What is AIP? – Since we offer so many anti-inflammatory recipes, we often get asked what is AIP? The AIP diet is also known as the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. We encourage everyone that is battling any inflammatory or autoimmune diseases to adopt the AIP right away!
This seems to contradict our normal message of clean eating, and finding what works for you as an individual. However, we have a good reason for this belief, and will explain ourselves later in the article.
What is AIP?
The Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP) is a version of the paleo diet that is specifically formulated for those with autoimmune diseases. It’s not meant to be a lifelong diet, but rather, serves as an elimination diet.
Through removing any possible allergens and inflammatories, then adding them back in stages, the AIP diet allows one to methodically identify what is contributing to their inflammation.
What can I eat on the AIP Diet?
At it’s beginning stages, the AIP diet consists of: mostly fruits and vegetables, grass fed/organic meat, fish, healthy fats and oils, coconut products, and grain/nut-free starches and flours.
What to Avoid
The AIP diet aims to eliminate any potentially inflammatory foods, such as: Nightshades, nuts, seeds, alcohol, eggs, anything artificial, cane sugar, cacao, most forms of caffeine, gums/emulsifiers, legumes, dairy, and grains.
The foods on this list won’t be inflammatory for everyone, but should all be removed while on the protocol. This allows the body to heal enough to identify what is harming you before you begin adding food back in.
Common Swaps for The AIP Diet
Instead of focusing only on what should be eliminated (which can often seem daunting), let’s focus on what you can enjoy! After all, there are many foods the AIP allows to keep you not only full, but truly enjoying food while on the AIP Diet.
Here are just a few of the most common foods you will want replacements for on this diet:
Swap Wheat Flour for Grain + Nut-Free Flour
One of the biggest things you’ll take a step away from on the AIP is gluten and flour. This just so happens to be one of the most inflammatory foods you’ll eliminate as well. Luckily, there are many grain and nut-free alternatives to take it’s place! From cassava flour, to tapioca starch, tigernut flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot flour, you truly can make whatever bready food you desire, free of grains!
Swap Coffee for AIP Coffee Blends
If you’re thinking that there’s no way you could give up your coffee, believe me, I was in the same boat! However, there are very convincing AIP coffee alternatives out there that may just almost trick you into believing you’re drinking the real thing. While there are many recipes, a blend of roasted dandelion root, chicory root, and carob is my absolute favorite!
Swap Dairy for Coconut
Because nuts are not AIP, you’ll need to skip out on almond milk for this protocol. Instead, we opt for coconut milk and cream for our dairy alternatives! Believe it or not, you can make everything from AIP cream cheese to Homemade Yogurt with coconut cream! It really is an AIP lifesaver!
Swap Peanut Butter for TigerNut Butter
Yes, you do have to give up your peanut butter on the AIP, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up smooth, creamy “nut” butters all together. Instead of peanut butter, try tigernut butter (not actually a nut, and AIP approved), and you won’t miss out on a thing!
Swap Cane Sugar for Natural Sweeteners
The AIP Diet ditches inflammatory refined cane sugar, and trades it for natural, nutrient-dense sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, molasses, coconut sugar, date syrup, date sugar, and so on! Learn to bake with these, and we promise, you’ll never have to resist your sweet cravings again!
What are the Benefits of the AIP Diet?
There are 3 main benefits of the AIP Diet, but some people experience more. However, we’ll cover these and then share some of our favorite clean eating recipes for the AIP diet.
Like stated above, identifying intolerances is the main purpose of the AIP diet, and for good reason! The diet suggests that you follow the protocol for at least one month, and when you’re seeing at least some (preferably a lot of) improvement before beginning stage 1 of reintroductions.
This gives your body some time to heal, get any troublesome foods out of your system, and actually feel what it’s like without them. When re-introductions begin, the diet provides very structured stages for doing so. This assures that you can pinpoint the harmful food, eliminate it. Then, get back to re-introductions without having to start over (see below for our reintroduction tips and tricks). You can read about the 4 reintroduction stages here.
Again, although this is one of the main purposes of the AIP diet, it is extremely effective at reducing inflammation. Due to the nature of the diet, nearly all potentially inflammatory foods are eliminated during the initial phase.
Within a couple of weeks on the protocol, many people experience noticeable changes in their energy levels, symptoms, and mood.
Healing the Gut
Since inflammation can lead to leaky gut and intestinal permeability, the AIP diet helps give the gut time to heal. By eliminating foods that are consistently irritating your gut, overtime, the gut will begin healing, and restoring it’s integrity.
Like stated above, this diet is not meant to last forever. During the reintroduction phases, you will learn what works for your body, and what harms it. From here, you are able to curate a diet that promotes optimal health and healing for you personally.
Shopping on the AIP
Learning to grocery shop for Autoimmune Paleo compliant foods will most definitely take some time and effort to master. However, with a little bit planning and patience, it can actually be really easy!
While many common grocery stores are beginning to carry AIP compliant foods, baking and cooking supplies, there are still many speciality foods that may be more difficult to source outside of Whole Foods Market. Because of this, we often do the bulk of our shopping online to make this process as simple as possible!
For finding AIP compliant foods, we especially love using Vitacost and Thrive Market. This is because with just a click of a button to filter your searches, you can find all AIP compliant foods in one location! And of course Amazon is also one of our favorite shopping destinations for just about everything.
AIP KITCHEN STAPLES
Like mentioned above, shopping on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol is very different than simply shopping for clean, healthy foods. Because this protocol eliminates all potentially inflammatory foods, this diet focuses on products and food items most people don’t regularly have in their pantries.
We could go on and on for days of our favorite AIP foods to keep stocked, but here are just a few of our must-haves to get you started!
How to Reintroduce Foods
While everyone has their own tips and methodology for reintroductions, here is what has worked best for us!
Start with the Least Inflammatory Foods First
When choosing which foods to reintroduce, your best bet is to begin with the least potentially inflammatory foods, and slowly work your way up to the most.
Autoimmune Wellness has an excellent list of suggested reintroduction stages that can help guide you along your journey.
One of the most important aspects of reintroductions is to move incredibly slowly. This not only means reintroducing only one food at a time (in order to pinpoint where any symptoms may be stemming from), but to eat an incredibly small amount of the food you’re attempting to reintroduce when first beginning.
The Paleo Mom suggests beginning with ½ teaspoon, and waiting 15 minutes. If no symptoms appear, continue this process up until you’ve eaten 1.5 teaspoons of the new food in one bite, and then wait a few hours before eating a normal portion. After consuming a normal portion, try adding the food back in between 5-7 days later, keeping close watch of your symptoms during the days in between and avoiding all new reintroductions. If all goes well, likely, you’re non-reactionary to this food, and you can add it back into your diet!
Keep a Food Diary
Something we highly suggest throughout your entire reintroduction process is to keep a food dairy. This means, whenever you’re reintroducing a food, to write down the day, time, and amount of food you’re attempting to reintroduce, and any symptoms that may arise throughout the process. This will help you to identify the culprit if any symptoms reappear.
Going back to Autoimmune Wellness, this website has an extensive and helpful list of possible symptoms you might not otherwise recognize as issues if you’re use to experiencing them on a regular basis. This could be skin issues, joint pain, digestive distress, and so much more. Click here to read the full article!
3 Favorite AIP Diet Recipes:
Cinnamon Sugar Donuts: When creating this donut recipe, I specifically sought out anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense ingredients!
Celeriac Leek Soup: This delicious stew can be ready in as soon as 1 hour, or prepared in the slow cooker.
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These Savory Stuffed Mushrooms are so delicious and so quick and easy to prepare that you certainly don’t need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy them.
The AIP is a Temporary Elimination Diet
Following our opening statement that everyone should try the AIP diet, it all comes down to the fact that this is a temporary, elimination diet. Sick or not, many people don’t realize just how good they can feel until they experience what true health and vitality is.
When you learn to read your body’s signs and signals, and have identified what hurts it, and what makes it thrive, you get that much closer to achieving your own optimal health. So, if you’re curious as to your food intolerances, or if you’re experiencing optimal health, I would challenge you to dedicate one month to learning how to feel your best.
AIP Plantain Fries
Before I wrap up this article, I thought I should share my favorite, super easy AIP recipe! Plantain Fries are the perfect replacement for french fries on the AIP Diet, and require only 3 ingredients to make (including oil and salt)!
When used green and before they ripen, plantains are a savory and starchy fruit that is the perfect replacement for potatoes! Want to learn more? Let’s get into the recipe!
AIP Plantain Fries + What is AIP?
These Plantain Fries are the perfect replacement for french fries on the AIP Diet, and require only 3 ingredients!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Begin by peeling plantains, and cutting in half. Cut each half of the plantain into thin, fry shaped strips.
- Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Place plantains in the skillet, flipping every minute to keep from burning.
- Pan fry plantains until desired crispness is met (8-12 minutes).
- Serve warm, and enjoy!
Keywords: Plantain Fries