What Is AIP? (Guest Post)

I’m Carly Johnson Brawner,  a holistic nutritionist and wellness enthusiast living in sunny Austin, TX. My wellness coaching business, Frolic & Flow came to fruition through my experiences healing from autoimmunity (Hashimoto’s) with real food and targeted wellness practices. I currently work with clients to help them optimize their overall health, improve their autoimmunity, and learn the foundations of living in a state of balanced wellness. This October, Chef Amber and I are coming together to bring you an Autoimmune Protocol cooking demo in Los Angeles. (Sign up here.)

One of the most incredible tools I’ve personally used to heal is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I’ve also seen AIP improve the symptoms and lives of various clients and friends. How amazing is that? AIP is a targeted elimination and reintroduction based diet based in paleo principles. Someone on AIP removes specific foods, ideally until symptoms go away, and reintroduces foods back in to see how they feel, if symptoms return, and decides if certain foods are right for his/her body. Additionally, someone on AIP will “flood” their body will nutrient dense food to encourage healing and nutrient sufficiency.

Put more succinctly, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD explains “…the Autoimmune Protocol places greater emphasis on the most nutrient-dense foods in our food supply, including organ meat, seafood, and vegetables. And the Autoimmune Protocol eliminates foods allowed on the typical Paleo diet that have compounds that may stimulate the immune system or harm the gut environment, including nightshades (like tomatoes and peppers), eggs, nuts, seeds, and alcohol. The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to flood the body with nutrients while simultaneously avoiding any food that might be contributing to disease (or at the very least interfering with our efforts to heal). It is an elimination diet strategy, cutting out the foods that are most likely to be holding back our health. After a period of time, many of the excluded foods, especially those that have nutritional merit despite also containing some (but not too much) potentially detrimental compounds, can be reintroduced.”

Someone on AIP will eliminate foods for a minimum of 30 days (some stay on the elimination phase much longer), and reintroduce foods back in one at a time. The reintroduction phase is just as important as the elimination phase. Eating the widest variety of real foods is the best way to get a plethora of micronutrients, so the more reintroductions, the better! You can read amazing AIP recovery stories here.

I am beyond thrilled to share my experience with AIP with those with chronic illness, those trying to incorporate more nutrient density into their diets, and those curious about food as medicine. I can’t wait to meet you all, cook with you all, share some delicious recipes, and connect with you over the power of food!

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