‘What is AIP?’ is something  we get asked A  LOT. Mainly because for one half of Paleo & Co, it’s a way of life. So here goes… AIP, or the Paleo AutoImmune Protocol, is a healing diet which is based on Paleo principles but goes a step further. It’s used by people with auto immune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Graves’ disease, Coeliac disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis to help them heal and manage their symptoms. it focuses more on nutrient density and eliminates anything that has inflammatory compounds. Although that sounds a bit sciency… it’s really not.

There are types of foods that obviously have lots of nutrients and there are types of foods that are problematic for most people (grains, soy, peanuts for example). In Paleo we say yes to the nutrient filled foods and no to the problem ones. However, there’s a whole load of foods that sit in the middle – they have lots of nutrients but also cause some inflammatory effects, these include nightshades (tomatoes, chillies, etc), nuts and seeds and eggs. People who are healthy can probably handle these foods and the positives outweigh the negatives. But for people with an autoimmune disease, it’s just not worth the risk so we say no. We cut out anything that could be problematic. We eliminate for a while until the body has time to heal and then reintroduce, slowly and one at a time.

So what’s in and what’s out on the AIP?

EAT THIS:

Organic and grass-fed meat
Fish and shellfish
Vegetables (Not corn – it’s a grain, and not nightshades – see DON’T EAT THIS)
Fruits (including avocado and coconuts)
Olives
Sweet potatoes and squashes
Plantains

DON’T EAT THIS:
Everything that Paleo cuts out, (Grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, processed seed and vegetable oils) PLUS:

Nuts and seeds (including seed-based spices such as coriander seed, fennel seed, mustard seed)
Black pepper
Eggs (especially egg whites)
Nightshades – chillies, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine), aubergines, paprika, goji berries
Cocoa (it’s a seed- sorry!)
Coffee (another seed!)
Alcohol (although wine is ok for cooking)

AIP is much more than just diet – it’s a lifestyle intervention. But if you’re still wondering ‘What is AIP’ and is it for me?’ you can find out much more here and here. And in the books listed here.