Hi friends, welcome back! It only took me 2 months of lockdown to use this time wisely for updating my blog on a regular basis – more on that in another post. For now, I want to talk a little bit about what I know about the autoimmune protocol diet, and most of all, I want to know what you know!
*Heavy Disclaimer Here: While I respect what the AIP diet has or has not done for you (and I’m thrilled to hear of success stories where you have felt some tangible benefits to your lifestyle and management of your diseases!), I want to preface this post by saying PLEASE don’t send me the “I am CURED by doing x” type of advice. I’m not here for it; that’s not my jam; I don’t subscribe to that kind of medical path. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! ❤️
Now that we got that out of the way! Let’s talk about AIP a bit.
I have been following chatter about variations of the AIP diet for years now – and I should really say the AIP lifestyle because it’s not really a “diet.” In fact, I have even adopted pieces of AIP here and there over the course of the past 8 years or so. For example – I went gluten-free for almost 6 months to see what impact that had on my inflammation levels and my physical symptoms. I was dairy-free and about half gluten-free for almost a year.
First things first: what is AIP? As with pretty much any topic nowadays, the internet has a hell of a lot of variety when it comes to misinformation about AIP. AND there are a lot of people who want to peddle some magical cure bullshit your way and how they took “5 Steps to Cure Autoimmune and Chronic Disease!” Nope. I’m not about that crap, folks. I can smell your bullshit 50 miles away on that one. HOWEVER, there is also a lot of genuinely reputable and educational information out there as well.
The gist with AIP is that you are almost going through an elimination diet like someone would go through to identify a food allergy. However, it is very restrictive in nature – even more so than the Paleo diet but it does look similar. The idea is that fully eliminating inflammatory foods/ingredients for the first period of time can reset your system and your gut. Then you would go through gradually adding one of the inflammatory groups one at a time to see if symptoms were triggered and/or some groups bothered your system more than others. The inflammatory groups that you eliminate are: gluten, dairy, refined/processed sugars, grains, seed oils, eggs, nightshade vegetable, artificial sweeteners, gum, and nuts and seeds, including coffee and chocolate. Sounds miserable, right? I kid, sort of. 😫
There are a lot of differing opinions about if AIP is a long-term lifestyle diet vs. more of the short term elimination diet style, but there are good pros and cons for both sides. I’m a big believer in the everything in moderation mindset, so I personally think that following AIP has a lot to do with how much it works for you and how much it’s realistic for you. Therefore, I think adapting AIP is at the very least how I will start. My hope/goal for myself will be close to 100% dairy and refined sugar free, and half to 75% gluten free. Everything else in moderation. I would like to start out that way, see how it goes and how I end up feeling, and then see if I should add more to it. I think cutting 5 or more major groups of ingredients or foods all at once is a recipe for failure (or at least my failure – it doesn’t feel maintainable long-term).
Going back to the times where I have done pieces of AIP in the past, I’ve seen a variety of benefits and also no results. When it came to being completely gluten-free, I’ll be honest, I never felt much of a difference in pain levels or general well-being and symptoms. However, when it came to being completely dairy-free, I noticed a pretty big impact on my symptoms and the way I physically felt overall. That being said, I think focusing on being entirely dairy-free and moderately gluten-free is likely what works the best for my body and my lifestyle.
The tough one, the real kicker, my Achilles heel: sugar. I absolutely know the benefits of cutting sugar, of getting rid of all refined/processed sugar in your diet, and of how much sugar is an inflammatory food. I am ALL for it. My willpower has always been a different story. I truthfully believe I have a sugar addiction, 100%. I will always pick sweet over savory; I am absolutely one of those people that crave a “little something sweet” after every meal. So it is HARD, folks. I have tried and failed SO many times on the cutting sugar front. I genuinely wish that I didn’t have such a sweet tooth!
So here is where I ask you for help! What can you tell me about starting to eliminate these groups from my diet – what tips do you have?
I’ll be sharing this on my Instagram Stories and Facebook too and hoping to get feedback, but by all means comment below with your experiences or tips and tricks! (Keeping in mind my disclaimer above 😉)