The autoimmune elimination-provocation (AEP) diet serves multiple purposes. It helps heal leaky gut, identify immune-reactive foods, and calm the immune system to manage autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s. Around ten years ago, bloggers rebranded this diet as the “autoimmune Paleo,” or AIP, diet. However, I prefer the long-used original term “elimination-provocation diet.”
In an autoimmune or leaky gut condition, several key problem areas cause symptoms. The AEP diet seeks to address each of these, bringing the body back into balance.
- Gut health: Gut inflammation, gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria), and a leaky gut lining contribute to poor absorption of nutrients and systemic inflammation that feeds the autoimmune response. Foods that irritate the gut lining are avoided, while foods that support gut health are included.
- Nutrient density: Every system in the body needs a wide array of nutrients, including the immune system. Nutrient-dense foods are central to the diet, giving the body the tools to heal deficiencies and support immune system function.
- Blood sugar balance: High and low blood sugar can lead to systemic inflammation, immune flares, hormonal imbalances, and compromised brain function. Supporting balanced blood sugar is critical for recovery from any inflammatory condition. The elimination-provocation diet gives you the tools to support blood sugar balance.
- Immune system regulation: Inflammation, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, and micronutrient deficiencies contribute to immune system dysregulation. By reducing bacterial overgrowth and inflammation in the gut, removing food-borne immune triggers from your diet, providing dense nutrition, and supporting blood sugar regulation, the elimination-provocation diet helps to support healthy immune function.
Many people wonder what they can do immediately to manage their chronic health condition. The science can be confusing and complex, especially to those with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, because these disorders can lead to brain fog, fatigue, and loss of cognitive function that make it hard to figure out what to do next.
What people frequently fail to realize is that underlying all of these conditions is the most important foundation of all, and something you have the power to change right now — your diet.
In this article, I’ll give you the dietary basics for the AEP diet. This diet is an effective diet and lifestyle protocol that helps autoimmune patients overcome the core underlying factors preventing recovery, including inflammation, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, micronutrient deficiencies, and immune system dysregulation.
The AEP diet is an elimination and reintroduction protocol: For a time you eliminate foods that are known to drive inflammation and resulting symptoms, and then you reintroduce foods methodically to rule out reactivity.
The optimal end result is a diet and lifestyle that support your health while avoiding factors that undermine it.
The literature identifies nutritional and herbal compounds that can facilitate your gut-repair progress. However, this diet is powerful therapy on its own.
The autoimmune paleo diet focuses on these key areas
In any autoimmune condition, several key problem areas can underlie symptoms. The AEP diet seeks to address each of these, bringing the body back into balance so it can function properly.
- Gut health: Gut inflammation, gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria), and a leaky gut lining contribute to poor absorption of nutrients and systemic inflammation that feeds the autoimmune response. In the diet, foods that irritate the gut lining are avoided, while foods that support gut health are included.
- Nutrient density: Every system in the body needs a wide array of nutrients to function at its best, including the immune system. Nutrient-dense foods are central to the diet, giving the body the tools it needs to heal deficiencies and support immune system function.
- Blood sugar balance: High and low blood sugar can lead to systemic inflammation, immune flares, hormonal imbalances, and compromised brain function. Supporting balanced blood sugar is critical for recovery from any inflammatory condition. The autoimmune diet gives you the tools to support healthy blood sugar balance.
- Immune system regulation: Inflammation, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, and micronutrient deficiencies all contribute to immune system dysregulation. By reducing bacterial overgrowth and inflammation in the gut, removing food-borne immune triggers from your diet, providing dense nutrition and supporting blood sugar regulation, the autoimmune diet helps to support healthy immune function.
9 tips for using the autoimmune diet
These are always good basic guidelines with which to start whether you are waiting to work with a practitioner or are going it alone:
- Focus on eating 6-9 servings of vegetables per day, including the full color spectrum. For more information on why plenty of vegetables is so important, please see my course on oral tolerance.
- Eat plenty of essential fatty acids (ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is between 1:1 and 4:1).
- Eat plenty of fermented foods to support healthy gut flora.The exception may be if you have a histamine intolerance or SIBO.
- Make sure you don’t allow yourself to get too hungry or hypoglycemic by including sufficient appropriate fats and protein in your diet.
- Eat frequently enough to avoid energy crashes caused by low blood sugar.
- Stay hydrated with plenty of fresh, filtered water. Also, cravings are often a disguise for thirst, so stay hydrated and add electrolytes to your water if need be.
- Strictly avoid foods on the “Foods to avoid” list. Even just a bite of these foods can trigger an immune reaction, inflammation, and an autoimmune flare-up. Cravings for these foods will pass quickly, especially as you start to feel and function better.
- For this diet to be successful it’s extremely important to pay attention to blood sugar symptoms, keep blood sugar stable, and be aware of which foods trigger your symptoms.
- Elimination/Reintroduction: This protocol is intended as an elimination diet to quell inflammation, then a reintroduction period to determine food sensitivities and know the best foods for you.
Important daily lifestyle habits to support your healing in addition to the AE P diet
- Get enough sleep to avoid inflammation.
- Manage stress: What stressful factors can you reduce or eliminate from your life? What daily stress-reducing activities can you engage in?
- Exercise: Avoid over exerting yourself. High-intensity interval training shows great benefits for dampening inflammation, however any sort of regular physical activity is better than none. The exception may be severely brain-compromised people whose symptoms are triggered by exercise. Use trial and error to find what works for you.
- Maintain social connections: Many studies show that those who maintain healthy social connections are healthier, happier, and live longer.
Foods to eat on the autoimmune diet
When considering this diet, the first thing people ask is what can they eat. In fact, you’ll be eating the way people ate for most of human history — there’s plenty of food that doesn’t come from a factory or an industrialized farm. Of course, if you have an intolerance to any of these foods, don’t eat it just because it’s on this list.
Most organic vegetables: Include as much variety as possible, making sure to include the full color spectrum. Avoid nightshades if those are problematic for you.
Quality meats: If possible, select hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and pastured meats.
Organ meats and offal: Organ meats provide concentrated forms of nutrients.
Glycine-rich foods: Include foods containing connective tissue, organ meat, joints, skin, or bone broth.
Fish and shellfish: Seek out ocean-caught cold water, low-mercury fish with high fat content. Swordfish, most tuna, and king mackerel are very high in mercury.
Quality fats: Choose pasture-raised, grass-fed animal fats, fatty cold water fish, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and low-mercury Omega 3 supplements.
Low glycemic organic fruits: Eat fruits lower in sugar and eat them with fat, fiber, or protein to slow the uptake of sugar.
Edible mushrooms: Mushrooms are generally fine for most individuals. However, some people with autoimmune conditions may react to immune-stimulating fungi such as Maitake and mushroom-derived beta-glucan, so monitor your response.
Probiotic and fermented foods: Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles (not packed in vinegar), coconut yogurt, kombucha, water kefir, and coconut milk kefir. You may need to make your own or buy one of the few brands that are genuinely fermented and free of sugars or additives. Also, search for information about anaerobic fermented foods in air-tight containers that do not produce histamines if you have histamine intolerance.
Coconut: Enjoy coconut and coconut products that are free of sugars or additives.
Noodles: Shirataki yam noodles (sold in Asian grocery stores and some natural food stores) are a good source of fiber, but avoid the noodles that contain tofu (soy).
Herbs and spices: Avoid nightshade herbs such as peppers during the elimination period. Good options include basil, cilantro, cinnamon, clove, garlic, ginger, horseradish, lemongrass, mace, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, saffron, sea salt, thyme, turmeric.
Vinegars: Avoid grain-based vinegars and instead choose apple cider, balsamic, champagne, coconut, red wine, sherry, ume plum, or white wine vinegars.
A note on fatty acids: Consuming a proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is key for minimizing inflammation in the body. Too much omega-6 is highly inflammatory, so it’s important to get enough omega-3 to compensate. The average American ratio is close to 25:1 of omega-6 to omega-3, resulting in inflammation. Researchers recommend a ratio range of 1:1 to 4:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 for optimal health and prevention of disease. Supplement your diet with plenty of fish oil.
Foods to avoid on the autoimmune diet
- Beans and legumes: This includes products made from peanuts and soy, which are legumes.
- Seed-based spices: These include anise, annatto, celery seed, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nutmeg, poppy seed, sesame, allspice, star anise, caraway, cardamom, juniper, peppercorns, sumac, whole vanilla bean.
- Dairy: This includes dairy from sheep or goats and raw dairy.
- Nightshades: Nightshade vegetables include eggplant, goji berries, sweet and hot peppers, hot pepper sauces, tomatillos, tomatoes, and white potatoes.
- Nightshade-based spices: These include cayenne, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, and curry.
- Medicinal mushrooms: Some people with autoimmune conditions may react to immune-immune-stimulating medicinal mushrooms.
- Refined and processed oils and vegetable oils
- Sugars and sweeteners, including natural ones
- Artificial sweeteners
- Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives: Watch out for guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, soy lecithin, and other additives.
- Hidden sources of gluten: Always read the labels as gluten is hidden in many foods and additives. Beware of non-specific ingredients such as “natural flavorings.”
- NSAIDS: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen inflame the gut so avoid if possible.
- Other: Avoid canned foods, processed foods, wheat grass, barley grass, brown rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, licorice root (DGL is okay), aloe, slippery elm bark, commercial egg replacers, supplements containing ashwagandha (a nightshade) or oat seed, and immune stimulants such as chlorella and spirulina.
Elimination and reintroduction of foods on the autoimmune diet
The AEP diet is an elimination and reintroduction protocol. After eliminating foods that trigger inflammation for a period of time, you then reintroduce each food one at a time every three days to rule out reactivity.
Wait until you notice a significant improvement in your symptoms and quality of life before reintroducing foods, which varies for each person. If you begin reintroducing foods while you are still symptomatic, you will not be able to gauge whether a reintroduced food is causing a reaction.
If you notice symptoms when you reintroduce a food, avoid that food, return to the autoimmune diet, and wait for symptoms to subside before reintroducing the next food. Symptoms vary and can include digestive upset, mood changes, fatigue, pain, sleep issues, brain fog, skin rash, or respiratory issues.
IMPORTANT: If you have a reaction to a food reintroduction, you must wait until those symptoms are completely gone before moving on to the next reintroduction.
Common problem foods when you have autoimmunity or Hashimoto’s
Lectins in grains and legumes
Grains and legumes are high in proteins called lectins. Lectins have been shown to degrade the intestinal barrier, adding to leaky gut. They can also be transported through the damaged intestinal wall into the bloodstream, where they may bind to insulin receptors and leptin receptors. Some believe lectins may also have the ability to desensitize these receptors, thus contributing to insulin resistance and leptin resistance.
When transported through the gut wall into the blood stream, lectins can also set off an immune reaction that further damages the intestinal wall and sets off systemic inflammation, further supporting the autoimmune reaction.
Molecular mimicry: some foods cross-react with gluten
Grains, legumes and some other foods present problems for other reasons. Research has shown that many gluten-intolerant people cross-react with other foods. In other words, their body erroneously recognizes other foods as gluten and reacts with an immune response that destroys not only the food proteins, but bodily tissue.
Not surprisingly, most grains fall into the category of top 24 foods most often to cause cross-reactivity, including amaranth and quinoa.
Other common cross-reactive foods include dairy, chocolate, and sesame. Instant coffee is often contaminated with gluten. Fortunately it is now possible to test which foods might be provoking a cross-reaction to gluten, which you can read about here.
I tell all my gluten-free patients to avoid corn, even though this contradicts the advice on many gluten-free websites. The protein in corn is similar enough to that in wheat and wheat-like grains that it can provoke an immune response. Also, corn has been bred over the years to resist pests. Unfortunately, this bred into corn a compound called fucosamine, which is carcinogenic.
Seeds and nuts
Tree nuts are one of the top allergens and food sensitivities. Leaky gut is exceedingly common in autoimmune patients, and it increases the likelihood of developing food allergies and sensitivities. By removing seeds and nuts from the diet during elimination phase, you are better able to determine if a sensitivity exists.
In addition, the fiber in nuts and seeds can contribute to gut irritation.
Nighshades contain digestion-resistant and gut-irritating lectins, saponins, and capsaicin (a steroidal stimulant) that can contribute to leaky gut and pass through the gut lining, contributing to inflammation.
Addressing subconscious beliefs about food when you follow the autoimmune diet
For those battling a history of weight issues or an eating disorder, this diet can be filled with emotional triggers. In these cases, I highly recommend support for underlying subconscious beliefs about food, eating, and your body. Ideas include hypnotherapy, emotional freedom technique (EFT) workshops or instruction, guided meditations, visualizations, and support. You will find plenty of instruction online.
Subconscious beliefs aside, many are pleasantly surprised to find cravings and obsessions with food diminish or disappear once they remove immune reactive foods, stabilize blood sugar, and eat a nutrient-dense diet.
Autoimmune diet resources and ongoing support
The AEP diet can seem daunting at first, and planning is essential to success. Fortunately, ample support exists on the internet today for the autoimmune diet.
You must have the right foods on hand at all times. It’s helpful to batch cook so you have meals at hand and are not tempted to fall off the wagon.
To learn more about how to manage autoimmunity, please see my courses Autoimmunity: Solving the Puzzle, Food Sensitivities: Solving the Puzzle, 3D Immune Tolerance Program and Save Your Brain courses.
I also suggest my book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? to learn about ways your brain plays a role in your gut and immune health.
I was wondering if this protein shake: https://www.amazon.com/Vega-Essentials-Nutritional-Shake-Vanilla/dp/B017GOYYPY?th=1 follows the protocol for this protocol. If not, are there any other protein shakes on the market that would follow this? If that’s the case if you could recommend a specific brand I would appreciate it.
If you study the foods list in Dr. Kharrazian’s diet protocol and compare it to the ingredient list on this product, you’ll see that it does not meet the protocol’s standard; it contains seeds, gums, quinoa (pseudo grain), and seed oils, all of which are prohibited for their own reasons.
When people are new to the dietary protocol’s yes/no list, it seems there are a thousand things to remember, but as you get more familiar with it, it becomes automatic to pick out the ones to watch out for.
Sorry, but Dr. Kharrazian doesn’t recommend or promote specific brands for products, because it’s impossible for him to keep track of changes in ingredients that may affect patients negatively. He does talk about specific herbal/botanical ingredients in his books, but not by brand.
Also, he prefers to leave it up to the individual to decide which products to use, depending on their own unique sensitivities – for example, one person may be sensitive to the rice powder, magnesium stearate (a common filler in supplements), or inulin in a product, while another might not.
There are however some protein powders (ie: not shakes – but powders one can use as a base for a shake or smoothie) on the market that meet the protocol list – if you google “AIP compliant protein powder” I think you’ll see some options. Again, if you have sensitivities to any AIP-approved items, be sure to read the entire label to make sure they are not contained within.
I find it a difficult task to find a protein powder that fits all the criteria. I understand that you can not promote a particular brand but if you guide us on some brands that exist and that fits the criteria it would help us a lot. Thank you
Please read the last three paragraphs in my comment above. You will find some direction there, and that is the most advice we can give on this.
If you google AIP approved protein powders you will find a lot of information.
How do you do this diet with histamine intolerance and only weighing 105lbs?
If you have a histamine sensitivity, you might need to minimize or avoid the high-histamine foods on the list. However, I’d also recommend watching the replay for Dr. Kharrazian’s recent lecture and q/a session on histamine sensitivity. There may be some good added immune system tips there for you. You can find the talk on his new Videos page on the website here: https://drknews.com/dr-datis-kharrazian-videos/. Look for the talk titled “Histamine intolerance and MCAS: Primary mechanisms and solutions”.
Some folks who go on the AIP will lose weight, but not all. If you want to make sure not to lose weight, take a look at your macros (protein, fat, carbs) and make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fats and protein, and not too many carbs. Many who start the AIP feel hungry and deprived, but realize their old diet was high in carbs and very light in healthy fats, and when they start on AIP they feel better and keep weight on when they increase the healthy fats and protein.
I’m doing an all meat and organ only diet for 30 days due to histamine, salicylate, oxalate etc,
How did the 30 day diet go?
If legumes are a cross reactor then why is that category not listed on the Cyrex array 4 test as one of the 19 foods?
There are more than 19 foods known to be cross-reactive; Cyrex Array 4 tests for the 19 most common.
Hello- before I try this protocol, how do I know which foods to start with if I already react to so many on the approved list?
Frankly if you have a lot of food sensitivities, you may make the best progress if you work with a practitioner who understands the concept of loss of oral tolerance (“OT”). Here is an introductory article you can read to get the basics – and it also links to some more detailed articles that will fill in some blanks: https://drknews.com/food-sensitivity-oral-tolerance/.
Dr. Kharrazian has a practitioner list here: https://kharrazianinstitute.com/ki-practitioner-locator/. All of them will have taken his Kharrazian Institute course “Gastrointestinal Clinical Strategies and Treatment Applications” (https://kharrazianinstitute.com/gastrointestinal-clinical-strategies-treatment-applications/) and should understand these concepts (required disclaimer: Dr. Kharrazian and his team cannot vouch for anyone’s practice and it’s up to you to make the choice about with whom to work).
When you read over the OT info on his blog, you will start to understand why strictly limiting foods can work for some, but not for others, and why regardless of your choices about if/how to do the AIP diet, you must attend to certain immune factors as well. I’d start there.
In your shoes, if I decided to do the AIP elimination phase and then, after your symptoms subside, do reintroductions, I’d take it slow and follow the reintro protocols in this article carefully so it’s clear what you are or are not reacting to. Other than that, we can’t really tell you much because every individual has unique health factors and there is no way to know all of them here.
Hi I have a hard time eating the right thing for breakfast with the food items allowed on this list. would you have any recommendations?
When one is new to the dietary protocol, it does seem like breakfast is impossible. This changes when you change your expectations for breakfast; most of us historically see breakfast as a carb- and dairy-heavy meal, while in the AIP (autoimmune protocol) it’s not that way. If you google “AIP breakfast foods” you will hit a jackpot of great ideas. Enjoy!
I do have a question about what can a vegetarian eat to still get protein and also to feel full and satisfied.
I have all the symptoms of what you discuss and been bothered for 7yrs, controlling it with a gluten free diet until 6 months ago when I believe I entered full blown menopause.
My family Dr. Looks at me like I’m crazy.
I really need some help
You are not alone in wondering that. Frankly, it’s hard on a strictly vegetarian diet to get the protein you need, given that the legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are eliminated (grains permanently for many, and legumes/nuts/seeds at least for a while until tolerance is determined). There are some good blog posts on the web that address this, and I’ll link one here that really goes into the “why”:
The ‘no’ has a lot to do with the need to rebuild gut integrity and reduce inflammation by avoiding commonly inflammatory foods, which do happen to be the vegan/vegge sources of ample protein. Some folks go on the diet for a time until they can determine food sensitivities, regain gut health, and mediate other issues, then try letting go of some of the animal products. For a vege or vegan (I was one) it can be a hard choice to make, but for some of us, it is the only way to regain the gut and immune health after years of degradation.
If you are willing to eat fish and bird, it’s more doable.
I’d also encourage you to do a web search for “vegetarian AIP” and see what you find.
Would this also be considered a paleo diet?
Answering Angelica’s question. The autoimmune diet above is not considered a Paleo type. There is much in common however Paleo diet’s permit eggs, seeds (and seed-based spices), nuts, nightshades and other foods that are considered lectins. Many individuals are able to start on the autoimmune protocol for a period while they are healing their gut and addressing nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, and then progress onto a less-restrictive food plan (i.e., like Paleo, or Mediterranean). This will be individual specific.
The diet on this page has multiple names, such as Autoimmune Protocol, Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, Autoimmune Diet, etc. It is more restrictive than regular Paleo. If you are asking if it comes from the same “eat what our ancestors ate” standpoint, then the answer is no. This diet was created to work with the issues listed in the section titled, “The autoimmune diet focuses on these key areas”. If you want a more detailed rundown of the similarities and differences between the diets, just do web search for “AIP GAPS FODMAPs PALEO” and you’ll come up with some good options.
Hello, thank’s by the post! I have any question:cumin appears in the list of allowed foods and also in the list of foods not allowed ? Another question: in Dr Kharrazian book,saids ashwagandha is so good to primary hipothyroidism, but it’s on not allowed. I have primary hipothyroidism and Hashimoto. Can you clarify something about this? thank you so much
Thanks for the catch on the cumin editing error — cumin is a seed based spice, so it’s not allowed. We’ll have our web team fix that.
Ashwagandha is recommended in the book specifically for thyroid, as it helps with production of thyroid hormones and acts as an adrenal adaptogen. It is in the nightshade family, so on a strict autoimmune protocol, most people avoid it. However, sometimes the benefit of an ingredient for a specific purpose outweighs the more general guidelines.
Thank you so much!
If daily I’m taking short chain fatty acids and glutathione (through food choices) and diverse veggie smoothies continue to blow me up like a pufferfish after 30 days, what does Dr. K recommend I explore next to fix my SIBO?
I’m sorry, but Dr. Kharrazian isn’t available for consults via the blog. Without an in-person exam and some lab testing, it would be impossible to tell you exactly what to do: If you have confirmed SIBO, versus something else going on that mimics SIBO symptoms, that would likely change the recommendations. In your shoes, I’d find a functional medicine practitioner you can work in person with on this. Also, check out Dr. K’s general article on oral tolerance — it may give you some good leads: https://drknews.com/food-sensitivity-oral-tolerance/
Beans…. Really even if they are dry beans? Im out of my mind here.. Hypothyroidism, celiac disease n Hoshimotos. I thought I was doin good with the celiac until I did not see any result or improvement in my health or energy now I cant have rice potatoes or beans!? I might as well not eat all together. Just take everything away from me these diseases do I have nothing to combat with if I jus cant eat so whats the damn point anymore. Can only live on water n green tea for so long. Until thats no longer good for you. 😒😷😢
Many autoimmune patients are reluctant to change their diet. It can be a daunting challenge, and it can be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. Peruse the food blogs on this list (https://www.thepaleomom.com/recommended-aip-resources/), and you’ll get a better idea of how amazingly well people eat on this dietary protocol. I’ve been on it (w/some reintroductions over time) for over 4 years, and I eat better now than I ever ate before I started it.
And, I am well again.
I’d suggest going onto one of the large Hashimoto’s support groups on Facebook and ask for people’s opinions on the topic.
Try AIP Support or AIP Diet Recipes on Facebook and you’ll get LOTS of food ideas that you can eat and they ARE YUMMY! Plus Michelle Spring @Thriving on Paleo IS A GREAT resource for Hashi’s and Celiac. She has both and is in remission. I know it seems tough right now but you will get to the point where you eat like a Queen 🙂
I need to pick your brain. I have Hashimoto’s, my cat has stomatitis. Your diet will work for a human, but I have to figure one out for an obligate carnivore. Will someone please let me talk to them? This is ticking me off. Yes, you have something to sell, I respect that. But you hide behind your site. Now, do you suppose I can actually hear from someone who knows something? Sorry, not sorry about my attitude. It’s hell to pay trying to reach someone.
Please read all the way through this. While you won’t get the answer you want, I offer some leads here that may help you help your cat.
We’re sorry, but Dr. Kharrazian is not available for consults on the blog or via email, no matter the severity of the situation. He does not hide behind his website. His work is focused on his in-person patients (not to mention he also has a years-long waiting list — literally thousands of names — which is closed at the moment because it got too large), teaching the protocols to hundreds of other practitioners at a variety of institutions nationally and abroad, and also doing ongoing research at Harvard and other institutions in an effort to bring about deeper knowledge and better treatment protocols for people with chronic illness.
Very few functional medicine practitioners have the time to personally answer blog questions, and if they even have comments open on their website, most have a team of assistants such as myself to field general questions. They do not answer directly themselves because they literally do not have the time. While Dr. Kharrazian presents the information on his website for the public because he wants it to be widely available, it’s not a venue for or avenue to personal consultation.
With that said, I have some suggestions below that I believe may get you where you need to be for your cat.
I have an acquaintance who has a blog about autoimmunity, who had a cat with an autoimmune condition (a possibility with your cat) that presented symptoms much like stomatitis. She cured her cat’s symptoms with functional medicine protocols very similar to what Dr. K uses with his patients. Her name is Christina, and here is the link to her article about the cat: https://www.acleanplate.com/how-i-functionally-cured-my-cats-autoimmune-disease/.
Christina is a die-hard cat person, and very, very knowledgeable about this topic in humans (and in cats) and might be a good resource for your cat. I encourage you to reach out to her politely and respectfully. If she does not have your answers, since she went through this with her cat, perhaps she can refer you to practitioners who work with animals that have similar health conditions. Such vets do exist, although they can be a bit harder to find at first.
And yes, there are vets who work with similar dietary (and other) protocols to what we use in functional medicine for humans.
With that in mind: While having had a number of dogs over the years who benefitted from non-mainstream therapies, I found out about the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association — this organization lists vets who are trained or certified in non-“conventional” protocols here: https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/. I suspect here you will have some luck finding someone who can go the distance with your cat.
On their site, you will find you can filter by Practice Type (ie: type of animal), Modality (such as nutrition, acupuncture, etc.), and Location — I’d encourage you to start with narrowing only the location (if at all), and leave the other categories alone; very few vets are cat-only, and if you limit it there, you will strictly limit your options. I know plenty of vets who are fabulous wholistic vets and treat dogs and cats and all other animals equally well. Next, I would search by Modality (which will take some time), and still not limit by animal type.
Good luck. I know how frustrating it is when conventional vet medicine isn’t bringing the needed results. And for your cat’s sake, please remember that the positivity you put out will come back in spades.
What do you suggest for someone who wants to follow this protocol but due to osteoporosis, needs to stay away from meats and other foods that are highly acidic? Is it possible to do both?
That’s an extra challenging topic. Most authorities on the AIP say it’s really not possible to get the nutrient density necessary for autoimmune needs considering that the legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, and dairy – all the protein heavy hitters on a vegetarian or vegan diet – are prohibited (for specific autoimmune reasons).
For a really good overlay of the what, why, and how regarding the AIP, read Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. It will help set the foundations for your discussions on now/if to wrangle the AIP with your dietary advisor. Her website is The Paleo Mom.
There are people who say one can do the autoimmune protocol (AIP) as a vegetarian, but it’s very difficult to get the nutrient density in the forms needed to support autoimmunity. If you google vegetarian AIP you will find resources and bloggers who say they are doing it, but I haven’t perused their websites and can’t speak to their knowledge base.
Some folks successfully use the AIP eating only fish and bird as meat sources. However, doing AIP this way leaves a potential gap where the mammal organ meats offer *so much* nutrient density (including Vitamin K which is key for remineralizing bones – and by the way, natto, sadly a soy-based food is the best source of K), so extra attention needs to go toward covering those bases. I did AIP this way for a few years and felt great, then went to eating red meat as well to maximize my diet (I do not have osteoporosis). I’m not very familiar with the bigger picture on osteoporosis, so I’m not sure if this no red meat/yes white meat would be an intermediate option for you.
While the meats > acidity > calcium loss > osteoporosis concept is the long-accepted theory, are you aware of the newer research indicating it may not be entirely correct? I’m not an expert on the topic, but there may be some new research perspectives worth pursuing with your healthcare practitioner. This article below lays some of it out and links to some of the research. The basic premise is that the calcium seen in urine after eating meats may not come from the bones, but instead right from the food. Granted this is a fairly new theory, but in your shoes I’d pursue it thoroughly to see where it leads:
In regard to the above, you might find Google Scholar more helpful that the general Google search engine. It weeds out the blogs and websites, and includes only scientific research type sources: https://scholar.google.com/
In the meantime, are you making sure to support your bone density in other ways such as:
– Daily weight-bearing exercise (such as weight lifting, and even yoga helps because you are constantly using your long bones to support yourself in poses)
– Avoiding excess sodium
– Avoiding caffeine
– No smoking
– Vitamin D supplementation (test levels regularly to avoid overly high levels)
This article addresses those factors, though you’ll have to filter out the non-AIP parts:
Some reading resources you may find helpful:
On a personal note: If I were in your shoes, I’d want to address the autoimmunity as much as the osteoporosis. This is NOT a recommendation from Dr. Kharrrazian, but what I would do is try the strict AIP for 30 to 90 days to see how it affected my autoimmune symptoms, and then, with guidance from a functional medicine practitioner who is very familiar with AIP and its science, start reintroductions – slowly and methodically. Though nuts, beans and seeds are not at the top of the reintro food list, I might push them close to the top to start (hopefully) getting some of those non-meat proteins back in my diet. If successful, I’d then start weeding out some meat sources to accommodate the osteoporosis issue. All in search of finding a middle ground where I mediate my autoimmune symptoms and maximize my bone density.
I have known folks who successfully reintroduced nuts, legumes, and or seeds.
This article talks about order of reintroductions:
It may be that you find a middle ground where you eliminate gluten (do it now if you haven’t already), plus dairy, soy and corn (some of the worst culprits for gluten cross-reactivity) and still consume some of the other non-meat proteins. Also, get tested for gluten cross-reactivity. Dr. K will be publishing a blog article on all the Cyrex test arrays soon. Or, go to joincyrex.com and look at their panels – read about “Array 4 – Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Food Sensitivity”: https://www.joincyrex.com/arrays-for-patient.
I hope this helps.
Good luck, and please keep us posted on what you decide, and how it goes for you.
There are a lot of changes here compared to what was originally posted as the diet protocol. It now seems to align more with Paleo Mom’s AIP. I know Dr K has been doing a lot of food studies, and expect AIP to evolve accordingly, but where is the science to back the changes that have been made? For example: why are tomatoes a never to be reintroduced food? He no longer excludes all sweeteners for blood sugar regulation, has removed the high glycemic fruit list, coffee is now ok in moderation yet coffee is a seed, and mushrooms have changed to only exclude medicinal mushrooms. There is also no mention of legumes in the reintroduction order or the not to reintroduce list. Is there some clarification on these changes to the protocol?
Hi I bought a supplement that contains rice bran is this okay or is it in the same category as rice.
If you are avoiding rice, then rice bran is also excluded.
As time passes, the protocol will change to reflect new research as well as widespread anecdotal findings noted in the practitioner community. Dr. Kharrazian’s initial list was created some years ago, and in some ways it was more strict, in other ways less strict, than what you see now.
Tomatoes are under the “Consider never consuming” list because they are so highly inflammatory.
The blood sugar issue has to be managed per the individual – and that threshold can change over time in response to stress, inflammation, and other underlying factors. Some can handle some sweeteners and higher sugar fruits (in moderation), but clearly those who can’t would need to be more strict.
Some people can tolerate coffee and frankly most coffee drinking patients won’t obey a no coffee rule anyhow, and the stress over it is worse for them than consuming it. Yes, its’ a bean (and now I’ll repeat the former sentence, wink, nod).
Legumes: Note that under the “Consider never consuming” section, it says, “Reintroduction of other foods depends on your individual health history and needs.” Legumes can be on that list. If a person wants to reintroduce legumes, then it should be done using the standard reintro protocol. Also, read the next section “Lectins in grains and legumes”.
Every patient is different. Some can reintroduce legumes, or tomatoes, or rice, but it’s not necessarily recommended due to known issues with molecular mimicry, gut inflammation, brain inflammation, etc. One has to make those decisions (ideally in concert with a qualified healthcare practitioner) and then see how it pans out. And as life goes on, one’s personal tolerances change and we as patients have to adjust to that. And of course, gluten is always a big NO because of its power to damage the brain and other organs.
One thing Dr. Kharrazian is firm on in his practice is that a one-size-fits-all protocol doesn’t work for everyone. A practitioner and patient must work together to find the best combination for that patient. However, having a starting point such as the AIP or the protocols in his brain book is a helpful tool.
As time goes by, we’ll see more changes in the AIP and other protocols. We have so much to learn about autoimmunity and chronic illness!
Will Kelp and Seaweed fall under the AIP diet?
That will depend on the patient. Dr. Kharrazian recommends against high-iodine foods because he has too often seen how iodine can drive TPO antibody production (https://drknews.com/iodine-and-hashimotos/).
Some patients whose lab tests show a true iodine deficiency will eat them. If you choose to consume them, get your TPO tested periodically to find out if it’s going up.
Hi. I have to follow the list of food avoidances that Dr. Kay listed. This is a lifestyle for me because I cannot re-introduce these foods because I am so allergic and have severe autoimmune disease. Now with the newest diagnoses of relapsing polychondritis it has even been suggested to give up all meat/animal food sources. What food can I eat? I am at a loss.
Sorry to hear you’re suffering so much. Sadly, Dr. Kharrazian isn’t able to give medical advice via the blog or via email. Without a full exam and health history, it would be impossible to tell you what to do. Below I offer some info that may help you find the help you need.
You mention food allergies. There is a difference between food allergy and food reactivity, so make sure you know what you have. A food allergy is less common immune system issue, and it is generally something that will not go away over time. However, food sensitivities can change with the proper treatment protocols – that has a lot to do with how your immune system is registering food proteins. If you are not familiar with the differences, it’s worth learning about so you can talk to your healthcare practitioner about options you may have.
In your shoes, I’d get a second opinion about the no meat/animal products, as well as reintroductions of foods. A properly trained functional medicine practitioner knows the differences, can help you figure out what part of your immune system is over-reacting, and help you dial in on solutions that my lead to eating more foods, such as improving your immune function and supporting your oral tolerance (oral tolerance is your body’s ability to recognize food proteins and react appropriately).
Dr. Kharrazian has written some new articles on oral tolerance recently, and he is also offering an online course about it. All the information is available for free in his articles, and the course (has a fee) is offered for those who just want to be guided through it. To find the articles, just use the search bar with “oral tolerance”.
All this oral tolerance business is well-known in the research community, but it’s really just recently started coming out for the public, so there are practitioners who are not yet up to speed on it. The more you understand about it, the better you can be at discussing it with your doctor. If they are not familiar with it…. find a new one.
I am not familiar with relapsing polychondritis, so I can’t speak to the advice of no meat/animal products, but in your shoes, I’d still seek a functional medicine practitioner who understands autoimmunity, food sensitivities, food allergies, and how they all tie together. I suspect you may have more options than you were led to believe. Don’t lose hope. The practitioners on Dr. K’s referral page should all be up to date on this info: http://brainhealthbook.com/find-practitioner/.
Regarding doing the AIP as vegetarians; there are folks who try it, though I don’t know how successful they are at getting enough protein or quelling their autoimmunity. If you search AIP vegetarian you can find websites, but Dr. Kharrazian doesn’t recommend going that route.
Keep us posted on how it goes.
Hello, I’m a young guy (age 31) with psoriatic arthritis, and I’ve been researching and starting to follow the AIP diet. However, I live and teach in a college town, and I often work late– and I’m finding it difficult/impossible to find things to eat when I’m out and about. I’ve tried preparing meals in advance, but I often need to pack two meals a day, and it gets to be too much to handle– so then I get stuck and have to purchase food over the course of the day. I’ve found that most healthy/Paleo-style snacks contain beans/chickpeas, peanuts, whey protein, or occasionally cheese.
My question is this: is there a hierarchy of how bad these ingredients are for a person with an inflammatory disease? In other words, if I find myself needing to compromise on this diet and allow occasional consumption of one of these types of foods, which is the least harmful– or which will do the least to sabotage the overall aims of the diet?
As a side note, I’ve never been aware of having any food sensitivities or allergies, and I don’t notice any additional symptoms when I eat these foods. That makes it hard for me to tell which of these foods may be adversely affecting my health.
Thanks for this excellent resource, and for any insights you can provide!
Glad to hear you are trying to get the diet dialed in for when you are out and about. While there is a priority list as far as reintroductions, that doesn’t always mean one food will be more or less reactive as a rule for everyone. Every body is unique, and the only way to know your food in/tolerances is to do the elimination diet, and reintroduce (slowly and properly so you don’t muddy the water) and see what your body tells you. Cyrex Labs offers accurate food sensitivity testing, but it is pricey. A properly done elim diet should tell you just as much. I would not use any other lab because most only test one version of each food, whereas Cyrex tests multiple (raw and cooked). A body can react differently to different forms of one food.
Food sensitivities may or may not show up as obvious, immediate symptoms. You can have a sensitivity that instead of making you bloat or get an instant headache, for example, you instead get brain inflammation, or a cross-reaction that drives the autoimmune attack on an unexpected organ. Also – many folks, esp when they start an elim type protocol, are sort of “muddied” – the body is so confused by all its reactions and inflammation, it’s hard to tell what is making you feel what – or even if. Cleaning up the diet can make you more aware of how a food actually makes you feel.
In your shoes, I’d draw up a menu plan for the next few weeks, and spend some dedicated time in the evenings or weekends doing major batch-cooking. Freeze meals, get a lightweight insulated lunch box and bring those two meals. It may feel really labor intensive for now but the information you gain from having done the true elim/reintro may be gold for you. For batch cook ideas, google AIP batch cook. Also, go here: https://www.phoenixhelix.com/?s=roundtable
I love how thoroughly you cover questions!
Struggling with PD symptoms, debilitating fatigue and weakness, environmental toxicity (heavy metals, mold, pesticides) EBV, my body is so uncomfortable. I am unable to work and am very low functioning. I also had a concussion (fall from horse) about 12 years ago.
I have seen many drs/practitioners over the last 7 years, followed elimination, etc diets, had many alt treatments, taken a multitude of supplements/herbals/minimal pharmaceuticals, etc and I continue to decline. Not to mention the gargantuan expense of all of it.
I live now with my mom, she’s 83, I’m 62. She’s been a sport with my current fairly restricted diet but has memory issues she’s not willing to admit or address. Since I can’t grocery shop we end up with non organic produce and “natural” animal products. Which I don’t want to eat. We have someone that cooks once a week for us; I’m not capable, mom doesn’t want to. Our cook also struggles with understanding and incorporating my dietary restrictions. Finding another cook in this area of southern AZ would be very hard.
My current dr wants to put me on a slew of BHRT, which is his specialty. Bandaid and red flag!
With all that said, any tips for help with the food issue?
Also, I found dr Kari Vernon on your referral link. She’s about 2 hours away. Do you think she could help me where others haven’t?
Or would I be better off trying drK’s 6 week online course?
I’m very discouraged, totally broke and so tired of my years of suffering with very little quality of life.
I believe my body can heal but it seems there’s missing puzzle pieces not found. My faith and hope waxes and wanes, and I think I also have past emotional, physical and abuse traumas that are contributing.
One more thing, my mom keeps suggesting Mayo Clinic for “real” drs and I do not like that idea. I’ve heard/read lots of negative for chronic illness.
Sorry for the lengthy post, my situation is too complicated for one paragraph.
Thank you so much!
The brain course doesn’t cover all the bases you mention, and it doesn’t involve personal consultation with Dr. Kharrazian, so in your shoes I’d go right to Dr. Vernon. I hear great things about her, from her treatment protocols to her warm ‘bedside’ manner. Your mention of missing puzzle pieces — she will be able to help.
If you can sit down and talk with the cook about the medical reasons behind your dietary needs, perhaps that would help. The term “medical” tends to get folks’ attention. Not necessarily a lot of detail, but “I need to avoid “xyz” per my doctor’s recommendation because it causes me to have “pdq” symptoms.
I’d draw up a list of foods I can’t eat so the cook is aware of what not to bring home. I’d also come up with a set of simple recipes that work for me, and ask the cook to make them on a rotating basis. It may take some work to get compliance, but they are working for you after all.
On this website below is a list of food bloggers that stick to the type of diet that Dr. Kharrazian recommends — some focus on super-simple recipes and perhaps you can find some to just pass along to the cook: (https://www.thepaleomom.com/recommended-aip-resources/) — scroll down to “AIP-Approved Bloggers”.
If you see Dr. Vernon, perhaps she can help draw up a more official list for your cook. Sometimes it takes the official word from the doctor to make others believe what you are saying.
I can’t reflect much on the Mayo clinic other than to say they are fairly mainstream in their approach — for some that’s perfect, for others it’s not enough.
It sounds to me like you have the motivation and the right attitude! That right there is a lot more than many people have going for them.
Good luck, and keep us posted.
Hi, I am diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Trying to do AIP. I am a vegetarian, cant eat meat. My ok to eat foods are only vegetables. It is very tiring. Can I add some lentils?
Being on AIP when veggie can be a special challenge because protein options are so limited. It’s not recommended to add legumes due to the chance for gut irritation. I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I do not. There are people who claim they do AIP successfully on a vegge diet, but I can’t vouch for that. It would take a lot of diligence (and a lot of eating) to get the proper macros (ratios of protein, fat, and carbs) for the body to heal.
If you decide to add in a vegetarian protein source, definitely do not add in grains (even the non-gluten grains such as corn, etc.), as so many of them are known in the research to be cross-reactive with gluten. If you are not familiar with cross-reactivity (also called molecular mimicry) you can find lots of info online. I’d add legumes, nuts, and seeds as the last option: and add in the food in proper reintroduction style (above in the article).
I’m not pushing you to switch from vege to paleo, but if you are at all open to the idea, this podcast may be of interest:
I have been reading the book about Hashimoto from Dr. Kharrazian. I would like to try out the Gluthation Creme like described in his book (I suffer myself from Hashimoto). I am from Switzerland. Here I can not find this creme, but in the U.K. the company amrita nutritons sells three versions of this creme:
Super Oxicell (KR22)
Super Oxicell (KR23)
Super Oxicell (KR70)
Can you tell me, which one is the right one to order? Thanks for your answer.
KR22 is the regular Oxicell.
KR23 has a higher concentration of glutathione and superoxide dismutase per application than KR22.
KR70 is Oxicell SE – it does not include essential oils for the benefit of those who may have topical or aroma sensitivities.
You would need to decide which one might suit your needs best. In your shoes, if KR70 was not the first choice, I’d start with KR22 and see how I do with it.
Hi, Great plan. Just wondering why Slippery Elm needs to be avoided? Most seem to suggest it helps with leaky gut. Thanks.
That’s a good question. Mucous-producing botanicals such as aloe vera, slippery elm, chia, and flaxseed can hinder digestion, in some cases are high in phytic acid or high in phytoestrogens, and are shown to modulate the immune system. All of these effects can be problematic for those with autoimmune disease.
HI i am curious how you feel about an Aip/ketogenic aproach? I have Tried the Aip diet as lower carb and higher carb but my blood sugars are so sensitive that i’ve had to resort to a ketogenic diet. I really don’t want to do a ketogenic diet but it seems to be what works best for my brain function. Everytime i’m on the ketogenic diet i always cave after a few weeks because of carb cravings and low mood but as soon as i have the carbs my brain fog gets way worse and i can hardly function, i’m not sure what to do… PLease help if you can.
Dr. Kharrazian has a lot of his patients go on a keto diet; especially the brain-challenged ones). They are also largely on an AIP-type protocol, though he makes allowances depending on how limited their diet is (ie: too much limiting reduces oral tolerance, its own evil can of worms).
Sounds like your body and brain are begging you to stay on keto for a while. I feel your pain, I recently started Keto/AIP. Been on modified AIP for years but started keto about a month ago. Fell off the keto wagon once already.
Some helpful tips:
1. Make sure you are getting enough keto-approved fats. I use the keto calculator on ruled.me website to figure out my boundaries, then enter the info on myfitnesspal.com to track my daily progress. It’s really helpful.
2. For those moments when you are about to fall off the keto wagon:
– 1/1 tsp of coconut oil with a dab of salt or
– a glass of water with a pinch of sea salt and
– have fat bombs ready to go (google keto fat bombs…. many many recipes).
3. Are you doing high intensity exercise? That can help with food / carb cravings.
4. Read on ruled.me about how being on a keto type diet with too much protein can actually prevent your body from making ketones – your body turns the extra protein to glucose…and you’re not really in ketosis… bad cycle. Keep that protein down to keto-limits.
The fact that going back to carbs gives you brain fog is a clear sign your brain is begging for help. In your shoes I’d work with my healthcare practitioner to mediate the other autoimmune factors… leaky gut, inflammation, possible MTHFR, micronutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, etc.
Good ideas but the problem for me is that my body seems sluggish to remove Salicylates and Histamine – so if I move from eating low sals+hist veggies to higher..eventually the ‘bucket’ over flows and then i get issues – – and then it can take several days or a week for things to calm down. One metric i see if i eat higher histamine foods [veggies or meats], my pulse rate can increase by 10% the next day (i’ve been measuring this every day for 3 years) – if I have a ‘bland’ food day of low sals + histamine, my pulse is lower, I sleep perfect and I have a spring in my step when I wake. Every time i try to expand my diet I get reactions – now i am stuck in a rut
Have you had a chance to read over Dr. Kharrazian’s articles on loss of oral tolerance? That info may contain your magic bullet. Start with this article: https://drknews.com/food-sensitivity-oral-tolerance/
— and then read the articles it links to.
Then read this one: https://drknews.com/short-chain-fatty-acids-scfas-for-immune-health-brain-health-and-food-sensitivities/
I am just beginning the autoimmune diet and am wondering if locust bean gum should be avoided. I purchased the So Delicious coconut yogurt which has no guar gum, BUT it does have locust bean gum. Are all gums to be avoided? Thanks for clarifying.
Yes, it’s recommended to avoid all gums, as they can be gut irritants. I buy CoYo coconut yogurt. It’s not cheap, but it is AIP compliant and it’s REALLY good! NOTE: the plain is compliant, the flavored versions are not. I like it plain, and for flavor sometimes I’ll add a bit of blueberries.
Keep up the good work for your body and brain!
I really appreciate if you can clarify if supplements that are recommended by Dr. Kharrazian to heal leaky gut (like Aloe extract, slippery elme bark) should be avoided during the AIP diet. Also was wondering if Monk fruit is accepted as a sweetener.
Thanks a lot
Good question. It’s a grey area, and really depends on the big picture for each patient; you need to weigh the pros and cons depending on your situation.
In general, mucous-producing botanicals such as aloe vera, slippery elm, chia, and flaxseed can hinder digestion, in some cases are high in phytic acid or high in phytoestrogens, and are shown to modulate the immune system. All of these effects can be problematic for those with autoimmune disease.
If I was healing leaky gut, I’d try to exclude those items from my protocol unless nothing else worked. But my guess is not using slippery elm or aloe won’t be a deal-breaker, because there are so many other factors involved and so many other ways to work on healing leaky gut.
To the best of my knowledge, monkfruit is fine on AIP. While very sweet, it does have a very bitter aftertaste, so most companies mix it with erythritol or another sweetener – many of which are corn-based. So read your labels. I’ve tried “Smart Monk” brand, which is pure.
Under the list of approved foods- Low glycemic organic fruits – it states “Keep sugar intake between 10 and 20g per day” is this total per day or just for fruits??
Thanks for asking about sugar intake. Because that sentence about the grams per day was a bit confusing, we took it out of the article. Glucose needs vary depending on the person’s metabolic and brain health. Some people fare best on a keto diet with little to no fruit while others do better with some carbohydrates in their diet. I suspect that originally, the sentence you asked about referred only to fruits, but again, needs/tolerance of glucose really do depend on the body.
Why is s Stevia a no no?
The best way I can answer this is to send you here:
I’m 71, so no fertility issues here. I have hypothyroid & EBV. I consume 2 packets of stevia a day & occasionally use the concentrated powder in baking. I take a probiotics. Can I continue to use stevia.
Stevia is not recommended on the protocol. Here is an article that goes into more detail:
There are some other sweeteners more recently on the market, each with some cautions, but in the end, you have to make the choice what to do:
During elimination phase, it’s best to stay off them, but during reintro some folks can handle one or another.
Hallo I have hashimoto, strong gluten sensitivity, heavily weakened visual, photographic memory, creativity, dr K brain book.
I spend 5 months fighting and making my autoimmune GF diet and i finally made it. GF diet is of course working for me.
I never stayed more on GF diet than 1,5 week cause my brain is my strong enemy, my grandmother too.
i am fighting 10 years now with my memory and imagination by lot of memory games, practising visual memory training and it never worked. Is gluten responsible for destructon of my acetylocholine pathways? I really want to learn but i am unable to remember, my hippocampus is destroyed. Is autoimmune GF diet and alpha GPC enough to restore my visual memory? What can i do more or instead?
We appreciate your question and your desire to find answers, but frankly it is impossible for the doctor to know the cause of your health issues and symptoms without taking a full health history and doing an exam. In your shoes I’d try to see a functional medicine practitioner in person. Dr. Kharrazian has a referral list here: http://brainhealthbook.com/find-practitioner/.
If you want to apply to be his patient, the information is here: https://drknews.com/schedule-a-consultation/.
Please note that to become his patient you must do the initial case review which can be done via teleconference, but then you must come to San Diego for an intensive half-day exam.
Keep seeking answers, and don’t give up – you will find someone to help you in person.
Next time i do groceries i will clean out the fridge and pantry and buy only what i can use. I have to do this and added benefit, i know i will lose weight which i have to lose 100.
OK this is confusing. Why Anise? (aniseed), I was drinking this as a tea, boiling it on the stove and drinking it with honey.
It says it’s good for inflammation, so why is it bad other than it being a seed? It’s contradictable.
Sorry for the confusion; it likely stems from anise being mentioned in two places on the page. As a vegetable, aniseed (that’s the classic name of the whole vegetable – not the seed…. I know, it seems counter-intuitive to name it this way) is considered fine on the AIP. However the seed of anise plant (ie: anise seeds) would be prohibited because of the potential for seeds to irritate the gut and increase leaky gut (which can lead to more autoimmune symptoms).
While an herb (or seed, or root, etc.) may be beneficial for one reason, there may be other reasons it’s not great to eat, depending on the individual. For example, slippery elm bark is great for soothing a sore throat, but for someone with autoimmunity it may be a ‘no’ because it also has immune-stimulating properties. Depending on the patient, this may or may not be a good thing.
Some items are black-and-white, such as gluten – if you have autoimmunity, avoid it. Others sit in more of a grey zone depending on your own sensitivities and reactions. In the case of anise *seed,* you must make the choice yourself. In your shoes, if I was in elimination phase for AIP, I’d avoid it. If I was in reintro phase, I’d work it into my reintro lineup, and pay careful attention to how I feel after I consume it (assuming there are no other new or suspect substances consumed that week).
I noticed that anise was listed both as a food to eat and a food not to eat. I figure that’s just a typo, but I’m curious which is correct. Of more importance, I’m curious as to why NSAIDs are on the no-no list. I’m not a big proponent of them, having had a brutal time with mesalamine for colitis, but that was a spinal fluid buildup issue, and is sort of beside the point, which is this: I’m surprised to see advisement against anti-inflammatory drugs, because it seems counterintuitive. Wouldn’t one expect aspirin be beneficial, given that it is used to treat inflammation in rheumatic fever, for example?
Just saw that the anise question was addressed. Still curious about the anti-inflammatory drugs though
The advice against NSAIDS is because they are known to irritate the gut lining, and if you are prone to leaky gut it just adds to the battle.
Hello Susan and thank you for responding to all the interesting questions.
I am on a AIP diet, since I have Hashimoto’s. I was wondering if I can eat hemp protein? I didn’t find hemp in Dr. K food lists.
Sorry we missed your question. Hemp protein is actually on the list of items to avoid during the elimination phase. If you look at “Foods to Avoid” and then “Other”, you’ll see it.
Two questions please:
1) What about the sweeteners in the Apex Lipsomal GSH & resvero products. If I’m benefitting from these, should I still remove them for awhile to start this diet?
2) Would the gliadin cross-reactivity show up on the full Cyrex foods Arrays, or is it necessary to test for the specifically using Array #4?
Sorry we missed your comment (a number of them on this page went by us…). In response to your questions,
1. The amount of sweeteners in those products is likely small enough that the benefits of taking the product would outweigh the concern. In your shoes, I’d keep taking them, and if sugar intake is a concern for blood sugar regulation, make sure you dial that in in other areas of your diet.
2. You’d want to do Array 4.
Hi again Susan,
What about Cordyceps, with the AIP elimination phases? Seems like it would be discouraged, as a medicinal mushroom. But its recommended elsewhere in Dr. K’s material for its role in supporting Glutathione recycling, which is an important part of managing AI. -Thanks!
Sorry we missed your comment (a number on this page went by us… oops!). Have you been able to look into the Cordyceps question more deeply? I suspect he’d discourage it for someone whose immune system would be negatively affected by a boost. It would probably depend on the patient, though, because for some, it’s helpful.
I hate the way this website is designed ! It clearly was designed for data gathering. I can’t find the courses that I purchased. Where are they ?
Sorry we missed your comment (if you look, you’ll see a number on this page were missed from last fall). This is not the course website, so you wouldn’t find any of the courses here. They all have a dedicated URL. If you haven’t yet figured it out, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and our tech guy can send your login to you again. For any course in which you enroll, you would have received an email with the course website URL, plus your unique login credentials.
I have Hashimoto and strong brain fog.I really want to start the Aip protocol.I live in Uk.Can you help me with some names of practitioners who are highly trained in the protocol that Dr K uses,pls?(in UK)
And…about coffee.I understood that instant coffee was not a good choice.How about ground coffee ?
UK referrals: We get a lot of similar inquiries from the UK, but I’m sorry to tell you Dr. Kharrazian doesn’t have a referral list for outside the US. While there are numerous overseas practitioners who have trained with him, because there is no way to monitor how well they incorporate the protocols, he can’t give formal referrals. There are also some potentially tricky legal issues.
However… some options you might try:
1. Take a look at his US practitioner list – a couple are noted as willing to treat remotely; I do not know if they are able to extend outside US borders, but it is worth asking: (https://drknews.com/practitioner-locator/).
2. Search the IAFNR practitioner list: Not all on this list are Kharrazian-trained, so you would need to ask them individually: (https://iafnr.org/member-referral-directory/).
NOTE: This appears to be a US-only list, but it’s not – just put your search term (ie: UK or region/town) in the “Keyword Search” field.
3. The IFM practitioner finder: (https://ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/) is international.
4. His new Kharrazian Institute is considering posting a list of practitioners who have gone through his trainings. I have no idea if or when this may come to fruition, but you might want to keep an eye on the website: (http://kharrazianinstitute.com).
Coffee: Ground coffee doesn’t have the same inherent risk of gluten contamination, assuming it’s ground in a facility with no gluten. However, it’s ideal to grind your own as needed, to preserve the quality of the oils: The oil in whole beans is less apt to go rancid, whereas in ground coffee, there is more exposure to air, which is what causes the oxidation leading to rancidity. But, if ground is the best you can find, it’s better than instant!
Please, I have a question and hope for an answer. I am a doctor and I have been suffering from bloating and brain fog for three years. I was sooo surprised when I found this ”syndrome” explained in ”Why isn’t my brain working?”. I want to start the gut rehab diet mentioned in the chapter ”The Gut-brain axis” and I need to know, is this the same as the AIP ??? Please answer me I was so desperate but now have hope that I might be cured some day. Thank you so much
The diet Dr. Kharrazian recommends is basically the same as the Autoimmune Protocol. If you read the page above, you can see the details. You might also benefit from reading the pages here on the blog about loss of oral tolerance. Start here:
On that page is an overview of oral tolerance. Dr. Kharrazian also offers the new 3D Immune Tolerance Program which expands upon it. You can find those courses on the home page of his website.
how would a keto diet work if you have brain inflammation and autoimmune diseases . I read about keto and how it can remove the inflammation in the brain.
There are a lot of patients who have brain inflammation who are using a ketogenic diet to work with the inflammation. We can’t guide you here on how do it: Dr. Kharrazian has a practitioner list on the Kharrazian Institute website here: https://kharrazianinstitute.com/ki-practitioner-locator/
Hello Susan, I would like to work with a practitioner who has trained with Dr K. Do you have a list of practitioners in the los Angeles area?
Sorry we missed your comment earlier. Dr. Kharrazian has an updated practitioner list at this link below. This list is updated twice yearly, and will be updated in July or early August this year: https://kharrazianinstitute.com/ki-practitioner-locator/
Im not shure if it is okay to eat flaxseed and hemp oil? i read that flax seeds are ot okay, so i supose the oil is also not good? but what about hempoil? im just concerned about the omega 3 becaus i dont eat fish.
If you are on the elimination phase of the protocol it’s recommended to avoid seeds. Depending on your tolerance however, you might be able to eat those. It would mean trying a reintro and seeing how your body responds.
Hi< years ago i heard in the audibook that we have to do 3-5 day fast before this diet in order to repair the leaky gut. Still part of the protocol? Thanks
That is not part of the protocol.
Rice is the biggest staple food for me my whole life. As an Asian, I eat rice every day for lunch and dinner with meat and veggie. Rice will take up about 60% of my meal intake, protein and veggie will be the other 40%. I would say rice is part of my ethnic genetic makeup (this may not make any sense, but it is how I feel about rice). I’m at a loss at the idea that I have to totally eliminate rice out of my meals everyday. I have been generally healthy and all my medical conditions have been well controlled until a year ago. So I’m guessing rice may not be the culprit for what I’m experience with my gut health problem. Would it be possible that I followed everything else on the diet but continue to eat rice everyday?
It is absolutely possible rice is an issue. It’s hard to give up the foods we are accustomed to, especially when we have cultural associations with them. Whether it’s rice for an Asian, pasta (wheat) for Italians, or corn for a Navajo, all can be problems regardless of your genetic/cultural background.
The best way to determine sensitivity is to do the methodical eliminate and reintroduction diet (outlined on this page). It’s ideal to eliminate all the suspect food categories, because if you don’t, when you do reintroductions, you will have no idea what is causing any reactions.
Consider this: What if rice and/or all grains are indeed the missing link for your healing? Would it be worth not eating it for a few months to determine if it plays a role? What if you found it helped you cross that line to remission? Would it be worth it then? Is your attachment to them more important than healing? Tough questions. I’ve had to ask them of myself, too.
What finally made it easy for me to give up a few foods I was strongly attached to was when I learned (from Dr. Kharrazian!) that commonly we crave the foods to which we are reactive: When we eat our reactive foods, as part of the immune cascade our brains briefly create certain chemicals which are similar to opioids: it gives us a hit of ‘happy chemicals’. We crave those foods because our brains want that repeated hit. This seem counter-intuitive, but it happens. It is very, very common with gluten and dairy, but can happen with any food.
Thank you for these dieting tips and dieting is the most important aspect when you are suffering from an auto-immune disease.
A study made on MX3 Capsule done in America and published in the Journal of Aging Resarch and Clinical Practice. It was concluded that MX3 Capsule helps improve mobility together with a good and healthy diet.
Hello, I recently saw a bamboo flour in a shop. Is this AIP friendly? It would be nice to have one more flour option 🙂
Bamboo! Frankly I’ve never heard of this as an edible product. I wish I had more information for you, but I’ve never heard Dr. Kharrazian mention it.
thank you so much for the post.
Coriander appears in the foods/spices to eat and also in the ones to avoid, so I am a bit confused…
Good catch! We have edited accordingly.
My aunt has been having a lot of problems with her diet, and she wants to make sure that she can reduce her stomach problems. Getting some autoimmune therapy from a professional could help her start to heal. I’ll be sure to tell her about how corn can be carcinogenic because it is bred into fucosamine in order to reduce pests.
Hello. I was wondering about Larch Arabinogalactan which is found in some probiotic products. Is it safe in AI conditions?Because as far as I have seen, the info about it is pretty much ambigous. Thank you
Hi Jo Anna,
I’ve heard it’s a great prebiotic and immune modulator, but everything depends on the individual person’s response. Sorry we don’t have more specific information for you.
I need more information on an exact diet easy to follow? Simple as possible
The diet on this page is the one Dr. Kharrazian recommends to most of his patients. Every individual has unique needs, however, and some may need slightly different limitations. You might also go online and read about the GAPS and FODMAPs diets. If you seek actual recipes for AIP, GAPS, or FODMAPs, if you do an online search for them you can find many food bloggers with lots to offer.
In some research found that Mangosteen is used for diarrhea, urinary tract infections (UTIs), gonorrhea, thrush, tuberculosis, menstrual disorders, cancer, osteoarthritis, and an intestinal infection called dysentery.
Can we eat legumes and beans if they are well soaked and thoroughly cooked and soaked nuts?
Does it also include moong beans and sprouts? thank you
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