AIP Elimination Phase
Hey, if you didn’t already check out AIP Elimination Phase Mindset, I encourage you to take a look before reading further…
Let’s first dive right in to the dietary framework of the AIP Protocol because that is probably the first thing you want to address: your FOOD!
From the beginning, I’ve followed the AIP Protocol as laid out by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, otherwise known as The Paleo Mom.
This protocol consists of three phases: 1) Elimination 2) Reintroduction, and 3) Maintenance.
The beauty of the AIP Elimination Phase diet is that it is a simple, straight-foward, and scientifically-based dietary tool aimed at flooding your body with nutrients while eliminating those foods that are most likely to cause an inflammatory response.
While it is possible that you may have negative reactions to even some foods included in the AIP Elimination Phase diet (for me, these included coconut, sweet potatoes and super high-histamine foods like bone broth), the elimination phase will give you a lot of FREEDOM as you notice which foods are holding you back from the life you want to live.
The AIP Elimination Phase will also give you CLARITY in determining what foods help you feel your BEST. Trust the process, be patient with the protocol and yourself, and follow your gut (no pun intended) as to how to fit the diet to your exact profile and needs.
You’ve got this!!!
For all of these, choose organic whenever possible, especially for the “Dirty Dozen” of the Environmental Working Group’s annual list of veggies/fruits with highest pesticide residues:
1. Vegetables (think of this as the foundation for your meal — aim to fill at least half your plate), except Nightshades (see below) — fresh, sauteed, fried, broiled, baked, grilled, juiced — you will be amazed at how versatile veggies are as you begin to include a greater quantity and variety in your diet.
Have fun with them — make some carrots, parsnips, or sweet potatoes into fries!
Spiralize or buy some already spiralized zucchini or carrot noodles!
Mix some Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw into your paleo pork pad thai!
Buy some frozen cauliflower rice to saute with some avocado oil and sea salt!
Munch on fresh organic cucumber sticks dipped in sea salt and/or drizzled with some raw honey!
Bake those halved brussel sprouts coated in avocado oil and sea salt at a high temp and you will be wishing you made a whole lot more!
How about some fresh sliced avocado or homemade guacamole?
Include a lot of cruciferous vegetables as these contain the highest amounts of the master antioxidant called glutathione. Include all kinds of cabbage (green, purple, bok choy, Napa), kale, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
Don’t forget about adding FLAVOR with fresh herbs like parsley/cilantro/basil, fresh garlic, onions and ginger, and citrus juices.
Aim to try a new veggie every week (sliced jicama sticks, shredded kohlrabi salad, or daikon cooked in chicken soup, anyone?).
Variety within each vegetable category: Remember to try a variety of vegetables within every category as well — Persian, lemon or English cucumbers? Portabello, Baby Bella, or shiitake mushrooms? Red or sweet yellow onions? Purple, orange or white carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams? Navel, mineola, blood, or clementine oranges? Fuji, honeycrisp, or granny smith apples? Big or baby bananas? Lacinato, curly-leaf, or baby kale? Green, purple or Napa cabbage? Acorn, spaghetti or butternut squash? Green zucchini or yellow squash? Regular or baby bok choy? Hass or choquette (big, sweet) avocado?
Nightshades are excluded on AIP elimination phase: For the other plant geeks out there, these are vegetables in the Solanaceae family, which are high in glycoalkaloids.
It includes peppers (and pepper spices like paprika/chili/cayenne powder), white/yellow/red potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, goji berries and ashwagandha. Steak spices/rubs, barbecue or hot sauces include many nightshades.
Vegetables are indeed the foundation for this diet, along with…
2. Meats, broths, and healthy fats: grass-fed red meats; wild fish is usually better than farmed; pastured/organic poultry; pork; shellfish; try to include as much variety as possible.
Butcherbox.com and WildPastures.com are two great sources of quality meat to order online for shipment to your home.
If you feel you need to buy conventional, aim to get the least fatty cuts or cut the fat off yourself as that is where the toxins tend to reside.
Be a little adventurous and try meats/fish you’ve never had before — you may find that you can acquire a new taste for something you previously would have been reluctant to try.
If you can, try to include some organ meat in some form (even desiccated in pills like Paleovalley: Grass Fed Organ Complex Capsules!) to build nutrient density in your diet.
Incorporate bone broth daily or weekly if you can handle it, but if you react negatively to it due to high histamines, aim for bone-in homemade meat stock. So healing and delicious, and makes a great snack!
Re-use the fats from the quality fattier meats you purchase by collecting them into a small glass container to refrigerate and fry your veggies or leaner meats next time you cook.
Nutiva red palm oil is great mixed with collagen and raw honey as a little treat!
3. Fruits and Starches: these are important for carbs, but it’s better to think of them as more of a side dish than the main attraction.
Think variety here too! Plantains sliced and fried in coconut oil or avocado oil with sea salt, baked sweet potatoes/yams or winter squash, fresh papaya, apple, citrus or berries in salads, some sliced jicama sticks — there are many ways to incorporate a moderate amount of fruits and starches.
Excess sugars and carbs from fruits and starchy veggies like winter squashes, sweet potatoes and other root veggies (not potatoes, they’re excluded as nightshades) can promote the overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast in the gut, so remember to go easy on these.
4. Pantry Staples: You will most likely want to gradually include these items in your pantry to make sauces or add flavor:
Red Boat Fish Sauce for pad thai flavor;
Try to get many of these items gradually or all at once to flavor your dishes as you follow recipes or experiment with what you like.
Here is a simplified chart for the AIP Elimination Phase:
That’s it for the AIP Elimination Phase Diet! Don’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be. You’ll find what you like best as you go.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a little too — be your own chef!
And try to avoid paleo baked desserts if you want to make more progress, especially in the beginning. I personally still do not do well with having a lot of AIP/paleo “flours.” Maybe you will, but go easy at first! These include tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, tigernut flour, and cassava flour.
As for your lifestyle on the AIP Elimination Phase (and subsequent phases), you will want to be sure to:
1. Exercise daily: preferably outside and in the morning before the day gets crazy, but anytime not too close to bedtime is better than nothing.
Do what you enjoy, and if you have a lot of joint pain as I did, ease into it. You might be surprised to find that gentle or even vigorous exercise actually improves your pain levels by helping your joints stay loose and limber.
Most days, 15-25 minutes of jogging is all I need but I also enjoy biking, hiking and swimming to mix it up. If you have a job in which you tend to sit for long periods of time, aim to get up and walk around/stretch every 20-30 minutes.
2. Maintain excellent posture: reduce that stress and strain on your spine! Not only will you look amazingly younger and better, but you will feel more confident, digest your food better, improve energy, and tighten those abs! So much back pain begins with poor posture.
3. Sleep: get enough of it. There are so many sleep hacks out there, but a consistent bedtime and wake time are key. Aim to stop eating at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime (eat enough calories earlier in the day so you’re not so hungry after dark).
Try to match the outside light — when the sun is setting, turn off/down all the lights in your house and stay off electronics. If that’s too hard at first, dim the screens and wear amber-tinted glasses to block the stimulating blue light that reduces your melatonin and impairs your ability to sleep.
4. Reduce stress in any way you can: Learn to say “no” to anything that doesn’t serve your health and healing, your family, or God. It is by learning to say “no” that we can whole-heartedly say “yes” to healthy living.
Starting a whole foods based diet is a big change for many people and takes a lot of time, focus and concentration, especially at first (it gets easier, trust me).
Pray, meditate, do some yoga or gentle stretching, deep breathe slowly through your nose whenever you notice you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Take a hot epsom salt bath with lavender essential oil before bed. Make time for YOU!
5. Work on ya Mindset! That’s what this site is about, girl! Without the regular habit of building an unstoppable, resilient mindset, life will often get and feel overwhelming, like it’s in control of you instead of you taking it by its reins with confidence and courage.
Hop on over to the Mindset section of this site and get some good food for thought! Then COMMIT to creating daily and weekly rituals to work on improving the way you THINK.
Finally, just take it as easy as you can as you begin a new way of life, be gentle with yourself and others, and constantly remind yourself how brave, committed and determined you are to adopt a lifestyle that is counter-cultural but life-giving in so many respects!!!!
Don’t be perfect; be PROGRESSIVE! In other words, note your PROGRESS, but please don’t try to set yourself up for perfection. Ain’t gonna happen!