I have to admit to you, lonely reader, I never did a proper job of explaining to you what the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) really is. There are loads of talented and eloquent bloggers who have successfully shared what the AIP is and how it works, that it’d be much simpler to just refer to their sites, but alas, for the poor folk who can’t click on a hyperlink, I shall detail it for you here!
The AIP is a temporary healing diet that rids the body of excess inflammation by removing foods, toxins and any other triggers that might be putting the body into an inflamed, stressed state. The protocol is especially beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s, Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, Graves, IBS, Lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or in my case, Linear Scleroderma (also called Linear Morphea). What? Yes, I probably have one of the most unheard of autoimmune diseases but that doesn’t make it any less ugly!
Autoimmune conditions, in my words, are when the signals in your body get mixed up, and your body starts sending messages to begin attacking itself. For some people, it attacks their nerves, digestive system, their brain, a gland, or what have you. In my case, it attacks my skin with extra collagen and can attack connective tissue as well. I was first diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist almost 9 years ago! Once I realized autoimmunity means your entire body is at risk, I realized just seeing a dermatologist and getting topical creams wasn’t going to cut it. I had this realization about 5 years ago, and while there was no turning back, there was a lot of sitting on my hands until I (wo)manned up to take on the challenge of holistically dealing with my AI issues, with a few starts and stops along the way. Baby steps for the win.
So, the autoimmune protocol removes these inflammatory foods, some forever (based on the paleo template), and some temporarily:
- refined sugars
- refined oils
- processed food
- processed sweeteners and alternative sweeteners like Xylitol & Stevia
These are a temporary removal, which means at some point these can be re-introduced to see how your body tolerates them:
- nightshades and nightshade spices
- seeds and seed-based spices
- fruit-based spices
- coffee, cocoa
This begs the question, what can I eat?
The answer is food, lots of nourishing, yummy food!
The following is from AIP lifestyle, a wonderful resource with lots of inspiration for those on a healing journey!
- 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 like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) 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) (Source: http://aiplifestyle.com/what-is-autoimmune-protocol-diet/)
The truth is, since I started AIP, I’ve actually hardly been hungry. Initially, I think I was so concerned I’d be hungry that I might’ve overconsumed and sometimes felt too full, but now I realize that was not necessary. I always make sure to pack snacks with me as well to avoid such a situation. Each meal is paired with just enough fat, protein, and carbs, that unless I’m just *too busy*, I’m often happily nourished, and that’s a very good thing for my health, sanity, my blood sugar, and my husband & my kids!
Have you ever done a temporary healing diet like GAPS, SCD, Wahl’s, or the AIP? If so, how did you fare on it? What improved? What worsened? I’d love to hear your experiences and where you are now with your healing.