10 Reasons Why Food Reintroductions Fail On AIP

Auto Immune Paleo, Blog

I am seeing a lot about how to reintroduce foods on AIP on different FB pages. I gathered a few points to keep in mind when considering how to reintroduce foods. 

Who wrote the article? Are they clinicians? Have they actually had experience walking AIP’ers through reintroductions? Why is that important? Because experience counts. Would you go to a doctor for a pap smear who has never done a pap smear but has only talked about pap smears?

AIP was created as a GUESS. Yes, I am saying that. You read right. Lets remove ALL of the most known inflammatory foods and see if we heal. And that worked. But at a very high price which was a whole lot of folks on AIP went on a very restrictive diet and did not have seasoned clinicians help them understand the factors beyond food playing a massive role in their autoimmune disease (viruses, beliefs, trauma, grief, bacterial infections in gut, gut-brain axis issues never dealt with). And those people are stuck in “I can only eat 10 foods now and when I tried to come off AIP I couldn’t because all my symptoms came back” Because now their oral tolerance is so low they are stuck there. Without looking at other factors BEFORE one goes on AIP then a few big things can happen:

1. You can’t heal the gut without uncovering co-infections (viral, bacterial and parasites)

2. If this process is skipped Oral Tolerance goes down

3. If Oral Tolerance decreases you become more sensitive to food

4. What your food intolerance is IS NOT what another person’s food intolerance is and very likely contain some AIP-approved Foods. If you have a sensitivity to Carrots and Lettuce and they are AIP-approved, they will keep driving inflammation even though you are following what you have been told is a low-inflammatory diet.

5. The deeper dive on mind-body healing has not been done “What is your relationship to your disease” and this is SO important that I start there first with all my clients. Yet this idea is still lip speak in the healing and AIP world. 

6. Ask this question to your clinician: “How many people have you walked through Food Reintroductions on AIP successfully?” You can theorize your way through like many are doing right now in the AIP world, but there are many variables when it comes to autoimmunity that science now addresses that did not when AIP was first introduced. Keeping up with autoimmune science is vital. I do not use the AIP approved and unapproved list anymore because of this. 

7. When a person has been on AIP for 6 months or more, has unresolved viral co-infections (that tired adrenal gland protocol you read on your favorite AIP blog is actually CMV or EBV in the adrenal gland and no amount of adaptogenic herbs or nutrient dense foods will heal that) then STANDARD FOOD REINTRODUCTIONS WILL ALMOST ALWAYS FAIL. I say this because I have hundreds and hundreds of AIP’ers that have told me so. Because I am looking at viral panels. Stool tests, Cyrex 10 panels, food diaries, blood work. I am seeing it plain as day. I have a very busy practice of those on AIP who tried to reintroduce foods and failed. I say this because so many are trying standard reintroduction protocols and having feelings of immense failure and sadness because it is not working. It has been one of the biggest challenges I have as a nutritionist as well. Those AIP’ers that feel they are doing something wrong and really what has happened is that their strict AIP diet that did not include healing chronic viruses and truly changing the role of disease in their life never happened. So their strict AIP diet helped them about 50% and then they walked themselves into a corner (the corner no one is talking about because no one is talking about the AIP dark corner)

8. Trauma was never healed. The Gut-Brain Axis was never healed. The intestinal mucosa was never healed (And bone broth/gelatin smoothies did not heal it. They were actually producing antibodies to gelatin!). Blood sugar issues were never healed because the adrenals were never healed because it was actually a virus not tired adrenals that were the culprit.

9. A different approach is needed that is tailored for this group who cannot do the outdated Food Reintroductions Protocol. I have created an approach for this specific issue. But I am not going to share it here as it is a disservice because unless it is personalized, it won’t work. Personalized, customized approaches are needed with every person on AIP. And even then, there are still big fumbles. But how can it be any other way? It is honoring each persons journey. It is a step by step journey to look the majesty of each person and what they are trying to achieve. It is starting first with “The relationship to the Disease is the Cure” because if that is not included in the health care plan then supplements, tests, food changes, nutrient density and co-infections will not work. But it is including all of those factors as well…just changing the order of importance. It is going beyond theories and rhetoric and actually accessing practitioners that spend day in and day out working with ALL of these factors. And I must say this too: This kind of thinking has not hit most Functional Medicine yet. 90% of my clients who do work with alternative practitioners are not addressing all of these factors. This is an incredibly new approach. It is slowly gaining traction (Chiropractic Neurologists practicing functional medicine are by far the biggest group I see addressing all of these factors btw)

10. And the MOST important piece: Illness is here to serve the growth of you somehow. Each of us is being asked to find out why. To do this we are being asked to take a step into vulnerability. A very, very big step into vulnerability. One that asks you to step away from being a vicim or warrior of illness and instead be a student to the loving authority inside of you through the journey of illness. That changes how fast we heal more than any other thing I see. The most powerful medicine we humans have resides in the perspective we take when we fully embrace our ability to be loving students to what seems to be the enemy. To move beyond an idea that there is one way to heal. 


  1. Ursula

    Dear Jessica,
    I am so glad that a member of the Europen Root Cause Rebells send me to this blog and link. I , too got tears in my eyes reading your article and the comments of others. I feel understood for the first time.
    I didn’t need people from outside to tell me “stick with it” . I have done it myself, I fight since 19 years to get better. I succeeded for some years but life and traumata happen and I am back and tired each afternoon, not in the evening though. There must be a reason I don’t know yet.
    I feel as if I alone have to climb a steep mountain and am too exhausted to do it. I have made quite a lot lab test now and would want to work with a holistic practitioner. I will use your e-mail address to ask for details.
    Thank you for your sharing here.
    Ursula from Germany

    • Jessica

      Thank you Ursula! Sending love to you xx-jessica

  2. Minna

    Thanks for this article. I have just failed intruduction to foods to my AIP diet and feel very ill. I work with health kinesiologist and shall ask her to check all these aspects for me. I have been checked for EBV and shingles and am clear there at least. Thanks, Minna

  3. Michelle

    I don’t say or ask this in a venomous way at all, but complete innocence and curiosity. What do you suggest then for people who don’t have the money to work one on one with a specialized nutritionist like yourself?

    I am a fairly bright person and I am trying to navigate these waters myself. I don’t have an autoimmune disease (that I know of!), but I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and “IBS” (which I say is a crap diagnosis – pun intended). I no doubt have a so-called “leaky gut.” I am doing well, so far, on a low FODMAP AIP diet. I only started this a week ago. I have been eating a Paleo diet since the beginning of this year and still found myself struggling at times. I think I must have FODMAP sensitivity as I am finally not bloated or experiencing my come-and-go “sewage” flatulence.

    Anyway. What is a poor person supposed to do? Honestly. I can’t even pretend to afford specialized holistic medical care. I live below the poverty line. Am I doing myself a disservice by stabbing in the dark with different diet choices? Am I going to further sensitize myself to foods and never be able to reintroduce things? I just want to feel better and be able to do my life without poop issues. I just don’t see how I could be better off not following this diet and continuing to live with the belly issues.

    I look forward to your reply. 🙂

    • Jessica

      Hi Michelle! I don’t know a good answer to this. Other than work for free and not charge for my services, (and not be able to make an income?) I do not know what the happy medium is. I hear sentiments like yours a lot. I already spend a portion of my life doing service work. I think this is more a question for insurance companies that do not cover functional medicine. However, one big up side to this: there is A LOT of free resources on the internet (my website has a lot of free information and advice) that one can use. That does not replace doctors or testing, but can be helpful.

    • Sharice

      Hi Michelle,

      Great questions, I was wondering the same. Did you end up doing AIP?

      In my opinion the best thing you can do is the thing that makes you feel better (and afford). Community acupuncture is great. finding people who take insurance. Lastly, if possible saving up. Whenever I had a holiday or birthday where I knew I’d receive gifts I’d ask my immediate family to give me money to go towards a health coach, supplement or other supply. I even sold some of my stuff that I didn’t need/want to raise the funds. I was at a point where blogs weren’t enough, western practitioners weren’t taking me seriously and my symptoms were at their worst. So those are some ideas for ways you can gather up the $$$.

      I don’t think you’d be doing yourself a disservice by adjusting your diet to figure out what triggers your belly issues. You gotta get some relief and if you don’t have the funds to work with a professional right away you gotta do something. So start with the worse offenders, eat healthy meals and do what you have to feel better (without breaking the bank). But I’m by no means a professional that’s just my opinion based on my own experience.

      I did AIP working with a coach we both thought it as the right move and while it helped in some ways I think it created some other issues. So you’re very smart to be apprehensive about making such a huge change to your diet.

  4. Sarah

    I stumbled across this blog post by accident. I won’t say that I am sorry I did, but it has left me wondering, “Now what on Earth do I do?!”

    You see I had planned on just starting my AIP journey this week after a recent Hashimotos diagnosis. I’ve spent days upon days researching and reading. I was actually excited to start this new chapter of what I thought would be healing. Now I’m not so sure.

    • Jessica

      I have changed how I practice. I used to just blindly put my clients on AIP. Now I look at all the factors unique to them. This is harder than just going on a rote diet. Harder for the practitioner (they are required to find out what is REALLY going on with their client and harder for you too because you are customizing. I still love AIP. But I look at all the factors for each person before I have them start the diet. Hope that helps! xo-jessica

  5. Sharice

    I’m in this boat – did AIP, a round of xifaxan and supplements and while the xifaxan was the best thing to ever happen to me I felt like AIP left me in a bad place. A place where I’m now sensitive to foods I wasn’t sensitive to before hand. I’ve had food allergy testing (skin and blood work)done and I’m not allergic to these foods. In theory I should be able to eat them. so is there anything I and people like me can do to reverse these sensitivities? I sort of feel like the post is missing the next step whether that’s working with you or finding a functional medicine practitioner.

  6. Emma

    This is me!!!
    3 years on AIP and hardly any successful reintroductions- I am actually becoming sensitive to more foods!

    Where do I go from here? What kind of tests should be done to discover any viral/bacterial infections?
    What kind of doctor do I need?

    Thank you so much for the help!

  7. Jacinta Keeble

    I have just started the AIP diet and I am feeling mentally sharper and a lot better BUT
    I have to do a low FODMAP version and minus a lot of the approved foods because I am sensitive to them AND
    I am seeing a GP and taking Antifunguls to help with my Candida Overgrowth issue.

    AIP is amazing but for me, diet isn’t enough.
    I had to customise it, change my whole lifestyle and take drugs too

  8. Cate

    Hi! I have been considering going on an AIP diet to see if that will help my inflammation (arthritis) in my hands, and possibly in my elbows. I have been reluctant to start for a couple of reason: 1. I have a family that does not have my issues, 2. how do I start, what foods should I eliminate and for how long, 3. when and what do i add back in?
    Your article rings true to me. I have made changes in my diet but, obliviously, not enough.
    With all my family stress and Covid lifestyle stress I am feeling a bit overwhelmed to having to do one more hard thing. i will continue to read through your articles but any additional help would be greatly appreciated.


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