"Food not only fills you up and makes you happy, it can also act like medicine"
For a wide variety of reasons, people today consciously choose a specific nutritional concept. Vegetarian, Vegan, Low Carb High Fat, Paleo or Primal - the concepts are as numerous as the underlying motivations and theses. We (Ruut) talk to the two bloggers Sabrina and René Bergmann from Hashimoto & Co. about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), about their practical experiences in a family life without processed products and about the benefits of cassava flour.
Ruut: The Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP for short, is a special form of Paleo nutrition. What exactly is behind it?
RB: The term autoimmune protocol somehow sounds like intensive care medicine. (Laughs) It's actually about going to a very original, natural
Return to diet and thus your own health and
to strengthen performance.
In large parts, the AIP coincides with the Paleo diet: for example, industrially processed products, ready meals and all food additives are avoided. In addition, there are no grains, no legumes, no milk and no refined sugar. The idea behind Paleo is to bring our western diet closer to the eating habits of our Stone Age ancestors. Based on the thesis that our body and especially our digestive system have not changed significantly since the Neolithic Age, a permanent diet according to the Paleo concept should optimally supply our body with nutrients and make or keep it fit.
SB: Dieting according to the autoimmune protocol, on the other hand, is not for one at all
intended for permanent use. Instead, it's about helping people whose immune systems have gone off track for a variety of reasons and who have developed autoimmune diseases as a result.
The onset of these diseases and later their severity are significantly influenced by nutritional factors and the health of the digestive system.
This is exactly where the AIP comes in. The autoimmune protocol serves to reduce inflammatory processes in the body, which have been identified as a cause for the development of autoimmune diseases. Based on the theses of the Paleo diet, the diet in the AIP is further restricted, but in this case only for a limited period of time. In contrast to the Paleo diet, the AIP also avoids eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades for at least 30 days. In this way, the immune system can come to rest. It's like pressing the reset button.
RB: Then in the second phase of the autoimmune protocol, you reintroduce food by food on a fixed schedule. The immune system then reacts comparatively violently to those foods that are not or not well tolerated. This information is what the Autoimmune Protocol is all about. If you approach the matter in a structured way, you will soon know which foods you should avoid in the future.
Some of the effects are terrific. With the implementation of this strict protocol, patients were able to get out of their wheelchairs in a proven and scientifically documented manner. dr Terry Wahls has caused a worldwide sensation with her medical history. In this respect, the circle closes a little with the image of intensive care medicine. (laughs)
Ruut: On your website Hashimoto-Co.de you offer a lot of information about the AIP and above all write about your direct practical experiences. How did you get into the autoimmune protocol and what drives you as a blogger?
SB: We first found out about AIP through an Instagram post by Sarah Ballantyne, in which she presented her first book, Paleo Therapy. After reading the book, many of the pieces of the puzzle of our lives suddenly came together.
I have an autoimmune disease myself called Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Unlike many other sufferers, I was correctly diagnosed very early in my life. Unfortunately, for decades I only received monotherapy to balance my thyroid function.
It was only when I got to grips with the AIP that I realized that my actual illness had not been treated at all over the years. I also only found out through my own research that I have to reckon with the development of further autoimmune diseases with increasing age if I do nothing against the causes. None of the doctors treating me were of any help, either out of ignorance or ignorance. In a single moment, I became aware of several things that prompted me to go to the AIP as quickly as possible: On the one hand, there was the realization that I was completely independent of doctors and could only improve my current quality of life through comparatively simple changes in my lifestyle can greatly improve. On the other hand, it was the option to prevent worse things for my future and the hope of ideally going into full remission.
RB: During our research, it quickly became clear to us that there was an immense backlog of information and a need for clarification on the subject in German-speaking countries
autoimmune diseases prevail. The number of cases of type I diabetes, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or multiple sclerosis is constantly increasing in Germany and around the world. Almost all of our information came from American sources - German pages none. We definitely wanted to change that. So at the same time as we started our own AIP, we also set up a website on which we would like to provide information and, above all, share practical experiences. We hope to be able to give inspiration and courage to many people in German-speaking countries in this way. Above all, we see one big problem: Most of us have never learned to actively and independently take care of our health. Going to the doctor usually costs nothing and people are only too happy to rely on medication. However, the fact that doctors hardly have any time for their patients and are not necessarily interested in combating the causes of complaints is quickly overlooked.
Symptom medicine may be good for occasional headaches, dem
However, it does not help autoimmune sufferers. Getting people to take their health into their own hands, take personal responsibility and make conscious lifestyle choices is what drives us as bloggers.
Ruut: What is your personal experience so far? Is it actually possible to maintain an AIP diet for a longer period of time? Isn't that incredibly limiting?
RB: We are a very sporty family because of our jobs and we have each other
that's why we've been dealing with the topic of healthy nutrition all our lives. Of course, we also fell into many a trap. Low-fat foods and consuming mostly carbohydrates are good examples.
When we found out about the AIP, we had already integrated many approaches of the Paleo diet into our lives in a very natural way.
In addition to the general reduction in carbohydrates, we had already stopped consuming cereals and milk, lots of vegetables on the plate and hardly any industrial products in the household. So the change in diet for Sabrina didn't seem so radical anymore. At the same time, we have made intensive efforts to find a family-friendly nutritional concept.
This concept had to do justice to every member of the family and be congruent in the basic elements, so that we can still lead a life outside of the kitchen. We found common ground in the Paleo diet. It is just as ideal for the development of our child as it is for the daily physical strain on me as a personal trainer. Starting from the Paleo basis, Sabrina naturally had to restrict herself more in the selection of foods for the AIP. The nutritional style of our daughter and I could best be described as Primal. Because we, as a family, follow a common diet consistently and out of conviction, we don't get into conflicts.
For example, we explained to our daughter, without pressure and in a child-friendly way, why we do not use certain products. Apparently we were very successful with that, because of course she notices at school that most children eat differently. But instead of complaining about it, she talks a lot about her classmates' eating habits and the quality of the school meals over dinner together. Apparently she doesn't miss toast with chocolate cream. It's a lot of fun to see the passion with which she promotes "real food" at such a young age.
It has always been important to us that our meals really taste good. What our daughter doesn't like, she doesn't have to eat either. So we didn't have to exercise any compulsion. Although the topic of nutrition is omnipresent in our family, we have not made it a religion. In fact, we are all constantly striving to make every meal a delicious highlight. For us, eating is not a necessary evil or just a means to an end, but above all it is a lot of fun.
Ruut: Baking is our special passion. You also spend a lot of time in the kitchen. What is your cooking and baking like without the classic flours, eggs and butter?
SB: In my perception, the differences are not that big. In the meantime, we can also buy a fairly large selection of alternative ingredients in Germany. When baking, for example, we use flour made from tigernuts, coconut, plantain, tapioca and Dank Ruut also cassava flour. It certainly helps that we are very keen to experiment and don't care too much about German home cooking or cakes. A lot of energy is often expended on replicating traditional products with alternative ingredients. That works quite well to some extent. Personally, we are relatively dispassionate on this point. In such cases, we prefer to look for alternatives that we can easily implement, rather than clinging to a defined product. There is also a lot of potential for frustration. When cooking, we use coconut and olive oils very liberally instead of butter. Avocado oil is also occasionally used.
Since fat is an excellent flavor carrier, we don't skimp on it.
Eggs can be replaced very well with gelatine in baking.
RB: Personally, I have the impression that with the return to "real"
food, the extent to which it is further processed in one's own kitchen also decreases. This is certainly also related to the fact that the perception of taste in the AIP improves very quickly. The individual taste of the respective ingredients emerges more strongly again. This reduces the need to pack everything again into a flavor-intensive matrix.
For example, if we simply put vegetables such as beetroot, mushrooms, zucchini or sweet potatoes on the grill, then all we need afterwards is olive oil, salt or herbs. If necessary, add a guacamole.
It tastes great, fills you up very well and requires almost no effort. Of course, you can do this just as easily in a pan.
Even with a steak or a patty you don't have much effort. You could say: simple ingredients – simple preparation. Any form of long-term processing and long heating ultimately only reduces the content of valuable nutrients. We actually only put a lot of effort into it when there are festivals to celebrate. When we have guests, everyone is always very curious about what we have for dinner. We have a lot of fun surprising our guests with a cake that is completely AIP-compliant.
Ruut: What is the meaning of cassava flour for you and what are your experiences with it?
RB: We keep finding that for many, not eating bread is unimaginable. Bread accompanies us from earliest childhood, is available on every corner and is extremely practical to use. Fortunately, you can also bake tasty bread without grains and eggs. At the beginning of the AIP, we also really celebrated baking bread. With relatively great effort, we first baked very tasty bread with fresh plantains. We then continued to experiment with ready-made plantain flour, coconut flour, tigernuts, tapioca and a wide variety of mixtures of these.
SB: When we first baked rolls with cassava flour, we were totally surprised. From the processing to the smell, the consistency and the taste, everything reminded us of “real” bread rolls made from grain. The whole kitchen smelled. We always enjoy that very much, but this does not mean that we fall back into old patterns. A classic bread meal is more of an exception for us. After the great experience with the rolls, we were of course curious. We also had very good experiences when baking cakes. The processing of the finished cassava flour is very pleasant. In terms of taste, it is very neutral compared to coconut flour and the like, which we think is very good for recreating classic recipes.
Ruut: You recently published a book called The Autoimmune Protocol Handbook. What is it about?
SB: The first volume of the Autoimmune Protocol Handbook answers all basic questions about preparing for the AIP in 10 chapters. Everyone still has to go through the AIP largely on their own, without medical advice or practical support. There are almost no corresponding offers for it.
Even in the important phase of preparation, we see many stumbling blocks for them
User. With our guide, we want to prevent users from not even starting with the AIP or coming out of it without any results.
In our opinion, the autoimmune protocol has immense potential to make the lives of millions of people around the world colorful and beautiful again.
But it remains a medical protocol with a clear framework for action.
RB: Our book is like a good friend who is at your side with advice and action at the AIP.
Thank you Alan for letting us be your guest.