The Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP)

The Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet is derived from the Paleolithic diet.

The Paleolithic diet, known today as the modern Paleo diet, originated from the ideas of a gastroenterologist in 1975, Dr. Walter Voegtlin. Later in 1985, Dr. Boyd Eaton wrote a scientific paper about Paleolithic nutrition, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, the diet has been made popular by Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Movement, in 2002.


Gut Inflammation Relief

The AIP diet is an elimination and reintroduction protocol which aims to reduce inflammation in the gut, heal the gastrointestinal tract and in turn, reduce overall systemic inflammation. It is a diet targeted specifically at autoimmune diseases.

Traits of the AIP Diet

The AIP diet focuses on removing foods from the diet that people are commonly sensitive to, in order to lower overall inflammation.

The AIP diet is a version of the original Paleo diet which addresses underlying inflammation stemming from the gut, and can be a major driver of autoimmune disease. The AIP diet aims to bring the gut microbiota back into balance, whilst optimizing overall nutrient intake.

Beyond the Traditional Paleo Diet for Autoimmune Conditions

The traditional Paleo diet eliminates all grains and processed foods. It focuses on whole, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruit and vegetables, organic meats, eggs, and wild-caught fish. However, this is often not comprehensive enough for chronic autoimmune diseases, as not enough of the immune triggers are removed.

Because the AIP diet is utilized specifically for autoimmune diseases, it is almost always necessary to employ additional modalities to treat the condition. Herbal and nutritional medicines may be prescribed alongside an autoimmune diet as a part of a protocol to treat you as a whole person, rather than just targeting the disease process in isolation.

Not everyone must strictly avoid all the eliminated foods from the diet permanently, as not everyone with an autoimmune disease is sensitive to these foods.

The Gut and Immunity

There is a complex symbiotic relationship between the immune system of the host (person) and the gut microbiota.

The microbiota is the population of the microbes which reside in the gut. It carries out digestion and fermentation of carbohydrates, synthesizes certain vitamins, provides development of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), and also prevents the colonization of pathogens. The host will provide nutrients for the survival of the bacteria.

Your Microbiota and Your Microbiome

Let’s take a quick look at these increasingly common terms…

The human microbiota comprises the populations of microbial species that live on or in the human body – the bacteria, viruses and fungi that call our bodies home.

It is estimated that each of us has anywhere between 10 trillion and 100 trillion microbial cells in a symbiotic relationship. These make up the human microbiota. All of the genes inside these microbial cells, meanwhile, are what constitute the microbiome.

The autoimmune protocol diet is designed to lower inflammation to allow the body to heal. It’s meant to be a short-term protocol to allow inflammation to reduce while healing autoimmune disease. There are so many other factors in healing autoimmune disease rather than just diet alone, such as addressing infections and imbalances, sleep, stress reduction, movement, lifestyle changes, and more. We can’t expect diet alone to heal everything. However, food has a powerful impact that cannot be denied. In this blog post, we’re going to be focusing specifically on the foods that are allowed and not allowed on the autoimmune protocol, and a brief explanation as to why.

And for quick reference, I’ve also included PDF printable guides to take along with you and even fit in your wallet!



Foods Allowed on the AIP Diet


Why they’re important …

Both vegetables and herbs are rich in phytonutrients, and fiber that allow our bodies to thrive! Though the AIP diet still included animal protein, it’s still highly plant-centric as it suggests up to 9 servings of vegetables a day.

Here are the vegetables that are allowed…

  • Artichoke

  • Arugula

  • Asparagus

  • Avocado

  • Beets

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels

  • Bok Choy

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Chard

  • Cucumber

  • Fennel

  • Jicama

  • Kale

  • Leek

  • Lettuce

  • Mushroom

  • Onion

  • Parsnip

  • Rutabaga

  • Spinach

  • Squash

  • Sweet potato

Herbs & spices

  • Basil

  • Bay leaf

  • Chives

  • Cilantro

  • Cinnamon

  • Dill

  • Ginger

  • Garlic

  • Mint

  • Parsley

  • Peppermint

  • Rosemary

  • Saffron

  • Sage

  • Thyme

  • Turmeric



Why they’re important - Fruits are fiber-rich and many contain antioxidants that protect the cells from damage. It’s recommended to not overdo fruit and to stick to around two servings a day.

  • Apple

  • Apricot

  • Avocado

  • Banana

  • Berries

  • Cherry

  • Citrus

  • Coconut

  • Date

  • Fig

  • Grape

  • Kiwi

  • Mango

  • Melons

  • Peach

  • Pear

  • Persimmon

  • Plum

  • Pineapple

  • Pomegranate

  • Watermelon



Why they’re important - High-quality animal protein provides us minerals, healthy fats, and much-needed energy. Animal protein is highly debated, but the AIP diet advocates for animal protein as a healing food. High-quality choices like grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught are preferred when possible, but do the best you can!

  • Beef

  • Bison

  • Bone broth & organ meats

  • Chicken

  • Duck

  • Fish

  • Lamb

  • Shellfish

  • Pork

  • Turkey

  • Venison



Why they’re important …

Healthy fats regulate the inflammation process in our body, act as a carrier for nutrients, and allow us to stay satiated! Healthy fats are incredibly important to include at every meal to keep you full, and keep your body on a healing path.

  • Avocado oil

  • Beef tallow

  • Chicken fat

  • Coconut oil

  • Olive oil

  • Palm oil


Pantry Staples


  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Arrowroot starch

  • Carob powder

  • Cassava flour

  • Coconut flour

  • Coconut sugar

  • Dried fruit

  • Honey

  • Tapioca starch

  • Tigernut flour


Foods Not Allowed on the AIP Diet

X Gluten & Grains

Why they’re not compliant - Those suffering from autoimmunity are also dealing with some level of intestinal permeability. Gluten and grains can promote intestinal permeability (or a leaky gut) and are best avoided while you’re trying to allow the body to heal. Bread, pasta, biscuits, flour products, crackers etc.

  • Amaranth

  • Barley

  • Buckwheat

  • Bulger

  • Corn

  • Millet

  • Oat

  • Quinoa

  • Rice

  • Rye

  • Sorghum

  • Spelt, Kamut

  • Wheat


X Dairy

Why it’s not compliant - Dairy can impact the integrity of the gut lining and stimulate allergies and inflammation. High quality dairy may be fine in moderation for some after healing, but it’s avoided during the AIP diet.

  • Butter

  • Cheese

  • Cream

  • Ghee

  • Milk

  • Yogurt


X Legumes

Why it’s not compliant - Legumes like beans can be damaging to the gut lining and are best avoided while trying to heal.

  • Black beans

  • Chickpeas

  • Fava beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Lentils

  • Lima beans

  • Peanuts

  • Soybeans


X Nightshades

Why it’s not allowed - nightshade vegetables can trigger inflammation, especially in those with joint issues.

  • Eggplant

  • Goji Berries

  • Ground cherries (not regular cherries)

  • All peppers (spicy peppers, bell peppers, etc.)

  • All red spices

  • Potato

  • Tomato

  • Tomatillo

X Nuts & Seeds

Why it’s not compliant - nuts and seeds (and seed spices below) can be inflammatory to the gut lining. These are often safely reintroduced when they’re properly soaked and sprouted.

  • Almond

  • Brazil nut

  • Canola

  • Cashew

  • Chia

  • Coffee

  • Cocoa

  • Flax

  • Hazelnut

  • Hemp

  • Pecan

  • Pine nuts

  • Pistachio

  • Pumpkin

  • Safflower

  • Sesame

  • Sunflower

  • Walnut


X Seed & berry spices 

  • Allspice

  • Anise

  • Caraway

  • Celery seed

  • Cumin

  • Fennel seed

  • Mustard

  • Nutmeg

  • Black Pepper

  • Poppy Seeds


X All Alcohol

Why it’s not compliant - Alcohol just doesn’t promote healing. It may be enjoyed in moderation after healing has taken place.


X All eggs 

Why it’s not compliant - eggs are one of the most common allergens and can irritate the gut.  Yolks are less irritating than whites, and many are able to reintroduce yolks more easily than whole eggs.

X All additives and sugar

Why it’s not compliant - additives like gums, food dyes, and sugars don’t promote healing. Natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar are fine in moderation.


Pegan Eating