This will be one of five posts...
I spent much of 2014 thinking about going on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. It was a subtle, nagging buzz in the back of my mind but steady nonetheless. In my circles it kept coming up and seems to be all the rage in the nutrition/wellness world. I kept telling myself I don’t eat much nightshades so that can’t be the issue, eggs, not me. I had gotten on a bulletproof coffee kick that I have so enjoyed there was no way I was going to give that up. And don’t dare touch my nuts or grass-fed butter (all things eliminated on this protocol)!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with AIP, it’s an elimination protocol based on a Paleo Diet. In a nutshell, it’s meant for those who don’t get the health results they’re hoping for after being on a Paleo Diet for a good while. It’s especially used for those who deal with autoimmune issues which typically are rooted to dysfunction in the gut. Basically, when I try to describe to people what AIP involves, I say something like this…”it’s basically taking away anything I haven’t yet given up in my diet!”. This includes eggs, nightshades, nuts, seeds and dairy (including butter...sad face!)
I started cleaning up my diet when I was having fertility problems in my mid/late thirties. I had always considered myself healthy, I wasn’t a fast food eater or Doritos junkie and I always shopped at the healthfood store. I was just following the low fat, high carbohydrate doctrine passed onto me during my ‘80s youth (which unbeknownst to me, was slowly damaging my health). Unfortunately, that fear of fat runs deep and it took me some time (years) to fully get over it. I am happy to report, I am fully recovered!
I then discovered Nourishing Traditions, the GAPS Diet and went to the Nutritional Therapy Association to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I was becoming aware that all of the symtoms I had been living with for years (fatigue, bloating, fewer than 1 bowel movement a day, itchy patches of skin, pms) were not actually normal ways of being. I actually knew this, but after years of seeking help from traditional medical doctors who said I was fine, I just started to feel like maybe it was all in my head and resigned myself to living this way, With my new found knowledge I could see that these symptoms were my body's way of communicating with me that it was out of balance and I was discovering things that can be done to heal myself. This is when I really started adopting a nutrient dense diet. I began consuming bone broth and ferments daily, eliminating most grains, starchy vegetables and refined sugars, incorporating liver into my weekly diet, etc. I have worked really hard on healing my blood sugar imbalance and adrenal fatigue. Slowly, symptoms I wasn’t even aware were issues started to go away.
It’s been quite a gradual process and not all that painful to be honest. The deeper I go the easier it is to give up these foods that don’t feed me. It becomes less emotional and all part of the process of discovery. This work is all about becoming a detective and it is in the elimination and reintroduction of foods where we get our best clues and insight. However, when it came to diving into the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol I was finding myself scared, resistant and full of excuses. Maybe you can relate? However, the angry red patch of psoriasis on my scalp, my resistant monthly breast tenderness and wearing fatigue kept bringing AIP to foreground and I used the pressure of the New Year deadline to just dive in. It feels great to have made this decision and now, I'm just excited to get started!