Day 31: 16 things I’ve learned at the half way mark of my Autoimmune Protocol Challenge

I’m officially into the second half of my 60 day Autoimmune Protocol Challenge! It’s not been easy and there have been tears (almost) and lots of cravings, but here I am half way through having not completely lost the plot and still resigned to seeing this through to the bitter end.

It would be pretty fatiguing for me and for you if I were just to list all of the things I’ve learned so far on this journey as there would be so many bullet points you’d develop repetitive strain injury just from all the scrolling. So here are just a few… and categorised for your convenience.

Things I have learned about elimination diets:

  • They’re hard and you will get cravings. Duh!
  • You have to plan ahead or you are setting yourself up for a serious failure… or some serious hunger.
  • You must arm yourself with lots of AIP recipes or you will become disheartened and bored.
  • 100% compliance is important, but takes time. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of this first month just adjusting to the protocol rather than actually following it to the letter.
  • Managing stress and getting enough sleep are almost as important as getting the right nutrition and enough exercise. These things had not really even occurred to me before this journey.
  • Getting enough sleep is much easier when you cut caffeine out of your life.

Things I have learned about myself:

  • I have quite a lot of determination.
  • I can steer myself into thinking more positively if I make the effort and am mindful of not giving too much energy to negative thoughts.
  • I have a sweet tooth – I honestly did not know this about myself. I thought I would miss cheese more than I’d miss chocolate!
  • I don’t need alcohol to have a good time! I can honestly say I do not miss alcohol. Even the glass of red wine on a Friday evening to wind down. I barely even remember that alcohol exists any more. It’s liberating.
  • I have a definite caffeine addiction, but I have the resolve to not give in to temptation. And so far I haven’t. Not once. Which I’m very proud of.
  • I can write almost 1000 words a day for this blog. I really thought this would be one of the things I would let slip pretty quickly, but the positive comments and feedback have kept me going.
  • I am able to survive social situations on AIP especially if I’m honest with people about why I’m following such a strict diet.

Things I’ve learned and changes in my condition:

  • Other than the last few days (where I think I’ve had a UTI), my general pain level has decreased significantly, especially in the evenings which was the time that was causing me the most distress.
  • I’m almost definitely sensitive to glucose (evidenced by the correlation between gorging on dates and painful flares).
  • Fish seems to act as an almost instant pain relief, which I never would have guessed before.

Ok, so this blog post definitely has the potential to act as a bit of death by bullet point. But I really have learned a lot from this process. Other things I’m expecting over the next few weeks are to come to the conclusion that two months isn’t enough for this challenge and although it was a good target to being with, it will most likely need to be extended as I can’t see full remission in my very near future. And full remission is required to start the reintroduction phase properly.

I am also surprised at how much I’m enjoying the writing side of this journey. Despite having a degree in journalism, I have never been able to stick at posting regularly to a blog in the past. I guess having a topic that is already on my mind on a daily basis probably helps.

As well as some things I foresee in the next few weeks, there are also some things I think I should be aiming for:

  • Full remission – obvs.
  • A higher level of acceptance of my situation and patience with it.
  • To try and be even more mindful of the effect this might be having on the people who are closest to me and care about me. And letting them in more.

That was the last of the bullet points, I promise. For today anyway. Thanks for coming this far with me on my journey. Knowing that my experience is being helpful to some of the few people who stumble across this blog is part of what’s giving me the motivation to write every day. But if you’re going through something similar, I think blogging – or journalling of any kind – is great for reflecting at the end of the day. It helps you put things in perspective and forces you to get some of the thoughts out of your head. And for some thoughts, out of your head is the best place for them.

Have you been on an elimination diet? What did you learn from it?

Food Diary
Breakfast: Smoked salmon and rocket
Lunch: 4 gluten free lamb and mint sausages with parsnip chips.
Dinner: Beef Fried Plantain Rice
Snacks: 1 pear and 1 apple

Pain level
Started out quite high again at about a 3 and went down at about 11am. Picked up again at about 3pm and has got increasingly worse (about a 4 or 5) until about now (9pm) when it seems to be easing off a little bit. I don’t have high hopes for a pain free bedtime, but fingers crossed.


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