If you are researching how to help manage an autoimmune disease through a focused diet and lifestyle adjustments, this post is for you.
The first thing I need to say is that shifting to an autoimmune protocol (either AIP or The Myers Way) isn’t just something you do to lose a few pounds or because it looks like the latest cool thing in healthy eating. This is a strict protocol meant for those who seek to manage autoimmune conditions through a focused and deliberate nutritional approach.
In other words, don’t do this if you don’t need to.
Unfortunately though, all too many of us actually do need this. These days it seems like autoimmune conditions are running around like the evil purple minions in Despicable Me 2! More and more people (and even kids) are diagnosed with autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, etc. It can take a painfully long time to get a diagnosis, and even then the treatment plan to manage the diagnosis, generally speaking, isn’t awesome. (Remind me to tell you some day about the awful experience I had trying to get my Hashimoto’s figured out…) Thankfully there is frenzy of emerging research that supports the positive effect diet modifications have on the symptoms so many of us have just accepted as our new norm. Often times on the condition themselves are positively impacted too. It’s impressive and empowering. But you can bet there’s a catch.
The restricted foods found in the elimination phase are no joke.
In addition to removing the same excluded items found in the standard Paleo diet perimeters (grains, dairy, legumes, soy, refined sugars, and processed foods), AIP also removes eggs, nuts, seeds, coffee, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers) and asks that you up the consumption of organ meats and vegetables. Even black pepper is nixed during the elimination phase of one program! Like I said, you don’t do this unless you need to…
If you’re like me, the prospect of removing pretty much everything that makes food taste good doesn’t exactly sit well. And when it suddenly becomes a necessary evil (cause you’re fed up with feeling awful), then it’s a double-whammy of misery. Last summer to help recover from a failed IVF and get my beat-up body back into balance, I did a 6-week AIP trial and really struggled to find my food-rhythm.
Since then you would not believe how many practical, informative, and useful resources have become available. Because I also deal with two conditions that benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet focus (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and endometriosis), any time I can find resources that make an AIP approach more feasible for me, I jump on it. Annnnd I blog about it.
If you are looking for more than just a few AIP-compliant recipes to try, if you know it’s time to take control and figure this thing out once and for all, then here’s a battle plan that will get you set up right. You’ll get a handle on how the protocol was constructed, why it’s effective, and how to integrate it into your life. Oh and also not hate your food. Cause that’s a pretty big deal.
The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
She developed The Autoimmune Protocol that many people follow, so it’s only natural to acquaint yourself with the particulars… Buy a copy and keep it as a reference. I find that if I can easily look up answers to my questions, it helps me stick to whatever course I’ve put myself on. It was also helpful to identify the less obvious ways I would see improvements to my health — skin and nail quality, seasonal allergies improved, sleep was better, clearer thinking, more emotionally balanced. Those aren’t exactly symptoms that people consider when embarking on a diet, traditionally speaking. (Pssst… You can get your copy here!).
The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, MD
Dr. Myers is a practicing functional medicine physician in Austin, TX and autoimmune specialist. Her recently released book, The Autoimmune Solution, is currently on my coffee table flagged with post-it notes and highlighted text. It’s excellent. As with anything else, it’s great to have options and after reading through Dr. Myers’ book, I find it to be easy to read, comprehend, and put the recommendations into practice. Her quizzes throughout the book are helpful and her meal plan and recipes look really great. Also, I’ve since learned that she has several courses available through her website if you were trying to find a resource that walks you through the process of changing your diet to support an autoimmune condition. I also particularly love that she’s a practicing physician — I feel like I’m getting a house call with her personalized courses. You can learn more about them here.
Buy a couple cookbooks — but just a couple.
Don’t overspend trying to buy all the things. These three cookbooks are really the only ones you’ll need:
Enroll in the AIP Batch Cooking program
To piggyback off a concept from the Whole30 program, I’m a big fan of learning to ride your own bike. Your family looks different than mine, your needs are different from mine. So while I can point you in a direction and offer up some quality resources to learn from, ultimately you are the one who will be making decisions at the grocery store, at restaurants, and at your dinner table. Let’s equip you with what you need to manage your time well, feel better, and enjoy the foods that support your health. I mean, we’ve gotta help you put those new cookbooks to good use now don’t we?
The AIP Batch Cooking program is perfect for when you need more than just a couple recipes to get you by. If you’re looking for a meal plan, instructional videos, real time cooking demos, and… pretty much everything you need to get yourself set up to succeed with AIP, this is the first program of its kind. And the best part is that this teaches you how to feed yourself for a week in just a few hours. I highly recommend it!