Sunday, August 17, 2014

An AIP Vacation, with a Surprise Reintroduction

Last night I got back from our fun, relaxing vacation on the beach! We had a wonderful time in the sun and sand, did plenty of beach combing, visited a lighthouse and walked through acres of coastal forests. I'm happy to say that while I supervised the roasting of marshmallows over a fire for smores and broke up the chocolate and graham crackers, I did not partake and I was okay with that. In fact, I was happier with my eating on this trip than I thought I'd be. I had only occasional, fleeting desires to stop and get ice cream or go to new restaurants, but overall it was a *great* feeling to let go of the food aspect of vacation, make it a minimal part of our time, and focus on everything else: time together, places to see, things to experience. I loved it.

As I said before we left, I packed a cooler to take along so I'd be able to stay AIP-compliant on my trip. Even though I was more than 30 days into the Autoimmune Protocol, I wanted to make the most of my elimination diet and wait to add things slowly, when I am home and able to watch for any subtle signs that certain foods are not good for my body. Well, on the last day of the trip, I learned something really interesting about that! But first, what I ate. I didn't pack everything I thought I would, and picked up some things at a Trader Joe's along the way. But I did bring my AIP food journal so I could jot down what I ate and how I felt.

Day 1:
I had pastured local bacon, cantaloupe, and avocado for breakfast before we left, along with my favorite decaf tea with coconut milk and honey. On the road, I enjoyed carrots, dried Fuji apple chips (no other added ingredients), olives, pork sirloin roast, and a plum from the cooler. Dinner was from a Paleo food cart in a city we drove through: collard greens cooked with lots of bacon and onions, and a cup of bone broth.

Days 2 through 5:
I made breakfasts of plain decaf tea, bacon, fruit, and sweet potato hash browns (I chopped up a fresh sweet potato I brought along and cooked it in the bacon fat). One morning I cooked onions and yellow squash in the bacon fat instead... that was so good!  Lunches were more fruit and vegetables from the cooler plus some smoked salmon I got along the way. For dinner I cooked up the steak I brought along and had that with more sweet potato and some avocado. Another day I bought some wild-caught salmon and cooked that with some broccoli. For snacks I ate fruit and carrots, but one time we came across a juice bar and I got a fresh pressed juice made from cucumbers, celery, lemon, and apple. So good!

We ate most of our meals on picnic tables or inside our cabin, but a couple of times we ate at restaurants. One time we went to a small diner, and I ordered a plain bunless burger topped with bacon, grilled onions, pickles and lettuce with a side of fresh fruit. That was tastier than it sounds! This morning, I was completely out of food in my cooler except for one apple, so we went out for breakfast. I had an order of thick cut bacon and a large fruit bowl (watermelon, grapes, berries, and pineapple). I ate the apple with a Starbucks iced green tea for lunch, and once home I made my dinner: AIP sausage with sauerkraut and peaches.

Now about that thing I learned. Last night, when I looked into the cooler to get out that last steak for my dinner, I smelled something unpleasant. I sniffed again; the steak was going bad. Too many days on ice and it just didn't smell right anymore. Well, it was after 8, we'd settled in for the night, and I didn't have any other protein to eat. What to do? I could go to the little food mart down the road... but, I decided to try my luck with one of the hot dogs we'd brought for roasting over the fire. I read the ingredients. They were "uncured, all-natural beef franks" with no preservatives and no artificial stuff. The only thing on the short ingredient list that *could* be a problem on AIP is "natural flavorings." This could include a spice I am not supposed to have. But at this point, having been 100% AIP-compliant for 32 days, I thought I would give it a try. I sliced up one hot dog and cooked it to have alongside my white sweet potato and broccoli. It tasted fine... but I really paid for this choice. I woke up at 5:30 am with a splitting migraine headache! I sat up in bed and felt nauseous. The light coming in the window felt like pain. I laid back down and covered my eyes with a pillow, but the pain was awful. I sat back up and thought about taking a shower but just couldn't. I cradled my head in my hands for a few minutes, then remembered the Excedrin in the first aid kit. I haven't had a migraine in months! I also hadn't taken any NSAIDS in more than a month because you are supposed to avoid them while on AIP, but Excedrin is the only thing that touches a migraine for me. I took the pills, laid back down with a pillow over my head, and in 15 minutes or so I had fallen back asleep. The headache was just a ghost of a pain when I woke back up a couple hours later, but it resurfaced every four hours or so throughout the day, and I'd take some Excedrin to make it go away again. It's gone now... no Excedrin needed... but also gone is my worry that I might not notice the signs my body gives me if I eat something that I should stay away from! I've emailed the company to find out what might have been the offending "natural flavor", but I kind of suspect paprika. A lot of people apparently have issues reintroducing paprika (a nightshade spice). I'll let things return to normal for at least a few days before thinking about trying anything else new.

Activity: tons of walking. Way more walking than I have done in a couple of years... since the plantar fasciitis flare-up. I walked every day, through zoos and exhibits, across long beaches, up and down rocky, steep paths, around waterfalls, and through several state parks. I have no idea how many miles, but I was incredibly sore and got shin splints but kept on going! It felt so wonderful to be *able* to do these things after being so sedentary for so very long. I really had a great time! Two other days this week, at home, I biked for 30 minutes, but I did not get to the gym at all this week due to the trip. I am just so happy that I could do all I did. Even though I am obviously out of shape (lots of pauses and rests and heavy breathing on the uphill hikes), I feel like I have my life back.

Weight? No idea... there was not a scale on the trip. I weighed 234 last Sunday and really hope I don't break my 'losing streak' this week! I'll weigh in the morning and come back and edit this post with my weigh-in.

*Edit: I weighed this morning: 232 pounds. That's 2 pounds gone this week! I'll take it!


Gwen said...

It could also be MSG. "Natural flavors' or 'flavoring' is a well known way to hide the fact that MSG is included. (google me if you don't believe it.)

Sean Anderson said...

You're incredible, Lyn! Your commitment to the plan is phenom--and I love what you said about making the focus about everything else instead of always on the food. So sorry the migraine happened--I wonder what ingredient in the hotdog flared it up? Glad you had some medicine readily available!! Great post--thank you!

lisa~sunshine said...

I think it's a sigh of relief to finally figure out what causes those horrible reactions like you had.. I use to go through that all the time until I noticed I had a MSG issue.. I can't eat anything with that in it or I get a severe migraine like you got..

Your dedication to this and your new happy spirit are very admirable.. I'm happy you enjoyed your vacation.

JM said...

Hotdogs , even natural ones have casings and nitrates, a known migraine trigger. All processed meats, even all natural have some naturally occuring nitrates. Great discovery! Now you know!!!

timothy said...

glad you had fun and that you're figuring it out!

Lyn said...

Well, the hot dog rep emailed me back that there is NO paprika or extracts of paprika in these hot dogs. They won't reveal exactly what the "natural flavorings" is though since it is "proprietary information." I am kind of relieved it isn't paprika, though... paprika is in SO many foods! Guess I will just stay away from hot dogs all together and also watch out for anything containing "natural flavorings."

lisa~sunshine said...

If you decide to try out and see if it is MSG.. They sell Accent in the spice isle at most stores and this is just MSG.. So you could easily put it on a item that you already know is safe to eat.. and see exactly what happens.. Just a thought.. I'm not saying your issue is the same as mine..

Lyn said...


what a great idea! Thank you! I will probably try that.