What is AIP?

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, I will give you a quick synapses here and point you in the right direction to the BEST resources possible.

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 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.

What will I eat?

Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry!  While it has been suggested this is more of a plant powered diet than Paleo, trust me you won’t be stuck eating nothing but soups and salads or eating like a little bird. It’s not a radical diet heavily weighted with fats and proteins or a carb-loader … we’re talking simply about a well balanced diet of real food – nothing scary (but facts are facts, most people don’t eat enough nutrient dense veggies, so you will be eating more of those)!

If you want to put a cool label on it, feel free to call yourself a nutrivore!

The AIP is a specialized elimination diet based on the Paleo diet.  It is a starting point, a template – one that you will customize to your personal health condition and nutritional requirements, and you’ll adapt it as you go.

The primary focus of the AIP is that of nutrient density.  It includes high-quality and in-season vegetables and fruits, grass-fed meat and poultry, grass-fed organ meat and wild-caught seafood.

The AIP eliminates many of the foods typically found in the standard Paleo diet, foods that may adversely effect and overstimulate the immune system causing inflammation in the body and damage to the gut.

The protocol starts with the elimination of the top food allergens: gluten/grain, dairy, eggs, soy, nightshades (like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.), legumes, nuts, seeds, alcohol, refined sugars and in some cases shell-fish (only necessary if you have an allergy).  This may sound like a lot, but AIP gets you thinking outside the box and you’ll be ADDING lots of amazing foods to your diet.

Elimination is not forever!  Before you freak out, it’s important to know that the AIP is NOT overly restrictive as some believe, it does not create eating disorders and it does not require a permanent elimination of all of these foods.  Careful reintroduction of foods back into your diet will be important, but that will come only once you have seen significant improvement in your condition.  But we’ll get to that later.

Ready to dive in?  Scroll down and browse around more pages or topics that interest you, or take it step by step and start with my post – What is the AIP and Where Do I Start? – Start Here Part 1.

What the experts say …

The Paleo Mom

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, a.k.a. The Paleo Mom, is considered the guru of the AIP.  As a scientist both by training and by nature, Sarah is deeply interested in understanding how the foods we eat interact with our gut barriers, immune systems, and hormones to influence health. Sarah’s innate curiosity goes further than just understanding diet and she is also deeply interested in the impact of lifestyle factors like sleep, stress and activity.

Regarding the AIP, Sarah says:

“The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to flood the body with nutrients while simultaneously avoiding any food that might be contributing to disease (or at the very least interfering with our efforts to heal). It is an elimination diet strategy, cutting out the foods that are most likely to be holding back our health. After a period of time, many of the excluded foods, especially those that have nutritional merit despite also containing some (but not too much) potentially detrimental compounds, can be reintroduced. “

I encourage you to read Dr. Ballantyne’s full article What is AIP?  Not only is it an excellent read, it contains numerous resources, including food lists—What to Eat and What to Avoid on AIP, Lifestyle Factors, a quick overview of the process of eliminations and reintroductions, and a list of FAQs.

If you want everything in one tidy little book, I highly recommend Dr. Ballantyne’s updated e-book guide to the Autoimmune Protocol – check it out here.

20 Keys to Success on the Autoimmune Protocol is another article I’ll suggest your read and refer to from time to time.  The Paleo Mom’s article expands on the AIP Evolved – A Manifesto written by the girls at Autoimmune Wellness, which in itself is a great read.

Autoimmune Wellness

The next resource I want to direct you to, and overall probably my favorite, is AutoimmuneWellness.com.  Mickey Trescott (Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) and Angie Alt (Certified Health Coach and Nutritional Therapy Consultant), are two truly amazing individuals with a warm approach. This is where I began my AIP journey and I find myself continually referencing their material, website, articles and amazing resources both for myself and others.

They describe the AIP as follows:

“In a nutshell, the Autoimmune Protocol calls for removing foods that are most likely to be problematic for people with autoimmune disease—grains, beans, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, as well as food chemicals and additives. In addition, nutrient-dense foods are added to restore nutrient status, such as bone broth, high-quality meat and wild-caught fish, as well as organ meats, fermented foods and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Over the course of the elimination phase (which can last from a month to a year), you take note of the changes you experience in your health. When it comes time to slowly and systematically reintroduce foods, you will be able to tell exactly which foods are holding you back, and able to use this information to construct a diet that will best support your healing needs.”

These girls are a wealth of information and I highly recommend you read What Is AIP? – The Definitive Guide and sign up for their free Quick Start Guide, the free resources they offer are invaluable.

Everything you need …

Meal Planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Success on the AIP is easier when you have a few good tips, tricks and tools under your belt.

Food Sourcing

Sourcing AIP ingredients can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered!
Check out our shopping and brand recommendations.

AIP Convenience

Being on the AIP is not exactly what most would call convenient, but thankfully  there are some wonderful options!

Coaching

Big lifestyle changes and health challenges can be overwhelming.  Some find the process much easier with proper coaching and medical guidance.

Self-Care

Self care is about taking proper care of yourself, taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you, and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.

Motivation

Healing is a journey, not a destination.  Along the way we all need some motivation.
Here we’ll share motivation, stories of AIP healing and tips for success.