The Roadmap to Healing
A healthy diet is important and while embarking on the trip to heal yourself, it is important not to forget that elimination of foods such as an Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP for short) is meant to be done only for 30-90 days. This time should be spent not just avoiding foods that may be triggering and perpetuating your symptoms, but trying to find the underlying causes of the food intolerances and other symptoms you are experiencing!
AIP diet is quite restrictive. Avoiding a lot of nutrient-rich foods, as well as the ones you are eating regularly is challenging, but it serves its’ purpose – it decreases inflammation in the body. Avoiding all nuts, seeds, corn, rice, gluten, and all other grains; eggs, nightshades (potatoes, peppers, some spices, etc.).
Diet is important but it’s not the ONLY thing. Make sure to address ALL these steps in your healing journey.
How to Heal Yourself:
1. Eliminate foods that may be causing your symptoms for 30-60 days.
2. Add good bacteria to your supplements – probiotics and fermented foods (Bubbie’s fermented salted pickles, coconut yogurt (COYO), fermented sauerkraut, etc.)
3. Add healing foods to decrease gut inflammation – bone broth, healing supplements (l-glutamine, slippery elm).
4. Address Potential Causes:
- Viruses: Epstein-Barr Virus, Lyme, CMV, herpes viruses reactivation;
- Bacterial (SIBO) and fungal (SIFO – Candida) overgrowth;
- Dental Health
- Mold and mycotoxins
- Environmental toxins including heavy metals
5. Expand your diet to include as many healing foods as possible! The goal is to add more foods if you can tolerate them to help you heal and to help you get nutrients from the foods instead of supplements! If you feel ok after eating fish such as sardines, colorful veggies including nightshades, organ meats (liver, heart), and a lot of other different foods of all rainbow colors – EAT them regularly! Decreasing your diet to 10 foods that you eat almost EVERY DAY may cause you to develop sensitivities to those foods, especially, if you are dealing with increased intestinal permeability (aka “leaky gut”). In such a case, it is not the foods to be blamed, it is the faulty digestion that may be causing you to develop impaired tolerance to the foods you consume.
6. Walk 10,000 steps a day. Do 30 squats after breakfast and dinner and 30 push-ups after lunch. Alternate the days.
7. Get outside to get the benefits of sunshine for 20-30 minutes mid-day (no sunscreen)
8. Detox: support your body gently with lemon water, nettle tea, dandelion tea, greens, milk thistle, infrared sauna sessions (if you can tolerate them), Epsom salt baths, and dry brushing to name a few. Sweat helps to detoxify!
9. Sleep! Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night!
10. Use relaxation techniques and meditation.
11. As always pay attention to your body and how you feel today. Write down what you did differently today so you could know what worked/didn’t work for you.
What NOT to Do while in Autoimmune Paleo Protocol:
- Do not drive yourself insane by stressing out that you stepped away from your diet for 1 meal or unexpectedly got some dairy or gluten (unless you are Celiac) into your meal. Stress causes a lot of issues with our health, stress also impairs your ability to heal your gut and function optimally.
- Do not limit your diet even more than AIP suggests.
- Do not compare your case to the cases on Facebook forums. Your case is unique and what works for others, may not work for you and vice versa.
- Do not push yourself hard to exercise if you feel fatigued the next day after you pushed yourself too hard.
- Do not count calories or limit your food intake. As your diet is already restrictive, you will only put your body under more stress if you try to limit calories. Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods full of color and micronutrients!
Now I want to hear from you!
Have you tried AIP before? Did it help? If it did, how did you know it helped you?
What made you comply better with the AIP diet requirements? What made you cheat? How did you feel after cheating?