Autoimmune Protocol Diet
The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol Diet (also known as the Autoimmune Protocol or AIP diet) is an approach to chronic disease management focusing on providing the body with nutrient dense whole foods to support immune regulation, gut health, hormone regulation and tissue healing while removing inflammatory foods. Part of a broader lifestyle, it also encourages sufficient sleep, managing stress, and movement. AIP is a great way for people with autoimmune disease to support their immune system and its benefits have been shown to help with promoting and supporting improvement in autoimmune disease.
While autoimmune disease is partly genetic predisposition, our risk of developing an autoimmune condition is heavily influenced by our environment, diet and lifestyle. In fact, the latter being more important (one-third genetics and two thirds environment, diet and lifestyle). AIP begins with an elimination phase where all of the suggested foods are removed, and during the reintroduction phase, some foods are slowly added back in.
As someone with 5 autoimmune diseases, I have decided, in cooperation with my Functional Medicine Physician, to follow AIP. At the time of writing this post, I have been on AIP for 8 weeks and will continue in the elimination phase for at least another 6 weeks. Some foods, including dairy and gluten, I will never add back into my diet. I don't think of AIP as a restrictive diet where I can't have anything. Yes, there are foods I have removed (wine, coffee and chocolate how I MISS YOU), but I take the perspective that I am adding in healing foods. I am still very mindful of the amount of carbs I eat, but eliminating carbs is not a goal of AIP.
You must follow AIP 100%. There is no cheating. For me, diving in was relatively easy, but I have coached people through elimination diets, and the challenges go far beyond what they are not allowed to eat. Yes, food is medicine, but it is also connection. When you cannot have drinks with friends on an outdoor patio, or your cup of coffee on the deck on a Sunday morning before the kids wake up, it can be hard. I always ask my clients to consider their motivation and purpose for following any diet, whether it be an elimination diet or not.
What AIP can help with:
Food sensitivities, allergies and other autoimmune triggers
Remove the following foods:
Pseudo grains (oats, rice, quinoa)
Industrial seed oils
All processed foods
Sugar (including sugar substitutes)
Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers)
Nuts and Seeds (including spices made of nuts and seeds)
Eat the following foods:
Large amounts of colourful vegetables and fruits
Grass-fed collagen and gelatin
Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil
As I noted in an earlier blog post, inflammation is a factor in chronic illness and what eat can contribute to, or reduce the effects of disease in the body.