There is no doubt that when it comes to chronic autoimmune conditions, that inflammation is the biggest cause of symptoms and pain. One of the most non-invasive and side effect free ways to reduce inflammation, is to make the choice to change to a healing diet.
One of the very first choices that I made when I was physically and cognitively disabled at the height of the Hashimoto’s crisis I experienced, was changing my diet to the AIP (Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.)
The AIP has been specifically designed to eliminate all known and suspected inflammatory foods, help heal a leaky gut and give the body nutrient density to help it heal and recover.
At first glance, going AIP can look daunting. When you feel that so much has already been taken from you by disease, giving up your familiar, comforting foods can feel like yet another loss that seems too much to bear.
What made the decision easier for me, was to see that out of all of the positive and inspiring stories and research that I read, AIP was the common denominator in helping to create healing, better quality of life and in many cases, even complete remission.
My situation felt so desperate, that I was willing to do whatever it took to try to get my life and health back. Eating with my personally modified version of AIP is now completely normal for me. I enjoy the food that I eat and I do not feel deprived.
Do I miss the convenience of being able to eat whatever I want, wherever I want? Absolutely! I would be lying if I said that not being able to eat out at any restaurant or sharing meals made by others who still eat gluten, grains, soy, dairy and other foods I react to, is always easy.
However, now that I have experienced the impact on my body, mobility, mood, motivation and health of the food choices that I make, there is no temptation. I do not want to lose what it has taken me all this time to regain.
Everyone has their own blocks and challenges to going AIP. There are many different stories and experiences of making the switch, from easy, challenging or completely resistant.
It’s important to remember that AIP is NOT forever! You begin careful reintroductions of food after 30 days or when you begin to see an improvement in your symptoms. After going through the reintroduction process you will come out with a personalised template of what you can eat without inflaming your body or triggering autoimmune symptoms.
I asked 11 amazing bloggers to share what their biggest blocks were to going AIP and how they overcame them and this is what they had to say.
Blogger: Joanna Frankham of joannafrankham.com
What was the biggest block I had to changing my diet to AIP?
I think my biggest block was fear of failure. Or, perhaps, false hope. To be honest, after more than two decades of undiagnosed HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa), I was prepared to give anything a go. I felt the inconvenience of an elimination diet couldn’t come close to the pain, shame and despair that HS causes. (Turns out I was right, too!)
I eased into my elimination experience in phases. First I gave up dairy and gluten, then I went paleo, and then I went the whole hog; for 9 months. AIP has totally changed my life.
How did I get myself through it?
Before AIP, I was the girl who dined out 3 or 4 nights every week. I was a serious foodie. Of course, this wasn’t possible on an elimination diet, so I made it my personal mission to create food that I really wanted to eat. That meant spending time in my kitchen. As it happens, that was pretty easy for me, but it was also fun. Visiting our local farmers market was already a part of our weekly routine, too.
The thing about an elimination diet is that it’s very easy to focus on all the foods you can’t eat. Really, this protocol is all about adding nutrients. So, that’s what I did – I started fermenting vegetables, making oodles of bone broth for nutrient dense soups and stews, concocting new ways to get more vegetables into my diet, making pâté. I made this a priority.
It also really helped that my partner, David was so supportive. I do most of the cooking, but he was completely open to trying new foods. Now, he’d rather eat liver than a steak, and he’s become a gummy connoisseur!