We all have challenges in our lives, everything from relationships to finance to busy schedules and our health. Taking the time to narrow in on the root cause of any one of these challenges can seem out of reach—especially when we do not feel our best. You’re tired, achy, and bloated. Your joints are swollen, your hair is dry, your skin is dull, you cannot sleep, and your body is crying out for help. You feel alone and unworthy because you cannot care for yourself or your family the way you need to.
This was me about seven years ago. I was tired, achy, bloated, and had weekly migraines. I would wake in the morning and know that it was going to be a bad day because the left side of my head, face, and eyes felt like they were being squeezed tighter and tighter. So often, I’d spend the whole day under the covers, missing out on time with family and friends I can never get back. But when I started following the AIP Diet, those things changed, and they can change for you too.
It is TIME to implement an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP Diet) and help yourself get your life back and begin the healing process.
What is the AIP Diet?
The AIP, or Autoimmune Protocol, Diet is focused on eliminating inflammation from the body through food choices. Implementing an AIP diet is like hitting a restart button. It gives your body a chance to rest and heal. It can be used to help identify food allergies and sensitivities or to reduce overall inflammation in the body. During the elimination phase, you will need to refrain from all known allergies, consuming processed sugars, wheat, and alcohol. (Coffee is also on the list of things to eliminate but if that’s a deal-breaker for you keep your coffee habit by reducing the amount of cream and sweetener to as little as possible or drink it black.) The initial phase of the AIP diet is 30 days. Upon completion of this phase, you may reintroduce eliminated foods one by one and gauge how they make you feel. Your body will let you know quickly if it’s a good food choice. The goal is for you to feel successful, supported, and educated about the nutritional cues your body is sending.
For more information, check out this post on Thyroid Disease and the AIP diet.
How to Get Started Overcoming the Challenges of the AIP Diet
I am sure many of you have looked at an AIP and thought this is way too much for me to handle. I’m too busy, I’m always on the go, and I do not have time to do this now. The idea of eating only fresh foods can seem daunting and overwhelming for someone who is dependent on fast food to get through a busy week.
Food is also emotional; we eat for a variety of reasons other than hunger. We eat when we are sad, happy, excited, depressed, angry—any reason to reach for a piece of cake. Food can also give us a liberating feeling like the weekend “free for all” when you may give in to a night or two of dinner and drinks with your spouse or friends. In my own experience, I found that emotional eating and having “cheat nights” do not go well with AIP.
Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset about food is a great way to resolve any roadblocks that are keeping you from a new beginning. Try writing a daily journal of what, why, and how you are feeling about the food you’re eating. Identify emotional eating and address the feelings before things get out of control. Focus on gratitude and put more energy into what you can eat instead of what you can not. Remember why you started this journey and all the things you want to be able to do again. Visualize yourself taking that long hike in the mountains. Think of how fresh the air is and know you will get there by healing your body.
Planning for busy days and being prepared for social events are a must. Packing your own AIP meals and carry plenty of AIP snacks just in case activities or meetings run longer than expected. Getting your friends and family involved in your journey can also be helpful. Parties and holidays will bee more festive when others are aware of your eating habits and you are able to enjoy some of the same foods as other guests.
Traveling and eating at restaurants will be difficult during your first thirty-day elimination phase. If you must travel you will need to shop for fresh food when possible, pack snacks, a magic bullet, and AIP protein powder for easy meals or snacks.
Make Lifestyle Adjustments
Making a few adjustments to your lifestyle is also going to be supportive of living an AIP life. Take your time with all these new changes. Implement a few things at a time but don’t try to do everything at once. Be kind to yourself, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, and accept yourself for who you are and the progress your making. Find your joy, learn what makes you happy, set boundaries to ensure you have time for yourself and your family. Allow yourself to rely on support from your spouse, family, friends, or online autoimmune support group. Learn how to switch beauty and household products to non-toxic products limiting exposure to harmful chemicals.
A Final Word on Overcoming the Challenges of the AIP Diet
Yes, there are foods that you will give up and soon not even miss while following an AIP life because of how wonderful you feel again. You will gain a great deal of insight into what your body needs through this beautiful journey of healing and living your best life
Implementing an AIP diet can be intimidating but when your body is telling you it’s time to take care of your most valuable asset—your health!—take the time to listen. And remember to Live Your Value, one choice at a time!