Because most of the recipes I create are now directed to those on an autoimmune approach to Paleo, I tend to get labeled as a blogger “using the Autoimmune-Paleo diet to heal herself.” While this is true and all, it is not necessarily my entire story. To begin, Chronic Lyme is not only an autoimmune disease, but also a neurological disease. Therefore, while an infection of Borrelia Burgdorferi does cause the body to attack itself (i.e. autoimmunity), it also creates neurodegenerative and mitochondrial damage, of which I both have.
Diet for Neurological Diseases
As previously mentioned in posts where I discuss the PK Protocol, because Lyme went untreated for so long in my body, all other attempts to find healing (outside of the IVIG infusions) have proven to be unsuccessful. This is due to the degree of damage that the infection, co-infections, and resulting effects have had on my body. A major part of the PK Protocol, is a ketogenic approach to the Paleo diet, that aids in the redevelopment and healing of one’s cells. Avoiding carbs has nothing to do with being afraid of them, but rather a necessary component of ridding my cells of toxins and fatty lipid rafts that have accumulated through the oxidative damage, as well as the restoration and regrowth. Because cells are ultimately made up of fat, following a high fat diet is subsequently the best fit for the protocol.
Diet for Autoimmune Diseases
Then there is the autoimmune-Paleo approach to healing, that removes all pro-inflammatory foods to help the body reduce the attacks it has on itself and thus heal from a given, seemingly “incurable” autoimmune disease. This aspect of Lyme Disease comes into place when the infection is left untreated for awhile, and thus becomes chronic. When this happens, the body continues to fight off what it views as “foreign invaders,” regardless of if spirochetes are still present or not. Of course, the body has a good reason for this, as more than likely the full amount of bacteria has not been eradicated due to biofilms and secret hiding places (lymph nodes, cerebral cortex, spinal fluid, in between cells, etc) that previous treatment could not and (or) can not reach.
My Body, My Approach
Putting these two diets together is what I call an “autoimmune-ketogenic” approach to Paleo. While I must strictly eat a ketogenic diet for scientific, medical reasons, eating “autoimmune” is something that I implemented into my life many years prior, as a way to try and help my body heal. However, while this diet does reduce some of the inflammation that I experience, it is has not necessarily furthered in my healing, despite the years I have strictly followed it. That being said, while my PK Protocol doctor has shown and proven me why I need to eat a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet to heal, I have not put all of my previous, autoimmune knowledge to the way side. Eating ketogenic is not much of a switch from Paleo, except for that dairy products are a bit more readily embraced as part of the “diet.” The only changes for me where altering and upping my fat intake according to the blood work that determined what my cells are deficient in. By altering I mean making sure that I get the specific fatty acids that my body is negative in. Funny as it may sound, this includes omega-6, as I am extremely high in omega-3’s, and very low in omega-6s. As previously mentioned, it is not about having an over-abundance of omega-3’s that makes one healthy, but rather the proper balance. This ratio is one that I am looking to fix on the PK Protocol as my cells begin to heal. I had to take out all form of starchy vegetables, all forms of sugar (including fruit, though I didn’t do this anyways), and carbs in any other form you can think of. Raw sheep dairy, which is not part of an autoimmune protocol, is also part of my diet, as my body tends to love and welcome this food almost always, and allows me to get the needed fat into my diet.
The Difference Between the Two
An autoimmune-paleo approach is based off of scientific research for those with autoimmune disease, as is the ketogenic for those with neurological illnesses. Therefore, while eating very low carb, high fat, is needed for healing my cellular makeup, the autoimmune component is my way of coping with inflammatory symptoms on a daily bases (plus the much needed healing aspects). Though my PK Protocol doctor wishes I could eat more nuts, seeds, and eggs, due to differing components that they possess, eating them sends my body into a state of emergency, and thus can not be added to my diet at this time. I will not be on a ketogenic diet forever, and much like the autoimmune approach to Paleo, it will be tweaked once my body begins to truly heal. Therefore, while I may not eat more than half of the recipes I post on Beyond the Bite (the family determines and tastes recipes for me), due to having to eat strictly high fat, moderate protein, low carb, most all AIP “rules” are part of my life as well.
Where the Lines Overlap
So how do these diets overlap? Well, to put it plainly, there aren’t many foods outside of fat, protein, and leafy greens that I can actually eat. Due to the leaky gut, small nerve damage in my GI track, and overactive MAST cells, my foods rotate, while I also stick strictly low-FOMAP on a daily basis. I do not eat this way as a means to control every morsel of food that enters into my body, but rather as a combination of healing diets, both driven by doctor’s orders and my own, personal intuition. Of course, if you all would like to see some of the recipes I make on a weekly basis, please feel free to give me a shout out. The main reason of writing this article is to share awareness to the fact that there is more than one, healing, Paleo diet. Regardless of what the “rules” are of a given protocol, it truly is best to customize the foods based off of what you know your body does best with. If you are sick enough, this may also include scientifically proven labs and testing such as the one’s through BodyBio lab for the PK Protocol (i.e cellular distortion, GI function, immune status, lipid metabolism, nitrogen retention, overall toxicity status, etc). For me, the most important aspect of my diet that I must always comply to is the ketogenic approach. What does this mean? Fat, fat, and more fat. On the other end of the spectrum, I eat absolutely no carbs. This may scare some, as they believe that those on a high fat diet do not get enough nutrients and variety to benefit my body. However, my body has come to state of utter depletion that my doctor and I are starting at ground one. There is no worry about other arising health complications, as truly there is nothing else that could go wrong in my body. Instead, I have a team of doctors who are ensuring that my body is always in a safe state while following a ketogenic diet. From a personal standpoint, I know for certain that my body is benefiting from this protocol, even more so than that of an “autoimmune” approach. In the end, one’s approach to a healing diet really depends on what is wrong or messed up in their own specific, personal body. While following a Paleo/Primal diet is certainly the most beneficial for all human kind, finding alterations further into this way of eating may be needed to find complete healing. For me, this includes what I have termed an “Autoimmune-Keto Approach.”
Speak up, Speak out
I’d also love to hear from you! Let me know how you have used various healing diets, taken into account what you body does best with, and used both personal and documented, scientific research to aid in true healing. #Beyondthebite4life on Twitter or Instagram and let the world know!
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”