The AIP and Me: Week 4

Friends, it was not always an easy journey, but here I am at the end of it. I ate a strict Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet for a full 30 days. I made it! And the obvious question is…

Now what?

Before I answer that question, let’s talk a little about my experiences with this diet. For one thing, I loved Diane’s Practical Paleo book and resources. I’m not sure that I could have made it through 30 days without her thoughtful meal plans and tasty recipes. If you’re thinking of using the Paleo Diet to address a health issue, from cancer to weight loss, I highly recommend having a copy of her book on your shelf.

I loved the food I was eating (well, maybe not-so-much the canned salmon for breakfast). Every meal had variety, excellent flavor, and nutrition. Many of them were super-easy to prepare. Most of these recipes are going into my Plan to Eat account as ingredient lists so that I can keep them in my regular rotation.

While I didn’t get the results that I had hoped for (ultimate healing and optimal digestion), I did see some results, even in spite of last week’s setbacks. I do still have pain and digestive distress, but I can honestly say that I have less of both than when I started the diet.

The results, even though minor, and the joy that I’m getting from eating a wider-variety of tasty foods is, I think, enough to convince me to try another 30 days. As I type this, I am in the midst of meal-planning the next 30 days on my Autoimmune Protocol. I am incorporating one meal a week for the whole family to eat together–something that fits the AIP guidelines but is also affordable and practical to cook for a large family (those recipes are hard to come by). I’m doing another round of freezer cooking for the family, so that I’ll have less cooking to do for them. And I’m scouring my other Paleo cookbooks and the internet for more recipes to incorporate into the plan. Complicated? Yes, perhaps. But Plan to Eat, of course, makes this whole process much more manageable.

I’ve also given myself permission to cheat, within the limits of a Paleo Diet, for special occasions–almond flour muffins on Easter, and a coconut flour cake on the Peanut’s birthday, maybe an occasional chocolate truffle. I dare to hope that after another 30 days I will find myself and my digestion even more improved.

Even though my results were not entirely what I’d hoped for, I’m glad I did the experiment. And am impressed enough with the results, the food, and the do-ability of it all to keep going a little while longer. Because I must eat something. And it might as well be something Good.

13 Responses to The AIP and Me: Week 4

  1. I am only just now catching up on this series of posts – but I have to ask if you’ve ever looked at fructose and/or FODMAP intolerance? I personally have always had trouble with onions and occasionally various other foods. One day my acupuncturist suggested I look into FODMAPs (it’s an acronym for a bunch of complex carbohydrate molecules that occur in a LOT of foods). Without doing strict avoidance, they seem to be my main digestive culprit (and I don’t have genetic/full intolerance, so total quantity consumed in a day matters, which explains why sometimes these foods bother me and sometimes they don’t).

    My point is, there are several veggies that contain FODMAPs that are allowed on diets like GAPS and various paleo diets, and that could be one reason some people don’t have full relief in their symptoms. Just thought I’d mention it if you or other readers haven’t investigated it yet! Worth a look!

    • Steph, yes, I have. It’s on my list of “things to try” if I need to go deeper. But honestly, there are only so many foods I can eliminate at once! For right now, the AIP is as much as I can do. :) Thanks for your comment!

  2. I can totally relate to this. I have a family of seven ( 5 children) and I have just begun learning about the idea of OAMC. I am hoping to get as many AIP recipes incorporated, as possible. It is difficult :( especially when you aren’t feeling your best and trying to take care of a family as it is. I hope you find continued healing in another 30 days following strict AIP. I truly believe that you will. Look forward to hearing about your results.

  3. Just wanted to mention…. maybe you have already run across this and that is why you are continuing, but my understanding is that it can take anywhere from a month to a year for your gut/body to completely heal. One of our special friends, a little girl, saw major improvement after 2 1\2 months but that was just the start.She was on a diet similar to Paleo but also with sugars removed (except for an occasional piece of fruit.) and all root veggies. So not to make it sound like you are stuck for a year but just to encourage you that it may still be working miracles for you that are yet to be seen. Just needs a little more time maybe.We understand in our family the ups and downs of these special dietary needs and wish you the best! (And love your blog!)

    • Thanks, Mary. I’ve been following some iteration of this diet for the past 5 years, and observing a very strict Paleo-esque diet for over a year. I do know that it is a long road to healing, but it is hard to be patient.

  4. I can’t help thinking that if you’ve done Gaps, and now AIP without great results, maybe salicylates or amines are the problem. If you are sensitive to these, you will know within 2-4 weeks of starting the diet. There’s no waiting and no odd “detox” procedures. You’ll improve immediately, and it’s not unusual to become completely symptom-free on this diet. Unlike Gaps, which is part science, part conjecture and park folk remedy, the low salicylate/amine diet is based entirely on proven science, and has been developed by scientists and doctors at a university and a hospital. They estimate that 70-80% of people who come to them benefit from the diet (I’m one of them). If you have had limited success with other diets, this one may well work for you.
    http://www.sswahs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy/resources/foodintol/salicylates.html

  5. Me again, sorry to bother, but I found this info and thought it might be relevant.

    Foods and food chemicals associated with IB symptoms
    The following table shows the foods and food chemicals most commonly associated with irritable bowel symptoms.
    % affected Food chemicals
    60-70% salicylates, MSG, preservatives
    50-60% colours, synthetic antioxidants, amines
    20-30% dairy and/or wheat
    from Loblay and Swain 1976 (4)

    Note that colours include one natural colour: annatto 160b (8,9)

    I am a 43 mother and have done the RPA elimination diet twice. I have Colitis and my big 3 “no-no’s” are: annatto 160b, synthetic antioxidants such as BHA 320, and sorbates. Of these, annatto is the worst. – Kate, NSW

    http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/irritable-bowel-symptoms-ibs

  6. Hi Erin!

    I stumbled across your blog (who knows how I got here? Click-click-click-arrive!) and I so totally relate to your struggles. I’ve been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis for 15 years (I’m almost 35) and I go in and out of remission and it’s near impossible to figure out why or when it’s going to happen. When I’m feeling good, I can eat anything–anything! Alcohol, grains, salads, etc. And then I can feel my health turning, and it’s the most frustrating thing to not be able to turn the tides, and then it’s bleedy, cramping, mucus, and other delights. I was on immunosuppressants and a 5ASA, and I’m weaning myself off the immunosuppressants and I was almost drug-free for a while. I’m seeing a naturopath and I thought he helped get me fixed up before, but the protocol this time around doesn’t seem to be working as well. So I keep trying. But I really appreciate you speaking to the frustration, isolation, and aggravation of eating with this disease. I’m single and my friends drink–not drinking is such a buzzkill. Someone wants to get pizza–not eating it is terrible. I tried to appreciate my good health when I had it, but it’s still frustrating when poor health returns. It saps my energy and my mood, bleh.

    Anyway, all that is to say–I’m reading with great interest your journeys into GAPS and AIP. I actually have Diane’s book at home…but I kinda forgot about the AIP chapter because when I bought it I was feeling well, just trying to eat more paleo for my general health. But now I’m happy I have it! I will revisit the chapter and see if we can get this baby back on track. At some point, I feel like I will have the magic answer…just keep trying, right?

    Keep up the good work!

    Your reader,
    Another Erin

    • Erin, Thanks for your comment. It’s refreshing to hear from someone with very similar struggles. It soothes the endless thoughts of “Is it just me??” I hope you find your health, and I’m blessed to be a positive voice in your journey. Best, The other Erin

  7. Oh, I forgot to add–my GI (and his PA) keep threatening when I visit to put me on a biologic agent (like Remicade) EVEN WHEN I’M HEALTHY, and I just refuse. I refuse! So I guess it’s on me to figure out the magic bullet to get me off drugs and into the good health zone. Western medicine only treats the symptoms, and even then not very well. Here’s to cell-deep health!

  8. Hello! I love Diane’s book, and I am working through her 30 day auto-immune meal plan. I was wondering if you have put most of the recipes into plan-to-eat already? And if so, how can I access them so that I don’t have to put them in myself? Is that possible?

    I hope your current 30 day run is going well! It is hard to adjust and be patient with the results!

    • Dahlena, I have a few of the recipes put in as ingredient lists, but you’ll need a copy of the book for instructions. You’re welcome to “friend” me and then you’ll have access to what I’ve entered. I also have some other AIP friendly recipes in my account and perhaps those would be of interest to you, too. Erin

  9. I am a medical student and I was sitting through a lecture a few days ago when a prominent GI specialist stated that fecal transplantation, while typically used for C. diff, has shown some efficacy in the treatment/cure of UC and other IBDs. I read your blog posts on the GAPS diet, so when I heard that statement, I immediately thought of you.
    know for some people such a procedure might be a last resort, and honestly, with the way FDA regulations work it may be difficult to have done for non-c.diff treatment. However, it might be something you consider researching and discussing with your GI doc if you continue to be refractory to pharm/diet therapy.

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