What *IS* the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)? And what brought me here

What is the Autoimmune Protocol || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

The Paleo Approach explains pretty much all you need to know and more about the AIP! Written by Sarah Ballantyne, aka ThePaleoMom.com

I have to admit to you, lonely reader, I never did a proper job of explaining to you what the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) really is. There are loads of talented and eloquent bloggers who have successfully shared what the AIP is and how it works, that it’d be much simpler to just refer to their sites, but alas, for the poor folk who can’t click on a hyperlink, I shall detail it for you here!

The AIP is a temporary healing diet that rids the body of excess inflammation by removing foods, toxins and any other triggers that might be putting the body into an inflamed, stressed state. The protocol is especially beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s, Celiac, Multiple Sclerosis, Graves, IBS, Lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or in my case, Linear Scleroderma (also called Linear Morphea). What? Yes, I probably have one of the most unheard of autoimmune diseases but that doesn’t make it any less ugly!

Autoimmune conditions, in my words, are when the signals in your body get mixed up, and your body starts sending messages to begin attacking itself. For some people, it attacks their nerves, digestive system, their brain, a gland, or what have you. In my case, it attacks my skin with extra collagen and can attack connective tissue as well. I was first diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist almost 9 years ago! Once I realized autoimmunity means your entire body is at risk, I realized just seeing a dermatologist and getting topical creams wasn’t going to cut it. I had this realization about 5 years ago, and while there was no turning back, there was a lot of sitting on my hands until I (wo)manned up to take on the challenge of holistically dealing with my AI issues, with a few starts and stops along the way. Baby steps for the win.

So, the autoimmune protocol removes these inflammatory foods, some forever (based on the paleo template), and some temporarily:

  • grains
  • legumes
  • refined sugars
  • refined oils
  • processed food
  • processed sweeteners and alternative sweeteners like Xylitol & Stevia

These are a temporary removal, which means at some point these can be re-introduced to see how your body tolerates them:

  • nightshades and nightshade spices
  • seeds and seed-based spices
  • fruit-based spices
  • nuts
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • coffee, cocoa
  • alcohol

This begs the question, what can I eat?

The answer is food, lots of nourishing, yummy food!

What is the Autoimmune Protocol? || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

AIP BBQ pulled pork, warm arugula salad (by http://www.everydaypaleo.com, and sweet potato fries

The following is from AIP lifestyle, a wonderful resource with lots of inspiration for those on a healing journey!

  • Vegetables (except nightshades)
  • Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
  • Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
  • Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
  • Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
  • Bone Broth
  • Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
  • Non-Seed Herbal Teas
  • Green Tea
  • Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
  • Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
  • Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)  (Source: http://aiplifestyle.com/what-is-autoimmune-protocol-diet/)
What is the autoimmune paleo protocol? || naturallyinprogress.wordpress.com

peaches & {coconut} cream

The truth is, since I started AIP, I’ve actually hardly been hungry. Initially, I think I was so concerned I’d be hungry that I might’ve overconsumed and sometimes felt too full, but now I realize that was not necessary. I always make sure to pack snacks with me as well to avoid such a situation. Each meal is paired with just enough fat, protein, and carbs, that unless I’m just *too busy*, I’m often happily nourished, and that’s a very good thing for my health, sanity, my blood sugar, and my husband & my kids!

Have you ever done a temporary healing diet like GAPS, SCD, Wahl’s, or the AIP? If so, how did you fare on it? What improved? What worsened? I’d love to hear your experiences and where you are now with your healing.


6 thoughts on “What *IS* the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)? And what brought me here

  1. Courtney says:

    Hello there! I also have limited scleroderma and have been trying AIP for about 2 months now. I haven’t seen any improvements in my skin but my raynauds and joint stiffness seem to be getting a bit better. I’m curious to know if you have started to notice any changes. Take care!

    • Hi Courtney! Thanks for commenting. I took a really informal picture at the beginning of my AIP journey to document any skin changes, if they occurred. From a casual observer’s perspective, I feel in some cases the lesions have lightened, but they haven’t gone away. I’ve had the morphea/scleroderma for almost 10 years now, though, and so there may be some permanent damage that can’t be undone. Time will still tell. One thing my functional medicine doctor and I agreed on though is that with these types of changes, you’re working on yourself from the inside out. So, while your gut is being healed and your inflammation is going down inside, which is HUGE, you just might not be able to see physical effects on the outside. I’m so glad your other symptoms have improved though– that is so reinforcing! I started feeling “better” just physically & mentally about two weeks into AIP. My blood sugar stabilized (I was taking supplements to help with this too) and I was eating so much protein and fat that my sugar cravings subsided.

  2. Rose says:

    Hi! I too have linear morphea and just recently realized that I have to heal the deep root of what’s going on in my body. I am on a Paleo diet, but it’s not enough. I am going to have to make the leap to autoimmune Paleo or even to GAPS. It felt good to read this blog about someone that has morphea too! I’ve never met anyone else…

    • Hi Rose! I know, I feel like we are a small bunch in the autoimmunity world! What else do you do to help manage the linear morphea, and what kind of practitioner do you work with?

  3. Sally says:

    Hi Megan, thanks for sharing your experience. I was recently (in the last 18months) diagnosed with localised/limited mophea although it has been appearing for about 2-3 years. I have been treating with tacrolimus cream and have been on the AIP for about three months, although still having red wine and coffee…so does it count as AIP? Maybe not!

    I can and have give up almost all sugars, carbs, grains, nuts, eggs and my beloved nightshades but I just cannot shake the coffee cravings!! Interestingly my diet changed due to gut issues (SIBO) and now to assist with the morphea so it will be interesting to see if it helps…so far it has not.

  4. Yana says:

    Hello Megan,

    Thank you, for sharing your experience. I was diagnosed with localized morphea 5 years ago. It is inactive right now. I was on a vegan diet and did feel good on it and got into remission. Recently,I have been exercising with an online fitness instructor and she suggested I take protein powder before and after a workout. I started researching protein powders and came across the bone broth protein powder by Dr. Axe. Have you tried it? What do you think about bone broth protein and morphea? I saw that bone broth has collagen and our condition is about the body overproducing collagen. Will taking additional collagen with the bone broth still be good for us? So many questions?

    Congratulations on the pregnancy and the baby.

    Thank you, for sharing with all of us your experience!

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