Nicky’s AIP Success Story

Blog, Lifestyle


Meet Nicky! She has been on AIP since last October. She came to see me and spoke about her exhaustion, body aches, bloating, skin problems and constant digestive issues, yet had never had any kind of diagnosis from doctors.  After years of going from one practitioner to another, including general physicians, rheumatologist, opthamologist, GI specialist, naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturist they found nothing. She also had also had a few trips to ER with pretty major pain/issues related to digestion (diagnosis from ER doc of IBS as well as acid reflux). Nothing was helped. Then we met a few times, did some real lab work and uncovered multiple positive antibodies, and a gluten intolerance. I asked Nicky if should would be willing to change her diet to AIP and try some immune supporting supplements to support her long term autoimmune health. This was no small change for her. She is a mother, wife and has a busy business, and yet here I was asking her to change her whole life! She took a bit of time to think it over and decided to jump in. Besides being incredibly proud of Nicky and all the hard work she has done, she is very inspirational to me. I especially love reading about the time in her day for setting intentions, gratitude and inspirations for herself. And not only has she healed herself, she is proving to be an inspiration to her friends and the community as others have watched the dedication to herself and her health. She is truly an AIP SUPERSTAR!

1. How did you find out about the AIP diet?
I found out about it through working with nutritionist Jessica Flanigan

2. Walk us through a typical AIP day for you
Well I am a mother and a wife, I am a self employed Hairstylist, and I home school my 8th grade daughter. My life is so incredibly full and rewarding! I have discovered a formula that keeps me sane and helps me maintain balance throughout my busy days.
When I wake up I have a daily practice of setting intentions for my day. I begin by checking in with myself, body, mind, spirit and look to see how I’m doing and what my needs are. I incorporate positive affirmations and conscious gratitude in my self talk as I connect with what it is I’m feeling or experiencing. I talk to my cells and tell them to heal any imbalances. I visualize my entire body being in a state of perfect health and balance and all my internal systems working together in harmony. I pray for protection and guidance for myself and those dear to me as we walk through the day. Once I am complete with this process (sometimes it has to be quick because I need to get out of bed and get going!) I get up, stretch, drink a tall glass of water and usually my breakfast is 5 sausages (turkey or chicken) and a smoothie with coconut water, berries, kale and Apex Energetics Clearvite PSF.
Although I despise taking pills I take 4 ultimate omega’s, a package of the Apex Energetics Hepato Synergy, and 2 Apex Energetics Adaptocrine (Nicky does fine with Ashwaganda, but many on AIP do not) with my adrenal tonic in a glass of water. I am committed to taking my supplements daily because it sets me up to feel energized and balanced for the day. If I don’t take them I get really tired by about 3:00 in the afternoon and by 6:00 I am not very pleasant to share space with. (Moody!!) I also take 10 drops of Apex Energetics methyl B12 3x per day and 5 drops of D3 once a day. The B12 really seems to help with my energy level, mood stability and sleep.
Lunch is usually either a green salad topped with carrots, avocado, and some protein, such as tuna, chicken, ground beef or bacon. Or I might bring a thermos with some warmed leftovers from the night before. Chicken soup, meatloaf, meatballs, butternut squash soup, sautéed greens just to name a few. I eat protein at every meal. If I don’t, I get shaky and have headaches. I drink about 70 oz of water throughout the day. Hydration is key for me to avoid headaches!
I usually have a mid afternoon snack.  Kale chips, homemade artichoke dip with veggie sticks, fresh vegetable juice, a cup of bone broth, half an avocado with Himalayan salt, fermented veggies or kraut, a spoonful coconut manna, beef jerky, an apple or an orange, these are some of the things I reach for when I need a snack. With AIP I have learned it is imperative to have aip friendly food available all the time! Otherwise I may get into trouble with the temptation to cheat!

A lot of planning and preparation goes into my meals and snacks. Dinners at my house are usually well thought out ahead of time. I do not enjoy spending all evening in the kitchen so I actually do a lot of quick easy meals. I always have salad prepped and ready to go, I may have a baking sheet of roasted veggies or a simple steamed vegetable like broccoli or chard. I use my slow cooker at least 2-3 times per week, sometimes even more if I’m cooking a bone broth (which I always have a rotation of in my fridge, freezer or one cooking) A few of my favorite recipes for my slow cooker are; chicken soup with carrots celery and kale , beef stew with root vegetables, meatballs, chicken with garlic leeks lemon and olives.

3. How long until you started to feel better on the diet?
I consider myself to be very sensitive and I began to notice subtle changes within a week. Things like relief from bloating and better digestion. I noticed significant changes like more energy, better sleep, eyes and skin clear and bright, I lost 10 pounds, my body aches and pains virtually gone within 30 days.

4. What do you think was the hardest part about eating AIP and any tips for readers?
Eating out has to be the hardest for me! I bring my own salad dressing with me almost everywhere I go and can usually order a simple salad and plain piece of meat on the side for protein.  Also as I said before having AIP friendly snacks ready to go is essential. I also have gotten in the habit of bringing an ice chest with ice packs and cold food with me when I am going someplace  or a thermos with hot food. My daughter is always saying I’m over prepared but it gives me piece of mind knowing I have something to eat if I get hungry.

5. How has your life changed on AIP?
I spend more time thinking about food than I ever did before! Planning meals, food prep and shopping lists. I eat healthier than I ever have before, I like foods now that I never thought I would like such as bone broth.

6. What advice would you give to someone who is about to start AIP?
 I would say this is a gift you are giving yourself and you deserve it. AIP is a lifestyle that is a conscious choice and you are not alone in choosing quality of life and health. You can do it! Set yourself up for success by planning your meals and having foods prepared ahead of time. Get the Auto-Immune Cookbook by Mickey Trescott (totally inspiring and delicious!) follow Jessica’s blog ( and watch her website for tips and recipes, join other Autoimmune internet groups and create a support community for yourself.

7. You are really an AIP superstar. Can you tell me the top 5 AIP foods you always have on hand or the recipes that have made the biggest difference for you?
1.Applegate chicken apple sausage (I eat them daily!)
2.Salad greens
3.Veggies like broccoli, chard, kale, carrots, cauliflower, beets, celery, sweet potato, squash

4.Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon, dill as well as citrus juice from lemons/limes/grapefruits/oranges can add flavor which makes all the difference in creating a meal that is not only nutritious but satisfies the taste buds

5. My pantry must haves- Coconut Aminos, Olive oil, vinegars- apple cider balsamic and ume plum, coconut oil, Himalayan salt, nori wraps, fermented lemons, olives, canned artichokes, canned coconut milk, paleo wraps

6.frozen fruit for smoothies like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai berries, pineapple, peaches
For those of you wanting to work privately with me as well, you can email me at


  1. Julie H

    So interesting I just started the AIP diet on my own. It’s funny how we are both hairstylist. I attribute all my issues with chemicals.

    • Jessica Flanigan

      Hi Julie…that is an interesting connection! Glad you liked her story 😉

  2. Melissa Marks

    Hi Jessica– After reading this blog post I was excited about Applegate Farms chicken apple sausage and just bought them at my local coop, but noticed it listed “spices”. I went on line just to check the “spices” before I ate them and it says about 6 different aip allowable spices and then red pepper. So, I am assuming that is a no for someone on the elimination portion of the diet, but was just checking bc it is so minute an amount and it was going to be my perfect breakfast for tomorrow:( thank you

    • Jessica

      Hi Melissa! Yes, Nicky had gone through the initial protocol and introduced those sausages back in with no issues even with those spices which may not be the case for you, so be careful. Maybe wait until you have done AIP for 6 weeks (that was what I did) and then try the sausages. When you do, and if they are ok with you, they are absolutely awesome. Total lifesaver for me! I eat them everyday and order them by the case! 🙂 -jessica

  3. Tracy

    I’ve just stumbled across your website and have been reading through. I have been seeing a ND, and he has me doing pretty much most of this with good results. But I had no idea this was actually something other people follow let alone that it has a name(AIP) I feel connected. I am also embarrassed to say I didn’t realize that most of these issues such as insulin resistance was an autoimmune issue. This tells me so much more, but I now realize this will be a life long thing not just a fix. Are you able to post or where will I find the other phases to this diet? I’m finding this uplifting that there are others out there! Thank you so much

    • Jessica

      Tracy! So glad you found us!! Welcome! I suggest to my clients that they go on the diet for 6-8 weeks or until they have significant improvement. You can work with your ND to track your progress; they can test your inflammation markers. You can also do Cyrex gluten cross reactivity test, do GI Effects test to see how you are coming along with the diet. You can also start reintroducing foods after you have gone through the initial phase, and have reduced inflammation. I recommend only one food every five days to really allow time to see if you are having a reaction. Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Pale Approach is a great read for you too; it has a lot of the reintroductions in it. xo-jessica

      • Tracy

        Thank you so much I will start down this road, and let you know how it goes 🙂

        • Tracy

          Something else I thought I would mention is GAPS is that seems to have a lot of the same foods eliminated, how close are these two diets, both are trying to do similar things as well.

          • Jessica

            Hi Tracy…there are some similarities to GAPS in AIP but they are different. GAPS excludes some starches and includes some nuts as well as nightshades. But yes, I agree they have the same goals and lots of similarities!

  4. Jenna

    Hi Jessica!
    I love your website and personal story too. So beautifully written.

    My question is regarding my aunt, who has been following a diet that is similar to AIP for a year now, but it includes nuts and eggs. (Perhaps it’s Paleo?)

    Anyway, she has thyroid issues, but her thyroid has not improved at all on the diet–in fact, she now requires evenire medication than before.

    Do you have an idea of why?

    She is not doing bone broths or organ meats.


    • Jenna

      Sorry, that’s “even more medication than before”. (Typo)

      Also… She is completely grain and dairy free.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      (I love the AIP diet !!)

    • Jessica

      Hi Jenna! Nuts could be the culprit (high in lectins) but generally I have found due to doing autoimmune paleo full-time..that the AIP diet is not enough. It is only a starting point. So if that is all she is doing and has thyroid issues that may be why. I would say half my client population is the exact situation of you aunt. More needs to be looked at physiologically for her (gut, gut/brain axis, adrenals, blood chemistry etc). Hope that helps! -jessica


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