Diet update – AIP, meat & food intolerances
It has been a long time since I have done an update regarding my diet plan, so I decided that today is the day to talk about it! I began the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) three years ago (time FLIES!). This is a diet that aims to heal the body when there are autoimmune diseases present. It cuts out grains, beans, nuts, seeds, nightshades, sugar and sweeteners, additives, chemicals, NSAIDs, thickeners, alcohol and emulsifiers. It also cuts out gluten, legumes, eggs and dairy, which I was already avoiding due to intolerances. My last update is here, which also includes links to previous posts about my AIP experience.
One of the main issues I ended up having with the AIP is an intolerance to meat. A bit of a problem seeings how the diet has a big focus on meat! A few years ago, I began to feel nauseous after eating slow cooked lamb, so I stopped eating that. Then I felt nauseous when I smelled meat cooking; I assumed this was from medication. Then all slow cooked meats caused a problem, then lamb, steak, pork, and finally, chicken (no matter how they were cooked). Smoked/dried meats and mince were not too bad, but I had got to the point, after a few years of this slow progressive issue, that I was in so much pain after a meat meal, and my tachycardia and light headedness was such as issue, that it just seemed ridiculous to be eating any meat. I began researching why it might be causing me problems. I did not really get an answer, but I learned a lot about the health and ethical sides of consuming meat. My body was just not coping with meat and so I ate it less and less. As I was not eating grains and legumes etc due to AIP, I was forced to introduce some of these back into my diet so that I did not waste away. So in mid 2016, I began to slowly add in quinoa, rice, potato, soy, chia seeds and corn back into my diet, continued to eat seafood, and rarely ate meat.
I had bloods taken in October. I was very nervous because if my thyroid antibodies had shot back up, I knew that I would have to reconsider the diet. However, the results were great. So from then on, I stopped eating meat and continued with grains in my diet. The nausea and pain is almost non-existent now. I have an appetite (almost too much of one!) and am constantly thinking about food! It has made a huge difference. Occasionally I will crave meat, but having learned about the health and ethical sides of eating meat, I find it very easy now to not want it anyway because of this (as well as knowing it is going to hurt).
I have also introduced nightshades back into my diet, without too many issues. The only problematic one seems to be tomatoes. If I have a meal heavy with tomatoes, such as a pasta sauce, all my joints swell and ache badly all the next day. This is annoying because tomatoes are such a handy ingredient for making meals interesting, but I can have a small amount, such as as a tomato pizza base sauce. I can eat aubergines, chilli and potatoes, which is great, and I am working on adding in capsicum and paprika. I don’t eat goji berries because I react to them due to my fructose malabsorption.
So basically I do not eat the AIP diet anymore. I avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, high FODMAP foods and meat. I am still working on what is best with the foods I have added back in; for example, fresh or tinned corn seems to be fine for one serve, but not over consecutive days, and processed corn, such as in corn chips is very bad. Also, gluten free pastas (the commercial blends) set my tachycardia off, but a quinoa and corn blend is perfect. It still fascinates me how your food can affect your body. It is definitely a constant learning process.
I encourage you to persevere if you are also trying to find out what works for your body. It can absolutely be a frustrating and disheartening process, but when you have a win, such as less nausea and a growing appetite, it pays off. There is so much information out there about what foods we should or should not eat when considering certain health conditions or goals, but ultimately, I think, it is down to your own unique body. You need to listen to it and find out what works or does not work. I would love to hear your experiences, whether you’re struggling or making progress. Keep at it; your body deserves your attention.