Updated: Oct 16, 2018
Here is some more information for those not yet familiar with the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) Protocol.
It is a science-based strategy that uses diet and lifestyle to regulate the immune system while reducing the inflammation and giving the body the opportunity to heal! It is composed of several pillars:
-> sleep management,
-> stress management,
-> connect with nature & yourself and
-> creation of your support team
It is also important to get support on traumas management when applicable. The brain-gut connection is so strong that if this aspect is left behind, your healing journey is not complete.
Other Protocols specific to manage autoimmune diseases are out there as well, the Wahls' Protocol by Dr Terry Wahls, the Autoimmune Solution by Dr Amy Myers, the Hashimoto's Protocol by Dr Izabella Wentz, and others. All those protocols are mostly based on the same principles.
The food aspect is usually the biggest part for most of us - however, the AIP Protocol is not only revolving around food, the other pillars are indispensable for a whole healing experience.
The AIP Protocol includes 3 phases: the elimination phase, the re-introduction phase and the maintenance phase.
-> The elimination phase is removing all the potentially inflammatory food from your diet. This allows your body to reach a baseline, not being attacked from all parts by inflammatory triggers, it will heal, reduce the immune reactions, decrease inflammation, which will ultimately decrease the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases (like fatigue, join pain, brain fog, depression,...).
What is removed during elimination phase is all grains (including gluten), pseudo-grains, dairy, legumes, nightshades (which includes regular potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers), alcohol, added sugar, seeds, nuts, eggs and processed vegetable oils.
Note that the AIP Protocol is not a Vegan diet, while it recommends minimum 8 servings of vegetables per day and 3/4 of the plate being veggies, it also emphasizes the animal proteins of all sort as nutrients source.
Moreover, the elimination phase is not only about eliminate inflammatory food, it is essentially to add more nutrient-dense food to your diet. The foundation of the AIP diet includes compliant vegetables (8-10 servings per day, from the color rainbow), seafood (5-6 times per week, including fish, shellfish, sea veggies), organ meats (3-5 time per week is best but don't be stressed if you can't do it), then edible fungi, high quality meats (preferably grass-fed), fruits (2-3 servings per day), healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, coconut oil), compliant herbs and spices.
There is a large diversity of food compliant with the AIP during the elimination phase, you will discover new vegetables you never tried before, awesome recipes and change your way to think about your meals. During this phase, it is essential to be 100% compliant to ensure proper healing. It can take time, it is a process you have to do at your own pace, find your marks, take confidence and feel great again!
-> The re-introduction phase: when you reach your baseline (less symptoms, feeling good, it takes usually 2-3 months to several months being in the elimination phase - everyone is different), you can start to re-introduce food in a certain order and one by one very slowly. As you removed the background noise during elimination phase, you can listen to your body which will tell you which food is good and which one is provoking inflammation and symptoms. During this phase, you are creating your own personalized diet.
-> Maintenance phase: by keeping your personalized diet, you can still try to reintroduce food that didn't work during re-introduction phase as your body is continuing to heal.
Depending on life events triggering flares and symptoms, you may have to go back to elimination phase for some weeks to reset your body. Some are doing it once a year, others don't, again each person will react differently. Respect our own bio-individuality is very important in this process.
To support you in the process, there is several online programs available, or Facebook support groups, or you can ask a Certified Coach to help you for a more personalized support. Check the Certified AIP Coach directory to find a coach in your area.
I hope this introduction to the AIP Protocol is useful for you. Don't hesitate to contact me would you have any further questions about it.
(Picture from www.thepaleomom.com)