As I read with distress the politicizing of healthcare in the U.S., I sometimes wonder how long it will be before our system collapses. No political arguments here, just a pondering of what arthritis patients will do. Thus, my investigation into whether there’s any merit to the claims of some that diet can have an impact on disease symptoms. To date, the reports of people going into remission due to dietary modifications are anecdotal, but it turns out that doctors are starting to recommend that people try an AIP diet, and they’re even starting to do some research to see if science backs up the anecdotes. One of the bloggers who writes about using diet to treat autoimmune diseases was a medical researcher until her second child was born. Another is a clinical nutritionist. Maybe there’s something to this.
One week of AIP suppers:
- Monday: Roasted chicken and asparagus
- Tuesday: Spaghetti & green salad (Nomato Meat Sauce with Zoodles)
- Wednesday: Easy Sweet & Sour Mango Chicken over cauli-rice
- Thursday: Best-Ever Easy Pork Chops with cauliflower mash and green salad
- Friday: Bacon-Date Crusted Salmon with sweet-potato puree
- Saturday: Beef Bourguignon
- Sunday: (we always clean up leftovers on Sunday)
Second week of AIP suppers:
- Monday: Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken over cauli-rice (I add pineapple to my chicken)
- Tuesday: T-Bone Steak (with oil instead of butter) with cauliflower mash and green salad
- Wednesday: Sweet Garlic Chicken with Chopped Broccoli Salad
- Thursday: Lasagna (use nomato sauce, and slice zucchini lengthwise into “noodles” – be sure to saute’ to soften them first before creating layers)
- Friday: Broccoli Beef as-is or over cauli-rice
- Saturday: Hamburgers on Portobello “buns” with Sweet Potato Fries
- Sunday: leftovers
I’ve been experimenting with autoimmune protocol since last spring and feel enough better that I will continue eating this way. I love the delicious recipes! The drawback is that the planning can be extremely time-intensive (thus no time for blogging) — until you figure out what you’re doing. After a while, I am happy to report, it gets easier. It still takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it since I feel better.
But I confess that changing the whole way you eat is a bit of an adjustment. What I find the most challenging is that the rest of my family is not on board with eating nutritious food. My husband has eaten a particular way his whole life and sees no problem occasionally snacking on corn chips instead of sitting at the table for a real meal! This is what I’m dealing with! My solution has been to continue to introduce nutritious offerings, keeping note of which ones my family likes and which ones they don’t care for.
After my wonderful husband exclaimed, “I don’t need to be experimented on!” I started trying my new recipes at lunchtime or days he works late. The big winners then get repeated at dinner on a different day 🙂
For me, keys to making it work include:
- …fixing my food first. I try to have everyone eat the same thing, but sometimes I eat different food than my family. One example is rice. I do much better if I don’t eat rice. Fortunately, I discovered that a vegetable I hated as a kid actually tastes pretty good as a rice substitute. Unfortunately, the rest of my family doesn’t like the nutritious alternative. If I prepare everyone else’s meal first, sometimes I’m too tired to make mine and just end up eating what they’re eating. Then I end up regretting it, so I discovered that I can make mine first, and the problem is solved.
- …planning. This is essential. I have to know what I’m going to eat before it’s time to fix the meal. Otherwise, it’s too easy to just grab anything, and that’s rarely a good option. Once the plan is made, you can make a grocery list and go shopping.
I made this process easier by subscribing to Real Plans (no, they didn’t pay me to advertise for them, I just think it’s fantastic) and added upgrades for extra AIP recipes. I might write a whole separate post on how I use Real Plans, so I won’t say any more about it now.
- …having good substitutes. Who doesn’t love spaghetti? But AIP says no nightshades (spaghetti sauce is made from tomatoes, which is a nightshade – a kind of plant, not, as my son thought, something to cover the windows) and no grains (pasta is made from grains). But I found nomato sauce and zoodles, which I admit sounded very odd when I first heard of it. In the spirit of Dr. Seuss’s Sam-I-Am, I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. I cook up a huge batch of sauce, divide it into small containers, and freeze it. Then when I cook regular spaghetti for my family, I can easily grab an AIP-friendly version for myself. I’ve served this twice to company with positive comments both times.
- …having breakfast options in the freezer. I posted previously some of the breakfast recipes I found. But they take a while to prepare, and I don’t always have time to cook in the mornings. Or I might have time, but be too hungry to wait. Instant food is the solution. A few of the recipes I found freeze very well. I cook up a big batch, divide it into individual servings, and stick all those individual containers in the freezer. This worked especially well when we took child #4 to college and spent two weeks on the road. Hubby sees such a difference in how I feel that he made space for an ice chest so that I could pack food for the trip! The hotels were all pretty good about putting my stuff in their big freezer overnight.
- …keeping a record. Being able to look back at what I’ve eaten lets me make connections between symptoms and specific foods. It also helps with planning new menus.
- …cleaning the pantry. I would prefer to completely toss out the potato chips, but there are other adults in my house who buy them and want to eat them with other junk foods. I really struggled with this for a while, because every time I opened the pantry door, these awful things masquerading as food were staring me in the face. I emptied the entire pantry, then reserved a small section at the back for the family’s snack foods. Granola bars and little things like that are in a plastic tote where people can get them easily if they want them, but they’re not so easy to grab that I’ve ever been tempted to make the effort to climb up on the step-stool and open the tote. Most of the pantry is mine, with real ingredients for preparing real food. The snacks are there, and available, but no longer calling my name.
If your symptoms are not 100% under control, I’d encourage you to do some reading about AIP and see if it’s something you might want to try. You’re eating anyway, so why not experiment with some new recipes? 🙂 There is quite a bit of talk among AIP people about “leaky gut” and I’m not convinced that’s a real thing, but the recipes are delicious, and I’m not having any joint pain.
- Is the Autoimmune Protocol Necessary? by S. Gottfried, MD
- The Autoimmune Protocol – What is AIP? by S. Ballantyne, PhD
- AIP Lifestyle – What Is Autoimmune Protocol by J. Flannigan, Clinical Nutritionist
- AIP Quick-Start Guide by 2 nutritional therapists – good info, but be warned that once you give them your email address, they’ll fill up your mailbox – can’t tell you what it says because my spam filter catches most of it
- AIP Menus
- A Week of AIP Dinners