The “Autoimmune Paleo Protocol” can be pretty intimidating. I know this because I get emails from nervous people saying something along these lines…
“Do I really not get to eat eggs anymore if I have Hashimoto’s and I want to eat Paleo? Really? I’d rather cauterize my eyeball with a burning hot fried egg than not eat eggs anymore. I mean, no eggs? Come on! No tomatoes, bell peppers, nuts, or seeds, either? And all this on top of the no grains, legumes, dairy, or sugar that the normal Paleo diet recommends? That’s ludicrous!”
And it is, especially to people who are just starting out this whole change-your-diet-to-heal-your-body thing. It sounds awful and scary. Maybe you’d rather have joint pain or fatigue or unexplained weight gain for the rest of your life than change such an integral part of your life so drastically.
But I have good news for you!
You don’t necessarily have to do the autoimmune protocol!
Let me explain.
Here’s what Robb Wolf has to say about the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol:
“Some of these otherwise Paleo-friendly foods have been shown to be problematic in individuals with autoimmune issues. We recommend you fully remove not only these foods but also all Neolithic foods (grains, breads, potatoes, beans and dairy) for at least a month to see if they pose a problem for you.”
And it’s true. There are studies that show that the lysozyme in eggs, the saponins in nightshades, and the phytic acid in nuts & seeds can wreak havoc on our guts and increase gut permeability (leaky gut). Gut permeability is the reason we get autoimmune diseases in the first place. When your gut gets “leaky” and it starts letting food particles into your blood stream that shouldn’t be in there, your immune system starts to react.
Sometimes those food particles look like parts of your own body (like your thyroid, your intestinal cells, etc.) and your immune system starts attacking those cells – your own body’s cells – as well as the food particles. That’s autoimmunity in a nutshell (no pun intended).
But – and this is a big but – we are all special snowflakes and we all have our own tolerances and sensitivities to different foods. And telling someone to go from zero to remove-all-your-favorite-foods-right-now is not necessarily sustainable advice. They’ll say, “No f-ing way, buddy. Not gonna do it.” And then nothing will change because they think if they don’t do the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol right now with zero compromises, nothing will improve.
There is another way that may very well improve your situation: moderation.
I mean, by all means go for it and do the autoimmune protocol if you want. But if you’re totally put off by that idea, take this thing one step at a time.
- My advice is to start with a regular Paleo diet. Take out the grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and vegetable oils.
- If that’s too hard to imagine, hell, start with just removing grains from your diet and see if you start to improve. I bet you will.
- If even that is too much for you, start by just going gluten free, and I have a feeling that you – like so many people before you – will start to feel better. Eat rice, tapioca, quinoa, buckwheat, and all the other gluten-free grains, instead of wheat for a while. Gluten is probably the biggest culprit of them all in our inflamed gut issues, so if you’re looking for the smallest, most unnoticeable change to your diet to help your body heal, go gluten free.
This is not my normal gung ho way of being or writing – I know. I think Van life is making me soft. But if I’ve learned anything over the years working with clients and talking to you all, it’s that some people just aren’t ready. Some folks just don’t want to disturb their way of living that much, even if it could mean miraculous healing. It’s just not worth it to them.
And that’s ok!
If you find you’re seeing results with your first dietary change, but you still have symptoms, keep moving toward Paleo. If in 6 months you’re full blown Paleo but you still have a few symptoms here and there, stop eating eggs for a couple weeks and see how you feel. If that doesn’t make a difference, then start eating eggs again and try taking out nuts and seeds. Do the same with nightshades if you want to experiment further.
If you’re not the kind of person who can take it all on overnight, don’t beat yourself up about that, and know that even very small changes to your diet can make a huge difference.
Figure out where your threshold exists between eating the foods you love and feeling vibrant and healthy.
What do you guys think?
I almost forgot. If you ARE ready to take on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, we have a meal plan for that in our 21 Day Paleo Cleanse eBook. I go into more depth about this whole topic, and we make it easy for you to cook and eat without eggs, nightshades, and eggs with 3 weeks of meal plans and grocery lists. Here’s the link.