Today, I want to talk to you about a very serious topic, your emotional wellbeing on The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It can be very difficult to find emotional balance on the autoimmune protocol. How are you feeling emotionally? Are you feeling discouraged? Do you feel stressed by the thought of reintroducing foods? Have you started to question your healing journey?
There is no doubt about it, the AIP can be very difficult. For some of us, the elimination phase can seem to go on forever. Although we often find relief in our symptoms, some may continue to annoy us. Finding our emotional balance can help us to continue our healing journey.
So, how do we find our emotional balance on The Autoimmune Protocol?
Well, for one, we stop beating ourselves up so much. The stress of continually thinking of the foods you’re missing out on is simply not good for you. Instead, try focusing on the delicious foods you can eat. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne discusses this in her book, The Paleo Approach, in detail. We must understand that the elimination phase is not forever. It is meant as a tool to help us figure out what foods may be adding to our inflammation. You may discover, as I have, that certain foods may be off limits for a long time. This can be hard to swallow (excuse the pun) for some of us. But, think about the replacements for those foods. For example, I really missed my tomato sauce and pasta. I took to the kitchen; and, I created my Tomato-less Bolognese Sauce and spaghetti squash. Not creative in the kitchen? There are tons of AIP recipes out there, online. For some really amazing ones, check out here and here.
Don’t be afraid of food reintroductions. Now, I’m not going to lie. When, I first started reintros, I did it all wrong. I was so anxious to start eating some foods, I rushed it. I quickly learned this was a mistake! My next attempts, I kept second guessing myself. Was this hive because of this food reintro; or, was it something else? Did this new joint pain mean I couldn’t eat almonds anymore? It was all so confusing! Then, thankfully I found Eileen Laird‘s ebook, Reintroducing Foods On The Autoimmune Protocol. This ebook helped me by teaching me not only the order of reintroductions, but exactly how to do it. I actually printed out a few pages, so I could hang them on the side of my fridge. That way, I can refer to them any time I need to. When you learn how to reintroduce foods properly, it’s not so scary.
Get to know others in the AIP community. I have found great comfort in reading the posts of other AIP bloggers. I follow their blogs and social media sites. You can also join AIP communities online. Just be careful if you do that. There is a bunch of misinformation and bad advice out there. Stick with The Paleo Approach Community. I get so annoyed at some of the posts on other groups. Following bad advice is preventing some people with autoimmune disease from healing. That ticks me off!
Get help. Angie Alt offers this amazing program SAD (Standard American Diet) To AIP, which teaches us the best and easiest transition to the AIP. She is starting her next group sessions in January. These are very reasonably priced coaching sessions. In fact, when I saw the price, I about fell out of my chair! Check it out here. Angie also has a new cookbook, The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook, just released. It’s so much more than a cookbook though. She discusses her healing journey, while dealing with emotional issues. You can get the ebook here and the hard copy here.
Okay, I’ve given you some resources to help you through this journey. Now, let’s talk about finding emotional balance on The Autoimmune Protocol within ourselves.
I don’t know about you; but, I don’t always get a lot of support from my family, especially around the holidays. My hubby is usually supportive. However, even he has his limits. Sometimes, when we want to go out to dinner, he gets annoyed that I have to research each restaurant first. Then, when we get there, I have to inform our server of my restrictions and allergies. It’s quite a process. And, his family, they don’t even try. They think that as long as something is gluten free, I can eat it. Never mind that it’s cooked in a kitchen filled with nightshades, nuts, or gluten, with utensils that touched the offending foods. Of course, they don’t care enough to ask me questions about my diet or lifestyle necessities. If this sounds like what you’re dealing with, I feel for you with all my heart. How the heck are we supposed to stay positive about our healing journey when the people who are supposed to care about us, are negative about it. I’ll tell you how, rely on yourself and your comforting AIP community.
If you’re having feelings of depression and complete distress, please seek the help of a professional. Many of us need a professional to help us work through the tough times in our lives. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Dealing with an autoimmune disease can lead to a roller coaster of emotions. One day you’re feeling better, the next you’ve got a flare coming on. I had experienced full remission a few months ago. Then, a loved one had a medical emergency that sent my stress levels through the roof. Within a week, I had a full blown psoriasis rash pop up on my arm. Next, came the joint pain. Before I knew it, I had a horrible respiratory infection that just wouldn’t go away. I had to go on a high dosage of antibiotics (I took the last one today) which completely tore up my gut. The whole time, I stuck with a strict AIP diet. Outwardly, I’m staying positive. Inwardly, I’m devastated. After all that hard work to achieve remission, one stressful occurrence knocked me on my butt. Luckily, the tools I learned in therapy are helping me cope with this new struggle.
The reason I’m writing this post is because I recently saw a post by a prominent paleo blogger, bashing the AIP. I’m not going to name names because I prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. But, I wanted to warn you against these harmful statements. Truth is, the AIP is hard. Some people are not strong enough to endure the process; so, they lash out against it. No one ever wants to admit their own weaknesses, plain and simple. You may encounter lots of adversity on your healing journey. But, know this, I personally know many people with autoimmune disease that have found relief and remission with the AIP. I did it myself. I know I’ll do it again! Do you really think I’d be following the AIP if I didn’t think it would work? Trust me, I wouldn’t. I have about as much patience as a five year old on Christmas morning.
All that being said, I really would love to hear from y’all. What are some of your struggles? How do you cope? Let’s come together, as a community, to comfort and encourage each other.
As always, I wish y’all good health and emotional balance on The Autoimmune Protocol!
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