Good gravy. Three of our four GFG team members have been clobbered by the out-of-control pollen in middle Tennessee this last couple weeks. I feel bad that we’ve all be suffering, but I take some comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one. Some solidarity goes a long way. I think we’re all looking forward to a new week and to feeling normal and healthy again. In an effort to make that happen, Molly has gone to Phase 1 for the time being, and I think it might be smart for me as well. So let’s talk about how to survive Phase 1 (click here for a refresher on the rules for Phase 1).
Phase 1 kicked my butt at first. Then I whined and had dreams about bread and potatoes. And then it kicked my butt again and more and harder. I was starving all the time during those first two to three weeks. My body (more likely my brain) didn’t know how to feel full without grains and dairy. My body was going through quite a detox and what I now realize was a healing crisis. I already felt so crummy because of the allergy and autoimmune issues. Add detoxing, and it felt like climbing a small mountain every day just to do the shopping and prep work. I believe that the addictive properties of certain foods also contribute to a feeling of withdrawal. I was definitely experiencing some French fry and coffee DTs on any given day during those first weeks.
In order to survive, I decided to stick to a small number of repeated meals. I didn’t want to get bored, but I also didn’t feel well enough to get creative and grandiose with my meal plans. Sticking closely to the restricted diet was the most important thing to me. I needed the allergic reaction to stop, for the inflammation to go down, for my thyroid to start working, and I desperately wanted to feel better. It was difficult though! All my go-to foods of the past were off limits—potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, cheese, yogurt, coffee, Coke, ahem, Chick-fil-A. Food prep does take longer with this lifestyle; be prepared for that. One of the easiest ways for me to stay on target was to repeat my breakfasts and lunches. It’s not the end of the world to eat the same breakfast and lunch every other day! If and when I do Phase 1 again, I’ll have new ammo in my arsenal. I already know which foods to rely on, and I will add juicing and smoothies now that I have both a juicer and a Vitamix. Just adding juicing and smoothies would greatly shorten the withdrawal time, I believe. I also have some recipes with coconut and almond flour now (as well as using almond flour to bread chicken). Many more options!
Below is a very basic breakdown of the foods/meals I relied on for the first eight weeks. Anything in italics will eventually have a recipe posted. Please be patient. I don’t have recipes for some of these things and will need to retrace my steps and update this post occasionally with recipes. Most of these are no-brainers (everyone knows how to make a good veggie scramble, right?), but if you have questions, just let me know in the comments. I’m happy to share cooking tips, recipes, etc.
Always have food with you. That is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember during Phase 1 (and always, really). Very little pre-made food in grocery stores or restaurants is acceptable, so you need to be prepared at all times.
On hand for snacking:
- raw almonds and other approved nuts and seeds
- hard-boiled eggs
- fruit and vegetables
- almond butter
- Kind Bars (but only in case of emergency, as these have cane sugar, dried fruit, and puffed rice)
- green tea with a little stevia or agave (I switched to half-caf coffee after a few weeks and now prefer that with a bit of unsweetened almond or soy milk and no sweetener)
- sliced apple with almond butter
- banana and berries topped with slivered almonds
- hard-boiled egg and tomato cucumber salad
- veggie scramble
- turkey wrap (veggies, goat cheese, and homemade vinaigrette wrapped in slices of Boar’s Head turkey)
- fresh-pressed juice or smoothie (add approved protein powder as desired)
- salad with loads of veggies; chicken, steak, or tuna; goat cheese; and homemade vinaigrette
- homemade soups (no grains, potatoes, or pasta)—the options here are too many to count!
- veggie scramble with goat cheese and salsa (sometimes with turkey sausage too)
- steak or chicken and veggies
- stir-fry with cauliflower “rice” (no soy sauce, no rice)
- paleo pancakes with butter, almond butter, and fruit
- oven-roasted veggies with over-easy eggs and crumbled goat cheese on top
- herbal tea with stevia or a little agave (don’t go bonkers with the agave though)
- fruit and nuts or eggs
I know this probably doesn’t look very exciting, but keep in mind that every lunch/dinner dish includes veggies, and the options there are pretty much limitless. Do lots of peppers in your veggie scramble one night; the next, roast broccoli and asparagus with poached eggs on top. Do a chopped salad one day with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, and turkey; the next, do spinach, raspberries, goat cheese, and almonds. Flavor options are endless, really. There’s no reason to be bored by this plan. Remember, you are cooking everything in coconut oil or butter only and using olive oil only for making vinaigrettes.
Recipes to come . . . Happy eating!
* All pics are from Phase 1 meals. They look pretty tasty, huh?