"Let food be they medicine

and medicine be thy food."


food is medicine

The Autoimmune Protocol

The History of AIP

The history of the Autoimmune Protocol goes back to 1985.  A physician by the name of Boyd Eaton wrote a paper for the New England Journal of Medicine and later expanded his theories into the very first book on paleo: The Paleolithic Prescription.  When Loren Cordain found Eaton's paper, he was inspired to big deeper into ancestral health.  It was actually his research and vision that led to the creation of the first paleo autoimmune protocol.  Sarah Ballantyne, a research scientist with an autoimmune disease herself, took it a step further and authored the first book 100% about AIP.  Dr Terry Wahls reversed her own multiple sclerosis using the Wahls Protocol and Dr. Amy Myers created the Myers Way after having graves disease herself.  There were many other research pioneers as well that deserve credit.  I'm so grateful for all of their work!

These scientists and doctors have seen incredible healing with their clients and in some cases with themselves.  While many traditional doctors will tell you that diet doesn't matter, I beg to differ.  The proof is in the results - and there's now science to back it up.  With that being said, the treatment for autoimmune disease is so multifaceted and fascinating.  I get so excited every time I hear a success story, yet I understand not everyone has one.  When the AIP doesn't work, many times there are underlying factors; like an infection in the body, like candida, or maybe parasites.  Maybe someone "thinks" they are following the protocol, but really aren't reading or understanding labels completely, or not following the diet 100%.  There could always be other factors prohibiting the healing; environmental, stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, etc.  Our bodies are very complicated beings, but MOST people will see significant results just following this protocol alone.  

What is the AIP Protocol?

I will never forget the day my doctor gave me Amy Myers's book, The Autoimmune Solution, and told me to follow the diet 100%.  "No cheating," she said.  "Even so much as a teaspoon of ice cream will set your healing back 3-6 months."  Whew!  Three to six months?!?  Diving into Amy's book inspired me to do more research on this autoimmune protocol.  It was fascinating.  The more I read, the more I was convinced that you could find healing through your choice of foods alone.  I like this approach SO much better than taking more pills, or worse yet, feeling like crap.

The AIP diet is referred to as an elimination diet.  It is a little more restrictive than the Paleo Diet.  Compared to the SAD (Standard American Diet) there are many food groups that are eliminated. The autoimmune protocol is specifically designed to calm the inflammation in the body and heal the gut.  This should be one of the first (but not only) lines of defense when faced with a chronic disease caused by inflammation.

I don't want to get into too much science here, you can research that for yourself.  So lets just jump right in.

Ground Rules of AIP

As a simple description, you will be eliminating all foods that have been known to irritate and cause inflammation in the gut: gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, alcohol, caffeine, legumes, sweeteners, gums, and night shade vegetables.  Foods to love: Vegetables,  Clean meats, wild-caught fish, good fats, fruit, and a variety of herbs.

When you explore the world of AIP you will find some discrepancies. Not all doctors and/or scientists agree on every single component of AIP.  Since I am not a doctor or a scientist, these lists are a combination for of two doctors recommendations that I followed with tremendous results.  As always, PLEASE follow the recommendations of your doctor.  I'm not here to dispute these differences.  I have put an * by the items most disputed.



                         AIP DIET                          

Foods to AVOID


  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgar
  • Corn
  • Farro
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Spelt
  • Teff
  • Wheat


  • Almond
  • Brazil
  • Cashew
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Hazelnut
  • pecan
  • Pine Nut
  • Pistachio
  • Macadamia
  • Walnut
  • ALL Nut Butters


  • Anise
  • Canola
  • Caraway
  • Chia
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Dill Seed
  • Fennel
  • Flax
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Poppy
  • Pumpkin
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower
  • Hemp




  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Casein
  • Cheese
  • Condensed Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Evaporated milk
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Goat Cheese
  • Goat Milk
  • Ice Cream
  • Ghee
  • Kefir
  • Milk
  • Powdered Milk
  • Sheep Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Whey
  • Whey Protein
  • Whipped Cream
  • Yogurt


  • Bell Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Pepper
  • Chipotle Chili Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Goji Berries
  • Ground Cherries
  • Habanero Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Tobacco
  • Tomato
  • Tomatillo


  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Broad Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Fava Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Peabuts
  • Red & White Beans
  • Soybeans


  • Artificial Sweeteners


  • Natural Sweeteners i.e. honey*, molasses, agave, maple syrup*, coconut palm sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, brown rice syrup
  • Fast Foods
  • Processed Foods
  • GMO's
  • Processed Meats
  • Food Additives
  • Refined Oils
  • Salad Dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Canola Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Hydrogenated Fats
  • Trans Fats
  • Stimulants
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee (including decaf)
  • NSAIDs (asprin, ibuprofen, naproxen)

Foods to ENJOY


  • Organic, grass-fed beef
  • Organic, grass-fed lamb ( or Australian Lamb)
  • Organic, grass-fed pork, (no nitrites, no nitrates)
  • Organic, pasture-raised Poultry (chicken, duck, turkey)
  • Water-packed fish (sardines, tuna)
  • Wild-caught fresh or frozen fish (cod, halibut, Pacific salmon, pollock, sole, trout)
  • Wild game


  • Animal Fats
  • Avocado
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut
  • Coconut Oil
  • Duck Fat
  • Lard
  • Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Tallow


  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Celery Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Sea Vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, spaghetti, summer)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini


  • Bone Broth
  • Gizzard
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Tongue


  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Anchovies
  • Arrowroot Powder
  • Coconut Flour
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Gelatin (100% Grass Fed)
  • Tigernuts
  • Tigernut Flour


  • Apples
  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Clementines
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew
  • Huckleberries
  • Kiwis
  • Kumquats
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangos
  • Marionberries
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon


  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Black Pepper*
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Dill Weed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Lavender
  • Mace
  • Majoram Leaves
  • Mint
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Sea Salt (REAL or Celtic)
  • Shallots
  • Spearmint
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric


  • Homemade fruit and vegetable juice and smoothies
  • Green Tea* (caffeine-free, herbal, organic) in moderation
  • Water (filtered, mineral or seltzer)
  • Infused Water

*These are items that not everyone agrees on in the AIP community, please follow the recommendations of your doctor.

Snow Peas, Snap Peas, and Green Beans are in question as well.  I personally did not add them in until after my gut had healed, but I read many who had continue to eat these and had no problems.

CACAO - ahh, from the magical cacao bean.  Is it allowed or not?  This is a tricky one.  Many say no, absolutely not, but some say 100% raw cacao is OK.  Since cacao is loaded with flavonoids (antioxidants) which actually inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body, they may actually help reduce inflammation.  There always seems to be controversy when it comes to nutrition; don't eat egg-eat eggs, don't eat butter, use margarine-don't use margarine.  So, once again, I say, check with your doctor.  I felt grateful that my doctor said yes, so long as it was 100% raw, organic cacao...not cocoa.  So you may find some of my recipes include cacao.

How Long Do I Stay on this Diet?

Simple answer, until your gut is healed and the inflammation is down and you're THRIVING!.  This is when it's great to have a great doctor who can run tests.  They can tell many things from your blood tests, but another way to know is when you feel better than you have in years!  I've read many places on line to only do this for 30 days.  That's great for someone who just wants to do a great cleanse.  But for those of us with serious health issues, that's not long enough.  The only progress I saw in 30 days was some weight loss, which I enjoyed, but none of my autoimmune symptoms had improved at all.  I think of what I would be missing out on if I had quit after 30 days.

The information you can learn about your body and how it reacts to food is astounding.  For me, all nuts brings back inflammation in my toes (which I thought was arthritis), all night shade vegetables bring back my seborrheic dermatitis with a vengeance.  Eggs make me very tired.  These are all things I ate my whole life, never having any idea how unhappy they were making my body.  I thought it was normal to have arthritis in my toes, I mean that's normal as you age, right?  The seborrheic dermatitis I was told could only be controlled with medicated shampoos, and while it was controlled, I now know there is a way for the skin to heal, that I don't have to live with an itchy, scaly scalp.  While I'm doing all these things to keep the graves at bay, I'm delighted in all the other improvements I've seen.

So here' where patience comes in.  When it's time for you to start re-introducing foods, I just want to warn you that this is a very emotional process and, when done correctly, takes a long time.

Its best to keep a food journal, the more information you are able to track, the more you will learn your body and what is nourishing it, or zapping energy from it.

There are different methods as to what to reintroduce first, but I looked at what I wanted the most.  Pick ONE item.  Eat it three times a day for three days.  Of course, start of small and if you feel negative reactions right away, remove it, and wait at least 4 days before trying another.  Remove for four days.  Journal, look for the return or worsening of autoimmune symptoms, changes in your digestion, headaches, rashes, joint or muscle pain, change in energy or sleep.  Reactions may be immediate, or could take up to 3-4 days.  If you react, try again down the road to make sure the reaction was indeed to the food and not an external source.  Also, it's possible you will be able to reintroduce the food in a few months with no problem.  This is a journey.  A pain-staking journey. Very emotional.  You get so excited to add a food back in, only to discover your body is reacting negatively to it.  Be strong.

This is one of the BEST ways to figure out which foods nourish YOUR body, and to gauge which foods will best manage your condition.  God has made us all uniquely beautiful.  I don't believe there is any one diet that is perfect for everyone.

However, if you want to stay on this protocol for the rest of your life, there is no reason not to.  So long as you are eating a variety of theses nutrient dense foods, you should be getting all the vitamins and minerals that your body requires.  You are nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods.  Still, please be sure to have your blood levels checked to make sure you are not deficient in anything.  I do supplement for optimal health.

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