Tag Archives: autoimmune protocol

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Duck Eggs


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.



Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Chocolate & Coffee (Redux)

The last time I tried chocolate, I got depressed, my skin became itchy, my rashes flared, and my gut got super unhappy. I wanted to blame everything but the chocolate, but considering it was the only new thing in my diet and life, it was difficult to remain in denial. So I put chocolate on the back burner to try again another day.

That day came (almost) two weeks ago, right before we TTC’ed for a second time. I thought it was an appropriate time to try again and for this second reintroduction, I heeded your warnings and stuck to just one bar of Alter Eco chocolate over the weekend. For a few days I felt fine. Then the whole confusion with my body and the second period – but maybe not a period? – thing blew up and I hit depression, hard. I had my first mild panic attack in years and then everything became hopeless and bleak. It was awful.

When my depression finally broke, the thought crossed my mind that I should mark it down as a possible cycle symptom. This reminded me of the last time I’d gotten that depressed, and I remembered the last time I’d had chocolate.

The click of evidence lining up was as loud as a gunshot.

I googled chocolate and depression, because it seemed counterintuitive that the two could be linked in anything but an inverse relationship. Lo and behold, a lot of people reported having the same thing happen to them. Although it felt good to confirm that this was a real thing, I also felt , well, sad.

Considering the other circumstances at the time, I’m not yet ready to definitively say that chocolate makes me depressed, but it’s looking more than probable. I will give chocolate one last chance in another month and if it happens again, then, well, I’ll know for absolute certain.

I can at least feel better that during the chocolate reintroduction, my rashes and gut stayed happy.

As for coffee, I began reintroducing that in small quantities again three weeks ago. My HS has not flared since, even after having a nice big cup of joe around my brother’s wedding. I think I can squarely place the blame on the nightshade spices which I had reintroduced the week before. I have been scrupulously avoiding those, and neither rash nor HS has gotten worse since. Phew.

In fact, the inexplicable skin rash is still fading. Just slowly. On a week to week basis, I can see a difference. I just need to stop staring at it every day.

So with coffee, I have added all dairy, seed spices, and nuts to my AIP diet. I’m taking the plunge with tomatoes next week, although I have to admit I’m a little nervous. Since we’re not in the middle of a TTC cycle, and our tomato plants are ripening, I figure this is the best time to try. I’m not sure how wise this decision is considering nightshade spices were iffy, but I am ready to try and I don’t know when I’ll be mentally ready again.


Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

My Results (so far) with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

I’ve been doing the AIP for a good three, almost four months now. I’ve been focusing on stress management, getting lots of sleep, slow intermittent movement, and – the biggy – diet. I’ve been better at times than others at working on the first three parts, but I’ve been fairly consistent with diet and reintroductions the whole time.

The first few weeks were by far the hardest, as I learned how to adjust to the new restrictions. But I’ve since settled into a rhythm and am up to an almost paleo diet again. I started the AIP with a host of skin issues to clear up, but discovered the diet was helpful for some other issues as well. I suspect, however, that eating a diet free of gluten, excess sugar and highly nutrient dense may have had more to do with the latter than the removal of things like eggs and nightshades.

So, what changed exactly? Within the first month my HS had subsided dramatically. Heck, within a few weeks. With reintroductions, I’ve had a few flares and have since realized that it is definitely something I’m eating that causes the outbreaks. What, exactly, I haven’t pinned down yet, but I’m hopeful.

A chronic boil I’ve had for years has also (slowly, steadily) been getting better. This one doesn’t appear to be linked to any specific food, but more to just nutrient quality in general. Further research on my part has brought to light that its root cause might not be autoimmune, but clean eating still helps it heal.

Cycle-wise, my PMS has become nonexistent, my cramps manageable, and my cycles way more regular. I suspect this has more to do – again – with nutrient density and fewer simple carbs than any specific food. But again, we’ll see.

Last but not least, the main and central impetus that drove me to commit to this crazy restrictive diet was the chronic rash that had been slowly consuming my body. The last straw – a patch of rash under my eye – cleared up after a month on the AIP. Other patches have been steadily fading, including a bright red circle that was on my leg. Now I can only tell it’s still there if I run my hand across the area – the skin is still a little rough.

I should have taken more photos for documentation and proof, but, alas, I only thought to take a photo of the initial rash. As you can see below, it’s gotten a lot better:

january-29 april-228

The darker spot is my biopsy scar, which has proven invaluable for me in determining just how much it’s improved. Both photos were taken under the same lighting conditions with the same camera and had the same corrective color balances applied.

Although the rash is better, it still has a time to go before it’s fully healed. I’m hoping it doesn’t take another three months, but I also won’t be surprised. In the meantime, I will keep reintroducing things up to being fully paleo and keep an eye on it. My prime suspect is still eggs, since they still stand out with the most severe reaction so far.

But at least I have some proof that all this no-chocolate, no-Mexican, but lots of offal and bone broth super-strict eating is actually doing some good.


Filed under AIP, paleo, progress, reintroduction

Getting Sleep


Aside from avoiding certain foods and eating as nutritiously as possible, the Autoimmune Protocol stresses reducing lifestyle stress and getting a lot of really good sleep. I’ve prided myself in being good about sleep, at least moreso than my peers. But after the cocoa incident, I thought it might be a good time to reevaluate that as well as everything else.

As I mentioned, I not only had a flush of skin symptoms, but I started waking up in the middle of the night, my whole body electrified and ready to do something, anything but sleep. I usually wake up sometime in the middle of the night, but it’s easy to fall back asleep. Not these times. Even worse, I started waking up multiple times, getting charlie horses, and generally just having a difficult time of it.

Knowing how important good sleep is to staying healthy, I began researching what I could do to improve those nightly wake-ups. I already had magnesium, exercise, and going to bed on time down pat. Both of my computers have f.lux installed. I usually eat light in the evenings. I usually get sun during the day. I usually don’t have caffeine in the afternoon. Usually.

The internet suggested I set up a pre-sleep routine and I agreed that that was a good idea. So for a week I decided I would really focus on getting good sleep. I would do all those “usually” things every day with military precision and to those I would add a thirty minute wind-down time. No computer allowed in bed. Sleepy time tea and reading encouraged. Add to that five minutes of stretching and I’d see how it all went.

So for a week I made sure to go outside and get some sun every day. I didn’t have an afternoon tea. I made lunch my biggest and heaviest meal of the day. If I snacked after dinner, it was light carbs, like dried fruit. I set my phone alarm to remind myself to stretch. I stopped computing thirty minutes before bedtime and took my magnesium. No alcohol was allowed within two hours of sleeptime. I went to bed at the same time every day and woke up eight to nine hours later – whenever my body was ready. No alarm.

And it worked! That very first night and every night I made certain to hit all those notes after. I can’t put my finger on any one of the changes or focuses being the culprit, but the cumulative effect was a better night’s sleep. I woke up the first night but was able to go right back to sleep, and since then I’ve had a few nights where I didn’t wake up at all – at least, not until I was supposed to.

I hit all those things for a week, then slacked off to see what happened. The only things I continued to hit consistently were some amount of sun exposure every day, no computer in bed, and no afternoon caffeine. I think I can safely narrow it down to one – or all – of those three factors. But sleep is about so many variables throughout the day coming together just right, so I can’t really narrow it down. I can only tweak variables to make my sleep better in the long run.

What did I learn from this weeklong experiment? Well, for one, dialing in good sleep requires additional focus. There are things you do or don’t do throughout the day that can have an effect, as well as things immediately prior to bedtime. Having a routine helped a little, but it’s difficult to fit into my current lifestyle.

I also really, really love ditching the alarm. Before this experiment I was beginning to struggle with waking up more than usual. I had my alarm set thirty minutes after I usually wake up, as sort of a last ditch emergency measure, and I was constantly being woken up by it. So not only was I interrupting my sleep, but I was also truncating my morning considerably and having to rush a lot more than I liked. Now I consistently wake up right before 5am, and way before my alarm.

I also suspect daily sun exposure might be a whole lot more important than I’d previously suspected. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to take the time to go outside, especially when I work in an office environment, and especially when I prefer to use all my breaks to write, but it’s important.

Stretching, while nice, may not have helped much. I’m going to try to keep going with that anyway, because I am very bad at stretching, ever. I actually have harbored a not-so-secret dislike for yoga for years now, but I’m beginning to come around and understand how it might have a beneficial place in my life. Grudgingly. 😉

That said, there are a lot of factors which affect sleep, and so many of them individual. I’m going to try to keep a focus on sleep going as I progress through the AIP reintroduction period and figure out exactly what I need for some decent Zzz’s. It’s all just one big N=1 experiment, isn’t it?

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Cocoa



That about sums it up.

This week – well, last week – was cocoa’s turn for reintroduction. I say cocoa to differentiate from dairy and soy lecithin-filled chocolate one can easily find at the store, because I was trying to avoid any confounding factors. I really didn’t want the remote chance that I could blame a reaction on something else.

So for my first taste of cocoa in two months, I made tasty chocolate bites using this simple but delicious recipe. Just, you know, with coconut flakes instead of hazelnuts. With the help of my wife, we cleaned up an entire batch over the weekend. They were kind of amazing. It was an experience much like with the mustard – an explosion of taste, a moment to proclaim cocoa’s glory, to revel and weep and wonder how anyone can live without it.

It felt good. Those few days were delicious. I was confident there would not be a problem.

But by the end of the week something was definitely up. Not only did I get depressed enough to call out of work midweek, but it felt like my body was regressing and rebelling. I was both mystified and distraught. My rashes were suddenly itchy, of all things, and some other skin issues flared. My gut got super unhappy and I had a hard time sleeping. I might have cried. More than once.

I had no idea what was causing it. I blamed it on a dozen other things. It was so bad that I decided not to reintroduce anything this week, but just try to eat clean and reset. Let my body calm down, if it will calm down.

It was really only when I allowed myself to take stock this weekend that I realized that I had to allow for cocoa to be the culprit. I wanted to blame any number of other things I’d since introduced, but truthfully, those haven’t been giving me a problem. Even if such a low percentage of people ever have a problem with it, I have to be reasonable. What was the one major thing that changed? Yeah.

So this week, no new reintroductions. I’m allowing a little grassfed butter and a little seed spices (mostly mustard and cumin). I will see how I feel at the end of the week and decide then whether to try cocoa again or move on to something else, like nightshade spices.

I just… it’s so hard to believe that I might have a problem with cocoa. So do I go with my gut instinct or what the evidence tells me?


Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, Day 30 (!)

For the month of January I’m following the paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It’s like a Whole30 – just minus eggs, nightshades, seeds & nuts. It’s a little insane, but the only way to truly find out if a skin issue I have is autoimmune in nature or not. For more information, see my preparation post.

Day 30? Really? I’m already on the last day? It seems like I was just at week two and despairing because I was tired of boring chicken and spice-less ground beef. Well then.

Wot I ate:
– Pot of black tea and a cup of broth
– Sautéed greens, sweet potato hash, and meatballs for breakfast
– Leftover beef soup, some blueberries & strawberries, and a cutie orange for snacks
– An avocado, cherry pot roast, arugula salad, and garlic roasted spaghetti squash for lunch
– Another cup of black tea for afternoon fortification
– A banana, tuna salad, and plantain chips for dinner

Dinner was kind of a thrown together on-the-road affair because we left straight from work to drive two hours to watch a live show of Welcome to Night Vale. I also didn’t get much sleep (BUT IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT), so we’ll see how reintro day one goes. 😛

All I’ve got planned for day 1 of reintroduction is some morning egg yolks. I should probably put my head down and think up some more, but I can’t quite get past the whole “I can finally eat something else!!” part. I know I want to make this breakfast cake, though. Either that’s some really good photography or it’s going to taste AMAZING.

I’ll see you on the other side.


Filed under AIP, diet, paleo

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, Day 29

For the month of January I’m following the paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It’s like a Whole30 – just minus eggs, nightshades, seeds & nuts. It’s a little insane, but the only way to truly find out if a skin issue I have is autoimmune in nature or not. For more information, see my preparation post.

Wot I ate:
– A pot of black tea
– Sautéed greens, sweet potato hash, and meatballs for breakfast
– Kiwis, cutie oranges, broth and some beef soup for second breakfast
– Chicken “pad thai” for lunch
– Roast chicken for dinner
– Coconut cream over blackberries and folate for dessert

One of my skin issues has been doing some weird things the last few days. It had previously been a seeping wound (hoorah!) for several worrying months, then it calmed down to just a bump, but now it’s swollen with obvious liquid inside. I’m going to lean towards it being in the process of healing itself instead of freaking out, though. :/

Not much else to report – sticking it out for one last day, then I’ll decide how I feel and see how far I’ve come.

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