Whether you have suffered from an autoimmune condition for years or for a short amount of time since your diagnosis, enduring the effects of such a condition can be hard. Trust me when I tell you… you are not alone! There are numerous people, including myself, living life with one or multiple diseases. The main thing that I have found extremely helpful in lessening symptoms, is by improving my diet and eating habits. Once you learn which foods can help or hurt you, you will be able to adjust your diet accordingly.
What does it mean to be Autoimmune?
In basic terms, your disorder is due to parts of your immune system not being able to set apart native proteins from foreign proteins. Because of this, your body begins attacking the good proteins or tissues within the body, affecting specific areas of cells. For example, if you have an autoimmune deficiency in your skin, your body is attacking the cells in your skin. If you have a thyroid disorder, your body views the thyroid gland as an invader and tries to destroy it.
Most Common Autoimmune Diseases
- Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder that can damage the lining of the small intestine by eating gluten.
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves’ Disease which are both thyroid disorders.
- Systematic Lupus Erythematosis or Lupus which can affect various major functions within the body like the lungs, kidneys, your joints or nerves.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis which causes inflammation of joints and tissues.
- Psoriasis is a skin condition affecting redness and flaky patches
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.
- Other conditions include Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Pernicious Anemia, Vitiligo, Scleroderma, Addison’s Disease, Reactive Arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Learn how the appropriate diet can ease the side effects on a person’s body and help with the pain.
What is The Autoimmune Diet?
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, also known as the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, offers a different and non-conventional way of healing your disease. It is a diet plan that focuses on nutrient-dense and healing foods while eliminating foods that aggravate the gut, cause inflammation or stimulate the immune system in a negative way. By eliminating the foods that cause the inflammation, you can give your body the opportunity to recover and put your disease into remission. Depending on the severity of your issues, you may already have some permanent damage but this diet will help you to stop the attacks and stop any further damage.
Do I have to Remove Foods Permanently?
Yes, just as with leaky gut syndrome, in order to really control your symptoms and progression of your disease, there are foods that you must avoid permanently. The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol calls for a strict diet with no cheating. The foods that are absolutely not allowed in your new diet include most grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, processed vegetable oils, chemicals from processed food, and especially and most importantly, GLUTEN.
This may seem extreme to some, but in order to reduce or control your symptoms and disease, you must stick to these guidelines. This is the only way that you will be able to gain control in how your autoimmune disease affects you day to day.
What Foods Must be Removed Temporarily?
If you have already received a diagnosis of one or more of these conditions, it is likely that you may also have additional food sensitivities. So in addition to the foods mentioned above, there are a number of potentially allergenic foods that also need to be removed for a time and possibly permanently. This would include nuts, seeds, nightshades, eggs, alcohol, aspirin, artificial sweeteners and food additives.
Once you gain control of your symptoms or go into remission, some of these foods can then be reintroduced into your diet. This should be done one by one, with several days in between, to ensure that you can tolerate them again. If you do notice a reaction to one of the foods, remove it for several months and try to reintroduce it again at a later date. If you are unable to tolerate one of these foods, you may need to remove it forever.
What Foods Heal Autoimmune Disorders?
Just as there are very strict food limitations, there are also foods that you need to eat more of in order to heal. These would include:
- Green and colorful vegetables
- Bone broth
- Grass fed or pasture raised meat (or organic)
- Organ meat
- Fresh colorful vegetables (locally grown or organic if possible)
- Wild or farmed fish
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, coconut kefir or yogurt
- High quality fats such as avocados, coconut oil
Is there a program that can help me get started?
The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body takes you beyond just cleaning up your diet. Sarah’s unique scientific take on autoimmune disease is unlike any other. She goes into great detail on how your lifestyle can also affect your condition. She helps you to understand why sleep should be a priority, how to manage stress and how to incorporate mild activity or exercise into your daily routine.
The Paleo Approach was the first book to detail how you can transition to a diet and lifestyle that will help bring about a full recovery. Sarah will teach you what foods to avoid and what foods will tame your inflammation and your immune system and allow your body to heal.