As you may have guessed, switching to a “real-food” diet has drastically changed my health. The biggest improvement probably came after removing gluten from my diet. My paternal grandfather was diagnosed with celiac disease, so when I started experiencing crippling joint pain, doctors and I both immediately thought that celiac might be a possible cause. Doctors gave me multiple tests, yet each one came back negative; so they therefore deemed I had no issue whatsoever with gluten. They basically told me to “deal with the pain.” At this point, I decided to take matters into my own hands: I eliminated gluten and all processed foods. Lo and behold, my joint pain (and brain fog, and mood swings, and anxiety, and…) soon disappeared. I was sold.
I’ve been gluten free for over two years now, and paleo for almost as long. More recently, I followed the autoimmune-protocol (AIP), which is a special elimination diet, to further pinpoint my lingering food sensitivities. I now know I need to avoid the following foods or food groups in order to look and feel my best:
- Gluten and all other grains (with the exception of white rice)
- Legumes (these include peanut, beans, soy, etc.)
- Dairy products (occasionally I can tolerate goat yogurt)
- Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.)
- Most nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and poppy seeds are OK)
- All food additives (This is hit or miss. Sometimes a small amount doesn’t bother me, such as what is found in bacon. Other times it does, such as in the case of chocolate.)
Some of you may be looking at that list and wondering what the heck it is that I do eat, or how I manage to make it work at all! I will admit that it takes some planning; but, once you get the routine down, as I have, it becomes second nature. I do have a few tips I will share with you for making it all go smoothly each week:
- Make a menu! I already have a simple blog post explaining how I meal plan. I do this each and every Wednesday because I like to go grocery shopping Thursday after work. This allows my Friday evening to be calm and relaxed at home, and I don’t have to rush around Saturday to do the shopping either.
- Have favorite meals! To make meal planning even simpler, I have “favorite meals” that I eat each and every week. These are meals the hubster and I both love and look forward to having, such as our #TuesdayNightGuacSalad. Each Wednesday, my weekly menu is already half complete in my mind because I know I’m going to include certain meals. I only have to be creative for the remaining meals. If you don’t like the idea of eating the same thing every Monday, for example, you could always have a bank of tried and true recipes that you pull from.
- Food prep! This is essential for anyone following a whole-foods diet. Every Sunday I put aside a couple hours to prepare 9 lunches – 5 for me and 4 for the hubster (he eats out every Friday with his colleagues). If we want something special for breakfast, such as frittatas, I make those as well. I also try to prepare some veggies and a loaf of banana bread for easy snacks throughout the week. I chose my dinners depending on how much time I have to prepare them each evening since we go to CrossFit three evenings a week. For those nights, I reserve simple meals that I prep beforehand and finish afterward, while the other nights we may have meals with longer prep times.
Don’t stress! I’ve made it super easy for you to get started with my 3-day meal plan! (link) Don’t wait, get clean, and feel better!
For some of my recipes, check these out!
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.