Alopecia Areata: The Stages of Regrowth

As I went through the dreaded deletion of photos on my phone this week (gosh, I really should have bought more storage!!), I came across some snaps of my hair that I took in the summer of last year. I photographed most of these myself so that I could get a better look at the back of my head rather than to document my progress, but as I look back I’m in awe of how far I’ve come and just how quickly the body can repair itself. Many of you ask me what to expect and what ‘normal’ hair growth looks like so I figured I should share these photos with you and answer a few of those FAQs!

23rd May 2015
Click to enlarge!

“When did you start AIP?”

Probably the most popular question I receive is ‘how soon after starting the diet did you begin to see hair growth? This is incredibly difficult for me to answer because in all honesty, I’m not sure. I didn’t start the Autoimmune Protocol cold turkey. For a number of weeks before I went full-on strict AIP I had been experimenting with other diets. I started out with the Candida Diet – a pretty much ZERO sugar diet (including fruit) while taking anti-fungals (grapefruit seed extract) and LOTS of probiotics in the form of live-bio yoghurt and kefir. From there I moved to a combination of GAPS and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) which is almost paleo with the exception of homemade bio yoghurt but is definitely not like AIP because lots of typical allergens and inflammatory foods such as nuts, eggs and nightshades are included. So lets say I began:

Experimenting with probiotics and no sugar in April 2015
GAPS / SCD diet for all of May 2015
FULL Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) from June 2015

I think I did a lot of the hard work with these prior diets in terms of clearing out bad bacteria and preparing my gut for change – I certainly had the symptoms anyway, my candida die-off experience was awful!! Even though during this time my hair had probably begun growing at the root and wasn’t yet visible, my symptoms of Crohn’s disease were chronic and persisted until I embraced the Autoimmune Protocol. It wasn’t a conscience choice to progressively work my way up to AIP, it’s just that I didn’t discover it until much later but when I did, I jumped in immediately!

JUNE 2015

“How do you know it’s regrowth?”

Any growth is regrowth! There was a period of time that you had to look at my scalp with a magnifying glass to see the growth. I knew it was there but a few family members couldn’t really see what I was talking about. I could see there was a slight colour change on the bald patch (as if the roots were becoming visible under the skin) and then the area began to feel less smooth and slimy. Instead, it was just soft like the skin on the rest of the body that is covered in downy hair. It’s gotta start somewhere right?!

From there very fine hairs became visible and were light in colour. Grey even! They were nothing like the rest of my thick dark hair. I think they even reached an inch in length before my true colour started coming through and the thickness along with it.

One thing that worried me through all of this is that it didn’t all grow back at the same rate. While some patches were well on their way to growing back, others didn’t have a fleck of hair in sight! I thought that maybe I had done some permanent damage over the many years of repeated hair loss and that maybe not all of it would come back this time. You can see in the photos just how patchy the back of my head was. But sure enough, it all came through with time and now I can’t even tell the difference in length!

21st July 2015

“I’ve started the AIP, why is my hair still falling out?!”

I hear this A LOT! You’re not alone, don’t panic! Even several weeks into the AIP I noticed hair at the bottom of the shower or just all over me, as usual! The Autoimmune Protocol is not an overnight cure. It takes time and absolute dedication to reap the benefits. As I explained in this blog post, the damage that needs repair is in your gut. Eating heaps of vegetables isn’t going to change this immediately. It’s not about eating healthy foods, it’s about healing foods. Bone broth, animal skins, connective tissue and probiotics are absolutely integral to this. You need to work hard at closing up those tight junctions in the gut lining to prevent any further symptoms of a leaky gut while also starving the bad bacteria and working hard to grow the population of the good stuff.

Everybody is different. Some people may not have a lot of damage in the gut and therefore only take a few weeks before the body can start showing the external signs of change – hair growth. Other people with extensive inflammation may wait six months before their body is settled enough for their hair to grow back. Obviously none of us know how bad things look on the inside (unless you’re like me and you also have crohn’s disease!) and therefore it’s incredibly difficult to stick to a diet that is showing no benefit but please, please don’t give up! All good things come to those who wait.

Now I’m no doctor or scientist (although I am about to begin studying this), but I’m pretty sure that once your body has sent out it’s messages of ‘attack’, there’s no reversing them. My best guess is that once it’s got to work on killing off those cells and ultimately your hair follicle, the damage is done (temporarily). So yes, of course your hair is still falling out even once you start AIP – the inflammatory autoimmune response isn’t switched off until the gut is repaired. BUT, once it is repaired, your hair has a fair chance of growing back! 🙂

29th July 2015

“When can I stop eating this way?”

Ultimately this is another answer of ‘everybody is different’. Many put this question to me as ‘when can I stop treatment?’ I don’t see AIP as a temporary treatment in the way we take medication to deal various ailments. AIP is an absolute lifestyle change. Strict AIP ‘elimination phase’ is temporary, yes, but somewhere along the very grey lines of a paleo/grain free diet is a permanent change if you want to keep autoimmunity at bay and prevent further flares (in the case of AA – more bald patches). Remember, grains cause a leaky gut. Why would you want to reintroduce them and undo all your hard work of repairing it?

We call strict AIP the elimination phase because all allergens and inflammatory foods are excluded. Many of these excluded foods are actually included in a standard paleo diet and you may very well be able to eat them again once you’ve healed, but as a precaution, all of them are excluded at the beginning of the AIP so that as you gradually reintroduce them, you can see exactly which are problematic for you and which are totally fine.

If you’re at the stage where you believe you can safely make reintroductions, please have a read of this free guide by Sarah Ballantyne: http://www.thepaleomom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Reintroducing-Foods.pdf
Or see her book ‘The Paleo Approach’.

There is specific method to managing reintroductions – which foods to try first and how much. Don’t be tempted to eat a gluten free pizza and experience grains, dairy and nightshades all in one go! Follow the guide; it will help you immensely. If you’re interested to read more about reintroductions, Elieen Laird (phoenixhelix.com) has put together many great resources:
Top 5 mistakes people make reintroducing Foods
Podcast – Reintroducing foods on the Paleo AIP
Paleo AIP Reintroduction Guide

8th Janaury 2016

I hope that answers some of your questions. If you have more, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

In my upcoming posts I will share with you where I currently stand with my own food reintroductions and I’ll also be posting about some other lifestyle changes I’ve made aside from diet. Please subscribe if you haven’t already! 🙂

Stella xx

*If you find this blog helpful and you like to see more content from me, please consider a donation. The funds will help pay my tuition fees at the College of Naturopathic Medicine so that I can become a Nutritional Therapist and thus be better able to help you.*

paypal_donate_button

Advertisements

73 thoughts on “Alopecia Areata: The Stages of Regrowth

  1. HI Stella! I have VERY similar AA to you.
    Your beauty and confidence are inspiring.

    Wondering if this coincided with your pregnancy at all?

    Thanks so much,
    Nicole

    Like

  2. Hi, thank you for this post! You are very inspirating for me. I started to lose my hair whem I was 5, today I’m 29. I lost my all hope that I will have my hair back but thank to you I belive again. I usually had hair on the top of my head, but I cant remember time when I had hair on the back of my head. Now after pregnancy the problem is bigger than ever. I have blog myself and I’m wondering if I can translate your post to Polish? Of course I will place link to your blog.I think it can give hope to many others who suffer from this awful disease.

    Like

  3. My husband started to loose hair and it was really devastating for him considering he’s only 28 years old. I would make him take a ton of Biotin and made sure he ate a lot of protein to try to get it to grow. Sometimes it grows back and sometimes he looses it in other places. It’s a real shame. When he has his bald spots, I find products from https://gettik.com to help minimize the appearance of them. I like it because it’s all natural and there’s no harsh chemicals that could do more damage to your hair like the newly discovered Wen products. It’s such a shame how many people lost more hair when they thought they were using shampoo & conditioner to help it grow back.

    Like

  4. Hi Stella! I have found your journey through alopecia very inspirering! I have alopecia myself and I’m 17 years old… I’m having trouble sticking to the AIP diet and I feel like it is simply getting worse. Should I continue seeing a dermatologist or go to a nutritionist? I am bery scared I am going to go bald 😦 how do I cope with this physically, mentally and emotionally?
    Please reply ❤
    Love. Sarah

    Like

  5. I don’t know how I found your website, but I’m so glad I did. My hair loss (currently) is exactly where you were in the first of your pictures above. I have tried everything but this diet. It’s such a daily struggle to hide it and it has gotten to the point where I don’t even want to go out in public anymore for fear of someone seeing my bald spots. I finally (last October) said F it and joined a gym. Now, when I sweat you can totally see that I am bald, but being around the same people, I just don’t care anymore. I hope I can have the same results as you do. Thank you for your this bold post. – Nicole

    Like

  6. Hi Stella, I have alopecia areata, and i’ve been using topical ointments and steroid injections to help w/ my hair growth. Those things seem to be working but I’m 7 days into AIP and was wondering if I should stop using those methods for regrowth and just focus on allowing AIP to do the job? what’s your friendly advice?

    Like

    • Okay, so there I was (and still sort of am), like everyone here, with a couple of round and trapezoid patches known as alopecia areata (had a demolitionist confirm that). Like everyone else I was offered the steroid injection and some ointment, both of which sounded bizarre, so I turned them both down and went about trying the AIP, didn’t seem to help much at first, I only noticed that my brain fog and depression symptoms began to fade, which made me feel better, not my patches were still there and even grew a few millimeters in diameter. So apparently it wasn’t (just) linked to the diet. I found a very awesome holistic doctor in my area, and what she did was, scan my body with a frequency apparatus, it tests every part of each and every organs’ frequency. This concept makes sense if you have every studied physics or understand the concept of how meditation works. Anyway the point is that everything in this universe has a certain frequeny, including our bodies. Healthy cells have a different frequency from unhealthy ones for example. So long story short, turns out that I don’t have an auto immune disorder, like Stella suggested in her case. My case of alopecia areata stemmed to toxicity, which is a very likely cause for those of you questioning why the diets don’t work on their own. Yes you still have a leaky gut, but in addition to that you likely have a few poison exposures like asbestos and mercury coursing through your system, and likely have a few fungal infections breeding causing patching hair loss, pale skin, major dandruff (that no shampoo can get rid of), achy bones upon waking up, random unexplained depression which was never there before, feeling colder than normal for no reason, congested nose in the morning, grooved and/or thickened nails (especially noticeable on feet), progressively worsening brain fog, and fatigue. These were the symptoms I personally started experiencing in early April all within two weeks time. After a visit to the ND I was given Agrisept-L (citrus seed extract) very powerful stuff by the way, XenoStat capsules which are a high dose iodine and other herbal extract source, Detox ND serum, humic acid minerals, acs200 extra strength colloidal/cellular silver, and mini minerals drinking iodine. Yes lack of iodine causes a lot of problems as well and I had low iodine intake as the thyroid and para thyroid frequencies indicated. I was also told to get some clear iodine and apply it on my scalp including the patchy areas. Currently the patches started growing in a little, not so much the back one but the one on the side of my head certainly did show signs of hair regrowth, only problem is, it can get pricey, so you’ll need to plan ahead. You’ll also need to eat a diet rich in greens and seafood, preferably not fried. No GMO, limit or completely stop the intake of processed foods, limit your meat intake, drink apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) with baking soda, detox in the morning with kefir, buckwheat flour, raw honey, and ginger root mix, drink plenty of fresh ginger tea. It really works, but you have to stay on top of it.

      Like

  7. Hi Stella, I have alopecia areata, and i’ve been using topical ointments and steroid injections to help w/ my hair growth. Those things seem to be working but I’m 11 days into AIP and was wondering if I should stop using those methods for regrowth and just focus on allowing AIP to do the job? what’s your friendly advice?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi DJ, there’s no reason at all for you to stop the steroid injections while following the diet – they’ll increase your chances of regrowth. Not sure you also need topical ointments too but that’s entirely your decision. I’ve not heard of these treatments inhibiting regrowth so I don’t believe you have anything to worry about. Good luck with the diet!

      Like

  8. I have diffuse alopecia areata. It started with two symmetrical patches in the back of my head (by the hairline in my neck) that were pretty big. In two months it’s progressed to several small to medium sized patches all over my scalp. I’ve struggled with asthma, allergies, and eczema all my life, but I’ve never had any problems with my stomach/digestion really. At least not more than what is considered normal on occasion, anyway. I’ve thought about doing both a gluten-free and lactose-free diet, but I’m sooo depending om milk products such as cheese and yogurt. I don’t exactly have the most healthy diet, you could say. Foods with refined sugar are my biggest problem.
    Thunk there would be any point in trying this particular diet compared to gluten/lactose-free diet for me if I don’t have any problems with my stomach though? It’s a pretty big lifestyle change, all things considered….

    Like

    • Hi Julie,
      I understand it’s pretty hard to believe that there is a gut – hair connection here but honestly there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that all autoimmune problems are rooted in the gut whether they’re expressed as gastrointestinal problems or not. In this blog post I’ve written about how are why the diet works and what the relationship to the gut is: https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/what-is-the-autoimmune-protocol/
      People are using AIP to fix all kinds of other autoimmune problems like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, hashimotos…
      If you really don’t think you can hack full AIP I highly recommend cutting out gluten, lactose and refined sugars. Those are the big three – gluten being the MOST important.

      Good luck x

      Like

  9. Hey! I know that by keeping strict with the paleo approach will help people lose weight as well, but I have found myself losing too much weight. I am getting enuff protein I believe, but find myself not being able to gain weight now. I am a slender person to begin with and down to 115 pounds now from 135. I feel great, but how did you keep yourself from getting in the same situation?

    Like

    • Hi Michele,
      Exactly the same happened to me. I was already slip to begin with and I lost quite a lot of weight too. Fortunately this is only at the beginning of the diet as your body adjusts and my weight hasn’t changed since the summer of last year. Although to be honest I am struggling to put the weight back on. Once you’ve begun healing you can reintroduce white rice – I find this pretty helpful. I also make sure I eat the fat/skin on any of my meat, I always include other fats like olive and avocado too. Some people suggest drinking smoothies but I personally think this meaning consuming too much sugar. I also changed my exercise routine from running to yoga to prevent me from burning off too many calories. AIP isn’t mean to last forever so with my reintroductions right now I am trying to find foods that are going to enable me to gain weight. Sorry I can’t offer any more help than that – it’s a problem I am struggling with too.

      Like

      • My plan right now is to start lifting weights to build more muscle. I am looking forward to the day to reintroduce certain foods. One observation that I thought I would share is even though the hair still falls out after being on the AIP for a while, what does fall out grows back so much faster its almost unreal the amount of time it takes. Crazy what a healthy diet can do for the body.
        Thanks for the info Stella, its greatly appreciated:)

        Like

    • While I was healing and eating strict AIP I took probiotics everyday. I’m not in a position to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, I can only tell you what I did for myself. Now that I am well I only take probiotics once or twice a week. It’s actually better to get probiotics from food like raw unpasteurised sauerkraut, water or coconut kefir or kombucha if you can.

      Like

  10. Great post. I’ve just “discovered” you. I really like what you said about things taking 6 months or more due to internal unseen healing. I am doing aip & struggle to stay motivated due to not having the amazing immediate results others talk about. Your post had calmed me and reassured me that I need to continue.
    Whilst I don’t have AA, over the last few months I have lost over half the thickness of my hair & am unsure why. I don’t have patches but it’s still scary to know your body isn’t happy but you can’t work out why.
    I will read through your site and learn more. I know I have an underlying AI disease, just not discovered yet.

    Thank you for this!

    Like

    • Thanks Nic! I’m so glad you feel motivated to keep going. You will get to the bottom of it with time! I believe (but I’m no expert here) that general/dispersed hair loss is related to a hormone imbalance such as excess testosterone or could be a thyroid problem? Many thyroid issues are autoimmune related so you could be right there. I hope you learn what it is soon. It may be worth you meeting with a functional medicine doctor/therapist if you can afford to.
      Best of luck x

      Like

      • Thank you for your encouragement and advice. The hair loss could be hormonal. I have endo and chocolate cyst as well as CFS. I’m doing AIP to heal it all naturally. A fair few things happened last year which may contribute to the hair loss. I got braces – very odd being a teenager again 🙂 – so possibly metal/plastic toxicity, I started the AIP (possibly a bit of a shock with the lower carbs? I seem better with less starch, and I’m also seeing a herbalist for hormone healing, so perhaps they’re swinging all over the place! I’ve just got a eczema rash on my foot which doc says is AI, so I know somewhere there is an underlying AI disease.

        Can you recommend a functional doc? I see you’re in London as am I (well I work in London and live in the outskirts). All the sites I see are for the US.

        Just saw your chicken thigh recipe. It looks delicious. I will try that. It’s so good seeing recipes in metric. My cooking always goes wrong when I try to use cups.

        Thanks again for giving me hope and a bit of a boost in this journey x

        Like

      • Yes it sounds like there’s a lot going on for you. I’m afraid I don’t know of any functional doctors – the only nutritional therapist I ever knew now lives in Barcelona! However, at the College of Naturopathic Medicine student clinics are open to the public and are only £25 for a consultation. They’re fully supervised so you can trust the information you take away. Just an idea: http://www.naturopathy-uk.com/resources/student-clinics/
        Totally agree with you about using cups for cooking! I like exact measures! x

        Like

  11. So glad to read this. My hair loss began just over a year ago. It was after I had a surgery. My immune system was aweful in the first place. I took the advice of a functional medicine doctor to do an elimination diet. Night shades are my kryptonite! Miss them sooooooo much. When I do eat something bad my scalp hurts as if I had it up in a pony tail all day. Then I have a shedding as I call it. even after the diet though I still wasnt improving. She ran a gene test and I came up homogeneous a1298c MTHFR. Are you familiar with that? Most people even doctors are not. It explains all the immunity diseases that have been piling up on me past few years. Arthritis, sjogrens, vitaligo, vestibular disease. I’m only 37 years old. Determined to turn this around. It’s a relief knowing that it is possible. So happy for you.

    Like

    • Hi Audrey! Sorry to hear that you’ve had such a tough time with so many autoimmune diseases. It’s not uncommon – if you have a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity and you combine it with an unsuitable diet and stress, it’s easy for any of them to manifest and they just keep piling on until you treat the root cause. I have crohn’s as well as AA and I’ve even had a bout of rheumatoid arthritis. BUT like you said, relief is possible. You can reverse it and it’s never too late.
      I haven’t heard of 1298c MTHFR so I can’t comment on that really but I imagine it is linked to what I pointed out – a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disease and your gene, like many of us, is switched on. I hope you can give AIP a try. Best of luck to you x

      Like

  12. Hey Stella!
    So I’m a senior in high school and I developed a bald patch just a little bigger than a quarter size. I’m reading and watched videos about your amazing hair regrowth process and I want to cure my small bald spot before it gets bigger and worse. I’m reading many thing on a Paleo diet but I’m not sure how to have a consistent diet. If I start this diet and my hair grows back will it ever fall out again? And how can I start to fix this bald spot before it gets bigger?

    Like

  13. Hello Stella,
    I’m following the AIP diet since 5 weeks strictly and I’m seeing that my hair is still falling and new patches are showing up and no hair grew at all. Is that normal? should I wait more? and at what point should I give up and shave all my hair ?

    Like

    • Hi Amr,
      5 weeks isn’t enough time to see any benefits from the diet. The purpose of the diet is to heal your gut – heal on the inside to halt your overactive immune system that is attacking your hair follicles. Even if your hair is still falling out, it doesn’t mean the diet isn’t working – this could just be the result of the attack response your body was sending out weeks ago. It will eventually stop. The length of time it takes to heal all depends on the individual and the level of damage at the gut level – some people find they begin to heal within 2 months – others more like 6. People with very severely debilitating autoimmune diseases have taken a year or two. The point is that this diet isn’t an overnight miracle cure. It will take time and commitment to heal the root cause. In addition, once your hair does begin growing, don’t be thinking you can go back to your old diet and lifestyle. You’ll need to reintroduce foods slowly to test yourself for intolerance and eventually your diet will look more ‘paleo’ than AIP.
      As for shaving your hair – that is totally up to you! Some people find it easier to shave their hair so it’s even all over but if you’re doing ok at covering up the patches with the hair you have left then maybe wait it out.
      Also, are your making bone broth, taking gelatine and eating or supplementing with probiotics? This is essential to the diet and not a step to be skipped.
      xx

      Like

  14. Stella, you’re an inspiration. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story and help us! I have no idea how my hair is going to grow…if indeed it will…but you’ve given me so much encouragement to keep at the AIP and give myself the very best opportunity to heal. If you ever visit Perth (Aus) please let me know so i can give you a big hug xx

    Like

    • Aw thanks Charlotte! It’s so lovely to receive these comments and know that the blog is helping to motivate people. I really do hope you heal soon ❤
      I actually have family that live in Perth and I am desperate to visit them! I'll let you know if I get the chance! x x

      Like

  15. Hi Stella,

    another point I am wonderung about is: Where do I get Probiotics that does not include wheat, sugar or any substitutes, lactose or any ingredients from herbs that should not be used on the AIP (e.g. fennel)? Unfortunately, I found out that the probiotics my Doc gave to me are made of sugar substitutes and corn:-( On one probiotic it is said that the sugar is deleted by the fermentation. Do you have any recommendations regarding probiotics? 🙂 I think this might be a point hat everyone here would find very helpful.
    Best regards and a wonderful weekend XX

    Like

  16. Hi Stella,

    I have AA since November 2015. I am interested in starting AIP but was wondering if you had also taken any supplements such as Probiotics, Multivitamins, zinc, vitamin D,or any type of vitamins while on the treatment?

    Also what do u tend to eat for breakfast due to the treatment? And how often should I wash my hair?

    Warm Regards,
    Steven

    Like

    • Hi Steven,
      I’ve written a post here about the supplements I took whilst on AIP: https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/four-supplements-for-autoimmune-healing/

      Breakfast is probably the biggest change you’ll make to your regular eating habits once you begin AIP. You will pretty much eat anything! The diet is about eating nutrient-dense food and breakfast time is just another opportunity to do so. Breakfast can end up looking like a smaller portion of your lunch or dinner instead of a very nutrient-deficient bowl of cereal! I very often eat leftovers – things like roasted root vegetables from my dinner the night before. Sometimes I fry so asparagus and have that with a slice or 2 of ham. Avocado is great in the morning too. Other times I’ll have an apple and a slice of meat. Another good breakfast is a green smoothie – I like to have spinach, lettuce, cucumber, apple and celery with some lemon and ginger which I whizz up with a NutriBullet (keeps all the fibres in so it’s a smoothie not a juice). I also love a bowl of berries in the morning – they’re lower in sugar than most fruits.

      As for washing your hair – everybody is different. Try not to wash is everyday because you’ll dry the scalp of its natural oils but really its all down to your individual needs. If your hair is going to fall out, it will fall out regardless of whether your wash it or not. I try to leave 2 or 3 days between washes. I’ve also written a blog post here about shampoo chemicals to watch out for: https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/alopecia-areata-and-hair-care/
      I hope that helps. Good luck! x

      Like

  17. Hi Stella,
    thank you so much for keeping us informed about your huge success with the AIP. You are such a great inspiration! Could you please let us know how you handle your stresslevel and how you manage it to get enough sleep etc? Did you start improving your sleep at the same time you started the AIP? I think reducing stress is my biggest challange. I started the AIP once but unfortunately I did not stay focussed as I did not see any results in the short term and Christmas time was too hard 😦 But now I want to give it a new try and this time in every way – not just when it comes to healing foods. I am sure, that there is a possibility for me to heal my AU as well.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon and seeing further videos as well 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Kirsten, thanks for your message! It makes me to happy to know that others feel inspired to try AIP! You’re absolutely right, stress plays a HUGE part in maintaining health. I try to practice meditation before I go to sleep to ensure I’ve complete ‘unwound’ and disconnected from the day. I also turn off my laptop or TV an hour before I got to bed because the blue lights have a huge impact on our circadian rhythms (Sarah Ballantyne talks about this a lot in The Paleo Approach). When I started AIP it was summertime and I found it really hard to get plenty of sleep because the sun rises so early and sets so late here in London. It’s a real effort but it is worth sending yourself to bed an hour earlier than you usually would. Instead of watching an episode of my favourite TV series I would just ask myself, ‘what am I going to benefit more from right now? An hour of sleep that will help me to recover or an hour of TV that will have no impact on my life?’ If I didn’t need to be awake or have anything specifically to do in the evening I would just go to bed. This had a knock on effect on my stress levels too because while asleep I wasn’t worrying about things, being anxious, working too hard etc. It’s the ultimate ‘switch off’.
      I also found that my exercise routine was impacting my stress levels. I used to like running every other day but there’s lots of evidence to suggest that high-impact or high-intensity exercise actually stresses the body. I found that when I quit running I recovered much quicker. I now practice yoga which is perfect for balancing my mind and body. I think the best way to manage stress is to learn how to prioritise. Make your health your number 1 priority and then every decision around that becomes much easier. I learnt how to say no to a heavy workload, to say no when I felt tired, to make time for dinner, to make time for play, to say no to things I don’t enjoy – just be completely true to yourself and how you’re feeling at every given moment.
      I hope that helps. I wish you the best of luck! Please let me know of your success 🙂 x x

      Like

      • Hi Stella,
        thank you very much for your detailed reply 🙂 I will do my best, try it and let you know about my process.
        Are there any Meetings/Courses with you be planned in the future that I can sign up for? I think it would be a great opportunity to meeting you and others who suffer from Alopecia as well to learn from your/their experiences. As I am from Germany London is not too far and besides I love this City anyway 🙂 Would love to hear your thoughts.
        XX

        Like

      • Hey Kirsten! Gosh I would absolutely love to hold a meeting or a course but I think that’s probably something I would plan for in a few years time once I’ve got my Nutritional Therapist qualification! There is actually a Facebook group call AIP/Paleo for Alopecia if you’d like to find other people to share your experience with? This is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/394145947463393/
        If you can’t request membership, let me know you email address and I think I can add you to it. xx

        Like

  18. recently i have Alopecia Areata appearing , its new to me , and i want to ask you about your food habits before you got it, did you drink coffee daily ? did you use to eat nightshade vegetables alot daily? , and did you use coconut products alot After you got Alopecia Areata as part of diet?

    Like

    • Hey! Before I developed alopecia I only drank coffee occasionally but I can definitely say that during a period of time last year when I began drinking coffee daily, my alopecia became worse than ever.
      I wouldn’t say I ate a ‘lot’ of nightshades daily – just a normal amount of tomatoes, chill and potatoes. I would very occasionally eat aubergines but they would always upset my stomach.
      I never used coconut products because I am very allergic. This is actually quite a common allergy.
      I hope this answers your questions. xx

      Like

  19. Hi stella.
    I really hope that you will find time to reply to this. I have been battling AA for over 2 years now. I have 3 spots; 2 on the back are healing very well and are almost filled! But there is one big patch on the top of my head.. where I do see lots of hair growth but it is incredibly slow and not filling in as much as the others. I do not think I will be able to go completely Paleo/ AIP just because it will take me time to adjust to that lifestyle. But I also have celiac and I need the calcium from lets say milk and protein from eggs and nutrients from other sources.To be honest, when I was good about going gluten free I think that is what may have triggered my hair to start growing. Recently though I have been bad at eating gluten free, but I have been back on avoiding all gluten for a few days now and plan on staying this way now. If I continue being gluten free, and incorporate more vegetables and fruits in my diet along with that (because I don’t get my recommended servings anyways so adding those will help my nutritional deficiencies), do you think that my hair will grow back? Maybe avoid other grains when I can but not completely paleo?

    Like

    • Hi Sana,
      Thanks for your message. If I’m completely honest with you, I followed a wheat-free and almost completely gluten-free diet for 4/5 years while suffering with alopecia areata and sadly it did not prevent my hair from falling out, it just got worse and during which time I even had a very severe crohn’s disease flare. It’s entirely up to you to give it a try, I’m only telling you what worked for me. I would however say that given that you are also celiac you really should give AIP a try – many people have reported incredible results for this condition too.
      You said that you can’t follow the diet because you need calcium from milk and protein from eggs but that simply isn’t true. The paleo diet is very nutrient dense – by following it you will eat plenty of protein in the form meats such as beef and chicken and with SO many vegetables you will significantly boost your health with the number of vitamins you receive from them. Did you know that leafy greens such as broccoli and cabbage are rich in calcium?? There’s nothing in milk that you can’t get from vegetables. In addition to that, you might want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement which will improve your absorption of calcium in the gut. It’s also commonly found that people who suffer with autoimmune disease are deficient in vitamin D.
      I know at first glance the diet seems extreme but I promise it is so worth it. It soon becomes completely natural habit. It’s also not designed to last forever, once you’ve healed you can slowly begin making reintroductions.
      I hope this helps. I wish you well x x

      Like

  20. Thank you both so much, it is incredibly daunting but I will try the full AIP again, I did it for about 4 months when my hair was very actively falling out and I got disheartened because it didn’t stop it. But I think the damage was already done at that stage and the hair was always going to fall out whatever I did. I am so impatient!! Blind faith without results is a tough call.

    Any idea where I might find white sweet potatoes Stella? Do any of the big super markets sell them do you know?

    Thank you for the encouragement I needed xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks for putting up all those pictures and information! That’s an exact replica of how mine was, even how it came back in. Can you please tell me how much bone broth you drank in a day when you first started? I do a mug at least three times a day with meals.

    Like

    • You’re so welcome! Did you take photos of your hair? I’d love at some point in the future to post ‘stories of recovery’ if anyone is willing to share. Totally understand if anyone doesn’t like the idea of doing that though! When I first started AIP I didn’t drink bone broth every day. It was simply too difficult! I couldn’t get enough bones together or yield enough broth so instead I’d have a cup every other day. I prefer to keep any broth I make for soups, stews and sauces. However, every day from the beginning of AIP I have had a spoonful of great lakes gelatin in my mint tea in the evening and I don’t think I’ll ever stop! Well done for drinking so much broth – that’s awesome! It must be key to you healing so well 🙂

      Like

  22. Thank you so much Michele for taking the time to care. It is appreciated more than I can put into words. I will keep trying, I will keep up the diet and I will keep believing that things will get better.

    Something I do still give into is dairy free chocolate, should I stop? I am gluten free and egg free. I do eat rice and regular potatoes. Still no tomatoes, peppers and legumes. I was struggling and my thought process was if I am going to do this forever it needs to work for me. I don’t like cooking and I was getting sick of the same things. I also can’t stand sweet potatoes :😐

    Like

    • You bet Suzanne! I don’t mind sweet potatoes, but what might help you is if you fry them in coconut oil….they have a caramelized flavor to them with they are done and taste great! Have you tried yams? Cook those the same way too and it gives them a nice flavor. Do you have The Paleo Approach book by Sarah Ballantyne that Stella mentioned in her blog earlier? I got that book and its the bible to me when it comes to healing with food. Theres all the information and food that you can and can not eat. Great reading too. I was frustrated at first with all the foods that you have to give up, but there is a lot of options that you still have to work with. It says in the book that chocolate is extremely high in phytic acid and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and contains caffeine which are all supposed to be avoided while on the paleo approach. Regular potatoes are supposed to be avoided (another great substitute that I use is cauliflower…same goes for the rice) and rice is supposed to be avoided because it is a grain (grains cause a leaky gut). I bet once you eliminated those you will see an improvement. There is a lot of great substitutes for the food that you already eat. Last, what got me through in the beginning was making sure that I had all the staples and pantry items to have on hand that were all paleo safe. I just made the bone broth the other day and its great! I am excited to see the results. It will definitely get better in the food and kitchen department. Have paleo snacks on hand at all times to grab on the go (I usually make dressings to go with celery and carrots) or some fruit. It makes it easier throughout the day and gets you into the routine easier. Hang in there!
      Stella….thank you so much for posting your blog. It has helped me so much and gave me hope again! You are going to go great lengths in your schooling and people will be lucky to have someone like you help them…especially since you know first hand what they are going through! Cheers from Montana:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with Michele – she’s obviously done her reading! Instead of chocolate, could you look at making some treats using carob? I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve heard it’s a great alternative and totally AIP. Check out these carob recipes by Eat Heal Thrive: http://eathealthrive.ca/?s=carob
        As for potatoes, I do highly recommend that you cut them out. They are SO inflammatory and autoimmune disease is systemic inflammation – no matter how it manifests. I’ve found that great alternatives are root vegetables. At least once a week I roast parsnips, celeriac, beetroot, carrot, swede and butternut squash. Parsnips and cauliflower together make a great mash potato replacement (see my recipe: https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/shepherds-pie/
        Parsnips, butternut squash and swede are also great as fries!! Have you tried white sweet potatoes? You might prefer the taste, I find them a little less sweet.

        Michele – I’m so glad you like the blog! It means a lot to me to know that it’s helping. I can’t wait to finally be qualified to help people get well. Thanks for your messages x x

        Like

  23. Hi Stella, wow that’s such a quick regrowth and your hair looks so healthy! I hope you continue to regain your health… I personally have suffered with telogen effluvium for around 8 years… various different triggers stress etc but I’ve only in the last year realised just how quickly I stop ‘shedding’ once I adhere to a gluten free diet properly. I’ve tried AIP and found it suits me perfectly though sadly I can’t really have much fruit either and I’ve fallen off the wagon so many times it’s ridiculous… I’m intending to start again (again) tomorrow… my hair is currently in non shed mode and I’ve had good regrowth since October when I started eating AIP after a bout of illness… I slipped in the last month or so again and have had some gluten too here and there so hoping I don’t suffer the ‘fall out’ in the coming weeks. I feel really determined to make AIP and fruit free a way of life now and stay as sugar low as possible… In terms of supplements I’m taking biotin (which I find really helpful), msm & vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium and I’ve just started taking silica and a b complex and I’m hoping to start fish oils and vitamin D too asap… I bought gelatine powder but find it a little ‘hard to swallow’… Aside from nutritious food is there anything else you have found works well as a restorative aid? My sleep/wake schedule also needs some addressing… it’s so encouraging to see your speed of growth as I get disheartened at times… I don’t have patches just overall thinner and around the temples (though this has really improved with AIP in the last couple of months- and I swear by biotin especially in conjunction with fish oils which stopped me breaking out) but I miss my long thick hair… Best of luck with your AIP journey… I’ll be popping in to see your progress and AIP tips etc! X

    Like

    • Hey! Thank you for your message 🙂
      I notice you say that you find gelatin powder difficult to swallow – how are you taking it? I have a teaspoon mixed in with a peppermint tea every day and have no problems because it is diluted.
      I’m no expert on hair loss but I do know there is a difference between telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder on it’s own and therefore AIP works well to treat it at it’s root cause – the gut. But TE isn’t an autoimmune disorder as far as I’m aware but can actually be a symptom of another autoimmune disease. For example, some people with Crohn’s Disease may experience diffuse hair loss in this way. It is also a possibility that TE is more related to a hormone disruption. Again, some autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are a complication of hormone levels and hair loss can be a symptom. I’m not saying that AIP won’t work for you, it may do very well, but I think it could be worth talking to a naturopathic nutritionist, your doctor or somebody in functional medicine to see if you have any other underlying problems that are causing your TE. It’s quite unusual not to be able to eat any fruit at all. On AIP it is recommended not to have any more than about 20g sugar per day which works out to be about 2 portions of fruit – this is totally safe so I think it would be worth looking into why you can’t have any?
      As for restorative aids, I practice yoga and meditation to help calm my body. It’s a good idea to switch off your TV, phone or computer an hour before you go to bed and reduce expose to blue light because this can disrupt your sleep.
      Are you eating any probiotic foods like sauerkraut, fermented vegetables or kombucha? These and bone broth are essential to healing the gut.

      I hope this helps. I wish you well and good luck on your healing journey! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much for such a detailed response… I’m attending a functional medicine doctor currently and have had some tests done… still awaiting results but so far been advised that’s it’s intestinal permeability and possible ibo… coupled with serious adrenal fatigue but not thyroid… working to resolve those and my dentist is removing my mercury fillings and will start on a good probiotic once I get the final removal next month… hairloss stops when I stay on AIP because as you say it’s immune related but gluten is the primary trigger… my issues with fructose and certain other worsening or multiplying intolerances appear to be related to the ‘leaky gut’ intestinal permeability issue… will try to stick to the tech free period before sleep… I’m generally able to get to sleep just have trouble making myself go to bed!! 😣 I’m working on that too!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Hey Stella,
    I’m really glad that you healed and your hair growed back.
    I want to ask about the sweetpotatoes ? should I restrict the daily amount of it to a certain extent as they are relatively high in sugar?
    They are my only source of Carbohydrates now after following the AIP protocol so I’m eating them more than one time a day
    I want to thank you because you represents big motivation to me to follow the diet strictly

    Like

    • Hi Amr! Sweet potatoes are absolutely fine! I eat them very often! Have you thought about other root vegetables? They’re also a great source of starchy carbohydrate. For example, parsnips, swede, carrots and butternut squash can all be roasted, mashed, cut into fries, or added to casseroles and slow cooking. They’re all excellent alternatives to regular white potatoes – I don’t miss them at all!

      Like

  25. All I can say is that Im really proud of you. Ive watched all your videos from Day 1 and have read all ur posts. Ive been on the paleo diet since the second I saw your video. You are my example. And I cant wait to read about the other lifestyle changes like exercise and stress. Keep being your beautiful and confident self! I look up to you!!! Greetings from the Netherlands!!! X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a lovely message! It’s so encouraging to receive this kind of feedback and to know that the blog and videos are helping others. Please do keep me updated on your progress with the diet – I’d love to hear of any success stories.:) Best of luck to you, I wish you well x x

      Like

  26. The restorative term for balding is alopecia. Most hair loss is not connected with systemic or inside sickness, nor is less than stellar eating routine an incessant element. Hair might basically thin as a consequence of foreordained hereditary variables and the general maturing procedure.

    Like

  27. Hi Stella

    I wish I could keep the faith that my hair will grow back. I have had patches since of was 10, all easy to cover, one right at the.back, another above my ear, one at the side of my head. They would grow back and others appear. We coexisted, I hated it but was stuck with it. Then last year it went into over drive!! And something began which I never thought would happen to me!! All my hair started to fall out. The last few months of last year were the worst, I couldn’t touch my hair without getting a handful. I cut the last scattered 50 or so hairs off two days ago and tied a ribbon around them and put them in a draw. I am worried I will never see my hair grow again.

    I had very long hair, below my mid back and it was my pride and joy. I have cried, screams and prayed for it to come back!!

    I have very fine very short white fluff just in the top of my head, the rest is smooth even with my magnifying mirror. I have been AIP/paleo for about 8 months.

    I don’t work anymore, I don’t see friends anymore, I stay in and wait. Nobody could know how painful this is unless they have been there.

    X

    Like

    • Hi Suzanne,
      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re still struggling with AA despite following the protocol.
      AIP has done absolute wonders for my health but I wouldn’t attribute all of the positive change to just diet. Before I began AIP I took a real step back from my situation with AA and reassessed my entire perception of it. I was absolutely exhausted by trying to hide my alopecia and I knew that my hateful, distraught attitude wasn’t getting me anywhere. I knew I had to make peace with it and truly accept myself as I was. I realised that becoming entirely bald was a very real possibility and I had to learn to accept that or I would have no life at all. I’ve actually written about my thoughts and how I overcame my fear of baldness here in this blog post: https://wholeearthlife.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/from-worrier-to-warrior/
      Making my very first video in which I shared my alopecia with everyone on youtube turned my life around. Just by letting go and being myself and suddenly I no longer felt burdened. I could laugh about it even! It’s important to work and to see friends as normal, they’re a wonderful distraction and you’d be amazed at how understanding and sympathetic people really are.
      I believe that the positivity I experienced from that moment on was vital to my healing. The mind-body connection is powerful.
      I hope that you can find a way to move forward too. x x

      Like

    • Keep faith Suzanne as I remember the day that I had to cut the last few strands of my hair off too. I felt defeated, totally alone and could not possibly believe that this was happening to me. All my waist length hair was gone. I didn’t have any hair for about 4 years without any hope from the doctors. After changing my diet, and using mens rogaine recommended by my dermatologist, my hair grew back, but very slowly. A year to be exact. As soon as I stopped using it, it eventually all fell out again because it was just covering the problem, not solving it. A little while ago I saw Stellas post on Pinterest and how she was going through the same thing that I was again. I got the books she recommended and started the paleo approach. It worked for me. Hang in there, I know the healing process is different for everyone, and depending on how damaged your gut is, it could take longer. Please don’t isolate yourself from being the person that you are supposed to be. I did that and became someone who I was not proud of. Once I became okay with the fact that this was who I really am and having this problem was not going to define how I feel, it changed my life. I believe that God never gives you anything that you cant handle and honestly, I learned so much about myself through all of this that I wouldn’t change what happened if I had the choice. I am stronger because of it all. Words cant explain it. Please keep your chin up. I have been where you are…it will get better:)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s