In this post, I explain how I'm prepping for the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol that I'm doing this May for my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I show my AIP batch cooking, ingredients I had to order online, and other prep tips that will make this elimination diet much easier for you.
That Whole30 I did in March? It helped calm a lot of my Hashimoto's flare symptoms. But I knew I could feel even BETTER as I still had a few signs of adrenal fatigue, gas, bloating, etc that I wanted to get rid of. I mean, why not go for feeling FANTASTIC when you can?
I did the full Autoimmune Paleo protocol (AIP) diet back in 2014 to help heal when I first was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Celiac diseases, and it helped TREMENDOUSLY. Like I seriously cannot get over how much better I felt after doing it.
But alas, you go through the reintroduction stages (my next post will explain what the AIP diet is in-depth) and then go to strict Paleo and when you still feel great you try adding more things in. Then more. Then things you know aren't serving your body well, but you justify that it's not gluten so it can't be THAT bad, and life gets so crazy you just don't f'in care and the next thing you know, you're in a flare and feeling miserable.
That was me this winter! Yay for me!
So I did the March Whole30 to try to get back on track, and it got me like 80% of the way there. Yet the Whole30 still includes quite a lot of foods that someone with autoimmune disease might not do well with, at least with an active flare or never having been in remission to begin with.
Certain foods don't cause issues with healthy people – like nightshades for instance. A healthy person eats them and life goes on like normal. Someone with autoimmune disease who also has a leaky gut? (which is most of us, unless you've actively healed it) We have issues with these foods. They get through our gut barrier, into our bloodstream, where our immune system goes nuts on them and ramps up a full-scale attack. Usually of our own tissue.
Even all the so-called amazing herbs and medicinal mushrooms (things like ashwagandha, cordyceps, maca, etc) that are all the rage right now can cause us harm because they are immune stimulants. We don't need our immune systems stimulated, we need them to settle down and stop attacking our tissue.
All of this is to say, a diet free of these immune stimulants and full of nutrient-dense food that helps us heal is the pathway to feeling fantastic.
That's why I'm doing the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP diet) in May.
The high level gist of this diet is that it's a strict Paleo effort (no grains, legumes, refined sugars, refined oils, processed oils, or dairy) with the added removal of:
- seed-based spices (like cumin, mustard, nutmeg, etc)
- chocolate & cocoa powder
- nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, chili peppers, white potatoes, etc)
- nightshade-based spices (chili powder, paprika, black pepper, etc)
- all dairy including ghee
You stay on this elimination portion for however long it takes to feel significantly better (or all of your symptoms are gone), and then you slowly reintroduce the eliminated foods one-by-one.
I'll get more into the whys and hows of this diet in further posts in this series so if you're like “huh? wha?”, hopefully I'll answer your questions then. Just know I think it is an extremely effective diet for those with autoimmune disease to heal and feel much better – often free of any of their symptoms.
The AIP diet isn't something to take lightly as it is a pretty restrictive way of eating. Prepared foods are a lot harder to come by at restaurants and grocery stores, and you do have to make the majority from scratch.
Not being able to have eggs and things like paprika make it even harder as many baking recipes are egg-based, and many processed convenience meats often include spices like paprika.
However, it's not impossible to do – it just requires a little more prep than you might be used to.
The first thing I recommend that anyone doing AIP does is do a search on the internet for AIP recipes that look good or get themselves an AIP cookbook or two. I'll also be doing an AIP cookbook post in this series so if you're looking for which one to get, be on the lookout for that.
Once you've got some recipes you're excited about under your belt, then take a look at which ones can be made ahead of time and frozen. Then… make some and freeze some.
These frozen little bits will be like gold to you during your diet since you'll have them in your freezer in case of busy times, emergencies, or when you are just too plain tired to think.
AIP Batch Cooking
This vlog video was all about AIP batch cooking – I made a whole bunch of stuff 1-2 weeks ahead of my AIP start date so they'd be in my freezer when I started. I just made these when I had time – on the weekend, while cooking dinner, one random evening, etc.
(Can't see the video? Watch Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) Batch Cooking )
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I cooked out of 2 books for this particular AIP batch prep session:
Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott *
and The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook (part guide part cookbook) by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt
I also forgot to mention that I used Diane Sanfilippo's Practical Paleo as well – but had to modify the recipes slightly to make them AIP-compliant (modifications below)
The recipes I made during my AIP Batch Cooking week were:
From the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook –
Cherry BBQ Sauce p 132
Beet and Fennel Soup p 162
Garlic Chicken Patties p 211
Shredded Roast Beef p 261
Rosemary Mint Lamb Patties p 269
From Practical Paleo:
Pork Maple Blueberry Sausage and Apple Sage Sausage – had to omit the black pepper for both
From Autoimmune Wellness:
Lemon Pie Date Balls p 161
Zesty Green Sauce p 199
Pork Pesto Patties p 182
And then I also made (using a combo of cookbooks but changing a ton and out of my head) –
Herb Sauce with Parsley, Mint, Basil, Cilantro, and Olive Oil
Butternut Squash Soup
Other AIP Prepping Basics
Next, I recommend that you order some of the harder-to-find ingredients online or start your search at home. I often have a difficult time finding some of these things locally, and I even live near one of the health meccas – Boulder, CO.
Some of these things include:
- Mace – a spice that tastes similar to nutmeg (it's actually part of the same plant)
- Chicory Root & Dandelion Root – used to make a coffee-like drink
- Carob powder – the substitute for chocolate/cocoa powder
- Coconut Butter packets (I use both the jars and the packets – but the packets are great for putting in your purse or anywhere on the go)
- AIP-specific spice blends (I like Primal Palate's Everyday AIP blends)
- Seafood that might not be easy to find (I used Vital Choice for this)
- Pastured Meats and animal-based fats that also might not be easy to find (I used both US Wellness Meats and Grass Roots Co-op )
I also highly recommend ordering at least a few meals from Paleo On the Go to keep in your freezer for emergencies. These are delicious and fully AIP-compliant meals that have saved me more than once.
To see all that I did the day before I started AIP, watch this vlog video:
(Can't see the video? Watch Prepping for AIP)
The last thing I recommend is writing down ALL of your symptoms that you are currently experiencing. No symptom is too small to write down. As you'll see, this will be important as you progress and things start to disappear. It's seriously magical to see that list and notice that symptoms that were bothering you are gone. It'll help you through a lot and keep you motivated!
I'll be updating this series as I go through the AIP diet this May. To be up to date – subscribe to my YouTube channel where I'll be publishing vlog videos every few days with what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, tips, and explanations of things. And sign up for my newsletter to make sure you get notified when I put up new posts and recipes!