Autoimmune Protocol | Day 9 / Saturday

I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much of a change within 9 days. I mean, most people say it takes 30-90. With 30 being the early side.

I am still tired when I wake up. My caffeine dose is being lowered today to 75 mg in the morning and 25 mg in the afternoon, down 50 mg from this past week. I will probably try to keep it below 100mg for the next week, and then get down to 50 mg the week after that.

I dont want to give up caffeine. I am extremely mentally attached to caffeine. I feel like I can’t work without caffeine. This is entirely not true, but it’s how I’m programmed to feel. I am taking my time with lowering my caffeine intake because, even at this rate (going from 300 mg a day to 200 to 150 now to 100 over the span of 3 weeks), I am feeling the effects I believe. In general I don’t feel as stimulated as I usually was. I keep telling myself that this stimulation was completely artificial and not indicative of good health.

I do hope I get back to that point where my brain is pumping with happy chemicals, the way a tall starbucks coffee makes me.

During my morning meditation, rather than saying “thought”, when I hear a thought, I’ve started saying “programming.” As in, my brain has been programmed to think that. For some reason, when I liken my thoughts directly to “brain programming”, it makes it a lot easier to forgive myself for having those thoughts. A common mistake with meditation is to actively slap yourself on the wrists for thinking. But the truth is that thinking is okay, it’s just programming, and we’re just becoming aware of that programming.

I’ve not been a regular meditator ever in my life, but I am finding that regular meditation is fun and causes me to randomly become conscious at more points throughout the day. Particularly when I get a moment of quiet time. During those moments, I often play the “wait for a thought” game, and it’s pretty fun.

Around noon, I got very sleepy. I had gone for a bike ride, had a bunch of fats & bone broth this morning, but still was very sleepy. It could be that I took a little bit of CBD. Either way, I ended up laying in bed feeling “defeated”, thinking “oh god i have chronic fatigue syndrome dont I”, and “i’ll never work again” and “maybe i have crippling depression and thats why I can’t function like a normal human at noon.”

So while I was thinking those self defeating thoughts and pretending to sleep, I started doing breathing exercises for no reason. I took some deep breaths and started to feel better. Still tired, mind you, but I started to feel the tingle of energy flowing through my body that is the opposite of tiredness/depression. As the chinese would say, I felt “chi” flowing through my body. I’ve always loved this feeling, and have noticed it often when doing acupuncture.

After about 10-20 minutes of relaxation/chi/breathing exercises, I got up and felt better. But not 100% better. I will admit I took another 25 mg of caffeine (bringing my total today up to 125mg), which could explain why I feel better. But I also ate a big salad.

Together the combination of a big salad, some caffeine, and relaxation exercises brought me back from the brink of sleepiness. I am not sure what this means. Perhaps I needed a bit of fresh vegetables to turn on my brain. Perhaps it was the normal circadian rhythm of early afternoon sleepiness. Perhaps it was from lowering my caffeine intake. Perhaps it was because I was stressed subconsciously, which then causes a subconscious “sleepiness” reaction.

All I know is I’ve had “sleepiness” since I was a young kid. The second I figured out how to self medicate, I began to self medicate my sleepiness as much as possible. I remember being sleepy at recess because my lunch didn’t agree with me. Combine that with the fact that I had epilepsy growing up and something spells “food intolerances since day 1.”

So I truly believe my entire life has been one big food intolerance based shit show. On the outside, I look reasonably healthy. I am fit, muscular even, but I have achy joints and I get sleepy a lot. I get mood swings. My stomach doesn’t work like it should.

It would be a dream come true if I could overcome these things. I am glad I’m going down this path, but I will confess that deep down I have my doubts that I can ever “feel better” than I’ve always felt. Depression and sleepiness has honestly been the norm for my entire life. Boo hoo.

What if there were another way? That would be worth any amount of sacrifice. That would be worth taking a couple months off from my work just to focus on it. That would be worth taking years off.

If I could have boundless energy.

“There is unlimited energy” – some guru guy I once knew.

:praise hands:

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AutoImmune Protocol | Day 7-8, Thur/Fri

I skipped posting yesterday. I’m not sure why. I have started to up my fat intake. I moved off of the fruits and into the high fat diet. I was using fruit as a crutch but finding that I felt very lethargic.

Now, eating high fat, I can tell that I feel different. I feel very satiated all the time. And eating high fat meals is delicious. I have to say I’m a huge fan of meat.

Maybe the low carb flu will come in the next week, maybe it won’t. Right now, my daily dose of caffeine is 150mg, planning on getting it down to 100mg next week. I am not feeling tired today, but I can’t say I’m focused at all. In fact I didn’t really do any work today. It’s not that I couldn’t do work, but rather that there was nothing to do.

My main “job” is really more of a part-time, internet-based job. Other than that, I’m just learning little bits of technology, preparing for my next career move (after I feel better.) I’m deciding between settling down in Oregon/Washington or the SF bay area. I know I want to have property in Oregon/Washington to prepare for climate change, but the SF Bay Area holds a special place in my heart as a startup guy. It will all depend on my ability to handle stress without caffeine. Perhaps I will just end up in the suburbs outside of Portland working part time 😛

(Sorry Pacific northwesterners, you will have to make room for me.)

So I’m trying not to focus on my work. Trying to focus on health and all that. Feeling a bit stir crazy in my house, so I make sure to get out and exercise at least once a day.

By the way, since I stopped the fruit most of my IBS symptoms have disappeared. That includes constant gas. We will see if this continues. Suffice it to say, I was having constant stomach issues every day.

Got invited to a friend’s wedding in 2 months. I’m a bit confused on how I will handle my new diet while going to a wedding for 3-4 days (with bachelor party), but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I acquired some cannabis yesterday, as well as hemp CBD oil. I’ve never done a hemp-derived CBD oil, I may be a little spoiled from Colorado/Washington state. I did find that it produced a relaxing effect, although I am a little worried about the possible solvents which may be in the oil. I also bought a cheap vaporizer for my cannabis but it broke so I smoked out of an apple (lol). I’m actually a little high right now.

The main effect of the cannabis/CBD combo has been stimulatory as well as slightly anxiety producing. This is most likely due to not being a regular smoker. It is nice to not feel like I have to nap during the day. I think I have decided to take CBD in the morning / throughout the day and only to smoke at night, since it seems to affect my cognition beyond the point of being able to work. Instead I just binged on Silicon Valley and drank bone broth.

I posted a little post on /r/stopdrinking today and got 50 upvotes. I’m feeling pretty cool! I haven’t drank in 22 days, and I’m glad that AIP does not allow alcohol.

As you can see the format of my posts have reverted from a “list” to more of a journal. I figure it’s more important to have a free-form way of relating my day.

Autoimmune Protocol | Day 6 // Wednesday

7 AM. wake up feeling puffy, like when you have too much salt the night before. It’s probably due to taking kratom yesterday due to feeling horrible. Sigh. Continuing with the diet.

8 AM. After my 100 mg pill of caffeine kicks in, a euphoria comes over me and I feel normal/good. My mind thinks towards working – building a project I’ve wanted to build for a long time.

11 AM. Was productive / organized my bedroom / realized I’m kind of being engulfed by malaise and depression, and that I must be incredibly wary. Don’t worry folks, I am confident I will get out of this one. I’ve done it many times before. Usually, the second I start medicating with caffeine, unhealthy food, and other things, the symptoms disappear.

But I’m not doing that this time. I am healing this time, which means I am going through this with an open mind, self love, and high consciousness. Who knows, maybe within a month or two I’ll be back to normal.

Discussed with the parents last night how every time I try to heal my body/mind, I end up giving up after about two weeks and running away. I ran away to colorado, I ran away to New York. I ran away to Arizona. But this time, I’m not running away. I’m going to stay here in this town which I don’t love. I’m not going to cover this one up with new business ideas or applying for jobs. I’m going to get past this.

“no mental state lasts forever”, “this too shall pass”, “bloom where you’re planted”.

5 PM Earlier I was feeling horrible. I went for a bike ride and felt like I was going to pass out. Which has never happened. Being 95 degrees out doesn’t help.

I read online that this might be due to not enough fat. At first glance, I thought, “of course I’m getting enough fat – I’m eating meat. Then I realized, I’m probably not getting enough fat to really use it as fuel, so I ate a bunch of coconut oil and olive oil (lol) on salad and in smoothies and stuff. I ate a absolutely gigantic salad about an hour ago and I suddenly became hyper focused on work and euphoric. Temporarily, there is no depression.

This is scary, but at least I’m glad I documented it. I was feeling horrible and then i literally ate salad and my mood changed.

I’m working through a lot of mental issues right now, lol.

Not just food issues.

“I eat because I am unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat” – fat bastard

9:30 PM I just had a realization so profound that I absolutely had to capture it. The reason I have depressive symptoms – in my life in general – is because I am subconsciously afraid of using my brain.

In my mind, somehow I have been programmed that to “work” (mentally) causes strain. This is most likely due to years of resentment towards being “imprisoned” in a school. I never felt good in school for whatever reason. This is most likely a combination of: poor diet, poor sleep habits, resentment towards being kept from what I love. So my response was to shut down my brain.

My brain was reserved only for those activities which I held dear (after school activities.)

But I think at some point my programming took over and I lost my ability to even enjoy these side hobbies. Suddenly my ability to enjoy everything was diminished.

It turns out that I fell into an engineering career despite myself, because during college I was given much more freedom. That freedom of when/how much/what I will study, combined with results-oriented culture (exams, projects) was great for me.

Yet there is this feeling deep down that all effort is bad. Perhaps this comes from incorrectly interpreting zen and taoist teachings as championing laziness.

I once mentioned this particular neurosis to a zen meditation teacher who I respected and admired. I told him that I am always attempting to “conserve” my energy.

He told me that there is infinite energy. You just have to tap into it.

This whole lifestyle of taking drugs, drinking alcohol and coffee, eating poor foods, and taking shortcuts – it is all on the assumption that there is not enough energy to go around. It is a “fighting for survival” type of existence.

My hope is that through this cleansing process I will eliminate this mental neurosis, and uncover further ones. To make clear, permanent progress towards developing a more sound body and mind. To transform my innermost psyche into one more willing to actually live life.

 

Autoimmune Protocol | Day 5 // Tuesday

Wake up at 7:30 AM, go for a bike ride, have a bowl of fruit with pops. Still having stomach issues today. Still feeling depressed. Thinking this will pass, but very sure that I should make a doctors appointment within the next few weeks.

This writing brings me back to my center. I am doing one thing right now, my AIP. I am focusing extremely hard on it. I need to keep my state of mind as a healing state of mind. Thoughts are seeping in about me being useless, me never finding purpose in life, but I must remember that these are temporary thoughts of somebody currently withdrawing from caffeine and workaholism. Relaaaaax!!!

1 PM, still haven’t done anything, reading the 4 hour workweek. Tim Ferris knows a lot about existential dread and anxiety disorders.

Not sure what else I did that night. My stomach symptoms are still as bad as ever (consistently.)

 

AutoImmune Protocol | Day 4 // Monday

Wake up today, 7 AM, not feeling stressed. This is new. I attribute it to going to bed extra early (10 PM) and not taking as much sleeping pills as normal (2 valerian root pills rather than 5, no melatonin, no theanine).

It’s taking me a long time to get off the “drugs” that had become routine in my life. Caffeine, alcohol, weird semi-legal RX stuff, potent herbs… all things I used to control my neurochemistry, along with a pretty unhealthy diet. I knew I was heading down the path to destruction but I felt helpless to stop myself. The world just seemed too strong.

I have temporarily stepped out of this “world” and I may never go back. The biggest breakthrough for me was getting past my conditioning to “go out” on the weekends. At some point in New York, I just got so sick of going out. I just stopped. And I stopped feeling bad about it. I spent most of my time doing things I wanted to do and practicing self care.

Well, that’s what I’m doing now. Although I am a nonconformist in nature, it’s hard to be perceived as an outsider. But I know the payoff is worth it. I absolutely positively have to get healthy – not just again – but healthier than I’ve ever been. This is a problem that can be solved and it’s my destiny to solve it.

So I am blooming where I am planted.

7 AM – 100 mg caffeine, sit outside, meditate, do yoga, eat some fruit. Relax and enjoy

9 AM – had a smoothie and breakfast yet still feeling tired. Could it be that I didn’t exercise today? No, I think this is true tiredness. I can either take more caffeine or have a nap. I figure I will take more caffeine so as not to deprive myself. I will also have a nap.

Deprivation is not the goal. I am heading in the right direction, and I’m on less than 1/2 the caffeine I was a week ago, so I need to make sure I don’t wean too fast.

That afternoon, I did a bunch of napping and generally felt bad. I didn’t get anything done and I felt really down on myself. It’s now 6 PM and I almost got myself to go to the gym but instead drove around aimlessly for 2 hours. It seems like every time I remove too much caffeine I run the risk of getting a really low mood. I hope this gets easier over time.

But more than pure biochemistry, this depression is something that must be looked deeper into.

It stems from the fact that my life is an impossible equation to solve.

  • I don’t like staying in one place. It’s too boring.
  • Traveling doesn’t work for me either. It’s too isolating.
  • No place to live has perfect weather. The more perfect the weather, the more expensive it is. I’m worried about global warming and feel pressured to buy a house in a global-warming-proof area in the pac NW. Seattle or Portland or Vancouver?
  • My career as a programmer is all I know and part of me truly enjoys it.
  • I’ve been destroying myself through this career and therefore I resent it.
  • I don’t know what else to do with my time.
  • I’ve estranged myself from most of my old friends, who are scattered across the country.
  • All I want to do is hike, climb, surf, snowboard, and bum around
  • All I want to do is work odd jobs. Coffee shop type stuff.
  • But I don’t feel like I can do that, and I’m scared. Scared to do anything new.
  • Other people stress me out. The idea of getting a part time job stresses me out more than being a programmer.
  • On top of this, I feel pressured to be financially successful, which leads me back to the programming / startup world. Leads me away from the odd job.
  • I’m pretty sure I have chronic fatigue and depression that need to get looked at.
  • I don’t want to run away from life by traveling but I don’t know what to do with myself when I stay put.
  • I have sooooo much free time but I don’t know anyone else with this much free time, so I spend a lot of time alone.

These are the thoughts that spiral through my depressed mind.

To be honest, I have some deep soul searching to do.

I know they are just thoughts, but they represent real problems I’m going through. If I had to prioritize things to solve from the above list it would be:

  1. Health – physical, mental, spiritual – FOCUS ON IT
  2. Transcend Isolation – get out of the house, meet new people, blah blah blah
  3. Traveling and doing fun stuff – this is the spice of life.
  4. Investing, career, money – this should be my last priority right now but I often make it my first.

From the above list it is pretty clear that by sitting in my house following the AIP diet for 30 days, whether I like it or not, I am getting myself on the right track. I also need to go to AA and keep meditating. Perhaps joining a yoga class is a good first step to transcending isolation while also working on my health. I could definitely get a membership to the climbing gym as well.

In terms of traveling, I could very well plan a short weekend trip to the east coast next weekend to go surfing and stay in an airbnb. Heck, I could do that every weekend. I really love surfing

^ From the above two paragraphs I’m feeling a lot better, those are the things I need to do. Meanwhile, in terms of investing/career/money, I just need to put it on cruise control and backburner that stuff. It’s really not as important right now. I don’t need to “figure out the rest of my life” right now, but really REALLY dial down the present moment.

That will give me the foundation I need to either get back into the programming game with a clear head and health, or to find a new game.

So to make a checklist:

  • AIP diet – 30 days
  • Go to AA (find a group)
  • Meditate every day (find a group)
  • Join a yoga class couple times a week (find a group)
  • Climb a couple times a week (find a group)
  • Cycle couple times a week
  • Surf trips on the weekends

Why do you think I post this on the internet rather than in my journal? To transcend isolation.

On another note, I am having stomach issues today. Not sure if it’s due to the change in diet.

Auto Imune Protocol | Day 3 // Sunday

7:30 AM. Wake up, take 100mg caffeine, do yoga. Unable to meditate effectively due to feeling stressed out. Relax & do yoga, feel a little better. Have a twitch in my eye and my arm. Not sure why.

8:30 AM. Go for a long bike ride with dad, eat a bowl of fruit at the coffee shop. Mood swings / feel okay

11 AM. Ingest another 50mg caffeine. Feeling a bit like a headache. Maybe I have the starts of a cold, or a low carb flu?

12:30 PM had a smoothie, feel a combination of really good and tired. Much less brain fog and anxiety than normal. Feel kind of like I’m on vacation. This is probably helped out by the beautiful florida summer.

I feel more “me”. A bit lazy, pretty happy. Not the new normal / stressed / anxious self.

5 PM during a mothers day BBQ during which I was eating a lettuce wrapped burger, I accidentally ate a boars head hot dog. I was assured that this hotdog was AIP compliant, 100% organic, grass fed beef, with absolutely no fillers (checked the ingredients) but I accidentally ate the non-AIP compliant ones. So shit, I fucked up. Last time I try to eat anything someone else prepares while on AIP.

Later that evening I took a walk and went to bed. I was pretty sleepy by the end of the day, I took way less sleeping pills than normal (no melatonin, just a bit of valerian.)

I had bad dreams all night, I have bad dreams every night but also tonight.

I think this lifestyle is something I can stick with. More importantly, I know this is what I should be doing with my life right now. “Bloom where you’re planted.”

I am feeling drawn more and more towards spiritual and contemplative thoughts and moods… it’s amazing how quickly my life has changed.

 

Autoimmune Protocol | Day 2//Saturday

Sorry if this post contains TMI but it’s actually more of a medical record than anything. This blog is just where I post my journal, and right now this AIP stuff is what I’m doing. Will be for the next 90 days. So unfollow if it’s weird.

The day

7:30 AM woke up, not hungry at all, take 100mg caffeine (planning on taking another 100mg later, so I have less of a crash.) Have a bowel movement, although they have been normal the past 2 days this one is loose. FML. Every morning when I wake up, I feel completely stressed out, like I’m going to explode. I have to breathe very deeply upon waking up to get this “stress” out. I have no idea what I do when I sleep which makes me so stressed upon waking, but it happens every. single. night * ( I have noticed that upon fully detoxing off caffeine this effect has been absent.)

12 PM went for a drive, feeling fine, playing video games. Not much on the agenda today

2 PM go for a bike ride for an hour, feeling euphoric

4 PM Mealprep for the next 2 days. Well fed on Stew and Organic Chicken

5 PM tiniest sleepiness coming in. Finishing meal.

8 PM Feel very energetic, happy, go see a movie

11 PM Go to sleep, feeling a little stressed from the movie.

AutoImmune Protocol Journal | Day 1 // Friday

To recap, today is the day I officially start Autoimmune protocol (AIP) after eating decently healthy for the past week. Going to be weaning off of caffeine over the course of the next two weeks, and probably getting hit with some low-carb flu. All this while attempting to work at my two remote jobs. They’re chill though.

The day.

7:30 AM wake up, take caffeine pill (200mg), meditate, go for walk/run in the woods for ~1 hour.

9 AM Eat breakfast, lots of fruit and such.

11:30 AM start feeling sleepy. Just lay on the couch by the pool. Feel very relaxed and sleepy. This is a familiar feeling – I always get it when I am trying to cut back on caffeine. It is a combination of relaxation and depression. 200 mg caffeine is apparently low enough to “throw me off”. If i had to guess I was consuming 400 mg a day.

12:30 PM get up, move around, play some guitar, feeling better but not necessarily ready to work. Good thing the weekend is coming and I don’t really have any work to attend to today. Contemplate taking another 50mg of caffeine.

4 PM Took 50mg caffeine and it really helped… I’ve woken back up and been productive. Did some work, chores, etc. Feeling happy.

7:30 PM sometime around 5 PM, my mood swung from happy to impending doom. I was talking to a friend and he sent me this really existential article written about how a guy wasted his life. It set me off. I think my fear of illness started kicking in. Then I got news about a really bad work-related incident which caused me to spiral further. I took a drive, went for a walk, but felt paranoid. Came home, saw my sister, snapped at her, and basically feel dark. Wanted to update. This is such a crazy mood swing and if I wasn’t journalling my thought today I would never have even noted how crazy it is. I guess I’m just going to chill out, eat some dinner, and watch TV. I’ve been snacking all day, dealing with the diet switch is a little hard for me right now. I am sure after a couple of weeks I’ll be more used to it.

10:30 PM getting ready for bed. I calmed down and relaxed, ate dinner, watched The Aviator. Currently listening to the Glow pt 2 by the microphones in the darkness. Feel pretty alright. Good night!

AutoImmune Protocol Journal | Day 0 // Why I am doing it

I finished my time in New York and since I am a vagrant I went to stay with my parents for a while. My parents and I have a great relationship so its something we’ve agreed I can do once in a while.

Relevant song:

My parents mostly eat vegan food, and coming back from New York where I was *trying* to eat healthy, I’m realizing just how unhealthy I still am. I unfortunately have a lot of health issues that I have been meaning to sort out. So it’s time to sort it out. For posterity, I will disclose how I feel now and why I am starting this journey.

My issues

  • Mysterious rashes and hair loss – started this winter, rashes on both of my thighs that were very ichy and I lost hair. They flare up once in a while. It’s really weird. At this point I thought, “Ok something is really wrong here.”
  • Issues in the bathroom – Pretty common thing in america, but my stomach is a little ridiculous and uncooperative.
  • Gas – caused by certain foods, but pretty annoying and constant
  • Tendonitis and cracking joints – have trouble running and rock climbing – basically any sport is hard on my joints, which is not cool at age 27.
  • High blood pressure – Not much to say out of this one except probably self inflicted due to alcohol/drugs and chronic stress.
  • Brain fog – it almost feels as if there’s a pressure in my head when I wake up every morning. Can’t focus on things I enjoy. Can’t focus on details anymore.
  • Anxiety – TBH, I feel that there is impending doom at all times.
  • Energy Fluctuation – due to caffeine usage
  • Depression – loss of interest in things I enjoy, inability to focus
  • Caffeine dependence – never been able to kick this one, self medication
  • Drug/Alcohol issues –  I believe this is due to underlying issues of not feeling healthy and seeking self medication
  • Feeling that I’m not thriving – In my gut, I know that I can be 1000% better than I am today.

I’ve basically felt like this more or less as long as I can remember. I was always falling asleep in class in middle school, I found drugs and coffee in high school, and I’ve had all of these issues that whole time. I’ve worked very hard focusing on working and having a good life because deep down I felt that I could never solve these issues and I’d probably die early. But once in a while I give it a shot. Today is one of those days.

AIP Protocol

I’m going to follow the autoimmune protocol for at least 30 days (up to 90) to check for food sensitivities while simultaneously removing any drugs/alcohol (haven’t really been on these anyway), and lowering my caffeine intake + only using caffeine pills (this is something I can’t go cold turkey on, but I have a goal of weaning off within 2 weeks.)

The goal of this is to alleviate the above issues, specifically brain fog / depression/anxiety, HBP, and stomach issues. During this time I will also go to the doctor about my chronic issues to get some tests done.

Basically, I will journal how I feel every day and how things are coming along. at Day 0, I can say I have been having typical stomach issues, feeling anxiety and brain fog, have not been drinking alcohol or using drugs, and feeling hopeful. I should also mention that I am feeling extremely low stress, going for bike rides, climbing, etc. in Tampa, Florida.

 

Dark Days

My current contract expires in 1 month. The product we spent 3 months building turned out to be a flop. I learned a ton of new skills, mostly design and frontend development skills, so it hasn’t been a total waste. I also got to spend time in New York, getting everything paid for.

But now I’m a little depressed. Not because I’m “losing my job”, but because I don’t really know what I want to do next.

I considered trading in a car and getting a van and traveling around, living in the van and hiking/climbing. This is a big maybe.

I deleted all my social media and my 4G cellphone plan in favor of having a throwaway phone.

I feel like I’m shedding all this baggage I’ve had in my life. Every month I shed more of it. But I have yet to find something to replace it with.

I feel most at peace when I’m walking/hiking/climbing/traveling. So I suppose I will do that until I figure out next steps. Currently, I’m spending 4-5 hours a day in central park, just walking around and climbing boulders (barefoot.) It soothes the soul.

I’m going to take a break from coding. I think being a coder is one of my biggest roadblocks to uncovering the purpose of my life, because I always feel pressured to join a new project. It’s time to start something different. Do some manual labor. Get some fresh air. Be a ski lift operator.