Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dreaming of frozen dinners...

I was having one of those days. You know what I mean, especially if you've been paleo for any length of time and have an autoimmune disease. For you - for me - paleo isn't just an 80/20 thing. We have to stick with it 99 percent of the time to maintain a good quality of life. Most of the time that's awesome. I'm thrilled beyond measure to have found something that works. Most of the time.

But sometimes it doesn't, or doesn't seem to, and because of the weather or the moon or the stars or who knows what, sometimes no matter how diligent you - I - am with this way of eating, our autoimmune diseases make themselves known. And that sucks.

After nearly three years on regular paleo, I've been on the autoimmune protocol version (AIP) for almost two months now. Fifty-six days, but who's counting. And it hasn't been the miracle cure for some of my lingering symptoms I'd hoped it would be. I've had a ton of days when I've felt great, but there've been more than a few when I've hurt. And hurting with rheumatoid arthritis is scary because you start thinking of the joint damage that might be taking place and worry that maybe you'll always feel this way and ... Well, it sucks.

Leading me to today. The absolute last thing I wanted to do today was cook. All I've done for the past 56 days is cook. Three meals a day: no cheating, no eggs, no nightshades, no prepared foods. And nary a miracle in sight.

What sounded good today was something easy, like a Lean Cuisine. The kind I used to buy by the dozen. Or when I got into "healthier" foods, an Amy's frozen meal. Just something I wouldn't have to do any chopping or boiling or baking for. Besides, some of them, let's admit it, were delicious.

What isn't helping is the looming holiday. We're eating out this year and I know that the place we're going uses wheat for some stupid reason when they brine their turkey. So I'll have salmon, which is delicious, but I'm damned mad already about the pumpkin pie. Or the lack of it. Last year I ordered a piece and just left the crust. It's always been my favorite part of the dinner and last year the delicious custard hit the spot. This year, strict AIP-er that I am, I can't do that because of the eggs. It's really pissing me off.

Fortunately, the one smart move I made all day was to start the crockpot first thing this morning. A round steak, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, the works. By the time I got into my huge funk this afternoon, even grumpy me couldn't ignore the awesome smell coming from the kitchen.

OK, if you insist, I'll have a bowl, I grumbled to myself.

Guess who made an incredibly delicious stew today? Feeling much better after a big bowl, I steamed some cauliflower and broccoli and somehow grabbed them off the water at the perfect moment. Not too soft, not too crisp. And that bag of yams I just bought, how about slicing one and roasting it in the oven?

Is that not a perfect meal? Am I not incredibly lucky to be able to afford such bounty? I know millions of people around the planet would love a dinner like that. The thought makes me incredibly grateful and humble. And I know this meal is the type that will heal my gut and nourish my joints and soft tissues and keep me on the path of healing from this disease.

I feel well-fed and more to the point, well nourished. And that's what keeps me eating this way. This kind of food, real food, feeds hidden hungers. I need to remember this for next time.