Let’s get these challenges started
January! The month of new beginnings, fresh starts, new goals, and resolutions. It can’t help itself, that is what January is about. For January, I’m going to follow the same path I have the past two years, only
I’m making it harder, because what sounds like more fun than starting off the new year with a nearly impossible to maintain diet? Isn’t that what all the experts advise? Set your goals so high that you’re bound to cave by the 17th of the month.
The past two years I’ve used January to do the Whole30, a paleo clean-eating diet that has 30 days of no processed foods, sugar, grains, or alcohol. By “for some reason” I mean “give my liver a break after all the holiday parties with the increased alcohol and food (mostly alcohol).”
The Whole30 worked for me even though about halfway through I end up cursing myself for even considering the idea. Luckily by the end I feel like Wonder Woman with the ability to spin in circles, use a lasso of truth, and fly my invisible jet like rockstar. Okay, clearly I don’t know enough about Wonder Woman, beyond the cool costume, but you get the idea.
At the end of last January, I came to the horrific realization that the Whole30, with all it’s rules, Just. Isn’t. Enough for me. Every few years there seems to find additional foods I can no longer eat while my allergies and asthma get worse. At this rate, I’ll soon be living in a bubble on filtered air, and none of us want that.
In the fall of 2014 I tried a diet called the Autoimmune Protocol. There aren’t words to describe how challenging this was for me. I’m still not sure how, but I made it through 30 days. The second phase is to start “testing foods” back into my diet. The first thing I “tested” was coffee. I ran, literally ran, to the coffee cart outside my office and ordered an iced decaf Americano, practically kissing the counter the barista, my hero, set it on. It felt so good when it touched my lips.
So there it is, my first challenge of the year is the Autoimmune Protocol. It will be extremely difficult and incredibly necessary. My doctor and gym coach both recommended I stay on it for anywhere from three months to a year to see if I can use food to heal my body. Given this, I’ve given myself a few exceptions over the next few months (e.g. girl’s trip in a few weeks). The hope is that then the food allergies/intolerances I have will lessen over time.
That’s the hope.
Since I’m breaking the rules of my 12-month challenge right away by picking one that will last beyond 30 days, I may as well add that I’m keeping in coffee. If I’m going to do this for several months, coffee helps make it doable and I don’t feel like I’ve given up my soul to feel better and be healthy. I made the rules of this challenge, I can break them because I’m crazy like that.
Why it’s a challenge
The AIP diet removes everything, any potential triggers for allergies or autoimmune issues.
Basically that leaves: meat, vegetables (minus nightshades), fruit, oils, coconut, and a few other minor things (some vinegars, etc.)
There is no: alcohol, sugar, sweeteners, seeds, nuts, nightshades, coffee, caffeine, aspirin, fun, excitement, living somewhere besides the kitchen, etc.
In order to do it successfully, it’s best if you control everything you eat which means a TON of time in the kitchen. Which would be amazing, if I actually enjoyed cooking, but I don’t. I can cook, but I’m slow at it and I don’t like spending my time doing it. In addition, I am easily distracted and have cut/burned myself far too many times for me to fully trust shiny, sharp metal objects. I’ve come to rely on audiobooks while cooking since if I listen to music, I start dancing around then the next thing you know I’m having to drive myself to the ER because I caught the tip of my finger in an immersion blender (true story). Hot tip: always unplug kitchen appliances. Who knew that wasn’t just a fun saying?
What to expect (Part One)
A. Lot. Of. Complaining. Okay, that’s not quite true, but the first few weeks are the most painful as I try to get back into the rhythm of detoxing without feeling like I’m missing too much. And in the middle of the complaining, is how I feel, how I’m doing, and if it is truly worth doing it. I already know it is because I’ve done it before. Hopefully it will be easier the second time.
What to expect (Part Two)
More energy, better sleep, and improved overall health.
It’s the second part that makes it all worthwhile.
Stay with me though. For the next few weeks will be about my adventures – in the kitchen, going out, and traveling, all while trying to eat like my life depends on it. Because in some ways, it does.