Day 29: Holidays on the Autoimmune Protocol

It’s Christmas! Well, that’s what the TV and all department stores in the UK would have you believe anyway. Not sure what it’s like for you guys state-side as I realise you have the convenient buffer of Thanksgiving to get through first. For me, we’re not truly in the Christmas season until we’ve had the John Lewis Christmas and Coca Cola adverts on TV and I’ve heard Stay Now by East 17 on the radio.

So far, I’ve only seen the John Lewis advert and only then because someone sent it to me. I should say that I don’t personally have any sentimental reaction to these adverts particularly, but everyone in the office at work goes a bit crazy over them. Especially those with young children. Here’s this year’s…

To be honest, I’m not sure whether John Lewis might be trying to subtly get the message across that buying your buddy a mail-order bride for Christmas is totally acceptable. Perhaps they’ll be expanding their Christmas line next year? The seed has been sown. Also, turns out it’s not just my colleagues who go crazy over these ads every year. This is how much these SOLD OUT John Lewis toys are currently selling for on Ebay…

Monty the penguin John Lewis on ebay

Nuts. Wish I had one though. £300 would be a nice Christmas bonus. Must remember for next year. At least you get 300 Nectar points. Totally worth it then.

So anyway, the point is it’s only November and everybody is already Christmas-brained. It’s inescapable and if you’re a bit of a worrier and you’re currently following the Autoimmune Protocol, you may have already started going over the multiple food-related scenarios you might find yourself in over the holiday season.

Well, worry not! Because the wonderful Mickey Trescott has stimulated the AIP blogging community to come together to create an AIP holiday e-book entitled Holidays on the Autoimmune Protocol and it’s absolutely free to download. Some of the recipes are recognisable if you’ve followed some of the links on my previous recipe site posts, but there are certainly some I don’t recognise and it’s nice to have all the festive ones together in one place. Unfortunately, you can’t actually download and print this out as it’s more of an e-resource with links to the blog posts the recipes are originally featured on. But added bonus is you might find a new favourite AIP blog to follow!

Holidays on the Autoimmune Protocol. A recipe guide by the AIP blogging community.

What are you waiting for? Click the image above to download now!

The worrying will most likely be increased if you’re going to someone else for your holiday feast as you’ll have less control over what’s available for you to eat. For me this is particularly true as we fly back to Chicago to stay with Boyfriend’s mum for two weeks over Christmas. Last year nearly killed me and almost definitely exacerbated my IC symptoms through nobody’s fault at all, especially not his mum’s as she cooks pretty healthy and very tasty food. But I wasn’t even aware I had anything more than a run-of-the-mill water infection then.

You’ve heard the expression ‘killing people with kindness’ right? It’s like when grandparents always feel as though they need to fatten you up. Everyone was very keen that I sampled all the culinary delights the mid-west had to offer – which along with a lot of really tasty and somewhat compliant stuff also includes ribs (in hot sauce), chicken wings (in hot sauce, deep fried), burgers, fries, more ribs, more chicken wings, and deep dish pizza. You don’t have to be an AIP expert to know that those things fall somewhat outside the limits of this diet.

This year should be easier as his family have all met me now and we’ll probably eat out less than we did, but we’ll still have a whole two weeks where we won’t be in charge of the cooking. Luckily, Boyfriend’s mum is a fabulous cook and quite adventurous with it. She’s already asked for a list of foods I can and can’t eat, which is awesome. I’m hoping that just the fact she knows I’m having to be quite picky at the moment will alleviate any awkwardness if I leave something at the dinner table.

Are you going to be in a similar situation this holiday period? Here are some thoughts on how we might survive it and not seem rude…

  • Ask hosts beforehand if your meals can be kept simple – just meat, fish and veggies with strictly no gluten.
  • If hosts show an interest in cooking something special for you that’s AIP-compliant, send them through the Holidays on Autoimmune Protocol e-book I linked to before along with these print-out guides to what can and can’t be included.
  • Bring your own snacks! But remember to check each country’s specific restrictions on foodstuffs if you’re flying internationally.
  • Offer to help with cooking and offer to contribute towards grocery shops (especially if you think your diet might significantly increase the cost of the shop). This way you’ll get a say over many of the ingredients that are in the house.
  • I’m also planning on getting Mickey Trescott’s Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook delivered to Boyfriend’s mum’s address as it’s cheaper to buy in the US, so I can let her know she’s welcome to open it and have a look through if she likes. Boyfriend reckons she’ll enjoy the challenge of cooking something that sticks to the protocol, so I’m very lucky indeed.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got so far. This will be my first holiday season on AIP and I might crack out some of the e-book recipes for our own mini thanksgiving dinner in a couple of weeks. It will also be the first time on AIP that I’ve been out of control of my diet for such a long time. Hopefully I’ll cope! But remember, if a meal or two accidentally gets contaminated, try not to stress about it. You can always jump back on the wagon and it’s not worth the extra stress of having to constantly turn down food and make excuses sometimes, so try to have reasonable expectations and just make as sensible decisions as possible. It will be almost impossible to be militant about it.

Do you have any tips for coping with restrictive diets over the holidays? Please share them in the comments!

Food diary
Breakfast: Basa fillet with baby leaf salad, olive oil and a portobello mushroom. Leftover crackling from the pork roast yesterday.
Lunch: Skipped as wasn’t feeling cracking. Came home early from work and took a nap instead
Dinner: Chicken pad thai, followed by leftover slice of pork and a slice of honeydew melon.
Snacks: 1 pear

Pain level (out of 10)
Not a very good day today, I’m afraid. Woke up with pain around a 4, which reduced to about a 1 until 3pm-ish when I lay down for my nap at which point it went back up to a 4 in that very pinchy nerve-like pain way that it does. Grrr. Hopefully the rest of the evening will be OK as the pain is just a mild discomfort now rather than a full on flare. I’ll update later this evening.
Update: Started pinching once got into bed around 10pm. Pain level of about 3.


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