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Autoimmune paleo diet

Prepared by Sandra Tamm



The immune system the most important goal is to protect the organism  from viruses, bacteria and parasites. In addition, the immune system plays an important role in suppressing potential tumors. Because of these positive properties, we are used to thinking of the immune response as the body's defense. But  this system can sometimes turn against the person as an enemy.


Autoimmunitythis is a situation where the immune system can no longer distinguish between its own and a foreign one, and then the immune reaction attacks its own tissues. 

Such an attack may initially occur unnoticed - several months or even years before the acute manifestation of the autoimmune disease. Officially, there are over 80 autoimmune diseases, but all such diseases are characterized by an attack on the body's own tissues, including the thyroid, brain and salivary glands.



That being said, there are dozens of different autoimmune diseases. Most autoimmune diseases are distinguished by which proteins/cells the immune system attacks.



Some examples of autoimmune diseases:



  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis

  • Graves' disease

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Psoriasis

  • Celiac disease

  • Chron's disease

  • Lupus

  • Narcolepsy

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome



If a person has already been diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, it is not uncommon for the same person to develop another autoimmune disease in addition.



What causes autoimmune diseases?



Scientists still don't know what exactly causes autoimmune diseases, but it has been studied that genes and - significantly more - diet, lifestyle and the environment around us are likely to play a part. One of the possible "culprits" is the so-called leaking salt. What does it mean and how does it occur?


The purpose of the mucous membrane covering the walls of the small intestine  is to keep substances unnecessary for the body (e.g. various toxins) away from our body (not to pass through the intestinal wall) while allowing only substances necessary for the body (e.g. different nutrients). Improper diet, lifestyle, environmental toxins and genetic predisposition can cause changes where the necessary protection is no longer strong enough. The body responds to these changes with inflammation. This is how the intestinal wall becomes "permeable".


In this case, bacteria and larger food particles that the body does not need can enter our bloodstream. When unwanted substances enter our body through a broken intestinal wall, the immune system launches an attack, which is usually a good thing when foreign bodies like viruses enter the body. But if the immune system has to so-called overreact on a daily basis and constantly be in a state of attack, the situation can become the opposite, where the immune system no longer differentiates between strangers and its own.



What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol or Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP)?



Autoimmune paleo (or protocol) is a diet (AIP) that helps heal the immune system and gut lining. It can be used for any inflammatory disease. Many food elimination diets are not thorough enough and often do not remove all inflammatory factors from the gut. AIP relieves both intestinal inflammation and inflammation elsewhere in the body. Although autoimmune diseases cannot be cured, their symptoms can be significantly reduced. The goal of the AIP diet is to heal the lining of the gut and keep the body's inflammation levels low so the body can prevent autoimmune diseases from flaring up. "Of course, this is just our interpretation," says Jessica Flanigan, clinical nutrition consultant.


The Autoimmune Protocol is sometimes called a sub-form of the Paleo Diet, but it's actually much more than that. It is an effective solution for autoimmune diseases that start in the gut. Nutrition is one factor in healing.


AIP was originally created by Dr. Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf (his book The Paleo Solution) as an alternative to the Paleo diet for those diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Dr. Cordain - being a scientist himself - discovered that certain staple foods such as eggs, dairy products, groundnuts, nuts and seeds promote inflammation in people with autoimmune disease(s).


The idea is to remove from the menu all such foods that  could irritate and damage the intestinal mucosa in these people, even if these foods are allowed in the standard paleo diet. The general recommendation is to follow this diet for 6-8 weeks and not deviate from the diet guidelines. A diet is only useful if you follow it carefully. Unfortunately, even a very small amount of food containing allergens can cause a serious setback in improving health.


There are different variations of the AIP diet. So, for example, Sarah Ballantyne ( has come up with a stricter version of AIP. Sarah is a scientist who has an autoimmune disease herself, so she was particularly interested in what science-based research could do about a particular diet. Why a person with an autoimmune disease may or may not consume certain foods. He has compiled all of this research into his book, The Paleo Approach (2013), and has also published various articles on his website.



AIP is an elimination and reintroduction diet


This means that first all foods that are "not allowed" are removed from the menu for 4-6 weeks. Generally, 4 weeks is enough. The point of elimination-reintroduction    is that our body reacts very strongly to certain “off” foods. To understand this, you must first exclude them and then add them back to the menu one by one and observe how the body reacts. If, for example, putting an egg back on the menu makes you feel worse, it should be left out for a longer period of time, in some cases forever.


The strict part of the AIP diet, or the so-called 1st phase, as stated above, is not lifelong. It is recommended to repeat this from time to time, but generally the goal is to first eliminate certain foods and then reintroduce them. It is not easy to follow the AIP diet as it is not recommended to go wrong and what is not allowed, they should not be consumed in any less amount. Therefore, eating out  is out of the question. Wherever you go during this period, you should take suitable foods with you. This is also the only disadvantage of this diet.


It is definitely more difficult with children, especially if they have no appetite. But nothing is impossible here either.



Common mistakes when following the AIP diet


1.     _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58 I think that not only your diet needs to be changed.

Most of the people think that it is enough only if you make an effort to change the menu, in fact it is crucial to understand that it is also important to manage stress - you need to be able to sleep enough, move in the fresh air, exercise daily (or on the contrary, not to overdo it with physical exercise, which also happens).


2.     _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136_bad5cf58 "You are actually allergic to the list of foods or sub-nutrients" can't stand them.

The fact that the list of "allowed foods" includes all the foods that you can safely eat on the AIP diet does not mean that this list is definitive and the same for everyone. The AIP diet should be followed with personal changes, i.e. the given list should be changed based on the needs of the individual so that foods that are not suitable are already excluded from it. For example, although there are citrus fruits in the "allowed" list,  - if you know you are allergic to them - you will not start consuming them now either.




Briefly about the general principles of the AIP diet


Permanently remove from the menu:


  • All processed foods/prepared foods

  • Refined oils

  • Refined sugars

  • Excess sugar (sweets, sweet drinks, etc.)

  • Synthetic additives (sweeteners, dyes, thickeners, etc.)


Remove from the menu for 1-2 months and then add back to the menu one by one:


  • Fresh legumes (green beans)

  • Nuts (including nut oils such as walnut and sesame oil)

  • Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds and various seed spices such as coriander and cumin), as well as coffee and cocoa

  • milk products

  • Chocolate

  • Eggs

  • Earthworms (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, peppers, eggplant, mustard seeds, spices containing chili)

  • Herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, nutmeg, dill seeds)

  • Tapioca (Recommendation to avoid for the first 6-8 months, as it may cause a cross-reaction to gluten. Basis: Cyrex Labs Gluten Cross-Reactivity Test)

  • Dried legumes (including soybeans and peanuts)

  • Cereals (corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, kamut, millet, etc.)

  • Alternative sweeteners such as xylitol and stevia

  • Thickeners, lifters (guar gum, carrageenan, etc.)

  • Algae chlorella and spirulina

  • Alcohol - it is better to permanently exclude it from the menu

  • NSAID (English k), i.e. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, etc.) - should not be used in the future if possible



Allowed foods:



  • Vegetables (except cruciferous vegetables)

  • Fruits (don't overdo it, especially dried fruits)

  • Coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut flakes and other coconut-based foods

  • Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon, ghee (make sure it's completely casein- and lactose-free)

  • Fermented foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, pickled vegetables)

  • Broth (natural, homemade)

  • Organic meat, poultry, fish

  • Herbal teas (except tea made from seeds)

  • Green and black tea (occasionally allowed)

  • Vinegars: apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar (with no added sugar)

  • Sweeteners: small amounts of coconut palm sugar, honey and maple syrup can be used (1 tsp/day)

  • Herbs: All fresh herbs and spices, excluding seeds (such as cumin, coriander, etc.). Thyme, peppermint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, etc. are suitable.

  • Binders: gelatin (from organic raw material) and maranta (arrowroot) starch

  • NB! Recommended maximum amounts per day: Fruits 2-5 portions, coconut milk up to 250 ml, coconut flakes 100 g and coconut flour 2 tablespoons per day. 




Articles for further reading:



See appendix:





Used materials:



Ballantyne, Sarah "The Paleo Approach" 2013

Flanigan, Jessica article

Article by Hendon, Louise,

Article by Laird, Eileen,


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