Eating Air and Drinking Tea
Today I am embarking on an adventure. Although this is a choice; in reality, it is a forced choice. It is for my health and wellbeing. I have 2 diagnosed (and I suspect an undiagnosed third) autoimmune diseases. The arrival of a probable third condition caught my attention. Joint swelling in my thumb, without any injury. A couple of years ago I jammed the other thumb and the swelling and pain never went away. My doctor ordered an X-ray and the diagnosis was arthritis. But this time there was no injury. My thumb just started swelling and hurting. My thumbs are painful and it is affecting the things I like to do. So, I started the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) diet. I wanted, more like needed, some structure and guidance so I put my money where my mouth is (pun intended). I signed up for SAD to AIP in SIX with Angie Alt at autoimmune-paleo.com.
I did AIP a little over a year ago January into February. I was already gluten-free. I had already done Whole30 more than once. I was 80% to 90% Paleo already. What could go wrong? As it turns out, the month I did AIP was awesome. I felt great. I lost weight. This was awesome since I was going on vacation to Mexico the last week of February. And that vacation was also the problem. I did reintroduction, while on vacation, with the attention of a monkey with ADHD. I stayed away from known gluten, but I’m sure there was contamination. Big Fail! But I made the most of it by coming home and having the Cyrex expanded food panel testing done. I figured I’d had every food and alcohol imaginable while on vacation so they’d all be in my system. What better time to see if I was reacting to these foods? I got my results and after I finished my pity party about the 24 red zone and 22 yellow zone food reactions I had, I put my big girl pants on and eliminated these foods. I reintroduced some foods back that were on the yellow list. I actually had my first normal platelet level (just barely, but hey) in 9 years in December. That was before the thumb swelling and pain.
Having multiple food reactions and avoiding those foods is socially isolating. I am already used to ignoring all the free pizza at work, bought as a reward for hard work or for when we are busy. I don’t eat any of the free pizza and other gluten-laden foods that often show up other functions I attend. I eat my way around restaurant menus and pot-lucks at work. It can leave me feeling like the odd one out and isolated. I have a friend who asked me “what did you bring to eat, air”?
I AM NOT EATING AIR! I will try hard to not feel deprived. Yesterday morning, I threw together my food for 12 hours at work. I wanted more that my usual spinach salad with salmon for dinner. My co-workers were having a potluck “breakfast” for dinner. I felt, and was correct, that there would literally be nothing I could eat. I often bring something to these themed potlucks that I know I can eat and I supplement from home the rest of my meal. I made a quick “to go” dinner from things I had on hand in the freezer and pantry.
Fast and Easy Coconut Shrimp to Go
I put some frozen cooked, tail off shrimp into a glass storage container. I sprinkled some chopped unsulfured dried apricots and unsweetened coconut flakes on top. I put a dollop of coconut cream on top of that. I also brought an orange that I cut up and stirred in after reheating the shrimp at work. It was delicious.
This time around, I wanted more structure and support. I actually started last week because I didn’t think I could afford to wait. I stopped eating the nightshades. Good bye peppers! But, I discovered using wasabi to spice things up. I stopped eating nuts and seeds. Good bye my go to snacks and protein bars. But I discovered Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips and an Epic bar that is AIP friendly. I spent the last week decreasing (again!) my coffee until this am when I had chicory instead. Good bye coffee, hello chicory. I’m not normally a “headache person” but today I had a bad headache. Instead of Tylenol, I had a cup of black tea. Good bye headache. Tomorrow I will try decaffeination again. And I will not eat air.