Last week I shared with you my personal battle with being diagnosed with undifferentiated connective tissue disorder. Your love and encouragement has been an incredible support system for me and I am excited to share with you more about this journey and the changes I’ve taken to support my recovery. One of the topics I received a lot of questions about was my diet and my dietary changes. Man, you would have thought I told folks I was joining the circus. Yes, I know, the idea of not having bread, sweet treats, cheese and corn tortillas was shocking at first and truly devastating. However, my need to feel healthy and “normal” again was my number one priority so off I went and picked up a few recommended autoimmune diet books and embraced the challenge. Thinking about giving this lifestyle a go? Here is last nights Facebook live video and a few additional tips, products and services I recommend.
Do your research
Now you must be wondering why would I torture myself in this manner. Well, when I was first diagnosed I quickly started researching all kinds of methods to getting better. From conventional medicine to natural treatments, I wanted to know everything I could. In my research I found the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and I quickly learned of the correlation of food allergies and autoimmune disorders. I read a few AIP related books and finally decided to try The Immune System Recovery Plan. The AIP diet is pretty strict so what I liked about Dr. Baum's version was that seemed a little easier to start off with. I discussed the plan with my doctor who gave me the thumbs up to move forward with it.
Next it was time to plan out the next few weeks dairy, gluten, corn and oh yes, I forgot to mention I also went soy free. Why these four food groups? Well, we can be here all day on this topic but basically it comes down to the fact that these four food groups have been proven to cause the highest food allergies in people and for someone with an autoimmune disorder, staying away from food allergens is very important for inflammation. So ladies, step one is to do your research and figure out what changes are most important for you and your health. Also, this is your time to prep and learn about what foods really contain. I will tell you I nearly lost my mind when I saw how much of what I typically consumed contains soy and corn. Whatever, diet change you decide to make, whether you decide to do it in increments or go cold turkey, make sure you do a thorough research and discuss it with your doctor.
Ok so the most important thing to being successful with any lifestyle change is to be prepared. First you need tools, things that will support your diet and make your life easier. So here are a few of the things I purchased to get me going.
- Magic Bullet – While I own a fancy new Ninja, I really wanted something small and easy (key word easy) to use for my morning smoothies. So I stored my big baby away and opted for the smallest, and most affordable Magic Bullet on the market. Since I was the only one in the house having green smoothies there was no real need to go with anything bigger. Plus it makes cleanup a breeze.
- Allergy free foods – So the idea of heading to the supermarket was dreadful at first and standing there reading label after label was just too much. Since I am an Amazon Prime member I decided to give Amazon Fresh a shot and man was that a lifesaver. Yup ladies, you can now order groceries online, game changer! I love that I was able to easily look at all labels and sort through their gluten free category to narrow my search. Plus they had fresh produce and veggies from organic to regular. Now I know there are a few other online supermarket options so as I try them out I will let you know how I like them.
- Tupperware – Part of being successful at this is always being prepared with your own food. While many restaurants today are sensitive to food allergies I didn’t want to risk it or better said be tempted by something off plan so for the first few weeks I always packed up extra food and snacks up for myself especially when I went out.
- Journal – It is important to document how your body is reacting or adjusting to these new changes. Because I hate journaling, I made sure to pick up one that was super cute and that I loved. Keep it somewhere accessible and easy to see.
While at first I thought this diet would kill me and that I would be stuck eating boring, bland, undesirable food, my mom – the best chef I know, was out to prove otherwise. One of the key rules she taught me was to use fresh veggies and herbs to infuse flavor into my food. We researched new recipes, tried out new kinds of fruits and vegetables and created our own spice rubs, ketchup and hot sauce. It took a little time to get use to it but soon enough I had replaced my late night snacks for an almond flour home made pumpkin muffin. Now this change didn’t come all at once and yes at first it was hard but looking for alternatives to your favorite meals is key.
Have fun with it
While making a dietary change might feel like the end of the world at first, it really isn’t. This is your time to have fun and explore new foods, cooking techniques, products suppliers and vendors. If you are making a change in your life, make sure that you are doing it for you and only you. This is not about fitting into a size 4 dress it is about providing medicine to your body. So have fun with it, get your friends and family involved and celebrate this new journey you are about to embark on.