The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) also called “The Paleo Approach” is a modified Paleo diet that addresses the unique concerns of people with autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
These conditions frequently start in the gut and/or lead to increased gut permeabilty (aka leaky gut), decreased nutrient absorption, and systemic inflammation. “Leaky Gut” is not a buzz word. It truly affects the quality of life of most individuals with autoimmune disorders. Healing your gut lining can restore your energy, hormone balance, mood, mobility, and nutritional status in a way conventional approaches cannot.
By following the AIP, you will be removing specific foods from your diet for the healing period (anywhere between 4 weeks to even a couple years depending on the severity of your condition) and systematically reintroducing individual foods to see how your body reacts. Many people can return to eating the foods they once loved but may have been causing them problems prior to AIP such as pastured, soy-free eggs and roasted pecans.Some people continue to stay on a modified AIP. For example, I have reintroduced some seeds and seed-based spices, chocolate, high-histamine foods, and coffee, but I do not tolerate eggs and almonds even after two years of healing. You see how individual this approach must be? We all are at different stages in our wellbeing with varying resources and social support.
If you had to write a prescription for AIP, it would look like 7 days a week of nutrient-dense AIP-compliant foods (especially seafood, organ meats and vegetables), appropriate sleep quality, getting outside for some moderate exercise, and maintaining social relationships. This is a LIFESTYLE, not just a diet.
I also want to note that AIP isn’t a life sentence. Make it your goal to add back in as many foods as possible rather than restricting yourself even further. I don’t recommend placing yourself under further restrictions such as low-FODMAP, GAPS, SCD, Whole30, unless under the care of a health practitioner who can kindly guide you through such a restricted diet. Remember, moderation is best. The “harder you AIP” does not necessarily equal more healing, especially if such actions cause undue stress or prevent you from participating in social activities as you please. When you are ready to reintroduce foods once you are feeling better, please read Eileen Laird’s Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.
For over 175 AIP recipes that are quick, easy, have few ingredients and don’t break the bank, check out my cookbook The Healing Kitchen and/or my ebook Enthused which contains over 80 of my most flavorful and fun AIP recipes!