My nutrition story...
One of the things I get asked about most often is my own personal nutrition. Everyone wants to know what I eat! And that makes sense, nutrition was (and is) a very big part of my healing journey. So here is my nutrition story.
In the years of 2012 through 2014, things were really bad for my health. I was in incredible pain, totally exhausted, constant flare-ups. I couldn’t get an accurate diagnosis and I had never even heard of the word autoimmune.
I had though, heard of the word gluten and at the time, I was eating a lot of it. Bagels, Cheerios and Mac & Cheese were my staples, because I had toddlers at home. I decided that I would try going gluten free for a bit and see if it helped. I began to focus on organic foods, primarily vegetables and protein instead. I found out much later that I have Celiac, so going gluten free was really essential for me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had basically created the Paleo diet for myself. I eliminated coffee, alcohol, dairy, gluten, grains and sugar (mostly- this has always been the hardest part for me). And then, as I started to feel some improvement, I went a little deeper into the eliminations by removing eggs, nightshades, and beans (oh how I missed eggs, peppers and tomatoes). I essentially created the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for myself.
And here is the thing- I did feel better. It was gradual and it didn’t totally eliminate my flares, but it most certainly made them fewer and farther between. And over time, I began feeling really good. But it took time.
What I know now is that my gut was really destroyed, and it has taken a long time living on a healing diet to repair it. Over the years, I have done many food re-introductions, some successful, but many not. The good news is that now, many years later, I have been able to re-introduce some foods that I really enjoy- like eggs, tomatoes, peppers, rice and oatmeal. I can even include alcohol, cheese and sugar on a very limited basis.
At the time, I was going through this elimination diet all on my own. And it was hard. My family was supportive but it was a big change for us. I didn’t really know why I was doing what I was doing- I just had an instinct that this is what I needed to do. And my friends thought I was crazy. I struggled going out to eat and nobody could cook for me. I often felt lost and like giving up. It required so much thought and so much food prep. It was a far cry from the easy bagel and cream cheese lunch I used to love. It was a challenge, and I slogged my way through it. Looking back, I am so glad I did it. It changed my life. And now, all that thought and food prep- it feels like nothing. It’s just part of my everyday life.
For those of you just beginning your food journey, I applaud you. It’s not easy, and it can be really scary. But it’s important- dare I say essential- for you to gain strength and control back over your body. And to guide you I am going to share some of my favorite resources here to help you on your way.
First, I encourage you to give the Autoimmune Strong Food Guide a good read through. It’s a free resource included in your Autoimmune Strong membership (you also get access to it when you sign up for a free trial). It is a comprehensive e-book filled with educational information about what you should eat and what you should avoid. It is a very general overview and it does not promote any particular diet. It’s a great place for those of you who are just starting to think about how food makes you feel, and how you could use food to help you feel better.
For those of you looking for something a little more specific and in-depth I encourage you to learn a little more about the Paleo Diet and the Autoimmune Protocol. The internet is filled with great resources, how to guides and millions of recipes that can help you stick to this healing diet. Here are links to my two favorite resources on how to get started. For information about Paleo, read this and for information on the Autoimmune Protocol, read this.
For those of you already doing the Autoimmune Protocol Diet and want some extra help and support, or for those of you just starting and are feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to check out the program SAD To AIP in 6. It is a small group coaching class which gives you specific guidance and support with the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet. You can learn about it here. AND… If you decide to sign up, here’s a discount code just for Autoimmune Strong members! Enter the code autoimmunestrong15 at checkout to receive 15% off the program price.
And as always, I am here to answer any questions that you might have. Nutrition is a big, important and sometimes scary topic. So if you are struggling- lee me know! I want to help. And if you have had a great experience with an elimination, or a food/lifestyle change- tell me about that too! You can comment on the blog, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.