The autoimmune protocol can be confusing and overwhelming for a lot of reasons. It’s a lot to stick to, it’s a lot to understand, and it’s confusing to look around the community and see people who seem like they’re following the protocol forever. I’m totally one of those people. I’ve been blogging about AIP for over 3 years, and I’m not stopping anytime soon! But does that mean that I still follow full AIP 100%? No, I don’t.
So, is the autoimmune protocol meant to last forever? This blog post details my experience and advice with moving forward after the autoimmune protocol.
First, what is the autoimmune protocol?
The autoimmune protocol is a diet protocol that is designed to help calm down the inflammation and immune response associated with autoimmune disease. It’s meant to be followed for at least 30 days and until your symptoms subside, and from there you can reintroduce foods one by one.
Is the autoimmune protocol meant to last forever?
This blog post by Eileen Laird really hits the nail on the head. It’s not. It’s a short-term healing protocol that encourages reintroductions. Yes, the AIP wants you to be able to have eggs, and nuts, and seeds, and so forth after you heal and can tolerate them! These foods are all nutrient dense and add a variety of new nutrient profiles! They’re not bad in nature… but there is a benefit in taking a break to allow your body to heal and re-tolerate these foods.
The AIP is meant to be followed until symptoms subside and the body is able to calm down the inflammation and heal. From there, you can begin the reintroduction process. Typically, people still stick to a paleo or mostly paleo diet after reintroductions as foods like canola oil, refined sugar, MSG, etc still are meant to be avoided long-term. But, the exact template that you wind up following after AIP is entirely up to your bio-individuality!
My current reintroductions…
I say current because these still change all of the time. Tolerance can ebb and flow depending on stress levels, gut health, and a myriad of other factors. In no particular order, here are my current AIP reintroductions…
- Egg yolks
- Ghee (& butter here and there)
- Goat and sheep dairy
- White rice
- Coffee (in moderation)
- Black pepper (and some other seed spices)
- Chia seeds
- Chocolate (yaaas)
Technically, I could tolerate alcohol if I wanted to, but I never really cared for it. I still haven’t reintroduced all grains, nor have I reintroduced any of the nightshades.
I’m so grateful to be able to have foods like Simple Mills almond flour crackers (pictured here with my avocado cauliflower hummus), goat cheese, and more. Yes, there are plenty of foods that I wish I could have (like tomatoes!), but I’m grateful for whatever I’m able to tolerate!
How I apply the autoimmune protocol to my life after having reintroductions.
I still say that I follow an AIP template. Yes, I drink coffee with almond milk when I really want it, or have lentils in my soup on New Years Day, but I also apply the principles to my life every day! How do you do that?
- Focus on nutrient density first! Keep drinking broth, eating liver, and tons of veggies!
- Follow good lifestyle recommendations like sleeping well, reducing stress, etc.
- I use (and create) AIP recipes for nutrient density and to avoid any intolerances I still have and help serve the community that I believe in!
- I fall back on an AIP diet reset if I’m still having issues.
Most importantly, I stay in the AIP community and create recipes here because I believe in this process! I believe that it helps the healing process, and it has done wonders for my body and my health! I may have a recipe with nuts or chocolate here and there, but I still advocate for the AIP diet and am happy to have this healing community to draw inspiration and support from.
What to do if you’re still having issues with reintroductions…
Having issues with reintroductions is a common thing. Your body may not be ready, or there could be a deeper going on causing inflammation. If you want to work one-on-one with a practitioner who’s trained to coach through healing diets, I work a team of NTP’s that you can request a free consult from here! Also, working with your own doctor to figure out if there are any co-infections or deeper root causes can be key to your longterm success!
If you’re needing more structure around the AIP diet and lifestyle in general, I created a 30-day guide ebook, Autoimmune Protocol Makeover Guide that contains 30 days worth of AIP meal plans, recipes, lifestyle guides, and more information on autoimmunity and reintroductions!
I hope this look into the autoimmune protocol was helpful! What does your life look like after following AIP?