I am Indira Shyju and I currently live in Connecticut, USA with my loving husband and two wonderful kids. I am a pharmacist and worked as a health economist/researcher for 15 plus years. In January 2017 I decided to quit my stressful job and follow a healthy and stress free lifestyle in order to manage my RA. In 2018, I became certified as a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner (NTP) by the Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA), Washington, US. And in March 2020, I became an AIP Certified Coach. I also published my first cookbook ‘AIP Indian Fusion‘ in 2021! This book has 114 Indian inspired AIP recipes that will help you to implement the AIP diet in your life!
I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in the summer of 2015 with the disease affecting my hands, shoulders and knees. All of a sudden I went from active, ‘super’ mom to someone who needed help with even the littlest of things! Read more of my struggle with RA in this story that was published on the Autoimmune wellness website. I am currently taking immunosuppressant medications to control my symptoms but I am also actively following dietary and lifestyle changes to help control the disease. Being a pharmacist I am well aware of the side effects of the RA medications and so I would like to control my disease by eliminating all inflammatory foods, eating anti-inflammatory foods and through lifestyle changes like yoga and exercise. Although this disease has made everything harder for me, I continue to cook, bake and blog with the help of my supportive husband and children. I hope to motivate all other RA patients who have similar interests in cooking and baking as me to ‘remain positive and keep at it’. My deep faith in God has allowed me to overcome a lot of my physical challenges and I continue to move forward with my healing.
I have been also following a Paleo diet, specifically the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) that has been developed by some experts who used this diet to reverse or control their autoimmune diseases. A Paleo diet is a ‘nutrient dense’, grain free diet that focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits and good quality meats like wild caught fish and grass fed beef and chicken. Additionally, an AIP diet tries to eliminate further some of the other potential inflammatory foods from our diets which include nuts, nightshades, spices and eggs for a period of time after which we can try to re-introduce these one at a time to see if it is inflammatory to our body. So to summarize, the Paleo Autoimmune diet eliminates the following from your diet: all processed foods, including refined sugar and flour, dairy, gluten and all grains, nightshades (tomato, peppers, eggplant and potato), all nuts, eggs, soy and cane sugar.
I currently follow the AIP diet with some reintros like spices and potatoes occasionally. Interestingly for me the Paleo diet was one where I finally began to feel at home! Paleo promotes use of coconut and coconut oil as well as root vegetables like cassava (tapioca), yams and taro root etc and those being so intrinsic to Kerala and Kerala cuisine (which is where my family hails from in India), I feel quite at home with it! There are so many Kerala recipes that I can adapt to embrace my new Paleo lifestyle!
I cook paleo and AIP for myself but I also cook regular healthy meals for my family. however, I strive to always cook and bake clean and healthy recipes. By clean I mean avoiding the use of all processed foods like white sugar, white flour, vegetable oils and all other ingredients that contain preservatives or dyes. I also try to limit the use of sugars and dairy in general, but having young kids at home means to allow for some occasional indulgences 🙂
Below are some useful websites and resources for Paleo and AIP that will give you detailed information including the science behind it as well as recipes and tips if you would like to follow this diet:
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