Monday, 23 May 2016

3 Years After AIP - What Happens Next?

So this year marks three years since I got fed up with steroid creams, decided to lose weight and switched from lasagne to vegetable soup for breakfast. 

And I always say that I wish I'd made the decision to do it years ago. 

But now all my nasty symptoms have pretty much cleared up, what happens next? 

Firstly, I'm not completely free of psoriasis. It's disappeared from all of my body except one patch on the back of my scalp, which I only discovered was there when I shaved my locks off for charity last year. It doesn't really bother me - sometimes it just looks a bit pink, and it'll itch if I haven't had enough sleep or if I overdo the stress or the sugar. I can live with it. Compared to what it used to be like it's a dream. Most of the time I forget it's there. 

I've been through my elimination diet (that was difficult, but really worth it) and the reintroduction period. 

As you'd expect, after three years I've added a lot of foods back in to my diet. It can be tricky to try and explain to people how I eat now. It's not AIP. It's not even paleo. It's kind of the 'Jo diet'. It's awkward to put a label on it. 

So I thought it might be interesting to share with you all what AIP can look like after a few years. You know, just in case you're in the midst of strict AIP and you're wondering if it will ever end. 

It will. 

Here's how it is for me at the moment. Please do bear in mind that everyone is different. 

I eat the following:

Seeds - Reintroduced brilliantly, no problems - except coffee. I can have the odd coffee, about 1 or 2 a week and that's it, max. Otherwise it tends to bring back digestion issues or makes me jittery. I just sip a small cup of it slowly, and enjoy it. I've recently started to liberally sprinkle hemp seeds all over my breakfast, because they're a good source of omega 3. Oh and cocoa/cacao - reintroduced with no problems.

Nuts - Nope. Well, I have made the odd paleo almond cake. And I can have one slice. Any more and I get digestive problems - heartburn, indigestion - and the rest we won't go into. Interestingly, I seem to be able to tolerate peanut butter (not paleo) with no problems at all but I don't eat it regularly. 

Dairy - I do eat the occasional natural cow's milk yoghurt, but it's mostly coconut yoghurt, with cultures in to support the microbes. I won't be ordering the cheese platter after dinner any time soon. I do have occasional lacto-free milk in coffee and I can eat grass-fed butter. 

Nightshades - This is a tricky one. Tomatoes I can eat (raw or cooked) definitely only once in a blue moon. Chillies or bell peppers, absolutely never. Potatoes occasionally. Aubergines, I can enjoy, no problems at all. In fact I love to make baba ghanoush these days, to eat with lamb.  Edited to add: Aubergines/eggplants: NOPE. After posting this I ended up with the most annoying, ache - like a toothache constantly - in my legs. Stopped the aubergines and it's clearing up. Won't be adding them back in to my diet any time soon. Shame, because I quite liked the Baba Ghanoush. 

Eggs - It took me a few unsuccessful attempts at reintroducing them, but eventually I tried again 18 months after starting AIP and they were in. I eat them 4-5 times a week, usually for breakfast. 

Soy Sauce - Yes, totally. I eat small amounts of tamari gluten free soy sauce. I eat it so rarely (not even once a month) that I don't see it's ever a problem and I can't get coconut aminos easily where I live. When I was strict AIP, I just cut it out, but nowadays when I do eat it with home-made meals I never experience any negative effects.

Grains - I hear you gasp. They're not paleo. Well, no they're not, but I can tolerate buckwheat really well (it's a pseudograin) and bearing in mind it's pretty nutritious, it seems silly to leave it out on the principle of just following the rules on a list. I also eat oats, which I reintroduced quite early on and they give me no problems whatsoever. I also eat plain white basmati rice, sometimes on its own and sometimes fried with veggies and eggs, Chinese-style. I eat the odd bit of gluten free bread, usually if I'm out and about and get stuck for something to eat. I also sometimes sprinkle some wheatgrass powder on my smoothies. I know, get me and my grains.

I still avoid wheat, sugary foods (I have the occasional treat, but it has to stop there) and processed stuff. 

I still eat tons of veggies, some fruits, a little red meat, chicken, fish, seafood, liver (usually once a week) and a lot of salads. 

So, you see - AIP doesn't stop and end with the strict elimination stage. While my experiences are different to others (I know people who have been on AIP for a similar time as me who can't eat tomatoes at all, for example) I hope that it's encouraging to see that I eat a pretty balanced, varied diet that now doesn't really resemble AIP all that much. It's basically primal without nuts and a lot of dairy. And a little bit of grains. And no chillies or bell peppers. I told you it was tricky. 

Have you followed AIP? What have your experiences been like? Where are you now on your healing journey? What does your diet look like now? 

Looking for help with reintroductions on AIP? Check out Eileen Laird's ebook Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (affiliate link)

Friday, 20 May 2016

Mickey Trescott - The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook (UK version)

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you decide to click on any of them and make a purchase, I might receive a small commission that helps me keep the blog running. Thanks for your support. 

This was the first book I bought to help me on my AIP journey, nearly 3 years ago. 

Mickey Trescott launched her Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook at the time, as an ebook. And, seeing that there was so little in the way of recipes for the autoimmune protocol, and desperate to calm my psoriasis, I downloaded it as quick as I could. Flicking through the pages as I tapped my laptop's mouse, AIP suddenly became a lot more realistic and do-able. 

The book was soon released in paper format. And now it's been adapted, tweaked and had more recipes added to it for us UK peeps. 

Mickey arranged for me to receive a copy to have a look at, and I can tell you now that if you decided to add to your AIP cookbooks, even of you bought the ebook version - this would be a good buy. 


Beautiful photography (to make you hungry, inspire you - and, let's face it, show us what the finished result should look like). An easy layout, so you have a recipe on each page and you don't have to turn over to finish the recipe with blood-spattered hands from chopping up liver. (It can't just be me that has that problem, right?)

The chunky book isn't kept on my bookshelf with my other cookbooks. It's wedged firmly between the fruit bowl and the wall on the worktop in my kitchen, so I can grab it quickly. It's really that kind of book. Always one to encourage my children to eat better, I sat my seven-year old down with the book and asked her if she'd like to choose something for me to make. She chose the mango ice pops. They were perfect. They freeze pretty quickly, and when my children grab them from the freezer after a day at school, I know they're getting mango, hydrating coconut water and a little hint of lemon just to freshen everything up. 

Mickey's beef liver pâté with bacon is a regular on my cooking rota. I make a batch of it (seriously, beef liver isn't that bad at all - and it's incredibly nutritious, with things like vitamin D in there as well as iron and those all important B-vitamins). The bacon gives it that crispy edge. I like to stir the bacon through rather than scatter it on top, and then I portion the liver out and freeze it individually. My husband grabs an icy slab out of the freezer and takes it to work, with a pile of oat crackers for his lunch - it defrosts by lunchtime. I've eaten it for breakfast and it's kept me full for ages. It feels like your body is too busy putting all those nutrients where they need to go to think that you're hungry. 

As well as pâté and lollipops, there are drinks, smoothies, stews, roasts, veggies - and that incredible cheesecake that I looked at longingly three years ago and decided that I could totally do AIP, even if it was Christmas soon. 

Honestly, I love it. I'm not being dramatic when I say that it was this book that inspired me to blog about paleo and AIP. It helped keep me on track when I healed my psoriasis (and I did). And it's available now on Amazon  for you to buy in the UK, complete with metric measurements so you don't have to convert everything into grams from cups. Beautiful. 

Go check it out on Amazon: Mickey Trescott's Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.

Do you have the cookbook? What are your favourite recipes from it? 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Creamy Avocado Toast with a Poached Egg (Gluten Free)

I remember when Nigella Lawson, on her new TV show last year, showed everyone how to make avocado toast and viewers went crazy. People said it was too simple a recipe for a TV cooking show. And it is a simple 'recipe', if you can even call it that. 

I'm not going to give you a recipe for avocado toast, but rather explain to you why I think you should eat it. Especially when it's topped with a runny poached egg, like this. 

It's worth mentioning that my bread is gluten free - it's not paleo because it's made using rice flour and potato starch and all that kind of stuff, but I'm managing my autoimmune disease just fine so it's gluten free for now. I toast it, medium doneness, both sides. 

Avocados are creamy, kind of sweet and nutty, and they're packed full of potassium, healthy fats, fibre and vitamin C, not to mention a little bit of vitamin B6, too. I usually buy small avocados, because if I cut one in half and pop it, cling-wrapped, in the fridge, it always turns brown and slimy by the next day. I just peel and de-stone the small avocado and then mash the whole thing onto the toast with a fork. A sprinkle of salt and it's ready for the egg. 

If you're unsure of how to poach an egg, this is the method that I use. I basically heat a few inches of water, until just simmering, in a wide, shallow pan and then crack the egg into a ramekin. I stir the bubbling water with a spoon or whisk until there's that lovely vortex and then gently pour the egg into the water, as close to the surface and as suddenly as I can (rather than trickle it in a stream). The white usually wraps around the yolk and you get a gorgeous, neat and tidy egg. But it doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes it's a weird shape. It's not the end of the world. I just cook it for 3 minutes or so, lift it out with a slotted spoon and then dry it on kitchen towel before plonking it on top of my avocado toast. Give it a twist of black pepper and you're done. 

It's a really delicious, protein-rich lunch, snack or breakfast. I love it.