Day 5: Meal planning and the strain of the switch

We went shopping last night. Hurrah! This means we now have a LOT of AIP-friendly food in the house. It really isn’t about making changes to your diet when you’ve only just gone and done all your shopping. This week has been tough… and hungry. But no, here it is. Seven days of healing food choices.

Chalk board with meal plan for the second week.

I’m S and he’s A. We’re off to a concert on Tuesday evening and grabbing dinner out, so I guess it’s six healing food choices…

As you can see from our delightful kitchen chalkboard, we share the cooking in our house. Not just because it’s the 21st century and… well… come on. But also because we both genuinely enjoy cooking something from scratch. Particularly when you’re in a couple, I think. It’s nice to have someone to cook for and to tell you something tastes nice. It makes it worth the effort.

But the very strict nature of Autoimmune Protocol was taking its toll on him a little bit last night. He sat at the laptop for quite a long time trying to find recipes that appealed to him, were easy weekday meals and didn’t contain weird hard-to-find ingredients. And found the whole thing quite tough.

It’s much easier for me because I’ve been paleo-brained for quite a while. And although he’s embraced cauliflower rice in place of conventional rice, has found his way around not making pasta any more, and remembers not to include breadcrumbs in anything he serves me, this has got to be a really difficult transition for him, because there are just so many restrictions.

Here’s a list of just some of the foods you have to avoid on the Autoimmune Protocol diet:

  • All grains (including but not limited to wheat, corn, oats, millet, quinoa, rice, rye, spelt, and barley)
  • All beans and legumes (including but not limited to black beans, peas, chick-peas, fava beans, lentils, peanuts, kidney beans, and soy in all its forms)
  • Eggs
  • Nightshades (including but not limited to chilli pepper, aubergine, potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes and paprika)
  • Seeds – and a bunch of spices made from seeds (including but not limited to cumin, coriander, mustard, pumpkin, sunflower, and chia)
  • Nuts (including but not limited to almonds, brazils, coffee, cocoa, hazelnut, pecan, macadamia, and walnut)
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • And some over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.

Quite the list, eh? It is quite daunting to tell you the truth, especially as some of our favourite foods are on there. I’m still struggling without coffee and chocolate. Mostly chocolate actually, which is surprising – I thought it would be the other way round.

Needless to say, it’s pretty difficult to find any mainstream recipes that are OK to use. In fact, I went through my entire copy of The Paleo Primer (highly recommended if you’re new to paleo. Really good set of recipes) and there are only a handful of recipes in there that are OK as is and only a few more that can be modified to be OK. There looks to be a really great book out in the US called The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, but we can’t get it in the UK yet for any reasonable price, which is unfortunate. There does seem to be a couple of sites that are pretty good, but I think a lot of the recipes just look strange to him.

“I just can’t cook anything,” he said. “Anything I know how to do anyway.”

So I think this 60 days is going to be a challenge for the both of us. It’s not just my 60 Day Autoimmune Protocol Challenge. It’s ours. I’m just so grateful that he’s even taken this seriously. I do recognise how lucky I am. It’s not just adapting to the diet and the way of cooking either. Something like this has a tendency to consume your whole life. We talk about it every day and it’s always in our minds. How can it not be? We eat at least three meals a day.

Lesson learned: This isn’t just my challenge. This is our challenge and we both need support from each other.

My support to him: I bought him three Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the supermarket last night. He was pretty happy with that. Not sure the one he had for breakfast agreed with him too well though. Hey, if he’s going to respect and appreciate my diet, I have to do the same for him!

Super Green Smoothie

My super green smoothie! Grapefruity goodness! That reminds me… I really need a simple juicer

But what I’m feeling a little more confident in is that it will all be worth it. I’ve been relatively pain-free again today, much more so than I have been in a long time, so something I’m avoiding that I wasn’t before is making a difference. And now that we’ve been shopping, I can make my meals much more interesting. I have only two slices of bacon left and I intend to eat those tomorrow, then we’re breakfast smoothies all the way, baby! Check out this bad boy on the right from this morning.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. Because actually, when you think about it, here is the list of foods that you can eat:

  • Vegetables (including but not limited to artichoke, rocket, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, rhubarb, spinach and squash)
  • Roots (including but not limited to carrots, beet, celeriac, onion, parsnip, radish, sweet potato and yam)
  • Meats (including but not limited to beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, chicken, duck, pork and venison)
  • Fruit (including but not limited to apple, apricot, blueberry, cherries, coconut, dates, figs, grapefruit, honeydew, lemon, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon)
  • Herbs (including but not limited to basil, coriander, lavender, lemongrass, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme)
  • Spices (including but not limited to cinnamon, garlic, ginger, salt and turmeric)
  • A bunch of other stuff like paleo oils (not from nuts and seeds, offal, ferments, and pantry items like coconut flour, apple-cider vinegar, dried fruit, olives, tuna, and dates.

So, once you look at that list, even if we just took two vegetables, a meat, and a couple of herbs and spices from each list for each meal, we’d have enough combinations to last a lifetime and not get bored. I think the problem here is that we’re looking for recipes to follow. We might just have to go back to basics and get creative from there.

Yes we can!


Food Diary
Breakfast: Avocado Grapefruit Smoothie minus the hemp obviously. I used maple syrup as my sweetener and included the optional spinach.
Lunch: Tuna salad
Dinner: Grilled steak and veg
Snacks: Banana and Coconut Cookies, and a handful of dates

Pain Level (out of 10)
2 for most of the morning and then easing off to almost 0 in the afternoon.

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One thought on “Day 5: Meal planning and the strain of the switch

  1. Pingback: Day 16: Recipes, recipes and more recipes: the key to AIP success | My 60 day Autoimmune Protocol Challenge

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