Mainly the answer to that question is “because it adversely affects me and my body and I don’t like what it does due to the fact that the reaction is usually a lot of pain and inflammation”.
So, for the longer version of that answer, here are some of the things I can’t eat and why. I won’t get into some of the more nasty things that happen to me when I accidentally eat foods I am not supposed to, because you don’t really want to hear that part!
Over the past several years, I started to notice that “every time” I went to a restaurant where one of the main dishes was chicken, I would start to rub my nose – A LOT – because it became unbearably itchy! It doesn’t happen anywhere else, just in places like a chicken and rib house, KFC, or perhaps where there is a chicken special listed on a menu for the dinner hour. If chicken is being cooked, especially in oils that I shouldn’t be eating, I react. Now, it seems, it doesn’t matter how the chicken is cooked, I react adversely, including rubbing my nose until it’s almost raw and sneezing. I’ve also noticed a digestive reaction lately as well. Definite allergic reaction and haven’t exactly nailed down what part of the chicken is causing the issue, although I don’t think it really matters. Strange I know, but when my allergist heard this, he immediately struck chicken off my list of “can have” foods. I had continued to eat chicken up til about a month ago, but the reactions are now getting worse, so I guess it’s off my list of can haves.
Sorry to my immediate family that thought they had a fall-back for me, but we will have to curtail any chicken for Mom for the time being!
Dairy and Soy products:
When I first started this journey the allergist put me on a 30 day elimination diet. I hadn’t really thought too much about what I put in my mouth up until then, but sure do now.
During the reintroduction phase, after the 30 days were up, I tried to reintroduce dairy. Now, if you knew me before this, you would have known that I didn’t do dairy anyway because I had been vegan and vegetarian a while back but never reintroduced dairy when I began a regular food diet again. Turned out to be the best thing I could have done. I knew whenever I ate cheese that I would have gastric issues. I suspected something was up with cheese, so I avoided it pretty much.
Instead of drinking cow’s milk, I drank Soy milk. Instead of cheese I ate Soy based cheese. But when trying to reintroduce soy back into my diet – I was blindsided again. Turns out after eating soy for 25 years, it probably was the worst thing I could have been eating as my body definitely didn’t like it too much and I hadn’t recognized that it was soy that was instrumental in why I was having a lot of my issues.
So, no dairy for me ever again – or Soy. Instead I consume a lot of coconut milk, coconut yogurt, and perhaps a homemade dairy-free vegetable based “cheese”. I do a lot of recipe research on-line – what a great resource!
In very small doses, it’s great, but unfortunately, my body is starting to react to all forms of red meat lately, and not in a nice way. The Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in my hands and joints has been great for the past few months, and I recently discovered when I ate red meat they react overnight. You see, I strictly watch what goes into my mouth because of the issues with my autoimmune diseases, and whenever I deviate even slightly, I know pretty much right away.
Herbs, spices and condiments:
The list of things I am allowed is pretty short – but what I cannot have is pretty extensive – No: pepper, cardamom, black caraway, celery seed, coriander seed, cumin seed, dill seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, fenugreek, nutmeg, poppy seed, sesame seed. Whenever I have anything seed related, I usually have an inflammatory response. That also means any condiment made with a seed spice is a no-no in my life – mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauces, most salad dressings (all of these are now homemade with ingredients I CAN have).
Fruits and Vegetables:
Anything that is considered a “nightshade” (see my previous post if you haven’t already) is off my list of things to eat. It has been just over a year now that I’ve been eating the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) protocol and have noticed a tremendous difference in my body. Some really good, some not so good! But, every time I try to reintroduce something from the “do not eat” list, I react, so for the time being I have to stay true to the program.
A nightshade is a fruit, vegetable, or spice that contains lectins that may help to produce intestinal permeability, better known now as Leaky Gut! When you have leaky gut, the lining of your intestinal tract starts to develop holes that food particles (that aren’t supposed to) cross over into your body causing all kinds of havoc! This can create issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crones disease, RA, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and a tonne of other diseases. Why does this happen? Because your immune system treats the food particles as invaders, it starts to attack your own body in order to get rid of those invaders. Then your body reacts by producing all the inflammation and pain that starts to affect your everyday life. It’s really a vicious circle that I’m trying to stop from spinning more out of control than it already is.
In order to do this, I have to refrain from eating anything that might be making my body react. Vegetables or fruit such as tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, peppers – both sweet and hot, regular white potatoes, garden huckleberries, ground cherries (not regular cherries), and goji berries are on the list of things NOT to eat, so I avoid them, of course. Because any and all of these things will or could cause issues. Since not eating any of these things I have noticed a lot of changes in how my body reacts to food.
I no longer have GERD symptoms, which was a huge issue for me up until 2014.
Bacon and Eggs:
I’ve tried numerous times over the past year to reintroduce eggs into my diet, and it always seems to be OK for a short time, then the RA starts to come into play with inflammation and pain. So, if I have eggs, it will be under very strict control on my part.
I love going out to breakfast – one of my favorite times of day to go to a restaurant – but, without being able to eat eggs, it makes it almost impossible. Never mind making breakfast at home – that’s another issue altogether!
I can, however, eat bacon, but again, it must be Nitrate/Nitrite free, sugar-free, uncured bacon. Not easy, so it has to be bought by me and cooked at home where I know exactly what I am getting. AIP Pancakes and nitrate free bacon anyone? I just made a batch of pancakes the other day and froze most of them, so I’m good for a little while.
This one is a biggie! I haven’t eaten any breads since trying to reintroduce it back in 2014 and had such an immediate radical reaction that it was the first thing to eliminate permanently from my diet. Since then, speaking with my health care team, we have all decided it’s best to never eat any gluten containing products ever again. No wheat, rye, barley, oats, or anything gluten at all.
I’ve tried all kinds of ways to make something “bread like” that is suitable for me to eat. Not easy, and since 2014, there have been so many improvements with the recipe industry that there are finally ones I can actually eat and am completely not turned off by.
I have quite a list of Paleo and AIP warriors who work very diligently at making recipes that everyone will not only eat, but appreciate. What a lovely bunch of guys and gals.
I’ve found a few grain-free recipes that have turned out really well. I’ll post some later and perhaps you can try them. It’s really great that the other day I made a Pumpkin Pie with a grain-free pie crust. Oh my goodness, was it good and even my hubby (who has noting great to say about my attempts at making bread type products), LOVED it! That is really high praise for my dessert making of late.
Grains, Nuts and Seeds:
Another category of food that often cause issues are grains. That would be rice, brown rice, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, barley (allergic), buckwheat, bulgar (made from wheat), farro (another gluten containing grain), corn (allergic), millet, kamut, sorghum, spelt, teff or triticale. These grains have become so highly modified over the years, that you actually don’t know what you are eating any more and are mostly GMO.
Seeds are once again, something to avoid – chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander. I find I do much better without them, so keep them at a distance.
Nuts on the other hand have become somewhat of a problem for me. Seems I’ve developed an intolerance to them as well, so will have to keep them at bay. I’ve finally found a substitute I can use instead of almond flour – it’s tiger nut flour and it just about works as a 1:1 substitute. I also use it to make my Tiger nut Granola (great morning breakfast with homemade coconut yogurt). Tiger nuts are not in the nut or legume family, they are actually a tuber. They are slightly hard, so soaking them is usually recommended. I make milk and flour from a small batch of nuts and use them in baking.
Beans and Legumes:
Another category of foods that are not to be eaten on my AIP protocol, including all beans like kidney, pinto, black as well as Soy in all its forms. I’ve been avoiding these all along, and will continue to do so until I’m ready to reintroduce other foods. Soy will NOT be reintroduced as I had a very adverse reaction to it in 2014.
There are only a couple of sweeteners that I use regularly – honey and maple syrup as they are minimally processed therefore are pretty close to natural. If I’m baking/cooking and it calls for a sweetener these are the ones I count on. I seem to be able to tolerate them well, so they have become my go-to’s. If a recipe calls for a dry sweetener, I’ll use coconut sugar, but never the over-processed white stuff!
Just a couple of months ago we had company and I decided to try a little bit of wine with my meal. Well, that is something I won’t be doing again any time soon. Next morning I woke with a lot of inflammation and pain in my hands and other joints. My major warning sign of things to avoid. I’ll stick with my soda water for drinking! Thank goodness we have a soda stream to make our own. Only thing in it is water and CO2.
I think I’ve covered most of the foods I’ve been asked about over the past couple of years.
Certainly, I think I should be able to incorporate some of these things back into my diet at some point, but not right now. Until I get my “leaky gut” under control, and feel my hands and joints are much more improved, the AIP lifestyle will be where I stay.
Have a blessed day and week ahead.