The Autoimmune Paleo Diet: What it Is and How to Get Started
What is the Autoimmune Paleo or AIP Diet?
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is a food-based approach to reducing inflammation. The AIP diet promises to heal the gut and tame inflammation caused by autoimmune issues. But what does that even mean? How can you benefit?
How Does the Autoimmune Paleo Diet Work?
Following similar principles of a traditional paleo diet, the AIP diet is slightly stricter and aims to heal the digestive lining in those affected by autoimmune disorders. It requires a minimum of 30 days with no dairy, gluten, sugar, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshade vegetables, conventional cooking oils, spices, food additives, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen. Yeah…it’s a little intense. But hear me out!
What you need to know about the AIP diet:
- The goal is to reduce systemic inflammation in the body and help calm the symptoms of your autoimmune disease
- It’s often used to treat leaky gut, IBS, and other digestive disorders.
- It’s very similar to the paleo diet, but a bit more restrictive, mainly including meats and vegetables.
- It goes beyond diet and promotes quality sleep, stress reduction, and physical activity to reverse autoimmune symptoms.
You need to follow the diet for at least 30 days before you can start adding foods that are not part of the diet back in.
Each food should be slowly re-introduced so you can assess your body’s reaction. A good starting point is to reintroduce a new food every 3-4 days, or once a week. If you notice symptoms after adding the food back in, this food should be removed.
Pro tip: Keep a food- re-introduction journal so you can remember what happened and when after adding back each food. If you’re working with a nutritionist, they may also suggest specific supplements as part of your routine.
Should You Try The AIP Diet?
If you suffer from an autoimmune condition, the AIP diet may be a great approach to help you heal your gut, reset the immune system, and manage symptoms. However, given the restrictive nature of the diet, I don’t recommend it if you are generally healthy and symptom-free. I also don’t recommend the AIP diet to anyone with a history of eating disorders, type 1 diabetes, or those suffering from other diet-related conditions.
Overall, there is no reason to cut out large food groups or create a fear mindset around certain foods. The healthiest diet will always be one that offers the most diverse nutrients from whole food sources, including plenty of fiber, greens, protein, and healthy fats.
Final Thoughts On the AIP Diet
It’s important to note that there is no one-size fits all approach to eating that works for everyone and any eating plan you decide to take on should take into account several factors including your age, goals, lifestyle, schedule, and any underlying sensitivities or allergies. Always work with a health care professional to help you find a plan that works best for your lifestyle and needs.
Danica is a holistic nutritionist, wellness expert and health coach on a mission to help women around the world find their optimal well-being. She is the founder of Nakd Health, where she coaches clients to prioritize wellness in their busy lives with delicious recipes, nutrition advice, fitness and lifestyle changes.