“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
After reading the food lists you now know which kind of foods to avoid and on what foods you should stick to in order to promote healing. However you might still have some doubts about the procedure of implementing a Vegan-AIP diet in your lifestyle. To encourage you, I posted some recipes of how I follow this approach.
The following segment deals with some practical psychological aspects that you might face during this interval. Additionally I will share my personal experience in terms of introducing this approach. How long it might take for you to see results, and whether or not you will have to follow such a restricted protocol for the rest of your life.
Since this approach is known for reducing symptoms of inflammation, leaky gut and improving digestive health, this methods could help you gain more quality of life by reducing the kind of symptoms you have. Since environmental and genetic factors also play a relevant role in triggering autoimmune diseases, this is not the only answer to all your health issues, but a very important one, being that you have control over what you eat.
Until now there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, regardless the Vegan-AIP approach is the next wisest step you can take in order to help yourself into remission. With a thoughtful diet and lifestyle choices you will manage to keep your autoimmune disease in remission for a long time and you will also notice an improvement in your digestive and overall health.
You might still have doubts about whether this approach can work for you. But if anything else hasn’t work for you, it is worth to find out if this eating habits might make a difference in your body. Nevertheless, you will never know until you try.
Once you decide that you are starting a Vegan-AIP journey, you might want to decide how to move forward.
You can either take a decisive step and leave all the foods to avoid behind, or you can do it little by little. Choosing a method is a matter of how urgent it is to start with the whole program, meaning how healthy or how sick you are. Depending on that fact, you may decide whether to start overnight or just step by step. Think about yourself and about what has worked for you in similar situations, what method will yield the greater success for you on the long run?
How complaint are you, i.e. how close can you stick to the plan? How often will you eat foods that you know they will cause a bad reaction in your body? If you are complaint don’t hesitate to cross the Rubicon.
If that’s not the case, probably you are more likely to stick with a plan if you make one manageable change at a time. If that’s the case, the process will take longer. Therefore consider being patient and remaining optimistic if you don’t see results right away, because changes will be visible once you have eliminated all the foods to avoid.
If you are not sure how to start, just start with what’s more appealing to you and as you see results you will be more likely to stick with the Vegan-AIP approach. Then you can jump with both feet if that’s what you pursue. The results that you will get can vary depending how well you stick to the diet. It is best to follow this diet for at least two weeks, to see how well you respond to it (Fynn, 2012).
Eliminating all the irritating food at once can be challenging, but at the same time rewarding as you see improvements. I personally started right away. At the beginning I felt like I was depriving myself and I had constantly cravings for nuts, chocolate or soy milk smoothies. Despite that my digestive symptoms improved after 4 - 6 weeks, I was so relieved, that I haven’t introduce any other food – besides rice products.
The way you decide to approach this dietary concept should strongly depend on your health issues, but it will also be determined by your current diet, personality, and your social support network. As long as you reach your goal, how you move forward is your own personal decision. Find out what it works best for you.
As a Vegan I was used to eat a lot of soy products, especially soy milk, soy beans, tofu and tempeh. I also liked to cook with different spices, like chili, garlic and onions. As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed eating nuts, chocolate or having chocolate soy shakes once in a while. It was hard to give up all that at once, but at the same time I couldn’t enjoy it anymore, since I had strong stomach pain after every meal. So I just stick right away to all the Vegan-AIP friendly foods. Cooking now is so easy, practical and environmentally friendly, because I try to eat some of my meals just raw.
In the next paragraph I will outline some recommendations suggested by Ballantyne (2013) and Fynn (2012) for (gradual) implementation - adapted to Vegan-AIP by me - even though Ballantyne recommends to just dive in, since that’s the most effective way to see results (pp. 264 -267).
Eliminate gut-irritating foods from your diet. Firstly all gluten sources. Ballantyne (2013) recommends trying eliminate eating bread, instead of replacing it with gluten-free alternative, like rice, potato, sorghum-based gluten-free bread. Next, eliminate grains (like rice) and pseudo-grains. After that cut out all kinds of legumes. In the next step avoid nightshades completely. Also cut out any foods that contain added sugars, refined sugars and high-fructose-content sugars. Thereafter cut out nuts and seeds, and finally cut out seed-based spices. At last, eliminate processed, which is not compliant with the Vegan-AIP approach, like canned coconut milk containing guar gum or chewing gum sweetened with xylitol.
Purge your pantry. Donate what you are not supposed to eat any more.
Start cooking all your food. Avoid eating in restaurants or prepackaged food. Instead collect recipes for quick meals. You can also store meals in your freezer that can reheat, if you know that you are not going to be able to cook.
Get used to add protein to every meal. Like some vegetables and maybe some fruit. I tolerate isolated rice protein, so that’s why I always include that in all my meals.
Start thinking about fats. Switch to high-quality fats (like coconut oil) as your main cooking fat. Use olive oil and avocado oil as raw fats. Consider your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (Coconut oil / Avocado).
Address food quality. Think about consuming locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables.
Work on eating variety and maybe adding some new foods. If you think that you are eating the same, start varying your meals.
Keep a Diary. It can be helpful to keep track of what you eat and some other points like: 1. When you were eating something, 2. What you ate at the time, 3. Any results and changes, 4. How you felt after eating, body reactions, tolerance.
Collect fun and easy recipes.
Find support. One of the hardest aspects of adopting a new life style – like Vegan-AIP - can be the lack of acceptance and support from relatives and friends. Ballantyne (2013) suggests finding some forums where you can post questions, among others. I follow many Facebook AIP or Vegan groups, and seek to exchange some experiences with you in my site.
Address other lifestyle factors. Increase the quality of sleep, stress management, practicing exercise, among others.
Celebrate. Rejoice every step you achieve and all your effort. Spends some time at the spa or a soak in a mineral-salts bath.
Keep focused. Politely decline anything that’s not part of your plan. Don’t feel guilty about declining temptations from others. Remember that this is for your own good.
Pay attention to your body.