Back in February of 2013 I sat in my tiny one bedroom apartment agonizing over whether or not to start this blog. My life was changing, I was embracing the value of simplicity, embarking on an unknown health journey and figuring out what it meant to create big change through a seemingly small life. I had gotten many questions from the people in my life about recipes, diet, and lifestyle and I supposed that maybe it was time to put the answers out there for people to find. I wasn’t sure how to blog, I wasn’t sure about the name… Sweet Potatoes and Social Change… and I really wasn’t sure whether or not anyone cared about anything I had to say.
Fast forward five years and this little blog with a silly name has reached over a million people and has transformed alongside my life as I went from following the paleo diet, to discovering the autoimmune protocol, to battling and then recovering from terrible ulcerative colitis flares, to getting pregnant with my two beautiful babies. It has been an incredible journey and I am so thankful that I have been able to share it with such a supportive audience.
Today, marks another transformation and an exciting new chapter is the life of this blog. Today, Sweet Potatoes and Social Change becomes Autoimmune Sisterhood and gains a new author, my sister Jesse. My sister and I share many things. We share the experience of growing up as military children, we share the same face (although we are actually not twins) and we, unfortunately, share the same autoimmune diagnosis.
Over the past five years as I have shared my ups and downs with you all publically, my sister Jesse has been behind the scenes experiencing her own journey with the autoimmune protocol. While she also has ulcerative colitis, her experience and disease progression has been different than mine, allowing her to have a unique perspective that compliments my own.
After the birth of my baby boy this past spring, it became clear that I was going to have to take a step back from doing as much writing and recipe creation as I had in the past and instead, focus most of my limited energy on raising my two babies (both under two years old), recovering my own health, and running the business side of things. As luck would have it, around the same time my sister started feeling her own calling into the blogging world and we decided to combine our efforts and team up. Such a partnership is a big step for us both and represents a big shift for this blog so we agreed that it was only fitting to mark that shift with a new name.
It is my hope that AIP Sisterhood will continue to embody the values of simplicity, sustainability and social change that have been the foundation of this blog since its inception while also ushering in an era of new perspective, focus and of course delicious recipes. Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you have shown me over these past five years, I am looking forward to many more years of sharing this journey of health and happiness with you all.
Hi there! My name is Jesse and I am so happy to be here. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in March of 2013. While my friends were enjoying their spring break from college, I was waking up from anesthesia after my first colonoscopy, hearing the news that I did in fact have ulcerative colitis. I was in denial about this life changing diagnosis. I just wanted to take the medication prescribed to me and continue on with my life as if nothing happened or were any different. After a year, when my disease wasn’t going away and getting worse, I know it was time to take my head out of the sand and do something about it.At the time, my sister had recently seen immediate benefits from following the Autoimmune Protocol. After hearing about her results, I decided to give this diet a try. In just a few short weeks, I stopped going to bathroom 9 to 10 times day, I started to regain energy, my brain fog lifted, but most importantly, I began to see the value of food. I started to believe that how I fed my body and what I fed my body with could drastically change the trajectory of my life and my health! I developed a relationship with food that was beyond necessity and focused on joy and exploration! While medication still plays an active role in my treatment, and I work closely with my functional medicine practitioner to address other areas of my health, the Autoimmune Protocol gave me my life back in a way I wasn’t expecting, and allowed me to be 80% symptom free.
I’d like to tell you that my journey has been smooth sailing, but that just isn’t my story. My autoimmunity has taught me a lot of things, one of which being that life with chronic illness is not a race to be won or a story with an ending, but rather a life long journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought possible, even when I’m at my weakest, and to love myself and my body in spite of disease.
I am passionate about creating easy and simple recipes that can be made in advance or at the end of a busy day to make this lifestyle more manageable. I am blessed to have a sister who lives with autoimmunity and understands my experience, but I know that many people don’t have that. So, I am also passionate about sharing my experiences so maybe someone reading can feel support and understood. As my sister mentioned, I have felt called for some time to share these things with you all. Together with my sister, it is my hope that here at AIP Sisterhood, you will find comfort in knowing you are not alone and support as you walk your autoimmune journey. Maybe we can walk together.