Hi. I’m new to the AIP Paleo diet and it seems very strict. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to stay on it. Any tips?
Hey there! This is a great question, and the answer might surprise you. A healing diet such as the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet wasn’t intended for long-term use. The original goal of the diet was to be used to eliminate known causes of inflammation, and get a person to neutral (zero reactions).
From there, food would be methodically reintroduced. As triggers were found, those foods would be avoided for a longer period of time, whilst still transitioning onto a full-range diet.
Now, it’s not uncommon for someone on AIP to know they can’t have gluten or dairy period. Known allergens or triggers wouldn’t be reintroduced.
Some people go AIP, then learn it was something they were consuming regularly that caused issues, and with that one item removed, everything is fine now.
I say all of that to say this. If a practitioner is asking you to go AIP for the long haul, I’d question why. I’m going to guess there’s a food intolerance or underlying medical condition at play. Even still, more than 3 – 6 months of the elimination phase, without medical cause, would lead me to question the method.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and as questions. If your medical team isn’t helping you understand the why behind it all, and things seem almost “hidden” from you, perhaps you need a new team.
On the flip side, they may say something like, “I’ve seen hundreds of patients just like you, and the ones who heal the most and do the best and who are able to eat the most later have an extended elimination phase of 9 months.” That shows they’re invested in your success and want you to have a fighting chance.
No matter what the duration is of your strict elimination phase, here’s the best advice I can give you:
-Stick with It, and DON’T Cheat. Give your body the break it needs and the opportunity to heal.
-Know That It’s Worth It. I like to say that nothing tastes as good as neutral feels. Think about all of your struggles. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be free from it all?
-Go The Extra Mile. Don’t rely on diet alone. Exercise, detox properly, engage in grounding, do ALL the things needed to support your body through this. It will make for a better outcome.
-Know When to Quit. I know. Weird to have that here. The thing is, if your mental health is suffering greatly from the diet, or perhaps you can’t afford all the things, etc., don’t kill yourself trying. The stress alone will negate some of the efforts of the diet. Instead, find a more sustainable way forward.
I’ll also add this. The AIP diet isn’t for everyone. Some people get on it, and keep working with their medical team only to find that it was something totally different causing all of the symptoms, and that the solution isn’t AIP but something else.
This is why I’m always saying no two people are the same, keep your food journal (so you can track everything), don’t stop looking for answers, and to be your own best advocate. Educate yourself and know what’s going on so you can be an active part of the solution and discussions.
The AIP diet is strict for sure. It’s not the most strict, but it is, especially if you’re coming from the Standard American Diet (SAD). My last pieces of advice:
-Make life about more than food. If you’re always thinking about food, it’s going to feel impossible.
-Make food tase GREAT. I’ve met so many free-from people that eat bland food. They try one of my recipes and are blown away. It’s because I make sure food tastes amazing. No point in suffering, right? When your food tastes amazing, you’ll feel a lot less restricted.
And finally, keep a positive mindset. It is so cliché to say that, but it’s the truth. If we tell ourselves how awful something is, guess what: it’s going to be awful. Be your own loudest cheerleader. Hype yourself up, and have gratitude. It really does make a difference.
~The Allergy Chef
Have a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org