What is the autoimmune paleo protocol? Who created it? What are the benefits of me incorporating it into my lifestyle?
These may be some of the many questions flooding your brain as you research nutrition and gut health related to developing an autoimmune disease.
I personally discovered autoimmune paleo after reading The Wahl’s Protocol (which is a popular book recommended to those diagnosed with MS) and The Autoimmune Solution (which I discovered through Amazon searches for books).
What Is The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?
I think the easiest way to describe the autoimmune paleo protocol or AIP as many call it for short is a way of eating to support your digestive health. It supports the body in healing the gut (both the stomach and our intestines) that may have been weakened over time by inflammatory foods or exposure to toxins. It then helps restore the microbiome with good bacteria or flora and in turn, supports the body in having an appropriate immune response instead of a chronic inflammatory immune system response.
I may be so bold as to say the goal of the protocol is to increase your quality of life, halt disease progression and even support the body in progressing into remission from autoimmune attacks.
So in short, the protocol provides the body with amazing nutrients that it needs, while avoiding foods that may be blocking our body’s ability to heal. And while there is an elimination phase, I personally choose not to use language like restrictive or strict because then my way of eating becomes something viewed as negative vs. supportive to my body.
Why Focus On Healing Your Digestive Health?
Simple, if you aren’t able to absorb the nutrients you’re eating, a change in diet might not actually help. If your gut wall is broken, food particles will continue to slip through into your bloodstream and trigger an immune system response in the body that isn’t supportive.
Once the gut wall is healed you can then focus on nutrient-dense foods providing our body with the macro and micronutrients it needs to heal and thrive.
Who Created The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?
My understanding is that Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD is the pioneer leader in creating the guidelines and finding the science to support AIP.
I love this quote by her and how she explains what AIP is.
The biggest difference between the Autoimmune Protocol and other dietary templates is that it takes a nutrients-first approach while considering inflammation triggers. This is where we draw the line between “yes” foods and “no” foods in order to get more health-promoting compounds and fewer detrimental compounds in our diet.Sarah Ballantyne
What Are The Benefits Of The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?
One of the reasons why I chose to switch from the Wahl’s Protocol to the AIP Protocol was because this reason found on Sarah’s website.
The clinical research studies performed using the Wahls Protocol in multiple sclerosis provide additional validation for the Autoimmune Protocol. While there are a handful of foods included on the Wahls Protocol (most notably nightshades) that are excluded on the Autoimmune Protocol, the two protocols are remarkably similar despite the different philosophies that went into their formulation. The Wahls Protocol framework was developed with mitochondrial health as its primary goal whereas the Autoimmune Protocol framework was developed with immune regulation and gut health as its primary goals. It so happens that the nutrients required for mitochondrial health are nearly identical to those required for immune and gut health, hence the high degree of overlap between both approaches.Sarah Ballantyne
I also chose to switch because I was struggling to get the recommended cups of vegetables in per day and the AIP solution was a little less overwhelming.
How Can You Incorporate AIP In Your Life?
After discovering AIP and understanding the science behind it I then discovered two ladies Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt who created autoimmunepaleo.com and then re-branded to autoimmunewellness.com. They had a really easy way of explaining how to start AIP including 2 printouts that I still refer to. They include foods to eat and foods to avoid. From the link in the sentence before you can sign up for their newsletter to get access to the printouts.
FYI, there were updates published to the protocol in 2019. I would take the time to read these as well before beginning.
Here are 2 resource books on lifestyle and 2 cookbooks to help you get started. There are so many out there but I love the simplicity of these 4 books for starting out on your AIP journey.
Research & Links:
- The Paleomom: What is AIP?
- The Paleoway: The Autoimmune Protocol
- 2017 Study: Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- 2019 Study: Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet as Part of a Multi-disciplinary, Supported Lifestyle Intervention for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- MS Study: A multimodal intervention for patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: feasibility and effect on fatigue.
- Dr. Ballantyne’s Clinical Trials & Studies Synopses