The Elimination Diet of Sadness

Sometimes we have to do terrible things in the name of being healthy.

Terrible, horrible, sugar-free, wheat-free, potato-free, cauliflower-“rice”-eating things.

Pray for me.

In a nutshell, I finally bit the bullet and acknowledged that despite all the progress I’ve made damping down the hellfire of my thyroid-murdering autoimmune disease through fitness, mindfulness and supplements, there was still more work to be done, and maybe I should quit whining about the poor digestion and hangover-like symptoms that inevitably follow eating shit I know is bad for me and just, y’know, stop eating shit that’s bad for me.

Trouble is, there’s a lot more shit that might be bad for me than I had realized.

Apparently, autoimmune diseases go hand in hand with having a gut lining like Swiss cheese. Funnily enough, this is generally not something you want your innards to resemble. Having a leaky gut means that a bunch of the crappier, more unhelpful things in your food, things that would normally get unceremoniously ushered safely and stealthily out the pooper chute, suddenly have the green light to waltz right on into the bloodstream instead and trigger all kinds of fun immune and allergic responses once there.

Imagine if a flash mob started a pillow fight in a glue factory. That kind of bullshittery.

Leaky gut can also interfere with iron absorption – which makes sense seeing as my body can’t store iron to save its life – as well as vitamin B12 absorption.

One of the symptoms of B12 deficiency is impaired mental function.
Don’t pretend like this doesn’t explain a lot about me.

So just how do you help repair your leaky gut so it’ll quit exacerbating your fucking autoimmune disease and making you stupid?

Well, according to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, you stop eating everything good in life and wallow in a pit of leafy green cruciferous misery.

I may be overreacting just a touch.

Truth be told, I love 99% of the things I’m allowed to eat on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol).1 They’re flavorful, nutritious, and items I actively crave whenever I’ve been on too long of a sugar and fast food naughty binge.

It’s the things I normally love to cook/serve with those things that are tough to lose.

Seeya, soy.
Regards, rice.
Toodles, tomatoes.
Later, ‘taters.

And where there are some things I definitely knew ought to be off my table already based on personal experience (sugar, alcohol, dairy), there were a few no-no foods that took me by surprise.

Bell peppers? Fuck my life. Nutty Hubby and I practically live off roasted peppers.
Green beans and peas? Noooooo.
Sunflower seeds? But…but…
Almonds?! But healthy people keep practically screaming at you to eat almonds!

Sorry, them’s the rules.

Oh yeah, and no ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, and no coffee either, so I guess in the event that I get a migraine I’ll just have to stick with the old-fashioned method of wishing it away.

If there’s one thing my first AIP shopping trip did for me, it was alert me to just how much random shit goes into store-bought food. Twelve days ago I never would have thought a little safflower oil or mustard seed or maltodextrofragilisticexpialidocious snuck into a product could ever be a dealbreaker, but here we are.

It’s pretty astounding how many simple things I can’t buy now thanks to just one or two contraband ingredients. This chicken broth should be okay, right? No, it has corn starch in it. How about this beef broth then? Nope, tomato. (Never mind that there’s a totally separate “Tomato & Spice” version by the same company; apparently all the beef broth must be tomatofied.) Well, what about this other brand…CANE SUGAR?! SERIOUSLY?

On the bright side, I can have bacon! Oh wait, THEY ADD SUGAR TO THAT TOO.

Okay, breathe. It’s only for a month.
Welcome to my new mantra, by the way.
It’s only for a month, it’s only for a month.

Unless it’s not.

A month is the bare minimum a person should be strictly AIP before they can start trying to reintroduce foods. The reality is it can reportedly take several months or even years to see enough of an improvement to reach this stage.

I’m really, really hoping I don’t end up on the “years” end of this spectrum.
Because I’m only 11 days in and already the lack of potatoes is making me super envious of Mark Watney, and that dude was stranded on friggin’ Mars.

Yes, that’s right, I’m jealous of a fictional character who went through horrible thing after horrible thing trying to survive alone on another planet, because he at least had potatoes to eat and I don’t. I’m aware that my priorities may be a tad skewed.

Blame it on the lack of B12.

1 The 1% being kombucha. Fuck kombucha.