Autoimmune disease affects 50 million Americans, about 20% of the population. This is a huge chronic disease burden. Conventional medicine offers few treatment options beyond managing symptoms with drugs. Many of the drugs have undesirable side-effects.
Autoimmunity is caused by a combination of genetics with environmental triggers, diet and lifestyle. While you can’t control your genetic makeup, you can control diet and lifestyle. By making beneficial food choices, you can help put your autoimmune disease into remission or slow its progress.
What is the Paleo Diet?
Paleo is a whole-foods diet focused on eating nutrient-dense food. The Paleo diet includes high-quality meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and edible fungi. It omits foods that are known to be inflammatory (grains, legumes and most dairy) and avoids processed and refined foods (sugars, processed vegetable oils).
Everyone can benefit from following Paleo dietary guidelines. There is no hard-and-fast set of rules. People vary in their response to different types of foods, and the goal is to find the optimal diet for you.
What is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a specialized version of the Paleo diet that combines food and lifestyle choices to help regulate the immune system. AIP was designed by medical biophysicist Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., (aka the Paleo Mom) author of New York Times bestseller The Paleo Approach. AIP combines in-depth knowledge of the immune system and ground-breaking medical research to create a dietary strategy to help put autoimmune diseases into remission.
The Autoimmune Protocol has stricter guidelines for which foods should be eliminated and an even greater focus on nutrient density. During the elimination phase of the AIP diet, some beneficial foods which a typical Paleo diet might include – nightshades (tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), eggs, nuts, seeds and alcohol – are avoided because of their influence on the immune system. Once symptoms are under control (usually 30 to 90 days), foods are gradually re-introduced to help the person find the least restrictive and optimal diet that still keeps the autoimmune symptoms at bay.
Autoimmune Paleo Certified Coach
Elizabeth Zenger, Ph.D., L.Ac., has completed advanced-level practitioner training in the Autoimmune Protocol and is an AIP Certified Coach. She offers in-depth nutritional consultation for clients in the Portland area who seek guidance in following and completing the Autoimmune Protocol.