The Paleo Way Autoimmune Protocol
We have designed the 10 Week Paleo Way Activation Program to be suitable for those following an autoimmune protocol.
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) eliminates certain primal foods that can sometimes trigger inflammation in people with autoimmune disease (dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts and seeds).
A holistic approach to achieving a healthier and happier life and becoming the best version of you.
What is AIP?
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a way of eating to heal the gut wall, restore gut flora and in doing so reduce the chronic inflammatory response of the immune system that results in the destruction of tissue in autoimmune diseases.
It is not a way to cure autoimmunity, but it is a way to prevent further damage, increase the quality of your life by leaps and bounds and possibly even put the autoimmune disease/s into remission.
More and more research is coming out lately finding that autoimmunity largely does begin in the gut. Why there? Well as the name suggests, autoimmune disorders are disorders of the immune system (rather than of the organ they affect). They are a result of immune dysregulation. Your immune cells essentially identify some of your own tissues as being foreign and so launches an attack on them, damaging their structure and function. How does this happen?
80% of your immune system lies in the lining of your gut wall. The official term for this immune tissue is called gut-associated lymphoid tissue (or GALT for short). The reason we have so much of our immune system in our gut is because our gut comprises the largest surface area of our body exposed to the outside world. Yes, that’s right. The gut is on the outside of the body (think of a donut hole!).
How does it affect me?
There are a number of things that affect our GALT and overall immune function. The list reads much like that of the causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome.
In fact it’s fairly safe to say that anyone with autoimmunity almost certainly has leaky gut syndrome. Chronic stress, lack of sleep, environmental toxins, infections (especially viral and parasitic ones it seems), nutrient deficiencies and dietary choices (the foods we include and the foods we don’t) all affect our gut and immune function.
The number one regulator of immune function however is your precious gut flora. All the microbes in your gut (and those on your body) outnumber your human cells 10:1. That’s right YOU are way more bug than human! These microbes are so important to our health that they are now being considered by many researchers and practitioners as another organ of the human body. Without them we’d be dead and with the wrong mix of them things go wrong. One of their key roles (among hundreds if not thousands of others) is to regulate our immune function. If our gut bugs get out of balance because of infection, stress, dietary choices, medications or toxin exposure, then we can end up with a discombobulated immune system.
Depending on the imbalance and what your lifestyle, environment and genetics are like, this imbalanced gut flora can either result in chronic or recurrent infections (under active Th1 immune function) or autoimmune conditions (over active Th1 immune function). It can also result in allergies, asthma, eczema and other reactive / ectopic disorders (over active Th2 immune function).
Why do we follow an AIP protocol?
So the main focus of the AIP is to heal the gut wall, restore digestive function, resolve microbial imbalances, restore nutrient deficiencies and support the body’s own pathways of detoxification.
To do this, foods that commonly trigger an immune response are eliminated from the diet, for a period of time until symptoms have gone into remission. If there are any particular foods that you are allergic or sensitive to, even though they’re on the foods to include list, then they need to be omitted for the time being as well.
There is a focus on particularly nutrient dense foods like bone broths, fermented veggies, organ meats, oily fish and oysters and a big emphasis on having a large amount of rainbow coloured veggies (sometimes starting with cooked ones only if your digestion is struggling).
So rather than solely focusing on the diagnosis and treating the symptomatic organ – like the thyroid for example – we need to put a huge emphasis on healing the gut. If we don’t, the inflammatory cascade will just keep on keeping on and all we’ll be doing with medications is masking the problems and forever be trying to put out fires, often with more autoimmune conditions being diagnosed later down the track, adding to the original one.
Of course you may still need some pharmaceutical support to get the affected organ or system functioning properly again, preventing further tissue damage and providing relief for what can be some really severe symptoms. You just want to get started on the background work as soon as possible, and for this we always recommend the guidance of an integrative medicine GP or naturopath who is well educated in things gut, gut microbes, detoxification and immune regulation. Over time you may find that you can reduce, or sometimes even stop your medication, however this is something to always do with the guidance of your doctor.
What can I eat when following an AIP protocol?
AIP isn’t necessarily easy – it definitely takes commitment. If you have an autoimmune condition and you want to get on top of it, then you’re going to need to do AIP 100%.
There are remarkable examples around of how life changing this approach can be – one such story is that of Terry Wahl’s (a clinical professor of medicine University of Iowa) who turned around her progressive multiple sclerosis. Now she’s not only walking again, but riding bikes, travelling the world and speaking on healing autoimmune diseases
Recipes for AIP protocol
We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of our 10 Week Program and reclaim their health; so we have designed recipes to suit those following this protocol.
By following a series of simple symbols within the program, you can navigate your way through making it suitable for an autoimmune protocol (AIP).
We aim to eliminate the majority of inflammatory foods to assist with gut restoration.
What is FODMAP?
If your are experiencing IBS, frequent bloating, abdominal cramps, fatigue, nausea, changing bowel habits or flatulence then you may have a Fructose or FODMAP issue.
The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These short-chain carbohydrates are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria.
In simple terms, IBS, frequent bloating, abdominal cramps, fatigue, nausea, changing bowel habits or flatulence symptoms are usually caused by our foods not being properly digested before moving into the large intestine. The bacteria in our guts digest/ferment these foods and can cause all sorts of symptoms similar to the above. Experiencing the above symptoms may mean you have a fructose or FODMAP issue.
Whilst the food recommended within The Paleo Way is a little broader than FODMAPs or IBS, it is very much on track as we aim to eliminate the majority of inflammatory foods. For more acute cases though, there are a few extra considerations and precautions to take within Paleo.
How does it affect me?
Poorly absorbed sugars pass through the small intestine and enter the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria, releasing gas, which stretches the sensitive bowel causing bloating, wind and pain.
They can also cause water to enter the colon resulting in loose motions and diarrhea.
Research has shown that the sensitive and irritable bowel of IBS tends to react to the presence of FODMAPs causing symptoms of bloating, wind, pain and diarrhoea.
Why do we follow a low FODMAP diet?
Individuals who experience these gastrointestinal symptoms or who have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common functional gastrointestinal disorder, can benefit from a low FODMAP diet, similar to The Paleo Way's recommendation.
Many people find that after a period of gut restoration and avoidance of common food triggers such as we are advocating within The Paleo Way 10 Week Activation that their symptoms diminish. Collagen rich broths, glutamine rich fermented vegetables (or taking L-Glutamine as a supplement), high quality multi-strain probiotics, and an anti-inflammatory diet featuring spices like turmeric can be highly beneficial.
As above suggests, The Paleo Way program is quite well suited to people with these issues, however keep in mind that FODMAP triggers are highly variable from person to person. You might consider consulting an integrative health professional and running a food sensitivity panel, and if you can afford it, a complete digestive stool analysis, to give you an idea of the health of your digestive system – this is often a big piece of the puzzle to support recovery from many other health conditions.
The most comprehensive approach is effectively ‘cleaning up’ the digestive system.
What is GAPS?
The term GAPS, abbreviated from Gut And Psychology Syndrome, was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, in 2004.
She developed the term after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ ADHD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other neurological and psychiatric problems.
How does it affect me?
All autoimmunity begins in the gut.
Conditions include but are not limited to the following: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes type one, celiac disease, osteoarthritis, lupus and any other autoimmune conditions. There are many autoimmune disorders but these are the most common.
Why do we follow a GAPS protocol?
The introduction of the GAPS diet consists mostly of homemade rich bone broths and vegetable soups, boiled meats and stews with high fat content.
This gives the digestive system the best chance to kick start the healing process. The GAPS protocol therefore, provides an effective approach for allergies, sensitivities, digestive dysfunction and many other physiological and psychological conditions.