The N=1 Healing Protocol

N=1 ProtocolHealing Protocols are proliferating.

There’s a dozen of them in 12 Healing Protocols: a guide.

And there’s more. Like #13: Dr Datis Kharrazian’s Autoimmune Gut Repair Diet.

Why so many?

Because new technology has led to new understandings about human biology and the origin of illness.

And it’s natural that as this new science has become available, people have used it to develop innovative strategies to reverse complex health conditions and improve performance.

And that those people then want share these strategies with the world.

First, because the strategies are working.

Second, because this is how our practices have evolved since the beginning of time: we try things out and then share our discoveries with each other.

But healing protocols have been multiplying so rapidly that it’s getting confusing.

People are asking: Which one? What’s the difference? Why so many? Which sometimes leads to: maybe I’ll just put a frozen pizza in the oven and try to figure all this out some other time…

I’d like to simplify things by demonstrating they are all just variations of the same protocol.

They have common elements and a common purpose.

Common Purpose

The aim of all of these protocols is healing or optimization. And as both are on the same continuum, that means that the purpose of all of these protocols is the ultimately same, but the starting place varies.

Healing Optimization

  • Some of us are living with complex and chronic health conditions;
  • Some are degenerating in an increasing number of irritating ways and are feeling old before our time; &
  • Others are healthy and on a mission to achieve peak performance or peak experience.

Our state of health when we begin determines our starting position on the continuum of healing & optimization:

Healing Optimization starting points

Common Elements

The elements of all of these Healing Protocols, including the 12 I’ve outlined in this series of posts, are also the same.

But not identical.

There are different interpretations of the science at play. The Wahls Protocols champion mushrooms for their sulphur content, for example, while the Bulletproof Diet recommends omitting them because they encourage the growth of yeast.

ChooseBut there are a limited number of nutritional elements for all of these protocols.

And each element (be it coffee, intermittent fasting or carbohydrate levels) can be understood in terms of a range, which is determined by the recommendations of the protocols themselves.

Recommendations range from:

  • Consumption of a moderate quantity of grain-free alcohol to abstaining altogether;
  • Including full-fat dairy (perhaps only if it is pastured, organic, raw or fermented) to being dairy-free;
  • 80/20 fidelity to the protocol to strict 100% of the time.

Once we know that the elements of these protocols are similar, we can view the individual protocols as variations on a validated theme.

Validated? How?

Precisely because all of these protocols have the same elements.

A quick nerdy paragraph on validity~

Just 167 words. I promise.

Whenever we assess the soundness of a new idea, we consider the evidence.

Triangulation invites us to determine if the same results can be found in least three places.

It’s an easy way to check if a result is reliable and repeatable, or if it’s just an anomaly.

The desirable effects of a healing protocol (or any other innovation that’s going to make a difference to humankind) need to be repeatable.

Given that these protocols have emerged through the mostly independent work of many diverse practitioners, we can use triangulation to assess validity by asking:

  • What elements do these protocols have in common?; and
  • How many offer the same conclusions?

The fact that Terry Wahls, Sarah Ballantyne, Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey, David Perlmutter, Datis Karrazian and many others have designed such similar protocols after independently reviewing the science and experimenting on themselves (and in many cases, on their patients) supports the validity of their recommendations.

So let’s simplify the path to healing

At some point (I think the time is now) it will become appropriate to collapse some of these disparate protocols into one comprehensive approach that allows for variation based on individual health conditions, personal goals and genetics, while retaining those protocols that have been designed to address specific health challenges.

I believe that the way to approach this is through n=1 experimentation.

Through learning more about the variations in all the healing protocols that are currently available, we can each create our own customized protocol.

I don’t want to confuse things more by adding another regime to an already overlong list, but nevertheless, I’m offering one more: the n=1 protocol, which brings together the wisdom of all the other healing protocols and lets you choose.

It’s not meant to take the place of a the Autoimmune Protocol or any other that has been carefully designed for people experiencing specific health issues. It is simply offered to help demystify the recommendations of the various protocols, and to support the idea that strategies to promote health and well-being need to consider bioindividuality.

The N=1 Protocol

Here’s a worksheet to get you started on the dietary elements of the N=1 Protocol: N=1 Protocol Worksheet 2016.

Soon I will add a list of considerations for each element. And a similar worksheet for the all-important lifestyle practices.

Also, I’m including an overview of some core nutritional elements of the 12 Healing protocols I covered earlier in this series: Healing Protocols, for reference.

N=1 Protocol Nutritional Worksheet Instructions:

  1. To individualize your healing protocol, circle an option from the range presented for each dietary element. Or make up your own.
  2. Keep in mind that the more healing you need to do, the more restrictive you will likely need to be with each element. And the more complex your health issues are, the longer this may take. To get a sense of what the process can be like at the healing end of the continuum, find real-life stories from people who are working to reverse complex autoimmune conditions through diet and lifestyle here.


11 thoughts on “The N=1 Healing Protocol

  1. Pingback: 12 Healing Protocols: a guide | petra8paleo

  2. Pingback: 12 Healing Protocols: a guide (part 2) | petra8paleo

  3. Thank you for summarizing all of these protocols! I have stumbled upon most of them and tried many of them, until I got confused and “threw a pizza in the oven!” But your simple spreadsheets are speaking in my language and helping me to chart my own course! I wonder where you would plug in the GAPS diet…? Close to Mark Sissons?

  4. Pingback: Rainbow ‘Rice’ (AIP~) | petra8paleo

  5. I’m starting with this diet, so i’m confused. Yet, i’m trying my best to integreate this diet to my life. I’m thrilled and very interested in this way of healing, in which I beliave. I beliave in it.

  6. FREAKISHLY helpful! I’ve tried AIP (not 100% so it wasn’t successful). I’ve strictly completed a Whole30 (the reintroduction wasn’t exactly what it needed to be). I’m starting Whal’s Protocol (doctor’s orders) as soon as I can wrap my mind around exactly what to eat/not eat! This PDF is an EXCELLENT resource! Thank you so much!

  7. Pingback: Link Love (2016-08-27) | Becky's Kaleidoscope

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