Monday, October 27, 2014

The Autoimmune Diet

A few weeks ago, I started doing some reading on inflammation and diet, to see if I could better control my joint pain via some food modifications.  One of the biggest changes I noticed after removing gluten from my diet was that my knees were a lot less painful.  Going down stairs became easier and I could run without any knee pain.   It was pretty amazing.

During my research, I came across the autoimmune diet.  There are a few versions out there, but Sarah Ballentyne's is the most strict.  She's a scientist and her book describes all the research and studies she used to formulate what should and shouldn't be included in a diet for folks with autoimmune issues.  Even for me, it was a dense read (and my PhD thesis likely had fewer scientific references!).

In the end, it made a lot of sense.  I have two suspected autoimmune issues - gluten intolerance (though I've never been tested for Celiac's) and thyroiditis.    My hypothyroidism is on this recent downward slope - every 6-8 weeks, my meds need to be upped.  I'm tired and cranky, and sometimes I just don't feel great for no real reason.   So, starting November 1, I'm going whole hog into it.  This week is my "trial" week, to test a few things out as replacements to my usual favorites.

The diet is not intended to be permanent (thankfully!). Sarah recommends eliminating everything for some period of time, and then slowly reintroduce foods one a time to find out what may be the underlying culprit.  If my thyroid stabilizes, then great.  If my thyroid stabilizes and my joint pain decreases, then hallelujah!  And if nothing happens, well, it was something to try.

The diet is strictly no:
Grains (rice, wheat, corn, bulgur, etc)
Nuts/seeds (and no spices or oils from nuts/seeds)
Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers)
Dairy, including whey protein supplements
Added sugars

Piece of cake, right?

I am pretty sure that I am ok with much on the list, but I'll follow the experiment as recommended.

Breakfast is going to be a challenge, as I eat a lot of eggs.  Today I tried a smoothie - coconut milk, berries and collagen protein powder.  While super yummy, I was hungry again by 9:30.  Drat.

I spent yesterday cooking up a bunch of vegetables to have on hand as snacks.  Garlic baby portobella mushrooms, roasted brussels sprouts, and some baked sweet potatoes.  For dinner tonight, I came up with a pot roast idea that does not include my standard white potatoes:  garlic and Italian seasonings on a beef roast, onions, and butternut squash.   It'll be in the Crockpot for most of the day:

I'll keep this blog updated on progress and if it helps at all with the hip stuff.  Even though I love all food,  I feel it's worth trying something different and seeing if it helps.

Anyone else ever try the autoimmune diet?

1 comment:

  1. I think I was on board until you mentioned no EGGS and no COFFEE. Yikes. I think I might starve?? I hope you will post everything you eat--like a food journal. I'm very interested in your experiment! A friend of mine did something similar and she now controls her rheumatoid arthritis by eliminating gluten, citrus, and certain sugars.