AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and Meal Plan 

An Autoimmune Protocol Diet, or AIP Diet, is a diet that helps those with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases find out which foods trigger their autoimmune responses. The AIP diet helps cut down on inflammatory responses in the patient or participant of the diet. 

The AIP diet combines elements of an elimination diet as well as the paleo diet to create a sustainable way of living for those with autoimmune diseases. The AIP diet is one of the few on the list of diet plans meant to reduce inflammation and ease autoimmune disease symptoms. 

These AIP diets are restrictive and involve eating anti-inflammatory foods while avoiding triggering foods, which are different for everyone. Because it is often restrictive, you should consult a physician or dietician to help create the right type of AIP diet for you.  

How Does AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet Work?

Since this is an elimination diet, the process is straightforward. You begin by identifying foods in your current diet that seem to exacerbate your negative autoimmune responses, then start to eliminate these foods one by one until you find the culprit. 

Most of the time eliminations happen for about a month. You should keep a food journal and monitor what you eat and the symptoms following meals. Then, gradually reintroduce foods one by one, noting how your body responds to each addition.

Once you find the foods or ingredients that trigger your autoimmune disease, you can eliminate them from your diet.  

What are the Phases of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

The phases of an AIP diet are simple. The elimination phase, then the reintroduction phase.

  • The Elimination Phase
  • The Reintroduction Phase

1. The Elimination Phase

During the elimination phase, you slowly eliminate certain categories of foods. The elimination continues for about a month, during which time you should track how you feel without that food in your diet. 

2. The Reintroduction Phase

The reintroduction phase is when you add previously eliminated foods to your everyday diet. During this time, you should journal how your body feels, how the foods interact with your body and autoimmune issues, and how your gastrointestinal system feels. 

What are the Health Benefits of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

If you are someone who suffers from an autoimmune disease where an AIP diet might help, the benefits of the diet to your health include a more comfortable and healthy quality of life. 

What are the health benefits of AIP Autoimmune Protocol Diet
What are the Health Benefits of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

What are the Health Risks of the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

The main health risk to be aware of when it comes to the AIP diet is a lack of nutrient density while you are on the diet. Due to eliminating certain foods and food groups, those on the AIP diet might find it difficult to gain all the necessary nutrients daily. 

  • Increased risk for heart disease and diabetes 
  • Compromised digestion due to a decrease in fiber 
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies 

How to Do AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

The best way to successfully adhere to an AIP diet is to follow four simple steps.

  1. Eliminate foods for about 4-6 weeks in stages. Target eliminating foods known to cause inflammatory responses, like coffee, alcohol, food additives, refined sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, processed foods, processed oils, eggplants, and tomatoes. 
  2. During this time, consume nutrient-dense foods like fruits, meat, poultry, bone broths, teas, seafood, and non-nightshade vegetables. 
  3. Once your elimination phase is complete, begin to reintroduce foods one at a time. Start by eating a tablespoon of the food, wait about 15 minutes, then if you notice zero adverse effects, you can eat a serving of that food.
  4. You should reintroduce one food every seven days. For the seven days, you should continue to eat that food and add it back into your diet. 

How Many Calories Should You Consume When Doing an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

On an AIP diet, you should eat the same amount of daily recommended calories as before. Even though you are eliminating foods, you can make up for the calorie deficiency in other ways. 

What Is the Proposed Time Frame for AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

The proposed time frame for following the AIP diet is about 11-12 weeks. 

What are the Best Practices to Follow AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

The best practice to follow with the AIP diet is sticking to the plan. Tell someone close to you about the diet so they can help hold you accountable. It also helps to have a friend on this journey since it can come with a host of battles and tough days. 

What Is the Difference Between AIP Diet for Hashimoto’s?

For Hashimoto’s disease, an AIP diet has been shown to help inflammation. Other symptoms also decreased, such as joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, sleep quality, energy, mood, cognitive function, and body weight.

What are the Tips for AIP?

Here are a few helpful tips when it comes to following an AIP diet.

What are the tips for AIP
What are the Tips for AIP?
  1. Cultivate a positive mindset
  2. Anticipate cravings
  3. Try simple meals first
  4. Cook meal components
  5. Choose high-quality produce and meat
  6. Prevent constipation with fiber and add a stool softener if needed
  7. Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  8. Do batch cooking
  9. Infuse some joy
  10. Practice mindful eating
  11. Overcome food fears
  12. Eat glorious greens

What are the Foods that You Can Eat While on an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

Here are a few specific foods you should eat on an AIP diet. While this AIP diet food list is just a smaple, you should be able to come up with many meals using it.

  • Fruits 
  • Non-nightshade vegetables like spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, etc. 
  • Grass-fed meat 
  • Omega-3 rich seafood
  • Fermented foods
  • Bone broths 
  • Herbs and spices
  • Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
  • Honey 
  • Teas  

The most important foods to eat while on the AIP diet are the allowable proteins, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will give you the nutrients and calories you need while eliminating foods.

What are the Foods that You Should Avoid While on an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet?

Processed foods, highly acidic foods, and additives that are not naturally occurring are all types of foods and ingredients you should avoid on the AIP diet. Here is a short list of the most important foods to avoid.

  • Nightshade vegetables like eggplant and tomato 
  • Dairy
  • Eggs 
  • Seeds
  • Processed foods and oils 
  • Refined sugars
  • Grains 
  • Alcohol 
  • Coffee
  • Food additives

Who Should Do AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet Plan?

Anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease that would benefit from diet changes to reduce inflammation and other uncomfortable symptoms should consider starting an AIP diet plan. However, anyone considering this should consult their physician first for guidance. 

What are the Best Recipes for AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet? 

  1. Lemon Asparagus Chicken Skillet: This one-pan meal is a great choice for an AIP diet. It adheres to the diet, is easy to make, and tastes delicious! 
  2. Ground Beef Stir Fry: Another easy-to-make recipe is this ground beef stir fry. Use grass-fed beef and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and onions to make this delicious and AIP-friendly meal. 
  3. Spinach Avocado Chicken Burgers: Use ground chicken and spinach leaves to create these chicken burgers! Top with avocado and serve bunless. 
  4. One Pan Chicken Pesto: This is another one-pan meal that is easy to assemble and make. It includes chicken, a homemade pesto sauce, carrots, onions, and squash. 
  5. Egg Roll in a Bowl: This deconstructed version of an egg roll is the perfect addition to an AIP Diet because it is simple but flavorful!

What Is a Sample AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet Plan?

There are many diet plans your physician or nutritionist might recommend to you, but here is a sample AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet plan. 

Monday: 

  • Breakfast – Fruit salad, including strawberries, bananas, and blueberries 
  • Lunch – Tuna Pasta
  • Dinner – Turmeric Chicken Curry

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast – Sausage Chicken Poppers with a side of banana
  • Lunch – Avocado Turkey Breast
  • Dinner – Pesto Meatballs and Spaghetti

Wednesday: 

  • Breakfast – Ham and Spinach Sautee
  • Lunch – No Tomato Chili
  • Dinner – Stir-Fried Ground Beef

Thursday: 

  • Breakfast – Mushroom and onion powder coated pork loin
  • Lunch – Chicken Burgers with Spinach, Avocado and a Side of Sweet Potato Fries
  • Dinner – Roasted Tilapia with Squash and Broccoli

Friday: 

  • Breakfast – Chicken Liver with Spinach
  • Lunch – Tropical Chicken Salad
  • Dinner – Hamburger Steak w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Saturday:

  • Breakfast – Leftovers Medley
  • Lunch – Leftovers Medley
  • Dinner – Leftovers Medley

Sunday: 

  • Breakfast – Cauliflower Oatmeal
  • Lunch – Grilled Chicken Tenders with Asparagus
  • Dinner – Orange Chicken with Broccoli Rice

This is a loose guide on what to eat during a typical week of the AIP diet. You can switch it up or change it according to the foods you are currently eliminating or other dietary restrictions. 

What are the Facts About AIP Diet?

Below are some of the facts about the AIP diet, such as whether the AIP diet can help with diabetes, whether it is an easy diet to follow, how long to follow the diet, how expensive it is and a few others.

What are the facts about AIP Diet
What are the Facts About AIP Diet?

What Is the Relationship Between Paleo and AIP Diets?

The AIP diet is a version of the Paleo diet. They have similar food categories that are allowable on the diet, but the AIP diet is focused on finding foods that trigger your autoimmune responses and eliminating them from your everyday diet. 

Can the AIP Diet Prevent Diabetes?

Yes, an AIP diet can help ease the severity and sometimes prevent type two diabetes. It works by improving blood pressure and glucose tolerance while also decreasing insulin. Most studies are done on patients using a strictly Paleo diet, but the AIP diet is so close to a Paleo diet that it should accomplish the same goal. 

Is AIP Diet Easy to Follow?

Yes, the AIP diet is easy to follow. It takes patience and diligence, but all foods are easily accessible and fit into an average budget. 

How Much Should You Exercise on the AIP Diet?

With autoimmune conditions, it might not be healthiest to work out rigorously every day. Instead, you should work out about three times per week with a moderate or low workout. 

How Long Does It Take to See Results from the AIP Diet?

Usually, people begin noticing results and changes within 3 weeks. On average, the elimination phase lasts about 1-3 months. 

Is AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet Considered a Healthy Diet?

Yes, the AIP diet is considered a healthy diet, but you should always consult with your physician on whether or not it is a healthy choice for you. 

Is AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet Expensive?

Yes, the AIP diet can be expensive if you consider the grass-fed beef and quality seafood on the list. However, the produce and other items on the list, like honey and tea, are available at most grocery stores for a reasonable price. All in all, the diet is not too expensive to keep up. 

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The Athletic Insight Research team consists of a dedicated team of researchers, Doctors, Registered Dieticians, nationally certified nutritionists and personal trainers. Our team members hold prestigious accolades within their discipline(s) of expertise, as well as nationally recognized certifications. These include; National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC), International Sports Sciences Association Nutritionist Certification.

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