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Summer approached quickly, and I had now realized it had been a full year since I discovered the severe pain in my knees. While my pain level remained the same, my pain tolerance increased. Unfolding myself in and out of the car, cringing up and down stairs and even sitting in a chair without using my arms was still quite a chore. Besides the relentless aching of my knees and some pain in my shoulder, I was feeling more like myself again. The nightly fever and chills seemed to regress and my energy was much higher than the past few months. Like a train headed cross country, I kept a steady pace toward my destination. I still wanted answers, but I still wasn’t getting them.

Digging daily for clues, I came across some enlightening research that explained the positive effects of removing gluten from one’s diet to battle inflammation. Meanwhile I had also found that specific foods in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, etc.) contained a chemical called solanine, which claims to trigger inflammation by more than just a few people. So what was I to do, but sketch out a new plan. I decided that for at least 1 month I would go gluten-free AND nightshade free. Looking back now I wonder what I was thinking. The word difficult can’t even come close to explaining how hard this diet was to implement. Maybe one at a time, but cutting out both gluten and basic foods like tomatoes and peppers left me with a whole lot of nothing for variety. Going to restaurants and requesting the only thing on the menu that fit in my diet, a cobb salad with nothing but iceberg lettuce and specially cooked chicken without pepper was ridiculous. Needless to say I didn’t see too many results even though I never cheated and stayed true to my plan over that month. Probably the best thing that came out of this diet was a recipe for almond flour gluten-free brownies made so generously by my wife. I don’t usually care for sweets but these were incredible. Contact me for the recipe if you like.