Nutritionist-Certified Recipe Roundup: Autoimmune Edition | Dana Monsees, MS, CNS, LDN
So you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (welcome to the club!) Maybe it’s Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), the most common conditions I see in my clinical practice, or something like Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type I Diabetes, etc. Getting one of these diagnoses can be, on the one hand, a relief - finally, a name to all the symptoms you’ve been experiencing! Yet on the other hand, a completely scary, daunting diagnosis. So...what now?
First, take a deep breath - you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are more than 23.5 million Americans living with a diagnosed autoimmune disease, and that number is on the rise. (1, 2) Lucky for us with autoimmune issues, the number of practitioners who specialize in autoimmune disease is also on the rise, along with the number of tools that are being researched to help in managing these conditions, and the vast population of autoimmune communities and support groups that have popped up all over the internet that you can join.
But what to do on an everyday basis to help manage your symptoms? As a dietitian-nutritionist, I recommend that food is a great place to start.
The Autoimmune Protocol is a therapeutically designed, healing diet developed from the paleo template that excludes foods that are commonly associated with autoimmune flare-ups and inflammation: eggs, nightshades, and nuts and seeds, in addition to the paleo restrictions of no gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and legumes. For some with very serious flare-ups, this tool can be an incredibly helpful way to help put your autoimmune symptoms in remission, in addition to other supplemental and lifestyle interventions. So it’s definitely worth it, but if you’re not super creative with the flavor combinations, it’s pretty easy to eat plain food all the time (ugh, boring). When your chronic symptoms prevent you from eating a lot of spices, many condiments that the paleo or gluten-free worlds tend to rely on like salsa, hot sauce, peppers, mayo-based dressings, etc., things can seem kind of bleak. So it’s time to switch things up and bring the flavor to the forefront of healing!
AIP Recipes: Main Dishes
One Pan Garlic & Herb Chicken Drumsticks (omit black pepper)
Chicken Saltimbocca (no BP)
Garlic & Thyme Chicken Meal Prep (omit black pepper)
Cauliflower Tabouli and Salmon (omit tomatoes)
Cauliflower Rice Salmon Poke Bowl (sub coconut vinegar for rice vinegar, omit sesame seeds)
Turmeric Ginger Salmon (omit black pepper)
Steak, Sweet Potato & Apple Hash (omit black pepper)
AIP Recipes: Side Dishes
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup (no BP)
AIP Recipes: Condiments & Dips
Pickled Onion Slaw (omit BP)
Strawberry Basil Guacamole (no BP)
AIP Recipes: Breakfast
Strawberry Banana Acai Smoothie (use coconut milk, no nuts)
A note about the recipes: Some practitioners suggest that ghee is ok to consume on the autoimmune protocol, even though it is derived from cow’s dairy. I’ve found in my practice it is up to individual tolerance. If you do not tolerate ghee, it can be substituted 1 for 1 with coconut oil.
Other Autoimmune Resources:
- NIH Autoimmune Diseases Coordinating Committee: Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan, March 2005. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/adccfinal.pdf
- Dinse GE, Parks CG, Weinberg CR, Co CA, Wilkerson J, Zeldin DC, Chan EKL, Miller FW. 2020. Increasing prevalence of antinuclear antibodies in the United States. Arthritis Rheum; doi: 10.1002/art.41214 [Online 8 April 2020].