Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tracking the Wahls Paleo Plus

The Wahls Paleo Plus is a ketogenic version of the Wahls Protocol.

I outline the basics of what you can eat on the WahlsPaleo+  in this post. Additionally, we’re supposed to eat fermented foods, sea vegetables and bone broth each day, and 12oz of offal and 16oz of high omega-3 fish each week.

I’m only on day 18 of the WahlsPaleo+ but I’m pretty intrigued so far.

I was able to get into ketosis fairly rapidly (2-3 days) and have been playing around with quantity of coconut oil & levels of ketosis since then, to find out more about how this all works. I’ve kicked myself out of ketosis (briefly) twice by letting my coconut oil consumption get too low. The 1st time by accident and the 2nd time as an experiment.

I’ve developed a tracking system that I have been using in my experiments so far.

On a daily basis I use worksheets that I keep in a binder in my kitchen. Not only does the daily worksheet help me track my food, but it also helps me plan it.

I’m aiming for 2-3 cups of sulfur-rich & coloured plant-food, and 3 cups of dark green leafy vegetables each day over two daily meals. With my daily worksheet I can always see where I need to fill any gaps.

As long as I have a range of plant-foods on hand, I can simply select the carbohydrates I wish for from each category and then just decide how to prepare them. It actually makes mealtime super simple, and I’ve stopped the maniacal meal planning I was doing on the Autoimmune Protocol.

Here’s my daily workbook (for the day I ate the 2 meals depicted, above):

WahlsPaleo+ worksheetThen, because I’m nerdy and I like to track data, every few days I transfer my daily worksheets into a weekly record. This enables me to to notice trends (such as the relationship between ketosis levels & energy levels, or how much high omega-3 fish or offal I’m consuming).

My weekly record looks like this:

WahlsPaleo+ weekly

This was the week that started auspiciously when I ate nettles for breakfast two days in a row. You can also see where I fell out of ketosis when my weekend supply of blue-raspberry fudge disappeared. And, though I’m still a long way from Dr Wahls 12oz weekly target for offal, I actually ate offal twice, which I think is laudable. Knowing I’m tracking it makes me eat it!

Hey, I’ve finally uploaded these tracking sheets here!

Daily Wahls Paleo Plus worksheet

Wahls Warrior

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Nettles for Breakfast (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Nettles for breakfastOne of the great things about going for a springtime trail run on Vancouver Island is that by the time you get warm enough to take your top layer off, you will probably have come across a patch of nettles.

Usually when I gather nettles I bring a plastic bag & some scissors. Some think gloves are required, but I’ve found I can cut the nettle tops right into the bag & use the scissors like chopsticks to retrieve any wayward ones.

But most recently (last weekend) I was unprepared when I came across the most glorious patch of nettles.

I’d been stuck in the city since wintertime & hadn’t eaten any nettles yet this year. I was not leaving the mountain without them

Nettles have been used historically for their analgesic (pain killing), anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-rheumatic properties, and nettle is still a common ingredient in herbal remedies for inflammatory conditions.Nettles

No doubt our foraging ancestors had elegant nettle-gathering strategies that they could manifest, or construct, at a moment’s notice.

I had a shirt & my hands.

So I used my fingernails to snip off the nettle tops and filled my shirt to the brim. Then I wrapped them up like a baby & ran back down the mountain for breakfast.

My right hand tingled with nettle stings (persistently but not unpleasantly), for the rest of the day. I’d heard of using nettle stings as a remedy for arthritis, and the next morning it seemed that my left hand felt discernibly more creaky than my right, even though I’ve never been particularly arthritic.

Despite possible nettle-sting benefits, I brought folding scissors on my mountain run the following day.

Nettles for breakfast again!
Additive-free!

A note to those on the Autoimmune Protocol who are avoiding food additives: this recipe calls for tinned coconut cream. Most tinned coconut milk contains guar gum but I was ecstatic to discover a source for Natural Value brand additive-free tinned coconut milk on Southern Vancouver Island: Health Essentials. It is also available on amazon.ca.

Nettles for Breakfast (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

  • 3-60z ground lamb
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • ½ cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups (firmly packed) nettle tops
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • ½ cup coconut cream

Advance prep: To make coconut cream, refrigerate a tin of full-fat coconut milk overnight & then spoon the thick cream off the top. If you get in the habit of refrigerating tins of coconut milk when you bring them home, then you can put them gently in the cupboard and the cream will always be ready to go.

Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a frying pan & cook the ground lamb. Set aside.

Add another tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and the zucchini, cabbage, turmeric & salt. Stir. When the cabbage is slightly softened add the nettle tops & coconut aminos.

When the nettles are bright green, add the lamb & coconut cream. Cook until just bubbling & serve immediately.

Eat breakfast outdoors to fully celebrate Spring!

 

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Blue~Raspberry Fudge (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Blue~raspberry fudgeIf you are on the Autoimmune Protocol, or just a regular human, this fudge is yummy!

If you are on the WahlsPaleo+, it can also be a secret weapon for your ketogenic strategy.

It’s the coconut fat that enables you to stay ketogenic while eating (relatively) more carbohydrates, and it’s this coconut fat/vegetation relationship that ensures nutrient density on the WahlsPaleo+.

tiltParing coconut butter & coconut oil with berries is perfect, as the coconut fat slows the rate at which carbohydrates from the berries (& coconut butter) enter the bloodstream.

Please take note: this fudge can actually cause you to fall out of ketosis if you load 3 teenagers, a cat and a batch of these into the car & go up-island for a fun-filled family Easter weekend and then your fun-filled family eats them all.

In that case, you will definitely need a coconut fat back-up plan. Or to be safe, make 3 batches.

Blue~Raspberry Fudge (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoBlue~raspberry fudge

  • 1 ½ cups coconut butter
  • 1  cup coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cups raspberries
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 250

Warm the coconut butter & berries in the oven in 3 separate oven-proof bowls.

Whirl ¾ cup warm coconut butter, ½ cup coconut oil and the warm raspberries in a food processor until combined.

Line a 12 muffin tin with paper muffins cups. Tilt the tray up on something sturdy and spoon the warm raspberry mixture evenly into the cups.

Leave it in a tilted position to harden while you prepare the blueberry fudge.

Whirl the remaining ¾ cup warm coconut butter, ½ cup coconut oil and the warm blueberries in a food processor until combined.

Un-tilt the muffin tin & fill each cup to the brim with the blueberry mixture.

Refrigerate all day or overnight.

Store in the refrigerator.

Wahl’s Paleo Plus

If you’re on the WahlsPaleo+ you’ll be tracking your fat & carbohydrates.

1 piece of fudge:

  • 1/8 cup coconut butter (about 8 grams of carbohydrate)
  • 1 tablespoon+1 teaspoon (1.33 tablespoons) coconut oil
  • ¼ cup berries

Have one or two pieces of fudge as part of a meal that includes green leafy & sulfur-rich vegetables & some protein. Feel amazing!

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A Paleo New Year

April seems to be my paleo new year.BeforeandAfter

Two years ago in April I went Paleo and lost 75 lbs in 5 months.

Soon after that I realized all 9 of my health issues had disappeared.

At the time I thought I’d ‘made it’. After all, I’d achieved even more than I’d set out to do.

I didn’t realize I was still only in the foothills of health and I’d taken just the first baby steps in my paleo experiments.

What I’ve experienced since then, as my food has become increasingly pure and my gut has continued to heal, is previously unimagined levels of well-being.

As someone who struggled with depression and anxiety every day in my pre-paleo life, I’m still astounded by the feeling of psychological well-being. And the impact psychological health has had on all aspects of my life, including my career.

Levelling Up

During my first paleo year I only ate fish & poultry, which was obviously sufficient for weight loss & initial healing. As a recovering vegetarian, I wasn’t prepared to eat mammals at first, but it became apparent that I needed to reduce my reliance on fowl as a protein source.

So last April, I had my first bite of steak.

And this April, after 3½ months on the Autoimmune Protocol, I went ketogenic on the Wahls Paleo Plus.

As April seems to be my Paleo new year, I’m going to make a resolution.

This year I’m going to level up to organ meat.

I’ve been recalcitrant on the offal front. I actually don’t even want to change (that’s sort of the definition of recalcitrant). But I know it’s the next step.

And one year from now I will no doubt wonder why I stayed offal-obstinate for so long.

Maybe it was because I started with lamb kidney.

Started and ended with lamb kidney.

I know it’s politically incorrect to say so, because in paleo-land we’re all just supposed to start salivating & shouting hallelujah the moment we see a pile of fresh organs in the butcher’s display case, but lamb kidney tastes like urine and the taste stays in your mouth for a long time, even if you brush your teeth (& your tongue) repeatedly.

I’m an offal wimp.

I just had to get that off my chest.

According to the Paleo PI, kidney is intermediate offal. Tongue & heart is the place to start.

I actually think chicken liver might be the way to edge in for me.

In any case, I’m celebrating my new year with offal.

Celebrate with me!

 

 

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Dandelion~Blueberry~Rhubarb Green Smoothie (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

green smoothieIt’s Spring! And there are 2 foods growing in my yard: dandelion greens & rhubarb.

So I’ve been yard-foraging for green smoothies.

Since starting the Wahl’s Paleo Plus diet a few days ago, I’ve been having dandelion-blueberry-rhubarb smoothies every morning.

dandelionsDandelions are detoxifying. Seriously. Especially for the liver. If you have a lot of toxicity in your body you might want to start small when incorporating dandelion leaves. My partner Matthew, who has multiple autoimmune conditions and a lot of residue from pharmaceuticals in his liver, has a severe detox reaction to even small amounts of dandelion leaves. Better out than in, but you might want plan detoxing for a day when you can just rest if you need to. I have no problem with dandelion greens.

dandelions 2The Wahl’s Protocol is Autoimmune Protocol compatible, though it does allow some foods that the AIP doesn’t (like nightshades and soaked nuts & seeds, but you don’t have the eat those!) The Wahl’s Paleo Plus, the version I am doing currently, is the most extreme of the 3 Wahl’s Protocol diets & it relies on coconut fat for most of its calories. This smoothie is a great way to get more coconut fat in, but you can also use homemade coconut milk if you are on the AIP & don’t need as much fat.

Dandelion~Blueberry~Rhubarb Green Smoothie (AIP & Wahl's Paleo +)

from petra8paleogreen smoothie

Tinned coconut cream is not AIP-friendly because it contains guar gum, however full-fat tinned coconut milk is permitted on the Wahl’s Protocol. To get coconut cream from tinned coconut (more fat, less carbohydrate than the contents of the whole tin), refrigerate the tin overnight & scoop out the cream on top.

If you’re on the Wahl’s Protocol, this recipe gives you coconut fat & all your categories of plants: sulfur-rich, dark green leafy & 3 colours. Just add protein!

  • 1  3/4 cups (tightly packed) arugula
  • 1/4  cup (tightly packed) dandelion greens
  • 1/2- 1 cup cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup rhubarb (optional)
  • 1 batch homemade coconut milk; or 1/2 cup (or more) coconut cream plus 2 cups of water

Whirl all ingredients on high in a blender. This recipe will fill a quart-sized mason jar. Highly portable!

Coconut Milk

  • 1½ cups loosely-packed ground coconut
  • 2½ cups freshly boiled water, cooled slightly

Grind coconut in a blender before measuring. (3 cups Wilderness Family Naturals brand coconut ‘chips’ makes about 1½ cups of loosely-packed ground coconut.)

Whirl ground coconut & hot water in the blender for 3-4 minutes.

Pour mixture through a nut milk bag into a bowl. If your bag doesn’t have a drawstring, you can use an elastic band to hang the bag from a cupboard knob over the bowl until the contents are just cool enough to squeeze all the coconut milk out.

Homemade coconut milk is also fabulous for lattes!

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Now it’s time for… a brief treatise on Paleo Economics & Nutritional Ethics!

The food bill at our house is astronomical.

And it bugs me.

Not just because debt is stressful, but because I know that most people simply can’t afford to eat this way.

That feels unsustainable. On a global scale. Given the 7,226,000,000 people on the planet just now.

Geological PeriodsBack in the Paleolithic, there were fewer of us. Obviously. Population size was regulated by the amount of food available.

I’ve wanted to write about Paleo Economics for a long time but I didn’t want to just moan about my first-world problem: Oh, woe is me, I feel so inequitable about this pastured steak and organic asparagus with balsamic vinegar I’m about to eat…

I felt like I needed to have at least an inkling of a solution.

I think I may have one. At least there’s something I’d like try.

But first, the problem:

Small Island Economics

I was reading an old anthropology book about a cluster of four small south-pacific islands called Yap (also called Wa’ab).

I’m not sure if the anthropology would hold up to scrutiny, but I learned something from it that I think is important.

Yap is tiny and remote, and once-upon-a-time humans had to be entirely self-sufficient there.

YapObviously there were no supermarkets, but there also was no continent to migrate across when food was scarce or villages got overcrowded. People had boats and travelled to other islands, of course, but these were populated, and the people living there were facing the same constraints, and weren’t necessarily welcoming.

People lived on Yap, in a finite ecosystem surrounded by water, with whatever resources they could gather from the land & sea.

According to this anthropology book, they dealt with the inevitable scarcities by creating a caste system.

On Yap, you were born into your caste, but unmarried women and younger sons could also be demoted into a lower caste if the population got too large.

The low-caste was prevented from eating the good food, owning or farming the land, and owning valuable property. They were the people who suffered when food was scarce. In effect, the low-caste acted as a buffer against famine and scarcity for the high-caste. They could get sick or die without anyone getting too fussed, as long as the high-caste people were protected.

This arrangement was unjust, of course, but worked really well to ensure that some people always had enough food to survive and thrive, and thereby could continue living on the little islands of Yap.

Even during bountiful times, when there was more than enough for everyone, the low-caste people were forbidden to eat the good food, because they were still required to act as a buffer in the future when times got hard again.

Sounds very human to me.

And we are no different.

It’s just harder to see because our island is so much bigger. Earth-sized.

But we are nevertheless exercising our high-caste privilege to eat the best food. We can justify it for health reasons. For the health of our families and the health of the planet.

Of course.

But we simultaneously know that other people are going without, and that (if we were to really analyze the situation) those people will also function as a buffer against scarcity and want. For us.

Small World Economics

earthIf this paleo eating thing is actually optimal for humans, not just high-caste humans in the first world, we might have to consider making the switch from small island economics to small world economics, starting with food.

I’m not an economist.

But I found a possible solution to this problem when I was reading the The Wahl’s Protocol. The Wahl’s Protocol has three levels, and the most extreme level, the Wahls Paleo Plus, is a nutritionally–dense, high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, ketogenic diet.

I say ‘moderate protein’ because that’s what Dr. Wahls calls it. And it is moderate compared to a SAD diet, but it’s a low-protein diet compared to the way I eat now. It contains less than half the amount that I am accustomed to eating as a Paleo or AIP person: 6-9 cups of low-carb veg and 6-12 ounces of meat (depending on body size). Most of the calories come from coconut oil. You can also optionally have up to 1 cup of berries, as long as you can remain in ketosis. That would be an increase in fruit for me, overall. Two meals, with a 12-16 hour fast overnight. I usually eat two meals on weekends and holidays, and I prefer that,  but work stress has always necessitated 3 meals on weekdays. That’s going to change! At least for awhile.

Nutritional Ketosis~Nutritional Ethics

Fat is converted to ketones in the presence of limited carbohydrates, and ketones fuel our mitochondria, brain cells & muscle cells. In the absence of carbohydrates, excess protein will be converted to sugar, so protein levels need to be curtailed to enable dietary fat to get to the front of the nutritional queue.

Think about eating significantly less. Spending less money on food. Spending less time eating. Leaving more to go around.

Maybe the solution to the Paleo Economics problem is obvious. So obvious it’s almost embarrassing.

We need to eat less.

Not debate about whether meat or vegetables should go at the bottom of our food pyramid diagrams.

Just eat less.

C’est ça.

I’ve never been a moderate eater. I’m a robust eater, which is one of the reasons Paleo works for me and a SAD diet completely didn’t.

But I’m ready to change. Over the past couple of days I’ve been scaling back my meat, cutting back on lunch, organizing my vegetables by colour and sulfur content based on Dr Wahls’ Protocol, and eating coconut oil by the spoonful.

I’m going to try it. Obviously, I still need to be able to run my life. Do my hot hot power flow yoga. My demanding full-time job. Tend my family. Keep my house in order. And have good energy left over to inquire into stuff that interests me.

And if I stop being altruistic about nutritional ethics for a moment, What if eating half as much meant I could save money to go to Hawai’i for a couple of weeks every winter?

Which coincidentally (or not), was originally settled by people who left overpopulated Polynesian Islands to find new islands that would sustain them.

But here on Earth in 2014, there are no unpopulated islands for us to flee to. We don’t know of any habitable unpopulated planets, either.

So it seems to me, we can choose. Small island economics or small world economics. The power choose always rests with the high-caste, (until there is a revolution).

I’m going to experiment with living in a small-world. Starting today.

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Stages of Change

do-or-do-not-there-is-no-14Going AIP (or Paleo) is a big change.

Despite what yoda might have to say, knowing about Stages of Change Theory can help get you there.

The Stages of Change

Precontemplation: Not intending to change. Uninterested, uninformed, unprepared to contemplate change, or all of the above, thank you kindly. Maybe change feels overwhelming or unnecessary. People who dwell here can be in denial. And people who are in denial sometimes react with hostility to suggestions that they change. Feeling hostile? It’s a clue.

Contemplation: Intending to change, but not immanently. Maybe procrastinating, maybe researching options.

Preparation: Intending to act. Plan in place. Getting ready.

Action: Just like in the movies. Taking action on change and intending to stick with those actions. Or scientifically speaking, “has attained a criterion that is sufficient for change”.

Maintenance: Sustained behaviour change strategies.

Termination: Change is complete. There is no chance of returning to old behaviours. Termination does not mean that you terminate the AIP & go back to donuts. It means that you will never eat donuts again and you don’t want to.

BullseyeHow To Begin

There are all kinds of ways to start an Autoimmune Protocol. If you are in Contemplation, you can use your time there effectively by doing research and deciding how you are going to start.

Terry Wahls and Sarah Ballantyne both recommend in their recent books that you decide whether you are going start gradually or go big. Just like getting into cold water or removing a particularly gnarly band-aid, you need to pick one.

Dr Wahls has designed the Wahls protocol in three stages so that people can start slow by just eliminating gluten and dairy and upping their veg; or be extreme by jumping right into her stage 3 Wahls Paleo Plus, a low-carb, high fat ketogenic version of the Wahl’s protocol. The only thing she is firm on: “Begin”.

The advantage of a phased-in approach is that you can always advance to the next level if you don’t get the results you are seeking. The advantage of starting with a more extreme version is that you will likely achieve healing faster, which will reinforce your change efforts. And you may be able to put some restricted foods back in over time.

Last fall I wrote a post about getting started with paleo that is applicable to the AIP. It includes instructions for doing a force field analysis, which will enable you to bring all your jedi powers to bear on your process of change.

Dr Ballantyne refers to recent research on habit change which suggests that changing a habit takes from 18 to 254 days, and 66 days on average.

I’d say, the bigger the change, the longer it takes.

Matthew and I had an interesting difference of opinion about this the other week, when he’d been on the AIP for 3 months and was really struggling with the restrictions.

He said: It’s different for you because you never crave anything.

To which I retorted: I don’t crave anything because I’ve been doing this for 2 years. Back when I was still mourning for my SAD-foods, you were still eating them!

The point being that psychological dependence on foods takes time to lift, but eventually it does. Somewhere between Matthew’s 3 months and my 2 years, Termination happens.

Obviously it helps if you are seeing positive results from your change. The beneficial effects of change often assist people to move from Action to Maintenance and then to Termination.

One aspect of change that is not officially included in the stages of change is Relapse. Relapse happens. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happened at our house a few weeks ago.

The important thing is about a relapse is not the relapse.

It’s what you do next. Go back to Precontemplation? Or Action? It might be helpful to decide ahead of time what your Relapse strategy will be. Plan not to need your relapse plan, but make one anyway.

 

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches (AIP-friendly, low-FODMAP)

ice cream sandwichesMy first ever summer job when I was a kid was working in an outdoor ice cream stall. I scooped ice cream for tourists all summer long and ate ice cream sandwiches  every day. I loved them.

Even as a adult. When I went paleo 3 years ago giving them up forever felt tragic (but was actually easy).

Nevertheless I’m glad they’re back on the menu!

An early version: the strawberry cream didn't emulsify. It still tasted good but didn't look as pretty...

An early version: the strawberry cream didn’t emulsify. It tasted great but didn’t look as pretty…

I’m actually quite proud of this recipe. It took a bunch of tries to get it right. I tried a carrot cake version and a piña colada version which were very edible.

Then the rhubarb came up out of the ground in all its glory, and I tinkered some more. As a result there have been a superabundance of ice cream sandwiches in my freezer & I’ve grown accustomed to having one each morning for breakfast.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches (AIP-friendly, low-FODMAP)

  • Servings: 6 low FODMAP or 12 moderate-FODMAP (see below)
  • Print

from petra8paleoice cream sandwiches

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 5 small stalks rhubarb, chopped
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • 1 green plantain
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter

Preheat oven to 300

Steam carrots until just soft. Pop them in a saucepan with the rhubarb and orange juice and cook until the rhubarb is dissolved into sauce.

Whirl the carrot rhubarb mixture in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until a smooth batter is formed.

Spread batter on a large parchment lined-baking sheet (mine is 12″x 16″) with a spatula, ensuring that nowhere is it so thin that the parchment peeks through.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cut into 12 rectangles using a pizza wheel, scissors or a sharp knife.

Strawberry Cream

  • 1 1/3 cup sliced strawberries (that’s a 300g package, frozen)
  • 1 cup coconut butter

Heat berries & coconut butter in a saucepan until a a little warmer than room temperature (not hot) to improve emulsification. Blend in a food processor until smooth.

ice cream sandwiches under constructionLay half the carrot-rhubarb slices face down on a baking sheet and heap the strawberry cream on top, distributing evenly. Top with the remaining slices.

Set the sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.

Transfer to a freezer bag or glass container.

Let soften for a few minutes before serving.

A note on coconut and FODMAPs: 1/4 cup dried shredded coconut is low-FODMAP, but 1/2 a cup is moderate, according to the Monash University. Coconut butter is denser than shredded coconut by measure, so if you are on a strict low-FODMAP diet, cut your ice cream bars in half to make 12 and limit yourself to one square. The recipe contains a total of one & 1/3 cups of coconut butter, which is slightly less than 1/8 of a cup for each square (slightly less than 1/4 cup for each bar). Squares should be in low-FODMAP range & bars moderate, assuming shredded coconut has roughly twice the volume of coconut butter.

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An AIP reset

resetA few weeks ago we had an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) reset at our house.

Matthew contracted a horrendous stomach flu. Nothing he ate would stay eaten.

In the SAD old days he ate toast in that kind of circumstance.

After a certain amount time, when things continued to devolve and he still couldn’t eat anything, I went & bought some gluten-free bread. At his request.

Gluten-free is harm reduction, right?

I really couldn’t say no after listening to him dry-heave in the bathroom all day, and in any case, it’s not my place to monitor what he eats.

The toast helped.

He felt better. He had toast for a few days and then went back to a low-FODMAP AIP.

Did I take the opportunity to indulge?

Yes yes. But not with toast.

Back in my Paleo days I used to occasionally deviate into some corn chips, but the last time I did that (a long time ago now) I got hives in my throat as soon as ate them. That was it for grains for me.

Nuts are my weakness.

Pre-AIP I was all about the cashews. So, since Matthew was temporarily diverging, I thought I would too.

I also wanted exercise harm reduction, so I went with macadamias. I’d never actually had macadamias before, but they’re the only nut Mark Sisson includes in his Primal what-to-eat infographic as food. He lists them as a healthy fat, like avocados, whereas all other nuts show up in the ‘moderation’ part of his food pyramid.

I’d like to tell you they were unexceptional, but I’d be lying.

We marked the end our reset with dinner at a French restaurant, the first food we’ve eaten that wasn’t been prepared by one or both of us since December 22nd. We endeavored to stay true to the AIP but we didn’t quiz the kitchen too intently about every little ingredient, like seed spices. I had salad with scallops and a gorgeous bouillabaisse in lobster broth. Matthew had onion soup and duck breast with raspberry sauce & vegetables.

Then we got back on track.

Right about that time I was looking on the Paleo Mom’s site about reactions to reintroducing food on the AIP. I e-mailed the link to Matthew, even though he was sitting just across the room from me. Ten minutes later I heard him say “I have all of those!”

I was glad he could see it.

Because sometimes when people are irritable they assume their spouse is just being irritating!

From where I sit, I’d say Matthew is still recovering the ground he gained before the reset. His pain and nausea have increased after those days-of-toast. And I should probably mention that he associated with some macadamias during that time, too.

Treating the AIP as an experiment

I love research & evaluation, so I’ve been treating the AIP as an experiment.

I tend to treat my whole life as an experiment, actually.

One thing we always need to be alert to in experiments is Plausible Rival Hypotheses.

Before the toast, Matthew was markedly better. He was even having some pharmaceutical-free days. But we could only assume that this was related to the dietary changes on the AIP. A plausible rival hypothesis would be that his condition was improving anyway, and the AIP just so happened to coincide with remission of his symptoms.

In evaluation-speak a counterfactual is what would have happened without an intervention. Counterfactuals are difficult to determine in real life because we make choices & just have to live with the consequences. Imagining what would have happened if we had made different choices involves conjecture and can drive us crazy.

Randomized Control Trials address the counterfactual issue with control groups. One group gets the intervention and the other doesn’t. Then the two groups are compared over time. There have been no randomized control trials for the AIP, but there are clinical trials underway for the Wahl’s Protocol, and there are other ways to address the counterfactual question. I won’t digress into those on the off-chance you aren’t a total evaluation-nerd like me.

In sum, the ‘toast divergence’ at our household provided a bit of counterfactual information for our experiment. If Matthew regains pre-toast levels of healing, we’ll have an even stronger case for linking the AIP to his improvements.

Who would have thought toast could be scientifically useful?

As for my own counterfactual analysis, I seem to have suffered no ill-effects from the macadamia indulgence, except an insatiable urge to swim in the Hawaiian ocean.

The bone broth connection

One other factor is bone broth. I’ve read on a number of sites that people who consume bone broth regularly are able to avoid sickness generally and the stomach flu specifically. Interestingly, we had a bone broth lull at our house in the weeks before Matthew started barfing. Regular bone broth intake might help prevent the need for a future reset. This Sidney Life has a great bone broth recipe.

So we’re 3 ½ months in, but since we decided to reset our AIP clock, we’re only on day 14.

C’est la vie.

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Rhubarb-Ginger-glazed Bok Choy with Bacon (AIP-friendly low-FODMAP)

Rhubarb Ginger Bok ChoyHere on Southern Vancouver Island, it’s officially Spring: the rhubarb is boiling up out of the ground.

As rhubarb is low-FODMAP, and one of the only foods that grows in my yard (I’m not a gardener), it only makes sense to play around with it.

rhubarbI’m working on perfecting some AIP low-FODMAP Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches but they need at least one more iteration before they’ll be share-worthy.

But this recipe is a winner. I had it for breakfast & I think I might stop in for some more Bok Choy so I can have it again tomorrow.

The rhubarb is not at all overpowering. It gives this dish a beautiful lemongrass flavour.

It’s my new favorite meal-in-one.

Rhubarb-Ginger-glazed Bok Choy with Bacon (AIP-friendly low-FODMAP)

  • Servings: A meal for one; a snack or side for two or three
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from petra8paleo

Rhubarb Ginger Bok Choy

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled & minced
  • 1 finger fresh turmeric, peeled & minced (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped rhubarb (about 3 small stalks)
  • Juice & pulp of 1 orange
  • 1½ lbs Bok Choy, chopped

Fry bacon on low heat to caramelize. When brown & crisp, set aside on paper towel.

Add the ginger, turmeric (if using) & rhubarb to the hot bacon fat & sauté on low until softened.

Turn up the heat & add the contents of the orange: juice & pulp. Scrape the brown bits from the pan as it bubbles.

Add the chopped Bok Choy stalks & stir-fry for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the chopped Bok Choy greens & continue to stir-fry until bright green & just wilted.

Serve immediately, topped with crumbled bacon.

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