The soonest you can reintroduce foods is at a minimum of 30 days, however, I personally believe 90 days is best practice. Whichever amount you choose you must have strictly followed the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). The reason that you need to have followed the AIP to a science is because you need to allow your body time to completely clear out the chronic inflammation that was taking place prior the AIP. Before you started the AIP your body was so chronically inflamed that it was almost in a state of denial. The inflammation was masked by the symptoms of your autoimmune disease, but also causing the autoimmune disease. Once you eliminate all of the foods it gives your body time to calm down and heal. Your body is very smart and knows to be on the look out for invaders at any time, so when you reintroduce foods your body will signal an acute response if the food you have reintroduced is causing inflammation within your gut.
If you love the AIP lifestyle why reintroduce? After 2 years I continue to stay on the AIP. Believe it or not, you don’t have to reintroduce foods if you don’t want to. There are some important factors in making this decision. First, make sure you are not too stressed out, stress can cause just as much inflammation as your offending foods! Second, make sure you are getting plenty of nutrients. Switch up your recipes and stick to a variety of foods. Sticking to the same few foods can cause you to become nutritionally deficient.
Everybody is different when it comes to reintroducing foods. I personally waited for 16 months before I attempted to reintroduced foods, but I know plenty of fellow AIPers who waited as little as 30 days or as much as 6 months. Again, it is totally up to you. If you are getting stressed out with food options or feeling nutritionally deficient then make it a point to start the reintroduction phase. Just make sure you begin to see some improvement in your autoimmune disorder before reintroducing. You definitely don’t have to be 100% healed, but you should see some progress.
Make the right choice for you!
Choosing the right food to start reintroduction.
Here are some suggestions;
You have been missing pizza night for quite some time so it only makes sense to reintroduce pizza right? Yes and no! Go ahead if you’re missing an AIP based pizza and are curious about cheese, then let’s start with dairy. You don’t want to jump right into the highest allergen of the food type you’re reintroducing. Here are some suggestions:-
Let’s Try Dairy:
You want to introduce dairy in a very particular order because of the components that dairy is made of. Dairy is made of butterfat, lactose and casein. The butterfat has a very low reactive rate throughout the population. Most reactions occur to the lactose and casein. The reason we list raw dairy from a trustworthy source is because raw dairy has different enzymes that are easier on your digestive system, just like the goat dairy. The goat diary has enzymes, which are easier to digest than cow dairy. So we suggest trying in this order:
• Grass-fed ghee
• Grass-fed butter
• Raw goat yoghurt or kefir
• Raw goat milk
• Raw goat cheese
• Raw cow cream
• Raw cow yoghurt or kefir
• Raw cow cheese
Let’s Try Nuts:
Always start with seeds prior to reintroducing nuts. Seeds are easier to digest than nuts, especially if they have been soaked. Since there are a number of different nuts and seeds to choose from it is best to start with one type at a time. Make sure everything you are retesting such as cocoa or coffee is homemade, testing from store-bought may be cross-contaminated with other ingredients. So you are ready? Then let’s try the following in this particular order:
• Seed based spices
• Seed based oils
• Soaked and dehydrated seeds
• Seed kinds of butter & flours
• Raw seeds & toasted seeds
• Cocoa and Coffee separate
• Nuts if most seeds digested well.
Let’s Try Eggs:
Start with the egg yolk. Most people tolerate the yolks very well and are sensitive to the egg white. However, if you are reacting to eggs consider that most eggs are fed corn and soy and you may actually be reacting to the transfer of those proteins into the eggs. If this is the case you can attempt eating pastured eggs and seeing if you’re less sensitive. If you aren’t then you probably are reacting to eggs.
Let’s Try Nightshades:
Last but not least, introduce nightshades. Nightshades are recommended to be reintroduced last because people with autoimmune disorders react highly to nightshades. Make sure to reintroduce only one at a time to narrow down which nightshade you may be reacting to.
Choice # 2: Starting With Low-Risk Foods
If you can hold off on that pizza night and are hoping for minimal reactions then this is the place for you to start.
|Phase 1:||Phase 2:||Phase 3:||Phase 4:|
|Egg Yolks||Nuts||Coffee||Grass-fed milk|
|Grass Fed Ghee||Seeds||Cashews & Pistachios||Grass-fed cheese|
|Fresh Legumes||Cocoa||Grass-fed Cream||Potatoes|
|Fruit Base Spices||Egg Whites||Fermented Dairy||Tomatoes|
|Seed Base Spices||Alcohol Small Amounts||Eggplant||Nightshade Spices|
|Seed and Nut Oils||Grass-fed Butter||Sweet Bell-Peppers||White Rice|
|Paprika||Alcohol Larger Quantities|
These phases are not an exact science and everyone is going to react differently to each phase. You may react to food in phase 1 but not react at all in phase 3. Also, phase 4 may have you wondering if this book even makes sense because grains and legumes are not included in the standard paleo diet. Grains and legumes are actually included in the 80/20 version of the paleo diet. Do not reintroduce these those if you are not in remission from your autoimmune disease.
Procedure for Reintroduction
Stage 1: Prep the food you want to reintroduce. Prepping the food helps keep you prepared and your stress level down.
Stage 2: Now I know your mama taught you manners, so start with tiny bites. I mean tiny. The first bite take only ½ teaspoon wait 15 minutes. If no reaction take another, but this time a full teaspoon. If no reaction, then continue this process. If at any time a reaction occurs. Surrender to the food guards in your tummy and STOP!
Stage 3: Dig in! Eat a normal size portion, but don’t overeat. Our digestive system is not designed for mass quantities of any food.
Stage 4: Take a break! Stop eating the food for the next 3 days. Three days may seem like a lot to you, but reactions can occur immediately or within 72 hours of the first bite. If no reaction occurs then move onto stage 5. If a reaction occurs then you no you are intolerant to that food.
Stage 5: Nibble for the next week, just a little bit of the food each day. Your body will either react in a way that you can’t miss or it will react ever so slightly that you may miss it. You want to continue eating the food for a week so if you did miss a slight reaction, you will notice it over the course of a week.
You probably haven’t written in a diary or journal for quite some time, don’t worry you don’t need to fear your deepest darkest secrets being exposed…unless it is your symptoms that are being exposed. Right now you are part of a guessing game. Your body is and will be unpredictable during the Reintroduction Phase, but there is nothing wrong with that. Really you’re going to need to channel the inner experimenter in you because this phase will be a complete exploration trial. This trial will not be completed in just one week, because healing does take time, but once you are healed you won’t have to worry about your autoimmune symptoms anymore!
Begin at Baseline:
Definitely start your symptom diary or journal for at a minimum of a week before you begin your Reintroduction Phase. This will give you a documented baseline that you can check back on while introducing new foods.
It is very important that when you start the Reintroduction Phase that your lifestyle is as simple as possible. Any unwanted or unnecessary stress will affect your symptoms while moving forward. Keep your environment as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
Make sure you have the tools you need set up before you start. If you don’t like to cook, prep food ahead of time or pick easy to grab meals that will help your stress levels. Also, make sure you have your diary or journal ready to go. These don’t need to be fancy; you can use an actual book or something as simple as your phone or post-it notes.
So what exactly are you looking for when it comes to symptoms? Here are some questions you can ask yourself;
• How did your digestion feel?
• Did you sleep well or night wake a lot?
• Do you have clarity and a clean mind or a lot of brain fog?
• Have you had mood swings or do you feel more emotional lately?
• Do you have joint or muscle pain? You can track it on a scale of 1-10.
• Are you refreshed in the morning or still exhausted?
• Are you breaking out or having any skin changes?
• You can track any of your autoimmune symptoms and how they are improving or declining or staying the same.
• Also, once you start the reintroduction you will need to record everything that you have eaten.
It’s Your Reintroduction Phase You Can Cry If You Want To!
You may think crying over food is a little ridiculous, but it absolutely isn’t. Food has been a major part of our lives since we were born. As soon as we are born we begin to nurse and fall in love with food. We actually probably fell in love in utero, when we had 24/7 room service whenever we wanted. Starting the AIP can be difficult not only on your body but your emotions as well. Many of us, like the majority of Australian’s, use food daily in congruence with our emotions. If you are celebrating you eat, some eat if they are upset, some eat if they are tired, some eat if they stressed, the list can go on. So in a way cutting down your diet can be something you grieve for a while. Many around you may be able to eat whatever they want and you may feel left out, it’s a completely normal stage in the process.
Here are some tips to help you survive the emotional process:
*Get a good support group. Even if nobody else in your family is going on the AIP make sure they are supportive of your decision. If the family is not looking to join support groups for AIP. There are tons on social media that you can find.
*Let yourself grieve. No seriously go through the grieving process and embrace these emotions. Bottling them up will only set you up for failure.
*Love your body. Don’t believe any negative words about your body. Your body is not your competitor; you are teammates and will conquer this journey together!
*This won’t last forever. Take each day with a 1-0 mentality. This isn’t for the rest of your life it is only momentarily and if you can push through you will see great healing.
*Kick your feet up and RELAX. Make sure you take time daily to decompress and unwind. The AIP is emotionally draining and you need to reserve your mind and body for the obstacles ahead.
Survival of the Fittest.
This page isn’t to frighten you but instead prepare you for the possibility of an autoimmune flare up. This very well can occur during the Reintroduction Phase. Despite flare-ups being pretty uncomfortable, you definitely can find the blessing in the disguise. Once you get through the flare up you will know your body, in fact, does not respond well to this food. Once you completely eliminate the problem food, your body will continue to heal.
Survival Tips During Flare Up!
*Take time to rest. Don’t overdue it. As soon as you realise you are having a flare up, stop what you are doing and get adequate rest. Your body is at battle with the invader (food) so it is important to get rest while you can. This will boost your immune system to recover faster.
*Treat your pain & sleep. Autoimmune responses definitely can cause some very intense pain. Whatever you’re go-to for pain is don’t feel uncomfortable about using it, even if it is in the way of medication. You can also use Epsom salt baths to detox from the reaction and relieve pain as well.
*Control your mind and team up with your body and realise that this will not last forever. The more you stress out about your reaction the longer and worst it will get. STRESS is not good for our bodies. Since you are in charge of your mind, make a conscious effort to take each thought captive. Maybe you need a distraction if so take advantage of some outdoor therapy no matter what the season is. The outdoors are a great distraction and a natural serotonin booster.
Slip-Ups and Hiccups To Escape
So let me give you an easy escape route for common hiccups that do occur during the AIP.
*Don’t rush into the Reintroduction Phase. It is very easy to want to do this, especially because you may be getting sick of the same foods and miss your old foods. Don’t fall for this trick!
*Don’t reintroduce numerous foods at once. As tempting as it may be, stick to only one food.
*Don’t shorten the reintroduction period of foods. Keep the timing congruent with each food.
*Don’t reintroduce a food when you are still recovering from a reaction. Make sure you get to a good baseline.
*Don’t reintroduce food from a restaurant. Make sure you know the source of your food completely and you reintroduce cooked at home. It is just too risky with cross contamination and hidden ingredients when it comes from a restaurant.
*Don’t binge! Yes, this can be very hard when you haven’t eaten the food in quite some time, but refrain from binge eating! Bingeing is bad for your digestive system whether you have autoimmune problems or you’re the healthiest person in the world.
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Yours in Health and Harmony,