What is AIP?
AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol and is a diet that helps heal the immune system and gut mucosa.
As I read more in my research, I realized that I had a problem that wasn’t going away easily. I had what is called “leaky gut syndrome” and in order for me to get any better, I had to get onto a plan that would help me heal it and for good. Leaky Gut syndrome is when the food you eat or the bad bacteria or viral infections that you come into contact with, instead of going through your intestinal track and your gut, it actually “leaks” through the wall or lining of the gut and into the blood stream of your body. This causes inflammation in your body and can lead to disease. Autoimmune disease as described by Healthline.com on-line – “An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function.” Or, you could develop food sensitivities, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, Malabsorption, Inflammatory Skin Conditions, or Mood Issues/Autism. To read more on Leaky Gut Syndrome, go to Dr. Josh Axe’s website – draxe.com, where he explains it in more detail than I am going to here.
In order for me to heal my leaky gut issues, I had to learn what my problems were and how to approach them with a different set of eating habits and lifestyle changes.
To do that, I looked into several books that covered Autoimmune disease in detail. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PHd. (The Paleo Mom), was my first exposure to autoimmune diseases. She’s very detailed. More than I had realized, but she explained it in terms that I could understand and could get a handle on. Her book The Paleo Approach goes very in-depth into the whys and hows of Autoimmune disease. After I read her book, I decided it was time to put my plan into high gear.
Once again, the suggestions weren’t quite enough in which to get my body to the state I needed. More research turned up Dr. Amy Myers, MD. Wow, did she nail it for me! Dr. Myers is an Autoimmune Disease specialist out of Austin, TX. I read her book The Autoimmune Solution cover to cover and decided it was the best approach for me now.
Before heading for Florida, I started on The Myers Way plan called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP for short). Within 3 days on this plan, the pain in my hands had reduced to manageable, and I was starting to feel much better. It is a definite restriction to what I could eat, but it was working and I needed something that worked.
I had discovered that although I was eating a very strict Paleo diet, it had some very definite restrictions that had to be adhered to, or I would wind up with a “flare-up” which was/isn’t pleasant. Alcohol was not to be part of my eating plan at any point and I have since realized will never be again. So gone were my glasses of red wine! Nightshades, which I had never heard of before, I learned were foods/spices that I definitely had to avoid, including white potatoes (not sweet potatoes – they are OK), bell peppers, seeds and nuts, eggplant, certain spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, pepper and some others. Well, this was just another big adjustment, but one I could live with – I would find a way to manage without these things. So on with the Myers Way of eating which turned out was working very well for me.
December 2015 wound up being a horrible month for my stomach. With all the Tylenol I was ingesting for pain, my ulcer flared up badly and I had to find something that would help me get back to somewhat normalcy. I guess that was part of my leaky gut issues too.
In mid-January, a friend of mine introduced me to a recipe for Turmeric which she jokingly referred to as “Dog Ass”. I don’t know where the term came from, but I decided to make it – it couldn’t hurt. The recipe was:
1/2 cup of turmeric powder
2 cups filtered water
pinch to 1 tsp of pepper
Put turmeric powder, pepper and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Turn down heat and cook for 6-7 minutes or until it thickens.
Store in fridge in a glass jar.
Use 1 tsp of mixture in a cup of hot tea, with cinnamon (if tolerated), and honey.
I usually make up a modified Chai tea misture which is much more palatable.
Chai Tea Latte recipe:
Green Tea or your choice of decaffeinated tea steeped for 10-15 minutes
1 tsp carob or cacao
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1-1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tsp Turmeric mixture
100% Maple Syrup or honey to taste
Once tea is steeped, mix together with remaining ingredients.
Place in blender and mix for 20-30 seconds. (If you don’t have a blender and have an immersion stick, use it)
Pour back into a large cup and enjoy
About 2 days after taking the Turmeric mixture 3 times a day in hot tea, I started to notice a tremendous difference in the pain levels in my hands. So much so, that it allowed me to stop taking the Tylenol Arthritis and I haven’t had to take another one since.
In Dr. Myers’ book, she places a chart of supplements you should consider taking while on your healing journey. Some of these supplements included, enzymes, probiotics, and various other supplements. Among the ones I have tried and am still taking are Mastic Gum and L-Glutamine for gut healing (helped relieve my ulcer symptoms), probiotics, and collagen.
Over the course of the winter I had experienced several serious flare-ups that I couldn’t explain. Once again, my husband helped me through it by doing his own research which lead him to purchase a TENS machine with gloves, socks, and knee bands to help. Using all of these did help and continue to do so to this day. As well, the uses are innumerable and I’m so very thankful for his stepping in to help me.
In the Spring of 2016, I had made an appointment with my nurse practitioner to have blood work done. The past summer there were results that were OK, but some not so good. When we compared the current results with the past ones, there were some significant changes in the numbers. Including Cortisol (which dropped from 983 to 142!), CBC all came back normal, Inflammation dropped from 28 (high) to 18 (slightly high normal range), C-Reactive Protein dropped to <1, Rheumatoid Factor went from Positive to Negative. I was so impressed with the results this time around and so were my nurse practitioner, Rheumatologist, and Naturopathic Doctor.
However, even now, with all these great results, I’m having flare ups I’m not expecting. So onward with the investigating, as I’ve just discovered that some of the foods I’ve been eating, once again, I should not have. Apparently, when you have a latex allergy, there are certain foods you should not eat. Some of which I had been indulging on a regular basis. So for those of you not aware of these foods, here’s a list of cross-reactive foods to avoid when you have a latex allergy, see here. Wow, what a surprise. I thought I had removed the offenders, but have decided it’s best to remove these for a bit and to reintroduce them – one at a time – to see which one(s) are the offenders. I’m now on the elimination phase of the latex cross-reactive foods and investigating which ones can be returned or not. This should take about another month.
Boy, I wish I had known a lot of this many years ago, so that some of what I’ve gone through would not have been an issue and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have developed these autoimmune diseases. It has definitely been an adventure and somewhat frustrating as I go through this because it seems one door opens, but none of them seem to close. It’s an ongoing process. One in which I hope will improve as I go along.
I guess with my allergies, all the antibiotics and other drugs I’ve had to take over the years wound up causing me more issues than I had ever realized.
Keep all of this in mind when someone tries to point you in a direction you’re not sure you should go in. And note that diet is very individual – don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise. Only you know your body and health best. Your body is very different from everyone else and as such you need to treat it that way. You will have to do your own investigating to see what works best for you and your health. Please ensure you do your homework though, as just diving in without some kind of guidance is a big mistake. Talk to your health care provider. If you are not getting results, get another opinion, find a Functional Medicine Doctor, Naturopathic Doctor, or Homeopath that will work with you to get you on the right track.
There are about 80 different autoimmune diseases some of which are: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease (Thyroid), Grave’s Disease (Thyroid), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Addison’s Disease, Type 1 Diabetes are just a few. If you have any of these or any of the other 73 or so, it’s time to think about changing your diet for the better. I know that making the changes I have has certainly helped and I believe will continue.