I’ve been following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for a few months now, so it’s high time for an update.
Yes, it’s been super hard to stick to, and I’ve had a couple of blips where I fell off completely. It was difficult to be 100% compliant over the school holidays for example, as we were out and about so much. I try not to sweat it too much, and do the best I can.
However, I’ve managed to climb back on the compliance wagon and keep chugging along to discover which foods are helping or hindering me. You can read about how to reintroduce foods here. Its been rather scary to realise that some symptoms I’ve been putting down to my Hashimoto’s disease are actually food related!
So far I’ve been able to reintroduce peas and beans (funny how much I missed these!), rice, peanut butter, cashews, cooked tomatoes, capsicum peppers, paprika and egg yolk. I have yet to try lentils, chickpeas, raw tomatoes, potatoes, and quinoa.
Gluten remains a definite no-no. Even small amounts leave me bedridden for two days. I’ve tried to reintroduce gluten-free bread, just for mere convenience sake, but have had mixed results with that. A couple of slices is okay, but any more makes me feel quite tired. Figuring out which of the myriad ingredients in the bread is the culprit, requires more detective work that I have the time or energy for at the moment.
Sadly coconut also gives me mixed results, which is blimmin’ annoying given it’s a staple on AIP. Shredded coconut is okay, as is coconut flour, but I find coconut milk makes me sick. I’ve had to stick with using olive oil when cooking and baking.
Dairy is also not my friend. I found this out the hard way on our wedding anniversary. Mr G and I went out for a special lunch and I threw caution to wind, having both a hot chocolate and a gluten free brownie with a dollop of cream. Twenty minutes later I was rushing to the loo…you get the picture.
Other things give me instant headaches – like chocolate, cheese and pepper, while with egg white I’m still working out how much is okay (too much and I swell up). Reactions like this means my AIP journey will take some time. Some foods have a cumulative effect, meaning you may be okay to have a food in a couple of meals a week, but any more can mean trouble. You need to put in the effort to figure out how much or how little you can get away with, or if you need to keep eliminating it for a while.
Reintroductions have definitely played havoc with my energy levels and moods. I am quite impulsive and think ‘Oh well, this is a good time to see what x does to me!’, so I am learning to be more measured and sensible and do things like only reintroduce a food on a Friday, so I have the weekend to recover.
Apart from the fact it is a gold-standard food elimination protocol that is backed up by lots of science, what I like about AIP is that potentially nothing is off limits forever. You are supposed to keep trying to reintroduce foods. The more healing in your gut, the greater the likelihood you can reintroduce foods successfully. My son, for instance, seems to have outgrown his dairy intolerance, which is great news for our grocery budget!
I will be travelling around NZ soon with some friends from overseas, and will do the best I can. I plan to get 100% compliant again on my return and complete my reintroductions, even if it takes me all year to get through them.