The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a diet that helps heal the immune system and gut mucosa. It is applicable to any inflammatory disease. 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. 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.
- Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
- Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame 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, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats etc)
- Alternative sweeteners like xylitol, stevia, mannitol
- Dried fruits and/or over-consumption of fructose (I recommend up to 2 pieces of fruit a day)
- Dairy Products
- All Processed Foods
- Gums (guar gum, Tara gum, Gellan gum, Gum Arabic)
- Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, mustard seeds, all chili’s including spices)
- No vegetable oils (NOTE: olive oil, lard, palm oil, cultured grass fed ghee and coconut oils are permitted)
- Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)
- Tapicoa. I eliminate this the first 6-8 weeks because it is a known gluten cross reactor according to Cyrex Labs Gluten Cross-Reactivity Test
- 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)
- Binders: Grass Fed Gelatin and Arrowroot Starch (watch the starch however if you have adrenal issues)
High FODMAPS may disagree with some on the AIP diet. For example; nectarines, coconut or onions may bother some people. Whole30’s great Paleo Low FODMAPS shopping list: http://whole9life.com/book/ISWF-Shopping-List-FODMAP.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, Ashwaganda 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:
- AIP (autoimmune disease) is a disease of inflammation that causes self-tissue attack
- Food is a powerful way to reduce inflammation and calm the immune system
- Diet is usually NOT enough and specific protocols of gut healing and removing SIBO and immune support supplements may be needed
- Food is the biggest component of medicine in addressing AIP, but not the only one
- 95% On The Diet is not on the diet
- Being 100% on the diet makes this program work and makes you a rock star
- 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
- Additional Supplements are usually required in my experience to fully heal the gut
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Re-introduce only 1 food every 5 days and when you re-introduce the food, eat enough of it to elicit a response. A small bite, then a few hours a spoonful and then that night a serving.
- 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.