Recap: Week 1 on Autoimmune Protocol Diet

The first week of the Autoimmune Protocol is up, and I think the hardest part is behind me.

Thank god.

I’m not going to lie, the last week was tough. I’ve had all sorts of withdrawals, my moods have been all over the place, and there were days where I couldn’t move off the couch. I think a day-by-day recap is in order.

Sunday:

With much regret, I awaken realising that today is the day I lose my culinary freedom. It means I’m already in a bad mood as soon as my eyes open, and it only gets worse as time goes on. I have in mind an amazing avocado breakfast, but to my annoyance the avocados weren’t ripe. HOW DARE THEY!

Mario soon retreats outside to leave me in my miserable bubble.

By late afternoon the headache has set in, and it won’t go away until Wednesday. At least it’s a bearable headache though, since I can’t have any ibuprofen or asprin.

Monday:

Headache still in place, and today I’m left to my own devices to cook up meals as Mario has returned to work. I plan to do lots at home, but by lunch time I’m feeling pretty rotten. Needless to say I don’t do much in the way of anything productive, and my jigsaw puzzle occupies a lot of my time.

For lunch I’ve decided to push the boundary and try making a dish with zucchini in it. Normally I hate zucchini (childhood scars) but I figure if I have it raw it might improve the taste. Nope. I hate it, and I barely eat anything for lunch.

By dinner time I’m struggling for energy. Mario makes dinner, and I fall asleep on the couch.

I’m pretty sure that I would have killed someone if it meant I could have a coffee today.

Tuesday:

Still got the headache, but I don’t feel as bad as I did the day previously. Mario gets home from work at 3pm, so we head to the gym for a workout together.

I go for a run on the treadmill, and after 3km I’m knackered. I walk for the next couple of kilometres. Normally I would do weights after that, but today I’m spent. I sit down on a machine and chat to Mario while he finishes up.

That night I fall asleep on the couch again after dinner, but wake up with the sweats. I struggle to wake up, and I know that I’m just babbling incoherently to Mario about feeling hot. Worried, he checks my blood pressure (we have a little portable machine at home) and while a little on the lower side, I’m fine. I feel like my heart is racing (it’s not) and I’m incredibly uncomfortable. I’m still struggling to wake up and be functional, and after Mario manages to get me upstairs for bed, I pass out for another 12 – 13 hours.

Wednesday:

I barely recall Mario getting up and going to work, and by the time I manage to climb out of bed it’s nearly 3 hours after my usual rising time. I feel like a truck has run over me. The day passes in a blur, and much like Monday, I spend most of it doing my jigsaw puzzle. I’m determined to finish it on this day – it’s the most my brain can manage. When I have short bursts of energy I go outside to play with my dog, but that’s about all I can do. It’s the worst day by far and I feel like I have zero in the tank.

Thankfully the headache has passed.

Thursday:

This morning I went to Brisbane to a shopping centre with my Mum. I packed myself snacks so that I knew if I was hungry I would be able to eat something – I’ve realised that if I’m out and about there’s a good chance that 99% of the food I won’t be able to eat. We go to a bakery so that she can have a coffee, and I have a green tea. While everything smells amazing, I’m not actually tempted by it. Hopefully all of the sugar cravings have passed.

By the time we get home I’ve developed another headache and I need to sleep.

I nap, and by the time Mario gets home I’m feeling much better. I still don’t do much otherwise.

For dinner we eat an AIP pizza, which is a base made out of tapioca flour, and has a sprinkling of yeast. I also have some sparkling water. For the rest of the night (and the following morning) my stomach is churning and bloated. I’m worried about whether I do actually have a sensitivity to yeast, or bubbled water, but figure I will have the answer when it comes to the end of 30 days and I start reintroducing foods properly. For now I’ll stay away from foods with yeast, and I’ll experiment with the sparkling water later.

Friday:

I wake up feeling about a thousand times better than I have all week. I finally have a productive day doing a fair bit on the PC, things I have wanted to achieve all week. I make myself a new workout plan for the gym, and I research some things I have in the works. I have motivation back.

The day passes super quickly, and unfortunately I don’t make it to the gym that night.

Saturday:

We awake early, and I’m thrilled that I’m starting to wake naturally around my normal rising time (anywhere from 4.45am – 5.10am). I’m still groggy and not bouncing out of bed like I used to, but it’s much better than where it was a struggle to open my eyes, let alone move.

We go for a bike ride, and even though I can feel my energy and strength is far from what I used to be like, at least I’m out there (a big deal for me after that week). It mostly feels like I have muscular fatigue from a lack of conditioning, and given it’s my first proper ride since November, when I did the triathlon, it’s to be expected.

By the afternoon I’m starting to feel quite tired again. I nap, and again wake like I felt on Tuesday (sweats and pulse racing), and my eyes feel sensitive to the light. I have some cold water and a snack and improve to the point I feel human again. It’s clear there is a major battle going in my body.

That evening I had piked on a friend’s birthday celebration because I wouldn’t have been able to eat or drink anything. I’m gutted, but I’m also worried about facing ridicule for what I’m doing. In the end we have a bbq that night, and it means 7 days successful on the first round of the autoimmune diet.

Observations

From what I’ve gone through in this past week, it cements the fact that there is something not right in my body. We’re eating nutritious, wholesome foods and yet my body is having an extreme reaction. I have detoxed from sugar before and it was never this bad.

I largely cut myself off from people in this week, partially because I was exhausted, by partially because I expect to be questioned and told that I’m doing the wrong thing. Sometimes it feels when it comes to nutrition everyone believes they’re an expert. The thing I keep reminding myself is that everything I am eating is good food, and I’m getting enough calories. Each day I see an improvement, so right now it feels like I’m doing something right.

This week I’m expecting to have more improvements again. I think by the end of the week I will be positive if I’m doing the right thing or not, and it also marks the halfway point.

Despite some incredible detoxing, it almost feels like the food scenario was a bit easier than I expected. I know that if all else fails, stick to meat & veg and I’ll be right. The only struggle I’ve had was with breakfast, but I’m starting to adapt to having veggies for breakfast, or “dinner” foods as such. I still have the odd smoothie I can go to if I’m running out of time, but as the week has gone on I would like to try to stay away from sugars a bit more (aka fruits). If it turns out I do have candida, sugar feeds it so it’s best to stay away if I can. I’ve decided I will allow the odd treat here and there (as in every few days) but only if I’m craving. If the symptoms are still there after 30 days I will go get the blood test to check if I have it. For now I’m happy with focusing on the “gut-healing” diet.

Week 2 means my return to work, which faces its own challenges. I’m an emotional eater, so it will be a new learning process for me to cope with stress in better ways. My plan is to go for a walk instead. I’m also thinking about making up a batch of something within my diet constraints and keep it in the freezer if required.

Hopefully I’m reporting back next week with news of a return to full energy! Wish me lots of good health!