The AIP diet is strictly designed for people who are suffering from autoimmune diseases.
With autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis being the most prevalent form of diseases in the US, it is important to use diets like the AIP diet which can help alleviate their pretty debilitating symptoms, resulting in improved quality of life and health.
Most of the time, the doctors just help manage the symptoms by doing some surgery, prescribing pills and possible lifestyle changes that could help provide some relief and manage the discomfort.
The one thing that seems to be missing from the management of these symptoms is our primary energy source –the food we eat. Because conventional medicine is largely interventional as against holistic, you may need to see if the food you eat can further help improve the way you feel and relieve the symptoms. Which is why you might want to try the AIP diet.
What is the AIP Diet?
Short for Autoimmune Protocol, the AIP diet’s sole goal is the effective abatement of your autoimmune disease’s symptoms. It’s designed to help eliminate foods that irritate your gut from your diet.
In fact, it is often referred to as a much stricter version of the paleo diet because it advises against the consumption of processed foods, grains, dairy, and legumes, and then goes on to cut out even some more of the foods you have in the paleo diet.
As a result, dieters often tend to struggle with adhering to it. Yet, it can be the difference between a daily battle with full blown daily autoimmune disease symptoms or an improved symptom-free quality of life.
Foods that are excluded from the AIP diet –e.g. gluten- are often those that have been proven to affect or react with your gut’s lining, resulting in a blood/gut breach or leaky gut that triggers inflammations in your body.
This diet’s main focus is the healing of your gut and the repair of those “breaches”. To do that, you need to get rid of the irritants first and then replace with healthy gut-soothing foods.
Autoimmune sufferers need to stay on this diet for a few weeks before gradually reintroducing the foods that were eliminated from their diets back into their meals. Just make sure to check out their effects as you introduce them one after the other.
Does AIP Diet Work and Should You Get on the AIP Diet?
Well, that depends on how desperately you want to feel like your old, healthy self without the symptoms of your condition. As you already know, specific foods can exacerbate your condition and even trigger a more severe reaction.
Is it worth it to have a life without those symptoms and pains, even if you have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods? This is an important question to ask yourself. It is what would help you power through and stay faithful to the diet, even if it’s the last thing you want to do.
Studies have shown a clear link between symptom improvement and a change in diet among autoimmune disease sufferers. If it’s clear that foods can help reduce your autoimmune disease’s symptoms, going on the diet might be the practical solution.
Please understand that we’re not saying this is the ultimate best way to relieve your autoimmune disease. Some conditions can be relieved by increased rest, and stress management, thus negating the need for the diet. But, if you find that cutting out certain foods helps you feel better and eliminate some of these symptoms, you may want to try the AIP diet.
Pros and Cons of the AIP Diet
As earlier stated, the AIP diet is a corrective and healing diet. Which means it gets your body, your gut particularly, started on the healing process necessary to combat your autoimmune condition.
It starts with reducing gut irritation, followed by the gut wall repair. As a result of the elimination of the leaky gut, your immune system will no longer need to trigger any inflammation to combat the foreign bodies that breach your gut walls.
You’ll also eat healthier, energy giving and antioxidant rich foods, which will help get rid of free radicals and repair the damage in your body. The major downside to the AIP diet is its restrictive nature. When you’ve eaten a certain food type for a long time, it can be difficult to adjust and cut out those foods. Yet, this is what you might have to do with the AIP diet.
Most people tend to become discouraged by the diet seeing as they have a pretty short list of foods to eat, as well as too many rules. This can pose a challenge to creating delicious meals, and can make the diet a chore, instead of an adventure.
It can also be time consuming as you’d have to spend more time shopping for foods and going through food labels. It is not easy sticking to the AIP diet, but it can be done if you’re determined and willing to feel better.
Foods You Should Avoid on the AIP Diet
Understanding the foods to avoid in this diet is just as important as those you need to eat. These complement each other and help accelerate the healing/recovery process. The list of foods to avoid on the AIP diet include:
- Nuts like peanuts and seeds like chia or hemp seeds
- Legumes like lentils and beans
- Beverages like chocolate and coffee
- Dried fruits
- Grains and processed foods like cereals and refined sugars
- Canola and vegetable oils
- All forms of dairy
- Veggies like okra, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers
- Sweeteners such as xylitol and stevia
List of Foods to Eat While on the AIP Diet
- Free range chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, oysters, and animal entrails
- Non-dairy fermented foods like tofu
- Sweeteners like organic and pure honey
- Coconut oils and food
- Other veggies minus the ones listed in the “do not eat category”
- Vinegar, green tea
- Bone broth
- Non-lectin based herbs
There are arguments about the exclusion/inclusion of fruits in the diet. Some recommend it, others recommend leaving them out. Experiment with both to see how you feel. If eating some fruits help you feel better, by all means do so. But if they don’t cut them from your diet.
AIP Diet Recipes
The major struggle for most people is finding an actual recipe that works. If you’re in that category, we do recommend doing a search for AIP diet recipes. But if you need something to start with, check out AIP diet recipes like the Feel Good Soup, Maple Bacon Brussels Sprout, Balsamic Chicken Veggie Bowl, and Turkey Apple breakfast Hash.