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AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE DIET / We can argue to the cows come home about whether the best autoimmune disease diet! Which one is best or worst or which one works...is it vegan? paleo? anti-inflammatory?
Today we are talking about the facts - what we do know about how to find relief and remission nutritionally and what we don't. Which one is best for autoimmune disease?
RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO:
Episode 77: Why is Gluten bad for you? https://audreychristie.com/077/
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Autoimmune Disease Diet
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE DIET
We can argue to the cows come home about whether the best autoimmune disease diet! Which one is best or worst which one works - stay tuned because we are going to sort out the truths about the best autoimmune disease diet.
Today we are talking about autoimmune disease diet. What is best? How do you know? Is a paleo diet best? or a ketogenic diet? or a vegan diet? or basic anti-inflammatory diet?
I got some news for you, the answer is - YES. There is a bio-individuality that could make any of those true for someone out there, but none of them are true for everyone.
That’s why you will hear people say, "Paleo diet cured my arthritis!" Others will shout from the rooftops that the paleo diet didn’t help them at all - and still others say that the paleo diet made them worse.
That darn bio-individuality, right? Messing up all the fad diets.
We can make some really educated connections when we talk about each of the autoimmune diseases coming up but specifically for autoimmune disease diet info in general, let's talk about what we know - and then what you might consider too.
Lifestyle Treatment for Autoimmune Disease
Before we jump into food a la autoimmune diet and nutrition information - I want to make a quick pit stop in lifestyle treatment. Nutrition is about one third of the issue needing to be addressed here. The other ⅔ is lifestyle. Without diving deep those critical lifestyle aspects include sleep, stress, toxic load (people, patterns, or products), movement.
Those makeup 2/3s of the issues of autoimmune disease! Crazy right? Now that we have that all cleared up, let's dive in.
Autoimmune Disease Diet
Here’s what we know FOR SURE…in order to find relief and remission we must optimize digestion or how your food is broken down inside your body, assimilation of nutrients or what your body does with the food you eat), and elimination of the things that your body can’t put to use.
Why is Nutrition so Important for Autoimmune Disease
The way you go about this is a little different for everyone. We do know that a few things non-negotiably have to go, and nutrition wise we are going to talk about them here.
Gluten is a group of proteins that is found in grains. It makes up 75-85% of the protein content in wheat but is also found in related wheat species and hybrids, such as spelt, einkorn, barley, rye, and oats to name a few as well as products derived from these grains such as bread and malts.
These days, with modern food manufacturing, you can bet that many things, even things that shouldn’t have gluten in them do. Unless they are specifically labeled as “gluten-free”. This includes many shampoos, conditioners, topical products, and well as food! (Hint: it's a cheap way to thicken products.)
While I firmly believe that the science indicates that no one should be consuming gluten - just like no one should smoke or drink soda - it is especially important to stop consuming gluten if you are suffering from an autoimmune condition. You can learn more about the science of gluten in Episode 077.
For our purposes here - lets look at one recent study from Harvard in 2015 - For this study, they took four different groups of people. Group 1 had people with recently diagnosed celiac, so very inflamed people. Group 2 was full of people that had been diagnosed with celiac but it had been put into remission with at least 1 year on a gluten-free diet. Group 3 had people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, so they had come to the Harvard clinic with complaints about gluten, but had not been diagnosed with celiacs. The final group, group 4, were people that “didn’t feel they had an issue with gluten” at all.
They took all 4 of these groups and exposed them to alpha gliadin. Alpha gliadin is the scientific name for one of the proteins found in gluten. Do you know what they found?
In ALL FOUR groups, every single person, in all groups developed intestinal permeability also known as leaky gut. And they didn’t just develop it, it occurred within 5 minutes. Interestingly and as a side note: I usually talk about animal studies and how they do or do not correlate to humans, in this case, this study was duplicated in animals, sooooo kick the gluten to the curb for your dogs too.
Now if you remember when we talked about what causes autoimmune disease or triggers you know that one of the main ingredients for the autoimmune dynamic soup was leaky gut, right? Can you connect the dots there?
Anyone who has chronic or even acute occasional autoimmune activation really needs to be eliminating gluten 100% from their diet. Sometimes clients will say, “Yes, I’m gluten free. I’m avoid gluten 90% of the time.”
Here’s the thing, having a little bit of gluten is like being a little bit pregnant. Our diet-culture is driven by calorie reduction, many people often ask me if they can have some gluten or they will say, “I’m doing good, I’ve given up gluten...except for weekly pizza night or …except for a beer or two each night or ...except for the power bar I have to eat because I’m so active.”
Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t have a little gluten. It can’t be in your food, your lipstick, you shampoo, your moisturizer, and your supplements. And you may think, your products are safe, but likely they aren’t. You have to do your due diligence and read the labels. I am including a free download of gluten free foods and hidden gluten additives to watch for.
In my practice, getting rid of gluten is one a handful of the non-negotiables, because I have seen over and over again that we can’t see what is really going on if we are looking through muddy water. In order to clear the muddy water and the generalized inflammation, we must get rid of the constant inflammation.
This can seem a bit confusing - sometimes when a client hears me say this they push back a little bit and think they have outsmarted me by saying, “well all food is processed.” And you know what? They aren’t wrong.
When I am asking you to give up procesesed foods, I’m talking in a more specific way, buy foods that are as unprocessed as possible.
You see the goal when eating to find remission and relief from autoimmune disease is to eat to reduce inflammation. This means, that if you're eating things that are made shelf-stable for any length of time then they are full of additives, hydrogenated spoiled oils, highly processed sugars, and other ingredients that are going to cause inflammation in the body.
That does not mean that you can never have potato chips or a snack from a package but it does mean that you should turn the bag over and read the ingredients to ensure that you recognize everything on that page.
If there's an ingredient or a term that you don't understand, then put it back and try another brand.
It also means that you want to shop whole food items as much as possible. Spend as much time as possible shopping the perimeter of the store and spend the majority of the time buying fresh produce.
When you're thinking in terms of eating to reduce inflammation and eating an autoimmune disease diet or a diet that is best to find relief and remission from your autoimmune dynamic, you want to think in terms of eating as many plants as possible. I'm not suggesting that you become Vegan, in fact, I don’t even like the word. I’m not suggesting that you never consume meat or dairy or even eggs ever again, although many people in an autoimmune dynamic find that eggs and dairy are triggers for flare-ups or part of their root cause.
What I am suggesting is that when you think in terms of your plate as you sit down to a meal that you think in terms of "how many plants can I fit on this plate before adding any meat?" Regardless of where you land and your compassion for animals, the science tells us specifically that's the more plants that you eat the more vitamins and minerals you get. The more vitamins and minerals you get (and pre and probiotics) the healthier your gut microbiome becomes. A healthy gut microbiome is a step towards relief and remission from autoimmune disease. You see where I'm going here?
Lifestyle Diet for Autimmune Disease
I mentioned we would come back around to this...the other 2/3s of the issue.
Lastly, I want to touch on stress - you may be thinking, “wait Audrey, you said autoimmune disease diet, like food” and you’re absolutely right. You got me, I did! Your diet isn’t just what you eat - its also what you watch, the people and the situations you are around too.
I talk a lot about stress - because as I said previously, nutrition is only 1 leg of the 3-legged stool you need to balance in order to be your full expression of wellness.
Stress can be a very good thing when it enables your body to survive for another day, like avoiding a dangerous predator for example. Let's be honest, is “well I didn't die today” really a metric you want to be evaluating your entire life by.
It's really important for the physiology in our human suit to lift ourselves out of a perpetual state of fight-or-flight.
While there are many things you can do to burn off stress, with an autoimmune disease or any chronic illness it's really critical to de-excite your nervous system. My favorite tool for this is a healthy dose of meditation. Before you push back and say you don't have time to meditate, let me tell you that statistically, people gain 6 to 10 times more productivity by spending 30 minutes a day sitting on their butts in meditation. That is just 1 of the benefits!
In specific relation to autoimmune diesease, the immune system can be activated and over activated by many different things as we've been talking about viruses, bacteria, and even the overproduction of mutated cells.
Mitigating stress and handling your stress response changes your life and your health. It literally rewires the brain, calms your nervous system, and it actually creates new neural pathways via neuroplasticity mechanisms. It serves to actively lower adrenaline and cortisol (also know n as the stress hormones, lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and decreases total body system-wide inflammation - critical for those suffering from any autoimmune disease or chronic illness.) Learning to mitigate your stress actually promotes healing on a cellular level.
Here's some food for thought, “there is no such thing as a stressful situation only stressful responses to a given situation.” I'm not sure who originally said that but it really illustrates the point that stress is not what happens to you, stress is your reaction to what happens to you. When you begin to meditate de-excite the nervous system and allow that stress response to go away.
I will dive deeper into hows on this in November, but for today - I want you to know that mitigating stress and specifically the stress response is critical to finding relief and remission.
So let's do a quick recap:
If you are suffering from an occasional or chronic autoimmune dynamic, you really need to implement a whole new set or at least an expanded set of priorities food choices and what we consume (recalling that the autoimmune disease diet is not just about food). We've got to protect our precious gut lining because that is the gateway to a lot of chronic inflammatory disease, not just autoimmune diseases.
1- kicking gluten to the curb
2- digging deep and being mindful of ingredients
3- put together a toolbox of ways to mitigate stress - I have a stress toolbox linked below too.
I’d love to hang out with you in my Wellness Circle too! It’s a great place to hang out and ask questions and learn with a group of like-minded peeps! I have the link in the description for you!
PS: If you know someone that would benefit from this information - be sure and share it! I would be oh- so-grateful!
If you can't figure it out on your own that's what people like me are here for that's why I see virtual clients all over the world, as well as clients here in my practice in North Texas.
As always if you need more help? Be sure to schedule a complimentary Mini-Case Review here.
And thank you so much for reading and listening, if you would like to contribute, be sure to subscribe and leave a rating on your favorite podcast provider, on YouTube, or share this with your friends and family! I would be so grateful!