Monday, March 2, 2015

AIP on the Road

I'm back from my trip and we had a wonderful time! It was a real joy for the five of us who traveled together and everyone enjoyed it. We went exploring, hiking, shopping, hit some museums and a few restaurants. I brought along some dried apple chips and a banana for myself. When we went to the donut shop, I just abstained. At restaurants, my choices were:

Meal 1: an order of thick sliced bacon with a side of avocado and a side of fruit
Meal 2: a grass fed beef burger with lots of Boston Bibb lettuce, onions, baked sweet potato and a side of raspberry kombucha.
Meal 3: a hamburger topped with thick sliced ham, lettuce, and pickles (this was about as boring as it comes, but there were limited options. No bun, no condiments).
Meal 4: 3 sausage links and a big bowl of cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberries with some herbal tea. I figure the sausages might not be the AIP type (spices? nitrates?) but it worked out okay.

Another meal was had that they brought back to our hotel but I just had a banana and some water since I wasn't very hungry (we'd had ice cream in the afternoon).

Yes, I said we had ice cream. There was a local shop we wanted to try (which makes their own ice cream with only fresh local ingredients) and this is where I planned to reintroduce grass-fed cream (which is more likely to be tolerated than milk or conventional dairy). I chose one scoop of a flavor with no non-AIP stuff in it (no nuts, seeds, gluten, cookies, etc) and it was delicious. I felt fine after eating that. I had some cream cheese another day and still no issues with it. I am not planning to have cream or any other dairy on a regular basis, just because of the calories (and I need to ask my doctor more about the dairy/thyroid disease connection he talked about) but it's nice to know I can have it on occasion without it bothering me.

Foods I ate this week at home:
Flat iron steak, ribeye steak, turkey breast, ground beef, bacon
Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, Iceberg lettuce, spinach, red onions, mushrooms, kale, onions, butternut squash
Bananas, dates, apple chips, cantaloupe
Coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter, avocado oil, olives, avocado
Decaf tea, herbal tea, honey, maple syrup, coconut flour, arrowroot flour,
Gelatin, kombucha, fermented pickles.

Sweets this week: 1 date caramel, 5 dark chocolate honey mints (AIP compliant, posted about these before), a few slices of AIP banana bread. I baked the banana bread this week and even the kids liked it! It tastes close enough to the real thing. Recipe here.

Exercise: I only walked once this week at home, but did at least 3 miles each day on our trip.

This morning I weigh 244 pounds. That's 1 pound gone this week (the fourth week in a row of losing one pound). I weighed 248 on February 1, spent all of February on AIP and lost 4 pounds for the month. That may seem small, but after 5 months in a row of weight *gain* it is a welcome reversal. I have not been counting calories or anything, but eating what I like from the AIP template (with reintroductions happening now).

Looking forward to another good week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

AIP Reintro FAIL

Yesterday, I reintroduced coffee. Plain, black, hot, decaf coffee with nothing added. It's what I used to drink every morning pre-AIP, and seemed fairly innocuous. So after a successful reintroduction of cocoa last week and seed spices last Thursday, I tried coffee yesterday.

I took a few sips. It didn't taste as good as I remembered. After a few more sips, I kind of got a stomach ache, so I stopped. I felt kind of queasy and had heartburn later in the evening but then it went away. I wasn't totally sure this was from the coffee, so this afternoon I made another cup with a different kind of beans. After about 2 ounces my stomach felt weird again, so I quit. A couple hours later I had a bit of digestive issues. So, for now I am going to assume my body does not, in fact, like coffee and take it off the menu. I am going to wait until I feel totally better before trying to add anything else new.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weigh In with AIP

So this week, I decided not to post any pictures of any sweet things that might potentially trigger someone who is struggling with disordered eating. Instead, I am working on a separate site where I will be posting photos and information about my AIP meals, snacks, treats and recipes. Hopefully that will help people who are looking specifically for AIP food information while keeping this blog relatively "clean." I *am* posting two pictures of healthy meals I had this week (a soup and a meat/veggie dinner) but in the future I might just move all my food pictures to the other site. Will let you know when it's ready.

One of the things I cooked this week was a mushroom burger soup. I used this recipe minus the sherry, and used half coconut milk and half beef bone broth for the liquid. I added a crumbled hamburger and it was very good and filling! (Please note that if you are in strict AIP you should omit the nutmeg. I reintroduced seed spices this week so I left it in).

AIP mushroom burger soup

Another food I enjoyed this week was broiled flank steak (carne asada) with broccoli, onions and mushrooms. I just rubbed the meat with onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, cilantro, cumin, olive oil, coconut aminos, and lime juice. Put the meat on a cookie sheet with broccoli florets, sliced onions and mushrooms tossed in olive oil, broil 7 minutes on one side and 5 on the other. (If you are on strict AIP, omit the cumin. It is a seed spice).

AIP steak carne asada recipe

Tonight I am making beef stroganoff with the leftovers.

Other meals I had were mainly meat and vegetables with fruits for a side at breakfast and an occasional snack.

Foods I ate this week:

Bacon, pork sirloin roast, prosciutto, chicken thighs, smoked salmon, ground beef, flank steak
Cauliflower, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes (orange and white), kale, mushrooms, broccoli, collard greens, pumpkin
Apples, bananas, kiwi fruit, dates, Clementines, baked apple chips
Coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, avocado oil, olives, olive oil
decaf tea, honey, maple syrup, coconut flour, cocoa
Kombucha, gelatin, cultured pickles, sauerkraut, beef bone broth, chicken bone broth

AIP "treats" eaten (made from ingredients in list above): 1 apple cinnamon roll, 2 mini creme pies, 2 brownies, 2 date caramels.

Yes, I made two AIP "sweets" this week... the brownies and the date caramels. I realize some readers have a problem with this but I am doing what works best to keep myself on plan right now. I still have some of last week's baked items in the freezer, but threw out the rest of the pumpkin breakfast cookies. Just not good at all after they were frozen. The brownies are from this recipe and the date caramels are here. As you can see they are made from wholesome ingredients, no refined sugars, and I enjoyed them and then stuck them in the freezer where they are now for future use. They have not triggered any kind of cravings, binges, overeating, etc and I do not feel any emotional drive to eat them. I do enjoy a sweet after dinner though.

Tuesday: cocoa
Thursday-Sunday: seed spices (nutmeg, cumin)
All going well so far.

Exercise: walked 6 days this week, each walk about 1-1.5 miles long.
Scale says 245, one pound down from last week. That's the third week in a row I have lost one pound. I am pretty pleased with that.

Thank you for the interesting comments and the continued support.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

An ED Counselor Chimes In

This week, I had an interesting appointment with Cloe. She already had a lot of background on me and my past, the issues that bother me, and my dieting/weight history. This visit I really poured out a lot of my deep feelings about food and asked how to implement her recommendations.

She's always told me to

1. Normalize food. Eat what you desire BUT stay with single portions and avoid going back to binge eating behaviors. For example, if you want some chips with your lunch, go to a convenience store and buy a single serving bag and have it. If you really want a candy bar, go ahead and have it. ONE candy bar. She told me I need to get past my 'fears' of certain foods and of losing control, and not think of any food as bad or off limits.

2. Don't diet. Don't start up with the measuring, calorie counting, food obsession. Restriction can be very triggering. Relax and get your mind off dieting.

I have tried to implement this but with some hesitations. My doctor told me to do an elimination diet, and told me wheat and dairy in particular could be problematic. How can I normalize food if eating one bag of chips or candy bar makes me feel obsessed for the next one? How can I *not* count calories or restrict in some way if I don't want to keep gaining weight? I decided to tackle these topics again with her and be very clear about what I am afraid of and get clearer feedback about what to do.

I really put it all out there and told her how I feel and what I am doing. I explained in more detail why I am doing AIP and what exactly it looks like. I told her I think it is essential that I do lose some weight for my health... to bring down my blood pressure, take weight off my joints, make life easier to live, prevent issues with diabetes or heart disease. I asked her how I can do AIP, how I can lose weight, without the restriction triggering overeating, cravings, and eventual weight regain.

Cloe said to me, "Listen, be realistic. You can't go through your life NEVER having ANY of those foods. Can you really think you will NEVER have a piece of candy again? NEVER have cheese again? NEVER have any kind of chips or pasta or the foods you have eaten your entire life, ever again? It's not realistic. It's just not. So why torture yourself?"

I really am afraid of this. In my mind, even if I stick with AIP 100%, get through reintroductions, and maybe have a short list of foods I know are not healthy for me, I am going to end up regaining. In my own mind, I feel that even if I exercise and eat low enough calories and lose 100 pounds again, I am not going to be able to sustain it and will gain the weight back. I mean, I did it. I worked so hard, I lost the weight. And as determined as I was, as healed as I felt, I gained it back. I was not *able* to NEVER eat candy again, NEVER eat chips or lasagna or pizza again. And I honestly cannot see myself avoiding ALL those foods forever. Not because I want ice cream more than health, but because something in me wants, or needs, to not be so restricted that I cannot ever, not ever at all, have one slice of (even gluten free) pizza or a baked potato or a bowl of chili with corn bread. I *want* to be one of those people who give up all the carbs and sugar and everything. I just am not. I can cut back, I can have one of those foods on occasion, but you put "Never" in there and I really struggle.

Cloe told me that she really thinks a diet like AIP is a bad, bad idea for me. Far too restrictive. She said if I pick a diet or lifestyle of Paleo or some other plan that restricts entire categories of food, I am *going* to fall apart and go back to old habits eventually. Every time. She does think I should finish the elimination diet but start immediately adding foods back in (3 days apart which is the minimum recommended) to get some variety back. She highly recommended that when I finish the reintroductions I adopt a different approach to eating.

Before, she seemed to be telling me that weight was NOT important right now. I should be focusing on normalizing my relationship with food and getting out of a diet mentality. But she did acknowledge, this visit, that perhaps losing weight is something I can and should work on for health reasons. She changed her recommendations based on our very heartfelt and open discussion.

She said if I am going to succeed with losing weight AND healing my issues with food, I *must* choose a plan that includes all foods EXCEPT the ones my doctor tells me not to eat for medical reasons (which could be wheat or dairy, if they are affecting my health, and any other foods I find I am sensitive to through AIP), She told me I need to work through this and be able to eat normal foods in normal amounts. (I think somewhere in there I am going to have to exclude things that trigger me to overeat, although she didn't say that). She recommended picking between two options: Weight Watchers, or (free online calorie and exercise counting program). She said although they are still diet programs, I can work on keeping my diet mindset in a specific time and place. I told her I was worried I would get obsessed with counting points or calories and figuring them up, but she said I can train myself to DO that (at appropriate times, maybe 3 times a day) and then 'leave it in the program.' In other words, add the points or calories to the tracker and then leave it and not think about it anymore. I have to admit I am hesitant. But I will look over the two options and pick one to try when I am done with AIP.

When I expressed my fears about losing control and going back to binge eating, she said "Look. You have to tighten your discipline. You HAVE it. You could not do something as strict as AIP or Medifast without self discipline! You would still be binge eating if you didn't have discipline. You have to work on strengthening it and having even MORE discipline so that if you do choose to have a piece of candy you tell yourself, 'I will have this piece of candy, and NO, I cannot have 10 more!" It is a very hard thing but she thinks I am capable and can do this. So I will try. Not being so restricted and knowing I can plan to have another piece of candy tomorrow if I want to can help with this.

We talked about how I still self-medicate with food sometimes (stressed? have some chocolate!) and how I tend to sub food thoughts for other, more uncomfortable thoughts (worry about the kids, worry about finances, feeling overwhelmed sometimes) because thinking about food, dieting, and weight loss is a lot easier to handle and not as emotional. That is one of the reasons why she wants me to normalize food (now in the context of a calorie-restricted program, while allowing almost any foods I would like to eat).

So that's how the visit went, and I am nervous about implementing her suggestions but I am going to try. I am doing reintroductions now, 3-4 days apart. It'll take me a month or more to add things back in and hopefully by then I will be ready to try something new.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reintroductions Again

So I was thinking last night when I was making hotel reservations that I need to make a plan for staying on AIP while we're gone on a sightseeing trip with our company in a little more than a week. It was kind of a last minute thing; we knew we'd have company staying with us for a week and a half (and planning out those meals is a whole 'nother thing I am working on), but we just decided to take this trip for a couple of days. I've got a couple of "foodies" travelling with us and they are very interested in hitting some good restaurants. Now I am deciding how to handle this.

Since I am three weeks into staying 100% AIP, Tuesday night I added cocoa back in (just like I did the first time). I knew cocoa wasn't a problem for me since the reintroduction went smoothly last time. This isn't going to help me on my trip (can't have any chocolate donuts or mousse... just cocoa) but helps me have more variety at home (10-calorie Choffy (brewed cocoa beans) in the morning instead of always having tea with coconut milk and honey). Now I am thinking about adding back in a couple of things over the next week so that I'll be able to eat well in a restaurant, no matter where we go.

The biggest difficulty, for me, in trying to eat AIP in a restaurant is the spices. I mean, when I was on Medifast or low carbing I could *always* order some plain steamed veggies and some kind of meat: baked chicken, a steak, or some fish. But on AIP the spices are so limited that everything has to be plain. Salt and pepper, basically. And I just don't trust some places to honor my "no seasoning in the burger patty" request. Plus it is just so bland... "can I get a boiled chicken breast please? No butter, no oil, no seasonings!" Anyway I am thinking about reintroducing some spices this week, just so I can have a bit more variety without adding calories and without worrying so much about going off plan. I think I will add some seed spices (they can be added back as a group) over the next 3-4 days but avoid nightshade-based spices for a few more weeks. Then if that goes well, on Monday I will try some plain black coffee. You can get black coffee anywhere on a trip, and I am happy to enjoy my plain coffee when there is nothing food-wise I can, or want to, eat.

The only other thing I am considering reintroducing, IF the spices and coffee go well, is eggs. It would be so nice to have a veggie omelet for breakfast or a hard boiled egg for a snack. On AIP I have read that egg yolks are usually not something people are sensitive to, so you can add those back first. Egg whites can be a problem for some. But hey, even if I can just get yolks added back, my dogs will be happy to help dispose of the whites! So like I said, if the spices go well this week, I may try adding back eggs (or at least the yolks) in some organized fashion next Wednesday or Thursday. (You're supposed to wait 3 days between introductions so I will definitely do that).

That's the plan! I also may mix up a recipe of AIP-compliant salad dressing, put a serving in a spice bottle, and bring it in a cooler. Might sound silly but it would make a big salad more appealing! After the trip's over and company is gone I will figure out what I want to reintroduce next. Maybe ghee. I am getting tired of coconut oil.

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