Tag Archive for: Beginner

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. I quote Dr. Ballantyne, who had a founding role in the AIP, below: 

” The AIP is a complementary approach to chronic disease management focused on providing the body with the nutritional resources required for immune regulation, gut health (which includes gut barrier, microbiome, gut-relevant hormones, digestion, and detoxification), hormone regulation and tissue healing while removing 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 (as compared to the Paleo diet) to help us begin healing from the inside out.

“The AIP diet is designed to be balanced, complete and nutrient-sufficient, meaning that it supplies ample and synergistic quantities of all essential and non-essential nutrients. As such, the Autoimmune Protocol places greater emphasis on the most nutrient-dense foods in our food supply, including organ meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit and mushrooms, rounding out with other quality meats, fresh herbs, safe spices, and healthy fats.”

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.

“While the stronger focus is on what to eat, rather than what to avoid, the AIP is simultaneously an elimination diet strategy, cutting out the foods that are most likely to be holding back our health.”

“The AIP respects bioindividuality and strongly encourages self-discovery through 3-phases: elimination, reintroduction and maintenance. The AIP is a toolbox full of strategies for understanding how your body reacts to foods, lifestyle and your environment and methodologies for healing given your individual health challenges.”

And finally, I must mention that to be truly successful on your journey to autoimmune wellness you will also need to consider 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.

“The AIP lifestyle encourages sufficient sleep, stress management, plenty of activity, nature time, and healthy connection as these are important immune modulators and influence both gut health and hormone health.”

AIP Autoimmune Protocol ebook The BEST resource for the AIPWhere 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.

When to Begin?

A lot of people make it a goal to start the AIP as a part of their healthy New Year’s Resolutions … is that the best time, or should you start right away? Learn more in my dedicated post – When Should You Start Your AIP Healing Journey?

Is the AIP For Everyone?

If you’re here and find yourself asking whether the AIP is really for you, or if it’s something everyone should try, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s post on her website addresses this perfectly. The following is a brief summary, but you can read the full post here if you wish – Should Everyone Follow the AIP.

“It (the AIP) isn’t just for people with autoimmune disease! Inflammation is a factor in all chronic illnesses, and this is one area where the foods we eat can make a huge difference. Reducing inflammation and giving the immune system the resources it needs, as well as the opportunity, to regulate itself, can help in every single chronic illness, not just autoimmune disease.

The AIP is not a substitute for your doctor, but instead is compatible with informed and judicious use of conventional medicine interventions, pharmaceuticals, and supplements, and fully embraces functional medicine.

In short, the AIP is a collection of best practices related to diet and lifestyle, not to the exclusion of additional treatments or interventions, that can be individualized to address specific circumstances and goals, framed in the context of a person whose health challenges imply a lower resilience to suboptimal choices.”

Online Resources & Reading:

If you’re unable 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 full article) by 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 one of the pioneers 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 (including the lifestyle factors) or if you’ve been on the AIP a while but feel you really don’t have a grasp of it. It contains the what’s, why’s and how’s 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.

Now that we’ve covered what the AIP is and the basics of where to get started (that’s found in Start Here Part 1 if you missed it) and you’re feeling a little more comfortable with the concept, we can move on and dig in to some additional resources you may find helpful and enjoyable (watch for the links in the paragraphs below and click).

Food Lists – If you haven’t read up on this yet, be sure to check out the details on my Food Lists page. This is pretty essential, so be sure to concentrate your efforts here next.

Mental Preparation – While it’s logical, it may not be obvious that we need to take a moment and prepare mentally for the AIP. You deserve a moment to be angry, (because like I’ve said elsewhere on this site, Grieving Over Illness is a real part of your healing journey) but this is about more than that. You need to establish your baseline, pump yourself up with a few positive affirmations (I know it sounds corny but it really helps throughout your challenging times and sends positive messages to your brain and body for healing), be sure to give yourself permission not to be perfect (it’s next to impossible to be PERFECTLY AIP all the time), be thankful and then put on our big girl/boy pants and get on with it! Check out Angie Alt’s post on Autoimmune Wellness, 6 Ways to Mentally Prep for the AIP (click here for the article).

Keep It Simple – This is probably my TOP tip! I talk about it in my motivational post, but I also recommend this post by Autoimmune Wellness, 5 Ways to Keep It Simple on the AIP (click here for the article), which talks about keeping your focus on nutrient density, a few good kitchen tools, using a basic approach to meals instead of complicated recipes, keeping convenience products in their place and avoiding trying to make too many changes all at once.

Kitchen Tools – I get asked a LOT what kitchen tools are essential for the AIP, so I’ll quickly refer you to a couple of great references:  #1 Go to the Autoimmune Wellness website Resources page and click on  Our Favorite Kitchen Tools (click here for the page) for a list of suggestions, #2 Check out the Kitchen Tour (click here for the page) feature on their website where average AIP-ers share their kitchen set ups so you can be inspired to get into your kitchen (these features include suggestions for kitchen tools and gadgets too and people are featured by the autoimmune disease that they’re coping with). I’m flattered to have been included back in July of 2018, and you can check out my kitchen tour here.

Motivation to Get Started – I LOVE this little summary of the 20 core principles that are important for empowering you on your AIP journey – I hope you find it motivational too. It’s a quick read – The AIP Manifesto.

Digging Deeper – If you’ve made it this far and you’re still hungry for more information or maybe you’re trying to do some diagnostics on your AIP efforts, check out my next post of recommendations where you can dig deeper into do’s and don’ts, troubleshooting and more – click here for Digging Deeper & Troubleshooting – Start Here Part 3.


The Autoimmune Protocol ebookGet everything you need to jump-start your healing with the Autoimmune Protocol today!

When I started the AIP I wasn’t sure which resource was THE right one! There was so much conflicting information out there that I was confused and didn’t buy anything for fear it was the wrong one.
FEAR NO MORE Friends … this is THE one! THE handbook for the AIP from THE doctor who pioneered the protocol. Don’t hesitate – you’ve found it! This is it!

The Autoimmune Protocol e-book was created by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD to provide you with an accessible, practical-focused AIP resource.

This all-in-one guide delivers:

  • 3oo+ pages of quick-access information on the AIP
  • 4 weeks of meal plans with shopping lists
  • over 80 family-friendly recipes, all 100% AIP!
  • automatic updates, delivered directly to you!
  • and so much more!

With The Autoimmune Protocol e-book, you’ll never be left out of the loop on updates to the AIP again! You’ll get instant access to updates to the protocol, via revisions to the e-book accessed through your account! And, just to make sure you know to look for them, you’ll be e-mailed every time updates are available!

TIP: If you prefer something printed – choose the sections you want a hard copy of and have them printed by a local office supplies store (I personally just printed the protocol and not the recipes)

Available from the Author:  Dr. Sarah Ballantyne – Click here to purchase

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

The Paleo Mom Collection

You may wish to purchase The Paleo Mom Collection instead (and save money down the road) … it contains the AIP e-book but takes it to the next level so you’re ready to move on to Paleo as well (that’s the goal for all of us – less restriction and a personalized Paleo / Paleo-AIP lifestyle). PLUS it includes the Go-To-Bed e-book because quality sleep is soooo important on your healing journey.
The Paleo Mom e-Book Collection includes:
  • The Autoimmune Protocol e-book
  • Go To Bed: 14 Steps for Healthier Sleep e-book
  • The Paleo Template e-book
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Want to read your PDF e-book on a Kindle? Go here for instructions