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The Autoimmune Protocol – an Update

Woody Harrelson Quote
…except I don’t live in Hawaii and I’m am not vegan. Also, I eat animal protein, cook my food and can’t remember the last time I smoked pot…! But, otherwise – we’re almost like twins, really.
(Image from here)

Here in TSL-land, we’ve now been on the Autoimmune Protocol for ten weeks. I know – ten whole weeks! I can hardly believe it. And during that time, while LM has fallen off the wagon every now and then, I’ve been pretty religious about following the protocol.

In case you need a wee reminder, that means:

  • No eggs 
  • No nuts
  • No seeds (including cocoa, coffee – yes, coffee! – and seed-based spices)
  • No nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, chillies, cayenne, and all spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
  • No fructose consumption in excess of 20g per day (that’s a couple of pieces of fruit)
  • No alcohol
  • No NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • No non-nutritive sweeteners (yes, all of them)
  • Cutting out all other food additives

The pros:

All in all, I have to say, it has been much easier than I expected. The food is fresh, clean and tasty. I’m never left hungry – thanks to the fat content. It’s not complicated to prepare. And, as long as I have a fridge stocked with a variety of fresh veggies and happy protein, I don’t struggle with what to eat at all.

I have become the master (mistress?) of both slow braises and of the veggie hash for breakfast. Homemade lacto-fermented vegetables are eaten daily. Bone broth is always in my fridge. I’ve discovered the magic that is frozen banana ice cream. Even though I ate a reasonable amount of vegetables before AIP, I reckon I’ve about tripled it. In fact, I now actively look for opportunities to eat more vegetables. I’m eating a greater variety, too. And that can only be a good thing.

Surprisingly, because people tend to associate a ‘Paleo’ style diet with high quantities of animal protein, my protein consumption has actually gone down. All those vegetables!

In addition, my sleep is much better. I wake feeling refreshed. I’m not waking during the night. And, while I didn’t realise it before, I think I’m a nicer person to be around. Less anxious, maybe? I don’t seem to sweat the small stuff as much.

As for my autoimmune issues? Or, at least the one I knew about – completely in remission on the Autoimmune Protocol. Gone. After 23 years. Pretty powerful stuff.

Oh – and, I’ve lost 6 kilos. Slow and steady wins the race, they say!

The cons:

Although the regime has been easier than I expected, it does have some drawbacks. I think the biggest one is that you really do have to spend time in the kitchen. For me, this isn’t a hardship. I love to cook. And, it is possible to spend a few hours over the weekend preparing food for the week ahead. My sister does this every Sunday – so, I know its do-able. Batch cooking truly is your friend.

Its hard on your social life. I think we’ve been to a restaurant twice in the last ten weeks. Dining out with all these dietary restrictions is almost impossible. For me, the way around this is to entertain at home. But, when I consider that LM and I were, until recently, known amongst our friends as the foodies who dined out all the time, life is very different now.

Re-introduction takes time and must be controlled. When I started this protocol, I already ate pretty clean. I knew I had an issue with gluten, so that wasn’t a big deal for me. This past weekend, my Mum has been visiting from New Zealand. I decided, after over 9 weeks of this caper, that I would indulge in some red wine, some coffee (with cream) and some homemade chicken liver pâté made with cultured ghee… BAD IDEA! Something in that medley of yumminess did not agree with me. Within 12 hours, my autoimmune symptoms were back. I’m pretty confident it was the dairy (and – please, please, PLEASE – not the red wine or the coffee), but I just don’t know for sure. So, its back on the strict protocol for two more weeks before I start reintroducing foods one at a time and in a controlled fashion.

And, just like magic…

As if she read my mind, the very talented Eileen over at Phoenix Helix has literally just this week launched an e-book on Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. I think she must be psychic. Are you psychic, Eileen? The book provides a step-by-step guide to reintroducing foods in a structured and controlled way. And, she provides recipes. I suspect it may become my bible over the coming weeks.

I’ll keep you posted…

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Comments (14)

I think Eileen is psychic, actually. She’s sort of an AIP shaman-wizard that way. Thanks for this update. And congratulations on your remission! That’s amazing! Re-introductions are hard. There seems to be this almost universal tendency as soon as one food is reintroduced to put a couple more back in, even when we know it totally wrecks the experiment…

Well, its now official. If YOU think Eileen is psychic and I think Eileen is psychic, it MUST be so…

Yes – I learnt the hard way that I need to manage reintroduction. Stupid of me really – after all that work, too! We’ll see how it goes following ‘the Psychic’s Plan’…

TSL! You’re AMAZING! Way to be a “Legend”! Glad you are feeling so good, it’s great to hear! 😉 Thanks for the update.

I often wonder if you are this positive and up-beat in real life, V. Its always like a breath of fresh air when you’re around in cyber-space. 🙂

The results sound unbelievable! Will be interested to see if you can add coffee and wine back – don’t think I could do without them forever! Jane

Jane, I have my fingers crossed, too! I surprised myself with giving up alcohol without a second thought on New Years Day. Boy, was it good to have some good NZ pinot noir over the weekend, tho’! And, don’t get me started on how much I love coffee!

Ahhhh, awesome update!

Bless your cotton socks, PPG! 🙂

Recently someone close to me started to reintroduce alcohol after more than ten years of pretty much zero consumption! He has found that wine generally doesn’t agree with him, but high quality spirits like good whisky and tequila are manageable in reasonable amounts. It’s an expensive turn of events. (; It’s great to hear you’re feeling so much better. I’m very inspired by what you’ve done. Good luck with the next chapter!

Hey lovely Summer – LM finds alcohol an issue. We suspect the sulphites in wine – just doesn’t agree with him. Interesting what your friend has discovered (LM loves a good calvados!)

Your comment made me feel all warm & fuzzy. Thanks for that! 🙂

You and Petra are both sweet and hilarious. I will now officially claim to all who know me that I have “a touch of the power.”

Yes! And, tell them that a Kiwi and a Canadian were the first to recognise this special talent in you… 🙂

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