So a couple weeks back, I wrote Part 1 in this series. Go check it out if you have not read it, as it contains tips on apps you can use to help you simplify.
This post is about my specific planning and how Im using those apps to help me identify which foods will become part of my normal regimen and which foods will stay out for an undetermined amount of time. Let's start with my plan, shall we? I wanted it to be simple and I wanted to just start with a few foods to add back. So I set up a 5 week plan, introducing two foods each week, giving myself 3 days of introduction and then 4 full days of rest. I also planned out what forms of that food I would try in my reintroduction meals. This is exactly how I help clients with their plans, and now its time for me to put my work to test on me!
So for week one, over the course of 3 days (which equals 9 meals and maybe a few snacks), I experimented with almonds, almond flour and chocolate. Really, what happened, was it was Halloween and my husband really wanted some Capello's GF Cookies and I caved to have some with him - hence my choice of almonds and chocolate. But it was not all Capello's those three days, I also tested by eating almonds and a few bites of 100% cacao.
Then it was about monitoring. In testing two foods at once using the Food Detective app, I can identify a culprit food and simplify introduction. Without it I can only test one food at a time and it would take me twice as long to do this rather lengthy n=1 experiment. Im keeping track of any symptoms using another app and with those two, I can easily see if I have an adverse reaction. Plus, I have an additional 4 days in the week to track symptoms - sometimes it takes 72 hours after eating a food for symptoms to show up. See the sample calendar below.
Week 1 results are in!
The green checkmark (above) denotes no symptoms and nothing on the Food Detective app. The red X's indicate symptoms and that Food Detective suspected a food. So what happened? Well, I got pretty bad brain fog, nasal congestion, my thyroid started acting all janky and I started gaining weight (water weight = inflammation). This started about 30 hours after the first introduced cookies and continued through Wednesday.
So what does this mean? Well it means either Im sensitive to Almonds, or Cacao, or Sugar! Sugar got tested since there was also sugar in the cookies and any chocolate that was not 100%. And, truth be told, I ate french fries at a restaurant on Saturday *SHOCK & HORROR*. Which means I also tested Potatoes and seed oil! So now I have 5 culprit foods and no clear way to sort out which one it was. What can I say? Life happens and I am human and sometimes you just have to get a little crazy.
Now that I have done a complete AIP reintroduction bender in week one - I can say that I have some suspects. But I have to be my own food detective and sort out which one of the 4 caused the reaction. And it could be several, not just one.
So now what?
Im giving myself an extra week back on full AIP to let the inflammation reside and get back to my normal full-AIP-feeling-great self. Then I will proceed with Week 2 as planned. For me, its just easiest to put my week 1 test items (almonds, cacao) at the end of my plan. So I will re-test those and this time test without sugar... and potato fries.... and seed oils :)
The important thing here is to take the information in stride. It could be really easy for me to say, "forget it, Im not reintroducing anything else" but then I would never know if any of the other foods (which all are fantastic sources of nutrients by the way) will work. Its also important to realize that I, while trying to keep things simple, gave myself a complex multi-variant analysis problem. And since I never liked those problems in Calculus, I'll just re-do the test and keep it simple this time.
This stuff is not easy, but boy is it easy to make it hard! So Im carrying on and sticking to my plan. Its going to take some time, but I think its worth it in the end. Frankly, I have felt better in the last several months than I have in years and I know its because I have finally removed something that is causing inflammation and autoimmune flares. So let the sleuthing continue!