July 28, 2021
Fatigue. Chronic pain. Digestive issues. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, a possible culprit is autoimmunity, a general term for conditions in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s own cells, tissues, and organs. One in 5 Americans suffers from an autoimmune disorder, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Foundation—so if it seems like everyone’s talking about this topic lately, that might begin to explain why.
There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases, ranging from psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis to ulcerative colitis and lupus. Research has also shown a link between a history of autoimmune disease and increased risk for mental health disorders like depression. The good news is that you may be able to positively impact some autoimmune symptoms through simple things you do every day, like what you eat and how you manage stress.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is one of those experts. He’s a functional medicine clinician, educator, and bestselling author who focuses on autoimmunity and specifically, how to manage it using nutrition, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies.
“In functional medicine, we address the underlying causes of your health problems (instead of just treating symptoms) so you can get well and stay well without unnecessary drugs or surgery,” Kresser told us in 2019. “It works because it focuses on the root cause of health problems, instead of just putting Band-Aids on symptoms.”
Kresser shared that it was his own personal health journey which led him to his career as a healer. While traveling in Indonesia in his 20s, he began experiencing what would become chronic symptoms. It took a decade to make his way back to full health using nutrition (specifically, a paleo-style diet) and other functional medicine practices. “Once I did recover, I wanted to help other people who were struggling with complex, chronic health problems,” he said.
AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol. The AIP diet is basically the paleo diet—so no grains, sugar, dairy, or legumes—turned up a notch, meaning it requires some additional restrictions. While more research is needed, proponents of the AIP diet say it can reduce inflammation, heal the gut, and help with some autoimmune symptoms.
A strict AIP diet plan requires an elimination period, during which you are advised to avoid a lengthy list of foods for between 30 and 90 days. After the initial elimination phase, you can slowly reintroduce eliminated foods one at a time, keeping track of any adverse reactions you experience. The goal of this elimination and reintroduction process is to identify which specific foods may trigger an immune response that results in symptoms, so that you can avoid the foods that make you feel bad, and continue enjoying those that don’t.
The AIP diet filter makes it easy to shop AIP-friendly foods at Thrive Market. If you’re interested in experimenting with the AIP diet plan, start by stocking up on these foods:
These are the foods you’ll want to steer clear of during the initial elimination phase of the AIP diet plan:
Just because the AIP diet is restrictive doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Read on for four AIP diet recipes Kresser shared with us that will add flavor and flair to your anti-inflammatory cooking repertoire.
Good days start with wholesome, protein-packed breakfasts, so start your morning with this savory and satisfying skillet (sans eggs).
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Coconut Oil
1 pound organic ground turkey
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Thyme
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large leaves kale, removed from stems and sliced
Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed sweet potatoes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until all sides are golden brown.
In a separate, smaller skillet over medium heat, add the ground turkey. Add thyme, sage, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes. Once browned, add the turkey mixture to the skillet with the sweet potatoes.
In the skillet that you used to cook the turkey, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the kale and saute for 2 to 4 minutes.
Once the kale is cooked down, add it to the skillet with the sweet potatoes and turkey mixture. Stir to combine and serve with your choice of AIP-friendly toppings, like sliced avocado and fresh herbs.
Skip the takeout and make yourself a restaurant-worthy meal at home with this paleo poke bowl recipe.
Yield: 1 serving
Total time: 30 minutes
For the poke bowl:
1/4 head cauliflower, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic Coconut Oil
1 piece Thrive Market Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon, seared (click here for simple salmon cooking tips)
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
1/4 raw beet, grated
1 radish, sliced
2 tablespoons green peas
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Fresh cilantro, chopped
For the ponzu sauce:
4 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Coconut Aminos
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Raw Honey
Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the grated cauliflower and crushed garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Next, make the ponzu: combine coconut aminos, lime juice, and honey. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Top cauliflower rice with cooked salmon, sliced avocado, cucumber slices, grated beet, sliced radish, peas, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with ponzu. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
With fragrant autumnal spices and brightly colored squash, you’ll want to bookmark this hearty paleo chili recipe for fall (and we promise, you won’t even miss the tomatoes).
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 40 minutes
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2–3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound Thrive Market Grass-Fed Ground Beef (can also use ground turkey)
2 cups Thrive Market Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 a 15-oz can Thrive Market Organic Pumpkin
1 beet, cooked and puréed
1/2 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until tender.
Add the ground beef (or turkey), breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the beef bone broth, scraping the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven. Add the spices and bay leaf.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the butternut squash, pumpkin purée, beet purée, and apple cider vinegar. Stir until well combined.
Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender. Serve with your choice of AIP-friendly toppings, like fresh herbs.
You’re 5 ingredients and 5 minutes away from a simple yet flavorful paleo pesto that adds the bright taste of summer to nearly any dish.
Yield: About 2 ½ cups pesto
Total time: 5 minutes
5 tightly packed cups fresh basil, rinsed, dried, and stalks removed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on medium speed until everything is well combined. Serve tossed with zucchini noodles and meatballs, over grilled proteins, with grilled vegetables, or as a salad dressing.
Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, or frozen to extend shelf life.
Curious about the AIP diet and want to learn more? Chris Kresser is offering a 7-week online workshop, Healing Autoimmunity Naturally with Functional Medicine, beginning Monday, August 16, 2021.
During the course, you’ll tune in for weekly video lessons (60 to 90 minutes each) that teach you about the root cause of autoimmune disease and how to incorporate naturally healing practices into your daily routine. You’ll also receive educational resources and exercises; a guide to Kresser’s recommended supplements, products, and services; and access to an interactive online community. To sign up for the workshop, click here.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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