Day 44? What the hell? What happened to Day 43? Day 43 passed me by so quickly, it just completely slipped my mind to sit down and write in the evening. Sorry about that But despite its absence from the archives, Day 43 is definitely significant, because guess what… it was my FIRST PAIN FREE DAY IN OVER A YEAR.
I can’t say that I felt entirely 100% normal (but then I’m not sure I can remember what that feels like anyway). But if there was discomfort, it wasn’t even enough to register as a 1 on the pain scale. I celebrated with steak. And gammon. And chicken. Nom nom nom.
But now the real fun starts. I said that if I had a pain free day today, I would start the reintroduction phase early. This is probably a little sooner than recommended, but I’ve made this decision for a couple of reasons: 1. I don’t want to be a complete pain over the holidays. I’ll still have to be careful, but if I can reintroduce some common foods before then it will make my life a lot easier, 2. This diet is taking it out of me emotionally and I’m concerned about the stress it might be causing me that could adversely be affecting my health, 3. I’m not convinced I’m planning well enough in advance (which is pretty tough if you have a busy career and are out and about all over the place), which means I don’t think I’m eating enough and enough variety in particular to maintain the healing process.
Lesson learned: You have to decide when following the rules is good for you and when breaking them is good for you.
That last one is quite important actually. Putting aside the weight loss, I am seriously craving foods like I have never before. And I’m craving foods that are not even paleo-friendly let alone AIP-friendly. I’m craving sugar and getting around the rules by eating a full bag of dates at a time or eating four or five pieces of fruit in a day. When I was eating paleo, I was eating macadamias as snacks and probably maintaining a much more even insulin level. I have no doubt at all that my glucose intake has increased substantially since eating AIP.
In actual fact, eating that much fruit is breaking the AIP rules as you are meant to limit yourself to two pieces of fruit per day. What’s funny is I don’t even have a sweet tooth when I’m eating normally. I’ve always had more savoury tastes.
But anyway, here’s the fun part. Reintroduction. So, what am I going to reintroduce first? I have given this a lot of thought. I’m still going to have to eat AIP for the most part and just reintroduce one food at a time, so I thought first about reintroducing the foods that I miss the most – for example, chocolate. Man I miss chocolate.
But chocolate is not a good choice especially if I want to keep glucose intake down. Because if I continue to eat AIP, but see chocolate as my treat, I’ll ditch the dates and eat the same amount of chocolate instead. And that’s not going to be good for anyone.
Then I thought maybe first I should reintroduce the foods that are going to make life more convenient. Tomatoes and eggs would fall into this category. Eggs make breakfast so much easier. Tomatoes make all meals much easier. Soups and stews and vegetable bakes and tomatoey sauces. I miss being able to cook with tomatoes.
But when it comes down to it, one of the major problems I’m having is snacking on dried fruit. I need something to replace the dried fruit really as they’re the only food (other than fresh chilli peppers) that I can clearly associate with painful flares. So, I have made the decision to reintroduce nuts first, starting with macadamias. Hurrah for nuts.
Tomorrow I will be chowing down on a small bag of macadamias I have in the cupboard and hoping I get through another pain free day. If I stay out of pain this evening, that will be two days in a row and tomorrow will be three. It feels pretty good, I have to say.
So, wish me luck! I will keep you updated as always. I’m really hoping this can be the beginning of the end of this ordeal. The ultimate aim is to get back to eating a paleo diet with maybe one or two more foods eliminated from my overall diet. This means I will never go back to eating grains or legumes. I am planning on testing dairy at some point, but keeping it very limited in the long-term, so it will probably be one of the last foods I test. I’m really looking forward to this next stage in the challenge. I already feel so much more optimistic.
Have you successfully completed an elimination diet? What did you introduce first?
Breakfast: Smoothie (cherries, coconut milk, banana, dried ginger, spinach, coconut water)
Lunch: Smoked salmon salad with organic balsamic vinegar
Dinner: Bacon and guacamole stuffed lamb burgers
Snacks: 2 packets of plantain chips
Pain level (out of 10)