In order to change something we need to go through a process of transition. This can be any kind of change weight loss, divorce or even death of someone we know. Some times these transitions are forced upon us (such as death of a loved one) and other times we have a choice. It is when we have a choice that things become a little tougher!
If you have decided to try the Lupus Diet let me give you some tips on how to get started.
The Lupus Diet is more of a lifestyle change than a diet and it helps to think of it this way. It is not a quick fix, it’s not an overnight cure but a slow chipping away at the problem.
The regime is designed to reduce inflammation, which is the leading cause of most Lupus symptoms. Joint pain, pericarditis, skin rashes, protein in your urine and headaches just to name a few are all symptoms driven by inflammation. It is entirely possible to dampen down this response by changing your diet, this not only supports your body more nutritionally but it gives it an opportunity to heal and repair.
Some people note a reduction in joint pain after just a few days on the Lupus Diet, for others it may take a little longer but I have no doubt you will feel better!
So what are the first steps to start the Lupus Diet?
Set a date
Choose a convenient date when you could start to make changes to what you eat. Make sure you pick a time when you don’t have a busy schedule and you have a day or two to organise yourself properly.
Clean your pantry
If you are going to be starting this diet alone then pick one cupboard in your kitchen and make it yours! You need to start with a clean slate so empty that cupboard! If your whole family is on board (which is what I recommend) then you need to clear the foods on the avoid list out of your kitchen. For a complete list of foods to avoid download my Lupus Cookbook for free.
To avoid slipping up you need to ensure your kitchen is packed with foods from the include list. You will be amazed at what you can whip up with some flaxseed meal, dried cranberries and coconut flakes! By having a pantry full of food you will be much less likely to pick up the phone and speed dial your favourite Thai take away.
Because you will be buying mostly wholefoods and very little pre packaged foods you will need to spend a couple of hours a week preparing for the week ahead. I like to set aside Sunday afternoons to be in the kitchen and make things that will last me the week. There are lots of foods that can be pre made and frozen or stored in the fridge or pantry.
Generally speaking each Sunday I make bone broth, one vegetable based dip, one soup in cooler months (I freeze half and leave half in the fridge), I pre wash and spin all my salad greens so they are ready to go when I want a salad. I then choose one sweet treat to last the week, it could be bliss balls, coconut yoghurt or a paleo style cookie. All this preparation helps me stay on track.
Choose your approach
Are you going to be bold and cut out all the bad stuff at once or are you going to take a slowly slowly approach? Deciding on this will help you to stay focussed. There are positives and negatives to both options.
If you decide to go cold turkey and you eat pretty well but you just need to work on cutting out caffeine and grains for example then you may find this is the best method. The change to the Lupus Diet for someone like this isn’t quite as drastic.
If on the other hand you have a particularly bad diet, by this I mean you have MacDonald’s for breakfast or no breakfast at all, then you may find it easier to take the slowly slowly approach. Going cold turkey when your diet is particularly poor can mean you are more likely to experience what us naturopaths call a healing crisis. This is when your body basically struggles to cope with the amount of toxins it’s producing and you can experience a few days of feeling below par.
Taking the slower approach may be better in these circumstances. This approach involves you selecting just one thing from the avoid list at a time and getting used to not having it. For example you may love having your weekend treat of Brie Cheese and Crackers but both dairy and grains (of all kinds) need to be avoided for the first 3 months on the Lupus Diet. In this situation I would start by switching to a gluten free cracker with a nice dip. So you have taken out the cheese and the gluten. The following week have celery sticks and carrots with the dip instead of gluten free crackers. A week after that you would pick something else such as milk, replace cows milk with coconut milk and so on.
You want to aim to cut out 1 or 2 avoid food’s each week over a period of 4-5 weeks. If you leave it any longer than this you will lose motivation. Always start with the food you think you will find the hardest to give up, your enthusiasm at the beginning will be strong and it will give you the confidence to give up everything else. Have a plan and stick to it- no matter what!
Invest in a couple of good cookbooks or find a few websites you like which are paleo autoimmune. Although the Lupus Diet is designed specifically for Lupus (not just any auto immune disease) paleo autoimmune recipes will be fine for you in most circumstances.
Here are some of my favourites:
The Paleo Mom – Sarah Ballantyne
The Autoimmune Protocol- Mickey Trescott
Against all Grain- Danielle Walker (avoid the recipes containing nuts and seeds as they are not part of the Lupus Diet)
Eat, Nourish, Glow- Amelia Freer (avoid the recipes containing nuts and seeds as they are not part of the Lupus Diet)
Supercharged Food- Lee Holmes (avoid the recipes containing nuts and seeds as they are not part of the Lupus Diet)
Most of these authors have an autoimmune disease themselves and have got their symptoms under control with the help of dietary changes.
If you decide to incorporate the Lupus Diet into your healing regime the inflammation in your body will reduce, the stress on your kidneys will go down and your energy levels will go UP! This is a win- win situation and worth a shot if you want to try to Beat your Lupus symptoms AND avoid lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
To download your FREE copy of the Lupus cookbook CLICK HERE.
The cookbook will give you a complete list of all the foods you need to avoid and include as well as a pantry list and 49 delicious Lupus Diet recipes to get you started.