My Autoimmune Struggle (AIP) with Celiac Disease

When I first learned that I had Celiac, an autoimmune disease, my doctor handed me a list of the foods to help get my body back on track. Although there was a list of foods that I could eat, the list that made my heart sink was the very long list of delicious foods that I couldn’t eat. If you are reading this, you or a loved one has probably seen the food list that I am referencing.

I love food. I love great tasting food. I love to splurge every once in awhile. Frankly, I crave nachos, cheese burgers, french fries, and ice cream all the time. When I get sick, you can add boxed macaroni and cheese to that list. And then there’s cheese… I love cheese. You name it: Brie, gouda, irish, pepper jack, and even the fake nacho cheese that you get at ball games. Oh, and I love milk.

Prior to my Celiac diagnosis, I didn’t indulge in my cravings – except on the occasional “free day,” but now, the allowable indulgence from my above cravings is hamburger meat.

More discouraging than the loss of food were the fun experiences that I thought I’d miss out on. We like to treat our boys to small, but awesome snacks while doing something together as a family. We love to celebrate accomplishments with food and fun. And if I’m being honest with you, sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking and want to go grab something to go. Now, it seemed, even that wasn’t an option anymore.

My doctor suggested a low FOD MOPS diet, but since I was observing my body’s reaction to food, I knew I needed something different. As I scoured the internet for recipes that would work and taste good, I stumbled upon the Autoimmune protocol or Autoimmune Paleo (often referred to as AIP) diet. In a word, it’s been a lifesaver.

I started creating Pinterest boards of foods that I could eat and decided that I needed to celebrate the things I could eat instead cry about the foods I couldn’t eat. I had no idea if this diet would work. I was in so much pain and I didn’t see any difference after trying the “Pinterest Paleo” diet, that I wasn’t sure if giving up all the good tasting foods was even worth it. I decided that I had to try this elimination diet. I really had nothing to lose; I was in so much pain I didn’t see how it could get much worse.

I jumped all in, and have loved eating the AIP way. When I get the occasional cravings for the “bad foods” that I used to eat, I do a little research to create an AIP version. Surprisingly, my AIP renditions have been a hit. Even my two sons and husband -who have been following the AIP program for seven months now- love the food we eat and they especially love the snack foods I make to help curb their cravings.

Here are a few AIP tips that helped me get over the initial shock of the AIP eating plan:

Research – When I read that once you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease you are three times more likely to get another autoimmune disease, I considered my diet a life or death matter… fudging on my diet wasn’t an option.

Get your family on board – My husband decided to follow AIP with me. He didn’t eat anything I couldn’t eat. It soon became too time consuming to cook separate meals for me and my husband then a separate meal for our teenage boys, so we decided to convert everyone to AIP to make it easier for the cook, and also to help the boys with some health concerns that were popping up.

Pinpoint your family’s cravings – After the first or second week on the AIP diet, I asked all my guys what they were craving. I then searched and fiddled with recipes and ingredients to find AIP solutions to satisfy their cravings. According to my three critics, since I began baking AIP desserts, I have made “the best desserts I have ever had.” Not bad for a newbie. 🙂

So far, we are doing great. We have had to adjust a few things on nights the boys are at a friend’s house or something, but overall, we have adjusted. It took us a few months and a lot of conversations explaining why we don’t eat the “normal” food that everyone else is eating. I don’t think I would have been able to stick to this eating plan and my new healthier lifestyle if it weren’t for my three amazing guys. I am truly blessed to have such a loving and supportive family.

Stay tuned for more AIP articles about how my family of four (Me, My Superhero husband, and our two teenage sons) are surviving and thriving on the AIP eating plan. And because I just mentioned them a couple times, I have included a photo of them so you can see why I am so filled with joy.

From left to right: My husband, Jon Graves; my boys, Christian and Everen.The Graves Men























**The views and nutritional advice expressed by Lindsey Graves is not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. Purchasing a product, program or wellness coaching does not establish a doctor patient relationship with Lindsey Graves or her staff. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. We suggest that you continue to work with qualified medical professional as you engage in our material, products and services. No information offered here should be interpreted as a diagnosis of any disease, nor an attempt to treat or prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information and statements regarding products and/or services made available by Lindsey Graves have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lindsey Graves products and services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.