What Is Autoimmune Paleo Diet Protocol?
Before we can understand what the Autoimmune Paleo Diet Protocol or AIP really is, we have to understand autoimmune disease. I initially believed autoimmune refers to AIDS. Here are some basic facts about AID or Autoimmune Diseases so that you understand them better.
“AID is a condition where the immune system of your body starts attacking the protein or good cells present in your system. This situation occurs when your body starts treating the protein as a foreign substance (such as bacteria) that should be destroyed. Unfortunately, such diseases could be life-threatening because once it gets out of hand, the widespread destruction can lead to organ failures.”
There are a number of autoimmune diseases that most of us are not even aware of. Some of these diseases differ based on the certain types of cells/protein attacked by your immune system.
Here’s a list of autoimmune diseases:
- Crohn’s disease
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Celiac disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Alopecia areata
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Autoimmune hepatitis
If you are diagnosed with any of these diseases, you are actually suffering from an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune Paleo Diet Protocol or AIP has been designed to help you with these autoimmune diseases.
What is Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?
The Autoimmune Protocol was introduced by Robb Wolf and Dr. Loren Cordain. The idea was taken from the original Paleo diet, to which certain variations were made to help those with autoimmune diseases.
The first aim was to help people benefit from the original Paleo diet – a diet named for the fact it consists of everything natural just the way our ancestors ate during the “caveman” times – and improve their overall well being. Second and most important, variations were made to the original diet to eliminate foods that may cause irritation and damage to the intestines of people suffering from autoimmune diseases.
More variations were made to the diet as more and more people learned about AIP and did their own research on how it could be improved. Sarah Ballantyne, an author and researcher, created a stricter list of food items that are not allowed on a typical Paleo diet.
However, it is also important to remember that AIP is an eliminate-and-reintroduce-diet. So the general idea is to eliminate all the food items that are not on the list for 30-60 days (usually 30 days) and then reintroduce one food at a time to observe if your system is sensitive to it or not. This is a great approach since it helps people identify the food their body reacts to.
Elimination is extremely important because that’s the only way your body will actually tell you if a certain food is bad. Thus, eliminate everything on the “not allowed” list for the full 30-60 day elimination period.
So what exactly is the Difference between Paleo and AIP?
AIP is just a stricter version of the regular Paleo diet, with more foods on the “not allowed” list. In short, you are following a pure Paleo diet with additional foods eliminated to make it suitable for people with autoimmune disease.
Another difference is the reintroduction phase. This is more of an experiment that you undertake by spending a few weeks reintroducing the eliminated food back into your diet to find out the culprit foods that your body reacts to. For instance, if your condition worsens after introducing eggs into your diet after the elimination period, it is a clear sign that you should keep eggs out of your diet completely. This is not applicable for people following the regular Paleo diet since they tend to eat a lot of free range organic eggs while on the diet.
Is it that simple to improve the autoimmune condition by eliminating certain foods? Is AIP actually effective? What is the whole idea behind eliminating these foods from your diet?
The next chapter covers it all.
Does AIP really Work? The Hype
I will be honest with you. I have done a lot of research and convinced myself to go AIP, but there are no scientific studies supporting the efficacy of Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. During my research, I also figured out that one of the main reasons no scientific studies back the claims in favor of AIP is because the concept is relatively new and there is a lack of funding for such research.
On the other hand, there is anecdotal evidence that highly supports the diet approach. Sarah Ballantyne recommends AIP to anyone who is diagnosed with autoimmune disorder or even possible symptoms of these disorders.
What’s the Hype and Who Should Try It?
As mentioned earlier, there is no scientific proof yet, but the topic is still in the limelight with more and more people suffering from autoimmune diseases willing to opt for AIP. This is because people like me are continuously sharing their personal experiences with the diet and how they have never felt better in their lives before.
The hype is based on the personal experiences and benefits the diet has to offer. I receive hundreds of emails where people discuss their autoimmune conditions, ask for advice, and even share their experiences. As per my observations and track records, in most cases people believe that following the diet and eliminating foods have really helped them improve their autoimmune condition. Even with a little room for skepticism, you are not losing anything by following AIP (even if your condition is not improving). However, if I have to mention my own experience, I would definitely say that AIP has made my life much better and I am grateful that I was willing to give it a try.
I would also conclude that the concept deserves all the hype since it’s not harmful in any way. It includes a very practical approach and takes into consideration factors like sensitivities towards food.
Why AIP May Not Work
As with any other natural remedy or prescribed medication, not everything works the same for everybody. My results could greatly vary from yours. However, the good part is that even if AIP is not helping you, it will not worsen the condition. Also, even following the simple Paleo diet offers amazing benefits for your overall well-being.
Moreover, it is also important to know that AIP may not work for you if your method or approach is wrong. We all tend to make some common mistakes while following AIP. Therefore, it is important to know that making these mistakes could be the main reason AIP is not working for you. Here are the two most common mistakes we make while on AIP:
- Focusing Only on Changing the Diet –People believe they only need to adjust their diet according to AIP. Lack of sleep, lots of stress, and indulging in no physical activity (or a lot of activities for some people) are some of the major issues that aren't changed just by changing the diet. It’s a lifestyle change and implementing all the positive ones will definitely offer you desirable results.
- Not Eliminating “Allowed Foods” From Your Lists that You Know You Are Sensitive To–Don’t forget that AIP does not cater to individual needs and requirements. Some of you might be sensitive to foods that are generally permitted on AIP. However, if you know about a certain food sensitivity (such as nut, dairy, or coconut products), you should avoid them too. If you suspect a food is causing trouble, eliminate it immediately and try to reintroduce it when the time comes to test for sure if you are sensitive to it.
Avoid these mistakes and see how drastically things change for you. In addition to making mistakes, there are a number of myths associated with AIP. If you are falling victim to the false information, it’s time to break through and learn the facts. This is covered in more detail in the next chapter.
Busting the AIP Myths –The True Facts of AIP Exposed
I am somebody who likes to keep up with the news – especially when it is related to health and lifestyle choices. I receive a number of emails and private messaged on Facebook where people share their problems, especially concerning why they are not getting desirable results from the AIP diet. These people often leave me shocked by sharing the information they follow, which has nothing to do with Paleo or autoimmune diet.
Unfortunately, we have myths related to everything today, and the AIP diet is no exception. So without further ado, we will bust some very common myths here and learn the real facts about AIP.
Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Myth 1 –Autoimmune disorders cannot be treated or reversed
People often give up before completing their elimination phase because they feel hopeless about their condition and they believe their diseases cannot be treated or reversed. While it’s true that autoimmune disorders are based on genetic components, it is a myth that they cannot be treated or reversed. According to the latest field of epigenetic, even genetic expressions can be modified. By reducing your toxic burden and offering intestinal healing through diet, you can address your not-so-promising genes and deactivate them. This will eventually help you restore your immune system as well as your health.
Myth 2 –You must take harsh medication to eliminate autoimmune disorder symptoms
It is unfortunate how the importance of food choices and right nutrition is often dismissed when considering our health. What most conventional practitioners fail to realize is that our health is affected by the toxic burden. Without removing trigger foods, treating and improving autoimmune diseases can be challenging.
In fact, using drugs to treat the condition without really focusing on food can further suppress our immune system. It is important to focus on the food to strengthen and support our body. Medication is an option but not the ONLY option and thus such a claim is nothing but a myth.
Myth 3 – Paleo Diet is Just Like Other Fad Diets
The basis of AIP is of course the Paleo diet with some alterations. However, following the Paleo diet does not suggest you are following a fad diet. In fact, Paleo is a lifestyle that takes you back to caveman eating habits just like your ancestors. Archaeological evidence pinpoints early humans depending mainly on seafood, vegetables, meats, berries, and nuts.
Fad diets are usually short term whereas Paleo is taken up as a permanent lifestyle change by most people. Again, there are some exceptions for people with autoimmune diseases. But, overall, it is a myth that Paleo is a fad diet. It is a long term commitment that helps you adjust your eating patterns according to people who lived thousands of years ago. It's considered both safe and healthy.
Myth 4 –AIP cannot fix autoimmune diseases, only medicines will
This is a myth people commonly believe mainly because it is often told by doctors and medical practitioners. Again, in order to get your facts straight, it is important to know that there are no claims that you can fix the autoimmune disease completely by following a diet. In fact, autoimmune disease is usually something you might have to live with for a long period. But the only purpose behind adopting an immune-friendly diet is to boost your treatment by avoiding foods that could be harmful or a triggering factor for you. The diet may encourage your disease to go into remission.
Check out the internet and you will come across a lot of success stories – if mine isn’t convincing enough. If you are only focusing on medication at the moment, I would suggest you consider being a little more proactive about including dietary changes in your treatment plan. Speak to your doctor to adjust your medication alongside AIP and I guarantee you will notice the difference – I can say this because I did. In addition to the right food, vitamins and sunlight also play a role. So add those to your life too if they are missing.
Myth 5 –Paleo diet – including AIP – is loaded with fattening foods (also saturated fats) and could lead to more diseases, especially related to heart
Do your homework and learn about the latest conclusions of researchers on the effects of fat on our health. According to new research, more and more professionals are accepting that the majority of our health issues are associated with sugar and not fats, and carbohydrates are the ultimate and most dangerous form of sugar.
Fats today are seen differently and no longer considered as harmful as they were earlier. It is also important to know that Paleo is not all about meat. It is true that meat was a major ingredient in our ancestors' diets, but if you are skeptical about it, you can omit it and stick to the other healthy ingredients. It is all about your own choices.
With these common myths busted, you are now in a better position to adopt a lifestyle that will help you ease your autoimmune disease symptoms.
How to Personalize your AIP Approach to Avoid the Difficulties in Implementing the Diet Protocol
Some people face more difficulties than others in implementing the diet protocol. The first step should be to personalize the approach so that the whole procedure becomes smooth for you. Indeed, both elimination and reintroduction can be challenging phases, but once you learn to control your cravings and find healthier alternatives, you will be in a much better position to avoid those difficulties. Being extra observant will also be in your favor – especially when you are in the reintroduction phase. Make a plan and don’t forget to follow a timetable to avoid any confusion. AIP also comes with personalized meal plan guide.
These are three amazing tips to personalize the autoimmune Paleo protocol. I believe once you have personalized your approach, you will see some significant improvements in your autoimmune disease symptoms.
AIP helps you reduce the burden of toxins in your daily life. Avoiding toxins can significantly reduce the burden on your immune system and help you heal at a much better pace. AIP encourages you to become a strict Paleo follower along with some stricter guidelines to further help you remove toxins from your system. The fewer the toxins your body has to contend with, the more energy it will have to expend on healing.
That said, to move ahead with the plan efficiently, some of us will need additional tweaks, personalized changes to the diet, deeper testing for sensitivities, additional supplements, and an altered (positive) lifestyle. All of these things should be implemented to give you the best chance of experiencing genuine improvement.
This is specifically true for people who are diagnosed with extreme food sensitivities, severe gut problems, issues like pharmaceutical dependence or surgical intervention, or long-term neurological involvement.
I hope the information in this review report helps you identify the mistakes you have been making in adopting AIP and also helps you learn about things you can do to repair those mistakes immediately. So move forward, implement AIP to the best of your ability, and be healthy again.
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