Before I get into today’s recipe, I want to share something really exciting with you. Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, has created a pilot episode of Paleo Bites, an all paleo TV show. Today, she is sending that pilot episode to different networks, for their approval. Paleo Bites would be an amazing benefit to all of us in the paleo community, including those of us on the AIP. I urge all of you to go here, and help to get Paleo Bites on air. Thanks.
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!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links, I may receive compensation. Thank you for helping to support my blogging efforts, here at Paleo Cajun Lady.-Tara Perillo*
Recently, while going through one of my social media feeds, I came across a description of the AIP that disturbed me. It described AIP as “a very strict form of paleo”. It wasn’t just words. It was the combination of the words and the tone of the post that upset me. A few days later, on a different social media site, written by a different paleo blogger, I saw the same description once again. This time I knew something was up.
It’s descriptions like that one that scare people, who could benefit from the AIP, away from trying it. Frankly, I find it terribly irresponsible, especially when coming from others in the paleo community. Our first responsibility should be to accurately describe all healing protocols to our readers. And, by accurately, I mean with the facts.
Facts about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach, and also known as The Paleo Mom, is the modern expert on all things AIP. She is a scientist and master researcher on autoimmune disease and it’s relation to diet and lifestyle factors. She also suffers from autoimmune diseases. She has provided the autoimmune community with a plethora of information on nutrition, sleep, adrenal fatigue, exercise, scientific studies, and so much more. Anything you need to know about the AIP can be found in her books or on her website. She also has a real compassion for those of us suffering from autoimmune disease, as she is one of us.
The elimination phase is strict. I wouldn’t, however, describe it as “very strict”. You will still have plenty of foods to choose from. Just take one look at my Instagram feed; and, you’ll see I’m not suffering. Plus, it isn’t meant to last forever! That’s right, I said it. The elimination phase is only part of the AIP. Now, it is a very important part. You’re basically eliminating all foods that could be feeding your already amped up immune system. There is actual science behind the elimination of these foods and the improvement in autoimmune symptoms. Once you have healed your gut, and put most or all of your symptoms into remission, you move on to the reintroduction phase. In this phase, you start methodically adding foods back into your diet. Most people are able to reintroduce foods such as eggs, spices, and even white rice back into their diets. Fact is, the AIP elimination phase does not last forever.
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is not just for people with autoimmune disease. Many people have found relief of psychological, neurological, and other health conditions on the AIP. Some discovered food allergies, they didn’t even know they had. It’s a great protocol to help kick start your health journey.
The Autoimmune Protocol does not cause disordered eating. In fact, it teaches you how to eat nutrient dense foods to complement your healing. When followed properly, it can help you to avoid unhealthy foods with questionable ingredients, which can be harmful to anyone. Learning to cook and eat real foods is actually healthy. Just because someone turns down a potentially harmful paleo treat containing guar gum, doesn’t mean they’re suffering disordered eating. It actually means they’re smart. Read the science behind guar gum and other potentially harmful ingredients here.
Fact is, there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the AIP. I urge you to seek out only those sources with The Paleo Approach Approved seal. We go through a rigorous vetting process to earn this seal. We are expected to live up to the standards set by Sarah Ballantyne in The Paleo Approach. We work tirelessly to provide you with the most helpful autoimmune topics, scientific data, resources and let’s not forget, the best AIP recipes on the internet and beyond.
The more informed you are, the better prepared you are to make decisions about your health. Let’s not get confused by bad information, put out by people with no skin in the game. Get your information from people who live in the trenches of autoimmune disease and other medical conditions. We walk the walk and talk the talk. We don’t ask you to do anything we’re not doing ourselves. We’re not super-humans or freaks for taking our health into our own hands and following a “very strict form of paleo”. We are autoimmune warriors, fighting very real, and often serious diseases. Our willpower is strong. But, our will to survive is even stronger!
Has the AIP helped you? I would love to hear your story. Please, share in comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, my fellow autoimmune warriors, I wish you good health…and good eating!