What is the AIP Diet?
The Autoimmune Protocol Diet is one of elimination. It’s main purpose is to eliminate foods that are known to cause inflammation throughout the body; while working on healing the gut, for a period of six weeks. After six weeks, slowly add the targeted foods back to your diet. If when you introduce a specific food (let’s say peppers), you recognize negative responses in the body towards the reintroduction, you can assume that you should avoid eating the newly introduced food. This may take introducing foods one at a time, for a period of a week or two, in order to notice any side effects. If there is no change in how you feel (yaaya!), then you are safe to reintroduce that particular food back into your diet.
What does inflammation have to do with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
Simply put, inflammation is good for acute injury, however, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can reek havoc on the body. Inflammation in the gut specifically can be causation to a number of conditions, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis being one. When there is a constant irritation to tissue in the intestines, the intestines can become permeable. There are two different ways in which this can happen. One being direct irritation such as a food allergy, drug use, or stress; the other by increased Zonulin (directly caused by gluten intolerance/small intestinal bacteria overgrowth a.k.a. SIBO), allowing large protein molecules to leak from the intestinal wall into the bloodstream thus causing an immunological response, which then increases levels of inflammation through out the body. The now systemic inflammation, over time, can cause the immune system to over react, causing it to attack other tissues in the body. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this is the thyroid gland. Increased thyroid infiltrating lymphocytes cause thyroid cell damage, decreasing intracellular T3.
Gut inflammation can also cause mal-absorption, decreasing the bodies ability to absorb nutrients needed for healthy thyroid function such as: iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, b12, and folate. There are other factors that can decrease the bodies uptake of these nutrients, such as genetic mutations, but we will not go into that in this article.
What foods are most important to avoid on the AIP diet?
The most common foods to avoid when doing the elimination diet are:
Night Shades: Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, ect.
Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, ect.
Sugar: White, or overly proceeded sugars seem to cause more inflammation than not.
Alcohol: tinctures can be an exception to the rule.
Some people avoid coffee and chocolate. However, one should note that the two are not beans, but are actually fruits.
What can I eat?
There are plenty of good foods you can eat on the AIP diet! You will find that most are wholesome foods that are minimally, if at all processed. I should also note, that if you have an allergy to coconut you should avoid any forms of it that may listed below.
Meat: This includes fish as well as bone broths. It is best to eat meats that are grass-fed organic when possible.
Fats/oils: Most commonly used coconut, olive, avocado oils. *Remember, if they are oils made from grains, seeds, or nuts you should avoid.
Leafy greens such as: Kale, mustard and collard greens, chard, romaine lettuce, dandelion ect.
Root vegetables: Parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, radishes, burdock, ect.
Squash: yellow summer squash, zucchini, butternut, acorn, pumpkin, delicata, spaghetti, ect.
Other vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, …
Fruits: Any of the berries, pear, cantaloupe, oranges, bananas, mango, papaya, pawpaw, apples, figs, persimmons, plums, watermelon, avocado, lemon, and the like.
Most common sugar substitutes (although, minimal consumption is encouraged; excluding stevia) :Stevia, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and honey.
Milk: Coconut with no additives such as guar gum, which is a legume.
Flours: Coconut, plantain (the fruit), tigernut.and sweet potato.
Starches: Tapioca and Arrow root.
Egg substitutes: banana, apple sauce, plantain(the fruit), grass-fed beef gelatin.
Baking soda is fine to use for baking, however baking powder contains cornstarch and should be avoided.
What do you mean by “healing the gut”?
After years or months of intestinal damage from inflammation, one of the important steps is to work on healing the existing damage. The AIP diet will help with this process, along with some other natural remedies such as:
Stress reduction: Yoga, meditation, nature therapy, breathing exercises, practicing the art of saying ‘no’, herbal nervines, walking, and other exercising activities.
Bone Broth: Broth made from healthy animal bones.
Herbal tea: Tea’s made with herbs known for their soothing, ant-inflammatory, healing properties such as: calendula, chamomile, and plantain.
And in the case of SIBO, an herbal combination formulated to knock down excess bacterial growth.
I hope that I have helped you understand a little more about the AIP diet and it’s role in helping you overcome Hashimoto’s. I know I have left some loose ends in the section about gut healing, but I will go in more detail in my next blog post. For now, I would encourage you to study up on AIP recipes, while slowly working your way to elimination. This process can seem like an overwhelming task at first (and for those with Hashi’s just the thought of this diet can be exhausting). Start small. If I were you I would start off with eliminating all gluten from my diet, if you are not already gluten-free; and at the same time introduce some of the foods listed on the “what can I eat” list above.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to help. Email me at: email@example.com