Review of The Keystone Approach by Rebecca Fett
A look at the book The Keystone Approach, which offers tips for healing autoimmune disease through diet and lifestyle - specifically arthritis and psoriasis.
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I still have that one patch of itchy, flaky skin on the back of my scalp, and although it doesn't bother me too much nowadays, compared to how I was, I had suspected that I needed something of a diet and lifestyle boost, or perhaps a slight change in approach to finish it off and get rid of it. It felt as if AIP just wasn't somehow still enough for me any more. I'd drank bone broth, eaten coconut yoghurt, tried kombucha and have a fridge stocked full of veggies and grass fed meats. But still no change. And so it was at the perfect time that Rebecca Fett emailed me and asked me if I'd like to have a look at her new book, The Keystone Approach. I downloaded it onto my Kindle for ease of reading.
Many of the tips in the book are, as you'd expect, quite similar to the autoimmune protocol. You're advised to treat paleo foods like nuts and nightshades with caution and even remove them completely, until you know what it is that gets your immune system all hot and bothered. The focus is on healing the gut and looking after and feeding the all important gut microbiome. Grains, processed food and refined sugars are also removed, as are eggs (the yolks are said to be more easily tolerated by many than the whites), so there are definitely similarities between this and AIP. But there are points where they differ, and one of them is to do with the fats that you're eating.
The Keystone Approach suggests a Mediterranean-style AIP: avocados, olives, lemon, leaner meats and seafood, along with lots of veggies - particularly greens like kale, too. But it also recommends olive oil, which it's said has significant inflammation lowering characteristics, over saturated fat. There is also an emphasis on which bacteria you should be feeding to help lower inflammation, and there are tips on how you can tailor your diet to achieve this, with convincing explanations as to why you should.
What makes all this interesting for me is that for the past six months I've been struggling with gastric problems and constant reflux and indigestion. I kept a food diary, and noticed that this got worse when I drank tea or ate chocolate. But it also always happened after a fatty meal like pulled pork or bacon and eggs. Or sweet potatoes roasted in duck fat. Looking back, fats - even natural, saturated fats - always seemed to upset my stomach. I know after a week of eating quite a bit of fish or seafood, my stomach feels much better and more settled. As digestive problems can be one of the signs of something not quite right, the advice given in The Keystone Approach definitely rang a few bells for me. I'd always eaten cruciferous veggies sparingly, thinking they'd bring on gastric problems (I'm verging on a bit of low FODMAP), but knowing now the extent to which they can help feed the beneficial gut bacteria, I've added them into my diet daily, just a small portion at a time, so that I can get used to it. I'm hoping it will help and I'll keep you all posted.
The book is thoroughly researched, and everything is explained very clearly. There are some recipes towards the back of the book, and I've bookmarked a few of these to try in the coming weeks. I'm interested to see if this can help heal my psoriasis - it's really great to have a book that focuses on psoriasis, rather than try and put all the autoimmune diseases (and there are many) under one umbrella. I found it an interesting and engaging read, and it gave me a new perspective on my healing. It does concentrate a lot on the diet side of things, and I think more emphasis on lifestyle (sleep, exercise, etc) would have been useful, but as it goes, it really is a great read if you suffer from psoriasis or arthritis. I'll make the changes and let you know how I feel in the coming months.
Have a look at The Keystone Approach here on Amazon - it's available in paperback or downloadable onto your Kindle or device with a Kindle app, too.