For the last few months, I have had some stubborn patches of eczema on my face that were refusing to clear up. They were not too bad – mostly on my forehead where they were hidden by my hair, so I was not too bothered about them.
But over the Christmas break, it flared up in a BIG way. I suspect it was as a result of a combination of stress (because lets face it, Christmas is a stressful time) and not eating a perfectly Paleo diet.
I ended up with really sore, itchy, scaley and red patches not only on my face, but on other parts of my body as well. My entire forehead was affected, there was one on the right side of my nose, and two patches on either side of my chin. the back of my neck was affected, and there were several patches on my torso as well. All of them were (are!) maddeningly itchy and they look AWFUL!
As a result of this, I decided to try the autoimmune protocol in an attempt to clear it up (eczema can be considered a symptom of autoimmune disease).
So what is the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol?
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol is a variant of the Paleo diet designed to combat autoimmune diseases and disorders. It takes the basic Paleo diet and goes one step further, cutting out anything that can cause gut irritation and inflammation in your body.
In a nutshell, you permanently eliminate
- all processed foods
- all refined oils
- all refined/processed sugars
- all grains
- all legumes
The in addition to that, for 30 days you eliminate
- all nightshades including nightshade spices
- seeds (including spices that are seeds)
The foods in this last group are eliminated for 30 days and then gradually reintroduced. All the foods in the second group are common allergens, and are often foods that will either irritate the gut or cause inflammation in the body. In addition, some of them can have a cross-reaction with gluten, so if you are gluten intolerant, you can also be intolerant to these foods as well (this is especially true of coffee and chocolate).
So essentially, the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is an elimination diet. The purpose of eliminating those foods in the second group is to allow your body to clear them out of your system. That way, when you reintroduce them your body will react if you have an intolerance, and then you can permanently eliminate them from your diet. It is rare that someone is intolerant to everything in the second group.
In addition to cutting out the above foods, you should also include foods that will help heal your gut (leaky gut is a common problem for people with autoimmune diseases). These foods include:
- pastured meats (beef, chicken, turkey, duck, bison) and wild meats such as venison
- organ meats from pastured animals
- bone broth
- wild caught fish and shellfish
- healthy fats (animal fats from pastured animals, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil)
- organic fruits and vegetables
- fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, water kefir, apple cider vinegar)
More information on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol can be found on these sites
- Paleo Mom
- Autoimmune Paleo
- Paleo Spirit
- The Clothes Make the Girl
- Phoenix Helix
- Empowered Sustenance
- Paleo Parents
There are a lot more links than these if you put “Paleo Autoimmune Protocol” into Google, but those above should get you started.