So many of my patients have come to me in frustration after months or years on AIP. You can learn to safely reintroduce most foods into your diet again- it may just take a heaping dose of patience and healing.
Proponents of the AIP diet may disagree with me, but I have never felt that this was a long-term diet. It’s not that AIP is intrinsically unhealthy or un-useful- I’m mostly concerned with sustainability when I say this. Your health is the result of many factors, only some of which directly relate to the healthfulness of your food.
The reality is that we live on planet Earth in 2018 (or insert year here). And while our chemical needs haven’t changed much in recent years (this is the reasoning for the Paleo diet, WAP, and AIP), our social and emotional needs have. Enjoying an evening out, celebrating a birthday or an achievement, and spending time with loved ones all have value. Being able to meet your social and emotional needs has value and is part of being whole and healthy. You know that awful, sinking feeling you get when you realize that you’re the only one that can’t eat with everyone else? That isn’t just bad for your mind; I’m convinced it’s bad for your whole body.
Here’s a video in my “Autoimmune Questions” series discussing this very topic.
What to do?
Being stuck on AIP is a catch-22 of awfulness. Eat this way and suffer at least somewhat (see above), or go off the diet and tick off your immune system. If your immune system can’t tolerate these foods, you’re just doomed, right? Wrong.
If you break your leg and need a crutch, it’s not practical for me to say “just don’t use the crutch.” You need that crutch until you heal your leg! Similarly, AIP can be seen as a crutch for autoimmunity and inflammation. If you need it for a while, that’s completely fine. If you become unhealthily dependent on it, then you likely need some professional help. I can’t say that it’s easy or cheap to heal your body and walk without this crutch, but it can be done. Below are a few important things to address to heal your immune system and get off AIP- they are in approximate order of importance.
Things to address with your healthcare team:
Gut health- consider a good stool test like GI Ma
Other infections- viruses, tick-borne illnesses
Lastly, you’ll want a good plan before diving in- don’t approach this process willy-nilly. Before you reintroduce a food you should check off all of the above, and make a list of what you’re going to reintroduce and when.
Wishing you the best of health,