As anticipated, week three of my Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet* was more difficult. There was more going on to make it difficult than just the diet itself (I’ll get to that in a minute), but I also must confess to a poor attitude. I awoke on Saturday morning, the first day of week three, smelled the apple-cinnamon baked oatmeal that the Sweetie Pie was making for the rest of the family, and I bitterly resented having to eat canned salmon for breakfast. It wasn’t the best way to start my week.

I struggled all week with craving food that I can’t have. I’m not talking about Twinkies or Fruity Pebbles, or other things that are clearly not on my menu. I’m talking about Good Food, that I can’t have–a slow-cooked chili with homemade cornbread, or a spicy puttanesca over hand-rolled egg noodles, or a freshly baked loaf of orange bread with nuts and dried fruit. I also realized that sometimes it’s not the actual food that I miss, but the convenience–slapping together a sandwich for lunch, or throwing minestrone in the pot for dinner. And then, almost daily, I miss sharing food with my family. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get everyone’s meals on the table at the same time and so we not only eat from different pots, we also eat at different times. No matter how tasty the food, or simple the recipes, it seems like every healing diet brings me to the same place: isolated and frustrated. This is where I spent my week.

Last week, though, I had more reason than usual to be feeling frustrated. My GI doctor had recently started me on two new prescription drug therapies. One is on-going, and the other was short-term and can’t be taken continuously. In my first two weeks on the AIP, I had noticed signs of improvement–fewer symptoms occurring less frequently and with less intensity. I was optimistic. I didn’t know if the results were due to the drugs or to the diet, but I didn’t care. If the drugs, then at least they were letting me eat a widely varied diet with good nutrition; if the diet, perhaps I could one day discontinue the drugs.

On Sunday of week three, I took my last dose of prescription drug number two (the short-term one). On Tuesday, I woke up in pain; and on Wednesday, my colitis symptoms returned. Not only that, but the B-12 injections, which were supposed to be helping me, were actually giving me 24-hour headaches (has anyone else experienced this??). I had a very hard time getting through week three.

Since I was feeling discouraged, I had less energy than usual for cooking, shopping, and prepping food. I strayed a bit from Diane’s meal plans, but not from the AIP principles. I allowed myself more fruit than usual, and I replaced meals that I didn’t have energy for with others that I did. Thankfully, Diane’s book has a wealth of recipes in it that use ingredients that are typically stocked in my pantry and freezer, so this spur-of-the-moment cooking was no trouble. The food, as always, was delicious and I was never hungry.

A few of my favorites from this week? I loved that carrot salad pictured above, I’ll definitely be making the Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs again soon, and Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Coconut Butter for breakfast was delicious. I was really looking forward to the Roasted Duck with Cherry Sauce, but when I went shopping there was neither duck nor cherries to be had (fresh nor frozen) so I was out of luck. I intend to be trying it as soon as I can get my hands on the ingredients.

Here’s the week in terms of what went into my body**:

  • Foods eaten: organic, free-range meat and wild seafood; lots of veggies, mostly organic; a few jarred items (olives and artichokes and the like) without preservatives or colorings; coconut oil; peppermint and licorice root tea; a few fruits; small amounts of honey
  • Foods avoided: grains, soy, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, nightshade veggies, spices from nightshade veggies, sweeteners, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine
  • Supplements taken: all prescription meds for depression and digestion, probiotics, HCL with every meal, fish oil, cod liver oil, trace minerals, 5-HTP, weekly B-12 injections, B complex vitamin, MSM, L-Glutamine, Magnesium Citrate, and Melatonin (Please note that I do not self-prescribe supplements nor do I recommend that others do so; I work closely with my doctors, both MD and ND, to determine what my body’s needs are. I advise everyone to do the same and provide this list solely for informational purposes of the things that are working for me.)
  • Bodywork and lifestyle: I saw my friend for a physical therapy session, and I did my exercises that she prescribed for home; I also was in bed before 10:00 every night this week, and one night was even asleep by 8:30 (hooray for sleep!)

The AIP and me, our relationship is running its course. Week one was our honeymoon–sweet, hopeful, and enthusiastic. Week two was our anniversary–more reality, less infatuation, but still very committed. Week three turned out to be our first quarrel–disappointment, unmet expectations, and hurt feelings. I don’t know what week four holds, whether we’ll make up again or part ways, but I’ll give it what I have. Week four, let’s get cooking.

I am using Diane Sanfilippo’s excellent resource, Practical Paleo, for my 30 day trial of the Autoimmune Protocol. I highly recommend her book and her online resources.

** It should go without saying (but somehow doesn’t) that I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist and I don’t recommend that anyone undertake any dietary changes or take any supplements or medications without close conversation with a licensed care provider. What I provide here is intended solely for anecdotal and informational purposes.

Congratulations to Crystal, winner of last week’s giveaway of Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.

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