What is the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?

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Sign in a natural park: Healing in progress. Please stay on trail.

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”
~ Hippocrates


The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (also known as the AIP) is a diet and lifestyle program designed to reduce inflammation, minimize autoimmune symptoms, heal digestion, and deliver nutrition that supports health. This article is a quick introduction. If you’re just beginning the protocol, I also have a book to guide you through the process step-by-step. It’s written like a conversation between friends:

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The AIP: an Elimination Diet

The diet is the most famous part of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. Elimination diets are a way to identify food intolerances. They’re considered the gold standard because they are far more accurate than food sensitivity tests. With an elimination diet, you remove certain foods for a minimum of 30 days, and then carefully reintroduce them one at a time to test your body for reactions. I’ll be honest – elimination diets aren’t easy! But the information they provide can be incredibly helpful. Food sensitivities are a common root cause of autoimmune flares. Identifying the foods causing this reaction within your own body can give you some control over this inflammation. It’s an important puzzle piece for autoimmune health.

There’s more than one type of elimination diet. The AIP arose from the paleo community. It was built on a foundation of scientific research, and Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (aka the Paleo Mom) formalized the protocol in her book, The Paleo Approach. Sarah is now considered the leading expert on the AIP.

Foods Removed During the Elimination Phase

The elimination phase begins with a paleo template, and then removes some additional foods that may cause inflammation for people with autoimmune disease. If you are intimidated by this list, remember that it’s temporary! I’ll talk about reintroductions in the next section.

Foods removed on the paleo diet

  • Processed Food
  • Emulsifiers and Thickeners (guar gum, carrageenan, etc.)
  • Refined Oils
  • Refined Sugar
  • Grains (including corn)
  • Dried Legumes (including soy and peanuts)
  • Stevia (and other non-nutritive sweeteners)

Additional foods removed on the AIP

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Nuts (including nut-based oils)
  • Seeds (including coffee and cocoa and seed-based oils)
  • Nightshades (both vegetables and spices)
  • Fresh Legumes (green beans and green peas)
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit-based and Seed-based Spices

How long do you remove these foods? The goal of the elimination phase is to reduce inflammation and provide a clear baseline to test foods for reactions during the reintroduction process. You don’t have to be symptom-free. You just need to have experienced some improvement. The minimum time for the elimination phase is 30 days. Some people go a little longer, but I don’t recommend staying in this phase longer than 3 months. The elimination phase of the AIP is meant to be temporary, and doing it too long can cause more harm than good, both mentally and physically.

AIP Diet Reintroductions

This is where you personalize your diet for your unique body. You’ll discover which foods trigger inflammation, and which foods your body enjoys. Everyone is different. It’s an experiment in listening to your body, and once you learn its language, you have that skill for life.

AIP Reintro Resources

  • Here’s a quick overview of how to do reintros and which foods to reintroduce first.
  • Here’s an e-book that’s a detailed guide to the process, including recipes.
  • Here are the top 5 mistakes people make reintroducing foods.
  • Here’s a series of interviews with people who have been through reintroductions themselves and share their experiences.
  • If reintroductions are challenging for you and you’re struggling to reintroduce foods successfully, here’s a podcast to help troubleshoot.

Nutrient Density: It’s Not Just About Foods to Avoid

A common problem on elimination diets is that people can focus too much on the foods to avoid and not enough on the foods to include. Our bodies need deep nutrition to heal, especially with autoimmune disease. While removing foods can reduce inflammation and make us feel better short-term, too strict a diet long-term causes new problems. That’s why reintroductions are so important. However, we also need to focus on nutrition during the elimination phase, and throughout our lives. The goal is to have the widest diet possible to support your health.

Nutrient Density Resources

Lifestyle: It’s About More Than Just Food

I said in the introduction that the AIP is a diet and lifestyle program. While the diet is the most famous part of the protocol, lifestyle is just as important. Many people with autoimmune disease will tell you that stress and poor sleep are two of their biggest flare triggers, sometimes having a bigger influence than food. The ultimate goal of the AIP is to create habits that support health holistically. We need to widen our vision beyond our plates.

Lifestyle Resources

Medications and the AIP

Many people come to the AIP hoping to reduce or eliminate their medications. It’s important to understand that healing doesn’t happen overnight, and reversing autoimmune disease is not the same as a cure. If you go off medication too soon, that can cause an autoimmune flare, which is the opposite of your goal. Work closely with your doctor when making medication decisions. Your symptoms need to go away before your medication does, and then you need to monitor closely to make sure no damage is caused by this choice. While some people do achieve medication-free remission, others find that the combination of medication and diet makes them feel their best. Medication isn’t failure. We are all unique in what our bodies need. Success is living the best life possible with autoimmune disease.

More AIP Resources

I have articles, podcasts, and recipes to support your AIP journey. You can find them all on my AIP Series page.

You May Also Be Interested In

Credit: I fell in the love with the photo at the top of this post. It’s a sign you’ll find in many parks undergoing preservation. It was taken by the talented Joy Bethune, who gave me permission to use it with this article. Thanks, Joy!

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163 comments on “What is the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?”

  1. I have several autoimmune diseases and have been vegetarian, almost vegan since the first of the year. My partner is a vegan. My pain has increased quite a bit – – but now we have this COVID! The thought of dipping my toes into AIP is alarming when considering the closings of the meat processing plants. What to do? And how do you feel about this?

    1. Hi Penny. I buy my meat locally from farmers I trust. If that’s an option for you, it’s a good one. Another option is to do AIP with seafood as your main protein, if you don’t have access to meat right now.

  2. Ann Bartholomew

    One of the things you have to watch is for gluten-free items sold in stores to still be grain-based. Usually rice flour…

    1. Absolutely right, Ann! The AIP is designed to be primarily whole foods rather than packaged foods, and for any packaged food purchases, people should always read the ingredient list. A great new resource in the community is Shop AIP. Everything they sell is compliant with the elimination phase of the AIP, so it makes finding pantry items easier.

    1. He Jen. All dairy is excluded during the elimination phase of the AIP. You can make homemade coconut milk or water kefir though (with water kefir grains). And later, once you have seen improvement in your symptoms and are ready for the reintroduction phase, you can test fermented dairy during reintroductions and see how your body responds.

  3. Hi Eileen, your website is indeed a great help. My 23 year old son was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He is on steroids to begin with and the symptoms are flared up unfortunately. Can we start with paleo diet along with the medicines?..I mean would the medicine (steroid) make the diet ineffective?

  4. Hi Eileen, thank you for your website, it’s very helpful. I just started AIP a few weeks ago and have a question that I can’t find an answer to. I am Catholic and take Holy Communion (basically, bread and wine) every Sunday and other Holy days. Do you know what are the guidelines on this? I am saying upfront that I don’t want to give up my Holy Communion and would just like to know if that’s going to set me back considerably?

    1. Hi Marianna. It’s really hard to say. The level of sensitivity to gluten and alcohol varies on a spectrum. For people with celiac disease, it can be quite damaging. For people with gluten sensitivity, some people may be able to tolerate very small amounts. You can try committing to the AIP in all other ways and see if you notice improvements in spite of the weekly communion. Another option is to buy (or ask your church to buy) low-gluten communion wafers, which are much better tolerated. A third option is Spiritual Communion, a prayer which was created by the Catholic Church for people who are unable to receive physical communion.

  5. I am waiting on the final blood work, but I am pretty sure it will come back positive for Crohn’s and whether or not it’s exacerbating my diverticulitis. Began Keto almost 5 weeks ago. And since learning of the Crohn’s a friend recommended AIP in conjunction with Keto. What does that look like since it is High Fat Low Carb and now dairy, nuts, eggs, etc. are off the table. Any feed back is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Brie. I actually don’t recommend combining 2 restrictive diets together. It’s too hard to get the nutrition you need that way. If you aren’t seeing the results you want on keto, I recommend switching to the AIP instead. Ketogenic diets are controversial, especially when followed longterm. Here’s a podcast, if you’d like to learn more: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2015/06/06/episode-20-ketogenic-diets-with-terry-wahls-and-paul-jaminet/

      1. Thank you! While losing weight slowly, I am not getting the results I want in terms of feeling better. I had done Whole30 before hand and felt so much better. I think I will try doing AIP since it’s close to Whole30 and forgo Keto altogether.

  6. Thanks Phoenix,
    any advice for me. I tried paleo, 4 years ago and lost 4 kilos in four days. Fine for some but not for a man 6’2″ and 161 lbs. (4 kilos is 8.8 lbs). How can I go to (the Wahls for example) and maintain my current weight of 160-162 lbs? Any ideas.

    1. Hi James. You might want to try The Perfect Health Diet instead. It’s similar to Paleo but allows for white rice, which seems to help many people maintain weight while not increasing inflammation. It also prioritizes starch, which is also linked to weight maintenance. Here’s an interview with Paul Jaminet, the author. And here’s the book: Perfect Health Diet.

  7. I have crohns with scar tissue, pernious anemia, Psorasis and now suspected lupus. I have been doing the aip diet for about 4 weeks. I am severely constipated and have been using chia seeds soaked, not sure if this is making me feel worse. Any suggestions to help constipation. I’m eating a ton of vegetables with no luck. Thanks

    1. Hi Naomi. I don’t recommend chia seeds, especially if you have Crohns. They are a strong digestive irritant, and I know many people who react negatively to them, myself included. I have some constipation remedies on my AIP FAQ page. Try some of those suggestions, and see if they help. Also, I’ve recently been using a marshmallow root infusion for constipation with great success and no negative side effects. Everyone’s different, but you can try it and see if it works for you, too.

  8. Help! I am trying to get back on the AIP wagon, for the last few weeks/months I find it fine during the weekend but I am really struggling with social events etc. This weekend I have an event on Saturday and as of Sunday I am going to go back on 100% strict AIP. Anyway I am also taking part in a 12 week fitness challenge currently in week 7. My PT has put me on a certain macro target which has fairly high carbs, especially for what I am used to on AIP. Last year when I did 100% AIP I dropped about 6kg in weight and had a high fat, low carb diet. Since not doing AIP100% I put the weight back on and I am eager to be 100% compliant and loose it again, I’m just afraid that by having a lot of carbs a day that I won’t be able to drop the weight. I’m also afraid that my macro target of 140g of carbs a day may be too high when following AIP. Help…I want to make sure I am giving myself the best chance of doing well on AIP. Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Christina. The first thing I would say is to prioritize your health over weight loss. The AIP is about autoimmune healing, not weight loss, although weight does often stabilize in a healthy range once we’ve reduced our inflammation and regained our health. And many people do need a reasonable amount of carbs to feel energetic – not high carb necessary, but some starchy vegetables every day. As for falling off the wagon, have you listened to my podcast on Self-Sabotage. It has lots of insights, and I highly recommend it. I also recommend joining some Facebook groups for some peer support if you haven’t already: The AIP Recipe Group and The AIP Support Group. Wishing you healing on every level, Christina.

  9. I am new to all of this and I’m very overwhelmed. Thank you for all of this information. It is going to take me some time to adjust but I’m ready to try anything. I have so many question but I’ll start with are chia seeds and flaxseeds included in the “no seeds”? The nuts being bad is new to me too. It’s very frustrating because I have adrenal fatique and a year after some food tests that said I was intolerant of eggs & dairy I’m still sick if not sicker then before I elimanated those things. So now I’m looking at doing the paleo. I’m in extreme hypoglosimic mode and have to eat very often which is exhausting and hard to come up with more options. Breakfast and what to eat at night are the toughest. This takes away my nuts and peanut butter which will be hard. I already eat at least three meals heavy with meat and don’t really feel like eating meat in the morning and before bed. I was told to eat protein before bed to help keep my blood sugar through the night.
    Thank you so much for all your help and information.

    1. Hi Sherry. No seeds at all, so that leaves out chia and flax as well. Check out my grocery list for ideas on what you can eat. I recommend branching out into seafood for some of your protein needs, since it’s also high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. As for breakfast, we have an e-cookbook that will help: 85 Amazing AIP Breakfasts. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2016!

  10. Hi Eileen. Do you think it’s possible (or likely) to be affected by a food 48 hours later? It seems like most people feel the effects the next day — or even within hours. I had some nightshades two days ago and now feel achy. I was expecting to have some reaction to the nightshades, but then I didn’t the next day. But could it take 48 hours to feel the effect? The whole time frame thing is quite confusing to me as I try to nail down what foods are problematic. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    1. Hi Carol. You can feel the effects any time within a 72 hour window, which is 3 full days. If you’re going through reintroductions, I highly recommend my reintroduction e-book. It answers these questions and many more, and really helps you do the process without confusion: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2014/04/27/introducing-my-e-book/. I’m sorry nightshades didn’t work out for you – they’re a common flare trigger for a lot of people, myself included.

      1. Thanks so much for answering, Eileen. That’s very helpful. I’ll download the book. In your AI travels, have you run across people for whom meat is a trigger? I’m sure you’re well aware that there’s a whole other camp out there that thinks vegetarian/vegan is the way to go to reverse AI. I occasionally wonder if meat could be a trigger for me, but I guess that’s something I would investigate after giving AIP a real solid trial, yes? I really hope that’s NOT the case! I’d hate to give up all animal protein.

        1. I’ve known some people who felt better on a vegan diet initially, but the benefits didn’t last. I’ve seen far more paleo success stories. That said, I have met people who do well on vegan + seafood to meet their protein and omega 3 needs.

  11. Hi Eileen. I want to again say thank you for this wonderful post. I often refer people to this information for starting an elimination diet. It’s so clear and easy to read. Great information and nicely written. Such a great job. Big hugs. xoxo

  12. Thank You for your great resources. In your travels have you ever come across a person who woke one day a total different person from a health perspective? Over two weeks ago I woke with extreme fatigue, muscle weakness and travelling aches (that come and go), unfortunately the symptoms are not improving. My ESR was measured at 140 (first time ever). In the past I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto, Painful Bladder, Hives, Angiodema, perhaps Sicca and Chostochondriatis. I use to be an active (somewhat healthy) person. I am being tested for Lyme… They tried me on a low dose of steroids for three days, not change. I started the AIP, almost perfect, for 10 days, no change. I am scared, I feel like I am dying a slow death. The Dr.s seem baffle? I just want my normal life back:( Any stories of hope, for me to hang on to, could really go a long way. Many thanks Eileen.

    1. Kellie, I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. Yes, I’ve known many people who had a sudden onset of symptoms, and the symptoms vary depending on the source. Don’t give up – keep digging for the cause – and if your current doctors aren’t looking hard enough, don’t be afraid to seek out second and third opinions. Gentle hugs to you!

    2. I too have costochondriaties and frequently felt like I was dying. I’m still not entirely sure of the cause. I’m going on 11 months of having it but I did go to the chiropracter and found many back issues that could be contributing. I went regularly for a month and felt improved, but I did some work a few months later with heavy lifting and if affected the inflammation in my chest. I thought I was having a hear attack. Just so you know, you aren’t alone. I’m also on the AIP although I regularly screw it up. (ie I still add peas at the open salad bar and sometimes have rotisserie chicken only to actually read the ingredients later and see that nightshades were used for spices.) It’s quite a process to heal completely. It’s important to know that you aren’t just going to do one thing and feel like yourself again. At least that’s what I found. It’s quite a journey. 🙁

      1. I had many other symptoms, as you mentioned but as of late the costochrondities is the most irritating. Cutting out sugar and going on the AIP diet helped with the fatigue. I did feel like some symptoms just came out of no where or maybe I didn’t notice them getting worse? I know caffeine suddenly became a problem out of no where and it spiraled from there. Breast pain, anxiety… crazy anxiety, fatique, facial acne… after that I constantly diagnosed myself with some form of cancer. My doctor told me to cut out gluten and dairy and I didn’t believe her. But eventually I did and it did help. But symptoms crept back. So I tried anti depressants. Talk about a roller coaster. In desperation I chose the AIP diet and I’ve been on it for almost 11 months. It’s helped bring a steadiness to me. Cutting out sugar def helps a person. I don’t self diagnose myself with cancer. Not daily, at least. 🙂

  13. Hi! I have MS and have been experimenting with various diets for some time. I am getting ready to go AIP and have been doing research in preparation. Another commenter on this post mentioned berry seeds, which hadn’t occurred to me before. I haven’t seen any of the “big” AIP folks address this. The forbidden seeds are listed as sunflower, poppy, chia, etc…seeds that typically would be used either in the same way as nuts, or as spices. But what about berry seeds, cucumber seeds, kiwi seeds, even plantains! etc…the kind of seeds that are more part of the fruit and in most cases nearly impossible to remove? Are these okay (many AIP recipes use these fruits), and if so, what’s the difference?

    1. Hi Holly. Seeds within fruits and veggies are fine to eat on the AIP. The reason is two-fold: (1) They are moist and digest more easily than dried seeds. (2) They are a small part of the vegetable/fruit, and if you saw my AIP Food Pyramid, you see that its foundation is vegetables. We don’t want people to exclude them unnecessarily, because their nutrition is very important for healing. The woman who commented above is the exception. Most people tolerate seeds in fruits and vegetables with no problems, so eat them without worries.

  14. Hello, Brief history: chemical allergies since a child, increased with age, fatigue and itchy scalp much of my life and excema, three children later, Lyme Disease, which led to anxiety discorder, more allergic foods, and fibromyalgia with myofacial pain. The lymes is gone, but it left me with all these things and only living six years like this I finally think I can do something about it. But I am small, near underweight, and fear cutting out my rice and lentils. I rely on them for filling my stomach so I do not get hungry. I feel weak when I only have veggies and meat on my plate. But something about AIP intrests me greatly. it make so much sense for all the foods that bother me! I want to prepare and give it a my best. My concern is this: how do I not loose weight on this, especially when exercising, and how do I not get he mood swings that accompany not enough energy from my foods?
    PS: I have started to gather many AIP recipes. Everyone I tried this week have been delicious and motivating! Most of them I got through the links on your website. Thank you for the time you put in to connect resources. I appreciate it and look forward to adding more recipes. I never knew eliminating food could taste so good!

    1. Hi Susan. You might try the Perfect Health Diet first, and see if you get positive results without the need to restrict your diet further. Not everyone has to do the AIP. The Perfect Health Diet continues to include white rice and emphasizes the importance of plenty of safe starches (sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.). I interviewed Paul Jaminet, creator of PHD, on a recent podcast, if you want to give it a listen.

  15. Last October I had a blood test to check for arthritis, although I wasn’t diagnosed with RA the tests came back to show that I have a trigger for it so my doctor advised that I follow AIP and find out what foods cause me issues so that I don’t end up on medication. RA and various autoimmune diseases run in my family so it’s important for me to find out now. At that point I only had some stiffness in my hands and it wasn’t regular so I was wondering how I would know if something caused me inflammation. I stayed on AIP for 30days, I felt amazing, had lost 5kgs and had so much energy. I felt good at the 15 day mark. I only managed to reintroduce 2/3 foods as I was flying from Australia to Ireland for Christmas. I only ate them once and monitored for 3 days then moved to the next – so basically I didn’t even get to do it correctly and rushed it prior to flying home. I decided not to continue AIP 100% while on holiday anyway this led to me gaining about 2/3kgs and of course it was winter and I got a terrible cold just before flying back to Australia, a cold which lasted 4 weeks. During this time I decided to go on AIP again, I saw weight loss however this time I don’t feel anywhere as near as good as I did last time. Today is day 34 and I’m struggling. My hands are sore a lot now in comparison, and not a day has gone by without me being aware of the stiffness. I have attempted some new recipes but I think I am discovering intolerance to food allowed on AIP – onions, mushrooms and zucchini or basil and although I used certain coconut and flour I didn’t realise there was preservative 220in it until now. Zucchini/Basil gives me an awful reaction and I need help. I feel like these things have set me back about 2 weeks. I’m struggling to find out if certain herbal teas like Rooibus etc are ok or not on AIP. What ingredients are no no’s in tea on AIP? Are figs and zucchini allowed or can the seeds cause issues? I am at the point where it’s starting to be hard not being able to see the end in sight. Also the idea of reintroducing foods once, waiting 3 days then if ok having them once a day for 7 days scares me as I feel like this will take forever. I am dying to be able to go out for food but I don’t want to undo my good work and be in a worse position than I am now. I know that once I have figured out what I can and can’t have that I will go for a nice dinner and dessert but I’m petrified of how I’ll feel afterwards if one zucchini gave me issues. It’s frustrating that even foods that are ok on AIP are giving me problems. As I’ve only missed some foods on AIP I think that I can live without certain foods so when it comes to reintroductions I probably wont even reintroduce some. I have your reintroductions eBook and it’s very helpful. I think I’m just a bit down this time as I feel like a different person to my first go at AIP when I had loads of energy and would get up ¾ mornings a week at 5am for the gym, now I feel too tired to do anything. I’m wondering if I should just bring it back to basics, stop with the recipes and just eat very bland again until I feel better. Help

    1. Christina, we have all been where you are and understand how overwhelming it is. I have some advice: (1) Don’t assume you are having trouble with AIP foods. People often make that mistake, by thinking any pain/stiffness/fatigue is food-related, when often it can be stress-related, and you’ve clearly had a stressful couple of months between travel & illness. You are in danger of fearing all food, and that doesn’t get you anywhere. (2) Focus on the stress management piece. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. When you get caught in a worry spiral, meditate or go for a walk or do something that’s relaxing and uplifting for you, to break that cycle. (3) Above all – cultivate patience with this process. You are right that reintroductions take a long time to do correctly, but when you’ve finished that process, you have learned to listen to your body, which is an empowering skill that will be with you the rest of your life. (4) Get some support – join the support groups online, or get some 1:1 guidance if you still feel overwhelmed. Wishing you wellness!

      1. Thanks so much Eileen. I will take all of your advice on board and start to do things to help me deal with stress better. I really appreciate your advice, thank you

  16. Thanks Eileen! I wrote to Douglas Labs, who were very helpful, and everything in that supplement comes from AIP friendly sources except one filler ingredient which is derived from cottonseed. I’ll plan to just start checking around with different companies, and if I find something, I’ll post it here. It seems like it will be useful to get such a list started online.

  17. I’m about 3 months in to an AIP elimination diet. Psoriasis is not yet better but outside stress factors like school/winter are likely undermining the diet/sleep/yoga routine, and I don’t seem to find it that difficult to subsist on meat, fruit, and vegetables, so I’m going to stick it out. But it’s time to get more creative. I am looking at supplements, especially Vitamin D, but I can’t seem to find a list anywhere online of AIP-approved supplements (brand-identified). Before I start writing emails to every supplement manufacturer to ask how they derive their glycerin….does this list exist somewhere?

    1. Hi Christy. No seeds are allowed on the AIP, and actually, chia seeds are a pseudo-grain, so many people who can reintroduce other seeds successfully, have a negative reaction to chia. Definitely eliminate it for at least 30 days, and I recommend reintroducing other foods first, and saving chia for one of your later reintroductions.

  18. I have been Paleo for a few months and AIP for 3 weeks and my LS symptoms are even worse than ever. I have tried to cut things out of my already restricted diet but nothing seems to work. I am really starting to despair as I feel don’t have anywhere else to go.

    1. It’s really hard to be patient when starting a healing diet. We want to feel better immediately, because our bodies are in such a state of crisis, but healing takes time. It’s common to continue to flare during the healing process, and then start to see improvements by 3 months, although some people see improvements sooner. Don’t restrict your diet further. That’s not the answer. We need nutrition to heal. Also, really focus on stress relief, because stress causes flares as well. I had a daily meditation practice when I started the AIP and it was essential to calming me down. Here are some articles I recommend reading: Top 5 Mistakes People Make on the AIP and Meditation – It’s Easier Than You Think. And it also might be helpful to have a coach help your through this process – someone who has been through it before, is professionally trained, and can help guide you when you’re feeling lost. I recommend Katy Haldiman or Angie Alt. Hang in there!

  19. “I’m filled with gratitude for the healing I’ve achieved already”
    My sentiments exactly, but it helps to hear someone else say it as sometimes I can forget. I’m pleased to have come across your site and I LOVE your photo choice for this page. Says so much.

  20. I just found the book “The Paleo Approach” and I finally have some hope that something will help me. The last 4 years I’ve had severe adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance (causing debilitating depression and anxiety ) as well as extreme abdominal bloating and huge weight gain. I’m hypo thyroid, have gluten sensitivity, but I’ve tried paleo in the past with no improvement. I’m positive I have other food allergies because I get wheezing after lots of foods I eat and red puffy bloodshot eyes- haven’t been able to find a doctor that can help me. Anyway- my question is this- through all these years of health issues I was finally able to have a baby! He is now 4 months old and I’m wanting to get started on this AIP way of eating… I can’t find any information about eating this way and breastfeeding. When I was eating just paleo, I was having a really hard time keeping my blood sugar up, so I’m expecting it to be even worse on AIP. I am not sure if my baby has food allergies as well, but he does spit up a LOT, he is like a little fountain, and he is fussy. I need someone’s opinion about whether I should wait until he’s weaned to try this AIP, or start it now so I can begin the healing instead of continuing the damage. Also, do you have any advice on eating this way with hypoglycemia? Will it gradually get easier?

    PS One of my other children is having some food sensitivities- he is 11 and has had hives after eating and complains that some foods hurt his throat and stomach. His doctor did some blood testing and is recommending we see an allergist. I can’t imagine doing an elimination diet with an 11 year old- do you think the skin testing would be helpful or a waste of time?

    1. Hi Kristy. I’m so glad you’re feeling hopeful. There are indeed people nursing on the AIP, and also feeding their children AIP in an effort to help them heal. So, it’s absolutely a path you can take. I recommend getting some support, though. You have a lot of health issues in your family, that adds a level of complexity. There are support groups online: here’s a website community and here’s a support group on Facebook. There, you can get advice from other families doing the AIP. It also might be helpful to work 1:1 with a health coach, and I have two that I recommend highly: Angie Alt and Katy Haldiman. Angie also offers on-line group classes.

      I’m not a doctor or nutritionist myself, so the advice that follows is just thoughts from a friend walking a similar path. If you do the AIP while nursing, you’ll want to make sure you eat enough food for both you and the baby. You’ll want enough fat and protein to stabilize your blood sugar, and enough carbs to maintain healthy flow of breast milk. Cronometer.com is a great website for setting daily nutrition goals and tracking to be sure you meet them. There’s also an AIP meal plan that can be really helpful, because it incorporates healing foods like bone broth, fermented food, seafood and organ meats, all of which are nutrient-filled recommendations on the AIP, that would be great for you and your baby. As for your symptoms of wheezing and puffy eyes, have you ever heard of histamine intolerance? I don’t know if it applies to you, but your symptoms are mentioned in that article. Lastly, you asked about the skin test – it’s only effective for allergies, not food sensitivities. An elimination diet like the AIP is the only accurate way to test for sensitivities.

      I hope that helps. Best wishes to you and your family, Kristy!

  21. So glad to find your website which is very informative. I was diagnosed with RA on March. Still on Methothrexate and Prednisone but I tried the Gaps diet for 2 months. I felt some improvement so my doctor lowered my dose of prednisone but after a while the joint pain is creeping back in. I saw your site and read about the AIP protocol. I remove eggs and dairy from my diet (no nightshades too even while on Gaps) but i can feel that my pain is slightly increase everyday. Do you have any suggestions?

      1. Thanks for replying. I live in the philippines and I’m not aware that there is AIP consultants here or at least none that i know of. I have told my doctor about my diet but he simply shrug it off saying that some people with cancer go on so-called diet and die from it so I’m doing this on my own.

  22. Hi, I’m so happy to have stumbled on this website. I’ve had Graves’ disease and the accompanying eye disease, for 6 months now. Have been trying to treat it completely naturally via herbs, supplements, diet and holistic therapies. But I have yet to see real improvement, so I figure my diet needs some more changes.

    I was advised by my Naturopath to follow the Anti-Inflammatory diet, which is not quite as strict as the AIP. I also did the IgE/IgG testing, which showed that in addition to eggs, dairy, and almonds, I am apparently highly sensitive to beef, lamb, and moderately to pork. Also a high sensitivity to garlic, ginger, turmeric! (Aren’t those things anti-inflammatory?) However it also showed no problem with things like lentils, corn, rice, potato, which are not allowed on AIP. I am wondering which protocol to follow! I prefer to eat vegetarian, but am ok with chicken and fish. Can I do the AIP on just those proteins?

    Also, it is hard for me to accept that eating so much meat is healthy long term, having believed for so long that it is hard on your liver, kidneys, and heart, due to the breaking down of protein. And hearing that it is hard on your digestive system, taking so long to pass through and basically putrefying in there. Besides the ethics involved with killing animals, I’ve heard meat/fish is not beneficial because it is a ‘cadaver’ food, with no life force in it like plants retain from the sun. It’s so counterintuitive for me, especially having been exposed to things like the China Study and Forks Over Knives and other research on plant-based diets.

    Do you think people with autoimmune disease are kind of unique in needing this high-meat diet?

    Thank you so much. I am willing to give it a try and to let my beliefs evolve!

    1. Hi Annika. Thank you so much for writing. Transitioning from Vegetarianism to Paleo is a shift in thinking, for sure. My first recommendation is to understand that much of what you (and all of us have been taught in the past) simply isn’t true. My second recommendation is that you do a bunch of reading, and form your own opinions (which may or may not match my own). Here are the articles I recommend to start:

      Eating Meat: A Primer for the Meat Challenged
      The Truth About Red Meat
      A Scientific Critique of the China Study
      Does Meat Rot in Your Colon? A Digestion Tutorial
      Doubts Cast on Food Intolerance Testing

      To answer some of your more specific questions, I recommend ignoring you IgE/IgG tst (the last article listed above will explain why) and do the AIP instead. An elimination diet is the only accurate test for food intolerance (and the AIP is an elimination diet). Feel free to start with chicken and fish, and expand into other meats as you feel comfortable. Fish especially is highly recommended on the AIP, because it’s high in omega 3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory), and it’s the most easily digested form of protein.

      Wishing you health on every level!

      1. Thanks for your kind reply! I will definitely check out those articles. Met with my Naturopath yesterday and she is in full support of me trying the AIP. Think I will take a couple weeks to transition and then go full on at the next new moon (Sept 24)! 🙂

  23. I commented on this article many moons ago when I was up to 6 months on the AIP. I had seen an improvement after 3 months. Plateaued until 6 months and then saw another improvement. But nothing since. And honestly I was still really sick. I introduced back a few foods as I was desperate for variety. Eggs, tea, yogurt being the main ones. No change. Not worse, not better. I was stuck.

    Ultimately I was on the AIP for 18 months with a few things added in extra. Still sick. Ugh.

    Soooo with the help if my intergrative medicine specialist I started a full on elimination diet. So far I’ve been on it 2 months. It’s full of surprises! After 3 weeks I felt really good!! Still getting tired a lot but starting to feel like the old me. Greatly reduced (not eliminated) pain and the brain fog cleared up like a bad dream. I could think! I could remember things! Fantastic!

    What has surprised me most though is that my freshly detoxed body knew so clearly when I tried to introduce something my body didn’t like.

    I ate 1/4 of a green zebra tomato freshly pulled from our own vines. I was struck down with a full on flare, pain, brain fog, extreme lethargy for 3 days. Hello? Don’t eat tomatoes! (Not that I have since I started the AIP but it was worth a shot to see if I could get tomatoes back!)

    Cherries? Not a problem. Ate soooo many over the cherry season. Delicious.

    Tea? Very bad. Eggs bad, lemon bad, mint bad, any attempt to try and season my food beyond olive oil and salt just failing.

    Now even handling a wheat based dough brings a rash up on my hands. That’s what the FBI would call a clue.

    I went out to prune and the up our crazy gone wild tomato plants and I broke out with rashes and hives on all my inner arms and throat. My lungs feel sore and inflamed. I slid quickly into a full on flare for 6 days. I was in agony. Truly horrible.

    Anyway the monotony of this very restricted diet is killing me. I can’t introduce a new food until I recover from each flare completely. I’m scared to introduce a new food incase I react a d its back to flaresville. I agonize for days over which food to introduce next. Things I think are safe I find out are not safe at all. 🙁 Seems I’m reacting to everything!

    But it’s a path. And one I hope to navigate through with improved health and life quality.

    I didn’t want to take it to this extreme but the AIP just wasn’t doing enough for me. I stuck with it so long for fear of losing any progress I had made. Staying away from tomatoes this entire time turned out to be a very good thing!

    Anyway, I just wanted to share for those starting down this path. You will make progress, and everything is tweakable depending on your body’s responses.

    1. Hi Aedmar. When you’re sensitive to that many foods, there’s definitely an underlying issue that needs to be found and resolved. I’m glad you’re working with a practitioner, and hope that together you can find the answers. I know it is a multi-layered and sometimes slow journey, but step by step, we get there! Thanks for sharing your story.

    2. Aedmar, I too am glad you are seeing a specialist who can hopefully help you fine tune and make progress toward greater healing. Your story sounds a bit like mine, and I am curious what you are now doing that brought on some improvement. You said you started a full on elimination diet. Can you describe that to me? I think I’ll need to do that type of protocol. My health bass been diminished for so long and feel so terrible all the time and for so long now (34 yrs) nothing I do seems to change anything. It is hard to discern any change, and really hard to think or organize enough to evaluate myself. If you could let me know how you did this elimination diet, and any adjuncts your practitioner added, I would appreciate it. Thanks so much.

  24. Do you have to eliminate lentils completely, this might be difficult for me as it forms part of our weekly diet? Are lentils considered more as seeds for the protocol or legumes in the way they react with the body?

    1. Lentils are legumes and must be eliminated 100%. You can try reintroducing them after you’ve done a lot of healing, but they’re one of the most difficult foods to digest and aren’t recommended for people with autoimmune disease. Sorry! We’ve all had to make changes to our menu when switching to this diet, but the healing that can happen makes it worth it.

  25. Started the AIP protocol on Friday. It’s Sunday now and I have a massive headache all day. Probably partially due to detoxing, but if I can’t take anything for it, am I supposed to just suffer through it?

    1. Never suffer through. Pain is not a healthy alternative, in my opinion. Two natural solutions you can try are White Willow Bark (an herbal alternative to aspirin) and a peppermint oil headache stick (applied topically). If you have a health food store in your town, you should be able to find both there. Also, taking an Epsom Salt Bath, followed with drinking plenty of water, can help with detox symptoms as well.

  26. Thank you for taking the time to boil things down to everyday language and simplifying the topic. Many times I go on a site or read a book and it feels like people over complicate something that doesn’t need to be complicated. Your blog will help me navigate my next step and aid me in deciding which way to start. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Patrick. That’s exactly what I strive to do – condense information to the essentials and make it easy to understand.

  27. hello, great site!! what do you think of soaked chia seeds or peeled hempseeds? and another question about sprouts:do in your opinion sprouted mungbeans count as beans? what do you think about other sprouts would they be ok in small amounts? do i.e. sunflowersprouts (only the leafs) still contain some negative food chemicals and bad omega 3 ratio? and another short question: would organic meat still be ok (probably grain fed, but no “supermarket organic”) if grass fed is too expensive or not always available?

    1. Hi Dominic. No seeds of any kind are allowed on the autoimmune protocol, and that includes chia and hemp. Sprouted beans still count as beans, so they are excluded as well. However, you’re welcome to eat the sprouts themselves, just not the bean portion. As for omega 3:6, the best way to insure a good ratio is to eat lots of wildcaught seafood for the omega 3’s, and the autoimmune protocol automatically excludes all of the high omega 6 foods. Lastly, when it comes to meat, work within your budget and availability. While grassfed is ideal, not everyone can afford it, and you can absolutely still heal with meat from the grocery store.

      1. thank you,
        I will see how I’ll feel and limit them (sprouted mungbeans) probably anyway in the beginning.
        as for the foods:I’ll try my best to eat many organ meats,since they are cheaper and I found local huntsman who sells wild meat for an affordable price.


  28. Eileen I’ve been Splenda free and nightshade free for about a month… still have stiff finger joints. Any other suggestions?? See my previous comment for context…. thanks for your help

    1. Four thoughts: (1) Patience. A month isn’t very long, and it take longer to see results. (2) Are any nightshades slipping through? A little bit of paprika can cause inflammation. It doesn’t just have to be a plate of potatoes or tomatoes. If you eat any spice blends, check their ingredient list carefully. All storebought curry (and restaurant curry) contains nightshades, so do 99% of bottled sauces, deli meats, storebought sausage, rotisserie chickens, etc. If you see “spices” on a label, assume it’s nightshades. It takes a lot of effort to go 100% nightshade-free, so look around your kitchen and think through your eating over the past month to see if any have slipped through unnoticed. (3) If you’re taking any supplements, see if any of them have non-paleo ingredients. (Most do. You have to search for allergen-free ones). (4) If you’re not taking any supplements, you might try Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin. It’s a bioavailable form of turmeric and has helped my joint pain. (Disclaimer – I’m not a doctor and can’t prescribe anything for you. I’m just sharing my experience.)

  29. Thanks for the info. My 6 mos old is breaking out in rashes and subsequently eczema. I have found my diet to be the key. I’m almost through the elimination with only soy and nightstands to eliminate. It is helping a lot for elimination of his symptoms. How can I do the reintroduction for breastfeeding? Obviously, I can’t have an immediate reaction. Any suggestions?

    1. I recommend pumping enough milk that you can bottle feed during the 72 hour reintroduction period. I realize that’s a hassle, but I think it’s the safest way to go.

      1. I’m not sure I understand. What would bottle feeding do? Since it’s not my food intolerances that are affecting him, how can I introduce the foods to him to see if he reacts to a food? I can’t do the teaspoon thing because my milk wouldn’t have it or be so minimal that he might not react yet. Do I just eat a full portion of something and monitor him for a reaction? And complete the reintroduction from that point on?

        1. I’m sorry, I was thinking they were your shared intolerances. Skip the teaspoon steps and follow the reintroduction protocol from there – eat a normal sized portion and monitor him 72 hours for a reaction. If no reaction, eat a little bit every day for a week and monitor for reaction. If still no reaction, that should be a safe food. Look for symptoms outside the rashes too – more crying than usual or sleep disturbances. Sometimes there are hints of intolerance before the major symptom appears.

  30. Ray Trowbridge

    Eileen, thanks so much for the info… I am strictly paleo with three vices left. I drink a cup of coffee or two each morning and I have fruit with half and half and splenda at night. I’m 50 years old with stiff fingers and inflamed knees. Any suggestions…

  31. Eileen:
    I have two auto-immune diseases… rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. It has been an uphill battle since 1995 (when my ANA’s were indicative of Lupus), the in-between years and when it was finally, positively diagnosed in 2007. I have been to several physicians and none of them suggested changing my diet to help fight the auto-immune issues I have been facing. They probably prefer me to use the medicines they have always pushed on me instead of making positive changes in my life to help control my diseases. I didn’t realize that there were support groups “out there” to give moral and enlightening encouragement concerning these issues. I stumbled over this by accident… glad I did.

    1. For some reason, doctors often refuse to acknowledge the very obvious connection that diet and lifestyle has to our health. I’m very thankful for the internet! It’s how I found this path as well. LuWanda, if you’re eating a standard american diet right now, I recommend starting with full paleo as the first step. Some people achieve remission without needing to take it further. One of those people is Robyn Latimer, who shared her story here on my blog about healing lupus. If after 3-6 months, you haven’t healed to the level you like, then try the autoimmune protocol. If you have any questions along the way, please let me know! And if you’re on Facebook, there’s a group called the Paleo Approach with over 5,000 members. It’s a great community of information and support. Welcome!

  32. I have severe chronic pain, leaky gut, inflammation and many food intolerances. Most problems started once I had my spine fused with Harrington rods to correct curvature from scoliosis. what is the best place to start the healing of gut. Would it be the GAPS introductory diet?

    1. Hi Shainy. I like the GAPS intro diet’s focus on homemade broths and soups, to give the gut the building blocks it needs to heal. However, it introduces common food intolerances very quickly (nuts and eggs), which can be a healing road block for many, and certainly was for me. Now, I do a combination of GAPS and AIP, and find that the best personal path to healing. Where are you starting from – what’s your current diet now?

  33. What an excellent resource! Thank you so much for putting all of this together. My autoimmune diseases have quickly taken over my life and I am looking to get it back. I have been looking into the AIP approach and already tell I will be referring back to your site A LOT 🙂

  34. Thank you for your website. I have had severe allergies for my entire life and have experienced bouts of chronic fatigue for nearly 20 years. At first I related the fatigue to breast cancer that I aggressively treated with surgery and chemo in my early thirties. But the fatigue continued and medical tests showed no cause. I found that low carb diets with dietary supplements helped with the fatigue and brain fog and I followed this diet off an on for a number of years. Over the last several years, I have developed total body inflammation along with the fatigue and brain fog and none of my doctors had any suggestions for treating. Over the past year, I have heard about leaky gut syndrome and how it can cause total body inflammation. I kept reading about the Paleo diet and began to restrict gluten, GMO and processed foods, while adding probiotics, with about 50% decrease in the inflammation. I then had an incidental finding on an MRI of an enlarged thyroid, that was confirmed by an ultrasound exam. I was told I had Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and there was nothing I could do to relieve the condition. I was not satisfied with the answer and read that nightshade plants may be triggers, so I have cut all nightshades out of my diet for the past month and have seen even greater reduction in my inflammation. I had my first visit to an endocrinologist this week. I told him I was following a Paleo diet and had cut out gluten and nightshades and had begun supplementing with iodine (Lugols Soultion – 2%) He said I could follow Paleo if I wanted, but he did not expect it to help. He recommended 200 mcg of Selenium daily, which I have not tried yet. He took a blood sample to determine his recommendation and called the next day to tell me to keep up whatever I was doing because it had brought my antibodies back to almost normal values. Anyway, I still have a way to go, but feel I am heading in the right direction with over 50% inflammation reduction and better energy.

    I am very grateful for you organizing the wealth of Paleo info out there to make it easier for us. I will definitely incorporate more of the ideas from your website and links and hopefully put my illness into remission. By the way, since committing to Paleo and probiotics, my allergies have been greatly reduced and I have a lot less colds. I am also looking into a good water filtration system for my house and food and chemical sensitivity blood testing. A coworker recommended ALCAT blood tests. Do you have any recommendations for either?

    1. Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your story, and I love that you’re teaching your doctor that diet does indeed affect Hashimoto’s. If you’re on facebook, I recommend joining this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hashimotos411/#sthash.kSmswwbO.dpuf . It has 14,000 members, and they’re all treating Hashi’s with diet. To answer your question, I don’t really believe in food intolerance tests, including ALCAT. They are notorious for false positives and false negatives, and in the end, I think they just make life more difficult. The autoimmune protocol itself is an elimination diet, and with the second step of reintroductions, you test your body for food intolerances. It’s 100% accurate. Even allergists agree!

  35. Like digging for diamonds in the earth — I have MS and Lupus, and the info on your website is so helpful, it makes sense and I understand what to do now — God bless your willingness to share your knowledge.

  36. Hi. I was wondering if this food approach could be used to help with Lichen Sclerosis – an autoimmune skin disease. My daughter (age 17)has it, along with a vitamin B 12 deficiency. She also can’t tolerate dairy – never has, even as a child, which was when she was diagnoses (age 4). I see a lot written about celiacs, thyroid issues and arthritis, as well as eczema and psoriasis, but was wondering about LS too! Thanks

    1. Hi Michelle. The protocol is potentially effective for all sorts of autoimmune diseases, including lichen sclerosis, so I definitely recommend trying it.

    1. Some people do go into remission on full paleo, with no need to do the AIP. If that’s you, enjoy it! If you still have lingering symptoms, the AIP is a good way to see if you have some extra food intolerances that are exacerbating/causing those symptoms.

  37. Hi Eileen,

    Thank you for the response. The Whole 30 plan suggests Meal 1, 2 and 3. The book advises (unless I am wrong) against snacking.

    1. OK, that makes sense. The Whole 30 has a different goal than the AIP, and honestly, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing them together. The Whole 30 is for people who want to break their addiction to overeating and to certain SAD foods. That’s why it doesn’t allow any treats at all, nor any paleo replacement foods (like paleo breads, pastas, etc.), nor any snacking. After 30 days, most people who do the Whole 30 move into an 80/20 or 90/10 paleo lifestyle, with much less restriction. That’s not an option for people with autoimmune disease. Not only do we need to be 100% compliant, our food list is much smaller than those who can do full paleo. So, for AIP, the Whole 30 rules don’t apply. I recommend eating as much as you need to satisfy your needs, as long as it’s AIP foods. The more nutrient-dense your diet, the better. Does that make sense?

  38. Eileen,

    Thank you for this post. I am still navigating my way through all the information. We discovered four months ago, that I have Hashimoto’s and gluten sensititivy. I had suffered a long time with my hypothyroid. I am also hypoglycemic. At first going gluten free worked, then I went Paleo-now I am doing the Whole 30, and eliminating additional foods-eggs, nightshades, etc. I am ok with the food elimination. However, I will have a tough time physically if I eliminate small snacks when needed. Am I really doing harm to myself with the program if I add snacks (small-protein) if needed?

    Thank you for sharing and caring about other’s well being and healing.


    1. I don’t see any problem with snacks. By all means, you need to eat, especially when your diet is limited. Where did you read advice against snacking?

  39. Hi Eileen
    I’ve had RA for 12 years. Mostly contolled by diet and meditation. Yoga. Have been off all legumes sugar dairy wheat and nightshades for years. And all but a litttle wild rice (no more now though). Was on antibiotics but let them go a year ago. Was doing well for 6 months then I reacted to some emotional family issues and went into a flare. Tried the Paleo full on for a week and I got way worse. I have had really bad irritable bowel and reflux which had been absent. Too much meat! I eat a lot of veg but I felt terrible. Any advice?

    1. Hi Nancy. Thanks so much for writing. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t give personalized advice, but I can tell you that the GAPS diet is very helpful in restoring the body’s ability to digest meat, especially if you go through the introduction diet first. Usually, this is a stomach acid/digestive enzyme problem, and the GAPS diet addresses that directly. Also, since you were on the antibiotic protocol for years, my guess is that you are deficient in beneficial gut flora, and they play a critical role in digestion as well, and the GAPS diet addresses that, too. A healthy gut seems to be the key to everything. I hope you feel better soon!

      1. P.S. Nancy, I’m currently doing research for an in-depth article on seafood choices and learned that fish is a special form of protein that’s easier to digest than any other. While your digestive system heals, it might be a really good choice for you.

  40. Hi,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve put a link to your site on my blog “Hashimoto’s Mum”. I’ve only just started it, but it is going to be our journey looking after a child with Hashi. Our 8yo daughter was just diagnosed last week so I am madly trying to get my head around it all. Love your site!
    Best wishes,

    1. Of course I don’t mind. I think your blog will be a wonderful resource, because there is limited information about that diagnosis with children. Blessings to you and your daughter on this journey, Cindy.

  41. I just stumbled upon your site and wow – what a great resource! After struggling with the AIP for months to see if the usual suspects affect my RA, I feel I’m finally in the right place to make it stick this time. Thanks so much!

    1. Timing is everything. I started my healing diet with GAPS (similar to full paleo) because I wasn’t yet ready for the added restrictions of AIP. 6 months later, I hit a healing plateau and was ready for the AIP. Both diets helped me a lot, and I don’t regret doing it in a 2-step process. Pacing ourselves is wise. It gives us time to get ready to do it right!

  42. I assume any doctor who knows about this test can order it. I am going to take a pic the kit to send to a friend. If anyone here is interested in the photo for reference? My doctor is for integrative medicine if that is any help?

  43. hi Eileen,
    I’ve been on the protocol only about 10 days but already have a huge improvement in my water retention, headaches, joint pain, and fatigue! yay! I plan to do the protocol at least a month before reintroducing anything. Thanks so much for this info.

    My question is; I’ve dealt with these symptoms for a few years, and have tried other elimination diets where they get better, but my consistent symptom that has never gone away is brain fog/lack of mental clarity. I have had 2 moments in the past 3 years where the “fog has lifted” and I felt normal again, but that has only been random and lasted a few hours or so. I don’t feel like myself and its very concerning.
    If I do not see an improvement in the brain fog in the next month, do you recommend I stay on the protocol longer until it goes away? I have read elsewhere that low carb can cause brain fog but I have it no matter if I am low carb or not.

    1. I guess I should also note that I believe my symptoms are due to leaky gut, after a few years of drinking wayyy to much while working at a bar. Messed my gut up big time and I am very sensitive to foods as shown through these eliminations. I had lots of tests done and have not yet been diagnosed with any other condition, besides IBS and I was put on 50mcg of Synthroid for my hypothyroid like symptoms, although my thyroid tests have been normal thus far

      1. That’s awesome that you are seeing such dramatic change so quickly. Yay, you! As far as when to reintroduce foods, you want to stay on the protocol a minimum of 30 days. It’s possible the brain fog will have lifted by then. If not, some people do choose to stay on the protocol 60-90 days, but it’s not necessary. The elimination/reintroduction of foods helps you isolate your specific food intolerances. You’ve already had enough improvement in your symptoms to have a new baseline; you’ll be able to tell when you react to a reintroduced food. You’ll then keep those out of your diet going forward, and you’ll continue to improve on your personalized version of the diet (with hopefully some foods reintroduced successfully). When you’re ready to introduce, be sure to read my reintroduction article to guide you through the process.

        1. one more question, is it safe to assume that if after the 30 days the brain fog is not yet gone then it is not caused by any of the eliminated foods, as they are out of my system?

          1. The foods don’t cause your symptoms. Your autoimmune disease does. The foods exaggerate those symptoms by increasing the inflammation in your body. So, when you remove intolerant foods from your diet, the inflammation can start to recede, and you can begin to heal. It can take a long time to heal completely, especially when you’ve been sick for years. So the food plays a role, but so does your autoimmunity. Does that make sense?

      2. There is a test for leaky gut. It has to do with drinking a solution of a digestible and an indigestible sugar. The theory being if there is the indigestible sugar in your urine, it has “leaked” into your blood stream via your gut. The digestible sugar is there to calculate the ratio of the sugars in your urine and thus calculate the % leaked.

        1. I have heard this. Do you know if I need to see a gastroenterologist in particular to get this test? I am currently only seeing an endocrinologist

    1. Thanks, Mickey! It took me a while to be ready for the added restrictions of the AIP, but I’m so glad I finally did it. I keep feeling better & better.

  44. Believe it or not, I created my own diet from research into my own issues, nutrition, reading up on science articles, trial and error (oh the errors!), and I thought I had it pretty much tweaked as much as I could in the past year with ever decreasing eliminating of more and more food items.

    I only came across the AIP about a month ago and I was STUNNED to find it almost overlapped my diet and thoughts almost 100%. I found for me personally it did not go far enough. But perhaps for a lot of people it does. The seeds for me was the big kicker. Good and bad. Nuts was another, but that was a natural progression. First the belly aches, the bad taste in my mouth and my body just saying “hey you don’t like these anymore and there is a reason for it”. This also happened with coffee and alcohol.

    This all happening over the last 2 years as I have gradually declined in health.

    I am on a slew of meds that I have managed to cut down thanks to the diet but recently things are getting bad again and the painkillers are increasing, including methadone.

    I do not take NSAIDS due to the effect on the intestine, as when I flare, I flare inside and out. My condition affects hollow organs as well as connective tissue. My primary care understands this and respects this but with new specialists, they don’t quite understand my theory behind it. They have to believe I have done more research on this than they have!

    I am off to a more holistic integrative center on Monday in which I have waited forever to see. I’m hoping they can help me with diet and such. But with all things medical, any hope is a bad thing. Expect nothing and anything is a bonus.

    Without pain killers, lidocaine patches and the TENS unit I would not manage my life with 2 boys under 10. To say I hate pain killers is an understatement. I also hate extreme pain. It is a fine line.

    Finding the right supplements (I thought I was onto something with Chia – Woooh huge mistake, my discovery of the bad seed thing, Hemp, another baddy, vitamins, etc) is key but I’m not sure what those are.

    Thanks for the links!

    Forever researching!

    1. Yes, you are definitely the expert on your own body! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you regarding your upcoming appointment. May they be helpful and surpass your expectations.

  45. I have been on the AIP for 4 months now and I have not only the core protocol but a stricter one with no seeds/spices of any sort as I have found they make me incredibly sick. Bummer curries!!!!! It also means I can not eat berries or anything with edible seeds you might not think of (I blanked one day and ate some figs. What a mistake).

    Anyway, I saw a massive improvement after 2 weeks in that I could move about again and was not bed ridden. Yay. But since then…. no improvement beyond that. Frankly that sucks.

    I’m still in constant pain. Still have huge flare ups 1-2x a month and am still unable to have a real function-able life. (Family is at a BBQ while I’m here in bed.)

    I’m really imaginative with food. Always been a “real food” person and have survived OK on the limited foods. I should post a few recipes for you guys. But I’m frankly a little tired of it on one hand and too scared to reintroduce foods on the other as one slip up puts me in agony for days if not weeks.

    I keep saying “when I stabilize, I can start reintroducing food.” Problem is, I feel like I have not stabilized. Have others experienced the same problem? Any ideas? Suggestions?

  46. Very interesting article. I have found a huge relief in my fibro with the elimination of all artificial sweeteners and processed foods. I only have around 4-5 flares a year and they last only a day or two. Far better than being in pain every single day.

    Thanks for sharing on our Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop! Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

  47. Interesting info. Again, it would be so difficult having to be on that diet, but so many of the products we consume without thinking are actually harming our bodies. :/
    Thanks for sharing this at A Humble Bumble!

    1. Becca, you’re so sweet to try and put yourself in my shoes. Your compassion comes through in every comment.

  48. This diet was recommended to me by someone to help with eliminating my allergies. Do you know of a list of what someone can eat on this diet? It looks like meat, fish, fruit, and certain vegetables are about the extent of it? Thanks for comprising this! 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren. Your summary is pretty accurate. Later this week, I’m posting part 3 in my Autoimmune Protocol Series (The FAQ), and I’ll have lots more information, including links to menu plans, AIP recipe blogs and others who are experts on the protocol. If you check back Thursday, it should be live. In the meantime, I have a page called What Do I Eat that gives sample daily menus for a variety of healing diets, including the AIP. It takes some creativity, but you really can eat some delicious food on the AIP, although I won’t lie: everyone looks forward to the reintroduction phase.

      1. Update: I wrote up a grocery list of AIP approved foods. Thanks for the idea, Lauren. To my knowledge, it doesn’t exist elsewhere on the web. Here’s the link.

  49. I do think that is right … eliminating nightshades totally. Instead of just “mostly”. Since I have Hashimotos as well I’ve recently been more consistent with eliminating cruciferous vegetables due to goitergens. That one is the hardest of all. I’m in a major flare up right now. My pain never goes away totally but I’m being really affected right now. So I’m really watching it right now. Today I’ve eaten only bananas & bone broth with some celery and carrots cooked in it.

    1. Have you heard of the Hashimotos 411 group? They’re 5,000 people strong, focusing on healing through diet, so they’d be a great resource for you. I gave links in my reply to Alicia’s comment above. You might also be inspired by Carrie’s Story (who I interviewed here on my blog).

      1. Thanks! No I’m not familiar with that group, but did check it out. I have focused so much on my painful fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue that I haven’t dealt with some of my other autoimmune problems as much. Except celiac I guess because I have to avoid gluten & grains. I think I’m eating healthy & then find something else that is a trigger. Thanks again!

  50. Thanks for this detailed informational post. I have wondered about the autoimmune protocol since I have 5 different autoimmune issues. I don’t eat very much meat because it doesn’t do well in my stomach. It is hard to digest. I can eat fish and poultry. I am grain free since I have celiac. I do avoid shade plants ( most of the time ). I am going to have to eliminate something additional as I’m still having lots of issues.
    I am so glad to have found your website today. I will definitely spend some time reading through all the information !!

    1. Hi Saundra. One thing I learned on the auotimmune protocol is that I have to avoid nightshades 100%. I was eating a little here and there, and it was keeping my inflammation going (which I didn’t know until I gave them up 100%, including the spices). So, that might be worth trying.

    1. I know, it’s so confusing! I had to clarify it for myself, when I decided to do the AIP this winter. Hopefully this checklist will save others some time (and trial and error).

  51. I have Hashimoto’s (treated only with Synthroid) and feel like there is something to be said for gluten sensitivity since my throat tends to be sore after I ingest grain based snacks. Anyway, it is so difficult for me to stick to Paleo or AIP guidelines. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by how weak I am to the power of a junk food. I might need a support group!

    1. Lucky you, there is a support group! You can join this one on Facebook, which has over 5,000 members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hashimotos411/ . They also have a website with lots of great articles and a forum (you need to register to post with the forum): http://hashimotos411.com/ . When it comes to dietary healing, it’s often about “being ready” and maybe you’re just not there yet. I guarantee you that you’re NOT weak. No one living with autoimmune disease is.

  52. MC @ NourishPaleoFoods.com

    This is a very informative post. I’ve often wondered the details of the AI protocol.

    Your posts are remarkable – always so informative. Thanks for the nice work!

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