AIP year 1

The First Year of my Journey on the Autoimmune Protocol AIP

My first year of AIP was a significant one as there were so many big changes and I was pregnant with my first child! Here is an update of my first year of AIP.

In August of 2015 I started on a journey toward health that I never thought I’d be able to do. I started AIP to try and heal my body from autoimmune disease. I removed a significant number of foods from my diet, implemented lifestyle changes, and reduced the number of health, beauty, and cleaning products that I use around the house that aren’t natural. I did all of this to try and reclaim my health and ensure baby and I would stay healthy during pregnancy and beyond.

My Backstory

Two years ago after my husband got a new job, we bought a house and moved to the cities and I got a new job. I had horrible symptoms of not being able to sleep at night for more than a few hours, was overly anxious, irritable, had horrible cystic acne, etc. even though I was happy with where life was headed. I knew something was wrong and I started looking for answers.

I’ve had Hypothyroidism, meaning my body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone which affects all parts of my body, since 1998 but always felt I had it under control with medication. However, I had a feeling my symptoms had something to do with all the stressors we had in a short amount of time and my thyroid. Though the stressors were mainly good stressors, they were still stressors.

I started researching, kept diligent notes of my symptoms and sleep patterns, and long story short ended up being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, in the summer of 2015. Basically, my body is attacking itself and has been since before 1998 when I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. This is because Hashitmoto’s attacks the thyroid breaking it down until it can no longer produce enough thyroid hormone and then often causes Hypothyroidism. What happened to me in the fall of 2014 was likely an autoimmune flare where my body basically freaked out due to the stress and attacked itself more than ever before.

I could go into all that I learned about Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism but I’ve done that in a previous post and I’m a school psychologist, not a doctor, so don’t feel qualified to go into too much detail though I have done a lot of research on the topic. In the summer of 2015 after my diagnosis, I knew I had to do something drastic though the doctors told me just to continue taking my thyroid medication and they didn’t know why this had happened. I was on my own but I kept searching for answers.

Starting the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

On August 5th, 2015 I took a big leap and started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Many see it as just a diet change but it goes beyond that and is a lifestyle change as well. I cut out A LOT of food including gluten, all grains, nightshades, dairy, nuts, processed foods, many spices, eggs, and the list goes on and on. Cutting all of these foods out was to try to get the inflammation in my body to decrease, make my body stop attacking itself, and start to rebuild from the inside out. I was on a strict Autoimmune Protocol (or AIP) for three months until I started slowly reintroducing foods to see how my body handled them.

Within the first month of the Autoimmune Protocol I became pregnant (yay! that’s what we were hoping for!) and I knew I had to keep going to help my little one be healthy. With Hashimoto’s my antibodies were high which means my body was attacking itself and with a little human inside of me, it could attack him too. Things like gluten, dairy, and the other foods that I cut out when consumed, were likely leading to an increased attack on my thyroid and rest of my body. Theoretically, if a substance such as gluten caused my body to attack itself even more then consuming it could also make my body attack the baby and end the pregnancy.

Many women with Hashimoto’s suffer miscarriage and stillbirth and I obviously didn’t want this to happen to us which is why I was so strict with my avoidance of gluten and other possibly harmful foods while I was pregnant. This was extremely difficult due to all of the food aversions and food cravings I had that I had to just power through or ignore. Not saying that all women who suffer the loss of a baby and have Hashimoto’s lose them due to the foods they eat, I was just trying to do anything I could to help my chances of a successful pregnancy.

The Autoimmune Protocol also has a lifestyle component that I mentioned earlier. I had to try and become less stressed or at least teach myself to not let things bother me as much. This was really hard and something I’m still working on, especially at work when caseloads and stress are high at times. I also had to make sleep a priority by shutting off lights and my phone and no longer having conversations by 8 pm and winding down and ready for bed by 9 pm. I also needed to cut out environmental factors such as chemicals in health and beauty products, avoiding any BPA even in aluminum cans, avoiding plastic food storage when possible, buying organic when able, buying grass-fed or at least hormone and antibiotic-free meat (yes, this has been spendy!) None of this was easy but I knew that I had to do it for my health and my baby’s health.

Slowly Reintroducing Foods after 90 Days

After the initial 90 days of cutting out so many foods, I started to slowly reintroduce foods and monitor myself for symptoms to see if my body was reacting negatively when I ate the food. This was hard to do since I was pregnant and any symptoms could be related to pregnancy discomforts or food reintroductions. Some say I shouldn’t have reintroduced foods while pregnant but I wasn’t gaining weight in my pregnancy early on which concerned me. I also was starving all the time so I felt I had to start reintroducing foods, which is part of the Autoimmune Protocol after 30-90 days.

One of the three components that are necessary for an autoimmune disease to be present is ‘leaky gut’ which I was never diagnosed with but assumed I had. By being AIP I was trying to heal my leaky gut and the longer I avoid non-AIP foods, the more I heal and the more I should be able to reintroduce some foods without incident. Over the last 9 months, I was able to reintroduce eggs, cacao, peas, russet potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, almonds, and white rice. I hope to try to reintroduce more foods in the future though I likely will always be gluten, dairy, and soy-free at the least as these are the biggest offenders of creating leaky gut.

After my Baby was Born

Once my baby was born I felt his life was no longer in danger from my body accidentally attacking him based on what I ate which was a huge relief. However, then I was at an increased risk for another autoimmune flare with all the hormone changes. This risk will continue while I’m breastfeeding and even for a little while once I’m done. Luckily within the past 2 months this hasn’t happened even though some of the lifestyle changes, such as sleep, haven’t been able to be kept up with a hungry and sleepless infant in the house.

Though I am still very cautious of gluten and accidental gluten cross-contamination at restaurants or anyone’s house that isn’t gluten-free, I’m a little less afraid overall. I hope that if I am accidentally “glutened” that I’ll be able to recover from it quickly and at least it’ll just hurt me and not my baby.

AIP is Not a Fad Diet

There are many diets and health crazes out there right now that people are on but this isn’t a fad. The Autoimmune Protocol is to try and heal my body from the inside out and put my autoimmune disease into remission. This also is to prevent myself from getting more autoimmune diseases because once I have one I’m more likely to get others. Sadly, autoimmune diseases are hereditary as well, and looking at family history there are a lot of autoimmune diseases in my family which explain how I got here.

An interesting fact is that if you have hypothyroidism you are 97% likely that it was caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis even though your doctor will likely never tell you this or test you for it. I hope that somehow our son won’t get an autoimmune disease but I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time. I’ve thought about having him be gluten-free to help those odds but we decided we want him to be as normal as possible for as long as possible so we don’t plan on restricting his diet. However, we will continue to keep a mainly gluten-free household with no wheat flour, as little bread as possible, and likely just some boxes of crackers or things of that sort.

Reflection on the Past Year

This hasn’t been easy but then again neither have a lot of other things I’ve gone through in life. I’m excited that I made it a year and am glad that I plan on making it many more. I do feel much healthier, happier, less anxious and irritable, I am thinking more clearly and my face has cleared up!

To learn more about autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and the Autoimmune Protocol see my post from last year with more of an explanation along with a lot of links for more information including recipes: How I Came Across the Autoimmune Protocol and How it Changed my Life. If you want to know more about any of this please feel free to ask me! I’ve done a lot of research and I like to share what I know with others who are interested in learning more!


Autoimmune Protocol Basics 

Autoimmune Protocol Information

Autoimmune Disease: A Road That Doesn’t Need To Be Walked Alone

List of Autoimmune Diseases

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Information and Resources

Reintroducing Foods

My other AIP Blog Posts

Autoimmune Protocol
My blog post about how I came across AIP
how to have a successful pregnancy with hypothyroidism or hashimotos disease, text and picture of a woman getting blood drawn, a pregnant woman, and a baby
My blog post about Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, and Pregnancy

My first year on the Autoimmune Protocol AIP including during pregnancy

Founder, Professional Blogger at The Way it Really Is, LLC | [email protected] | Website

As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.

Leave a Comment