I’m on week 3 of my journey on the Autoimmune Protocol, and I thought I’d give a little update.
The most noticeable difference for me is that I’m hungry! I struggle with my appetite a lot, which has meant that I’m often hovering around the point where being thin becomes being unhealthily underweight. While I do get hungry, it’s often not at meal times, and I frequently find myself feeling physically hungry while not having enough of an appetite to eat. And there are many times when I start eating a meal, only to feel uncomfortably full after eating only a small amount. When this happens, I tend to get hungry or feel weak soon after since it wasn’t actually enough food. So the fact that I’m hungry and have an appetite is huge! I’m eating more, and that’s great news, not least because I was worried I might lose even more weight on the AIP.
While I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I don’t really feel like it’s more time than when I was eating just Paleo. I have finally gotten into the spirit of batch cooking, something I have been trying to do for years. Thanks in large part to my Instant Pot, I can make 3-4 pounds of meat at a time, and I am learning to double my recipes for sides as well (using my giant cast iron wok is very helpful for making mountains of greens at once). This means that I cook large batches a few times a week (our kitchen and fridge aren’t nearly large enough to hold the food that would result from a once weekly cook-up), and most meals are just varying combinations of leftovers, sometimes with one part of it made fresh (like a salad). This past week, I made carnitas with 3 1/2 pounds of pork (using the recipe from The Healing Kitchen), a double batch of plantain tortillas, a double batch of lamb meatballs from The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook (what a genius idea to put lemon zest and olives in the meatballs!), a huge batch of braised chard, a batch of my AIP breakfast sausage, Mickey Trescott’s turmeric sauce, tzatziki also from The Healing Kitchen, and a huge batch of rhubarb compote (recipe coming soon!). With all of these meal components, I was able to mix and match meats, sauces and veggies, often supplemented by sweet potato hash and/or a fresh salad. The only time I felt desperate in the kitchen was late last week when I had run out of all my batch-cooked protein and I felt too drained after a long day to prepare some meat. My husband bailed me out that evening, but I still had a blood sugar crash and resulting migraine. Lesson learned: be prepared!
Lastly, my energy seems better. While I’m still getting a noticeable afternoon slump somewhere between 2 and 4 pm, I have found that once I rest a little, I’ve mostly had the energy to pick up my kids from school, come home, and get dinner on the table. And that is not a given. For the most part over the past two years, I have been able to make dinner if my kids come home from school on their own or my husband picks them up. Or I can pick them up, but then someone else has to make dinner, or we need to eat leftovers or takeout. But the past few days, I have been able to do both, and it makes me feel like maybe I just might get my life back with this diet and lifestyle approach.