Friday, November 7, 2014

Autoimmune Protocol :: Making the decision.

I revealed the reason why I considered starting the Autoimmune Protocol, but the process of making this decision was really difficult.  One might think that if someone has a health issue he or she would do anything to try and remedy or alleviate the problem.  As a lover of food and eating, I struggled with many emotions and logistics of actually following through with the AIP.

The Emotions.

Food and drink is a big part of my life.  Even though I cut out most fast and processed foods a long time ago, I still eat out often.  D and I enjoy food.  We bond over trying new restaurants.  When we travel, our favorite activities include trying new drinks, visiting breweries, and exploring the restaurant scene.  Food makes me happy.  Meals and drinks with friends is really something special and social.  This aspect of my life, our lives, makes completing a Whole 30 or AIP elimination so hard.  During my last Whole 30, I often turned down social engagements with friends or with D because it is too hard to be around the alcohol (or numerous people drinking around you) and choose appropriate items from menus to eat.  This aspect of an elimination diet is depressing for me.  I also knew that doing "another" strict eating plan would cause some friction between D and I.  He and I have different eating habits, and he gets tired of having to work around my restrictions.  

Then there was the fear.  Fear of the possibility of my body not tolerating my favorite foods: eggs, tomatoes, coffee.  Peppers, cumin, chili powder: goodbye taco nights.   Nuts: not my beloved Larabars!  The thought continues to linger (especially now that I've seen results after eliminating these foods) that I will lose a food that I love so much.  The mental battle between what I loved more, my (seemingly cosmetic afflicted) body or my food.  Seriously, the struggle is real.

[Why should I have to give up delicious, healthy foods like a caprese salad?!]

The Logistics.

You may remember that I am a pescatarian.  This has always made completing a Whole30 difficult.  After all my research for the AIP, I felt like it was going to be extremely difficult to complete the protocol utilizing only fish.  For this reason (and also hoping to appease D a bit more by making additional carnivorous dishes), I made the decision to consume meat while on the AIP.  There is plenty of research or opinions claiming that meat (organ meats specifically) help to heal your gut, but I have not messed with a lot of it.  My plan was to make the best meat choices I could: buying grassfed and locally as much as possible.  Of course, this is expensive.  BUT it has improved my success and progress on the AIP.  

I'll be providing a more thorough update on my body's healing and progress on the AIP next week!

Have you ever had to give up a food for a health reason?
What food would you have the hardest time giving up?

Monday, November 3, 2014

I've been keeping a secret.

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I mentioned last week that I started the Autoimmune Protocol diet.  Referred to as AIP, the "rules" of the eating plan can be found all over the internet, but I love this simple description from AIP Lifestyle.  Before I began my journey, I thoroughly scoured the resources of The Paleo Mom, Autoimmune Paleo, and A Clean Plate.  I've gotten ahead of myself.  Why in the world did I even think I should start this diet?  Even D reminded me that after my last go at Whole30 I said, "I'm never going to do this again."

Insert my secret.  Since I was a teenager, I have struggled with an embarrassing problem.  I have cysts or boils that pop up on my body.  They typically appear in well hidden but increasingly embarrassing spots such as my buttocks and thighs.  I delayed speaking to a doctor about my problem until I was in college.  The dermatologist sent me home with a special soap and no formal diagnosis.  After that embarrassing and unhelpful experience, I never bothered with consulting another doctor.  In the past few years, the problem has gotten worse.  More "spots" (which I call them and admittedly sounds better than boils) continued to appear, and they would take forever to heal.  About a year ago after having a painful spot appear in my groin area, I decided to do some research and again consult a doctor.  My doctor suggested a warm compress for the groin spot and asked no additional questions.  I continued to research on my own, and my internet research led me to believe that I suffer from Hidradenitis Supprativa.  Primal Girl is the online "expert" on the disease and provides a thorough description on her blog.  I understand that self-diagnosing myself is silly, but I truly feel that my symptoms are exactly what she describes.  I refuse to be on antibiotics or medications for extended periods of time, but I understand if this altering of my diet does not alleviate my condition I will likely need consult doctors.  I believe that I have Stage 1-2 of Hidradenitis Supprativa (HS) which I consider lucky.  There are many who suffer from the affliction to the point that it hurts to sit, stand, walk, etc.  I have only spoken to maybe three people ever about my affliction (and two of those were within the last year), but I believe in spreading awareness.  I know I am not the only one to be ashamed.

I finally hit the point of having enough.  I'm tired of being embarrassed when changing at the gym.  I no longer want to feel forced to wear running capris instead of shorts.  I want to feel comfortable walking around naked!  I'm proud of the body I have worked so hard for, and I don't want to have to hide parts of myself.  I knew it was time to make a change, but the decision didn't come lightly.  It was time to take control of my health and well-being.  Many suspect that Hidradenitis Supprativa is an autoimmune disease and can be treated with the proper diet.  I'll be posting more on my AIP journey later this week.

Do you have an Autoimmune Disease?
Have you ever tried the AIP?


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