Like I’ve dramatically revealed in several posts, I am human. And a big part of being human is failing at things you want to do (and then getting up and continuing on anyway).
Enter: Paleo AIP. It’s incredibly powerful. But it’s also unbelievably restrictive. Eventually, you get the sense that you’re an alien in a world of delicious food and you can’t eat any of it. You also have to plan, purchase, and prep everything you ever want to eat yourself (well, there are a few exceptions).
Fortunately, the diet is also highly customized. Different people react to different things, so it only makes sense to figure out what you react to and adjust accordingly.
Here’s a look at what I’ve figured out for Sarah’s Paleo AIP needs and reactions.
Yellow foods are foods that may give me a slight stomach ache or make me feel “weird” or even a little poofy for 12 hours. I avoid them 90 percent of the time. And the rest of the time…. I devour special pizzas or eat bananas and chocolate chips (more on that later).
Red foods are total non-negotiables that give me severe (non-allergic) reactions like headaches, hives, and severe gastrointestinal distress (charming, right?).
Crossover foods are things I can tolerate “kind of okay” in small, small doses. For eggs, that means a single egg baked into a huge thing might be fine. For rice, that means something with a touch of rice flour in it will work out. I definitely cannot eat eggs and/or rice plain without major consequences.
As you can see, these food restrictions don’t give me a lot to work on. So every once in a while (three or four times a month) I crash and need to reengage with society, food-wise.
Based on my unique triggers, here are a few Paleo AIP Cheats I succumb to when I feel, well, human.
Against the Grain Nut-Free Pesto Pizza
JHubbs was born with a slice of pizza in each hand. He’s been absolutely amazing in this process of removing Standard American Diet (SAD) foods from the home. But one thing we will simply never leave behind is pizza.
For JHubbs, most gluten-free restaurant options hit the spot just fine. For me, those still mean huge, painful limbs (hands and feet), give or take a headache. Since grains are a deal breaker for me, finding the Against the Grain Nut-Free Pesto Pizza ($12-13) has been a shining beacon of hope in the form of cheesy, basil-y pizza goodness.
We cover it in Applegate pepperoni (with black olives on my half) and it makes me feel like maybe I’m not so weird if I can eat this delicious thing once or twice per month.
Lily’s Seven Layer Cake
Talk about deliciousness wrapped in a plastic package. I found Lily’s Seven Layer Cake ($8-10) in Whole Foods during Passover and I promptly had one every few weeks until they were gone. That’s expensive, but about on par with ordering a single slice of cake in a restaurant.
The cake is dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and even though that leaves you wondering “Well, what’s even in it, then?” I promise it is on par or better than regular cakes I’ve had! It’s based on potato starch and sugar, which makes it a solid yellow in my food book, but once again it was really nice to eat something I hadn’t slaved and shopped over.
Five Guys or Burger Bach French Fries
Fries are a huge yellow area for me, but when they’re fresh and fried in 100 percent peanut oil, I can get away with mild symptoms. Our restaurants of choice are Five Guys Burgers & Fries and a local “fancy” burger place called Burger Bach (both about $5 per order to split with JHubbs).
These are the only two restaurants I can go to because their fryers are dedicated gluten free (the restaurant doesn’t fry any breaded menu items). I also eat these fries with a mix of mayo and ketchup, further endangering my progress.
Bananas and Chocolate Chips
This is one treat I have more like three or four times per week. My only real allowable “desert.” I eat frozen Whole Food’s 65 percent chocolate chips ($6) (no dairy, no chocolate liquer) with a banana. If I’m out of bananas, I’ll eat the chocolate chips with Trader Joe’s Banana Chips which have added cane sugar.