Food Reintroductions on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

One of the biggest concerns with going on the autoimmune protocol is how long to stay on the diet and how to reintroduce foods systematically. The Paleo Mom has the most in-depth article out there on this topic, and my personal experience and research has lined up perfectly with what she recommends in her article. Here, I hope to answer some key questions as well as offer my personal experience on food reintroduction for anyone using the autoimmune protocol as an elimination diet.

How long should I stay on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol?

I recommend at least 30 days of 100% adherence to the protocol before contemplating reintroduction. 2-3 months would be better, but it is tough to go that long. This should be enough time to see if it is making an improvement. Ideally, you would be able to stay on the diet until you notice a significant improvement or even elimination of symptoms – then you have a baseline to compare how you feel when you are reintroducing foods.

I am ready to reintroduce foods – now what?

Before you go crazy and cook up your first non-AIP meal, it is important that you approach the reintroduction process with a plan. All of the work of adhering to the protocol is easily gone to waste if you don’t do this part carefully. The way I approach a reintroduction is to eat a little bit of one of the foods and wait for a reaction. If you don’t get one in 2-3 days, have a meal with a lot of that same food. Then wait 3 days for a reaction. It is important that if you have a bad, long lasting reaction, wait until you are back to feeling how you were on the protocol before moving on. Continue this way with all of the foods that you are re-introducing. The slower and more systematically you do this process the more you will be aware of your tolerance and sensitivity to certain foods.

Which foods should I re-introduce first?

It is important to start with foods that are the least likely to be a problem. According to the Paleo Mom, this group would be egg yolks (pastured, soy and wheat-free), grass-fed ghee, seed spices, or starches or FODMAPs (if you have been avoiding them). The next category would be nuts, seeds, alcohol and grass-fed butter. If nuts don’t go well, another step could be soaking and peeling them (if they are peel-able). On the moderate list are nightshades (excluding tomatoes), coffee, chocolate, sesame seeds, tapioca/cassava/yucca, yeast, grass-fed raw cream, and fermented grass-fed dairy. According to the Paleo Mom, the most likely foods to be problematic are egg whites, chili peppers, alcohol in large quantities, tomatoes, and NSAIDs, with the last two possibly never being able to be included in the diet.

My experience

I experimented with the autoimmune protocol strictly for six weeks, where I saw a great improvement in my symptoms, most notably my energy, sleep, and acne. Before strictly adhering to the protocol I had never found anything that would relieve my acne, yet after a few weeks I could not believe how soft and clear my skin was. I knew this was good news, as skin health is often said to be a reflection of what is happening in the gut. I had been about 80% compliant for the few months previously, but I did not get anywhere near the benefits that I got from going completely strict, I believe because I was not doing a good enough job avoiding nightshades (which I have found to be particularly problematic for my body). My first re-introduction was egg yolk, which went fine, and then seed spices in moderation. I have been attempting almonds for the last month or so, and have found that soaking and peeling them makes it possible for me to eat them in small quantities. Too many and I find my autoimmune symptoms worsening. I have also found that I can tolerate a small amount of alcohol. I have not been successful with any other re-introductions, and so I believe that my gut needs more time to heal. Feeling good is motivation to continue, however, and I am excited for the day that I can expand what is on my menu even if it happens little by little.

I am curious to know how long some of you have been on the protocol, and what foods you have been able to reintroduce. Do they line up at all with the least to most problematic list from the Paleo Mom

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

62 comments

  • Hayley says

    I’ve been easing into the AIP for the last 2-3 months and still am not 100% compliant with it, but I will be completely on plan within the next month. I don’t plan to reintroduce anything until my symptoms are mostly subsided, however long that takes. It’s so helpful to read about your experience. I struggle a lot with fatigue, insomnia, and acne, among other things, so it is good to know the diet helped you so much.

    • Hayley,
      Thanks for leaving me a note about your experience on the protocol so far! Sounds like you are on the right track. I was surprised how quick my progress was once I decided to go 100%, as hard as it was. Acne was the first thing to go, followed by some sneaky autoimmune symptoms and finally the fatigue. Take care, and hang in there! 🙂

      Mickey

  • […] process, check out my post on the autoimmune protocol here, and also my post on reintroductions here, as well as this one from The Paleo […]

  • Rebecca says

    Hi Mickey,
    I am really curious as to how people with joint pain get by without NSAIDs. I have tried turmeric, white willow bark, etc and none work for me. I have been eating AIP for about 3 weeks and feel no improvement aside from an increase in energy. I’m committed to sticking with the diet but don’t see how I will get off the NSAIDs without my joint pain diminishing.

    Thanks!

    • Mickey says

      Rebecca, this would be a great question for the FB page–if you PM me there with permission, I will ask the page and get some responses for you. Good luck!

    • Jaschira says

      I use Boswellin cream on my hurting joints before I sleep. After 3 weeks on strict AIP , I didn’t need it anymore but then came July 4th out of town…now I’m re-starting again.

    • marit zinocker says

      Hi. Have you looked into a starch free diet? I have an undiagnosed autoimmune disease which involves a lot of joint pains, and going completely starch free has releived my symptoms far more than AIP. Try to elimintate all the roots and tubers, and root flours too for a while.. it might help you too..

      • Mickey Trescott says

        Hi Marit, I have looked into it, and I don’t follow one because I believe in a different approach to tackling pathogens–specifically testing and treating them instead of making dietary changes. The GOOD flora in our digestive tract also feed off of starch, and so if you react to them I suggest finding a practitioner to figure out what is going on in your gut. Pathogens can absolutely be triggers for those of us with autoimmunity, so it makes sense that getting rid of their favorite foods would make you feel better!

        • Heather says

          I have been working with a practitioner for about a year now, and her initial diagnosis for me was candida, based on a stool test. I have taken herbal antifungals off and on now for a year. It never goes away, and I keep having to remove more and more starches as it worsens. Sometimes the symptoms improve a little, but come back worse than before once I go off the supplements. I tell my practitioner that I’m not getting better and she looks a little baffled and changes nothing about her approach.

          So it would seem I need to find a new practitioner, but she is the only certified functional medicine practitioner here. Others claim to practice it but aren’t certified. How can I find someone qualified?

          • Mickey Trescott says

            Hi Heather,
            I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle with Candida. I know it can be very difficult to eradicate. Do you know if the stool test you took tested your strain of candida against your treatment options? There are many tests now that will tell you which treatment will work on your particular strain of pathogen, which is super helpful. Also, sometimes prescription medications work far better than herbals, which the Candida can become resistant to. I would ask your practitioner if this is an option for you! I would check out primaldocs.com, paleophysiciansnetwork.com, and functionalmedicine.org for resources on finding someone good to work with. Also, networking with your local AIP group on FB can be a good way to find someone as well.

    • Kitty says

      For joint pain without NSAIDS have you tried fish oil capsules? I take four each night and it helps me a great deal. Once you successfully reintroduce seeds, you can also try flax oil capsules. Also, some foods exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Beef is really bad for mine, for example. You might need to troubleshoot what is causing your joint pain since even some AIP compliant foods may be triggers for you.

  • […] here on the blog is how to go about reintroducing foods. While I have a short blog article here, this topic is a deep one, and one that I have found hard to cover in this space. The most obvious […]

  • Nate says

    I have been on AIP for almost three weeks. Feeling great. No skin itching joint pain almost gone digestion regular and have lost 12 lbs and down to 14% bf. awesome. Two weeks to go. Looking forward to continued good feelings. Thanks

  • Dana says

    I’ve been on the AIP fully for 2 months, and the low FODMAP for about 3 weeks. I’m still very tired, but my inflammation markers have slowly started to go down. At this point, I think I’ve narrowed down the issue to oxalates and/or adrenal fatigue. I will be testing for adrenal fatigue this week, and hopefully can find out if oxalates are a problem in about 3 weeks. Right now I can’t decide if I should start adding foods in or wait. If I have to go low oxalate, my diet will be incredibly restricted.

  • LindaSue says

    I started the AIP three months ago and have seen a dramatic reduction in my symptoms from Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (Scleroderma, Lupus, and Polymyositis), Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Raynaud’s Phenomenon. My rheumatologist is going to be blown away at my next visit.

    Before I found your website and The Paleo Mom, I was logging symptoms to apply for total disability. I am now working full-time, am able to exercise, have lost eighteen pounds (bonus!) and have only rare symptoms. My family is so impressed and many have come over to the Paleo side.

    I have successfully added eggs (mostly yolks), almonds (almond flour), nutmeg, some dark chocolate (squeee!), and I’m ready to try walnuts and then coffee. I know I will always be grain-free; it’s going to save my life.

    Thank you for being such a wealth of information and sharing it so freely. I am eternally grateful. Thank so much!

    • Mickey says

      LindaSue,
      Rock on! I am so happy to hear of your progress. It sounds like you have had an amazing transformation! Wishing you continued success on your journey.

      Mickey

    • lacey says

      Have you still been following this diet? If so, are you still seeing improvement in your symptoms?

      I was recently diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease (they are not 100% sure which exactly but polymitosis and scleroderma are likely). I asked my doctor if altering my diet could help and he said he did not think it would. I want to explore dietary changes, but not really sure where to start. I have eliminated gluten already and found that when I avoid grains the swelling in my hands, raynauds and itchiness are reduced.

  • Sarah says

    Hi there,

    I’m starting the AIP tomorrow. I have chronic upper and lower back pain, a wonky digestive system that has gotten worse since a botched appendectomy and severe nasal polyps. I am getting surgery for the polyps in the next month but in the meantime I am in a lot of pain. It is the kind of pain that makes it hard to function. The pressure behind my eyes in so intense that it messes with my vision. Advil helps take the edge off and allows me to go on with my day. I’m wondering what I can do to ease the pain while I’m starting the AIP? I was also thinking that I could possibly begin eating to heal my body while I wait for the surgery and get off Advil once the healing process has begun. Although I know this will mess with the results of AIP. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Mickey says

      Sarah, this is a very complicated issue. You will need to work with your doctor about how to manage your pain. Sarah Ballantyne has a detailed discussion about this in her book, The Paleo Approach. Wishing you luck,

      Mickey

  • Jessica says

    I’ve been following strict AIP protocol for 3 months for hashimoto’s. I have had dramatic results including looking far, far less puffy, increased energy, better moods (and far less mood swings- sugar is a roller coaster!), and I have dropped 11lbs. My skin still gets some acne, which is a bummer, but overall I am so much better than before. I am trying to reintroduce ghee this week. I suppose I should mention that I started thyroid hormone and helminthic therapy about five months ago- but I really think AIP has been a savior!

    • Mickey says

      Jessica,
      Thank you for sharing your success! I wish you well as you continue on your journey 🙂

      Mickey

  • Brian smith says

    I have been on the AIP diet for 2-3 months but until about 6 weeks ago it was not 100%. I am feeling much better now and just started to reintroduce some foods back into my diet. I noticed even if I have a piece of cake on my sons birthing it will not bother me but if I do not go back on the diet immediately I get sick. I can actually have a cheat once or twice a month, but I will have some stomach issues like gas and I feel like I am hungry all day. I also find that when I am reintroducing something into my diet that I have to eat it for 2-3 days before I react to it but the reaction is very bad. Everyone is different and you must come up with your own system of reintroduction. This diet saved my life and I thank everyone involved in getting the information out there. Good luck on the diet everyone.

  • Alex says

    Hi,
    I received my Hashimoto diagnosis a few weeks ago and thankfully found your cookbook and blog right away as well as several books and scientific papers that deviate from the traditional medication-only approach. I am refusing synthetic thyroid hormone for now because it was an early diagnosis, my TSH, T3 and T4 levels are still normal and I wanted to see if my TPO would decrease with dietary changes alone.
    I’ve been on the AIP for about 4 weeks now, two of them 98% strict. I still eat gluten-free millet gruel in the morning, containing whole millet flour, organic corn flour, whole rice flour, some tiger nuts and organic brown-top millet. I stopped eating it for a few days to be completely protocol-compliant and it made me feel worse. My gut seems to crave it so I listen. I take pre- and pro-biotics daily and started making bone broth. I supplement with Zinc, Selenium and a ton of Omega 3.
    I’m still trying to find my way through my symptoms because things that are allowed on the AIP sometimes make me feel sick (like sweet potatoes) and occasionally I will cook something from the AIP cookbook that will be fine one day and when I eat the leftovers the next day, I’ll have a reaction.
    But overall, I feel like a different person. I’m a CrossFitter and have been hitting personal records almost from the start of the diet. I’ve gone from a lifelong severe caffeine-addiction to drinking Earl Grey with lactose-free milk once a day and it has not affected my energy at all or given me any headaches. My Hashi heart palpitations have pretty much stopped. I’ve lost weight and the hair that has been falling out has started to grow back. My debilitating period pains that I’ve had since I was 12 have disappeared.
    I live in a place where doctors still think diet has nothing to do with auto-immune diseases, so I’m doing this on my own, but I am so very grateful to you for providing all this information and many delicious recipes to help people through this.
    Thank you so much and all the best!

    Alex

    • Mickey says

      Alex,
      Thank you for sharing your story, I wish you continued success!

      Mickey

  • Daena Brown says

    I have been strict AIP for 6 weeks and I tried introducing egg yoke, but I don’t think it will work. I have introduced seed spices and now I am considering almonds. I am hoping to use almond flour and maybe even almond butter. I am allergic to coconut and several other things on the AIP diet. This last week I have started hurting all over, so bad that I just had to take some Ibuprofen to get some relief. I have not cheated or gone off of the AIP, nor have I been using any of the seed based spices. I feel so frustrated, and tired! The fatigue is back too, and I don’t know what to do!! Makes me wanna go and cheat anyway! But I won’t dare. Two weeks ago I cheated and ate a piece of homemade pulled pork pizza. 4 hours later I was in the emergency room, sicker than I have ever been from food!! It was gluten, dairy, and tomato all in a big terrible pizza bomb. I will never cheat again! By the way, I know almost immediately if I can reintroduce a food, I have some kind of reaction right away! It only took one little egg yoke and one hour before I knew not to eat those again!!

    • Mickey says

      Daena,
      Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m sorry you had such trouble after that cheat meal. I know that many in the Paleo community can get away with cheats here and there, but some of us with autoimmune disease have reactions that are just not worth it.

      Wishing you the best,

      Mickey

  • Monika says

    Hello, I’m not diagnosed yet with my disease, but I’m on verge to be diagnosed with lupus. I have thyroid disorder too. So I’m on AIP for almost 4 weeks. I might use too much fruits, but I never cheated. I feel much better. In first weeks bumps in my palms almost disappear, now I can always straighten my fingers. I couldn’t do a squat, because I was feeling huge pain above my ankles (muscle pain). No I can move freely. Still feel some pain in my elbows, and shoulder area, and that Reynould’s syndrome makes me crazy, but I have much more energy, I don’t have temperatures anymore, but I still have rashes on my face, but I guess it might be because of allergy to computer, because my rashes are itching and painful (witch is not common in lupus rashes)
    I planning to reintroduce only few things in my life: rices, eggs and buckwheat. Maybe a little bit later some ghee and kefir. I never eat a lot of nuts, so I don’t miss them. I will never back to tomatoes and gliutein

    • Mickey says

      Monika,
      Thanks for sharing your successes, that sounds like some amazing improvement! I wish you continued healing.

      Mickey

  • Michaela says

    I jumped in head first and managed to stay strict for 3mths. I went away and stayed with friends when I should’ve started the reintroduction so that was a big fat fail. I wasn’t sure if going AIP was the answer for me.. my skin condition persisted although it wasnt as bad as it had been and one persistent lesion cleared up for the first time in almost a year.
    Here I am though, about 3 weeks later eating as I have done my whole life and now I realise how beneficial the AIP was for me – once again my skin is flaring up and Im in a lot of pain daily. In hindsight can see now that it was working for me and will be starting again in the next couple of days once I stock up on supplies.

    • Mickey says

      Michaela,
      I’m sorry you had to learn the lesson the hard way, but I hope you are able to pick yourself back up and get started again. Wishing you luck!

      Mickey

  • Susan says

    Hello

    I have been doing strict AIP since beginning of August. About two weeks into it i started feeling deeply tired and low all the time, a deep tiredness I’ve rarely experienced before. I stuck with it but a couple of weeks ago on holiday I accidentally ate some nightshade which made me incredibly sick, and on top of the exhaustion I was already feeling this tipped me to part fall off the wagon and eat start indulging in eggs, some nuts and some sugar over a couple of weeks. Now that im home again I’ve gone back on to strict AIP, but am so tired of feeling i have no energy on it. Friends have also suggested I should stop it as apparently I look very tired (although i’ve been sleeping very well) and not that well.

    Im writing because i don;t know what to do now. Im going into cold season when I usually flare up and im upset about th prospect of being very sick again and scared that the reason Im tired is because my body isn’t getting everything it needs, though im also desperate to improve my health (I have auto-immune disease and developing asthma).

    Im having bone broth, liver and other meats, veges and greens. Have you heard of people feeling exhausted like this on the AIP? do you have any advice on how to get through this? or do you know wether it could be something that i’ve cut out like nuts or eggs that perhaps I really need?

    I would like to continue with this and do it right but would welcome any guidance or advice.

    Many thanks

    • Mickey says

      Hi Susan,
      I think you could have accidentally gone too low-carb–are you eating starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, and winter squash? What about fruit? If not, I’d up your intake to make sure you are getting some starch at least once a day, if not two meals a day. If that doesn’t fix it, I’d suggest working with a practitioner to get to the bottom of it. You didn’t mention your autoimmune disease, but if it is something like Hashimoto’s your hormone levels could be off and need treatment.

      I hope you find a solution and get on to healing soon!

      Mickey

  • Brenda says

    I’ve been doing AIP 100% strictly since August because I have hidradenitis suppurativa and I read it could help. I didn’t think I’d seen much improvement with my symptoms, until recently. I noticed that a sore that was once open (since December of last year) had finally closed up. At that point I tried reintroducing egg yolks, silly me I bought the grocery store’s brand of “Free Range Eggs” because I didn’t have many options but I’m sure their eggs aren’t pastured and the best quality regardless of their free range status the carton also says a maximum of 10,000 chooks per hectare (2.4 acres). The next day the sore had opened up again. I’m not sure if that means I give up on egg yolks entirely or if I try finding a better source. For now I’ve assumed eggs are problematic and moved on to black pepper without incident. I am dying to get to coffee and perhaps cacao but one thing at a time.

    • Mickey says

      Brenda,
      Oh no! How awesome that AIP was able to heal that sore, but so depressing that the egg yolk reintro opened it up! I have heard of others having a similar experience with skin issues. Hoping you are back on track and ready to start some other reintroductions soon!

      Mickey

  • Melissa says

    I started AIP in January 2015, then removed FODMAPs in March or April. I did that for 30+ days, then started reintros. It seems like just about everything I try causes me problems, except in small amounts (cashews are okay, probably seed spices [I never figured out a way to get a lot of those at once to really test my intolerance, however], chocolate was always tried with sugar [not a lot, but still], so that didn’t go over too well – but tomatoes and eggs were BAD NEWS, and white potatoes didn’t make me feel the greatest. Oh, and I recently cut out all fruit except blueberries and any sugar – who knew bananas caused so many problems? Even coconut products except for oil have proven problematic!) I really haven’t had a hard time sticking to it, though – my health is my #1 priority! But it is disheartening to have to pass on so many things. Today, I’m having a hard time missing coffee.

    But I persevere. And I’ve found a bajillion ways to make kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes. ????????

    So some advice: does my body just need more time to heal, or are these problem foods things I just may never be able to reintroduce? I love to bake, so, while there are a lot of egg-free baking recipes, I do find I miss them. Especially homemade mayo (AIP versions that I’ve tried just don’t even come close).

    I know I can’t stay this strict forever, but how can I tell which foods I should avoid because they will cause me long-term problems (I know tomatoes, for sure) and which foods I should eat sparingly and just deal with stomach upset, digestive issues, etc? At some point I would like to eat fun things again. ????

  • Margaret Wendell says

    Hi Mickey, thank you for all the great information. I came to the autoimmune protocol after hearing you speak on a webinar (Functional Medicine I think). Thank you, thank you for steering me to this diet .. it has changed my life.
    I believe that I have celiac disease (undiagnosed) and have avoided gluten for the last fifteen years. However over the last three years I developed severe tendon/ligament pain which significantly impacted my range of motion and was accompanied by serious malaise/fatigue. After strict compliance with the AIP for the past 6 months I still have some tendon/ligament pain although my range of motion and fatigue have improved dramatically.
    You mentioned that “On the moderate list are nightshades (excluding tomatoes), coffee, chocolate, sesame seeds, tapioca/cassava/yucca, yeast, grass-fed raw cream, and fermented grass-fed dairy”. I have recently introduced yucca believing that it is AIP friendly. I can’t find other sites which state that it should be avoided. Is it correct that yucca should be avoided on the AIP? The reason that I am asking is that recently I have experienced increased pain and I am not sure why.

  • Justa says

    Hi Micky,
    My husband bought me your book for Christmas. It’s been a Godsend. The diet has been tricky for me because I’ve been eating low histamine foods due to some allergic responses that seem to be mast cell in nature. I’ve been doing the protocol for 3 months. I have had a few set backs. I wasn’t aware how hard it would be even though I’ve been grain free, sugar free and dairy free before. I wasn’t getting enough calories the first few weeks and I was tired and hangry! Once I figured out to eat more and get enough protein and fats, I felt much better. Also, avocado is high histamine but I’ve been able to eat it, as well as lemons and limes, without the usual reaction so I know it’s working. I have more energy, less nausea, less headaches and brain fog and my skin is rosy and almost clear. I know I have a long road ahead but I’m ok with it. I’m encouraged by all the stories of healing and I look forward to having my own 🙂
    Thanks for your cookbook and all the time you’ve taken to help us all.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Justa,
      So happy to hear, wishing you continued healing and wellness as you continue on your journey!

  • Vina says

    Hi there,

    Apologies if this has already been asked. I have autoimmune issues due to a severe Candida infection. At what stage does fruit lie when trying to reintroduce it?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Vina! This is going to lie outside the bounds of the autoimmune protocol, as the elimination diet doesn’t address pathogens like Candida. You’ll need to come up with your own plan or work with a practitioner to modify the protocol based on your Candida treatment.

  • Marelize says

    Thanks for all your info and research, Mickey.

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoti’s in September 2015, started on the AIP (after reading your website and buying the e-cookbook) mid-October. I was strict with myself and it wasn’t such an effort as I never cook with sugar, don’t buy sweets and eliminated wheat for a year then. Only thing was Coca-Cola and coffee (luckily summer was awaiting in southern hemisphere and my need for coffee diminishes as the heat goes up).

    I had definite positive changes. PMS and menstrual cramps being the biggest, also brain fog, the goiter got smaller and my cold hands turned warmer. I didn’t even realize I had all the symptoms before, never researched hypothyroidism…

    But, what baffles me is that new symptoms appeared. My hair started to fall out at 3 months on AIP and I now have joint and muscle pains I never had.

    Could it be the sweet potato or kombucha? I really don’t know. I eat sweet potatoes every meal (stand in for bread, rice and potato), and love kombucha, drink a glassful at every meal.

    The goiter returns too, but I think it might be the echinacea that the homeopath prescribed…

    At 3 months, in Jan, we did blood work again, I did not see the numbers, but the doctor (homeopath) said that there is no real change in TPO’s.

    Am I too hasty, should I wait till six months for blood work? I don’t want to start with reintroductions before there isn’t a major drop in antibodies (it was 342 in Sept, should be <35)

    Oh, yes, I lost 18kg since I started on the AIP.

    Thank you so much, again, for all your hard work.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Marelize,
      So happy to hear of your successes on AIP, but the new symptoms of hair falling out do not sound good–I would suggest getting a doctor involved to troubleshoot underlying conditions. The specific foods you mention (kombucha and sweet potato) don’t specifically cause hair loss or joint pain in some people, but there is always the possibility of a sensitivity to any food. I would request some thorough hormone testing from your doctor (sex + thyroid), as that is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of hair loss. Also, anemia. While AIP goes a long way to help with many people, a lot of us find that help from a skilled practitioner helps to get us to fully healed. Wishing you luck!

  • Jenn says

    Hi I’m new to AIP, but have been doing Paleo for about 2 years. I’m young and have been experiencing extreme hair loss. No patches just overall very thinning. All Bloodwork comes back fine but working with a natural practitioner she has treated me for candidia now leaky gut. I’m also very anxious about my hair loss. It’s been happening for about a year and half. What’s worrying me about doing the paleo aip is if I don’t get enough carbs or calories that itself can cause hair loss. How much squash would I need to eat in a day exactly? Also, will I become allergic or have adverse reactions to the foods I’m taking out for being off them so long? My dr recommends a minimum of 6 months on this diet. ???? Not had anything for autoimmune disease show up on Bloodwork but she says hair loss is autoimmune symptom. Pls help

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Jenn! I’m so sorry to hear about your unexplained hairloss… I have had this as a symptom of my Hashimoto’s, and it is very troubling! I would not worry about the AIP diet specifically causing more hairloss as long as you are getting enough carbs. I would say aim to eat some fruit (maybe a piece or two) every day as well as something starchy with at least one meal – like a sweet potato, yam, taro root, plantain, yuca, hard winter squash, etc. It shouldn’t be hard–the autoimmune protocol isn’t a low-carb diet unless you don’t like veggies! Part of the protocol is trying to pinpoint food sensitivities, so if you are already sensitive to one, you will find out about it during the reintroduction phase. A few things to additionally think about with the hair loss… 1. would be stress. I would try to put some stress management tools into place like meditation and focusing on getting plenty of sleep. 2. hormone balance. If your hormones are fluctuating a lot this can cause sudden hair loss–your doc should be able to do some testing here. 3. iron levels. If your iron is low it can cause hair loss. Hope it helps!

  • Hi Mickey,
    I’m so glad I found your blog! It’s helping me so much to keep pushing and not to give up my AIP paleo diet. I started cold turkey 2 weeks ago after I started reading “The Paleo Approach”. I am finding her book a bit complicated to read and have now bought yours and can’t wait to receive it.

    I am trying to figure out if fibromyalgia is autoimmune or not. If I am not mistaken I think I read in the “The Paleo Approach” that she considers it to be autoimmune?

    When I was younger I had endometriosis, but I’m now menopause with many problems. I have sever fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and Chronic Pelvic pain among many other problems. As of now I can walk only because of all the medication I am taking and I started eating this way because I know that my next visit to the Dr. is going to be an increase in medication or talking about a wheel chair…

    Do you think my eating this way will help to at least calm my pain?

    Thank you so much for all your doing and all your free information.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Ann! So happy you are here. Fibro is one of those “suspected autoimmune” diseases… meaning not 100% confirmed, but it behaves consistent with what we know about autoimmune diseases. To be clear we are not medical practitioners and can’t advise based on any medical conditions, but you don’t really know what kind of results you’ll get until you try, right? Sending you good healing vibes as you navigate this journey, and keep us posted on your progress!

  • Hannah C says

    Hi! I’m really confused about reintroduction/how long to stick with strict AIP if we’re talking about an autoimmune skin issue. My husband has psoriasis, and has only been on strict AIP for three weeks. From you and The Paleo Mom, I’ve read that 3 months is about the longest you’d want to stick to strict AIP if you don’t see any symptom relief. However, I’ve also read that the skin can take a long time to heal. From some bloggers, I’ve heard stories of psoriasis not even budging until over a YEAR of strict AIP. My husband is being a trooper about this protocol and is “all in”, but I don’t think he could do this for a year without any encouragement/any clearing of psoriasis lesions. 🙁 Any thoughts would be appreciated! I’m just feeling very discouraged.

    Thanks!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Hannah! The guidelines we give out for people about how long to try AIP are for general use, meaning, that is what we recommend for most people. It is true skin issues can take longer to see an improvement. What I would say, is if you are only three weeks in, I would suggest waiting until you are at the 90-day mark to make a decision to either stay on the protocol longer, or work with a practitioner on underlying issues. There isn’t any way anyone can predict how long it will take for him to experience progress. One tip on skin healing, is to make sure he is getting a lot of nutrients that support skin health – Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, collagen, gelatin, etc. in his diet regularly (this means organ meat and bone broth!). Hope it helps!

  • Michele says

    HI Mickey, I started doing Paleo about six weeks ago and shortly thereafter switched to AIP after finding your website. I immediately ordered your book. I have hypothyroidism, pre diabetes and a vitamin D deficiency. I poured through your book, eliminated nightshades and so forth and was doing really well and feeling great. Then I made a mistake. A friend told me that I could eat dark chocolate on Paleo so I made myself some hot cocoa with coconut milk – twice in one weekend. Boy am I sorry I did that. I didn’t check my don’t eat list. I now realize that any form of chocolate is not AIP at all. I did research after the fact to try and figure out why I felt so bad. Do you have any idea how long it will take to cleanse myself of the evil chocolate?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Michele! I am sorry you experienced a reaction to chocolate. I don’t know how long it will take you to get back to how you felt before, maybe a few days, and possibly a week or longer. I hope you feel better soon!

  • Arzu says

    Hi Mickey, I am happy reading you who had Hashimoto disease like me. I am taking the pill my doctor imposes me. However I do not notice any problem with my body. Only digestive problems if I do not pay attention to what I eat (too fatty, dairy, gluten). The only thing I was not not eating is bone broth, I think it makes sens, and I will start it asap. My question to you is “Did you stop taking any tablets for your Hashimoto disease?” This is my main goal. Thanks a lot for your feedback. Best regards

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Arzu! I still take thyroid medication. I’m all about using all the tools at my disposal (diet, lifestyle, and modern medicine) to feel the best I possibly can. Wishing you wellness.

  • Word Lily says

    I started strict AIP (before that I wasn’t even Paleo) in September, and I’ve now reached stage 4 of reintroductions. My question is: So far all the peppers and nightshade spices I’ve tried have been fine (paprika, red bell peppers, cayenne, chili powder, jalepeno … how much do I need to break this down, what all else do I need to test/reintro before I can safely say that, at least as far as I know, all peppers are OK? The only nightshade that’s given me trouble so far is white potatoes. I mean, I can try the curry powder we have in the drawer, but that doesn’t necessarily have the same ingredients as every other curry powder, since it’s a blend. So would I be able to eat a curry at a restaurant, assuming all the other things are OK? Thanks.

    • Angie Alt says

      Hi Word Lily-
      We can’t say for sure, since each person is a bio-individual, but it sounds like overall you are having a positive experience w/ nightshade peppers and would probably do okay w/ curry blends based on all the peppers you’ve already reintroduced successfully.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Lily, awesome to hear! It is important to break down the ingredients in your process – while you might be OK with all curry ingredients, you will want to have some heads up before you try at a restaurant. I think it is likely that if you tolerate a bunch of the nightshade family, that you would be OK with the peppers. There are so many varieties! Unfortunately at the advanced reintroduction stage, it is still a lot of trial and error to see what works best for our bodies. Wishing you luck!

  • Katherine Lee says

    Hi Mickey and Angie,

    I’ve been on strict AIP for almost 3 weeks now and am feeling SO much better. However I am very concerned about the reintroduction phase. First and foremost, I know I am scared I am going to want to reach for food at a restaurant I miss and end up with a meal (i.e. fajitas) that have literally multiple ingredients I have eliminated. So I guess my first question is, how much does one meal in the reintroduction phase ruin your progress? My health is #1 and this is the first time I’ve been able to adhere to something so strict, so I know I can follow the reintroduction phase strictly as well, I am just somewhat concerned especially since all of my girlfriends are excited for me to have a more “normal” diet and go out with them again.

    Secondly, besides gluten, what else is recommended to eliminate for life? I saw corn somewhere and am concerned about that since I loooooove mexican food – tortilla chips and corn tortillas! oh man!

    Thank you both so much for the amount of time you put into this community, you’re changing lives and allowing people a space to connect!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Katherine! Good work on the elimination phase! So it is very important to reintroduce foods slowly and systematically, following the protocol, or you could experience a setback. 🙁 It is impossible to know how much that one meal might ruin your progress, it could be as little as a week or as much as months (back when I was reintroducing, a nightshade exposure would impact me for over a month!). Next, what you remove for life might be different than others – it is all about what you tolerate. Some folks do fine on corn, others it is a big trigger. You will just have to see when you get there! You might find this podcast episode helpful where Angie and I talk about our personal stories with elimination and reintroduction: http://autoimmunewellness.com/the-autoimmune-wellness-podcast-episode-6-step-3-nourish-our-stories/

  • Seth says

    Hi Mickey –

    I was diagnosed with active ankylosing spondylitis with severe peripheral reactive arthritis in mid-May and have been on a strict AIP-elimination diet since – and really appreciate everything you and Angie have done and continue to do for us! Before my diagnosis, I was following a 90:10 paleo diet but had been very paleo-strict in the past, so moving to AIP was not a problem. I’m currently taking an NSAID and biologic immune suppressant (anti-TNF) for symptom management. I’m not ready to stop the NSAID yet because I can tell when I accidentally miss a dose: pain comes back. And the anti-TNF therapy seems long-term, at least looking out from today.

    That being said, I am slowly working towards eliminating the NSAID. And I’m thinking about food reintroductions, once I’m off the NSAID and symptom stable. I was wondering if you think the anti-TNF medication will have an effect on my ability to register a response to the reintroduced foods? Have you heard any stories from others who are also on biologic therapy who follow an AIP diet and reintroduced foods?

    Thanks!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Seth! I would love to get into this question but it is a little tricky territory for me since I am not a medical practitioner. Your best bet would be to find a doctor who is fluent in AIP that can help you work on your dietary eliminations/reintroductions while making some decisions about what to do with your medications.

      Terry Wahls works with a lot of MS and serious autoimmune patients on similar medications. Her approach is to add dietary and lifestyle interventions and wait for a remission of symptoms for six full months before making any decisions to go off medications. I’m suggesting you run this by your doctor, but I personally would achieve the results I wanted to see with diet, lifestyle, and medication, then move on to reintroducing some foods that are less likely to cause issues but make adhering to the diet long-term more easy (like nuts, seeds, white rice). Then I’d wait Terry’s six or so months and consider medication changes with my doctor at that point.

      I hope you achieve success and are able to find a good solution, Seth!

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