Starting out on any diet can feel like a daunting task, but if you’ve chosen to adopt the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), it’s because you’ve committed to doing something different.
You may be trying to restore balance to your microbiome, or maybe you’ve already found that the AIP diet helps reduce your symptoms of Crohn’s disease, lupus or another autoimmune disorder.
Either way, you have probably heard of the many benefits of the AIP diet, but now you want to figure out how to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients while still sticking to the protocol. Let’s look at the diet and its benefits in more detail.
Why Choose AIP?
There are many reasons why people choose to go gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free, etc., but one of the biggest reasons is to heal their gut lining.
When we eat foods that aren’t friendly to our bodies, we often experience bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, joint pain, brain fog, acne, hair loss, weight gain, food cravings, and more.
These can be symptoms of an “autoimmune disorder,” and they are all signs that there is inflammation happening inside of us.
If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, you probably know that eating well is important, but you might not realize just how much better you’ll feel once you start making changes to your diet.
In fact, research suggests that 90% of autoimmune conditions stem from poor nutrition.
So if you’ve tried to change your diet before and failed, don’t give up hope – you can do this and reap the benefits.
How To Follow An AIP Diet
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is about eliminating common triggers of autoimmunity while boosting nutrient intake.
In other words, you cut out or reduce gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, fish, processed meats, dairy etc. You also avoid artificial sweeteners, alcohol, coffee, and caffeine.
Instead, you focus on whole, real foods like vegetables, fruits, beans (see also ‘Are Garbanzo Beans Paleo?‘), lentils, seeds, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and grass-fed meat.
This eliminates the possibility of triggering an immune system attack against your body.
This diet plan is based on research published in 2016 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in which 20 people with celiac disease followed a similar protocol.
They ate this way for three months, during which time they experienced significant improvement in symptoms including diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, and weight loss.
After three months, 85% of participants no longer had any gastrointestinal issues.
Food That You Can Eat On AIP
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommend eating five to nine servings per week of fruits and veggies.
These include dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collard greens and spinach; orange/yellow vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin; legumes like beans and peas; whole grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa and barley; nuts and seeds; low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese; fish and fatty fish like salmon (see also ‘15 Awesome Paleo Salmon Recipes To Try Today‘), tuna and sardines; poultry and eggs; and red meat like beef, pork and lamb.
There are some exceptions though. Foods from the nightshade plant family — tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes — contain substances called glycoalkaloids that can cause inflammation and immune system problems.
People with autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, asthma, allergies and psoriasis might want to avoid these foods.
According to the AIP diet, people should limit themselves to one serving per day of fruit juices, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses and coconut sugar, and no more than three tablespoons of added sugars daily.
They can eat up to six ounces of raw dairy products each day, including butter and ghee, and no more than eight ounces of cooked food per day.
The good news is that there are some great resources online that help you learn about the AIP diet, including books such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut Healing Program, and blogs like AIP Mama.
AIP diets are a great way to start eating better, but there are many reasons why it might be difficult to stick to one.
You may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of food choices that you have to make every day.
Or perhaps you simply don’t know where to begin when it comes to making healthy changes to your diet.
If either of these things sound familiar to you, we’ve got good news for you: it’s possible to follow an AIP diet without having to worry about coming up with meals every single day.
In fact, ordering from one of the AIP Meals home delivery services in this article could give you the freedom to eat well without spending hours sourcing and cooking the right foods.
AIP Meal Delivery Services
There are several companies out there that offer Paleo food delivery. This includes a wide range of foods.
Many of these companies cater to people living with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, allergies, IBS, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, and others.
While some of these companies do have specific menus designed for those following an AIP diet, most of them offer a variety of different types of meals that fit into the dietary guidelines outlined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
These diets include the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, FODMAP Diet, GAPS Diet, and others.
With a meal delivery service, you simply select the menu items that fit within the guidelines of the AIP diet, and then sign up for a membership.
Once you pay for the membership, you receive instructions on how to prepare each recipe, along with nutritional information and tips on how to maximize flavor and avoid common pitfalls.
From there, you schedule your deliveries every week or biweekly, depending on your preferences.
These meal kits can be used for several reasons.
For example, someone following Paleo AIP could buy a kit containing chicken breasts, broccoli florets, carrots, and cauliflower rice, and then simply follow the instructions included in the box to prepare the meal.
Someone else following Paleo AIP could choose to purchase a ready-made meal that contains beef, potatoes, green beans, onions, and mushrooms.
Either option allows you to enjoy the convenience of eating out while still sticking to a strict diet.
1. Paleo On The Go
AIP enthusiasts know that one of the most difficult parts about following the AIP diet is finding suitable replacements for favorite dishes.
This is especially true during the elimination phase, when many people find themselves without access to certain ingredients.
Fortunately, there is now a solution for those who want to eat paleo while avoiding wheat and gluten.
The founders of Paleo on the Go have developed a unique approach to serving up paleo-friendly meals.
They use only high quality ingredients, including grass fed meats, free range poultry, wild caught seafood, real butter, eggs, and honey.
Their focus on sourcing local products ensures that their customers receive the freshest possible meal.
While there are other companies offering AIP options, none of them seem to specialize exclusively in AIP foods.
Instead, they tend to include some AIP options here and there, but nothing that covers everything.
Paleo on the Go offers a comprehensive selection of AIP foods, including breads, desserts, snacks, beverages, sauces, dressings, seasonings, and even prepared meals.
They also provide an extensive set of filtering tools, allowing users to easily sort through their offerings based on allergy concerns, ingredient preferences, and preparation methods.
Users can choose from a variety of different meal plans, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack packs.
Additionally, they allow users to customize their plan according to their individual needs.
As a special treat for their loyal customers, they are offering a $10 discount on their monthly subscription packages.
2. Cavemen Chefs
Caveman Chefs is a food delivery startup based in Denver, CO. They offer healthy, plant-based meals delivered straight to your door.
Their menu features over 50 unique dishes, including vegan options, gluten free, paleo, keto, and even raw foods.
They use local ingredients whenever possible, and many of their recipes are completely dairy, egg, and nut-free.
The company launched in 2018, and since then it has grown into one of the most popular food delivery startups in Denver.
In fact, they recently closed a $2 million Series B funding round led by Boulder-based venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau Ventures.
The funds will go towards expanding their operations across the United States, and they already deliver nationwide.
CavemanChef delivers three meals per day to your doorstep.
They offer three different plans to choose from, ranging in price from $14.99/week to $39.99/month.
3. Pete’s Paleo
Pete’s Paleo is a paleo restaurant chain based out of San Diego, California.
They pride themselves on offering healthy, delicious food without sacrificing taste.
With over 30 locations across the United States, their mission is to provide people with wholesome meals while maintaining a balance between flavor and nutrition.
The brand focuses heavily on seasonal ingredients from local farmers whenever possible.
All of their meats come from local farms, and their seafood comes from sustainable fisheries.
As far as vegetables go, Pete’s uses locally grown produce whenever possible.
They maintain a kitchen on both the East Coast and West Coast.
This allows them to rotate menus seasonally, ensuring that their menu always features something interesting.
Their main meal plans focus on paleo foods. However, they do offer a few options for those following an autoimmune protocol (AIP), gluten-free, low-FODMAP, and ketogenic diets.
Customers can build their own personalized meal plans from Pete’s Eat What You Love menu.
Customers can choose one of three different meal plans, each featuring 5 days worth of meals. These include:
- Meal Plan 1 – $50/month ($600 total value)
- Meal Plan 2 – $55/month
The meals are now available at Costco stores nationwide. The plan includes five meals per day, each costing $19.99.
There are three options: one serving of protein, one serving of vegetables, and one serving of fruit; four servings of carbs, such as rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, and cereal; and two servings of fat, like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
Each meal must include lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, and/or tempeh.
All meals must be organic and contain no added sugar, salt, or preservatives.
Costco members can use the code “PETEPALEO” during checkout to receive the discount.
4. The Good Kitchen
Before they were The Good Kitchen they were known as ModPalEO.
They had a strict AIP menu and it was very difficult to find anything AIP-friendly on their site.
When they rebranded their company, they reduced the strict AIP menu and focused on Paleo meals.
Their meals are not labeled as being AIP-compliant, however, they do use some common AIP foods like coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, etc.
To figure out whether a meal fits into your diet, click on each meal in the Get Started section.
You can see all of their ingredients and how many points each one contains.
This allows you to make sure that what you eat is actually good for you.
They are a great choice if you want to try something different without having to cook everything yourself.
Meals are made with 100 percent grass-fed and grass finished beef, pasture raised poultry and Seafood Watch compliant seafood and fish (see also ‘The Best Stuffed Fish Recipe‘).
Meal costs vary depending on how few meals you order and whether or not you select a recurring order.
The company’s website states that meals ordered on the monthly subscription plan fall between $12.45 and $16.75. One-time orders cost more than this.
The more meals you order each month, the less expensive it will be per meal.
The site also says that prices depend on protein. A single chicken breast costs $8.95; a whole chicken costs $13.95.
The name says it all. Trifecta is a meal delivery service that specializes in delivering high quality food options that align with popular diets like paleo, vegan, ketogenic, and others. Their mission is simple: deliver healthy foods that taste great.
They don’t offer a specific AIP plan. But they do offer Paleo, clean eating and vegetarian plans (see also ‘15 Awesome Paleo Vegetarian Recipes To Try Today‘).
What Trifecta does offer that none of the other companies do, however, is a la carte plan.
This gives customers flexibility in how they customize their meals.
With Trifecta, you can choose what you want to eat and order it in bulk.
This is helpful for those following an AIP diet because you can buy large quantities of certain ingredients and mix and match them into different recipes.
You can get bison burgers and ahi tuna, among many other things, in bulk.
This makes it easier to cook up a variety of dishes, especially ones that require lots of prep work.
For example, you can buy a bunch of veggies and make stir fry one night, soup another, etc.
All items on their a la carte menu come pre-cooked.
In general, this means salt and olive oils, but you likely will want confirmation for the specific item.
However, there are some exceptions where the food is already cooked, such as the chicken nuggets.
These are ready to go; just heat them up in the microwave or oven.
Meal prep kits come in boxes that hold 18 weeks worth of meals.
They include all the ingredients needed to make one lunch or dinner every day for a month.
You can buy just one box and customize it yourself, or you can purchase multiple boxes and mix and match what you like best.
The meal plans range from $110.99 per month to $199.99 per month depending on the number of meals you receive. Delivery costs vary based on where you live.
What About Vacations?
One great bonus option here if you are traveling outside of the United States is to order a care pack of prepackaged American Institute of Nutrition (AIP) delivery meals.
These meals are designed to help people follow a low carb diet while abroad.
They’re easy to prepare and convenient to take along on trips. Some companies even provide storage containers to keep them cool.
You can also opt for a meal kit that includes everything you need to cook one meal each day.
For example, Blue Apron offers a seven-day plan for $59.95. Or you could choose a meal kit that gives you recipes for three different meals.
Like Hello Fresh, the site sends you a box full of ingredients every month. Plus, there’s no limit to the number of times you can order.
A Break From Cooking
While most people think of food allergies when thinking about autoimmune conditions, there are actually over 200 different types of autoimmunity.
In addition to food allergies, some common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and type I diabetes.
These illnesses cause a variety of symptoms and nearly all of them include increased tiredness so what happens when you don’t want to spend hours preparing each meal?
What if you just want to eat something tasty without having to worry about making sure every single ingredient is safe?
Well, that’s where Autoimmune Protocol delivery services come into play.
These companies deliver pre-packaged meals that contain everything you need to make a delicious meal.
Benefits Of AIP
The paleo diet is often touted as one of the best ways to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
But it’s also been used to help people manage their health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.
While there isn’t much specific scientific evidence to support the use of the paleo diet for treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, there are several theories behind why it might work.
One theory suggests that eating foods high in carbohydrates increases inflammation in our bodies.
When we eat too many carbs, our blood sugar levels spike, causing insulin to release into our bloodstream.
Insulin helps regulate how much glucose enters cells — and over time, chronic exposure to excess insulin leads to increased inflammation.
This could explain why people with autoimmune diseases tend to gain weight because their immune system attacks healthy tissue, causing the body to produce more insulin.
Another theory suggests that gut bacteria play a role in triggering autoimmune responses.
In fact, scientists believe that the microbiome plays a key role in regulating immune function throughout the body.
For example, researchers found that mice bred to lack a specific type of intestinal bacterium had fewer autoantibodies, suggesting that those microbes are involved in the development of autoimmune diseases.
Other studies suggest that the way we process proteins affects whether our immune systems attack healthy tissues.
One study found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis processed protein differently than healthy individuals did, leading to greater inflammation.
Another study showed that patients with inflammatory bowel disease had different types of gut bacteria compared to healthy individuals.
Finally, there are several theories linking gluten consumption to autoimmune disorders.
Gluten is a component of wheat, barley and rye. Some people develop food sensitivities to gluten after being exposed to it early in life.
Others develop symptoms like joint pain, fatigue and bloating after consuming gluten.
A small subset of people with celiac disease cannot tolerate even trace amounts of gluten, and must completely avoid it.
Although there aren’t enough clinical trials to prove the effectiveness of the paleo diet specifically for autoimmune conditions, experts say that it’s worth trying.
The AIP Diet is based on the premise that food is medicine.
We believe it works because it forces us to think about our relationship with food in a different way.
It gives us permission to ask ourselves questions like: What does my body really want?
Why do I crave certain foods? How often am I sick? Can I eat this without feeling guilty?
If we stop thinking about food as something to fill up our bodies, but rather as a source of nourishment and pleasure, we open ourselves up to a whole new world of possibilities.