Read on for a quick look into the hows and whys of the AIP diet plus a bunch of links to help you learn more about the healing AIP protocol.
What is the AIP Diet?
If you’ve stumbled across this blog and have no idea what the AIP diet is. . . at it’s most basic level it is a healing diet for those of us who suffer from Auto Immune conditions. The principles behind the AIP diet focus on the healing of the gut to reverse the effects of various auto immune conditions on the body. Through “Adventures in Partaking” my goal is to chronicle my experiences on the AIP diet. All of the recipes on this site are following the guidelines laid out by Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom).
What exactly is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?
There are many books and resources that answer this question, so I’m not going to recreate the wheel, but here are some of the answers I give people when they ask about my ‘unusual’ diet.
~ AIP is Paleo with a twist.
~ AIP is a low inflammation diet.
~ AIP is a nutrient dense way of eating.
~ AIP is a decision to eat vegetables, quality meats and seafood and some fruit.
Those answers are usually good enough to placate my friends (or strangers on the airplane), but if you’re new to AIP, here are the BASICS. The autoimmune protocol is a diet template that removes high inflammation causing foods and replaces them with nutrient dense and gut healing foods. This healing protocol is designed to help people suffering from auto immune conditions to remove the inflammation from their bodies and relieve many of their auto immune related symptoms. AIP isn’t a cure for auto immune disease, but is designed to help you figure out what triggers your flares and set you out on a healing journey.
The first thing that most people want to know when they get started on any sort of healing protocol (or any new diet plan) is ‘what can’t I eat?’ I prefer to think of what I can eat and if you read on you’ll see all the wonderful foods that you can enjoy on AIP.
But first, here are the FOODS that need to be AVOIDED on the elimination phase of the AIP:
- ALL Grains – wheat, corn, rice, quinoa, oats, etc.
- ALL Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- ALL Nuts and Seeds – this includes nut milks, nut flours, nut oils and seed based spices
- Nightshade Vegetables – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, all peppers (sweet and hot peppers), tomatillos, paprika (other chili based spices)
- Legumes – beans, lentils, peanuts, soy (all soy based products)
- Refined sugars
- Modern vegetable oils
- ALL processed foods – all emulsifiers, thickeners and food additives
- Black pepper
The key behind the AIP diet is that it’s not just a list of foods to remove from your life. It’s also about the addition of nutrient dense foods. AIP meals are comprised mainly of vegetables along with grass fed meats, seafood, offal, and bone broth.
So, what can you eat on the AIP Paleo Diet? You can enjoy all cuts of meat, poultry and seafood. You can enjoy all vegetables with the exception of those in the nightshade family. You can enjoy all fruits (with the exception of nightshade fruits again). You can enjoy a variety of herbs and seasonings as well as some extras that you’ll notice on the next page. And, most importantly, you can enjoy the feeling of eating well to help your body and hopefully enjoy relief from pain and healing from inflammation.
Another thing to keep in mind at the start is that the AIP (at least in it’s strictest elimination phase) isn’t meant to last forever. The plan is designed to follow the elimination phase diet until you feel relief from your AI symptoms and then systematically reintroduce foods. For more information on reintroductions, please see page 103.
A Note on Treats:
Although there are ‘treats’ on this site and they are made with AIP compliant ingredients, this doesn’t make them a typical part of the AIP diet. Treats are just what they sound like – a special food reserved for occasional consumption and special occasions.
In my very first post I spoke briefly about how I found the AIP.
Then, a few weeks back, in an attempt to reverse my auto immune disease (spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis) I stumbled across the AIP diet. If you’re new to the AIP diet, check out resources such as The Paleo Mom who explain the science behind the diet and why it helps to reverse the symptoms of many auto immune diseases. My disease is minor, compared to the horrors that many people with auto immune diseases are dealing with and I can manage it with exercise and the occasional pain meds. But, I thought if I could heal my body through food it was worth giving it a try.
For a few years I had been gluten and dairy free and had dabbled with a paleo diet, but didn’t really understand why this diet change was helpful for me. Then, a friend directed me to a recipe on the Paleo Mom blog. About the same time I received my diagnosis and the science geek in me started searching for answers, which once again led me back to the Paleo Mom, where I found the answers to my questions of ‘why’ and ‘how.’
For more information on the AIP diet, I would encourage you to check out the links below.
- The Auto Immune Protocol– from ‘The Paleo Mom’
- More AIP Resources from ‘The Paleo Mom’
- The Whys of the AIP – from ‘The Paleo Mom’
Plus, some of my favorite AIP resources are:
- Simple French Paleo – a fully compliant AIP cookbook full of french recipes
- The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook – one of the first and yet still one of the best AIP cookbooks
- SAD to AIP in 6 – a six week program to help you get started on the AIP
- AIP Safari – a cookbook and guidebook to help you travel well on the AIP
- Freezer Cooking for the AIP Paleo – a great resource full of recipes to help you prep now and freeze for later to save time and stress in the kitchen
- He Won’t Know it’s Paleo – one of my favorite AIP cookbooks, whose author was my first introduction to the paleo diet and lifestyle
- Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – the best guide out there for how to reintroduce foods into your life after eliminating them for the AIP elimination phase
- The Paleo AIP Instant Pot Cookbook – a great guide to help you save time in the kitchen while on the AIP – full of totally AIP recipes designed to be used in your instant pot
(This post contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. These are all resources I know and love and use myself).