This week marks the 5th anniversary of my autoimmune diagnosis.
That fateful day that ended with me in a hospital bed, hooked up to various machines, awaiting the answers as to why I had been feeling so ill and so sad, so weak and so stressed for so many months. My diagnosis was Graves Disease, or autoimmune hyperthyroid; the same condition my Mom developed at the same age, and her grandmother developed also. Finally, I had some answers.
Or did I?
After a year of medication, I had gotten married, moved to the city, started a new job, and was feeling much more like myself – not 100%, but much better! Remission had been achieved and I was weaned off the meds. But only a month or so later I developed an angry, hot rash on my lower legs, I started to gain weight, I had panic attacks and hyperventilation, my hair started to fall out, and I was increasingly depressed. I was constantly tired and dizzy.
When I finally got back in to see the endocrinologist, my thyroid levels were high again, and the eczema rash had spread to my arms, hips, and face. I was told that getting my hormones back down would also deal with the eczema. I didn’t want to irradiate or remove my thyroid gland just yet, so I went back on the meds and hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, I was over medicated, so I became hypothyroid, and the bouncing back and forth that ensued wreaked havoc on my mental/emotional state. The eczema only got worse, and I had hives after almost every meal I ate. The medication was not enough for my body to heal. After lots of research into food and autoimmunity, I found the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
My experience with the AIP
Wow! I could not believe the difference in just a few weeks! I started to be able to differentiate between which foods were harming me and which were healing, I stopped getting hives unless I went off course or got too tired and stressed, and my eczema actually started to clear up. It took my skin a whole year to heal completely, but it happened, and I am still free and clear unless I get really sick. My energy is more sustained, and even after numerous reintroductions, I can always tell if something isn’t working for me. It’s so simple and empowering to be able to do a little AIP reset, heal up, and get on with my life. It inspired me so much that I moved to Victoria, BC to take Holistic Nutrition!
In my first year of AIP and using nutrition to support an autoimmune condition, I was greatly inspired by such AIP leaders as Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom), Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt (Autoimmune Wellness), Eileen Laird (Phoenix Helix), Jessica Flanigan (AIP Lifestyle), Kari Owens (Whole Life, Full Soul), Hayley Stobbs (I Eat Real Food), and many more. I am also a big fan of the science behind the Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls, and eating as many veggies as humanly possible for sustained health and miraculous healing.
The autoimmune protocol absolutely saved me then, and proper nutrition has continued to be my main healing aid ever since – I am still eating a modified AIP/Paleo style protocol four years on! As there are not yet “cures” for autoimmunity, I still have flares and remissions, and I am currently flipping back and forth from Graves to Hashimotos (hypothyroid), which is a common progression of Graves. I am currently on medication again to handle my symptoms. However, no matter if I use herbal medicine, acupuncture, medication, or meditation, AIP continues to be the most successful remedy in my healing toolkit.
Is AIP right for you?
Though a change in food alone isn’t the best protocol for everyone trying to heal from chronic illness, thinking about your nutrition needs is still an extremely important part of your healing journey. I still use medication on and off, because the nature of autoimmunity is flares and remissions – life gets crazy sometimes and we can’t always control the toll that takes on us. However, we CAN control what food we choose to nourish ourselves with in a much more sustainable way. You will always need to find what works for YOU, because you are unique like a unicorn and deserve all the special treatment!
That said, I truly believe the AIP is a profound healing tool for autoimmunity. It is an incredibly nutrient dense protocol – you will not feel deprived or under-nourished if you are adding in as much as you take away – that is key! It’s not all about what we don’t eat, it’s about what we do eat. You can find all the info you need to get started in the links provided in the above paragraphs, and to make it even easier on you, read on!
To celebrate how far I’ve come, I’m hosting my first GIVEAWAY!
I have a very special e-book for you which has been very generously gifted by Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix: A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.
This little purse-sized book was very helpful to me in the beginning stages of starting the AIP, and has continued to help me out and answer my questions throughout my AIP journey. I am thrilled to be able to offer this to one lucky person – whether you are just starting out on AIP, whether you are still trying to figure out if it’s the right choice for you, or whether you are a seasoned AIP Warrior who wants to spread the word!
Contest runs from Monday, July 24th to Sunday, July 30th, 2017! Fill out the Rafflecopter entries below (the more you do, the more entries!), and the winner will be contacted on Monday, July 31st! Good Luck!