Trying things out for size on the AIP is a BIG part of the caper. Not everything you attempt will be right for you.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there will be many things that others evangelise about that you know are not your cup of tea. And that can be frustrating.
Remember: You are a unique little snowflake.
I say this a lot. Because it is true.
In fact, I bang on about the idea of personalising your AIP way of life because of this all the time. My AIP Mentorship crew will attest to this. It’s important. And, it is often overlooked.
I don’t always agree with Mr Nietzsche. But, when it comes to the AIP, I do in this matter.
Here’s the thing:
THE AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL IS A TEMPLATE
It’s not 100% prescriptive. There’s no one ‘right way’ to do it. There are many.
Oh, sure. There are common themes.
There is an elimination phase at the very beginning to allow you to heal your gut with an anti-inflammatory and nutrient-dense approach. Sleep is a priority for everyone. Getting a good handle on just how you manage stress is very important. Regular time outside in both nature and in sunlight matters. Gentle movement is encouraged. Fostering positive social connections is a goal.
BUT, WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU IS LIKELY TO LOOK DIFFERENT TO HOW IT LOOKS FOR ME.
Just as when you go shopping for a new sweater, you will need to try on different sweaters for fit – size, shape, style, colour; so too, you need to personalise your AIP experience to fit your requirements.
If you get really, really lucky, the first thing you try will work. But, more often than not, you’ll have to try several different options out for size before you find your fit. The fit that works for you.
AND JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE IT BEDDED DOWN,
THERE’LL BE A TRICKY BIT.
There is always a tricky bit.
The tricky bit usually pops up just when you think you’ve got this baby sorted. When you’ve finally got your head around all that the protocol entails.
AND, IT CAN TRIP YOU UP.
So, as with all things AIP related, it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
- Have strong foundations in place. Create rituals that serve you.
- Develop a ‘food and mood journal’ practice that works for you
- Understand your limitations
- Build your community. Ensure you have a support network (hint: health coaches are good for this!)
- Be gentle with yourself – this is a marathon, not a sprint
- Break the protocol down into manageable ‘you-sized’ chunks
Want some advice about how to deal with shizzle when you trip?
IF YOU DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS GOT
Even if this new AIP-thing you try doesn’t improve some aspect of your health, perhaps it may show you how something could be improved another way by changing your perspective.
Heard of neuroplasticity? Whenever we try new things, our brains change a bit. (There’s an excellent book on this topic – The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge).
N=1, baby. You’ll never know what works if you don’t try it out. It is through experimenting that I have discovered:
- My body is highly sensitive to gluten
- I have a threshold for nightshades
- My sleep improves dramatically if I use a white noise machine
- Scheduling my personal ‘stuff’ in my diary helps me to prioritise what’s important
- Setting regular goals keeps me moving in a forward direction
YOU LEARN MORE FROM WHAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU THAN YOU DO FROM WHAT DOES
I will never knowingly eat gluten again.
It was the AIP elimination phase and subsequent reintroduction attempts that showed me just how badly my body reacts to gluten. It took me over 40 years to recognise that it is one of my biggest triggers. I’m convinced now.
Trust me when I say it isn’t pretty. It really doesn’t work for me in a big way.
And, I have been accidentally glutened. Not often, but enough to know that I really don’t want to eat that piece of artisanal sourdough. It doesn’t work for me.
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO STOP EXPERIMENTING AND PERSONALISING YOUR AIP CAPER BECAUSE NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT FLIP THE DIAL FURTHER IN YOUR FAVOUR
There are so many under-the-surface factors at play with your health ‘stuff’ that you simply can’t afford to not experiment. You never know what might flip the dial.
I find that kind of exciting. I like trying new things and I look at it as an opportunity.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO trust YOUR GUT AND FOLLOW YOUR OWN PATH
Just because everyone else seems to be doing something doesn’t mean you have to. They are not you.
And this is true of the social media feeds you follow, your mum, your doctor and your best friend. You do you.
There is a wonderful meme floating around:
Doctor: Don’t confuse your Google search with my 6 years at medical school.
Patient: Don’t confuse the one-hour lecture you had on my condition with my 20 years of living with it.
Put simply, nobody cares about your health as much as you do. Nobody knows what it’s like to live in your body as you do.
TRY, TRY AND TRY AGAIN
You may try to reintroduce a certain food and fail. It may not work the first two or three times but then – magically – on the fourth, boo-ya! It’s a success.
You’d never know this gave up at that first hurdle.
Of course, you shouldn’t keep trying something that is very obviously not serving you. I do mean you should keep trying and not give up if you have a chance.
We hear time and time again that this healing caper is not linear. It takes time to heal your gut. It takes time to balance your hormones.
If you give up too soon you may miss an opportunity for healing that is life-changing.