The Diet I Recommend Most Often…And How You Can Easily Try It.

Nutrition, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

It seems like at least once a month on a podcast, I'm recommending somebody

…whether that somebody is having skin issues like acne or eczema, gut pain, brain fog, food allergies or intolerances or constipation or any other signs of immune system or inflammation issues…

…try something called the “Autoimmune Diet”.

Problem is, this particular diet, typically meant to be followed for a short period of time until things are healed up, can be confusing when it comes to whether you really need to use it to heal an issue, which foods are “allowed” and which foods aren't, how to transition off the diet back into a “normal” eating style once you've finished the autoimmune diet, and that's exactly why I decided to have Eileen Laird on the show.

Eileen just wrote the book “A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol“, I read it last week, and it's exactly what it promises, a book simple enough that even someone with brain fog can understand, written like a conversation between friends a simple and contains all of the essential information in a package small enough to throw in your purse or backpack.

Eileen is a writer, podcast host, and self-described “autoimmune warrior”, who has reversed rheumatoid arthritis through this diet. Her blog, Phoenix Helix, receives 1 million unique visitors annually and there she features recipes, research and personal stories about the autoimmune experience. She also writes “Autoimmune Answers”, a regular column in Paleo Magazine, and is the host of the Phoenix Helix Podcast, the only paleo podcast focused 100% on autoimmune healing.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What exactly the autoimmune paleo diet is…

-Why your body can attack itself and what you can do about it…

-What a sample daily meal plan would look like…

-A surprising “substitute” for organ meats…

-Why Eileen isn't a fan of stevia…

-Why it's a myth that the liver stores toxins…

-Three “gentle” ways to detox…

-If you can use nightshades, how you can make meals spicy…

-How to “transition” back to normal eating after following the AIP, and he an order in which you would introduce foods…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

Pemmican from USWellnessMeats

Organic whole roasted crickets

Dry skin brush

Magnesium salts

Sushi Sonic wasabi

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Eileen or I about the Paleo Autoimmune diet, or anything else we discuss during this episode? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

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43 thoughts on “The Diet I Recommend Most Often…And How You Can Easily Try It.

  1. Carl says:

    Forgot to ask, MCT oils like Brain Octane, or XCT oil are ok since they’re derived from coconut? Thanks

  2. Carl says:

    Is it recommended to stop all supplementation during the initial AIP elimination phase? Would it be ok to take creatinine, or a nootropic like alpha brain? By the way, awesome podcast!

  3. Jill LaFrance says:

    In your podcast you recommend not using Stevia while on this diet. What about the natural sweetener Monk Fruit?

    Thank you

    1. Monk fruit is relatively low glycemic so it is probably ok.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Ben and Eileen,

    I was recently diagnosed with Lupus and have been having lots of gut issues for the past year. I was considering trying this protocol, is there anything else that you would specifically recommend for Lupus?

    I have been taking the Progressive Vegegreens every day as my greens supplement and with your comments around algae causing issues sometimes I wasn’t sure if this should be eliminated on this protocol or not. Thanks for your help and the informative podcast!

    1. Hi Andrew. Since algae is an immune stimulant (which can cause problems for people with autoimmune disease), it’s recommended that you remove it during the elimination phase of the AIP. When you’re ready for reintroductions, you can try reintroducing the supplement to see how your body reacts (positive/negative/neutral) and make your decision at that time whether or not your want to incorporate it back into your diet. Wishing you wellness in every way!

  5. Leigha says:

    Amino Acids were talked about in this podcast and I’m confused on whether or not I should be taking them while following this diet. I use the ones Ben sells. I’ve tried others and his is the only one I’ve had results from. I mainly take them to heal. I have an injury similar to what Shawn Stevenson of the Model Health Show describes himself as having “in the beginning”. I also have acne but since reading The Dietary Cure for Acne (you recommended on a previous podcast), and cutting out nightshades which are not entirely eliminated in that book, the acne is much better so my only real concern at this point is the injury. I’m traveling to Africa in less than a month and am terrified I’ll be “laid up” by the time I get there. Sitting is still a major problem for me, and standing or being stationary at all is also problematic. The “chronic” pain went away within four days of taking the aminos, so, am I in the clear here? I do want my skin 100% clear because it’s annoying, but, my ego can continue to take that blow as long as I’m not in pain. Thanks for your time! Keep up the good work! You are valued and doing the world a tremendous service by providing the information you do.

    1. I'm not clear on the question you are asking, can you re-phrase?

      1. Leigha says:

        Can/should I take NatureAmino’s while following the auto immune diet?

        1. Absolutely, yes. No contraindications.

        2. Leigha says:

          Hi, Ben. Sorry for this being a long post, but I wanted to say THANK YOU, and post this update so others with the same conditions as myself might benefit should they happen to read these comments. As I originally stated, I read The Dietary Cure for Acne after a podcast where you spoke of the book being of great help to your wife. (Basically the auto-immune protocol with a few exceptions. I’m still following the diet and made “upgrades” based on Eileen’s work.) A few weeks after implementing the diet, I also began taking Nature’s Aminos. A) Four days after taking the amino’s, my chronic back pain was GONE – to the tune of me being able to jump around with zero difficulty which was HUGE both mentally and physically since I’d been sidelined in every possible way for over a year. This I was able to immediately attribute to the aminos. B) My skin was clear. To the tune of going make-up free for the first time since the fall of 2010!!! This I did not contribute to the aminos, but strictly to the diet. As my husband preferred a powdered amino, I stopped taking Nature’s Amino’s and used his. Pain and skin problems returned, just not as bad as before. Both were manageable, but both had repeated flare-up’s that were not. In short, I switched back to Nature Amino’s with one goal – to be pain free. Again, within a few days I feel like I can conquer the world! It’s AMAZING! I am also, once again, make-up free. BEYOND AMAZING! Since following your podcast for the past year, my life has greatly improved. From the depths of my heart and soul, THANK YOU!! I pray your contributions to the world are returned to you seven-fold.

  6. I have Hashiomotos and I went Paleo about 9 yrs ago ( now more primal do some butter and rice and Whey Protein) and it made a big difference ( even helped my seasonal allergies) but my TPO ( antibodies still didn’t budge much) so I tried LDN ( low dose Naltrexone) for 6 months and my TPO went from 550 to about 50 and stayed there up until now.

    though I have had some issues with my joints getting tendonitis more then what I think is normal even for a 54 year old Athlete/Trainer like myself. So Im thinking I def need to take the next step my questions is:

    What is the advantage of doing the AIP over just doing the Cyrex food allergy lab test ( other then just cost) ? ok and yes Ill admit I’m probably just looking for excuses not to do it like some of my clients do to me ;-) hate to give up nuts and whey protein shakes if I don’t have to …..;-) love to hear your input

    1. Hi Michael. When it comes to identifying food intolerances, an elimination /provocation diet like the AIP is the gold standard for accuracy. This is because lab testing can have false positive and false negatives, so you might end up giving up foods unnecessarily (and continuing to eat foods that are inflammation triggers). The AIP is hard, but the information you gain makes it worth it!

  7. Damon says:

    Ben & Eileen – Thanks for the discussion on this. The timing couldn’t be better.

    My partner is about to commence the PAI protocol after dealing with a range of confusing joint and connective tissue pain symptoms. I thought I’d join her along for the ride, despite no concerns whatsoever. My health is better than ever, as a fit 40 year old male.

    In my case, I was also considering pairing this protocol with Dr Minkoff’s Metal Free Detox formulation. Would you suggest this is a good idea in combination? Should i take caution to introduce it gradually, or after a period of commencing the protocol, with the same advice given to any general supplementation in Eileen’s book?

    1. Damon, I’m not really a fan of detox supplements. A nutrient-dense diet is naturally detoxifying, so if you focus on nutrient density with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, you’re going to get that benefit anyway, at a safer pace for your body.

  8. Jeff says:

    Love the show and your work …however statement in this show could be a little off … The university of Guelph did a study on wild turkey and found high levels of neonicotinoids and fungicides stored in the their livers especially in agricultural areas …. It would seem the liver does store toxins …

    1. Good point, Jeff. It would be more accurate to say that the entire body stores toxins to some degree, so if there were toxins found in the turkey’s livers, they were also found elsewhere in the muscles, bones, fat and skin of the turkey (provided they looked in those areas). The key is understanding the the liver isn’t a sponge. Its role isn’t to store toxins, but rather to render toxins inert and then send them elsewhere for excretion out of the body. The liver contains a high amount of nutrients in order to perform its job, and those nutrients are the benefit we get by eating it. Organic animals will have fewer toxins than conventional animals (or wild animals foraging in high pesticide use areas). And while we don’t need to eat liver every day, once a week it’s a powerful nutrient boost.

  9. Nick says:

    Has there been any link to AIP alleviating symptoms from Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)? Rare disorder where the immune system attacks the nerves. My father has it and currently undergoes intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment every 3 weeks.

    1. Nick, this diet is great for any autoimmune disease, regardless of diagnosis. That’s because the root cause is always the same.

  10. Carrie says:

    What was the fd army test you mentioned about 20 minutes in?.

    1. who mentioned it? Me or her? Not sure…

  11. Karen says:

    I dont have any gut issues, but many hormonal issues ( ie no menses, low estrogen production, normal FSH & LH and no family doctor as I have relocated several times and on wait list up in Ontario, but my Endocrinologist has tested at my pleading and suggested I take the “pill”). As an adult athlete with Type 1 Diabetes (autoimmune disease managed with an insulin pump and avg. hbA1c 5.5 to 6.0 mmol – Canada) diagnosed 9 years ago at 35 years old, I suspect I am getting OA (osteoarthritis) and other achy joints. Do you think I can benefit from trialing the AIP? .. Maybe even to restart/regulate my hormones. I train hard – long distance runner, weight training, distance cycling.

    1. I should begin by clarifying the fact that I am *not* a physician and this is *not* to be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to a licensed medical professional about all of this!

      But yes I would if I were you…

  12. David Mosier says:

    Woo Woo off the charts. Un-subscribed. Sorry I wasted my time

  13. Carolina says:

    Hey Ben I was curious what kind of tooth powder Jessa makes for your twins. I current use coconut oil and clay. Thanks!

  14. Ben, thanks so much for having me on the show! See you at PaleoFx.

  15. Istvan B says:

    @Ben Zwadlo: Hey, did you ever try epsom salt hot baths for outbreak prevention/maintenance? This mostly helps people with genuine acne, inflammed/blocked hair follicles due to the overproduction of sebum, however the topical absorbtion of extra magnesium won’t hurt you even if it does not alleviate rosacea symptoms, so give it a try.

    – water as hot as you can just-barely-handle

    – at least 1 lbs of epsom salt (large grain size salt needs frequent stirring)

    – half to one cup of baking soda

    – some people also add a couple of grams of ascorbic acid powder to the bath

    – soak in it for half an hour or so

    Another idea, perhaps the boosted blood circulation and NO production from taking cycled hot/cold showers would also accelerate the disappearance of visible symptoms. Just brainstorming.

    1. Ben Zwadlo says:

      I’ve started doing Epsom Salt baths recently. Mostly for my muscles and something to help me sleep better but yeah I’ve been putting some of it on my face as well. I haven’t tried putting baking soda or that acid powder though but perhaps it’s something I’ll add.

      Yeah I flare up with hot water, or just heat in general which sucks as I work outdoor every day and are exposed to the sun. So don’t think that will help. I do cold showers every now and then and even if I don’t fancy doing a cold shower I stick my head for 1-2 minutes under a cold shower every morning and that can sometimes help.

      Other than that I drink loads of water, eat pretty well and moisturise my face several times a day. Sometimes it’s great and my skin looks fine. Other times I’m red all over for several days and can’t calm my skin down. It’s quite infuriating. I don’t stress much at all (apart from this annoying skin condition) so I don’t think that’s a trigger.

      But thanks for the recommendations. At this stage I’ll try anything. I’m currently on antibiotics that my GP has given me and they don’t seem to be doing much.

  16. kem johnson says:

    Great interview, thanks. Learned a lot.

  17. Christy says:

    Ben is the best! My favorite podcaster and blogger in this realm by far. Would you recommend this diet for neuropathy? I have idiopathic peripheral neuropathy that is pretty painful. Thanks so much for everything you do.

    1. Hi Christy. Neuropathy can have a number of different causes, but two potential causes are inflammation and nutrient deficiencies. Since this is a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, it’s worth a try!

  18. Carl says:

    Ben recommended this diet to me after I was having a ton of horrible sinus issues… I was getting about 8 infections per year… Ended up getting surgery recommended by my ENT which made everything worse… Super frustrating…

    It’s been over a year since I’ve implemented this diet and I have not had to fall back to antibiotics one time… I still have issues here and there but all are now solved naturally. That’s a huge deal! Can’t recommend this enough.

    1. Ben Zwadlo says:

      Thanks for your response Carl. Glad things are better with you.

    2. Carl, that is awesome! I never tire of hearing stories like this.

  19. Ben Zwadlo says:

    Hey Ben.

    I’m a huge fan and love the work you’re doing man. I have Rosacea which is a skin condition in which certain parts of my face flare up and gives the appearance that I have acne and it’s something which is affecting my self-confidence. Have you come across any research at some point as to what the underlying cause is behind it rather than just the “avoiding the triggers” answer that everything seems to give me? Are there any natural remedies that can help facilitate the problem?

    Thanks man.

    1. kem johnson says:

      Rosacea for me doesn’t like sun, which is a drag as the rest of me does. A good day out and it looks like serious sunburn (red as…) but gone the next morning. And zits at my age (64), sheesh! I tried the antibiotic thing twice, lots of money on specialists, terrible insult to my guts and, of course, the therapy didn’t work.

      My GP talked to a dermatologist colleague and they cooked up a sulphur and some sort of slightly acidic cream. If I use it every day, it works pretty well. am about to try manuka honey mixed with Nivea face cream as it works for a friend slightly older than me.

      I think that daily sauerkraut and keifer have also been helpful.

      God luck.

      1. Ben Zwadlo says:

        Sorry I replied to the wrong comment. Thanks that’s quite interesting. I’ll certainly try some of the things you’ve just recommended. Yeah sun really drys my skin up and flares it up which sucks as I work outdoors and am exposed to the sun quite a lot at the moment. But even in winter, the cold winds really destroy my face as well.

    2. I’m sure Ben will reply as well, but I wanted to chime in to mention SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth – has been directly connected to Rosacea. It’s diagnosed through a special breath test.

      1. Ben Zwadlo says:

        Wow that’s really interesting. I’ll look into that. Thanks Eileen!

        (Sorry I replied to the wrong comment.)

      1. Ben Zwadlo says:

        Cheers Ben!

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