Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Now that I am not struggling with the copy and pasting of my content from the old site to the new site I can get on with some more helpful hints for you.

So, as you may have guessed from today's title, "Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail" I'm going to give you some tips on how to ensure (as best as one can) that you're never caught somewhere without food so that you either go hungry, or have to make choices that may not be very healthy, or may actually make you sick.

As you may recall from a previous post of mine, one day I was caught without any protein for my lunch, so I opted for a can of flaked turkey.  This resulted in a return of Sjogren's symptoms which I haven't really recovered from, despite the remission diagnosis.  The disease can be in remission, but the damage done to the body when it was active may not be entirely reparable.  Though you're still MUCH better off without the disease of course, so don't let that give you an excuse to say "so why bother then, I'll just eat this donut"!  DON'T DO IT!  Just don't.  A single moment of bliss (sugar high!) from a donut does not make up for the weeks, possibly months, of pain and return of symptoms that it will bring.  That donut (or whatever you're trying to justify) does not taste as good as healthy feels.  Remember that!  If you don't yet know what healthy feels like, then keep with the healthy lifestyle, it takes time.  You didn't just wake up one day and find yourself in ill health, so you're not just going to wake up one morning and find yourself remarkably healed.  Unless you live in Storybrook or the Enchanted Forest maybe.

So what can we do to make sure we always have good choices on hand?  Well, we plan.  We make ourselves our first priority.  ALWAYS!  Yes, even if you have children that you need to care for.  Or  spouse, or parent or or or.  YOU are always your first order of business.  You can't care for all of those other people if you are dragging your ass through a quagmire of ill health yourself.  Remember that.  Take care of you.  To do that, you have to plan, and you have to be prepared. 

That day that I found myself with no protein at home to put with my lunch, and then making a bad decision at the store has cost me literally months of returned symptoms.  My mouth has not entirely recovered, I still feel like it's full of cotton and scratchy.  I'm hoping that it will recover if I go back to strict AIP for a couple of weeks.  Again.  I'm thinking that the stress of the past few months has also contributed.  I don't have *all* symptoms, just enough to be annoying.  And it's time for my friends and me to do our annual 21 day challenge, so there is no better time than the present.

Anyoo...where's the tips you were talkin' about Reba?  Sheesh, quitcher blabbin and get on with it!

Sorry...  ;)

So, a few things you should always make sure to have in your cupboards at home, and also in your desk at work (if you're allowed, sometimes with shared desks you can't) is a few tins of fish.  Tuna, salmon, sardines etc.   Make sure the ingredients are only fish, and water, or olive oil.  Avoid soy(a) oil, or canola oil or other industrialised oils.  They're not the best options.  Avoid the flavoured tuna salad snack packs, some of the ingredients are kind of sketchy.  Stick with plain ol' fish and water or olive oil.  Avoid the flaked chicken or turkey (see post link above!), they're usually full of sketchy ingredients as well, and unidentified "flavours" or "spices".  If a label doesn't tell you where the flavours or spices come from, it's probably best not to eat it.

Cook enough for left overs.  Left overs are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner the following day, or days!  Feel weird eating steak and broccoli for breakfast?  Why?  Think back to before you started your healthier lifestyle.  Did you ever eat cold pizza, or left over Chinese food out of the box for breakfast?  So what's wrong with having healthy dinner for breakfast?  

You can also cook your breakfast while you sleep!  If you don't have a crockpot, go get one!  If you have one and you've never used it, well dust it off and start using it today!  Seriously, you can cook eggs in your crockpot over night so breakfast is ready when you wake up.  If you're strictly AIP, then left overs are the perfect way to go!  Come to think of it, I may just have to develop some AIP breakfast crockpot recipes!  Stay tuned!

While skipping meals (or "intermittent fasting) is common among the paleo blogosphere, it's not recommended for those of us who are not entirely healthy, have autoimmune diseases, are insulin resistant or diabetic.  Intermittent fasting is ok for someone who is already healthy, so skipping breakfast or lunch is probably ok if you just don't have any food around and can't get to some for some reason (you're traveling, stuck in a meeting and the only thing in the room is stale bagels with low fat cream cheese, and soda pop).  This is when having snack foods in your purse/briefcase/backpack at all times comes in handy!  Don't keep plums in your purse though, I learned that the hard way!  Yuck, what a mess that was!

I covered some snack foods in a previous post here, but here are a few more ideas.  Epic and Exo snack bars are pretty awesome!   Check the ingredients, not all of them are AIP, but they're still a better option than a Snickers!  Remember though, that if you have an allergy or intolerance to a food, even if it is "Paleo" or "AIP", it's not a food that you can eat.  Ever.  The Epic Bison and Bacon, and the Beef Apple Bacon bars are good, and AIP.  However all of the Exo bars have flaxseed in them, so if you have a flaxseed intolerance, these are not a good choice.  If you don't have an intolerance, Exo is also an awesome choice. If you can get past the fact that they're made out of crickets.  ;)  I'm quite intrigued by cricket flour myself, I've tried a Chapul bar and it was quite tasty.  It does have several "may contain" warnings on it however, so try it at your own risk.  I didn't get a reaction from it, but it would only be a very occasional thing I think.  I got it at my local health food store, so obviously they're available in Canada.  Check your local.

There are a few online shops where you can buy paleo snack foods.  Most of them are well reviewed by quite a lot of bloggers.  I haven't personally checked any of them out, because they're in the US, and the current dollar conversion to Canadian is atrocious!  The One Stop Paleo Shop does ship to Canada, so if you are not turned off by shipping cost and conversion rates, give them a try.  Let me know how it goes.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ;)

There's also Thrive Market, another US based online shop  They don't ship yet to Canada though, so this is only good for my American friends.

Fruit (that has a heavier rind than plums!) and vegetables are great to bring along for emergency snacking.  Dried figs, dates, oranges, bananas, apples, carrots, celery etc.  Also, if you can eat nuts, keep a package in your purse and desk and kitchen cupboard at all times!  Don't worry about the omega-6 ratios.  If you eat a primarily whole foods diet (rather than manufactured foods) you're ok to have a handful or 2 of nuts and seeds per day if they're well tolerated.  Nut butters are great for dips too with fruit.  Almond butter, cashew butter, coconut butter...you can even find them in convenient take along snack packs. (another US site, but I have seen similar products in Canada, I just can't recall the brand name at the moment!)  You can always check with your local health food store to find out if they carry similar products, and if they don't currently, ask them if they would look into getting them.

I hate to see people resorting to french fries (which can be dangerous for people with celiac disease, because not all restaurants have a dedicated fryer for the chips, which means it'll be contaminated, and will cause damage for a person with celiac) just because they can't think of anything else to eat, or because they are ill prepared for a planned outing somewhere.  Or worse yet, just have a sandwich or burger for a "treat".  It's not a treat if it's tearing apart your intestine!  Remember that.  Picture that every time you intentionally take a bit of something with gluten.  Just don't.  You're smarter than that.  And you're worth the effort to have a plan! 

If you're going out to a restaurant with friends, call the restaurant ahead of time, or at the very least check their on-line menu.  If they don't have a "gluten free" menu, eat something ahead of time, and then get a salad when you're there.  Make sure of course that there's no croutons on it, and that they use real olive oil for the salad dressing, not canola.  I've actually been to a restaurant and asked for olive oil, and they brought me vegetable oil in an olive oil bottle!  It was gross :p  Or, yep you guessed it!  Take along your own olive oil dressing in something like this.

So, what does "fail to plan, plan to fail" mean exactly?  It means that if you don't have a plan, if you are not prepared, the chances are great that you will fail.  If however you have a plan, if you are prepared, then you will succeed.  Plan to succeed.  Have a plan.  This goes for everything in life, not just food.  But especially food.  And toilet paper.  Toilet paper is important!

Comment below, what do you do to make sure you're prepared? 

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