There is a large vegetarian and vegan community out there who suffer from autoimmune issues and are looking for a healing option that coincides with their lifestyle, beliefs, and food choices. After a good amount of vegetarians and vegans reached out to me looking advice I scoured the internet for proof that healing alopecia areata as a vegetarian or vegan could be done. I found Nicolas Huart, who graciously shared his experience with me here at GreenBananaGirl.com.
Yes, You Can Heal Alopecia Areata as a Vegan or Vegetarian. (Nicolas Healed His as a Vegan)
Most people are familiar with healing alopecia areata using the AIP diet, which is the eating plan I followed initially. There is a great debate about nuts, legumes, and seeds and whether eliminating these nutrient dense and vegetarian staples were indeed necessary. I also came across a lot of “No’s”, regarding if vegans or vegetarians could follow the AIP Diet. I read many folks saying that eating meat needed to be done in order to regrow your hair from the AIP diet community. We are super inclusive here at GBG, so I made a whole vegetarian AIP post with modifications that vegans and vegetarians could try during their healing with food journey.
I also am result oriented believe it or not- so I wanted concrete proof that it was doable. I found Nicolas who had in fact made this great video talking about his journey healing his alopecia areata the vegan way…
After watching the above video, I reached out to Nicolas asking the questions all of you readers would ask to find out exactly what he ate and how he did it. His answers are below. Many many many thanks to Nicolas who is obviously the coolest, check him out here, but who also really did heal his alopecia areata the vegan way.
How Nichola Huart Healed His Alopecia Areata as a Vegan.
1. How did you realize you had alopecia areata? Did you seek out a medical professional?
At the age of 22, I noticed a small patch of hair missing at the back of my head. I first thought my hairdresser had done a sloppy job, but I quickly realized it was something else. I didn’t talk to any doctor about it as it was painless and mostly hidden by the rest of my hair. At that point I had no idea what it really was.
2. If you did seek out a medical professional, did they provide a treatment option/plan or knowledge about your “condition”?
A few years later I noticed the same started happening in my beard. Being more visible, it got my attention and I ended up having a proper “diagnosis” made. The doctor prescribed me a cortisone based cream that I decided not to use as there was no promise of it helping with the disorder, and potentially it would only weaken my skin in those areas. Overall my doctor didn’t seem to care about the source of the problem at all.
3. How did you come to find and implement a dietary change for your healing? Did you know of someone who healed through plant-based methods previously, read about online, etc?
I knew something was wrong and that the hair loss in patches could only reflect the existence of a deeper problem. Around the same time, I developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) but didn’t connect the 2 right away as my symptoms were erratic and variable.
As my alopecia symptoms were getting worse, I started letting my beard grow longer to avoid showing my problem to the world, but also to avoid thinking about it every single time I would look in the mirror. I was active as a musician at the time, hitting the stage on a regular basis and I didn’t want to have to explain why my beard was so weird. I started to get more stressed about my appearance.
As the stress was kicking in, my IBS symptoms were through the rough and it was becoming hard to even leave the house. I became very anxious of social interaction.
I researched Alopecia at the time, but the only change that came out of it was to use natural shampoo/ soap / deodorant. I couldn’t find any story of anyone who had overcome Alopecia, so part of me was just trying to make peace with it.
I ended up experimenting with SCD and Low FODMAP diets to help with my IBS symptoms and eventually realized it was actually helping my Alopecia to regress.
Healing Alopecia Areata on a Vegan Diet.
4. How “strict” were you with your diet? Was it easy for you to source better food options?
I was always very strict with any of the diets I implemented. I tried many of them with a usual 2 month cycle period. There’s always a way to source the right food when your priority is “healing”.
5. Did you involve the people in your life throughout your healing journey? Significant other-did they change their diet as well? Family- During gatherings did you bring food, eat separately?
My girlfriend was very supportive and as she was also searching for an optimal diet, she was willing to dive in and experiment with me. I usually avoided eating during gatherings. I would eat before or after the event. Sometimes you just don’t want to explain “how” and “why” to everybody.
6. Did you avoid certain foods, oils, spices, nightshades, etc? Did you add certain supplements to your diet?
I always referred to a specific diet to set the parameters. I first started with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, then I went onto the Low FODMAP protocol. Later, I started a Vegan Ketogenic diet and started experimenting with Intermittent Fasting. Lastly, I’ve explored the Raw Vegan diet. I’ve got a lot to say on each of those diets, but that’s for another conversation. 🙂
7. Did you eat nuts and legumes? (Some autoimmune diets avoid it- so there is a great debate about to eat or avoid)
I never really restricted nuts and legumes, although legumes would often make me bloated and trigger my IBS symptoms. I cut gluten completely from my diet for 2 years though.
8. What were your major plant-based protein sources?
I love tempeh (fermented tofu). It’s an awesome source of protein and probiotics. We need to understand that proteins are all over the place, even in our greens. People are often too concerned with their source of protein and not enough with the quality of their mineral and vitamin intake.
9. Were you plant-based before you wanted to rebalance your system? If not what was the deciding factor to become?
No, I wasn’t. Eating whole-food and plant-based seemed to me like a logical solution and also was in line with my aversion for animal cruelty.
The Results of Healing Alopecia Areata as a Vegan.
10. How long did you eat for your health? How long until you started feeling better? How long until you started noticing results?
I eat “for my health” since January 2016 and I don’t expect to stop anytime soon. I believe that eating healthy is a lifelong choice. I eat a very low amount of processed foods and my taste buds have changed over time so I simply don’t crave them.
I noticed gradual improvement over the months, but the first time I realized my Alopecia was 99% gone was about 8 months after I started experimenting with healing, with healthier diets.
11. Are you worried your alopecia will come back?
Oh, it could come back, who knows. But I’m not worried. Being worried would mean “stressing about it” and it wouldn’t do any good. The stress itself could even triggers symptoms. Stress management is gold!
12. Do you feel there was an emotional, spiritual link to your development of alopecia? (You also don’t have to answer this if it’s too personal)
I’m very open talking about this. Unfortunately, I’m only slowly starting to connect my autoimmune disorders with past emotional stress. I would be happy to report back later and share my findings. 🙂
13. Did you seek out other alternative treatment options during your healing process?
No I didn’t. The exercise was simple, but yet a huge challenge: “Heal myself with food only.”
Thank you so much Angelica for allowing me to share bits and pieces of my story with you and your readers. I hope this can be useful in a way or another.
I wish to you and all your readers a powerful healing!
Thank YOU so much Nicolas for sharing your journey healing your alopecia areata as a vegan! Note: Nicolas has mentioned he believes eggs and dairy slow the healing process, which I concur with. For me eggs are still super sensitive and dairy is a down the road reintroduction, but everyone is different.
I’m a big fan of learning from others and coming to the understanding that there is no one way. When we hear each other’s stories we are able to renew our own hope of healing and allow ourselves to step into receptivity which is always necessary to rebalance your body.
No matter what ailment or autoimmune issue you find yourself experiencing there is a personalized approach that will fit within your lifestyle, belief system, and healing choices. Like Nicolas said, a powerful healing journey to you all! Download The FREE Autoimmune Healing Workbook if you want to ask yourself similar questions I asked Nicholas and get an inspiration boost for your healing pilgrimage.
Want more info on healing your alopecia or autoimmune dis-ease as a vegetarian or vegan? Check out Following the AIP Diet for Vegetarians and Vegans- Is it Doable? Spoiler Alert: Yes it is:)