A few months ago, I was diagnosed with a skin disease that occurs due to an autoimmune/auto-inflammatory condition. It’s called Hidradenitis Suppurativa, or HS for short.
Long story short: I get these awfully swollen/painful lesions in my armpits, bra line and sometimes my groin area. Real cute stuff. It starts when a sweat gland and/or hair follicle (the jury is still out on this one; with the disease being rare and semi-new in the medical world, there isn’t a definitive answer) becomes blocked. My body goes into overdrive and the lesions/nodules occur because of cell overgrowth.
Treatment options are slim in the medical world, so I’ve decided to take an as-holisitic-as-possible approach to healing.
Enter: the AIP diet. Like any other diet, it’s basically a list of what to eat and what not to eat in order to decrease inflammation in the body and pinpoint your personal triggers.
Remember, everyone is different and every method affects people differently.
What NOT to eat on AIP: gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, processed foods, caffeine, nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms), alcohol, among others.
What to eat MORE of on AIP: Veggies, organic meat, seafood, antioxidant-rich fruits, omega-3 rich foods, anti-inflammatory foods (think turmeric, bone broth, sauerkraut, cruciferous veggies), among others.
Personally, I’ve eliminated gluten and dairy entirely from my diet. While I used to drink a few glasses of wine a week, now I really don’t consume alcohol at all either, unless it’s a special occasion.
I haven’t eliminated caffeine (helllloooo, coffee addiction) or nightshades (I just really love mushrooms and tomatoes) yet, but honestly, I’ve seen a huge improvement with just eliminating gluten and dairy, so I’m going to stick with that for now.
I don’t own a scale, so I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost, BUT that isn’t the main point of this journey: I’m working on healing myself from the inside out. Getting all the toxins I’ve been putting into my body for years, OUT. Putting healthy, nutrient-rich foods back IN my everyday consumption.
Besides eliminating certain foods, I’ve incorporated some supplements into my daily routine as well. Since January, I’ve been having a protein shake for breakfast every morning. Due to AIP, I’ve now switched from a whey-based protein to a pea protein, which allows me to get the protein I need without the possible inflammation from dairy.
I’ve also started drinking exogenous ketones, thanks to my dear friend Natalie for introducing me to these! After drinking one serving, your body goes into nutritional ketosis within the hour. During that state, your body is using fat for fuel. As I’m eating whole foods to heal my gut, I’m also drinking ketones to put myself into ketosis for the added health benefits.
Being in a state of ketosis not only burns fat for fuel, but also gives you mental clarity and energy for days. Definitely more info to come about how these have played a role in my recovery and helped me stay on top of my shit.
Flax seed has also become a staple in all my smoothies and baking. It’s naturally rich in Omega 3’s and can help fight inflammation and boost your immune system. Turmeric is also a spice you can find in just about all of my dishes, because it’s flavorful, colorful and an anti-inflammatory food!
Additionally, I’ve started drinking electrolytes daily to ensure I’m hydrated and my body is functioning at its highest level. As I stated earlier, HS is an autoimmune/auto-inflammatory condition, so the more support for my immune system, the better! Think of how you drink gatorade when you’ve got the flu: I could use more electrolytes to help my immune system and keep my body hydrated when I’m functioning normally, not just when I’m sick.
People love to focus on what they CAN’T have when they’re “on a diet”. That’s where your mindset comes in. Don’t think of what you can’t have, think of what you need more of to help you function as your highest self.
I don’t want to eat processed foods because they’re bad for me and will affect my health. I do want to eat antioxidant-rich, healthy whole foods to fuel my body properly.
Have any of you gone through an experience like this? I’m a newbie in this world, honestly, so any tips or anecdotes to share are highly appreciated.