While I’m not about to delve deep into the science behind the AIP or attempt to re-write some exceptionally well presented and well researched material that’s already available online and in print, I will give you a quick synapses here and send you on your way with links to what the experts have to say.
AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol, or as some call it, the Autoimmune Paleo diet. This diet however, differs considerably from the standard Paleo diet, so this is where we need to start. Let’s dispel any myths and give you a good foundational understanding of the AIP, the whats and whys.
The AIP is a modified version of the Paleo Diet that focuses on nutrient density (more heavily weighted in veggies than meat, which is more Paleo-style) and lifestyle changes that support your immune system and remove inflammatory stimuli from both diet and lifestyle.
The approach simplifies foods into two categories, either they promote health (nutrients) or they undermine health (because they have inflammatory compounds). That said, the protocol calls for stricter guidelines for which foods should be eliminated from our diet to help us begin healing from the inside out.
Done properly, the AIP should provide you with a well-round and balanced diet of healthy, satisfying foods. There are THREE phases to the protocol – elimination, reintroduction and maintenance.
The elimination stage of this diet is used as a template that is to be personalized and then built on, depending on each person’s own health condition, diagnosis and circumstances – it is NOT a one-size fits all approach – and it is NOT overly restrictive, as some may believe.
And finally, I must mention that to be truly successful on your journey to autoimmune wellness you will also need to consider additional lifestyle changes beyond just what goes into your body. Your environment, stress, emotions, products you use daily in your home and on your body can also have significant impact on your healing journey.
Where to Begin?
It’s important not to get stuck in the rut of research, but you should understand the fundamental principles of what you’re about to embark on so you get off on the best foot.
First and foremost, get your hands on the best resource going! The Autoimmune Protocol as written by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne is the best resource you can own. The investment is small and more than worthwhile, complete with essential food lists, meal plans, the basics of the protocol, how to get started (a slow transition or cold turkey), how to reintroduce foods correctly when you get to that stage and more! Get your copy and read it as soon as you can – everything else is really just extra.
If you’re here and find yourself asking whether the AIP is really for you, or if it’s something everyone should try, you should read this post – Should Everyone Follow the AIP.
Online Resources & Reading:
If you aren’t able to purchase the above reference book, this would be your next best place to begin … or … you might suggest these links to family and friends who are trying to grasp what it is that you’re doing to help improve your health.
What is the AIP? (click here for the article) by The Paleo Mom, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (the creator of the protocol) is a more scientific approach to explaining the healing journey you’re about to embark upon, and it goes into greater detail than the article below by Angie Alt. (NOTE: Updates to the Autoimmune Protocol were announced in the Spring of 2019 when Dr. Ballantyne’s updated, The Autoimmune Protocol book was released. With that came several new posts online to help folks clarify and get a brief overview of the whats and whys of the changes. You can read more online about them here on her website Updates to the Autoimmune Protocol, but for the most part, updates are applicable to the reintroduction phase of the protocol.)
The 3 Phases of the Autoimmune Protocol (click here for the article) by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne is a little different – her description of the three phases is more what I think to be appropriate (and she is after all the creator of the protocol), but both have merit. You’ll always find that Dr. Ballantyne’s approach is more scientific and clinical than that you’ll see on the Autoimmune Wellness website. Both have their own approach and both are amazing in their own ways.
Looking for a more abbreviated version? What is AIP? – The Definitive Guide (click here for the article) by Angie Alt of Autoimmune Wellness is a fantastic resource if you’re just starting out and need to know more about the AIP or if you’ve been on the AIP a while but feel you really don’t have a grasp of it. It contains the whats, whys and hows in a “brief” (considering the magnitude of the subject) overview.
If you’re struggling to explain the AIP to friends and family, I have to tell you I love the “Elevator Speech” portion of this guide – just awesome!
This is simply a WONDERFUL all-round article for EVERYONE on the AIP, considering the AIP or trying to support a loved one faced with autoimmune issues and the AIP
20 Keys to Success on The AIP (click here for the article) by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne is a great post of exceptional advice. A lot of this information is included in her book but this is a great read and reminder.
Quick Start Guide (click here for the guide) from Autoimmune Wellness is a series of emails that include food lists, meal plans, videos, tips and e-guides that you can sign up for. Great, reliable information from one of my top resources.
Need a Helping Hand?
If you know you’re likely going to face challenges transitioning and sticking to the AIP, please check out my Coaching Page – this is where you’ll find more resources for getting the helping hand you need.
Looking for MORE?
For the sake of brevity and to keep this post simple and concentrated to the very basics of getting started on the AIP, I’ll save the “more” for another post that you can find here – Beginner Resources – Start Here Part 2.