One question I am often asked is some version of, “Do I REALLY eat according to the autoimmune protocol ALL the time?”
What about when I travel?
Do I REALLY eat according to the autoimmune protocol (AIP) ALL the time while I travel?
This weekend I am traveling to my first workshop weekend for my Nutritional Therapy Program…will I eat AIP ALL weekend? Is it even possible to eat AIP while traveling and busy in a three-day long training away from home?
Yes! I will eat AIP all weekend, even though I am traveling and in a three day training workshop. It IS possible to eat AIP while traveling!
It took me time to figure out how to make AIP work for me while traveling, and it felt incredibly challenging for a time.
I also felt loads of fear the first number of times I traveled while on the autoimmune protocol. I did not let the fear stop me from traveling, and I keep getting more accustomed to traveling on the autoimmune protocol. Each trip I learn something new.
WHY do I eat AIP when I travel?
Why not “cheat?”
One of the beautiful things about life is we are all uniquely different, and we can innately know what our bodies need and when.
I know that at this point in my life, I truly feel best when I eat according to the autoimmune protocol.
Honestly, the fact that I can even travel at all is thanks to the autoimmune protocol!
I LOVE to travel, and I remember being heartbroken at my rock bottom not knowing if I could feel well enough to travel again.
Traveling to the NTP workshop this weekend marks my 6th time traveling so far in 2019!
I can hardly believe it!
Each trip I took, I ate 100% AIP.
Guys, it IS possible!
If you are at rock bottom, too sick to function normally, mourning the life you used to live, PLEASE know there IS hope!
I will tell you straight up, it will be so incredibly hard.
You will want to quit.
It will take time, patience, and perseverance.
But you CAN feel better.
Maybe not perfect. My health is far from perfect, and I try to roll with the punches.
Sometimes I may feel knocked out, but I do not stay down.
The autoimmune protocol helps minimize the damage, and I can bounce back from a flare. Even while traveling.
What about when life gets crazy?
We ALL have those times in life where things get cray cray.
Off the charts cuh-razy.
Honestly, I am there right now, as I type this.
We are finishing packing up our house to move out of state on top of normal life as a homeschooling and working from home mama, and I forgot how moving is ALL kinds of crazy!
Holy canoli, moving is bananas.
I must have mentally blocked out our previous moves in the name of self-preservation!
So, do I still eating AIP through the chaos?
A thousand percent YES!
In fact, I buckle down even more on my nutrition during times of craziness.
I make sure I eat nutrient dense, macro balanced meals as much as I can to regulate my blood sugar levels, keep my energy up, and boost my immune system.
Further, I cut out any AIP reintroductions 90% of the time as a precaution.
The result? I may feel hints of a flare here or there, but I can keep those intense, “kill me now” flares at bay.
The autoimmune protocol does that for me!
Craziness and stress is NOT an excuse to stop taking care of ourselves.
On the contrary, we should be laser focused on nutrition and self-care during times of craziness and stress!
What about my birthday?
A birthday is only once a year, and is a time for celebration.
Surely, I must splurge once a year on my birthday, and throw AIP to the wind.
To me, my birthday is a celebration of life.
I am happy, fulfilled, and living and working toward my dreams and goals.
Is life all rainbows and butterflies?
But life is better than I imagined in my darkest moments. And I will celebrate that all day long!
Eating crappy food did not get me here.
The autoimmune protocol did.
So, I celebrate with an AIP cake! I TOTALLY spurge, pull out all the stops, and buy this one – my favorite!
What about at family holiday gatherings?
I did not grow up eating AIP, and I have as many holiday favorite dishes as the next person.
I am finding new AIP favorites!
If the family gathering I am going to does not have AIP compliant food, I am more than happy to bring my own. Honestly, it does not bother me a bit!
I sometimes worry what others at gatherings will think about me, or say about me behind my back. I wonder if they think I think I am too good for their food.
Then, I remember it does not matter.
If they love me and care about me, underneath it all, they want me to be healthy and happy.
The autoimmune protocol helps me be healthy and happy.
I am unwilling to sacrifice a non-AIP meal and feeling sick for two weeks unable to take care of my family or function, just for the sake of fitting in.
Full disclosure: I did that last year. Once.
Once is all it took for me to learn that lesson.
No, thank you.
I will say, I do get over-the-moon excited when I go to a family holiday gathering and there is AIP food there.
Example? We celebrated Easter a few days ago, and our family went to my parents house.
My mom cooked everything since we are moving, and I about died when we arrived and I realized 99% of the dinner was AIP! I’m talking roast, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, brussel sprouts, broccoli, watermelon, strawberries, blackberries, and more! An AIPer’s dream.
Ah-mazing! I do not think she understood how much it really meant to me!
How about date nights with my man?
My man does not eat according to the AIP, so how do we handle date nights?
I wrote a blog post dishing all about it that you can read here.
Long story, short…at first, we focused our date nights on activities rather than food, then gradually, we started eating out again as my health improved.
It took time, effort, and communication, but our date nights are alive and well.
There are a few restaurants with AIP options I feel comfortable eating at. I share how I learned to eat out on the autoimmune protocol here.
We tried a few restaurants I thought would be okay, but cross-contamination is a real thing and I paid the price a few times.
So, yes, I eat 100% AIP on date nights too.
I want nothing to do with a “cheat” meal when it ends with me lying in bed, unable to function.
REALLY, 100% AIP All of the Time?
I eat AIP ALL the time.
100% of the time.
I do have a few reintroductions, and I will be working toward more…after we move and settle in.
Do I Feel Deprived?
I do not feel deprived at all. In fact, I feel more fulfilled than I ever have.
Ironically, even when I revert to strict AIP, I do not feel deprived.
I feel free.
Free from my autoimmune disease symptoms.
Free from my old emotional eating habits.
Free to live my life and dream big!
I am in no way, shape, or form saying that you need to eat AIP ALL the time.
In fact, I am not even saying you need to eat AIP some of the time.
Nor am I saying I will continue eating AIP ALL the time for the rest of my life.
I am a big believer in bio-individuality. In other words, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
Further, what works best for me now may not be what works best for me in five, ten, or twenty years from now.
I am simply sharing my experience.
Take it, or leave it. 😉
I’m doing me.
You do you…said with all the love in my heart for you!
A Life Sentence
To some, thinking about living with an autoimmune disease and finding wellness through the autoimmune protocol can feel like a life sentence. I know that is exactly how I felt. During my first few months on the autoimmune protocol, I experienced thoughts like “How can I possibly live like this?!” and “I cannot do this. No way can I do it long term.”
Then a funny thing happened.
I started living again.
Yes, I still felt the emotional pain and scars from years of health struggles and I still mourned the old me, but I felt the inkling of something new.
Hope that I could find wellness.
Hope that I may not get my old life back, but discovering I could create a beautiful new life full of endless possibilities, new adventures, love, and laughter.
The autoimmune protocol nutrition and lifestyle did that for me.
So if the autoimmune protocol is a life sentence, I will take that kind of a life sentence ALL day, EVERY day.
Thank you, very much.
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