I've been on the autoimmune paleo protocol (AIP) since March 2014 as a part of a functional medicine approach to healing leaky gut. As you may know, you have to eliminate quite a number of foods when you start the AIP: grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades (like potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant as well as spices like cayenne and paprika), vegetable & nut oils, and processed foods.
Yeah. It sucks. I won't sugar coat it!
The good news is that you're not supposed to exclude all of these foods indefinitely. You are supposed to do reintroduction tests to identify which of these foods are OK for you to eat and which ones you are sensitive to.
I've done a couple of reintroduction tests. I've passed some and, much to my surprise, I've failed some. I couldn't be sadder that I failed both raw tomatoes and hot peppers. Fresh salsa has always been one of my most favorite things to eat. Bah!
Egg yolks are fine for me, all the seed-based spices I've tried have been fine (cumin, coriander, mustard, anise, fennel, etc.), potatoes are fine, and best of all CHOCOLATE has been fine.
I probably would've cried if I had failed chocolate. I really feel for you if you are reading this and chocolate's not your body's friend!
How To Reintroduce Foods on the AIP
I'm going to share with you the exact recipe that I used to reintroduce chocolate, but first, I'd like to talk about a great new e-book by Eileen at Phoenix Helix called Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol: A Step-by-Step Guide with Recipes. She sent me a review copy and is also sponsoring a giveaway so that one of you lucky readers will get a copy, too!
In this e-book, Eileen begins by explaining what the AIP is exactly and then provides lots of handy tips for how to begin your food reintroduction trials. She provides some very helpful coaching tips for the whole process, some of the most valuable being related to keeping of symptom journal. She also provides a copy of a sample symptom journal spanning the better part of a year. I can't tell you how much it helped me to read that! She also discusses the emotional side of food reintroduction, which is something that a lot of people on the "outside" just don't get and can make you feel alone or misunderstood. I very much enjoyed her discussion of this topic in the book.
One very important thing to remember when conducting a reintroduction trial is to test only one thing at a time. This means that you shouldn't use a meal at a restaurant as a test, because you can't control all of the variables and have no idea what was used to prepare your meal. If you have a reaction after meal eaten out, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to know exactly what caused it.
That brings me to what I think is the major value of this book: the recipes section. Eileen provides you with delicious recipes to reintroduce each of the foods you originally eliminated. This will make your life SO much easier when it comes time for you to test a specific food. Each recipe was carefully selected because it only contains 1 of the foods that you've eliminated, and most of them can be made in a large enough batch to last you through the whole 5 day reintroduction period. Bonus! Plus, they are all very tasty recipes that you will actually WANT to eat.
After reading Eileen's book, I felt much more confident about moving forward with my food reintroduction tests, and I'm inspired to do a better job at keeping track of my symptoms. I plan to start a symptom journal as she suggests, and wish I had done it sooner. I think this is a valuable book for anyone following the AIP. It will be extremely helpful for you when the time comes for you to begin reintroducing foods.
If you would like a chance to win your own FREE copy of Eileen's book, you can do that right here.
My Chocolate Reintroduction Recipe
Now, let's get to my chocolate reintroduction recipe! It is a thick, creamy, ultra-rich chocolate pudding and is adapted from my other fully AIP-compliant coconut milk pudding recipe that is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.
As mentioned earlier, it's very important to be 100% in control of the ingredients used in a food reintroduction test. That's why I use the Luker brand bitter chocolate. It has 1 ingredient: cocoa mass. Normally, I try to buy organic chocolate, but I'll tell you the truth: I haven't been able to find a brand of organic bitter chocolate that ONLY contains cocoa mass. They all seem to have soy lecithin, a small amount of sugar, or even a very small amount of milk!
Panela (aka jaggery) has become my favorite unrefined sugar. I know everyone is gaga over coconut palm sugar these days, but frankly, I'm skeptical about its benefits. The only information we have about it was put out by those who have a financial interest in the product -- independent labs haven't verified the glycemic index and nutritional claims yet. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of the flavor.
Panela is a traditional form of sugar that is totally unrefined and has an amazing, rich, flavor with a hint of caramel. In many parts of Central and South America, a beverage made with panela and fresh lime juice has been used as a traditional remedy for those suffering from respiratory infections. Check out the video to see how panela is made, it's really neat!
If you are new to using panela, click here to read a great description of what it is and how to use it. You have to either grate it or use a knife to shave off thin pieces and then weigh them or pack them into measuring spoons. It's worth the extra step for the flavor, though!
This recipe also uses one of my favorite ingredients: gelatin. Please note that you must use the RED can of Great Lakes in this recipe. The green can of collagen hydrolysate will not work! If you're interested in learning a lot more about gelatin, check out The Gelatin Secret. You can read my review here.
This pudding recipe is very rich -- almost TOO rich to eat by itself. So, I recommend mixing it with coconut flakes and fresh berries for a great balance of flavors in this decadent treat! You can enjoy it guilt-free, though, since it is low in sugar and full of healthy fats from the bitter chocolate and coconut milk and flakes.
This recipe is actually featured on my friend Jessica's website Delicious Obsessions, so click on over to her blog to get the full details of the recipe. ENJOY!! :-D
Links below are to products that I personally use and trust and think you will love, too! They are affiliate links. I appreciate your support :-) Click on any picture to check out the product on Amazon.com.