I’m not here to debate whether or not The Paleo Diet is effective or not. For the sake of the article, we’re going to assume it is. That said, if you’re on The Paleo Diet for autoimmune reasons, you might not need to adhere as strictly as you thought. In fact, you may not need to stay on the diet forever. The reason is that not everyone with an autoimmune disease is intolerant to everything The Paleo Diet eliminates.
If you’d like to move onto the least restrictive diet you can, this is how. There are five major steps to getting your Paleo Diet personalized for you.
1. Start with the 30-Day Reset
If you’re already on The Paleo Diet for autoimmune disease, you’ve probably already done this and you’ve finished your 30-day period. But just in case, this means 30 days free of dairy, legumes, industrial seed oils, alcohol, processed sugars, etc. (for a complete guide, pick up a “Paleo Diet” book of your choosing). But for autoimmune people, it also means elimination eggs, nightshade veggies (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and goji), nuts, and seeds (you can read this for more info).
2. Make Sure You’re Getting Your Nutrients
It’s not enough to be on The Paleo Diet, you have to make sure you’re fulfilling your nutritional requirements. It’s not enough to just take foods out, it’s important to keep your food choices balanced and give your body everything it needs. To do this you need to add things like organ meat (liver, kidneys, etc), lots of colourful veggies, high fat fish, and fermented foods (like tofu).
3. Reintroduce Foods Carefully
And by “carefully” I mean methodically and systematically. Because reintroducing foods is probably the most challenging part of personalizing your Paleo diet. It can take days or weeks for symptoms to return.
The best way to reintroduce protocol for an autoimmune diet is to first choose which foods are the most important to you to try reintroducing, and then work systematically to bring them back into your diet. Don’t bother with reintroducing gluten, but other things cut out could be reintroduced.
Certain food groups need to be reintroduced in a particular order. The best example of this is dairy, where you start by reintroducing ghee, which contains the least amount of milk proteins, then continue with other dairy types in this order: butter, heavy cream, fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir), cheese, and fluid milk. Other examples include eggs, which should be introduced yolk first, and nightshades, which need to be introduced one-by-one (e.g. potatoes, then tomatoes, then eggplant, and so on.)
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4. Get Your Sensitivities Checked
Sometimes reintroducing foods isn’t enough to discover what’s bugging you. Or perhaps reintroducing foods you have a new reaction, go to a doctor and get the tests done
5. Focus on Lifestyle
Healthy lifestyles are key. Unhealthy lifestyle practices can completely undo the benefits of a healthy diet, and examining your habits is an important next step once your diet is under control.
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