If you’re just here for the tips, I totally get that! Just scroll down to the bottom, they’re numbered somewhere down there. If you want to read the rambling story of how I even stumbled on the Autoimmune protocol, please keep reading.
STORY TIME! When my husband was first diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (both autoimmune diseases) he was still seeing only Western medicine providers. He was first prescribed steroids, then a self-administered shot called Humira. After 6ish months of use, the Humira stopped being effective. The next logical step was, OF COURSE… an in office transfusion called Remicade. Big surprise, after 6ish months of use that stopped working. He was then told the next step was freezing some sperm and going on a mild chemotherapy drug.
At no point were his providers looking for root cause or addressing diet!
Our next step was a naturopathic doctor who implemented an alkaline diet and supplemental protocol to help anti-inflame the body, heal the gut, and support the liver. From there I started doing my own research and we quickly transitioned to a loose paleo template. We both saw so many fantastic results! But it was a process and a huge leap from what we were currently eating. I mean, I’m ITALIAN! We were regularly eating homemade stuffed shells, lasagna, spaghetti, and chicken parmigiana. Delicious, but definitely NOT anti-inflammatory! Paleo was a great initial stepping stone because it eliminates a lot of potentially inflammatory foods like:
With this transition came a lot more cooking and recipe research. I quickly found Mickie Trescott of Autoimmune Wellness and an autoimmune paleo (AIP) way of eating. From there we saw an even bigger improvement of symptoms. YES! We’re finally on to something! When we implemented AIP, we cut out the following (in addition to the Paleo template we were still on):
All nuts and seeds
We did this for 2 YEARS! We didn’t really try to reintroduce anything because we were terrified of an increase in symptoms. Eventually we found a wellness provider that implemented muscle testing and Steve started adding some foods back in like eggs and nightshades, with the exception of peppers.
So as you can see, this journey took us 4-5 YEARS! I want to help you to streamline this by giving you the 5 tips that I wish someone would have told us.
Determine if you’re a slow roll or rip the bandaid off kind of person. Are you the type of person that needs to cut one thing out at a time? Maybe you need to crowd out certain foods first. I am definitely more of an abstainer, so I prefer to just take everything out and start from scratch. You’ll find more success if you honor what type of person you are.
Use Pinterest or go to the library for recipe inspiration. I still do this! Pinterest is essentially a search engine with great pictures and descriptions. From there you can determine if any of the websites have cookbooks. This is when the library comes in handy. Now you can try before you buy! My favorite blogs for AIP recipes are - Healing Family Eats, Autoimmune Wellness, and The Paleo Mom.
Meal planning and batch cooking are going to be your best friend. Seriously, if you’re just starting out, this is definitely a necessity. Pick 4-5 recipes and take a day to cook everything up. Add in salads and other raw and cooked veggies for more volume and nutrient density. You’ll be skipping a lot of empty and nutrient poor foods that you may have been filling your plate with, which brings me to my next tip.
Make sure you’re getting enough fat in! This really threw my husband and I for a loop. We started off by not replacing the higher fat and protein foods we had cut out like nuts, seeds, and eggs. That was a huge miss and in turn we were hungry. All. The. Time. Be very mindful about adding in coconut products, fattier cuts of meat, animal fats, olives and olive oil, and avocados. Fat helps to keep our bodies satiated longer so we’re not hungry 2 hours after eating. Kind of important since nobody enjoys eating every couple hours.
Re-introduce! A lot of programs recommend after 30 days or once you experience a decrease in symptoms. This is awesome advice, just please don’t wait longer than you need to! Phoenix Helix has a fantastic post about reintroduction that I wish we had found 5 years ago.