natural health and wellness

What Is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP)?

What Is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP)?


The autoimmune protocol (AIP or autoimmune paleo diet) is an elimination diet. Inflammatory foods are removed and nutrient dense foods are added in and focused on. Doctor Sarah Ballantyne is the author of “The Paleo Approach,” a book that details this protocol. We have her to thank for developing the autoimmune paleo diet! This protocol is designed for those suffering from an autoimmune condition. Some of the most widely known autoimmune conditions are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac disease

With following AIP, nutrient deficiencies can be reversed, food sensitivities can be discovered, and healing is attainable!

What Is the Purpose of AIP?

The purpose of the autoimmune protocol is to restore the body’s supply of nutrients and proper gut flora. This protocol removes foods that harm the gut, disrupt hormones, and trigger immune responses. With these inflammatory foods out of the way, more nutrient-dense foods can be included.

What is eliminated on AIP?

When following the autoimmune protocol, the following foods are removed from your diet:

  • grains
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant)
  • preservatives
  • chemicals
  • additives
  • alcohol
  • sugar

What is included on AIP?

Eliminating those foods is not what will bring about healing. To restore your body’s supply of nutrients, certain healing foods should be included. These nutrient-dense foods are:

  • probiotic/fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir
  • beef liver and chicken liver
  • organ meats
  • bone broth
  • collagen
  • leafy greens
  • foods high in omega 3’s, such as salmon and coconut oil
  • sardines
  • grass-fed beef
  • pastured chicken, pork
  • wild-caught fish
  • a wide variety of fruits and vegetables

How Long Does AIP Last?

The autoimmune protocol is not a lifelong diet. There is the elimination phase, followed by a reintroduction phase. This diet provides a template for you. Everyone’s diet will differ in the end. Someone may be able to reintroduce eggs; and another may be able to reintroduce grass-fed dairy. It is recommended that the elimination phase of AIP be followed for at least 30 days before beginning reintroductions. When you have seen significant changes in your health, it may be a good time to begin reintroducing the foods that were initially eliminated. Foods are reintroduced systematically, and slowly, in order to properly track any returning symptoms and gauge how you feel when eating that food.

If you would like to know more of the science behind the protocol, I encourage you to read the book “The Paleo Approach” by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.

If you are looking to get started with AIP, check out: (Mickey and Angie provide great lists of foods to include/avoid when you sign up for their newsletter. Print them out and stick ’em to your fridge!)

UnboundWellness’ Gut Healing E-book (For easy and delicious meals to get you started on the protocol, get Michelle’s ebook with valuable information and meal plans.)

And buy some cookbooks! My favorites are The Healing Kitchen and The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.



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