Tomorrow I’m seeing my nutritionist and, most likely, flinging myself at her feet and begging her to agree that I can start reintroducing foods.
I will cry, if that’s what it takes to convince her. I care not for my dignity. (I hope she’s planning to wear waterproof shoes.)
This is week six of strict AIP and I was ready about two weeks ago to start increasing my range of foods. Some people blithely rabbit on about staying on strict AIP for several months. What the hell are these people made of?
Before I continue, here is how I think AIP has worked for me so far:
Digestion: improved (mostly, yesterday I had to take NSAIDs for my arthritis and the GORD symptoms obligingly started up again. Kids, if you don’t want to have perpetual gastric reflux, don’t get rheumatoid arthritis. You’re welcome. This has been a public health announcement by Blossom.)
Asthma: way, way improved. I have decreased the amount of preventative meds I am using, and have not used my emergency puffer since I started.
Nerve pain: meh. I thought it was a bit better but really, when I get tired, sick or run down, it starts up just the same as usual. I think I can reasonably say the slight improvement when I started was based on medication, not diet.
Back pain: completely unaffected. Only the miracle painkillers combined with Not Working has made a dent, and then as soon as I sit down and start doing something resembling work, it starts up again. *
Arthritis: completely unaffected. Normally it is pretty good but flares up when the weather changes, during storms or when I get run down. No change there. **
Other: still get the autoimmune ‘butterfly rash’ when I go in the sun or am getting run down. Haven’t had any migraines, but that’s not that unusual over this period of time. Still get muscle pain, especially strong pain from exercising.
So, has it been worth six weeks of eating little but rabbit food and the DNA of other life forms? Possibly. It’s nice to have very reliable digestion and possibly I am happier as a result *** It’s very nice not to have asthma symptoms. It would have been nicer to get more easing of my peripheral nerve condition, but that one is new and barely out of the acute phase so perhaps in time I will see more improvement.
Anyway, even if I could get more improvement by staying on AIP for longer, that ain’t going to happen. I am beginning to lose pleasure in eating – AND I’m getting sick and tired of being hungry 24/7. These things are related: I often don’t eat simply because I can’t think of anything I want to eat. Is this disordered eating behaviour? Damn straight it is. Time to move on.
AIP is, of course, an elimination diet. This means that after a while you start reintroducing foods that you’ve been avoiding, one at a time. Each time you reintroduce a food, you make sure you eat enough of that food to cause a possible reaction, and then you carefully document any and all possible reactions. If you get adverse reactions, there’s a fair chance that you have a sensitivity to that food which has caused your immune system to rear up and attack you.
It can take a while for a reaction to occur. Autoimmune things are not usually instantaneous. I would expect to wait for around a week to see if I have any adverse reactions, before deciding if that food is yay/nay, and moving on.
If I get a really bad reaction, I will have to let it die down before starting the next food. Which would suck, because I know that my flares are unpredictable: they can last a day or they can drag on several weeks.
For this reason, I am planning to start by reintroducing first the foods that I am fairly certain will be okay.
Starting, of course, with eggs.
Glorious eggs …
It’s not just because I love them, but also because I have had a gigantic, towering, immense gutful of sodding meat.
It’s not that I don’t like meat. I do. And I approve of the snout-to-tail philosophy of eating it: if a creature has to die to feed me, I definitely want to know it isn’t wasted.
But for the love of blog, sucking down bits of flesh at every meal is too much! Even my lighter breakfasts involve bone broth. It’s just too much. I do not want to eat this much meat as a regular thing. No no no.
Stop it for the sake of all that is sane! Stoooop!
Before starting AIP, the Captain and I had it down to a fine art. At least three vegetarian (of the ovo-lacto variety) meals per week. One of red meat. The rest predominantly seafood.
It was good. It was easy on our stomachs. It was easier on our wallets. It was easier on the environment.
If you told me tomorrow that I could go fully vegetarian without undoing all the efforts of the past six weeks, I would fall gratefully on your neck and sob.
I ate a lot of eggs before I started this, principally because I found them easy to digest (and delicious). I am reasonably confident that they will be okay **** although some people with autoimmune illnesses find that they are sensitive to egg whites in particular.
After eggs I will try and reintroduce cultured dairy (e.g. yoghurt) and goat and sheep milk products. Because again, I have found them to be quite digestible in the past. I am 100% certain that raw cow’s milk products are a problem, but cooked milk might be okay. I’ll try that again later.
After goat milk and cultured dairy, I will suss out legumes.
And, assuming I can tolerate all of these things, you know what I will do?
I will eat a heap of vegetarian meals.
Follow me, my pretties. To the tofu!
Frankly, I care much less about the rest of the foodstuffs than I do about the ability to eat balanced meals that nobody actually had to die for. Aside from anything else, it would be nice not to spend a fortune on bloody grass-fed beef/organic free-range chicken and pork/wild-caught seafood all the time.
So any lingering thoughts I had about a paleo-style long-term diet are well-and-truly gone.
A dear friend (thanks, Doc!) has given me half a dozen of the finest cackle-fruit from her feathered darlings. They are sitting in my kitchen right now, awaiting omelettehood. I keep looking at them and whispering ‘tomorrow …’ *****
If you want to know how I feel, go hither and watch my imaginary best friends Sue Perkins and Giles Coren noshing their way through a solid wall of dead animal.
Then fall down the rabbit hole and watch all the rest of the episodes. You won’t regret it. Catch you in a week or so.
* Matter of fact, I’ve got it now.
** Matter of fact, I’ve got it now.
*** Although knowing I don’t have to leap up early and race to an office to go through 8 hours of strong pain is probably helping my mood a lot too.
**** Famous last words?
***** Hmmm slightly creepy behaviour. Sorry.