Disclaimer: I’m sharing my experience here in hopes that it will inspire some of you. Be warned this is not me dishing medical advice—I am not a doc. Please talk to your doctor before making any medication, supplement, or dietary changes.
What am I eating these days? I still follow the Autoimmune Protocol most of the time, but I am no longer on the elimination diet. It has been almost three years now, and I know this way of eating is most conducive to gut health with autoimmune disease. I’ve been able to reintroduce nuts, seeds, eggs, rice, and most recently some nightshades (gasp!) but still have issues with tomatoes, dairy, and beans. I am not interested in trialing grains other than rice. I’m really comfortable with where I am at, and know my limits.
Even though I can tolerate quite a big range of foods now, I still eat mostly strict Autoimmune Protocol meals. I have two reasons for this—first, I know it is optimal for gut health and autoimmunity, and second, lately I have not been feeling my best (as chronicled in my last two posts). I also love the foods I eat, and I am endlessly inspired by cooking different types of meats and vegetables (being able to tolerate seed spices also helps). When I feel amazing, I tend push my boundaries a little more. At home, in a given week, I’ll eat eggs for breakfast a couple of times, or a handful of nuts in a salad. I’m not incorporating these things in my diet every day or going crazy on them. While traveling though, I find it too stressful to adhere to a “perfect AIP diet” especially since I am not reacting to certain foods. While in Austin for Paleo f(x), I enjoyed eggs every morning for breakfast, ate nightshades in BBQ, and rice at a sushi restaurant. And I felt fine the whole time!
I feel like there is this idea that the Autoimmune Protocol is for life, and that those of us who have healed our bodies adhere to it strictly even after we have healed our guts. I don’t believe this is healthy—it is too disordered and restrictive to me. To some extent, I do need to live in fear of food, because I have Celiac disease. The level to which I need to avoid gluten is extreme. That being said, I don’t think it is good to extend that to foods that are otherwise healthy—like eggs, tomatoes, or almonds. Sadly, there is a fine line between a necessarily restricted gut-healing protocol and an eating disorder. Once we find health, it is important to learn how to navigate our boundaries for ourselves, since we all have unique bodies and experiences. I don’t believe the path to true healing involves living in fear of food for the rest of our lives.
When I started this journey, I was hardly able to get out of bed, much less hold a job or do anything I enjoyed. Figuring out the diet piece was huge for me, and I don’t want to underestimate it. I credit finding the Autoimmune Protocol to introducing me into a world of resources and information about how to live a healthier life. And out of that, I found the right practitioners, implemented the right lifestyle changes, and it all came together to produce healing for my body, as well as my mind. I think I will always be on this healing journey, to some extent, a work in progress. I am incredibly grateful for how I feel now, and being able to help and support so many others who are going through this process for themselves. I hope these posts giving some insight into my journey have given you some inspiration or encouragement wherever you may be.