Every time a new book comes out talking about the autoimmune protocol or the paleo diet there is a lot of hub bub. There are still only a limited number of books on these topics, especially on AIP, so adding a new resource to the mix is always kind of a big deal. That being said, there are always the skeptics among us who question the value of new products. Can’t we find all of this information online? Why pay for something that you could find for free? Is it worth spending the money?
Even though I am a member of this community of authors I understand the questions. Those of us with autoimmune diseases have probably spent thousands of dollars over the course of our quests for health. We have bought the fad diet books, the self help tapes, the magic bullet pill and this month’s super food… and we have been burned each and every time. At a certain point skepticism is a means of self-protection because we are tired of wasting excitement and money on resources that will not help. I get it, I really do. I do not want to contribute to this frustrating cycle so as a blogger I really strive to only review or promote products that I firmly believe will live up to the hype. I pass on a lot of opportunities to review products that I don’t think are worth it because I don’t want to waste your time. So, every time I review a new product or a book I ask these questions: Why is this book/product needed in the community at large? What will you get from it if you buy it? And Is it worth buying?
Today marks the launch of a big new resource for the autoimmune protocol community, the release of The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. This book was written by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott, the authors of the blog Autoimmune Paleo. The goal of this book is to be exactly what it claims to be, a practical handbook for healing from autoimmune disease. So, let’s ask our first question:
Why Is The Book Needed?
The current canon of AIP resources consists of books that fall on one end of the spectrum or the other. You have The Paleo Approach which is a fantastic encyclopedic resource of all thing autoimmune and autoimmune protocol related. This is where the science is, the in-depth explanations, and the nitty gritty ins and outs can be found. It is a wonderful book, but can be overwhelming for some and on the other end of the spectrum you have a growing number of practical resources like cookbooks and e-books that only address specific elements of the healing process. What we have been lacking is a resource in the middle. I think that this book fills the gap perfectly. This is the book that I will be recommending from now on when someone says, “I want to know where to start with AIP but its all too overwhelming” or “What is one book I should buy to learn about AIP?” The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook Succeeds in being a one-stop resource that will give you a functional understanding of autoimmune disease, the autoimmune protocol, and how to start towards healing. The book claims to be “… about demystifying and breaking down what can be a very complex, overwhelming, and isolating process, and replacing it with one that is clear and liberating.” And I definitely think it succeeds.
So we know that it fills a gap and has value in the community at large but are YOU going to learn anything from it? That leads us to our next question:
What Will You Get If You Buy It?
The handbook is broken down into chapters titled by their purpose (Inform, collaborate, nourish, breath, move, and connect) so that is how I will break down my answer. I am also going to include a quote from each section that I think sums up the what the chapter communicates.
You will be informed: “You may find learning the details about your disease to be unnerving, because knowing makes it hard to hide from your new reality. After the initial fear subsides, understanding inspires a level of courage you previously didn’t have and empowers you to take control of your health and start on the path toward healing.” Wow, I love that quote… This chapter is concise, easy to understand, and not at all overwhelming. It leads to a great functional understanding of autoimmune disease without getting bogged down in too many scientific or medical terms. It is very practical and will probably lead to a lot of “light bulb moments” for a lot of people who may not have ever thought that so many seemingly unrelated symptoms could fall under the umbrella of autoimmunity. This section also demystifies the world of autoimmune testing and gives a short explanation of many of the tests autoimmune sufferers may find themselves hearing about or undergoing.
You Will Learn How to Collaborate: “Collaboration means blending what you and each member of your team can offer and combining the most useful ideas into one effective plan in order to best resolve a problem.” This is one of the most unique chapters in this book, in my opinion. So many autoimmune sufferers struggle to find providers who bridge the gap between conventional and alternative approaches to autoimmune disease. As a result, many of us have to learn how to collaborate with multiple care providers in order to get the best result. This is difficult however, because many of us grew up thinking of the doctor as the final authority we are not trained to see them as a resource that we have the power to either utilize or not. This chapter of the book talks about what collaboration means in the context of autoimmune healing, the different approaches and practitioners available, and it gives definition to terms that are often used but not always understood such as alternative medicine and functional medicine. Finally, you will also learn how to assemble a collaborative care team, what questions to ask your providers, and how to handle some of the common roadblocks to collaboration.
You Will Learn How to Nourish Yourself: “The foods you choose to eat every day provide your body with the raw materials it needs to perform optimally.” This section breaks down the autoimmune protocol into very easy to understand chunks, explaining what it is, what it involves, how to transition into the elimination phase, how to handle reintroductions and modifications that can be made for certain conditions. This chapter also discusses the importance of rest in the healing process. It is very practical and easy to work through.
You Will Learn How to Breathe: “Work and productivity are consistently valued more highly than recovery and vitality, as most of use are expected to work longer hours and with less time off than ever before.” In this chapter, you will learn the physiological effects of stress on the body and how it contributes to autoimmune disease, you will be given a stress management self evaluation to help you discover your strengths and weaknesses in this area, and you will be given some practical resources for managing stress
You Will Learn How to Move: “While civilization has brought about radical changes that have positively impacted the way we live, the extent to which it has enabled us to be inactive is causing disastrous consequences in our health.” This chapter discusses the benefits of movement, the difficulties of exercising with an autoimmune disease, explores the pitfalls of over exercising, and the barriers that cause some of us to move too little. You will also be given some great ideas for types of exercise that work well for those with autoimmune diseases.
Finally, there is a brief section on the importance of human connection that discusses how to build a support network during your healing journey and avoid isolation and maintain a social life.
The book concludes with a meal plan and some fantastic recipes that will set you on the right path towards wellness. While there are so many more AIP cookbooks and recipe resources available now than there were just a few short years ago, providing the meal and the recipes here really rounds out the book into a complete one-stop resource.
The back of the book is filled with a collection of valuable resources that include everything from a 12 week lifestyle plan, to resources for finding a doctor and further reading.
So, now the grad finale…
Is this book worth buying?
The answer to this question depends on your circumstances. If you are a person who has read The Paleo Approach cover to cover, read every blog out there, assembled a collaborative care team that you are happy with, found remission or healing through the autoimmune protocol and are 100% confident in the path you’ve chosen then you can probably skip this book. However, if you are a person who is struggling with chronic health issues that have never been diagnosed, you recently got a diagnosis and you are overwhelmed by the lack of conventional options and the shear volume of personal opinions and guru-style cures on the internet, you are a person who has seen improvement through conventional medicine but has not reached your desired level of functioning, or you have been planning on trying the autoimmune protocol for any reason but find it to be too complicated than this is definitely a worthwhile buy. This book is a one-stop resource that will give you all the information you actually NEED to gain an understanding of how to move forward. This is the book for the person that wants to know what to do and how to do it but is not necessarily interested in the in-depth scientific reasons why. So, if you fall into any of those categories than I feel very confident in saying that your money will not be wasted on this book and it is worth buying.
If you are interested in the book Click HERE to check it out on Amazon.