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.

22 thoughts on “The Elimination Diet of Sadness

  1. Yours is a more restrictive diet than my “gall bladder” diet which is pretty much avoid fatty foods and red meat.
    I fall off the diet wagon and then have to get back on.
    But taters, I love them, just can’t deep fry them… we won’t even talk about bacon. can’t … give … it … up

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, update: I finally found a sugar-free bacon yesterday! I’m so happy.

      I think it helps having an end date to shoot for, despite knowing that I might have to extend it if things don’t noticeably improve. It’s a lot easier to be good and stick to something 100% when you know it’s not forever. If I were in this for the long haul I’m pretty sure I would’ve already cheated.


    • What on earth does red meat have to do with a gallbladder when you can eat lean red meat?

      If you’ve still got your gallbladder, you need to be working it, girl. Ask your doc are they sure that you shouldn’t be eating fatty foods. You’re just going to give yourself stones in the long run. (If you do have stones, there’s a drug that sometimes dissolves them.)

      If you don’t have your gallbladder and your diet is about avoiding symptoms due to bile dumping, you can eat shorter-chain fats like coconut oil. It’s the longer-chain fats that’ll have you camping out on the potty. You’ve got to eat SOME fat, or you’re gonna have problems in the long run.

      Oh, and go gluten-free in either case. Gallbladder problems are frequently a warning that you and wheat (etc.) will never get along. Ever.


  2. That sounds awful! I’m saying that for you but I am also being selfish. I was just diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. The jury is still out on what exact variety I have. I’ve never been through anything like this before but if that’s what’s in my future I am not thrilled. Especially if I have to give up alcohol. What kind of cruel and unusual punishment is that? Sorry for making this about me. I so totally hope that it’s only a temporary diet for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Noooooooo I wouldn’t wish autoimmune disease on my worst enemy. Sorry you’re dealing with it too, and I hope you get some clearer answers soon about exactly what type(s) you have.

      Quite honestly, as much as it sucks at first I have to recommend this diet. I wish I’d known about it sooner; maybe my disease wouldn’t have progressed this badly if I had. It’s been three weeks so far and I’ve definitely noticed a boost to my energy levels and a decrease in my chronic aches and pains. My husband remarked on the change in me too. It’s required a little bit of innovation in the kitchen, but luckily there are plenty of resources online to help with that.

      Good news is that it IS intended to be temporary. It’s really just a tool to help give your insides a reset and figure out which food items you might be better off without. Much less doom and gloom than you might think!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope you’re still doing well on this, and upbeat as always. I have done this too – have done nearly everything under the sun in the name of stupid auto-immune disease that I fantasize about murdering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen. Stupid lack of murderability. I didn’t realize you were in the auto-immune bullshit club too; sorry to hear that.

      Diet’s been going pretty well. Fatigue hasn’t let up but there’ve been noticeable improvements in most of my other symptoms. My husband’s been on the diet with me because he figured meals would be too much of a hassle for us otherwise, and he’s actually seeing positive effects too.

      So I really can’t complain, except I’m going to anyway, because I miss pizza like CRAZY.


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  7. So, one thing you might try is bone broth. Not the crap they sell in stores – no, not even in whole food stores. Make your own. It can be yummy, really – and if you don’t like the taste, just add it to things like stew. There are a bazillion recipes online. Ignore the ones that tell you to roast the bones – it just makes them hard, which means they don’t release their goodness that easily, and if you then boil them until they’re soft enough to smash the taste is a bit nasty. Also, do soak the raw bones in a bit of apple cider vinegar and water before you start cooking them. It softens them and they give up their goodness more easily.

    Based on my research this stuff has magical properties for leaky gut, and I have learned to look forward to a cup of hot bone broth on a cold day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, bone broth is the shit. I got into that first thing when I was starting out. The taste is definitely unique but I got to like it pretty quickly. It did feel a little weird chugging down broth in the summer at the beginning, but I got used to that too. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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