Today’s post is a little bit of a detour from most but it’s a topic that is a pretty important part of my life. I wanted to share it with you today to answer some questions I’ve gotten lately about my health and to share some helpful gut health resources with you should you also be experiencing some health problems that you need help managing. Please keep in mind that I am not a health professional and you should always consult a Dr. prior to making any changes to your diet and exercise regimen.
Many of you by now have read about my experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis and how I’ve successfully been able to manage this autoimmune disease with a certain way of eating rather than medication. I am not cured, but I no longer live with the excruciating joint pain I once use to experience. It’s been two and half years since I was diagnosed and began this new way of life eating a Paleo Diet (no refined sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, beans, peanuts, and very minimal processed foods).
Since inflammation is known to be at the root of most diseases, diet can play a crucial role in reducing all this inflammation often running rampant in our guts. To give myself as much chance of healing as I could, I ate an Autoimmune Protocol Diet for the first 5 months, which is a more strict version of the Paleo Diet that does not include any inflammatory foods. Reducing my inflammation and taking care of my gut health was key for me to be able to wean off my medication. After the AIP Diet, I then transitioned to the Paleo Diet which allowed me to add some additional foods back into my diet, like eggs, nuts and tomatoes (as healthy as these foods are, they are also inflammatory foods).
The whole process has been fascinating to me. It’s pretty incredible how life changing eating the right foods has been for me. I’m certainly passionate about educating others now because quite honestly until I got diagnosed I hadn’t even heard of the AIP or Paleo diets or how inflammation can affect almost every area of the body. I’d also say that I ate pretty healthy before all this, I just wasn’t eating the right foods geared specifically towards reducing the inflammation that was making me so sick. Losing 30 pounds was a sweet bonus as well that you won’t hear me complaining about!
In case you are interested, some of the warning signs of inflammation in the body include:
- food sensitivities
- chronic fatigue and/or exhaustion
- joint pain
- sinus infections
- skin issues
- digestive issues
Maybe you’re enduring stomach cramps, skin issues, mental fog, frequent bathroom trips, allergies and food sensitivities, or maybe even symptoms of autoimmune disease (or worse). No one actually knows how much you’re suffering, or how much this is affecting your whole life. Poor gut health isn’t pretty.
Gut Health Changes
If you are experiencing health problems, you may want to think about changing your diet. This can be a pretty scary thought though. For me it took about three weeks of some tough withdrawal symptoms before I started seeing some change. That process was no joke but the cravings do eventually go away I promise you. Do your research beforehand so you know exactly what you are getting into and why. Being prepared makes a huge difference. I’ll share a huge list of resources for you at the end of this post to help make the process that much easier for you. Once you’ve made the commitment and set a date to begin, here are a few more tips that can help you be successful with your plan.
Quite honestly this was (and is!) a lifesaver step for me. In the beginning I thought I was going to starve with such a huge list of foods I couldn’t eat. I quickly realized that I was concentrating on the wrong thing and instead switched to only looking at the foods I could eat. I printed out helpful AIP guide sheets that I hung front and center on my fridge and planned my meals accordingly. On Sunday nights I sit down with my computer (thank goodness for Pinterest!) and a few Paleo cookbooks and slot in what I’m going to eat for each day of the week. Doing this step means that you won’t have to panic about what’s for dinner come 4:00 when you are so tired and can’t think straight. You’ll know exactly what to do, taking all guess work and stress out of it.
Purge the NO Foods:
In order to focus on the things you can eat, remove all the foods you can’t from the house. You can’t rely on any kind of willpower, it just won’t work! Donate unopened, unexpired food to the food bank, turf everything else. Go through condiments, spices, everything. You wouldn’t believe where sneaky ingredients hide (especially sugar!).
Stock Up with Safe Foods:
Now that all the NO foods are out of the house, it’s time to stock up on what you can eat. Take your guide sheets and menu plan to the grocery store with you. It’s overwhelming at first and will take longer to grocery shop at first as you spend time reading labels but eventually you’ll find your new safe favorites.
Designated Food Storage:
My family doesn’t eat Paleo although many of the recipes I make for them are Paleo and they don’t even know :) I like to keep a few special safe foods on hand just for me though for when I need an occasional Paleo treat. Things like pistachio nuts, plantain chips and Paleo chocolate for instance. So I added a special Paleo snack basket for me into a cabinet that my family doesn’t typically go into. You can read more about that HERE. They know this basket is off limits and just for momma. This ensures I have a treat when I need one and keeps me from grabbing something I shouldn’t. I also have a section of the fridge that is set aside just for me.
I often get asked if it’s hard to stick with this way of eating and while I don’t love the extra time is sometimes takes to make food from scratch, what keeps me motivated is the lack of pain in my hands. Seriously it’s what keeps me from having a soft serve cone on a really hot day. I don’t want to feel that kind of pain ever again. I also don’t want to experience the intense side effects from the drugs available for my disease. I’m not saying that everyone will be able to eventually come off their meds but by changing your diet it’s unlikely you won’t feel better in some way. You just will never know unless you try, what have you got to lose? For me being able to manage my disease with food is a blessing that I’m so grateful for.
Reduce Sleep & Stress:
I also have to take a minute to tell you how important getting good sleep and reducing stress is to the healing process. Diet, sleep and less stress all play an essential role in keeping inflammation down and your body well. Here are some of my tips for a good night’s rest.
*affiliate links below*
There is currently a bundle of resources available all about gut health, compiled by the same Ultimate Bundles team that brought us the Conquer Your Clutter bundle. It’s a comprehensive bundle with 16 eBooks, 5 eCourses, 3 videos, and 1 humongous summit, all with one goal in mind: help you heal your gut. The combined value of the resources in the bundle is over $695, but you get EVERYTHING for more than 93% off!
While I was reading through the resources in this bundle I almost started crying because all I could think about was where was this resource when I first was diagnosed. I couldn’t not tell you about it just in case someone out there is in the desperate place I was in just 2 years ago…so sick and tired of being sick and tired.
If you literally hate your guts, the Gut Health Super Bundle will help you learn to work with your body to heal itself.
Don’t be worried about the volume of resources included and being overwhelmed with them all as there is a Getting Started Guide to help you so you can take action right away. It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.
The Gut Health Super Bundle is only available for purchase until Monday, March 27th at 11:59 PM EST!
No one should put up with poor digestive health because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need. Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an important first step. But to really experience holistic health, you need to get your digestive system back on track.
Please let me know if I can help you in any other way.
- This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. However, I only ever mention products I love and would recommend whether I was being compensated or not. Thank you so much for your support of my site!
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