The AIP diet, or autoimmune protocol, regimen is a great way to help those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) control symptoms. However, the elimination diet phase is not a forever phase since its likely you may be able to tolerate some foods in this regimen. Therefore, after the initial 30 to 60 days of the elimination phase of the AIP diet, you should start reintroducing foods. Read below for tips on how you can reintroduce foods safely and effectively on the AIP diet.
About the AIP elimination phase
The elimination phase of the AIP diet can be very restrictive. However, this phase is very important to help the gut heal. This phase eliminates a variety of foods like grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables like potatoes or tomatoes, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, nuts and seeds, refined/processed sugars, oils, and food additives.
This may seem like a lot, but not all these foods will be forever eliminated from your diet. It’s just important to give your gut a break from these common foods that may trigger symptoms. Once you do this, then you can slowly start to add foods back in and see if you tolerate them. It is the journey of this AIP regimen that will help you determine which foods cause triggers, and which don’t. That way, you can create a customized meal plan for your daily regimen that allows you to enjoy foods without causing digestive distress.
Starting reintroduction of foods
When it comes to the reintroduction phase of the AIP diet, it may be best to have the support of a qualified healthcare provider to guide you along the way. A physician or a registered dietitian specializing in therapeutic diets for the digestive system are examples of such providers. They can help you determine if certain symptoms may be signs of an intolerance. In turn, they can help you safely determine which foods should be eliminated from your diet long-term for your digestive safety.
It’s recommended to take a slow approach to reintroduction one food item at a time. This way if you notice symptoms, then you will know it is likely a result of consuming that food. And although most symptoms will occur within hours, some symptoms may not show up for several days. Therefore, try one new food every few days. If you do not have any symptoms after the end of those 2-3 days, then this item may be ok to add back into your regimen.
How do I know if a food should be eliminated from my diet?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, then that means you are having a reaction to the food you introduced during this time period.
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach ache
- Rash or hives
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
If you experience such symptoms, then you should eliminate the food causing such symptoms long-term from your regimen. This will help keep your gut its healthiest and happiest.
Take home message
The AIP diet can be a challenging regimen to take on. However, if completed successfully, then you can help heal your gut and create a diet that can help you keep your gut its healthiest and happiest for years to come. Therefore, if you feel that the AIP diet could help you feel better, then talk to a qualified healthcare provider to help gain support through this journey. Take this journey slow and steady to best help you find the eating regimen that is going to work best for you.