Before you take a glance at my food diary and decide that I’m a complete Loon (I am but that’s beside the point..), I’ll give you some background on me and why I eat the way I do.
I started 2015 in a bit of a misery – Lethargic, overweight, bloated with thinning hair and a tired complexion. I felt rough and to top it all off I was very stressed at work! I couldn’t be bothered to do anything except spending quality time on the couch.
I finally got sick of sitting on my backside and realised it was my choice to stick with a job that I hated. Deciding to leave made me feel so much better and it seemed then like it was time to visit the doc.
Blood tests showed that I have hypothyroidism. This really explained a lot – due to a hormonal imbalance my body’s ability regulate energy was malfunctioning causing a whole host of symptoms. The next steps would normally be thyroid hormone replacement but I had been doing research of my own and was wondering about a natural approach.
Enter my star of a nutritional therapist! More comprehensive blood tests showed thyroid autoimmunity; antibodies in my blood recognise my own cells as invaders and mount an attack on them. There may be up to 80 types of autoimmune disease also including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes and Lupus.
We did a fair bit of tinkering around with elimination diets and supplements before alighting on the autoimmune protocol. The idea is that you increase nourishing nutrient dense foods and eliminate inflammatory foods which can worsen autoimmunity. Grains, pseudo grains, nuts (except macadamia and coconut), seeds, night shades, dairy, eggs, coffee and alcohol are all restricted for a minimum of 30 days followed by a phase of reintroduction to determine which may be problematic.
I’m not going to lie, this process is certainly a commitment!! The key to success is definitely preparation, batch cooking and.. Bacon! 😉 All I can say is that I haven’t had so much energy in years and I’m doing loads of things I couldn’t have imagined.. Like hefting around heavy weight!!
Finally, the food I hear you say..
Wake Up – 6am
Bone Broth – 250mls
69 kcals, 4g fat, 0.8g carbs, 6.4g protein
Bone broth hits a lot of people’s ick-factor but It is a power house of nutrition; dense with minerals and proteins in a form that are easy for the body to absorb. The collagen it contains is incredibly healing to the gut – gut dysfunction is thought to be the cause of autoimmunity. The added benefit of collagen is amazing skin, hair and nails. The proteins contained in bone broth are the building blocks of our bodies and can certainly aid recovery from a heavy lifting session. It can be as simple as chucking the chicken carcass from your Sunday roast in a slow cooker (12 hours) or pressure cooker (1 hour) with enough water to cover the bones, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of Himalayan salt. There is loads of info online.
Breakfast – 9 am
Bacon Fruit Cup
- 6 Rashers of Streaky Bacon
- 100g Mixed Berries
505 kcals, 32.4g fat, 10g carbs, 6.6g protein
It’s always a good idea to combine sugars, even natural ones, with a source of fat or protein when we eat them. This controls the blood sugar spike that might normally occur when eating sugars alone. For someone like me who already has a hormonal imbalance this is really important. Much as I love bacon, I limit my intake and other breakfasts might be a green collagen smoothie or homemade lamb and mint burgers and a salad. I’ve learned food is food, no matter what time of day you eat it! ☺
Lunch – 12:30
Smoke Mackerel with sauerkraut, kale, spinach, sweet potato and beetroot
- 2 x Smoked Mackerel Fillets
- 1 tbsp Sauerkraut (raw and unpasteurised)
- Large handful Kale and Spinach
- Honey Roasted Sweet Potato and Beetroot
- Drizzle of olive oil
493 kcal, 34.2g fat, 25.8g carbs, 24.6g protein
S.M.A.S.H – Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines and Herring. All of these fish contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids which can help protect our bodies against cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. They are a great source of vitamin D, which is vital for a healthy body and lacking in the UK due to limited sunlight, as well as B vitamins and selenium. I make sure I get four to five portions a week.
Sauerkraut is filled with probiotics, a bit like the yakult yoghurt drinks but with many more beneficial strains. It is key that the sauerkraut is raw and un-pasteurised though, as pasteurisation removes many of the health benefits. Bacteria that we already carry in our guts are responsible to a high degree for the digestion of our food and the release of nutrients into our bodies – fermented foods give us a super boost of these bacteria. This has great benefits for anyone’s health but is particularly important for me where the autoimmunity stems from gut dysfunction. Other options are Kimchi, Miso, Kefir and Kombucha. The more we can include the better!
Snack – 4:30pm
Any snacks have to be quite straight forward due to the amount of foods that are off limits to me. I try to include protein so it may be a protein smoothie with collagen, a piece of meat or fish or a piece of fruit with some homemade macadamia nut butter.
Dinner – 7:30 – 8:30 pm
Coconut Curry Stew
Recipe – Serves 4
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 1 can full-fat Coconut Milk
- 500mls bone broth\chicken stock
- 4tsp ground turmeric
- 1tbsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2tsp fish sauce
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
(any veg you have laying around but I used)
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 3 carrots
- Large handful green beans
- 8 large mushrooms
Nutritional values for 1 serving
507 kcals, 28g fat, 46.65g carbs, 17.7g protein
The slow cooker saves my life! With this I just lightly fry the onions garlic and chicken and then throw everything into the slow cooker on low all day. Not many spices are allowed on the autoimmune protocol as they are derived from either seeds or nightshades. All of those in this recipe have healing properties and are known to help digestion. Again, there is a healthy serving of protein with lots of veg.
This is a pretty tame dinner for me.. It’s not for the faint hearted but I will consume organ meats such as liver or heart at least once a week. These are extremely nutrient dense in a way that is easy for the body to absorb. Whilst there are many vegetable superfoods, it is beginning to be understood that the nutrients in them aren’t always ‘bio-available’ to the human body. We have difficulty absorbing them. Therefore if you can face it organ meats are highly recommended – liver pate is a great for a tolerable option.