10 years is a long time! Are you curious where I started and what my diet looks like today? In this blog post, I share my whole journey, including how I ate before getting RA, the diets I tried immediately afterward, the diets that minimized my symptoms the most, and the food freedom I enjoy now. Our bodies change over time, and our diets are meant to change too.
+ Food as Medicine: Articles
When it comes to reversing autoimmune disease, food is the foundation. Below you’ll find articles to help harness the power of food as medicine. If you’re an audio learner, I have a great podcast as well. And I also have some delicious recipes for you! If you’re new to the idea of a healing diet, start here.
Do you remember how it felt to relax in a restaurant? No fear of getting “glutened”? Lots of delicious menu items to choose from, each one packed with flavor? After countless hours searching the internet and double-checking menus, I offer you this list of paleo-friendly restaurants! From Texas to Malaysia, people are operating restaurants based on the belief that food is medicine. If you’re lucky, one of these restaurants is near you. If not, get ready to plan some fun trips!
A key component of a healing diet is nutrient-density and diversity. In the paleo AIP community, the list of foods to avoid often gets the most attention. But simultaneously, we need to expand the list of nourishing foods that we eat. One great way to do that is to look at the produce in our kitchens and see which edible parts we’re throwing away. Often, they are the most nutritious!
Did you know that digestion starts in the brain? When we don’t pay attention to our meals and instead multi-task at mealtime, or eat under stress, our digestion becomes suppressed. This can lead to uncomfortable gastroinstestinal symptoms and also increase food intolerance. In this article, I share simple ways to harness the mind-body connection to not only digest your meals better, but enjoy them more too!
When you start the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, it’s largely about restrictions. Removing inflammatory foods and habits and replacing them with healthier choices. When you see the positive impact on your autoimmune symptoms, it can be incredibly empowering. But this is just the first step. The long-term goal is learning to listen to your body. Where do you need to exercise self-control, and where can you have a little freedom? Finding this freedom is finding your wiggle room, and it’s key to making a long-term healing lifestyle sustainable.
Are you curious (or confused) about the AIP food reintroduction process? I created this interview series so you could hear about other people’s experiences. Pooja Parikh has hidradenitis suppurativa. In this interview, she shares which foods she was able to reintroduce successfully, which reintroductions “failed”, how she discerned the difference, and what she learned along the way. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has 2 phases: elimination and reintroduction. It’s this second phase where we learn how to expand and personalize the diet for our unique bodies.
I came to the Paleo autoimmune community through the GAPS doorway. The GAPS Diet is designed to heal the gut and therefore heal the body. One of the tenets of the GAPS diet is that starch can feed pathogenic bacteria, so a low-starch diet can shift the gut microbiome toward health. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol is designed to heal the gut as well, yet it allows many high-starch vegetables. So who is right? It turns out that starch tolerance is very individual. Some people thrive on a high-starch diet, while others feel best on a moderate to low-starch diet. If you’d like to conduct your own self-experiment, I’ve compiled a list of the vegetables allowed on both diets, from low-starch to high.
Are you curious (or confused) about the AIP food reintroduction process? I created this interview series so you could hear about other people’s experiences. Andrew Smyth has psoriatic arthritis. In this interview, he shares which foods he was able to reintroduce successfully, which reintroductions “failed”, how he discerned the difference, and what he learned along the way. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has 2 phases: elimination and reintroduction. It’s this second phase where we learn how to expand and personalize the diet for our unique bodies.
Most people choose smoothies because they think they’re a healthy alternative to fast food. The problem is that liquid “meals” like these can hit our bloodstream as sugar blasts, which isn’t healthy for anyone but especially people with autoimmune disease. So, what do we do? Here are 5 tips for making your smoothies as healthy as they can be (while also being delicious). And I also share my personal favorite smoothie recipe
I don’t know about you, but I fell for the low-fat food craze, believing that dietary fat was harmful and the more I avoided it, the healthier I would be. I didn’t learn otherwise until I switched to the paleo diet in 2012 and learned that dietary fat is actually beneficial. It was mind-bending to realize! In this blog post, I share (1) Why our bodies need dietary fats, (2) Which fats are allowed on the AIP, (3) The smoke point and shelf life of each one, (4) Why saturated fat is so controversial, and (5) Which fats are especially beneficial.
If you’re on Instagram, you’re familiar with hashtags, and if you follow paleo accounts, you’ll occasionally see a photo show up with a #NotPaleo tag. What does it mean? Have they left the paleo diet behind? Usually not. Instead, it’s often a conscious choice to eat “off-diet”, and there are many reasons someone might choose to do that. The same goes for the #NotAIP hashtag. In this blog post, I talk about the 80/20 rule, AIP reintroductions, the vacation effect, holiday temptations, flare vs. remission, and the difference between self-sabotage and worth-it-moments.
I’ve been blogging for many years now and written over 700 posts! How’s that for a statistic? I’m really proud of the treasure trove of information I’ve created, but I also know it can be overwhelming if you’re a new reader. I thought it might be helpful (and fun) to share the posts that are the most popular, alongside 5 of my favorites I don’t want you to miss.
When we switch to a paleo diet and start cooking our food at home, we have much more control over food exposures, including gluten. But it’s a tricky molecule that can trigger symptoms in very small doses, and it’s present in some surprising places. Today’s article is meant to educate and empower, not to scare anyone. First, I’ll tell you why avoiding gluten is wise for anyone with autoimmune disease. Then, we’ll cover the places gluten sometimes sneaks into our lives.
I cannot believe it’s been 5 years! I’m so grateful for that first step I took back in 2012 to reclaim my autoimmune health. Thank you for walking this path with me. To celebrate, I’m hosting an epic giveaway of some of my favorite paleo AIP resources. Because I love all of my readers around the world, I have a USA Prize Package worth $275 and an International Prize Package worth $300. Entering is easy! Just click through to the blog post and answer 2 questions in the Rafflecopter Box. There are no hoops to jump through! I also had fun filming a short video of 5 Things I Learned in 5 Years on a Healing Diet. And the learning never stops!
Giving up processed foods and following a real-food paleo diet goes a long way to feeding our bodies for health. But we can do even more! When we choose foods that are nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, immune system regulating, and supportive of digestion at the same time, we are truly embracing food as medicine. Thankfully, when it comes to food, there are many excellent choices. Here are some of my favorites. How many of these do you eat?
Even when sugar is natural and unrefined, our body still processes it as sugar, and too much sugar in any form is inflammatory. That’s why the leaders of the paleo community warn against eating too much (no more than 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per day). The problem is that moderating sugar can be hard. You start within the limits – a tiny taste here and there – and before you know it, paleo AIP desserts have become a core part of your daily diet and you’re eating dried fruit by the handful. Suddenly, you notice your healing progress has stalled or even started to move backwards. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but if it’s happening to you, it might be time for a “reset”. In this article, I talk about my own experience with sugar and autoimmune health, and I teach you how to do a sugar detox, including handling your cravings and boosting your mood during the process. I also share the times when a sugar detox isn’t healthy.
When I first started the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) on 1/1/13, there were no books for me to reference. A few people like myself had found some basic information on the internet and were figuring it out as we went along. It’s amazing how much has changed since then. There are now 40+ resources created specifically to help people succeed on the AIP. It’s an abundance of choice! In this blog post, I give descriptions of each cookbook to help you find the style of cooking that works best for you. Which ones are your personal favorites, and which ones are you adding to your wish list?
Sometimes a cold or flu is inescapable, no matter what we do to try to prevent it. It’s happened to all of us, and it’s definitely not fun! Thankfully, there are things we can do to soothe ourselves while we heal. In this post, I share natural health tips for a sore throat, runny nose, cough, sinus congestion, aches/chills, fever, nausea, and the best foods to support healing. I also share some advice for nipping a cold in the bud before it fully blooms. Wishing us health at every level, and comfort for those times we fall ill.
I’ve always been someone who loved finding the perfect gift, whether small or large, homemade or purchased. This blog post covers all of those categories, with a focus on autoimmune health. I had so much fun putting it together, and found some great items for my friends and a few wish list items for myself as well. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Treats are a point of controversy in the paleo community. Our ancestors had limited access to sugar, natural or otherwise. Yet healing diets also need to be sustainable, and some days we just want a cookie. So, what should we do? In the autoimmune community, this is an even more important question. We aren’t following paleo to simply optimize good health; we’re trying to reverse autoimmune disease, which is infinitely harder. The truth is, our bodies behave very differently than those without autoimmune disease, and sugar can have a bigger impact on our system than the general population. In this post, I look at all aspects of this question and ask some paleo experts their opinion.
If you’re asking this question and researching paleo, I’m guessing your current diet isn’t improving your autoimmune symptoms, and you’re considering alternatives. Perhaps one of your healthcare practitioners has suggested you try the AIP. I know that if you haven’t eaten meat or seafood for years, possibly decades, it can be a hard thing to consider. So, first let me share the science with you, and then I’ll share some tips for making the transition easier.