My Autoimmune Paleo & 21 Day Sugar Detox
This is my second week of my Autoimmune Paleo & 21 Day Sugar Detox. I announced it here last week. I am using "Practical Paleo" by Diane Sanfilippo as my guide. If you are going to try this diet or any version of Paleo, start with this book. Really. And get it in paperback. I bought it first for my Kindle, but I didn't use it.
Start with the Why
So what is Autoimmune Paleo & the 21 Day Sugar Detox? And why are you doing it? Well, first I will start with the "Why". I have eaten gluten free and (mostly) dairy and soy free for nearly one year now after getting diagnosed as having Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease. I go into more detail about that in this post. I feel better and have stopped taking my asthma and antihistamine medications, but I still feel one baby step away from a sick day.
My throat is sore every day. My nose and eyes run (less than before, but still almost constantly). I am physically tired from the moment I wake up. I have brain fog that can no longer be blamed on sleepless nights or babies since my daughters are now five and two years old. And I am on-edge emotionally more often than I'd like to admit - either losing my temper or crying. I only recently also realized that my body temperature that swings like a pendulum from freezing to sweating may also be something I can fix
I am a highly functioning person. Let's just get that out of the way. No one other than my husband and kids would even notice these things. Even then, I try to keep it to myself as much as possible. That is probably part of the problem, but, yeah, it is what it is.
So I decided to take another look at my diet and everything really and reassess. Life is too short to drudge through it like this and my family doctors don't have the tools to help me. It is my choice. And it is up to me. It is MY body and MY life, after all.
What is Autoimmune Paleo & the 21 Day Sugar Detox?
It is actually called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), but I think of it as a version of Paleo. Autoimmune Paleo doesn't sound any less weird to outsiders than Autoimmune Protocol, but it makes me feel less like a patient or a robot. By now, people are familiar with Paleo or think they are. Here is a more information on it, but a Paleo diet basically includes meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts & seeds. The Autoimmune Protocol takes that one step further. Here is an AIP quick guide from the Ultimate Paleo Guide that I keep in my phone for reference.
The biggest change for me was needing to eliminate caffeine, nuts, potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, and sugar. Say goodbye to almond milk, peanut butter, french fries, potato chips, coffee and dark chocolate. Well, it is more of a "See you later". I hope to be able to reintroduce some of these things after my immune system is stronger.
And then there is the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Why do both? Well, honestly, there is a group of my friends doing a 21 Day Sugar Detox over at Lighten Up 2016. Most of the people are doing fasting, but I feel like I am doing my own sort of fasting - not eating some of my favorite foods - so the practical and mental gymnastics are very similar. They have been a huge source of support and inspiration.
You can find out more about the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) here. And here is a 21DSD quick guide that I keep in my phone too.
The concepts quickly got overwhelming and the panic crept in about what I was going to eat at the next meal and what I could feed my family. And, of course, I felt just a little bit sorry for myself. So, I decided to make it into a game. I call it the "Habit Game". Elizabeth Gilbert gave me this idea last year. In her book, "Big Magic" she talks about becoming a trickster instead of a martyr. Powerful stuff. Read about it here.
So, in typical accountant fashion, I set up a Google spreadsheet and assigned points to eat each meal AIP or 21DSD. I give myself 1 point for each meal I eat that is 21DSD and I give myself another 5 points for each meal that is AIP. So I can earn up to 6 points per meal.
I also assigned points to not eating or drinking some of the things I was going to miss most. For instance, I give myself 5 points when I do not have my morning coffee. And if I have a perfect day, I give myself a 15 point bonus. Most importantly, I do not assign negative points if I don't eat a meal according to plan. I hate the idea that the work of one bad meal can wipe out my points for eating another meal according to plan.
Now, here is the fun part: 1 Point = $1
And at the bottom of my spreadsheet, I have a running list of all the nice things or activities I would like to splurge on or reward myself with. For instance, I put some of my points towards buying the paperback copy of "Practical Paleo". I plan to get a manicure and a facial soon. But mostly, my list includes supplements and beauty products that are recommended for detoxing my body further. I will write more about detoxing my environment in the next post, though. I think I reached my Freak Flag quotient for one post.
How does it feel?
Today is Day #8 and it is still tough. Setting myself up for success and making the time to do it are KEY. I now notice how each thing I eat effects my body. It is very interesting when I am not annoyed by it. For instance, I stopped eating peanut butter, but switched to almond butter because it just seemed impossible to me to eat a green apple plain. Green apples are one of three fruits I can eat right now so they end up being my snack or satisfy my nightly sweets craving.
Yesterday, I realized my nose started running immediately after eating almond butter. Damn it! Gonna have to stop eating almond butter too. But, to get 100% of the benefits, I basically have to aim for 100% eating on-plan. The sooner I do that, the sooner I can heal and reintroduce the foods I miss.
And, today, my runny nose
If you have made it this far, thanks for reading this. It is probably more helpful for me to write this than it is for you to read it. Any comments of support would be greatly appreciated.