What is AIP?
AIP stands for autoimmune protocol or autoimmune paleo. It is a lifestyle/diet that removes the foods that are known to trigger inflammation in the body. Grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, nightshades, eggs, refined sugar, and dairy are the main foods that are avoided. The foods that are recommended are healing and nutrient dense in order to give your body what it needs in order to heal.
Recently, my 12 year old asked me why I avoid those foods if I’m not allergic to them. Here’s my best/simplest explanation. If you think of a plant, you can see the leaves, roots, flower, fruit, seeds etc., right? Now which of those does the plant NOT want eaten? The seed (think legume/nut/seed/grain)! If the seed is eaten and digested than a new plant can not grow. The entire life process of the plant is in vain. So the plant has defense mechanisms in place to protect the seed. These defenses are largely chemical. There are certain enzymes and chemicals to protect the seed from being eaten and digested. It’s those chemicals that cause inflammation in our body. Those chemicals are called anti nutrients and include gluten, saponins, lectins, phytates (etc). In those with autoimmune disease (who are prone to inflammation), these antinutrients can cause severe flares and chronic illness. So although I’m not allergic to these items, my body can not tolerate them. By removing foods that’s are naturally inflammatory from my diet, I allow my body to calm itself and slowly heal.
What autoimmune disease do you have?
I have been diagnosed with hashimotos, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, autoimmune chronic vestibular neuritis, and autoimmune neuropathy. I am also compound heterozygous MTHFR.
Will you have to be on the AIP diet forever?
Yes and no. The AIP is not meant to be a lifelong diet. It’s meant to be an elimination diet where foods are slowly introduced. Eventually you will end up with a unique diet based on your personal intolerances. With that said, gluten is recommended to never be reintroduced.
For more information please consider getting the book The Paleo Approach. It goes in depth about the science behind AIP.
Also worth adding:
While the food we eat plays a huge role in healing, it is not the only thing to take into consideration. Drinking plenty of water (I aim to drink 100oz a day), getting 8-9 hours of sleep, reducing stress, using natural supplements and essential oils, yoga, meditation, releasing emotional trauma and focusing on emotional healing, and practicing self care are ALL important. Also, periodic detoxification can be helpful.
Healing is a journey. If you have any questions, I’m happy to try to help!