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Educational Tip

Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP)

By Gali Health in partnership with @plentyandwellwithnat, medically reviewed by Kate Schlag, RD

Gali App

A grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and egg-free diet that focuses on nutritionally dense foods like meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy oils in order to reduce inflammation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. How It Came to Be
  2. Let’s Eat
  3. Foods to Steer Clear Of
  4. AIP Turkey Veggie Hash
  5. Flare Friendly Foods
  6. Common Swaps
  7. Weekly Tip
  8. Research

HOW IT CAME TO BE

 

AIP stands for the autoimmune paleo protocol, a diet created by Dr. Sarah Ballentyne, Ph.D., who has a background in medical research surrounding immunity and inflammation and runs the ThePaleoMom.com blog. AIP is a type of elimination diet in which followers are instructed to remove certain foods for several weeks, allowing the body to “reset” and helping to identify which foods trigger or worsen symptoms. Once you’ve identified the foods that might trigger or worsen symptoms, you can slowly begin to reintroduce other foods you’ve cut out to diversify your diet.

For those with autoimmune diseases like IBD who already face overactive immune systems that attack their own cells, adding foods that also trigger an immune response can result in chaos. Proponents of AIP also believe that the diet aims to heal leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, that may result from gastrointestinal diseases like IBD and Celiac disease.

LET’S EAT!

With all dietary restrictions, it’s important to focus on what you CAN eat, not just on what you can’t eat. With that being said, it’s definitely an easier process with stricter dietary changes like AIP to look at the elimination foods and know that all other foods ARE allowed.

On the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) you can eat meat, poultry, and seafood, many different veggies and fruits, healthy fats from oils like avocado, olive, and coconut oil, certain aged cheeses, etc. It is also very easy and even fun to experiment with AIP baking using ingredients like tiger nut flour, cassava flour, and maple syrup!

Thus your “yes” foods are:

  • Most fruits and veggies, besides nightshades
  • Many spices including basil, bay leaf, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, dill, ginger, garlic, mint, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme, turmeric
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Healthy fats including avocado oil, beef tallow, chicken fat, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil
  • Baking needs, including carob powder, cassava flour, coconut flour, tiger nut flour, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, and tapioca starch

STEER CLEAR OF

  • Gluten and grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Nightshades such as eggplant, goji berries, ground cherries, all peppers, red spices, potato, tomato, tomatillo
  • All nuts and seeds
  • Certain spices: allspice, anise, caraway, celery seed, cumin, fennel seed, mustard, nutmeg, black pepper, and poppy seeds
  • Additives and sugar such as gums, food dyes, and refined sugars
  • Alcohol and coffee
  • Cacao / cocoa (chocolate)
  • Eggs

For a full list of “yes” and “no” foods, click here.

AIP TURKEY VEGGIE HASH

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 cups sweet potato cubes
  • 1 cup delicata squash (can sub for any type of squash) cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2/3 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp salt (can add more)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pan or skillet, place 1 Tbsp of your oil and 1 of the cloves of garlic (minced). Cook on medium heat until starting to be aromatic.
  2. Add in the package of ground turkey, 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of thyme. Cook on medium heat until turkey begins to brown. Place turkey aside in a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, place the other Tbsp of oil, the other clove of garlic (minced), and the 2/3 cup of onion. Cook on medium heat until the onion begins to brown.
  4. Add in the sweet potato cubes and delicata squash cubes. Pour in a tiny bit (2-3 Tbsp) of water in the pan and cover with a lid to help soften the root vegetables. After about five minutes, remove the lid and add the zucchini.
  5. Add in a tsp of salt and a tsp of thyme and continue stirring until the veggies are starting to brown and you can easily stab a fork through the sweet potatoes and squash. Turn the stove off and mix in the turkey. Enjoy!

FLARE FRIENDLY FOODS

Baked sweet potato with coconut butter drizzled on top

Boiled chicken and steamed carrots

Fish with steamed squash

Steamed veggies pureed to be easier on digestion

Frozen banana slices dipped in coconut butter or drizzled with honey

Bone broth

Avocado drizzled in olive oil

COMMON SWAPS

Nuts/seeds: coconut flakes

Nut butter/seed butter: coconut butter

Sugar: coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey

Coffee: Mellow Rooster coffee alternative

Rice: cauliflower “rice”

Oats: cauliflower “oats”

Flour: tiger nut flour, cassava flour, coconut flour

Cacao/chocolate: carob

WEEKLY TIP

Remember that it is more than okay to need medication along with dietary changes! There is no shame in the medical mix that works best for you. Work to find the specific combo of tactics – western medication, diet changes, sleep, stress relief, lifestyle changes, holistic medicine – that makes you feel your best.

RESEARCH

While there is evidence of a link between gut health and inflammation, little research has been done on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, as it is relatively new, and controlled studies of the effects of diet on IBD symptoms and outcomes are limited in general.

However, several smaller studies have found that IBD patients who follow the diet do report improved symptoms (including this study).

A landmark study published in 2019 found that 11 out of 15 participants with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease achieved clinical remission by week 6 of the diet, and all 11 of those participants maintained remission through the maintenance phase.

Other studies have indicated that the gut microbiota plays a key role in modulating the immune system and inflammation within the gut. Both dysbiosis – an imbalance between protective and harmful bacteria within the gut – as well as decreased diversity of bacteria in the gut, contribute to this effect.

Because diet influences the diversity and balance of gut bacteria, many researchers have hypothesized that a diet that improves the microbiome may be helpful in alleviating symptoms and reducing inflammation in IBD patients.

For more information and tips on living with inflammatory bowel disease from the medical and patient communities, download the Gali friend for IBD mobile app and she will create a personalized feed of articles just for you!

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