Perhaps you have been dealing with an autoimmune disease for some time and are tired of all the meds. Or your doctor suggested you follow an autoimmune protocol diet (AIP) or paleo or Whole30 and you don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to get you on your way.
- If you have not already done so, seek out or asked to be referred to an Integrative or Functional Medicine doctor. There are lots of certificated specialists and that is probably just fine, however I’m more comfortable knowing who I see is also an MD. At your first visit you will be assessed and odds are they will run a bunch of tests, including a food allergy panel. This is to give them a baseline to see where you are. For me, I was then put on a very restrictive Elimination Diet for three months. I was also told to start eating as much fermented food as possible to start healing my gut. All of this was so that we could bring down the inflammation levels and calm my body down so I could heal. After my first visit, I left with tons of notes and handouts and even more questions. This is where my inquisitive nature kicked in as I pondered “Now what?”
- “Now What” – Fortunately there is now so much information available. Unfortunately there is now so much information available. How do you know where to turn and which information is correct? Some people claim things are AIP or Whole30 compliant and yet those things are not. First of all, your doctor should have given you a list of compliant foods. Keep that. You will be referencing that often. In my searches, I found that Against All Grain has been my go to for everything. She keeps all the different food allergies and diets in mind when creating recipes and her cookbooks also delineate which recipes are nut free, AIP, etc. She’s a great resource! http://againstallgrain.com/ Through her blog, I was introduced to the Whole30 and Melissa Hartwig. Melissa’s tough love and humor caught my attention and I’ve followed her ever since. https://whole30.com/ And I’m now also stalking Chrissa from Physical Kitchness because she cooks like I do! Simple, easy meals. http://physicalkitchness.com/
- The next step is to go through your pantry and refrigerator. Remove any foods which are not compliant. And I don’t mean by eating them. Throw them away and then restock your pantry with the following to begin with. Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, arrowroot powder, compliant spices, nut butters… you can also go to my previous blog for a complete list.
- Meal plan. They key to staying “on the wagon” is planning ahead and staying organized. Once you get he hang of it, it becomes a habit and you get better at it. I sit down on Saturday and plan what I’m going to cook all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then shop accordingly. I always keep my pantry and fridge stocked with the basics and fill in with fresh produce and protein. I also play meals so that tonight’s dinner can become tomorrow’s lunch or even breakfast. Learn to change your mindset of what breakfast should be. I also take leftovers and turn them into other things. Tonight’s tri tip will become tomorrow’s steak salad. Or mixed with scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes. We don’t waste food in this house. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Blueberries and eggs are good honest! I would have never discovered this if I wasn’t open to trying different recipes. I’ve also discovered plantain chips. Where have these been my whole life?
Some days will be easier than others. Be kind to yourself and embrace the journey. Know that knowledge is power and arm yourself with as much information as you can. I didn’t have anyone to walk me through this. I had to discover all of this alone. And because of this I hope that what I’ve been through will be of help to others.
Becasue it is now summer and vacations are upon us I’m sure you are wondering how to deal with travel and eating out. Tomorrow I will share my tips and hacks on how to survive both.