Category Archives: AIP

Unexpected Perks of Pregnancy: Nightshades?!

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It’s been over two years since I did the very intensive and intense Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and almost two years since I discovered the very sad fact that I have an issue with nightshades.

Although I have not been able to be 100% nightshade free for that time – because those fuckers hide EVERYWHERE – I have diminished my rather unpleasant symptoms considerably. No more oozing, painful sores for me! Just the occasional bump when I eat them in something I would have assumed safe – like mustard, hotdogs, and American cheese (see: paprika, paprika, paprika).

I had read, way back then, that pregnancy can either exacerbate or eliminate autoimmune symptoms. Usually eliminate, because your immune system gets set to low. I had forgotten this until I had a handful of slip-ups with gluten because of the nothing-sounds-good-to-eat-except-for-this-one-very-specific-not-good-for-me-thing. I.E. cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and bagels.

Now, from doing the AIP, I discovered gluten gives me a skin reaction as well, usually within a day. Well, after a week of eating a little gluten here and there, I noticed my typical reaction wasn’t manifesting. That little tidbit of information about the immune system bubbled up in my mind and I wondered: what about nightshades?

So, of course, I tested them. We had Mexican on Thursday evening, my first time eating Mexican in over two years. Taquitos stuffed with potatoes (nightshade), with rice peppered with bell peppers (nightshade), and corn chips with excessive salsa (tomatoes = nightshade). It was amaaaazing.

And then I waited.

The problem with my nightshade intolerance and the reason why it took me so long to pinpoint, is that it can take up to 5 days to manifest. Wtf, right? But I’ve tested this time and time again. Lo and behold, day four and I have the tiniest reaction. After all those nightshades. And it starts going away within the day.

The results: excessive nightshade ingestion causes a very very mild reaction.

The conclusion: I am going to take full advantage of this for the next eight months.

Maybe not massive amounts of nightshades all at once, but certainly real tomato sauce and ketchup and hotdogs and Indian and tiny fingerling potatoes and bell peppers – actually scratch bell peppers, they’re still pretty nasty – and spicy things and salsa and tomatoes, real tomatoes.

Ugh. Yes.

(FYI, Nightshades include [but are not limited to]: tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, potatoes, peppers [and their spice derivatives], bell peppers, and goji berries).

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Filed under AIP, happy things, pregnancy

Paleo AIP Reintroduction Part: Eggs | Redux Redux’ed

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January of last year I did 30 days strict of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. In the subsequent six months I spent a lot of time reintroducing foods to figure out what had been causing several nasty skin problems, but in particular an inexplicable skin rash.

After those six months, it was fairly evident that I had a big problem with nightshades and eggs. Nightshades give me boils, but eggs were behind the skin rash. When I first reintroduced them, I felt sick, and a few days later I had new patches of rash. I waited a good five months before trying again. The reaction this time was even worse and I dealt with a very large rash on my leg for several months.

I didn’t touch eggs again after that. Not whole, not the whites, not the yolks, not cooked or baked or glazed.

At least, not until about six weeks ago.

I had just been told by the doctor that I had PCOS. I had just started metformin. I was super bummed about food because honestly, low carb without eggs is pretty hard. Every recipe I looked at had eggs. And I found myself craving them hardcore at the exclusion of meats and vegetables.

So I caved and I had one. Just one. And it tasted amazing, but I knew I was going to pay for it within a few days. But I waited a few days and nothing happened, then I waited a few more and had another egg. Still nothing.

It’s now been six weeks and I’ve eaten an egg or two more days than not. Every morning I check my body all over for the telltale bright pink flare of a new rash and I find nothing. The original rash is now nothing but the biopsy scar.

I can hardly believe it. But I guess it makes sense? This came on suddenly, after all, and the AIP says some allergies can go away if you give them enough time. It’s even possible that something else was interacting with the eggs to make me allergic to them and, given enough time, that allergy has healed.

Either way, being able to eat eggs again has made sticking to low carb so much easier. I can actually eat out. I can eat at friends’ places. When we go to Switzerland in a few weeks (three?!) I’ll be able to find something filling and nutritious to eat.

Nightshades, though, are still a definite no. In my excitement with eggs, I tried tomatoes and nightshade spices and both gave me horrible boils. I’m still healing from them and they’ve been a painful reminder to Stay the Fuck Away.

But eggs! Omg eggs! It gives me hope yet that someday I’ll be able to eat tomatoes again.

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Filed under AIP, diet, happy things, paleo, reintroduction

AIP Breakfast Casserole

 

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One of the biggest time-saving changes we made in our lives when we went paleo was preparing as many meals as possible in advance. When I (thought I) could eat eggs, I made large breakfast casseroles weekly which we could divvy up each morning and then be on our merry ways. Unfortunately, after finding out I had an egg sensitivity those casseroles went away completely.

When I started the AIP last year, I simply made greens every morning – fresh and crispy and delicious. I figured I would just deal with it and make casseroles later, after reintroducing eggs. Well, you know how that went. But instead of changing my breakfast ritual, I just kept doing it – every single morning. Add to that occasionally having to make lunch as well and often having to make a separate breakfast for Lady and soon half my morning was taking over by cooking. Not cool.

I seriously don’t know what took me so long to just make an egg-less casserole. I remember searching pinterest and google for inspiration, only to get bummed out at all nightshade-tastic alternatives. Then two weeks ago I looked at what I had and just went fuck it, I’ll make this work.

And I did. And it did. Surprisingly. Or maybe not surprisingly?

So without further ado

AIP Breakfast Casserole

  • 1-2 pounds ground meat (just depends on how much protein you like/need)
  • 1 tbsp. oil for frying
  • 5-7 cups of washed kale/greens of choice
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cups other veggies – I used mushrooms and broccoli
  • 1 pre-baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 or 5 pieces of bacon to top OR crumbled feta
  • A frying pan
  • A baking pan – I used a 7×11

 

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Turn your oven on to 350.

Chop all of your veggies first – onion, broccoli, mushrooms, kale, what have you. Then brown the ground meat and set aside. Fry the onion and garlic in the fat (if it’s pastured/grass fed – otherwise use avocado oil), mix in with the ground meat. Briefly sauté the vegetables, then mix them in as well. Add salt and pepper and spices to the meat and veggie mix.

While the pan is hot, cook down the greens a bit. Use a little oil to get them crispy. Set aside.

Now to start the layering process:

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Slice your baked sweet potato and cover the bottom of your baking pan with the rings. Add a layer of the cooked greens, then spread out the meat mixture on top of that. Top it off with the rest of the greens and either the bacon or feta – if you’ve successfully reintroduced dairy, of course. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the feta browns / bacon crisps. Let cool and parcel out generous portions for breakfast.

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Filed under AIP, happy things, paleo, recipe

February Whole28: Day 3 & a Meatball Recipe

Man, after the being on the autoimmune protocol, doing the Whole30 again is a breeze.

I’m on day 3 and I feel amaaaazing. One of the things I have found I absolutely love about the whole30 – and going strict paleo in general – is how quickly I feel better. All that puff from eating too much bread and cookies disappears almost overnight and I start actually liking my body again. My mind is clearer. My mood is more positive. I feel strong again. I find myself looking down at my stomach more often than not, surprised that so much pudge is already vanished. I always forget how big a difference just losing the water weight makes.

That said, I have been sorely tempted by sweets and treats. Yesterday I couldn’t stop thinking about donuts and if someone had brought some into work, I might not have made it. Thankfully they brought in the treats today – bagels and cinnamon rolls and chocolate cookies and spinach dip and coffee cake – but I went and got a plain coffee instead. That kind of spread of bready treats happens all the time here at work, which is why it’s so hard for me to limit myself to just one treat in any specified time frame. There’s almost always something and it’s always right behind my desk.

IDK how people can just eat one cookie/bagel/baked good and leave the spread alone for the rest of the day – even the week – but if any of you know the secret, please share. Because I am fine with one. But it never stops at one, does it?

Anyway: as I admitted before, I hadn’t anticipated that going whole30 would be that much of a change from my day to day, and I was right. The biggest difference isn’t in my meals – it’s in my snacks. No more half bagels mid-afternoon. No more grazing on crackers and chocolate chips in the evening. No late night runs (literally) to Trader Joe’s for vegan cookies and wine.

It’s too early to see much of a change aside from the reduction in puff, but I’ll keep ya’ll updated. For now, here’s a recipe that’s both Whole30 and Autoimmune Protocol friendly:

 

Garlicky Chicken Liver Meatballs

– 2 pounds ground beef and/or pork

– 3 oz chicken liver

– 3-6 cloves of garlic (if you/your coworkers can handle it, go for 6)

– 1 tsp oregano

– 1 tsp marjoram

– 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp black pepper (or more, if you dare)

– 1 tsp ground caraway seeds, or 1 tbsp. whole caraway seeds (leave out if AIP – seed spices are not allowed)

– 2 tbsp. fat of choice (coconut oil, bacon fat, lard, etc – even ghee if you know it’s okay) if using lean ground meat

First of all: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep a baking pan with parchment paper or whatever you prefer to use.

Measure out all your spices into a small bowl and mix, then set aside. Blend/pulverize your chicken liver with the vinegar using your favorite blender/immersion blender/what have you. It will liquefy. It will be glorious. And disgusting.

And the spices and fresh garlic to the liver and pulse to mix it some more. Put your meats into a large bowl, wash your hands, and pour that liquid liver mixture (god that sounds awful) over the ground meat. Make sure you don’t have to open any doors or get anything else out or answer the phone because your hands are about to get icky.

Mix the meat with the liver thoroughly. Then mix it some more. Now form little 2″ diameter(-ish) balls and place them on your baking sheet. With 2 pounds of ground meat, you should end up with 16-20 meatballs.

Wash your hands thoroughly and bake your balls (kekeke) for 20min. Remove. Let cool. Don’t forget to turn off the oven.

Some notes:

I really don’t like the taste of liver, so 3oz is on the safe side. It’s recommended to eat about 4oz of liver a week, so if you can handle it, add a wee bit more. Additionally, chicken liver is less potent than beef liver, so adjust accordingly if you can’t find chicken. You can always add more garlic, too, but at the risk of scaring off your friends. I found 6 cloves on the upper limit of garlickiness.

You can also do 375 for 25 minutes or fry them in a pan. Meatballs are incredibly forgiving.

Play with the seasoning! This is my go-to for liver meatballs, but anything with strong flavors should work.

I’ve been eating these – or at least something very similar – for the past year as part of the Autoimmune Protocol. Mixing up the spices a bit keeps them from getting too boring. And I’m slowly learning to add more and more black pepper to get a spark of spicy back.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, whole30

A Year Later: Update on the Inexplicable Skin Rash

It’s been an entire year since I finished the first part of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and I feel like it’s time for another update. I started that whole thing because I had an inexplicable skin rash that showed up one November – now two years ago – and started spreading. It didn’t itch, it didn’t flake, it didn’t do anything except spread. When it also didn’t start to fade after a year, I went to the doctor and found out it was inflammation, possibly because of something or other.

Well, duh. I could have told them that. But they couldn’t tell me the cause and when the inexplicable skin rash decided to migrate to a spot right beneath one of my eyes, I decided I had to try something. That something was the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – hereafter called the AIP – which is a very strict, healing diet and lifestyle. You avoid eggs, nightshades, grains, dairy, nuts, seeds (including seed-derived spices), alcohol, NSAID’s (like Aleve), food additives, and anything else that’s fun, while focusing on eating tons of greens, bone broth, fermented foods (like kefir and sauerkraut) and organ meats and getting enough sleep and exercise. It sucked.

But it worked.

Now, a full year later, my inexplicable skin rash is 99% gone. I can feel a little raised area where the first (and largest and most persistent) patch was, but aside from the biopsy scar (hiss) there is nothing to see. The big red patch on my leg after the egg reintroduction? Gone. The patch on my wrist and the inside of my elbow? Gone. All the little bits and pieces speckling my torso – gone gone gone. I would take a picture, but it would just be a picture of skin.

Not only that, but the AIP took away the big, oozing bumps I used to get on my rear and, although I’ve gotten a few small, irritating ones – exclusively when nightshades crept back into my diet, accidentally or intentionally – I haven’t had to utilize band aids like I used to. I’ve also been able to do sit-ups for the very first time in almost two years, because the inexplicable bump/awfulness at the base of my tail bone is finally healing.

Another big thing: I haven’t had a panic attack in going on three years now, and not even an anxiety attack in the last year. My depression was problematic in the latter half of last year, but during the stricter phase of the AIP it was nonexistent. I’m still figuring out why.

My diet has changed irrevocably, although it’s no longer as strict as the initial AIP introduction – nor should it be. I still eat a big heaping of greens for breakfast every day and make a batch of broth each week. I still mix pureed liver with meatballs and try to get in heart and tendon and tripe when and where I can. My coffee consumption is steady at one cup a day – literally a cup, I measure it – and I mostly drink herbal tea after that.

But I do partake in the occasional dairy – usually full fat milk, very rarely yogurt, more oftentimes amazing cheeses – and I go all out on the seed spices (MUSTARD YES). Although I officially reintroduced nuts ages ago, I eat far less of them than I did when I was just paleo and I actually tend to forget they’re even an option most of the time. I don’t have a problem with rice or oats, so those will sometimes make an appearance, but rarely. I also indulge in alcohol perhaps a little too often and haven’t been as good about saying no to baked goods as I had been in the past – a mental trade-off for having to avoid nightshades and eggs, I think, not that that makes it any better.

Overall, though, I’m glad I did it. I’m amazed at how thoroughly the inexplicable skin rash has vanished and I’m looking forward to the day where I can run my fingers over the place it was and wonder if it even happened.

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Duck Eggs

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After the sadness that was confirming my sensitivity to regular ol’ chicken eggs, I remembered some snippets of info I had run across during my extensive reading on the AIP that some people, while intolerant of chicken eggs, can, in fact, tolerate the eggs of other fowl beasts. Chicken eggs, for some odd reason, have allergens that are specific to only them, whereas the rest of the feathery kingdom are fine & dandy. Water fowl, specifically, are thought to be the least problematic.

I actually tried out guinea hen eggs about a month ago with no ill effect, but the guy who sold them to us has since disappeared entirely from the farmer’s market. That’s all right, ’cause they are kinda small and expensive, to be honest. Then one fine Sunday we were picking up our meat share when I spotted a “duck eggs $5/doz” sign. Considering in the past I’d only ever seen duck eggs going for $5 a half dozen, this was a steal. So we grabbed them. And I tried them.

I had the first egg two weeks ago now and, as far as I can tell, I haven’t developed any new rashes. I didn’t do as careful an inventory beforehand as I should have, so I’m not 100% sure, but there have been no big, glaring, obvious changes like there were with chicken eggs. I’ve only been having one or two, three times a week (vs the 3/day I’d been doing with chicken eggs), and I’m going to keep it at that rate for another week or two and keep checking for rashes.

My preliminary conclusion, though, is that they’re okay. They bake well and make a delicious breakfast, so double plus. Considering my history of reintroductions, though, I’m going to remain cautious with this. The inexplicable skin rash is so, so sensitive, so if it doesn’t continue on its healing path as it has been doing these past few months, I’ll stop eating duck eggs.

But! I definitely think once the rash is completely gone, duck eggs will be on the menu. Maybe not quite a staple like eggs became, but an occasional breakfast treat.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

Nightshade-Free Crockpot Curry

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When I learned that I absolutely, positively, most definitely have a sensitivity to tomatoes, I was a wee bit disappointed. Okay, crushed. Tomatoes are in all of my favorite foods! Chili, pizza, curry, everything Mexican…

But I’m stubborn. Very, very stubborn. And I’m not one to let something go without a fight. So I took to the internets and began researching nightshade-free curry, and then, because I’m lazy, I also researched crockpot curry.

Both are things! But I didn’t find these things together, so I took Phoenix Helix’s ideas for a nightshade-free curry, added a few of my own ideas, and shoved it into a crockpot recipe. Since it came out fairly delicious, I figured I should share such a rare find here.

In this recipe, you’ll find pureed carrots and unripe mangos subbing in for the tomatoes and doing a bang-up job. I even completely forgot there were mangos in the recipe until Lady reminded me.

So, without further rambling:

 

Nightshade-Free Crockpot Curry

You will need:

Four to six peeled & chunked carrots

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup broth

1/2 can full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1/2 tsp powdered mustard

Heat-friendly oil (I used avocado)

An onion

3-5 cloves garlic, minced

2 unripe, peeled & cubed mangos

Chopped/chunked veggies of choice (cauliflower, broccoli, more carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans – whatever you like and is in season)

2 lbs meat (I used chicken breast and thigh)

1 lime

Salt to taste

Steam your carrots for ~10min. While they’re steaming, gather all of your spices in one place and heat your oil in a pan. When the oil is nice and hot, add the spices and minced garlic, stir until fragrant and set aside to cool. Heat more oil and sauté the onion until translucent.

When your carrots are nice and soft, puree them using an immersion blender or food processor or whatever. Just get them squishy. Add the spices and the broth and the coconut milk and process it a little longer, until it’s nice and sauce-y. Add the apple cider vinegar one tbsp at a time, tasting as you go until it’s tangy enough for you. Salt to taste.

Plug in your crockpot and settle the meat on the bottom. You can brown it if you want, but I didn’t and it still tasted fine. Layer the sautéed onions on top, followed by your chunked vegetables, then your carrot sauce, and finally the chopped mango. Squeeze some lime juice across the top and cover it. Set it for 8-10 hours on low and go about your day (or night!).

Serve over cauliflower rice with some cilantro and sliced avocado. Be pleasantly surprised at the tanginess and forget the sauce is actually made from carrots. Enjoy!

 

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(Cauliflower rice, which was sautéed in butter, cardamom and cumin seeds prior to plating.)

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, recipe