I Am Metabolically Broken and I Am Not Alone


Update: I got the test results back AND found some surprising things in prior test results that my doctor didn’t catch or didn’t tell me about, things I didn’t discuss in this post because they kinda came out of left field. A twist I wasn’t prepared for. As it turns out, I tested as having high oxalates in 2008 and I didn’t know until I requested copies of old blood work. Click here to read the update.


My current list of health challenges shows auto-immune, hormonal problems and systemic inflammation. I suspect my detox pathways are overburdened. I’m currently dealing with thin hair, vertigo, brain fog, a lack of growth hormones, thin skin, vision problems, a red ring around the back of my throat and what I suspect are thyroid symptoms, among other things. In the past, I was diagnosed as having PCOS and being pre-diabetic. I’ve dealt with mercury poisoning and celiac disease.

In 2007-2008 when I turned myself around after celiac disease almost killed me, I healed my gut to the point that I no longer had digestive symptoms. I even healed my cavities. But I didn’t heal my metabolism.

That work begins now.

Just going paleo has given me energy back, going grain-free has stopped the thyroid pain and constant tenderness and appears to have relieved the swelling I had in my thyroid. I need less sleep, I have more energy, my head is clearer. But it hasn’t resolved all of my health issues.  That laundry list above is still very bothersome. Yet I push myself to continue, to go and to do, despite it. For my long-term health, it must be under control and these problems must resolve.


Why I Am Metabolically Broken

You can read my story to get the background. When I wrote that post, most everything had resolved and I was doing well. I did do well for a time, my body leveled out and I was able to resume normal life. I was a normal weight, I had chelated enough to beat back the heavy metal symptoms. Then abnormal hit again- I had an unexpected pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage. That kicked off a flood of hormonal problems which just spiraled. I believe I had metabolic problems during that time period, but they were minor and easily controlled- I was able to overcome them. I tend to push myself despite my limitations and that can be a downfall.

Basically, I believe I was born metabolically broken and some of the events in my life only made the problem worse. Conceived and raised on a brownfield, premature birth, fed soy formula, very early menarche, high carb diet, constant rounds of antibiotics, mercury exposure, birth control pills instead of working to resolve PCOS symptoms, a family history of auto-immune diseases. The list goes on.

In 2006-7, when I was so ill, so sick, I only consumed 800-1,000 calories a day. Why? It was all I could get down and keep down. I had 24/7 nausea and vomited and had diarrhea many times a day for over a year. I suffered from chronic dehydration. It totally messed up my metabolism and my endocrine system even further than they already were. My hair started thinning. Cuts and scraps wouldn’t heal. At one point, I accidentally fell down the last few steps of our steep staircase and skinned my knee on the way down. It took months to heal. I still had an ugly, dark purple scar there a year later.

I had a one year old and a three year old.  My priority wasn’t feeding myself, it was getting them fed and keeping them alive while minimizing how much I had to suffer through puking.  Yet my poop was normal beginning in 2007 and through that time period I had no digestive symptoms. My reaction to gluten gradually disappeared. Even though I eat a normal amount of food now and take in plenty of calories, and have for about 4 years, my metabolism is still messed up. But I still don’t have any digestive symptoms.

I’m learning through this process that healing your gut isn’t enough. Great digestion doesn’t always translate to great health. You can also have other problems that aren’t controlled solely by nutrient intake. Eating a real food diet alone won’t heal everything. You can be born with metabolism problems or you can develop them. You can have a gene activate and cause issues. Your detox pathways can be functioning sub-optimally. You can have exposures to things in your environment beyond your control that cause negative effects.  What goes into your mouth isn’t the end-all and be-all of health.


Where Do I Go From Here?

Up until now, I’ve been rather vague about what’s been going on with my health, as I wanted to get the test results back before saying any more publicly in case we were wrong. We expect the blood work to be back next week. But you know, even if the test results show that I don’t have what we suspect, I do have celiac disease, which is auto-immune. So while we wait for test results, I’m going to go ahead and do what I believe my body needs- another round of elimination and challenge to see if I’m reacting to anything else.

I’m going on the paleo auto-immune protocol (PAIP). I really hate that I have to resort to an elimination diet again, but so be it. I will focus on making sure I’m taking in enough calories, and I will also eliminate all sweeteners for a time period to see if they’re a problem for me. I will work on tight blood sugar regulation.

In the last two weeks, I’ve read articles from Stacy at Paleo Parents, Jimmy Moore and had long conversations with my nutritional counselor, Lydia of Divine Health and talked to some other real food bloggers and paleo folks who are struggling with various auto-immune issues and also looking for answers.  I believe this is the right path for me.


I Am Not Alone and Neither Are You

I know I’m not alone in this boat. I have multiple blogging friends and multiple readers who are struggling through auto-immune disease. I know I am not alone. I’m being so public and putting myself out there because I know you need the support and the community just as much as I do. So I’m going to begin by blogging my meals every week so you can gain inspiration. I hope you will consider leaving your meals every week in the comments here or Facebook and we’ll provide support and encouragement to each other.

Every day on Facebook, I will post what I ate for that meal, and try my best to include a picture. Click here to join us on Facebook. I’ll do a weekly recap here with as many pics as I can do.

If you are facing this, I want you to know that there is support out there. There are Facebook groups and other bloggers finding their way, too. In the coming weeks, I will be linking to them, their stories, their meals, their posts. I will leave a trail as I find my way as these folks have been so helpful to leave a trail for me.


The Paleo Auto-Imme Protocol

First up will be the food, of course. I will first go completely paleo, then I’ll slowly eliminate foods as I work my way down into the auto-immune protocol (AIP). I will hold the protocol as long as I need to, then I will begin re-introducing foods.

As I understand it, the PAIP is the paleo diet that goes into an elimination diet that removes all pro-inflammatory foods and foods that commonly show allergenic/intolerance potential while encouraging anti-inflammatory foods. You wait until your body is re-set, then you re-introduce those foods one at a time to look for reactions. If you react to something, you stay off of it until you no longer react.


At this point, I plan to eventually eliminate:
Sweeteners of all types, including natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, etc…
Seeds (including spices, coffee and chocolate)
Nightshades (including pepper-based spices)
Beans and Legumes, including peanuts and guar gum
Alcohol (I don’t drink, but this might mean I can’t use things like extracts)


I will also continue to avoid avocado and kiwi (and latex) due to my anaphylaxis reaction to them. What does that leave? Meat, fish, poultry, some non-starchy veggies, coconut oil, bone broth, organ meats. Once I’m back to baseline, we’ll challenge foods, one at a time.

It’s important that it is understood that this is only a temporary diet to help me find and remove intolerances. It wouldn’t be healthy to permanently remove all of these foods from your diet. It’s an elimination diet to give my body a chance to re-set and then we add things back in, one at a time, to find out what causes inflammation, aggravates the auto-immune problems or the like. If it’s a problem, it goes back out and we re-visit it again later. If it doesn’t pose a problem, it stays in.


Planning the Journey

I will slowly drop one category at a time. In addition, I wish to go to 70-100 grams of carbs a day again. I also want to do a time where I am off of all sweeteners for a while, to see if it makes any difference in belly bloat as it did for Stacy at Paleo Parents. So I’m not going cold-turkey all at once. I’m working into it slowly.

I am currently gluten-free, grain-free, bean-free and mostly fruit free. I don’t drink coffee. Next week I will eliminate peanut butter so I am legume free and soy will go, too. Currently, I’m only having organic tamari once every week or two.

I will consume bone broth daily and do what I can to increase my organ meat consumption.

I will also need to return to exercise. I do T-Tapp. I will log off of my computer at 9:30 each night and be in bed at 10:00. I will aim for 9 hours of sleep a night, but if I wake up on my own, then I will accept less. I tend to only sleep 8 hours when I’m grain-free.

I will do what I can to reduce stress and my work schedule.  That will not be easy considering that one of our new kittens, Jasper is dying and that Chloe, the other new kitty, has likely contracted the infectious peritonitis from him. I expect we will have to put him down very soon.  She will live with us as long as she is well, then we’ll have to put her down, too, as apparently there is no cure for they picked up at the shelter before they came home with me after Christmas.  The vet said that she will likely die before she is 2.



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KerryAnn Foster runs Intentionally Domestic, formerly Cooking Traditional Foods.  Intentionally Domestic is the home of the longest running real food meal plan on the internet, now in its eighth volume.

KerryAnn has over eleven years of real food experience.  Read about KerryAnn’s journey to health through multiple miscarriages, celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies and intolerances, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals. She is also an It Works! Independent Distributor and she loves that crazy wrap thing!

Founded in 2005, we help you feed your family nourishing foods they will love.  With two choices of Menu Mailers, multiple eBooks, Print Books and video-based classes, KerryAnn makes real food easy, accessible, affordable and family friendly for everyone.

KerryAnn founded Nourished Living Network, a network for traditional food and natural living bloggers, in 2011. NLN provides support, publicity and networking opportunities for bloggers all across the traditional foods spectrum. Our Recipe Gallery features recipes from the fifty member blogs and growing.




  1. Jessica says:

    You are not alone. I am with you. (Two small kids, metabolism, hormone, suspected AI, and, for myself, mysterious neuropathy motivating my cure-search.) A lot of us are with you. And you telling your story is a gift to us all. So, thank you so much, and be well.

    • KerryAnn says:

      Thank you, Jessica. I’ll be blogging about this as I go, and I hope it helps a lot of people. Please come back and share your experiences.

    • Laurel says:

      Jessica – I am slowly getting rid of my mysterious neuropathy. A gluten-free diet and B12 shots is what it took, but the progress is slow. My doc said that nerves are very slow to heal. Have you looked into B12 deficiency? It can definitely cause neuropathy. In my case gluten ruined my intestines to the point that I wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. I’ve also had pcos, & hashimoto’s although the latter seems to have spontaneously fixed itself.

  2. Alex says:

    Two things:

    1. Have you read Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet. He recommends 400-600 calories in safe starches. I did 100-200 calories of carb for a year and like Jaminet developed scurvy. Please be aware if doing low carb.

    2. My husband and I check out blood sugar and found that if we eat more coconut oil and shoot for 400-600 carb calories, we wake up with fasting blood sugar in the 80s. We also found regular coffee raises it. Bullet Proof coffee doesn’t (if you’re a coffee drinker). too much saturated animal fat keeps it from coming down.

    3. Have you tried/considered NAET for food allergies/sensitivities ?

    4. Have you considered coffee enemas to release toxins. Dr Larry Wilson Hair Mineral Analyst has had great success with those.

    5. Ray Medina creator of Syontix pre and probiotics has a great blog on healing gut. We’re using his products and are happy with them.

    Thank you for all your helpful info!
    Love Alex

    • KerryAnn says:

      You’ve given me a lot to read up on. I’ll see if my library has that book and I’ll read through it. Thank you!

    • PattyLA says:

      I really think KerryAnn needs some support for the direction she has decided to go in. Not new ideas to consider. If this doesn’t work out then she will be looking for new ideas but right now she really just needs us to support her. Everyone is different and need different things. What worked so well for you may not work at all for her. There are literally thousands of ideas out there on how to recover your health. At some point you just need to pick one that sounds reasonable and give it a good try.
      She is working with a health care professional who is guiding her in these choices and knows her health history far better than you may from this blog post.
      I know you mean well but your approach may not be as supportive and helpful as you think it is.
      PattyLA recently posted..Tropical Traditions Gold Coconut Oil Give Away!

      • Ursula says:

        Yes…but that is the beauty of it…Kerry has an amazing Nutritionist, and ideas and research and recommendations are important. Basically, Kerry can simply ask Lydia what she thinks on these points, one may be something neither have considered but are a key….or they may not be….

      • alex says:

        First, I believe that this is Kerry’s blog and that she should be the one to decide what does and doesn’t get posted. Secondly, Kerry, if there’s anything in what I posted that undermines your quest for health, please delete it, of course. I only wanted to post something that would keep you from experiencing some very unpleasant consequences I had with low carb. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do low carb….I just think it doesn’t hurt to be aware.

    • Thanks for sharing this info Alex! I love the idea of Bulletproof coffee. My hubby just started having blood sugar issues again from stress and picking the coffee habit back up with his new job.

      We previously had his diabetes almost reversed, but he’s a bit resistant to some of my healing methods and supplements so he can’t combat the recent stress well enough.

      Hopefully, we can incorporate this one in until he can get off of coffee again.
      Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting…down recently posted..How I Stopped Wasting Money on Conventional Shampoo

  3. Alex says:

    Sorry two things ended up being five things

  4. Alex says:

    Sorry Kerry I see you don’t drink coffee

  5. Alex says:

    I hope you read Jaminet’s perfect Health Diet book. It is low inflammation. If you have inflammation, you want to stick with100% grassfed meat – I’d stay away from poultry. You need very balanced sources of fat. We’ve been doing grassfed red meat, coconut oil, and FCLO. We have about a tablespoon of olive oil to balance the omega 3s on the cod liver oil. Cutting out poultry and duck has made a huge difference to our blood sugars.

  6. Alex says:

    Also we stop eating at 3:00pm. This gives us a 16 hour fast to do autophagy.

  7. Laura says:

    I’m sorry you are dealing with this. As we’ve discussed before, I have a lot of the same stuff going on so I know how frustrating and at times depressing it is. Hopefully your elimination diet will help.
    Laura recently posted..Natural Home Challenge at Real Food Real Frugal

  8. Angela says:

    I’ll second the recommendation for Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet. The website at http://perfecthealthdiet.com has been a wealth of information for me, too, beyond that contained in the book. I went grain-free (GAPS-ish) to deal with some of the same issues you’re dealing with (vertigo was a big one, which I discovered in my case seemed to be caused by candida problems) but it was too easy for me to go too low-carb and I ended up actually making what I think were somewhat mild thyroid problems worse. When I added in carbs from safe starches (rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes primarily), I felt a lot better — better, in fact, than I have ever felt in my life… and I’m certainly having the best pregnancy I have ever had! (This is #8). In the process I’ve discovered what foods actually do affect my thyroid — sugar, chocolate, soy, gluten, almonds (actually a goitrogenic food) — and which don’t. I seem to do much better on starches than I do on sugars, like fruit, and avoided gestational diabetes this time around by not limiting my carbs… only primarily using the Perfect Health Diet protocol. I’m still tinkering with my diet, but I’m hopeful.

    Good luck to you!
    Angela recently posted..The Sheenazing Blog Awards

    • KerryAnn says:

      I’m not sure what to think about it. I recently tried some rice flour on some sweet potato fries and it made me so, so sleepy. White potatoes also seem to make my exhausted. I’ll be experimenting going forward to find out how different foods affect me. I’ll definitely check out the book.

      • Angela says:

        I think it’s all a big experiment, really, to figure out which bits and pieces of what diets fit *you* as an individual. An exhausting experiment in many ways, since it would be nice to just be able to *eat*, you know? But doing the hard work to get to the bottom of things should pay off in the end. Hope you start feeling better soon!
        Angela recently posted..The Sheenazing Blog Awards

  9. lydia says:

    You are not alone. I have recently decided to go back on the failsafe diet due to my and the kids numerous issues.

  10. Mercedes says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had never struggled with my weight until I went through a stressful divorce (he was abusive, and the divorce involved him stalking, harassing, vandalizing, me having a stalking order against him, a domestic assault criminal trial, him trying to take the kids away from me ect…) Two years later I had gained 20 lbs and I remarried and had my 3rd baby. I gained 45 lbs during the pregnancy and only 20 of that budged after he was born. I am now 40 lbs overweight and my baby is 19 months. I my hair and skin are dry and thinner, I am tired, I got acne for the first time in my life, I fell off my bike in September and I STILL have the red mark on my knee. I have felt so hopeless in trying to find that answers to reversing this.

  11. Mercedes says:

    Oh, and I should add that I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 18 and it had been well managed with a natural version of thyroid medication. However, right before I got pregnant with number three, the naturopath that I had been seeing, decided that I didn’t need it. That 3rd pregnancy was the hardest on me. I think I really did need it. I have been back on it for 8 months and I haven’t seen a huge improvement. :(

  12. Jamie says:

    Thank you for being so open about your plans. I anticipate it will be of help to many. I, too, am paleo but am considering doing the AIP. It just sounds so hard! Of course, that’s what I thought before GAPS/Paleo. Your posts will be an inspiration! I hope it turns out to be a fruitful exercise for you.

  13. Katie says:

    Thank you for being so brave and sharing this with your readers. You have really opened my eyes to something I had not even known existed (Paleo AIP). I’ve spent all day reading through the information on various websites and man is there a lot! I was going through The Paleo Mom’s site and she even talked about how some react to fructose or coconut and why. Very interesting stuff but I’m sure you’ve seen it. What is most interesting to me is years ago when I was first diagnosed with pre-diabetes at the ripe old age of 30, I did South Beach. Yes, gross, and not real food based (I found WAPF later). BUT, I was adamant about following the rules. We never ate out at restaurants. I kept the carbs extremely low with NO grains, NO fruit, NO alcohol, and NO sweeteners. There were no GAPS desserts or anything like that. I simply ate meats and veggies and a little dairy. Now, when I started South Beach I was an incredibly picky eater so I didn’t eat a lot of the highly inflammatory, non-Paleo AIP foods just because I didn’t like them (Nightshades, milk, eggs). When I compare how I was eating to the Paleo AIP diet it was very, very similar. And that year was the best of my life. ALL of my health problems disappeared (eczema, weird left side pain, diabetes). After a year, I slowly reintroduced some foods and did okay but 2 years later I found WAPF and went full blown well it’s a whole food, so it must be good for me attitude (sourdough galore, eggs, potatoes, fruits, milk). Slowly my health has deteriorated where I am now facing the same problems and new ones to boot, like thyroid and hormonal issues). I have been so frustrated because I feel like I do everything right. I eat so well! I currently, after lots of testing, am gluten, dairy, and egg free and recently cut nightshades. I get better each time one of these things is removed. But, I still eat a lot of the no foods, especially seeds and nuts. After reading your post today, I realize I MUST try this Paleo AIP (I’m almost there anyway, right?). I think you are SO brave to admit openly that just adhering to whole, real foods may not be enough for some people. I very much appreciate all that you have shared and look forward to witnessing your journey. I will be following and praying for a good outcome for you. Please keep leaving that trail for others; you are greatly appreciated.

    One question: Do you plan to continue your ferments? I’ve read some mixed information about that as some people can react to the yeasts in ferments and actually see improvement by removing them. I’m getting ready to add them because I thought I couldn’t wrong with some good ferments.

    And lastly, I am very sad to hear about the loss of your baby kitty. We lost a beloved cat last year and it was very difficult. I will be praying for peace in your heart and home. Hugs to you. Be well, KerryAnn.

    • KerryAnn says:

      Thank you, Katie. I do plan to continue my ferments. When something is truly anaerobically fermented, the yeasts that are present are beneficial to candida and other conditions. When you ferment where the ferment can get small amounts of oxygen or more, the yeasts that develop are detrimental. So I will continue them.

  14. Pamsc says:

    You might want to look into iodine for hypothyroid.
    Pamsc recently posted..Anesthesia

  15. Lori says:

    Thank you for again opening up about your health issues. Right there with you. STILL undergoing lab after lab to try and figure out what is (specifically) wrong. I’m terrified that I will never return to normal, and I have two little boys to raise. And I can’t take care of them right now. I am glad we can all be in this together, if we have to be in it at all.

    • KerryAnn says:

      Hugs, Lori. I know how hard it is. I spent the first year after being diagnosed as celiac on a mattress on my living room floor with a 1.5 and a 3.5 year old to care for. At my worst, I couldn’t crawl 20 feet without panting. I had to learn to creatively minimize work, block off large areas of the house so the kids couldn’t access it and other similar ways to deal with the problems.

  16. Jane says:

    I am in the same boat and started pale AIP last year. What tests did you do to test for metabolic issues? Have you thought of doing a post on how to do an elimination challenge to test for intolerances? (Or have you already done one?)

    • KerryAnn says:

      Jane, we believe I might have Hashimotos thyroiditis. We should have the results back soon. For metabolic, we’re looking at things like past history, blood sugar, CBC and the like.

      I’ll be posting about elimination challenges as I go through them. I’ve done them in the past, in 2007-8, but I’m sure there’s more info out about it now, so I’m going to research it again before proceeding. I’ll blog it all as we go through it.

  17. Hi KerryAnn,

    In my experience, only 50% of people with the genetic marker for celiac disease, get better on the gluten-free diet. For the other 50% of people they need a full paleo diet. Some can tolerate raw dairy others are better to avoid it and do a challenge after their symptoms disappear. It sounds like your also in the no dairy population. If you are pre-diabetic, please take the program low carbohydrate, moderate protein and very high fat!

    I must admit, I was worried for you with all those gluten-free additives you use in your recipes that would make me really sick! Those food additives are a real killer for me. But we are all different.

    What made me write you is the phase “metabolically broken”. That kind of thinking and labeling will not promote health. If you were truly metabolically broken — well, you would be dead. Your body is an amazing system and it can adjust to many environments.

    I used to think something was wrong with me because my morning body temperatures a low. I spent so much energy and time researching and experimenting on ways to increase my temperature without any success. I decided to just relax into this new me and not try to think my way out of my body’s wisdom. After all that time, I realized my body knows best. My job is to listen to symptoms that others call diseases.

    Here is a lecture from Dr Rosedale about the paleo diet and eating high fat. Listen to the questions at the end and his views on mTOR:

    You’re not broken. You have just been taught a load of nonsense but our society that would rather you be a consumer of their health products rather than healthy.


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