I read in relation to the Autoimmune Paleo protocol that most people mess up at the end of the elimination phase when they rush to re-introduce everything, thereby not easing their body back in and not giving the space necessary to work out which of the various known allergens are affecting them. Well they’re not wrong. I totally messed it up.
I did just over a month, making a few mistakes in the first week, and just under a month if you allow for that, avoiding all known allergens. My first mistake was that with jet lag I woke up at 2am the other morning and miserable, tired but unable to get back to sleep I ended up eating not one but three chocolate bars. Not as bad as it seems since they were the small bite size bars and super dark chocolate so only contained cocoa, so arguably I could count that as my first introduction item. Today having been out with work all day then flying direct to San Fran I monumentally screwed it up. Lunch was a disaster that ended up involving me eating half an avocado and that’s it in the end, leaving me just a little pecking. At the airport I had a long conversation about whether the bowls at a taco stand could be done gluten and dairy free, which they were as standard. Great. Is the chicken plain grilled? ‘Yes’. On plain salad? ‘Yes’. Here we go! It arrived. The chicken was heavily marinated, the salad was covered in something, there was rice, corn and spicy stuff all over it. But I was starving. I caved. I ate it. I left the rice but I was so hungry and miserable I ate the rest. Now I feel more miserable. I feel I’ve set my body back in healing my condition. I feel lacking in will power and want to physically beat myself but am settling with doing it mentally.
To this end I recognize three learnings. Success in endeavors all too often comes from asking the right questions and ensuring you are clear and understood. Clearly room for improvement here. Also, I should try not to be too hard on myself, although admittedly now I’ve broken it I’m struggling to fight the urge to just buy a huge chocolate cake, throw caution to the wind and a rude sign up to the universe. I am however revisiting. Third and final point. Honesty in the face of others is the starting point to honesty with yourself. I made myself write this post so I am honest about the fact I failed. If I hide it from others I hide it from myself and there is no learning or progression in that.
Doing an AIP diet is actually perfectly satisfying when you can cook all your meals yourself at home. Yes it is restrictive for the first 30 days but there are loads of meats and loads of veg and loads of herbs and spices that can be used. Trying to heal yourself when you can’t cook it all for yourself is 1000% harder and more depressing.
My tummy now hurts and I have a headache. Perhaps part psychologically driven but definitely the gurgles are not! And I don’t think it should be this hard to look after yourself in this day and age. The problem is that culturally we look at anyone trying to battle with things like this as being ‘awkward’ – I was guilty of that view myself in the past. I still believe some people are awkward just to be awkward but that’s a separate issue! There should not be such division based on eating habits. Good food can be served in most locations to meet these requirements – it’s all about education. I totally expect a time and a place for naughty food and for indulgence and I don’t for one second suggest to stop that being a lover of all things naughty (in the food world I mean!). Even so, surely we’d all be in a better place if we could be eating food that is kinder to us and the environment and not compromising on taste!
Referencing cake again – gluten free, dairy free, vegan and paleo cakes can taste and look as good as regular cakes. I know as I’m a harsh critic on cake. Cardboard allergen accommodating cakes just don’t need to exist, and neither does ‘substandard’ need to be the norm for any foods that accommodate allergy issues. So whilst we’re at it, Buddha chocolate from Portland, Oregon! Half the people out there are probably already put off because of the name but you know what it’s actually really flipping good! Admittedly it’s a dark chocolate so if you like milk it’s a tough sell i admit. However it’s paleo, dairy free, vegan, it is sweetened with coconut sugar which is low glycemic index so a much better sweetener. Rant over. You can see I’m pre-occupied with food at present!
Autoimmune issues are already driven heavily by stress, then they create stress and through that they cause depression and anxiety. When someone (yeah I mean me really because isn’t it all about me?) is trying to live their normal life, do their normal job and accommodate eating habits to manage their health, without having to eat total boring shit and nothing but thin air or shit is generally available it makes the depression all too real. I remain heavily Inspired by Laurel of Sweet Laurel for using her illness to create a cake company and Juliana King for her acupuncture and lifestyle support to fellow autoimmuners. These people who make something happen inspire me.
It was on the back of my various illness challenges this year that I made the very tough decision not to stay in the US when my VISA expires in January. The decision remains a heavily conflicted one for me, nonetheless on January 18th 2019 my current US adventure will come to and end. I need time to get better and I cannot do that in a job that has me travelling away from my home so frequently.
‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare‘ is a quote ever so wisely spoken by activist Audrey Lorde. This phrase has always resonated with me and never more so than now. The adventure is certainly not over though; It is merely entering a new chapter, the content of which is yet to be determined.
(Pic of the day is a thermal picture of me, my bro and my nephew at the Think Tank in Birmingham last weekend. Treasure the important stuff)