In my previous post I discussed how to establish a diet if you have Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Now I want to go into how I chose a plant based version of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
I started this process by doing a ton of research. I researched to the point that my face was constantly stuck in a research article, medical journals, Chron’s and UC forums, documentaries, lectures, and etc.. From the research that I gathered I decided to pursue the Vegan AIP.
I chose this for a couple of reasons. When my doctor talked about the possibilities of a j-pouch it was because my bowels needed to rest. My thought was that if I eat foods that are easier for my gut to digest and incorporate intermittent fasting then that would give my bowels the rest that it needs.
My research consistently brought me back to “chronic inflammation”. If you follow my blog then you know that I discuss inflammation and the importance of keeping it controlled on a regular. One of the main culprits of chronic inflammation is an acidic diet. Meat products are heavily acidic. Therefore, I decided to cut out the meat and focus on a plant based, alkaline way of eating.
The first part of the autoimmune protocol is elimination. I feel that it’s extremely important to note that I did not drop everything at once. I broke everything up so that I could guarantee success. With following this protocol I had a double elimination phase. First, the autoimmune protocol calls for the elimination of gluten, sugar, dairy, nightshades, grains, nuts , beans, and large consumptions of fruit. Second, being that I was going vegan that also meant eliminating meat. Also, you are not to eat fried foods.
I instantly got rid of all gluten products and sugary foods. Then I eliminated foods in this order:
- Nightshades ( tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and etc.)
At this point my entire diet consisted of nutrient-dense, leafy green vegetables. For thirty days my diet consisted of cooked kale, spinach, mustard, turnip, and collard greens, cabbage, squash, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, bok choy, chard, and other vegetables.
There are a couple of things to remember about the re-introduction phase. This is not a green light for you to return to the way that you were eating. Keep in mind that once you’ve reached this point you are probably eating the healthiest that you have ever ate. This is not the time to blow the hard work.
What you’re doing is gradually re-introducing certain plant foods to see how you respond. For example, you have eliminated tomatoes from your diet since it’s a nightshade. Now, you re-introduce tomatoes into your diet and document how your body responds in your food diary. No flare-up could possibly mean that tomatoes are not an issue for you. This is how you go about discovering which foods spark a reaction into your gut and you tailor a diet that suits you.
I have enjoyed the plant based way of eating and have not considered going back to eating meat. With that being said, I have no false illusions that everybody wants to adopt the plant based lifestyle. Even if you prefer to keep meat in your diet you can still follow the autoimmune protocol and reap the benefits. Therefore, I will do some future posts of eating plans that others with IBD are using and having success.