The Diet I Said I Would Never Do Again

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that I struggled with ulcerative colitis for many years. If you’d like to read my story, you can check it out here, but the short of it is that I tried all sorts of diet and lifestyle changes with not one ounce of improvement in my symptoms – if anything, they just got worse and worse (probably because I was so darn stressed and obsessed with my illness). Included in those changes was a 4-month stint on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet. It was insanely restrictive, so, not surprisingly, for some who loves food, it made me pretty miserable. And, on top of that, I never got one bit better, so I vowed never to do the AIP diet again. (At the end of month 4 on the diet, I actually got pregnant and my immune system regulated itself, so I stopped the insansity.)

After reading that, I’m sure you’re wondering why now? Why the heck would I put myself though all of that misery again? Well, it’s pretty simple: I’m still a sick person, and I don’t want to be. Sure, Enytvio is doing a great job keeping me in remission (*knock on wood*), but by the time I get to the week right before my next infusion, things get a little wonky on the GI front. They’re not terrible by any means, but they’re a constant reminder that I need Entyvio to stay well, which, obviously, I know is a blessing, but also frustrating to think about at times.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

A few months ago, Kristin from Thrive by Food reach out to me about working together. We had a couple of phone calls and we realized we had quite a lot in common. She struggled with ulcerative colitis for many years to the point where certain drugs stopped working for her and surgery was her next option. She ultimately healed herself through food and lifestyle changes, and her approach was different from what I’ve done in the past with other practitioners, so I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to work with her. Kristin and I just started working together, so I’ll share updates about my progress over the next several months. But, so far, we’ve done some testing and created a protocol, so I’ll go more in depth about it soon. The short of it though is that I have some SERIOUS inflammation going on (I’m talking to my GI doctor about it on Thursday), and we found a parasite in my gut. Interesting, right? It’s hard to know if it caused the UC or is making it worse OR the UC made me more susceptible to getting a parasite, buttttttt we’re working to get rid of it over the next 4 months. I’m rambling, but I’ll share more once I make sense of everything.

I’m still waiting to receive some supplements in the mail to officially start the protocol, but I already started the AIP diet with (oh, yes) my LEAP food sensitivities in mind. I know that sounds insane, BUT I feel like I’m in a much better headspace now. When I first tried AIP, I was so sick and desperate to be better, my mental state made everything worse. Now that I’m in remission (*knock on wood*), it’s a good time to give it another whirl. Also, now that I have my LEAP results, I realize there were a number of foods that I frequently consumed during my first AIP trial that probably made my situation worse. Hopefully, avoiding them this time around will give me better results. Plus, I finally realize that not one single diet is going to make me better. I really need to figure it out for myself, so I’m combining the two and creating my own diet… and NOT stressing about it, which is definitely key!

More updates to come!

Question of the Day

Have you ever tried the AIP diet? If so, any advice, resources, favorite recipes to share? 

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43 Comments

  1. Hi Tina-
    I wanted to chime in on natural deodorant from a few posts before. A few people mentioned Native and Schmidt’s. Both of those deodorants contain baking soda which can be harsh on skin. Give Lume deodorant a try- all natural, no baking soda or aluminum and delevoped by a Gynecologist. 48 hour protection and can be used on private parts too!

  2. Interesting about the parasite. Last year, after the birth of my second daughter, I was having some digestive issues. I found out I had a parasite, took a wicked antibiotic, and got rid of it. But, my digestive tract has never been the same (i.e. bathroom issues). I spent months convinced that there was something seriously wrong with me. (I have major health anxiety and pair that with a just having a baby. Wow. A terrible few months.) We ran all the tests you could think of and nothing come up. I finally had a scan of my gallbladder and it was discovered that it was majorly under functioning. No stones, just not working well. Anyway, I’ve always wondered if the parasite brought the gallbladder issues to the surface/made it so much worse, if it was pregnancy/hormones, if it’s all just a coincidence. It was so exhausting trying to figure it out. A year later I’ve come to terms (kind of) that this is my new normal.

  3. Eekkkks! Parasite! Will you be doing a parasite cleanse to get rid of it? So many people have them and don’t even know it… until they start having symptoms!!

  4. I’ve commented before on your blog. I have two kids with Crohn’s. We do a dairy free version of SCD. One child also needs top 8 allergens free. It’s helped them so much! One has never had medications and in remission. Everyone is so different and everyone’s disease is so different. It’s frustrating when you don’t get the results you hope for. I applaud you for always trying new things. I just started working with a new ND for my child not in remission. We are doing some testing and hope to find the missing piece to her puzzle. I appreciate you sharing your journey. May you find healing!

  5. Hi Tina,
    My sister in law went on the AIP diet for over a year and eventually an even more restrictive diet (can you believe that?!) to try and heal her gut/health issues. She studied nutrition and works as a nurse and is the most thorough person I know in researching. All this to say she discovered “pickl-it”, an anaerobic way to ferment various foods. Fermented foods used to be very common in diets and are extremely nourishing. Since adding fermented foods regularly into her diet she’s been able to return to eating what she pleases including gluten, grains, legumes (not typical paleo food). She discovered that it might not be about removing certain nutrients from our bodies but more so adding nutrients prepared in way that encourages gut health. Everyone will have a different story and experience but I thought you might be interested in giving it a try given your similar history. (I’m not affiliated nor is she with the brand and you can use German jars for anaerobic pickling but they are
    much more expensive.)

  6. Maybe I’m insane but this diet doesn’t sound insane at all given your UC. Food is medicine! I also had the LEAP test, and am finishing day 30 of the Whole 30 today without any of the foods I’m sensitive to. You can still eat delicious food and give your body what it needs! Good luck.

  7. So glad Tina you have someone helping you through all of this! It’s overwhelming with the change and restiveness of the AIP protocol and then add parasite treatment can be a lot. I had a parasite and SIBO about 2 years ago that made me really really sick. I will say that staying strict to my diet changes and the supplements made me feel like myself again! Wishing the same for you and a quick path to better health!

  8. Hi TINA! I’ve been a long time reader and don’t write comments but each time you share your UC story, it hits close to home. My hubby and ai have 3 teenage sons. My youngest who has just turned 15 yrs old was diagnosed with UC when he was only 7 yrs old. He has been on. What seems like everything. Has had so many colonoscopies its hard to count and an abundant amount of blood work, and soo many other test. We bring in a “stool” lab test to test for eocinphil cells every 3 months. He is currently on Apriso and Periactin . He has had food allergy test and despite the result that he is not allergic tor sensitive to anything , we did a gluten free diet to no avail. He is currently on growth hormones because his growth has been affected even though he has a healthy appetite. How did u ask for parasite testing? Can you offer any advice on how I could go about asking his Dr for a test?( also his g.I. Dr is retiring- we have been with him from the beginning and so the idea of finding another Dr is so overwhelming.) Thank you for sharing so openly about your journey. This momma is grateful.

  9. My daughter is dealing with lots of gut issues currently. We are waiting on an official diagnosis, previously she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease but still seems to be having issues with that diagnosis. We will try whatever is necessary to make her feel better!

  10. It is interesting that you discovered that stress around food may have decreased the effectiveness of the diet before. What role does stress play in UC? If your stress levels are lower overall (not just around food) do your symptoms seem to decrease? If you’ve tried diets before with limited success, there are tons of other stress management tools that might be easier and more fun to try!

    1. Stress makes EVERYTHING worse for me, health-wise, which is why I don’t think AIP worked the first time. I was WAY too amped up about the disease and diet.

  11. Wishing you all the best on your health journey. I can’t imagine the frustration you must feel, but I’m hopeful for you to find what you’re body needs to feel and function at its best.

  12. Hey Tina,

    Enjoyed your post! Have you talked to your doc about your stress level? I know you have a *LOT* going on and I wonder if decreasing stress would be helpful. (easier said than done, I know!)

  13. I’m going to suggest this diet to my mom, she’s been dealing with gut issues for years and is not getting any conclusive answers. She’s had all the tests. Her Dr is saying IBS now. What do you eat for breakfast on the AIP diet??????

  14. Parasites are the new hot topic. I just joined a FB group on that topic. The theory is, as you mentioned, that parasites can cause a lot of health issues. Dr. Hulda Clark is the dr who the group follows. I’ve done her liver/gall bladder cleanse in the past but am considering getting a little more in-depth with the cleanses.

    I hope this is the protocol that gives you the healing you need. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  15. I agree with a comment above- please talk to your doctor about your stress levels. Everyone is busy and we all have so much going on and it sounds like you need some strategies to help sort some of this out. You incorporate a lot of self-care into your schedule, which is something most of us dream of, and stress is a frequent blog topic for you…something is not working!

  16. How do you know you have serious inflammation? And a parasite? Like how did you figure that out? I also have UC and have for 5 years now. So I’m curious 🙂 thank you!

  17. Thanks for sharing, my physical therapist suggested today that I get tested for food sensitivities so I’m grateful you shared your experience with Thrive by Food. Can’t wait to hear more about your changes.

  18. While I think it’s great that you’re feeling somewhat better on the UC front, it’s important to note that everyone with UC or IBD is extremely different. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 11 years old and have also run the gamut of dietary changes to hopefully improve my symptoms (they didn’t). However, I feel that this post gives people who don’t know much about IBD the idea that it can be cured or controlled for everyone by diet alone. Just trying to eliminate as much stigma as possible, because the way each person’s disease responds is vastly different and no one should be judged based on their course of treatment, whether it’s medication, diet, or any combination of methods.

    1. @Hope: I have Crohn’s too, 4 of us in my family do. It’s so frustrating that people think diet, surgery, natural remedies can cure it. While these things can help, there is no cure and your right people don’t understand no one is the same with these disease’s. I’ve been on 6-mp for about 5-6 yrs now, my uncle got very sick on it as it dropped his WB’s too much. My cousin and him have had good results on remi, I got drug induced lupus from it, so even though we are related we can’t do the same treatments.

  19. Im a few days late to comment but have dabbled with AIP. I have both the ‘Healing kitchen’ and ‘the Autoimmune Paleo cookbook’. I found tons of relief with nightshade removal, and since that helped I’ve loosened on the other eliminations… (I don’t have UC, but intense joint pain, and other seemingly random bits of i flammation)I do cook from those cook books frequently though, and the recipes are easy to add things into if your family isn’t excited about AIP too. Im looking forward to reading about your AIP journey. I think Im slowly going to remove and end up back on something similar.

  20. Also an entyvio patient. Totally understand. That everyone is different. But I will offer that I changed to frequency of my infusions to monthly, and it worked like a charm. I don’t have that week of trouble prior to the next infusion. Just for your consideration. Entyvio’s been awesome for me. I have no uc symptoms while on it, even when I get the flu or a cold, my gut holds strong.

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