Paleo 101 Guide

Free Paleo 101 Quick-Start Guide

Get Started the Smart Way. Feel and Look Better, Faster!

Free Paleo 101 Guide

Category Archives for Paleo AutoImmune Protocol

AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) Pantry List

Louise Hendon | March 23

It’s not easy to start the AIP (autoimmune paleo) protocol. Various foods like bread, cereal, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, eggs are all of a sudden off the list of foods you can eat, and you’re left wondering what on earth you can still eat!

So, we’ve created this handy guide to help you navigate the AIP diet and heal your body as quickly as possible.

You can also download this list as a printable PDF to stick on your fridge or to take with you when you go shopping.

Items in parentheticals are typically harder to find and not often used in most recipes. If you live somewhere where those items are easier to find and you want to give them a try, then by all means purchase them. Where applicable, items are linked so that you can purchase them on or elsewhere online.

Click To Download This Entire AIP Pantry List

AIP Herbs and Spices (fresh or dried)

AIP Herbs and Spices Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Sea salt + flavored salt (e.g., garlic salt, lemon salt)
Bay leaves

AIP Oils and Fats

AIP Fats and Oils Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Coconut oil
Avocado oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Cultured Ghee
(Sustainable palm shortening)
(Bacon fat)
(Duck Fat)

AIP Vinegars

Autoimmune Paleo Vinegars Infographic - AIP Pantry List  #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Apple cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar

AIP Baking Flours

AIP Baking Flours Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Coconut flour
Tapioca flour
Arrowroot flour
(Cassava flour)
(Plantain flour)
(Tigernut flour)
(Sweet potato flour)
(Water chestnut flour)
(Cricket flour)
(Pumpkin flour)

If you’re looking for the AIP Food List, then click the button below to download it:

Download Our Free AIP Food List

AIP Sweeteners

AIP Sweeteners Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Raw Honey
Maple Syrup
Dried Fruits
Fresh Fruits

Other AIP Baking Goods

Other AIP Baking Goods Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Beef gelatin
Baking soda
Shredded coconut or coconut flakes
Canned coconut milk
(Carob powder)

Other AIP Pantry List Items

Other AIP Pantry List Items Autoimmune Paleo Infographic #aip #paleo #autoimmune
Fish sauce
Coconut aminos
Canned fish and seafood (packed in brine or olive oil)
Herbal tea (rooibos, mint, honeybush, chamomile)
Other teas (black, white, green)
Pumpkin puree
Dried seaweed
Lemon juice
(Sweet potato puree)
(Shirataki noodles)
(Kelp noodles)
(Chicory root “coffee”)
(Real wasabi)
(Liquid smoke)

Click To Download This Entire AIP Pantry List

Images: Copyright (c) laurha, millefloreimages, norikko, Luis Santos, Leonid Nyshko, s4sanchita, dusk, giulianax, spafra, Picture Partners, Angel Simon, Viktor, David Pimborough, Ilya Zaytsev, akulamatiau, Jiri Hera, Dionisvera, Mara Zemgaliete, hanabiyori, Marek, picsfive, viperagp, Paulista, gcpics, Gudellaphoto, toomler from Fotolia

Is Chocolate AIP (Autoimmune-Friendly)?

Louise Hendon | March 21


It’s the Achilles’ heel in my diet. While I’ve never been a big fan of milk or white chocolate, dark chocolate has been my trusted companion since I can remember.

Luckily, dark chocolate is OK on a Paleo diet in moderation, but what about on the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP)?

Is chocolate AIP (Autoimmune-Friendly)?

Short Answer: Probably Not

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but chocolate is generally not considered autoimmune-friendly.

You’re probably thinking there’s some loophole because I used the words “probably not” and “generally,” but I don’t want to get your hopes up. It’s really best if you don’t eat chocolate on the AIP diet, and here’s why:

Sarah Ballantyne says the following about chocolate in The Paleo Approach:
“Chocolate is extremely high in phytic acid and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and contains caffeine, all of which are reasons to avoid it on the Paleo Approach.”

In fact, Sarah herself experienced dramatic improvements in her lichen planus when she cut out chocolate from her diet.

So, what’s the loophole then?

There’s no specific link between chocolate and autoimmune conditions or leaky gut. And most less strict versions of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (like the one in Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution) don’t mention anything about chocolate.

So, should you eat chocolate on the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP)?

As with anything in life, the choice is yours. My thoughts would be to eliminate it initially and then to introduce it and see whether it affects your autoimmune condition or not.

What are the scientific reasons for why chocolate isn’t allowed on AIP?

Hover over the image below and click “Pin it” to save this on your Pinterest board.
4 scientific reasons why chocolate isn't aip

If you’re like me, then you might want to delve beneath the surface and understand why something is the case. So, when someone tells me that chocolate isn’t autoimmune-friendly, then I want to know why!

So, what’s unhealthy about chocolate?

1. Chocolate contains added sugar and non-Paleo ingredients

First, there’s the obvious, most chocolate is made into processed desserts that contain a bunch of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, milk solids, etc.

But what about pure dark chocolate? Ok, read on!

2. Chocolate is high in phytic acid.

Phytic acid is a substance naturally present in chocolate as well as various other plant-derived foods like nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. Phytic acid can prevent us from absorbing many of the nutrients in the meal we’re eating. For that reason, it’s often called an anti-nutrient. So, eating chocolate as a dessert can mean that you don’t absorb as many of the minerals from the rest of the food you ate that meal.

This is problematic in those with autoimmune conditions as they likely already have impaired digestive issues and often already have mineral deficiencies. So they wouldn’t want to then not absorb the few minerals they do take in with their meal by eating chocolate as a dessert.

3. Chocolate contains caffeine

Chocolate contains several different chemicals that act as stimulants. There’s a small amount of caffeine (generally less than a cup of tea) and also another stimulant called theobromine.

According to the USDA, 1 oz of dark chocolate contains around 23 mg of caffeine. Compare this with 1 cup of coffee, which has around 100 mg of caffeine. However, 1 oz of dark chocolate does also contain 227 mg of theobromine.

So, what’s wrong with caffeine?

Caffeine has been linked to rises in cortisol levels and increased inflammation. While there’s no definitive science suggesting caffeine is good or bad for our general health, Sarah Ballantyne suggests limiting caffeine intake for those on AIP “mainly to support normalization of cortisol levels and rhythms.”

What’s wrong with theobromine?

Honestly, I don’t know because there’s been very little research done on it. Currently, it seems people think theobromine is a better version of caffeine.

4. Chocolate is high in Omega-6 fats.

1 oz of dark chocolate contains 402 mg of omega-6 fatty acids and 32.8 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. This skewed omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is probably not that great for you unless you’re eating plenty of high omega-3 foods to balance it out.

A Few Less Scientific Reasons To Not Eat Chocolate On AIP

Chocolate is easy to overeat
I probably don’t need to show you any science for this one – I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself!

Chocolate just makes me feel bad
Ok, it doesn’t make me personally feel bad, but I have heard anecdotal stories about people feeling worse if they eat even dark chocolate. Jeremy is one of these people as is Sarah Ballantyne.

Chocolate contains lectins
Eileen suggests in this article that chocolate contains lectins, which can cause increased intestinal permeability as well as other issues. However, I have not found any scientific literature suggesting that the processed cacao we eat in chocolate contains lectins (the cacao plant and bean itself may contain lectins).

Most chocolate contains soy lecithin
If you look carefully at the ingredients list of most chocolate bars, you’ll find soy lecithin listed at the end. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier that is used to produce a smoother chocolate texture. While soy lecithin is not particularly healthy, it’s also not that unhealthy and you can find a fair number of chocolate brands or 100% chocolates that do not have soy lecithin as an ingredient if you want to avoid it.


So, as you can see, dark chocolate isn’t all that bad, and it definitely has a fair amount of beneficial properties (like antioxidants and minerals). However, since some people do feel better when they eliminate chocolate from their diet, it’s worth giving it a shot!

Substitutes for Chocolate on AIP

What can you eat instead of chocolate then when you’re on the Paleo autoimmune protocol and craving for a bar of delicious chocolate?

Carob is a great substitute for chocolate.

carob powder

Carob doesn’t contain caffeine and has a fair amount of vitamins and minerals. However, when you buy carob, make sure to buy pure carob powder (check the ingredients list to make sure carob is the only ingredient). Carob chips will contain non- Paleo and non-AIP ingredients unfortunately.

This carob powder (which you can get on is 100% pure carob.

Then use the carob powder to make your own AIP “Chocolate” treats like some of the recipes listed below.

AIP “Chocolate” Dessert Recipes with Carob

1. “Chocolate” Carob Fudge

2. “Chocolate” Carob Bread with Date Caramel Spread

3. Brownies

4. Raspberry Carob Truffles

5. Avocado Carob Fudge Bars

6. Carob Snacking Cake

7. Carob Fudge Popsicles

8. Carob Coconut No-Bake Cookies

9. Carob Chip Bars

10. Raw Coconut Macaroons with “Chocolate” Ganache

11. Carob Pumpkin Tart

12. Pomegranate Carob Bark

13. Orange Chocolate Cake

When you reintroduce chocolate into your diet…

Make sure to pick a good chocolate when you reintroduce chocolate into your diet.

Most chocolate is filled with non-Paleo (and obviously non-AIP) ingredients. For example, milk chocolate contains a ton of sugar and dairy products. So, you should avoid those regardless. Same goes for white chocolate – there’s usually a milk product as well as lots of sugar in them.

So, if you’re reintroducing chocolate into your diet, then pick a dark chocolate (over 85% if possible).

Lindt is a common choice or my personally dark chocolate favorites are Tcho and Taza if you can find them.

Images: Copyright (c) photka, ayusloth from Fotolia

Paleo Baking Conversions – US to Metric Conversions

Louise Hendon | February 27

Paleo baking (and gluten-free baking) can be confusing already, and the fact that most of the Paleo cookbooks and blogs are written by Americans means that you have to spend a ton of time doing Paleo baking conversions for all your ingredients.

I still remember first learning that a cup was a standard measurement in America (it confused me to no end as a child growing up in the UK).

So, to help everyone who wants to try their hand at Paleo baking (or gluten-free baking), here’s a handy and comprehensive list of US to Metric conversions for Paleo, grain-free, and gluten-free baking.

I’ve also included a few ingredients that are typically not found in Paleo baking, but I thought it’d be useful to have the conversions for them anyway.

If I’ve missed any ingredient that you think should be on this baking conversions list that would help you convert US recipes, then please send me a message and let me know.
Continue reading

AIP Dessert Recipes [Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Paleo]

Louise Hendon | December 13

I know how tough being on the autoimmune protocol (AIP) can be, so hopefully this giant list of AIP Dessert Recipes will make life a bit easier for you!

I know some of you also have coconut allergies or you’re just tired of eating too much coconut products to replace everything else, so there’s a dedicated list of coconut-free AIP dessert recipes as well below.

I’ve worked really hard to ensure everything is 100% AIP-compliant, but my eyes were going dizzy trying to check through so many ingredient lists, so if there are any errors then please send us an email at to let us know. Thanks!

Continue reading

6 Things You MUST Know About Bacon

Jeremy Hendon | November 4

Meat Candy.

You can stuff bacon into practically any food and end up with a more delicious version of that food. From chocolate to skewered chicken, bacon makes almost everything better (bacon jam, anyone?).

And yet, you’ve probably heard for most of your life that bacon is a heart attack waiting to happen. Luckily, we now know that’s just not true.

But the real question…

Is Bacon Actually Healthy?

Click To Download Your Paleo Diet Food List

Continue reading

Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Louise Hendon | April 26

Dairy is a confusing topic within the Paleo diet and there’s a lot of debate still about it, so I hope this article will clear that up for you if you’re confused, or just skip down to the section listing the types of allowed dairy if that’s all you’re after.

Why Is Dairy Not Allowed On A Paleo Diet?

Let me start by stating that dairy is a highly nutritious (and delicious) food source, and humans have consumed animal milk for millennia. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you to eat though!

So how do you determine if dairy is right for you??

Like many people, the reason why you’re going Paleo is probably to lose weight or heal a health condition like digestive issues, autoimmune, inflammation, or controlling blood sugar, and unfortunately, eating dairy typically does not help you achieve any of those goals!

In particular, dairy has been closely linked to digestive and inflammatory issues for many people (e.g., sinus problems, joint pain, acne, IBS, bloating, gas).

So while dairy (especially in the full-fat, fermented, or raw forms) may be good for a very healthy individual, it’s generally not great for most people with existing health or weight loss issues.

What’s Wrong With Dairy Products?

There are 3 main reasons for avoiding dairy if you have health issues (please share the infographics below):

Why is dairy not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Continue reading

List of Nightshades Foods and Why You Might Want To Avoid Them

Louise Hendon | February 4

What Are Nightshades?

When I hear the word nightshade, my first thought is generally that it’s poisonous (since deadly nightshade, also known as atropa belladonna, is often mentioned as a poison in the mystery books I used to read as a child).

But, nightshades (also known as Solanaceae) encompasses a whole family of flowering plants that includes many very popular fruits and vegetables that you probably eat daily.

(There’s a whole section below on why you might want to avoid nightshades for health reasons as well so keep on reading!)  

And if you want the whole list of nightshades foods emailed to you, just click here.

The Most Common Nightshades

Some of the most popular nightshades are potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and chili peppers. But because various spices and spice mixes are made from chili peppers, nightshades can be found in a whole host of processed foods!

Download Our List of Nightshades (It’s Free)

Here’s a more complete list of nightshades that you might be eating (some of them may be rare in the US):
Continue reading

AIP Coffee – Review of Roasted Chicory Root Coffee

Louise Hendon | August 21

One of the questions I get asked the most about the autoimmune Paleo protocol (AIP) is what can I drink if I can’t have coffee?

Coffee has become so entrenched in our habits that we’ve become addicted not only to the daily dose of caffeine it offers us but also to that aromatic smell that wakes our senses every morning. So, what do you do if you’re starting AIP and have to forgo coffee for 30-60 days if not longer?

A reader emailed me about chicory root coffee a while back, but I didn’t see it for sale until a few weeks ago. So, I decided to give this naturally non-caffeinated AIP-compliant “coffee” substitute a try.

Continue reading

The Amish Cure for Allergies, and How You Can Use It Today

Jeremy Hendon | August 20

As of today, around 1 in 5 American children have some sort of respiratory allergy (like Hay Fever), and around 1 in 10 have Asthma.  

That’s somewhere between a 200% and 300% increase just during the end of the 20th century.

But it’s not happening everywhere…

Amish Kids Don’t Get Allergies

The following article is a fascinating dive into the allergy epidemic that’s been occurring for the past half-century.
Continue reading

The Definitive Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

Louise Hendon | February 4

This article is a little bit more important than usual.

So it’s also a little bit longer than usual. But you should read it all. Especially if you have an autoimmune disease, and probably even if you don’t.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking about the Autoimmune Protocol (often abbreviated “AIP”) within Paleo. Questions like: “What is it?” “Is it right for me?” “How do I do it?” and “Will it help me with ______ problem?”

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a great article or series of articles that clearly answered all of these questions. And that was a shame.

So…I decided to write this article. It’s a very thorough but easy-to-read guide to AIP, including a comprehensive, printable list of foods that are allowed or not allowed on AIP that you can have emailed to you by clicking below or at the end of the article. There’s also a handy AIP FOOD TABLE below that you can Pin, so keep reading!

Download Our Free AIP Food List

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

The first time someone told me they had an autoimmune disease, I thought they meant they had AIDS (yes, I was quite clueless, despite the fact that I actually have an autoimmune disease). For the difference between Autoimmune Disease (AID) and Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS), check out this article.

Let me begin by explaining the basics of an autoimmune disease, because the chances are that you might have one!

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s own immune system starts attacking your own body’s proteins. This happens because your body thinks that those proteins are a foreign substance (e.g., a bacteria) that need to be destroyed. Unfortunately, this can end up causing widespread destruction of your own organs and cells instead.

There are a ton of different autoimmune diseases (some may not have even been identified, and many of them are obscure like the one I have). Most autoimmune diseases differ based on which proteins/cells are being attacked by your immune system.

Here are some autoimmune diseases you might have come across:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Graves’ disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Narcolepsy
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Angioedema (what I have)

Continue reading