It’s Christmas! Well, not yet. But it is December, which is almost the same thing. And as the festive season gets into full swing, I find myself being invited to a whole host of Christmas-themed get-togethers. As Boyfriend and I will also be flying to Chicago in less than a week to spend Christmas with his family, it means starting Christmas a bit earlier over here in order to fit everyone in. I also totally coincidentally know a lot of people with birthdays in December… so double trouble. How does one cope with all these difficult-to-control food situations? Errrm… I was hoping you’d tell me.
I am not going to do a poor rewrite of the excellent posts that have already been written on eating out on AIP. Yes, that’s probably just me being lazy, but here are some links to blog posts written by people who are less lazy. You should check them out:
Actually, they’re the only ones I could really find. Most of the other posts just say ‘don’t do it!’, ‘it’s too hard!’ and ‘carry your own food everywhere!’ Hmmm. That doesn’t really help. But this is an unfortunate fact of the AIP elimination diet. Many restaurants will just simply be out of the question.
I’ve found a couple that will do me a plain chicken salad with olive oil as a dressing, but they’re really the only ones I’ve found that have felt completely safe – and even then, when I think about it, the chicken was probably not grass-fed and was probably fried in seed oils. Another find I’ve been reasonably happy with is carvery on a Sunday. Meat and vegetables are your friends on AIP and if you ignore the Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes, it can feel as though you’re eating a 100% AIP meal. But then the broccoli might inadvertently be covered in butter, the gravy won’t be gluten-free, and you can’t guarantee the meat will be grass fed or pasture raised.
So, is it just too difficult to eat out while on the AIP challenge? I think I’m afraid it is. Did that stop me from eating out on the AIP diet? Yea, pretty much. There were a couple of exceptions, but we saved a ton of money not eating out during the full elimination stage. Now I’m reintroducing some foods (albeit haphazardly and not in a very controlled way), I have to make the decision over whether I keep strictly to the AIP stage I’m in and basically turn down all my festive invites, or turn up and starve while everyone else eats, or turn up and just be sensible about it.
I’ve made the decision to give myself a break – not a ‘the diet is off and I’m going to eat whatever I want’ break, but more of an ‘I will use my knowledge of paleo and AIP to make the best choices possible from what is available while allowing myself to have fun’ break. I should note this decision is made much easier by the fact I’ve had minimal to zero pain for a couple of weeks now. If you’re still in pain and suffering, this decision might not be the right one for you.
Festive mantra: I will use my knowledge of paleo and AIP to make the best choices possible from what is available while allowing myself to have fun
But I am also very much a social creature and I love getting together with people throughout December to celebrate and join in the festivities. It was great to be able to say ‘yes’ to a birthday dinner at a Korean restaurant on Saturday evening. I passed on the rice and anything that had soy in it, but went crazy for the DIY barbecue and steamed veg. I even allowed myself some kimchi and a little bit of chilli. It’s a compromise. It was still tough and I still seemed pretty darn fussy to my friends, but I was able to get the best of both worlds – keeping my diet relatively clean while still enjoying time out at the weekend.
To reiterate, this isn’t going to be the right decision for everyone and indeed there will be an argument for many to remain as strict as possible in order to get well. For me, I have a lot of events coming up over the next week, including a get-together on Tuesday with free food for a monthly tech meetup I go to and our work’s Christmas do on Thursday. Hopefully, I’ve healed to the point where I’ll be able to take it. If not, you’ll certainly hear about it.
Do you ever cut yourself some slack on AIP or your restricted diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Breakfast: Smoked salmon, fried egg (reintroduced) and salad
Lunch: Smoked salmon, avocado and lime salad
Dinner: Fish in a blanket (basa, covered in pesto, wrapped in parma ham), cauliflower mustard mash (reintroduced), salt and vinegar kale chips
Snacks: Homemade marshmallowy mix bar thing, macadamia nuts (reintroduced)
Pain level (out of 10)