Well, I’m back from my little hiatus. A busy life schedule forced me to take a little pause in my writing, but now that finals are over I’m back at it again! Though my last few months were very busy, they were also very exciting, particularly with my health progress. I’m really excited to share with you guys the results from my AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) diet! Here is my breakdown with both the positives and the negatives.
It’s really hard. Haha! There were so many foods that were staple parts of my diet that I can no longer eat! As someone who has been lifting for a few years now, brown rice and oats have become staple parts of my diet, and having to find alternative carbs that are both fast and easy as well as work great with other foods has been a challenge for sure. Even some of my favorite snack foods were on the nightshade list, so I had to cut out my favorite snack–red peppers! Probably the hardest thing, however, was the list of spices I am not able to eat. I used to use pepper on just about everything, and I LOVE my spicy seasoning, so it’s honestly been so hard to season meat and other items without it! Cinnamon was also a staple seasoning for me, and that has been particularly hard to cut out during the holiday season.
It’s expensive. Eating, essentially, meat, vegetables and fruits really racks up the grocery bills fast!
It can be really hard to get enough variety. I’m sure this had a lot to do with the fact that it was my first time trying the diet, and those that have been on it for longer have found ways to create more variety in their diet. However, the combination of it being a new diet for me, me being extremely busy, as well as not having much money for groceries really made it a challenge for me to get a lot of variety. If I’m being really honest with you all, I ate chicken, kale and sweet potatoes about every day, which really limited the variety of nutrients I want my body to be getting. Additionally, both kale and sweet potatoes aren’t great foods to be eating every day when it comes to your thyroid health. I really want to improve on this and expand my diet to lots of other types of foods.
I’m not going to lie, it does suck a bit to not ever be able to eat out anywhere! Restaurants don’t exactly come with AIP approved menus…. (That I’ve found yet, anyway!) Most of the time I’m perfectly happy eating at home, but once in a while it’s nice to go out with friends and enjoy a meal somewhere. I did end up going out a few times, and I would order the safest option, usually a basic salad, but even this is usually not seasoned in an AIP approved way.
I feel SO much better! Which really trumps all the previous negatives. Haha! I almost instantly noticed a change when I cut out gluten. I realized it’s one of my main trigger foods that upsets my thyroid and gut health. Next to that is dairy, sugar, and tomato/pepper/other inflammatory veggies. Nearly all my life I’ve struggled with a bloated tummy, and it flattened right out when I cut out these foods, which was amazing! Every part of my digestive health has improved.
It took a while to realize, (as I am a busy college student that struggles to get the sleep I need each night!) But despite cutting out coffee, which was super hard, I noticed my energy level did go up. Who would have thought? (I say that somewhat sarcastically, as I know full well the effect lots of caffeine can have on your adrenals…) Drinking tea serves my tummy and my energy levels far better than coffee did.
I noticed a change in my immune system as well. Though I did get the sickness that nearly every girl in my dorm had, it only lasted about a week, whereas when I used to get sick, it would last 3+ weeks.
My thyroid swelling went down. My thyroid was noticeably swollen before, sometimes to the level that it was uncomfortable when I swallow. Cutting out these foods has cut down the swelling and NOW my thyroid isn’t noticeable, just how I like it! Haha
I have more strength and energy for my workouts. After my thyroid flare up this summer, I lost a lot of strength and had no energy for my workouts. I’m sure it’s a mix of time and consistency as well as my dietary changes, but I’m performing much better in the gym the last few months. Not only have I gotten my lifting weight back up to what it was, but I’ve surpassed it with a lot of different muscle groups, which has been one of the most exciting things!
I’ve lost weight. Though I usually don’t put too much stock in the scale, as all my life my weight has fluctuated so often, but my weight has gone down about 8 lbs. since starting. I’m not sure if the weight will continue to go down, but I’m happy for the little changes so far! My bigger victory is in my waistline, as my inflammation has reduced so drastically, it has really made a big difference in my waist circumference. Yay!!!
So, as you might guess, I’m giving AIP a big thumbs up!
Despite its many challenging factors, it has been the only diet I’ve ever been on that I have noticed this much difference in my overall health. AIP is absolutely worth the effort, time, cost and sacrifice to achieve the level of health that I feel now as opposed to what I felt before on just paleo. SO, if you have Hashimotos, or another auto immune disease and have been in search of a new diet or have been thinking about trying AIP, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I’m so glad I did, and I certainly will continue this way of eating. I’ve begun the process where I start bringing back in a few foods to my diet, so I will post again soon with some more results of that process.
Please let me know if you have anymore questions about AIP and how it worked for me.
My goal with this blog is to help you be successful on your journey to health, and am more than happy to do so in any way I can!