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The AIP diet stands for the Autoimmune Protocol. It is a variation of the Paleo diet designed to reduce inflammation and other symptoms that tend to occur with autoimmune diseases like lupus, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s, and more.
How Do You Follow an AIP Diet?
An AIP diet is a modified Paleo diet. You will still avoid non-Paleo things, like grains and dairy products, but you’ll also eliminate other Paleo-friendly foods, like nightshade vegetables. An AIP diet is done in two phases: elimination and reintroduction.
The elimination phase is very strict and in addition to non-Paleo foods, also eliminates eggs, nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes and bell peppers), nuts, seeds, legumes, all forms of sweeteners, coffee, and certain herbs and spices that are from the nightshade family (like paprika and chili powder). This phase of the diet also encourages consuming many gut-healing foods like bone broth, fermented foods, grass-fed meat, and non-nightshade fruits and vegetables.
The AIP protocol is as much a lifestyle program as it is a diet, focusing on how other factors can influence your body’s ability to heal. Sleep, healthy stress management, and gentle physical activity are also strongly encouraged.
The elimination phase of AIP has no set timeframe but should be followed until a person notices their symptoms resolving. This can last anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months or longer.
Once symptoms have resolved, the reintroduction phase may begin, which involves carefully adding back foods that were removed during the elimination phase. Note that not all foods are added and that a Paleo framework should still be followed to avoid another onset of symptoms. One at a time, with space in between to track symptoms and sensitivity, Paleo foods can be added back, like eggs, nightshade vegetables, nuts, and seeds. If any adverse reactions, even mild, are noticed, the food should be eliminated from the diet for a longer period of time.
Should You Try an AIP Diet?
An AIP diet is a very strict version of Paleo and is not necessarily the best option for everyone. However, if you experience any of the following, it may be a proper dietary course of action for you:
- Leaky gut or regular digestive problems (bloating, indigestion, IBS, etc.)
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic disorders
- High levels of inflammation or joint/muscle pain
If you are struggling with health problems that don’t seem to resolve, working with a nutrition professional to find a customized dietary plan is always the best option. But the AIP diet may be recommended for you if you have chronic or inflammatory conditions.
If you would like to learn more about the AIP diet, check out the following resources:
- The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook
- The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen
- The Paleo Approach
- The Autoimmune Protocol Made Simple Cookbook
Today’s Simple Step
AIP recipes can be delicious and are highly nutrient-dense, easy on digestion, and free from Paleo extras (like sweeteners), making them a good choice for anyone—even those not specifically following the diet.
This Beet Kraut recipe is not only the perfect way to add a pop of color to your mealtime, but it’s rich in natural probiotics, healthy fiber, and phytonutrients that fight inflammation. It’s a wonderful twist on sauerkraut that is AIP-friendly and Paleo.