Autoimmune Protocol AIP Maintenance Phase
The autoimmune protocol (AIP) is a nutrition and lifestyle protocol specifically designed to help those with autoimmune disease find relief from their symptoms.
The nutrition side of the AIP includes the elimination phase, the reintroduction phase, and the maintenance phase. You can learn more about the elimination phase here, the reintroduction phase here, and you can download a free AIP foods list here.
This article will help you understand the autoimmune protocol AIP maintenance phase, as well as the importance of finding your personalized AIP.
What is the AIP Maintenance Phase?
The AIP maintenance phase is the third, and final, phase of the autoimmune protocol (AIP).
It is also known as modified AIP, or personalized AIP.
After going through the AIP reintroduction phase to the extent you feel comfortable with at this point in your journey, you enter the maintenance phase, or your own personalized AIP.
You can revisit the AIP elimination phase, or AIP reintroduction phase at any point.
When to Revisit the AIP Elimination Phase?
Keep in mind you can revisit the elimination phase whenever you feel so inspired to on your wellness journey.
You can revisit it annually to do an AIP reset, or whenever you feel it’s time.
Other times when it may be a good idea to revisit the AIP elimination phase include times of illness or sickness, during times of extreme stress, after a failed reintroduction, or during an autoimmune flare.
You can read about the ins and outs of the AIP elimination here.
Why Revisit the AIP Reintroduction Phase?
Keep in mind that just because you failed an AIP reintroduction earlier in your AIP journey does not mean you will never be able to reintroduce that food (with the exception of food allergies, generally speaking).
Sometimes after working on more gut healing and progressing on our wellness journey, we are able to tolerate and enjoy an increasing variety of foods. You can revisit the reintroduction phase throughout your wellness journey.
Remember, there are a number of benefits to reintroducing foods, including:
There are many nutrient dense foods eliminated initially on the AIP that provide your body with additional needed nutrients. Examples include nuts, seeds, eggs, grass fed dairy, and more.
Increase in Variety
Reintroducing foods allows you to increase the variety of nutrient dense foods you eat. Not only is this great for consuming a variety of nutrients, but it will also help you avoid getting bored!
Easier to Travel & Eat Out
As you reintroduce foods, you will have more options when eating out and traveling.
Going through the reintroduction process will give you valuable feedback about your body.
Even if you fail a reintroduction initially, that provides you with feedback about your body.
You can read about the ins and outs of the AIP reintroduction phase here.
AIP Maintenance Phase Keys to Remember
- Your AIP journey and autoimmune wellness journey is uniquely your own. Try not to compare your journey to anyone else’s journey.
- Keep in mind the continued importance of AIP lifestyle factors in conjunction with nutrition. For example, if you find yourself under extreme stress that you are struggling to manage, try to keep all other lifestyle factors in check, and try to keep your nutrition on point to help offset the extreme stress.
- Remember that we change, and our needs change. You may not always need the 11 hours of sleep you need at this point. Or you may need extra stress relief practices during the holiday season. Other times you may need to up your nutrient density. Be open to, and celebrate, changes as they come.
- Enjoy the journey! Be so proud of yourself for each and every effort you are making, and celebrate your victories! Life is not just about getting from point A to point B, it’s about finding joy along the way!
- Remember to continue to cultivate a growth mindset. When challenges arise, try to see how you can learn, grow, and become of better version of yourself through the challenges you face. Nothing is perfect. No-one is perfect. Focus on progress over perfection.
- Revisit and adjust your why throughout your journey as needed. If you find yourself wavering in your resolve, maybe your why that helped jumpstart your AIP journey needs to be revamped. Get back to basics and think about your why. Dig deep.
I love this quote from Dr. Sarah Ballanyne (from https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-3-phases-of-the-autoimmune-protocol/):
“The Autoimmune Protocol provides a framework for a health journey full of self-discovery, the goal of which is to discover your own personalized maintenance diet and lifestyle, defined as that collection of choices that keeps you healthy and which you feel you can sustain over the long term. I like to think of the Maintenance Phase as the empowerment that comes with having discovered your food triggers (the lines you can’t cross), what your body needs to thrive (your optimal choices), and what your body tolerates (your wiggle room).” -Dr. Sarah Ballantyne
It takes time and patience to make adjustments when finding a way of eating and living that helps you feel your best.
Also, the way you eat and live may change throughout your journey.
Your AIP journey is uniquely your own. It will not look like anyone else’s…and I think that is a beautiful thing!
Remember that symptoms are feedback from our body, and make adjustments to your nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset as needed.
Remember to allow yourself to feel all the feels, but to also cultivate a growth mindset, choose positivity, celebrate how far you’ve come, and to practice lots of self care.
I am cheering you on so loud! I believe in you and your ability to make hard choices so you can find joy while living well with autoimmune disease. You got this, my friend. You got this.
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