I’m feeling very positive at the moment. I have just sent off my first submissions to agents for my first novel, which I will tell you about in next week’s blog post and a couple of days ago I started my second book. The only thing affecting my positivity is my health. I have written previous posts about lupus but a while ago I was also diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome. I went back to the hospital for a review last week and the very nice, thorough and personable registrar who I saw said they’re going to refer to it all as Connective Tissue Disorder (CTD) because some of my blood tests were slightly ambiguous again, although, I do have symptoms of both. For some reason this made me feel really deflated. It took a while for me to get a diagnosis for why I was feeling so terrible and when I did it was nice to have. I had a name for the condition, something I could tell people I had, I could relate to others with the condition but then it felt like that had been taken away. I was now back to having a CTD, definitely not arthritis, I’ve been told in the past, but which one?

After mulling this over for a few days I have decided it doesn’t matter. After a bit of a look around Twitter I have a new label, I’m “spoonie”, which is a term used for anyone who relates with The Spoon Theory. Sometimes labels are unhelpful but sometimes I think they are needed. What does matter is that I take responsibility for this chronic illness and take control of it. So yesterday I started a new diet or perhaps a better way of describing it would be, a new way of life. I’m going to cut out processed foods and refined sugar. Eat lots of fruit and veg. Eat more nuts and whole grains. I’m basically going for a more Mediterranean diet.

I’ve researched a few diets that are supposed to eliminate the symptoms I experience which are inflammation and pain of the joints, painful stomach, exhaustion, sore skin etc but I felt many of these diets are impractical for family life and would have resulted in me losing weight which I don’t want to do. I also have an overactive thyroid and really could do with gaining a few pounds.

So, yesterday I had:

Breakfast – wholegrain porridge made with semi skimmed milk with crushed hazelnuts and a dash of honey on top. To drink, a glass of orange juice (not from concentrate!) and decaf tea with semi skimmed milk.

Snack – a Nak’d Cocoa Delight bar and decaf tea with semi skimmed milk.

Lunch – Salad of iceberg lettuce, a carrot, half an avocado and a boiled egg. Water to drink.

Snack – Pistachio nuts.

Dinner – Homemade pizza. Base made with self-raising flour, unsalted butter and whole milk (because the baby who has some to nibble on and they should have food made with whole milk). Topped with chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, yellow pepper sticks, a light sprinkling of cheddar cheese, mixed herbs and black pepper. Followed by full fat Greek yoghurt with a dash of honey. Water to drink.

Evening – Decaf tea with semi skimmed milk and three dates.

As well as the drinks mentioned I drank water throughout the day, which is something I have always been pretty good at as an adult.

I have been tracking my intake on an app on my phone during the day and all of this adds up to 1,819 calories. Not enough.

So today I ate:

Breakfast – Wholegrain oats with full fat Greek yoghurt, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and a dash of honey. A handful of raisins. Orange juice, decaf tea with semi skimmed milk and water to drink.

Snack – Nak’d Cocoa Delight bar and water.

Lunch – Salad of iceberg lettuce, mixed baby leaves, yellow pepper, half an avocado, crushed hazelnuts and half a tin of drained tuna which was in spring water. Half a banana (the baby had the other half) and water to drink.

Snack – Three dates and water to drink.

Snack – Pistachio nuts and decaf tea with milk.

Dinner – Vegetable Lasagne made with onion, courgettes, aubergine, mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, passatta, mixed herbs and black pepper. Béchamel sauce made with unsalted butter, plain flour and whole milk (the baby was eating it too). An apple cut into segments with full fat Greek yoghurt for dipping.

Evening – Homemade sugar free banana and blueberry muffin (made with Oliver oil not butter) and decaf tea with semi skimmed milk.

As with yesterday, loads of water throughout the day.

Today’s calories: 1,419 – worse than yesterday!

I’m slightly disappointed that my calorie intake is too low but after just two days my stomach feels so much better. I haven’t had any stomach pains at all.

I know my energy levels, inflammation and pain will probably take longer to improve but I’m feeling very positive but just need to add some calories.

If you think about it our bodies were never designed to consume artificial preservatives, colours, flavours and goodness knows what else. I’m going to treat my body as it was designed to be treated from now on.