I am two days away from completing my 30 days AIP (the autoimmune protocol within the paleo diet). With that said, there are a lot of small, nit-picky updates that I have for you. While you might not need them/relate to them at all, I found that there weren’t too many testimonies for AIP when I researched it. I wanted to know what people went through in many aspects of their lives, not just what happened when they finished or started AIP. I want to give you a thorough update without going into too much detail. Let us begin!
I think the biggest thing for me when I started AIP was realizing that I have celiac disease. Knowing that I have such a big sensitivity to even small amounts of gluten has really helped me control the loose-ends of my diet that I thought were permissible beforehand. I’m much more careful now, and my body is happier. I read this book that gave me the insight I needed to succeed:
I have to say that reading this book was one of the best things I could’ve done for myself. If you have any hunch that maybe you have more than a gluten intolerance, I highly recommend this book. It not only describes what celiac is and why, but it also has myths about celiac, practical applications, and tons and tons of testimonies from people who were finally diagnosed and changed their lives. Don’t be afraid of diagnosis. I have never been happier to finally understand why my body has never behaved the way I wanted. Please, please read this book if you think you have this autoimmune disease! It’s incredible. Or read it if you want to learn more. It’s not as personable as Robb Wolf’s writing, but it is informative and easy to read.
Here is one paragraph I read in the book that really stuck out to me because I have an allergy to dairy:
“Lactose Intolerance: A lactase insufficiency or secondary lactose intolerance can cause diarrhea. Lactase, the enzyme that digests milk products, is produced in the microvilli or brush border of the epithelial cells; so if you lose surface area/epithelium, you lose those enzymes. A gluten-free diet will usually restore the enzymes as well as the villi.” -Peter H. Green, from Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic.
ACNE & THE WONDERS OF ROSACEA
Ah, yes, we’re back to this fun topic. You may not be able to tell from my profile picture (that happened to be a good makeup day), but I have pretty bad acne and rosacea. Well, that’s what people tell me. Maybe I’ll even post pictures one day. But anyways. After 28 days on AIP, my acne has gone down. The redness has definitely gone down as well.
Unfortunately, I pick at my face sometimes. When it’s really itchy, I can’t help but give a little swipe here and there. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I figure the less I touch my face, the better. Again, that’s what people tell me. And keep telling me. Side note: It’s annoying. You can stop now.*
Maybe you read in my last post that I read some blogs where girls cleared their acne by not putting anything on their faces. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, it’s been maybe a week or more since I last washed my face. I can only say with certainty that it hasn’t made anything worse. The only problem I had was that my face smelled when I was camping cause I didn’t shower. Once I showered and let the steam gather around my pores, everything was better. I didn’t even need to wash my face! So, use faith. That’ll be the biggest thing here if you go this route like I did.
But other than that – more breakouts, redder face, oily skin? Nope. None of that. It hasn’t gotten any worse, alleluia. I haven’t used shampoo (nope, not baking soda/ACV either) for about a week, either. My hair is oily, but I jump in the shower every other day and just massage my scalp under the water for a minute. Then I jump out, braid my hair, straighten my bangs, and you can hardly tell (at least not enough to be grossed out). I hope this continues! But I digress.
*Per my parents’ concern about my acne, I will be going to see a dermatologist hopefully in the near future as well as continuing my paleo diet and supplements. I will let you how it goes!
Then I looked in the mirror when I was about three weeks into AIP and my smile didn’t look as bright. Then it looked like I had gray patches on my front teeth. I freaked out, obviously. It’s a fairly common problem, it seems, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it should be.
I did what I always do – I looked up testimonials online. People who blogged about it said that after starting calcium supplements on top of everything else they were doing, their teeth went back to normal. After four days of taking calcium supplements (following the serving suggestion on the bottle and continuing my magnesium and vitamin D supplements), my teeth are almost 100 percent back to normal! And I couldn’t be happier, because I was just at the dentist a month ago.
*UPDATE: If you’re consuming a lot of phytic acid like I have been lately, that will also hinder your progress if you’re getting gray teeth. Phytic acid leaches minerals from your body and prevents your body from absorbing others (think iron, magnesium, calcium). So cut out the nuts, almond flours, dark chocolate (which is high in phytic acid) for a couple of days and let your body heal. Then consider that maybe you need to find some other alternatives for snacks. Also keep in mind that phytic acid in small amounts in not harmful and may even have some benefits, but large amounts (like a tablespoon of nut or seed butter after every meal) may not be good.
WHITE KNUCKLING IT – CRAVINGS & ALL
I thought AIP would be easy. I’ve been on Atkins before, I was regular paleo for a couple weeks before doing AIP so I really thought it would be a synch. NOPE. By the end, I could tell I wasn’t completely balanced. I couldn’t meal plan because I went camping, and I’m still traveling.
Well, between PMS and late nights and life in general, I’ve had a lot more sugar in the past two weeks than previously. I’ve gotten more tired of cooking everyday, so I try to make bigger batches of food that I can save and use later. I try to eat more veggies. I try to have more fruit, too. I know that Robb Wolf says you should limit your sugar intake, especially on AIP, to 10-20 g of fructose per day. Or some kind of -ose. Lately, I’ve had so many cravings that I thought it would be better to just try out some extra carbs than risk eating all my almond butter and making eggs for breakfast.
Aside from maybe some more pimples, there haven’t been too many downsides to increased fruit intake. However, I do take a multivitamin that contains chromium (which regulates sugar intake), so that could be why. (*UPDATE: When I first wrote this, I was snacking a lot more than usual. Meal frequency should be every 4-5 hours. Try to avoid snacks unless necessary if you’re insulin resistant like me.)
Anyway, it’s a lot harder to go the full AIP 30 days than I thought it would be. I miss eggs and nuts and tomatoes the most. I don’t care so much about red peppers. Or potatoes. I love sweet potatoes so I eat those all the time. I just can’t wait to try almond butter again and eggs and make my own mayo and NOM NOM NOM.
AIP is definitely worth it, though. Ignore my complaining. Even though it’s hard. Even though I’ve cried sometimes because I just don’t want to struggle anymore, I can’t wait to learn if I have any more allergies. I don’t want to be left in the dark anymore. And in two more days, I will be extremely accomplished for having made it so far on an elimination diet for celiac disease without guidance from anyone except books and internet. Go 21st century!
I am definitely sleeping better. I have fewer nightmares – I can’t even remember the last time I had one. Considering I used to have at least four nightmares a week, this is an improvement. One thing to note, though – I wake up a lot earlier than I used to. Just naturally. In college, I slept till 10, 11, maybe even 12. Yes, when I went to bed mattered, but sometimes it had more to do with late night snacks and the fact that all I ever ate were gluten free breads, pastas, cookies, muffins, and bagels.
CAFFEINE & GREEN TEA
Switching from coffee to green tea in the morning has been a huge adjustment. But not hard or horrible. Yes, I miss coffee. There are herbal varieties that I haven’t found in stores yet, but green tea helps me relax. My cortisol levels are back to normal. I don’t jump at every little sound anymore, and I feel much more calm throughout the day. Yes, I miss those robust flavors. I steal sips from my mom’s cup sometimes. But I rarely have my own cup and if I do at all, it is 1/4 of a cup in a small mug! Hey, maybe that’s another reason why I’m sleeping better. If you have gluten sensitivities, you should consider cutting out coffee because of cross-contaminations and things.
DON’T YOU MISS ALL THE DELICIOUS GLUTEN-FREE FOODS YOU USED TO HAVE?
No. I miss them sometimes, mostly when my diet is out of balance and I need more calories. For the most part, I don’t miss them. I surely don’t miss how they made me feel. Lately, I’m more attracted to fresh foods anyways: fresh meats, fruits, and veggies. I’d rather have sugars in those than in the chocolate chip gluten free muffins I used to have every day.
Remember that my huge motivating factor is healing my body. I really care about my health; maybe it’s because I’ve been sick for so long. But I want my acne to go away. I want the (small amount that’s left of) dandruff on my head to go die. I want my joints to be better. I want my bones to get stronger. If you struggle with paleo/AIP, think about why you’re doing it. Why did you start? Find a motivator worth working towards.
I’m newly 21 so I never got attached to beer or anything. Don’t miss that. Yes, I miss coffee and chocolate, but I’ve found that I can treat myself once in a while. As one blogger put it – better to have some extra fruit or allergy-free chocolate during the day than to cheat your AIP and have eggs and nuts, right? I’ve adopted the same philosophy, and it’s made this situation a lot happier.
Does anyone else have experience with any of these problems? I’d love to hear how you handled them!