Welcome! Here’s a little background information to catch you up: I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, my blood sugar levels were higher than desired due to dairy in the candy I was eating. Eliminating the candy from my diet (and coffee and alcohol, the other two suspects) didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.
Week 3 threw me some curveballs: diet-breaking eating out, family illness, a broken appliance, and raging hormones. I had no trouble cooking and eating my Autoimmune Protocol-friendly meals (even while sick!), but my blood sugar levels were not quite where I’d like them to be. At the end of the week, even with higher than desired blood sugar, I was still in the healthy range for a Type 1 Diabetic. You too can conquer your autoimmune disease through this diet, while battling sickness.
Let me explain a bit to set the stage for my week:
1. Dining out at the end of Week 2
At the end of Week 2, I went out to eat at a restaurant that is very careful with food sensitivities and allergies. I’ve had no issues eating there before, but I also was not on the Autoimmune Protocol when I went there last. I broke the diet in, at least, two ways: a duck egg and dessert. The duck egg is obvious, eggs are out during the elimination phase. The dessert is more unclear because I don’t know exactly what was in it. It was a flourless Meyer lemon cake topped with powdered sugar and a scoop of grapefruit sorbet on the the side. The waiter assured me it was gluten-free and dairy-free. I believe it was, but I’ll bet it was not AIP compliant. It had lots of sugar and likely nut flour of some kind. The powdered sugar on top could have had corn starch or something similar in it too. So all that to say, I don’t know exactly what was in it. It could have been the source of my higher blood sugar levels in the following days.
The flu hit my family hard this week. Some days I was very busy cleaning and caring for my family, and other days were very sedentary as I sat on the couch for most of the day holding sick, miserable babies. My night’s sleep was always interrupted as well. By the end of the week, I succumbed to the plague too.
3. Broken washing machine
I know this might sound trivial, but the fact that I couldn’t wash sheets or clothes while my family was sick was very hard. One day I just had to do some laundry. Thankfully, a friend let me pop over to their house throughout the day to run laundry. Six trips and four loads later, we were set to make it until the part arrived for our washer.
The good news is the new part is now installed, and the washer is up and running again! Yay!
The last issue may by TMI, but I think it is important to point out. Men, feel free to skip to the Food section if you don’t want to hear about “womanly” issues! I have to take a journey back a few years to fully explain this, so bear with me.
The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, and when all the hormones are in balance, regular menstrual cycles ensue through childbearing years. My menstrual cycle has never been regular, ever, and I struggled with infertility when trying to start our family. After many blood tests and ultrasounds, the fertility doctor told me it wasn’t that my body wasn’t working properly, as in the organs were functional, but my hormone levels were all out of whack. When the hormones are not in the right ratio to each other, functions, like menstruation, don’t start when they should.
To solve the infertility problem, I took some hormone regulating pills and voila, got pregnant.
Fast forward to summer 2017, when I am vigorously working on my diet to regulate my blood sugar and manage my type 1 diabetes. Guess what I did in the process? I regulated the hormones in my body, including the ones that control menstruation. Wheat can disrupt your hormones, did you know that??
After a few months on a gluten-free diet, I began have a regular, predictable menstrual cycle for the first time in my life. In my life. No joke. I have never been able to track my menstrual cycles, and now I can. Food is huge folks. I’m not kidding.
That was a lot of back story all to say, I think my average blood glucose level rises right before my menstrual cycle begins. Research goes both ways (blood sugar raises or lowers as a result of menstruation), basically it depends on the individual. For me, I think it raises a couple days before my cycle begins.
Ok, done with the “womanly” issues, on to the rest of the results of Week 3 of the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet!
My one change for this week of the Autoimmune Protocol: make breakfast easier. Included in my meal plan for the week was cooking breakfast only every other day. To accomplish this, I prepped the vegetables the night before, and I doubled every recipe so I cooked enough food for two meals. The prepping the vegetables took some discipline. “Cooking” once my kids are down for bed is not my favorite, but the result of putting breakfast on the table faster (and for 2 days!) was worth it.
Day 14 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, and Sausage Links
Day 15 – Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Avocado Mayo, Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash, and Sausage Links
Day 16 – Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs)
Day 17 – Leftover Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs) and Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash
Day 18 – Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash
Day 19 – Leftover Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash
Day 14 – Leftover Ranch Cauliflower Mash topped with Sliced Elk Steak and Fresh Blackberries and Strawberries
Day 15 – Leftover Nightshade-Free Vegetable Beef Soup and Pears
Day 17 – Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Avocado, Pears, and Broiled Chicken Skin
Day 18 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana
Day 19 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana, Leftover Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts, Frozen Fruit
Day 16 – Baked Lemon Herb Chicken Thighs (leave out cumin and cayenne pepper for AIP compliance); Roasted Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts; and Pears
Day 17 – Zuppa Toscana and Roasted Broccoli
Day 18 – Korean Chicken Soup
Day 19 – Leftover Korean Chicken Soup and Apples
Top Recipes of the Week
- Cilantro Avocado Mayo – This dip was so good. I put more horseradish in than the recipe called for. I love the zing of horseradish! We dipped all sorts of things in it this week: roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers, and Chicken Poppers.
- Chicken Poppers – While called “poppers,” these chicken bites resemble chicken nuggets more. They were a hit with the whole family: super flavorful, juicy, (When eaten fresh, they were a tad dry reheated.) and fun to eat. I was hesitant to put raw bacon in my blender, and it did get wrapped around the blade a bit, but it all worked out. I worked in small batches, and it wasn’t too difficult to get everything blended in the end.
- Zuppa Toscana – Wow! This soup was so flavorful! It uses zucchini instead of potatoes, but it was still flat out delicious. I did up the zucchini amount by about half, and I think I might add another vegetable next time. This soup is heavy on the broth, and I like my soups to be a little more chunky and hearty. It was very good, and it will become a regular on our table, I’m sure.
This week was rough. I was dealing with hormones fluctuating, sick family, lack of sleep, and general life pressures. I am not complaining just explaining. No one can have a perfect, stress-free life, and I want to paint a real picture of my life during the Autoimmune Protocol so you can have confidence to succeed as well.
My blood sugar was less stable this week, and I’m afraid there are too many variables for me to flesh out exactly what was the cause of my higher evening and morning blood sugar. My average blood sugar (straight average, no weighting) was 130. For reference, the straight average for Week 1 was 123 and Week 2 was 124. So while my blood glucose levels are still plenty low enough for a type 1 diabetic, this week was higher than my first two weeks on the Autoimmune Protocol. I am going to chalk this week up as an anomaly. Next week is bound to be better!
How I Feel
I spoke about my boundless energy in the summary of Week 2. If I didn’t have so much energy, I don’t know how I would have gotten through this week with (1) sick husband, (2) sick kids, (3) broken washer, (4) doing laundry at a friend’s house 2 miles away, and (5) still providing Autoimmune Protocol compliant meals, three times a day for me and my family. I had energy to do all of that and not collapse part way through the day or even at the end of the day.
This is what real food can do for you! It will nourish your body and provide you with all the energy you need to complete your work for the day, whatever that might be.
Goals for Week 4
I am hoping and striving to return to in-range morning blood sugar levels in this next week. Week 2 was so promising, but life hit me hard in Week 3. I press on with a positive outlook. I’m confident the Autoimmune Protocol will work!
With the setbacks at the end of Week 2 (Diet broken eating out) and Week 3 (sickness, hormones, lack of sleep, broken washer), I am beginning to wonder if I’ll need to extend the elimination phase longer than 30 days. My gut may need more time to heal. It’s just a thought right now. We’ll see how the remainder of the elimination phases goes.
When life hits you hard, it does not need to derail your health progress. The Autoimmune Protocol is completely doable while dealing with real life pressures and sickness. Healthy meals, in-range blood sugar, and feeling good (relative to the sickness of course!) are all still possible. For me, Week 3 was still on track overall, even with all of these less than advantageous factors.
What setbacks are you struggling with right now? Are you able to shake them off and press-on? What is your strategy for letting life’s stresses roll off your back?