The AIP diet, also known as the Auto-Immune Protocol paleo diet is high on my list of recommendations for anyone with the MTHFR mutation. It's basically a form of the paleo diet specifically geared towards people with auto-immune diseases or tendencies, which many people with the MTHFR mutation have. It also helps to identify food intolerances through elimination and reintroduction and packs the highest possible nutrient profile. I'm speaking from experience here - this diet really helped me to turn my health around in a major way! Eliminating gluten and dairy put my autoimmune thyroid condition into remission. A few years later, eliminating corn and white potatoes on this diet put a stop to my eczema flare ups and reduced other strange auto-immune symptoms, such as unexplainable sore throats and chills. Read on for more details on how to implement this highly effective diet in your life.
I'm not gonna lie...it's a really tough protocol to follow...at first. It begins with an elimination phase that is very restrictive. You basically end up eliminating any foods that trigger auto-immune symptoms or even contain anti-nutrients (this is important during periods of malnutrition) for at least 30 days. The main foods to eliminate during this phase are:
-Nuts & seeds
-Additives & artificial sugar
*I'm not going to get into allll of the details in this blog, but you also need to avoid certain cooking oils and spices as well.
Phew! That's a long list. Before you think there's no way you could ever survive on this diet, I promise it's not as bad as it sounds. And the hardest part is over once the elimination phase ends. You basically end up eating very clean. Your "yes" foods during this phase include:
-High quality meats and fish
-Certain sweeteners, like raw honey and maple syrup
Many people find that their auto-immune symptoms completely disappear while on this protocol - I was definitely one of them! When you're feeling like a million bucks, it can be scary to try reintroducing foods that could make you sick again. However, it's important to sort out which foods you don't actually need to eliminate, because the first phase of AIP is not meant to be followed long-term and is not generally sustainable. You'll then enter 4 stages of food re-introduction, where you can monitor your symptoms with a food diary. Certain foods, such as grains containing gluten are never re-introduced. However, many of the foods on the no-no list above are. Once you discover which foods trigger negative symptoms, you can create a "maintenance" diet that is unique to your body's needs and is sustainable for life.
Have you ever tried the AIP diet? Has it helped you to manage auto-immune disease and food intolerances? Tell us about it!