Updated: August 29, 2016
In this post you will find a complete guide to The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) in a cheat sheet format.
The AIP is perfect for anyone with a diagnosed autoimmune disease or if you or your doctor think you might have one but haven’t gotten an official diagnosis yet.
Either way, the path forward is the same.
And that path begins with a change in diet to the highly effective AIP.
Let’s jump right into it…
Whole Foods vs Processed Foods
Since originally publishing this post I have had clients come to me with food journals for review and I just knew I needed to add an important section that I missed.
That is, the importance of eating real, whole foods while avoiding processed, packaged and manufactured foods.
This is the very core principle of the Paleo Diet and why the AIP is often referred to as “autoimmune paleo”.
When working off these lists of foods to consume and avoid, please make sure the foods you are consuming comes in the form of a natural, unprocessed food.
For example, do not buy and eat gluten free bread.
This is not real food – it is a manufactured food that a company made, taking out a part of the food and replacing it with manmade chemicals so that it tastes half way decent enough to eat.
There are some good AIP recipes for breads you can make at home if you’d like that as a treat once in a while, but you cannot consume any manufactured gluten free products.
Stick with foods that have one ingredient vs a list of ingredients.
All of these foods are their only ingredient.
When you start buying pre-packaged foods like gluten free bread you get with it a laundry list of fake ingredients likely putting more stress on your body and aggravating your autoimmune issues.
Now, that I hope I have cleared that up, let’s dive into the cheat sheet…
The AIP Cheat Sheet
Here’s a quick and dirty version of the AIP.
Avoid the following foods:
- all grains (including wheat, oats, rice, corn)
- egg whites
- refined sugar
- trans fats (vegetable oils, friend foods, crisco)
- nuts and seeds
- nightshades (tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, spices derived from peppers, eggplant)
- food additives
- artificial sweeteners and stevia
Focus on consuming:
- All vegetables
- All fruits (although not more than 1-2 pieces per day)
- All squashes and pumpkins
- Organ meats from grass-fed animals
- Wild fish and shellfish
- Grass-fed meat
- High quality fats (lard from grass-fed animals, ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil)
- Fermented foods if tolerated (i.e. sauerkraut)
- Bone broth/collagen protein powder
How Long Should You Follow The AIP?
The Autoimmune Protocol is an elimination diet.
What that means is it eliminates all foods that are known to cause some sort of inflammatory or allergic reaction in people with autoimmune disease.
It is recommended that you use the diet and stick to it with 100% compliance for at least 3 months, or until your symptoms appear to have gone into remission.
The more serious your condition and the worse your autoimmune symptoms are, the more 100% compliance will be imperative for you to adhere to.
Some symptoms may start to reverse right away and others may need more time, perhaps several months.
It is highly recommended that you keep a daily food journal to monitor your response.
In your food journal keep track of what and how much you ate, as well as how you felt after you ate it. This should include not only directly after your meal, but up to 3 days after you ate.
Many times reactions in our body to something such as gluten can take a few days to make themselves known.
Reintroduction of Foods
During this time on the AIP the goals are to decrease the amount of chronic inflammation and heal the body by searching for the root cause of your autoimmune symptoms and working to eliminate it.
At some point, you may be able to begin to reintroduce these foods back into your diet.
You should view this as an experiment to be done only after all of your symptoms are gone.
You would do this experiment by reintroducing foods one at a time and keeping careful watch as to any negative effects to your health. If your symptoms return that’s a sure sign you still have something going on.
This is where your daily food journal becomes so important – it allows you to go back and know exactly what you ate and what reaction it caused, without the guessing and relying on a foggy memory.
You Can Do It
Depending upon your current diet, some of you may find this plan relatively easy while others may find this incredibly difficult.
Eating this way takes a lot of planning to be successful and not fall back into your old ways.
It also can be a bit more expensive to eat this way, depending upon your current diet and how much you consume.
However, we hope that the money spent on to improve your diet will result in savings in medical expenses, time off work and money wasted on unhealthy food.
If you are suffering from symptoms from an autoimmune disease then it is in your best interest to to commit to the AIP for a minimum of 3 months.
You CAN do it. You must do it…
All you have to lose is the pain, fatigue and inflammation you’ve been living with for so long.
The Autoimmune Recovery Project changes lives!
Discover the 3 step strategy for reversing autoimmunity your doctor doesn’t tell you.
This post represents just the nitty gritty details of the Autoimmune Protocol.
If you’re a dork like me and want to know every last detail and the science behind each point of the plan, you may want to check out The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
Sarah also has an awesome AIP cookbook if you’d like some delicious ideas for recipes that are AIP compliant.