Thriving on Paleo! After suffering for years from numerous symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Celiac autoimmune diseases, Michele Spring used the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Diet to put her diseases into remission and started feeling better in her 40’s than she did in her 20’s.
She’s now a Certified Health Coach and AIP Diet Coach, dedicated to helping you take the steps you need to feel relief from your own autoimmune disease symptoms through the Paleo and AIP diets. She blogs at Thriving On Paleo and has a YouTube channel that provides guidance, support, and inspiration to those using diet and lifestyle to feel better.
***Here’s Michelle’s video as she explains what autoimmune disease is and help you feel a bit better about this scary-sounding diagnosis.***
***Listen to Michelle’s actual interview here, or keep reading for more info and links.***
What do you find most people struggle with when it comes to their autoimmune diseases or symptoms?
The main symptoms of Auto Immune Disease are:
- Brain fog
- Feeling cold most of the time
- Cold hands and feet, like colder than most people
- Dry skin
- Hair fall
- Joint pain
- Dry eyes and,
There’s just a lot of weird illnesses that people attribute to getting older, but can be tied to an autoimmune disease. It’s not necessarily that it is, but it’s something to look at.
What are some things that people can do immediately to start finding relief from their autoimmune disease symptoms?
Sleep. Sometimes sleep cannot help necessarily all the way, but most people these days don’t get enough sleep. If you’re getting four to six hours of sleep, you’re doing yourself a disservice. So get at least eight to nine hours of sleep. That’s one of the biggest things that you can do to give your body a rest and the help it needs.
Gluten free diet. Autoimmune diseases have also been tied back to gluten sensitivity. The way gluten acts in our body can exacerbate any of these symptoms or the pathways that the autoimmune disease kind of works through. So try going on a gluten free diet for at least 30 days, if not longer. A lot of people who have limited gluten have had major health improvements from that one thing. Try the autoimmune paleo diet that will be discussed later on.
Manage stress. Stress is one of the worst things that’s going on with us these days. It doesn’t allow your body or your immune system to calm down. If you’re constantly being stressed you’re not giving your body that chance to work optimally to repair itself and then stop attacking itself.
Try managing stress with guided meditation, even if it’s for 10 minutes a day. Also by following a hobby, and taking some time off for yourself can make such a difference because not only you’re giving your body a chance to rest, but you’re also giving your mind a chance to just kind of blank out and stop thinking about that constant to do list that you have.
What if people want to go further – what are your recommendations for diet and lifestyle changes?
There’s a Paleo diet subset called the Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) diet, an Auto Immune Paleo diet which helps settle inflammation and make your immune system work better. It’s an elimination diet and a template of eating all foods that are nutrient dense that provide a lot of a fuel for your body. But it really gives your body a chance to reset and to calm down your immune system to start working properly.
The autoimmune paleo diet is about taking out a lot of the things that have been put into our food stream within the last 150 years. It’s going back to having whole foods where we remove grains, which seem to be problematic for a lot of people, and sometimes even corn. A lot of celiac disease sufferers do tend to have issues with dairy and corn because the protein that they’re comprised of is so similar. So try and remove those.
Remove most dairy, nuts and seeds, coffee, chocolate, and the night shades, inflammatory oils, processed foods, and a lot of the processed sugars, frankenfoods, food chemicals, all these different things. A lot of times ghee and butter, maple syrup and honey are still allowed on Paleo.
The large part of AIP is the elimination of processed food. But, also, it’s what you’re adding in, in replacement for that. When you’re removing all of these foods, you’re also adding in a variety of things like apples and different vegetables.
When I was diagnosed with celiac and Hashimotos, I was given some supplements to replenish my immune system. And then I went onto auto immune protocol or AIP by a functional medicine practitioner. So make sure and find someone, whether it’s a functional nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner, who will look for the root cause of what’s going on with you.
Another big part of autoimmune disease is that, a lot of people don’t understand that there’s actually exercise intolerance that can come out of autoimmune disease. A lot of people have had this. In my case, if I tried to go and do a three mile run, I get sick afterwards. Now I walk 30 to 45 minutes a day, I do ballet classes, and yoga. A lot more of these gentle things.
So just listen to your body. If you feel really tired then don’t do anything that day. And if you feel good, then do something and be active. Prioritize what matters.
This is not to diagnose or treat anything. But being a health coach ourselves, we’re trying to give directions and how to find help. So if you are struggling with or have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, do not feel like you are alone.
Just reach out and get that support you need because it’s so hard to go through this alone. And what goes on in your head can be so damaging psychologically as well.
Learn more about Michele Spring at thrivingonpaleo.com.