If you are considering making dietary changes to help manage your autoimmune disease, then you have probably come across the Autoimmune Protocol diet. What exactly is it and does it work?
There are many great articles that explain this diet (check out this one by Medical News Today), so I won't go into detail there. What I do want to focus on are common questions I get, as a Mymee Health Coach, about this approach.
The purpose of the AIP diet is to take out potential autoimmune food triggers, allowing the immune system to settle down. After a period of 30 days, begin reintroducing foods one by one to see what the reaction is. Then take out the foods that don’t work and keep the ones that do.
Question 1: Is the AIP easy to start?
That depends on where you get your outlines from, your determination to follow the diet, and your diligence of adhering to the diet outlines. In my research, I found several sites that were easy to follow that also provided great recipes. Because it is such a switch from what people normally eat, it may be a bit of a challenge to learn a new way of cooking/eating.
Question 2: Is the AIP easy to stick to?
I have found that if a person realizes a significant improvement in their health within a few weeks from starting, they are often more likely to stick to it. Having a "quick win" depends on how severe the symptoms were going into it, how well they documented and implemented the reintroduction process and whether or not the prescribed foods contain an individual's triggers. It is actually quite common that foods marketed as "healthy" like Kale, Spinach and Turmeric are actually what is setting the immune system off. So, at the end of the day, the more the AIP diet has improved your symptoms, the more likely you are to stick with it.
Question 3: Am I able to navigate it well without guidance?
The actual diet plan is pretty easy. Where the issue begins is at the reintroduction phase because the instructions around that phase are a bit vague. The best way to reintroduce foods are to choose one food at a time, like gluten only, and reintroduce it at least 3 times per day in good amounts for three days. At the end of three days, there will be no doubt about whether that food is good for your body or not. Most people just want to reintroduce a tiny bit at a time. That doesn’t work because if the body is just a tiny bit inflamed, that is hard to detect. Whereas, if the food is reintroduced in a big way for three days straight, there is no doubt. The second piece that is crucial here is that good journaling needs to be kept here. As much as you think you'll remember 'that' bowel movement, human memories are flawed. Capturing something immediately will give you the information you will need to handle reintroductions effectively.
Question 3: Is AIP "all or nothing"?
This diet is not something that works if you just take parts and pieces of it and expect remission. If a person is looking for full autoimmune remission, strict adherence will yield the best results. So yes, you should be all in or all out with this diet.
Question 4: Is AIP different from the Wahl's Protocol?
Yes. AIP differs from the Wahl's Protocol in that Wahl's allows for nightshades to remain in the diet. (What the heck is a nightshade?). That probably won’t work for a percentage of people with joint pain or arthritis since we've found that nightshades are a common inflammation trigger.
Question 5: Will the AIP diet get me into remission?
Will it help autoimmune disease? Here is a study that was done to answer that question. And yes, using food choices to address autoimmune diseases does work. Better for some than others. But it's an excellent place to begin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5647120/
Question 6: Does Mymee use the AIP diet guidelines?
No. Mymee is a digital care program that works by using the data an individual's body is producing to pinpoint their specific dietary and environmental triggers. Basically, we build a personalized diet for each client over 16 weeks - instead of starting with a reduced diet and reintroducing items one by one. If you want more information, schedule a call with an Engagement Specialist who will answer all your questions.