What Is The Autoimmune Protocol?
Eating certain things seems to make me sick
As it turns out I am not the first person in the world to suffer from this rare and strange disease. There have been others before me, and while the hallmark of our disease is that it manifests itself differently in each person, there is a clear connection here to food that has not been fully vetted yet. Look, I am the last person to start shouting "toxins", or "conspiracy", or anything like that. But the reality is that my objective research, and real life problems, led me down this path. For whatever reason, when I eat gluten it makes me much sicker, and I wanted to find out what else I am eating that might be doing the same thing. I mean it sounds logical enough right?
The autoimmune protocol
The autoimmune protocol is from Dr. Loren Cordain who discovered the connection that certain foods trigger inflammation in people with autoimmune disease. In one way or another, this inflammation is the root cause of MCTD symptoms, and anything that makes this inflammation reaction worse can potentially escalate the severity of the disease. In short, you might be eating something that makes you sicker. So the paleo AIP diet, or autoimmune protocol, involves removing all potential causes for inflammation (or at least most) all at once.
The difficulty of elimination diets
To say that the AIP diet is restrictive would be a massive understatement. Eating AIP involves rethinking everything you thought you knew about eating food. Most specifically, AIP involves eliminating all grains, all nuts, all dairy, eggs, soy, nightshade vegetables, all sugar, all sugar replacements, and very limited fruit intake to minimize sugar levels daily. Also no caffeine, no chocolate, and no alcohol. If that does not put a damper on eating your favorite foods then you might not be human! I know from my experience with gluten and wheat, even a cross contamination dose is enough to give me another month of symptoms...to be strict AIP for any period of time is challenging for most people.
Slowly start reintroducing foods
The idea with AIP is not to live forever on the worlds most restrictive diet. The goal is to give your body a chance to heal. I don't know what is wrong with my body that makes it react the way it does, and neither does medical science. From what we do know, it appears there is a connection between many different things and autoimmune disease, and one of those things is food. With luck, like me, the AIP diet will help you to find other foods that you are eating that are making you sick. What happens in many cases is that on a strict AIP diet you will begin to feel improvement over a period of weeks to months. If, and when you are ready, you can begin to introduce foods that you used to eat and monitor for flares in your immune system disease.
Eating AIP is not a "cure"
It is very important to understand that I am not claiming that eating AIP cured me. Or that you should do what I did. I am simply stating the fact that when I eat gluten it makes me feel sicker. When I stop eating it for extended periods of time I begin to feel relief in my throat, and throat pressure, ear pressure, and feeling like I am choking. Eating AIP will not cure me of MCTD. MCTD has no cure, but I have found that a gluten free diet makes a distinct improvement for my most distressing symptoms. Through the autoimmune protocol I hope to one day identify all of the foods that cause my symptoms to flare.
What other factors cause immune system flare up in MCTD?
About the author - Steve Goodale is a blogger and technical specialist from Ontario Canada, winner of the 2018 Industry Leadership Award, who reaches over three million readers per year with his popular pool and spa blog. Steve started the www.CookForMeBaby.com blog about healthy eating after being diagnosed with a rare and incurable autoimmune disease. You can read more on his story about life with MCTD here. For more healthy cooking inspiration check out his other delicious recipes.