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What foods do you eat on the autoimmune paleo diet? This is the first question that I asked before making the transition to the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet because the last thing that I wanted was to go on another overly restrictive diet.
- I come from a very disordered eating background where I've tried everything from intermittent fasting to Whole30.
- While they worked for a time, I never was able to maintain these "lifestyles."
- The reason was that the focus was always on what I was losing (i.e. weight) rather than what I was gaining (i.e. health).
However, after learning more about the benefits of the AIP diet for reversing autoimmune symptoms - something I've struggled with for years prior to getting officially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren's syndrome - I knew that it was worth a try.
One of the great things I've learned from Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Wellness is the importance of focusing on what to EAT not just want to AVOID eating on the AIP diet.
When you know what foods to eat more of on the AIP diet, you're naturally going to start eating less of the foods you're trying to avoid. Instead of feeling deprived, you feel energized by all these new foods that you might not have previously ever thought about eating.
That's why in this post I'm sharing with you 5 foods you want to prioritize eating on the autoimmune paleo diet.
5 Foods to Eat on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet
1. Minimally Processed Meats, Poultry, and Seafood
From bison burgers to mahi-mahi, it is important to prioritize eating grass-fed, wild or pasture-raised animal proteins whenever possible. Before transitioning to the AIP diet I was very resistant to eating grass-fed or wild food, because of the cost.
After doing research and discovering the benefits of minimally processed meats, poultry, and seafood for reducing and managing autoimmune symptoms it became a no-brainer that this is an investment I'm willing to make.
Some places I've found have affordable options for minimally processed meals, poultry and seafood:
- Natural groceries, like Trader Joe's
- Online retailers, like Thrive Market
- Local butcher shops, like Walden Local (New England)
2. In-Season Vegetables and Fruits
Purchasing and eating foods around the time it has been harvested, is essential for providing you with fresher, tastier, and more nutritious foods. Even though I grew up going to farmer's markets as a kid, I didn't understand the nutritional value of eating seasonal food until I became autoimmune.
Now that I understand the difference, I'm more conscious about including more in-season vegetables and fruits in my weekly meal. And, the out-of-season vegetables and fruits I leave for occasional treats.
Some great resources for eating in-season:
- Seasonalfoodguide.org to find what's in season near you in the U.S.
- Local farmer's market for seasonable produce
- USDA Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Directory for local food directories in the U.S.
3. Plant and Animal Fats
Whether you're enjoying bacon with breakfast or using avocado oil to roast vegetables, fats are an essential part of a healthy diet. Fats are not only vital for our gut health - which is key for fighting inflammation - but it helps with the absorption of key vitamins.
There are a variety of plant and animal fats for you to choose from on the AIP diet. Ensure you're eating a healthy mix of both for amazing health benefits, such as improving your immune health and regulating your blood sugar.
Here are a few different types of plant and animal fats:
- Fruit, i.e. coconut
- Oil, i.e. extra-virgin olive oil
- Meat and Fish, i.e. salmon
4. Probiotic Foods
Eating a diet rich in probiotic foods is crucial for a healthy gut, which is essential for reducing autoimmune symptoms. Before becoming autoimmune, I didn't understand the importance of probiotic foods, but now I see the huge role these tiny microorganisms play.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that support a healthy immune system by doing everything from helping you digest your food to enabling you to absorb the nutrients you're eating.
Some common types of probiotic foods are:
- Fermented vegetables, i.e. kimchi
- Fermented fruits, i.e.chutneys
- Fermented drinks, i.e. kombucha
5. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are a great way to provide your body with the antioxidants that it needs to boost your immune system. Before becoming autoimmune, I only saw herbs and spices for their culinary benefits. Since becoming autoimmune, I've truly been able to benefit from the medicinal properties that are present in many of my favorite herbs and spices.
From turmeric to rosemary, having the right combination of herbs and spices in your daily diet can make a huge difference in your overall health. The great part about herbs and spices is that a little can really go a long way.
Here are some of my favorite herbs and spices:
- Leaf, i.e. Basil
- Flower, i.e. Chamomile
- Root, i.e. Ginger
I know that trying to figure out what foods to eat on the autoimmune paleo diet might feel a bit overwhelming at first. I promise if you just focus on including just one of these foods in your weekly meal planning, you're going to slowly find that it's much easier than you think.
When you're ready to start meal planning your way to better health and a more autoimmune-friendly diet, enroll in our FREE 5-Day Zero to Mastery Meal Planning Boot Camp!