When it comes down to Auto-Immune Diseases they all have one thing in common..inflammation. The Auto-immune Protocol is a special science based diet that may be able to help you with your current inflammatory situation. It’s a strict protocol with two phases: Elimination and Reintroduction. These phases are meant to regulate your hormones and immune system, provide a nutrient dense diet and rebuild your gut health. I have successfully completed two long term rounds of the AIP diet and I’m now basically an expert.
How can I be successful on the AIP Diet?
When I discovered I had Alopecia Areata (kind of hard to miss when your hair is falling out and suddenly you have a very large bald spot on your head) I knew this was a time of great grace. In my case and I reiterate that this is just in “my case”, I had put my body through incredible stress and trauma. See my journey here.
Remove outside stressors immediately.
Removing outside stresses are the first steps when entering into any healing method for an Auto-Immune issue let alone the Auto-Immune Protocol. You can eat all the nutrient dense foods you want but your body must be able to assimilate all those nutrient goodies. Calming your system and bringing down inflammation are the principles of this AIP diet. If we are looking at this holistically, this is a circle, not a line.
Nutrient dense foods will absolutely assist in calming your system and regulating the parts of you that have gone rogue. Not if you are constantly living on the edge though! If you want to learn more about the science of the Auto-Immune Protocol click here.
Outside stresses can include major life changes like job transition, a break up, a move, death of a loved one, a family crisis, extra pressure at work, etc. Wouldn’t you know that the year leading up to my Auto-Immune within a few months I had a career change, a major move, a divorce, a new relationship, a family fall-out, a lifestyle change, went back to school, left said school, and the death of beloved pet. Basically, I was nailing life:/
How I’m Living by My Words On the AIP Diet.
Here’s how I am reducing my stress right now while my body is healing. Make no mistake my healing is the number one thing in my life right now.
- My current position has less responsibility so the stress has gone way down.
- I am in a loving healthy relationship… with myself. How I feel is more important than how others feel right now.
- Look who gave up trying to help others accept my life choices?! Oops you don’t like it? I do so that’s okay right!?
- I nurture my body. I eat when I’m hungry, I eat the organics, I buy the cashmere, I sleep in whenever I can.
- Man, I think really good thoughts like “Wow miracles are happening in my life right now.” “You’re seriously so cool .” ” You have a lot to offer everyone, mostly yourself.” “Everything is working in service of you.”
- I take breaks from work (mini vacations), from relationships, from hobbies, from being perfect.
Communicate You are In Fact On the AIP Diet..or Don’t.
Tell people you are on the AIP Diet.
This will save a lot of time and energy in the long run. You don’t owe people lengthy explanations describing how you came to realize you had an Auto-Immune disease. It is mainly the quickest way to let friends, family, and coworkers know you can’t eat what they eat and currently it’s all about you.
If people keep questioning you all you have to say is “Yep I have an Auto-immune issue because #life” and then keep eating your olives. If you want to share more info about the AIP diet with them, they can check out AIP Lifestyle’s rundown here.
You also don’t have to tell anyone a damn thing. For me it was easier but you do you!
Build your support system.
Having a friend, family member, or coworker who gets you and is on your side can definitely go a long way. When I started the AIP diet the first time, my Mother was also eating similar but on the Edgar Cayce Diet which is very similar but extra hippie. I once called her when I accidentally ate a spice I wasn’t supposed to in a panic. She reminded me how strong our bodies are and to get a grip, thanks Mom. At the end of the day you really only need yourself but if you want a support system and don’t have one- comment on this post and I’ll be your cheerleader!
How to Ace the Food Aspect of the AIP Diet.
Don’t expect to eat “healthier versions” of what you already eat.
If you typically engage in eating pizza and pasta I think the healthier modifications can honestly do more harm than good. When your mind is set on having it taste like you know it should the journey becomes tricky. Don’t concentrate on the textures being the same either. If you aren’t used to eating veggies, don’t worry you will learn. This AIP diet is as much about healing as it is retraining your tastebuds, which is a thing, a science thing.
You are not going to eat like you regularly do- because darlings your body is on FIRE! There are a ton AIP recipes on Pinterest, the interweb, and yours truly will also be throwing out an eBook soon to help get you through your healing process.
Simplify your food choices.
Are you going to cook those amazing AIP recipes when you barely cook now?
80% of what I ate was food in its most simple state. If I was eating spinach, I wasn’t trying to make a AIP spinach casserole though it sounds delicious. I was eating sautéed spinach with garlic, onion flakes, and olive oil and it took 5 minutes to make. 80% of the things I made while on the AIP took LESS than 10-15 minutes to make. I’m impatient and I’m naturally always hungry so I wasn’t waiting for fancy AIP recipes.
There are some amazing AIP recipes though so if you are into trying them, definitely DO!
Know your snacks.
Snacking on the AIP diet is different than snacking IRL. You aren’t putting crap chips and jerky in your body. You are eating plantain chips and grass fed jerky. Snacks not only tie you over in-between meals but are also very important because you don’t want to let yourself ever get hungry. We want to keep those extra acids out of your tummy. Make sure you read the ingredients when “snacking”. There will still be some preservatives or AIP no-no’s even in the healthy snacks.
I discovered my snacking methods while I was traveling for work and discovered Eating healthy on the road is as easy as gluten free, nonGMO, organic pie.
How to Pick Meals On the AIP Diet.
Eat the same things.
Trying to figure out what you are going to eat is torture in real life let alone AIP life. Don’t panic, you actually eat the same 7-10 meals normally anyway so this is really not that much different. You will just be eating way better. I’ve probably mentioned this a ton but it is easier knowing what you can and can’t eat because you don’t have to figure anything out. When the menu is already set and you just make meal combos as opposed to meal recipes.
Think about what you know.
Guys it was like I was born to do this Auto-Immune Protocol! I’m half Puerto Rican. Who knew that so many Puerto Rican/Latin seasonings and food items were mostly AIP approved or only needed small modifications!
- Plantains- maduros (sweet) and tostones (hard) as well as plantain chips!
- Crock pot pork- lechon or pernil- which are made with great herbs and vegetables like tons of oregano, cilantro, garlic, onions, etc.
- Yucca- yucca fries or roasted yucca with onions is soooo good!
- Caldo- in many Latin American/Caribbean cultures this soup is a staple. This vegetable rich soup can be made with just veggies, chicken, beef, etc.
- Surely if you look to your culture I bet you can find some great already AIP approved foods. If not I bet there are some recipes that only require the slightest modification.
Know Where to Save Money.
Buy in Bulk.
You will be eating a lot more than you normally do. Buying in bulk can save you time at the grocery store, money in the long run, and anger from being hungry all the time. Since the AIP diet removes dairy, gluten, sugar, etc. you won’t have any fillers taking up extra room and energy in your body or stomach. Your body will be able to metabolize and assimilate nutrients quicker…major plus. You also may find yourself eating constantly. For me this is a joy, nothing makes me happier than eating all the time!
I usually have a million bananas, way too many avocados (I eat a whole one every day so they don’t go bad), two containers of spinach, tons of garlic and onions, and bags and bags of sweet potatoes. Best advice is to figure out what you like to eat and stock up on those.
Get yo-self a Crockpot and Meal Prep.
This is easier than you think. Sometimes it’s easier to reheat food than cook everything from scratch. I tend to meal prep at night so there is a time limit and I’m not cooking for hours on end. Guess who also saved money on overall meals for the week this way?…
This whole Auto-Immune/Alopecia Areata process has brought me together with my true love- the crockpot. If you are lazy and semi-inclined to try out some of those yummy AIP recipes, a crockpot is going to be your best friend. This will save you time and energy.
20% of the time I did make some amazing AIP recipes when I was doing mega meal prep for the week. When I didn’t want to worry about what I was going to eat for the next 3 days, the crockpot was my go-to. Already made meals prevents food from sitting in your fridge and going bad which leads to… spending more money.
Any of these crockpots will work for the AIP Diet.
Don’t Rush Food Reintroductions.
Once you get in the AIP diet flow, food reintroductions can be really fun, yes I said fun. Slowly but surely you will begin to see what works well in your body and it’s reactions. If after a month or two on the elimination phase you try to reintroduce foods and it doesn’t go as expected, that’s okay. Your body may still be sensitive to a dairy or gluten product and may not be ready to go back to it’s old ways yet.
Think AIP thoughts.
- This protocol is not meant to be forever. You aren’t going to be on the AIP diet until you die, this is just a temporary stop in your overall healing journey.
- Don’t focus on what you can’t have, focus on all the amazing things you can! I personally don’t miss any food item, caring for my body is enjoyable.
- Your body takes care of you and now it’s your turn to take care of it. What a beautiful exchange this can be.
Do Some Research.
Not everyone, although suddenly it seems the entire developed world has an auto-immune disease, should be on this “food is medicine” diet. Dairy and gluten does not affect everyone. Spicy foods are not everyone’s worst nightmare.
Check out Pinterest for some AIP recipes and see if this is something you can do (you can, trust me). Get your head in the game before you put your body there.
There are multiple ways to heal yourself. Homeopathy, Chinese medicine, Naturopathic options, and even modern medicine may be an avenue better suited for you. Finding what works for you personally and knowing you in fact do have options, specifically natural based options, puts you in a state where you can make those important healing decisions.
Remember again that healing is a process and listening to yourself and your needs is the most important thing you can do for yourself in life and the AIP diet landscape.
Do you have extra tips on how you were successful on the AIP diet? Comment below and be part of a future community AIP article!