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Is the Autoimmune Protocol a breeding ground for disordered eating?

Is the Autoimmune Protocol a breeding ground for disordered eating?

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Sarah Ballantyne, author of the groundbreaking Autoimmune Protocol book The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Bodyis one of the most brilliant people I know. She writes at ThePaleoMom.com, and at that site as well as in her book, she outlines a very specific, very effective, and therefore necessarily very limited approach to paleo eating. If broken, it heals your gut.

By healing your gut, you heal a lot of other things, too.

It’s remarkable. Sarah has had had success with… I’m going to guess, and correctly, I believe, hundreds of thousands of people.

So short story is: the autoimmune protocol Sarah (and others, like one of my favorite women, Eileen Laird) outlines and advocates is the. bomb. digs.Bomb diggity Black

But I’ve always been wary.

For two reasons. 1) People without autoimmune diseases often eat an AIP for the sake of “better health.” But this is silly, because I and AIP advocates alike think it’s unnecessary, and doesn’t even benefit your health really, necessarily, unless you’re autoimmune. 2) People use this as an excuse to eat a controlled way of eating. 3) People sometimes feel unduly restricted on AIP and develop disordered behaviors. 4) People have a hard time transitioning out of AIP. 5) Obviously there are more than two reasons.

(And no, to answer my title’s question, the AIP doesn’t always beget disordered eating. But there’s definitely a “but” that belongs, hanging, at that end of that statement.  “The AIP doesn’t beget disordered eating, but…”)

So anyway. I did an interview talking about these things with an AIP advocate named Eileen Laird, who writes at Phoenix Helix.com (what an amazing brand name, holy hell), who’s brilliant and lovely. There’s a lot of psychological stuff that swirls around AIP: fear of death, fear of illness, fear of freedom..

Good. Stuff.

@ here.

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Managing director of Paleo for Women and author of Sexy by Nature.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Stefani! Firstly, let me just say thank you because it was through your website that I began to research the Paleo diet for help with my long-standing hormonal issues. I myself am not following the AIP, but I read about it and instantly knew my mother would benefit from it. She has had an autoimmune disorder for years that no one can really figure out, but she has been able to identify specific foods that trigger her reactions. As I was reading the AIP “no” list, I was shocked to find literally every food my mom already realizes she can’t eat, plus some.

    I cannot imagine anyone that would do AIP unless they were autoimmune, but then again, those that may be pre-disposed to disordered eating might be tempted to. However, I don’t think that the AIP should be discredited because some may misuse it. I think disordered eating comes in many forms and follows all kinds of diets, so education and support within the Paleo community is important in healing anyone with a past history of disordered eating and to prevent it as much as possible.

    • If you go read the interview, that’s exactly what I say.

  2. Having recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I’ve been toying with the idea of doing the AIP protocol, but having had issues with disordered eating in the past this is a concern of mine. I will definitely check out your interview!

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