I’m back on the couch in front of the fire, steaming mug of coffee at hand.  I use the word ‘mug’ loosely because although it looks like a mug, I’ve seen thimbles with a larger capacity.  Thus, I am grateful that this beach-side studio comes equipped with a percolator and decent ground coffee.  I flicked on the telly when I woke up – mostly because it was there – and flipped channels just in time to see some TV evangelist selling little packets of ‘miracle spring water’ so that he could bless people all over the world right from his armchair in wherever-he-was.  Luckily I was only subjected to the last 1 ½ minutes of that whole performance because otherwise I might have felt obligated to call the number on the screen since apparently my life would irrevocably suck if I didn’t get some of that water in me (on me?) stat.  Next thing I know my studio is filled with the pulsating sound of hip-hop music – brightly colored lycra-clad bodies gyrating across one half of the screen while the other half could barely contain the ebullient 52-year-old breathlessly exclaiming how her body had been entirely transformed after purchasing a very pricey DVD containing 30 minutes of dance music.  I sat here soaking it all in, mesmerized by how compelling the argument to just call that number on the screen was.  What is wrong with me??  All these miracle cures I am just tossing away today.

The biggest frustration I have faced since I started on this whole SANE journey some 4 years ago is that despite eating a fantastically healthy diet, I never saw the amazing results that so many other folks do.  Sure I felt {somewhat} better.  Sure I lost {some} weight.  Sure {some of} my symptoms lessened.  But I still had headaches, migraines, psoriasis, depression, and joint pain, and I even added things like Bi-polar, adrenal fatigue, and ear infections.  It made no sense.  But, it also made no sense that trying yet another diet would work any better.  In terms of nutritional density SANE is as good as it gets.  I watched and celebrated as others had remarkable SANE success, while I was left to just keep plodding along hoping that at some point something would shift.  I was clear that SANE wasn’t the problem – we’re all different and I assumed that it was my age, my metabolic history, my sex, my medications, my genes, or any combination of those and / or other Carrie-only variables.  Either that or there was something else going on.  Initially I resigned myself to having got my health to the best it could be, but when things started going sideways last December I got more frustrated than I could tolerate.  By July I was left with little choice other than to drag myself out of resignation and figure out WTF was wrong with me?

In the process of unraveling the mysteries of my body over the last few months I learned The Most Important Thing.  Which is this:  All the time I had unaddressed underlying conditions it didn’t matter that I was eating the healthiest food on earth, I was not going to get the amazing results such a diet would typically bring.  On the surface this might not make sense – surely if you are only eating fabulous foods that are flooding your body with essential nutrients you can’t help but sort out your hormones, heal your body, and fix your metabolism, right?  Wrong.  It’s impossible for someone to be eating so well and also be getting sicker and fatter, right?  Wrong.

So how can this be?  Here’s a few ways how:

  • I was severely deficient in all those pesky B vitamins, which are super important for all sorts of things.  Eating the food I was, how could I possibly be that deficient in all of them?  Turns out it was possible in at least three ways.  1. I can’t methylate – which means (among a lot of other things) that I cannot convert B’s to anything usable.  It doesn’t matter how many B vitamins I ingest I cannot get any benefit from them.  2. I have a defective CBS genewhich means I take in a lot of nutrition and it just keeps leaking out.  3. I had Leaky Gut – which means that food was leaking out through the walls of my gut without being properly digested.  It didn’t matter how much great food was going in – if it wasn’t being digested properly then I simply wasn’t getting all the nutrition I needed from it.
  • I had a ridiculous number of food sensitivities.  It doesn’t matter how SANE or healthy a food is, if your body cannot tolerate it (for whatever reason) you’re going to get sicker by eating it, not healthier.  It’s like having a peanut allergy that stops short of killing you.  When you don’t know that you have sensitivities to the foods that a SANE diet focuses on you can be right up the creek without a paddle while thinking that you are doing everything right.
  • I had a massive E.Coli infection which completely changed the bacterial balance in my gut, altering the way food was digested, processed, and utilized.

I could go on, but you’re smart peeps – you’ve got the point.

Have you ever thought, “I have tried every diet out there and nothing works!”, or, “I have been eating fantastically for 6 months and nothing is happening.”?  Does, “Initially I lost 20lbs eating this way and now I’ve stalled and nothing I do starts the weight-loss again.” sound familiar?  How about, “This way of eating makes total sense but after 3 months I put on weight not lost it”?  Or, “I generally feel good eating this way but my long-term symptoms are not getting any better.”  I know a lot of you think these things because you let me know.  And that’s why writing these posts and sharing my story has become so important to me – it may unlock your struggles too.

What if there is some non-food-related hiccup that is stopping all the goodness of the food from doing it’s job?  What if there is some non-food-related hiccup that means your body does not do what it is supposed to?  What if some of that goodness you are ingesting is something that your body cannot tolerate?

Then you, like me, might have something else going on.  You might want to consider identifying any underlying problems before you throw up your hands in frustration and start eating cake like it’s an essential food group because you reason that either this whole just-eat-real-food thing is BS or you are just too broken to ever get healthy and slim.  Maybe you are not doing anything wrong at all.

This is why I now say The Most Important Thing is to understand that if we have underlying conditions it doesn’t matter how fantastic a diet we eat – we will not get the results we should.  If this was not the most important thing to understand then I would still be where I was back in July instead of where I am now.

I used to think that the most important thing was for me to create truly healthy recipes so that all you lovely people had delicious food to eat that was also wildly nutritious and all kinds of good for you.  I’ve changed my mind.  The most scrumptious, healthiest recipes in the world are all for naught if your body has a glitch that stops the whole process working quite right.

You have to fix the glitch first.

This changes everything.



*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Danielle Browning - Carrie….you are a great inspiration. Thank you for opening your heart and life. This completely resonated with me and I so appreciate you! Shine on girl!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Deb Sanders - Thank you so much for sharing all this with us.ReplyCancel

  • Jan - The problem is finding a good doctor out of the main stream. You are very lucky to have found one that got to the root of your problem. I live in the Florida Keys and there are none hear.
    Keep on writing we all enjoy hearing how well you are doing!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - I also have seen many ND’s who don’t understand what yours does. A great website for addressing food allergies if you don’t have access to medical help is the Weston Price site. Helped me get betterReplyCancel

  • Sue - Thank you, Carrie. And thank you – all of you who write. Maybe, together, we can sort this out. I often feel like I could have written what you write, Carrie. I really don’t know where to turn.ReplyCancel

  • Dieanna - Thanks again for a great blog post Carrie!! I agree Jan that the problem is finding “The right doctor” So happy that you were able to find that Doc for you Carrie. Keep up the great work of listening to and healing your body! I will keep looking forward to your blog posts. They just make my day!!ReplyCancel

  • Wren - It’s so awesome that you have access to the RIGHT doctors who have helped you figure this out. ditto ditto. It can’t be repeated enough. I’m also glad that you made it clear that eating SANE didn’t do this to you. If anything I’m sure it prevented problems from being worse. I’d love to know more about your treatment plan and what your diet has been like, as well as all of the supplements you’ve been taking.

    I totally understand about the sleep and the lights. I’ve had to do the same thing with lights in our bedroom. Darker curtains, covering up tiny lights with duck tape, turning my phone on airplane mode to eliminate EMF’s, no TV or electronics an hour before I go to sleep etc. it’s made a big difference and I’m able to finally sleep without medication like I’ve taken for the past 5 years.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Came back after a long hiatus to check on whether you had a main dish cookbook out since I love the other three I have bought from you and I was so happy to read your blog and see the success you are having. It has motivated me to move in that direction as well using professionals instead of going on it myself as I have been doing the last year or so since starting SANE. I discovered among other things I could not digest Quest bars and they made me so sick. It took some time, but I think I too am ready to get off this roller coaster and figure out WTF is truly wrong. I look forward to coming back frequently and reading your blog and also congratulations on being medication free – I know what a big jump that is for you and you have many cheerleaders out here. Keep moving forward!!ReplyCancel

  • Belinda - Carrie,
    Your journey has been helpful to finding my own way.
    It can be overwhelming and frustrating, but we are cheering you on as we find our own ways.

    Love and hugs,

  • Nancy - Carrie,
    I just happened upon your blog for the first time while looking for SANE information, and noticed your health problems. Just wondering if you’ve ever considered looking into Joanna Budwig’s diet? It has healed people with terminal cancers as well as helped with other problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. It can be modified to simply maintain healing and also as a preventative.

    There is also a yahoo group (FlaxSeedOil2) where Budwig’s protocol is discussed and testimonies are given. Hope this is helpful.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Nancy! Thanks for stopping by – glad you found us :-) Thankfully my health issues have been uncovered and we are well on the path to recovery! I took a quick look at the Budwig diet but quickly saw that it does not reflect a SANE approach and also includes several things – particularly gluten – that are a huge no-go for me. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing something that hes helped others though. I have my theories on why it would effective with the chronic conditions that it talks about, but that is a whole other (very long!) discussion!

      Was there something specific you were looking for in regards to SANE that I can help you with?ReplyCancel

      • Nancy - Hi Carrie,
        Thanks for responding. I had listened to Jonathan Bailor talk nonstop for 3 hours, of which over an hour was just promoting the sale of his books, DVDs, etc. and telling us how many thousands of dollars it was worth and how “cheap” we could buy it (more than $1000!!!!). He never really talked about a specific diet plan or quantities, or anything else in detail that would be helpful in changing my eating habits, so I was very disappointed. His plan did, however, sound similar to Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live diet, and I wanted to compare it. That’s why I was googling the SANE diet. I’m almost 70 and have an income that is way below poverty level, so cannot afford to buy anything and had hoped to get some information while listening to Johnathan’s supposedly live webinar. I say supposedly, because I feel that now I cannot ever trust him, since he had told the registrants that he would be giving us a free gift if we stayed until the end (which I hoped would be more information about the kinds of foods and amounts of each to eat). I guess the free gift was a reduced rate for all the stuff he was selling. I am now unsubscribing from all the “diet and nutrition experts” like Yuri, Josh Axe, etc. that I’ve been getting in my email because I see that they just want to sell their stuff. The only one I trust now is Ty Bollinger, whose interviews with over 130 doctors bring out all kinds of dietary truths that not only help cure cancer, but also help people eat a healthier, preventative diet.

        Anyway, using only Budwig’s scientifically researched flax seed oil emulsified with cottage cheese would still be a great help for your health and easily goes along with the SANE diet, as part of your oil and protein intake. All you need to do is take one tablespoon/day of flax seed oil and emulsify it with 2 T/day of cottage cheese (and add a little stevia for taste and fruit/nuts if you want). It’s a great preventative for all kinds of health issues.ReplyCancel

Howdy Gang.

I am fully aware that I have slung an awful lot of data at you over the last 6 weeks and especially the 10 days.  I thought it might be nice to curl up on the couch in front of the fire for a few minutes, take a breath, and step off the data train for a few minutes.  It’s been nice to have an open fire to loll in front of but I am finding that while it might be warm, open fires just don’t cuddle like a bunch of kitties.

I am pleased to report that I have not strayed from the couch since I arrived in Birch Bay, except to attend to the the obligatory bathroom duties and grab a Zevia from the kitchen counter.  Over the course of the last two days and three evenings I have been reminded of the reasons I live in a house with no TV and why blackout blinds are the bomb.  That it hasn’t stopped raining since I got here has certainly been an encouragement to hang sofa side with my trusty laptop instead of sneaking off to see how fluffy my hair would get if I tool a leisurely stroll down the beach.  If my weather app is to be believed there is unlikely to be any beach strolling tomorrow either.  I had been considering stretching out my butt cheeks since they currently resemble the shape of this couch cushion.

It occurred to me that it might not have been easy to establish the timeline for all this discovery and recovery I’ve been doing, so I thought it might be helpful if I gave you one.


July 20: Ordered DNA and Blood tests.  Began Ketogenic diet. (Coming soon!)

September 1:  DNA and blood test results.  Treatment Plan 1.  Ordered saliva test.  Began elimination and rotation diet.

September 30:  Saliva test results.  Ordered poop test.

October 12:  Poop test results.  Treatment Plan 2.  Ordered thyroid test.


It also occurred to me that through all the data and treatment plans I haven’t given you much sense of how things are progressing because I threw all the data at you at pretty much the same time.

You’ll probably be as pleased as punch that I haven’t had a headache or a migraine since 5 days after I started the first treatment plan and began the elimination and rotation diet.  I am pleased as punch that I have no joint pain.  Anywhere.  Psoriasis?  50% gone.  Which is the best it’s been in, oh, 20 years.  More exciting news is that my gut is behaving very nicely – not too fast, not too slow.  My energy levels are back to 70% and I am sleeping through the night most nights.  Oh, and that 5 lbs that ain’t hanging around anymore.  But the news of the night has to be that I came off all medications 2 weeks ago.  Sorry about that $1500 a month, BigPharma.

As you can see, progress has been swift.  Once you take away the antagonists and add the things that are missing healing can gallop along at quite a clip.  I never imagined that just 9 weeks in I’d be well on my way to healing things that have ailed me for most of my life.  It certainly never crossed my mind that I would be entirely unmedicated just 4 months after my last suicidal episode.  Pretty rad if you ask me.  I thought this whole thing would be the most tedious, long-drawn-out, annoying, and depressing process ever – if it worked at all.  Part of me thinks this must all be some crazy dream and that I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling like I did back in May, while the other part of me is trying to refrain myself from squealing with glee every 7 minutes.

Instead of the squealing I’ll leave you with this shot of me on Day 27 of treatment.  All smiles.


*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Alexandra - So pleased for you. Carrie. You look great.
    Thanks for sharing the journeyReplyCancel

  • David - Amazing and breathtaking journey. Thanks for sharing this with us, it is so generous and selfless of you.
    Food for thought for me and some of my own clients back here in Blighty. I am about to book in to see a Natutopath, partly because of your story.
    Thanks again, and may the healing continue!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - You look fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy P. - This is an incredible story and I hang on the edge with you …. smiling and so proud of you. I know one thing, you look happy and so awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Jan - You look like a different person with that Big Smile!
    I am so happy you have found the solution to your health.
    You go girl!ReplyCancel

  • Sandie - Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are inspiring me and so many others who are at a loss to understand their situations. We are now more likely than ever to think about our diets, toxicity, allergens – everything, and to pursue naturopathic and holistic solutions. You’ve opened our eyes to new, exciting and never-before-considered possible avenues. You are truly a blessing and amazing in your grace. And you’re a fantastic writer! Wishing you everything good and wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - This is such a beautiful photograph, Carrie – you are shining :)

    And yep, the timeline does really help. I’ve been holding fire on questions, as I think you’re going to get round to answering all of them in your posts, but I’ll just say now (before I forget) that I was thinking about your timeline this morning, after reading your previous update, & I’d really love to know the “who’s” of the timeline too, at some point. As in who (which profession) was involved in which testing and then (if different or as well as) who was involved in devising each treatment plan. So we can understand better for ourselves who to take which results to, for what input & outcome. But all in good time – your own time! I’m simply putting it here because it’ll fall out of my brain if I don’t :)ReplyCancel

  • Dieanna - You look fantastic!! So inspiring to read your blogs, you will help so many others in the process. I am so happy you have found the solutions to your health issues. You are truly amazing and wonderful. Love that big smile!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Pfohl - So cookbooks glad to see you smile 🐈ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Beautiful smile, so happy and thankful for your persistence, your quick mind, and your willingness to share. You’re an inspiration to me and others. >>Hugs!<<ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - OMG! Simply amazing and my goodness what progress after a lifetime of nasty (even dangerous) symptoms. You look so youthful and healthy. I believe your blogs are an inspiration and beacon of hope to many.ReplyCancel

  • David Williams - By all means DON’T REFRAIN. So happy for you and just so pleased to hear your progress and read your updates. Wow!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tina K - Hey! I recognize those feet! They’ve taken us (in photos) on many travels. I’m so pleased to hear how well you’re doing now. I almost feel like I’m hanging on a cliff waiting for your next entry about your health recovery. Thank you for being so open and honest with those of us that you don’t even know. I know that your journey will help many.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy E. - I am so very happy for you!!ReplyCancel

  • Connie Banaska - You look fabulous here! Thank you for all you do. YOU ARE helping people, don’t stop remembering that.ReplyCancel

Getting intimate with my DNA has turned out to be the most important thing I have ever done.  Poking around in amongst all those bits of genetic information has ended the enduring mystery of my Bi-polar disorder and a lifetime of anguish – which I made invisible to the outside world.  What I’ve gleaned from the inside of my cells in the last few weeks has changed my life.

First I learned that I have genetic mutations on my MTHFR, COMT, and CBS genes.  But there were two more things lurking on my genetic code.  My DNA showed a gluten intolerance along with serotonin and dopamine pathways busted all over the show.  Add those 3 things together and while I was still happily napping in my mother’s cozy uterus I was already destined to exhibit the symptoms that collectively we call Bi-polar disorder at some point in my life.  Let me explain, bearing in mind that all three of these things are extremely complex and convoluted, so to say these are the cliff notes is an understatement.

  • Gene mutations on MTHFR, COMT and CBS genes are directly related to neurological function.
  • Gluten causes inflammation in the body – including the brain – of those who are intolerant.
  • Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters responsible for neurological function.

You may recall from my earlier post on DNA testing that just because I came pre-packaged with these mutations didn’t mean that they would express themselves during my lifetime.  Something switched them on.  However, it doesn’t really matter what switched them on, the problem is still that the genes were mutated in the first place – which is why it’s crucial that you get familiar with your genes.  If you find out where the troublesome mutations are you have a chance at helping them do their jobs better and minimize problems.

Despite the fact it doesn’t matter what flipped the switches on, my detective brain has come up with several hypotheses as I have thought back on my life time-stamping when various symptoms showed up.  I wonder about things like:

  • being bitten by my aunt’s dog when I was two-years-old and the accompanying PTSD
  • a serious bladder infection and scarlet fever when I was 4
  • a concussion and broken left cheek bone after slipping on ice when I was 7
  • sexual assault when I was 12
  • a concussion and a large gash in my head after being hit by a truck when I was 14
  • passenger in a car crash at 17
  • wisdom teeth removal at 21
  • a laperoscopy when I was 22
  • spending 3 years at The National Bakery School (if you’re allergic to gluten this would certainly be problematic!)
  • a hysterectomy 5 years ago

but really there’s only three important things to know.  The root causes were genetic, the triggers were external, and there are opportunities to minimize and manage symptoms.  Don’t think that’s possible?  Spoiler alert:  I am now entirely unmedicated.

Three strikes and you’re out has just become a home run.



*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Emma - “I am now entirely unmedicated”

  • Debra Ulrich - It is so helpful to read about your findings and progress Carrie! I recently went to my endocrinologist because I developed peripheral neuropathy. He tested my B6 levels and they are too high. I looked into it and it is most likely because I am not methylating it to the next form of it so it can pass from the blood serum into the cells. I too have been diagnosed as Bi-Polar in the past. Wow how wonderful it would be to have that go away!

    We are so lucky to live in an age when they can determine such things and help us deal with them!ReplyCancel

How many pieces of duct tape does it take to entirely block out all the light from the little LED clock on a microwave?  I am not quite sure but I do know it’s more than two.  I’ll provide an update tomorrow morning.

In other news, it’s raining.  It’s rather lovely if you ask my opinion, although if I could dial-up the temperature just a notch I probably would.  The rain is also a good thing because it means I am still on the couch!  And apparently I am still writing!

You may recall when this whole health crisis went down I started out unraveling WTF is wrong with me? by assuming that the roots were in my Bi-polar disorder.  Blood, saliva, and poop test results revealed something entirely different was going on – that I had Leaky Gut caused by an E.Coli infection which got a grip after 2 large doses of antibiotics – an awesome discovery because we can totally fix it.  But that wasn’t the only thing that is wrong with me.  There’s more!  Turns out my focusing on my Bi-polar in putting the puzzle pieces together was spot on.

This time it wasn’t the blood results that told me WTF is wrong with me?, but they sure did confirm everything.  The answer was in my DNA.  And without sounding dramatic – OH SOD IT – I am going to be totally dramatic: THIS MAKES MY WHOLE LIFE MAKE SENSE.

When the stork delivered my mother’s second bundle of joy at 6:10 am on a sunny Thursday to a modest semi-detached house in Kent, England I came with a side of genetic mutations, which isn’t technically the correct term but we all get the point: some of my genes were in a bit of a pickle.

I am homozygous C677T on the MTHFR gene.  I am also homozygous or heterozygous on some COMT and CBS genes, and there’s some other wrinkles.  These are all genes connected to methylation.

What does this mean?  It means that I have never been able to methylate properly.  Methylation is a process that enables your body to make proteins, utilize antioxidants, and to assist your liver to process fats. It also helps with depression and inflammation.  Methylation results in production of something called SAM-e which is anti-inflammatory, supports your immune system, helps produce then breakdown of your brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, and is involved in the growth, repair and maintenance of your cells.  AKA if you are not methylating effectively or enough then you ain’t working right at the cellular level.  The end result of that = chaos.

In my case that {lifelong} chaos has included psoriasis, depression, migraines, IBS, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and more recently Bi-polar disorder.  All the fun things that traditional medicine merely dishes out band-aids for because they insist that they are things which there is no known cure for.  In reality they are just symptoms of an underlying problem.  And to be *really* clear: this is not an assumption, a poor case of cause and effect, or some naturopathic quakery.  If you look at my DNA, those genes are mutated.  My problem is – and always has been – I can’t methylate.

And this is why I say THIS MAKES MY WHOLE LIFE MAKE SENSE.  If I had known this when I was born or before I reached the age of 7 the entire course of my life would have been different.  And I am not being the lest bit dramatic when I say that.

“But you can’t change your genes!” I hear you cry.

Right.  You can’t change a defective gene.  But you can help it do its job better and minimize problems.  Just you wait and see what we’ve been doing about it and what has resulted.  You probably won’t believe it, and you know I don’t think I would either if it weren’t happening to me.

I’ll be writing a lot more about the whys and wherefores of this MoTHerFuckeR MTHFR gene mutation over the next little while forever.

Because this answers everything.  EVERYTHING.



*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!
  • Sue - Oh, my, Carrie. I am on the edge of me seat. Now I can’t wait to hear more. I read your posts and hope that maybe I’ll figure out what’s wrong with my own system (or genes). Thank you for writing and, please, keep it up when you feel up to doing so. For those of us suffering from obesity, depression, anxiety, insomnia, allergies and have been for years, you are a godsend.

    With your most recent posts, I feel like I’m right there along with you at the studio. I hope you are enjoying the downtime and peace and quiet. But I’ll bet you miss your kitties, no?ReplyCancel

  • Beth - Carrie, this is so cool that you are figuring this out. A real role model!ReplyCancel

  • Belinda Stephens - Wow! I am following your journey. Best of luck and hugs.ReplyCancel

I am still on the couch!  And apparently I am still writing!

I have just finished ripping little bits of duct tape off it’s roll and pressing them over the multitudinous little lights emanating from the various gadgetry dotted around the studio.  The TV, the microwave, the VCR, the CD, the I-don’t-even-know-what-that-thing-is, the carbon monoxide detector, the oven.  There was also the taping of a large, thick, brown blanket over the window.  Let it be known that not one tiniest dot of light will be visible in this room tonight.  My brain has become incredibly sensitive to light at night, and unless I sleep in complete darkness there is no sleep.  It wasn’t until I settled under the covers last night that I realized that I had failed to plan for the whole sleeping part of this trip.  What with the light sneaking around the slats in the window blind, the glow sliding under the door from the hallway, and the sum of all those little red and green LED lights, you could have successfully landed a plane in this space last night.  I abandoned the idea of 5 pillows over my head when breathing became a little problematic and made do with ducking my head under the covers as far as I could without shutting off the flow of oxygen.  Nonetheless my eyes flew wide open just before 4 am with the first evidences that daylight was on its way.  Not entirely the blissfully peaceful, restful night at the beach I had envisioned.  Tonight, I am ready.  I am duct taped, blanketed, and cushioned.

Since the test results started rolling in at the end of August I have used up an inordinate amount of brain energy fitting puzzle pieces together and trying to figure out The Thing that started this cascade of symptoms resulting in my being almost non-functional in early July.  I’ve thought back across the preceding 9 months so many times analyzing every little thing that changed anywhere in my life that may have led to my body’s downward spiral.

I couldn’t pinpoint anything related to diet although heaven knows I did rewind on every single thing I could remember putting in my mouth since last Thanksgiving.  I had stopped doing my eccentric exercise around the start of December when I first started to feel ‘off’, but surely that wouldn’t have caused me to put on 19lbs in a month.  A colleague at work had started being extremely unpleasant around the middle of October which I became significantly stressed over.  Was it possible that stress was at the root of my physical woes?  I mean I know stress can do all sorts of damage, but all this?  Really?

So if it wasn’t food, exercise, or stress, what was it?  WTF was wrong with me?  And why wasn’t my fabulously healthy diet fixing it?  It got to the point where it seemed like I may as well just eat whatever the hell I felt like since it didn’t seem to make any difference to my body – all this real whole food and I still felt like complete crap, with all the symptoms that suggested I was eating a hideously awful diet comprised of a revolving buffet of Krispy Kremes, pizza, and potato skins loaded with mac ‘n’ cheese washed down with gallons of coca cola and Starbucks Salted Caramel lattes, while snacking on Girl Scout cookies by the box.

When I first met my ND and we went over the blood results things started to plop into place.  As soon as I saw the mammoth list of food sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies I knew I had Leaky Gut.  I had read about Leaky Gut back in my early 20’s when I first started having gut issues:  “Wow, that was a wonderful plate of pasta!  OH. Hey, where’s the bathroom?”  “When am I due? Oh, no, I’m not pregnant, I just just ate 2 slices of pizza.”  Back in my early 2o’s though Naturopaths – in England anyway – were regarded as freaky weirdos who only freaky weirdos with lots of money could afford to go see.  I may well have met the freaky weirdo criteria, but if it wasn’t covered under the National Health Service I wasn’t getting an appointment.  I read a lot, self-supplemented, tried things out to see what would happen, but I never managed to string the whole story together.

This time we knew I had Leaky Gut and we knew the damage had been caused by an E.Coli infection, but I was still hellbent on figuring out what had lead to the E.Coli infection moving on in.  Knowledge is power, and I sure didn’t want to be going through this again.  Ever.

One day back in mid-September Wildman floated the idea of taking a road trip to see Mt. St. Helens.  He had never been and I would never turn down an opportunity to drive up a volcano.  I have 5 within easy striking distance from my house.  Every one’s a winner.

It was a gorgeously warm and sunny Sunday as we headed south down the back roads.  I was only a couple weeks into my treatment plan and was still pretty tired, so Wildman took the wheel and I provided comedic relief and a full tank of gas.  I was regaling the week’s science experiment stories including what happened when I drank roasted dandelion root and how hazelnuts made me throw up.  We shared hypotheses on what stimulant was connected to what symptom and how it might all fit together.

As I was rambling on, thinking out loud about what might have changed 10 months before that got me all E.Coli’d out and it suddenly hit me.  Maybe it was being half way up the side of a volcano that did it.  Back last December I was in between volcanoes when I figured out what had caused my hair to start smelling like a wet dog.  And BINGO.  It was the same thing.  The same thing!  And shame on me for not thinking harder and being more vigilant back at the end of last year.  I know better.

The offender?  Antibiotics.  At the end of last November I had two courses of antibiotics in quick succession for a double ear infection and an abscess on the roof of my mouth.  BAM.  The infections were gone, along with every good bug in my gut.  Like a volcano after it blows or after dropping a bomb – it takes a while for the good stuff to grow back.  In that space E.Coli saw a chance, moved on in and took hold. or

One mystery solved!

WAIT.  What??  One mystery solved?  There’s more?  Turns out there are two things causing mayhem.

Next up: the second indictment.




*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!