I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Angie Alt – one half of the wonderful duo behind Autoimmune Paleo, health coach, author of The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating For All Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, and creator of the increasing popular online programme, SAD to AIP in SIX.*
*that’s Standard American (or Australasian) Diet to Autoimmune Protocol in Six Weeks!
Angie (and her business partner, Mickey) have been early pioneers in the fast-growing global Autoimmune Protocol community. They continue to provide thought leadership and support.
I encourage you to check out their site if you are not already following them.
Angie created her online programme – SAD to AIP in SIX as a way to support people who are ready to begin their Autoimmune Protocol. It’s a phased approach in a supportive environment.
Each week is a gentle, gradual process of eliminating the bad and introducing the good. Every detail is covered – from inflammatory foods to remove, to lifestyle factors to address and healing foods to add; and it is all done in a completely private, encouraging on-line group. You work with with Angie and her team of certified health coaches who provide both the knowledge and encouragement you need to transition to AIP.
Onto my chat with the lovely Angie…
Angie, you’ve been successfully following the Autoimmune Protocol for some time now. Can you tell us a little about your story?
Sure! I have three autoimmune diseases, Lichen Sclerosis, Endometriosis and Celiac Disease. Having three or more diagnosed autoimmunes is called Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome or MAS. It’s what happens when you have gone undiagnosed too long and basically one disease leads to the next. My last diagnosis was Celiac Disease in February of 2012.
After that, I went on a traditional gluten-free diet, but I didn’t get healthier. In fact, I got much sicker and my gluten antibody numbers actually rose. In May of that year I discovered the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). By that point I was in and out of the ER constantly, I weighed only 94 pounds (that’s 42.6 kilos!) and I was plagued by constant anxiety and panic attacks. Basically, I was so malnourished due to damage in my small intestine that my emotional and mental health were a disaster. In that desperate moment I chose a cold-turkey transition to AIP.
Three days later my anxiety melted away, I haven’t had a panic attack or needed medication, like Xanax, for it since that point. That was enough to convince me and my family that I was on the right track. Six weeks later my gluten antibodies had dropped by half. Six months later I was a brand new person with completely normalised antibodies. I have been following AIP, with some successful reintroduction foods, for over three years now.
To say I am a die-hard convert is a massive understatement. I changed everything about my life after regaining my health, including my career. I’m now a certified health coach, author, and blogger in the autoimmune community advocating healing with dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Every day I wake up grateful and ready to help grow this movement.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Honestly, my biggest challenge with AIP was never the food. It was the emotional journey. Changing our diet and lifestyle in such a dramatic way in order to heal is bound to dredge up complex issues. Also, facing autoimmune disease itself is a big task. If we are honest, the path from illness to health is probably going to involve all the stages of grieving. Confronting all of that and figuring out how to come out the other side a better person was (is) my biggest challenge.
What was your motivation behind designing your SAD to AIP in SIX course?
I laid awake at night worried about all the folks who weren’t healing, ’cause they needed a more gentle, guided, supportive transition to AIP, so I decided to do something about it! I needed to sleep after all! Some people are great with the cold-turkey option, but in general it is a horrible way to have to change our lives. It’s stressful! Making steady, gradual changes, with applicable, organized information in a super supportive environment is much more ideal. I had that in mind as I designed the program.
What does the course entail?
In a completely private on-line group of 20 members who spend six weeks slowly eliminating, one week at a time, the foods that we remove during the elimination phase of AIP. Each week they are given a weekly assignment document and worksheets that detail day-by-day the information to read in order to be fully informed on the whys of the protocol, along with action steps to help them plan and prepare. This weekly process helps them establish a rhythm that is the foundation to long-term success with AIP without an overwhelming flood of details. Seven days a week myself and my coaching partners (I have three coaches working with me) lead the group in discussions, check-in on progress, answer questions, and offer encouragement and support. Literally, group members have 24/7 support for the entire six week period (since I even have coaches in opposite time zones, somebody is always awake and available!). I also include weekly review videos from me and inspirational messages from ‘AIP Mentors’, like Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom).
It is nearly one-on-one coaching for the price of a cup of coffee per day, plus you make a bunch of friends who are doing it with you! Oh, and at the end I give you a free copy of my ebook as a “graduation” gift!
Are there common challenges for people navigating a shift to the Autoimmune Protocol, or is everybody different?
Everyone has their own stumbling blocks, but there are some pretty common ones that I’ve come across since I started over three years ago. Overwhelm, lack of support, and underestimating the importance of planning and preparation are probably the three biggest challenges I see regularly. I’ve tried to address this in the program through a staged, extremely organized approach to all the information, providing an incredibly supportive environment both with my coaching team and the small, private group atmosphere, and putting a ton of focus into teaching participants how to break down the planning and prep into manageable steps.
Who should sign up to join the SAD to AIP in 6 course? Is it for everybody?
The course is specifically designed for those suffering from autoimmune diseases or chronic illness that want to overhaul their diets and lifestyles from Standard American (Western) Diets all the way to the Autoimmune Protocol in a gentle, phased approach. That said, I’ve had doctors join who wanted to learn about AIP for their patients, I’ve had family members join together to offer each other support, I’ve had folks who are already fully into AIP join for extra reinforcement, and I’ve had many join that don’t have precise diagnoses yet, but know they want better health, and of course members have come from all over the globe. The program has so much to offer so many folks.
Enrolment has now opened for the SAD to AIP in SIX July programme. Kick off is July 6th and the programme ends August 16th.
I think Angie’s programme is a great way to ease yourself into the Autoimmune Protocol. The feedback I have seen has been overwhelmingly positive. I feel so strongly that I’ve joined the team as one of her coaches.
Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, as well. Just leave a comment below or drop me a line through my contact me page.
And, as promised, it’s giveaway time!
To spread the SAD to AIP in SIX love down under, Angie has offered a 20% to discount to one lucky Aussie or Kiwi who wants to sign up to the July intake.
And, to make that deal even sweeter, I’m giving away a private 1:1 hour of dedicated AIP coaching to the winner.
That’s over $150 worth of giveaway on top of the excellent content and support you’ll receive as part of the programme (for less than the normal cost of the programme).
There are just 2 easy steps to enter the giveaway –
1. Subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter. Either signup HERE or click the link at the top right corner of this page. If you already receive my newsletter, you’re good to go! No need to sign up again.
2. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling Angie and me why you should win. Be sure to enter your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you’re the winner.
A Few Things to Note:
This giveaway is open to Australian and New Zealand residents only. I’m dragging Angie in on my mission to include those of us down under in giveaways. They are so often limited to US residents.
The winner will be chosen at random on Thursday 11 June at midday Australian Eastern Time.
Please note: this giveaway is no longer open.