Many of you are doing fantastic on the AIP diet. Congratulations!
This post is not for you.
This post is for the hundreds of emails I get each month for those who are not doing fantastic on AIP and are struggling to find out why. They may also not be on AIP...they are really on any kind of "Fix-It" diet. Those who have been to ND's, MD's, Acupuncturists, and are working on healing their gut. They have spoke with therapists, and are eating AIP perfectly. In fact because of the nature of my work and the honor of having so many on the AIP diet that I work with, I have a large pool to assess from to share my thoughts about why AIP does not 'work' for everyone.
My clients are generally are not beginners of AIP. They are past the initial excitement of thinking a diet will fix them. Many are better however. Many have gotten better then re-flared. Many have gotten backed into a wall eating AIP and are down to 15 foods and cannot successfully reintroduce foods back or even go just Paleo (think co-infections, gut-brain axis and unresolved emotional issues that therapy isn't reaching). Many are hopeless and frustrated. Everyone is hoping for a miracle.
"If I do AIP right I will put my disease into remission"
But, when you start a diet thinking, feeling or believing there is something about you that needs to be fixed, mended or healed, they will ultimately fail. The whole point of dysregulation of the mind, body and spirit is to wake you up to the truth that you are already whole.
The goal is not fixing. The goal is awakening
So, here is my latest assessment of having an AIP practice that is 3 years old. Because my training goes far beyond most nutrition training and I include the spiritual, physiological and genetic pieces, I will include them here. AIP diet will fail (as all diets will) when you do it from a place of lack.
AIP will not work if you are trying to fix your disease
This model of 'fixing your illness' is everywhere is both alternative medicine, AIP world, allopathic medicine and realms of psychology. It may appear that AIP will fix your disease because you have heard all the success stories and even the scientific studies, but it will not ever get you to the root of your issue. Ever. Any issue or problem we try to solve as humans from a place of lack will only produce more lack. When we try to resolve an issue that has its origins in a non-physical starting place with a physical solution, it won't work. So what is lack? Anything that is not wholeness. Wholeness is an interesting concept. It is the place where everything is present. The illness and the cure are both in the wholeness. That may seem odd, but it contains the completeness. When we operate out of lack, we are not including resolution. So if we resource out of wholeness than we use everything as the compost of our garden. I consider wholeness as both the alpha and the omega. From the Place of wholeness, we can consider that Illness is here to wake us up to something. That something is the majesty and divinity of who you are disguised as illness. It is here to build wisdom in a custom-made way for you. Yes, it is hard to be woken up. Yes, suffering is usually involved. Yes, it means that there is something to examine beyond your diet. If you want your diet to work, then do those things too. Usually this means we being asked to face our misunderstandings as humans, and that ruffles the feathers of our ego. We do not easily go to the painful places in our life unless we are shoved. So let illness shove you. The loving will catch you if you call upon it. When you work from the place of the physical to try to remedy a situation that is not physical, then it won't work. An example: A woman has MS. She came from a family where she was abandoned by her father. She believes she is not worthy of love, nor can she depend on others. That is not a physical problem, that is a spiritual one that affects her physical and emotional body. Will diet help her? Probably. Will the diet fall short eventually until she is willing to look at what her MS is waking her up to? Probably. So I am not saying diet won't work. It clearly does. But in her effort to fix MS with diet and the unwillingness to examine why MS is participating in her life, she will not build the wisdom I believe all our hearts are seeking. Illness waking you up to something means that there is no precise path outside the path of awakening our hearts through the journey of illness. When our illness identifies us, we are already in lack and growth stops. We are never our illness, (or our molestation, or our abuse, or our broken childhoods, or our trauma) and identifying ourselves as such will keep us stuck. And we can be kept stuck and not even know it. Why? Because the ego will keep telling us we are fine and safe as long as we keep to the schedule IT created which usually does not have spiritual growth with it. However the ego plays an important role as it ultimately in service to the awakening of our soul nature. But when we orient our 'successes' from a place of feeling important, famous or in control, ego will keep us identifying ourselves as the reflection we see coming back to us as we live in the world which is an illusion. The soul identifies us by the center of our being which is loving. The ego comes forward to serve this purpose.
Your healing plan is a 'Doing' Model instead of a 'Being' Model
I shared my experience with the Disease of Becoming in this post. I highly recommend reading it if you haven't. It essentially says that we can't ever really heal while we continually chase healing, or while we strive for that as a destination place. Any message that says directly or indirectly "Don't be where you are at" and identifies you as diseased, sick or not whole will keep you stuck. The vast majority of health messages say that message. And the hardest part is that most health messages says it so subtly, that it can be confusing or seem like it is the good news you have been waiting to hear. It isn't that following a diet is the problem however. It is following a diet to fix your problem that is the problem. When you are DOING something to FIX your problem that will keep you limited. One very precise and useful way to tell the difference between Doing and Being is to go into YOUR center. Be quiet in that place. Assess how you feel in that place. Do you feel agitation? Do you feel sadness? Grief? When you do that, you are not using an outside reflection to identify yourself. Hashimoto's disease is not what identifies you when you go inside and ask yourself what you experience when you do. YOU are. That is the most valuable information we have. Often when we do that, especially in the AIP or Autoimmune world we stumble upon something that we are then told needs fixing. Every time I hear a message that I need to be fixed I don't make it wrong however. I use it as a cue to be open to all the places I need to touch my own love to inside myself. Perhaps you were to try to do that simple exercise right now and you experience sadness. When you experience sadness, from most healing models, our immediate response is "Get rid of the sadness" or "Fix that! Or "Healing means you don't have sadness anymore" or "That sadness is what is promoting your physical dysregulation and Hashimoto's." It is that very message I am suggesting is not only untrue, but also the path most of us try out first before going into the deeper place of healing and wisdom. What a wonderful journey! Everything builds the wisdom of our hearts and our loving. Everything. When you are done 'Doing' and are ready to start 'Being', there is a path. There is great vulnerability required in letting illness wake you up to your divinity however, so this other choice you have to lean into does not mean it is easy. But it will grow you and your heart more than anything else I know of. I think that is such great news. In that regard, we don't make Doing, wrong and Being, right. It is just part of the path of growing ourselves.
You work from a Good/Bad health model
If the universe is built on unconditional loving (and all major religions on the planet are rooted in unconditional loving), then nothing is truly good or bad. It is only experiences our soul gathers to understand itself to create more intimacy. It is our human parts that judge things and that gets us stuck and into trouble. That is when we start playing the recordings of our unconscious that tell us how things should or ought to be in an effort to maintain homeostasis, glory, fame, control and safety. That is powerful. We try those things that the health world tells us to do so we can regain control and safety. Ultimately they don't work (safety is not found outside of us through a lifestyle, diet or person) and through our experience of trying we build amazing knowledge. Nothing is discarded in the growth of ourselves. However, I see those experiences as triggers for the deeper work. Thousands and thousands of people are learning about the AIP diet. They go about fixing their disease through this diet, right? Not really. I consider those who are compelled to start AIP are the ones who hear the call. How far they take the 'call' is up to them. They will sort through the messages about nutrient density, gluten sensitivity, sleep, co-infections, healing the gut, daily bone broth, staying 'strong' while eating a certain way, and identifying healing through the association of being diagnosed with a disease. And then from there, a certain amount of people will do the deeper healing and see what gifts lay wait from the circumstances of their situation. They will find healers that work from vulnerability and not ego and use everything to lift rather than going by a message someone told them to. They will go beyond good and bad and into the field of unified loving that so many divine beings who have graced this planet have spoke of. Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Rumi, Mother Theresa. They all spoke of these places. The place that Maya Angelou called 'the rainbows in the clouds'. They use their illness as a stepping stone into this sacred place available to all of us. They do not use illness as something to get over, cure or fix. They use their illness as a wisdom giver to understand their hearts. That is the realm I work from. The top-down vs. bottom-up approach. From the top-down model the number one question each day is: "The relationship you have to your disease is the cure". This question keeps you out of the mode of thinking that there is a right or wrong way to do things.
Common phrases that keep us trapped in good/bad thinking:
If you think positive then you will heal.
If you follow this diet you will heal.
If you are a good person God will reward you with healing.
If you have this kind of lifestyle than you will heal.
Here is an example. Joan is 35 years old. She is married to a man who has been a serial cheater. She has rheumatoid arthritis (which she got when she was 21) and was in a relationship with a man who was not present and very ego-centered. As a child, her father who ran a large and successful company was an alcoholic and verbally abused her mother and the rest of the family. So, is rheumatoid arthritis just part of the genetics? Yes. Can we say her initial rheumatoid arthritis flare was due the EBV virus she got in college? Yes. Can we assume that there some big misunderstandings, judgements and behaviors that may not be working in her favor? Yes. She picked a man that was behaviorally like her father and was not present. That makes total sense. It was familiar and all that she had known. She thought she only deserved a relationship with a man who was not present. From a spiritual perspective, her curriculum was learning to be present with herself to find the safety. Learning how to love and soothe the part of her that believed she only deserved a disconnected kind of love was the healing. Finding that the safety was inside of herself and not in a relationship was healing. Appreciating how each person came forward in her life to help assist her to find the safety was healing. Rheumatoid arthritis kept her physically uncomfortable. Enough so that she continued trying (on behalf of herself, but she did not realize that at first) to FIX herself. Fix her broken childhood and her disease. She found fix-it people easily. She read online about a diet that could help her fix her broken immune system. Her Naturopath would fix her gut. Her nutritionist would fix her inflammatory diet. But while these things helped, they did not deliver her out of the ache that was always present in her heart. Yes, her lab markers improved. Yes, her RA symptoms improved. But it was not until she found a practitioner who lovingly pointed out that she had all the tools INSIDE of her to find the safety through what she thought was the mess of life and actually was a loving gift that the pain started to lift. Once that happened, she started to see AIP not as a FIX-IT diet, but as a evolution of the care she truly felt she deserved. Her upbringing started to be something she did not have to survive, but something that contained all the components to understand that she knew from a deep place, that loving herself doing hard things released her out of chains. Rheumatoid Arthritis was part of what showed up to assist in the unfoldment of her heart. Not to punish her. It was a helper. Now when she flares she does not brace herself. She uses it as a loving message to look for the places inside her herself that she is against her own loving. Places inside herself where she may make an assumption about something being right or wrong that distracts her from focusing on the whole, beautiful soul she is. Feel the difference? When we set up life to be pass/fail, good/bad, successful/failure, then we stay stuck in duality. Beyond duality is the wholeness where everything is present to assist our hearts and loving to grow. Physical issues, disease, suffering are all here to assist us to understand this.
In many ways what I am suggesting here in this post is very radical. It is not often implemented or even mentioned in health care plans or nutrition protocols. It is a custom path for each person who considers it. It requires an open-heartedness and vulnerability that the very thing that can destroy our life, is actually here to help assist us. It is bringing a consciousness of loving into the cells of our body. This affects genetics, how time plays out in our disease and how we take responsibility for our lives. It is the idea that physical disease is here to assist the growth of our soul. When I watch my clients consider this idea as an option, I see the beauty unfold in their hearts. It is spectacular. So I will continue to speak of this. I believe that we are on the horizon of our own loving. That the sun we wish to warm our hearts is actually the loving inside of us.
I love you. xx-jessica