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In the past years that I have been on autoimmune protocol I have made a lot of surprising discoveries while trying to figure out how to do it correct and consistently. I was on my own for quite some time before I discovered the extensive AIP list from off of google. Before then I was able to figure out a lot of things on my own through the process of elimination and being more thorough with reading my labels.
1) You Lose Weight
As crazy as it seems, it never occurred to me that I would lose weight, let alone over a hundred pounds. Autoimmune protocol seems to be the only way that I can really lose weight because before the most I ever managed to lose was 15 pounds and plateau.
Despite everything I have learned and understanding why I was fat before, I still cannot fully comprehend how I am smaller now. It is funny because I have lived and breathed autoimmune protocols to this day and still do not feel much different.
It is not like I expected to transform into a totally new person when I lost weight, it is just that the weight crept in so slowly that it is hard to believe my body is so different.
2) Weird Body Changes
Now a lot of my changes may be because of the weight loss, but I am pretty sure my eye color is because of autoimmune protocol. Before, my eyes were practically black to the point where I was surprised to find on my own ID that they were described as dark brown. My eyes are still dark brown but it is easier to tell now, sometimes they are so light that they almost look hazel in certain lighting.
3) No More Witch Hazel
Years ago, the skincare products that I use containing Witch Hazel were incredibly affective. I was pretty bad about the regularity of my skincare program so at one point I decided to be thorough and follow it as needed to clear my skin back up, and my skin got worse. It was incomprehensible to me how those products would no longer work, so I just assumed that the formulas were changed.
While on autoimmune protocol I had thought that using pure Witch Hazel would work but I saw absolutely no improvement. Then when I read the back of the bottle it said “Derived from grains”, that is when I realized- Witch Hazel is a grain!
Grains are restricted on Autoimmune Protocol so it makes sense as to why it had lost its effectiveness. As my disease progressed, my body lost its’ resistance to the properties of Witch Hazel, so when I was using it I was making thing worse instead of better.
4) You Do Not Have To Starve
After hearing about AIP from those who also had autoimmune disorders, I shocked to hear how they ate on the program. Most would freak out so much over accidentally eating something by mistake that they only ate fruits and vegetables, which means they were not consuming their daily recommended caloric intake.
Although I experienced anxiety myself about messing up on autoimmune protocol, I was more afraid of developing an eating disorder. When I found out there were AIP cookbooks out there I was more than relieved to see that you can eat real dishes without resorting to only fruits and vegetables.
5) Gluten Free Does Not Mean AIP
When I first went on AIP I knew very little. I heard that autoimmune protocol was gluten free so I became obsessed with gluten free products. Later on I learned that all of said products compensated for taste by having a lot of sugar and grains, two ingredients that are restricted from AIP.
6) Dairy Free Does Not Mean AIP
There came a point where I was overwhelmed and just wanted things to be easy. Unfortunately because of the demands of freshness on AIP “easy” is anything but. To make things easier on myself I tried non-dairy milks and cheeses only to discover they were filled emulsifiers, seed oils, and additives. Emulsifiers are thickening agents made to add thickness and perceived creaminess to a product. Xanthan gum is the most popular and it is in a ton of dairy free products and it is in even more dipping sauces and dressings.
7) Paleo Does Not Mean AIP
Once again misguided, I came across AIP blogs that advertised their recipes as being both AIP and Paleo, the other name for Autoimmune Protocol is Autoimmune Paleo! This completely had me thinking that the two programs were synonymous when they are anything but. Paleo allows seeds, nuts, and eggs. There are so many wonderful Paleo recipes out there but I cannot try most of them because they contain things that I cannot have on autoimmune protocol.
8) Pasture Fed Does Not Mean AIP
There is a very popular store in my state but it is out of the way from where I live. My friends kept telling me how the store had natural products and pasture fed meats so I was excited because I thought that meant I could have chicken again. Before then I had done and elimination process and I found that regular store chicken gave me a reaction, so I thought that pasture fed chicken would be different.
When I finally got to this popular store I was deflated by the label on the back stating that soy and grain products were used to supplement the chicken’s diet. That was when it all made sense!
Regular chickens are fed soy and corn too which is why I had a reaction, so the pasture fed chickens would be no different. I had reached an epiphany regarding the food chain that made incredible sense. You are what you eat, and you are what they ate.
9) Natural Flavors Are Not So Natural
In the pursuit of “easy” yet again I did something else misguided. Sick and tired of food prep made me want to have something I could consume on the go, which let me to take huge bottles of pre-made store bought smoothies everywhere I went. This was so wrong because I pretty much used those drinks as meal replacements forgetting how enormously high in sugar they are.
One day I came across enlightening information about natural flavors that pretty much stated that “natural flavors” is more of a misnomer. It was then that I stopped using the smoothies’ cold turkey, and my persistent cystic acne spots on my face drastically cleared up.
10) Roots Are A Thing
Without guidance you will easily miss milk and flour when you first start AIP. I did not know how to make without milk or flour and was clueless. As I came across more baking recipes on Pinterest I found a recurring theme of weird names: Yucca, Cassava, Arrowroot, and Tigernut.
As I did further research I discovered all of those were in fact AIP and have been commonly used for centuries in other parts of the world. Roots are definitely a thing.
11) Herbs Actually Work
Growing up commercials had me believing that if you are sick you have to buy expensive medicine to heal faster. While being on autoimmune protocol I have personally found that teas, aromatherapy, soup, roots and herbs as remedies are just as affective if done properly and consistently.
12) You Will Not Be Malnourished
When I was eliminating dairy I was freaked out over potentially having a calcium deficiency. Later I realized this is because in America children are raised to believe milk=calcium. Now I have learned that calcium is in all sorts of foods, most notably broccoli and other green vegetables that I already eat frequently on AIP. My positive suspicions about this were confirmed when I had my calcium levels checked this past year and my levels were within perfect range.