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St. Ann
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Posted: Sept 09 2015 at 11:31am | IP Logged Quote St. Ann

We are a family afflicted with to date 3 different autoimmune diseases. My now 16yr old was diagnosed with Hashimoto last year, but thankfully showing no symptoms yet.

Slowly I have been researching alternative treatments and found out through a blog post by Jessica Gordon at Shower of Roses about her journey to reverse her symptoms, that AIP may be something for our family to delve into.
The Autoimmune Protocol is not just about diet. What I discovered through listening to podcasts and reading articles, SLEEP and STRESS are just as important. I mean lots of sleep and little stress.

I am curious if anyone here has experience with AIP or autoimmune diseases?
It would be great if you could share your experiences.

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Posted: Nov 16 2015 at 9:35am | IP Logged Quote SallyT

I have just seen this, Stephanie, and am interested in everything Jessica says at Shower of Roses. While I don't have the precise symptoms (like Lichen planus) that she describes, I do have hypothyroidism and a number of skin ailments, chiefly persistent eczema and dermatitis on my scalp, that don't respond to either conventional (dandruff shampoo/cortisone cream) or natural topical (tea tree oil) remedies. I've also had achy joints -- my husband has been experiencing more severe arthritis symptoms as well.

I have been doing a Whole 30, and I feel far more energetic and on top of things than I did, but some of my symptoms persist, and I'm interested in supporting my thyroid as naturally as I can -- my doctor suggested medication but also trying things like stress reduction, to see if that would have any effect on my thyroid levels.

So, nothing really to share, except that (deep breath) I might push further and try the AIP, to see if that makes any difference.

Nightshades, eggs, and coffee. Current mainstays of my life. Oh my.

:)

I hope all of you are feeling better on this protocol!

Sally

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SallyT
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Posted: Nov 16 2015 at 9:36am | IP Logged Quote SallyT

I do think many of my health issues over the years have been linked to stress. Still working on managing that. And getting enough sleep -- I've really improved in that department!

Again, I'd be interested, too, in any further discussion.

Sally

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Posted: Nov 16 2015 at 6:43pm | IP Logged Quote SeaStar

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has this post today that talks about figuring out allergy triggers. I thought it was interesting...

I do believe that stress is a huge trigger for many symptoms. I was thinking today that we live in the information age, and that alone is stressful enough- the constant tide of information that washes over us, that we try to process and use on a daily basis. Are we actually harming ourselves more with this? Would great authors have written their books if the internet had been available? I hate to think that Mark Twain would have been too busy on FB to write his stories, but I do wonder...



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MarilynW
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Posted: Nov 16 2015 at 7:33pm | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Dear Stephanie,

I tried the AIP earlier this year as allergies/sensitivities were bothering me - and it was really not a good idea for me. Paleo and AIP and Whole 30 are all the fad right now - but I would not do it without a lot of thought. Paleo and AIP ended up making me sick - and I think all that stress of thinking about what to eat, and being starving hungry all the time actually caused me more problems than the actual allergies. Weight is not an issue for me as I am under 100lbs anyway - but I felt so much worse with AIP.
I started doing much better once the weather got warmer (after the nasty winter), and once I started relaxing more in the summer. Reading and biking and going to Adoration were better for me than any diet.

Now I look back at AIP etc and shudder at how malnourished and hungry I was constantly....

Just my 2 cents and very different from all the glowing success reports of AIP/Paleo and Whole 30. Also check out link between histamine intolerance and Paleo - paleo can actually exacerbate allergies. As can the much lauded fermented food.

I think some commonsense measures can help autoimmune issues:

1. Enough sleep, fresh air and exercise
2. Reduced exposure to cellphones, screens etc (check out the link between cellphone use and thyroid cancer in teens)
3. Sensible healthy eating - less sugar, good fats, no processed food etc
4. Use medication if needed to get issues under control

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Erica Sanchez
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Posted: Nov 16 2015 at 9:51pm | IP Logged Quote Erica Sanchez

I like your four recommendations, Marilyn. I wanted to say that I have done the Whole 30 several times now and never felt hungry as you can eat as much as you like. It isn't billed as a weight loss program, but more of a way to get control over food, especially sugar. I looked at it as a cleanse or detox and do it about twice each year. I felt bad as I was detoxing, but felt only amazing after that. I didn't do it for longer than 30 days. I try to add other food back in slowly. The most noticeable thing for me was that my belly totally shrunk. I was not bloated at all and I usually look pregnant even though I am somewhat thin-ish sort of. :) But I never felt hungry. When I am not doing it, I try to do your #3. But inevitably I slide back into eating too much break (pizza mostly) and sugar and then I feel terrible. Rambly, sorry!

Not advice for AIP and I really appreciate you sharing your experiences, Marilyn. I thought Katie's post, or it was a guest post I think, was very interesting as well.

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MarilynW
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Posted: Nov 17 2015 at 7:37am | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Just to clarify - I don't mean to say that these diets do not work. I am sure they are life changing for many. Just as there are many who have celiac etc. or have to be gluten free etc. (I have kids with true food allergies - and eating things like fish and nuts could be fatal)

I also believe that natural treatments are the best thing for any autoimmune issue - but first you may have to get them under control with medication.

What I was trying to say is not to jump on the whole gluten free/paleo etc band wagon without serious consideration. Many now do it just for health and weight loss - but it may not be the best thing for allergies/immune issues. Also they can make one unduly obsessed with food - and food/health can become an idol.

After all my very stringent food restrictions from Jan-April - it turned out that milk and wheat are two things that I tolerate really well!!!

The frustrating thing about immune issues is their apparent idiosyncrasy - suddenly are symptomatic without any obvious trigger. I think the sleep and stress factors are HUGE. But I also think we live in a fallen/toxic world - so many factors such as bad air, water, chemicals etc - we cannot isolate ourselves from it all.

Blessings to you Stephanie in your journey to health.

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Erica Sanchez
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Posted: Nov 17 2015 at 8:53am | IP Logged Quote Erica Sanchez

I didn't do the Whole 30 for allergies or autoimmune reasons, so I should not have chimed in. Sorry, Stephanie. I hope you find the answers you need.

I totally understand what you are saying, Marilyn, and I think it is important to talk about it. While much less serious than allergies/immune issues, the idea of these things being fad-ish is what crosses my mind every time I pick up a coconut product - next year they'll tell us coconut is bad! :)



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Posted: Nov 17 2015 at 9:05am | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Dear Erica - I am glad you chimed in. I think the whole30 is good for a lot of people. And I do think the AIP can be a good reset. (though I think also if we simply fasted for spiritual reasons - we would be healthier. Something I find it very hard to do!!)

I just have personal experience where it is not - and I get sort of irritated with modern nutritionists etc who just use it as a blanket for all ailments. Esp. the gluten free, dairy free, paleo trend. I know many who are sensitive to coconut, all fermented food etc - and when they try the fad, they get very sick.



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SallyT
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Posted: Nov 17 2015 at 10:17am | IP Logged Quote SallyT

Marilyn, I think your point that there's no one-size-fits-all approach is right on, that food fads come and go (remember when we were all supposed to be eating virtually no meat, lots of soy, and whole-grain everything?), and that food can so quickly become an idol -- in fact, obsession with diet falls under "gluttony," right?

So we do need to look at all of this through the lens of our spiritual life, as well as *realistically* through the lens of the fact that we are incarnate and have stewardship of our bodies.

And it just is all a discernment process -- how to tell whether something currently "on trend" is going to make an improvement in your quality of life, or whether it's just a fad that you don't need.

Meanwhile, in my own instance, I don't have Hashimoto's (for which I am thankful!), but in light of my low-end-of-normal thyroid hormone level, which my doctor thought could warrant medication, she and I have discussed the fact that at this stage, where the levels are low enough to be a concern (i.e. linked to other problems I experience), this could be managed through lifestyle factors first: diet, stress management, and so on. So that's where I'm coming from. At the moment, doing my Whole 30, I am feeling well, which is a biggie. I do have energy and am experiencing an improvement in my levels of depression and anxiety. I'm not especially losing weight -- I'm not one of the people who drop 20 lbs effortlessly on this regimen, apparently, but although I wish I were (ideally, though I'm not unhealthily overweight, I am about 20 lbs heavier than my "best" lifetime weight, and I'd like to shed about 15 stubborn ones, to take further pressure off my achy joints), I'm thinking that my body is telling me what feels good to it right now.

Coming off this at Thanksgiving will possibly tell me a lot. I don't intend for this kind of thing to be a whole lifestyle that I obsess over, but since I do have to budget and make decisions about what to buy at the grocery store anyway, I'm hoping that possibly I'll have more clarity about what's worth it for me to buy, and what I could just as well leave on the shelf, to offer myself and my family the best overall nutrition for our dollar.

I don't know that this really addresses Stephanie's question, though I'm thinking of it all in light of my own thyroid issues. Mostly I'm glad to know what they are, since I'd been suspecting that something was "off" for a long time, but had to track down a sympathetic doctor who didn't just brush off my concerns and tell me to eat less and move more. Not that that isn't part of it, too . . . but especially when you have issues requiring purposeful support, in terms of your diet and lifestyle, it's good to have some idea *what* things you might eat less of (or none of), even as you also make improvements in your activity level, so that you aren't sedentary. Also good to have some idea what nutritional profile will help you have the energy to be less sedentary!

So Stephanie, I don't know how helpful to you this is, except to say that while I think diet is linked to many things that happen in our bodies, it's hard to know just *how* it's linked to issues in the body of an individual person, except by trial and error. I think if something improves your condition, you follow that trail -- open to the thought that the effects might change over time, and that you might find yourself adapting again.

That's hard enough when it's just you -- it must be that much harder with a houseful of people with diagnosed physical needs. In our house, it's nutrition for weightlifting -- my husband -- nutrition to clear acne and improve mind clarity -- my teen and pre-teen -- and nutrition for thyroid and adrenal support, mind clarity, energy, and healthy overall weight maintenance for me. But very little diagnosed autoimmune disease -- one kid has asthma, but it's clearing up on its own as he matures, and even my husband's arthritis problems aren't rheumatoid in nature. Still -- I do constantly wonder about the role of nutrition in all of these things and look for possible answers.

Sally

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St. Ann
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Posted: Dec 09 2015 at 1:42am | IP Logged Quote St. Ann

Thank you all for all of your input and I apologize for never responding before now.
Just to clarify: We have not started the AIP, but I was researching it as a possibility, listening to podcasts on the topic ...
In this season I don't have room in my head for more AIP research, but I do want to repeat and emphasize what Marilyn wrote:

1. Enough sleep, fresh air and exercise
2. Reduced exposure to cellphones, screens etc (check out the link between cellphone use and thyroid cancer in teens)
3. Sensible healthy eating - less sugar, good fats, no processed food etc
4. Use medication if needed to get issues under control

I don't know about you, these 4 points sound simple enough, but in the every day nitty gritty they are pretty tough!
Just getting the cell phones out of the bedrooms every night is such a challenge!


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Posted: Dec 09 2015 at 7:54am | IP Logged Quote countrymom

We went to a naturopath 9 years ago to help my husband with his Chrons. She put him on this blanket all veg and fruit diet with major intestinal cleansing herbs and supplements. As a result of this, he was in the worst pain of his whole life! And this was after living with Chrons for over a decade. Our MD, who is also holistic told us later that she should never have done that for Chrons, because his elimination system was such a mess. But it was the one size fits all thing!
We did the GAPS diet for him for 3 years and now he is completely healed. But he cannot tolerate coconut milk or flour. The oil is fine, and I love it as well. But you have to really pay attention and discern what is best and listen to the patient!
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Posted: Dec 09 2015 at 8:00am | IP Logged Quote countrymom

Erica Sanchez wrote:
While much less serious than allergies/immune issues, the idea of these things being fad-ish is what crosses my mind every time I pick up a coconut product - next year they'll tell us coconut is bad! :)



oops, then Im dead then    I am doing the 3 T a day in my coffee (latte..yummy!) and I have never felt better!

But you are so right about faddish things. I did some nutritional drink with my pregnancy a few babies ago. It was supposed to be the Manna of the nutritional world. Well, that poor child had tibular tortion as well as 4 teeth in front that were compromised and she also succumbed to PANDAS after her lyme infection. That was the end of faddish diets and supplements for me.
We have paleo cookbooks because lots of those recipes are yummy and help with providing food for my DH and children to enjoy together. But I often throw in whole grains for the children on the side. And we LOVE us some raw dairy! It is all about balance and listening to your gut and the patient or person. Some foods are healing for some and poison for others. Its hard to manage in a big family, but you do your best!
My DH was sick with chrons from the result of a faddish Vegan low fat all canola oil all the time whole grain diet.
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