Food as medicine? Somewhere between paleo and AIP. 

I loathe the word “diet”. It always conjures the image of weight loss, I have no need to lose weight, I have no desire to lose weight, I just want to be healthier.

In an effort to help my body heal itself, I have been looking into diets designed to use food as medicine. There are dozens if not hundreds of diets purporting to help cure various chronic, inflammatory diseases; the endometriosis diet, the anti-inflammatory diet, paleo, vegan, whole30, the auto-immune protocol are just a few of the ones I have researched, peer reviewed journals and all. It is important to understand some of the science behind these diets, not one of these diets is a simple change, and they all involve drastic changes and eliminations of major food groups such as dairy. You need to know about your disease, its triggers, pay attention to your own experiences with foods and use some common sense to choose the most appropriate food plan for you.

For me, an essential criterion for this diet was feeling confident that I could stick with it. Giving up everything I find enjoyable would inevitably lead to failure and what would be the point in doing it at all? The best fit diet for me through my research was the auto-immune protocol (AIP), which is in essence a stripped back version of paleo. The idea behind this diet is to consume foods that our body evolved to eat, to eat only what our hunter gatherer ancestors would have has access t, so this eliminates farmed foods such as grains, dairy and processed sugar. The AIP protocol takes things one step further by eliminating other common irritants to the body such as eggs, seeds, nuts, the nightshade family (white potatoes, tomatoes etc), you have also to limit your fruit intake. This was a step too far for me. I couldn’t get passed the restrictions, just thinking about taking on this protocol make me sad and despondent, not the best of starts.

I decided the most realistic chance of success for me was to go with Paleo but cut out a few additional food groups, mainly the nightshades. Keeping eggs, seeds and nuts and fruit gave me a foundation for breakfast which I felt was lacking in AIP and I know me, I know if I don’t get breakfast nailed I will fall off the diet wagon. I have never had any reaction that I am aware of with nuts or fruit, but I have had reaction from eating too many eggs, so I limit myself to two a day and may eliminate these in the future once I have adjusted to some of the other restrictions.

Is it working?

So far I have seen some improvements; the pain in my joints has almost gone away, the swelling in my stomach has gone down and I am more comfortable in my clothes as a result. At this point I cannot say that it has reduced my Endo pain, but I will say that it is much easier for me to map where the pain is coming from instead of feeling pain all over. The first couple of weeks were difficult, I did not prep enough and ended up eating far too much fruit and too many nuts, my energy levels were on the floor. Lessons learned though, I made some egg muffins for the freezer, precooked sweet potatoes for the fridge, and purchased some root vegetable crisps (sweet potato, parsnip, beetroot and plantain), which has made it a lot easier to put together meals on the go and to snack.

Picture round: What I have been eating lately for breakfast and lunch

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