What is the AIP Diet and
Why are People with HS Turning to It?
The AIP diet or AutoImmune Protocol diet is something a lot of people with autoimmune diseases try and have good results with. For that reason, a lot of people with HS (Hidradenitis Suppurativa) will adopt a hidradenitis suppurativa diet that is very much like it. The problem comes with people finding the AIP diet so restrictive. This is because they do not realize it is not meant to be a long term diet for most people. Most people can return some variety to their diet gradually so they have a happy balance. But when people get sick of how strict it is, instead they sometimes just give up. Here is a look at what the goal of the AIP diet is, what it looks like and how to go about it with better success.
The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet
The idea of the AIP diet is to remove foods that trigger inflammation symptoms and harm the balance of the gut. For someone with HS, a hidradenitis suppurativa diet has a similar goal, to remove foods that either trigger symptoms or worsen symptoms and to promote a healthier weight. Foods to remove in the AIP diet include;
- Dairy, legumes, grains, seeds and seed oils, refined sugars, coffee, eggs, nightshades, alcohol and nuts
Foods that are nutrient-dense and do not trigger inflammation include;
- Liver and offal, high-quality lean meats, bone broth, fermented foods, healthy fats, cruciferous and leafy vegetables
It is important to remember that yes, it is restrictive but it is not meant to be your forever diet. You are meant to personalize your diet as you re-introduce foods you enjoy.
Do a 30 or 60 day reset
To find your ideal diet, you first need to do a 30 day strict protocol that cuts out all of the above foods. If you are not used to eating a Paleo diet it is a good idea to move from your regular diet to the regular Paleo diet first, so your body adjusts better. You can then add in the stricter restrictions. Going straight from a standard diet to AIP can overwhelm some, and that can lead to them giving up before they see any benefits.
The reason for the 30 days is so your body calms any immune responses it is having to what you have been eating previously. It gives the gut lining time to heal, it reduces the inflammation and some tissue damage is repaired. If you were having especially severe autoimmune symptoms then you might want to consider a 60 day reset. It is important to commit 100% during this period. While the AIP diet or a hidradenitis suppurativa diet is not a cure, for many it can help.
Eat foods that are nutrient-dense
As well as taking certain foods out you need to eat foods that are dense with nutrients like lean meats, liver, bone broth, colorful vegetables in large amounts, healthy fats, shellfish and fatty fish and fermented foods. These can help your body start to repair itself. One problem you need to avoid is under-eating. It is easy with all the restrictions to not eat enough calories and that is not a good thing even if you are trying to lose weight. Your body needs so many calories to stay healthy
Systematically reintroduce non-AIP foods
There are some good reasons for being able to eat foods that are not part of the AIP diet. There are some nutrient-dense foods like eggs you might be able to tolerate, you will have a better understanding of exactly which foods to avoid and which you have more freedom to eat, and that means you can return to enjoying food, eating with family and being able to eat out when you want to.
Reintroducing foods is the hardest part because it can take a while for your body to respond to trigger foods, it is not always instant. Therefore, you have to be systematic about adding something back in, giving it time to see if there is a reaction before you then reintroduce something else. If you react to something you also need to give your body time to heal, before starting the reintroduction process again. Start with foods that are most important to you, so you can learn quickly whether your favorite foods can stay as part of your hidradenitis suppurativa diet or not.