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“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
This Interview Series
Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol was my first e-book, which I published back in 2014. I realized that the reintroduction process is often the trickiest part of the AIP journey. It can be confusing, overwhelming, and hard to navigate alone. I wrote the book to guide people through, and thereafter got a nickname: Reintro Goddess. (Just kidding, but wouldn't that be a great nickname?) I'm passionate about this process for two reasons: (1) Some people make the mistake of thinking the elimination phase of the AIP is meant to last forever. It's not. It's just the first step. The next step is personalizing the diet for you. (2) The reintroduction process is an experiment with you at the center, where you learn to communicate clearly with your body, and it's incredibly empowering! Everyone's reintroduction experience is unique. I thought it would be inspiring and educational to interview people who have been through this process themselves.
Introducing Andrew Smyth
Andrew is part of the AIP community on Instagram. He has psoriatic arthritis and the paleo autoimmune protocol has been an essential part of his healing journey. You can follow his journey @autoimmuneinaotearoa.
- How long did you do the elimination phase? 6 months.
- How did you decide that you were ready for reintroductions? My inflammation reduced and there were some nutrients I wanted to increase in my diet. Along with AIP, I have also been working on elimination of heavy metals and toxins from my system. There are certain foods that support this process that aren't allowed during the elimination phase. Brazil nuts contain selenium which is lowered with chelation and also binds heavy metals. Eggs contain beneficial sulfur. Those are the things that I prioritised when I felt ready for reintros.
- What foods have you been able to successfully reintroduce? Organic soy-free eggs, coffee (single shot black), butter, almonds and brazil nuts, some seeds, dark chocolate, fresh legumes (peas and green beans), and mild black pepper.
- Which ones can you eat regularly and which ones just occasionally? I eat all the reintros regularly. I have approximately four eggs per day and brazil nuts most days (for selenium). The almonds I use predominantly in cooking and it allows me to purchase a local bread which uses almond, turmeric and cricket flour.
- When food reintroductions failed, what were your symptoms? Mainly pain and inflammation in my feet and knees but sometimes an upset stomach. My strongest reactions have been to soy and processed coffee.
- Did any reintroduction failures later become successes? I can't eat regular eggs or salmon that has been farmed. I believe this is due to them being fed soy protein. I have a family member who supplies eggs.
- Have you reintroduced any non-paleo foods? Not really. I eat a simple diet of meat, poultry and vegetables.
- Is there any food you’d never reintroduce? Gluten, processed foods, and most dairy.
- What affects your food tolerance? The foods I’m eating now are all pretty stable across the board. If anything, I'll cut back the chocolate if I feel any pain/inflammation.
- Have you ever done an AIP reset (where you did the elimination phase over again)? No, though I wouldn’t hesitate to if required.
- Are there any foods allowed on the AIP that you discovered you don’t tolerate? No.
- What was the hardest part for you about the reintroduction process? Patience. Really holding back and going slowly to be aware of any reaction.
- What’s your advice for people contemplating reintros, or just starting their own reintroduction journey? Be patient and go slowly. Look at foods as a broad scope. Not all eggs are created equal, and neither are all vegetables, fish, poultry, etc.
One Last Word of Advice
Each person's food reintroductions are unique, so don't expect your results to be the same as above, even if you share the diagnosis. It's fun to learn about each other's experiences and be encouraged by them, but this is all about learning to listen to your own body. Use the resources below to learn how to do the reintroduction process yourself.
Paleo AIP Reintroduction Resources