We are what we eat. Diet can make a difference when it comes to autoimmune diseases. One of the significant root causes of autoimmune disease is “Leaky Gut” syndrome – the inability to absorb nutrients through the gut.
This Autoimmune Diet Protocol helps heal the immune system and gut mucosa. It applies to any inflammatory disease. An autoimmune disease causes chronic dry eyes, including Sjogren’s disease, Lupus, Raynaud’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
What is the Autoimmune Diet for Sjogren’s Treatment?
Autoimmune diet addresses inflammation in the gut that causes Autoimmune Disease. Autoimmune disease cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign invaders, so your own body attacks itself. For months or perhaps years, this self-tissue attack can go unnoticed until whole-blown autoimmune disease develops. There are more than 80 types of “official” autoimmune disorders. All autoimmune diseases have in common is tissue self-attacking in places like the eyes, lungs, thyroid gland, brain tissue, and salivary glands,
The Autoimmune diet works to reduce inflammation in the intestines. Many elimination diets do not remove immune triggers that promote inflammation in the gut. An autoimmune diet works to reduce inflammation in the gut and the body. There is no cure for autoimmune diseases and can put them into remission.
An autoimmune diet heals the intestinal mucosa and supporting low inflammation in the body that can temper the fires of an autoimmune flare-up. Autoimmune diet is a lifestyle change because it is a way of life. You are in it for the long haul.
The Autoimmune diet is said to be a version of the Paleo diet. But it is so much more than that. The Autoimmune diet is a way to address the inflammation that has its beginning roots in the gut. Diet is one aspect of healing. There are many other aspects of autoimmune diseases besides diet. These different aspects include adrenal fatigue, H-P Axis imbalances, parasites, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), liver congestion, hormone imbalances, and insulin resistance for the first 6-8 week protocol with no cheating. This diet counts on you to put your effort into it. Unfortunately, the nature of high allergen foods is such that even small amounts of slip-ups can set you back significantly. Each person who decides to try the Autoimmune diet should work with a nutritional practitioner. The doctor or nutritionist can help you determine if you are a candidate for low histamine, low latex, or low FODMAP ( fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly.) in addition to following the Autoimmune diet. Other adjunct protocols may include functional blood chemistry, saliva hormone testing, saliva adrenal testing, stool testing, and antibody tests.
What are the good reasons to consider an Autoimmune diet for Sjogren’s treatment?
- AIP (autoimmune disease) is a disease of inflammation that causes a self-tissue attack
- Food is a powerful way to reduce inflammation and calm the immune system.
- Diet is usually NOT enough, and specific protocols of gut healing and removing SIBO and immune support supplements can help.
- Food is the most significant component of medicine in addressing AIP, but not the only one.
- Individuals who have food sensitivities should be incorporated into this diet.
- Additional Supplements are usually required to heal the gut fully.
- Allow green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas unless low FODMAPS is needed. Because green beans are not mature bean seeds, No mature beans seeds from the legume family
- Brain Chemistry and Adrenal Fatigue are likely culprits in autoimmune disease. Work with your doctor to adequately address brain and adrenal function to help you. Ask your doctor if you can use hormones or neurotransmitters in treating brain function. Undiagnosed Insulin Resistant Hypoglycemia is a significant factor in inflammation that can contribute significantly to autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, and brain dis-regulation.
- Eliminating these foods is vital to reduce inflammation. All of the above-listed foods can be gut irritants and exacerbate dysbiosis in the gut and contribute to SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). An autoimmune diet can help address the GALT imbalances (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue) in the intestines. The gut contains such a large percentage of immune system GALT tissues that mediate the T & B Lymphocytes. The lymphocytes carry out immune system attacks by producing antigens or antibodies. The goal of an Autoimmune diet is to reduce this from occurring. Gut-mediated inflammation is applicable for addressing Autoimmune Disease.
What is the Autoimmune Diet for Sjogren’s
- Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
- Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander)
- Grains (Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats )
- Alternative sweeteners like xylitol and stevia
- Dried fruits or over-consumption of fructose (up to 2 pieces of fruit a day)
- Dairy Products
- All Processed Foods
- Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices)
- No vegetable oils (olive oil, lard, cultured ghee, and coconut oils are permitted)
- Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)
- Tapioca. Eliminate this for the first 6-8 weeks because it is a known gluten cross reactor.
- Vegetables (except nightshades)
- Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
- Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut, shredded coconut
- Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
- Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
- Bone Broth
- Grass-Fed Meats, Poultry, and Seafood
- Non-Seed Herbal Teas
- Green Tea
- Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic
- Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
- Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)
- Binders: Grass-Fed Gelatin and Arrowroot Starch (watch the starch, however, if you have adrenal issues)
High FODMAPS may disagree with some people on Autoimmune diet. For example, nectarines, coconut, or onions may bother some people.
If you are reacting to certain starches in foods, you may avoid high FODMAPS from your diet. Also, do not eat Ashwagandha is in the nightshade family during the first phase of the autoimmune diet. It is usually well tolerated by most people, however. If you are FODMAPS sensitive, eliminate for 10-14 days and then slowly reintroduce.
How to approach reintroduction
- 72 Hour Rule: It takes 72 hours to produce an IgA, IgG and IgM mediated antibody symptom. It can be physical or mental. You can get symptoms such as lethargy, brain fog, aching joints, rashes, stomach aches, numbness, feeling hungover, bloating, gas, constipation, insomnia, fatigue, memory loss.
- Reintroduce only one food every five days and when you reintroduce the food, eat enough of it to elicit a response. Eat a small bite, then a few hours a spoonful, and then that night a serving.
- Keep a food reintroduction notebook! Many people who reintroduce food after a cleanse or Autoimmune diet develop a sensitivity symptom and can’t remember what or when they did the reintroduction. Writing everything down helps a lot.
Doing yearly or twice yearly cleanses and supports your ongoing healing. You are eating fermented foods and bone broth at least 2-3 times a week in 1/2 cup portions. You can be on the AIP diet and do it as a lifestyle. If you are a gourmet cook, you can do an Autoimmune diet.
Focus on eating more of the following:
- organ meat and offal (aim for five times per week, the more, the better).
- fish and shellfish (wild is best, but farmed is okay) (3 times per week, the more, the better)–
- vegetables of all kinds,as much variety as possible, target for 8-14 cups per day
- Green vegetables
- Colorful vegetables and fruit (red, purple, blue, yellow, orange, white)
- Cruciferous vegetables(broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, arugula, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, mustard greens, etc.)
- Sea vegetables (excluding algae like chlorella and spirulina, which are immune stimulators)
- quality meats(grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild as much as possible) (poultry in moderation due to high omega-6 content unless you are eating a ton of fish)
- quality fats(pasture-raised/grass-fed animal fats [rendered or as part of your meat], fatty fish, olive, avocado, coconut, palm [not palm kernel])
- fruit(keeping fructose intake between 10g and 20 g daily)
- probiotic foods(fermented vegetables or fruit, kombucha, water kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut milk yogurt, supplements)–
- glycine-rich foods(anything with connective tissue, joints or skin, organ meat, and bone broth)
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- NIH MedlinePlus Magazine – Summer 2020
TV personality Carrie Ann Inaba talks about her experience with Sjögren’s syndrome; NIDCR shares the latest research on Sjögren’s and answers questions about dry mouth, a common symptom.
- NINDS Sjögren’s Syndrome Information Page
A fact sheet from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke on treatment and prognosis for people with Sjögren’s Syndrome and current research on the disease.
- Questions and Answers About Sjögren’s Syndrome
A booklet from the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases that includes information on symptoms, diagnosis, the types of doctors to see, treatment, and ongoing research.
- Medline Plus: Sjögren’s Syndrome
The NIH National Library of Medicine’s collection of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on Sjögren’s Syndrome.
- Sjögren’s Foundation
The Sjögren’s Foundation is a national non-profit organization focused on increasing research, education, and awareness for Sjögren’s.