If removing anger, blame, regret, resentment, guilt, blame and worry are all ways to improve your health, is the corollary then to add calm, harmony, contentment, kindness, respect, thanks and joy…?
I wonder what would happen to the world if we all did that?
Today we’re talking about reintroducing foods after you’ve been following an elimination diet for a period of time. Specifically, the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) elimination diet.
AIP is a nutrient-rich approach that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. But, it is not meant to be forever.
30 days on the elimination phase is the minimum
But in that time my health improved immeasurably. So, that trumped even coffee for me.
Some people spend less in elimination. They find they can start reintroducing foods after just a month because they have experienced such dramatic improvements in their autoimmune symptoms.
Some people spend more. Far more.
And, for some, AIP serves as an introduction to experimenting with further investigating and healing. It is the first step in a longer healing process.
It is a very personal experience for each of us
And, when it comes to reintroducing foods back into your diet, this is a personal experience, too.
I have now successfully reintroduced eggs, coffee, nuts and the occasional red wine. Chocolate is back – by way of good quality 80% plus dark stuff. So are seeds and some spices. I seem to be ok with a little high quality dairy (not too much!). But, nightshades are a no-go for me. I still miss tomatoes. And, I need to watch my sugar consumption. Gluten is gone forever. Grains and pulses are still off the menu, with the very occasional exception of rice.
You may have a completely different experience with your reintroductions.
But there are some things that are constant for us all.
The golden rule: Choose just one food to reintroduce at a time
This is important. It sounds simple – how else will you know whether or not a food causes a reaction. Sometimes simple is not easy!
And, in my experience, the reintroduction process actually requires more effort than the elimination phase. Because you need to be vigilant about assessing whether or not the reintroduced food causes a reaction.
While you may choose to reintroduce foods in whatever order you like, here at Conscious Autoimmunity, we recommend the Paleo Mom’s four-stage approach to reintroductions.
As with many things, it often helps when you can ‘chunk’ a process down into more manageable steps so we’ve popped them into this handy-dandy infographic for you to stick on the fridge…
To download your printable copy of this infographic, just click here
The Four Stages
The Paleo Mom’s four stages of food reintroductions is designed to factor in the likelihood of experiencing a reactionto any given food, and the nutritional value of the food you are reintroducing.
So, Stage 1 foods are likely to be well tolerated whereas Stage 4 foods may never be tolerated.
Food and Mood Diary
A food and mood diary gives you a reference point and provides you with a clear understanding of where patterns of symptoms emerge. This is vital when you are trying to understand whether or not you are having a reaction to a particular food.
And, it’s important to remember that sometimes it takes time for your body to react to something.
By writing down your own personal experiences – on a daily basis – you can more clearly identify anomalies.
Make it Yours
For me, this is one of the most important, and least appreciated things about this protocol. It’s all about you. And you are putting a lot of energy into making it work. So, don’t be afraid to make it work for you.
You are a unique snowflake. It’s true! There’s nobody else in the world exactly like you. So it stands to reason that your body reacts to things differently to the next person.
Help is at hand!
If the reintroduction process just all seems a little bit too hard; or, if you’d just like a helping hand; Emma and I would love to hear from you. You can check out our 1:1 coaching packages here.
This post is the first in The Reintroduction Process series. The second – Food and Mood Diary can be found here.
A version of this post first appeared at joannafrankham.com