Autoimmune disease is an epidemic.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from over 80 autoimmune diseases, a condition where the body’s own immune system begins attacking its proteins, cells and tissues. Autoimmune disease can manifest as Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis—dozens of diseases differentiated by symptom but linked to an overactive immune system.
According to our friend, partner and NY Times Bestselling author Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, “genetic predisposition accounts for approximately one-third of your risk of developing an autoimmune disease, the other two-thirds comes from your environment, your diet, and your lifestyle.”
And that’s good news. It means that diet and lifestyle factors contribute to autoimmune conditions, just as they contribute to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
At Strength in Food, we believe the food you eat can make you stronger. The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is the focus of everything we do because it puts the power of healing back in our hands.
The Autoimmune Protocol
According to AIP expert Dr. Ballantyne, “the goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to flood the body with nutrients while simultaneously avoiding any food that might be contributing to disease (or at the very least interfering with our efforts to heal).”
It includes only the clearly health-promoting foods and eliminates many of the foods those of us come to think of as “gray-area” foods.
Dr. Ballantyne’s guide to the AIP includes:
- Organ meat and offal
- Fish and shellfish
- Vegetables of all kinds
- Herbs and spices
- Quality meats
- Quality fats
- Probiotic/fermented foods
- Glycine-rich foods (anything with connective tissue, joints or skin, organ meat, and bone broth)
- Refined and processed sugars and oils
- Nuts and seeds (including coffee, cocoa and seed-based spices),
- Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries)
- NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
- Non-nutritive sweeteners including stevia
- Emulsifiers, sweeteners and other food additives
Autoimmune Protocol is designed as an elimination diet. That means foods on the exclusion list are eliminated for a period of time, then carefully reintroduced to see if they trigger symptoms.
In a recent study, 73% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease achieved remission during a 6-week period on the AIP and stayed in remission throughout a 5-week maintenance phase.
If you're new to the AIP, Strength in Food is a great place to start. Our curated boxes will introduce you to new products and resources to simplify the AIP. For a full introduction to the protocol, we recommend the following resources.
- The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber MS OTR and Sarah Ballantyne PhD
- The Paleo Approach & The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.
- The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Mickey Trescott NTP, and Angie Alt