Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Dairy

Technically, this week was just going to be cheese, but then I had a moment of weakness and chugged some whole milk, so it turned into dairy.

I started with cheese, though – stinky, pungent, wonderful blue cheese. I had tiny bits on my kale and on my burgers for three days, then I waited like a good AIP reintroduction-thing. Nothing happened – no gastrointestinal distress, no zits, no bloating. Felt absolutely fine. I only managed to wait two days before my milk binge, though, which I have to admit was the same day of my BFN. I might have been feeling a little down and frustrated with everything.

There is definitely a point one reaches, months into this reintroduction process, where you begin questioning the point of everything. I’ve gotten droll a few times, but never as bad as last week. You just get absolutely tired of restriction and wonder if shoving a pie in your face will or will not make all your efforts nil. Then you have milk instead, because the thought of redoing this process makes you physically ill.

I had that moment then, and then a few more times this weekend while we were attending my brother’s wedding in FL. Traveling on the AIP is no fun, even when you can have things like butter and seed spices. Then there was the cake and the pizza and the bagels and the cinnamon toast and the BBQ ribs, all so tantalizingly close and completely out of reach. I knew, logically, that by avoiding all that crud I would feel much better throughout the weekend and when we returned home. But oh, how it tempted.

So how did I survive the weekend away from our own fridge? Well, first I made sure there would be kitchens available, and then I hit up the local grocery store. I grabbed a bag of greens, ground pork, a sweet potato, an onion, some mushrooms, and some smoked salmon. I threw those together in various combinations for four meals while snacking on whatever fruit was available and the occasional sliced cheese.

For the plane, I spent some time the week before brainstorming snack ideas. I was most worried about this portion of the trip because airport food is notoriously… glutentastic. Also damn expensive. After making a long list of foods, we ended up bringing smoked salmon, cucumber slices, avocados, homemade beef jerky (recipe coming soon!), plain sliced roast beef, plantain chips, and dried mango slices. With a big breakfast beforehand, all of this got me through nine hours of driving and flying and layovers.

And the leftovers helped me get through dinner and breakfast the following morning. My only problem was that by the time we got home again on Monday, I was a little tired of the monotony of meat and greens. Since I knew dairy was fine, I might have had frozen yogurt for lunch on Monday. It was worth it.

Now back on the wagon - except not really, since I didn’t fall off it to begin with. Being home with all of our spices and own food is so much more relaxing than being on the road and wondering how/what I was going to eat next. I could not have done it without a few of the reintroductions – I had some cheese and yogurt and butter over the weekend, too. I can’t imagine traveling while still on the full AIP, although I know it’s been done.

Next on the reintroduction list is… I don’t know. I think I might try chocolate again this weekend. I’m a little weary to try nightshades when we will probably be TTCing again in the coming week. I actually don’t have many things left to reintroduce before we get into the non-paleo arena. Oh – I know. I’ll try rice flour this weekend. I want to make some hot cross buns for Easter, after all. :)

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Maybe Baby | DPO 19 and/or CD 6

Wow. Okay. Body, what are you doing?

You know how I mentioned that I thought the autoimmune protocol reintroduction process was going to be a whole lot more obvious and cut & dry than it was?

Yeah, I thought TTC with fresh donor sperm was going to be even more cut and dry. I mean, you’re either pregnant or you’re not, right? There’s two weeks and either you test and it’s positive or you get your period.

Except it’s really: or you test and it’s positive and a week later you get your period. Or you test and it’s negative and your period just keeps not coming so you test again and again and again until you start feeling nauseous and then it’s positive.

Or in my case: you test and it’s negative then you get your period but you don’t because it’s never been that light before and you google implantation bleeding and convince yourself that’s what it is but then for a few moments it starts to resemble your usual only to go back to that weird lightness and you google some more and you avoid drinking too much over the weekend because wtf is going on and then you decide you’ll just wait for all of this to clear up but then a week later you test again and it’s still negative but was that your period, was it really? And all the while you’re trying to make plans for your next attempt.

Wow. Really not nearly as cut and dry as I had expected.

Also, a question to my fellow TTCing lesbians: has the process been affecting your partner’s hormones as well? Because I thought I’d read somewhere about that but now I can’t find it, but my Lady, who used to set her watch by her cycle, is suddenly very irregular. Either I’m messing her up somehow, or this is a very weird coincidence.

In conclusion, I’m still not 100% sure I’m not pregnant – maybe closer to 97.8% – but we’re going to move ahead like I’m not. Gotta get back to trusting my body, I guess.

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Maybe Baby | 14 DPO & I Have No Bloody Clue Anymore

Okay guys, I really want to move on from this cycle, but my body is not letting me. I thought I started this morning, after two days of spotting, but instead it just turned into more spotting.

The internet tells me it could still be implantation spotting, even 14 days past. The internet also tells me it’s normal for said spotting to look like a very light period. But, the internet says that it’s normal to have a very light period after a TTC cycle. So. What.

Do I just not know yet? Should I maybe not drink gallons of wine tonight? Should I play it safe?

What are you doing, body?

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Maybe Baby | DPO 14 & BFN

I thought the two week wait was in the bag when we made it to seven, then ten days. But the last few days have been the absolute longest and hardest. I would’ve put money on not being pregnant a week ago, but not a few days ago. Part of that was getting a new thermometer – I tried the old one well after I’d waken up and been out and about, and it still registered the same temp, so I thought we might as well try a new one. I kept the new and old therms and took my temp for a few mornings and – lo and behold – the old one kept giving me the same number, but the new one gave me something else that made more sense.

So at least my temp hasn’t actually gone completely batshit throughout all this. That’s comforting.

Yesterday and the day before were really hard. I was done guessing. I just wanted to know. I resisted the urge to test early, even though I was having dreams about peeing on a stick. Testing early carried a higher chance of a false negative, and I knew if there was any chance I would test again anyway.

Then I started spotting DPO 12, but not the sort I normally get. I do spot a few days before my period, but I managed to convince myself that this had to be implantation spotting. When it continued on DPO13 and became much more like my usual, I was sad. Still, somehow, I held out hope.

But this morning: nope. I peed on a stick and made tea while I waited, to give the stick more than enough time, but it was a BFN. As if to really rub it in, my period started for real not too long after.

Wow, talk about TMI. Is that why all infertility talk is couched in acronyms? I just can’t stand the term Aunt Flo, so I’m not going to use it. Sorry (not sorry).

In the end, I am much more disappointed than I expected. Even knowing that it’s for the best, what with our December plans, even knowing it was a first try, even knowing the initial process could have been done a lot smoother and in a more ideal situation. We have years and years yet to try, the benefit of starting young, and even for fertile hetero couples actively TTCing, it can take up to six months and frequently does. And this way we can still visit family for the holidays. But…

But.

I think we all secretly harbor a hope that we’ll be the exception. That our tubes are special, our bodies especially fertile, and that we could conceive during a hurricane, upside down in a pool. Having that hope shattered is humbling, especially if you tried to be rational about the whole thing and still couldn’t shake that hope. It is also depressing, because so much as you tried to get it through your thick skull that this could end up taking a very long time, it’s only then that it finally slides past knowing to knowing.

This morning I will let myself mourn. I’ll drink my tea and listen to the birds and let go of what could have been. Try to accept what is, even if that means forcibly shoving away every “but wait maybe-!” thought.

Tonight, however, we will celebrate. With wine. And cheese. This is the start of a new cycle, after all, and a new opportunity. Mostly to drive ourselves crazy.

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DIY Tea Towels with Fabric Pens

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Since my brother decided to get married a few months back, I’ve been worried about wondering what to gift him and his wife-to-be. Since he’s my brother, something off the registry just won’t do alone. Since we’re already spending a lot to fly all the way across the continental US for a weekend, it also can’t be too pricey. Giving just money or a giftcard would reveal just how little we have available, so ixay on that too.

My wife and I are both good at handmade things, so I decided to go that route. I wanted it to be super useful to make up for being handmade (bro’ doesn’t value handmade stuff like we do), and also not too big because the couple will be moving within the month. So: cheap, handmade, personal, but also useful enough that it won’t be a burden to move.

I settled on a kitchen theme, since – at least in my experience – kitchen stuff is almost always useful. I could dry some herbs from our garden and also pick a few kitchen utensils off the registry. I looked around our kitchen for one last thing, tallying up all the things others had given us over the years, and what had always been useful. Towels. Kitchen towels. They’re ubiquitous and useful and it’s difficult to have too many.

I’d had this DIY tutorial pinned since last Christmas but hadn’t had time to actually try it. Or really, just didn’t trust myself to do it right. This time, I decided, I would at least try it. So I went on the hunt for plain kitchen towels last weekend to try.

I found some white linen ones at World Market for relatively cheap. By the time I got them home, though, I’d decided I really didn’t like how white they were. So I stained them beige with tea.

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I boiled three kettles worth of water and soaked the towels with six tea bags for over an hour, stirring them every once in a while to keep the color even.

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When I deemed them ready, I took them outside and let them dry overnight. The next morning I ironed them all out neat and nice, then scoured the internet for plain line drawings of the states I wanted. I printed them out to the same size as a plain sheet of paper, then slid them underneath the linen. Since it’s a relatively thin cloth, the lines showed up just fine.

Then I took a fabric pen and set to work.

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It was hard at first to get over my perfectionism and not winced every time a line wasn’t completely straight, but I kept at it. I toyed with grabbing a ruler for the lines, but decided the imperfections would only add to the charm. Before I finished the lines, I drew a little heart for the cities where my brother had/was going to live, then filled the lines around it.

I redrew the lines to make them darker, then let the whole thing dry overnight again.

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Once dry, I ironed the drawings to help them stay fast. I don’t know if that actually works, but it didn’t smear them either, so I figure it couldn’t hurt.

Then I spent a moment admiring my work. For once, a DIY project actually turned out much better than I was expecting. Maybe because I was careful not to expect too much this time? :)

Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ll make more of these in the future. I kind of want one for myself now.

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Yogurt

First off, I owe you an almond flat bread recipe. This three ingredient flatbread is simple, fast, and delicious. It calls for almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk, but you can also use yogurt if you’re out of coconut milk. I’d advise using the coconut, though. It just tastes better.

Oh dairy. You have been so good to me. I never once thought I might have a problem with dairy, and for once during this whole reintroduction phase, I haven’t been proven horribly wrong. Dairy might not be the most nutrient dense and best food ever, but so far I don’t seem to have a problem with it.

There were no flares. If anything, my inexplicable skin rash looks better. It’s still not gone. It’s lingering on (and on and on) but there are also no new splotches and the rashes I already have have definitely faded since January. I’ve since accepted that it may just take a while for the rashes to fade for good. At least the one under my eye is gone.

I couldn’t find grassfed yogurt, so I settled on organic. I could have made my own yogurt from grassfed milk, but really – how likely is it that I would continue doing that after reintroduction? Grassfed milk is both difficult to find in our area and expensive, and I’m not confident enough to make yogurt yet. Someday – it is a skill I would like to have. But not right now, when I have so many other things going on.

So I went for the tastiest organic yogurt I could find, which happened to be this awesome Bulgarian style stuff wot comes in a glass jar. I’d had it before and I took this as an excuse to indulge again, since it is a little pricey. But it’s so good. It’s tarter than conventional American yogurt, and perhaps a little thicker, and so full of fat.

Side note: I was going to try milk-based kefir as well, but apparently whole fat, organic kefir is nonexistent here. What is the obsession with no fat or low fat dairy? I can understand if you’re on a strict body sculpting diet, but that doesn’t explain it’s prevalence. We need to change this, one full fat dairy deliciousness at a time. The science supports it, after all.

I should probably just make my own. Looks like those kefir grains are getting bumped up my “to buy” list.

I had yogurt for three days in small quantities, sometimes alone, sometimes with some fruit, and once with a little paleo granola (minus the almond flour, stevia, and chia seed, plus molasses). Then I waited a few days, like usual. Nothing happened immediately after eating the yogurt and nothing happened in those days after. Since I’m still feeling pretty peachy, I think I can rightfully declare this one a success.

Phew, I’ve been needing it.

So that makes a successful reintroduction for butter, seed spices, tree nuts (I might have snarfed a handful of walnuts last week too, to no ill effect), and yogurt.

Currently ixay on the eggs, cocoa, coffee, and nightshade spices.

For once,  I feel like I’m starting to run out of things to reintroduce. What’s left are cheese, milk, whole nightshades, and the rest of the non-paleo foods, like beans and grains. I’m hesitant to even try beans and grains, since I don’t eat those normally, but if the stars align and I have the courage, it would probably be a good idea to just see what sort of reaction I have. Granted, that’s yet a few months out, at least.

This week I’m continuing the dairy trend with cheese. Beautiful, wonderful, complex cheese. I love the super stinky, moldy varieties. I acquired my favorite stinky blue yesterday – we’ll see how it goes.

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Maybe Baby | DPO 10

According to the internet, you can start peeing on a stick at day ten. According to the box of sticks we got for later in the week, the accuracy is only around 50%. I have patience. I can keep waiting.

Part of that patience comes from just kind of knowing that there’s nothing there and not wanting to see a negative (or as the TTC lingo goes, a BFN). My temp dropped a few days ago and has stayed low, which is completely uncharacteristic for it post ovulation. The same bananas that made me gag a week ago didn’t phase me at all on Friday. That twinge is gone. My appetite is normal again. Overall, that whole oddly pregnant feeling has just vanished.

I know symptoms and feelings are really nothing to go by, but I put a little bit more stake in my temp. After reading the Signal and the Noise last year, I’ve taken to making my predictions based on whether or not I’d actually put money down on it. If you want to understand statistics and predictions, btw, that’s an excellent book. Anyway, this is a prediction I’d put money on. Not to say there isn’t a chance, and that I haven’t read about others being completely convinced they had failed only to get a positive. Just that the chance, to me, while still there, also isn’t very high.

Of course, part of me also believes I need to get a new thermometer. This current one we’ve had since, uh, five or six years ago and we recently used it a lot when Lady had a week-long fever. So part of me wants to believe that the battery is dying. But the rest of me knows that’s probably bunk – it’s been otherwise consistent.

Ah well. I keep thinking of the upsides, so as to be less disappointed come DPO 14 and beyond. At least I won’t be nauseated when I run a 5k in two weeks. At least I won’t be bursting with the news, trying desperately to hold it in, around my parents and extended family in a week. At least I can drink wine while we pack Thursday night. At least I won’t have to worry about a December baby.

I feel like I’ve been kind of negative this cycle, but it all happened so fast and I just couldn’t be sure we did it right. At least if we get a BFN, I’ll know more for next time. Like, don’t let the donor eat deathly spicy chicken wings the day of. Also, I have to admit that my way of cooping is usually to assume the worse. While I’ve gotten much better about that in years past, I can tell it’s still worming its way through my writing and consciousness during this.

Which leads me to my lingering and building fear, that somehow this attempt will throw off my cycle, which is a finicky and temperamental creature at best. Although it’s been normal the last few months – thanks AIP! – it was kind of all over the place for years before that, and nonexistent for a further decade before that. So I have an ongoing distrust of any hint of regularity, as well as anything that might mess with it. And I’m afraid of it becoming completely unpredictable again, either through our attempts or as a result of a failed AIP reintroduction. I don’t really know what to do about that, except trust my body, eat clean, and have patience.

Whew. All of that is only so much speculation, of course. What’s actually happening? We’re waiting. And waiting. And waiting. The wait got much easier towards the halfway point and it’s still not so bad now. We’re keeping busy with cooking and cleaning and readying for a wedding next weekend. I haven’t been asking “has it been two weeks yet?” as often as before. We made jam and watched Hannibal and hiked and did the laundry and everything we do normally.

We’ll be there in a few more days.

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