Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) Update — 2 Months

Okay, so now I’ve been on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) for well over two months, and (knock on wood) it looks like things are going pretty well.

Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) Update -- 2 Months

To recap: For the past year or so, my gut consistently been in some type of pain.  A good day just meant less nausea and pain than usual. A bad day is when the nausea and pain are so bad that I can’t really think about anything else.

But after a couple months (okay, it’s getting closer to three — I’m a little late on this update) on the AIP, I can honestly say I’ve had some moments where I’m not in any sort of pain. Not just low amounts of pain that I can try to ignore. But, really, no pain. I’ve also not been feeling quite as shaky and light-headed.  My neck is no longer inflamed, and I don’t seem to be retaining as much water in my face and stomach.  Oh, and my skin is looking clearer.

I’m still having some pretty bad days, but there are some good days mixed it. So I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to see improvements.

In addition to eating according to the AIP, I’ve recently started taking beef gelatin as a supplement. It’s pretty gross mixed up in water, but I’ve added it to stews and made some healthy gummies out of it. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but it was after I began supplementing with gelatin for a couple of days, that I started to see some major gut improvements.

AIP Two Month Update -- Great Lakes Beef Gelatin for Gut Health

I’ve been using this unflavored gelatin from Great Lakes. I get the reddish orange bottle because it has gelling properties. Apparently the green can doesn’t. So if you want this stuff to make candy or gummies, make sure you get the one that gels.

I’ve also tried adding L-Glutamine, which is an amino acid known to promote gastrointestinal health, but I think it may be causing me to feel manic and making it difficult for me to sleep. So, I’m going to skip the L-Glutamine for a few days and see what happens.

Disclosure: I started writing this post last week, and have had a couple of really bad days again since then (including the appearance of some mysterious rashes/bruises), but I still believe that my gut is improving overall. Sometimes, when things aren’t going well it seems like nothing is improving. But a year ago, I was having trouble eating any meals without vomiting. Now, I’m eating regularly, not puking and having a few days where I barely even think about my gut. Good changes are happening, albeit much slower than I originally hoped.

Diana Signature

Date Night In Series — Halloween Movie Night

Date Night In Series Logo

Whether you’re bed-bound, house-bound or just out of spoons for the night, my new Date Night In series should help you come up with some fun ideas for date nights at home. This first date night is inspired by one of my favorite holidays — Halloween!

Halloween Snacks:

English: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, one with ...

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, because I’m still on the AIP diet, it’s not like I can just grab a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my fave!), so I decided to sleuth around and find some tasty alternatives for people who are either on healing diet or have food allergies/intolerances.

I haven’t tried them yet (nuts and chocolate are also still off-limits for me) but Mom Gone Paleo’s Dark Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups look like they’d be a great alternative to my favorite Halloween candy. I’ve seen several other variations of these made with different kinds of nut butters.

Now, these Yam O’Lanterns at Apron Strings may not be chocolate, but they are a fun way to eat a healthy snack and completely AIP-legal. With only three ingredients (yams, olive oil and sea salt), these are good choice for anyone on a restrictive diet. You can also swap out the olive oil for coconut oil or add some cinnamon and nutmeg.

There’s nothing better than snuggling up and sipping a hot drink when it’s chilly outside. I normally prefer a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows, but again, that’s not an option right now. Baker Bettie’s Crockpot Apple Cider is a tasty alternative and can be made with or without sugar.

Halloween Movie:

When it comes to Halloween movies, I prefer something funny or corny rather than something that’s really scary. My absolute favorite Halloween movie is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (and hey, it even doubles as a Christmas movie!). This stop-motion musical even comes in 3-D now. Oh, and if you enjoy the movie, don’t forget to also check out Nightmare Revisited!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating:

I love the idea of carving pumpkins, but in reality, I just don’t like all the work involved. Slicing through a pumpkin is hard, especially if you have chronic pain or fatigue! So I found some easier ways to decorate — no knives required.

If you like using power tools, Better Homes and Gardens has a tutorial on how to decorate your pumpkin with a drill. And Momtastic has a tutorial on how to decorate pumpkins with black chalkboard paint. The best part about the chalkboard paint is you don’t have to commit to just one look.

So do you have any plans for Halloween?

My family had a Halloween party at my parents’ house last weekend, and it was pretty fun. Here’s a couple pictures from the party:

Diana Vancura and Grandpa Al

Me and Grandpa Al

Family Photo

Family Photo from Halloween

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Diana Signature

Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) – 30 Day Update

Wow, it’s been 30 days already! (Okay, actually 33  — sorry, this update is a little late due to me being sick.)

When I first started contemplating whether I really wanted to try eliminating some of my favorite foods, like tomatoes, potatoes and chocolate, 30 days sounded like a HUGE commitment.

But by the time I got to day 15 of the AIP, my boyfriend told me he couldn’t believe how fast it was going. Of course, I gave him some major eyerolling, since it’s pretty easy for someone who isn’t actually eliminating any of these foods to think everything is going by quickly. But really, the first 30 days has gone by much quicker than I thought they would.

Like my last update, these past ten days have been a mix of good and not-so-good.

The Good

After my last update, I had a pretty great week where I had good energy levels and minimal gut issues. I’ve also noticed less inflammation around my throat and less water retention in my legs, arms and stomach.

My nephew turned two this today (Happy birthday, Royce!), so this weekend his parents threw a huge basketball themed birthday party for him. It was a lot of fun, and I’m happy I was feeling well enough to attend.

Also, I successfully made bone broth for this first time in the crockpot, and it was actually super easy, and it turned out well. I’ll do a whole post on bone broth soon.

AIP Chicken Bone Broth

The Not-So-Good

Unfortunately, the past few days have been kind of sucky again. Right now, I have a cold, so I had to do some more stress-dosing with my hydrocortisone, so it’s hard to tell if there have been any improvements. I’ve been nauseated and have had back pain, but those things are common low cortisol symptoms when I’m sick.

I’m also losing quite a bit of weight that I didn’t really need to lose. I’m 5’5″ and at the beginning of the diet, I started out at about 119 pounds, and now I’m down to about 110. My weight fluctuates quite a bit, so it’s hard to say what my “healthy” weight is, but I think anything under 115 tends to look unhealthy on me. It’s harder to eat much when I’m sick, especially when I can’t grab a box of crackers or some pre-made soup.

I’ve tried to add more fats, fruits and carby vegetables to my diet in order to help with the weight issues, but I seem to be reacting to too much fat or fruit. I may also be reacting to coconut, which sucks because coconut oil and coconut milk are huge staples of this diet for many people. Also, for some reason when I eat too many yams or sweet potatoes they start to make me feel gaggy. Not sure if that’s a real reaction or not.

So far, the hardest part of the diet has been having to make everything from scratch, even if I’m not feeling well. I’m trying to do most of my cooking when I feel pretty well and save things for when I’m not doing so great.

Moving Forward

I was hoping to start reintroductions by now, but I think I’m going to hold off for a few more days, just so I don’t mistake cold/low cortisol symptoms for food reactions. Regardless of what happens from this point, I’m still happy that I’m giving this a try.

Diana Signature



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Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) Update: A Bit of a Roller Coaster

It’s time for another update on how the AIP is going for me. You can also read about my first ten days here.

The 19th was my 20th day on the diet.

AIP zuchinni noodles

By the 15th day, I was feeling really well. I had some sugar cravings here and there, but I just felt better overall and had more energy and less stomach discomfort than usual. Things continued to look pretty good until the 18th day when I suddenly crashed.

I became nauseated, weak and so shaky that I spilled my water all over myself when I tried to drink it. I had trouble keeping all of my pills down and had to use hydrocortisone cream to stress dose, because I couldn’t take all of my hydrocortisone pills without getting sick.  I’ve continued to stress dose for the past three days, and now I’m feeling a lot better tonight but still not great.

So what happened? I’m not sure yet, but I have a few ideas.

I ate a lot of coconut products the day before I got sick and also tried ground bison for the first time. Perhaps it was a reaction to one of those things? I’m eliminating bison and coconut products for the next couple days. I’ll reintroduce them one at a time to see if I have a reaction.

I was also eating more fruit than usual and even tested out an AIP dessert recipe made up of coconut oil, coconut butter and apples, so perhaps I just got too much sugar. Additionally, I wasn’t eating as many carby vegetables. Today I ate lots of zucchini and yellow squash noodles to try to make sure I’m getting enough carbs, and I’m also trying to limit fruit now.

So let’s hope the next ten days go a lot better!

Right now, I have some chicken bone broth in the crockpot, but it won’t be ready until tomorrow. Bone broth is considered a staple of the AIP and other healing diets, so I figured it was about time I gave it a try. I’ll let you guys know how it turns out.

By the way, don’t forget to like the Chronic Chic Facebook Page! I plan to host some giveaways over there soon.

AIP Kale Chips – A Quick, Healthy Snack

One of the hardest things for me about the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol so far has been the lack of good snack options.

Since I can’t eat pre-packaged foods, I have to do a lot of cooking from scratch. I try to make my life a little easier by cooking up a lot of food when I’m feeling well, so I have some quick things to grab on the go.

Still, sometimes I want something that just tastes like a snack. Some people who have been following this diet for months claim that they no longer have the urge to snack, and that’s great, but I’m definitely not there yet!

At the beginning of the diet, I was at a complete loss on what to grab when I was craving a savory snack. I wanted salty potato chips loaded with dip or freshly popped popcorn dripping in butter, but obviously those snacks were out of the question.

Luckily, I’ve found something else that hits the spot:


AIP Kale Chips

These are so good and very easy to make. They have a lot of flavor, and something about this snack even reminds me of the taste of melted butter. Mmm.

Even if you aren’t on a restrictive diet, these kale chips make a delicious, healthy snack. Whenever I make a tray of these, people gobble them up quick. Which is good, because they taste best fresh out of the oven.

According to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest veggies. So not only do these chips taste amazing, but they are also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium copper, iron, manganese and phosphorous.



Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Olive Oil

AIP Kale Chips


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking tray with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse off your kale and dry it thoroughly. Tear off small pieces from the stem and cover up your tray.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

My kale was done in 15 minutes, but you’ll know yours is ready when the edges are crisp and brown.


Update on 10/28/13: I’ve actually been cooking the kale for 20 minutes now, and I prefer the crispier chips.