I’ve been receiving questions about the autoimmune protocol, aka “AIP,” so I thought I’d dedicate a couple of blogs to explaining it, breaking it all down, and hopefully making it easier to understand!

If you have been eating clean and anti-inflammatory, but your autoimmune symptoms haven’t decreased significantly, you might consider trying the AIP diet. 

The root cause of all autoimmune diseases is the same: our immune system, which is supposed to protect us from invading microorganisms, turns against us and attacks our proteins, cells, and tissues instead.

For example, in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. In rheumatoid arthritis, the tissues of your joints are attacked. In psoriasis, proteins within the layers of cells that make up your skin are attacked.

The AIP is not supposed to be a lifetime way of eating, but more so a toolbox of strategies for understanding how your body reacts to foods, lifestyle, and environment.

 The AIP involves removing the following from your diet:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Nuts (including nut butter)
  • Refined and processed sugars and oils
  • Seeds 
  • Nightshades (potatoes [sweet potatoes are fine], tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries, etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
  • Potential Gluten Cross-Reactive Food
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners  even stevia and monk fruit)
  • Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives

Yep, it’s very restrictive!

This week in the Quest FB site, I’ll cover the beginner’s version of how to do AIP and some useful resources and books, and some steps to personalize your AIP diet.

When I work with clients, my goal is to get them on the least restrictive diet possible that provides the most amount of health and vitality. While those with an autoimmune disease generally have less wiggle room than the average healthy person, it’s important to remember that the AIP diet need not be followed strictly for the rest of one’s life.

Sticking to the protocol for a minimum of 30 days gives your body a chance to begin calming the autoimmune response. It’s generally recommended to extend the reset to a minimum of 60 days for people with severe autoimmune conditions that affect neurological function or cause symptoms that have a noticeable impact on daily life. 

Every time you eat a food that triggers an immune response, such as gluten, dairy, eggs, etc., your body produces antibodies that incite an attack on your immune system. This autoimmune attack can last for days, weeks, or even months if the intake was significant enough. Committing 100 percent to the protocol is crucial for a person with an autoimmune disease to see the improvements they want. 

The AIP diet is not a cure, and it may not be enough to put a disease into full remission. Conventional medicine may be needed in addition to a dietary and lifestyle approach to healing.

That said, by removing the foods that may contribute to the autoimmune response and providing adequate nutrients to help the healing process, you can significantly reduce symptoms and possibly put the disease into remission. So depending on your health challenges, it may be a great option. 

Coach Christina MS, CNS, LN


Author Lorrie

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