Who has successfully completed 30 days on the Autoimmune Protocol? This girl!
I initially started on March 6, but we lost power at our house for 3 days that week and I restarted Day 1 on March 13. So today, April 11, marks Day 30. The length of time one spends in the full elimination phase varies depending on how severe your symptoms are and how much healing you have to do in your gut in order to feel better. Most people feel much better by 30 days, but I have seen some people say that a good rule of thumb is 30 days of the elimination phase for each year since you were first diagnosed with your autoimmune condition.
For me, I was diagnosed less than a year ago and my symptoms are mild. My Integrative Medicine doctor asked me to try a gluten free (and dairy & soy free since they’re obvious symptom triggers for me) for at least 6 weeks before my follow up appointment with him on May 16. So with the AIP, the reintroduction phase starts tomorrow for me. The AIP never recommends reintroducing gluten since gluten seems to be a trigger for most people with autoimmune disease, but I plan on testing it about a week before my appointment.
Here’s how the last 30 days have gone for me:
I was loving the food I was eating, and my hubby was keeping me well stocked with easy to grab and eat foods. I had a headache from caffeine withdrawal the first couple of days, but that was gone by the morning of Day 3. I didn’t feel sick from detoxing like a lot of people do, probably because I was eating a fairly healthy diet to begin with. I was pushing through high intensity PiYo workouts and got so fatigued by Day 5 that I took a nap. I’m not one to take naps when there are things to be done, so the fact that I felt tired enough to nap is extraordinary.
I was still loving the food I was eating, and I had bought an Instant Pot to make cooking meats and making bone broth easier on my husband. I have to say this kitchen gadget is probably my favorite kitchen gadget ever! I’ve never had meat so tender and delicious than what he’s made in this thing. I added in more coconut than I’ve ever consumed before (I still don’t really enjoy the flavor of coconut & I prefer it as a scent rather than a taste), and I made Cake Batter Collagen Protein Bars and Bacon Wrapped Dates (wrap each date in 1/2 slice of prosciutto & bake on parchment at 400° for 12 minutes). I also tried kombucha for the first time. I was really loving the food! My belly was feeling less bloated and the scale showed I was down 7 lbs since March 6. I was still pushing through PiYo workouts, and by Friday I had to take another nap and 3 rest days in a row. So I made the decision to listen to my body and change up my workout plan.
I was STILL LOVING THE FOOD! I have the incredible good fortune of having an awesome cook for a husband. So I was eating better and more nutritious food than I ever remember eating before, and it was all 100% AIP compliant. I made more Cake Batter Collagen Protein Bars, more prosciutto wrapped dates, and drank more kombucha (GTs makes so many tasty varieties with no added sugar!). I started the 3 Week Yoga Retreat this week and I didn’t burn out by Friday. I stayed awake all week!
I started to get tired of tea instead of coffee, but I was still loving the food. I’m totally hooked on Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips and Inka Crops Plantain Chips with homemade guacamole. So good! I was eating 7-9 cups of veggies per day, half a pound of meat, a serving of collagen protein in my morning smoothie, 3-4 fruits per day, and lots of water. My husband has perfected AIP tortillas & pressure cooked shredded beef for taco night, his plantain crackers are just awesome, and there’s love in every dish he makes for me. He also started making coconut milk yogurt in the Instant Pot this week, and my breakfast smoothies have been even better. This was Week 2 of the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, and, I have to admit, I started getting bored with the workouts. Yes, I’m gaining flexibility and strength with each class, but I miss moving more and getting a good sweat during my workouts. I started going for walks outside again this week and the fresh air seems to do me good.
The last 2 days of my AIP elimination phase (hopefully for good)! Yesterday and today I had AIP beef stroganoff over mashed root veggies, and it’s one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. Lunch has been homemade chicken patties with plenty of garlic, a root veggie slaw, cooked baby carrots, and sometimes an apple. Breakfasts all along have been collagen protein smoothies with kale, berries, banana, and coconut (water, milk, or yogurt). This is the start of Week 3 of the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, and I have to say I’m eager to get into another program starting next Monday. I think I’ll go back to Country Heat since it’s an awesome workout at only half an hour a day, and I can take it at my own pace for those days my body just doesn’t want a high intensity workout.
Well, next is the reintroduction phase. For those of you who have done an elimination diet before (the Whole30 is a popular one), you should know that the reintroduction phase is of utmost importance. If you don’t follow some sort of guidelines for slowly reintroducing all those foods you eliminated, you kind of did it for nothing. Especially with the AIP, the idea is to try to identify which foods trigger unwanted symptoms for you. That means introducing one food at a time for at least 3 days per food. The Paleo Mom gives an awesome overview of which order you should use to reintroduce foods (start with those least likely to cause a reaction and move toward those most likely to cause a reaction).
I plan on starting with egg yolks tomorrow, and, as long as that goes well, egg whites on Saturday. Once I get eggs out of the way, I’ll move on to the ingredients in Shakeology (peas, chia, flax, quinoa, rice, oat, and sacha inchi) so I can add my shakeo back to my morning routine.
I’m fairly certain I don’t have a lot of foods that are a problem for me other than dairy, soy, and probably gluten. I’ve felt better enough on the AIP, though, that I’m nearly convinced to stay gluten free for good already (before even testing it). I have my fingers crossed that easy to snack on good-for-me foods like nuts, seeds, and sweet peppers don’t give me any flare ups of any kind. I have to say, I still don’t miss cheese, but I do miss beer, and I will continue to miss it if gluten proves to be a problem after all. Wish me luck with the next phase!