And I used to believe them. I wanted a magic bullet. I wanted to be well without doing any work. I wanted to take a pill or do a raindance or stand on my head while whistling “The Star Spangled Banner” or SOMETHING.
My autoimmune illness was raging (although it was nowhere near its worst) one night when I met up with a friend to grab burgers after work. At that point, I was eating somewhere on the paleo spectrum, so I got a lettuce wrap and stared longingly at her truffle fries.
“I have finally realized,” I said, “That there is no magic bullet for dealing with my disease. I just have to suck it up and do the work.”
She nodded in agreement. I really didn’t expect her to understand but she was sympathetic to my cause.
I kept talking: “I have been looking for a pill or something that would just make everything better, but I’m finally resigning myself to the fact that there is no quick fix for any of this.”
Well, past self, I have news for you. There are no quick fixes, this is true, but after a long, slow slog, when you find the right thing the results are instant.
(Or maybe they just feel instant, because a week is so much quicker than 5 years.)
I have been working on my diet for years. First I cut out gluten, then sugar and all other grains. Soon afterward, I realized (for the 3rd or 4th time in my life, and certainly not the last) that dairy had to go too.
Then, I started cutting out vegetables. Maybe it was just nightshades at first, but then I rooted out [lol] foods high in FODMAPs or foods that I could tell caused an extra special skin reaction. I even cut grapes because I finally realized that any form of grape (fresh, juice, or wine) gave me a runny nose.*
At some point, I was eating about 5 foods. Meats, pickles, cooked carrots, and of course my addiction to sunflower seed butter and honey.
I still wasn’t getting better. Or I would get a bit better, and then get worse again. Usually this coincided with a change in diet or treatment option, so I would get all hopeful for a week or two before my hopes were dashed again.
Even when I went full carnivore, it wasn’t even a week before I decided to try dairy again.
And guess what? Dairy and I are not friends. I mean, we are. Cheese is one of the most delicious foods on God’s green earth. But dairy + me = inflammation all the livelong day.
So last week, roughly 9 months into my carnivore journey, I quit dairy again.
And this week, roughly 9 days later, my health has improved so quickly that I have whiplash.
Is it perfect? No. There’s still a “3 steps forward 1 step back” theme going on. But the three steps forward, well, they are biiiiiiig steps.
Magic bullet? Maybe not. It sure feels like one.
Even after years of experimenting and months of dialing in something that works, those gains come hard and they come fast.
I’ll take it.
*That’s code for “fed the bacteria colony that has a permanent resident card in my left nostril.” And yes I’m serious about the left nostril part, that’s not just poetic license.