I have a sweet deal right now, as I don’t have to cook dinners, and still get to sit down to a homemade dinner every night. I happen to have a teeny tiny little kitchen that feels almost impossible to work in at times. Why would I start a very strict diet? Do I just love putting myself through difficult trials of life? Am I bored?
None of the above.
For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you may remember that I have been dealing with iron store issues (I still follow these rules for giving my body the best chance of absorbing iron.) And those have been ongoing. Iron transfusions made me feel like a million bucks, but the problem is that I still don’t absorb iron well, and have to cycle back to doing iron transfusion every year or so.
There are an overwhelming number of reasons this could happen – everything from thyroid issues to gut issues, to parasites, to mineral imbalances, to heavy metals. Some of which we’ve been able to scratch off the list – others not yet. So I don’t know what causes this issue for me. But because of a history of antibiotics and some gut issues, we know that healing my digestive system is a priority regardless of whether my iron issues are directly related.
Facing iron transfusions yet again, and then having some issues with my last iron transfusion, we decided it was time to try something more drastic again to see if we could help heal my gut. For those who have struggled like me with low iron stores, you know how horrible it can make you feel. While all of us handle it differently, I have experienced the deep fatigue, aches and pains, and brain fog that comes with it. It’s not fun, and it can take over your life until you get your iron stores back up again.
Now let me be clear. We don’t even know for sure whether my iron issues are related to my gut issues, but it seems like a decent place to start. And helping my digestion has it’s own benefits regardless, so it wouldn’t be a loss regardless.
With that in mind, I decided to do a two-week trial for the AIP diet last month. I wanted to see if 1) I could keep up with the work. 2) Whether it caused any “die off” for me – I am nursing right now and I prefer not to heavily “detox” when nursing. I didn’t expect to see any noticeable difference in how I felt during the testing time. It was more testing my ability to keep up on all of the cooking in a very small kitchen.
The result of my two-week test
Within the first day, my digestion was improving. Within the first couple of days, I noticed a change in my body feeling less bloated, and I felt an increase in energy. I’ve found that while the diet can’t cure what ails me (my iron stores) right away, that it takes the edge off as I feel like I have more energy and less digestive issues when on it. It’s been very worth the bother, so our two-week trial just kept going!
What is the AIP diet?
The AIP diet is a stricter (generally temporary) paleo diet that removes foods that can be harder to digest, causes inflammation (for some), or could cause issues with the immune system. Sarah, from The Paleo Mom said, “It is very simply an extremely nutrient-dense diet that is devoid of foods that irritate the gut, cause gut dysbiosis and activate the immune system.”
Foods off the AIP diet: Eggs, Gluten, Grains, Nightshades, Coffee, Nuts and Seeds, Alcohol, Gluten Cross-Reactive foods, Emulsifiers and gums, limited fructose, non-nutritive sweeteners, and NSAIDS.
Some people choose to stay on the strictest form of the diet for 6-8 weeks, and start adding in foods slowly. Others choose to stay on the diet longer, seeking deep healing for issues that have been going on for a long time. Others view it as a permanent diet as any cheating brings back symptoms.
I will be blogging more about this topic in the future, but meanwhile I wanted to share some quick resources (Amazon links are affiliate).
Sarah from The Paleo Mom has a wealth of resources on her blog, but her book, The Paleo Approach , is wonderfully thorough, and a sort of AIP bible.
I’ve also been using her new cookbook, The Healing Kitchen, quite a bit!
The Curious Coconut blog also has a wealth of AIP recipes on her blog.
Where I’m at on the diet
I started the diet during the crazy, crazy holiday season (because I was desperate). I knew that I wasn’t following all of the “rules”, but was just trying to do my best during the busy season. Now that life is a little more routine again, I’m going to go back to the beginning, and reboot it, following everything strictly, and then go from there.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried the AIP diet?
P.S. Recipes featured above:
- I’ve been making AIP friendly ice cream using this method.
- Simple Carrots (but made with bacon grease instead of butter)
- Grass fed Steak – method in my Salad Cookbook
- Avocado and Apple Green Salad (just make sure that the salad dressing is AIP friendly)