START HEREWelcome to Thriving On Paleo - the home for those wanting to find relief from their autoimmune disease symptoms using diet and lifestyle
Do You Dream of Feeling Like You Did Before You Had An Autoimmune Disease?
If you're like most of my readers, you're sick of dealing with all of the symptoms of autoimmune disease – the brain fog, pain, complete and utter exhaustion, the stomach issues, the gas and bloating, the skin rashes, hair loss, itching, heavy and irregular periods, and so on.
You're sick of doctors brushing you off, telling you your symptoms are in your head or that there's really nothing you can do other than maybe taking a medication that can help cover up the symptoms, but not actually cure you.
And maybe you really have no idea what to do next. You may have heard that diet can help, but which one? How do you even start? Will you completely lose your social life and everything you love to do? Will it be too hard? Too expensive?
Or maybe you already know food can heal, are already on a Paleo or AIP diet, and just want some recipes and advice to make it easier.
If any of these sound like you, you're in the right place.
What do you need help with?
Either scroll down to find the help you seek or click on any of the images below to be taken directly to that spot on this page.
I'VE been in your shoes – a bit about me
I'm Michele Spring – and in the summer of 2014, I finally learned that the long list of ambiguous symptoms I'd been suffering from for over 8 years was related to an autoimmune disease. Actually, two of them. That's when my life changed.
After getting fed up with being so exhausted that I couldn't play with my young kids, along with a ton of other weird things, I sought a diagnosis for my health ills. I'd been so scared that I was going to die that I just wanted to hear whether I needed to get things in order.
It was one of the hardest, most fear-driven parts of my life that I've ever had. My regular doctor just kept brushing me off, telling me there was nothing that could be done and that everything had to have been in my head because from his standpoint, I was fine. I even started to wonder if I was going crazy!
Well, it turned out not to be fatal (luckily) nor insanity (thankfully), but instead I learned I had both Hashimoto's Thyroiditis – an autoimmune thyroid disease and Celiac Disease – an autoimmune disease caused by an intolerance to gluten and wheat.
The good news with this was that I learned that both diseases- along with the symptoms I suffered from, could be stopped with changes to my diet and lifestyle.
So I embarked on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (otherwise known as the AIP diet) for several months followed by several months of methodically reintroducing foods one-by-one and in that time I went from thinking things were hopeless to feeling the best I had felt in over 15 years!
You can read more about my story here.
If You've been newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
First of all, take a deep breath and know that all will be OK.
This can be a very frustrating and scary time but sometimes also full of relief finally knowing what's wrong. ALL the emotions.
Honor all of these emotions though – don't try to tamp any of them down. They all serve a purpose and it's totally normal to feel them all!
Next, spend some time going through my Autoimmune Disease 101 series. This 3-part series will help you understand what is going on with you, what autoimmune disease is, why you got it, and some immediate things you can do to help it. It then goes on to give you my diet and lifestyle recommendations to help you feel your best and hopefully get rid of many of your symptoms.
In Part 1 of the Autoimmune Disease 101 series you'll learn what autoimmune disease is and what your doctor probably isn't telling you, I'll answer some common questions, and you'll learn 3 things you can do immediately to start feeling relief from your symptoms.
Go to Part 1: What is Autoimmune Disease
If You're TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HOW DIET AFFECTS YOUR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
What you eat and many lifestyle factors like how much sleep you get, how much stress you have, toxins you're exposed to, etc can all contribute to making your autoimmune disease symptoms WORSE – or much much better.
Don't let that doctor who tells you that food has nothing to do with it and won't help sway you. Food has a ton to do with it all and can make or break the way you feel.
In part 2 of the Autoimmune Disease 101 series you'll learn how diet and lifestyle affect your disease. You'll learn how it can make it WORSE, and then a high-level overview of what diet and lifestyle changes I recommend.
Go to Part 2: How Diet and Lifestyle Affect Autoimmune Disease
If You'Re TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT DIET TO EAT FOR YOUR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
The choices for diets to try to find symptom relief can be overwhelming. Paleo, AIP, Whole30, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, gluten-free, GAPS, SCD, I mean wowza. So many!
I've distilled it down to 4 different diets I recommend based on the severity of your symptoms and what science has to say about how food affects our immune systems during autoimmune disease. Part 3 of the Autoimmune Disease 101 series will help guide you in the direction of where to start.
In Part 3 of the Autoimmune Disease 101 series, you'll get specifics on the diet and lifestyle recommendations I have. You'll see more about the gluten-free, Paleo, Whole30, and AIP diets and which ones I recommend for where you are symptom-wise and severity of your symptoms.
Go to Part 3: The Autoimmune Disease Diet Options
If You'Re LOOKING FOR RECIPES, TIPS, and Advice for the AUTOIMMUNE PAleo (AIP) Diet
The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol – or AIP Diet – is a subset of the Paleo diet that is specifically targeted towards those with autoimmune disease. It's a temporary elimination diet and reintroduction protocol that removes the same foods as the Paleo Diet + several more foods that both science and many with autoimmune disease have found to exacerbate symptoms.
It's meant to be a temporary healing diet (typically 30-90 days), then you reintroduce foods one-by-one to discover what may still be causing you issues and eventually finding a completely customized diet that makes you feel your very best.
Whether you've decided to try AIP from watching my Autoimmune Disease 101 series or you already are knee-deep in it, the AIP resources I have on my site will be very helpful to you!
If you're a complete beginner, the AIP Starter Guide in my Paleo & AIP Freebie Library is the best place to start. This guide gives you a high-level overview of everything you need to know.
In this guide learn:
- What the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol is
- Why it's effective for helping with symptoms
- What the diet is (what you can and cannot have)
- Lifestyle tips, hacks, and ideas
- How to best implement the diet
- Things you need to start
- Some easy swaps
- Several delicious recipes (including a pancake recipe! yum)
After reading this guide you'll be well equipped to make a decision on whether you'd like to try this super-effective way of eating and feel armed with the knowledge that will make you successful. It's FREE inside the Paleo & AIP Freebie Library
I have a LOT more posts about the AIP diet that aren't recipes, but I'm currently getting them organized on a page to make it easy to read and use. In the meantime you can do a search for AIP on my site to see all I have to offer, check out my YouTube channel as many of my videos are geared towards the AIP diet, or if you're really wanting to know HOW to do the diet and without a ton of effort, my AIP-only membership, The Autoimmune Collective, offers all that and more!
If You'Re LOOKING FOR RECIPES, TIPS, and Advice for the Paleo Diet
Have you wondered about the Paleo diet – whether it's something you should try to help feel better, lose weight, get rid of autoimmune disease symptoms, or prevent chronic disease? If so, you may have been kind of overwhelmed with all the information out there on the internet (because um, there's SO much of that).
Forget the caveman imagery – the Paleo diet isn't about recreating what the cavemen ate. It's about going back to real food, eating food that is minimally processed, from-scratch ingredients, and full of nutrients. In the span of time that humans have been on the planet, we've been farming grains a relatively short amount of time. That means that some of us – not all- but many, haven't evolved to tolerate grains as well as others and this leads to chronic inflammation and disease if you constantly eat them.
Removing the grains and other potentially inflammatory foods from your diet can make you feel relief from a lot of chronic health woes and autoimmune disease symptoms.
If you're brand new to the Paleo diet, the best place to start is by reading my Paleo Quick Start Guide from my Paleo & AIP Freebie Library. This guide breaks the diet down into easy-to-digest chunks of information so you can get a clear understanding of what's involved.
In this guide learn:
- What the Paleo diet is
- Why it's effective
- What the diet is (what you can and can't eat)
- Lifestyle tips, hacks, and ideas
- How to best implement the diet
- Some easy swaps
- Several delicious recipes
After reading this easy-to-understand guide you'll be well equipped to make a decision on whether you'd like to try this way of eating and feel armed with the knowledge that will make you successful. It's FREE inside the Paleo & AIP Freebie Library!
If You'Re LOOKING FOR RECIPES, TIPS, and Advice for the WHOLE30 Diet
I consider the Whole30 diet to be a subset of Paleo, but some may disagree that it's a totally separate diet. However, it follows the same eliminated foods as the Paleo diet and also eliminates any sugars (even natural sugars like honey and maple syrup) as well as treats or treat-like foods – so no Whole30 waffles, muffins, cookies, etc, and also things that are hard to stop eating like chips.
So even things like sweet potato chips that are compliant on Paleo and AIP are NOT compliant on Whole30.
The Whole30 diet is typically followed for 30 days and can be highly effective for helping balance blood sugar and reducing inflammation within the body.
You can see my Whole30 recipes below here are links to two different Whole30 “What I ate in a day” series I've done which will give you an idea of what someone eats and some yummy ideas and tips too!
If You'Re LOOKING FOR Advice and strategies for living with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is no joke.
SOOO many ambiguous, undefined symptoms that most doctors, friends, family, and even you might brush off as “getting older” – UNTIL it gets to be so bad you just can't ignore it anymore.
Here are some of my posts on living with Hashimoto's that may help you:
I also interviewed a fellow blogger, Shanna Nemrow from Wellness Unraveled, about using the AIP diet for her Hashi's. You can watch it on my YouTube channel: