The Hurricane Diet

San Ignacio, Belize


This was a story that was written last Halloween while we were still on Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. No electricity, no running water, no cell reception and no Internet. Thus, no posting! Halloween came and went and this one didn’t make it to the website.  So we thought that we’d share it with you this year and hope that you enjoy!

Written on 10-31-2017 from Vieques, Puerto Rico

Since most of the kids in the U.S. will be munching down on trick-or-treat candy tonight, I figured this would be a good time to talk about losing weight. In a few weeks we will be leaving Vieques.  We are leaving behind great friends, phenomenal memories, pieces of our hearts, and approximately 20 pounds each!

Don’t get me wrong, we both needed to drop some weight, but we weren’t really trying. I guess, for us, if there is a silver lining to the horrific things we’ve experienced as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, this would be it.  

I’m guessing that loss of appetite might be a PTSD symptom. Not sure. But the food that we have had available through rations and at the stores, frankly, has not been all that appealing. The rows of vacant shelves at the groceries have compelled us to rename ordinary “buying groceries” to “foraging.” It’s sad.


John has lost his weight by working his butt off (literally) with hurricane clean up.  Because of his efforts, the yard and the house are fairly neat and tidy. If you could have seen it before the hurricanes you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that they happened. I think it looks better than it did when we arrived and all the neighbors agree.

John’s diet the past two months has consisted primarily of MREs and canned ravioli. Every now and then we can find canned vegetables at the grocery stores, so I make sure he’s getting his veggies too!


A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Pre-hurricane I had read that people with PsA have had great success controlling and, in some cases even, sending it into remission with the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. I’ve never been one that likes taking a lot of meds, so if I can control my PsA with diet, sign me up!

My birthday was the end of August, so I decided that this year’s birthday was the perfect time to start the AIP diet. Of course, little did I know that our September was going to be packed full of hurricanes!


Autoimmune Protocol Diet

Here’s the crux of the plan:

Things NOT to eat:

  • Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
  • Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander)
  • Beans/Legumes (this includes all beans like kidney, pinto, black as well as Soy in all its forms)
  • Grains (Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats etc)
  • Alternative sweeteners like xylitol, stevia, mannitol
  • Dried fruits and/or over-consumption of fructose 
  • Dairy Products
  • All Processed Foods
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Gums  (guar gum, Tara gum, Gellan gum, Gum Arabic)
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices)
  • No vegetable oils 
  • Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)
  • Tapicoa 

Things you CAN eat:

  • Vegetables (except nightshades)
  • Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
  • Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
  • Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
  • Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
  • Bone Broth
  • Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
  • Non-Seed Herbal Teas
  • Green Tea
  • Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
  • Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
  • Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)
  • Binders: Grass Fed Gelatin and Arrowroot Starch (watch the starch however if you have adrenal issues)

Tough, huh?

But, believe it or not I’ve been able to stay on the diet the past two months. I can honestly say that a lot of the achiness is gone and I’ve lost 19 pounds!!! Now, I’m not for sure how much of it can be attributed to AIP or hurricanes, but I’m not complaining.

So tonight, when children everywhere are decked out in their favorite costume, John and I have thought about dressing up as zombies, or even better, Superman and Wonder Woman. Nah! We’ve decided this year to just be ourselves, a couple of ordinary hurricane survivors who happen to be happy, healthy and…skinny!



Halloween in Belize, 2018

I’ve stayed on the AIP diet for a little over a year now. I’ve added nuts back into my diet with no big flair ups of arthritis. Yay!

Today is darts day at Remo’s Roadhouse. After darts we’re singing karaoke to some frightening ditties like Thriller and Monster Mash. Actually, anything we sing will be pretty frightening. We leave Belize next month for our next house sit in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, so we’re embracing Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) by tossing the feathers and doing a little crooning with this year’s costumes!


The only thing we have to fear today is fear itself…John’s bullseye dart tosses…Anel’s singing…and, of course… hurricanes!  

Happy Halloween!

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3 Responses

  1. Love the make-up job. Nice work. Tough diet. As long as it doesn’t make you look like a zombie, then okay! Love from here

    1. Yep, the diet was tough at the beginning, but I’ve gotten used to no gluten and dairy and when I do “splurge” I definitely feel it. Not worth it!

      No worries on the zombie thing, but we do celebrate Day of the Dead. It’s a really cool Mexican tradition to honor loved ones. We LOVED the movie Coco!!

      As always, mucho love from our side of the wall too!

  2. Great post and that sort of experience with the hurricanes must be life changing. Congratulations on conquering your ailment through diet, well done!

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