a climber on a sunny cliff in Utah

Day 34: The Autoimmune Elimination / Provocation Diet

Day 34 of the Autoimmune Protocol diet, also known as the AIP diet. I’ve eliminated grains, soy, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, nightshades, alcohol, all sugar but low-sugar fruits, fermented foods, high-sugar fruit, high-starch vegetables and caffeine. What do I eat now? I’m eating fish, bird, some vegetables, coconut oil and olive oil, and a few herbal teas.

The AIP is a process to determine what foods and substances the body is sensitive or allergic to. First, all allergenic foods are eliminated for 30 days or more, until symptoms are eliminated. This gives the body a chance to get a rest from all the inflammation caused by food sensitivities. Once symptoms are gone, foods are added back in a methodical fashion to determine which ones are the problems. When reintroducing, a food is taken three times in one day, and then you wait 72 hours to see if any reactions take place. No other new foods are added during this time. A reaction might be physical, emotional or mental. If a food causes no reaction, then it can be added back into the diet. If a food causes a reaction, it is avoided forever, or until a future time when other mitigating factors in the autoimmune condition have been dealt with.

The AIP diet is a slow process. It takes patience and discipline to do cleanly. Most of us end up slipping – we sneak a favorite dessert, or have what we call “Getting Glutened” at a friend’s house or a restaurant. I have been really disciplined, as I really want to feel better.

a cabinet full of grain-based foods

a cabinet full of grains – not allowed for now!

The first four days on the AIP, I had headaches and felt off. I found out that can be from yeast and bacteria die-off, due to a sudden lack of sugary, carb-heavy foods that they normally thrive on. On the fifth day, I started to feel pretty good. All my food reactions went away. My mood lifted, my brain fog lifted, I’m not as spacey, and I have more energy. I lost 6 pounds in a month without trying.

So far, I’m happy with it. I was a wannabe vegan, so the recommended red-meat-heavy diet for this process was too much for me to handle mentally or emotionally. I chose to accept fish and bird, and so far it’s been doing me just fine. I tested for chicken four days ago and came out clean, so I’m adding it back to my diet. I’ve had a lot of turkey in the past month, and I wonder if it has anything to do with my mood lift; turkey has a lot of tryptophan, which is a serotonin precursor. Good serotonin levels assist with good mood!

Since starting the AIP, it’s easier for me to rise in the morning, and I find that while I move around the kitchen making breakfast, I have tons more energy than I have in years. It doesn’t last like that all day, but feeling that good for a couple hours is a blessing I can’t even describe, after so long with no energy. I’m feeling well enough to start rock climbing again! Being that it’s winter in a rainy state, I’m heading off to the climbing gym for a while. The pic below is where I’d rather be, but I’ll settle for the indoor gym today. Woohoo!

a climber on a sunny cliff in Utah

climbing in the warm sun!