Amy Myers Autoimmune Diet

The Myers Way Diet: One Editor’s Experience in Trying It Out

Christine Boyd, after interviewing physician and author Amy Myers, M.D., reports on her own four-week trial run on “The Myers Way Diet.”

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing functional medicine physician and author of The Autoimmune Solution, Amy Myers, M.D.

In her book, Myers details a four-pronged plan—rooted in the tenets of functional medicine—to reduce inflammatory symptoms and even reverse autoimmune symptoms. She contends that her plan, dubbed the Myers Way, can turn the immune system around to support itself rather than attack the body.

Virtually everyone notices some improvement on her plan, she says, with the caveat that someone like herself who no longer has a thyroid (it was ablated long ago) won’t ever be medication-free.

Myers makes the argument that the plan can benefit just about anyone—anyone who doesn’t have too much inflammation.  As a celiac, I’m a prime candidate for her 30-day plan.

Thankfully, I haven’t had regular celiac symptoms since going gluten-free. So when my husband and others asked what I was expecting to get out of this, I couldn’t give a specific answer. But I remember back when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and I stopped eating gluten. Almost overnight, my bloated stomach eased, my energy came back, and I started feeling really good. I had no idea how bad I’d felt until I felt great. Maybe the same thing would happen on the Myers Plan?

There are four parts—called pillars—to the Myers Way. The first, and arguably the most important, is the dietary overhaul. In a nutshell, the diet is similar to a Paleo approach, with a few more restrictions. In addition to restricting sugar, grains, dairy, soy, and caffeine, The Myers Way also restricts eggs, legumes, and nightshades. (Dozens of recipes to get you started on this meal plan are included in the Autoimmune Solution.)

The remaining three pillars focus on healing the gut (I started up a probiotic regimen), reducing exposure to toxins (I borrowed air and water purifiers from my friend Stacy) and, lastly, reducing stress. With our house on the market and an impending move, I’m pretty sure I didn’t address the last pillar at all.

So here’s how it went:

Myers Diet Week 1

Mornings without coffee are tough. After three mornings with hot green tea in steamy late August, I decide to allow myself some decaf coffee with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk. It’s a small cheat but I think it’ll help keep me on track. Most mornings, I’ve relied on Dr. Myers’ breakfast staple—turkey patties and sweet potato hash. It’s a very tasty and satisfying morning meal, but it’s time-consuming to make. I prepped the patties ahead so I can heat and eat but I end up finishing the extra sweet potato hash because I’m a snacker and I’m having a hard time finding quick snacks on the plan.

So far, I haven’t noticed any change in how I’m feeling. Dr. Myers says some people notice an improvement in as little as one week. But given that I was already gluten-free and eat very few grains, I wasn’t expecting to notice a big change immediately.

Myers Diet Week 2

This diet is getting a little pricey. My daily trips to the store for organic fruits, veggies, and chicken have made a dent in my wallet. And I cheated—twice. My husband, who didn’t realize lima beans (my fave summer veggie) weren’t part of my diet, picked up a bag at the local farm stand. After shelling and cooking them with my daughters, who also love them, I sampled a few. Before long, I’d eaten half the bowl. Worse, they were cooked with real butter (I’ve been using coconut or olive oil).

The second time I cheated, I was stuck in traffic and, starving, I grabbed my emergency stash of cashews. Once you cheat a little, it’s hard to hold the line. Later that week I found myself diving into one of my all-time favorite snacks, a fruit-and-nut Larabar. As for how I’m feeling, I actually had some insomnia this past week. My husband blamed it on hunger (I’m actually not hungry despite what he may think) but I checked Dr. Myers’ book and she mentions some people experience sleep troubles early on in the diet. It’s part of a detox process, she writes.

Myers Diet Week 3

I’ve found some really good recipes in The Autoimmune Solution book. My favorite is the Coconut Chicken Curry. I made it without all of the spices in the recipe (I had only cumin) but it still turned out delicious. I’m now doubling my favorite recipes so I have more food on hand for quick meals and snacks.

Because everything is prepared from scratch, the plan is very time-consuming. The one time we ate out in the past three weeks, I brought my entire meal and asked the restaurant staff to heat it up for me. (I used to do this when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease a decade ago; how times have changed!) I’m certainly eating better than I’ve ever eaten in my life. But I haven’t noticed any other changes. The insomnia seems to have passed.

Myers Diet Week 4

School’s back in session for my kids. I thought I’d have more me-time to cook (and eat) in peace, but I’ve been swamped with grabbing last-minute school supply trips, meetings, and parent-volunteer commitments. So I’ve been cheating with more Larabars (not the chocolate or peanut butter varieties).

My swimming partner asked me if I’d lost weight—I never weigh myself but I think she’s right. I’ve got some extra room in my jeans. Otherwise, I haven’t noticed any other major changes in my health these past four weeks.

That said, I’m happy about the dietary improvements I made. I used to eat a lot of sugar. Dr. Myers was right when she wrote that a strawberry or apple tastes so much sweeter once you’ve kicked the M&M habit. And I don’t miss dairy as much as I thought I would.

I plan to keep up a Myers-ish diet—but I’m going to add back eggs and nuts. Who knows? Maybe four weeks wasn’t long enough for me. Stay tuned.

 

Written by Christine Boyd, originally published in Gluten Free & More.

Tags: Celiac Diet
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  1. Tony Abbott
    March 16, 2020

    I am reading and following your book ‘ The Autoimmune Solution. I have rheumatoid arthritis and the Dr. Has put me on so many different meds that I am trying to go med free now. I am off of the biologics. The only thing she has me on presently is Hydroychloroquin. I seem to tolerate this okay. I am trying to go gluten free, but I cannot find a good gluten free bread recipe. Do you perhaps have one? If so please send it to my email address. Thank you in advance.

    1. Carol Kicinski
      March 17, 2020

      Hi Tony,

      I’ll email this to you as well, but wanted to reply on here for others to see in case it can help other people. Your comment isn’t seen by Dr. Myers, as this site is separate and this post was just discussing her book. If you’re looking for a recipe that Dr. Myers suggests, I’d contact her directly on her website. As far as our recipes, we have a collection of bread recipes here: https://simplygluten-free.com/blog/category/gluten-free-breads

      Our most popular bread recipes are these two: https://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/11/gluten-free-dairy-free-soft-dinner-rolls-recipe.html and https://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/11/gluten-free-french-bread-recipe-easy-easy-easy.html

      I hope this helps! Good luck to you on your journey of going free of meds – I do hope you find success and good health in doing so!

  2. Richard
    April 9, 2020

    Thanks for giving us a summary and real world experience with this diet. At the end, it says we should “stay tuned?” Any updates to this story?

    1. Carol Kicinski
      April 10, 2020

      Hi Richard,
      This article originally came from Gluten Free & More so I’m not certain but it doesn’t look like there are any updates to it.

  3. Kelly
    April 11, 2020

    Hi,

    I’ve been doing the Myers Way for almost 2 years and the SMALLEST cheat has a bigger impact than you think. Unfortunately because you had decaf coffee week one that still has some caffeine and caffeine as an allowed so weak one you never did the Myers way correctly. And with the sweet potato hash if you had more than half a cup at any one serving then you weren’t compliant either. Your total allotment for the day of starchy vegetables (sweet potato) and fruits equals 2 cups per day and only in half a cup servings at a time. You probably had 2 cups in one serving so you were already at your daily allotment and just starchy vegetables and that category would include fruits to so if you had any fruits in addition to that well now you’re over 2 cups a day.

    Week two you had cashews and lima beans neither of which are allowed and when you have one it takes 3 to 5 days to get through your system so if you had cashews at the beginning of the week and lima beans at the end of the week that entire week was shot and you weren’t compliant that entire second week.

    The Larabars it doesn’t matter what flavor are definitely not compliant so that means that whole week you weren’t compliant either.

    Her diet does work! I’m noticing a huge changes in my health and a very short period of time. No doubt it’s expensive and definitely time consuming but the pay off is certainly worth it. It’s very frustrating to find hidden sources of sugar and artificial sweetener in places you would never imagine.

  4. Kelly
    April 11, 2020

    2 cup rule:
    1/2 cup sweet potato (yes)

    1/2 fruit (yes)

    1/2 cup any fruit + 1/2 cup 2nd fruit (no)

    1/2 cup starchy veggies + 1/2 cup fruit (no)

    1/4 cup fruit + 1/4 cup starchy veggies (yes)

  5. Laura
    July 25, 2020

    My cholesterol sky rocketed on the Amy Myers Diet. I was extremely happy while doing it thinking I was taking care of myself but yesterday I received my blood tests result and I am so dissapointed.
    There is a lot of coconut oil on the diet, and I wonder if it’s this as I am thin and exercise daily…

    I have always heard people say be careful with Miracle Diets and now I understand, I was better off before.

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