This journey has led me to something called the Autoimmune (AI) Protocol or AIPaleo. And simply put, this just means I need to take care that I don’t eat anything that can cause an immune response all the while working on my diet and lifestyle choices so I can heal my leaky gut. Remember my immune system is already on overdrive, so it’s important for me to do everything I can to not trigger it any further. What I have learned though is it’s not only the diet part that’s important, but those other lifestyle factors (stress management, sleep, etc) that play a big, if not bigger, role in my overall health and healing. Those by the way have proven WAY waaay harder to implement than the diet! You may never guess it but making a daily constant effort to ensure your not only getting the correct type but also correct amount of exercise, ensuring you get adequate amounts of sleep, ensuring that you are managing your stress….all of these are what I am continuing to struggle with implementing. The diet, for me, is turning out to be the easy part!
Now let me clarify. There is nothing easy about this way of eating. I say above that it’s the ‘easy part’ only in relation to the other lifestyle factors that I find so challenging. Being on the autoimmune protocol is far from easy….at least in the beginning anyway. What I have learned from experience though is that over time, it becomes such a way of life that you can’t imagine going back to how you ate before. An awesome quote that was shared was: “it’s only hard until it becomes routine” (kudos to The Paleo Mom for that one.)
So what is the Autoimmune Protocol? It’s an elimination diet in it’s simplest terms. It’s eliminating all of the most commonly known food allergens, as well as foods that can cause gut dysbiosis (this is where your gut bacteria are in the wrong numbers or in the wrong location), that can contribute to a leaky gut, that can cause a hormone imbalance or that can cause that inflammation or immune response in your body. Not only is it an elimination diet though, but it urges just as strongly the inclusion of nutrient dense foods that you need to ADD into your daily diet as well.
One thing that is commonly overlooked is that if you are dealing with a leaky gut which has progressed into autoimmune disease(s), you are most likely dealing with a massive nutrient deficiency (a major player in the development of these diseases in the first place and something that I have been working hard at correcting.) So not only focusing on what to exclude, but also what to include, is key to correcting those deficiencies and truly finding healing.
Want to see where I learned about the details of the Autoimmune Protocol? Check out this post here from the Paleo Mom, whom I cannot recommend enough for her scientific based explanations about the protocol and lifestyle factors that go with it.