I have worked with countless clients diagnosed with a variety of autoimmune conditions, whether it be a 1-1 consultation or in groups, and I've gathered a lot of information about dealing with an autoimmune diagnosis.
What I share can be applied to any autoimmune condition because the root of an autoimmune condition is the body attacking itself.
The following are overarching principles that everyone dealing with autoimmunity would do well to keep in mind… and it has very little to do with the small details and nuances about food!
1: Acknowledge and take responsibility.
Acknowledge your decision to take responsibility. Remind yourself that you are, in this moment, taking part in your own health and healing is within your hands. You are the one driving…
Do not place blame and throw your hands up, but step up and find your role in your own health. Sit with the idea that you have been given this diagnosis, and now you have more information to take actionable steps in doing things differently. Self-awareness is a huge component of this responsibility.
2: “Life is always happening for us, not to us.”
I know it's been said by so many different people, but I'm shouting out my friend Jenna Phillips Ballard because she always says it, “Life is always happening for us, not to us.”
We always have a choice. Sometimes our only choice is our thoughts and mindset. We can have the “woe is me” attitude about the hand we are dealt, or accept it and move forward.
3: Love first.
Love yourself. Love the people and support around you. Especially through the struggle.
We need to have gratitude first, for our bodies and for the struggles we face. We need to make choices to change from love and not fear or anger.
A great recommendation that goes along with this concept is a book written by Jessica Flanigan called The Loving Diet. I highly recommend checking out her work if you've hit a wall or feel like there's not more you can or want to do about changing your diet – her recommendations may also surprise you.
4: Food is medicine.
Food is medicine, but the same medicine doesn't work for everyone (even an AIP – and especially an AIP).
Use the 30-Day meal plan for Autoimmune Conditions in Practical Paleo as a starting point, but only you know what is right and what feels right for you.
I presented a “lightweight” version of an autoimmune meal plan in Practical Paleo because 99.9% of you will find the most health and healing through this version without being super restrictive. My plan will take you far, but it won't have you eliminate things like seed-based spices, as I haven't found them to be problematic for the vast majority of folks with autoimmunity. Some folks will react to them, sure, but since the large majority do not, eliminating them becomes often more stressful than healing.
Do not let someone else's list of what to eat or avoid dictate what is and is not okay for your healing plan. If a plan is too extreme and restrictive, it will stress you out mentally and isolate you emotionally and socially.
You know your body better than anyone else, so you need to trust yourself and the way you are feeling based on the changes you are making. You will always operate better if you are making the choice for yourself rather than just following a set of rules.
5: Things change.
We so often want to assume that what works now will always work, and it may… or it may not.
When it stops working or doesn't work at all, we need to learn to accept it, make changes and continue to more forward.
It is really easy to beat yourself up, but remember it more than just your food. Relapsing can really be a result of what's happening in your life: a trauma, a new job, a stressful relationship, and so on. Always take time to look at the big picture.
- [PODCAST]: Episode #268: All About Autoimmune Disease & Wellness with Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt
- [PODCAST]: Episode #213: The Loving Diet (for autoimmunity) with Jessica Flanigan
- [COURSE]: Balanced Bites Master Class – beginning in January 2017. Sign up here to get on the waitlist!
- [BOOK]: The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan
- [BOOK]: Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
- [BOOK and RECIPE]: The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt featuring recipe: Double Pork Pesto Patties with Wilted Chard