The autoimmune protocol diet, or AIP, is often referred to as an extension of the paleo diet. Thus, an AIP paleo diet is more stringent than the regular paleo way of eating. Further foods are eliminated in order to further reduce inflammation and symptoms of other illnesses. If it has been recommended that you follow AIP, you’ll need to know exactly what that means.
Paleo vs. AIP
The term “paleo” is derived from the word “paleolithic.” The paleo diet is based on what people ate during the paleolithic era which occurred before farming was common practice. That means the diet focuses on meats, fish, berries, nuts, seeds and vegetables. It eliminates other foods like grains, legumes and dairy. Of course, no artificial sweeteners, trans fats or vegetable oils are allowed either.
On the other hand, AIP implements a few more restrictions to the paleo diet. In addition to the normal paleo-based food exclusions, now you must also exclude the nuts, seeds and certain nightshade plants like tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. Under extreme circumstances, you may also need to eliminate onion, coconut and nectarines.
Why AIP May Be Necessary
AIP is designed to eliminate major cases of gut inflammation by removing foods from the diet that are often disruptive to gut bacteria. It is mostly targeted at those fighting autoimmune diseases. AIP could possibly aid in healing:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hashimoto’s Disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
Once the gut heals, the hope is that the immune system can begin to repair itself.
AIP Diet Specifics
You should plan to follow AIP for at least 30 days, but it’s possible that 90 days could be the lucky time period. The diet plan can either start immediately or you can slowly transition to it.
If you’re decide on a slow transition, try eliminating one food group per week. Once all groups have been eliminated for the specified time period, you should evaluate your symptoms. When you see a noticeable difference, you can then begin to reintroduce foods (not entire food groups) one at a time. However, if you begin experiencing negative side effects again, eliminate that food immediately. But remember, if you are happy with the way you feel after the given time period has lapsed, you do not have to reintroduce any foods if you don’t want to risk feeling poorly again.
In addition to eliminating the certain foods in your diet, it’s important to keep other crucial components for health in mind.
First, be sure to get enough sleep. Sometimes, we undermine the importance of sleep for our overall health. Believe it or not, lack of adequate sleep can actually lead to more inflammation.
Second, don’t forget to exercise! You’ve heard it so many times, but it’s even more important when you’re suffering. In addition to helping you manage your weight and contributing to your heart health, exercise adds an extra boost to your immune system.
Next, lower your stress. We know, easier said than done. Nonetheless, do it. Figure it out. Those with high levels of stress have more inflammation and weaker immune responses.
Last, be careful of the toxins that may surround you or lie in the products you use. Common toxins like BPA, sulfates or dyes can trigger even more inflammation.
AIP and paleo are related but they are definitely not the same thing. AIP further eliminates common trigger foods from your diet. Even though it’s restrictive, it has proven to be quite beneficial to those with autoimmune disorders. If you suffer from one of these conditions, be sure to speak to your doctor before starting the diet yourself.