Tuesday, August 19, 2014

AIP Reintroductions: the Importance of Knowing What You Eat

I think I have a valuable lesson here. As I mentioned the other day, after 30+ days of strict AIP I added in a new, non-AIP food (as an act of protein desperation): a hot dog. And afterwards, I got a splitting migraine. I *do* believe that something in the hot dog triggered the migraine; I hadn't gotten a migraine in months, and all the rest of my food was the same old AIP-friendly veggies, fruits, and fats. The only thing different was the hot dog. So what ingredient, exactly, caused this? That's the biggest part of why we do an elimination diet: to figure out what foods make us feel unwell and avoid them in the future, even if they are 'healthy' things like eggs or tomatoes or certain herbs or spices. But here's the lesson: if you do not know exactly what you are adding, you will not know exactly what to avoid. Sure, I know to avoid hot dogs. They're not exactly good for anyone anyway. But I did think that having a 'healthier,' uncured, all-beef hot dog occasionally might be alright. Now I know it won't be.

I would really like to know what it was in the hot dog that triggered the migraine. Here's what I've got so far.

The label states they are skinless, uncured, natural, from beef that was fed a vegetarian diet with no antibiotics. They are "minimally processed', and state they are nitrate and nitrite free, and contain no artificial ingredients and no preservatives, and they are gluten free.

Ingredients: beef, water, sea salt, evaporated cane syrup, dried vinegar, celery powder, natural flavorings.

I am suspect of the natural flavorings, so I emailed the company and found out that these hot dogs do not contain any paprika or paprika extracts, contain no yeast or yeast extracts, and contain no MSG. They contain only 1 gram of sugar per hot dog as well.

As far as the small amounts of naturally occurring nitrates that come with any processed meat, even those "cured" with celery juice, I've been eating *plenty* of uncured bacon lately with no ill effects. My bacon contains celery juice and sea salt as well, so I am thinking the naturally occurring nitrates are not the issue with the hot dogs.

Do you see how complex this can be if you don't know exactly what you are reintroducing? Because I do not know what else was in the natural flavorings, I don't know what, exactly, triggered the migraine. So for now, I will assume that hot dogs in general are just a bad package deal and will avoid them completely. But I do wish I could isolate the exact ingredient so I could avoid it in other foods.

It's far better to add foods in their naked state, with nothing else new, when starting reintroductions on AIP or any other elimination diet. That's why it's recommended to add egg yolk alone before adding egg white, add plain cocoa mixed into coconut oil and honey rather than eating a commercial chocolate bar, or add a cup of plain coffee instead of a latte with flavorings added. One thing at a time. Your body will let you know.


Forty Pound Sack said...

There are many things besides food that can trigger a migraine. I would think the only way to know for sure is to have another hot dog and see if you have the same reaction.

Lori said...

I wonder if it was the hot dog too. I'm not suggesting that you eat another one but maybe think about anything else that was going on that could have triggered the migraine.

I know that is making it more complex, but it might keep you from eliminating something you can actually eat.

Gwen said...

It's a hot dog. By its very nature, that makes it processed food. I don't care how uber free of shit they CLAIM it is...it's still processed junk food.

it's really simple; eat real food. break slowly out of your prescribed diet by ONLY adding real food. One at a time. A new one only every 2 weeks. If you can't find anything to eat, it won't kill you to miss a meal, if you are eating only real food.

Just take it down to the most basic level.

Carrie said...

I'm curious why you don't think it's the evaporated cane syrup? I've had so much trouble with sugar, I'm always weary of it in any form.

Lyn said...


I do get joint pain when I eat too much sugar. On AIP, honey and maple syrup in small amounts are allowed, so I put a teaspoon or so of honey in my tea most mornings and it hasn't bothered me. I guess it *could* be the cane syrup, since that is not the same as honey. It's on my radar as something I generally avoid, so I'll definitely pay attention if I eat something containing cane syrup again and get a migraine.

Karen said...

Re-introduce really carefully- IMO. Other wise the value of the 30 days decreases- IMO.

It could take a long, long time to get things figured out. You can wait (and probably lose weight).

Also consider the large fruit consumption to be playing a role if you are super sensitive to cane sugar.

Also consider the amount of bacon. I'm all for fat, but bacon on the road is likely to be spiced up with all sorts of stuff. The amount of conventional salt is large. I know I get effects from all conventional salt vs sea salt.

Keep going... it's a lot of work.

JM said...

also important to understand, while there will be things to avoid FOREVER (migraine triggers- could have been the vinegar?), most will not be. Once the body is less inflamed, it can handle small amounts of substance once offensive. I could not have any dairy Once i cleaned up my act and my body adjusted, can tolerate small amounts again. NOTHING is static, it all changes all the time. So even if you find the evil culprit, it too could change. I think that the message is to your body, and stick 80% or more with whole foods. Good luck! Its a journey!!!

Anonymous said...

PS Cane products are sugar, just an FYI

Anonymous said...

I'd wonder if it was the hot dog too, without trying it again. You are assuming that the cause was food related, and as others have said there's plenty of other things that cause migraines. I'm not saying run out and eat a fistful of hot dogs--just proceed with caution as I'm sure you will be. Wishing you only the best as you continue on your journey! :)

Lyn said...


true, it could be some other thing. But, we were staying in the same cabin, on the same beach, with the same weather and activities, so I tend to think it was the food. None of this is concrete and it's not a perfect science. Elimination diets are a lot of guesswork... take your best guess at what is the issue. Totally true that the only way to "know" is to have another hot dog. Not happening anytime soon, but if I really want one in the future I guess I will find out then! And probably regret it.

Desert Singer said...

Were they able to tell you exactly what the Natural Flavorings were? Many things that are MSG are not called that...


Is a website that has so much information. Scary about how much we don't know about what goes in our food. As Gwen said - anything processed has unnatural ingredients by their nature. :-(

So Happy that the AIP has done such great things for you :-)

Lyn said...

Desert Singer~

no, they said the exact ingredients are a proprietary recipe. They only told me the hot dogs contain no paprika, extracts of paprika, yeast or yeast extracts, or MSG. You're right... and being on AIP has made me more aware than ever about how much random stuff is in ANY food that isn't from a butcher counter or a fresh produce section!