*Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am a loan officer, which makes me specialized in interest rates and angry customers. However, I am an avid researcher and practitioner of all things healthy. I encourage you to discuss any new diet or exercise regimen with a doctor before beginning.
Hi friends! I know it has been a while since my last post, but that is because I have anxiously been awaiting the completion of my first week on the Autoimmune Protocol diet so I could share my results with you. I have spent the last week cooking, reading, prepping, journaling and photographing my journey to give you now an in-depth look at this crazy adventure that both Jason and I have been on with great success.
To begin, the Autoimmune Protocol Diet is the Paleo diet with more foods being eliminated. So in addition to grains and dairy, I also eliminated nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), nuts and seeds (including their oils and spices), eggs, coffee (gasp!) and butter (even ghee). The reason behind this is to uncover any hidden inflammatory foods that could be further enhancing my autoimmune disease (I have a lung disease called PVOD). Many people who follow this protocol have thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, etc. The list of autoimmune disease is lengthy.
The goal is for the next 30 days (I am currently on day 9!) to eliminate all of these trigger foods, concentrate on consuming only whole, natural food, and then slowly reintroducing the previously eliminated foods back into my diet in stages. I will not be adding everything back, as I know grains are a huge trigger for me already. I will then be able to judge by my body’s reactions (stomach upset, bloating, headaches, fatigue) if those foods were trigger foods for me all along. This will help to alleviate my autoimmune disease symptoms and get me on track to living a fuller, more energetic life!
As many of you know, I eliminated grains a long time ago, so I really thought this would be a piece of cake. But do you know how hard it is to not eat something with tomatoes? Or pepper (the seasoning)? I didn’t. But we made it through the first week successfully, and have hope for the next three weeks. The following information gives you my day-by-day meal plan, results, and things I know now that I didn’t know before that would have helped me better prepare for this undertaking.
For anyone interested in learning more about the Autoimmune Protocol, I recommend getting “The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook” by Mickey Trescott and doing a lot of research. There are a lot of books out on Amazon that can help you navigate this lifestyle.
I began this journey by buying “The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook” on Amazon and reading it cover to cover. I did some Pinterest searches for some recipe ideas, and began following different pages on Facebook. The amount of information is staggering, so take a day or two to fully immerse yourself in the details and buy yourself a good cookbook. It’s an investment that you won’t regret.
I made a batch of bone broth (slow cooking marrow bones with water and apple cider vinegar for at least 24 hours) as a starting point. I went grocery shopping and bought some veggies, some fermented sauerkraut, tea that I knew I would like to drink, and some protein (ground beef, pork chops, fish). The sky is really the limit on what you decide to purchase. I just tried to ensure that all of my meat was organic, grass-fed. You don’t want to continue putting toxins in your body. There are great lists on Pinterest that show you what foods to eliminate or avoid, and the ones to add. I recommend saving the picture on your phone so you can reference it while shopping and preparing your foods!
Meal prep was key for me to start the week. In addition to cooking bone broth, I cleaned all of my fruits and vegetables, cut them into sizes for my recipes and for snacking, and I cleaned out all of my cupboards and the refrigerator with foods I knew I wasn’t going to consume in 30 days. I knew to be successful I needed to eliminate all of the temptations in my house. I also used my cookbook and my own foresight to create a meal plan for the week. Without having a definite meal plan written down, I had a feeling we would cave on a late night and just order takeout. I needed to be prepared for all of these hiccups.
I also continued to take all of my required medication and my supplements. Vitamins are still a critical part of my health.
Day One – 7/24/16 Sunday
Starting weight = anywhere between 127 and 125 (two doctors’ scales said two different weights…we’ll go with 126 to split the difference.) Even though this diet is NOT about losing weight, I feel weight loss is inevitable because you are eating only whole foods and nothing processed.
On Sunday we went to the Strip District in Pittsburgh with my uncle and his wife to do some shopping and have lunch. Yikes. I knew we would be eating out, but I figured I could manage to find SOMETHING that was compliant.
- Breakfast: Hot tea, a handful of grapes, uncured pepperoni
- Snack: Stopped at a coffee shop and grabbed a cup of Earl Grey tea with some coconut milk
- Lunch: Went to a brew pub (awesome choice, right? No.) Ordered chicken lettuce wraps with zoodles and sweet potato fries. Two things: the chicken was cooked in an unknown sauce, so it probably contained pepper, and the chicken also had peanuts. I had water to drink.
- Snack: A small dish of sauerkraut and more pepperoni
- Snack: Cup of bone broth
- Dinner: Beef liver, onions, mushrooms, all sauteed in coconut oil with garlic, bay leaves and salt
- Journal: “Felt great until 1:30, and then I got super hungry. Ate 5 pieces of pepperoni and had a small dish of sauerkraut. Also drank the bone broth which filled me up until dinner at 9:30. Napped during the day so I took 5 mg of melatonin to fall asleep.”
Overall, not the best day of eating and being compliant, but I worked with what I had.
Day Two – 7/25/16 Monday
Woke up with a lot of energy.
- Breakfast: Irish breakfast tea, half of a plum, 2 pieces of uncured bacon, 1 herb turkey patty
- Snack: Cup of bone broth
- Snack: Grapes
- Lunch: Salad with red wine vinegar dressing (homemade), leftover liver and onions, one avocado
- Snack: Cup of tea
- Dinner: Squash noodles (zoodles) with sauerkraut and two all-natural hot dogs (I cooked the sauerkraut and hot dogs in the crockpot on high for 4 hours)
- Journal: “Took a nap today out of boredom, not of necessity. Was hungry today, but again, I know it was from boredom. No stomach upset or headache. Did a lot of relaxing. I did crave sugar today. I desperately wanted to cave and get an iced mocha from Starbucks. Even writing about it makes me salivate.”
Overall, eating was on par, but I needed to get more movement.
Day 3- 7/26/16 Tuesday
Woke up at 6:45. Today I started to keep track of the times that I was eating to gauge my hunger.
- Breakfast (9:00): Cup of hot tea, blueberries, turkey patty, two pieces of bacon
- Snack (11:10): Two pieces of bacon
- Lunch (1:00): Sauerkraut, two hot dogs, squash noodles (leftovers from last night)
- Dinner (8:00): Salmon filet over lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cucumbers, mushrooms, olives, avocado with lemon vinaigrette dressing
- Snack (9:30): Cup of bone broth
- Journal: “Took another nap today. Felt fine, did a lot of relaxing but also got a lot of housework done. My need/desire for caffeine is fading. I made one cup of hot tea this morning for breakfast and didn’t even drink it all. No headaches or stomach upset. Decided to drink a cup of bone broth before bed to ensure I got all my nutrients.”
Day 4- 7/27/16 Wednesday
- Breakfast (9:00): Cup of hot tea, turkey patty
- Lunch (12:30): a few grapes, 3 oz of salmon, lettuce, snow peas, carrots, cucumbers, olives, hearts of palm, 1/2 of an avocado, with lemon vinaigrette dressing
- Snack (4:00): pepperoni slices
- Dinner (8:00): Pork belly, coconut tumeric sweet potato noodles with zucchini and squash
- Journal: “Didn’t eat as much today but I was busy helping Jodi paint and it was so hot out I wasn’t very hungry. Did get home and take a nap. My energy has been low the past couple of days, but I think it’s from the detox.”
Day 5 – 7/28/16 Thursday
Weigh In: 123 pounds (down two/three pounds)
Woke up at 6:45
- Breakfast (8:30): Cup of hot tea, turkey patty, plum
- Workout: 20 minutes PiYo Lower Define
- Lunch (11:36): leftover sweet potato noodles with zucchini and squash, coconut “curry” and pork belly (leftovers from last night’s dinner)
- Snack (2:30): pepperoni and bone broth
- Dinner (8:30): Pork fried “rice” (cauliflower) with avocado
- Journal: “Did my first workout since beginning this way of eating. Took a small nap from 12:30 to 1:30. Went to get my hair done, so I drank bone broth and ate pepperoni on my way, knowing I wouldn’t get to eat dinner until later. Overall, felt great today. Down 2 pounds since last week.”
Day 6- 7/29/16 Friday
Woke at 7.
- Breakfast (9:30): Cup of hot tea, turkey patty, olives, blueberries
- Workout: 10 minutes of PiYo, 17 minutes of Core Rhythms quick workout
- Lunch (1:00): leftover pork fried cauliflower (no avocado)
- Snack (4:00): Olives and grapes
- Dinner (9:00): Spaghetti squash with scallops, capers, yellow squash, garlic and shallots
- Journal: “Felt good today. No headaches, stomach upset or fatigue. Did an intense yet quick cardio workout and attempted Buti yoga (which was hilarious). We made it through six days so far without caving once, even though we wanted to. I desperately wanted sweets this week but I’m doing better with the cravings. About an hour after dinner I got some stomach upset, bloating and gas. Will watch for symptoms tomorrow.”
Day 7- 7/30/16 Saturday
Woke at 7. Today we went shopping, so we were out and about all morning/afternoon.
- Workout: 20 minute energize yoga
- Breakfast (9:00): Cup of hibiscus tea, three pieces of bacon
- Snack (3:00): Handful of Terra chips and baked apple chips with cinnamon, cup of Earl Grey tea with coconut milk
- Dinner (6:00): Steaks from our new butcher with a dry herb rub, onions and mushrooms, and sweet potato curly fries (not good. Did not get crispy and just burned).
- Workout: 40 minute pilates
- Snack (9:30): Cup of bone broth (pure gelatin!!!!) and a clementine
- Journal: “Had terrible period cramps today. My whole body was sore because of yesterday’s workouts so I only did a calm 20 minute yoga sequence this morning.”
- “Was restless after 9 so I did a pilates workout and had a cup of bone broth that was nearly pure gelatin! I was so excited!”
Day 8- 7/31/16 Sunday
Woke at 7:00. Dogs had to go to the vet at 5 in Cranberry so we left the house around 3:45.
- Breakfast (9:00): Cup of hot tea, homemade guacamole and plantain chips
- Lunch (12:30): olives, turkey wrapped prosciutto, half of a plum, half of a clementine, 3 pieces of pepperoni
- Snack (2:00): apple chips
- Snack (6:45): black tea, iced, with coconut milk
- Dinner (8:30): Shredded chicken lettuce wraps with zucchini, cucumber, and broccoli slaw with an olive oil and avocado dressing
- Journal: “No exercise today. I spent most of the day food prepping and batch cooking for the week ahead. Feel good about going into next week, except for snacks. Need to figure out some different ideas to get Jay more calories and to keep hunger at bay. Need to do some Pinterest searching.”
Batch Cooking (to prepare for week of August 1st)
- whole chicken (to shred)
- Nomato sauce (AIP cookbook)
- Beef/Pork Patties (AIP cookbook)
- Bone broth
- Radish and Jicama tabbouleh (AIP cookbook)
- Chicken stock/bone broth from chicken carcass
What I Learned This Week…
- Sugar cravings and sugar addictions are REAL
- Pepperoni has paprika in it (no good)
- Most vegetable chips are cooked in sunflower oil (no good)
- Prepping food and batch cooking is a MUST to be successful!
- Bone broth is fun to drink
- Bacon tastes good on everything and satisfies salt cravings
- “It’s not that hard to eat this way.”- Jason
- Eating out is impossible and should be avoided
- Meat markets are a life-saver
- Pack snacks if you are heading out…don’t get stuck hungry and away from compliant food!
On the Menu for Week 2 (August 1st-August 8th)
- Monday: Squash noodles or zoodles or leftover spaghetti squash with lamb meatballs and nomato sauce
- Tuesday: Salmon/tuna with radish and jicama tabbouleh salad
- Wednesday: Garlic beef and broccoli with riced cauliflower (will make ahead Tuesday night; I will be gone for Wednesday dinner)
- Thursday: Shrimp skewers with sauteed kale, chard and collards
- Friday: Shredded beef and rosemary skillet
- Saturday: Pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes and kale
- Breakfasts: Bacon, fruit, beef patties
- Lunches: Leftovers from dinner
I can honestly say that after the first week of following this way of eating, I feel great. I don’t constantly crave food and I don’t crave sugar as much. I thought that planning meals and sticking to the diet was going to be more difficult, but with the right planning, it was not that bad. It really does require a lot of cooking and prep work, but that is something both Jason and I enjoy doing. We typically dedicate our Sundays to staying at home and prepping for the week, and even if we have something to do, we always try to get our prep work done ahead of time. I have noticed less pain in my chest and the ability to take deeper breaths, which is something that I have to constantly remind myself to do. I haven’t had a headache in over a week, and my allergies are under control. I am anxious to see what I feel like at the end of next week and beyond.
Thanks for reading, everyone!! Please comment below to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions about starting the AIP for yourself! I can also answer questions about batch cooking and prep work, and get more in depth for those that have questions.