If you are like me, it took a while for you to sum up the courage to reintroduce any foods after having found so much relief in the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. I gingerly dipped my toe into the waters of re-introductions at 9-months.
Oddly enough, as I moved to reintroduce foods carefully using the methods clearly defined in Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix, I found that while nightshades clearly were not my friend, there were many foods that I just could not tell if I had a reaction to or not – so I chose to avoid them. But, I was confident that eggs – yolk and white, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, mustard, black pepper, vanilla bean, chocolate (in small doses), ghee, cider, coffee and white rice cause me no ill effects. Life was bright, I was working with a clear head, I had more foods in my life and it was full steam ahead.
Life became busier, I became a little more absent minded, and I began pick up that potato chip that fell on the counter while preparing school lunches and eat it – no reaction to just one… I was given a sense of freedom, so then came the odd gluten-free pretzel, or the almond that fell out of the snack bag. I didn’t react to these little tastes, so I told my body it was ok…
Our local breakfast place started serving gluten- free pancakes. I was told they were the best gluten-free pancakes, so I tried a forkful and they were incredibly good and so left-overs in the fridge would become a quick breakfast (always with bacon).
Slowly my small amounts of chocolate became more of a regular thing; my once a week coffee became a daily occurrence; and my stress levels, for various reasons, became higher – putting pressure on me to work more hours… Is this sounding familiar? I know I’m not alone!
Was I getting away with it?
Had my body healed to a place where I could do this?
Had I reversed my autoimmune disease to a place where I could push these boundaries? it’s a place we all aspire to go, right?
My body wasn’t in pain like it had been in the past. Sure it ached in the mornings, and I was waking with numbness in my fingers, but I told myself that I was just so tired due to my extra working hours; that the way I love to sleep with my arm under my pillow and the dead sleep I fell into was causing this… I told myself that the increased swelling in my legs was as result of poor lymphatics caused by my Lyme Disease, and that my functional doctor said that we needed to tackle other symptoms first… I told myself that my reduced patience and willingness to eat out was just because I was busy, and it was ok to eat out as long I kept to no nightshades, gluten and dairy.
But, when I sat down and was truly honest with myself, there were four key things that I had stopped doing that stepped outside of the the Autoimmune Protocol template.
- I was unconsciously reintroducing foods, so I had no way of tracking my food/mood or emotions!
- I was not managing my stress and my mindfulness routine was completely out of whack!
- I was working longer hours, without the boundaries I had previously put in place – meaning that my hours of sleep were impacted!
- I was looking at a shadow of my former self, denying that I had slipped backwards yet aware enough to know I needed to reset myself!
So, I took time to sit with those self-reflections, took them to my therapist (everybody should have one! -they will say things a friend would never say to you), shared them with Jo (everybody needs a Jo, she will also tell you things you need to hear!), and while they could’ve defeated me, I chose to do two things.
- Recognize that I’m only human; that throughout my entire life my greatest learning has come from mistakes and failures; that through those mistakes I have received some of the greatest rewards and most amazing experiences.
- I decided to reset my body; repeat 30-days of the Autoimmune Protocol and rebuild my foundation; commit myself to a reset every 6-months as my own personal pilgrimage to reset not only my gut, but also to reinforce my mindfulness practice as my core foundation.
Are you ready for a reset? Have you already benefited from doing one? We would love to hear from you.