Surviving the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol
I have seen an influx of folks with autoimmune diseases lately, which isn’t surprising when you think that upwards of 23.5 million Americans are affected by one of the 100+ autoimmune diseases that have been confirmed (1). Autoimmune disease is the biggest reason I went into functional nutrition because there is so much we can do to stop the onslaught of inflammation within the body just by changing up the diet.
I know from personal experience that the autoimmune paleo protocol can be…challenging. Fortunately, once you get the hang out it, this diet can open your mind to a whole new way of eating. The best part is when you notice that you are feeling better. Nothing makes you stick to a diet better than how you feel. I’m not talking about weight loss here, I’m talking increased energy, normal bowel movements, LESS PAIN! It’s amazing!
No matter how amazing the benefits are to the autoimmune paleo protocol, this diet is a hefty elimination diet and requires constant patience and dedication… but this diet is not designed to be on forever. The ultimate goal with AIP is to decrease inflammation, determine specific food sensitivities, get to the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, and heal a leaky gut. Always keep that in mind. This is a temporary diet! After we reach our goals and health is returned, it is important to incorporate some of the eliminated foods back in, though gluten is typically banned.
I did the autoimmune paleo protocol for *a while* and probably longer than I needed to. The autoimmune paleo protocol eliminates gluten, dairy, processed foods, nuts, seeds, nightshades, legumes, eggs, excess sugar & starches, alcohol, & NSAIDS. Now that may seem like a lot of stuff to get rid of, and it is! Thankfully, there are some really delicious foods derived straight from mother nature that help us overcome all those NO’s. Here are my tips to making it through the autoimmune paleo protocol while enjoying some delicious foods!
1. Find a good meat source.
I have tried several different sources of meat. My favorite is to keep it as local as possible so I jumped at the chance to load up on ground meat, steaks, and brisket from a cow that my dad bought. I would have bought the whole dang cow if I had enough space in my freezer for 3 years’ worth of meat!
I have also purchased meat locally through delivery services, such as the Truckin’ Tomato in south Texas. This is fun because they give you the breakdown of the meat, where it came from, and more details. PLUS they deliver it straight to your door! They also sell seasonal, local veggies so you never need to leave the house for groceries again.
I also like to buy grass-fed protein from Whole Foods because they are very transparent about their food sources. For my Texas friends, HEB does have grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish in their butcher section, so even if you do not have access to these other sources, you can still get higher quality meat wherever you go.
2. Try one new recipe a week.
This is a must for 2 reasons. First, it is common for us to get comfortable making the same foods repeatedly. This will start to make eating very boring and you will be more tempted to cheat. Secondly, for those of us with several food sensitivities, if we eat the same foods day after day then we are at a high risk of becoming sensitive to those foods! WHAT! It is very important to rotate foods so that your body doesn’t start to think these foods are attacking your immune system. Trying new recipes is huge to help keep your eye on the prize, prevent boredom, and prevent excess food sensitivities.
3. Do NOT run out of food.
This is the land where bad things happen. It’s Saturday afternoon, your body is screaming NO to the thoughts of going to the grocery store, your stomach starts rumbling, and you have absolutely nothing to eat. In the olden days we might have just ordered a pizza in these moments, but today we cannot do that unless we want to spend the next 24-72 hours in misery. The worst part is that you cannot just go pop in somewhere easily and grab a bite to eat because loads of research is required before eating anywhere while on AIP.
This is why it is so important to set a day of the week that you sit down, take inventory of the fridge, write out your grocery list, and head to the store. I try to do this on Sundays or Mondays. Find your day that you can carve out 1-2 hours each week and stick to it!
4. Do your research.
The AIP protocol will always require the doer to research. You will need to research recipes, what to eat when dining out, how to use alternative ingredients, what to do during holidays, how long to do the diet etc. If you need help in this department, this is where I come in. I have several different avenues to help you achieve optimal health and help you feel your absolute best. I offer 1-on-1 virtual and in person (San Antonio) appointments for anyone struggling with autoimmune disease. This is a great tool for anyone who is needing help in all aspects of the diet (cooking, dining out, entertaining etc). I also offer an autoimmune paleo protocol crash course for those of you who need just a little more help getting a handle on their diet.
You can easily set up an appointment with me, whether virtual or in-person, by clicking here. Follow the steps to easily book online. You can also call me at 210-920-0669.
I hope you have a great day!
The Functional RD
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