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.


Josie said...

You need to make your health and your diet your top priority. TELL your friends about your situation and ask them to help you.

Your health > foodies visiting.

And NO, the reintroduction of cocoa did not go well last time. It sent you off the rails and was the impetus to a chunk of your regain.

Jessica Brown said...

Hi me again (the extreme food intolerance/allergies woman lol.) As I said I pretty much can't eat out at all these days, but these are tips from when my autoimmune issues weren't as bad and I could eat out a little.

Tips for travelling with food issues:

1) Make the people you are travelling with aware of your AIP and why you are doing it. If you just say 'I can't eat that on my diet' peoples attitude towards you are completely different to 'I'm on API to assess my autoimmunity issues' and they will be much less likely to try and get you to eat a donut and pay more attention if you instead say 'I know you want to eat at X but Y is also just as good and I will be able to find something I can eat on my diet'. Sad but true, unfortunately, as most people don't get the scope/importance of diet for food intolerances if they are not life-threatening food allergies.

2) Take packs of fruit and veggies with you in your suitcase for snacking. E.g. avocados, bananas, apples, clementines, berries, grapes, cucumbers (baby ones are great for snacking if you can find them!) etc. Stuff like bananas etc. will keep outside a fridge, for stuff like cucumber which is better to refrigerate then your hotel room fridge will suffice. If you run out of these during your trip just buy some more at a local grocery store. If you have a cool box you can bring stuff like prosciutto with you.

3) At the risk of starting another debate, I suggest making and taking some of your AIP treats with you. Because (a) gives you some additional food options and (b) when everyone is having donuts etc then you can have your apple cinnamon roll and you wont feel as bad or tempted to have the donut too.

3) Breakfast- the easiest meal of the day for food intolerance issues on a trip. Either improvise with what you bring with you/brought at a local store (e.g. prosciutto with avocado and pumpkin spice breakfast cookies), or if you are eating 'out' plain foods much easier to order e.g. fruit salad, grilled bacon (no added fat/oil) etc.

4) Lunch -this can be hit and miss for ease. I know you said you had a shellfish allergy so am not sure how you are with fish (non-shellfish)? If you are ok with fish then stuff like tuna or sardine or chicken salad with no dressing, are easy enough to come buy. Don't hesitate to order a larger lunch (e.g. grilled steak) either- will keep you fuller for longer and you won't get as hungry later on when out-and-about. Bring some of the snacks I mentioned with you in your day bag for when you are out and get hungry in-between meals.

5) Dinner- the toughest meal. My advice is look up restaurants in advance of your trip, lots will have menus online (you may want to do this for lunch too). That way you will know which ones you are good with and which you cannot eat at at all. This way you can provide good alternatives for your foodie company i.e. ' I know you like the look of this restaurant, but I know of this other restaurant which is just as good (and I can eat there haha)'. Don’t be afraid of 'making a fuss' and by that I mean coming out plainly and saying I really cannot eat there, but also try and be flexible if there is somewhere where your company wants to eat and you will be able to eat there albeit it with a single plain option then do it. Although it may suck for you at that time, you then can suggest somewhere better for you the next night and they will be more receptive. Types of restaurant should also be a consideration, much harder to find something you can eat with in a Chinese restaurant compared to a steak house. Some of these restaurants may also offer some 'American' food on the menu as well as Chinese etc. so worth looking at their menus before ruling them out completely.

Hope this has been helpful, have a wonderful trip :-)

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've commented here.

I have such a heart for where you are right now. I've been there and done that, and finally lost 100+ pounds in my 40s (after menopause). In the comments to your last post, you said that most people never lose the weight. That may be true, but it's irrelevant. Your outcome is binary: you either will or will not lose the weight. The failures of others have no bearing on your journey.

I say this with a lot of warmth and kindness: you are not 100 pounds overweight because of paprika. Whatever dietary intolerances you may or may not have, in the absence of a genuine food allergy, those intolerances will not wreak as much havoc (hormonally, cardiovascularly, musculo-skeletally) as will 100 pounds of excess weight.

Excessive restriction and deprivation lead to binging. Cutting out things like garlic or basil can land you face-first in the doughnuts. You do not have to do this to yourself. You do not have to feel this way. You do not have to suffer this way.

I won't repeat the excellent advice others have given about how to achieve permanent weight loss while eating nourishing, satisfying, satiating food - I think you know all of that advice too. I'm posting to ask you why you would deprive yourself of the one thing you stated has kept you on track in the past - the ability to order steamed vegs and lean protein while traveling. There is nothing any restaurant will put on that chicken that will be as harmful as the binge that will follow more over-the-top self-flagellation.

Good luck. I am rooting for you.

Lori said...

It always helps to have a plan. It sounds like you have thought this through and have a good plan. Good luck implementing it and enjoy your company.

Lyn said...


yes, they totally know about my elimination diet and won't press me to eat things I shouldn't.

Re: the cocoa... I think you are mistaken. I reintroduced cocoa on August 20. I had no symptoms or health issues at all, and kept losing weight and stayed on plan. I went off AIP two and a half weeks later (ate white rice) when I was sick with a cold. It fell apart from there. The impetus for my going off plan was 1) being sick and 2) maybe adding rice, not sure, but will be careful about adding it back next time if I add it back at all. I have a better plan now in case I get sick.


Thank you, those are some great tips that I will use! Nice to hear some ideas from someone who has been there :) I am also thinking, since they want to go to a bakery, I may offer to drop them off for a half hour and go to a nearby park to walk while they are in there. That would really reduce the temptation.


Great comment... I LOLed at the paprika comment! My weight of course has nothing to do with theses spices (but my health might). This whole diet (including the cutting out spices) is an elimination diet and I am trying to do it correctly this time to find the foods I should avoid... BUT... given an option of eating nothing or eating totally off plan or having the chicken and veggies with unknown/non-AIP spices, I would take the last option. I don't want to torture myself. Honestly you sound a lot like Cloe in our appointment this morning (a post on that will come later). Thank you for the input.


Thanks! It'll be fun regardless of the food!

LHA said...

I really feel for you on this, Lyn! I have a terrible time with travel in terms of sticking to an eating plan of any type. I have some kind of mental lapse that surreptitiously gives me permission to "vacation eat". If I manage to avoid that and stay vigialnt and eating well while I am traveling, I often overeat dramatically when I get home, so I might as well have done that extra eating when I was traveling after all. Frustrating! I am working hard on this one issue right now.

Since I often fail at eating well while traveling I can hardly offer advice, except to say that I think your planning ahead is a good thing. I would also add that if you do eat something that isn't AIP compliant, try to make it a very slight deviation and don't let it derail you mentally and just keep marching forward. Good luck, and I hope the concern over food issues won't keep you from having a great time on your trip.

JM said...

I though you are to stay off everything for 5-6 weeks and then introduce? Maybe that is the elimination diet that I did. Who knows? Either way it seems like a better idea to make sure that your room has a fridge and bring your chicken and veggies with you for a few days.

JM said...

Also do you need to go to the restaurants ? Can they go without you

Lyn said...


AIP recommends 30 days, so this is a week early. Other elimination diets I considered are for 2 weeks. I think it is more important right now for me to stick with AIP than to tough it out for one more week before reintroducing.

I do want to enjoy my friends' and family's company for dinner, and I am sure I'll find something I can eat that is on plan (looking over some of the choices now).

Jessica Brown said...

No probs, glad you found helpful :) I know first hand how difficult it is so if I can make someone else’s food-life a little easier with my experience I try! I forgot to add to my post, have you considered using olive oil instead of coconut oil? Could be a good alternative as you said you were tiring of the coconut oil. Just a thought :)

Anonymous said...

I know you are very defensive about the chocolate, but please remember/consider what Deb said last fall:

"At any rate, in the name of maybe you can figure out what triggered your slide, let me show you where it was evident that your foot was poised above the banana peeel.

It was here: August 22 Reintroduced Chocolate and then, as tho we needed confirmation, here: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Chocolate Cake for Dinner? Yep."

You mentioned that some of us looking in from the outside can see things you cannot see.

Do you have plans to deal with the *emotional* ramifications of reintroductions?

Lyn said...


I am working on the emotional issues re: food with my counselor.

I just want to note that I don't *feel* defensive about cocoa; I was just putting the facts out there. It's hard to read "tone" I think, and I am a data/fact kind of person so I may come off in a way I don't intend.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't necessarily talking about your tone, just the fact that you DO defend your cocoa choice (in writing) every time someone questions it, rather than opening up (with words) the possibility that it may not be the best choice.

It might be a good idea to make a plan to deal with the emotional stuff around reintroductions just as much as you have planned to deal with the food logistics. I know you are in counseling, but I wasn't sure if you deal with the deep-down issues that result in food problems (like relational/psychodynamic therapy), or the day-to-day stuff around food that would be more like a CBT approach. It sounds more like the latter, I think?

Lyn said...


yes, I tend to put my own beliefs and decisions out there and explain why.

At this time I have no reason to believe cocoa is an issue, but of course if I have problems with it I am open to changing that opinion.

Yes, more of the latter, although I'd say it is a mix of both depending on where our conversations go each time. As far as a plan... I am really having a hard time with that. The usual suggestions (taking a walk, exercising instead of eating, journaling, talking to someone, doing other activities) are all things I have done and not had long term success with. I'll use those still but I feel like there is something else missing in my 'plan.'