Yesterday’s trip to the grocery store was intended to be exploratory. The Brewmaster and I were on the search for foods that I will be able to eat on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, or AIP diet, which is so restrictive that I am panicking a little. The list of foods I CAN’T have is so vast that I feel like I need to plan and prepare before starting it. Ballet Boy has dance auditions that will take us on the road the next two weekends, and we’ve decided it is not reasonable to start my elimination diet until I am sure to be able to control my food choices.
Here is the list (taken from the AIP website, http://aiplifestyle.com/what-is-autoimmune-protocol-diet/):
- Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
- Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander)
- Beans/Legumes (this includes all beans like kidney, pinto, black as well as Soy in all its forms)
- Grains (Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats etc)
- Alternative sweeteners like xylitol and stevia
- Dried fruits and/or over-consumption of fructose (I recommend up to 2 pieces of fruit a day)
- Dairy Products
- All Processed Foods
- Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices)
- No vegetable oils (NOTE: olive oil, lard, cultured ghee and coconut oils are permitted)
- Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)
- Tapicoa. I eliminate this the first 6-8 weeks because it is a known gluten cross reactor according to Cyrex Labs Gluten Cross-Reactivity Test
- Vegetables (except nightshades)
- Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
- Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
- Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
- Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
- Bone Broth
- Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
- Non-Seed Herbal Teas
- Green Tea
- Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
- Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
- Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)
- Binders: Grass Fed Gelatin and Arrowroot Starch (watch the starch however if you have adrenal issues)
My first question when my doctor showed me the diet was, “What the heck can I eat for breakfast?” She suggested leftovers from the night before.
Now breakfast at our house is kind of sacred. We alternate delicious scrambled eggs with spinach and bacon with oatmeal garnished with Craisins, bananas, or whatever fruit is seasonal. On weekends I make pumpkin pancakes or French toast.
I can kiss all that goodbye for a while. The Brewmaster and I had to look for a long time to find bacon with no sugar, but Costco does carry some. It is not nitrate free, which I frown on. Our local food Co-Op carries some that is all of the above, but it is $8 for 8 oz. That becomes a luxury item to me.
We’ve decided we just need to buy some nitrate/hormonal free ground pork and make me some breakfast patties from scratch with no sweetener, as everything in the store had sugar or dextrose in it. We are going to have to buy huge amounts of salad, because I won’t be able to eat peas or beans or any of the green sides I love. None of my “quick” meal solutions, like turkey breast for sandwiches or frozen salmon burger from Costco work as they either contain sugar or vegetable oil.
This is going to be challenging. I have decided that autoimmune disease is like watching your kindergartner play soccer: at that age scoring a goal is more important than scoring a goal for the right team. My immune system has short-circuited and instead of attacking foreign intruders or potential viruses or attackers, it is attacking the very systems it is designed to protect (in my case, the thyroid gland). What does this have to do with my gut? Everything, according to vast amounts of literature that say that if you can avoid foods that trigger your immune system to get all riled up, it might also go into sort of a calm, remissive state and stop attacking my thyroid and brain tissue.
We will see. This is only temporary, God Help Me. Hopefully many of my favorite foods will not be triggers.
In the meantime, I am savoring every bite of food as if it’s the Last Supper. Today one of my students left me a chocolate bar and a kind note on it in my mailbox. I will enjoy every last bite, and remind myself that the note was more nourishing than the chocolate itself.