What is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet?

autoimmune paleo diet

Disclaimer: Check with your healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet as it may affect your health or the prescriptions you take. The article below is for information purposes only.

The diet you follow as an autoimmune disease patient can significantly impact your health. While I’m not one to say that you have to eat this, or you can’t have that, I’ve discovered from my own experience that food really does make a difference.

Of course, eating a clean diet that’s free of trans fats and a lot of processed foods will only work to benefit you. But as someone with an autoimmune disease, it’s important to take things a step further.

You may have already heard of the Paleo diet. It’s where you’re only eating the foods that were available to our ancestors. So, you’re basically eliminating grains, legumes, refined sugars, and refined oils like margarine, canola oil, and vegetable oils. Dairy is often eliminated as well, but some people can tolerate it just fine without any problems.

What is the Autoimmune Paleo Diet?

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP) takes things a step further than Paleo does. It’s designed to support and heal your immune system while also protecting your gut health.

autoimmune paleo diet

The same food types that are removed from the diet under Paleo guidelines are still present with the AIP Diet. In addition to those eliminations, other major foods to remove under the AIP diet include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes (including soy)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Foods with high-sugar content
  • Any processed foods
  • Eggs (although like dairy, some patients are able to tolerate)
  • Nightshade vegetables and spices (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, paprika, and all chili’s)
  • Herbs derived from seeds (mustard, dill, cardamom, cumin, fennel, caraway, etc.)
  • Food additives (guar gum, carrageenan, and maltodextrin)

After reading this, I completely understand that you might be thinking – what’s left to eat?

Do I Have to Follow the AIP Diet?

My initial answer to that is no. Not everyone with an autoimmune disease has to go as extreme as the Autoimmune Paleo diet to improve their health. But my next response is that it will definitely help!

I find that the Paleo diet works great for me but others I’ve spoken to have said that the AIP diet was life-changing. Everyone’s different so doing one thing won’t necessarily work for someone else. For instance, I’ve eliminated gluten but discovered that eliminating dairy actually made me feel worse!

The best way to figure out what works best for you is trial and error. I know it’s probably not the clear-cut answer you’re looking for, but it’s the most truthful one I have as you know your body and how it reacts better than anyone else.

autoimmune paleo diet


With at least 100 autoimmune diseases out there, symptoms between patients will vary greatly, so their diet needs to be adjusted accordingly. I found that removing something from my diet for 1 to 2 weeks was enough to tell me whether I could tolerate it.

I have to say that removing gluten was the biggest surprise for me as I had tested negative for Celiac disease. But once I eliminated it, my stomach aches literally disappeared. Another thing that was big for me was the additive maltodextrin. I’ll be doing a full post on this one soon, but it’s usually added to processed foods to make things sweeter, yet it does horrible things to your body!

It may just take you a month or so, or it may be a year before you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. I suggest trying the Paleo diet first to see if it helps. After that, it will be easier for you to single out foods that may be causing you distress.

Have you tried the Autoimmune Paleo diet? Or, have you eliminated some of the foods mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below.


Autoimmune Protocol