Biohacking update: 2 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

Our life: our fridge

Our life: our fridge

We started our Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) on December 23rd.

And today, coincidentally, is also our 30th day on a low-FODMAP variation of the AIP.

It’s early AIP days yet, and I am hesitant to be hopeful because we have been disappointed about what we thought were in improvements in Matthew’s health so often in the past.

Also, Matthew left work on a disability leave at approximately the same time that we started the AIP, and a reduction of 40+ hours of stress per week has got to be considered when attributing any improvements.

Nevertheless, at this point the following seems to be true:

  • Matthew has reduced the number of painkillers he is taking daily from 4-8 to 1-4. These are heavy-duty medications (Tramadol & Dilaudid) that affect his ability to think clearly & relate to other people. Despite this decrease, he is still in a lot of pain. He isn’t sure if his ability to manage pain has increased or if his pain has decreased, but this reduction in pain meds is notable, especially given that winter & spring is usually the worst time for him;
  • He had the first ‘good day’ in over 5 months on Friday. It was followed by a bad day on Saturday (yesterday), but a complete absence of good days has been incredibly demoralizing. Back in the beginning, we used to think good days meant he was getting better, but once we learned that they were just part of living with a chronic illness, we learned to enjoy them when they came. I hadn’t realize how much we relied on them to recharge our relationship until they stopped;
  • His psoriasis is a little worse than it was 2 months ago, but still much better than it usually is at this time of year. It is usually minimal in late summer when he’s had maximum sun exposure & gradually worsens throughout the year until the next summer. So it’s following the pattern, but is less severe than it usually is in late February. Our 30-day AIP in July last year marked the beginning of a significant reduction in psoriasis symptoms which has been sustained. So even though it’s worse, it’s still better;
  • There seems to be a new working hypothesis about the severe nausea & dizziness that Matthew started experiencing last October. Those symptoms are what necessitated his disability leave from work. Through ongoing internet searches, Matthew learned about Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome and its connection to dermatological conditions. This led to a review of autoimmune conditions and the possibility (which a couple of doctors have now verified as likely) that he has Ménière’s disease, especially given that existing autoimmune conditions have been linked to Ménière’s. I think there may still be something else going on, because there are symptoms that are not adequately explained by any current theories, and if what he is dealing with is Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome, then there could conceivably be a 4th condition still lurking. The good news is that if the AIP is going to work for Matthew, then it could potentially address all autoimmune-related symptoms, whether they are attached to a diagnosis or not;
  • We’ve started having (tentative) conversations about the future. Which we haven’t done for a long time;

Next steps:

  • Matthew is going to continue to avoid the high-FODMAP foods that he believes don’t agree with him (cauliflower & mushrooms, for two), but may reintroduce some others to test them;
  • I am going to happily reintroduce some high-FODMAP foods;
  • We’d like to create a low-FODMAP AIP e-book (available for free, of course) for other people who want to try this experiment. But that will have to wait until Matthew is well enough to design it. In the meantime, I’ll keep creating & testing recipes!;

What I’ve learned during this 30-day low-FODMAP experiment is that carbohydrates can be divided into categories according to how full they make me feel:

  1. Low-FODMAPs that are lower-carb & not particularly filling (like spinach, chard & cucumber);
  2. Low-FODMAPs that are more filling & higher in carbohydrates (carrots, parsnips, green plantains & fruit); and
  3. Higher-FODMAPs that are more filling & lower in carbohydrates (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini ~ though zucchini is sometimes listed as low-FODMAP, we excluded it~)

What I’ve really, really missed is these lower carb, more filling vegetables.

I’ve eaten more fruit & therefore more sugar over the past 30 days than I had been accustomed to in my regular paleo life, and I have also relied more on higher-carb vegetables (parsnips & carrots) to fill me up. As a result, the weight I gained during my low-carb AIP experiment has been dropping pretty slowly, even though my energy levels are back up.

This AIP experiment remains fascinating to me, despite the inconvenience.

And we’ve had a lot of delicious food, including my new favorite carrot cake fudge (the creamy version) from Cats in the Kitchen. I don’t normally go for paleo/AIP desserts, but I go for this one, in a big way (I don’t add any sweetener & I omit the vanilla: it’s magnificent).

15 thoughts on “Biohacking update: 2 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

  1. What a great post , I so appreciate your sharing and that Mathew allows all of us to be part of his experience. Thank you to both of you ! oo

  2. Hey Petra – are you a member of the Paleo Approach group on FB. All members are following an AIP. Some are more knowledgable than others, but it is great to be in an environment where people ‘get’ attempting to put autoimmune issues into remission through diet.

    I hope your Matthew continues to improve so that many more talks about the future can occur.

    • Thank you! I don’t think I am part of the Paleo Approach group. I agree that we need to support & share information with others when we’re on this path. If only there were just a few more hours in each day!

      • Yep – time IS an issue (especially with all the bone broths, braises and the like that make up an integral part of the AIP!) So very impressed with your AIP pizza. What a labour of love.

  3. Hey Petra, a friend turned me to your site re: the paleo part but then I noticed the trouble your husband’s having with an autoimmune problem. I don’t have time right now to read through all the info on what his specific issue/symptoms are, but I’m dealing with some pretty similar sounding things with my wife. She has just recently started a B12/methelation protocol based on Amy Yasko’s research and I thought it’d be worth mentioning to you. Has Matthew ever gotten his B12 and homocysteine levels checked?

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