You will be eating all the time so check your bank account because you will be buying the highest quality foods and ingredients you can get your hands on. You will learn to enjoy food in it’s most natural state without tons of seasonings and condiments. You will not be eating nightshades, dairy, sugar, gluten, tons of caffeine, or legumes. Deal?
You are now on the autoimmune diet for inflammation and alopecia areata.
This diet is also called the AIP diet aka Autoimmune Protocol, Autoimmune Paleo and a million other variations. Before it was the AIP diet I knew it through my Mom as the Edgar Cayce Diet which consists of eating 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic, just like the new AIP diet. The first week or two will be figuring out how the hell to do this and then after that it’s smooth healthy sailing. Here are the basics of this diet:
NO NIGHTSHADES- No peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes. They cause inflammation.
NO DAIRY- Hormones in dairy will mess with your system and cause inflammation. I quickly worked back in ghee which is BETTER than butter and was A okay.
NO SUGAR- Causes inflammation. No Alternative sweeteners like xylitol, stevia, mannitol. Small amounts of honey or molasses are ok.
NO GLUTEN- Takes up metabolizing space that your body will need to get from nutrient dense foods.
NO FRIED FOODS or PROCESSED FOODS- bake or lightly sauté only!
CHILL ON THE CAFFEINE- You are trying to get your immune system to relax again so coffee is an absolute no no. Switch to tea if necessary. Tea affects your system in a different way than the caffeine from coffee does. It will give you the focus and energy needed but will not crash your system.
NO LEGUMES- But beans are a good source of protein Angie! I know they are but legumes are like gluten and taking up important metabolizing space that your body will need for the veggies and nutrient dense foods. There is even a molecule in legumes than can block certain nutrients so be on the safe side and wait till month 3-4 like I did before you work back in.
NO PRESERVATIVES or FILLERS- Say good bye to careengeen, ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, BHA and BHT, corn, and soy. When you start looking at the labels and you will have to, you will realize that almost ALL of our food is made with these preservatives in some form. Trying to find preservative free items will be the part that pisses you off the most. I’ve traveled across the country a bunch of times and if you think the US is made up of cities and towns you are wrong wrong wrong. Our glorious United States of America is made up of farmland and that farmland is mostly growing corn and soy. And most of it ain’t organic or Non GMO. You’ve read the articles, I’ve seen it with my eye balls.
NO DRIED FRUITS, NO NUTS, NO SEEDS- No flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander. Dried fruits have too much sugar and starch. Nuts are taking up nutrient space but most likely can be worked back in later.
LAY OFF STIMULATORS- Algae, Kelp, Ashwagandha, Chlorella, Spirulina, etc. Remember we need to get ourselves in chill mode.
NO GRAINS Ya’ll- Bye Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats
NO ALCOHOL- Sorry.
Healing is a decision and it is the most powerful thing you can offer your body and spirit. While on this journey do not let yourself go hungry. That stands for body and spirit. You will want to keep eating so your stomach doesn’t hit that crazy starving period. For me that was every three hours. Your life is going to center around food for a while and if that makes you uncomfortable you can change that to “your life is going to center around you for a while.” Powerful huh?
What CAN I eat on the autoimmune diet for alopecia areata?
1. Nutrient Dense Veggies- The greener the better! Spinach, kale, celery, avocado, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus etc. You will also want to make friends with your orange vegetables i.e. Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes (no regular white potatoes), oranges, pumpkin, etc. Onions, spaghetti squash, yucca, cauliflower, turnips, beets, and parsnip are all great. If you are already thinking “God this is not a big list” don’t freak out. Most people eat 60 % of the same meals every week anyway.
Healthy Confession: I honestly ate the same veggies over and over again and that was not a problem for me. You can train your brain the same way you can train your body. You are not eating for enjoyment at this moment in your life (it’s temporary don’t panic), you are eating for nutrients.
2. Limited fruits- Sorry kids you will want to limit the fruits to about 20% of your diet. For me I focused on bananas (potassium and probiotics), plantains (Spanish bananas-great for it’s Starch to feel full during meals) apples, grapes, watermelon and mangos. My body wasn’t into blueberries, strawberries or pineapple during this time but I did eat them every now and then.
3. Good meats- Lamb, Chicken, Pork, Beef, in that order. You are going to want to limit the Omega 6’s that come from chicken. I know every one is against red meat but Lamb is in it’s own health category. It’s great for you. A little bit of beef every now and then for the nutrients is also okay. Too much red meat will cause inflammation though so don’t go crazy on the hamburgers. I had three pieces of bacon some mornings for protein and that got me through to lunch. I also LIVED on these protein bars:
4. Good Fish- Salmon, Tilpaia, Mahi Mahi are all great. Omega 3’s are incredibly important. I do not eat fish at all because it is barf city for me. Stay away from fish with a ton of mercury. Tuna in moderation.
5. Condiments- None. Just kidding but basically yes. Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, iodized salt or himalayan salt (not the same thing), garlic, pepper ( not a nightshade), apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and amino liquids. NO tomato based products, no soy based products, no crazy spices, and no nightshades. Keep it simple. Olive oil and salt are really all you need.- ask the great chefs.
6. Supplements and Teas- These are equally as important as food.
–Nordic Naturals is extremely high quality and hands down in my opinion the best Omega’s out there. If you are not a fish eater like myself then you are going to NEED an Omega 3 supplement. Omega 3’s are essential in healing your gut issues as well as other sort of inflammation based illnesses.
–Slippery Elm Bark is going to be a good idea as well and you can get them at pretty much any health food store. What the hell is Slippery Elm and why is it good for my skin? The skin benefits come from it lining your digestive areas so toxins aren’t slipping out. That’s also going to be important when healing your gut and inflammation.
–Saffron tea and Dandelion tea are going to be amazing for cleansing and flushing your liver. Basically you are going to want to drink these morning, noon and night.
-Atomodine Iodine is a concentrated iodine supplement that when take internally acts as a glandular stimulant and purifier. My Mom swore by this when dealing with her Psorias (she was also on the same diet) while I didn’t introduce it until the very end of mine. *UPDATE: Take 1 drop every OTHER morning with a full glass off water before eating. Atomodine can be very dangerous if taken incorrectly so less is more. Do not take with caffeine you crazy animals.
7. Bone Broth- Soups and Stews should be your go to during this time. They are loaded with nutrients and will be easy to digest. I’ll be honest when I heard someone say “bone broth” the first time I thought- do you just mean chicken soup!? Ethnic cultures from all over the world use bones in their soup obviously for the amazing nutrients and flavor that comes from the bones. We don’t call it bone broth, it’s basically just SOUP! So you are going to want this soup filled with bones that’s made into a broth for the following reasons:
–Gelatin, collagen, glutamine, glycine, proline, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium
That is going to boost your immune system like a Mutha F*&^$, improve sleep apparently, give you better skin, hair and nails (Amen), heal your gut, help your joints and seriously reduce inflammation. All that jazz helps your hair grow back. Beef bones are the absolute best to use so take note and use them often. I was traveling for work so I couldn’t make my own all the time but I did buy refrigerated bottles of “Bone Broth” (eye roll) from Whole Foods that did the trick. I’m currently enjoying Collagen Peptides that I throw in my smoothies that initially reminded me of crushed up bones (which it basically is) but now I’ve grown to look forward to that healthy taste.
8. Probiotics- I’m going to safely say that 80% of people taking probiotics are using them wrong. For whatever reason in our healthy society we equate health with more and the more we take the faster health happens. That is not the case with probiotics. DO NOT take them everyday until the end of time otherwise you are not allowing your body to actively learn how to heal itself. Take them for three weeks on, one week off, two weeks on, one week off and alternate. Guess what?! You can also just eat yogurt like the rest of the world did for centuries until people tried to sell you the idea that their yogurt had more probiotics than all the yogurts before in all the lands. Kefir is also great but runny so no thanks. Kombucha I love and make my own because I am not a fan of store bought Kombuchas and all the carbonation because yes hello the enamel on my teeth is not into you! Are people fans of the dentist now, I’m not sure? Banana’s also have probiotics that are great for digestion. In Puerto Rican culture you eat sliced banana with your rice just for that reason.
9. Sleep- Oh ya people. Please don’t go thinking you are going to spend $150 a week at Whole Foods and then try and live on 4 hours of sleep. You might as throw your money out the window. Sleep is your body’s way of rebooting itself and healing. When you are in a healing state you may find you will sleep more than usual and that’s okay! My Oma (grandmother) always told my Mom (who told me) that it’s okay to sleep as long as you need to and never ever feel bad because that’s what your body is telling you it needs. Sleep is the body’s regeneration period and is vital in this process. Without good sleep, you won’t heal.
8. Chiropractor- The spine is incredibly important to our health. We not only hold energy but a complex nervous system that when adjusted often can help promote healing and lesson inflammation.
Before you jump on this autoimmune diet for alopecia areata you should have some understanding of what is happening and why this is happening.
Check your spirit, check your emotions, check your life, check my post. Your alopecia areas hair regrowth plan Part 1. If you need tips for eating healthy on the road like I did also check out Eating healthy on the road is as easy as gluten free, nonGMO organic pie.
Currently I am eating like shit. Not really, I’m just not eating like I was on the AIP diet. I love eating healthy and please note the AIP diet is not a forever thing. Working back in “regular” foods is okay and should happen. Healing is a process and sometimes after following a strict diet it’s acceptable to pay a little attention to your spirit and allow yourself to eat a slice of Pizza because it makes you so happy to spend time at a pizza place with four of your best friends from all over. Life is about energy and healing is replacing low frequency energy with higher frequency energy. Enjoy your life, enjoy your AIP diet (possible after the 2nd week) and enjoy your healing journey. It is sure to be filled with amazing soul shaking revelations.
If you feel the need to put something on your bald spots use Vitamin E oil, castor oil, onion juice (for the sulfur to stimulate hair growth), or olive oil. I’ve used all of them on and off and even used olive oil shampoo which I am a fan of. The process is internal though folks so don’t go buying all these oils and standing your pillow cases!
Check out Part 3 to this autoimmune diet/alopecia areata series which talks through how this diet affected my hair growth month to month. It also talks about the process of adding foods back into your diet and how to do that in an easy way.