Real life AIP tips and tricks features stories from people like you who are using the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol to manage an autoimmune condition and live well in spite of the obstacles they may encounter. Healing from an autoimmune disease is not just about the food, though. While the food you eat (and don’t eat) is extremely important, other lifestyle factors are at play, such as reducing emotional stress, cultivating quality sleep, practicing regular exercise, or keeping a positive outlook on life. My wish for you is to draw strength and inspiration from these real life stories from all over the world. To contribute your own story of recovery on the blog, click here to download the submission form. To read more real life AIP tips and tricks, click here.
Name: Erin Cox
Location: Washington, USA
Diagnosis: Psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Raynaud’s disease
When did you start AIP? I initially started with a primal diet, but not too long after I found out about the Autoimmune Protocol. My best guess for starting the AIP is sometime in March 2013.
Have you reintroduced any non-AIP foods yet? Yes. Legumes with edible pods, berry-based spices, and some seeds like coriander, fennel, sesame, and pumpkin. I also have some that I don’t consume often because I feel best with them staying an “occasional” thing. Those include pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed ghee, cacao, coffee, and white rice. I also have reintroduced and enjoy the occasional glass of home brewed mead (a raw honey wine).
Which tips or tricks made your life easier in the kitchen and helped you stick with the AIP diet?
Challenging myself to try new things (e.g., bok choy, lemongrass, offal, yuca, sardines). I didn’t consider myself a super picky eater, but there were foods I’d simply never had before. In the beginning, I’d get a “new to me” vegetable or fruit to try. Or I’d pick up a different cut of meat at the butcher. It was a simple challenge, but it kept my interest piqued and inspired me to try yet another new food.
What are your top three AIP go-to meals that are easy and quick to prepare?
Beef and Brussels is one we fall back on often.
I am not big on batch cooking, but one thing I love to make large batches of is meatballs. They are delicious hot or cold and can quickly pull a meal together.
Lastly, soup! I make healing bone broth each week because my family loves soup. A family favorite is apple butternut curry soup.
What are your favorite AIP snacks?
I bring my own food to any gathering to eliminate stress on the host and myself. When we stay with family, I cook for my family like I normally would. We don’t eat out often, but when we do it’s usually at a sushi restaurant (I love sashimi).
What other lifestyle components have you implemented in your healing routine (sleep, stress management, exercise, etc.)?
I guard my sleep as best I can (with a four-year-old who still climbs into bed with us in the middle of the night) so a “late night” for me is 10 p.m. My favorite form of exercise is walking or hiking. Stress seems to be my ongoing area of opportunity. I’ve come a long way, but I have a way to go still. When I need to unwind, I grab my coloring books and turn on music. I also make it a point to unplug whenever I can.
Since I have a skin-related autoimmune disease, I believe it was also important to me to pay attention to the ingredients I put on my body. Just like when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, my skin lets me know when I’ve applied something that doesn’t agree with me. So I’m choosy with which products I buy now. I seldom wear makeup or perfume (I’m highly sensitive to synthetic fragrances) and I pamper myself with natural skin care.
What advice would you give to a beginner just starting the AIP diet and lifestyle?
Some people need to take baby steps. Others jump all-in. No matter which personality type you are, you CAN do this. I also think it’s wise to keep a snack in your purse or car (or both). You never know when you’ll need one!
What are your favorite AIP resources?
It’s incredible to see how many resources we have available to us now. I’m continually reaching for my copy of The Paleo Approach to answer questions about the protocol. I love tuning into podcasts (Phoenix Helix, Autoimmune Wellness, and Healing Protocols) when I’m doing chores around the house or cooking. Facebook groups like AIP Support and Autoimmune Paleo Recipes are great. And I’m so grateful for each friendship I’ve forged through the AIP community on Instagram. There’s a growing number of people empowering themselves and walking a similar path.
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