ruminant animal. Still believe this is the main diet people should resort to, especially if they’re suffering from mental or autoimmune disorders. Currently starting to look for the underlying cause more deply. Bacterial and viral tests first.

33 thoughts on “Food Mystery Timeline/Overview 2015-2018

      • under the sea says:

        The human intestinal tract eventually becomes accustomed to the constant food poisoning you are likely to experience while on a standard American diet, if you are lucky.

        An intravenous saline drip can provide us with much needed hydration in such instances if you can manage to afford healthcare after insurance companies have jacked up the price.

  1. Josh says:

    I googled “freeze dried beef all natural” to see if there’s a way you can create your all-beef meals for travel, and every result is about dog food. lol. =(

  2. blistery itchy skin mystery says:

    lol… Mikhaila, please don’t try the ‘fecal matter transplant’.

    But… IF YOU DO… PLEASE record yourself eating that poo ‘transplant’ =D

  3. rathergood milk says:

    Mikhaila, how well is your ankle scar healing? Can you post the scar?

    Depending on the size of the scar, sometimes scars can produce some of the symptoms you describe as the scar heals provoking an immune response.

    Have you collected any tissue samples for your doctor?

    You have never posted your surgical scars, it helps if you have a tape measure next to it to gauge the likelihood of it causing an immune response.

  4. Molly says:

    Maybe you could contact paleomedicina and find out what Zsofia Clemens thinks is going on in your case? She seems to be ahead of the game on this. (Btw – I had FMT and it was a vast waste of money)

      • Molly says:

        I am seeing Zsofia for a Skype consult but I’m going to their retreat in Feb to stay for a week. They do a test for like €155 to tell you the extent of your gut permeability, which would be a good idea I think?

        If you mean for the FMT I went to a UK clinic as I’m British. It was a huge waste of money. I don’t recommend it, and you have to eat an incredibly varied diet to keep the new biome alive, which your system can’t handle so I think it might be a waste for you too.

  5. Jason Massey says:

    Have you heard about introducing raw milk to aid in the microbiome? “Heal your gut guy” from YouTube has had great success.

  6. Miguel says:

    I’ve been working with Paleomedicina for about 2 months now.
    Up to that point, I was doing your/Shawn Baker diet, and not feeling well at all (about 3-4lbs med gr beef/day, baked in oven). Started out ok for the first 2 mo, then felt like crap for the next 3 mo.

    Paleomedicina is all about healing the leaky gut. I highly recommend them. Well worth the affordable cost.
    Portion amount is a huge deal with them. No more than 500g total food per day (about a pound, 1.25lbs per day).
    It’s too much protein that gives you the runs/acne etc. I had the exact same issues as you do at present, but much worse. My back, hips and shoulders were gross with acne, and my BM’s were terrible for months and months.
    Too much protein, amongst other things, forces gluconeogenesis, as the metabolism still hasn’t fully switched over to ketone production/burning yet, or at the least, it’s very weak, and the body wants to go with the most robust system, because like almost all natural systems, it’s inherently lazy/energy efficient.
    I found that my gluconeogenesis was far stronger than most people (Reddit, etc) suggested it would be (many suggested it’s not a big effect, I can swear anecdotally that this was not my case at all).

    Ideally, zero carbs in the diet, but they do allow up to 30% of diet to be low-glycemic veg (best results by far are meat/fat only tho).
    Also, way more fat than a typical ribeye. The fat is how you get/stay satiated.
    I add beef suet to my meals – I get it free from my butcher on the Danforth. Crazy. Some North York butchers sell it, but it’s still free in many places.
    And liver, and either brain or bone marrow every 2-3 days. (Calf’s liver is light years better than cow liver, and bone marrow is surprisingly good.)
    Should be 2:1 fat to protein ratio in grams, which works out to about 35g fat for every 100g protein.
    So say ~350g med. ground beef (70/30) with ~100g beef suet, more or less, will get you to the proper portion/ratio, or better.

    At the moment, per day, I eat either (or some combo of both) –
    1) ~350g med. ground beef w/~100g beef suet, cooked in a cup of broth, w/ calf’s liver every 2nd day (replace ~150g of the gbeef w/ the liver), same w/ bone marrow (I replace the fat w/ marrow every 2nd day or so) – I cook it all, then blend w/ a hand blender (or not, usually only on liver days)
    2) ~500g pork belly (I buy it from No Frills at Dundas/Lansdowne for $5/lb, otherwise v hard to find/crazy expensive) – bacon without the sugar/salt.

    As soon as I started eating this way, everything went normal. Skin is perfect, wasn’t nearly so knocked out after eating, BM’s are perfect.

    Paleomedicina recommends daily glucose/ketone blood level monitoring.
    I check my glucose levels 2-4x/day, and ketones 1-2x/day (frickin expensive strips).
    I received a free meter from Abbott Labs (Precision Neo) w/purchase of 100 glucose strips. Just google it (Canada).

    I also think the grilling of meat is very hard on the gut, until it’s healed fully, which is why baking/boiling is much better for the first few months. GAPS diet does this, Trad. Chinese Medicine supports this theory.

    We are emotional eaters, it’s amazing what happens when you eat just enough of the right food.
    Even more amazing is the effect of stress/cortisol on true keto-adaptation (makes me think of Dr Gabor Mate, stress leading to disease).
    Stress is the #1 reason people can’t fully adapt (see Peter Defty).
    Might also want to look into Dr Thomas Seyfried (he fully agrees w/ the stress theory), and his ketone/glucose ratios for healing. (1:1 or better for ketones). Even he is fascinated with Paleomedicina.

    Our bodies do not want to give up the glucose/glutamine/gluconeogenesis easily; for many, they will go kicking and screaming into the night before they let us switch over to true ketone production/usage.

    • zerocarber says:

      the high protein/high fat seems to be working for her and her dad and 100000 zerocarbers on reddit.com/r/zerocarb though.

      it might be the alcohol she consumes that messes up her stool, when i used to drink i always had diarrhea and stool problems and so did my friends.

  7. zerocarber says:

    have you tried cutting out the vodka/bourbon completely for at least a month? maybe that would stop the diarrhea?

      • zerocarber says:

        i see, well it’s strange, i’ve had some stool issues the first few months, especially when i didn’t chew my food enough or introduced too much fat too fast, hope you figure it out! maybe it’s the switch from salt to no salt? i’ve been doing no salt since the beginning.

  8. Spartacus says:

    One of the admins of a zero carb Facebook group fixed her diarrhea (after three years!) by accident when she started eating just ground beef. It took about 10 days. Now she can have one non-ground beef meal per week and still keep the diarrhea away.

    Others have found that adjusting their fat/lean ratio helps. Some people need more fat, some more lean, and we haven’t figured out why that is.

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