How We AIP

How I AIPThis week the worldwide community of Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) bloggers has banded together to highlight how we each live our healing protocol lifestyle–in real life.

We are each committed to taking personal responsibility for our own health, and supporting other people around the planet who are interested in doing the same thing.

As part of #AIP4me week, I’ve joined forces with four other paleo healing protocol bloggers. We’re each exploring two elements of the ‘AIP Evolved’ Manifesto created by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott and we’re publishing the results on each other’s blogs.

Here’s where you’ll find us:

  • Emma from the Bacon Mum posted at Joanna Frankham and addresses manifesto elements #11 Seek help and #12 Test, don’t guess.
  • Jaime from Gutsy by Nature is posting right here and tackling #14 Strive for balance and #17 Practice gratitude.
  • Rory from the Paleo PI posted on Gutsy by Nature and is concentrating on #3 Information is power and #16 Reframe the negatives.
  • Joanna from Joanna Frankham posted on the Paleo PI and focuses on #8 Be a nutrient-seeker and #18 Eyes on your own journey.
  • I posted on the Bacon Mum and wrote about #2 Embrace the template and #4 Start simple.

How we AIP

These posts are rolling out all week and we’re linking them together as we go. #HowIAIP. #AIP4me.

Here’s Jaime Hartman with #14 Strive for balance and #17 Practice gratitude. Continue reading

Crustless Butternut Pie

Crustless Butternut Pie 2

After almost 2½ years on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), we’re finally in reintroduction territory!

Matthew has reintroduced coffee, white rice (occasionally), soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, and eggs (sometimes). I have reintroduced soaked and dehydrated nuts, cocoa and eggs.

We overlap on the eggs, and that has been fun.

Butternut Pie 2This recipe is our new favorite.

Where do eggs fit on the paleo healing protocols?

The elimination phase of the AIP excludes eggs, as do the Wahls Protocols.

Sarah Ballantyne explains why in this post.

When attempting egg reintroduction, starting with yolks is recommended. Eileen Laird has a how to video on how to separate whites and yolks three different ways, and also elaborates on the nutrient-density of eggs.

Find Eileen’s book on AIP reintroductions here.

If you find you can tolerate yolks but not whites, you can still make this recipe. Just use eight egg yolks rather than four whole eggs.

Some paleo protocols that don’t focus on autoimmunity recommend eggs as a dietary staple, if they come from naturally-raised chickens. These protocols include the Primal Blueprint, the Bulletproof Diet and the Whole 30.

Now Pie!

Continue reading

Top 3 weight management strategies on the Autoimmune Protocol

JFC Petra WW and AIP1This is the 4th in a series of posts about Women, Weight and the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

Find the first on Joanna Frankham’s blog.

This post focuses on the top-three strategies for weight management identified through research that Joanna and I conducted with 20 long-term AIPers, 90% of whom indicated that weight management still causes them stress.

Our Method

Through a confidential survey, one question we asked respondents was about weight management strategies that worked for them while on the AIP. The question wasn’t multiple choice: people had to come up with their own ideas.

11 of the 20 women who participated in the survey had not yet identified things that worked. Nine of the 20 women had. From these responses, three strategies emerged. Continue reading

Biohacking Update: 28 months on the AIP

28 months on the Autoimune ProtocolMatthew returned to work this week.

When he took disability leave at the end of 2013 we thought he’d never work again.

At that time, he was taking 6-8 hydromorphone painkillers a day, as well as a high dose of Methotrexate by injection weekly.

He had developed severe and disabling nausea that no one could diagnose.

Now, the pain and nausea are manageable and he is medication-free, except for a few Tylenol Arthritis a week.

That sounds dramatic, and it is, but there were many times during the past 28 months when his health didn’t seem to be improving at all. And times when it was definitely getting worse rather than better.

But all of his autoimmune symptoms have gradually improved, and he is now in better health than he has been in eight years.

Back to Work

We honestly weren’t sure how the back-to-work experiment would go.

When he initiated it, he was partially bluffing. Continue reading

Being an Advocate

Being an advocate this oneAs a caregiver, you may need to advocate on behalf of a loved-one in the medical system.

In a crisis situation, when someone you care about can’t speak for themselves, advocacy is straightforward: they need medical attention and you make sure they get it.

But the role of advocate is more complex when the person you care about has some ability to speak for themselves. Especially if their capacity changes from day to day.

In this case, an advocate needs to adapt their approach as the ability of the patient evolves.

Conflict

My husband Matthew has often needed medical advocacy in the last eight years. And my role as his advocate has caused friction in our relationship.

In fact, my role as advocate has been one of our primary sources of conflict during this time.

You’d think it would be simple:

  1. He needs help;
  2. I provide it;
  3. He’s grateful for my assistance.

Right?

But real-life people in real-life health crises are much more complex than that. Continue reading

The Shadow Side of Caregiving

This is the fourth in a series of posts:

  • The first discusses ways that caregivers can support a loved-one as they embark on a healing protocol;
  • The second considers self-care for caregivers, including dealing with powerful emotions; and
  • The third addresses sustainability, by investigating how caregivers can address their own needs.
  • This post examines the shadow side of caregiving.
  • The fifth explores how to be an advocate.

Shadow

The Shadow

Carl Jung referred to the rejected and hidden part of the self as ‘the shadow’.

The shadow self is unknown. Inherently. When it’s existence is also denied, it can cause serious problems.

“Everyone carries a shadow,” wrote Jung, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.

According to Jungian psychology, we try protect ourselves by denying the existence of our shadow self. Usually this results in projecting the contents of our shadow onto others. Anytime we blame someone rather than taking responsibility, or judge others rather than working to improve ourselves, chances are good that the shadow is at play.

We each have a shadow, and entire societies also have a collective shadow.

When ignored, this shadow creates tremendous pressure.

It needs to be expressed.

If we don’t take charge of it’s expression, it will find it’s own way. And is likely to do harm in the process.

A Current Example

Continue reading

Sustainable Caregiving: your needs matter too!

Sustainable caregivingCompassion and exhaustion.

Anguish and anger.

Constant worry. Trying not to let it show.

Caring for a chronically-ill loved-one is difficult and demanding.

And most of us don’t have mentors to help us to figure out how to do it sustainably.

As a result, most caregivers end up relegating their own needs to the bottom of a too-long list.

Because the needs of a healthy person don’t rate compared with what’s happening for someone who’s chronically ill. Right?

Your needs as a caregiver

Any needs, if repressed for too long, find ways to express themselves.

When they finally bust out, they can do damage to relationships. Continue reading

How to Talk About ‘Alternative Health’ with Doctors

Reality-3Many of us have gone beyond mainstream medicine.

We’ve taken the parts of it that work, and have moved on to some form of ‘alternative’ health care.

For me that means using therapies like grounding, as well as the nutritional and lifestyle elements of the Autoimmune Protocol.

Alternative Health Care

The trouble with ‘alternative health care’ is that it isn’t really a category.

Alternative in this context just means everything that isn’t mainstream medicine.

The only criteria for a therapy being labelled ‘alternative’ is that it hasn’t been scientifically validated and recognized by medical science.

All the practices that aren’t recognized by medical science shouldn’t, really, be lumped together as if they are one thing.

Some are dangerous.

Some are ineffective.

Some are traditional approaches that have been used for millennia.

And some will revolutionize the way we treat illness in the years to come. Continue reading

Autoimmune Citizen Science

Vivek-23

Vivek Mandan

Many people who improve their autoimmune symptoms want to share what they have learned, so others can benefit too.

Most people just start a blog.

Vivek Mandan is creating Autoimmune Citizen Science, a free site that will enable anyone with an autoimmune condition to track personalized data to support their healing process.

Vivek and his team are looking for testers for the beta launch of their site this Spring. I’ve already signed up. Anyone else who is interested in the potential of measurement as part of their recovery will want to scoot over to Autoimmune Citizen Science to sign up as a beta user, too.

Consider this post to be your personal invitation from Vivek!

This month, I interviewed Vivek, who is 24 and lives in Ohio, USA, to find out more about his experience with autoimmune disease and about his vision for how Autoimmune Citizen Science could change the way we research and treat complex chronic health conditions. Continue reading

Self-care for Caregivers

Self Care

If someone you love has a chronic health condition, you need to get really good at taking care of yourself.

Especially if they have an illness that is going to affect you in the long term.

For a short-term situation, like a broken bone or a cancer that resolves, you may be able get away with running your caregiving efforts on stress hormones. With the idea that when the crisis is over, you can take time to recover.

But by taking that approach, you are gambling with your future. You are assuming that the crisis will resolve, and that life will return to some kind of normal.

And that is not always the case.

First, because there is always the chance that the situation you are facing with your loved one will get worse.

Second, because a new situation might emerge.

Not taking care of yourself when you find yourself in the role of caregiver is like buying stuff on credit. Of course we all have to do it sometimes. But if you rely on it too heavily and you can’t pay down your debt, the compound interest will start to create problems all on its own.

I’m an Example

Continue reading