Many of you have heard a lot about the AIP lately. Any internet search on autoimmune disease, will undoubtably have sites mentioning the AIP way of life. This site may even be one of them. So, today, I would like to give you 10 reasons you should do the AIP.
AIP is short for the Autoimmune Protocol. It was first outlined in Dr. Terry Wahls’ book, The Wahls Protocol. In her book, Dr. Wahls shares the program she created to heal and reverse many of her symptoms from multiple sclerosis. Her book is a “must read” for anyone interested in starting the AIP.
As more of us were diagnosed with autoimmune disease, a few bloggers and members of the paleo community began tweaking and adding their own spin to the original protocol. These tweaks and spins reflected findings from healing and reversing the damage from their own autoimmune conditions. One of these bloggers was Sarah Ballantyne, host of The Paleo Mom and writer of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook. It is her program that I follow.
Now, you can find helpful and effective resources on the AIP everywhere. I encourage you to follow those that I’ve recommended here. These are trustworthy, The Paleo Approach-approved sites. I’ll be adding that designation to my site soon (in the side bar). I’m just trying to get the time to actually put it up on my site.
Without any further ado, 10 Reasons You Should Do The AIP:
1. You’ve made the transition to paleo, but are still experiencing symptoms of your autoimmune condition. A few of my symptoms were improved when I first started eating a paleo diet. I definitely had more energy. I also started losing weight, which I had not been able to do for years. The paleo diet helped me reduce the inflammation in my body. Because of this reduction in inflammation, I was able to begin losing the weight, especially around my belly, that my body was holding onto. After starting the AIP, with the help of The Paleo Approach, I was able to alleviate many of my symptom and lose the remainder of the unwanted weight. Now that I’ve followed the AIP for almost a year, I have been able to put the majority of my symptoms into remission. I still experience a flare here and there; but, it’s nowhere near the trauma it was before. I am a work in progress. And, all I can say is, at least I’m progressing.
2. You’ve been diagnosed with one or more autoimmune conditions.Once you have one autoimmune disease, your chances of acquiring a second condition are much higher than normal. I have been diagnosed with a few, just so you know. Obviously, when your immune system is out of whack (I love to describe it that way), you are more susceptible to more organs and systems going under attack. Starting the AIP can help improve your health and immune system to the point where you don’t acquire yet another autoimmune condition. If you were to do nothing to stop the damage, it would continue to wage war on your body in the form of new, and possibly worse, diseases.
3. You want to get your autoimmune symptoms under control. Okay, this is a big one. Until my psoriasis symptoms were under control, thanks to the AIP, I seriously doubted I would be able to live with the pain anymore. It’s weird because I was able to handle the debilitating joint pain, the blue hands and fingers, and the bleeding, well, everything. But, I could not handle the constant pain and burning of my psoriasis. Then one day, after eight months following the AIP, my psoriasis was gone. No more pain. No more scaling (plaque psoriasis). No more burning. It was just gone. And, it’s still gone today. You don’t have to live the rest of your life in misery. The AIP can help you to get control over your symptoms.
4. You have an autoimmune disease and want to exercise. There are many different thoughts on this subject out there. Some believe you can still exercise hard core while you have an autoimmune disease. I am not one of these people. I am a certified fitness and yoga instructor. I have studied the human body during exercise for almost thirty years. I have been teaching different types of workouts since 1987. Exercise does cause a certain amount of stress on the human body. In my opinion, when you have an autoimmune disease, you should take exercise slowly. If you want to exercise, and have an autoimmune disease, you should be on the AIP. I have no wiggle room on this. With the stress exercise is putting on your body, you need to reduce the stress from other sources. If you’re exercising and maintaining a regular paleo (or God forbid, regular American diet), I believe you are overloading your body with stressors. By eating a healthy AIP-based diet and following other AIP recommendations (sleep, stress reduction, etc.), your immune system isn’t working so hard to fight the inflammation caused by exercise. I’ll be doing many posts on this in the future as I work to regain my pre-diagnosis fitness level.
5. You are under a lot of stress. If you haven’t read my post on traumatic stress and autoimmune disease, you can find it here. Stress can wreak havoc on your immune system. The AIP can help you reduce the inflammation caused by stress. It is important to control the amount of stressors on your body to prevent a flare of your symptoms. If left unchecked, your immune system can, and will, spiral out of control.
6. You are feeling tired, all of the time. Increased energy is experienced by everyone I talk to who starts the AIP. In fact, it’s usually the first improvement of symptoms I hear about. These days, it seems there is a real energy crisis with people. Everyday life seems to take every last bit of energy our bodies produce. When you have an autoimmune disease, your energy levels are decrease. Providing your body with allergen-free, nutrient dense foods is the key to producing the ingredients you need to produce ample amounts of energy.
7. You have food allergies. The AIP removes many of the most common food allergies from your diet. While some less common allergens, like coconut and sweet potatoes (which I didn’t even realize was an allergen, until just recently), are included, many AIP bloggers offer substitutions in their recipes. Many people with a coconut allergy, can use red palm oil instead of coconut oil. It’s much easier to discover food allergies while reintroducing foods on the AIP.
8. You want to reduce your autoimmune medications. Most of those I talk to, who have been on the AIP, have been able to decrease their dosage or discontinue their medications all together. This helps save you money and time dealing with side effects. I’m working on a post for you about integrative medicine. I’ve discovered some interesting findings recently while adding some prescribed medications to my AIP lifestyle. I’ll share with you as soon as I prove my theory.
9. You need help with your diet and lifestyle changes. This is the best time to get started with the AIP. There are countless resources and recipes all over the internet. You also have great books, like The Paleo Approach, and amazing cookbooks, like The Paleo Approach Cookbook and The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. There are so many programs, coaching, meal planning ideas and recipes to help you be successful.
10. You are ready to fight your autoimmune disease. When you’re ready to fight your autoimmune disease, the AIP will be your best ally. Autoimmune disease is incurable. But, there is nothing that says you can’t at least put your symptoms into remission. Many already have. We’re enjoying happier lives, with less or no pain, flares, and symptoms. It can be done. But, you have to decide the right time to fight back. And, you should have realistic expectations. Depending on the severity of your autoimmune dysfunction, you may have a long road ahead of you. For me, some symptoms were quick to disappear; others, not so much. My psoriasis took eight month to disappear. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
These are my 10 reasons you should do the AIP. If any of these reasons I’ve listed apply to you, I ask that you seriously consider starting the AIP. I know it requires more food preparation, meal planning, and dedication to adhere to the AIP. But, don’t you owe it to yourself to do everything you can to feel better? Aren’t you worth the extra time and effort? I think you are. And, I know you can follow the AIP. You’re a lot stronger than you think. If we didn’t believe you could do the AIP, do you really think we’d put so much work into helping you?
Trust me, you’ve got this!
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