Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate
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AIP Reintroduction Phase | Stage 2: Chocolate

As I am going through the Autoimmune Protocol, my desire for sweets has definitely changed. I can remember craving sweets at times, prior to this diet, but ridding my diet of sugar and processed foods has changed my taste for sweet things. I no longer regularly crave sweets, and when I do indulge, a little goes a long way. Sugary treats are SO much sweeter to me than they once were! My primary go-to for a sweet treat is chocolate, and I’m happy to report that the autoimmune protocol stage 2 reintroduction of chocolate was a success!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

A clarification is needed first before diving into my blood sugar numbers. I only eat a very clean version of chocolate: dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free. Chocolate without dairy and soy is difficult to find. I have found two brands that meet these criteria: Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Bars and Pascha Bitter-Sweet chocolate chips.

Since I am extremely sensitive to dairy, I shy away from chocolate bars that are processed in facilities that handle milk products. It may be fine for some people, but I don’t want to risk cross-contamination. It takes me weeks to get over a dairy exposure, so it isn’t worth it to me.

Before I jump into my blood sugar results, here’s a quick reminder of the stages of reintroductions for the Autoimmune Protocol. The stages are ordered from foods most likely for the body to handle (stage 1) to least likely to handle (stage 4).

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phaseAs a Type 1 Diabetic, my benchmark for success or failure is based on my blood sugar levels after I eat the new food, particularly my fasting blood sugar the following morning. If my gut is irritated by food, my morning blood sugar will be higher than 150 which is my primary indicator that something is going wrong. My blood glucose goals for reintroductions are as follows:

Starting/Fasting Blood Glucose Before Eating: <130

Two-Three Hour Post Eating Blood Glucose: <150

Fasting Blood Glucose the next morning: <150

Dairy and Soy Free Chocolate

Wine and chocolate are our go-to treat for any occasion: birthdays, anniversaries, putting the kids to bed…big and small occasions alike call for chocolate and wine! While I don’t crave sweets very often, I do love to enjoy this treat with my husband. I was ecstatic when this reintroduction worked!

Meal: Dessert with dinner

Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose: 112

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 137

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 148

My fasting blood glucose remained in normal range in the days following this reintroduction too (130, 126, 136, 114…). Woot! Chocolate, at dinner time and in small amounts seems like it works with my body. I have been keeping my sweets to only dinner time because simple carbs late at night seem to raise my morning blood sugar. So wine and chocolate no longer happens after the kids go to bed, but I’m ok with that!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

Final note about reintroducing chocolate to my diet: I am still a diabetic and cannot eat copious amounts of chocolate. Maybe that goes without saying, but I thought I’d clarify just in case! My endocrinologist thinks I might forget that I’m a Type 1 diabetic so I get reminders at every appointment. 🙂 I am working with a limited amount of insulin, so large amounts of candy are never a good option!

That being said, it is nice to have a diet-friendly treat every once and a while. Just in case you were wondering, dairy and soy free chocolate taste even better than chocolate with a bunch of additives. Clean your palette and you’ll be amazed how your preference in food changes. I’m getting off topic…let’s wrap this up…This autoimmune protocol stage 2 reintroduction of chocolate has been a success!


What is your go-to sweet treat? Are you a wine and chocolate lover too? Have you tried cleansing your diet of sugar and processed foods? If so, how did your food preferences change?

Want to know more about my Autoimmune Protocol journey as a Type 1 Diabetic? Check out my resource page here!

Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Stage 2 Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

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A New Resource for Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes Management

Maybe you’ve guessed it, but I’m a bit fanatical about managing my health and diabetes through diet, exercise, and healthy habits. I know I’m following a little bit different health care plan than most diabetics, but I believe strongly in what I’m doing. It is working, and it could transform your health too! I’ve recently been contacted by people looking to hear my Type 1 diabetes story, and I did not have a succinct place to point them (I’ve written SO much!). Until now! I have a new Insulin Free Type 1 Diabetes resource page outlining my journey. My hope is it provides you encouragement to take control of your health and live your fullest life. Check it out here!


This one page starts at the beginning: my family and personal history with Type 1 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. It walks you through my Type 1 diagnosis, discovering a gluten free diet to manage my blood sugar and finally bringing you to my current diet of the Autoimmune Protocol with lots of other information in between!

I’m working on the navigation of this blog so you can find this resource page easily. Until then, this is how you find the one-stop shop to my journey to becoming an insulin free Type 1 Diabetic.

Click on the Red Menu Button

Located at the top right of the screen (desktop) or top left (phone/tablet), select the red button and a menu will drop down.

insulin free type 1 diabetes

Select “Start Here!”

The second option under the main menu is titled “Start Here!” This will take you to a page detailing my health journey and how I got to where I am today! Warning: tons of reading ahead of you, but my guess is you are already reading a ton if you are trying to take control of your health!

insulin free type 1 diabetesNew Resource Page

Just a couple clicks gets you to one page with a whole bunch of links explaining why I’m doing what I’m doing. If you have questions, please let me know in the comments below or email me!

insulin free type 1 diabetes


insulin free type 1 diabetes

stage 2 reintroduction raw almonds
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AIP Reintroduction Phase | Stage 2: Almonds

I am an adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetic using diet and healthy lifestyle habits to manage my blood sugar levels (no insulin!). My diet consists of the Autoimmune Protocol plus a few spices/oils, green beans, and wine in small quantities. The reintroduction phase is slow, very very slow, because I make sure I have stable blood sugars, my normal, before I attempt a new food. The food up for challenge today is a stage 2 reintroduction of raw almonds.

stage 2 reintroduction of raw almonds

For reference, below are the four stages of reintroduction. While it is not necessary to follow the stages precisely, they are ordered from foods most likely for the body to handle (stage 1) to least likely to handle (stage 4).

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phaseAs a Type 1 Diabetic, my benchmark for success or failure is based on my blood sugar levels after I eat the new food, particularly my fasting blood sugar the following morning. If my gut is irritated by food, my morning blood sugar will be higher than 150 which is my primary indicator that something is going wrong. My blood glucose goals for reintroductions are as follows:

Starting/Fasting Blood Glucose Before Eating: <130

Two-Three Hour Post Eating Blood Glucose: <150

Fasting Blood Glucose the next morning: <150

Raw, Whole Almonds

Homemade trail mix is a go-to snack in our house. I keep all the components in separate containers, and I mix up a bowl of it for my kids every day, sometimes more than once a day! The usual selections are almonds, cashews, pecans, raisins, and chocolate chips. Other possibilities are banana chips, dates, and dried apricots but we don’t always have these on hand.

Since this is a daily snack for us, I was so disappointed to give up nuts to start the Autoimmune Protocol (that and homemade larabars!), and I was SO excited to give raw almonds a try again!

Meal: Snack before dinner

Lunch Blood Glucose: 127

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 102

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 143

Excellent results! My normal fasting blood sugar is in the 140’s so as long as my fasting number remains below 150, I consider the reintroduction a success. I have actually tried raw, whole almonds on three occasions, and my blood sugar responds superbly. Score!

stage 2 reintroduction raw almonds

Raw nuts are packed full of good fiber, protein, and fat without a lot of carbohydrates. They are a great snack choice for anyone on the AIP diet, diabetic, or none of the above! Being able to eat almonds again opens my diet up even more which makes me ecstatic! Stage 2 reintroduction of raw almonds is a success!


What are your go-to healthy snacks? I had to learn to like nuts as I grew up in a non-nut eating family. Nuts are my favorite now!

stage 2 reintroduction raw almonds

 

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Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes | 1 Year Review

I was diagnosed with adult-onset, Type 1 Diabetes in April 2017. Since that time, I have made radical changes to my diet and lifestyle. First I removed gluten from my diet, then added WAY more vegetables. When that diet needed some tweaking, I dabbled in my first elimination diet and eliminated dairy and all grains. Currently, I am following the Autoimmune Protocol for my diet and slowly reintroducing foods. I recently had my annual endocrinologist appointment, so let’s review how my labs look, my diet, what my doctor thinks of my management, and plans for the future!

insulin free diabetes 1 year review

Lab Results

My annual check-up involves some lab work. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and if you have one autoimmune disease, it is likely you’ll contract another. I believe this only occurs if you have not found the trigger of the autoimmune response. Once you find the trigger (gluten for me and likely for most others) and remove it from your body and environment, the autoimmune response stops. In the chart below, you’ll find the major areas I and my doctor team are tracking. Some are looking for other autoimmune conditions and others just overall health and monitoring the long term effect of diabetes on the body.

type 1 diabetes health markersThyroid

My thyroid levels have lowered and are now in the normal range. This is comforting to me because thyroid disorders are linked to some autoimmune diseases, which I am susceptible to since I have an autoimmune disease. Also, I have a family history of thyroid disorders.

Cholesterol

While my current cholesterol levels are perfect, I wish I had a comparison from my time of diagnosis. I suspect my cholesterol (HDL specifically) has improved because I have not rated in the past at the top tier for life insurance because my HDL was too low. I need to quote it again! I think I’d rate better now!

Vitamin D

My vitamin D is below normal range. I started taking a vitamin D supplement about two months ago (2000 IUs per day), but per my doctor’s recommendation, I will be doubling that for the next year (4000 IUs per day) to bring that level up into normal range.

GAD65

I requested my GAD65 levels (presence of elevated levels of this antibody diagnoses Type 1 diabetes) to be checked again merely out of curiosity. I believe I have stopped the autoimmune response in my body, and I wondered if that meant my antibody levels would decrease or if they are still there, just dormant. It looks like I still have a might force of GAD65 in my system! I will continue to request this test though as long as I am insulin-free simply because I’m curious. I’ve seen that the gut takes a long time to heal, so maybe antibody levels change slowly too. I don’t know. Time will tell!

A1c

Fantastic improvement in A1c (average blood sugar for the past 2-3 months)! This look is year over year, and you may remember I had significant improvement in A1c immediately with my diet changes (3 month, 6 month, 9 month).

Weight

Dramatic weight loss is one of the markers for diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes. Weight loss is common before diagnosis, or even after as carbs are limited, because the body is not using the nutrition it is being fed.

I lost a few pounds prior to diagnosis about 2-4. The dramatic weight loss came after diagnosis. Within 6 weeks, I had dropped 13 pounds. The rapid loss shocked me, and I wondered at first if my diet was sufficient or would I continue to loose weight. Two months after diagnosis, my weight stopped dropping and it has remained the same ±1lb for the rest of the year. That’s incredibly stable for me! I don’t know of a period in my life that I could eat, be full and literally not gain weight. Amazing what real food does for you!

Diet Review

I am following the Autoimmune Protocol for my daily diet. The strict elimination phase began in February 2018, and the reintroduction phase in April 2018. As you can see by my lab results, the diet is working wonderfully to manage my Type 1 diabetes without insulin.

Diet is a huge piece of my management plan, but healthy habits and lifestyle choices are a big factor too. These habits/choices are basic things we all know we should do: get enough sleep, move your body, and manage stress.

Doctor’s Recommendations

So what does my doctor think? They have no idea what to do with me. They are thrilled and yet skeptical. Overjoyed with my numbers and wishing they could have all their patients take control of their health the same way. I’ve had 6 office visits in the last year, and my doctor has had zero recommendations for me. They do their blood work, nerve tests, blood pressure, pulse, etc. and send me on my way. These visits are quick and easy.

Plan for the Future

In the following months/year, I plan to continue working through food reintroductions. One of my goals for this year was to figure out exactly what I can eat. I think it will take the remainder of the year or longer to figure this out. Food reintroductions are slow!

After working so hard this year to figure out my health, the wheels in my head are spinning to think of a way to help others take control of their health. Could I offer classes at my endocrinologist’s office? Online video or ebook courses here on the blog? One-on-one coaching? Become more of a “food blogger.” I don’t have any answers right now, just ideas floating around. Helping other improve their health sounds like a good goal for me down the road.

My insulin free diabetes 1 year review was a smashing success. The doctors and even myself to a certain extent are amazed at my blood sugar control and overall health. There were many points in the last year that I would doubt this insulin free road would continue for very long, but I have been proven wrong over and over again. Food is powerful medicine! Pair it with healthy habits and who knows what you could cure next??


If you are having health issues, where would you look for help? Would you trust a blogger? Would you only seek out medical advice? Do you have an idea for how I could help people??

AIP Reintroduction Mace
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AIP Reintroduction Phase | Stage 1: Fruit and Seed Spices and Oils

After the egg yolk debacle that threw off my Type 1 diabetes game for 3 full weeks, I was hesitant to try to reintroduce any more food. While I did really want the freedom of a more varied diet, the thought of a stressful 3 weeks of recovery due to a few small bites was a very nerve wracking thought. After working up the guts to test wine (and succeeding!), I decided to tackle a few fruit and seed spices and seed oils. The objects up for testing today are mace, mustard seed, sesame oil, and green beans.

AIP Reintroduction Sesame Oil

The four stages of reintroductions are in the graphic below. All of the ones I’m discussing today are all in Stage 1. Mace is a fruit-based spice used in bratwurst. Fun fact: mace is the most distinguishing flavor in a brat. It’s not a brat without mace! Mustard seed is, wait for it, a seed spice! Sesame oil is a seed oil, and green beans are a legume with an edible pod.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Reintroducing a new food to the diet is a structured process, and it basically has three steps:

  1. Take one small bite and monitor for 15 minutes for a severe reaction
  2. Eat one normal sized bite and monitor for 2-3 hours
  3. Eat one serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3-7 days

I followed all of these steps, except #1 which I forgot sometimes. So reintroducing these four items took some time. I’ll give you the good news up front: all of these were successful! Whew!

For any other Type 1 Diabetics out there wondering how I evaluate a successful reintroduction on the Autoimmune Protocol, below are my stats after eating these foods. If this is too much info for you non-diabetics, you can stop reading now!

Below is a reminder of my blood sugar goals which will help you evaluate if a food is a successful re-addition to your diet or not.

Starting/Fasting Blood Glucose: <130

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: <150

Fasting Blood Glucose the next morning: <150

Mace & Mustard Seed

These two spices were reintroduced together because they are both in the bratwurst recipe my husband and I made. Testing two spices at the same time is not recommended. If it had failed, I would still need to retest one at a time to figure out which one or both was affecting my gut! Lucky for me, they both passed with flying colors.

Meal: Brats with breakfast

Fasting Blood Glucose: 140

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 106

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 132

Win, win, win! Meat grinding and sausage stuffing is a newfound hobby of ours, so this victory is so exciting! No need to stop making brats at our house!

**Note: Mustard seed is not the same as prepared, yellow mustard. Mustard seed is only the seed without other ingredients. Traditional yellow mustard has paprika in it which is a nightshade and a Stage 3 reintroduction.**

AIP Reintroduction Mace

Sesame Oil

With Korean blood running through our family, Asian food is near and dear to our hearts. Many Korean dishes we make are just flat without sesame oil. For that reason, I chose sesame oil as the next challenge.

Meal: Cauliflower rice drizzled with sesame oil at dinner

Starting Blood Glucose: 88

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 134

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 149

A fasting blood sugar of high 140’s is still a success in my book. My blood sugar had been in the 140’s all this week, so 149 was right in line with where I was that week. Another win that will make my food even more delicious!

Green Beans

The final reintroduction today is green beans. Prior to the Autoimmune Protocol, I would buy huge bags of frozen, organic green beans from Costco. For me, it’s an easy, quick second vegetable to add to our dinner, and bonus, cooks on the stovetop versus the oven. Many meals look like this for us: meat and starchy vegetable roasts in the oven and green beans in a sauce pan on the stove. I have a much greater chance of finishing all the dishes at the same time when items are spread out between oven and stove.

Meal: Green beans were drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and served as a side dish to baked chicken chimichurri and acorn squash for dinner. 

Starting Blood Glucose: 103

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 110

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 143

What a relief to have some successes under my belt! Mace, mustard seed, sesame oil, and even green beans are not a part of my daily diet, but rather 1-2 times a week at this point. I’ve tried all of these multiple times, and I continue to have good blood sugar readings. So I’m confident that these four are a permanent re-addition to my diet!


What have you been winning at in your life lately? Food? Diet? Exercise? Reading? Feeding your dog??? Any win, do share; encourage us!

AIP Reintroduction Mustard Seed

AIP Reintroduction Wine
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The Autoimmune Protocol | Stage 2 Reintroduction: Wine

I am a Type 1 Diabetic working through the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. I stayed on the strict elimination phase for 43 days before trying my first reintroduction, egg yolks, and that failed miserably. Today, I’m happy to report a successful Stage 2 reintroduction: wine.

AIP Reintroduction Wine

A quick reminder of the reintroduction stages is below. The stages are organized by which foods an autoimmune-impaired body will mostly likely tolerate (stage 1) to least likely (stage 4). It isn’t necessary to follow in a precise order, but the most likely place for a win is in stage 1.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My first reintroduction of egg yolks elevated my blood sugar for 3 weeks! In my first report, I thought I had recovered after 2 weeks, but really my morning blood sugar didn’t return to sub-150’s until 3 full weeks after the egg yolk challenge.

Feeling pretty defeated after that first reintroduction, I chose my second reintroduction to please myself rather than following the Autoimmune Protocol stages. I am human, folks. Wine in small quantities was my second reintroduction.

Type 1 Diabetic  Reintroduction Criteria: Two-three hours post consumption blood glucose reading of less than 150, and a fasting blood glucose the next morning of less than 150.

Reintroduction Challenge: Red Wine

The first introduction of wine, or any alcohol, should be in small quantities. I measured out 2 ounces of red wine and drank it in in one sitting after dinner. I did not do the one small sip then wait for a reaction after 15 minutes. This step is to watch for severe allergies with an anaphylaxis reaction; I’m banking on wine won’t do that to me. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t!)

The pre-bed blood glucose reading that night, about 3 hours after drinking the wine, was 116, and my fasting blood glucose the next morning was 155. Since the fasting blood glucose is my major measure of success, I was hesitant to call this a win. However, glucose meters have a margin of error of ±20%. So while my blood sugar could have been as high as 186, it also could have been as low as 124 (20% above 155 is 186 and 20% below 155 is 124).

AIP Reintroduction Wine

Given that information, I decided to try again…

Reintroduction Challenge: Blueberry Wine

I tried blueberry wine for my round 2 reintroduction challenge of wine. Again, I drank 2 ounces of blueberry wine in one sitting then tested my blood sugar 3 hours later. My pre-bed reading was 140, and fasting reading the next morning was 147.

So I am interpreting this challenge as a success, but it is borderline. At this point, I am thinking going forward to only having a small amount of wine, 2 ounces, in each sitting and not having it too often, likely once a week at this point. However, there’s one more step…

Monitor Symptoms for 3-7 Days

The final step after the initial blood glucose readings of 3 hours post challenge and fasting blood glucose the following morning, is to monitor blood glucose levels for 3-7 days. During that time period, do not eat/drink more of the challenged item. Wait and look for elevated blood glucose results.

In the 7 days after the wine reintroduction, I had 1 fasting blood glucose over 160, but my kids were sick and up multiple times that night. Besides that one reading of 164, my fasting glucose was between 143 and 156. That’s a win in my book!

Why wine?

You may be thinking my results aren’t super great, maybe I shouldn’t be drinking wine at all! I realize that my blood sugar is borderline the morning after I consume wine. However, there are activities that bond our family, and wine-making is one of them.

My husband used to be very into beer brewing and bread making prior to my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. Once we cut gluten from our diet, his desire for both of those foods were gone. However, he loves the process of making food and the experimentation that goes with mastering cooking/brewing/creating. So he took up making wine and hard cider.

While my involvement in the wine-making is minimal, I really don’t help much at all, he and I work together to bottle it. I find the activity fun and a good thing to do while we talk. When he was brewing beer, I used to help him bottle that too. Quality time is one of my love languages, so I love the time spent bottling our alcoholic beverages together. For that reason, I want to make wine work.

As I move forward with other reintroductions, I will be keeping an eye on how wine continues to affect me, but truthfully, I’m biased. I want to make it to work.

My first successful reintroduction after the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol as a Type 1 Diabetic is a Stage 2 reintroduction: wine. Small quantities is all I am consuming right now and not too frequently. After feeling so deflated after the egg yolk fail, a success feels so good!


What hobbies or processes bring you and your significant other together? Have you had to move away from any due to health reasons?

AIP Reintroduction Wine

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The Autoimmune Protocol | Family and Diet Change

The Autoimmune Protocol has become a way of life for me. It looks like I will be on the diet for the foreseeable future, so I’ve embraced it as a fact of life for the management of my Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve mentioned before that the whole family eats according to the Autoimmune Protocol so I thought I’d give you some insight into my family and diet change dynamics: what do they like/dislike, foods they miss, and thoughts on the diet. I was surprised by some of the responses, and I hope this gives you hope that it IS possible to do dramatic things with food/diet and take the whole family with you.

aip and family

First up, let me set the stage with how our boys eat and my(our) expectations as a parent(s). I have two boys, a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old. They are good eaters, but they each have their dislikes, just like any kid. However, we do make them eat what is served. All of it. We are THOSE parents. 🙂 Although we don’t go overboard on serving size if we know it is something they truly don’t like, but it is expected to clean the plate at every meal. If a snack was eaten too close to a meal, then we might let them leave some of the meal for the next snack or meal if they are having trouble finishing it.

I(we) also sprinkle in some grace in the form of ketchup or mustard. Neither are AIP compliant during the elimination phase, but we’ve allowed them to have these condiments for the particularly hard-to-swallow meals. I don’t understand kids in this regard. Put a condiment on any dish and suddenly it is palatable!

With that general guide of how our family eats, let’s see what the kids think!

Jackson – 4 years old

What do you think of mommy’s diet/the food we eat?

Yum

Do you like the food we eat?

Yes

What is your favorite thing that we eat?

Burgers

Do you like vegetables?

Yes

What is your favorite vegetable?

Roasted broccoli (Emily’s note: This is hilarious. Not what I would’ve said his favorite was!)

What is your favorite fruit?

{Sigh} Oh, I like a lot. I like orangeeees, bananas….and kiwi.

What food do you miss?

Pancakes (Emily’s note: Me too, buddy, me too!)

Judah – 2 years old

What do you think of mommy’s diet/the food we eat?

Gross (Emily’s note: This is his new favorite word. I don’t think this is actually how he feels.)

Do you like the food we eat?

Yes

What is your favorite thing that we eat?

Burgers (pronounced “boogers”) and gummies (His multivitamin)

Do you like vegetables?

Yes

What is your favorite vegetable?

Acorn Squash

What is your favorite fruit?

Strawberries

What food do you miss?

Bread. Mommy, we haven’t eaten bread in a loooooong time. (Emily’s Note: Nope, we haven’t. Sorry, bud! This response surprised me. I figured his 2 year old brain had long forgotten bread. We haven’t had bread regularly in about a year.)

Dan – 34 years old

Now for some deeper questions for my husband, Dan (who made me put his age, for cohesiveness), who is hopefully a little more descriptive!

What is your general feeling about our new diet?

I don’t mind it, and I could even see myself adopting it full-time if it were a little less strict, more like Paleo.

Does the diet feel like a hardship to you since it isn’t specifically for your health?

Negative, ghost rider, that pattern is full. 

What do you enjoy the most about the Autoimmune Protocol?

The variety of vegetables we are eating. It’s more varied and the quantity is more than we’ve ever eaten which has to mean good things for our health.

What is the worst thing we’ve eaten?

That breakfast “oatmeal” made from spaghetti squash was terrible.

Emily’s note: This makes me laugh! The spaghetti squash was mixed with coconut milk, cinnamon, and cinnamon roasted pears. I thought it was great, but the rest of the family did NOT agree.

What do you miss the most while eating according to the Autoimmune Protocol?

I’d like to say dairy, but that’s not really true because I feel like garbage when I do eat it. My next thought is sweets because I used to have a huge sweet tooth. However, I don’t really crave sweets anymore. It’s not beer; I have plenty of other alcoholic options.

After thinking through those, I’d have to say I miss the process of homemade pizza and bread making the most. We had really nailed the homemade, whole grain pizza crust recipe, hadn’t we? I spent so much time refining the process of making fresh milled, whole grain, sourdough bread. That’s the only aspect I do miss, the process and experimentation, more than the food itself.

What is your experience with following the Autoimmune Protocol when eating outside our home?

It hasn’t been difficult for me to follow the diet. Finding alternatives on the menu or leaving things out of a dish haven’t been terribly hard. The hard part is getting over not being able to eat what I want when I go out. 

This diet would’ve been much harder if we had tried it cold-turkey early on in our marriage. We were poor then and only concerned with eating cheap food which wasn’t very healthy and only partially homemade. We’ve been heading toward this diet in baby steps for 10 years now. The last 9 months have been strictly Paleo so the jump to Autoimmune Protocol was not a huge leap.

Have you experienced good results from the diet, as a normal, healthy, non-Autoimmune person?

Yes, I no longer experience a mid-afternoon crash. I sleep much better, sounder, at night, and I have successfully warded off die-uh-beet-us. 🙂

Closing Thoughts

While my kids do miss some foods, bread and pancakes, overall they enjoy the food we eat. They are very used to seeing most of their plates filled with vegetables now, but I want to be sure to emphasize that they were eased into it. It all began last summer adding vegetables to every meal. Once they were used to that, I put two vegetables on their plate every meal. So the change was gradual.

If you are trying to make a quick and sudden switch to the Autoimmune Protocol (or any diet!) from the standard American diet, I would expect it to be difficult for anyone, especially kids. Assuming your health needs are not urgent, start taking baby-steps today toward a healthier diet today!

My husband is the best. He is and has always been 100% supportive of any diet or health change I’ve wanted to make. In the area of health, he is usually the one leading the way with me following, dragging my feet (not an exaggeration, kicking and muttering-under-my-breath might be closer to the truth). So when I wanted to dive into this gluten-free thing a year ago, he was all in. He happily eats every meal I make – including spaghetti squash “oatmeal!” You see? He’s the best.

So just in case I haven’t been clear, I’m all in for the entire family eating the same food. The Autoimmune Protocol is strict, but it is healthy and good for all members of the family. If one member of the family has diet restrictions, then I think everyone should accept those restrictions as encouragement. Be sure to add in some grace where your family needs it though (hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, anyone?). The dining table is a great place to learn to eat odd/new/delicious/terrible foods and practice grace, love, and support of fellow family members.


Thoughts? Have you tried a drastic diet change? Did you include the rest of the family? How did it go, if you did?

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Autoimmune Protocol | Egg Yolk Reintroduction

I am a Type 1 diabetic, managing my blood glucose levels through the Autoimmune Protocol and healthy lifestyle habits. I began my second round of the Autoimmune Protocol on February 19, 2018 to bring my blood sugar back into range after being exposed to dairy over the holidays of 2017. With 43 days of the elimination phase under my belt and an A1c of 5.8, I am ready to start my first reintroduction: egg yolk!


I’ve read many sources on the reintroduction phase, and there seems to be universal agreement that egg yolks should be accepted by just about any gut, even an autoimmune impaired one. Egg yolks are the most universally accepted item in the Stage 1 reintroductions. For reference, here are the reintroduction stages and foods to try in each stage:

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phaseOn day 43, April 2, 2018, I made 2 egg yolks to go with my breakfast that morning. I really had no idea how to cook them, so I scrambled them. Do you know how much 2 scrambled egg yolks is? About a tablespoon. Ha! It was pathetic looking on my plate! Good thing I was not relying on the egg yolks to fill me up!

Family was in town that day so I had a normal busy morning playing and wrangling kids then we all headed out to eat for lunch before everyone headed home from the Easter weekend.

I thankfully remembered my glucometer and tested before lunch: 146.

Cue deflation and depression.

For reference, a normal non-diabetic’s blood glucose is around 100, and my normal for pre-lunch from the 2 weeks prior to this introduction was 105.

146 is high for me.

Rats.

For dinner that day, my blood glucose was 147 and at bedtime 146. What? So high! I’m seriously kicking myself now. Two little egg yolks just messed everything up.

The next morning confirmed it. I woke up at 163.

For the next 14 days, I was out of range for my blood glucose goals. Fourteen days! I’ve had mornings as high as 197 and pre-bed as high as 207. I’ve had nights where I was high and had no explanation, nothing to eat since dinner and dinner was not high in carbohydrates. And yet, my blood sugar was high come bedtime. There was even a day I test in the 170’s all day. All. Day.

My interpretation of this is my gut is re-inflamed.

I looked back in my food journal to when I had the duck egg at the beginning of Week 3 of the elimination period. Would you like to take a guess as to how long it took me to see normal results again? Fourteen days. At the time, I blamed our sickness and my sleep schedule being all messed up, but I’m thinking the more likely culprit was the egg.

The last two weeks have been very taxing on me emotionally. While I have felt just fine physically, each high reading gets me really down. Even knowing I would probably see improvement in two weeks did not really help to lift my spirits.

Let’s walk through my methods for this reintroduction, what I did well, what I did wrong, and where I plan to go from here. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t mess up your gut during reintroductions!

egg yolk reintroduction

What I did Well

Reintroduce only the egg yolk at first, avoid the egg white. The egg white can permeate the gut wall causing the autoimmune response to worsen. Surprisingly, I actually did this part correctly! I had two egg yolks scrambled for my reintroduction. 

Unfortunately, this is the only part I did right!

What I did Wrong

Steps to Reintroduction

  1. Take a small bite then monitor for a reaction for 10-15 minutes
  2. Take a normal-sized bite then monitor for a reaction for 2-3 hours
  3. Eat a normal serving then monitor the results for 3-7 days

I didn’t do any of that! I just cooked two egg yolks and gulped them down. The only monitoring I did was checking my blood sugar 4 hours later at lunch, and as you know, that was high.

Blood sugar doesn’t react as rapidly as an allergic reaction, but I wonder what my blood sugar would have done if I’d followed the steps above? At the very least, I may have discovered the elevated levels before I ate 2 egg yolks. Maybe I could have lessened the damage to my gut.

Pasture-Raise, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free Eggs

I had read that quality of the egg mattered, but I didn’t really believe it. The eggs I ate were the cage-free, organic ones from Costco. Obviously, that wasn’t high enough quality! They are not pasture-raised, likely not soy-free, and I have no idea about wheat-free.

Where to Go from Here?

As you might be able to tell from this post, I’m not exactly posting in real time. I’m giving myself a couple weeks to analyze results and share with you. Currently, I am on Day 58 of the Autoimmune Protocol, and I can absolutely see why people are on this diet for a year or more before they feel healed and know what they can eat. Reintroducing foods is hard!

I’m going to give myself another week or so to stabilize my blood sugar. Once I am confident that I’ve returned to my normal, then I’ll reintroduce the next food.

Eggs are not on my list for next reintroduction. 🙂 It’s hard on me emotionally to fail. I hate seeing high reading after high reading for 2 weeks following an introduction. So I’m going to seek out a win before I go back to eggs (Also I need to find a source for pasture-raised, soy & wheat-free eggs!).

Next, I am thinking of trying sesame oil. I like to cook Korean food, and when I leave out the sesame oil, the flavor is really lacking! Sesame oil would be a big win for me in the cooking-tasty-meals department.

Finally, I plan to actually follow the steps for reintroducing foods and document this process better. Here is my plan for reintroducing foods on the Autoimmune Protocol, as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  1. Test blood sugar for a baseline.
  2. Take 1 small bite of the new food. Wait 15 minutes then test blood sugar again. If the result is reasonably close to the baseline (which I think it will be, not sure how quickly blood sugar can react.), go on to step 2.
  3. Take 1 normal bite of the new food. Wait 2 hours then test blood sugar again. If the result is higher than 150, consider the food a fail. If less than 150, go on to step 4.
  4. Eat a normal serving of the food. Continue on normal blood sugar testing routine (fasting, pre-lunch, pre-dinner, and pre-bed) and monitor the results.

Egg yolks were a failed reintroduction on the Autoimmune Protocol. Ingesting two scrambled egg yolks resulted in higher than normal blood sugar levels for 14 days. Since I did not follow the reintroduction steps exactly, I will try to reintroduce egg yolks again, but I will be waiting a few weeks or months to let my blood sugar stabilize and gut heal.


How do you handle let-downs in your life? Don’t give up! Keep pressing on, the results might not be visible right away!

AIP Reintroduction Egg Yolk

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal
Aside

Autoimmune Protocol | Reintroduction Phase

If you’re new here, my journey through the Autoimmune Protocol began on February 19, 2018. The elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol lasts 30 days or until symptoms subside. My autoimmune disease is Type 1 Diabetes. I have never heard of a diabetic using the Autoimmune Protocol to manage Type 1 Diabetes. Since I’m forging my own trial (as far as I know!), I am documenting my results and journey here to help other Type 1 Diabetics who might be looking for alternative blood sugar management solutions. (Check out the first 5 weeks here (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).) Today I will outline my plan for the Reintroduction Phase, and my 3 keys for a success!


The elimination period was not smooth sailing for me as weeks 3 and 4 were filled with sickness and a diet-busting meal at the beginning of week 3. Due to my sleep and routine being so thrown off, in addition to the sickness, I really couldn’t flesh out what was causing my higher blood sugar those weeks. At the time, I blamed my routine and sleep being thrown off, but now I am thinking the dinner out was as much the culprit. It could have been any one of those factor or all of them combined.

Thankfully, my blood sugar returned to normal range in weeks 5 and 6. Since I was past the 30 day mark, and I thought my blood sugar was leveled out. I decided to start the reintroduction phase.

Reintroduction Phase

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Once the symptoms of the autoimmune disease have stopped, you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the elimination phase. There is a best way to do this, and I wish I’d known this back when I first did an elimination diet in October 2017. Foods need to be introduced one at a time and symptoms monitored for 3 days to a week after eating before introducing another food. In my first attempt, I introduced the foods I missed the most first and only waited 2-3 days between introductions. I definitely rushed things.

Choosing which food to introduce first matters too. In the graphic above, the Reintroduction Phase is broken up into four stages. The food in stage 1 is the most likely to be accepted by an autoimmune impaired body, and stage 4 is the least likely to be accepted. Within each stage, it does not matter which food you try first, just pick one and keep the results as clean as possible.

How to Reintroduce a Food

I gathered most of my information on reintroducing foods from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. I highly recommend that book if you are looking for answers to an autoimmune disease!

After selecting a food to reintroduce, eat only a small bite at first and wait 15 minutes for a severe reaction. At this point, you are checking for severe allergic reactions. If you’ve gone gluten-free before, you know your body can change its mind as to what foods it likes or doesn’t like!

If the first bite goes fine, then have a normal-sized bite then monitor symptoms for 2-3 hours. Again, this step is looking for severe adverse reactions. As long as those two bites go well, have a full serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3 days to a week.

Keys to Success

Reintroducing foods and monitoring symptoms can add up to a lot of data/details, so carefully documentation and maintenance of diet and lifestyle are key. Here are 3 key tips to successfully reintroducing foods as a Type 1 Diabetic on the Autoimmune Protocol.

Food Journal

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal

First of all, a food journal is essential. You will be documenting SO many things. It is impossible to keep each day straight let alone look for patterns over days, weeks, or months.
A food journal does not have to be anything fancy. Mine is a $.25 spiral bound notebook that goes on sale just before school starts each year. Dedicate an entire notebook to the journal; it will get filled up quicker than you think! Don’t rely on scrap pieces of paper, use full size paper so you have plenty of room to write everything out!

The food journal is the main reason I’ve been able to stick with the diet for so long and to figure out which foods are not agreeing with me. I tend to over-exaggerate my blood sugar levels over days/weeks. If things are not going well, I tend to negatively think I’ve been off for a week or more, when in reality it has only been a few days. It has been so important to have a written record so I can go back and see a clear picture of what really happened.
Make note of anything of consequence along with the major measures for your autoimmune disease. You won’t regret more detail when you go back to review the results. I have Type 1 Diabetes, so I monitor the following things:

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose
  2. Sleep notes
  3. Supplements taken
  4. Breakfast Food
  5. Snack
  6. Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose
  7. Lunch Food
  8. Snack
  9. Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose
  10. Dinner Food
  11. Supplements
  12. Snack
  13. Pre-Bed Blood Glucose

Jotting down these things throughout each day was a game changer! There are SO many moving parts in one’s diet, and many lifestyle routines, habits, and choices make a difference in blood sugar level too. I’m so glad I went through the effort to keep this journal. It is helping me tremendously analyze my results.

Healthy Habits

Healthy habits like consistent sleep (8-9 hours), consistent bed and wake time, and exercise are vital for a healthy body. Keep these routines consistent throughout the reintroduction phase. You want as few variables as possible when trying new foods, so don’t let your lifestyle habits prevent a clear reading on how the food is affecting you.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, these are the healthy lifestyle habits I stick to every day:

  1. Wake up at 5:45am every day – even on the weekends!
  2. Time in God’s Word and prayer – beyond communicating with my Lord and keeping that relationship growing, I need His peace as I go through each day. This diet stresses me sometimes.
  3. Exercise – I do a Fitness Blender workout Monday through Saturday.
  4. Consistent mealtime – Breakfast at 8am, Lunch at 12:30pm, and Dinner at 5:30
  5. Bed time at 10:00pm every day – even on the weekends!

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, blood glucose or blood sugar is my primary indicator if a food is agreeing with my body or not. I test four times a day: fasting or first thing in the morning, before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. My goals for each of those times are as follows:

  • Fasting – less than 130
  • Pre-lunch – less than 130
  • Pre-dinner – less than 130
  • Bed time – between 100 and 150

For my non-diabetic readers, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar level is around 100.

Measurement of Results

The plan for the near future is to reintroduce one item from phase 1 then watch my blood sugar for 3-7 days and make note of any spikes. My criteria for a successful reintroduction as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose less than 150 – This is the biggest indicator that a food has irritated my gut. If I wake up in the morning with a blood sugar higher than 150, that’s when I know my body is off track. I wish I was consistently under 130, but it doesn’t look like that will happen (dawn phenomenon? Not sure…).
  • Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose less than 120 – My normal pre-lunch blood glucose is usually around 100-120, so if it is above that (even if still less than the accepted 130) I know my body is not tolerating that food well.
  • Body tremors – I have doubts that any food besides gluten will do this, but if I’ve ingested gluten, I get the shakes three days later. It feels like the organs inside my rib cage are shaking. I do not do anything to treat this symptom. Although it feels bad, it goes away in a day, and it has happened enough times that I know it is only a sign of gluten exposure.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My plan for the Reintroduction Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol is to choose one food at a time, wait 3-7 days between new foods, document my results in my food journal, and keep my health lifestyle going every day. I am hopeful with careful analysis and cooking to be able to reintroduce foods that I’ve been without these past weeks! Egg yolks is first up on my list, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!


Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

diabetes testing supplies
Aside

Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetes | How I Became Dairy-Free

This is the story of how I can manage my Type 1 Diabetes without insulin. We left off my Gluten-Free, Insulin-Free Type 1 Diabetic journey in the late summer of 2017. I was managing my diabetes completely without artificial insulin through a gluten-free diet that was high in vegetables.  However, in August and September, my fasting blood sugar was getting higher and higher. I was about to discover that other foods can inflame the gut and raise blood sugar. Dairy-free and grain-free were about to be added to my diet description.

Why an Elimination Diet?

In my effort to bring my blood sugar down, I started eating more and more dairy and meat. Zero carbohydrate foods, right? They can’t raise my blood sugar, right? Wrong. They can. I will try to explain what I know…diary is inflammatory. If the gut is inflamed, the villi do not form a tight wall. It becomes very permeable, allowing partially digested food into the blood stream. This can trigger an autoimmune response and raise the blood sugar level.

Jumping back to August/September 2017, I couldn’t figure out how to lower my blood sugar, so I checked out a book from the library that was recommended by a friend, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Meyers. This was sort of a last ditch effort. My thought was that my blood sugar levels were getting to the point that I’d need to go on insulin again, but if this book claims it can fix my autoimmune disease, what do I have to lose?

As I jumped into the book, it resonated with me. Yes, this is what I was going through, and I was willing to try anything at this point before going back on insulin. While I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my “use-food-to-heal-my-body” theories,  I had just enough gumption to try it.

Blood Glucose and the Elimination Diet

diabetes testing supplies

The book has a 30 day elimination diet that is nicely laid out with exactly what to eat each meal along with recipes and shopping list. I followed it to a T. I bought every item and made every meal. Everything that wasn’t allowed (coffee, alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, nuts, nightshades etc.) I stopped eating.

My blood sugar improved dramatically and immediately. As in the first official day of the diet, my fasting blood sugar was 126. (I had stopped coffee a couple days before and basically began eating according to the diet the day prior to officially starting.) That first day’s fasting blood sugar was perfectly in range (less than 130). The next day it was 111, the next 135, 124, 110, 104, 132…my blood sugar was between 100 and 140 every morning.

What in the world? This is the power of eating food that nourishes your body!

I attributed the dramatic blood sugar change primarily to the elimination of dairy. Cottage cheese and brick cheese were my go-to snacks prior to the elimination diet, and I was probably having upwards of 8 servings of dairy every day. Possibly overdosing on dairy. 🙂 Looks like dairy-free is the life for me going forward!

Me and the Elimination Diet

Paleo AIP Food Prep

The Meyers Way threw me into the kitchen like I had never been before. I like to cook and enjoy being in the kitchen, but this diet was a whole new level of cooking:

  • Zero processed or convenience food
  • 100% fresh vegetables, no frozen or canned
  • TONS and tons of vegetables at every meal = lots of chopping!
  • No easy sides or bases to the meal, i.e. corn tortillas, rice, beans, potatoes

I’d love to tell you I thrived and found joy and purpose in making fresh meals that clearly were healing and nourishing my body. However, that would just not be true. I found the extra hours in the kitchen a huge burden and the results of my effort were lacking in the flavor department. The amazing blood glucose results were the only reason I could hold on for two weeks of this diet.

Yes, I’m sad to report, I only stayed on the diet for two weeks! After two weeks, I was happy with my blood glucose numbers, but I was very unhappy with the tastiness of my meals and time in the kitchen. I started the re-introduction of foods after two weeks, and I now know, this was likely too soon. However, I continued to have good, in-range fasting blood sugar results for six weeks post elimination period.

The book did not mention a reintroduction schedule, so I began withe the food I missed the most. First, I introduced eggs, whole eggs. I did not separate the yolk from the white. I just ate the whole thing. These had no effect on my blood sugar so I continued on with nuts, followed by coffee and chocolate. Last, I introduced alcohol. All of those were fine. My morning blood sugar was still in the 100-140 range, and it stayed that way for six weeks after the diet.

After the Elimination Diet

After my short stint in the Meyers Way diet, I began a strict Paleo diet. Now that I wasn’t eating dairy or grains, the name for my diet was/is Paleo. Now that I had a name for the way I was eating, I could find tons of recipes via Pinterest or blogs I already knew about, Against All Grain for one.

Want a funny story? Dan has been wanting to eat Paleo for years. I always poo-pooed it because of the amount of pressure on me in the kitchen. After our first son was born, we were eating Paleo and using Danielle Walker’s cookbook, Against All Grain, as our primary recipe source. When I finally stopped eating Paleo, I sold the cookbook because I hate keeping things I’m not using. Now, in November 2017, I’m back on the Paleo bandwagon for good, for life, and I needed a cookbook. What’s the first one I buy? Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple, and I’m planning to buy Against All Grain again soon. Ha. Isn’t life ironic?

Even though the Meyers Way diet only lasted for two weeks, I saw dramatic effects on my blood sugar. I also figured out I have an sensitivity to all grains and dairy. Eliminating these from my diet allowed my gut to heal so it wouldn’t leak foreign objects into my bloodstream. With my bloodstream clean, my beat-up pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep my blood sugar within normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic. The taglines for my diet now include gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free; this diet is commonly called Paleo.


Insulin-free, Type 1 Diabetic series:

  1. Gluten-free Type 1 Diabetes
  2. Eat More Vegetables

Dairy-Free Grain-Free Diabetes