If I feel like I am moving into an active Stage Three Autoimmune Flare-Up, I automatically commit four months to a diet centred around smoothies, stews, curries, stir-fries, casseroles, and occasional salads.
How strict your diet needs to be, depends on the intensity and momentum of your unique Flare-Up.
This is the point and the importance of seeing Autoimmune Dysfunction as a spectrum.
No matter what is on the menu, I make the most creative and delicious food I can dream up because it is so much more enjoyable and worth it for everyone. Like many others on these kinds of protocols, or like people focused on fitness or modelling, we all start to fall in love with batch cooking. If you are new to staying several days ahead in the kitchen, check out this article – Batch Cooking Saves Lives!
In Stage Three, you will have to be very patient and organized.
That is honestly the biggest challenge people face. This will take four months and you may need to repeat this protocol every few years, or after times of severe stress. Try and think of this as a new family tradition and give yourself permission to be as creative and engaged as possible.
In my experience as a patient and as a clinician, 2 – 3 weeks on the Phase One Protocol resets the inflammatory status of the immune system. If there are no changes then a more advanced protocol is advised – see your clinician.
The short term use of Pharmaceuticals may be necessary.
In Stage Three you want to have regular conversations with your Doctor and an Integrative, TCM or Functional Medicine practitioner. Your health team will be able to guide you as to the best supplements and lab-tests to get you started on the journey to restoring your immune system. That usually starts by repairing the damage from chronic inflammation.
The Phase One Diet is all about reducing inflammation and sending a very strong message to your brain, organs, genes and epigenetic pathways.
My next recommendation, if approved by your clinician, would be a very nutrient-dense Phase Two Diet. This protocol focuses on a combination of High Collagen foods, intermittent fasting, or a Ketogenic Diet.
If you are catabolic, (have recently lost a lot of weight), then fasting is not for you!
There are a few other situations that would make this challenging so please talk to a knowledgeable clinician and make sure fasting of any kind is a good idea.
If you are confident this is safe, then follow the basic intermittent fasting protocol. A standard cycle is to fast for 16 hours, keeping your feeding opportunity to a strict 8-hour window. This would allow you to eat from 10:00 am to 6 pm.
If you start losing weight that you do not want to, then increase your healthy roots and eat with a focus on maintaining your weight.
Keep in mind that many Autoimmune conditions begin with a period of gradual and potentially dangerous weight loss. If you are losing weight, you may need to interrupt your immune system or tranquillize that VERY dangerous and angry dog (that could literally eat you alive) with some immune suppressant drugs.
This has saved my life a few times, and it is sometimes a perfect place to start. In Stage Three, you will likely (or should) be taking immune stabilizing supplements three times per day. The use of supplements is described in the articles of the Four Phases of the Ancestral-AIP.
After six weeks to three months, if you are doing well and your clinician agrees, it may be a good time to test the resilience of your immune system. If the Autoimmune flare has settled, some people are ok with nightshades, eggs, and a few nuts. I do not usually suggest this before 100 days, but there are always exceptions.
Stage Three Autoimmunity requires a Progressive Ancestral-AIP.
- Two to Three Weeks on the Phase One (Anti-inflammatory) Protocol.
- Six to eight weeks on the Phase Two (High Collagen and High Fibre) Protocol.
- If you are not feeling better after 2 months, go back to Phase One and repeat until your immune system responds.
- If you are feeling better then try a nightshade and/or egg challenge. If you respond well – gradually shift to Phase Three
- Stay on the Phase Three Protocol until your symptoms and lab tests agree that you are healthy and stable.
- Move onto Phase Four, but have a Phase One week anytime you feel ‘off’.
To avoid another flare-up, I recommend a two-month reset with a focus on cleansing every year.