As usual, the end of my year was hectic and harried, though happy enough! Last week, M and I went off on our usual winter beach trip and now we are back. Time to return to routine and catch up on sleep, vegetables, organization, packing…
Yes, packing. After three years in our apartment, M and I are moving out. Back into one of our mothers’ homes for a brief stint as we figure if we want to look for a home to buy and find another place to rent. Still a little unknown because taxes and money and mortgages and realtor vocabulary and adulthood are tough. So, while part of me is excited for changes and the drive to organize, condense, and pack; another part of me is dreading all of that. Moving back in with roommates/parents wasn’t really on our plans, but it makes the most sense. Both of our mothers are fairly local and obliging and it saves us the risk of having to pay rent and a mortgage overlapping. But its a huge, kind of scary, very new change. There is a lot of unknown is all of this, and I realize that M and I have both adjusted quite well to the comfortable and familiar. This is a big change.
Also, in the midst of this countdown to moving, I am doing a round of the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP). While I haven’t been diagnosed with any AI diseases, I have been reacting to something. Since September of last year, I’ve had more days per week with…digestion issues…than normal days. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been quite as easy to figure out the trigger as it was when I was reacting similarly to gluten. I was eating something gluten-filled at nearly every meal. These days I do not have a constant like that. So, I am trying AIP. AIP starts by cutting out many foods (and NSAIDS) that can cause irritation and inflammation for 30 days, then slowly reintroduces foods while monitoring for reactions. At best, I hope that I will find that my inflammation was just high, and a 30-day break will be enough to calm and reset my system and, at the end of it all, I will find that I can reintroduce all of the various foods. More likely, I may be reacting to something–and I hope this will allow me to find out what.
AIP cuts out all grains, all dairy, all nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (and pepper-based spices like cayenne, paprika, etc), white potatoes…don’t mind my tears), eggs (I’m sobbing), nuts and seeds and seed-based spices (bye cumin, fennel seed, cardamom, etc), pulses and beans (which includes soy, fresh legumes like green beans and peas, more typical beans like chickpeas…but also coffee and chocolate, which are made from beans/seeds).
What AIP does include are: meats, seafood, vegetables (except nightshades and fresh legumes), fruit, coconut, and a focus of nutrient-heavy foods like bone broth, gelatin, avocado, and offal (organ meats). I think I will survive this protocol by relying a lot on twist of old favorites: Pho-style broth with veggie noodles (or kelp noodles)–certain fish sauces are AIP-approved, along with lime, ginger, and garlic. Chicken lettuce wraps made with coconut aminos and mixed heavily with mushrooms and water chestnuts (which are not nuts and thus AIP-friendly). Plantain chips with liver pate. Bacon wrapped shrimp with chimichurri (minus the pepper flakes). Horseradish is AIP-approved, so I can work in a little spice to my dishes–plus beef and horseradish are on of. Turmeric chicken with coconut-milk-creamed spinach. Steak with parsnip puree. Sweet potato fries. Cauliflower Rice Risotto. Riceless sushi (nori is AIP-approved). Larb Gai (again favoring the fish sauce and lime–I foresee a lot of Thai this month). Lots and lots of soups: butternut squash & coconut, my new favorite carrot soup, French onion–minus the wine and the bread topping. I’m confident that I will make do.
Also, AIP is intended to be a temporary diet. Whilst the most restrictive phase can vary, depending on which foods trigger responses and how inflamed a body might be, this diet is not meant to be the rest of my (or anyone else’s) life. So, while all my friends are doing Whole30 or Dry January to ring in the new year, I’m just…committing to a few more omissions for my 30 days.
I’m starting AIP this week, riding the post-vacation “ugh I ate a bunch of junk and all I want is fresh food” wave as far as I can. With AIP, I have let go of my grocery budget, at least for the first week of two. This week, with all of the staples that I invested in (coconut aminos, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, avocado oil, etc), my grocery bill was expensive. Nearly three times as much as last year’s budget…oof. However, last year’s budget allowed us to reach this financial point, where we can be spending more on food for a few weeks without too much trouble. So for now, I’ll be meal-planning based on what I want to eat, within AIP standards, rather than sticking to a budget.
I started AIP on Tuesday this week, since we returned from our trip on Sunday and I didn’t have the chance to get to the store until Monday evening. As mentioned, much of my grocery purchases were stock up items to build my AIP pantry. And much of this week’s groceries were purchased at Wegman’s, since there were a few special items I needed. I rounded out with a little more from Trader Joe’s, but forgot to take that photo. We didn’t have a Hungry Harvest box this week, since we were on vacation.
Here is what I purchased for our AIP kick-off:
Wegman’s: Avocados, bananas, canned pumpkin, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, mint, celery, ground mace (the AIP sub for nutmeg), coconut milk, parsley, kale, shrimp, broccoli, butternut squash, green onions, clementines, bone broth, ground fresh ginger, ground fresh garlic, gelatin, ground pork, and bacon.
And from Trader Joe’s, I grabbed: frozen riced cauliflower, sweet potatoes, avocado oil, horseradish, sauerkraut, carrot juice, cranberry juice, and plantain chips.
Here’s what we are eating:
Tuesday: Butternut Squash Soup with crumbled Bacon I riffed off of Panera’s Squash Soup, minus the curry powder, cayenne, and added sugar, with coconut milk swapped for the dairy. Crisp up a few slices of bacon and crumble on top for some extra crunch.
Wednesday: Beef Kebabs with Cauli-rice Tabbouleh & Coconut Tzatziki I’m mixing some riced cauliflower with lots of cucumbers, parsley, and lemon for a tomato-free tabbouleh, and serving this all with extra cucumbers, quick-pickled red onion, and tzatziki made from coconut cream, ACV, mint, and cucumber.
Friday: Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Chimichurri Sauce & Sweet Potato Fries There is little in the world that I love as much as dip-able foods, so I’m playing to that advantage and stacking this week with dippy dinners. I love this Iowa Girl Eats shrimp and chimichurri dish, a direct inspiration.
Saturday: Leftovers just to make sure everything gets eaten up. With this much money going towards groceries, avoiding food waste is super important.
Breakfasts will be Sausage+Sweet Potato+Kale Hash or Carrot-Cauliflower-Banana Smoothies with frozen berries and avocado. Snacks will be plantain chips with or without avocado, fruit, turmeric lattes.