Going AIP? Whether you’re starting the AIP (autoimmune protocol or autoimmune paleo), or just thinking about it, think of this article as your starter kit.
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What IS AIP anyway?
If you’re new to this whole thing, you may be wondering what in the world this AIP thing is. Maybe a friend suggested it, or you read something that referenced it. Maybe you were looking for ways to combat the symptoms of autoimmune disease. But maybe nobody really defined it for you.
First, the acronym. AIP stands for “autoimmune protocol.” Sometimes people also use it to mean “autoimmune paleo.” AIP is a subset of the Paleo diet, with a few tweaks.
People use the AIP to calm their autoimmune symptoms, and to find their unique food triggers. Basically, you temporarily eliminate probable inflammatory foods from your diet, then re-introduce them, one by one, to discover your particular sensitivities.
I will leave official definitions to the professionals. The protocol was codified by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, so if you’d like to read about it from her, please read this article.
The AIP Lifestyle
When you start scratching the surface of AIP, you will discover that the AIP lifestyle goes way beyond diet. It includes stress reduction, sleep hygiene, and connection with nature and others. I’ll share resources that I’ve found helpful for all of these things. Since I am a recipe developer and food photographer, I tend to center on the food aspect in my on-line life. But the other aspects are very much part of my daily life as I manage symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness – This is hands down my favorite book on the subject. It’s also my favorite book to gift someone looking to manage their autoimmune symptoms. Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt, two pioneers of the movement, wrote this book together. It is gentle, easy to understand, beautiful – AND it contains some great recipes!
The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body – “Great,” you say, “but I want THE SCIENCE behind this whole AIP thing.” Well, here ya go. This book, written by the aforementioned Dr. Ballantyne, will give you aaaallllllll the science behind the diet. The book is thick. It reads like a science textbook. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) It is a must for anyone wanting to really understand the whys and wherefores. The protocol has had a few slight changes since this book was published, but it remains relevant.
The Autoimmune Protocol e-book – This is an ebook by Dr. Ballantyne that you might find more approachable than the above. It includes all the AIP info, 80+ recipes, and 4 weeks worth of meal plans.
A Simple Guide to the Paleo/AIP – This ebook by Eileen Laird is written in a conversational tone. The chapters are short, and include many topics, like grocery lists, holidays, traveling on the AIP, what’s in/out, FAQs, etc. If Eileen’s name sounds familiar to you, it may be because she is the woman behind the Phoenix Helix recipe roundtable, an online resource where bloggers post their newest recipes each week.
Yay! My favorite subject – the FOOD! There are many AIP cookbooks out in the world now. Here are some:
Simply Flavorful: 10 Paleo/AIP main dishes from your grocery store – OK, this is my very own mini e-cookbook. One of the challenges with the AIP is that some ingredients are… well, weird. We often have to get them online. This cookbook of fun and interesting main dishes is a collection of recipes made from things you can find just at the grocery store! I concentrated very purposefully on quality over quantity. I hope you love it! 😊
30-minute Meals for the Paleo/AIP – You can spend a lot of time in the kitchen on the AIP. This e-cookbook, for which I am a contributor, is a gem of over 120 complete meal recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less.
The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook: An Allergen-Free Approach to Managing Chronic Illness (US Version) – This cookbook by Mickey Trescott is a classic. It is the first AIP cookbook ever published!
When you’ve been on the AIP for a while, you find different products and services that make your life easier. I won’t overwhelm you with all the things I’ve found, but here are a few:
Paleo On The Go – Let’s say you are sick to death of cooking, and you want someone else to do it. Or your family wants a pizza, but you still need to look after your diet. Or you’re going on a trip, and want to bring some ready-made food with you. THIS is the service you want. They ship chef-made AIP food straight to your door! It’s a little spendy, but it’s handy to have something in your freezer when you need it. (Psst… you can use my code WendiAIP to get $15 off your first order.)
Eat G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. – You guys. This company makes cookie and cake mixes that are 100% AIP!!! I got to test them in early days, and even did some photography for them because I believe in their stuff so much. They nailed it. When you’re on a healing diet, it is a joyful thing to have the occasional treat available so easily. Use the code WENDISAIPKITCHEN to get 10% off your first order.
An Instant Pot – This is the appliance that you will rely on way more than you ever thought possible. It’s a combination slow cooker and pressure cooker. It cooks a whole chicken, then makes bone broth. (Here’s my tutorial on how to do that.) There are even cookbooks dedicated to recipes for the Instant Pot.
Araza Beauty (Paleo makeup) – This one is a total non-essential for going AIP. If you are interested in reducing your toxic load and changing out your cosmetics for natural ones, this company is the bomb. They sell sample sizes! Their slogan is “If looks could heal.” That kinda says it all. I love their stuff. If you’d like to give them a try, you can use code Wendi10 to get 10% off.
Take baby steps
OK, this is just a smattering of information on a wide topic. If this is a lifestyle you think you’d like to adopt, my best advice to you is to take baby steps. Lifestyles don’t generally change overnight. We need time to tweak here and there for lasting change.
I’ll leave you with one last thought. If you’ve thought to yourself, “What if it doesn’t work…?”, please counter by asking, “What if it DOES?”
As always, I’m wishing you great love and deep healing. I’ll be back with a new recipe next week. 😊
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