Most of my posts concerning food and autoimmune diseases have been general in its approach. Being that all autoimmune diseases have the same underlying effect it’s easy to speak to them in a broad manner. However, things become very tricky when discussing the irritable bowel diseases in the autoimmune community. These conditions are Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
The diet for someone with these conditions has to be altered in comparison to an individual with Hasimoto’s whom is mostly concerned with the thyroid. Our condition is in our digestive system and unlike other people a healthy meal might consists of skipping the salad. No uniform diet is known to be effective across the board. Everyone’s system responds differently. Eating mushrooms will make me very sick for days. The next person with Chron’s or UC can eat mushrooms with no problem. I can usually handle salads pretty well but some can not.
The most effective formula that I have discovered is to research various eating methods for these conditions, try one that you feel best suits your needs, get a food diary, begin the process of eliminating foods from that eating plan, and tailoring the diet specifically for yourself. I know that it’s overwhelming because I see so many people in Chron’s and UC forums that are struggling with this.
The people that I see struggling the most are the newbies of course. They have so many questions and very few answers. Even those of us whom have been dealing with this for years get stumped sometimes because our body is always changing and so is the information. If you suffer from a different autoimmune disease or just want to be healthier then you can benefit from this also.
It’s important to note that many of these diets consists of an “elimination phase” and a “re-introduction phase”. The phases begin once you’ve established the eating plan you choose to pursue. For example if you choose the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, you would begin a process of eliminating dairy, legumes, grains, nightshades, gluten, sugar, and carbohydrates from your diet. Once those foods are eliminated you will want to maintain this phase for at least the 30 days suggested by many researchers.
Once the bowels and immune system have had time to rest and reset, you can now enter the “re-introduction phase”. Another important thing to remember is that the re-introduction phase is not your free card to going back to eating garbage. Keep in mind that you have worked extremely hard to reach the end of the elimination phase.
At this point, this should be the healthiest that you have ever ate. Not only are you eliminating junk foods and foods that are harmful to your gut health, you are also introducing yourself to healthier foods. The re-introduction phase is slowly bringing back healthy foods that could be harmful to your gut health. I will use a salad for example. A salad full of nutrient dense, raw vegetables is considered to be one of the healthiest things that you can eat. However, for someone with Chron’s or UC a salad can wreck havoc on your gut. You will want to eliminate the salad initially, but re-introduce it during the re-introduction phase. Keep note in your food diary of how your gut responds to the salad and the ingredients in the salad.
If your gut responds well then we can conclude that maybe raw vegetables are not an irritant to you. Even if that’s the case, you still might want to be cautious even if the food doesn’t cause instant irritability. These foods are listed as gut irritants to us for a reason. It might not hit you today but if you consistently eat raw vegetables then it might come back to haunt you. So that’s how you go about the process of tailoring the diet for your specific need.
I know that it might sound confusing but once you start I promise that it’s an easy process. In my next posts I will show the autoimmune vegan protocol that I used. I will then follow up with several diets that have been implemented with the autoimmune protocol. Hopefully that will give some of the newbies a foundation to build upon.