Tag Archives: paleo AIP

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.

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Rice (Flour)

Okay, so it wasn’t really rice rice, but then, plain rice hasn’t been a part of my diet for almost three years. Even back when I ate grains regularly, I rarely touched rice because – frankly – I was terrible at making it. I liked pasta better anyway, or a good still-warm loaf of white bread.

I incorporated rice flour by way of some mostly paleo hot cross buns over the Easter weekend. They were a blend of yeast and almond flour and brown rice flour, speckled with currants and cranberries, and held together with gelatin instead of eggs. They were all right, but nothing to write home about. I might work on the recipe more and post it in the future, but there are a dozen better ones out there already, I’m sure.

Still, tasty and a great way to breakfast on top of a hill with a spot of tea and some friends.

For this reintroduction, I mostly just ate a few of the buns over a few days and then called it good. I only really use rice for baking these days, anyway, so it was a good road test. Nothing flared – which I expected – and nothing felt weird, so rice is in. I’ll just have to keep an eye on how many baked goods I make, since having both rice and almond flour really opens up the doors.

The gelatin substitution for eggs worked really well, by the way. I haven’t found many recipes that use it, but the basic ratio is 1tsp gelatin (dissolved in water) to 1 egg. It almost seems too moist when fresh out of the oven, but holds up a whole lot better than other binders – like xanthan or flax seed – after a day or more. I am definitely switching to gelatin in any future baked recipes – at least until I can have eggs again.

Next on the list: giving chocolate another go. This time I’m limiting myself to one Alter Eco chocolate bar over the weekend instead of going crazy. After going through the ingredients of every single chocolate bar at our local grocery store, Alter Eco was the only one that didn’t have soy of some sort. Although a tiny bit of soy probably wouldn’t hurt, I’d rather not have any confounding factors.

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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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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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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Almonds

This whole process feels like two steps forward, one step back. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s frustrating. But ultimately worth it. Right?

I call my mother every week and have been doing so since college, which happens to coincide with the same period we’ve been living in different states. Towards the end of the initial 30 days period, I told my mother about the AIP and that I was doing it, and ever since then she asks me weekly how it’s going and what new things I can eat.

I’ve come to notice with my weekly talks that I feel more and more like a broken record each time I answer those questions. What have I added back successfully? Oh, butter, seed spices, and… um… yeah. But hopefully (insert other food item) soon! Rinse, repeat. Every week I feel a little more lost and a little less hopeful. I’ll get out of this dietary maze someday, yes?

So nightshade spices and coffee are both on probation. I had a seriously awful resurgence of HS in the last three weeks, so much so that sitting on Friday was excruciating and I’ve been doing everything I can not to sit or put pressure on my butt since then. I’ve had three individual flares over those three weeks, first on my upper back, then on the side of my thigh, and finally right on my rear.

It’s no good and something I’ve been eating through all that time has to be causing this resurgence. I thought the first two might have been hormones, and then the second two might have been coffee, but didn’t really look at the time frame until these last two. I don’t actually suspect coffee, because of that time frame, but since the worst happened under coffee’s reintroduction, I’m being extra cautious.

If nothing else, this resurgence has taught me that something is causing these flares. I’d almost forgotten how bad the boils could be, how very painful, until now. Which means the AIP was working.

My guess is that the culprit were the nightshade spices, and that they cause a reaction cumulatively and after a few days. I’m going to cut both them and coffee out completely for a few weeks to let myself heal and also confirm it isn’t something else causing it.

In the meantime, I wasn’t going to introduce anything new, but broke down and made almond flour flatbread last week. Then I declared that my reintroduction for the week and made some more flatbread the next day. It was so good and as far as I can tell, hasn’t done anything to me. I haven’t tried almonds on their own yet, but since I was using the Trader Joe’s almond flour, which is ground whole, raw almonds, I don’t expect there would be a difference.

This week I am bringing in organic yogurt. I really need to make sure I’m getting enough calcium now that we’re firmly TTC-ing, and I never had a problem with dairy in the past. I would have had grass fed yogurt, but apparently that is more like a mythical unicorn for what success I’ve had in finding it in our area. I also want to see if extra probiotics would be helpful, since the only other probiotic I’ve been eating is the sauerkraut we make at home.

Here’s to hopefully being able to tell my mother next weekend that I can eat something besides butter and seed spices. 🙂

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Coffee

march-79

Coffee, oh coffee – how I could sing of my love for you. You have been my faithful companion for well over a decade. You woke me up for an untold number of mornings, the scent of your brewing heralding a new day. Every time I’ve had to give you up, it was horribly difficult. You smell so good, taste so wonderful, and go so well with cream and sugar. You are one of my best friends, a true partner in life.

But maybe we should have some more time apart.

It’s not that I don’t still love and cherish you, but you might not be the best thing for me. I had you in short bursts through the weekend, but even in small doses you made my heart pound and my nerves sing. It felt good frankly, but afterward… I was hollow.

You’re a drug, coffee, and that can be a good thing – but also a dangerous thing. Tea doesn’t make me twitch. Tea doesn’t make me irritable. Tea is quiet and patient. I can linger over tea for an hour or more, but coffee – you’re there and then you’re gone and I want more more more, nevermind the dry throat, the jitteriness, the sleeplessness and crankiness.

Our brief reuinion might have caused my HS resurgence this week, and that’s really not cool. No – I know I can’t fully pin it on you and my instincts are telling me it wasn’t you, but for my own health I need to be sure. I’ll be fair to you and give you a second chance. But in small doses. And not for a few more weeks.

It’s not you – it’s me. No, wait, it’s you. You’re just not the best thing for me, coffee.

But maybe we can still be friends?

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Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Nightshade Spices

Whew, it’s been a while. I took some time to recoup and get back to my baseline after the cocoa flare up. I’ve had some more time to think about it, and still came to pretty much the same conclusion: either I way overindulged or my body was just having a bad week. Either way, I still intend to try again with chocolate – maybe seek out something higher quality or, like someone suggested, raw.

I had thought having a ton like I used to couldn’t have been that bad of an idea, but since then I’ve put a little more research into allergies and responses and realized I was possibly an idiot. I haven’t been able to find anything that explains it to my satisfaction scientifically, so I’ll hold off on explaining my newfound understanding of food sensitivities until I can do it appropriately. Or get my biologist wife to explain it to me.

So back to baseline. I was feeling pretty good and normal again by last Friday so I decided to go ahead with my next reintroduction, nightshade spices. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been offered food or salivated over a recipe these past two months only to find out there was paprika in it. Seriously. People put paprika in everything.

I started with spicy sausage Friday morning and had another religious moment like I had with mustard. OMG. I looove spicy food and Mexican is my absolute favorite. I had recently acquired a bottle of Tajin before the AIP and had been putting it on everything. Sweet potatoes, avocados, meat, eggs, etc. It’s just salt, dehydrated lime juice, and ground chili peppers.

Needless to say, I sprinkled that on everything over the weekend. But I was careful not to go overboard this time. A dash here or there, and usually just one meal a day. It was delicious, but not overwhelming.

I kept a paranoid eye on my body all week long, but nothing seems to have changed. My rash is looking better than ever and no new ones have popped up like they did the Week of the Cocoa. The hardest thing I’ve found in the reintroduction is being absolutely sure of a reintroduced food, even when there aren’t any obvious flairs. But I think it’s safe to say nightshade spices are not a problem for me. I slept way better than I had the previous two weeks, so maybe they’re even good for me. 🙂

Now, hopefully that means whole nightshades will also be okay. I’m really looking forward to chili and Mexican again. But I’m going to space out my nightshades just to be sure, so that won’t happen until next week.

Instead, this week I’m trying something I’m almost 100% certain is safe: coffee. I’ve been drinking coffee since middle school and had actually tempered my intake before the AIP from two-three cups a day down to one. I’ve gone off coffee twice before now and had no problems when I reintroduced it then, aside from some jitteriness when I brought too much back too fast.

I’ve been hesitant to reintroduce coffee because I’ve been doing so well with my pot of tea every morning. It’s become a refreshing morning ritual and I can’t quite get that out of a cup of coffee. I’m also hesitant because I don’t want to become re-addicted. Caffeine withdrawal is a beast. But I do want to be able to have a little every once in a while or share a frou-frou drink with my wife.

Plus, the past few weekends I’ve been sniffing her coffee and craving just a sip.

I’m going to be very careful with this reintroduction. Just a little bit once in the morning. We have a full set of espresso cups, which are the perfect size for that little bit of coffee.

If all goes well, I might start dreaming about tiramisu again. 🙂

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