What is Autoimmune Paleo or AIP Diet?

The Autoimmune Protocol is a diet that helps heal the immune system and gut mucosa. It is applicable to any inflammatory disease.

We have a problem in this country with how we eat, treat disease and heal disease. AIP addresses inflammation in the gut that causes Autoimmune Disease. Autoimmune disease is a condition where the body cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign invaders and a hypersensitive reaction occurs. The body starts self-tissue attack. For months or perhaps years, this self-tissue attack can occur silently until full blown autoimmune disease develops. There are more than 80 types of “official” autoimmune disorders (and MANY more being discovered daily), but all autoimmune disease have in common is tissue self-attacking in places like the thyroid gland, brain tissue or salivary glands to name a few.

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet works to reduce inflammation in the intestines. Many elimination diets are not complete enough and often do not remove immune triggers that promote inflammation in the gut. AIP works to calm inflammation in the gut, and also calm inflammation in the body. And while autoimmune disease can never be cured, it can be put into remission. The AIP diet is geared toward healing the intestinal mucosa and supporting low inflammation in the body that can temper the fires of an autoimmune flare-up. First I would like to say that this is our interpretation. There is more than one interpretations of how to “follow” the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet. I call it a lifestyle because in a modified form it is how I eat and live my life. It is also how I recommend my autoimmune clients to eat in their own modified form long term as well.

The Autoimmune protocol has been said to be a version of the Paleo diet, but really, I see that it is so much more than that; it is a dramatic way to address inflammation that is driving Autoimmune Disease that has its beginning roots in the gut. Diet is one aspect of healing. And, although it is the largest aspect long term health, in the short-term, there are other components that require the help of a skilled practitioner. I suggest you find one that is trained. I personally have a professional practice primarily around helping those on this diet as well as nutritional lab work evaluations, supplement protocols and dietary support. Please email me at info@aiplifestyle.com if you would like to set up an appointment and work together remotely. There are many divergent paths that have a summation with the AIP lifestyle like Autoimmune disease; adrenal fatigue, H-P Axis imbalances, parasites, SIBO, liver congestion, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance that play a role in how you may use supplements along with the AIP diet to heal your body. Generally I suggest a 6-8 week protocol with no cheating. When I said “no cheating”, I say this with a “pretty please”. This diet counts on you to put your effort into it, and unfortunately the nature of high allergen foods is such that even small amounts of slip ups can set you back significantly. Each person who decides to try the AIP diet should work with their practitioner to determine if they are candidates for a low histamine, low latex and/or low FODMAP in addition to following AIP. This is where you will benefit from having an experienced, clinically seasoned practitioner to help personalize your AIP plan. Other adjunct protocols may include: functional blood chemistry, saliva hormone testing, saliva adrenal testing, stool testing and antibody tests.  

A word about Supplements. I use supplements regularly. I don’t discount them. But, food should and must be the most important change in your life for health. Nothing can replace food and its value. Changing your approach to food in your daily life along with managing stress are the two most important changes you can start today. The issue with supplements and why they have gotten such a bad rap in my view, is they are being used improperly by well meaning practitioners.  I spend a tremendous amount of time coaching clients, creating recipes and building people’s food life. I always start with the food and build up. But after doing this clinically for a good amount of time, those who cannot manage maintaining micro-nutrient levels through food alone, or those with genetic issue driving disease, supplements work very well. Be cautious however; many many supplements contain ingredients that are not AIP friendly.

Phase 1

6-8 Weeks

Not Allowed:

  • Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
  • Seeds (including flax, chia, and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander)
  • Beans/Legumes (this includes all beans like kidney, pinto, black as well as Soy in all its forms)
  • Grains (Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats etc)
  • Alternative sweeteners like xylitol and stevia
  • Dried fruits and/or over-consumption of fructose (I recommend up to 2 pieces of fruit a day)
  • Dairy Products
  • All Processed Foods
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices)
  • No vegetable oils (olive oil and coconut oil is permitted)
  • Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)

Allowed:

  • Vegetables (except nightshades)
  • Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
  • Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
  • Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
  • Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
  • Bone Broth
  • Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
  • Non-Seed Herbal Teas
  • Green Tea
  • Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
  • Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
  • Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)

Side Notes:

High FODMAPS may disagree with some on the AIP diet. For example; nectarines, coconut or onions may bother some people. Stanford’s FODMAPS list: http://stanfordhospital.org/digestivehealth/nutrition/DH-Low-FODMAP-Diet-Handout.pdf

If you are reacting to certain starches in foods, it may be a sign that high FODMAPS need to be eliminated from your diet. Also, Ahswaganda is in the nightshade family, and should be eliminated during the first phase of AIP. I find it usually well tolerated in general by most people however. If you are FODMAPS sensitive, eliminate for 10-14 days and then slowly reintroduce.

Some Great Reasons To Consider AIP:

  1. AIP (autoimmune disease) is a disease of inflammation that causes self-tissue attack
  2. Food is a powerful way to reduce inflammation and calm the immune system
  3. Diet may not be enough and specific protocols of gut healing and removing SIBO and immune support supplements may be needed
  4. Food is the biggest component of medicine in addressing AIP, but not the only one
  5. 95% On The Diet is not on the diet
  6. Being 100% on the diet makes this program work and makes you a rock star
  7. IN ADDITION to this protocol, some individuals have food sensitivities, which should incorporated into this diet. If you are sensitive to carrots for example, don’t eat them while on AIP
  8. Additional Supplements are usually required in my experience to fully heal the gut
  9. I allow green beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas unless low FODMAPS is needed. Because green beans are not mature bean seeds, I allow them. Not everyone in the Paleo world will agree with me about that however and you may consider taking them out during Phase 1. My hard line is no mature beans seeds from the legume family
  10. Brain Chemistry and Adrenal Fatigue are likely culprits in autoimmune disease and need to be addressed. I highly recommend using a skilled practitioner who can properly survey brain and adrenal function and help you. I do not recommend the use of hormones or neurotransmitters in treating brain function (like Melatonin) and advise using caution when using precursors to neurotransmitters. It is my opinion that one cannot treat one without the other.
  11. Undiagnosed Insulin Resistant Hypoglycemia is a big factor in inflammation that can contribute greatly to autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue and brain dis-regulation. Working with a practitioner who is knowledgeable in ALL of these areas will help you improve more quickly than using 100% diet to heal autoimmune disease.

Eliminating these foods is important to reduce inflammation. All of the above listed foods can be gut irritants and exacerbate dysbiosis in the gut and contribute to SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). AIP can help address the GALT imbalances (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue) in the intestines. Because the gut contains such a large percentage of immune system GALT tissues (70%) that mediate the T & B Lymphocytes that carry out immune system attack by producing antigens or antibodies, the goal of AIP is to reduce this from occurring. It is widely accepted that gut mediated inflammation is applicable for addressing Autoimmune Disease. Below are the studies I have found that link the gut to the immune system. I encourage you to print these articles out and bring them to your doctor.

There are a few ways to approach reintroduction.

  1. 72 Hour Rule: It takes 72 hours to produce an IgA, IgG and IgM mediated antibody symptom. It can be physical or mental in nature. Lethargy, brain fog, aching joints, rashes, stomach aches, numbness, feeling hung-over, bloating, gas, constipation, insomnia, fatigue, memory loss.
  2. Re-introduce only 1 food every 5 days and when you re-introduce the food,  eat enough of it to illicit a response. A small bite, then a few hours a spoonful and then that night a serving.
  3. Keep a food re-introduction notebook! I work with many, many people who reintroduce food after a cleanse or AIP and they have a sensitivity symptom and can’t remember what or when they did the reintroduction. Writing everything down helps a lot.

I also recommend doing yearly or twice yearly cleanses and support phases, eating fermented foods and bone broth at least 2-3 times a week in 1/2 cup portions. The reason we are compelled to share this all with you, is that food is fun. I believe you can be on the AIP diet and do as a lifestyle. You can be a foodie and do AIP. I love food too much to feel like I cannot eat foods that are satisfying, creative and exciting. Food is spiritual for me. It is my path. Helping others heal is my path. Teaching is my path. As I share my recipes with you, I eat them too. You are not alone in your path to health. We do this journey together.

Other Fabulous AIP Resources:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/
http://autoimmune-paleo.com/
http://www.phoenixhelix.com/
http://www.nutrisclerosis.com/
http://www.terrywahls.com/
http://www.drperlmutter.com/
http://www.thyroidbook.com/index.html
http://brainhealthbook.com/
http://the21daysugardetox.com/
http://www.thyroidpharmacist.com/

Comments

  1. Vee S. says

    Thank you for this concise list of Not-Allowed and Allowed Foods, and the great explanation of why a person would want to follow this protocol.

    It is far superior to info I already received from my nutritionist, and will serve as a great reference for me while menu planning, plus it will come in handy during the holidays. Even though they know I have an autoimmune liver disease, my relatives often question me as to why I am so “picky” about what I can or cannot eat while following the AIP diet. I will show them this article of yours, which even includes references to back up the info given. Thanks! But I will be penciling in “eggs” and “soy” onto the article’s “Not Allowed” list, because I don’t see them there….but just mentioned as no-no’s later in your article. I need that visual reminder to steer clear of eggs.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Vee,

      My oldest son has an autoimmune liver disease as well, and I was wondering if you use supplements that are herbal? His doctors advised him to steer clear of herbals until he’s in remission, but I read a lot about herbals when healing our bodies.
      We’re waiting on test results from Cyrex labs to determine what triggers and cross-reactions he has before starting the AIP (or Paleo or whatever his doctor recommends) and I’m curious if you’ve had success with the AIP?

      TIA,
      Lisa

      • says

        Hi Lisa, the supplements I use with my clients are case by case. Some have herbals in them, some do not. And I do agree with your doctors to a degree; many herbs can stimulate the immune system which can be counterproductive to the entire goal of AIP. Cyrex is great; those tests will be helpful. take care, Jessica

  2. Cynthia says

    Just found your site! I am on day 3 of an AIP diet and was thinking 30 days but based on what you are saying it looks like I need to re-evaluate that thought. I am sure I know the answer to this, but I am assuming no nut milk (i.e. almond milk) but coconut milk (without the additives) would work. One thing I am noticing is after I eat (even if everything is on the okay list) I feel a little tinge in the place I always notice inflammation. Not bad but a tinge. Is this normal? Should I not be concerned since this is only the third day? Would love your input. Thanks for the info. I will spend some time looking over everything you have here!

    • says

      Hi Cynthia! So glad you found us! Yes, you are correct; no almond milk but no additive coconut milk is great. I don’t know about the twinge feeling. But I do wonder if you would do well on some short term digestive support? If perhaps that is somehow connected to what you are feeling? I like Digest Gold by Enzymedica which is at whole foods. You take right as you start eating. Take care!

  3. Joanne Cafiero says

    I want to do this. I have already lost my colon to ulcerative colitis/crohns disease. I have a j-Pouch and I now have COPD.

  4. Jamie Wagener says

    HI! Can you eat hemp seeds during phase 1? Also are green juice ok? I was hearing that they are not?? thanks!

    • says

      Hi Jamie, no seeds are on phase 1 of AIP. After you do the initial phase you can try to add them back in. Green juice is great! The issue is more of how much sugar is in the juice. All green juice like a cucumber/parsley/celery combo is fine. No fruits and I would stay away from raw goitrogens like kale juice.

    • says

      Stef, if you have no other issues (paraasites, SIBO, etc) then I like l-glutamine, liposomal turmeric and a broad probiotic with probiotic yeast sacromyces boulardi along with digestive enzymes specifically ones that increase stomach acid. If you have any kind of ulcerations in your past then the protocol would change. But, that is the “standard” for most people that I like. :-) Jessica

  5. Jenn says

    Today is day 1 of aip. I have hashimotos and I’m reading as much as I can
    About healing my gut .. I also see a kinesiologist regularly who is helping me tremendously with supplements {probiotic and immunoglobulin , yeast reduction, adrenal support, liver detox, heart and bone support} … My question is, is organic coconut flour ok to use? I’m finding that after supper I still crave dessert.. I made a coconut flour blueberry crumble …is that something I can regularly use? Also, what about baking soda? So glad I came across this site!

  6. Tanja Sofia says

    Why cannot eggs be added back in after the initial phase — I have Hashi’s & know that I am not energetically weakened by eggs…I did autoimmune paleo last year & came out of it with a coconut allergy & blood sugar issues, so I reintroduced gluten-free basmati rice & steel cut oats that are soaked for 3 days…I felt way better — what is your advice for blood sugar issues as well?

    • says

      Hi Tanja. If you know that you do fine with eggs, than try! You could start with egg yolks first. They are less allergenic than the whites. I really sympathize with your coconut sensitivity; I struggle with it myself.
      Mostly with blood sugar issues I suggest a ASI (adrenal stress index test) that many naturopaths and integrative doctors use. If you cortisol is high or low it can affect how well we regulate our blood sugar. Many of my clients I work on their adrenals, make sure they have enough starchy vegetables and eat every few hours and that can help. So when blood sugar issues are involved, I do that saliva adrenal test first. Do you have an alternative doctor you work with that could do that for you?

  7. Melissa Robyn says

    I am figuring out my next dietary changes. I have psoriasis, and have already tried paleo- which didn’t really do anything. My
    Concern is that I am breastfeeding a 10onth old( will probably bf for 2 more years), and I don’t want to decrease my milk supply or detox into my milk. When I cut out grains, etc. it is really hard for me to get the calories I need. Any thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Melissa
      You fall into a special needs category while breastfeeding. It is important that you consume enough calories like you said, which is possible on AIP if you have enough food that is varied enough. Organ meats especially. I would work with someone who can help you transition and look at your overall daily intake of micro and macro nutrients. I usually proceed cautiously with nursing mothers. Homemade coconut milk, bone broth, organ meats, starchy vegetables will all be really important to include enough quantities of while you are transitioning to AIP. But you bring up a really good point for all nursing mothers in your position to consider.

  8. Michelle says

    Hello there. I just found your site and I know I have symptoms of leaky gut, but unfortunately, on top of not being able to digest dairy, or gluten, fats make me feel ill as well as meats. So I went vegan for a while but realized that certain grains, and too many beans didn’t make me feel well either.

    I wake up with flu-like symptoms and foggy brain many mornings, and wonder if it is liver related since I had my gallbladder out a few years ago.

    I have re-considered going back to vegan, but I am unsettled over it if I might have leaky gut syndrome. How do I reconcile these issues?

    Also, I learned that too much protein and meats are bad for your bones. What are your thoughts on these two issues. I could use some real help for a change instead of confusion.

    I have no health insurance so I am trying the best that I can. I look forward to hearing from you and have been enjoying perusing your blog for the last 30 minutes.

    Thanks so much.

    • says

      Hi Michelle. It is always a person choice to decide to eat the diet that feels best for you. It sounds like you may suspect you have issues based on how you feel every morning upon waking. It seems fitting for you to find a doctor that will first address your symptoms so that you can know why you are waking up flu-like and dig a bit deeper to find the root cause. If you have leaky gut, going vegan in my own experience will make it worse. I don’t think too much protein is bad for you bones. Some people have true sensitivities to meat. Others have symptoms of such but really are experiencing that due to lack of proper digestion.
      If you can’t eat meat, I would try to figure out what that means. All meat? Or just beef? You can experiment with digestive enzymes, making bone broth to heal your gut and give yourself some time to adjust to any new diet if you decide to experiment. I would suggest giving yourself at least 3 weeks on any new eating plan to give yourself some time to adjust and see if you start improving. It would be hard to do AIP if you can not eat any meat at all. There is the option of poultry, fish and shellfish too. Hope this helps! Jessica

      • Michelle says

        I meant to reply to this earlier, but thank you! What is FODMAPS?

        I was also wondering about green smoothies. I hear it’s wonderful for digestion and energy, but whenever I try one, I feel worse. Could this also be due to a leaky gut?

          • Michelle says

            Wow! That was fast! Thank you.

            Just greens mostly with a little unsweetened applesauce since I can’t digest raw apples. It adds just enough sweetness. The greens are parsley, chard, kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach (this time)

            I get so dizzy, like the amount of greens are just too much for my system all at once if that makes any sense? Or maybe it’s a sign of my body detoxing?

            I don’t know, but if I have smaller amounts of the same veggies, especially if they are lightly cooked, I do fine.

            On a different but similar note, there is something no one has been able to answer for me in the past which elicits looks that tell me I have grown an extra head, and that is the fact that most hot herbal infusions as well as any black and green teas also make me very dizzy when I drink them. Marjoram and rosemary are actually two of the only ones I can drink in tea form if lightly prepared.

            I haven’t been able to figure this out, even though I have studied herbal medicine for 9 years, and can only ingest them through capsules, or extracts, (with the exception of a few that I can’t have no matter how I take them.) So far, no one has any answers, from doctors to fellow herbalists, to other nutritionists.

            Do you have any thoughts or insights into this weird phenomenon? At first I thought it was the tannins, but coffee has tannins in it and doesn’t do that to me.

            I am probably one of the most “unlikely” herbalists there are due to this reaction:)

          • says

            It is hard to try to crack the code on this through messages..but you could be sensitive to the raw nature of the veggies in the smoothie, or the fibers in the veggies (think FODMAPS especially if you can’t digest raw apples). I could not say about the hot herbal preparations. I would look at brain function though, or nerve sensitivity associated with the hot beverages being swallowed? Just a guess really. :-)

  9. Angie says

    I’m curious why there’s moderation of poultry? I have endometriosis and Hashimotos and have been following Dr. Arem’s “Thyroid Solution Diet” and adding in parts of Dr. John Mathias protocol for endometriosis (no red meat, or foods containing Tyramine). I’m limited on proteins as it is so if I cut out poultry and dairy I’m not going to have many choices. Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Angie
      There no moderation of poultry. I think I may have worded it incorrectly. I just added in “poultry” to the allowable list along with grass fed meats and seafood. If you are following Dr. Arem’s diet, then sounds like you would be very limited with the amount of meat-based options which I could see would be limiting like you said. Dairy is not on AIP because casein is a high cross reactor to gluten. But I eat lots of poultry in all its forms with no problems. Good luck and I appreciate you pointing that out to me in the post :-)

  10. Teresa says

    I experience fatigue and brain fog much of the time and abdominal discomfort pretty regularly. I have Celiac and (we think) PCOS and am high risk for diabetes.

    Right now I am very overwhelmed by all the options out there but this seems to be the most realistic, grounded, and well supported scientifically option that I can find. I will be taking the articles and options to my doctor tomorrow.

    I began to think that my Celiac is not as severe as many others’, but once you mentioned brain frog and memory problems…maybe that is where mine manifests itself? Also, do you think unhealthy gut flora could lead to PCOS?

    • Teresa says

      as a side note…do you have any suggestions are far as supplements to take for hormone balance and healing a leaky guy? I was thinking kefir was a good place to start, but I only have been able to get my hands on dairy kefir grains.

    • says

      Hi Teresa
      Celiac is celiac. Silent or loud. So it will contribute to your leaky gut and promote inflammation which is bad for pcos and blood sugar regulation. I would not guess with those things all happening that diet (even a great one like AIP which you should be on) will be enough. Your inflammation and blood sugar has to be under control as well as healing your gut. I think kefir would be good, but not enough. I would ask your doctor for a complete blood panel tomorrow. Here is what I would request:
      c-reative protein, homocysteine, cbc with differential, iron panel, full thyroid panel (tsh, TT3, FT3, T3 Updake, Reverse T3, TPO, Thyroglobuin antibodies, T4 TT4) Uric acid, Sed Rate) Also you may be a good candidate to have a consultation with me. I do distance appts via Skype. You can pm me at aiplifestyle@gmail.com

  11. Greta Melinchuk says

    Would you consider eczema an auto immune disorder? I’ve had it all my life, but in the past 4 years it has been really aggressive. I am 47 and I have food allergies, always have. I started an elimination diet January 6, 2014 with the guidance of a Naturopath. I was 100% compliant. I want to heal. (I lost 10 lbs in 6 days just due to inflammation) I could not string together more than 3 days of my skin calming. We did the IgG test, and identified the food allergies, which I was already eliminating. So looking at my food diary, and doing research I thought maybe it is a salisylate intolerance. So i now avoid all berries since I thought smoothies was my trigger. Still, I am struggling. Since March 1, I am not eating ANY grains. still no huge improvement. So now I’ve also started to drink Apple Cider Vinegar 3x a day, to lower my acidity level. I’m running out of ideas. I’m lost, and my skin is burning up.

    • says

      Hi Greta
      I would be able to say since I am a nutritionist, but professionally I have seen eczema both ways. Did you naturopath do a stool test on you? Or rule out SIBO? Or do a gut healing protocol, digestive support,? I found food allergy testing a bit tricky; I don’t discount it but I don’t completely rely on the results either. Which IgG test? For food allergies? I also think with skin complaints there is an emotional component..may not be the case with you of course, but it may be something to dig deeper in to. Eczema can be such a complex set of issues, so I wish I could say more here, but it would just not be complete enough. Don’t give up though!

      • Greta Melinchuk says

        No stool test, I am on a professional grade probiotic. IgG test for food allergies were positive for egg, corn, citrus, milk, wheat, spelt, rye, almond, green pepper, and I have orally allergy syndrome to northern pitted fruits :-) Despite avoiding all of these things, I’m not getting better. I have seen incremental improvements since eliminating ALL grain, and taking Apple Cider Vinegar 3x per day. I’m trying a new naturopath tomorrow, I hope she has some ideas! Despite the outcome, I feel great eating in the paleo way. My mind is clear, I feel slim, and full of energy. Thanks for listening.

        • says

          Greta, you could ask your ND for a stool test; it will look at gut function and digestive function which are both important. ACV is not my first choice..I prefer shifting alkalinity with diet (vegetables) and working on building digestive fire with specific digestive supplements. You can also have your ND test you for SIBO too, which is important, and making sure you have enough vitamin D and EFA’s. Good luck! Check in again and tell me how you are :-)

  12. Anita Farrar says

    Thankyou for the invaluable article, I found it very helpful.
    I have followed the Paleo diet strictly for 5 weeks and the AIP diet for 7 days! To be honest I’m finding it very very hard. I have 2 young children too and I struggle with the food…….
    The AIP diet elimated practically everything that I enjoy eating :-( but feel I need to carry on with it to make myself feel better.
    I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2000 but haven’t had a flare up in 9 years! I have an under active thyroid and 2 years ago was diagnosed with Myastheania gravis. I’m suffering at the moment with double vision and tingling limbs…………I’m 42, am an active person who loves life.
    My GP wants me to see an immunologist to see about putting me on immunosuppressants but I really don’t want to go down this route!
    Both my sister and father have rheumatoid arthritis!
    I just need help and support with what to do for the best.
    Regards xx

    • says

      Hi Anita
      I totally can understand how frustrating it can be. I find it helpful to set out a timeline; so only do AIP for example 30 days…so you know there is an end in sight. And for the 30 days try the diet with gusto. Or you can do the diet for 6 weeks and then start reintroducing foods and expand the diet to include more foods that don’t provoke an immune or physical reaction. I would take it in steps, and set up a timeline you feel you can accomplish and take it day by day. It is a hard diet. It is challenging! But, it is not a forever diet, it is a place to start that will become individualized as time goes on and you slowly reintroduce foods. I think also cooking two to three meals at a time helps, and using recipes like the ones I have here (because I too feel limited by my choices, so I create these recipes) is helpful. Hang in there! You can totally do this. xo

    • says

      Karren, I have noticed chai teas seems to differ slightly on ingredients, so it would be a case by case situation to check ingredients. You could make your own with allspice, cinnamon, ginger…

  13. Rachel Green says

    Hi, just now looking at your web sight hoping to find a solution for food cravings and wight loss as, I am totally intolerant to sugars especially refined. What is your opinion about coffee and adrenal? I am not diabetic but pre diabetic.

  14. Kris says

    How do you feel about a product called Ultimate Meal. I need an easy portable breakfast and lunch.a. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Kris! It is not AIP-approved. So, if you are wondering if it fits into AIP, it doesn’t. However, as a nutritionist who has all kinds of clients, some of whom use Ultimate Meal and have asked me about it, I think it is a totally fine non-AIP product. I love that they say on their labels “no ingredients from China!” If you are looking for an AIP approved product, I like Clearvite-PSF from Apex Energetics which is also not 100% AIP (it has inulin and lau han), but most do well on. It is pea protein but have the lectins removed, is non-gmo and is organic. Hope that helps! jessica

  15. cyndee says

    what about hibiscus flower tea? is a flower considered a seed? i went on the no grain low carb sort of paleo and dropped some weight immediately then not much, many issues are gone but still have more belly than i should so i think i may need to try this. also coffee wasn’t on the list but i assume it’s a bean so it’s a no. also i love spice so the no chilies is gonna be awful but i’m guessing no black pepper either? and what are your top recommended fruits?
    thanks

    • says

      Cyndee, I allow hibiscus flower tea. When I buy it at my local co-op, it does not have seeds in it. Coffee is something I ask my clients to remove due to it being a stimulant and affecting adrenal health, but some are fine with it, and it is instant coffee that is considered a cross-reactor to gluten and is not approved. Black pepper is not a nightshade like peppers are, so many tolerate it, but I suggest eliminating it for the first 6-8 weeks and then reintroducing it. I also think women need their thyroid properly checked to see if it contributes to the inability for weight loss. TSH and T4 alone (what doctors usually order) is not enough. Something like this kind of test is what to ask your dr. for, or test online http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/selftesting.htm

  16. Heather says

    Quick Question: I am on the autoimmune paleo diet as well. Have been on it a little over a week.

    Is Trader Joes coconut milk strawberry “Ice Cream” okay? It’s soy free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan friendly?

    Also, My boyfriend and I go out a lot with his job on the weekends. I am having a hard time not having the occasional drink or 2. Is 2 drinks of a gluten free cider (Woodchuck Cider, go to their site and read about the ingredients) on the weekend okay? Is it going to hurt me bad?

    Also how about brown sugar? Or refined or unrefined cane syrup?

    • says

      Hi Heather! I don’t know what is in the trader joe’s ice cream that you are mentioning. If you want to send a link I can look at it. It probably isn’t…I do not recommend folks having any alcohol during the first 6-8 weeks of starting AIP because it can affect the adrenal glands, liver and sleep cycles. I also recommend staying away from sugar for the initial 6-8 weeks and then only sparingly using it after (like 1-2 tsp day) but yes, those are allowed. Hope that helps! You are in the toughest stage right now, so hang in there!! ox-jessica

  17. Katie says

    Thanks for the article and taking time to answer questions. I have a few questions. I am currently eating paleo. But still have lingering health issues. I always have mucus, I have digestive issues ( lbs, heartburn) sluggish thyroid, taxed adrenals, overweight, chronic yeast infections, and low blood sugar issues. I’m anemic, and have lots of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Pretty much a mess after having five children, whom I spend most of my time homeschooling, and nurturing. I have read the gut and psychology syndrome, but also I have read the work of Matt Stone particularly his book eat for heat. I notice being on the paleo diet causes my body temp to drop, and my hands and feet to get cold, Among many other things. I follow a blogger called empowered sustenance, and although she is paleo, she follows Matt’s metabolic principles. My questions are, can I get enough carbs on aip to keep my metabolism running? And I read another comment here that someone who was doing aip developed a sensitivity to coconut while doing this protocol, I thought that this diet healed the gut, so that would not happen? Will this diet address candida? And am I wrong in my thinking that aip is not for life or a lifestyle, that you should graduate into eatting from all food groups , maybe excluding grains, and obviously refined sugar ( which is not a food group)
    Thanks for your help

    • says

      Hi Katie! You bring up a lot of very important points, and valid ones too. I always think of AIP as a jumping off point for those interested. You start with the elimination diet and then slowly customize it to be your own. For instance some can reintroduce nightshades and keep them in their diet, and some cannot. Coconut is another example. In theory once once heals their gut, they may be able to reintroduce foods they were once sensitive to. But that is not always the case. It varies person to person. Yes, you can get enough carbs on AIP to keep your metabolism running, it is just a matter of mapping out your day and keeping track of the amount of starch carbohydrates. But, the list of symptoms you listed at the top of your comment may or may not be addresses fully by AIP. Because my professional healing philosophy includes the use of supplements, I would say a mixture of AIP and a specialized plan for you to help support the nutritional deficiencies stemming from your set of issues is in order. Finding a practitioner of some kind would be helpful that has a working knowledge of AIP as well as helping your with your digestive issues, adrenals, etc. I think for those with autoimmune disease, AIP can be a way of life, BUT mostly in a personalized, modified form after the initial elimination phase. So in theory it would include more foods and spices. Hope this helps! -jessica

  18. Amy says

    Hi, I get very tired after eating olives and olive oil. Perhaps a food sensitivity? I have used grape seed oil ( Grapeola brand) in my salads. I assume it is from a seed. Should I then also realize that is not AIP friendly with it being from a seed? This is overwhelming. I found out I am allergic to 37 things last summer and have been trying to make AIP work as well after 6 years of Chronic Lyme.
    Thanks,
    Amy

    • says

      Hi Amy! Sounds like you may? But I can not say for sure. I would eliminate it for a week or two and see if you feel different/better. I switched to using cultured ghee (different than ghee) which I have a post about and it has worked well for me. Maybe it is a good alternative? Tell me what happens!- jessica

  19. Eileen Forester says

    What are the consequences if you do have a cheat during phase 1 (ie small glass of wine/chocolate)

    • says

      Eileen, there is no way to know for sure what will happen if yo have those two things. It could give you a flare of your symptoms, no symptoms at all or give you completely different symptoms like a headache. Everyone is different. I wish I could be more precise about it! -jessica

  20. Sheneela says

    Thank you for such a concise article. Very well explained and so thorough. I will be starting AIP next week and am looking forward to it as I have resistant celiac and would to put it into remission. Due to several rounds of antibiotics prescribed I have now gotten oral thrush that I can’t seem to get rid of. I am currently on Nystatin, herbal antifungals and also performing coconut oil pulling daily with minimal results. How can I further modify AIP to help with Candida? Which starchy carbs and fruit may I eat? I need some form of starchy carbs to give me energy.

    • says

      Hi Sheneela! I am so sorry you have thrush. It is something you will have to work with your practitioner about; sounds like you are already implementing some great alternative techniques to help you! I would also ask your doctor to evaluate your digestive secretions, and make sure that you don’t need support with them. It could have a ripple effect to help your mouth as well. Instead of starting from the mouth (which everyone is focusing on right now) focus on the whole digestive system. Yes, I agree that many people cannot go without some amounts of starchy carbohydrates. Consider carrots, zucchini, spaghetti squash, small amounts of roasted butternut squash and see how you do. And maybe add in some lactofermented foods like sauerkraut. Hope this helps! Feel better soon!!- jessica

      • Sheneela says

        Jessica, thanks for responding so quickly :)) Would pumpkin, ripe bananas and acorn squash also be okay? And how much can I have per day? One to two cups? Quantities I am very worried about. Yes, I am currently also taking digestive enzymes, kombucha, pharmaceutical grade probiotics as well as sauerkraut and kimchi. I am trying to do it naturally but may end up needing to take Diflucan. Also, how may I contact you to set up an appointment for a consultation? Once again, thank you so much. I sincerely appreciate your help.

        • says

          Hi Sheena! Pumpkins and acorn squash are fine, but have your serving only be 1/2 cup at any serving. You can message me directly at aiplifestyle@gmail.com to set up an appt. If you message me I will send you all of the info to set up an appt. looking forward to it! -jessica

          • Sheneela says

            Hiya! Sent you an email. Looking forward to more details. Thanks so much for your advice :))

  21. Lindsay says

    Morning – I have alopecia areata. Has this diet been known to have a positive affect on that? Any supplements that should be taken along with it? I can’t seem to find a knowledgable doctor that doesn’t just blame it on stress. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Lindsay! I cannot say here what I may recommend as I am not allowed to give out medical advice. But, lowering inflammation associated with autoimmune disease is the root of AIP and it works quite well. For some I have heard of remission from alopecia. And I have also heard of it not working. I would give it a try though! There are quite a few supplements that support lowering inflammation too! Do you have any alternative doctors/nutritionists where you live? -jessica

  22. Amy Greenwald says

    Are you familiar with oral lichen planus? Do you happen to know if it will benefit from the AIP and how to find a good practitioner in my area of Dayton? I am nor sure where you are. Thanks! Amy

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