THE BLOG
03/03/2015 10:47 GMT | Updated 01/05/2015 06:59 BST

Side of Autoimmune Disease With That Steak?

I was successfully on Day 21 of my Thirty-Day Protocol from Dr. Amy Myers' best selling book, The Autoimmune Solution, when I faced dinner plans with a large group of friends for a bachelorette party. A limo was involved and we were heading out of our South Bay bubble and eating out in Santa Monica, California instead.

When I initially agreed to come out to celebrate, I hadn't even heard of Dr. Myers so I had no idea that I would be doing this healing experiment. But here I was in the midst of it and I had an important choice to make.

I knew that I was going to be spending an expensive night out to basically not eat much nor drink at all. Then I thought I may be on an anti-inflammatory diet but I'm not on an anti-social diet. Pitching in - even when I won't be able to touch most of the food or drink the champagne I love and miss - that is the cost of being healthy. Besides, I'm spending the money to celebrate my friend's upcoming nuptials, not to eat a meal.

Because I've been completely satisfied with the recipes in the book and haven't gone hungry or even missed much of anything except champagne and hummus. (I know and before you ask, I am not pregnant.) I've been cooking dishes with such subtle yet deliciously distinct flavors that I've never cooked before like Thai Green Curry with Shrimp that I haven't really missed eating out in restaurants. If I could hire someone just to do my dishes, I would be in heaven with this meal plan.

Plus, I've lost six pounds (or 2.75 kilos as you Brits say) so easily that I feel like my body is transforming on a daily basis. I feel like I'm becoming my true self again. I had always been thin rather easily but interestingly, ever since I started to try to lose 5 pounds to be "perfect" (whatever that means) I've started to battle weight gain. After having my son, I lost all my baby weight only to gain it all back - precisely to the ounce - and none of the usual stuff worked to get it off. I was stuck at that weight for about three years.

But now, I've lost two pounds a week for the past three weeks and I don't even feel like I'm trying. I have for the past four years of my weight loss efforts documented my measurements and weight and I now weigh the least I have weighed since 2010. I also noticed that my waist is an inch less than it was when I was at the same weight back then so I'm less bloated too.

But I haven't been able to eat out at all and now I had to figure out how to do this without making a big deal about my diet in front of the group. I've tried so many different diets to heal this autoimmune disease that I'm embarrassed to even mention them any more. But, like I said, I'm only on an anti-inflammatory diet, not an anti-social one.

So I looked up the menu online and found that it both looked absolutely delicious and that I could eat absolutely nothing. I don't know if this is a world-wide trend but in California, restaurants are going through this phase where they are mixing all these diverse ingredients with distinct flavors that somehow go amazing together like fried-potato wedges (white potatoes are a no-no) with smoked pepper (also as well) crème fraiche (and I'm not eating diary either.) Nothing is simple any more.

I contemplated calling ahead and probably should have but it did all work out fine in the end. The restaurant, Cadet, couldn't have been more gracious about changing the few dishes that they could to make them gluten, soy and dairy free. I was able to eat the wood grilled bavette steak and the ember roasted black cod sans their sauces and they were both delicate and flavorful as is. I'm finding you don't need the sauce any way!

The only side dish I could eat was the kale without nuts or my favorite cheese, Parmesan. (I was mistaken. I also miss a good piece of Parmigiano straight from Parma - the only place that makes the true buttery and nutty kind I love!) But I found the kale without it was still light with a sweet finish of orange citrus that I enjoyed.

Although everything looked good, I had no problem not eating any of the rest of the food or drinking the wine except for the apple pie at dessert. The apples, cinnamon and sugar smelled amazing! But I did a great visualization technique that helped me move through the temptation and stay on goal. I focused on the fact that eating that pie wasn't harmless. I know it's loaded with gluten, sugar and eggs and for someone like me, it's literally ordering a side of autoimmune disease with my steak.

I then shifted my focus on the image of myself with the perfect pixie cut by 11/11. Fortunately, one of my friends at the table is sporting an adorable one so I could see it in my mind easily. Instead of focusing on the momentary delight that pie (i.e., a positive association) would have provided my taste buds, I consciously chose to focus on a negative association and it made the pie far less appealing - enough to not take even one bite.

And the thing is, as I write this, I'm happy I didn't eat the pie. I feel great and my taste buds are alive in a way I haven't experienced. I think I've truly learned what it means to eat to live instead of living to eat. Yet, the food I'm eating is fresh, delicious and satisfying.

But as I always say: the truth never lies and time always tells. So far, I haven't experienced any hair regrowth but it could take up to three months for my symptoms to start reversing. In the meantime, I'm going to keep focused on the goal - an autoimmune solution - take it day by day, and enjoy the beneficial side effects I'm reaping in like weight loss and clear skin. Not a bad trade for apple pie, huh?