The AIP Diet: What Is The Autoimmune Paleo Diet?
What is the AIP Diet?
The Autoimmune Paleo diet, also known as AIP, is basically a stricter diet of the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet includes meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The AIP diet removes foods that may cause inflammation and replaces it with healing foods to nourish your gut and immune system.
Why the AIP Diet?
The purpose of the AIP diet is to remove any foods that could be causing inflammation in you body. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own bodily tissues. For Hashimoto’s, your body is mistakenly attacking your thyroid. Inflammation is a common side effect of autoimmune diseases and can result in muscle aches and pains, join paint and swelling.
What are the benefits of the AIP Diet?
The AIP diet is aimed to help reset the immune system, repair the gut lining, prevent autoimmune responses, and reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
Research suggests autoimmune diseases can be linked to the status of your gut. The famous saying, “All disease starts in the gut,” ends up having some truth behind it.
By removing inflammatory foods that damage the gut lining and cause inflammation in the body, this diet is known to help alleviate symptoms of autoimmune diseases and even lower thyroid antibodies, bringing some people’s Hashimoto’s into remission.
Foods That Are Removed:
· Seeds (Including seed based spices & oils )
· Nightshades ( Ashwagandha, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, goji berries, hot peppers including chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, chili based spices, red pepper, cayenne, paprika, potatoes )
· Nuts (Including nut butters, flours, and oils)
· Sweeteners including stevia
· Processed foods
Foods To Eat:
· Vegetables (Excluding nightshades)
· Herbs and spices
· Healthy fats (Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, palm oil )
· Fruit (Only a few servings a day recommended)
· Probiotic/ fermented foods
My Experience with the AIP Diet
I followed the AIP diet strictly for 60 days. During this time, I kept track of what I ate and how I felt to try and identify any trigger foods. After many failed attempts, I learned I couldn’t eat coconut or ghee without breaking out and becoming congested. I highly recommend journaling your food intake & symptoms for this reason.
After the 60-day period, I was excited to notice a lot of noticeable changes including the following:
· More energy
· Fewer breakouts
· No cystic acne
· Better digestion
· No more stomach cramps or bloating
· Improved memory
· Deeper sleep
· Less anxiety
· Less irritability
· Weight loss
· No more excessive burping or acid reflux
· Less food cravings
One disclaimer, while I was following this diet, I was also under the care of a doctor and treating my Hashimoto’s, PCOS, and adrenal fatigue with supplements. I do see a huge correlation between what I eat and how I feel. I truly feel my best and notice little to no symptoms when I follow a mostly AIP diet.
How long should I follow this diet?
Most doctors, including my own, recommend following this diet until you’ve eliminated majority of your symptoms. I personally followed it strictly for 60 days, and since then I now follow what a call an AIP template. I’m mostly AIP, but I’ve reintroduced foods such as eggs, chocolate (True life, I’m in love with the cocoa) stevia, honey and other foods that do not effect me.
Is this diet worth it?
Yes! I recommend the AIP diet to anyone with an autoimmune disease who is still experiencing symptoms, even after eliminating common allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, and corn. Before starting the AIP diet, I recommend eliminating those common allergens and see how you feel. For some people, eliminating those foods are enough and the AIP diet isn't necessary.
To be completely transparent, this diet has not lowered my thyroid antibodies like I hoped it would. While diet is important, there are many other factors that go into your healing process. Food is medicine, but it’s only one part of the puzzle. In addition to following this diet, I take medication, supplements, and changed my entire lifestyle.
· Be patient: Good things take time. You won’t wakeup the next day full of energy and feeling like a million dollars. In fact, your body will go through detox and you might feel very sick in the beginning as your body adjusts to this new diet
· Plan Ahead: Meal prepping is key. Plan all of your meals and snacks in advance to avoid reaching for a quick, convenient snack that isn’t allowed on the diet. Don’t be scared to eat out or decline social events. Stick to grilled meat or fish and steamed vegetables, and ask them not to use any butter or seasoning if possible
· Recipe Hunt: There are a ton of AIP compliant recipes on Pinterest. I was really bored with the diet at first and felt like all I could eat was meat and vegetables. I started looking up recipes on Pinterest and it made the diet much easier to follow
· Journal Everything: As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to journal what you’re eating, along with your symptoms. It’s impossible to remember what you ate the day before, let alone to try and tie it back to symptoms.