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Is that what you thought?
When you learned about Autoimmune Protocol, were you pumped and ready to overcome every hurdle that stands in your way?
You are among the proud few.
Then there is the rest of us, including myself, that were dumbfounded at the huge lists of what to eat and what not to eat, not taking the time to learn everything and struggling follow the steps of this rigorous regimen.
These are the things that I wish I knew before I started Autoimmune Protocol:
1) It Is Hard To Break Unhealthy Habits
Low blood pressure is a good thing right?
That is what I thought.
When nurses told me that I had low blood pressure I would feel proud, as if that validated my poor eating habits and morbid obesity.
When I was a medical major in school I learned that in the human body, water follows salt. If you have little water in your body, you have less water following the salt in the body, leading to lower blood pressure.
Learning this made me realize how much I was deceiving myself!
If I was consuming a normal amount of water and my blood pressure was within normal range then that would mean that I was truly healthy, however if while consuming an average amount of water my blood pressure resulted in being high, then the state of my health was actually in danger.
It was incredible that I was still able to function with my poor water intake. All I ever drank was juice and soda.
My mother, being somewhat of a health nut, encouraged me to dilute most of my drinks with water. As I began to do so, i noticed drinking actual water was less of a hurdle for me.
When the time came for me to begin autoimmune protocol, completely cutting out sugary processed drinks was significantly easier, but it took time to break my most frequent unhealthy habit.
There are some people that take the opposite approach and are able to go completely cold turkey. Find out what kind of habit breaker you are and utilize that in order to stay on track with your personal health goals.
2) Being Budget Friendly
Healthy eating is too expensive!
That is what everyone thinks.
Actually it is equally as expensive in both the short term and in the long run, if you adhere to a budget.
Think about it.
If you ate normally then you probably ate a lot of fast food, which is expensive. When you eat out in an actual restaurant, a local fair, or at the movies you pay double or triple the cost of fast food.
Junk food will catch up to you eventually, resulting in seeing the doctor, which we all know is not cheap.
Check out my article Top 10 AIP Budget Friendly Tips to learn ways to make autoimmune protocol more affordable.
3) Watching Sugar Intake
Though with autoimmune protocol processed sugars are entirely eliminated, there is still sugar in fruits and vegetables to worry about.
Honey and maple syrup are allowed but are meant to be consumed in moderation.
Western culture has a definite relaxed standard regarding sugar compared to the East.
My friends of the Eastern culture heavily discourage me from eating a lot of fruit at once because it is considered too much sugar. In Eastern countries decadent baked goods and super sweet drinks are definitely not as popular.
You do not have to completely withdraw sugar from your diet. The body does need sugar in order to function, but you should not be only eating fruit all day long.
Too much of anything can be bad for you.
When I eat a salty meal, I pair it with fruit to balance both my salt and my sugar intake. I also write down what i consume on a daily basis in my personal planner.
Keeping track of what you are eating and making it a rule of thumb to be balanced with your meals will help you to watch your dietary intake.
4) Weight Control
At first I loved it.
Autoimmune protocol is the only way of eating that has made me practically melt off the pounds. Without autoimmune protocol I would still be well over 300 lbs.
The downside is that I keep losing weight.
It is a challenge to maintain your weight on autoimmune protocol because you are eating so incredibly healthy.
In the past, former generations had a difficult time in gaining weight, which I believe is because they ate healthier.
Today the problem for most people is losing weight.
It is a cruel irony.
My current challenge is to gain more control over my weight loss and find a way to build muscle within autoimmune protocol.
Stay tuned to see if I can accomplish this.
At first you may thing that weight loss is the best thing about autoimmune protocol, but remember that weight loss does not equal health.
Weight is only one aspect of health, taking in the right amount of nutrients, balanced meals, having physical activity, and following doctor recommendations are essential to one’s overall health.
5) Everyone Does It Differently
As you encounter autoimmune protocol blogs, documentaries, books, and posts you will be amazed at the countless number of them.
New autoimmune disorders are being diagnosed every year and are exhibited in different stages varying for each individual.
Someone may be on a different kind of autoimmune protocol than you.
A Fibromyalgia sufferer that I know of was able to consume grains, legumes, and peppers with no problem.
Others that share my disease of Hidradenitis Suppurativa only eliminate certain aspects of autoimmune protocol such as processed sugars, gluten, or nightshades. However, those ones are in earlier stages of the disease, while I am at the most advanced stage.
Within the early stages of one’s disease there is more that can potentially be allowed, this however varies form person to person.
Remember to consult your physician and inform them of your food diary in order to cater autoimmune protocol to your specific needs,
6) Increased Cooking
All of us work.
Even if you are a stay at home parent you still have daily tasks that can easily fill up your day.
It is a challenge to cook everyday and make sure you have enough to eat for the day let alone the week.
Most autoimmune protocol books feature dozens of ingredients, a great deal of which can be expensive. These elaborate recipes are often time consuming, which makes going on autoimmune protocol very unappealing.
That is why I created my blog, because my friends that have autoimmune disorder love my recipes, but do not feel like they have enough time to prepare them.
Keeping recipes simple is my ultimate goal. I try my best to use simple ingredients and cook my meals in shorter periods of time than established cookbooks.
Cookbooks are wonderful, and I have found many wonderful recipe, but the ones that look the best are often the most complicated. Those are the recipes that I never have enough time to make.
Take into account your daily schedule and fit in at least 30 minutes that you can make time for. Search for bulk recipes that you can bake, slow cook, or freeze in order to consume them later.
7) No One Else Understands
That is what everyone likes to call healthy eating, I have always felt like the word diet was negative, it contains the word “die” after all.
Unfortunately the majority of people consider healthy eating that results in weight loss as a “diet” when it should be considered as a lifestyle.
People will think that you are too extreme in your healthy eating habits. People will be annoyed that you have to make special requests with every meal or ask a million questions to the restaurant staff.
No one will understand why you fall into despair if you unintentionally est something that you are not supposed to.
If you go on autoimmune protocol, do not expect people to encourage your eating, expect most of them to look at you with pity because you cannot share in their fatty feasts.
It is okay if no one understands right now, those ones may not be that way forever.
8) People Surprising You
People will give you a difficult time if you are both on autoimmune protocol and when you are not.
After the initial shock most people do not bother you as much about your healthy eating if they see how capable you are in handling it. So much so that if you ever stop eating healthy they will be absolutely shocked.
My friends all noticed how smooth my skin was, how happy and energetic I felt when I was on autoimmune protocol.
There was a distinct difference when I chose to deviate and began eating normal food again, i was grumpy, lethargic, and my skin was ridden with scars and bumps.
Onlookers would see how unhappy I was when eating normal food and surprisingly would give me a hard time about it. Those are the ones that I know truly care and notice the difference.
Expect to be surprised at how people observe your eating habits, you may find that they are more interested than you think and do not mind pushing you back on the wagon if you ever fall off.
9) Questioning Everything
Restaurants are no joke.
Through experience I know that there are potential allergen dangers lurking around every corner if one is not careful.
Whenever I eat out, I have a barrage of questions for the staff:
What oil do you cook with?
Is this fish wild caught?
Do you use sea salt?
Does this have MSG?
Is this meat grass fed?
Yes, you will most likely annoy your waiter. Often times I only go for steamed vegetables even though the mark-up makes me cry inside.
The fact is you are a paying customer, make requests in a mild tone and be understanding if they get it wrong. Risking another flare up just because you do not want to inconvenience a business is going to leave you with regret.
I choose to take my time to order in order to know that I have all of my bases covered.
Better safe than sorry.
10) Wondering Whether It Is Worth It
Autoimmune Protocol is no joke.
If successful, you will learn a high level of self-discipline that you never thought possible.
It shocked me when I was okay being around people eating cheeseburgers and chicken strips while I was eating wild caught fish. Knowing my gut would not be bubbling up later made me feel happy inside.
Many times I wanted to throw in the towel for good, giving up healthy eating entirely.
After every loss of will power I would beat myself up in frustration, wishing I had a normal body that would allow me to eat whatever I wanted.
Being young does not last forever. When you are young you can get away with eating sugar and junk food with little after thought, but as you get older those foods easily take their toll.
Acceptance is crucial in meeting your body halfway.
I know that my body only wants to help me, even if it has a funny way of showing it.
Despite the difficulties, I know that it is worth it to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Having a happy body makes it all worth it.
How are you making it through your journey?
I would love to hear about it, post a comment below!