AIP: A Toxin and Inflammation-Free Diet

The occurrence of chronic disease is on the rise like never before. Conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, autoimmunity, Alzheimer's, and autism that were rare only fifty years ago, now affect a large percentage of the population. Estimates show that one in ten Americans is living with diabetes, and five percent of the population lives with an autoimmune condition. Unfortunately, the rate of these diseases is increasing, and no known universal cures exist. So why are chronic disease rates on the rise, and what can we do about it?

There is no doubt that we have seen a steady increase in environmental toxin exposure since the Industrial Revolution. Our air is polluted from car exhaust and industrial production. Our water contains heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, fluorine, viruses, and bacteria. Body and home products consist of industrial chemicals and chemical fragrances. Finally, our food is genetically modified, laden with pesticides, and loaded with preservatives, hormones, and flavoring chemicals. We are exposed to these substances in some form every day. It's really no wonder our population is as sick as it has become!

To begin addressing or preventing any form of chronic illness, it makes good sense to reduce one's toxic load. Given that toxins can come from all components of the environment—air, water, food, body care, and cleaning products—it may be helpful to swap and replace conventional forms of these items with non-toxic ones. 

Aside from removing and replacing toxic products that you put on your body, it's equally as essential to remove toxins that you ingest! Because the gastrointestinal tract is home to around 80% of your immune system, it can be thought of as the security guard to the human body. While the conditions listed above may seem completely unrelated, all have one thing in common: inflammation. When the immune system is repeatedly exposed to ingested toxins, it is stimulated by inflammogens found in food and water. Inflammation is triggered, and the immune system goes on high alert. This process is why so many immune-related conditions have origins in the gut.

Conventional "food" is riddled with pesticides, herbicides, artificial colorings and flavorings, inflammatory oils, and preservatives to increase appeal. To add to it, most of these foods come in the form of simple carbohydrates that fluctuate blood sugar and contribute little to no nutritional value. With time, these toxic foods stress the digestive system and cause it to become inflamed. As a result, we can see intestinal permeability ("leaky gut") when the tight gap junctions between epithelial cells of the GI tract begin to break down. High rates of carbohydrates and synthetics can also contribute to conditions like bacterial overgrowth and dysbiosis. Food and bacteria may then breach the intestinal wall and find their way into the bloodstream. They can act as immune triggers and lead to inflammation. As you can see, diet is crucial when countering chronic inflammatory conditions.

Fortunately, the body is highly resilient and capable of efficient repair. In fact, it takes the body only five to seven days to replace the entire epithelial layer of the gastrointestinal tract! Because healing cannot happen simultaneously with chronic inflammation, removing triggering and inflaming foods allows the body to regenerate its epithelial layer. This can help to reverse intestinal permeability over time. 

An elimination diet like the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet may be helpful to remove common offending foods and give the body a chance to rest and heal. AIP is a form of the well-known "Paleo Diet" that looks to remove common inflammatory foods for a short period of time during an "elimination phase." AIP is not meant to be a permanent lifestyle—forever saying goodbye to all of these foods is not your destiny!

AIP looks first to remove inflammatory processed foods. It then eliminates common allergens like gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs. During the elimination phase, foods that may lead to inflammation, such as grains, nightshades, beans, legumes, alcohol, white sugar, and certain spices, are removed. It is also strongly recommended to eat organic foods when possible. After several weeks, those using AIP are instructed to slowly reintroduce foods in a specific order while looking for any signs of reaction. Each individual will notice that certain foods may lead to a negative response—these foods will continue to be eliminated from the diet with periodic re-introduction "checks" as healing continues.

Taking this diet to the next level, Primal Life offers a Weight Loss. Naturally supplement package that includes help with metabolism, hydration, and sleep. So, you’re eating clean, exercising, and sleeping seven to nine hours each night – why is there still excess bloat, weight, and tiredness? Your body may need a little bit of help, or as Primal Life likes to call it, a kick start. Not only will you be fueling your body with clean, non-toxic food, but you’ll also be supporting the three main components to weight loss. Your body and health can soon be in better shape than you’d ever imagine!

Awareness of all toxin exposure, including dietary toxins, dramatically influences the occurrence of chronic inflammatory diseases. As a result, incorporating a diet like the Autoimmune Paleo diet could aid in the healing or prevention of an inflammatory condition. AIP allows for the bio-individuality of each person to govern how and what they continue to eat. Introducing immune-supportive foods alongside a cleaner lifestyle can help optimize, prevent, or manage symptoms of chronic illness.