If you are suffering with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and primary treatment is not quite resolving your symptoms, then you may be due for a change in diet. The autoimmune protocol (AIP) regimen may be the answer for you. Research shows that this diet can reduce severity of symptoms and inflammation in those with such autoimmune conditions. The first phase of the AIP diet is the elimination phase which lasts about six to eight weeks. During this time, certain foods should be eliminated. Read below for what you should and shouldn’t eat on the AIP diet to help heal your gut.
Foods to avoid on AIP
During the elimination phase of the AIP diet, the following foods should be avoided.
- Grains: Any foods containing grains like such as wheat, barley, corn, rice, rye, oats, and buckwheat, to name a few should be avoided during the AIP elimination diet phase. This includes any beverages, sauces, or other processed food products that may contain such grains as thickeners, stabilizers, etc. as well.
- Legumes: Any beans/legumes like black beans, pinto, chickpeas, soybeans, etc. should be avoided. This includes any products like hummus, bean dip, or other dishes that may be produced using beans/legumes.
- Nightshades: Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant should be avoided during the elimination phase of the AIP.
- Dairy: Milk and milk products like yogurt, cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, ice cream, and any other products that contain dairy should be avoided.
- Eggs: Eggs or any recipes, dishes, or products made with eggs should be avoided.
- Beverages like coffee and alcohol: Drinks made with grains like alcohol as well as acidic drinks like coffee and colas should be avoided on the AIP regimen.
- Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, pistachios, almonds, or other nuts and nut butters should be avoided during the elimination phase of the AIP. Also, any seeds like chia seeds, sunflower kernels, or pumpkin seeds, to name a few, as well as spreads made with such seeds should also be avoided.
- Refined/processed sugars, oils, and food additives: Any processed food or beverage products should be avoided on the AIP diet. Also, butter, ghee, and any sugar-based products should be avoided.
What you can eat on the AIP diet
Although the list of foods to avoid may be long, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy delicious meals and snacks on the AIP regimen. Here is a list of foods and drinks that you can consume on the elimination phase of the AIP regimen.
- Proteins such as meat and fish, preferably not factory raised as well as bone broth
- Vegetables that do not include the nightshade vegetables
- Low fructose fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, clementines, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries which are all less than 5 grams of fructose per serving. These fruits should be consumed in small quantities during the AIP elimination phase.
- Dairy-free fermented foods like kombucha, kefir made with coconut milk, kimchi, and sauerkraut
- Coconut milk
- Sweet potatoes
- Non-seed herbs like basil and oregano as well as other food flavorings like small quantities of honey or maple syrup, or vinegars like apple cider or balsamic
- Beverages like green tea or non-seed herbal teas
Take home message
If you’re living with IBD, and primary treatments have not quite nipped all your symptoms in the bud, then the AIP diet may be the answer for you. Although this diet may be restrictive for a month or two, it can help heal your gut and improve quality of life. Therefore, it may be worth it to talk to a qualified healthcare provider like a registered dietitian specializing in therapeutic diets for gut health to see if this regimen could work for you.