Can Getting Rid of Gluten and Dairy Get me Back to Bootcamp?

Climbing a Rope at Bootcamp

Climbing a Rope at Bootcamp

Besides the fact that I love to write (I mean, who doesn’t know at this point that I do?) What people may not know is that I love exercising. I absolutely adore it, but I haven’t been able to do it in over a year. October, 2012, I had been in a Bootcamp class. I’m talking “hardcore stuff.” Now, I won’t compare what I was doing for an hour with what Marines do day in and day out in their military training, but the Marines who taught us told us that it was close.

Oh, how I loved that class. I love it so much I got up at 5:30 am to get to a 6:00 am class, three to four times a week, where the Marines would “lovingly” yell at me, put me through exercises, make me climb ropes, run laps, lift tires, etc, for a full hour. When class was done, I was a disgusting, sweaty, smelly mess (along with the other fifteen insane people with me), but I felt incredible and I thought I was looking great.

But then I got hurt. In one class, I was doing jumping jacks holding a heavy bar, and thinking I was fine… when suddenly I wasn’t. Something “sort of snapped” in my back. I remember slowly falling to the floor and getting numb. I thought maybe I just twisted wrong (the numbness was my body’s way of keeping me ignorant to what had really happened.) I tried to continue the class but couldn’t and as the day progressed, I was basically crippled. After all the subsequent doctors and MRI’s we discovered two herniated disks. L4 and L5. Sciatica, numbness.. pain. This is basically textbook and nothing new. But, the disks are sitting on nerves and other fun stuff, so no matter how textbook this is… it hurts.

So what have I been doing to fix this? I did nothing for about eight months. I couldn’t. And then this past October I started with a chiropractor who gave me some relief. Then, this past week I started acupuncture and I also changed my diet. I read that gluten and dairy cause inflammation. I figured, “what if I could just get rid of them as much as I could from my diet?” It really wasn’t that hard to do – you just have to prepare. Brown rice pasta has replaced regular pasta, brown rice instead of white, I’ve made quinoa and lentils, I broil and bake instead of breading and frying, and I purchased gluten-free crackers.

What was interesting was this. Two weeks ago, I went on this diet for the first time for a week. I was pretty strict, though there were one or two meals I “cheated” because I wasn’t home and there was food in front of me. Regardless, I would say I changed my diet 90% that week. Looking back, I realize my back felt better. Then when the week was done, I went hog wild and chowed down on Chinese food for two days, started drinking milk again, yogurt and cheese for breakfast, bread at lunch, and wouldn’t you know, three days later my back went out… and bad. Lots of sciatic pain. Hmmm… so, back to the chiropractor, added my first acupuncture treatment and went BACK to the gluten-free/dairy free diet.

Verdict? Three days after being in the worst pain I’ve been in months, I’m so much better. Coincidence? A combination of everything? I don’t know, but I really believe that this “little cocktail of treatments” is hopefully working. The fact is, if I don’t add to my own problems by eating foods that CAUSE inflammation, maybe I can keep the nerve pain at bay – just by watching what I put in my mouth.

So, the verdict is out on exactly how this is going to go, but I’m hopeful. My next acupuncture treatment is Wednesday… I’ll keep up the diet and I’ll report next week. So far, so good.

My goal? Maybe I can get back to bootcamp one day. But for now, I’ll take “tying my shoes without flinching,” thank you very much.


11 thoughts on “Can Getting Rid of Gluten and Dairy Get me Back to Bootcamp?

    • I made quinoa the other day for the first time. It’s a grain and it was good. One cup of the stuff cooked, mixed with lots of parsley, lemon juice, fresh tomatoes, chopped onions or shallots – I’ve been chowing down on it – it’s pretty good. And very easy on the stomach. You feel full without that achey feeling.

  1. I’ve followed your work and social media for a long time and I don’t believe I knew of this previously. Most who live with chronic pain are, not surprisingly, seldom in a good mood. You are always so upbeat, that in itself is a triumph. Best of luck and keep up the new cocktail!

    PS. Remind me to never tick you off, Rambo.

    • I really appreciate that – I won’t lie, there are moments of sheer frustration. I sometimes just want to write and the very act of sitting is painful – especially when you try to get up. But, that said, I’m a glass half full type of girl and I’ve decided that I must do what I can to make myself happy and be successful. Social media is funny – you can get so many different personas on it. Glad I’m coming across positive, because I usually am – was thinking this might help some folks. 🙂

  2. I’m so grateful for this good advice. I, too, have been dealing with lower back pain and have learned that tight-fitting clothing (tight elastic panty hose tops, for example) makes the pain worse, Also, if I forget to keep my shoulders back and remain erect, the back protests. And the biggest help: Walking. Just 30 minutes on the treadmill works wonders. I’m holding good thoughts for your continued progress.

    • YES! I’ve noticed if I’m wearing tight jeans it’s worse and if I slouch it’s terrible… it really aggravates it. I’ve also found stretching lightly in the morning with yoga moves for about 10 minutes (all the time I have), seems to help the overall achiness too. Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. I am so sorry, Elyse, and can commiserate. I’ve experienced the snap, too. Doesn’t surprise me you feel better. Gluten and casein are difficult for the body to break down; the protein gets dumped into the blood stream, resulting in an allergic reaction (inflammation). Sending good thoughts your way for a full recovery. Keep the course and let me know if you need recipes.

    • Thanks Elise – life is way too busy for me to have to add back pains to it! Yes to recipes! I just made a great crab cake with sweet potatoes and corn as the base. It was delish!

  4. Sorry about your pain, lady! But yes, gluten especially causes inflammation, and just so you know – rice of any color and kind (aside from rice mixes that have other stuff in them) is gluten free… Even asian sticky rice… Also – be sure you are getting lots of dark green leafy veggies and almond, or other foods to supplement your calcium via DIET… taking a calcium supplement is not enough. This is your mother talking… lol Good luck and keep us posted!

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