The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is considered to be one of the most restrictive compared to other diet regimens. However, unlike most food restrictions, it is aimed not only at losing weight and improving health, but also at the serious support in the course of the autoimmune diseases treatment. Trying to get used to this diet and observing all its principles, you can get a chance for a full life without ailments and unpleasant symptoms.
What Is The Autoimmune Protocol Diet(AIP)?
Before you start AIP diet, you need to focus on its basic principles:
- You reset the immune system. You stick to the AIP diet to reduce inflammation and return the immune system to remission, creating a comfortable environment for the body.
- You can cure the so-called leaky gut. There is a version according to which the cause of autoimmune diseases is the microscopic holes in your intestine. Food particles from the intestine enter other organs through them, causing the immune system to work in an unhealthy mode. The food you consume in the course of the autoimmune protocol diet makes these holes tighten and regulates the digestion.
- You acquire better-living food habits. You start eating healthy and with the right frequency and it makes you feel better both physically and mentally.
- You get a lot of nutrients. Among them are omega-3 fatty acids and a full complex of vitamins.
If all that is written above seems rather positive for you and inspires you to try a new nutrition approach, perhaps it will be the most suitable way for you to restore health and well-being.
How Does The AIP Diet Work?
Obviously, the main purpose of this diet is to reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, lupus, ulcerative colitis (UC) or Hashimoto’s disease. All we need now is to understand how the work of the intestine affects the course of the disease related to the problems with the immune system.
In 2012, the scientists came to the conclusion that it is bacteria in the intestine that can provoke autoimmune inflammation. Their active growth leads to the appearance of the most unpleasant symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases. The fact is that the inside of the intestinal wall is protected by a strong network of proteins, and these bacteria gradually destroy it and make the intestinal wall more porous. That’s how food particles get into our bodies to the organs which are not used to processing them. That is why our immune system has to react to expel those “aliens”.
In 2017, the experts were able to trace the relationship between the use of certain types of food and the autoimmune diseases remission. The conclusion was made after studying inflammatory bowel diseases, but further research continues to study the effect of a special diet on dangerous and unhealthy symptoms.
The AIP Diet: Pros and Cons
The most important advantage of the AIP diet for the beginners is the abundance of the most useful and nourishing products. Every day you eat healthy and can feel a rise in your mood, improved health and the inflammation being reduced.
However, a lot of patients tend to put off the beginning of the diet or give it up right after the start, because they are afraid of a huge number of restrictions and prohibitions. Indeed, during the AIP diet, you have to eliminate even those types of products that can be used in the course of the Paleo diet that is also rather restrictive.
If you are not sure that you can comply with all the conditions of AIP in the most proper way, you may try its adapted version and eliminate fewer types of foods from you ration, gradually moving to a full healthy diet. Over time, you will feel the pleasure of being in control of your diet, feel better and not allow any harmful food to affect your body and cause inflammation anymore.
Who Should Try the AIP Diet?
First of all, the autoimmune protocol diet was worked out for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases including lupus and ulcerative colitis mentioned above as well as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many others.
As you know, it is impossible to cure such diseases, but they can be led the stage of persistent remission after the inflammation is reduced and all the factors affecting its development are eliminated. The foods allowed for the AIP diet contribute to the remission and may lead to less consummation of medicines and the reduction of large dosage.
What Food Is Good For Autoimmune Diseases?
To the complete regrets of gourmets, sweet teeth, and other kinds of foodies the list of products allowed for the AIP diet is quite short compared to the list of prohibited foods. However, you should know exactly what you need to eliminate, because any deviations may lead you astray and never help you to reach the relief.
Foods To Eliminate On the AIP Diet
So, you should strictly avoid the following products:
- All grains. The restriction applies to all types of cereals including oatmeal, buckwheat, and rice, as it is proven that they contain gluten that can provoke inflammation.
- Dairy products. Milk of any fat content, yogurts, cottage cheese, and even raw dairy products are under restrictions.
- All legumes. You will also have to eliminate peas, beans, soybeans, peanuts, as well as any products made of them like hummus.
- Any kind of processed products, including canned food.
- All kinds of refined sugar. You will have to forget not only about sugar in its pure form but also about any dishes that contain it including pastries, cakes, and confectionary.
- Industrial seed oils such as canola or vegetable oil.
- Butter and ghee.
- To reduce inflammation and persistent remission, it is necessary to forget not only about strong but also about weak alcohol.
The autoimmune protocol diet restricts some kinds of food that the Paleo diet allows. This list includes:
- nightshade vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and so on;
- seeds and nuts including some spices like cumin and coriander;
- alternative sweeteners ;
- any food additives including food thickeners and emulsifiers;
Some studies also suggest that green-blue algae can cause an immune response, and therefore they should also be excluded.
In addition to the products, the AIP diet imposes restrictions on some drugs. The dietists insist on abandoning nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Drugs of this type include ibuprofen (Advil), sodium naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (Bufferin).
Foods You Can Eat On the AIP Diet
And now let’s move on to some more pleasant things – the types of food from which you can make your healthy and healing daily ration. The list of allowed products includes:
- You can eat beef and pork as well as chicken, turkey and any other kind of meat or poultry. Give preference to the meat of animals in free-range and grass-fed.
- The nightshades are the only exception.
- It contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are able to adjust and regulate the most important processes in your body. So you can safely have lunch or dinner with your favorite salmon or cod.
- Fermented non-dairy foods. The list of them may include fermented vegetables, kimchi, and kombucha.
- Natural oils. You can consume coconut, olive, or avocado oil without any restrictions.
- Non-seed herbs. Oregano, mint, celery leaves and basil will give a pleasant variety to your dishes.
- Some kinds of vinegar. You may dress your dishes with sugar-free apple cider and balsamic vinegar.
- You can drink herbal tea as well as black or green, but make sure that it does not contain any seeds.
- Bone broth and natural gelatine.
You can also add a little honey or maple syrup but not very often and in very small quantities. As for the fruit, in some versions of the AIP diet, it is allowed to pamper yourself with them. However, do not forget that you can eat a maximum of 25 grams of fructose or two pieces of fruit a day.
As you can see, the autoimmune diet involves the development of new, healthy eating habits that help your body defeat inflammation and cause a stable period of remission.
To get used to the AIP diet quickly, keep a journal of foods to fix everything you eat along with the symptoms and sensations that you experience. The link between diet and the improving of your well-being can inspire you to go on. It’s also a good idea to consult a nutritionist and your doctor to get more advice on healthy eating and your lifestyle for a longer remission.
Autoimmune Protocol Diet Recipes
I know all this theoretical information is not helpful unless you can actually try some AIP recipes and improve your health. I looked for the best-recommended recipes on Pinterest and on the sites of my blogger friends. Save pins of the recipes you like to your AIP Diet board on Pinterest to get back to them again and again. And check the full recipes following the links under each food photo!
Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)
Aside from being egg free, they’re veggie packed with tons of veggies that I know I don’t always get every day!
Check full recipe here.
Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts (Paleo, AIP)
The whole family will gobble up Brussels sprouts when you cook them with maple syrup and crispy bacon. Great way to get more healthy cruciferous veggies into your diet!
Check full recipe here.
Chicken Fajita Bowls (AIP, Paleo, Whole 30)
Zucchini, squash and onion make a perfect fajita bowl swap! Throw on some avocado or AIP guac, green onion, cilantro, and some fresh lettuce, and you’ve got one heck of an AIP dish!
Check full recipe here.
Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash (AIP)
This Turkey Apple Breakfast hash is a beautiful array of colorful vegetables and is such a healthy alternative to traditional breakfast foods!
Check full recipe here.
Autoimmune Protocol Beef Fajitas with Mango Salsa
Instead of bell peppers, this recipe uses summer squash with lime juice and a sprinkling of autoimmune protocol-friendly seasonings for zest.
Check full recipe here.