Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal
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Autoimmune Protocol | Reintroduction Phase

If you’re new here, my journey through the Autoimmune Protocol began on February 19, 2018. The elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol lasts 30 days or until symptoms subside. My autoimmune disease is Type 1 Diabetes. I have never heard of a diabetic using the Autoimmune Protocol to manage Type 1 Diabetes. Since I’m forging my own trial (as far as I know!), I am documenting my results and journey here to help other Type 1 Diabetics who might be looking for alternative blood sugar management solutions. (Check out the first 5 weeks here (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).) Today I will outline my plan for the Reintroduction Phase, and my 3 keys for a success!


The elimination period was not smooth sailing for me as weeks 3 and 4 were filled with sickness and a diet-busting meal at the beginning of week 3. Due to my sleep and routine being so thrown off, in addition to the sickness, I really couldn’t flesh out what was causing my higher blood sugar those weeks. At the time, I blamed my routine and sleep being thrown off, but now I am thinking the dinner out was as much the culprit. It could have been any one of those factor or all of them combined.

Thankfully, my blood sugar returned to normal range in weeks 5 and 6. Since I was past the 30 day mark, and I thought my blood sugar was leveled out. I decided to start the reintroduction phase.

Reintroduction Phase

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Once the symptoms of the autoimmune disease have stopped, you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the elimination phase. There is a best way to do this, and I wish I’d known this back when I first did an elimination diet in October 2017. Foods need to be introduced one at a time and symptoms monitored for 3 days to a week after eating before introducing another food. In my first attempt, I introduced the foods I missed the most first and only waited 2-3 days between introductions. I definitely rushed things.

Choosing which food to introduce first matters too. In the graphic above, the Reintroduction Phase is broken up into four stages. The food in stage 1 is the most likely to be accepted by an autoimmune impaired body, and stage 4 is the least likely to be accepted. Within each stage, it does not matter which food you try first, just pick one and keep the results as clean as possible.

How to Reintroduce a Food

I gathered most of my information on reintroducing foods from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. I highly recommend that book if you are looking for answers to an autoimmune disease!

After selecting a food to reintroduce, eat only a small bite at first and wait 15 minutes for a severe reaction. At this point, you are checking for severe allergic reactions. If you’ve gone gluten-free before, you know your body can change its mind as to what foods it likes or doesn’t like!

If the first bite goes fine, then have a normal-sized bite then monitor symptoms for 2-3 hours. Again, this step is looking for severe adverse reactions. As long as those two bites go well, have a full serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3 days to a week.

Keys to Success

Reintroducing foods and monitoring symptoms can add up to a lot of data/details, so carefully documentation and maintenance of diet and lifestyle are key. Here are 3 key tips to successfully reintroducing foods as a Type 1 Diabetic on the Autoimmune Protocol.

Food Journal

Autoimmune Protocol Food Journal

First of all, a food journal is essential. You will be documenting SO many things. It is impossible to keep each day straight let alone look for patterns over days, weeks, or months.
A food journal does not have to be anything fancy. Mine is a $.25 spiral bound notebook that goes on sale just before school starts each year. Dedicate an entire notebook to the journal; it will get filled up quicker than you think! Don’t rely on scrap pieces of paper, use full size paper so you have plenty of room to write everything out!

The food journal is the main reason I’ve been able to stick with the diet for so long and to figure out which foods are not agreeing with me. I tend to over-exaggerate my blood sugar levels over days/weeks. If things are not going well, I tend to negatively think I’ve been off for a week or more, when in reality it has only been a few days. It has been so important to have a written record so I can go back and see a clear picture of what really happened.
Make note of anything of consequence along with the major measures for your autoimmune disease. You won’t regret more detail when you go back to review the results. I have Type 1 Diabetes, so I monitor the following things:

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose
  2. Sleep notes
  3. Supplements taken
  4. Breakfast Food
  5. Snack
  6. Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose
  7. Lunch Food
  8. Snack
  9. Pre-Dinner Blood Glucose
  10. Dinner Food
  11. Supplements
  12. Snack
  13. Pre-Bed Blood Glucose

Jotting down these things throughout each day was a game changer! There are SO many moving parts in one’s diet, and many lifestyle routines, habits, and choices make a difference in blood sugar level too. I’m so glad I went through the effort to keep this journal. It is helping me tremendously analyze my results.

Healthy Habits

Healthy habits like consistent sleep (8-9 hours), consistent bed and wake time, and exercise are vital for a healthy body. Keep these routines consistent throughout the reintroduction phase. You want as few variables as possible when trying new foods, so don’t let your lifestyle habits prevent a clear reading on how the food is affecting you.

As a Type 1 Diabetic, these are the healthy lifestyle habits I stick to every day:

  1. Wake up at 5:45am every day – even on the weekends!
  2. Time in God’s Word and prayer – beyond communicating with my Lord and keeping that relationship growing, I need His peace as I go through each day. This diet stresses me sometimes.
  3. Exercise – I do a Fitness Blender workout Monday through Saturday.
  4. Consistent mealtime – Breakfast at 8am, Lunch at 12:30pm, and Dinner at 5:30
  5. Bed time at 10:00pm every day – even on the weekends!

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Since I am a Type 1 Diabetic, blood glucose or blood sugar is my primary indicator if a food is agreeing with my body or not. I test four times a day: fasting or first thing in the morning, before lunch, before dinner, and before bed. My goals for each of those times are as follows:

  • Fasting – less than 130
  • Pre-lunch – less than 130
  • Pre-dinner – less than 130
  • Bed time – between 100 and 150

For my non-diabetic readers, a non-diabetic’s blood sugar level is around 100.

Measurement of Results

The plan for the near future is to reintroduce one item from phase 1 then watch my blood sugar for 3-7 days and make note of any spikes. My criteria for a successful reintroduction as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  • Fasting Blood Glucose less than 150 – This is the biggest indicator that a food has irritated my gut. If I wake up in the morning with a blood sugar higher than 150, that’s when I know my body is off track. I wish I was consistently under 130, but it doesn’t look like that will happen (dawn phenomenon? Not sure…).
  • Pre-Lunch Blood Glucose less than 120 – My normal pre-lunch blood glucose is usually around 100-120, so if it is above that (even if still less than the accepted 130) I know my body is not tolerating that food well.
  • Body tremors – I have doubts that any food besides gluten will do this, but if I’ve ingested gluten, I get the shakes three days later. It feels like the organs inside my rib cage are shaking. I do not do anything to treat this symptom. Although it feels bad, it goes away in a day, and it has happened enough times that I know it is only a sign of gluten exposure.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My plan for the Reintroduction Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol is to choose one food at a time, wait 3-7 days between new foods, document my results in my food journal, and keep my health lifestyle going every day. I am hopeful with careful analysis and cooking to be able to reintroduce foods that I’ve been without these past weeks! Egg yolks is first up on my list, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!


Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

AIP Blood Sugar Results
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Autoimmune Protocol | Review for Type 1 Diabetic

For the last six weeks, I’ve been going through the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the strictest time period of the Autoimmune Protocol. Many foods are eliminated to reduce inflammation in the body, allow the gut to heal, and halt the progression of an autoimmune disease. I am a Type 1 Diabetic, and I went on the Autoimmune Protocol to bring my fasting blood sugar back into Type 1 Diabetic normal range (less than 130 when I wake up).

Due to some chocolate candy I ate over the holidays in late 2017, my fasting blood sugar was high, over 160, every morning when I woke up. Even if I didn’t eat carbohydrates after dinner, my fasting blood sugar was high come morning. Once I discovered the source of the problem (dairy in candy), I eliminated it from my diet along with coffee and alcohol which I suspected might be aggravating the problem. I did not see significant improvement, so on February 19, 2018, I began the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and return my fasting blood sugar to normal.


I’m happy to report the Autoimmune Protocol has been successful in bringing blood glucose back into normal range for a Type 1 Diabetic without the use of artificial insulin. It has decreased my A1c and solidified the need for healthy routines to manage Type 1 Diabetes.

Just in case there was any doubt, I am a diagnosed Type 1 diabetic. In April 2017, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My stats at diagnosis: A1c 9.6, blood glucose of 512, and GAD65 200+, higher than the test result could show. No question about it, I am a Type 1 Diabetic!

Let’s jump into how the Autoimmune Protocol enabled me to have even more control on my diabetes than I did previously with just a Paleo diet.

A1c Results

An A1c test gives an average blood sugar level from the previous 2-3 months. I had taken an A1c home test before beginning the Autoimmune Protocol. The result was 6.3. This is still good for a Type 1 Diabetic, as the goal is less than 7. The chart below translates the A1c (middle number, 4-14) result to blood sugar level.

A1c Chart

As you can see an A1c of 7 means the average blood sugar level was less than 154mg/dl. This is the goal for all Type 1 Diabetics. My result of 6.3 translates to an average blood sugar level of less than 134mg/dl. While this is technically still in range, my fasting blood sugar was too high, 160+ on the regular.

After eating strictly on the Autoimmune Protocol for 6 weeks, my A1c result was 5.8. This means my average blood sugar for the last 2-3 months was 120mg/dl. According to The Diabetes Council, this is a normal blood sugar level. A1c results of 5.9 and above are considered pre-diabetic.

A1c after AIP

This is the power of the Autoimmune Protocol! My average blood sugar levels are in normal, non-diabetic range!

I am not saying I’m cured; I am still a Type 1 Diabetic. Here is what I believe is going on in my body:

  1. The autoimmune response, i.e. the attack on the beta cells of my pancreas, has stopped. Largely due to eliminating gluten but gut health is further improved through the Autoimmune Protocol.
  2. With my gut wall healed, not leaking foreign substances into the blood stream, low carbohydrate foods, like dairy no longer raise my blood sugar.
  3. Since my pancreas is functioning, around 20% I think, my body is able to handle small doses of carbohydrates and return my blood sugar to normal range after eating.
  4. The Autoimmune Protocol allowed my gut to heal from the recent dairy exposure allowing my fasting blood sugar to come down almost to normal Type 1 Diabetic range and allowed for lower blood sugar results throughout the day with less variability.

Speaking of variability, let’s take a look at my daily blood glucose results.

Blood Glucose Results

As I analyze my blood glucose numbers from the last six weeks, it is difficult to measure how blood glucose improves when it bounces around each day. I am going to focus on averages, max, min, and range of my blood glucose throughout the six weeks of the Autoimmune Protocol.

AIP Blood Sugar Results

 

Let’s discuss each of the measures in the chart above.

Average

I calculated the average of my four blood sugar tests from each day for the week before I started the Autoimmune Protocol (Control Week) and the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Blood sugar levels are not a uniform distribution, so a straight average is not a perfect representation of average blood sugar level, but it is the best I have with the tools available to me.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol lowered my average blood sugar level from 142 to 122. Success!

Maximum

I calculated the maximum reading from the control week and from the final week of the Autoimmune Protocol. Prior to beginning the Autoimmune Protocol, I was having spikes over 200, but once on the protocol, the spikes were much lower, 162.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made lower blood sugar spikes.

Minimum

This is simply the lowest reading of the week. There is very little change from the control week (79) to the final week of AIP (81). I still think this is a win. I’m not looking for blood glucose levels lower than 80. Since my pancreas is still functioning, it will keep me from going very low as it won’t give me too much insulin like an injection could.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has stabilized my blood sugar on the low end too. There are no cases of going too low and needing additional glucose.

Range

This is my best result, I think. The range is the difference between the max and the min (Maximum – Minimum = Range). To describe it, the range is showing the swing or variation in my blood sugar. A non-diabetic would have very little variation in blood sugar levels because the pancreas is keeping everything in check, constantly monitoring blood sugar and insulin levels. The blood sugar range of a Type 1 Diabetic could be all over the place if the insulin input does not match the carbohydrate load ingested. I have to be extra careful because I am not taking additional insulin, and I do not know exactly what carbohydrate load my pancreas can handle (my guess is around 20g carbs per meal).

The range of my blood sugar readings has decreased from 149 prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol to 81 after six weeks of AIP. This means less variability in my blood sugar. This is a major win in my book. Less dramatic swings in blood sugar must mean good things for my internal organs and overall management of diabetes.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol has made my blood sugar more stable. There is less variability between my highest and lowest readings throughout the day.

 

Routine

Routine is so important. During Weeks 3 and 4, my morning routine, evening routine, and sleep patterns were all thrown off as illness ran through my entire family. I stuck to the AIP diet throughout these weeks yet the results were not the same. Take a look…

AIP Results through Sickness

While the average blood sugar was a little lower than the control week, the range was higher. My blood sugar was not as controlled even though my diet was right on. When healthy routines are not in place, it has a major impact on my blood sugar levels.

Here are the major routines that were thrown off during Weeks 3 and 4 resulting in less blood sugar  control:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night
  • Waking up at the same time every morning
  • Exercise every day
  • Drinking water

Once my family’s health returned, and my routines were back in place, my blood sugar levels returned to Type 1 Diabetic normal. That is the power of good, healthy routines!

Conclusion

The Autoimmune Protocol works! If you’ve been looking for hope to manage or even cure your autoimmune disease, this is it. It is working to manage my Type 1 Diabetes better than conventional medicine can with artificial insulin. The Autoimmune Protocol is addressing the cause of the disease: the foods that trigger an autoimmune response. By removing those foods, your body can heal and return to normal functioning. There is hope for autoimmunity, and there is healing. The Autoimmune Protocol is a good place to start.


If you want more information, check out my beginning post, weekly reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), or contact me!

AIP for Type 1 Diabetic

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Autoimmune Protocol Week 5 | Return to Routine

Welcome! I am going through the Elimination Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. Why? I am a type 1, insulin-free, diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, my blood sugar levels were higher than desired. On February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control. 

Check out how Week 1Week 2Week 3, and Week 4 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!


Week 5 of the autoimmune protocol raised my spirits as my family’s health improved, and I returned to a normal sleep schedule: going to bed at 10pm and waking at 5:45am, along with regular exercise in the morning. With just two nights of sleeping through the night and waking up on time, my morning blood sugars were below 160. I had one great morning waking up in the 130’s, but for the most part, I’ve been in the 150’s in the morning. My goal for my blood sugar first thing in the morning is less than 130. I’m not there yet, but not waking up in the 160’s and 170’s is progress!

Beside blood sugar, returning to my morning routine has given me peace and energy. I love my quiet mornings by myself before the family wakes up. The darkness of the morning, the warmth of my mug of tea, and reading my Bible are the highlight of my day. Time to work out without my kiddos crawling all over me and showering in peace and quiet are great perks too! That is happiness for me. Waking up early is worth every minute.

I used to think my mom was crazy for getting up at 5:30am. She always said she needed her quiet time to start her day. Funny, I need mine too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?

If you are struggling with energy, getting it all done, or finding time to be alone, might I recommend a structured going to bed and waking up routine? They go together because you can’t get up early for quality alone time if you were up until 2am. You need sleep. Your mind, body, health, everything about you needs sleep. Try it for two weeks. Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each day. Plan what you will do in the morning time. By the end of two weeks, you will find yourself loving it.

All that to say: routine matters in managing blood sugar levels. I’m so glad that returning to my normal is helping my fasting blood sugar to return to normal.

Food

Breakfast

In past weeks, I’ve managed to make my leftover breakfasts seem a little different when serveD the second time. Not this week! The pictures are so similar even though each picture is taken on the day I ate it. I don’t mind though. The ease of only cooking breakfast every other day is worth it!

Autoimmune Protocol Breakfast Week 5

Day 26 – Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

Day 27 – Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage

Day 28 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage Links, and Half an Avocado

Day 29 – Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage Links, and Half an Avocado

Day 30 – Autumn Breakfast Skillet

Day 31 – Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Bacon

Lunch

Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers! I love leftovers because they make a quick, nutritious lunch! The only meal made fresh was Day 28, as that fell on a Sunday and Dan helped me cook a super yummy lunch. Learn to use your leftovers to improve your lunchtime nutrition and ease your cooking responsibilities.

Autoimmune Protocol Lunch Week 5

Day 26 – Leftover Turkey Hash, Dairy-free Tuna Salad (I used the sauce from this recipe), Roasted Asparagus, Apples

Day 27 – Leftover Salmon Chowder and Roasted Broccoli

Day 28 – Grilled Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips

Day 29 – Leftover Salmon Chowder and Brussel Sprouts with Apples

Day 30 – Chicken Salad, Broiled Chicken Skin, Sliced Cucumbers and Carrots

Day 31 – Leftover Chicken with Italian Wedding Soup Broth and Vegetables on Top

Dinner

Seafood finally made it to the table with Day 26’s Salmon Chowder. It has taken me years to appreciate fish, and now that I finally do, I realize how budget-breaking it is! Seafood will likely be a feast or famine occurrence at our house. When Dan goes fishing in the summer and fall, we will eat a lot of fish. During the winter and spring, it will rarely grace our table. I think this is a healthy balance though. A paleo diet is based on what our ancestors used to eat, and they did not live in an agrarian culture like we do. They had fish when they caught it, that’s it. So I’m accepting of the fact that we will only eat fish for about half the year, maybe only 1 or 2 months of the year.

Autoimmune Protocol Dinner Week 5

Day 26 – Salmon Chowder and Roasted Broccoli

Day 27 – Grilled Pork Chops, Roasted Asparagus, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnips

Day 28 – Leftover Salmon Chowder

Day 29 – Lemon Herb Chicken, Carrot Fries, and Steamed Broccoli

Day 30 – Dinner Out: Naked Burger with Lettuce and Onion and Steamed Broccoli

Day 31 – Rosemary Chicken, Kale Chips, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Top Recipes of the Week
  1. Kale Chips – How have I been eating a Paleo diet for almost a year and never tried kale chips?? In desperation to just shake things up a bit, I made kale chips for dinner. They were awesome: crispy, salty, melt in your mouth. Yum. The kids loved them too!
  2. Salmon Chowder – This one was a shocker. I don’t know why, but I thought this recipe might not be a winner (yet I chose to make it anyway?! I don’t understand myself sometimes.). I was trying to incorporate seafood into my diet, so I was willing to ignore my tasting instincts. I’m so glad I did! This soup was bright and lemony, not a bit fishy. It was so good, enjoyed by the whole family.
  3. Roasted Butternut Squash Hash with Mushrooms and Sausage – If I may toot my own horn, this hash is awesome. I love mushrooms and onions which take this hash up a notch from regular veggies and meat. Try it. You won’t regret it!

Blood Sugar

As mentioned above, overall my blood sugar levels returned to normal range. As a Type 1 Diabetic, my blood sugar goals are less than 130 first thing in the morning and before meals and less than 150 before bed. Take a look at the chart below. Even though the lines go up and down throughout the day, the yellow line is lower overall from the red (Week 3) and blue (Week 4). Returning to a normal sleep and exercise routine is doing wonders for my blood sugar!

Autoimmune Protocol Blood Sugar

How I Feel

Before I took on a full Paleo diet, I thought I had plenty of energy. Sure, I had a crash in the afternoon, but I thought wanting an afternoon nap or cup of coffee was normal. At least, that’s what all the memes on Facebook would lead me to believe!

A Paleo diet and even this more strict Autoimmune Protocol have given me boundless energy. I never have a crash during the day. From the moment I get out of bed in the morning to when I’m getting ready for bed at 10pm, I have tons of energy.

Being a stay-at-home mom can lend itself to feelings of overwhelm, at least it does for me. It can seem on the outside looking in that a stay-at-home mom has boundless amounts of time. She should be able to get it all done. The truth is juggling all the responsibilities of family and home can leave me chasing my tail, feeling like I’m not getting anything done.

Since starting radical diet changes, my emotional stability has strengthened dramatically. Yes, I have implemented good lifestyle habits:

  • Make a prioritized to-do list at the beginning of each day
  • Go to bed at the same time every night
  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Exercise 5 times a week
  • Reading my Bible and spending time in prayer

These habits are partly to thank for my improved emotional stability, but so is the diet. They all work together to create a body that can function well all day (energy, focus, stamina) and all night (uninterrupted, deep sleep).

Goals for The Future

I was hoping to be reporting on completely in range fasting blood sugar levels and laying out my reintroduction schedule for foods I’ve been avoiding while on the Autoimmune Protocol. Sadly, that is not the case. My fasting blood sugar, while better than when my family was sick, is still not in Type 1 Diabetic normal range. For that reason, I am continuing on with the Autoimmune Protocol.

I have been following other people on the Autoimmune Protocol, and it seems to be fairly common to stick with the elimination phase longer than 30 days. Really, the idea is to stay on the elimination phase until all symptoms of the autoimmune disease stop.

It’s at this point that I don’t know the best step forward. Will my symptoms ever stop completely? What if I stayed on the Autoimmune Protocol for a year? Would the beta cells in my pancreas regenerate? Should I try a fasting regime on top of the Autoimmune Protocol? I have a lot of questions without any answers, but I think I’m on the right track.


Routine and healthy daily habits are crucial to maintaining blood sugar for a Type 1 Diabetic. Not only do these have a positive impact on blood glucose, but healthy habits do wonders for emotional stability and sleep patterns. Take your health one step further, if you are already eating healthy foods, now create healthy habits. Go to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time every day. Just start there, add other habits after you master those.

What does your morning routine look like? Do you go to bed at the same time every night? What habits have you implemented that are life-changing for you?

Click to check out the Week 1Week 2Week 3, and Week 4 reviews. Follow me on Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Autoimmune Protocol Week 5