First of all, don’t let anyone convince you that you MUST have a practitioner or coach in order to be successful on the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) or any other healing diet. The beautiful thing about using food and lifestyle as medicine is that it doesn’t require a prescription and is a treatment that you truly can DIY! But if you are feeling stuck, either at the thought of getting started, or are already doing it on your own but don’t know what to do next, then engaging the support of a trained coach could be just what you need.
As of January, 2018… I am proud to announce that I was among the first group of practitioners trained by Sarah Ballantyne, Mickey Trescott, and Angie Alt to be a Certified AIP Coach in 2017 and now that I nutrition practice is my full time occupation, I have availability to take on additional private clients for AIP coaching and general nutrition support. Click here to learn about the different packages I offer.
What is an an AIP Coach?
A Certified AIP Coach is a practitioner who has received extra training on top of their base certification (in my case, I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association) on the science behind autoimmune diseases and practical strategies for helping clients implement dietary and lifestyle interventions to manage the effects of those diseases and promote healing and higher levels of wellness.
What does an AIP Coach do?
An AIP Coach provides personalized support for all stages of your journey on the Paleo autoimmune protocol.
- Motivating. Whether you are brand new to AIP or have tried it before, your coach can provide the motivation you need to take this big step in caring for yourself. Many people who are doing it on their own report that they KNOW what to do, they just don’t actually DO it. Having a coach will keep you accountable, and help you get right back on track if you do slip.
- Transitioning. As you get started AIP, your coach can help you determine whether you would be best suited to transition from the diet you are currently eating into the full elimination phase protocol slowly or “cold turkey” and then provide support through the process. Whether you need help creating meal plans, learning how to cook from fresh ingredients rather than packages, or figuring out how to fit this new way of eating into your real life, an AIP Coach will be able to provide custom support.
- Troubleshooting and maintaining. Once you have settled into the elimination phase, your AIP Coach can help you troubleshoot your compliance with the protocol and outcomes. Maybe you are still having symptoms and don’t know what to do next, or perhaps you are finding it difficult to stick with your eating plan. Your coach can help you explain the protocol to friends and family and provide emotional support for sustaining this change. Your coach will also be able to help you with lifestyle factors beyond food, including sleep strategies and stress management.
- Reintroductions and personalization. One of the hardest parts of the AIP journey is moving beyond the elimination phase and into reintroductions. An AIP Coach can be your cheerleader as you take the big step to start expanding your diet and help you recognize when a reintroduction is successful and when it is not.
- Resetting. Maybe you have done the elimination phase in the past and feel like you need to go back for a “reset” but feel overwhelmed at that thought. An AIP Coach can help you create a transition plan that is completely personalized to your needs.
Alternatives to one-on-one coaching
Many AIP Coaches also provide group programs and classes. Here are a few that I have reviewed and recommend:
- For transitioning from the standard western diet to the AIP, Angie Alt’s SAD to AIP in Six can’t be beat! It’s the original and best, having even been scientifically validated as effective in an important medical study.
- Reintroductions and resetting are a very personal process, but the programs run by Emma King and Jo Frankham of Conscious Autoimmunity provide a structure and support that is very helpful.
And of course, there are countless resources for you to “do it yourself.” Unfortunately there are a lot of people taking advantage of the “AIP” label but providing incomplete or even inaccurate information. I strongly encourage anyone who wants to go it alone to purchase (or borrow from your library) one of the following books written by qualified AIP experts.
- For a comprehensive, science based explanation of the protocol, get Sarah Ballantyne’s original book, The Paleo Approach.
- If you want an easy-to-understand introduction to the protocol to get you started, get Eileen Laird’s A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.
- Or, my personal favorite, the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott.
What does an AIP Coach not do?
Unless he or she also has a medical degree which allows it, an AIP Coach does not diagnose diseases. Your coach will want to know about any diagnoses you have received from medical professionals, as well as which treatments you are currently using in the past or are currently undergoing, in order to provide you the best possible support, but he or she can also help you if you have not yet been officially diagnosed. If you are seeking a diagnosis, your coach may be able to help you explore what your symptoms could mean and provide suggestions for tests to ask your doctor about.
It is also important to understand that an AIP Coach, like all health coaches, does not treat diseases. All suggestions provided by your coach are meant to support your goals for greater wellness and are not a substitute for medical advice.
Ready to get started with an AIP Coach?
Click here to learn more about my services as an AIP Coach, or here to view the entire directory of those who have completed the certification training. Some coaches only see clients in person, and others like me utilize technology to work with clients all over the world. You may also wish to seek a coach who has a particular certification or specializes in a particular type of condition, so I encourage you to review all of your options.
If this article has sparked your interest and you are interested in learning more, please contact me directly to set up a free, no obligation 15 minute “discovery consultation.”