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The AIP Diet For Beginners

May 10, 2023 | Autoimmunity, Blog, Food Recipes, Thyroid Health

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AIP diet for beginners

Are you struggling with autoimmune symptoms and finding it challenging to manage them? Have you tried a PALEO or LOW FODMAP diet, but they haven’t provided enough relief? If so, you may want to try the AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL (AIP) diet. In this article, we  discuss the AIP diet for beginners.  The AIP diet is a stricter version of the Paleo eating plan that eliminates a wider variety of foods linked with TRIGGERING INFLAMMATION for those with autoimmunity.  In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the AIP diet for beginners that can help you reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

 

Understanding Autoimmune Disease

AUTOIMMUNE diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body. This can lead to a range of symptoms such as joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, and gut pain. Autoimmune disorders affect approximately 16% of Americans and appear to be increasing in prevalence. Women account for 78% of autoimmune disease patients.

Excessive INFLAMMATION underlies many autoimmune conditions, which is where changes to your diet can help. By removing potentially inflammatory foods that may aggravate your symptoms, you can achieve some symptom relief. Identifying your worst trigger foods and then continuing to avoid them can help to maintain your autoimmune symptoms at a lower level.

 

The Gut-Autoimmune Link

Disruptions in the GUT MICROBIOME can increase intestinal permeability, which causes a cascade of INFLAMMATION and an overzealous immune response. Increased intestinal permeability (a leaky gut) is thought to be a major trigger for an exaggerated immune response, which is the ROOT CAUSE of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE.

 

How the Autoimmune Protocol Diet Can Help with Autoimmune Conditions

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES can be distressing, whether you’ve been diagnosed with one or experiencing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, or gut pain. However, it’s good to know that an ELIMINATION DIET such as the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet may help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

The AIP diet is a stricter version of the Paleo diet that eliminates a wider variety of foods linked with triggering inflammation for those with autoimmunity.

Some small studies have shown that the AIP diet can improve the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

 

The AIP Diet for Beginners:

The AIP diet eliminates dairy, legumes, grains, and also removes nightshade vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, and seed-derived spices.  These foods are known to trigger the immune system more than others. After the initial elimination phase of the AIP diet, you’ll reintroduce foods one by one, watching out for symptoms. Over time, you can use what you’ve learned about your food sensitivities to create a maintenance diet that works for you.

If you’re already following the PALEO DIET PRINCIPLES, you’ll likely already be GLUTEN-FREE and DAIRY-FREE. After the initial elimination phase of the AIP diet, you’ll reintroduce foods one by one, watching out for symptoms. There are three parts to any elimination diet: the ELIMINATION phase, the REINTRODUCTION phase, and the MAINTENANCE phase.

Once you’ve completed the elimination phase, you can move on to the reintroduction and maintenance phase.

 

Reintroductions

Reintroduce one food at a time, and watch for symptoms for 1-2 days before reintroducing additional foods. Keep a food diary to help you identify your worst trigger foods and to avoid them.

 

Maintenance Phase

Once you’ve reintroduced all the foods you want to test, use what you’ve learned to create a custom diet plan that minimizes your symptoms while you focus on improving your gut health and other treatments.

 

Tips for Success

To make the AIP diet easier, find a few BASIC RECIPES that sound good and use them to develop a simple meal plan. Make a few big batches of your simple starter recipes and load up your freezer.

Once you’re comfortable with your dietary changes and know which foods trigger your symptoms, research new recipes to expand your menu options. Stock your pantry with ingredients you need for your basic meal plan and remove all off-AIP plan foods. Be as strict as possible about the diet during the first two to three weeks. This will help you feel better faster and give you better results during your food reintroductions.

 

Conclusion – Research on AIP and Autoimmunity

The AIP diet has a similar but not identical nutritional profile to other NUTRIENT RICH diets that have been found to reduce symptoms and inflammation.

Several studies have shown the AIP diet can improve the quality of life and symptoms for people with autoimmune conditions. For example, an 11-week AIP diet for patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) improved their quality of life, and women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis improved their quality of life and symptoms by using the AIP diet for ten weeks.

While to date no studies have shown that the AIP diet reduces autoantibodies (the hallmark of many autoimmune ailments), symptom improvement is certainly its own reward. There’s enough inferential evidence to warrant trying the AIP diet to see how your autoimmune condition responds, especially if you haven’t seen any symptom relief from a less-restrictive diet like the Paleo diet.

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