The AIP Diet: When Gluten-Free is Not Enough

aip diet for celiac disease

Time for some serious changes. Why? Let me explain, self-interview style.

Dude…what’s going on?

I had a really fun summer.

It’s October.

Could you let me finish?

Sorry…carry on.

As I was saying…I had a really fun summer. But it wasn’t the healthiest of summers. Lots of socializing. Which meant lots of happy hours, which led to some pretty bad habits. Not making the best choices. And before I was rudely interrupted, I was going to say that it seemed to carry into the Autumn months. Not good.

So you’re not feeling well?

Not feeling well and not looking well…at all.

How bad is it?

How’s this?

is aip diet gluten free?

Ouch…you look like the Walking Dead. Speaking of which, did you see the episode last Sunday?

I don’t wanna talk about it.

Ok…so moving on. I hear you are now going to do the AIP Diet for awhile. Can you tell me about it?

I’d heard of it in the past and while I was out visiting Jennifer E. last week, we talked a lot about it. It’s basically the Whole 30, which I’ve done, on steroids. Here’s the list of foods not allowed (courtesy of

  • Nuts (including nut oils like walnut and sesame seed oils)
  • Seeds (including flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and culinary herb seeds like cumin and coriander)
  • Beans/Legumes (this includes all beans like kidney, pinto, black as well as Soy in all its forms)
  • Grains (Corn, Wheat, Millet, Buckwheat, Rice, Sorghum, Amaranth, Rye, Spelt, Teff, Kamut, Oats etc)
  • Alternative sweeteners like xylitol, stevia, mannitol
  • Dried fruits and/or over-consumption of fructose (I recommend up to 2 pieces of fruit a day)
  • Dairy Products
  • All Processed Foods
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Gums (guar gum, Tara gum, Gellan gum, Gum Arabic)
  • Nightshades
  • No vegetable oils (NOTE: olive oil, lard, palm oil, cultured grass fed ghee and coconut oils are permitted)
  • Culinary herbs from seeds (mustard, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, caraway, nutmeg, dill seed)

What the hell is a nightshade??

It’s what you put on a light so it’s not so bright. No wait…that’s a lampshade. It’s what you put on at night so you can see in the dark. No wait…that’s a night light. Oh…I got it. It’s tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, mustard seeds, and all chili’s including spices.

Wait a minute…ALL BEANS? Does that include coffee?

Yes it does.

Don’t you love coffee?

Yes…I do.

And no eggs??


And no alcohol???

Are you trying to make me feel bad? You should be on my side.


Look…it’s just a reboot. It’s not forever. I plan on doing it for a few weeks. I’ve got some serious inflammation going on. I’ve got to get back on track again. And more than anything else, it shows me that I can survive without certain foods that I love. And my goal is to stay AIP 90% of the time once these few weeks are up.

Life is to be enjoyed and eating is a part of that. But if I’m feeling ill, life ain’t fun. So to all my fellow celiacs, if you’re struggling with your health, if your stuck in a rut of eating gluten-free processed crap, if you want to hit the reset button with me, the more the merrier. As I’ve always said, we all deserve to feel good.

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43 thoughts on “The AIP Diet: When Gluten-Free is Not Enough”

  1. Sometimes I feel like being gluten free is not enough to treat celiac. I have found myself not feeling well recently when I eat some of these foods (nuts, coffee, alcohol) so maybe I will give this a try for a few weeks.

  2. Can you share a little of what you do eat, what a daily meal plan would look like? It’s hard to get a perspective from just the “not allowed” foods. Thanks in advance. I’m assuming meat, fruit and non-nightshade veggies?

  3. That is an extensive list of things you won’t be eating, so what will you be eating?

    Thanks for sharing. The standard American diet is a total killer and we have to do everything we can to protect our health. No one is going to do it for us or better than us.

    1. Bacon!!! LOL, that’s a good question. I just realized that everything I usually eat for breakfast is on the no-no list 🙁

  4. I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and ibs. This diet seems somewhat similar to the low fod map diet recommended for ibs. Low fod map worked for me. Gluten is my enemy for sure but I found there are a lot of other foods my belly will not tolerate following the low fod map diet. Good luck with the AIP diet. It looks like it will help.

  5. Good luck GD! That’s a tough road ahead but inflammation is an under-estimated killer on the body and good on you for tackling it head-on. I’ve done a lot of research on the AIP and it makes sense…

  6. Here is a list of foods allowed (again…via

    Vegetables (except nightshades)
    Fruits (limit to 15-20 grams fructose/day)
    Coconut products including coconut oil, manna, creamed coconut, coconut aminos, canned coconut milk (with no additives like guar gum and carageen or bpa lined cans) shredded coconut (this list does not include coconut sugar and nectar)
    Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard, bacon fat, cultured ghee (certified to be free of casein and lactose)
    Fermented Foods (coconut yogurt, kombucha, water and coconut kefir, fermented vegetables)
    Bone Broth
    Grass Fed Meats, Poultry and Seafood
    Non-Seed Herbal Teas
    Green Tea
    Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic (that has no added sugar)
    Sweeteners: occasional and sparse use of honey and maple syrup (1 tsp/day)
    Herbs: all fresh and non-seed herbs are allowed (basil tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, savory, edible flowers)
    Binders: Grass Fed Gelatin and Arrowroot Starch (watch the starch however if you have adrenal issues)

    1. Sigh. I could really use this, but $^@%389, sometimes, just being gluten-free is all my emotional-self can take. I’ve been GF for 3 years now, and I still have that inner-pity-party-child that hasn’t quite accepted this life. Not that I will ever go back to non-GF because HECK NO, but still. Every time I think about one of these programs my inner whiny child instantly goes to the feeling deprived.

      I can’t seem to make the move from the stage of anger (or in my case, irritated pity party), and acceptance permanently. I’m trying, really. (At least I’m not in denial anymore, through, right? That’s progress at least.) Sigh.

      The mental game of this GF life is just so frickin hard.

    2. As a vegetarian this would be almost impossible for me. I was a vegetarian before my diagnosis. So while it is more difficult, I live on beans and such. I wish I could find a cleaner diet that might reboot my system. Looking forward to hearing about your journey these next few weeks!

  7. Jenn from Boulder

    You motivated me to try Whole30 back in March, and I loved it. Felt better than I have in years. And I still eat mostly grain-free, and mostly dairy-free and sugar-free now. But AIP! Yikes! Life without nightshades and spices would be so tough. Please share your experiences and results with us. I might have to try it some time to see if it helps with my arthritis (a 45 year old woman, with 80 year old knees)

  8. Hang in there. I’ve been doing a version of this for about 3 months for weight loss and other reasons, and I don’t have celiac (though I have the gene and am raising two teenagers with it). It’s boring and can sometimes be tough, but I feel great, and some funky scalp infection which the dermatologist insists is not dermatitis herpatiform is gone (bonus). I don’t ache anymore (my joints were not happy with me for a long time), I sleep better, and have more energy. So it’s doable, even if it’s not fun for a while.

  9. Like many of you… I’ve been have a rough time myself with the inflammation myself… but you know what is really helping me is Jennifer Esposito’s book “Jennifer’s Way.” I just finished reading it for the 3rd of 4th time. It’s so easy to forget. Anyway, Jen’s book is like my Bible. She lists a number of great ways to ease inflammation in the body and healing the gut. Drinking Peppermint, Ginger and Camomile tea, Drinking Aloe Vera juice, taking the amino acid glutamine and she also recommends a product call Metagenics UltraInFlamX 360. (by the way, you can purchase Metagenics products at Vitacost, if you want to purchase products at the Metagenics website you’ll need a physican’s code) Also, I quit coffee and started to drink water with lemon every day. That’s good for your PH balance. Unfortunately, I cannot take UltraInFlamX 360 because it’s made with rice but I’ve been implementing everything else and am feeling so much better these days. Course, I continue to avoid gluten, dairy, soy and rice and limit processed GF food and I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in 3 years.

  10. With recent reports of gluten being found in even GF labeled and “naturally gluten free” food (food that is just a single ingredient food that should never have had any contact with gluten) containing more than 20 ppm when tested, it does not surprise me one bit that many of us continue to suffer with health issues. Add that to the fact that medication can also have gluten in it, and you realize we are in the equivalent of a food field of land mines every time anything goes into our mouth. Should we live in fear because of it? No. What good does that do? We have a disease that doctors do not truly understand, even though many claim to be experts on it. And even if there are those who ARE experts on it, that doesn’t mean the food industry, or the “health” industry gives a rat’s bottom whether or not we get sick from what they sell. Neither does our government. We are a minority. Personally, I believe there is much more to Celiac Disease than just what food we eat (although I do agree eating GF junk food is no better for us than non-GF junk food is for people without Celiac). Eating foods that are “pre-digested” (proteins already pretty much broken down before we eat them) can help. Also, taking a “good” digestive enzyme blend before eating anything can help. Getting checked for every single vitamin and mineral profile you can could help. Some have to be done from plasma, others serum or whole blood. After eating GF 16 years, I found that I was still extremely low in B12, magnesium, selenium, zinc, D3 … the list goes on and on. And … I found my body cannot process a lot of the B vitamins correctly. Good utilization of B vitamins are really needed for good health! So … GENETICS plays a huge role in our health. Every body is different than every other body. After trying to figure out how to feel good all the time with Celiac Disease (good luck!) remember that there ARE people who can eat all the junk they want … never eat fruits and veggies … who do not feel sick, and who do not gain or lose weight, and who have no major disease. I am married to one. Some people just have genetics that allow for their bodies to put anything in them and be fine … others don’t. We have a disease that can be “managed” to allow us to live a fairly “normal” life … but we still have a disease. The sooner people stop thinking we can “cure” it with whatever food we eat, the sooner people might start to recognize that there is NO cure … only management. It affects everyone differently and to different degrees. I found, for me, eating food I did not prepare was not a good idea. Even fellow Celiacs have prepared food that I later found (the hard way) had gluten in it! And, if your home has gluten in it, chances are you are getting cross contaminated. So … imagine a restaurant which serves 95% gluten containing food … yikes! Having Celiac can mean having to almost completely change your entire lifestyle. Not all with Celiac have to … but for many, it is the only way to get a decent level of health. Good luck with your new diet. I hope it is your magic bullet to good health and you start feeling better soon … you really do look awful. Walking dead, indeed!

    1. I agree completely with everything you’ve said, Deb.
      It sounds like we’ve had similar experience with trying to “manage” celiac disease.
      I wish you health.

  11. Celiac has given me some horrible side effects from not being diagnosed properly when I first started having symptoms: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, sinus infections, food allergies and sensitivities and all of the delightful GI issues and pain. These are under control but I am always on alert for a flare up of symptoms.

    This diet sounds like the SCD diet which I’ve been following for about 2 years with some modifications. Unfortunately for me every time I have tried to reintroduce foods I end up sick again. I am especially sensitive to nightshades. I have been able to eat almond flour. The hardest part is the repetitiveness and very low caloric intake. It is almost impossible for me to gain weight. I’m 5’3″, I was down to 84 pounds at my lowest, but can’t seem to make it over 93.

    I eat mostly salads with chicken or fish for protein and make a dressing with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and coconut amino acids. Everything I eat is organic.

    As restrictive and boring as this sounds it is worth not being so sick I can only make it to the bathroom and back to bed, so sick that I wondered if my quality of life would ever be worth living again. It is now! It took a long time, but I am so grateful to be able to almost everything I did before.

    Im sharing this because if I had known what I know now I may not have had to get as sick or accumulate all of the autoimmune diseases that I have.

    Be educated and be well.

  12. Recently, I went strict AIP for more than 90 days. I’ve been able to reintroduce many things, but I’ve learned some things were not my friend (yeah, I’m looking at you corn!) I felt great and it was an amazing “reset” for my body. I’ve continued to be 80-90% AIP. Probably not as strict as I should be. However, that gives me some leeway for those days when being a celiac freak is all I can handle. Overall, I’d have to say it has been one off the best things I’ve done since going cold turkey on knowingly eating gluten 10 years ago when I was diagnosed. Good luck and enjoy feeling better!

  13. Spiralized zucchini noodles in olive oil, a big ole steak, some coconut flour faux cornbread… you’ll make it.

    And maybe look into some other happy little AIdiseases like Hashimotos – they travel in packs.

  14. I’m drinking a homebrewed gf beer as I read this lol. Sorry to sound skeptical but I don’t get these super-restrictive diets. Do they really help? Believe me I would eat anything to feel like I did before celiac. I ‘m pretty sure I’m still deficient in some nutrients like zinc, etc. Beans like pintos are very rich in nutrients. I would like to hear how it goes but I’m afraid we’re just not going to feel great no matter what we eat. By the way I’ve tried every supplement under the sun and none helped except maybe magnesium but it worsens sleep apnea which I am prone to so I don’t take it anymore.

    1. I agree with ya! Coelaic disease has us restricting our diet enough and I’m not convinced about the AIP diet. Folk wanna do it, go right ahead, but y’know like that fella in the Da Vinci Code who got a kick out of having that spiky thing dig into his leg? He might have told you it felt great but I’m not going there. Also, the only yardstick by which to judge the efficacy of anything like this is, honestly, blind testing etc because otherwise there’s a placebo effect – people saying they feel so much better because, dammit, they’ve lived on bone broth and vinegar for a week, and it BETTER be working 😀

  15. Dude,
    I am so there, for ya. Hard but helps……I am now low FODMAP and my gut is starting to smile—I never realized how much it still hurt after 3 years GF, until it began to heal–again. Nightshades, inflame my joints, salicylates also inflame both my joints and gut……they call low FODMAP a learning diet. Well am I ever learning! New cooking & eating style and recipes, but it is getting easier because I do feel better with better nutrition. 🙂
    Hang in there my friend, remember life is a journey NOT a destination–no need to rush when you can savour every second!

    Take care my friend!

  16. AIP helped me zero in on peppers (bell, chili) as causing stiffness in my hands. It took 2 1/2 months for it to go away, and the cause was pretty obvious on food re-introductions. Before AIP, I had been eating sauteed bell peppers and chorizo for breakfast a couple days a week.

    I lost weight (needed to), but gained it back afterwards (boo).

    For breakfasts I made a big batch of squash soup (squash, apple cider/apples, bone broth, coconut milk, sausage, kale) and froze portions. Since you’re watching your fructose and guar gum, maybe limit amounts of apples/cider, and use coconut milk with no additives (Native Forest Simple).

    Maybe others have mentioned these resources: @autiommunepaleo facebook group helped a lot–encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit before seeing results. There’s now also @autoimmunepaleorecipes on facebook. Maybe you’ve heard of–it’s a great site for AIP recipes and information.

    Best of luck, and thanks for all you do!!

  17. The AIP with an Elimination/Provocation cycle at the end of four weeks of strict AIP was the only thing that stopped the inflammation in my gut post diagnosis. Combined with supplements that healed my gut (including L-glutamine), I no longer struggle with the cycle of inflammation that I hear so many people with Celiac Disease continue to fight for years.

    While fellow Celiac Disease friends were gobbling down corn, seeds, beans, nuts, and gluten-free processed foods “because these are gluten free”, and eating out 3-4 times a week, I hunkered down in my home and taught myself to cook AIP. The difference is clearly measured in my ability to return to and exceed levels of energy, great sleep, significantly reduced numbers of incidences of gut inflammation, and even better, the speed in which I am able to recover from accidental exposure. Now, some of them are doing as I did, because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    Looking forward to hearing more about how the AIP diet will help nix gut inflammation (aka Leaky Gut Syndrome) and get you back on the road to health. As for me, I’ve been approved to train for my first 50k ultramarathon, and looking forward to more adventures!

    Keep up the good work!

  18. How about telling us what you actually eat on a given day, for breakfast lunch and dinner? Just quoting a list from another website doesn’t give an idea of how to do this diet.

  19. One question about the AIP diet is how to get enough fiber? Without beans and grains, pretty tough to get the bulk needed, no?

  20. Been eating mostly this way for quite a while now. I had noticed that corn and other “gluten-free” grains were still giving me pain in that usual area on my left side. Other culprits were caffeine, alcohol. I can’t really give up nuts and beans entirely as I don’t eat much meat (doesn’t digest well and it sits like a painful brick in my system). However, I try not to go crazy on them.

    Someone asked about breakfast. My usual… a kombucha, a Daiya yogurt (the only ones I’ve found to be vegan and grain free), a Lara bar, and an apple or banana.

    I’ve noticed I feel the best when I eat vegan and grain free. My problem sometimes is getting enough calories.

  21. I got glutened really bad between Halloween and Valentines day. Everything was making me sick. I tried AIP after reading this article. I am back to eating everything I used to, except some dairy products and of course, gluten. The only dairy I can do now is cheese. I did strict AIP for 3 weeks and SCD for another 3. In a couple months, I’ll try adding dairy again. But it works! Gut healing was WAY faster than I’ve experienced before.

  22. Cost is hitting me hard as a food stamp user. I do not know how to feed myself on about $60 a month to also gain weight as my BMI ranges from 14-16. I’m always hungry, more than ever since going GF. No dairy, no nuts. I’m half potato, half rice. I feel like trash, food banks were so mean to me!!!! “You want things we can’t give you because they are not going to your family/home at all!!” Head lady at food bank called me out as if I was greedy, told the staff to put items back, then gave me things labeled ‘bacon’ after she wrote down “allergic to pork”…. I hate my life. I hate it more than anything. I’m so sick but not deathly I’ll so I’m fine right??

    1. Laycee,
      Stand up for yourself!! You know what makes you sick and you can tell that “lady” that if she doesn’t know about these things, she needs to become informed. The people who use food banks are as varied as those who don’t. You know your body and you can fight for what you need by speaking up. IF you can get a doctor on board, have them write you a note. Good luck.

  23. I did the AIP diet for two months after I tested my thyroid and saw that it decided to take a vacation.
    First week was the hardest but after that, I was coasting. Sure, I missed eggs and coffee. But you know what I didn’t miss? The heart burn, arthritis, rashes and fatigue.
    Now I pretty much follow the Whole30 which is a piece of gluten-free cake after AIP.
    I recommend the AIP diet to everyone.
    Bad skin? Try this diet I just did. My skin is awesome now!
    You have Gas? Have you heard of AIP? Your gas will vanish in a cloud of smoke.
    Husband left you? This diet may distract you a bit.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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