I’ve had great success with the autoimmune protocol. After 2 months on the elimination diet, I began to see improvement. My flares were shorter & fewer. Later with limited successful re-introductions (eggs, seed bases spices, some nuts),I had quantifiable results. Of course it wasn’t that easy. I was flare free for about a month, and then I had a series of small, albeit worrisome episodes. After examining my food diary in detail, I decided to go low starch/ GAPS + AIP, I suspected SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) was the culprit. After 6 weeks of basically no starches, and severe adrenal fatigue, I was able to gradually add them in again. I started with sweet potato, graduated to plantain & finally the ultimate test for me… cassava (yuca). Success! What a trade off though, cured my SIBO, but I was literally on the floor, tired. When you have more than one thing going on, it can be very frustrating to pin point what is what. (Insert loooonngg sigh) After my successful starch reintroduction I began to feel great again.
My autoimmune disease stopped flaring up, more specifically, I stopped getting large painful boils. Awesome, yes!
Was/am I cured? No!
This post isn’t a pity party or a lose all hope post. I it see more as a reality check. I still live AIP. My body didn’t magically heal & now I can eat all the things. Does MY AIP include eggs, seed based spices, ghee & the occasional glass of wine… YES! I have been able to reintroduce those things. BUT, a big BUT, I am still constantly mitigating my AI issues. While my HS is doing great, I know it’s still there, and I have to watch my body for any signs of inflammation.
If I overdo it on a hike or workout, if I work too much, if I drink too much one night(yup, it happens), if I don’t get enough sleep or my stress levels get a little high… My body begins to tell me. My joints will begin to ache, my HS scars swell, my head will hurt, fatigue, brain fog, even swollen gums. Then I have to STOP. Reassess. Correct.
Usually a day or two of taking it easy, a few Epsom salt baths & lots of water & bone broth will fix it, but it still needs to be addressed. Do I dodge the HS bullet and avoid a full blown flare? Yes, but it’s still something I’m dealing with. I do believe that EVENTUALLY I will be able to do this less & less. It’s only been a year since my first Whole30, since I went full on paleo, and only 8 months since I started AIP elimination phase. There is still work to be done. Correcting 30 years of leaky gut isn’t going to happen overnight.
Am I counting down the days until I can eat a slice of pizza? Nope. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the Standard American Diet. I don’t want to. I don’t believe gluten, dairy & nightshades will ever be safe for me to eat. I am totally okay with that. I’m happy with my current food choices and I’m truly enjoying them. Even within my restricted diet, there is always room for improvement, which is why I still, periodically do Whole30’s & go back to strict AIP.
The takeaway, if you’re really struggling with the elimination diet, if you’re frustrated because you want to see remission now… shift your focus from perfection to improvement. Focus on how much better you feel, how much shorter your flares are, how much faster you recover. Find joy in the foods you can reintroduce. Feel great about the awesome food & health choices you’re making. I’ve said it before, this AI life is all about the little victories.
Lastly, reach out! Community helps, community heals.