10 Mistakes to avoid when beginning an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet

By Rachael 7 years ago
Home  /  Rachael's Corner  /  10 Mistakes to avoid when beginning an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet

#1 – Not taking enough care of your physical and mental well being

Taking on a task of beginning a new lifestyle can be scary and a little overwhelming. Especially when it comes to an autoimmune protocol. Although a large part of this journey is navigating through a new ‘diet’, the physical and mental components are equally as important. Emphasis should be distributed to food, exercise, and mental clarity. All of these changes can be overwhelming at first. Begin this journey slowly. All healing and progress takes time. Start with an hour or so out of each day and dedicate it to yourself. Practice yoga or meditation, or read a new book. Allow yourself time to give opportunity for growth. Having a positive mindset will allow you to heal, and de-stress. Light yoga, or physical activity will lower stress levels and increase your mood. Stress, in some cases, is shown to worsen gut problems. Releasing this stress through physical activity or meditation will help ease stomach pains and aid in the digestion healing.


#2 – Missing out on those zzz’s

Even when you’re not on an AIP or paleo diet, it’s vital to get enough sleep each night. Sleep gives your body and mind a break and allows for regeneration. Ideally, we want between 8-10 hours a night. As I mentioned previously about mental well being, your healing process takes place in other areas besides your food. Sleep will play key roles in stress and hormone levels. Both factors that are HUGE in autoimmune diseases. Your lifestyle is balanced with sleep and an AIP diet. They are all pieces to the puzzle that help you heal.


#3 – Putting your focus towards the removal and not the addition

Staring any new diet it hard. Even if it’s just cutting out ice cream for a week. So take an AIP diet and, oh boy, you may have just lost your ice cream, cookies and milk. But! Think of all the new foods you can introduce. Sure they may not be mint chip ice cream, but remember how you will FEEL with these new foods. Collagen, bone broth and kale, to name a few, will restore your energy and help you become stronger. So out with the bad, and in with the new! Place emphasis on foods like fish, quality meats and nutrient dense vegetables. Include dark, leafy green vegetables of all kinds to spice up your meals. Remember, it’s not about what you’re leaving out, and more importantly what you are putting into your body. Healing can only take place when you add the vital nutrients from diverse foods.


#4 – 30 days and I’m “fixed”

Well, wouldn’t that be amazing. 30 days on an AIP diet and you’re healed. If only everything in life worked out that way… Progress takes TIME! Sorry, but here to break the news to you, that just because you are more ‘regular’ recently doesn’t mean you are 100% good to go. To actually heal your gut lining and solve your digestive issues, it could take up to months, or even years. Be patient. Chronic diseases, such as Leaky gut or IBS that have been consuming your life for the past decade will start to heal, if they are given time. A good rule to go by: set expectations for YOU. In the beginning of this process, right down goals you want to achieve daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. It will allow you to see the progress in different perspectives. Stay optimistic, because you CAN do this and you will start to feel better!


#5 – Lacking on batch cooking

As with many ‘diet’ adjustments, preparation is the key to success. If you have good food in your house, you will eat good food. If you don’t prepare good food, the likelihood of eating out is higher. When you have new limitations to your cooking, it’s especially important to plan ahead. Meal prep and batch cooking at the beginning of the week will make your life a whole lot easier. Often times, we want that convenience factor when it comes to food. Whatever looks good to our hungry bellies at the time is probably what we will go for. So prepping meals and snacks will change the game. For example, since coffee is restricted in AIP, buy teas at the supermarket that you know you can drink in the morning. If you have your routine set in order, it will more likely stay in order for the week. Stay diligent, and you will set yourself up for success.


#6 – Ignoring your gut!

Your gut. That’s why most of us are here. In some form or another, our gut is disrupted in a way that makes every day living tough. That’s why we can’t ignore the feelings we get from our gut. Just as the saying goes “listen to your gut”, we need to listen to our bodies on a daily basis and give them what they crave. Diminishing the foods that attack our gut flora, such as gluten, dairy and eggs will allow our bodies to heal. Begin to introduce foods into your diet that help create a balanced gut. Foods such as sauerkraut, coconut milk, collagen and bone broth. When introducing these foods it’s important to keep in mind to balance the good and bad bacteria. Prebiotics accompanied with probiotics will regulate stomach acid. All in all, leading to a regulated immune system


#7 – Sacrificing flavor and variety in meals

One of the biggest misconceptions in AIP is that you will have to sacrifice flavor and diversity in your meals. I’m here to tell you: no way! Just because we are removing some foods doesn’t mean we are eating Plain Jane. Spice it up a little in the kitchen. Becoming creative with your herbs and spices will give your food a whole new life. It’s amazing what rosemary and sage can do for your roasted veggies! For flavor and texture, using products such as coconut butter, coconut oil, and coconut flour can change the foods completely. If you buy the right tools, such as a Vitamix, (the most amazing food blender) you can maximize flavor and simplicity. So invest in the right tools and seek the knowledge. Step outside the box a little and get creative!


#8 – Reintroducing foods too quickly

Uh oh, number 1 mistake… bringing back those foods we cut out too early. No good! A large part about removing these foods from your diet, is giving your gut time to heal. Changes don’t just happen overnight. The autoimmune protocol can’t be rushed. Just because we start to feel better after a few weeks, doesn’t mean we are ready to introduce those foods yet. It’s similar to going to the doctor for strep throat. They give you that gross pink stuff to drink and after a few days you don’t have a sore throat. But you won’t heal your strep until you complete the 10 days of the medicine. If you introduce those foods to quickly your gut may start to flare up again. Before introducing those foods, consult with your Nutrition Therapist, to figure out the best approach.


#9 – Traveling with AIP is unattainable

You’re right… I thought it wasn’t possible either. Traveling in general with tummy issues is tough. Then add AIP lifestyle on top of it. Might as well throw the passport up in the air now. Wait…. It’s possible. I’m serious! In fact, I’ve been doing it for the past few weeks. Sure, it may be a little more difficult than ‘normal’ traveling. But it is attainable! I learned to pack a few necessities on every trip I take. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy that I bring so many snacks and books along. When it comes to the AIP lifestyle, snacking is downright my biggest downfall. I love snacking. If I could eat snacks instead of meals all day, I would. So that’s why when I travel I bring lots and lots of snacks. And I bring a journal. It keeps me accountable for what I’m eating and when I’m exercising. By writing everything down, I can easily keep track of my diet and the lifestyle changes that I’m making. Before I go anywhere I also do a little research. I look up restaurants and grocery stores in the area. That way I know where I can buy the foods I need and how accessible it’ll be to me in route. Pack those bags, because I’m here to you that it’s easier than you think!


#10 – Labeling it as a ‘diet’

If you haven’t gathered this already, AIP isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle. Small changes that will lead you on the path to healing and comfort. Instead of treating AIP as a diet, see it as an obstacle waiting to be overcome. Your mindset will lead you to greater success. Sometimes, I literally will tell myself outload, “Girl, you got this!” There is more to this than just batch cooking and recipe tasting. It’s about all those extras that make it a lifestyle; rest, relaxation and support. Reality is, food can’t heal the body alone. You need ALL the key players to heal your body. We are made up of many different systems. And when they’re all in harmony together, that’s when we see the changes.



Whether you are just beginning this journey of Autoimmune protocol, or this is your 5th time, it is always a good idea to check in and set realistic goals. Being mindful of these 10 mistakes will set you up for greater success. Remember, we are all here chanting you on from the sidelines. Your Nutritional Health coach, your family and friends and the entire AIP community, we are your support system. You can do this. It takes a little perseverance, a can-do attitude and some batch cooking, and you are on your way to healing your gut, mind and body!

  Rachael's Corner
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