My Autoimmune Diet: How I Manage My Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms with Food
Are you curious about diet and autoimmunity? You’ve probably read or heard that there are no proven connections between diet and autoimmune symptoms, but countless testimonials and personal experience tell me otherwise. I’ll share my autoimmune diet below.
I have tried many dietary approaches over the past four years. I started by eliminating gluten and dairy. When that wasn’t enough to improve my autoimmune symptoms I looked into the Paleo diet, AIP, Whole30, and Primal diets because they kept coming up during my research. Read my post on how to tell the difference and how to choose which one might be best for you. I explain my autoimmune diet further in that post as well.
I avoid gluten, grains, dairy, beans, nightshade vegetables, refined sugars, and processed foods. So essentially, I follow a modified Paleo diet.
Changing my autoimmune diet has made all the difference in my autoimmune symptoms. My disease activity is minimal, I have very little inflammation, and my energy levels are back close to where they were pre-diagnosis: I can actually work out again.
Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to show you what a typical day on my autoimmune diet looks like. You’ll see how easy it is to follow a grain, gluten, refined sugar and low dairy diet without losing your mind in the process.
Through this post and others, I’ll show you how I make following my autoimmune diet for symptom relief is doable. This is real life, after all.
I am busy, a little lazy, frequently exhausted at the end of a long workday, and very human, so I eat many of the same foods repeatedly. I do this to simplify my life and because I have many food sensitivities; on my autoimmune diet I eat what I know will not increase inflammation and other autoimmune symptoms.
Also, I am not a food blogger and my food is shown “as is” on this blog, meaning there is no fancy plating going on around here. Well, sometimes I attempt it- but you will see what I mean. HA!
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I KEEP IT SIMPLE AND AM A CREATURE OF HABIT
Almost every weekday for the past two years I’ve started my morning with a shake.
Other days I just have Bullet Proof coffee (coffee with MCT oil, and a little grass-fed butter added). It’s delicious and filling.
Some might tire of a breakfast routine like this, but on my autoimmune diet, I have come to rely on simplified menus and routines as a way to better manage my disease activity.
I love starting my day with something so healthy and simple. I never have to think about breakfast, it takes about 30 seconds to whip up in the NutriBullet, and I drink it in the car on my way to work each day. The fact that it’s crazy delicious makes me pretty darn happy, too.
On the weekends I eat later and have brunch instead.
Eggs with bacon or quiche made with an almond flour crust are favorites.
I make sure to drink lots of lemon water throughout the day because I never drink enough during the week. This is something I am working on, for sure!
Some people’s autoimmune symptoms are aggravated by eggs. I eliminated them while on AIP and am happy I am able to tolerate them and have them as part of my autoimmune diet.
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USUALLY LEFTOVERS OR SALAD- SOMETIMES A BIT MORE EXCITING
Lunch is almost always leftovers, a salad, or leftovers and a salad.
It rarely changes because I am not one to prepare a new meal at lunchtime, and during the school year I pack my lunch every day (actually my husband packs it for me because he’s awesome like that) so it needs to be something quick.
I actually work leftovers into my weekly meal planning for this purpose.
One of my favorite salads is simply two handfuls of baby spinach, a few chopped strawberries, a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. On the day I took this photo I was out of pumpkin seeds, so I just went with the berries and spinach.
Sweet Potatoes and steak are two of the foods we eat often. I usually roast the sweet potatoes and anything we can grill is also a go-to especially for the summer months.
Sometimes I just skip sweet potatoes and toss the steak right on my salad!
Voila! A perfect lunch crafted from leftovers.
Because who doesn’t need a few snacks from time to time?
I love snacks and I have a sweet tooth.
This is tough when trying to avoid refined and artificial sugars.
I also keep RX BARS on hand for emergencies. They are delicious. RXBAR makes whole food protein bars with simple, all-natural ingredients.
Dinner usually consists of a high-quality protein and plenty of vegetables.
The grill and Instant Pot are my best friends.
Cauliflower is a frequent flyer because I could eat mashed cauliflower every day!
I also try to eat as many green vegetables as possible. green beans, zucchini, broccoli, and brussels sprouts (roasted only) are the usual picks.
We use leftover veggies in a frittata. A big slice of frittata with a salad is one of my favorite lunches.
I like to prep more than I need each time to make dinner time easier during the week.
A typical dinner for us: grilled steak, sauteed zucchini and mushrooms, and mashed cauliflower.
I cannot think of a better dessert than fresh berries topped with coconut whipped cream (I use this). It’s simple and satisfying. I try to stick to organic for the Dirty Dozen whenever possible, but I don’t obsess about it. I just wash everything really, really well. We do our best, but we aren’t perfect by any means.
So, as you can see, if you keep it simple, following a Paleo-friendly diet can be quite doable, not to mention beneficial.
I hope you will give it try if you’ve been thinking about it.
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