Tag Archives: Autoimmune Protocol

Reintroduction #1 – Rice!

There is a chart floating around out there somewhere that lists the four stages for reintroducing foods following the AIP Diet.  I’ve seen the chart and am familiar with the four stages but am not totally satisfied with it because the “order” for reintroduction doesn’t  always make sense to me.  Plus, because of some already known food allergies, I can’t even introduce some of the “first level foods” so I’m going out of order.

I am in NO WAY suggesting or recommending that anyone else go out of order when reintroducing foods.  I suggest that everyone follow the reintroduction phase as prescribed because I do understand there is a logic to it that my simple mind doesn’t understand.  I’ve always been somewhat of a rebel though and that seems to be carrying over into my reintroduction phase.

On “Day 35” of my AIP Diet I decided it was tie to try to reintroduce a food.  I gave it tons of thought and planning because I wanted my first reintroduction to not just be successful, but also a food that would open up some new options for me when it came to baking.  For me, that food was RICE!  Rice is normally a “fourth level food” for reintroduction but I chose rice for a few reasons:

  • Rice doesn’t contain Gluten unless it’s from cross-contamination so I purchased an organic white rice that was “gluten-free”.  (I’ve also never been diagnosed with a sensitivity to Gluten so I felt like this was a “safe” option for me.)
  • I desperately needed a new flour for baking and cooking because Coconut or Cassava Flour just weren’t cutting it.  (FYI – Rice Flour, Arrowroot, & sparkling water makes a pretty decent “tempura batter”.)
  • My husband’s mother was from Japan so rice was always a staple in his home.  He has been so great to follow the diet with me, I really wanted to add something that I knew he was missing too. (A love of sushi is what originally brought us together so I was also hopeful that we could return to eating sushi soon.)

So on “Day 35” I awoke with some trepidation because I was really afraid of trying to reintroduce a food and possibly cause flare.  After being inflammation free for almost a month, the thought of eating something that could cause me to have a setback was scary.  My love of food drove me forward though so I prepared a cup of white rice and stared at it for quite a while once it was cooked.  After staring at it for a prolonged period didn’t cause any inflammation, I took a tiny bite – a teaspoon or less.  I then nervously waited a couple of hours, the whole time going through a mental checklist of my body trying to ensure there was no reaction.   Itching? Nope! Stomach distress? Nope! Pain, brain fog, tingling, anything?  Nope, nope, nope and a big NOPE!  So a big full tablespoon of rice came next and again I waited and went through the mental checklist.  After no side effects from the full tablespoon, I had a full serving of rice with my dinner that night and waited to make sure there were no side effects the next morning/day.  I then continued to eat rice for the next couple of days just to be sure I wasn’t having some delayed reaction to the rice.  I’m happy to report that I had no side effects and that rice is now a part of my diet again!!!!  Since rice doesn’t contain much in the way of nutritional value, I still limit my intake to once or twice a week tops but I have to admit, it’s so nice to have rice back in my diet!

During that 3 day period when I was eating rice, I remembered a dish my mother use to make for me when I was a child, Rice Pudding.  Though my mother passed away a few years ago and hadn’t made Rice Pudding for me in 40+ years, I found myself CRAVING Rice Pudding and longing for it as a comfort food.  So I now had to come up with an “AIP friendly” version for Rice Pudding when rice isn’t even an allowed food on the diet.  It was important to me that it remain similar to the Rice Pudding my mother made for me all those years ago so I present the following recipe in hopes that it offers comfort to someone else – someone else that’s allowed to eat rice that is.

Reintroduction Rice Pudding

1 Cup Cooked White Rice

1 Cup Coconut Milk (full fat)

3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 – 1/2 Cup Raisins (I personally like it loaded with raisins)

Combine all ingredients in a covered saucepan and simmer on low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes until creamy and most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching.  (Depending on the amount of raisins you add, you may need to add some additional milk as the raisins will plump up and absorb a lot of the liquid.)

Bone Broth – Taking it to the Next Level

There are probably a gazillion recipes on the internet for Bone Broth but I can’t help but think my own version is the best.  It’s definitely one of the darkest, richest broths I’ve seen and I can personally attest to the rich flavor.  There are a couple of things that I do that I think elevate my Bone Broth and we’ll go into that here in the hope that everyone can “take their Bone Broth to the next level” so to speak.

First, I ALWAYS roast my bones and vegetables beforehand.  Placing everything in a roasting pan and roasting in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes instantly makes your broth darker and richer.  When roasting, it’s important to remember to include all the drippings from the pan, being sure to scrape out the bottom of the pan.  Roasting is no small thing because you can LITERALLY see the difference after roasting.

Bone Broth Roasting - Before

The top pic shows my pan full of bones (grass-fed beef and a pastured turkey back) along with some white and red onions, celery stalks, and carrots.

Bone Broth Roasting - After

This pic was taken after 25 minutes of roasting.  You can already see the difference in the bones…just look at that marrow.  (After about 8 hours of simmering, I pull the beef bones out with long tongs and use a butter knife to push the marrow out before returning the bones to the water.  I find this helps incorporate the marrow into the broth, especially if you continue to stir the pot frequently, always remembering to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.)

***Though I always include garlic in my Bone Broth, I do not roast the garlic.  While the bones and veggies are roasting I peel and crush my garlic cloves and then allow them to “rest” while everything is roasting.  During that time the garlic has time to release and retain more of the Allicin, which can be destroyed completely during cooking.  Allicin is the primary ingredient in garlic which is responsible for the broad spectrum of antibacterial properties found in garlic.***

The most important thing you can do to produce the dark, rich Bone Broth pictured at the top (I had just pulled that one out of the freezer), requires time….lots and lots of time.  I don’t even start making Bone Broth unless I know I have plenty of time because I don’t want to rush the process.  I want to make sure I draw out every single ounce of goodness that I can in the form of vitamin and minerals so I ALWAYS allow my broth to simmer for AT LEAST 24 hours, and preferable for 48 hours if possible.  That may seem like a long time and it is but, it’s totally worth it when you produce such a rich broth.  On the bright side, though it is time consuming, it doesn’t require much in the way of additional effort on your part, just some additional stirring.  I try to schedule my Bone Broth making sessions on the weekends when I have additional time.  I can start it on Friday afternoon/evening and let it simmer through Sunday.  Though stirring every few hours isn’t mandatory, I love checking on it periodically and allowing the wonderful aroma to fill the house.  🙂

It’s important to incorporate herbs that are not only beneficial to your health, but also are pleasing to your palate.  The more you enjoy the taste of your Bone Broth, the more likely you are to incorporate it into your daily diet.  Since taste is an individual thing, the choices are limitless.  Based on my own taste and health needs, I try to always add Turmeric and Ginger in addition to Rosemary and Thyme.   The important thing is to make your broth so good that you find yourself LOOKING for ways to incorporate it daily and, so flavorful that it’s delicious enough to eat alone.

Do you have a trick to take your Bone Broth to the next level?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

No Bread, Potatoes or Cheese?? OH MY!!

The hardest aspect of the AIP Diet is giving up all the foods you love.  For me, that meant no more bread, potatoes or cheese – my three favorite foods.  Not having Celiac or Hashimoto’s, I had never had to give up Gluten before starting this diet.  Honestly, I had no idea just how much I absolutely LOVE Gluten until I gave it up!

So out with all my old favorites and instead my pantry is now stocked with everything coconut…coconut flakes, milk, cream, flour, manna, oil.  Gone are my sodas, chocolates (Hello to my new friend Carob) and snack chips.  The dairy drawer in my fridge is now filled with organic fruits and vegetables and Nutritional Yeast has taken up residence in my pantry (I lie, it is actually sitting out on the countertop) as a dairy replacement.  FYI – Nutritional Yeast is the bomb when it comes to satisfying a savory cheese craving!  Though white potatoes are missing from my kitchen (never from my heart), various varieties of sweet potatoes, including white sweet potatoes, have taken their place.  The darkest and richest Bone Broth you’ve ever seen now fills the shelves of the freezer along with all the grass-fed/pastured meats.  If there’s a prepared meal in there now, it’s one made at home and strictly AIP.

I read about a lot of people staying on the diet for years without ever even trying the reintroduction phase.  A part of me can understand why I guess.  Once you suddenly find yourself feeling so healthy, the thought of having to endure a flare is scary.  I know that I personally NEVER want to feel that bad again if I can help it.  That being said, my love of food drives me forward through the reintroduction phase.  I want to be able to eat “like a normal person” again one day.  I understand that a lot of my old favorites will probably never be a part of my future healthy and inflammation free self but, how will I ever know which foods if I don’t at least try?

I envision myself one day eating ethnic food again…any and all ethnic foods.  I envision myself occasionally enjoying some decadent chocolate dessert in the future.  I envision myself totally immersing myself in the food and culture of each and every destination I travel, just as I have always done in the past.   I envision myself enjoying all of these scenarios healthy and inflammation free.  Time will tell which, if any, of these will actually come to fruition but I remain optimistic that I can move beyond the restrictions of the AIP Diet and have a full life filled with flavor…and maybe a few of my old favorite foods to keep me company along the way.

Eating MY way through AIP

I have a theory when it comes to illness/disease and the medications used to treat them:  I never want to take something that has side-effects worse than the symptoms!

When you have an Autoimmune Disease you quickly learn that in addition to battling the inflammation, infections, fatigue and brain fog, you also have to deal with the fact that you will likely develop ADDITIONAL Autoimmune Diseases too.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!  It becomes a never-ending cycle of new inflammation, new Autoimmune Disease and new drugs to treat something that is considered to be incurable.

There is another option.  Let me repeat that, THERE IS ANOTHER OPTION! Thanks to the AIP Diet (also known as the Paleo AIP or Autoimmune Protocol Diet), there is another option and it works.  The belief behind the diet is that by eliminating all foods that cause inflammation (along with any foods that may cause sensitivity), you can heal your gut and thereby remove all inflammation from your body while strengthening your immune system with nutritious foods.  It means you have to eliminate a LOT of foods from your diet for at least 30 days. (No grains, dairy, sugars, nuts, nightshades, etc.)  If you aren’t familiar with the diet, please begin your internet searches now.

Thanks to AIP, I am no INFLAMMATION FREE!!!!  I have finished my 30 day elimination period and am now beginning my “reintroduction phase”.  While still remaining on the diet, I can now begin reintroducing some old favorite foods every 5-7 days.  I’m not exactly doing it by the plan though and I’m striving to revamp some of the recipes to make them more appealing – both in taste and to be more visually appealing.

I plan on documenting this journey through the AIP Diet and the reintroduction phase, along with some new and revamped recipes.  I am hopeful others can benefit from my experience and perhaps we can learn from each other as we try to eat our way through AIP.

 

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