Today marks 45 straight days of eating squeaky clean paleo (with additional eliminations) and 30 days of paleo with autoimmune modifications. That means no grains, legumes, or dairy. I also eliminated nuts, seeds, coffee, chocolate and alcohol and then cut out eggs and nightshades for the past 30 days.
As I wrote in my post about why I decided to try the autoimmune protocol (AIP), I have actually been grain free for over 8 months now and saw dramatic improvement in the chronic anemia I’d been battling since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease two decades ago, but my digestion improved only moderately with abnormal amounts of foul gas, bloating, and frequent bowel movements remaining. Going full paleo made a huge positive difference immediately, followed by steady incremental improvements over the last 30 days on AIP.
Today I can honestly say I feel fantastic! I have tons of energy, I’m starting to gain weight (that’s a good thing), have no pain whatsoever, and without getting too graphic, I will just say that my bathroom visits are much more pleasant (and much less frequent)! Additionally, I had blood drawn earlier this week and it confirmed that my hematocrit and hemoglobin are remaining in the normal range.
I am going to continue eating a paleo diet and will be cautious with foods that are known gut irritants, but I am now ready to start slowly reintroducing the other eliminated foods to determine which of them, if any, can come back into my every day diet. I cheated once with potatoes without any negative impact, so I am hopeful that I will be able to add in nightshades. I also want to try eggs, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. Although many people who follow a paleo or primal diet template do eat some forms of grassfed diary, I am going to be extra cautious with that.
There is a lot of conflicting information among experts on the best way to conduct reintroductions after an elimination diet. Some give no specifics at all. Many tell you to eat the new food for just one day then wait two or three days. Some give specific advice on portions, directing that you should eat a very small amount and then a much larger amount later in the day. Sarah Ballantyne, whose advice so far has been spot on for me, writes that you should just eat small amounts of the foods twice a day for two consecutive days and then wait three days to see if you have any reactions to it. She says eating the food for two days will help uncover reactions because sometimes the immune system doesn’t react immediately but primes the immune system so that you may react to it with a second exposure. Eating it for two consecutive days and then waiting for 72 hours insures you won’t miss a reaction or get confused as to which new food is causing the reaction.
Unfortunately, that means that each reintroduction takes at least 5 days, so it will be many weeks before I have tried all of the eliminated foods. I’m willing to do it slowly though because I don’t want to risk doing anything that rocks the boat and destroys feeling so strong and healthy!