The autoimmune protocol variation of the paleo diet (commonly known as AIP) is a powerful healing tool that can seem overwhelming to many when they are first introduced to it. A new book, A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol,
written by Eileen Laird, who has long been established as leader in the AIP movement through her blog Phoenix Helix, aims to cut through the noise and provide an easy to understand, yet comprehensive, overview of what the protocol is and how to make it work for you.
My history with AIP goes back over two years now (which you can read about in this post from August 2013) and I have used it to manage Crohn’s disease, along with conventional medicine. While I have reintroduced foods along the way, I continue to base my diet and lifestyle on AIP and return to the elimination phase whenever I feel my symptoms might be returning or I’m just not feeling my best. Over time, it has become much easier, but I remember well the feeling of being completely overwhelmed and lost in a sea of information when I was first starting out. I wished I had a friend who could lay it all out for me and hold my hand – even virtually! – as I navigated the grocery store and changing the way I functioned in the kitchen and the world. Lacking that, I wished there was a straightforward resource that explained all the “whats” and “hows” and just enough of the “whys” to help it all make sense!
That’s why I was delighted when I saw an advance copy of Eileen’s book. It is a concise guide, written in an easy and comforting style, and yet it covers everything you need to know. The paperback version is small enough for you to throw in a purse or handbook and most people can probably read the whole thing in just a day or two. It teaches you which foods you need to avoid, and – perhaps even more importantly – which you should add to your diet. It includes grocery lists, meal planning tips, and advice for traveling and eating out at restaurants, navigating holiday traditions, getting support from family and friends and more. But it doesn’t stop there! Eileen also includes guidance for the food reintroduction process, which you start once you’ve seen a clear improvement in your autoimmune symptoms, and troubleshooting tips if you aren’t seeing the improvement you seek.
What I like best about the book
- It gives you that friend at your side. Eileen’s kind and patient personality really shines through and you feel like she is right there with you. She draws from the research and work done by medical experts and leaders in this movement, including Terry Wahls, M.D. and Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D., and provides encouragement along with the information.
- It is written so that even someone who is very ill, perhaps even suffering from “brain fog,” will be able to understand without too much effort. But at the same time it doesn’t talk down to you, which I really appreciate! That’s a tough balance to achieve, but somehow Eileen does it.
- It dispels the notion that AIP is just about eliminating foods and includes advice on other lifestyle factors that can have just as big an impact. I also really like that she focuses on careful reintroduction as part of the protocol because often people hear about AIP and fear that the elimination phase is the way they have to eat forever and are therefore turned off from the whole idea without even giving it a try.
The bottom line
I recommend this book to anyone who has Crohn’s disease or another autoimmune condition and is interested in exploring the role real food and lifestyle changes can play in managing or even reversing their illness. If you are already an “AIP veteran,” you may appreciate this as a good refresher of what you already know and may want to get a copy so that you can loan it out to family and friends who want a better understanding of why you make the food and lifestyle choices you do.
Giveaway! (CLOSED) Eileen generously provided a review copy to me in exchange for an honest review of the book and she also offered to give a copy to one of my readers. To enter, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments: “What do you think is the hardest or most intimidating aspect of following AIP?” Then verify your comment with the Rafflecopter widget below and a random number generator will select the winner. That’s it! This giveaway is open to ALL readers! If the winner resides in the United States, they will receive a paperback copy. All others will get a Kindle version.