Following an Autoimmune Diet

I’ve been trying to get back on a more structured diet lately. I find that I’m clenching my muscles without realizing I’m doing so. Last year my doctor diagnosed me with TMJ syndrome, where my muscles in my jaw, neck and upper shoulders tense up. It causes my ears to feel like they’re clogged, I get nasty aches and pains down my neck and across the tops of my shoulders and I’m constantly trying to stretch out my jaw, which ends up cracking and popping. I feel it getting worse again. The TMJ got better when I was pregnant, it basically went away. I believe the muscle ache disappearing was due to the relaxin increase during pregnancy. I felt it start to come back, very faintly, at the end of January, a week or two or so before I delivered Max, and the pain has been slowly returning ever since. Now I not only clench my jaw, neck and shoulders, but my uterus and core muscles, my back and legs, too. I’ve also been getting this weird sensation in my legs, hips and lower back when I’m trying to fall asleep and I just have to move, particularly when I’m on my side. Restless legs? I hope not. I wonder if I’m low in progesterone, if maybe it’s related in that way. I’m still in the research phase. I’m planning on seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist to help me with those and the hormone balancing issues.

I want to figure out what causes TMJ to get better or worse but haven’t found a link yet. Eating a more autoimmune-friendly diet by eliminating grains, eating green veggies, smoothies and fish didn’t really help, though it helped other symptoms. When I was pregnant my stomach couldn’t handle the diet and I had to totally change the way I ate. My body wanted carbs and sugar again, otherwise I had no energy and could hardly get out of bed or off the couch. Also, the morning sickness was horrible if I didn’t have carbs in the morning. I wanted eggs, but wasn’t eating them because I had been sensitive to them in the past and didn’t want to chance them making me even more sick. Dairy was a HUGE no-no. Anything with dairy at all and I was headed straight to yakksville. Unless it was peanut M-n-M’s or Gratify Gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels.

Now I’m slowly working my way back to a more autoimmune-friendly diet. During the postpartum healing, my body felt like it needed the carbs and the sugar, but now my need for them is dwindling. If I eat a whole blueberry muffin for breakfast these days it causes acid buildup, or something along those lines, in my stomach. I’ve actually incorporated eggs again, having a few a week and I think I’m doing ok on them. I’m not 100% sure because it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days for the symptoms to show. I read this article on why eggs are bad for Celiac’s and those with autoimmune issues today, so now I’m wondering if I should cut the eggs again.

I started taking the Neocell Collagen Beauty Bursts, hoping they’ll do something for my skin, tissue and joints because when I asked the delivering doctor what causes cervical incompetence she mentioned something about collagen. I thought it couldn’t hurt! My skin is pretty dry. I get breakouts, though not as bad as before I was pregnant, and I have these funky dark patches of skin on my face, similar to the butterfly-shaped design significant in Lupus. The marks sometimes get better/worse, but I haven’t found what causes it to go away yet. It seemed to start to go away before I got pregnant but then came back full-force over the past couple months…maybe it all has something to do with progesterone? Sometimes I feel like I was a research doctor in a previous life or something, I want to get to the bottom of this!

I know I’m not losing the 10 pounds I put on a few weeks after delivery – which was also weird. I was doing fine and was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight within 2 weeks of having Max. The next thing I remember is I went to the doctor, she pushed around on my abdomen to feel my insides and ever since then I’ve blown up like a balloon. I feel puffy all over, even my neck. I’m not sure if it was the doctor pushing around on my uterus or having a couple drinks that weekend, but I’ve gained 10 pounds since then, most of it right away. Hopefully incorporating a more high-nutrient, veggie and protein based diet and drinking more herbal tea will help improve the bloating and uncomfortable feeling I’ve been experiencing. It’s weird, I feel almost like I was glutened, but without having a super-severe reaction. Maybe I was? There’s always a possibility, but I don’t think so, I’ve been pretty careful. Have you had any issues with TMJ or muscle clenching with your autoimmune disease and what have you done to help alleviate the symptoms?

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