AIP Paleo Diet: What to Consider?
The AIP Paleo Diet has been taking the nutrition scene by storm but who is it for and what do you need to consider before starting it? AIP stands for Auto Immune Protocol and the aim of the AIP Paleo diet is to help support the immune system and the digestive system to try to reduce inflammation-related health conditions.
The AIP diet aims to lower the level of inflammation within the guts and intestines as this can trigger many autoimmune conditions. Healing the mucosal areas of the gut and lowering the levels of inflammation overall can really help patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, fighting flare-ups and symptoms.
So what exactly is the AIP diet and what do I need to consider?
Firstly, if you do have health conditions, you should always seek medical advice before embarking on a diet change, and it’s always best to work with a qualified nutritionist if you are changing your diet to improve the symptoms of a specific health condition.
Secondly, you will need to plan your food shopping and meals so that you can follow the programme effectively and easily. When you are embarking on the AIP Paleo Diet, bear in mind all of the foods which can’t be consumed so plan when you are going to start it – for example, just before you are going on holiday might not be the best time.
Foods which you can’t eat on the AIP Paleo Diet include: any processed food, chocolate, alcohol, nuts and seeds, beans and grains, sweeteners, dairy, dried fruit, alcohol, dried herbs and vegetable oils, as well as some vegetables including potatoes, aubergine and tomatoes. The aim is to eliminate the food groups most likely to cause inflammation in the gut and digestive system.
But it’s not all bad, you are allowed to eat plenty of vegetables (apart from those outlined), limited fruit, coconut products, fats, bone broth, meat, poultry and seafood, herbal teas and green teas, as well as vinegars and fresh herbs.
While food is a powerful way to lower inflammation, diet alone is not normally enough to completely fight autoimmune disease so it might be worth considering adding supplements to your diet and seeking advice on other lifestyle changes you can make.
All of the food which is removed from your diet under AIP is known to cause gut imbalances and inflammation so eliminating all of them can really help to promote gut healing and give the immune system a chance to rebalance.
Is there evidence the AIP Paleo Diet will help to improve my gut health?
Yes, there have been numerous studies on the impact which certain foods have on gut health and the immune system, which have shown that eliminating certain food groups can actively promote healing and reduce symptoms.
Once you have undertaken an AIP paleo diet, if you wish to reintroduce some of the eliminated foods into your diet then you need to consider the best way to do it. Bear in mind it can take around 72 hours for your body to react to food so you should only re-introduce one food at a time, every five days.
Look out for an immune response including aching, rash, stomach pains, bloating, and fatigue and brain fog, with each food that you re-introduce. Make sure you write down which food you reintroduced each time so that you know what caused the reaction.
Try introducing each food back into your diet gradually, with a spoonful every few hours, then a full serving in the evening, so that you have eaten enough to create an immune response. Keep a diary and then you will know exactly which foods to avoid going forward.
Undertaking the AIP paleo diet is hard work but it does not mean you have to miss out on delicious foods. There are plenty of amazing paleo recipes out there which fit in with this diet. Plan your shopping and meals in advance so that you don’t struggle.
The AIP paleo diet can really help to give your system a break and allow your digestive system to heal, lowering autoimmune condition symptoms. Once you start re-introducing foods you will have a really good picture of exactly which food groups upset your body and which you need to eliminate from your everyday diet completely.
The key things to consider are working with a professional nutritionist and dietary expert so that you are creating an AIP diet which works perfectly for your particular health needs.
While this particular diet is not really suitable for vegetarians, there are versions of the AIP Paleo diet which can work with a vegan diet potentially so it is a diet which can work with most lifestyle needs, but is always best followed under the guidance of a nutrition expert.