Struggling with the AIP Diet

Last updated: October 2022

I've seen a few posts on our site about individuals who have tried the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP).

What is the AIP diet?

It's a diet designed to reduce inflammation and also an elimination/reintroduction diet. That means you restrict your diet at first and then reintroduce food one at a time to see if specific foods are causing your RA to get worse or increase your inflammation. According to HealthLine, there is a laundry list of foods to avoid at first, including grains, eggs, nuts and seeds, refined sugars, and nightshade vegetables (there is a lot more than this, but for the sake of brevity, I've only included a few).

Progress, not perfection

With this reduced food intake, I found it incredibly difficult to make the AIP shift. Most of my favorite foods are ones that I had to eliminate, including nightshade vegetables, bread, and coffee/alcohol (still working on the coffee aspect, it's so hard to get rid of coffee because I've had it in the morning for so long). With that, I started reducing a few ingredients you are not supposed to eat at a time because I feel that being so stringent initially would lead me to not stick with the diet. For now, I decided to eliminate most nightshades and refined sugars to start but still keep coffee.

My results so far

The results so far have been great; I feel a lot better, but I wasn't prepared for the cravings that would ensue from the elimination. I've found myself wanting to eat all the snacks, desserts, and potatoes, too! But, since I know how much better I feel after not having them, it's a little bit easier to stay away. Not saying that I haven't indulged every now and then, but it's been reduced.

Struggling to stay on track

The other thing I've noticed is how difficult it has been to shop for groceries now. Everywhere you go, you have to check what is in your food (which I should have been doing anyways, but sometimes I'm in a rush and don't have the time to do so). But not looking at what is in my food is a convenience; having to analyze every single aspect of my food is exhausting, especially with AIP, where you have to avoid any food that has guar gum--a thickening and stabilizing agent-- in it (it seems like it's in everything, including milk).

Adjusting to the restrictions

I spent maybe 10 minutes trying to find a milk that was non-dairy, non-oat/rice/nut milk and didn't have guar gum in it, leaving me with approximately 2 options: coconut milk and banana milk, neither of which I'm the biggest fan of. Have you ever had banana milk in your coffee? Let's say it's not that pleasant. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to have coffee on AIP, but as I mentioned before, I’m having a harder time with that.

Anyway, AIP has been fairly good so far but also incredibly restrictive. It will take some time to get used to the diet changes. I think it will benefit me, but time will tell!

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