For years I have lived a nutrient dense whole foods dietary lifestyle. My customary approach to food was disrupted by the growth of a cyst on my spine and the surgery to remove it. While recovering (or not recovering) from the spine surgery, I decided to transition to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), slowly. Chronologically, I am 71 years old. Physiologically, I am much older. I approach most things slowly.
I knew that the basis of the AIP in the Paleolithic dietary style meant that I must eliminate grains. I also knew, from reading the early work of Wahls, that I would also need to eliminate legumes and nightshades from my diet.
The first question that I asked was what plant foods can I have on the AIP and how much of them may I eat. I quickly discovered that vegetables and fruits are very important in the AIP. Because of the nutrients they contribute (fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants), vegetables are not generally limited on the AIP.
My first step into the AIP required that I was getting plenty of vegetables at each meal.
In the Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, Ballantyne describes the nutritional benefits of leafy vegetables and writes, “Eat as many and as much of these leafy vegetables as you like, ideally with every meal.”
Ballantyne also makes it clear that I am free to choose other nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
With the few already mentioned exceptions, I am free to choose from roots, tubers, and bulbs.
The bulbs of the aromatic alliums are also valued on the AIP. In addition, I can also choose from “vegetable like fruits” and have some choices from among sea vegetables. These I will discuss later. The bottom line is that transitioning to the AIP did not require me to give up vegetables.
In fact, Ballantyne does not mention a serving limitation until she gets to fruit.
You just have to make sure that your daily fructose intake is between ten and twenty grams—that’s about two to five servings of fruit a day.
She, of course, offers a table that shows the amount of fructose in various fruits. I also used the Nutrient List of the USDA Food Composition Databases. I realized that on those days when I eat whole fruit that is relatively high in fructose, I need to eat only 2-3 rather than five servings.
The AIP is a 30-day elimination diet. After the 30 days there is a period of reintroduction. I have eliminated coffee for more than 30 days. I was well on my way to making the other eliminations when I slipped on, or rather into, a bowel of vegetables with noodles hidden on the bottom. I have now started again.
The only food to which I have had a reaction during this time is beets! I love beets. I have eaten them all my life. The last two times that I ate them I developed a very unwelcome digestive issue. That requires additional investigation.
I have also continued to use Ted’s Pain Cream. It has greatly reduced the pain signals being transmitted along healthy nerves from tissues that have healed. This has allowed me to sleep longer and that has been very refreshing.