Integrative Nutrition Blog

Insights on Autoimmune Health and Inflammatory Conditions

All About AIP Eliminations

Apr 10, 2024 | Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) eliminations can seem daunting for most people. It feels like all the good and “normal” foods are gone, and you are left with nothing. However, with a little planning and support, this elimination diet can turn into something completely reasonable. Eliminations are also important to help lower inflammation and thus minimize your autoimmune disease symptoms. Here’s an overview of what the eliminations are, how to approach them, and what you can expect once you start on this journey.

What are the AIP Eliminations?

The Autoimmune protocol is an elimination diet, meaning that we remove common inflammatory foods for a period of time to see if they help improve symptoms. There are now 2 different AIP protocols, the core protocol and the modified version. The core protocol is the original protocol that has been studied for its efficacy. It eliminates all grains, gluten, dairy, nuts and seeds, alcohol, nightshades, legumes, processed oils, processed food chemicals and additives, non nutritive sweeteners, added sugar, sugar alcohols, and eggs.

The modified version is less restrictive, and the elimination diet I follow in my Ditch Your Inflammation foundations program. The reason being, the studies and experience from coaches using AIP found that most clients experienced good results before eliminating all of the core foods. Plus, more restrictive isn’t always better, and the modified version is a lot easier to follow. In the modified AIP protocol, you still eliminate gluten, dairy, eggs, nightshades, processed chemicals and additives, alcohol, non nutritive sweeteners and sugar alcohols. But, you keep in rice, pseudo grains like amaranth, buckwheat, chia and quinoa, legumes (except soy), ghee and seeds. Believe me, the modified version is much more manageable and easier to stick with, if that’s the right one for you.

Why do we eliminate these foods?

Depending on which version you choose, the reason we eliminate these foods is to help improve underlying symptoms of autoimmune diseases. These foods may do the following:

  • trigger inflammation in the gut
  • cause dysbiosis (imbalance of gut microbiota)
  • increase intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) which can then trigger an immune system response
  • act as molecular mimicry (look like tissues in the body), or
  • stimulate the immune system on their own (like nightshades do for some people).

Removing these foods from the diet helps lower an inflammation that may be caused by eating these foods. That means inflammation in both the digestive system and the body as a whole drops. The drop in inflammation helps reduce autoimmune symptoms. It’s the same thing that medication does, but you are just using a different method to lower inflammation in your body.

How should you approach this?

There are 2 main ways to approach eliminations, and it really depends on the type of person you are.

Slow Transition Approach

The first approach is what we call a slow transition. It’s a more gradual approach to eliminations where you remove 1-3 things every week. This approach was used in the research studies on the autoimmune protocol. The slow transition approach is for you if making diet changes seems very overwhelming, and you are not super savvy in the kitchen. It does take a little longer to hit the full elimination phase, but it can help people be more compliant with the protocol.

Fast Transition Approach

The other approach is the cold turkey or fast transition approach. In this approach the person eliminates all of the foods at once, immediately starting at baseline at day one. It’s faster, and appropriate for those who are experienced in elimination diets and/or comfortable in the kitchen. This approach may also be better for those who are really sick and want to feel relief as soon as possible.

What can you expect from eliminating foods? 

Here are some key things to expect when you start an elimination diet:

  1. It’ll take a few days or even a week to get into an eating routine. If you can, try some recipes ahead of time and I always recommend having a plan in place before you start.
  2. Feeling frustrated or sad is completely normal. Food is a ritual and we often use it for more than just satisfying a hunger need. You may feel left out that you can’t have the same meal as your family. You may feel sad that you can’t eat at your favorite restaurant. Just keep in mind that elimination diets are temporary, and this shall pass once you get the hang of it (and feel better).
  3. Most people start seeing improvements in symptoms within a few days to a few weeks. This might look like: improved digestion, more energy, better sleep, less pain, less bloating, weight loss or less brain fog.

Elimination diets are temporary

Please keep in mind that elimination diets are meant to be temporary. Where most people get this wrong is when the fail to reintroduce foods. Reintroductions are key to this process and imperative for healing. If you nailed the elimination phase but feel confused about reintroductions, please seek help from a qualified individual. You can contact me, or check out the AIP Certified Coach Directory for other practitioners trained in this protocol (I’m a certified coach as well).

If you need more support with your autoimmune journey, please check out my tips and tricks on my Instagram, Facebook or YouTube channels.

Join my Autoimmune tribe!

Subscribe to get my weekly newsletter, additional content, and promotional offers from The Autoimmune Dietitian right to your inbox.

Blog Archives

Let’s Connect

Get your FREE Ultimate Gut Guide to help heal your autoimmune disease!

Sign up below to download your free guide and join my amazing autoimmune tribe. You will be automatically enrolled in my weekly newsletter full of the latest nutrition Information. Additionally, you’ll be the first to know about recent promotions, nutrition news, and special events. I want to be able to provide you with the information you need to succeed. Let’s do this together!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.