How I Eat Now: AIP + Reintroductions

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I’ve always been open about how I “went about reintroductions the wrong way”. Sure, I was diligent with the elimination stage for six months, but I got sloppy with reintroductions.

Embarrassingly so.

See, over three years ago there wasn’t a reintroduction guide to walk you through the process. Now, there’s plenty of information for when one is ready to start their reintroduction process.

Of course, my mistakes were lessons well-learned. Because of my eagerness to nibble on nuts, drink coffee, and enjoy chocolate (see? no guide), I received two additional diagnoses and saw loud and clear that nuts and I do.not.jive.

After those failed reintros, I went back to the start. The psoriatic arthritis flare I was experiencing settled quite quickly (it was two weeks before I could get into a rheumatologist, so I took pictures because I had immediately 86ed nuts) and my skin began to look better. I knew next time my reintroductions would be done with thought and care. And slowly. πŸ˜‰

How I Eat Now: AIP + Reintroductions | Enjoying this Journey...

What DO I eat now?

Notice I didn’t say can. Hell, I “can” eat whatever I want. I “can” eat a slice of pizza, order Chinese food to-go, or (my old favorite) make Brie en CroΓ»te with my homemade fig jam. But I don’t because I know those foods will royally mess me up. And I don’t want to be royally messed up. I’m still trying to minimize just how messed up I am, so I continue to be choosy with the foods I eat.


So what DO I eat now? All foods allowed in the paleo autoimmune protocol (as outlined in The Paleo Approach) PLUS:

    ⦁ Coconut – yes, technically this is an AIP allowed food, but it caused some major GI distress for me (something I’d never dealt with before). After eliminating all coconut foods for many months, I found I am able to tolerate homemade coconut yogurt, coconut butter, and coconut milk in small amounts and infrequently. I also watch how much coconut flesh (shredded) I eat simply because it’s usually made as a treat and I can overdo it. πŸ˜‰ Coconut oil poses no issue.
    ⦁ Legumes with edible pods (stage one reintro) – successfully: snap peas, snow peas, and green beans.
    ⦁ Most berry-based spices (stage one reintro) – successfully: vanilla, peppercorns, and star anise.
    ⦁ Grass-fed ghee (stage one reintro) – occasionally. I’ve noticed, I simply don’t use this too often. Probably because I’ve so many other AIP-friendly fats around. πŸ˜€
    ⦁ Pasture-raised eggs (stage one reintro for yolk, stage two for whites) – occasionally.
    ⦁ Some seeds (stage two reintro) – successfully: coriander, fennel seed, mustard, and sesame (yay tahini!).
    ⦁ Chocolate/cacao (stage two reintro) – 80% or better cacao content – no freaking soy, dairy, or BS. I’m a chocolate snob and I own it. πŸ˜‰
    ⦁ Alcohol (stage two reintro) – occasionally. My drink of choice is homebrewed mead (a raw honey wine).
    ⦁ Coffee (stage three reintro) – occasionally, easy to over do it.
    ⦁ White rice (stage four reintro) – occasionally.

Fear and loathing.

I fully admit, I am hesitant to challenge two specific foods any time soon. Nuts (because of past failed reintro flares) and nightshades/nightshade-based spices (I unknowingly ate paprika and my hands were swollen and inflamed). For now, this is the AIP + reintro template works for me. I’ll revisit it and make changes to this post as needed down the line.

And to be clear: I have no intention of reintroducing gluten-containing grains.

What now?

Even though I have these successful reintroductions under my belt, you’ll still find the majority of the recipes on my blog and daily plates on Instagram to be #totesAIP. And I’ll still be among the bone broth drinkers, 4-cup salad eaters, and swearing that offal ain’t awful. Why?

Because nutrient-density continues to be the foundation of my meals. I add in successfully reintroduced ingredients here and there (and they are clearly noted as a reintro item), but I feel my best when I stick pretty darn close to the elimination stage.

How about you? What foods have you been able to successfully reintroduce? Are there any that were clear “no”s?

See more AIP reintroduction stories.

Earlier this year, Kari wrote an open letter to those going through the reintroduction process and compiled a handful of bloggers’ reintroduction stories. I think it’s interesting to see everyone’s unique experiences with reintroducing foods. Don’t you?

Read on :: Do As I Say, Not As I Did: Food Reintroduction

How I Eat Now: AIP + Reintroductions | Enjoying this journey...
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  9 comments for “How I Eat Now: AIP + Reintroductions

  1. August 18, 2016 at 2:32pm

    Love this post, Erin! I’ve reintroduced a lot of the foods you have. Nightshades are a problem for me still, but not nightshade spices like paprika, I can handle that fine. Strange! I can have nuts if it’s a tiny amount, VERY rarely. I certainly couldn’t eat a slice of almond-based cake. I’d just have to have a small bit for a taste. I eat butter on my veggies occasionally, too and am fine with it. I find it really interesting how our bodies are all different and handle the reintro stage differently, too. Love the post πŸ™‚

    • August 18, 2016 at 3:16pm

      Thanks, Jo! Yes, it’s so interesting to see everyone’s experiences. πŸ™‚ I do hope I’ll eventually be able to reintroduce at least nightshade-based spices (paprika brings so much flavor), but since I experienced a swelling symptom – not skin, I wonder if that simply stirred up some psoriatic arthritis business? Curious…

  2. Susan
    August 21, 2016 at 5:34pm

    I started AIP 2 months ago after being Primal for 5 years. I thought it might help my problems of low iron, headaches, depression, aching joints and just feeling unwell. Amazingly all symptoms are lessening but I don’t know when to start reintroducing items as I’m not sure if any will totally go away or if I will notice any difference with reintroductions. I don’t mind staying on the AIP but it is a pain in the butt for social outings and I’m worried I will turn into a hermit, too scared to go out! Any advice would be most appreciated!

    • August 21, 2016 at 5:53pm

      Hi Susan! When I first started the elimination stage, I didn’t go out to eat (I felt there was too much to worry about), but I did still visit with friends and family. I simply brought my own food. Now, I will occasionally go out to eat at sushi restaurants (I’m still quite specific with my “allergies” and make sure I’m taken seriously) and order sashimi or sushi rolls since I’ve reintroduced white rice (menu items without soy sauce added and I bring my own coconut aminos). But in general I don’t live in a place where eating out is super safe for me, and that’s okay.

      Generally speaking, you can start reintroducing foods when you see significant improvement/change in your autoimmune disease (AI) symptoms. If you don’t have a diagnosed AI, I’d say when you see significant improvement in the symptoms you just listed. I’d suggest looking at Phoenix Helix’s reintroduction guide or Paleo Mom’s reintroduction posts on her blog for guidance/clarification on the reintroduction process. Wishing you good health!

  3. August 21, 2016 at 6:41pm

    Thank you for sharing! It’s always nice to commiserate πŸ˜‰ And to learn from others. I’ve definitely had an interesting time with re-intro’s… and totally have FEAR OF NIGHTSHADES!

    But I’m thankful for the foods I can eat!

    • August 21, 2016 at 10:17pm

      Yes! I’m still SO thankful for the littlest reintro food. Like peppercorns. Ha! I think we can take so much for granted on when eating the standard American diet (or even what I used to consider healthy – an organic SAD diet).

  4. October 6, 2016 at 7:21pm

    I’ve been on the AIP for about 2 1/2 years and still can’t do nightshades or eggs πŸ™ I just tried eggs over the last couple weeks and had a terrible flare. I consume small amounts of nuts and seeds, chocolate, and grassfed butter -besides that though, I stick pretty close to AIP. I’ve tried rice occasionally and although it doesn’t give me ai symptoms is does give me gi symptoms, so it’s very rare. It is scary to reintroduce things that have caused a flare in the past. I have benefited very much from this diet template and even though it is restrictive, I would do it all again. And encourage anyone with AI symptoms to try it too.

    • October 7, 2016 at 8:12am

      I’m sorry you experienced a flare, LeDawn – but isn’t it incredible that you “hear” your body’s signals? I’m still leery of certain foods for sure and I’m fine if I never eat them again. πŸ˜‰ I do think there is something to be said about the mental side of fearing food (read: emotions alone can cause flares). If I felt hesitant about a food I wouldn’t try to reintroduce it until I was mentally up for it. Here’s to more healing and feeling our best! β™₯

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