Autoimmune diets come into play after the diagnosis has been identified and folks are generally unsatisfied with the recommended medical pathway to autoimmune management or treatment. When diagnosed with autoimmune disease it usually does two things for a person: One, it can completely temporarily immobilize your spirit, problem-solving process, and resilience. Two, spring you into incredible action, no holds bare, pull the strongest person out of you and set you on the path to your healing. Both are part of the process and learning how to manage your expectations and hesitations about AIP or other autoimmune diets can help you stayed focused and clear about WHY you are on this new eating plan in the first place.
Your Hesitations about an Autoimmune Diets Are Based On Your Expectations.
I didn’t have a moment to calculate the risk of changing my entire diet and lifestyle when I realized I had alopecia areata. To me, and also because I was raised on natural medicine with a different understanding of how my body works, natural methods were the least risky healing treatment I could do! Creams, steroids, other medications were completely out no matter what.
(I am not a medical professional of any sorts so please check with your own medical professional for safety:)
I was so focused on my intention, I never had a moment of going into what a major lifestyle change would look like in my life. So much so I didn’t even “wait” until I was in a better more stable place in my life. I did my first round of AIP for a whole 6 months while traveling on the road NONSTOP! At the end of the day, completely changing your lifestyle isn’t as risky as staying where you are, not supporting your body, and feeling like crap.
The Main Hesitations about Starting Autoimmune Diets.
I live on the edge I guess, so I really didn’t have any but I know some folks do. This post really was inspired by a few different people this week who reached out with similar concerns. Here are the top questions to consider:
1- Doing it alone. Should I get a nutritionist?
I did it alone. I wouldn’t have thought to get a nutritionist because well, the internet. This may also speak to the type of person you are. I self educate myself constantly. Everything in life is education so with my amount of knowledge a nutritionist wasn’t the right course for me. I looked up stories of others who successfully did an autoimmune diet like AIP and also had my Mother as a close personal educational resource who also went on something similar for her self-induced Psoriasis. I didn’t find this diet super complicated because basically, you are eating food as close to its natural state as possible. I didn’t make crazy recipes because this wasn’t about creating this facade of glory to hide or make easier the fact that my body was in a heightened state of trauma. My body didn’t need Pinterest recipes- it needed real damn food and some personal honesty about what I (not everyone’s case) had put it through!
I was eating for my body, not my mind and my emotions.
2- Will I develop food intolerances?
I didn’t develop any intolerances and I haven’t heard much about people developing them as well. If anything autoimmune diets makes you hyper-aware of what feels good in your body and what doesn’t. Certain foods may not feel good at the moment but it most likely is temporary. Think about when you are super angry and someone asks you to do something? Do you gracefully agree to it or generally snap back at them:)?
Clearly, I do the latter;)
3- Will I be able to go back to eating what I want?
I did, so I don’t see why not. Yes believe it you guys, sometimes I visit the Wendy’s drive through:) I also drink Red Reishi Mushroom and Mamey smoothies! It’s about balance. Your body may be more sensitive to certain foods for a while but that’s okay. Again, at this point we are taking care of our bodies so it’s about honoring that communication with it.
4- How will I know if I’m doing it right?
Healing an autoimmune disease and the path you take is seriously so personal, I can’t say this enough. Generally, you will notice some changes after the first month. I can safely say this. Everyone is different so your body may need more time. These autoimmune diets remove the patterns our bodies have been trained to participate in so trust me, you’ll feel a difference.
5- Will I feel worse when starting the diet?
You may, yes but let’s break that down. If you are on an elimination diet for an autoimmune disease you are removing sugar, gluten, processed foods, dairy and major caffeine from your diet. Your body has been trained to function by burning low nutrient and poor quality foods. When the sugar and “crap” is gone- your body may have a major WTF dude? It’s okay, it will pass.
Your body is the most intelligent living organism in the universe. It will adapt!
6- Can I cheat on the diet?
It’s not a diet. It’s called a diet. Diet is in the name of all these things- ya it’s not a diet. Yes, you are eliminating foods, yes you are changing lifestyle, yes, yes, yes. This is a healthy eating plan that you are participating in to heal your body and communicate with it.
It is a practice, it is a conversation, it is a friendship, it is a support method, it is many many things, but not a diet;)
7- How long do I have to do it for?
Keep on keeping on until you see and feel some results. Once all these patterns and energies start moving your body will let you know when it’s heading in the right direction. I did two rounds of AIP and gave my body a break in the middle to reacquaint itself with its own processes. I started my second round up when I felt I was ready to get back on the healing road. You probably won’t feel desperate to go back to your previous ways because you might even prefer eating like this.
8- What if it doesn’t work?
Well, what if it does?
Turn Autoimmune Healing Expectations Into Intentions.
Clarifying your intention when healing your autoimmune issue with an autoimmune diet is a great place to start.
Let’s be clear and not sugar coat this folks- your healing path is very very personal and while you can and will come into contact with “guides” (people like me who have done these autoimmune diets and healed themselves) know most of this will be consistent personal information gathering about yourself and your body. Yes, autoimmune diets will assist you in healing and rebalancing your system but really it is starting a conversation with your body.
1- If you feel like something is off and perhaps you needed extra healing support, check out My No-Fail Tips for Being Successful On the AIP Diet.
You’ll first want to troubleshoot, take an honest look at the food portion of this lifestyle change. Then look at your lifestyle and relationships. Are you STILL putting the rest of yourself in a stressful or traumatic situation? Then check in. Is something in you healing? Is your internal life different, are your perceptions, is your relationship to yourself? Your healing may start internally, and I mean INTERNALLY not just your internal body but like the real real internal body of experiences and perceptions. That is the biggest success you can ask for.
2- Understand your healing strategy but just turn into a management strategy.
We all hope and intend the best but at this time your body may need a longer healing process. It may need support from Medicine as well. Either way, you will have started opening up to becoming a friend and ally to your body who is actually going through a tough time. Your body has always taken care of you and now you are invited to take care of it. This will be the most profound opportunity you can have. If your body isn’t responding the way you hoped for, with physical external healing, ask yourself if it needs more time? Does it need a break? Is it okay if you just keep supporting it the way it is? Do you need to bring in other types of support? When you start asking the right questions you get the right answers.
Healing IS for the Faint of Heart.
Our body is a container, a resource, a system of all that we have perceived, experienced and stored on this ride called life. Life can make us tired and sometimes our bodies get tired too. Learning how to support yourself is a skill and even when your body feels like it is breaking in pieces, it is still your best and most learned teacher.
Trying an autoimmune diet will help you get in touch with your bodies natural skills again. Good luck!