What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

When I first went paleo it was out of a desire to determine if my health could be improved by changing the way I was eating. Undertaking a strict elimination diet was the key to improving my health and ultimately led me to a diagnosis of celiac disease. So I am big believer that anyone experiencing autoimmune disease symptoms owes it to themselves to find out if their health could be improved by a change in diet. For individuals whose symptoms are not fully eliminated after following the standard paleo diet you may wish to consider the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP).

Why Follow the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The autoimmune paleo protocol was derived from research indicating autoimmune disease stems from inflammation in the body. Inflammation is often caused by an underlying problem with intestinal permeability (or “leaky gut”). When a person has leaky gut, irritation in the gut lining causes the tight junctions in the intestinal barrier to allow unwanted molecules (food, toxins, bacteria) into the bloodstream. The autoimmune paleo protocol eliminates those foods that have been shown to irritate the gut or cause increased permeability.

What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The autoimmune paleo protocol is a version of the Paleo diet (no grains, legumes or dairy) that also includes the avoidance of the following:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Spices derived from seeds (Anise, Annatto, Caraway, Celery seed, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mustard, Nutmeg, Poppy, Sesame)
  • Nighshades (Vegetables from the Solanaceae family of plants: Eggplant, White Potatoes, Peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Pimentos, Paprika, Curry, Chili Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Cayenne Pepper, Tabasco sauce, et al.)
  • Alcohol
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen)

Other Things To Consider for the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol

Healing from autoimmune disease does not only mean avoiding certain problematic foods. There are other things you can do to advance your healing.

  • Meat Quality – Inflammation in the body is impacted by the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6. You should aim for 1:1 to 1:3 ratio in order to regulate inflammation in your body.
    • Make sure your meat comes from grass-fed, pastured or wild sources
    • Include highly nutrient-dense organ meats in your diet from time to time
  • Produce Quality – Eat organic produce as much as possible – if budget is a concern, focus on buying these foods in organic form:
    1. Apples
    2. Strawberries
    3. Grapes
    4. Celery
    5. Peaches
    6. Spinach
    7. Nectarines
    8. Cucumber
  • Heal and Manage Your Gut
    • Eat more healing foods like bone broth, organ meat, oily fish and coconut oil
    • Avoid overconsumption of starches and sugars
    • Consume raw fermented foods (sauerkraut, coconut milk kefir, kombucha) or take a dairy-free probiotic
  • Manage Stress
    • Avoid taking on more than you can handle
    • Include low-level cardio activities such as walking and yoga
    • Enjoy the wonders of nature
  • Get Enough Sleep – 8-10 hours per night in a dark room

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Are you overwhelmed yet?! Following the standard paleo diet can be difficult enough. And if you think undertaking the autoimmune paleo protocol is impossible you are not alone. But the good news is Mickey Trescott who runs the blog Autoimmune Paleo has written a new ebook. that will make the process MUCH easier.

What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook contains over 110 beautifully photographed and fully autoimmune paleo protocol compliant recipes. You will also find:

  • What to eat and avoid while on the autoimmune protocol
  • Tips and tricks to make the AIP more simple
  • Two 4-week meal plans
  • Shopping lists
  • Skills and staples for making things like bone broth and ferments

Changing the way you eat can have a profound impact on your health. Following the paleo diet or implementing the autoimmune paleo protocol can help you eliminate the need for medications for autoimmune disease (or allow you to reduce the dose). When you consider the high cost of healthcare, negative side effects of medications and continued symptoms it becomes clear that taking your health into your own hands can be well worth the effort.

Click here to buy The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook.

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25 thoughts on “What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

  1. i found grass fed beef from us wellness 75%/25% fat content but the description says the omega ratio is omega 6:3 so is that good?

    • Crystal,
      I don’t see the reference to that ratio on the US Wellness meats site. But I would suggest grassfed beef is generally higher in Omega 3 than conventional beef. Other good sources of Omega-3s are wild caught fish that can help get you to the right ratio. And of course, eliminating foods high in Omega-6 will also help.

  2. have you done the autoimmune protocol? i am trying, so hard cutting out eggs, i dont think i have an allergy to them, i have hasimotos and hypothyroidism dealing with lil bit acne etc, i dont think eggs are the culprit, sigh, bc i love eggs. lol going to be a long 30 days.. lol

    • Crystal, I have not personally followed the autoimmune protocol. My health symptoms seem to be controlled with the standard paleo diet. Keep in mind an egg allergy is not the same as an egg intolerance. You may not have what is considered an allergy with typical allergy symptoms. But if you have autoimmune disease your symptoms can be aggravated by the consumption of eggs – especially the egg white. You won’t know that eggs are the culprit until you eliminate them from your diet for a period of time and see how you feel. I think this book will make the process much easier.

  3. Dear Lea, are there any restrictions on the fruit? It seems that some people advocate limiting fructose intake to 20 gr daily on the autoimmune protocol? I do not need to lose weight, have been following Paleo for 2.5 months now, 12 days on AIP & still very very slight improvements in my condition. What would your take be on that? Thank you

    • Nata,
      If you aren’t trying to lose weight there may be less need for you to limit fruit. However, persons with autoimmune disease tend to react more to swings in blood sugar. I have also read that fructose contributes more to inflammation than glucose. So depending on your condition you might try sticking with lower sugar fruit like berries or limiting yourself to one serving of fruit per meal. It’s a very individual thing and you may have to experiment a little until you find a balance that keeps you feeling well. Best wishes for improved health!

  4. Hi,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve put a link to your site on my blog “Hashimoto’s Mum”. I’ve only just started it, but it is going to be our journey looking after a child with Hashi. Our 8yo daughter was just diagnosed last week so I am madly trying to get my head around it all. Love your site!
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Cindy,
      I appreciate the compliments and the link. It’s nice of you to share my site like that. I have an 8 year old son and I can only imagine how you must feel with that diagnosis for your daughter. It’s great you will be blogging because you will probably find others in a similar situation that way. You will also be helping others as you learn and share what you learn. Best wishes for you, your daughter and your blog!

    “Get Enough Vitamin D
    Take Vitamin D3 Supplements
    Spend more time outdoors

    Manage Stress
    Avoid taking on more than you can handle
    Include low-level cardio activities such as walking and yoga
    Enjoy the wonders of nature

    Get Enough Sleep – 8-10 hours per night in a dark room”

    • Pat,
      The main point of this “dumb diet”, as you term it, is to eliminate foods in the nightshade family and other inflammatory foods that negatively impact people with autoimmune conditions. If you do not fall into that category then this food protocol is probably not for you. And since that point was made pretty clearly in the post I’ll assume you are just an unhappy person who gets a kick out of insulting people anonymously on the internet. I hope you find a way to more happiness in your life so you don’t feel the need to resort to trolling.

  6. I thought I followed a pretty strict diet before; no gluten, no dairy, and no meat. I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years. Recently, I’ve been experiencing auto-immune issues after being MS symptom free that entire time.

    I’ve started the Paleo diet (based on Dr. K’s research) but since I don’t eat meat it cuts out a lot protein for me. Now I can’t have grains, nuts/seeds ect.

    I do NOT need to lose weight but have already lost 4 pounds since starting 3 days ago. At this rate I’m going to waste away! What can I do to heal my leaky gut but still allows me to maintain my weight AND not cheat on the Paleo diet?

    • Stacie,
      I’m not sure why you are avoiding eating meat – different people have different reasons. But it seems to me you should try adding that back into you diet. The paleo diet includes meat (ideally from ethically, pasture-raised animals). If you are making an effort to follow the autoimmune paleo protocol your options are so limited that without meat you will find it very difficult to maintain your weight. Not to mention meat has a lot of important nutrients not easily obtained through other foods. Minimally, if I were you, I would add more healthy fats like avocado and coconut into my diet. Best wishes to you!

  7. Hi,
    I have been on the AIP diet for almost one month. I have Hashimotos, Crohns and COPD- never smoked. I also had my colon removed 12 years ago and have a j-pouch (internal pouch constructed of a section of my small bowel. I have not been 100% faithful but did pretty well. Is this a diets that one gram of a forbidden food and you are back to day #1? Also, when people describe “feeling better” is there something more specific, observable, measurable? I am not sure whether I feel better or not because I was on multiple antibiotics in December to get the COPD under control and the antibiotics had a positive effect on my digestions, strangely enough. Today, I relapsed and had some cookies tonight and that is one area in which I definitely feel not right..sugar has always been bad news. I have lost weight which I don’t want to do and have increased coconut oil and avocados in addition to grass fed meat. I am wondering if I need to do a more customized Paleo diet so I have more food choices, but keeping away from sugar and wheat. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

  8. If you cannot afford to buy organic or pasture fed is this diet impossible. I am extrememly low income. I depend on food stamps ($400 a month to feed three people) and don’t have extra money to supplement that so that is my food budget for the whole month. I also live in a small town and organic and pasture fed sources are over an hour away. Gas to get there and back would be a huge chunk of my limited cash resources. Any suggestions.

    • It is true it can cost more to eat fresh, whole foods. But if I were deciding which things to put at the top of my priorities list I would focus on eating lower fat cuts of standard meat and eat lots of whole fruits and vegetables – don’t worry about organic and grassfed if you can’t afford it. Eating whole foods using the resources you have is about the best you can do and your health will still benefit. If you can buy in bulk and freeze things that would help. Buying at farmer’s markets can also be less expensive that the regular grocery store.

    • Not all my recipes are specific to the autoimmune protocol. For the beef bone broth you can just leave out the tomato paste. It will still be delicious.

  9. I’ve been diagnosed Celiac’s for 5yrs. Still had issues even after the “gfree” diet…my sister introduced me to the Whole30 last summer and we did it “just to see” if we could do it. I was strict, not all that balanced with what I COULD eat, still bloated, and made it to 22 days…then in November I tried Paleo again. I’ve been feeling better, but still don’t have it down to a science…and wonder if I need to give this “autoimmune paleo” a try (after Easter, because “it’s restrictive and annoying” enough to visit family having dietary restraints for them–their words, not mine.). Anywho, how long is it recommended to cleanse the body with the autoimmune paleo?

    • I would recommend following it strictly for at least one month. That’s the only way to eliminate things from your system to the extent you can then try adding eliminated foods back at the end of the month to see if you have a reaction. Some people need to heal their gut and that can take a long time to undo the damage done over years. Everyone is different. You might want to check into a naturopathic doctor or paleo-friendly nutritionist to guide you. Best wishes, Lea

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