Friday, January 31, 2014

30 Days of Autoimmune Paleo - Let the Reintroductions Begin!

We have been on autoimmune paleo diet for the past 30 days. We started the diet as an experiment because of food intolerances and my blood sugar swings. We had been on a gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free etc. free diet for about three years prior to this and I was about 80-90% grain free for quite a while. So the change wasn't as drastic as it might be to some others. I actually eliminated just a few items like coffee, chocolate, sugar, seeds, potatoes and alcohol. I was curious to see what effects the strict form of paleo diet would feel like and if it would improve my well being.

I also see the diet as a chance to eliminate a lot of foods and introduce them back after 30 days one by one to see if some of them trigger a reaction. It is usually done so that you reintroduce a new food every three days because some reactions might be delayed. Reactions can be changes in bowels, headaches, dizzyness or pains and aches, anything really out of ordinary. After being on an allergy diet for years I am curious about this part. I feel like I know many of my subtle reactions but maybe there is more. My reactions to food are usually the following: Feeling irritable, feeling very sensitive to touch, noises, crowds, any sensory stimulation, headaches. Stomach issues, bloating, gas, eczema, even blisters on my toes and fingers.

Observations from 30 days on AIP

1. Hunger, blood sugar and frequency of meals

The first three days I was very hungry and ate a lot and often. My blood sugar kept dropping and I felt like I needed to eat every couple of hours or I didn't feel well. After three days I felt like I didn't need to eat that often anymore. I only ate 2-3 meals a day anymore and stopped eating snacks. My hunger sensation changed. Before the hunger when my blood sugar dropped was total. I got irritable and I felt an urge to eat "now", or otherwise I would collapse, get shaky. Now, just after three days when I felt hunger, it felt different. It just tickled my tummy a little bit like saying: "We're a little low on fuel here, but no rush. Just letting you know that you might want to grab something to eat at some point." It felt hard to know when to eat because I am used to eating at certain times. Now I was starting to listen to my body and eat when I felt hungry or even wait until the next meal time. It felt ok. I am most glad about this change because that was what I aimed for.

I had a lot of cravings of sweet during the first 2 weeks or so. I even took secretly a few raisins a couple of times at my moments of worst desperation even dried fruit was not allowed (shhhhh)! I ate more fruit in the beginning than now.

2. Energy levels and general well being

As my body probably went to ketosis (started using fat storages instead of the carbs) I felt an euphoria and burst of energy. I noticed I needed less sleep. I felt energized and good and got a LOT of things done.

I felt really good and calm. Often before the diet I could feel restless, irritable and this internal buzz and chaos. Now I felt just calm and serene most of the time. It feels reeeaaallly good.

3. Other observations

I didn't do this for weight loss and didn't weigh myself before and after. I might have lost a little bit of weight but I am not sure. And I don't really care. I don't have much over weight really. When I went gluten free and dairy free and later nearly grain free, I lost most of my extra weight then.

I feel less irritable, less tired and my body feels just good. Stools are regular and of great consistency.

I got in the beginning some other typical symptoms when a body goes to ketosis like weird smelling urine! I increased a little bit carbs in form of plantains and yams and it seemed to help.

I had to go low-FODMAP as well. When I increased the amount of vegetables, I got bloating and gas. I had to choose low-FODMAP vegetables instead of piles of white cabbage, mushrooms and avocados. I made a chart of what I could and could not eat, it was so confusing. This chart in the end of this post combines AIP with low-FODMAP and the post lists also resources for going paleo or autoimmune paleo.

The hardest part seems to be the slow re-introduction. Not to get excited and reintroduce too many foods at once or too often. I am planning to introduce foods one by one although it feels hard. I haven't missed most of the foods but I will reintroduce potato, rice, wine, some seeds and seed based spices we eliminated. At least those. I don't think I will introduce everything I eliminated back. I am probably not going to introduce back coffee. On the last week my husband went on a coffee roasting work shop I had given him for Yule. I had just a little tiny bit of the coffee he brought home and felt like I was going NUTS afterwards. I will probably aim to a life without coffee. On the last weeks a couple of days before the 30 days ended we had friends over and had some wine. It felt fine, but I did feel more tired the next day even though the amounts weren't excessive so I think that is something to consider. So we reintroduced a couple of things I guess a little too early. Have to take it slow from now.

All in all I had a positive experience - and it is not over yet. I think I learnt a lot. How to cook basic grain free food with no processed foods whatsoever. I learnt that I don't need any processed foods or restaurants. It got easier towards the end and I spent less and less time in the kitchen. In the beginning I felt like I left kitchen just to sleep.

Overall: Very Happy. Glad I did this.

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