I have spent two years, studying the work of experts in the field of autoimmunity and have combined what I’ve learned, in 24 steps. I’ll be sharing one step every week for the next 24 weeks, on my website and social media platforms (starting Monday 18 May 2020). This is step 7 of 24.
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STEP 7: UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE FOOD PLAYS
Hippocrates said it best: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine, be thy food.” Food can either fight disease or feed disease, it’s as simple as that. When you have an autoimmune condition, what you eat becomes your most powerful tool in the road to recovery. Food plays a huge role in achieving optimal health, providing essential nutrients to your body and immune system.
As much as food can change everything, food can also be one of our biggest sources of inflammation. Our modern diets are loaded with processed, toxic and inflammatory foods. Certain foods could lead to a leaky gut which could trigger autoimmunity and lead to even more inflammation.
By removing processed, toxic and inflammatory foods from your diet and by adding nutrient dense, whole foods, that support your health, you can reduce your inflammation and work your way back to recovery and possibly reversal of your autoimmune condition.
Remove the following foods from your diet:
- Grains and grain-like seeds
- Sugars (natural and artificial)
- Vegetable, seed or nut oils
- Spices from seeds and berries
- Algae (chlorella & spirulina)
- Emulsifiers or thickeners
- Food additives
- Processed food chemicals
- NSAIDS (aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Other food you are allergic or sensitive to
This is crazy right? Aren’t nuts and seeds healthy? Well, there are scientific reasons why each of these foods are on the list. Let’s look at a few examples:
- Gluten causes the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart the tight junctions in your intestinal lining, causing leaky gut.
- Lectins found in grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and nightshades make them inflammatory in our bodies. The 2 types of lectins that are known to cause problems in humans are agglutinins and prolamins. Agglutinins function as a natural insecticide and can be an aggravating factor in autoimmune disease. Prolamins are necessary proteins for seed growth and are not easily digested.
- Dairy causes inflammation in a huge percentage of the populations and is typically full of hormones and antibiotics.
So, what will I be eating then? You will eat a variety of anti-inflammatory, gut healing, nutrient dense, whole foods including:
- Healthy fats
- Good quality animal protein (including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs etc.)
Your goal should be to flood the body with nutrient dense food and to avoid food that may cause inflammation, stimulate the immune system or harm the gut environment.
This is probably going to be the hardest part of your journey but you will reap the benefits for the rest of your life. There are thousands of delicious recipe ideas and inspiration available online. Google and Pinterest are great resources. Simply search for “AIP recipes”, “Autoimmune recipes”, “Autoimmune protocol recipes”, “Autoimmune paleo” or “Paleo recipes”.
The good news is that you will be able to reintroduce some of the food back into your diet, once you’ve healed your gut. Reintroductions will be discussed in step 24)
If you want to learn more about the food that should be avoided, why these foods are a problem and perhaps more importantly learn about the delicious nutrient dense food that will assist in fighting your disease, I invite you to join the Autoimmune Way program.