Am I An AIP Failure Because I Haven’t Reached Full Remission?

A few nights ago, I was catching up on my Facebook feed, when I came across a post about an upcoming article in a national magazine. This article was about someone who had put her autoimmune disease into full remission after following the paleo diet. Excited, I read on about how she was chosen for this article because of her success in putting her disease into remission. As I continued to read, I learned that the magazine had turned away others who were still struggling to heal, despite them having improved their health significantly. The magazine considered them too glib and depressing to be interviewed.  Instead of being encouraged by this person’s success, I felt sorrow for those who would not be able to share their stories, because of a technicality, they weren’t in full remission. So, does that make me an AIP failure because I haven’t reached full remission?

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Am I An AIP Failure?

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all happy about stories of full remission. But, I’m also happy about stories of any improvement in health and quality of life. Is my story less relevant because I’m still writing it?

Truth is, we have one, or sometimes more, autoimmune disease(s). And, some of these take time to heal. Even the smallest improvement in symptoms is a success for some of us. I have completely healed a stomach ulcer, various psoriasis rashes, inflammation in my intestines and colon, butterfly rash, fibroid tumors, bleeding gums, leaky gut, and the list goes on. But, I still have improvements to make. I still have symptoms to deal with. To these magazine writers, I am an AIP failure.

The reason I’m writing this post is not for me, it’s for you. See, I’m a tough old broad. I don’t let articles like this bother me. Some of you, however, may feel discouraged after reading something like this. Don’t let it stop you from achieving better health! Some of us may never reach full remission. We have more severe cases of autoimmunity, or simply have other factors that prevent us from reaching that goal. Remission should be your goal, not a barometer of your success.  Your journey is not less important if you do not reach that goal. Your story still needs to be heard. I can bet there is someone out there who is experiencing a very similar situation as you. They need your story to help them not feel so alone in their battle.

This magazine article is the very reason I tell everyone on the AIP to interact with our community. There are wonderful podcasts, like those from Phoenix Helix and The Paleo Mom. There are informative videos, like The Autoimmune Connection. And, there are so many supportive and “living the AIP lifestyle” bloggers to go to for help. You will find a list of The Paleo Approach Approved bloggers here. These are the people you should be interacting with. They will all give you the encouragement and congratulations you deserve. They will never make you feel like an AIP failure for not reaching full remission.

I think the real AIP failure here is the media. Anyone who just wants to tell the easy, happy story is a fraud. Autoimmune disease is messy. It’s unpredictable and usually a pain in the butt, sometimes literally. The struggle is real! We have to tell the true stories of our pitfalls, disappointments, victories and successes. It’s far better to give a variation of success stories than one hand-picked story, wrapped up in a pretty bow, that was created to sell a cookbook.

Alright, I better wrap this up. I’m starting to get snarky.

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We Are All AIP Success Stories!

I just want you all to know that I’m proud of you, whether you’ve reached remission or not. You’ve taken a huge step towards healing by following the AIP. I’ve come to the realization today that I may never reach full remission; and, that’s okay. Nevertheless, no one has the right to make me feel like a failure. I am a success! You are a success, too! Don’t ever let anyone, especially the media, judge who’s successful and who’s not. We are all AIP success stories in my book!

Tell me your AIP success stories in Comments! Let’s spread the word about real AIP success stories!

As always, I wish you all good health…..and, good food!

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Tara Perillo

Welcome all. I am Tara Perillo, herbalist, homeopath, yoga and fitness instructor, and healthy foodie . After successfully reaching remission of my lupus symptoms, through changes in my diet, exercise, and lifestyle, I wrote the ebook, Sickness To Fitness Quick Start Guide. I am also honored to have my paleo and AIP recipes featured in Paleo Magazine, Paleo Living Magazine, Shape Magazine Online, 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts, The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook, and blogs by The Paleo Mom, Kris Kresser, Whole New Mom and many others. My focus is to help others become stronger in every facet of their lives. Join me to become stronger in health, mind, body, and spirit, together!

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22 Replies to “Am I An AIP Failure Because I Haven’t Reached Full Remission?”

  1. Loved your article! Cudos to all who have come so far but still have some healing to do! Truly, success is taking charge of your healing and making the commitment to do so!

    1. Thanks Mom! I love that you’re reading my blog! LOL! You really brought a smile to my face this morning! I know you’ve been really trying to make the changes to your diet. I know I can be a bit militant at times; but, I really am proud of what you’ve done so far. I’ll be seeing you soon, to give you a big hug in person.

  2. Thank you for this post Tara. We all need hope, that’s what it is about. Hope makes everything bearable. Hope is not a destination, or a level of remission to reach. We all, AIPers, do the best we can and we keep on going <3

    1. Thanks Sophie! It’s so true about hope! I’ve seen so many of us AIPers lately, who are struggling with new diagnosis, flares and autoimmunity markers gone awry. While I think it’s great to hope for a full remission, I am certainly not going to measure my success by whether I attain it or not. As you said, we just need to keep going forward!

  3. This article was perfectly timed for me! I have been AIP for 6 months and lesser eliminations for years, and although I have seen improvement, I am still on my biologic medication and still have symptoms. This week I received my 23 and me results; seeing the dozens of genetic markers I have for autoimmune disease, now I feel even less hopeful for full remission. BUT, this does give me a bit of breathing room in that now I don’t have to worry about such a lofty goal of full remission, I can just focus on how I feel day to day, not be so hard on myself with the diet, and settle into running this marathon of managing autoimmune disease in everything I do. I just wanted to say thank you for your message.

    1. Thank you Anna! As I read your comment, I realized how similar your journey is to mine. I too have come to believe that full remission may be out of my grasp. Like you, I embraced it as a way to give myself some breathing room. We shouldn’t be labeled as successful because of the level of remission we have attained. I absolutely love your attitude. It’s AIPers like you that show me that we ARE true AIP successes! Smooches!

    1. Thanks Kirstie! You are so right! Do we really need others judging our success by our level of healing? Uh, NO! I’m totally with you! Hooray for all of us! Smooches!

  4. Tara, thank you for the great post! I have recently been feeling like an aip failure. I have been having a bad psoriasis flair and I have not had one since going aip in September. But reading this article reminds me that there are sooo many factors of autoimmunity such as stress and sleep. Im trying to remind myself to get back to the stricter lifestyle aspect. Also thay I still fell WAY better then I did in September. Thank you for this great encouragement

    1. Aw, thank you Amanda, for your kind words. I’m so sorry you have been feeling that way. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling with my latest flare. But, I’m starting to understand that my flares are caused more by stress than by diet. With the diet, I’ve been able to heal so much. I love how all of us in the AIP community encourage each other, instead of judging. The very fact that we’re working so hard to heal ourselves, shows how strong we are. We rock! Who cares what some stupid magazine thinks! Smooches!

  5. Annnnd once again you’ve got me beaming ear to ear. Tara, you’ve got a way with words. There’s no denying it! I love your honesty and I found myself squirming when I had to admit I didn’t know what foods {if any} trigger my psoriasis. And I dread when someone asks me how long I’ve been following AIP. “A long time” doesn’t cut it, but when I look back I know I’ve had miss steps and made mistakes along the way.

    But the bottom line is I’ve come a long way, and have seen some incredible improvements, and learned SO much about my body… but I’m not there yet. I still have unanswered questions. And the reality of it is, I likely will continue to have unanswered questions because testing right now is not in our budget. So I’ll continue with the AIP plus the few reintros I’ve done and try my hardest to manage stress. Because THAT I know works for me and I feel pretty good compared to how I felt just a couple of years ago.

    Thank you for this post. ♥

    1. Thank you so much Erin. You have come a long way! This dealing with autoimmunity is messy business. We can be doing everything right; and, still not have all the answers we’re looking for. Plus, the medical community still hasn’t caught up with rising number of autoimmune patients out there. In my opinion, we are the true voices of the autoimmune community. We represent those beginning, and still navigating, life with autoimmune disease. I no longer base my healing on reaching full remission. I celebrate each and every improvement and discovery. Cheers to you for how far you’ve come, my dear Sister in Healing!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this Tara. 6 weeks on strict AIP (6 months on Paleo before that and 1½ year GF), and while I’ve seen significant improvements in my energy levels and my skin, it’s been hard for me that my AI-disesases have continued to flare. Even as I logically know that it’s taken me a long time to get this sick, and I’m not going to recover in a day or two – or might never go into full remission.

    1. You’re so welcomed, Rebekka! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We truly are fighting a battle. Even when we’re doing all of the right things, our bodies can take a while to heal. Kudos to you for your perseverance! Though we may never reach full remission, we know we have acquired a better quality of life. Smooches to you!

  7. I loved your post. I am trying to move into full AIP. The past two weeks have been challenging and I fell off the Paleo wagon I was on after learning that it didn’t help reduce my thyroid antibodies. Still struggling to wrap my mind around doing full AIP. And I know it’s a good idea because the symptoms I am experiencing again just adding back dairy and GF grains tells me to stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with it. So I feel like an AIP failure right now because I can’t even get started. So, thank you for the post. It made me smile and realize this is a journey…. stupid crazy one… but still a journey.

    1. Thanks Annie! Getting motivated to go full AIP can be so difficult. Everyone has to move into it at their own pace. But, you can think of it this way, the quicker you start the elimination phase of the AIP, the sooner you can end it. That’s the great thing about the elimination phase, it’s not forever. You should never beat yourself up about the time you need to get started. Just the fact that you’re thinking about doing it is remarkable. Take your time. Make the transition slowly. Start cutting things out a little at a time. Start with the foods that cause the most inflammation for you. Eventually, you will discover you’re eating AIP! Once you start to feel better, it all becomes so much easier. You can do this! Always know, I’ve got your back when you need that extra encouragement. You’re stronger than you think you are! Smooches!

  8. Awesome article. I chose the paleo route almost 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with acute onset RA (within 5 months I could hardly walk or use my hands much) much to my rheumatologists disgust (and yet none of the drugs she gave me worked, in fact the side effects were actually even worse) and the last 7 months have been full AIP. The changes and improvements I have seen in my body and mind over the last 3 years have been significant. As for the RA it is still there but with limited medication now and to be honest only this weekend I came to the conclusion that I probably won’t gain that remission that we all aspire to. But I have made peace with myself over this, I have a level of acceptance that I’m happy with. And besides the food that we eat is just so damn good and the community is awesome.

    1. Thank you Amanda! I love your healing story and your amazing attitude! Reading your comment really made my day! Congratulations on your dedication. You’re so right about the delicious food and encouraging community. I think those two things are so important for us. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful story. You are a true autoimmune warrior!

  9. I thank you also for your article. I was diagnosed in 1972 with Crohns, and like a good little patient, I did the drugs and had the surgeries. Yes, I said 1972. I’m old! Never questioned or even suspected I had any other choice. December 22, 2014, I accidentally came across the AIP diet. Paleo was something I was toying with but never suspected there was another step to take. I had that light bulb moment. There is another way? I can be in control? No worry that any meal could send me immediately to the bathroom or hospital? Talk about feeling stupid. So….here I am, 3 months in. There has been a few issues. A lot of kitchen time and a lot of meal planning. I can’t and won’t go back to eating anything just to fill an empty place in my belly. Sure, I have a long long way to go but I am in to stay. Thanks to all of you who are putting out the word that there is a better way….AIP.

    1. Thank you LaJuana! Your comment filled my heart with joy! You are the very reason we do what we do! I’m so happy you’ve started the AIP on your healing journey. You’ve suffered long enough! Thank you so much for your story and wonderful attitude. Welcome to the community. Smooches to you!

  10. Hi Tara! Thank you for your article. I’m just beginning the AIP although I have “toyed” around with Paleo nd GF previously. I am optimistic although the idea of giving up my coffee and non-AIP spices are really holding me back. I have had Pancolitis and Inflammatory Arthritis (negative RF with lupus like features). I take a high dose of Remicade and moderate methotrexate which works REALLY well for the most part, but I’m flaring now for the first time in 18 months and building up an immunity for Remicade unfortunately. Any-hoo my question is whether coffee and these spices are typically much of a problem for most peeps like me. I want to do all I can before my Remicade effectiveness diminishes. Any advise or info would be greatly appreciated! God bless!

    Prayers and blessings to you,

    1. Hi Danya,
      To be honest with you, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of giving up my coffee and black pepper either. LOL! But, what helped me get through it, was the idea that I only had to give it up for 30 days. Then, I would slowly try to reintroduce them back into my diet. So, after 30 days, I did the coffee reintroduction. I was successful! Next, I tried adding back the black pepper. It was a huge disaster. I broke out in hives after about an hour after ingesting it. To this day, I have not been able to reintroduce it. I guess you win some, you lose some.
      My suggestion is to try doing without for 30 days. Then, try properly reintroducing them, one at a time. I know a lot of people who cannot tolerate coffee. Most of them have successfully reintroduced most spices, including black pepper. It really depends on the person, and how much healing has occurred over the 30 days.
      I know it’s not easy to give up foods you’ve enjoyed over the years. But, I’ve discovered, no food is worth feeling bad. Even though doing without coffee would have been depressing, I would have absolutely done it to save my life. And, that’s how I feel about the AIP, it saved my life. To be completely off medication, and not having to be admitted into the hospital for over a year, is totally worth giving up the foods that were hurting me.
      Remember Danya, the elimination phase is not meant to last forever. You’re much stronger than you believe yourself to be. I know you can do this!
      Good luck! Be sure to let me know if you have any other questions.
      God Bless!

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