Week 11 on the AIP & what’s next

Week 11 update on the AIP || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

A new favorite meal around here: sear-roasted pork chops (recipe by autoimmune-paleo.com) candied carrots (recipe from Practical Paleo) fried apples (recipe by EverydayPaleo.com)

Last time I checked in was well over a month ago and I thought I would be coming back to tell you how awesome my reintroductions were going, or that my reintroductions were…going.

But the crazy thing is I’ve been at this phase for nearly 3 months (what!!) and I haven’t “officially” started reintroductions.

Unless you count the occasional serving of green beans, sometimes using black pepper, and feeling permission from Jessica at AIPLifestyle to try ghee.

What happened? I thought we were going to introduce foods after eight weeks?!

Well, let’s do some catching up

The last five weeks

The week following my last post, which, sadly, was a month ago, I had what I can only describe as a digestive onslaught. It seemed like nearly every day, something I ate would offset my tummy and I’d be in the fetal position on my bed with major cramping and digestive distress. While I do use essential oils, and applying them to the abdominal region provides some comfort, it was still an unpleasant week.

The good thing about working with a practitioner during this time is that we were able to trouble-shoot and play with some variables to see if I would start feeling better, and thus we did.

I took out a new-to-me supplement from my regimen, while also noting that I seemed to have these attacks after eating a few common foods, so I removed those as well (adiós, avocado, Godspeed till we meet again).

My doctor recommended reintroducing the supplement in micro-doses in about a week, and if I still reacted, we would know it was a culprit and go down plan B. And also test for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)! I was honestly afraid of reintroducing this supplement, because, simply, ain’t nobody got time for a stomachache! I mean, seriously, who wants to pass up 2-3 hours of their day for that? Not I.

However, the reintroduction with the micro-dosing went fine and all was well! No testing at this time for SIBO, either! 😀

And then we went to DisneyWorld. And Disney was great. I packed all my food to eat the park for the day we were there, and felt nourished and happy. After a long day there, we drove through Panera so the entire family could eat something, and I thought I would take a chance on Panera’s  “hidden menu,” and I ordered a very simple salad with grilled chicken, bacon and real olive oil as the salad dressing (without the hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes). Yet, although we were basically driving in the dark at that point, I thought I noticed red, thick spices on the chicken, and realized I was probably eating something nightshade-based, even though it wasn’t terribly spicy.

Then, the next night, we wanted to go out to eat as a family (it was Saturday night!) and we chose a local, hip, fresh Cali-fusion restaurant near to our house that often advertises Paleo-friendly meals. I ordered a meal with spaghetti squash as the base, sautéed in olive oil and garlic, …and apparently red pepper flakes. I didn’t know that extra spice was included, but my two night experiment let me know my body is not ready for these spices yet in my diet. I started to feel those tingly flares of inflammation in my leg and was discouraged.

Despite all my weeks of great eating with much caution and sometimes feeling like a diva with all my questions when eating out, some accidents occurred and while I did the best I could, I feel they set me back a little, so it took away some of the enthusiasm about reintroducing foods.

So, while I’m still in Phase 1, I know I won’t be here forever, but I know the longer I stick it out in this phase and let my gut heal, the better I’ll do with reintroductions. Did you know that? The longer you let your body heal, the more likely it is your body will do better with the food reintroductions. So, it may stink in the meantime but it will likely lead to a greater payoff with less frustrations and mess-ups in the future.

And I’m still getting to eat yummy food like this sausage and kale soup from Sweet Treats Baking.

I even made AIP-friendly marshmallows following this recipe from Mommypotamus.com.

Occasional indulgences like these are just that: occasional and indulgent! I think they would taste great on sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving!

AIP-friendly marshmallows! Recipe available at mommypotamus.com

Speaking of…

What’s Next

I’ll be traveling a bit over the next two weeks and would love your input on the best way to handle AIP phase 1 while traveling (this includes flying and driving). I’ve looked up places to eat at my destinations, including local grocery stores, and I’ll be staying where there’s a kitchen. However, I could easily see myself trying to pack my entire kitchen into a suitcase and that just ain’t gonna fly (pun intended).

Suggestions?! Also, anyone in the San Diego area on the AIP? Any good restaurant recommendations? I’d so love your input!

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What *IS* the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)? And what brought me here

What is the Autoimmune Protocol || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

The Paleo Approach explains pretty much all you need to know and more about the AIP! Written by Sarah Ballantyne, aka ThePaleoMom.com

I have to admit to you, lonely reader, I never did a proper job of explaining to you what the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) really is. There are loads of talented and eloquent bloggers who have successfully shared what the AIP is and how it works, that it’d be much simpler to just refer to their sites, but alas, for the poor folk who can’t click on a hyperlink, I shall detail it for you here!

The AIP is a temporary healing diet that rids the body of excess inflammation by removing foods, toxins and any other triggers that might be putting the body into an inflamed, stressed state. The protocol is especially beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s, Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, Graves, IBS, Lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or in my case, Linear Scleroderma (also called Linear Morphea). What? Yes, I probably have one of the most unheard of autoimmune diseases but that doesn’t make it any less ugly!

Autoimmune conditions, in my words, are when the signals in your body get mixed up, and your body starts sending messages to begin attacking itself. For some people, it attacks their nerves, digestive system, their brain, a gland, or what have you. In my case, it attacks my skin with extra collagen and can attack connective tissue as well. I was first diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist almost 9 years ago! Once I realized autoimmunity means your entire body is at risk, I realized just seeing a dermatologist and getting topical creams wasn’t going to cut it. I had this realization about 5 years ago, and while there was no turning back, there was a lot of sitting on my hands until I (wo)manned up to take on the challenge of holistically dealing with my AI issues, with a few starts and stops along the way. Baby steps for the win.

So, the autoimmune protocol removes these inflammatory foods, some forever (based on the paleo template), and some temporarily:

  • grains
  • legumes
  • refined sugars
  • refined oils
  • processed food
  • processed sweeteners and alternative sweeteners like Xylitol & Stevia

These are a temporary removal, which means at some point these can be re-introduced to see how your body tolerates them:

  • nightshades and nightshade spices
  • seeds and seed-based spices
  • fruit-based spices
  • nuts
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • coffee, cocoa
  • alcohol

This begs the question, what can I eat?

The answer is food, lots of nourishing, yummy food!

What is the Autoimmune Protocol? || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

AIP BBQ pulled pork, warm arugula salad (by http://www.everydaypaleo.com, and sweet potato fries

The following is from AIP lifestyle, a wonderful resource with lots of inspiration for those on a healing journey!

  • Vegetables (except nightshades)
  • Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
  • Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
  • Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
  • Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
  • Bone Broth
  • Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
  • Non-Seed Herbal Teas
  • Green Tea
  • Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
  • Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
  • Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)  (Source: http://aiplifestyle.com/what-is-autoimmune-protocol-diet/)
What is the autoimmune paleo protocol? || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

peaches & {coconut} cream

The truth is, since I started AIP, I’ve actually hardly been hungry. Initially, I think I was so concerned I’d be hungry that I might’ve overconsumed and sometimes felt too full, but now I realize that was not necessary. I always make sure to pack snacks with me as well to avoid such a situation. Each meal is paired with just enough fat, protein, and carbs, that unless I’m just *too busy*, I’m often happily nourished, and that’s a very good thing for my health, sanity, my blood sugar, and my husband & my kids!

Have you ever done a temporary healing diet like GAPS, SCD, Wahl’s, or the AIP? If so, how did you fare on it? What improved? What worsened? I’d love to hear your experiences and where you are now with your healing.

Nearly 4 weeks in and what have I learned?

week 4 on AIP || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

A weekend dinner on the AIP – friendly for the whole family!

By end of day tomorrow, I will be 4 weeks into the Autoimmune Protocol and so thankful to have reached this halfway point of the most restrictive part of my protocol.  My practitioner has me doing the full AIP for 8 weeks and then we will see how I am doing and if my body is ready to reintroduce some foods.  While I have my fingers crossed that some foods will be able to come back into my life (eggs, I’m looking at you–at least the egg yolks), I’m realistic in knowing that some foods are probably what got me into this situation to begin with, and the fact that I am feeling much better with a cleaned up diet means that something I was previously eating was likely causing inflammation. 😦 Life goes on.

However, now that I know, I know, and I can do better in the future with regard to avoiding those foods and making sure what really fuels my body is on my plate.

I haven’t been keeping a daily log, like I wish I would have, but in general, a day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast

Smoothie mixed with pumpkin, banana, spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger), 1/2 can coconut milk (Natural Value brand), + supplements mixed in

Leftover meat + veggies or leftover soup

Snack

homemade jello by Phoenix Helix and/or plantain crackers by The Paleo Mom

Lunch

Leftovers like soup, or grilled meat + sauteed veggies, or a salad with leafy greens, bacon, canned salmon, avocado, green olives

Snack

applesauce (I live with two small children; it’s always around!) or an all-natural fruit leather

homemade jello by Phoenix Helix and/or plantain crackers by The Paleo Mom

leftover morning smoothie

Dinner

Roasted or grilled meat

Roasted veggie sides or mashed cauliflower

Sweet potato fries like e’eryday

After-dinner snack

Fried plantains in bacon fat + coconut cream on top by Meatified

Plantain pudding by Meatified

I’m managing to stay full throughout the day as long as I snack a bit in between meals. If I start to feel low or a blood-sugar dip, something for which I need to be mindful with reactive hypoglycemia, I have found a few slurps of my morning smoothie or a few jiggles of jello gets me back on track.week 4 on AIP||naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

Since my last post i was able to make both things I was hoping to make: Paleo Mom’s plantain crackers and the Primitive Homemaker’s Bacon Kale Pizza, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint!

I have since become semi-obsessed with plantains and am so inquisitive about all the various things you can do with them. They seem to be able to play a role in nearly all meals: fried plantains, plantain crust, mashed plantains to make a type of mashed potatoes, plantain chips, plantain crackers, plantain pudding or ice cream!? I mean, who knew that this food could go both savory and sweet?

What’s been your life-saver or favorite thing on the autoimmune protocol? How are your symptoms?