As some of you may know already, I celebrated my one year anniversary of being on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I really kept my celebration low-key, until I saw a photo of myself from before I started my AIP journey. I quickly compared it to a photo I had of myself from a couple of months ago. The difference shocked me.
I mean, I knew I felt better; but, I had no idea how much better I looked. Now, this is not a vanity play. I simply noticed how much healthier I looked. My face had lost the puffiness from the steroid medication and liver inflammation. My lupus butterfly rash had disappeared. In my before photo, I could see the psoriasis rash that had covered my hands. That rash was now gone. My hair, which had been straggly and thinning, was now full and flowing. The dark circles under my eyes had vanished. And, I had a smile on my face in my after photo. I looked healthier and happier!
After seeing the differences in my photos, I started to reflect on my journey this year on the AIP. Although I hit a few bumps in the road with food reintroductions gone wrong, a severe respiratory infection, and a family member’s stressful medical emergency, I have refused to be defeated in my fight for better health. I have learned so many things this year, including the importance of batch cooking, food prepping, eating nutrient dense foods, managing my stress, getting enough sleep, relying on community, and practicing self love. I have learned how to fight for what’s truly important to me, my life.
Plus, I think of my family, and how they would feel if I had just given up after my diagnosis. How unloved and discarded would my husband have felt if I had chosen not to do everything in my power to live my life with him? And, my crazy, little dog, Gideon, how would she live without the Mama, who treats her like the most wonderful creature in the world? How would my Mom deal with watching her oldest (and favorite!) child suffer and wither away? Would my sisters and brother ever forgive me for leaving them without a fight? Would my nephews and niece ever know the aunt who loved them from afar? Don’t worry, my dear family, as y’all know, I’m not that kind of girl. This girl is a warrior!
So, when someone asks me how I could possibly have stayed on the AIP so long, I have a nice, long list of the reasons I did it, and continue to do it.
A year later, I have gotten my lupus and psoriasis under control. I have started to exercise again. My butterfly rash and psoriasis rashes have subsided, and in some cases, completely disappeared. I have lost 20 pounds of inflammation and steroid weight. I have stopped losing my hair. In fact, it’s growing like crazy again. I have discovered new foods that I enjoy so much more than the foods I gave up. I discovered a helpful, loving, accepting, encouraging community of autoimmune warriors, just like myself. I met my mentor, the amazing woman who wrote the book that saved my life, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. And, the most important part, I got my life back.
If you’re struggling with autoimmune disease, I beg you to fight. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family, friends, or anyone else who wants you to live. Give the AIP a shot. It’s really not that hard, once you get going. Don’t let your lack of willpower prevent you from enjoying a symptom free life. I’m going to give you a little tough love here, so hang on. There is no such thing as kind of doing the AIP. You must commit to the elimination phase, with NO CHEATING, for a minimum of 30 days. Then, you must do the reintroduction phase honestly and correctly. There is no way you will feel the full benefits of the AIP, if you do not follow it properly. You may hate me now; but, if you follow it to the letter, you WILL thank me afterwards. Believe me, if you would have told me a year ago, I would have followed the autoimmune protocol for this long, I would have told you how nuts I thought you were. But now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to become an autoimmune warrior. There are tons of resources to help get you through this. Here are a few:
The book that saved my life, The Paleo Approach.
As always, I wish you good health……and, good food!
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