Hold the Sauerkraut–Clues and Investigation


My Food Diary

First clue: An afternoon headache — I never get those.

Second clue: Several days of increased thumb swelling and generalized achiness in my hands, beginning the morning after the headache.

Investigation: Using my food diary, an essential tool in my healing process, I started a probe into the reaction (aka “setback”) I was having.

I asked myself: Could the reaction be due to grain exposure from feeding our chickens while my spouse was out of town? (We throw cracked corn to lure our eight chickens back into their enclosure for predator-free overnighting after they spend the day grazing freely. Since they have not yet been transitioned to paleo, feeding them involved reaching my hand and arm into a feed sack to scoop their gluten-laden treat and tossing it into their pen, which often results in a puff of grain dust rising up from the ground.) Did I get that headache before or after feeding them?… I can’t be sure–that detail was not noted in my food diary.

What was noted though, was that shortly before that headache, I had sampled homemade sauerkraut for the first time. And that I had eaten some at lunch for the next two days. Hmmm… Time to reach for another essential tool in my healing process: the internet. A search on “homemade sauerkraut” and “headache” and “joint pain” returned a possible piece of the puzzle: that I could have histamine intolerance (HIT).

It is a complicated subject and there are ample resources out there to explain the science behind it, so I won’t venture into explaining it. [The above link is a good starting point for an explanation.]

I will note, though, that many of the recommended foods for Paleo/AIP are high histamine foods, including:

  • smoked and cured meats: bacon
  • bone broth
  • sauerkraut
  • fish (including sardines)
  • citrus (the lime part of bacon and lime)
  • aged meats
  • spinach
  • avocados

to name just a few. And leftovers.

I am going to pay attention to this, but I am not sure yet about my approach. Have things now become more challenging?… When I first started writing this post I thought they had. But then I checked in with The Paleo Mom, Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, whose Autoimmune Protocol I am following, and I read her encouraging words on the subject and decided to not get all crazy and more restrictive with my intake just now.

One very helpful quote from her post is: “…often health doesn’t come from what you take away, but rather what you add.” So while I will probably scale back my consumption of sauerkraut for the time being, I am going to continue drinking bone broth and eating avocados for awhile. Bacon though? Oh, I hope so!

Another possible cause of the reaction to eating homemade sauerkraut is bacteria die off from the probiotics. Another possibility to explore.


bacon and lime intolerance?



Wait, what?… The blog?… The foods?…

Uh, yeah. It is looking like I might have an intolerance to bacon and lime and baconandlime.

First things first. I named my blog baconandlime because those are two of my favorite flavors in the world, and I was excited about Paleo and AIP support for eating bacon with near abandon. And lime too, I presumed.

One astute blog reader recently asked me if bacon was allowed on the Paleo Approach. Yes! It most certainly is. Why then, a reader might wonder, had I not yet, six weeks into my autoimmune-healing experiment, extolled bacon’s health-enhancing and tastebud-delighting virtues and posted a pic of even one, let alone numerous, baconified meal? Great question!… The answer is that my pastured pork supplier, which is located a 4 hour roundtrip drive from my home, requires pre-order of about 10 days on bacon, and the first time we picked up pastured beef, pork and lamb we did not know that. The second time we made the drive to stock up on pastured meats came up too quickly after the first time to get an order in timely. And since we loaded up so much on non-bacon meats in order to increase the time between return trips, we haven’t been back to the supplier and it will be awhile before we return. So, yeah, that has left me in that sad, sad, dreadful position of having a green light on bacon consumption with a red light on bacon in hand… What is even worse: The bacon consumption light now appears to have turned yellow. Maybe red. Simply dreadful.

Stay tuned… more details to follow in my next post.

Report: Six-Weeks on AIP–Part 1


Things that are worse:

  • Right hand thumb pain and swelling, with some days better than others. Currently I am improving from a peak thumb pain setback a couple of weeks ago, but overall the right thumb swelling and range of motion limitation is worse than when I started the Paleo Approach (AIP). Sometimes I wonder if I might have “texting thumb,” tendonosis issues unrelated to RA. Not that I use my phone that much, but I wonder if it could also correlate with trackpad use–repetitive stress injury.
2014-10-03 22.02.32

Right thumb a week ago (10/6), some swelling and reduced capacity to flex (bend) at the knuckle nearest the tip of my thumb.

2014-10-11 10.34.51

Right thumb today. More swelling, more limited range of motion.

Things that are about the same:

  • Sleep quality and duration, usually great

Things that are somewhat improved:

  • Foot pain and swelling diminished. Pain/swelling is still mildly bothersome, but I can bear weight on both feet, even barefoot for short periods, without wincing
  • Dry skin diminished
  • Morning red, dry & glassy eyes diminished (possible Sjögren’s?)

Things that are much better:

  • Fatigue gone
  • Morning headaches gone
  • Periodic episodes of muscular weakness gone
  • Periodic shortness of breath gone
  • Energy level more consistently good
  • Parched mouth, excessive thirst cleared up (possible Sjögren’s?)
  • Cracked lip corners & sores gone (possible Sjögren’s?)
  • Dry lips diminished. (For years I have applied lip balm multiple times a day, now I only occasionally apply a touch of pure shea butter, maybe once every three days)
  • Successful reduction of thyroid medication from 90mg/day to 60mg/day