Do you ever think “I could never do THAT. It’s just not me. I’m not….fill in the blank.”
Rather, I used to.
If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would eat the way I eat now ALL the time, I most likely would have laughed out loud.
“Not possible,” I would argue.
You see, I did not think I had this AIP lifestyle in me.
Turns out, I did. I just had to lose my health first and hit my rock bottom.
Breaking the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Stereotype
When I started the autoimmune protocol, I did not know anyone who ate AIP, in person or on social media.
In fact, I took a social media break for months before and while starting AIP so I had no clue about the amazing online AIP community.
Within weeks of being AIP, I started finding doctors and bloggers online who found incredible success and wellness through eating AIP.
In my head, and without knowing much (if anything) about the people in REAL life, I stereotyped them.
I created an AIP checklist, so to speak, and determined I did not fit in.
You Must Have Superhuman Willpower
Nope, you do not need superhuman willpower.
You just need your “why.”
WHY do you want to try the autoimmune protocol?
I encourage you to sit down with a paper and a pen, and brainstorm. Write down ALL the reasons you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Write down what you want to be able to do again. Write down new dreams and goals. Then, keep dreaming up more, and thinking about how it is going to feel when you get there.
Post your list of “why”s where you can see it.
Then, just start.
Know it’s going to be hard at first. It will be hard for awhile. Change is hard.
But when the going gets so tough you question your sanity, hold on to your “why”s. Cling to your dreams, and your vision for your new life.
Then, keep going. It WILL get easier. I promise. It may take longer than you thought, but it WILL get easier.
You Must Follow AIP ALL The Time
Everybody is different.
The beautiful thing about the autoimmune protocol is it is a template! Meaning, it can be customized to YOU.
Maybe following the AIP ALL the time is too stressful for you, and the stress is causing autoimmune flares and sleep disturbances.
Maybe following the AIP ALL the time helps you feel better than you’ve felt in years.
I fall into the latter group, but maybe you do not.
It is okay either way. I encourage you to learn to listen to your body, find what works for your life, and to embrace self-care.
You Must Start the AIP All at Once
Nope, not true. You do not have to start the AIP cold turkey, all at once.
You can totally ease into it. Baby steps or toddler steps are still steps in the right direction!
What did I do?
I jumped right in. However, I was at my rock bottom, and desperate to feel better.
Also, I feel like I had a head start. When I started AIP, I kicked my soda/caffeine addiction the year prior, and I was entering my 6th (I think…maybe longer?) year of being gluten free.
In other words, I had a HUGE head start…and starting the AIP STILL felt incredibly difficult to me.
If you are not at your rock bottom (or if you are), and the AIP feels too overwhelming, you can 100% take it in steps at your own pace!
There are even AIP Certified Coaches and programs to help you ease into the autoimmune protocol!
You Must Follow AIP To a “T”
Again, the autoimmune protocol is a customizable template.
There may be some foods you do not need to eliminate, and there may be some AIP foods that your body does not do well with.
There were a couple AIP foods that I discovered I needed to eliminate for a couple of months, then I reintroduced them with zero issues.
Other AIP elimination phase foods I still do not tolerate well.
The reintroduction phase is so great for helping to determine what your body needs.
You Must Be a Gourmet Chef to Go AIP
I am anything but a gourmet chef.
I love to keep things simple.
However, I did learn to cook cleanly and simply. I regularly googled things like “how long do I cook chicken thighs in an oven?”, “easy aip recipe for bone broth?”, and “how do I cut and cook Brussel sprouts?”
My Facebook status should probably be…In a Relationship: With Google.
You do not need to be a gourmet chef, and you do not need to buy any cookbooks.
In fact, I stayed away from AIP cookbooks until I got in the groove of simple AIP cooking and food prep.
Now, I have some favorite AIP cookbooks, but I still only use recipes a couple times a week, and usually just to spice things up.
You Must Shop at Whole Foods and Frequent Farmer’s Markets
Nope, you do not.
Up until this week, I did not even have a Whole Foods or a decent Farmer’s Market near me.
You can 100% find AIP friendly foods at almost any store! Maybe there will not be as much variety, but you can.
Shop the perimeter, and do not stress if you cannot find “organic,” “cage-free,” or “grass-fed” everything. Yes, it is preferred and the best option, but work with what you’ve got and do not sweat the rest!
You Must Grow Your Own Greens
When I think of an AIPer, I tend to think of a calm person out tending their perfectly manicured garden, full of a variety of vegetables.
Me? I kill a basic houseplant.
I have a black thumb.
While I know there is a gardener in me somewhere, I have yet to find her. Yet I am a very successful AIPer!
So, if you have a black thumb like me, take heart! Your gardening abilities have nothing to do with whether or not you will find wellness through the autoimmune protocol.
However, if you are a gardener, and have any tips or resources to help a sister out, I would LOVE if it you would leave a comment with any tips. Our new house has some garden boxes, and I am determined to plant something stat.
You Must Ferment Your Own Foods
While this is also on my “one day I will try it” list, it is not a prerequisite for success on the autoimmune protocol.
With that said, fermented foods are incredibly good for the gut micro biome. However, you do not have to make your own. I purchase AIP friendly wild fermented foods from my local health store. I will say that I am still working on incorporating them.
Confession: I am still in the phase of “Ew. That looks disgusting, not today. I’ll eat some tomorrow.” What can I say? I am a work in progress. I do not particularly like the taste yet.
You Must Be Well Educated, and Speak Properly ALL The Time
Ummm, no idea why I ever thought this.
While I love reading and learning new things, I did not attend an Ivy league school. Heck, I did not even finish my bachelor’s degree. I do not consider myself “well educated” in the traditional sense.
However, I am truly passionate about self-education and lifelong learning! There are tons of FREE AIP resources online. It’s just up to us to put in the effort, and do our research!
As far as speaking properly…in case you could not tell from my writing, I do not speak properly most of the time. I love casual, real talk.
And I occasionally cuss…accidentally and on purpose.
Spoiler Alert: There is No “Box”
It took me a bit of time to realize there is room for EVERYONE in the AIP community…even me.
The “box” was all in my head.
The stereotypes are not real.
There are real, everyday people living and finding wellness through the autoimmune protocol.
The autoimmune protocol comes with zero prerequisites.
Come as you are.
We welcome you with open arms, lots of love, and ALL the support! Happy to have you!
I am cheering you on SO hard!
You DO You
You can still be every bit of YOU that you are on the autoimmune protocol.
The autoimmune protocol is only meant to change your quality of life.
To improve the quality of your life.
To help you enjoy your hobbies.
To support you in realizing your dreams.
You be you.
I’ll be me.
We can each be our authentic selves, and learn to live well with autoimmune disease.
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