Food…glorious food. Because food encompasses so much of our lives I felt I needed to dedicate a whole page to it. If you read my page on Autoimmunity you were able to get the basics with regards to how paleo nutrition is a highly recommended protocol for those with an autoimmune diagnosis. The goal of the diet is to decrease symptoms caused by inflammation and hopefully allow for remission to take place. My hope here is to provide you with tips and knowledge gained from my own experience.
I’d like to start by commiserating with you as we think about paleo nutrition lifestyle change. It’s pretty shocking. It appears cumbersome and very restrictive at first. If you are like me, then this new way of eating would require a 95% change in diet. Once I got over the initial shock I needed to start thinking about grocery shopping. That first trip to my local specialty grocer was long, overwhelming and left me with a raging headache. Not only was the food foreign, I wasn’t familiar with how that store set up its products. I experienced serious brain overload so, I have some suggestions to pass on to make your experience more enjoyable.
You should probably make a fairly simple grocery list at first. A list with none or only a couple of unfamiliar items, otherwise you might be wandering around the store too long. If you are determined to try some new products right away, you may want to look them up online so you have an idea what they look like. I thought coconut aminos must be located in the vitamin aisle. I even asked the vitamin clerk and she said she’d never heard of them. It was months before I decided to look it up online. Come to find out it’s a sauce similar to soy sauce. No wonder the clerk was clueless.
If you’ve never been to a specialty grocery store before you may want to visit it prior to shopping and just stroll through the aisles to get the of the lay of the land. If you still have anxiety, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member to accompany you. That’s something I wished I would’ve done. Once you’re ready to head to the store just allot enough time to get through it without the added stress of feeling rushed.
These suggestions may seem silly to someone not having symptoms. Just feeling lousy, depressed and having brain fog made those first several visits to the store quite a chore. I desperately wished I had some help and guidance.
Try to keep things simple in the beginning as to not get discouraged enough to quit. I’ve experimented with some of my own recipes over the years and have included them on My Blog just to make things a little easier. I’ve also linked you to my Pinterest page so you can take a gander at all the recipes I’ve tried and found to be tasty. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve tried that ended up being a waste of time and money. I realize we may not have the same tastes, but I tried to choose ones that weren’t too “out there”.
ORGANIC VS. NONORGANIC
So, when we have an autoimmune disease our bodies are already on high alert. They’re super stressed and need to calm down. We need to help it do that by getting rid of as many toxic materials as possible. Pesticides being one of them. Shopping for organic foods will unfortunately be another added cost. Definitely, at first, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding this. I had to come to grips with the fact that organic just costs more and that my body needed it to heal. You can look into co-ops and coupons to try to save money, but there is something else. Focus on at least purchasing organic food that is a part of the dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that are really high in pesticides. They include:
- Sweet bell peppers
These fruits and vegetables have the least amount of pesticides:
- Frozen sweet peas
I puposely excluded sweet corn and papayas because even though they may be low in pesticides, the chance of them being GMOs (genetically modified organism) is high.
PALEO FOOD PRODUCTS
Since eating paleo can be so time consuming, by making dishes from scratch, I thought it a good idea to give you some paleo friendly brands. I’m including some, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), Candida (“C”) and SIBO (“S”) friendly items with their corresponding letters next to the products. Keep in mind all are paleo approved.
- Dang toasted coconut chips- AIP, S & C
- NUCO organic coconut wraps- AIP, S & C
- Gerbs Unsweetened Banana Chips (I toast them to make crispy like chips. They don’t taste like banana at all, but like chips) with Redman Realsalt (fine grained to adhere to chips)- AIP & S
- Guar gum free Natural Value canned coconut milk- AIP, S & C
- Hallelujah Hollaback sweet potato starch noodles (taste nothing like sweet potatoes, virtually flavorless)- AIP
- Inka Crops roasted plantain chips unseasoned only- AIP
- Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips – AIP
- Paleo Power Balls AIP (excluding carob flavor)
- Organic Coffee Co. Swiss water process decafinated coffee- AIP, S & possibly C (depending on phase of treatment)
- Cassava Strips – AIP
- Yucan Crunch crackers- AIP
- Guar gum free Califa Farms unsweetened almond milk (cheaper in stores)- S & C
- Bragg’s olive oil- AIP, S & C
- Garlic Gold garlic infused olive oil- AIP, S & C
- Bragg’s apple cider vinegar- AIP & possibly C (depending on treatment phase)
- Coconut Aminos – AIP, S & C
- Certain Epic Bars – the few without maple sugar are paleo friendly & 2 AIP approved (beef Apple bacon & venison sea salt pepper)
- Simple Mills breads & pastries package mixes- S & C
- Niman Ranch no sugar uncured bacon- AIP, S & C
- Nutiva Manna – AIP, S (& C depending on treatment phase)
It’s going to be important to allow yourself food variety with whichever of these protocols you are practicing. It’s easier to find a few main staple recipes/foods and stick to them, but try as much as possible to rotate out different foods. If you stick to the same foods for long periods of time (like I did), you are depriving yourself of needed nutrients provided from different foods. Once I understood the importance of rotating I was even able to do it while being on all 3 diets. For example, one week I’d eat green zucchini, the next yellow. I switched rudabega with celery root, lemons with limes and green olives with black and red beets with gold beets. You get the picture.
With all the changes, you will most likely be looking for a way to eat a familiar food but in a healthier way. Be aware that they are not the “real McCoy”, but try to have an open mind because even though they may not taste exactly the same, they could still be tasty.
- Pasta = sweet potato starch noodles or zucchini noodles
- Flour tortillas = cassava or yuca tortillas
- Potato chips = sweet potato or Gerb’s Unsweetened Banana Chips toasted with Redman Realsalt
- Tortilla chips = plantain or cassava chips
- Tomato sauce = nomato sauce (Pinterest)
- Oatmeal granola = nut granola (Pinterest)
- Breakfast oatmeal = Spaghetti Sq/pear (Pinterest)
- Tomato salsa = persimmon or fruit salsa (Pinterest)
- Mashed Potatoes = sweet potatoes, rudabega or yuca
- Peanut butter = almond butter sesame seed butter or Nutiva Manna
It might seem weird or even tedious to have a food journal. It’s partially true, but so important! I’ve been doing it for years an I really enjoy it. It helps keep me accountable, and most importantly, I am able to track any negative food reactions. This will save you from misery. Okay, and this is crucial, it can take your immune system 3-4 days to react to a food or medicine it doesn’t like. I know it would seem you’d either notice right away or within a day, but that’s not always the case. This took me years to discover. Thank you Dr. Emily Parke for educating me about this. For years I couldn’t pinpoint what was making me sick, even within the paleo nutrition perimeters. Now, if I feel sick one day, I go back 4 days in my food journal & I will find the culprit. So great.
There are so many more topics to discuss that encompass nutrition, but I just can’t cover them all here. That’s where My Blog comes in handy. I’ll be sending out various blogs in the future that will benefit you even more. If you have any topics you’d like me to discuss, please email me and let me know.