The Paleo Autoimmune Prototcol isn’t easy. Whilst renouncing all potential allergens for 30 days is do-able, the AIP Reintroduction phase is extremely challenging. It requires the patience of a saint, and a very pure level of self-honesty. It’s the stage where most of us slip up, inadvertently undermining all the good work that we’ve done during the Elimination phase. The Paleo AIP Reintroduction Guide by Eileen Laird makes the process so much easier.
The Difficulty of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol
Making the transition from a standard western diet to the Paleo Diet is one thing. Committing to the Autoimmune Protocol is a whole different ball game. Along with eliminating cereals and grains, legumes, refined vegetable oils and refined sugar, and significantly reducing dairy and alcohol, the AIP asks that we renounce all known allergens. Nuts, seeds and the spices which derive from them are out, as is all dairy and alcohol. Green beans are a no-go, as well as caffeine – that means tea, coffee and chocolate. You can say goodbye to the nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants. Non-nutritive sweeteners such as stevia are also eliminated. See my post, What’s the Difference between Paleo, the AIP and the Whole 30?, for a clear checklist and Free Printable of what’s in and what’s out.
The sweet point is that the AIP is not forever. It’s a short-term Elimination Diet which aims to give our Immune System a complete break and take it out of chronic inflammation mode. It’s a protocol which has been designed specifically for people who are diagnosed with Autoimmune Issues, or who are not seeing results in their chronic sistemic inflammation levels with the standard Paleo diet. The recommendation is to follow the Protocol strictly for at least 30 days, though some people may do it for longer. It’s important to recognise that the AIP is not meant to be a long-term option for anyone: we need all the nutrients of a varied diet. But an Elimination Diet is the only way of working out which particular foods are triggering an inflammatory response, and is much more effective than food intolerance tests. To be clear, the only way we can work out which allergens our bodies are reacting to is by eliminating them for an appropriate period of time, and then by reintroducing them one at a time, and doing so very patiently.
The Difficulty with the AIP Reintroduction Phase
But introducing foods one at a time – and waiting to assess whether we have an acute reaction – and if not, continuing to eat that food every day for a week to see if there’s an accumulate response – that’s a tall order. We’re more likely to celebrate the end of our Elimination phase with a restaurant meal, or a Paleo baked good that includes nuts and seeds and, hell why not, a little grass fed butter. We wake up the next morning feeling like we’ve been hit by a truck , and have no idea what it was exactly that caused the flare. (Been there, done that!)
Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – A Step-by-Step Guide with Recipes, by Eileen Laird
That’s where this Guide comes in. It clearly and compassionately outlines the process and the pitfalls, and empowers you with the tools for succesfully testing and reintroducing your favourite foods. Here are the points I particularly love about this E-book:
- Experience. Eileen Laird has been there herself, and she’s done it. She knows how hard it is, and she knows the grief of discovering that some foods, however loved, are causing negative reactions. Her story is inspiring, and her encouragement is priceless.
- The Reintroduction Journal. This is possibly the most important part of the guide. It’s an example as to how you might keep a diary to monitor your reintroductions. It spans the time it’s going to take (possibly 8 months!), the joys of successful reintroductions, the tears over failed attempts, and the power of being equipped with this self-knowledge.
- Mistakes. It examines the common errors we make when reintroducing. For me, it was a relief to know that it’s Not Just Me who makes these mistakes, but rather that the path is well-worn.
- Survival Guide. Flares will happen as you discover which foods your Immune System can handle and which foods it rejects. I love this section as it’s a reminder that it’s not just about the food, but that it’s also important to nurture ourselves in many ways, from hugs and sunshine to prioritising sleep.
- Recipes. The recipes are invaluable for their ‘just one ingredient at a time’ factor. The sections include Eggs, Nuts and Seeds, Dairy, Nightshades and Miscellaneous, and all of these are further broken down so as to encourage the smoothest, most logical reintroduction process. Recipes with seed and nut oils, for example, are presented before moving on to the soaked and dehydrated seeds and nuts themselves.
- Clarity.The E-book is just 44 pages in all, and it’s formatted so as to be easily printed. You can read it in an hour, but the wisdom in it will stay with you, and you’ll want to keep referring back to it.
- Inexpensive. It costs only $6.95, and contains a wealth of information, motivation and actionable advice.
This AIP Reintroduction Guide is an invaluable resource and I fully recommend it. If you’re serious about commiting to the AIP, then this could well be your guiding light as you navigate across the Elimination Phase and enter the challenging stage of the AIP Reintroduction.
Just $6.95, and it’s going to help stop you from falling face first into a bowl of Paleo Cookie Dough after all your good efforts at Elimination.
On the Side
These have all been linked to throughout the text, but here they are again for easy access.
What’s the Difference between Paleo, the AIP and the Whole 30? – With a Free Printable easy checklist.
Chronic Sistemic Inflammation: the Signs and Symptoms – Even if you don’t have an Autoimmune Issue, you may well be suffering from CSI.
Why Food Intolerance Testing Doesn’t Work – Another clear explanation by Eileen Laird on Phoenix Helix.
Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol: A Step-by-Step Guide with Recipes – Click through to the lead page for this must-have resource for navigating the most difficult phase of the AIP.
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