A brand new Health & Welness category launched today on the blog; The very day I decided to change my life 180 degrees.
 

Hence this personal post – no packing tips and tricks included. It is a post concerning an issue I’ve been dealing with – I’m persistently denying to call it a problem –  and how I decided to RESET my life and start fresh. There are certain issues that despite being sensitive to those dealing with them, they are worth sharing with the world. Talking openly about something, helps lift up a huge weight of your shoulders while offering huge support to your effort.
 

Traveling is a huge part of my life, a lifestyle that taught me a lot so far and at the same time spoiled me in certain ways a lot. Take, for example, food. I always enjoyed tasting, trying new dishes and tastes – not just for me but for the sake of those reading me and trusting my opinion. Till now, I’ve been enjoying food of all forms – until today. Today, I decided to completely change the way I prepare and eat my meals.
 

The reason behind my decision is called Autoimmune Diseases. I’ve been struggling with those for quite a while but I’ve come to embrace them and live with them eventually.
 


WHAT IS THE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
 

Ten years ago, I’ve been diagnosed with autoimmune disease and since then I belong to this great part of the population (75% of women) worldwide, who are also affected. In case you’re not familiar with the term, I’ll briefly explain it to you below. Those of you already suffering by an autoimmune disease, I know you’ll understand my every word.
 

Under normal circumstances, our immunity defends our body, by recognising what is self or what belongs to the body and what is non-self or foreign to the body. Like that we are protected from diseases. When it comes to immune system disorders, the immune system attacks and damages its own cells, considering them to be invaders. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body fails to tell the difference between self and non-self cells. 


The cause is unknown while there are no specific treatments to cure them once and for all. All of us suffering from an autoimmune disease we are well aware of the difficulties as it is hard to accept the fact that your own body “attacks” your system and consequently, you.
 

It may take a long time for an autoimmune disease to be diagnosed, mostly because the symptoms come and go depending on various factors such as stress – there are times they are mild at times and severe at others. Some of them affect certain, visible parts of your body like the skin while others aren’t that obvious.
 

Knowing you suffer from an autoimmune disease, makes you want to take care of yourself a lot more. Love and listen to it carefully.
 


MY CASE
In my case there are two autoimmune disorders I’ve been dealing with: chronic thyroiditis, the famous Hashimoto and vitiligo. While the first acts silently and without being noticed, the second is either on remission or on bout, making its appearance on my skin at times. In the past 10 years, I’ve visited some of the best dermatologists, I’ve been under various treatments with steroids and creams and when nothing of them worked, tired of everything, I quit.

 

Doctors and healthcare companies have a completely different approach to the issue. I’ve visited many doctors over the years to treat vitiligo and none of them ever adviced me to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet, eating clean and not stressing out over little things. No one ever recommended I should follow an inside out treatment which ultimately lead me to believe that vitiligo should be treated by nutritionists or even holistic doctors – not any other doctor who is simply subscribing cortisone. 
 

According to doctors, vitiligo should be treated with creams. TONS OF THEM. Corticosteroids, cortisone, any kind of skin-harming cream to constantly remind you of your problem. None of this helped, nothing served me and my problem – on the contrary, I felt even more anxious and stressed out by the constant reminder of the issue.

WHY I AM CHANGING MY DIET
 

This is going to be the biggest and most important effort I’ll be making in years, an effort affecting not just my everyday routine while being at home but most of all, my life when traveling. This specific diet called AIP, it is based on the Auto Immune Protocol (A.I.P.). AIP is based on the paleolithic nutrition or paleo diet aiming to detoxicate your body for two months. Slowly, I will be adding some kinds of food to my diet in order to test which food or ingredient stresses out my body and causes an outbreak of my problem.
 

If you’re new to all these, you can find answers to all your questions about AIP or Paleo here. Paleo diet eliminates all food elements that entered our diet after the Agricultural Revolution. Food like pasta, rice, wheat, potatoes etc. are eliminated, aiming to follow a pure and clean from processed foods diet. AIP goes one step further, excluding eggs too -a favorite of mine – in order to completely purify my system.

I will be able to eat meat, fish, fruits, vegetables (not all kinds) and my newest friend – coconut in all of its forms like coconut oil, flour etc. And since in a few days I will be traveling, I’ll face the biggest challenge: to follow my diet while on a trip. Follow me to find out!

aip-diet
Photo via Autoimmune-Paleo

Every week I’ll be updating this category mentioning everything that gave me a hard time, the things I loved or hated and those that made me feel better than ever. I will also be preparing a few recipes based on my diet for my dearest Madame Ginger – recipes from a girl who may not be a chef nor a food expert but simply loves its body and cares for its health. A girl like thousands out there, dealing with an autoimmune disease.

This is going to be the most intresting trip of my life? Are you in?

**cover photo via 7-themes

Maria Kalymnou


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