Last updated March 25, 2023
The Autoimmune Paleo Diet for Beginners
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The Autoimmune Paleo Diet for beginners doesn’t have to be complicated.
Are you tired of dealing with autoimmune symptoms?
So many people, dealing with autoimmune disease, allergies, and migraines.
Autoimmune problems occur when your body starts attacking itself.
It’s an overreaction of the immune system which is often caused by a leaky gut.
When your gut is permeable, food particles can leak into the bloodstream triggering the immune system to attack them.
When this happens on a daily basis, the immune system ramps up to attack the foreign particles and proteins and ends up attacking your own tissue.
The average American diet is full of sugars and processed foods which leads to chronic inflammation triggering the immune system.
In order to reduce inflammation and immune system stimulation, it’s important to cut out any foods that would cause a reaction.
By eliminating trigger foods you can begin healing the gut and greatly reducing autoimmune disease symptoms. This article may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you.
The Autoimmune Paleo Diet for Beginners
Autoimmune Paleo Diet works to remove trigger foods that would stimulate the immune system and leak through the gut causing a reaction.
By reducing these triggers the body can begin to repair the gut and decrease inflammation.
The AIP Diet reduces symptoms associated with:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Addison’s Disease
- Graves Disease
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Celiac Disease
Common Symptoms Associated with Auto Immune Disease
- Achy Muscles
- Low-Grade Fever
- Digestive Issues
- Hair Loss
- Numbness in hands and feet
Beginning the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) Diet
In order to stop the immune system from overreacting it’s important to eliminate the following foods:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Night Shades
By cutting out these foods the body and digestive system can begin to relax.
You may not have to remove these foods forever but it is important at first so you can learn what foods are triggers for you and which ones don’t cause problems.
So what can you eat?
- Coconut milk
- Fresh or frozen fruits
- Meats fresh or frozen that are free of additives, chemicals, and nitrates.
- All vegetables except for nightshades (eggplant, tomato, white potatoes, goji berries, and peppers)
- Fats and oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, lard, fat, olive oil.
Eventually, you can start to reintroduce foods one at a time.
It may seem dramatic but the AIP diet has been shown to reduce autoimmune symptoms in this study.
So I cut out dairy, grains, eggs, nuts, legumes, sugar, and nightshades from my meals.
You can never go wrong with reducing inflammation, which will always improve your health.
I am underweight so I try to find foods full of healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado, bacon, and olives.
Keep an eye on your symptoms to see if any of the newly added foods trigger any old symptoms.
Some foods you may be able to add back in permanently and some foods your body will just not agree with.
This AIP diet will help you to learn what your body likes and doesn’t like so you can begin to create a unique plan for you.
AIP Diet Meal Plan – What I Eat in a Day
My normal old breakfast routine was coffee and more coffee. I was really worried that I would feel the effects of cutting out the coffee and be tired and crabby all day long.
That wasn’t the case. I actually feel better without the coffee, it was tearing up my stomach and I didn’t realize it.
Plus the coffee protein is so close to gluten sometimes your body can’t tell the difference.
Now, my morning routine is filled with a smoothie packed full of healthy coconut fat and nutritious kale.
The canned coconut milk helps me get healthy fats in my mornings and the smoothie is a tasty way to get kale in my system.
You could easily swap out the ingredients in the smoothie for different frozen fruit and greens to get some variety.
Other breakfast ideas
- Bacon on a salad
- Turkey sausage with steamed vegetables
- Ground beef with sauteed vegetables
My lunch used to be frozen chicken tenders with the kids or a different frozen dinner or boxed rice. Those definitely are not good choices for someone wanting to lower inflammation.
Now, I focus on getting in as many vegetables as I can in my AIP Diet Meal Plan. My goal is 6-9 cups of vegetables a day to fill in the missing nutritional gaps and deficiencies I may have.
I often fry up a few pieces of bacon and put it over a huge plate of greens or actually put the greens in the skillet and sautee them up.
The hardier vegetables are easier to add in the skillet like cabbage, kale, or mustard greens.
Other lunch ideas
- Bacon with sauteed greens
- Ground turkey over salad with avocado
- A piece of chicken over a salad
- Ground beef, cauliflower rice and avocado with cilantro
You can get the idea of how I build a meal with a little meat and lots of vegetables. I try to make sure my salad has nutritious toppings such as broccoli, olives, avocado, cauliflower, bok choy, and fresh herbs like thyme.
There isn’t a lot of nutrition in iceberg lettuce so try to have some darker mixed greens in your salads.
What about salad dressing?
It’s easy to throw together some dressing with a healthy fat like avocado oil or olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some herbs.
If you’re not into making your own dressing, I also love Primal Kitchen Greek Dressing because it’s free of all the junk and Autoimmune Paleo friendly.
For supper or dinner, our whole family eats the same thing so I’m not stuck making separate things for everyone.
I normally roast meat such as chicken thighs, pork roast or beef roast. Other days I make ground turkey and we eat it in a bowl with avocado, cilantro, lime, and onion.
We always have a vegetable side with our meals such as Brussel sprouts, a large salad, steamed broccoli, or sweet potatoes.
Recipe: Cast Iron Chicken Thighs
- Roasted chicken with Brussel sprouts
- Ground turkey bowl with avocado, lime, cilantro
- Chicken breast and sweet potatoes with fresh rosemary
- Pork roast and a large salad
You can see that I normally cook clean fresh meat and prepare a vegetable side with it. My kids have no problem eating these foods and it’s fast to prepare.
Many types of meat can be made in the Instant Pot as well including a whole chicken with vegetables for homemade chicken soup. It’s a good way to get in a bone broth that has many healing properties.
Bone Broth Chicken soup can be made in the Instant Pot in about an hour and a half instead of it simmering all day long.
I don’t eat any sauces or ketchup with my food because it’s so hard to find these sauces without sugar, eggs, grains, and nightshades.
Bone broth is a staple of any AIP Diet Meal Plan and has so many benefits.
I do find that including garlic, onion and fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary gives the food so much flavor I don’t miss the sauces.
My snacks vary daily and it depends on how full I am feeling. Sometimes just a hot cup of tea will do the trick, other times I eat a banana or other piece of fruit.
If I’m really hungry in the evening I make a small smoothie to fill me up.
Here are some snack ideas
- Autoimmune Tea
- Fresh Fruit like citrus or banana
- Grass-fed beef jerky
- Coconut Yogurt
I don’t have a snack every day because the meals are pretty filling and I don’t feel hungry all day but these are good choices if you are needing something.
If you are new to the AIP Diet Meal Plan and could use some support, The Autoimmune Subscription Box is a nice way to help you get started.
How to get started on the AIP Diet
Beginning any new diet can seem intimidating and scary.
The Autoimmune Paleo diet for beginners doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
I remember when I cut out gluten years ago, I looked around and all I could see was what I couldn’t eat.
The first few weeks is the biggest adjustment because you will be trying new foods and recipes while you miss your old default way of eating.
The good news is…it doesn’t take long to start feeling better.
Because living with an autoimmune disease is hard, Autoimmune Elimination Program is the perfect guide to get you started into the autoimmune paleo diet.
By eliminating these trigger foods you can relax the immune system.
The Autoimmune Elimination Program contains:
- Weeks of gradual diet changes
- Weekly meal planning, shopping, and batch cooking
- Stress management
- Sleep guide
- Email support from Dr. Jockers
Finding convenience foods is the hardest hurdle in eating autoimmune paleo so these recipes are so helpful in understanding what you can and can’t eat.
The testimonies of people in this program are so encouraging.
“My headaches have gone down considerably! I am tearing up just thinking about going from almost daily migraines to none. I feel more energized . . . and I have lost a few pounds. Overall, I’m feeling capable. I’ve been a broken record on how hard it was for me to try to transition to AIP on my own. It was miserable. Feeling like it *can* be done and knowing that I was able to lay a strong foundation for my future eating habits has been a critical adjustment.” – Jeannette, Group 50
The Autoimmune Elimination Program has proven it’self to be effective in reducing symptoms of autoimmune disease and clean up a leaky gut.
It’s a smart way to stop the body from reacting to everything you eat, smell, and experience. Calming the immune system reduces inflammation in every aspect and can greatly reduce anxiety.
This program gives you weekly emails to keep you moving forward with your AIP diet.
Having a doctor who understands autoimmune conditions with a focus on gut health is vital for repairing your body.
The Autoimmune Paleo Diet for beginners doesn’t have to be complicated. You will be more successful if you make gradual changes.
The Autoimmune Elimination Program is perfect for those needing low start-up cost and only need to know what to eat and step by step instructions.
I’d love to know in the comments below what you love about the program so we can help other people decide how to start the autoimmune diet for themselves.
what do you think about quinoa?
Hi Amanda, really you did a great job in writing this amazing post for helping people fight against autoimmune disease. I hope this would bring more and more people to follow your tips to get rid off it.
Hi, I have been diagnosed with APS and have an array of symptoms. I have for 4 weeks been doing a similar diet and my symptoms have greatly improved. I am now willing to take on the AIP diet.
My question is though, do I continue with my medication whilst doing the diet as it could be dangerous to stop for me. will I still see the benefits? Also how long do you need to do the diet to heal the gut to start introducing certain foods?
I cannot believe that with the amount of research that has gone into this, that all schools, universities, programs do not encourage a well balance diet to avoid these terrible Autoimmune diseases in the first place. Crazy!!!
Never change your medications without discussing them with your doctor first. It can be dangerous to suddenly stop medications.
AIP stands for autoimmune protocol not paleo and blueberries are nightshades. I have been eating AIP for over 2 years and have eliminated cluster headaches completely, IBS gone and no medications. I found that even a small amount of paprika will cause a flare-up. In order for the AIP diet to work, it must be accurate and followed very strictly. It’s not easy but well worth it.
A great article on an elimination diet. I particularly like that you included a section of the foods we CAN eat.
I have multiple sclerosis and I have been following The Wahls Protocol for a year or two. I saw a great improvement in my symptoms when I started the diet. But, I guess complsacency kicked in and my symptoms have slowly returned.
I need to be much more stringent, I know.
PS I never associated hair loss with autoimmune disease. You learn something new every day!
How do you do this AIP with so many food allergies like I have? I am allergic to shellfish, Iodine and all nuts including coconut. I have oral allergies to bananas, avocados, sunflower seeds & oil, tuna, mushrooms and strawberries. I do not like any other fish and because I have had allergic reactions to trying new foods, I have developed an eating disorder for fear of food. I have fibromyalgia with severe inflammation and digestive issues with heart burn. I am gluten free and dairy free.
Everyone’s body is so different. I would recommend making a list of what you can eat and keeping track with a food journal what is affecting you and what makes you feel good. There just isn’t a blanket diet for everyone. We all have to tweak what foods we can and can’t eat. I hope that helps!
I suffer from autoimmune disease and plan on starting this diet next week. I hate coconut!!! Any coconut products on the market that are non flavored?
Yes, you can get refined coconut oil at the grocery store that has no flavor at all. You can’t even tell it’s coconut. That’s what I use because I don’t care for coconut flavor either. Hope that helps!
I’m not sure what to do. I was following low fodmap, but decided to go aip because I was not getting full results. Aip has been great; I feel great digestively.
However, because there is more cooking than normal and I already had foot problems, one foot has developed mid-foot arthritis and bone spurs and it’s bad. I can’t really be on my foot this much.
What can I eat for breakfast that I don’t have to cook? That is the meal that I cook the most for.
Thanks for any help!
Hi Rose, are you able to precook something the day before while you are already up and moving? Otherwise maybe some fruit? Eating healthy does take time and planning. Maybe you could make a little extra for supper and eat it in the morning?
I have Hashimoto’s I stopped eating gluten in 2012 followed by going dairy free. Last year I had to stop eating eggs and was told not to buy anything from a supermarket that contained eggs. The only time I use eggs is for homemade bread and cakes but Not pancakes. The last few months I’ve had to stop eating rice as I have been sick several times even when rinsed 3 times. I’m trying an AIP diet to try to feel better. Last year I felt well on 100 Levothyroxine but a new doctor who as never met me dropped it down to 75 and after a blood test results my number’s are back up! I’ve been unwell since October with back shoulder pain and painful swollen fingers only over phone conversation all different thoughts. Two days ago I got a face to face meeting with a new doctor and he gave me a thorough examination and said I have a trapped nerve result better painkillers and urgent messages sent for a scan and high end physio. Sorry this is long.
Great article that is….keep it up
I’m 56 years and started menopause and recently notice that I’m suffering with knee and other joint pain. Hair is falling. What can I to reverse situation. My sister is suffering with Lupus and sacoidosis . Soo I want to take prevention now. Thanx
I have Hashimoto and doing the AIP for the 3rd week only. Still I have the best blood test results ever! My TSH is perfect after 4 years struggling, and the eosinophil result is in range after 10 years!!!! I am so motivated to follow it 😃
Do not give up!
I would love to know an example of what you’re eating. I have Hashimotos among several other autoimmune issues. I eat eggs every day so I need to gigure our a good breakfast
Go to Pinterest type in aip recipes….
I have RA & suffer from so much inflammation & pain! I look forward to have a diet that can help me.
This is rupinder from India. It’s been around 13-14 years I have been suffering from rheumatiod arthritis. Can you suggest me a diet for curing myself?
Hi Rupinder, everyone’s body is different. I suggest working with a local physician for your condition. The AIP diet has been proven to reduce symptoms of autoimmune issues and you can find the program I recommend linked in the article. Thanks!
I really wish I had someone top go step by step with me on this!!! I am SO overwhelmed I just want to cry!!!
Me too just can’t get a feel for this diet
Me too! I was just told to try this also! Its hatd when everyone in the house and at work can and are eating whatever they want! Its alot to figure out!!
Wowza. There is so much misinformation here I can’t even wrap my head around it.
Theresa can you explain your comment? I also have an autoimmune disorder and following this diet has almost eliminated my symptoms in a matter of months. Just curious as to your reasoning behind your statement?
This looks almost to good to be true. I have tried one before and had little success. I have MS for the past 18 years, so I don’t know if to far gone for any change?
Hi Denise, It’s not too good to be true. I would check out Dr. Terry Wahls story, she was diagnosed with MS and in a wheelchair. She started eating Autoimmune Paleo and can now is out of her wheelchair and biking marathons. Her story is amazing and she is helping so many others with the autoimmune disease get their lives back. Best of luck to you! It’s never too late.
I agree, it’s never too late! I have had MS for 20 years. Dr. Terry Wahls story is amazing. Another person with a very uplifting story and similar diet is Matt Embry. His father, Dr Ashton Embry developed an MS diet that is mostly paleo. They share the diet and educate people. That is their mission. They make no profit from what they do. They simply want people to be healthy and want to help any way they can. Theor doet is called tThe Best Bet diet.
Comment. Can I have popcorn with coconut oil on the AIP diet?
You would need to rule out a corn sensitivity first. Many people are sensitive to corn. You could always cut it out then add it back in later to see how you feel. Hope that helps.
It’s never too late. Terry whals protocol diet. Look it up it’s never took late. I have MS for 11 years and I’m only 28 it’s never too late .
Denise-look into chronic EBV as a root cause for your MS. Dr. Rawls has some great articles. Dr. Buhner also has an EBV protocol.
Note, onions are NOT a nightshade, and ARE permissible on the AIP diet (unless you are also doing low FODMAP)