I thought it would be helpful for you to understand about one of the most important and commonly accepted approaches to healing from AI disease, and that is the Autoimmune Protocol diet (or AIP for short).
The Goal of the AIP diet is to remove any all possible dietary triggers of leaky guy, including:
- All grains
- Industrial seed oils
- Refined sugar
- Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants)
- Nuts and seeds
- Some spices (peppers, chilis, etc)
Yep. For reals.
It IS very restrictive and takes diligence and patience until you and your body get used to it. It is generally recommended that you stick to this plan for at least 4 weeks, but you may need to do so for longer depending on how you’re feeling. You’ll basically stick with it until your symptoms start to alleviate. The idea is to remove irritants that cause inflammation, allow your body to calm the immune response and heal the gut lining.
Following the elimination phase, you’ll enter the testing / reintroduction phase. During this period, you’ll test foods in each category, consuming them several times in one day and then observing your body’s reaction over the course of 72 hours. If you redevelop symptoms, it’s a strong indicator that you are sensitive to that food and should likely remove it from your diet indefinitely (perhaps permanently).
In the long term, most people are recommended to follow a Paleo approach to eating, which is a much less strict version of the AIP.
To learn more about the AIP approach, check-out this useful article by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD: 5 Steps to personalizing your autoimmune paleo protocol
What do you eat?
Are you on the AIP diet now – or considering starting – but not quite sure what to eat, given all the restrictions? Check out the mealplan.club, it helped me immensely when I was first starting.
Check out this article by Dr Sarah Ballantyne, aka: The Paleo Mom: Is AIP too hard?
My AIP Experience
I’ve done the AIP, about two years ago now. It wasn’t easy, but I stuck to it strictly for a full 6 weeks. We didn’t eat out much during that time, or even in the early part of my testing phase, which took almost 3 months to complete. Luckily I have a very supportive partner who made no fuss and was helpful in finding places that could work for me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t determine anything that I was reacting to food-wise. I guess that is both good news (yay, I don’t HAVE to cut anything permanently!) and bad news (darn it, I didn’t find any root cause that could help me feel better).
But, I DID experience some healing of my gut as my digestive symptoms all but disappeared and stayed gone even though I have reintroduced virtually everything into my diet. The one thing I have kept out of my diet permanently is… can you guess? If you’ve read my previous post about root causes, you’ll know. It’s gluten. So even if I didn’t experience any immediate symptoms when I reintroduced gluten during my AIP testing phase, it clearly did have an impact and would likely cause those GI symptoms – and the inflammation and leaky gut they signal – to return if I was to eat gluten regularly.
Have you done the AIP diet? Did it help? What dietary changes have you made, or do you plan to make? Share using the comments section below!