Here we are. It’s been 100 days since I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne. It’s been quite the adventure, with many challenges, discoveries and a few setbacks.
Each day I’ve posted an update on the Cupcakes and Yoga Pants Facebook page. I plan to continue this, as long as readers are interested.
You can read about why I started this adventure in Healing with the Autoimmune Protocol.
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Today I want to look back over the past 3+ months and share a few things I’ve learned by overhauling my diet, paying closer attention to my stressors and making my health a primary focus. Overall, it’s been an incredibly positive journey and an effective way to manage my autoimmune conditions.
Here are a few insights and thoughts:
- Sticking to any new process is difficult. I’m grateful for the support of my friends and family throughout this journey. Positive feedback from my readers has been a huge help with pushing forward.
- The first 30 days (elimination) started out wonderful, but then became an hourly challenge. I was tired of eating the same foods over and over again. Although my body was feeling better, I became grouchy and mad at food. Meals were no longer fun, but viewed as work. Thankfully, I pressed on and made it to the reintroduction phase.
- Cooking at home, from scratch is delicious. I love experimenting with food, creating new recipes and finding ways to use the same old ingredients in new ways. I’ve also discovered so many new foods and products (nutritional yeast, taro, coconut oil, coconut aminos) that I really enjoy now.
- On a practical side, I’ve learned that my body is very intolerant to sugar. Too much makes my stomach hurt, joints ache, mind foggy, dexterity limited and body exhausted. I have reintroduced chocolate, and am on a slippery slope of being addicted to sugar again. I’m now working on cutting it out again and getting to where I wanted to be: Eating it only at special occasions like birthday parties or celebrations.
- I’ve been trying new forms of yoga to both strengthen my body and improve my mindfulness. I’ve discovered that I enjoy both aerial yoga and prajja yoga. I hope to incorporate more types of yoga into my exercise routine moving forward. Making time for myself is not greedy. It’s healthy.
- I’m learning that some people can be pretty cruel when it comes to taking care of yourself. They joke about you not being able to eat certain foods and don’t care when you explain how this process makes you feel better. I’m labeled “picky”. I’ve also learned of a friend who jokes with another friend about my challenges.
- The AIP should come with a warning that you will never be caught up on dishes, you will need to go to the grocery store several times a week and your refrigerator is never big enough. Fresh produce doesn’t last long, and takes ample space. Bunches of fresh kale, I’m talking about you!
- I can now tell when my body is craving protein, fats and sugar. It’s weird. I don’t just feel hungry, I feel like I need something specific. The other morning I wanted sauerkraut at 7:30am. I had indulged in pizza the night before and my digestive system was screaming for some good bacteria to help move everything along. Weird, but true.
- I feel so much better when I stick to a diet of vegetarian protein (edamame, hemp protein, tempeh, beans, lentils, chickpeas), vegetables, most fruits, olive oil, coconut oil and some nuts. My body is not happy when I have whole grains, tofu, whole eggs, dairy, refined sugar and most commercially prepared foods.
- On days that I skip grains and dairy, I feel more full between meals. I don’t snack as much and I actually consume fewer calories. I’ve learned that most grains, including homemade bread and oatmeal, make me more hungry.
- I went off the AIP for a 3-day weekend when one of my autoimmune skin conditions was flaring in my mouth. I needed to take medicine and eat soft foods. Despite that setback, I am still feeling the benefits of this new lifestyle choice.
- It’s tough to stay AIP compliant when going to a restaurant or special event like a potluck or birthday party. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings by declining the food they’ve prepared. I’ve been taking my own food to events so I won’t get sick and slow my progress on the AIP.
Until next time,