Make no mistake about it, the people you see in these autoimmune-healing sites are people who’ve hard-won the wellness they have. There’s some dark reality behind the sunny synopses of what life is like today; sometimes you’ll see a list of illnesses knocked off like a grocery list in a bio that, if you stop and take that in for a minute, is exhausting to think about, much less to live through. In the end, the wellness coaches, chefs, bloggers, and even functional medicine physicians themselves are often people who’ve known the struggle – that’s why they got into the field in the first place. They’re on the other side now. So, we have to remember that they are our inspiration for becoming well. They didn’t have it all figured out, where you don’t. They’re like the hot chocolate after the ski. (Ok, well, maybe hot carob in coconut milk, but you take my point.)
Those who have gone before
We do benefit from the experience of those who’ve gone before us. I think that, when it comes to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) in particular, this is true. The people who put the AIP together are people who had the secret decoder ring at the time – the Paleo diet – and then found that they needed a more comprehensive and specific answer. They’d found themselves in the wilderness even after using the secret decoder-ring powers that work for most people.
Mickey Trescott did a recap of the State of AIP in January 2018 that describes this journey. She and Angie Alt, her business partner in AutoimmuneWellness.com, were among a group of inquirers who dug for more answers [Mickey (Autoimmune Paleo), Angie (Alt-Ternative Autoimmune), Eileen Laird (Phoenix Helix), Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom), Whitney Ross Gray (Nutrisclerosis), and Christina Feindel (A Clean Plate)]. They themselves were building on the work of leaders such as Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Loren Cordain, and Datis Kharrazian. Sarah took it upon herself to do further research on the elimination protocol these leaders developed, the rationale, nutrient components, and reintroductions to identify further evidence for what they were finding clinically, while the team executed some more trials and fine-tuning.
The joy(?) of the journey
You don’t have to do that research today because that wave of research is done. The Autoimmune Protocol is a pretty well finely-tuned protocol now. Of course they, and we, will continue to learn more, because science and medicine don’t stand still (thank goodness), and there is on-going inquiry into the causes and understanding of autoimmune disease. But more to the point, your journey is a journey, nonetheless – less so for the mysteries of the drivers, and more so for the mystery of your, or your loved one’s, individual drivers among the mix of known possibilities. It’s a guided journey now, where you can learn about the groupings of factors for these multi-factorial diseases, and how to research their impact on you — via an elimination and reintroduction diet, lab testing, clinical observation, medication and/or supplementation, lifestyle changes or, more likely, all of these.
So, in short, these folks have earned their right to smile. And, for all of that, we know that they have off-days, too. Sometimes you’ll see testimony to that, as well: that they’re still in the journey themselves — sometimes because life changes, and sometimes because bodies change, too. Learning to appreciate what wellness we do have is part of the journey itself.
What if I don’t get there?
There’s a saying that goes, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there?’ Or I prefer, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you arrive?’ Clichés can be so irritating – “The joy is in the journey.” But that really does apply here. There is no arrival point, in fact. There is only process, and we seek progress in our process — not perfection. “Happiness” is not meant to be a permanent arrival point anyway, is it, else how would we recognize it? It’s only by contrast to other emotions that we recognize it when we feel it. Luckily, there is also acceptance; peace; the art of becoming; staying in community; growing; healing. Such great action words. So much better than a static way of being, don’t you think?