Tag Archives: AIP

Day 13!

Time is going really fast for our Whole30! I can’t believe we are almost halfway.

I’m going to be honest, this has been pretty easy for me.  I’ve had to give up some of my sugary snacks, like dark chocolate bars, but I”ve done enough partial sugar detoxes so even this was easy for me.

Now on to coffee, I thought this would be really hard for me, I love coffee, but no, it actually was pretty easy to substitute tea for coffee in the morning. I think the hardest thing for me to give up was wine, and I only drank that occasionally so it wasn’t like it was something I missed daily. But I missed the culture of wine. I love having a glass when I’m cooking or reading certain books. Kombucha is an okay substitute but it is still lacking.

So really the only additional things I gave up were coffee, added sugar and wine.

On to Lucas. He is doing wonderful! I can tell he’s a little frustrated with his limited food choices and a complaint I heard lately is the lack of convenience to the diet. But it’s day 13 and he has had no slip ups, more than I could have done at 23. He’s reading labels and hanging out with his friends without drinking, again something I could have never done at 23. He is feeling great and enjoying most of the food I’m preparing. We’ve had a few disappointment like the balsamic brussel sprouts and sweet potato recipe and the very expensive halibut (I’m good at reading labels but I didn’t think to check the price, 18.99 for 10 oz–OUCH). I know he is looking forward to the end so that he doesn’t have to think about his food quite so much and to enjoy some of the convenience foods he misses. He said he will not be so strict after the 30 days but does like how he feels.

I was hoping this would be a little harder so I’d have more to write about but I”m sorry to say it’s been easy for me and pretty easy for Lucas. I did really want a cup of coffee this morning, I like tea but there is nothing as good and a strong cup of coffee in the morning,  but after I ate breakfast and started on my day I sort of forgot about it.

The biggest challenge for me is the meal planning. Lucas and I have always done our own thing for breakfast and without bacon I’ve reverted back to my breakfast soup, ground liver, beef and pork with bone broth and greens, Lucas does eggs and veggies but is interested in trying my soup. I was making tuna salad from Mickey Trescott’s cook book and that lasted about 3 days and her big market salad that would last 3-4 days. One day it would be left overs  and one day every person for themselves. But dinners, dinners are hard. I wanted to cook things that Lucas would really like even if it wasn’t AIP, to keep him motivated. I have the Whole30 cookbook and Well Fed 1 and 2. I picked big meals the first week like Lemon Chicken with Capers and Chives (Sugar Detox) so we ate chicken for 2 days and shepard’s pie ( I just played around with meat, carrots, onion and celery with a white sweet potato and parsnip crust). Even with the lunches it seemed like we were eating the same thing every day.

Now Jacob is home for the next two weeks, he still eats dairy and grains. Way to challenge my  planning skills!

This week I have turnip soup,I tweaked it so i could eat it,  grilled burgers with plantain buns and coleslaw (Memorial day), Fish sticks with sweet potato tater tots, chicken stir fry and cauliflower rice and AIP meat loaf with some veggie. So as far as dinners go not much will change but I did have to buy milk and cereal.

 

You can also see I’ve given my site a new look. It will continue to change over the next few weeks as I get ready to launch my Transformational Coaching business Tracy’s Lifestyle Coaching (TLC). Watch for more information soon and let me know what you think of the new site design in the comments below.
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Whole30

Lucas, my oldest, turns 23 tomorrow and one of his goals for his next year of life is to become healthier. Not that he is an unhealthy person but he sees some room for improvement. Over the last year we have talked “diet” many times. We have skimmed the BulletProof Diet, done variations of sugar detoxes and he understands why I eat the way I do but none of those “diets” seem to appeal to him in a sustainable way. Enter Whole30,  I don’t know what is different about Whole30 but something clicked and he’s ready dive in. I have decided to do it with him for support and easier meal preparation.

I do feel bad for Lucas, because I currently follow AIP the transition into whole30 will be minimal for me.I have done some reintroductions, like drinking wine and eating some chocolates but I won’t have to give up large chunks of food like grains or processed foods. Lucas is fortunate that he eats very little dairy and no legumes.. Though he does eat a lot of sugar and he still heads over the the gas station across the street and gets a frozen pizza and cider. I’m afraid his transition will be much rockier than mine.

Even though you can have coffee on Whole30 we have both decided to give it up for these 30 days, Lucas because he feels he drinks too much and me because I want to know if it makes a difference in how I feel.

Meal planning will be a little bit of a challenge. I will continue to eat AIP but Lucas will have a larger variety of foods to choose from. Breakfast and lunch will be easy,  Lucas can eat eggs so breakfast for him will be pretty much the same. The only difference is we won’t be eating bacon, the bacon we buy contains sugar and I’m not going to splurge for the sugar free bacon. I’ll be eating my liver patties or salmon salad. I’m also making up a big green salad and a tuna salad for our lunches. It’s our dinners that  are going to be our tough spot. One of the things I think appealed to Lucas is this is not as restrictive as some menus. He will be picking out some meals that are not AIP compliant and I’ll be trying my best to cook so we can both eat within our parameters.  I will admit I’m feeling under prepared this first week.

 

Have you ever done Whole30 or Whole30 AIP?

 

So I Thought I Was Grain Free…

As you know I went grain free August of 2013 after reading Wellness Mama’s article Are Grains Slowly Killing You and as a result some of  my auto-immune conditions improved. I no longer needed to use medication to control my asthma (if I really even had asthma) I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies and my eczema seemed to go away. I felt amazing. Then, in the Fall of 2013, I had a new condition pop up, Blepharitis. After some research I found out that one of the causes of Blepharitis is Roscia, another autoimmune condition.  The eye doctor I saw wanted to put me on antibiotics but by that time my research into nutrition made me ask if there were some more holistic ways I could control it; fish oil and hot packing. After a few months I saw very little improvement and I started researching for more answers. That’s when, in February of 2014  I found the Autoimmune Protocol diet and eliminated (in my opinion) everything else from my diet but meat and veggies.

On the autoimmune diet I lost weight and for about the first 6 months felt great! People I didn’t even know would comment on how healthy I looked and I seemed to have hope and energy to spare. But then about just after Thanksgiving things started to slide. I look at myself in the family pictures from Thanksgiving and I look vibrant. I look at pictures now and think not so much. This is when, on the suggestion of a good friend, I tried accupunture. It felt amazing but the woman I saw did not speak very good English and I had a hard time communicating with her. She looked at my age and instantly blamed everything on menopause and just couldn’t seem to get past that. Her treatment plan was to come to her for 10 years to get me through it. I didn’t believe that was what was causing my issues so I moved on.

I continued to spiral down, having eczema breakouts, mainly on my neck so a lot of my shirts were really bothering me. I became more anxious and depressed. A lot of the plans and ideas I had for my job, house and life just seemed too overwhelming and my stress increased to a point where even one of my students told me I should “ Do some breathing exercises and drink some of my de-stress tea”.

Around that time I found a local Functional Medical Doctor. Despite the fact that my insurance doesn’t cover it I knew I had to keep searching for answers. I was approaching 50 and if you remember this blog was originally going to chronicle my journey to be “Fit by 50”. After the first appointment we decided to do some actual testing, not just relying on what I said or how I felt. We did a nutrition test and a gut biome test. Wow! my body is not a healthy place! Just to name a few things I’m deficient in many nutrients, like magnesium (which I was taking daily) and the vitamin B family (which again I was taking daily). So this indicates that my body is not absorbing nutrients. My gut biome wasn’t the best and needs more diversity. I also have high levels of lead and gasoline in my system… Not sure where that is coming from.

This led to food and mold allergy testing. I really wanted to know what I could eat so that I could bring back in some foods may help me. I walked out of her office with the allergy testing kit, a  list of supplement to take and a little hope.

In order to test for antibodies in you blood for allergens you have to eat foods that you react to so for the next two weeks I ate pizza, nachos, eggs, nuts, seeds, spices I’d been avoiding, cheese, oh and drank some nummy nut brown ale. It all tasted so good and I felt so awful. I was going to eat this way for 3 weeks but just couldn’t do it! I was even having panic attacks again! It sucked! I was counting the days to my blood draw. After my test was sent off I started following AIP again and taking the suggested supplements, I wasn’t feeling any better. I was still anxious and though I had gained weight by eating everything I thought the weight would just drop off, it wasn’t. What was going on?

Finally my  test results came back and the email from my doctor said “ The only thing I would tell you to avoid before seeing me is corn and turkey. “  My first thought was “That’s it?” Oh, I was so naive!

I started looking into turkey because I wanted to know if that meant I couldn’t eat any poultry and it looks like all poultry have different proteins so just because you are allergic to one doesn’t mean you are allergic to all. And I don’t particularly like turkey so … no big deal.

Then after a few days I started looking into corn-my mind was blown-CORN IS IN EVERYTHING! I REPEAT, EVERYTHING!  Now, I panicked! Here I thought I was grain free but all my supplement(that I just bought) were corn based, my sea salt had an anti caking agent that is corn based along with vanilla extract, just pick up any processed food and you will see an ingredient derived from corn. After a few emailed questions to my doctor she also suggested I avoid corn topically too– Well here we go again, it’s in hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

I don’t have a face to face with my doctor for another week but thanks to the help of my sister’s friend, who has a corn allergy, a facebook group and the Corn Allergen web site I’m starting to navigate the corn free world. I allowed myself to  mope and whine for a few days but now I’m trying to replace “This Sucks” with “I’m up for the challenge!”

And this is what my cat Yum has to say:weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmzxo9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999iio

Yum

Yum is always getting into trouble

I walked away and came back to that added to my page so I thought I’d share =^..^=

Lessons Learned

Sleep, why do I kid myself that I don’t need it? For the past month or two I have been off my game. I’ve been blaming eating out, stress at work, wine,  and not being organized. I’ve been looking for blame in all the wrong places. Though I did mention sleep in my last post I mentioned that it had been off, not that I was getting less.

 In the last week I’ve gone to two Western doctors and one Eastern practitioner looking for answers and I received three different explanations for why I feel awful and none of them had anything to do with sleep.

Three months ago I decided to change my sleep pattern for one week so I could continue to meditate and do yoga during a busy week at work, parent teacher conferences. During that week we have to work two twelve hours days. I knew that on those days there would be no way I would have the energy to do yoga after work.  I decided  for that week I would get up at 4:15 and do yoga before work. Getting up early went really well and I thought “Hey I’ll keep doing this because then I don’t have to worry about doing yoga after work.” So I kept getting up at 4:15 but had a hard time adjusting my bed time. Before this shift in wake up time I was comfortably getting seven and a half to eight hours of sleep now I was only getting six and a half to seven hours a night. I didn’t really notice a difference at first and two weeks into my new sleep schedule daylight savings ended so my body still thought 4:15 was 5:15, for a little while.  I didn’t notice the subtle changes taking place in my body like becoming a little less patient with my kids, my students, and my pets. I started craving sugar more and started drinking, no needing, more caffeine.Then all the other problems I talked about in my last post started cropping up, eczema breakouts and my gut issues.

 One morning this last week my alarm went off at 4:15 and as I went to shut it off  I though ”This is ridiculous, I am not a 4:15 person!” So I reset my alarm for 5:20 and fell back asleep. It wasn’t the best sleep but when I woke up I felt more refreshed than I had in weeks. I felt like the things I need to accomplish that day were doable. I had the “I get to…” attitude rather than the “I have to …” attitude. Was it a fluke? I don’t think so because the next day I got up at 5:20 and again felt refreshed and excited for the day. I was excited to work with my students,  I came up with a new lesson plan for my beautiful 5th graders and come home with a taste for “pizza”. Making an AIP pizza from scratch is no small feet!

AIP Pizza

Movie night dinner

After three hours of cooking, I was able to relax with a Netflix movie, pizza, and a glass of wine. Just two days of getting the sleep my body needs has resulted in a better mood and the gut symptoms and eczema flare ups are lessening. As a matter of fact the eczema on my neck is gone! I’m excited to get back into the habit of doing yoga after work and feeling better now that I’ve got my sleep groove back.

Just When You Think You Have Things Under Control…

It’s taken me much longer to get into the groove of the new school year than normal and I’m still  working on it. Unfortunately it has not been a smooth transition when it comes to my eating habits. I have been mostly AIP since Feb of 2014 and have seen many great changes from no more allergies to clearer skin to a much more positive attitude about things, most of the time; all good things. This fall I was starting to feel so good that as my job became more demanding I started feeling like I could take some shortcuts with my food and maybe not be so meticulous about what I eat. I was painfully wrong.

 What I think is so funny is that a year ago if I had been writing about not doing so well with my health I would have talked about having pizza and  ice cream, maybe some beer, I do miss a good beer,  but now when I say I strayed from AIP I still did not stray from Paleo. What I did was start to reintroducing all sorts of food without any rhyme or reason. It started out with making an egg dish for my boys. It was some egg muffins and they looked so good that I had to eat one, or two or four… then I bought sunflower seed butter and started eating it on celery,not just a teaspoon but multiple tablespoons. I would have 2 or 3  glasses a wine instead of one and I made a chicken recipe that called for red pepper flakes, my boys love spicy food so, yup, I added them to the whole recipe not just the part my boys would eat. and this is a dish I make a lot. So now I’m having all sorts of reactions; swollen fingers, itchy patches on my skin and red blotches on my face.I have major  patches of eczema on my neck, my sleep has been off and daily I’m having gut issues. I feel awful! I also have been eating out more and I know no matter how clean, or AIP compliant I try and eat, if I eat in a restaurant there is going to be exposure to things I’m sensitive too. The places I’ve been eating don’t even offer gluten free options.

 Today I hit my low point, I’ve been dealing with a candida overgrowth, or so I think, for about 4 weeks now. It has left me feeling  anxious, tired and unproductive. I’m wondering if it has irritated my eczema? I’m sure it is the result of introducing foods too quickly and being lax on foods I know I can only eat once and a while, my maybe foods.I have been stressed at work and at home and I have been sleeping less as I try to cram more things into my day. I have tried many natural remedies to take care of the candida that I’ve found on the internet; either I’m not patient enough or they are just not working for me. Today I felt so terrible I had to take the day off of work and I made an appointment with my regular doctor. This makes me feel terrible and sort of like a fraud on one hand and like “I’m smart enough to know when I can’t fix it myself” on the other hand. This is a tough place to be in emotionally. But it has given me the motivation to get back to where I was 2 months ago. I felt great, I looked great, I slept great and was getting stuff done!

It’s been a tough 2 months as I felt myself sliding down and let the old “I”ll get serious about this tomorrow” self resurface. But as I reflect on things I know I have learned a lot and feel so “shitty” (sorry there is just no other word for it!) that if I start to feel the slid again someday I know I need to not put off fixing it until tomorrow, I need to fix it today. Putting the extra effort in to feeling great is worth not feeling like this!

Traveling With Autoimmune

This week I had to travel to Iowa for an unfortunate event, my uncle’s funeral. The drive was long and it required me to stay overnight. We have all gone on road trips and we all know that gas stations and fast food restaurants are not going to have clean food to eat. Traveling can seem to become more difficult when you are following the autoimmune protocol (AIP). If you are going to travel and you follow AIP the main thing you have to do is plan. I was going to be gone for about 4 meals and since I was traveling with my parents and siblings I thought I should bring a snack or two so I would not feel left out when they pulled out their road trip snacks. I had a few days to plan and prepare the food I chose to bring. I picked things that were easy to make and easy to store.

My menu was as followed:

Lunch: liver turkey burger on a plantain tortilla with a salad
dinner: plantain pizza
snack: plantain chips and kombucha
breakfast: avocado and liver turkey burger
lunch: tuna salad on a plantain tortilla andsalad
snack: plantain chips and kombucha

Do you see the theme? Yup, plantains. They are easy to cook with, filling, and cheap, since plantains are one of the fruits I don’t buy organic.Yes it was a little high on the carb side but carbs are a comfort food for me and I know I was going to need it.

Plantain Cooking After the planning you have to do the preparing and yes that does take some time but when you know that what you are making is from whole food that will nourish your body and not fill it with chemicals and toxins the time is well spent. I always have burgers made up in the freezer and kombucha in the fridge so it was preparing the plantains. Plantain tortillas take 10 minutes to mix up (I just throw everything in my blender) and 30 minutes to cook. While the tortillas were cooking I fried up the plantain chips. The trick I found for keeping them crispy is to make sure you are using the greenest plantains you can and to throw them on the dehydrator overnight. The most labor intense was the tuna salad and the pizza . I went out to my parents to make the tuna salad with my mom. Once we figured out how to put her food processor together the rest went smooth. There is a little prep work to the tuna salad, we had to make coconut cream in order to make the garlic mayo that is the dressing for the tuna. Cooking with my mom is always fun and her kitchen is much bigger than mine so things just seem to go more smoothly. when it came time to make the pizza the most time-consuming part was, like I mentioned in my last post, making the no’mato sauce. All of the food traveled well and plantain chips were a hit The food I brought kept me satisfied for most of the trip, it was the visit to the micro brewery for dinner that was my undoing but more on that next time. 

Plantain Chips

Plantain Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 green plantains
  • 4-5 Tablespoons of coconut oil (or enough to form a thin layer covering the bottom of frying pan)
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Slice your plantain into 1/4 or less inch slices
  • Heat oil in frying pan
  • Add plantain slices and fry 2-4 minutes on each side (I find 2 minutes work best for me)
  • Remove from the pan and lay on a paper towel
  • sprinkle with sea salt
  • I then dehydrate mine for 6-12 hours, until very crisp
  • Store in an airtight bag for up to 2 days
http://www.almostpaleowi.com/traveling-with-autoimmune/

I Really Wanted Pizza!

It’s been a slow rainy day and I decided to make some AIP pizza from The Primitive Homemaker. I’ve made it before and it is good. I don’t like to make pizza so much for its taste but more for the action of picking up a piece and eating it. I’d like to say the convenience of pizza is its appeal but, when you have to make everything from scratch convenience isn’t the right word.
I made my list of ingredients and headed off to the stores. Our local grocery store is the only one that I’ve found sells plantains, which I need for the crust. I was so disappointed when I got there because they were out! I asked if there were any in the back and the produce guy said “No, a woman came in yesterday and bought them all.” What! you mean someone else in town uses plantains, crazy person! Oh wait, that’s what I do when I go there is buy all the plantains.
I hit the other store that might have plantains, they had red bananas and some other little looking banana but no plantains. Now what am I going to do, this is a dinner that is kid approved. I went to the organic store and knew they would not have plantains so I just bought my kids a regular pizza, at least the ingredients were not GMO. For myself I thought, I could do a cauliflower crust, but at 7.99 a cauliflower I decided not.
I ended up buying the ingredients for the “no-mato” sauce the pizza calls for and made that anyway.

Getting ready to become "no-mato" sauce

Getting ready to become “no-mato” sauce

Then I threw some ginger, pepper, oregano and sage in the hamburger and made patties, fried up some onion and basil and made the closest thing to pizza I could and yes, it was very yummy.
Sometimes we just have to improvise.

Sometimes we just have to improvise.

“How can you do that?” and “How do you find the time?”

These are the two questions I get asked the most when someone finds out I follow the autoimmune paleo lifestyle. I guess for me both answers are pretty easy. I can do it because I’ve done the research and I can’t imagine eating like I did a year ago. The thought of putting GMO, processed food into my body just makes me cringe. Do I miss it? No! I really don’t. I have found other favorite foods to replace all my old ones. Maybe because I’m full right now ( just had one of my favorite snacks of plantain chips and guacamole) but I can’t think of anything I truly miss, maybe chocolate but not that much. I have had so much fun trying all these other dishes that have such rich flavors that I feel satisfied. I think that because I know exactly what I’m putting in my body and am learning how it works with my body that I’m more satisfied than eating a bag of corn chips with fake cheese in a jar. ( I use to eat a whole jar and most of a bag of chips in one sitting)

How do I find the time? I lucked out, cooking and living this way has become a passion for me. So what if I have to make my toothpaste before I can brush my teeth. Dinner takes longer and I dirty more dishes but I find it relaxing and fun. Part of this life style is to have more fun. And a lot of things don’t take as long as they sound. Bone broth? 10 minutes to get it in the crock pot and maybe 30 minutes when it’s done to get into jars. Sauerkraut 20 minutes tops, kombucha, again 20 minutes.

The hardest thing for me is the amount of money I spend on groceries. I’m slowly learning to cook less expensive meats like ground turkey and canned tuna. I only buy the dirty dozen organic and I try not to snack so much. (I don’t snack because I’m hungry but because it is an old habit.) It’s also hard to have food around that my boys will snack on. Kids love to be able to just grab something and eat it. They are getting use to grabbing carrots or apples but I know they wish there were chips and pop around.

The biggest reason I can do this and find the time to do it is because I am healing. My eyes are getting better, though slightly, they are getting better. I am not always perfect, like today when I had a bar that did have nuts in it or there are days I just eat too much. I don’t get outside enough and I need to reduce my stress, a lot!! Every week I do feel stronger, more organized and like I’m getting closer to the finish line. Not that when I get there I will eat non paleo but when I get there I won’t have to think so much about what is and what is not; Paleo will be normal.

Week 2-How I learned to really read the lables

Week 2 has had its ups and downs. I discovered I was getting accidental exposure to seeds. I drink a lot of tea, I’m not a water person so tea, herbal tea, is my drink of choice right now. I was drinking a lot of teas that had the word detox in their name, they also all had cardamom seed in them. I was drinking 2-3 cups a day.

I also had some turkey bacon and after I ate it I read the label and saw it had paprika in it, dang this is hard. So now I read the labels very carefully and if in doubt I don’t buy.

I am a little dis- heartened because I still see no improvement. I’m beginning to wonder what else I can do

Time to Get Serious

So I’ve been slowly changing my diet and lifestyle to be more Paleo, with all of the research I’ve been doing I don’t see why not. Since I gave up grains, legumes and cut way back on my sugar I continually feel healthier, have more energy and less brain fog than I have in years. I’m reading Chris Kresser’s book Your Personal Paleo Code and because of the information in his book I have also given up dairy. Things are going well but the one thing I was  hoping would  improve, the swollen bags under my eyes, either caused by blepharitis or rosacea, is staying the same. I still can not wear make up or my contacts. So I decided to go the next step and see a doctor that specialises in, I don’t even know what to call it, holistic medicine, functional medicine, basically someone who is not going to treat the symptoms but get to the root of the problem.

My first visit went as expected, a thorough review of my symptoms, a physical exam and lots of questions. I was very happy that I had a good rapport  and that she was easy to talk to. Unfortunately the expectation of a striker diet was also true; along with grain, dairy, legumes, I also have to give up eggs, lectins, nightshades and alcohol. Here is the hardest thing, I can only have one cup of coffee a day. I’m not surprised by any of these eliminations, I’ve done enough research to know that these are all typical food to get rid of when trying to calm down immune responses. Just wondering how I’m going to manage, I love my egg soup for breakfast.

The First Week:

Lucky you! You get two post in one.

The first week was really hard, hard because of external factors. It was parent-teacher conference week at my school so right there I had to plan for two 12 hour days. This was hard because I had already lost most of Monday night at the doctor’s. Also I had gone shopping for the week and many of the meals I had planned i could no longer eat. To make matters worse there was an extreme tragedy in my extended family. They live about 4 hours away and because of it being parent teacher conferences I could not go to lend my support. My stress level was high. Most of the week was a blur. I did drink some wine on Wednesday and Thursday and didn’t pay too much attention to eliminating all of the foods I should. I did continue to avoid the usual, wheat, dairy, legumes, and I added eggs but I did have some peppers and chocolate and like I said, wine.

I really don’t notice any difference in how I feel, but it was a stressful week, and I didn’t eliminate everything on the list. But starting Sunday, yesterday, I got serious again.

I had salmon and broccoli sprouts for breakfast,  I made a roast for dinner and had left over lamb/liver meat balls for lunch ( yuck, I don’t like ground lamb). Today was a little harder, I really wanted that second cup of coffee. I even spent 20 minutes on the internet trying to find a site that would say it’s ok, you can have two cups. Instead I read coffee is a seed, another thing I can’t eat and that it can stimulate your immune system. So no second cup for me. I also love to have herbal tea. I started looking into the ingredients and have found that most of the tea I drink has cardamom seed in it. I can’t have seeds so that knock another thing off my list.  After going through all the tea in my cupboard I ended up having Nettle Leaf tea, not crazy about it but it will have to do tonight.