THE AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL
The AIP is a diet and lifestyle protocol, designed to bring your body back to balance over the long-term. It helps those suffering from autoimmune disease discover their environmental triggers, determine food sensitivities, reverse nutrient deficiencies, balance hormones, restore gut health, regulate the immune system and support overall healing. While there is no cure for autoimmune disease, following the autoimmune protocol can get you back on the road to health and put your autoimmune disease into remission.
In general, the AIP diet involves eating nutritionally dense foods and removing those that are most likely to be problematic for people with autoimmune disease. Whole foods such as organic fruits and vegetables, bone broth, wild-caught fish, quality animal meats and healthy fats are added to promote healing. While foods that trigger an immune response, irritate the gut and cause inflammation are removed. These include dairy, soy, eggs, nightshade vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains and food additives. After the elimination phase (which can last from a couple of months to a year), foods are re-introduced slowly and systematically. This helps to identify which foods are not well tolerated and may be triggering your autoimmune disease. Over time, you will be able to build a life-long diet that is tailored exactly to your needs.
The autoimmune protocol also addresses lifestyle factors that may be affecting your autoimmune disease. Getting good quality sleep, managing stress, making time for hobbies and connecting with nature can be just as important as eating a nutrient-rich diet. These changes are something that you have to figure out on your own as they are completely individual. For you it might be best to focus on sleep, while someone else might need to focus on improving their environment.
While the AIP diet provides all the necessary nutritional requirements, some people may also benefit from the use of supplements. It’s important however to check the labels carefully, as supplements are often derived from common allergens like wheat, corn and dairy. Look for statements like “certified gluten-free” and avoid ingredients that may trigger your autoimmune disease. Some practitioners recommend herbs to help reduce inflammation, modulate the immune system and combat stress. While this can be incredibly helpful for some people, it can be like playing with fire for others. I recommend working with a knowledgeable practitioner such as a registered nutritionist or naturopath, to determine what’s right for you.