How to Make a Keto Diet AIP Friendly

March 10th, 2018

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By now, you’ve likely heard all the miraculous stories of weight loss, heightened energy, and disease-reversal associated with adopting a ketogenic diet, and are wondering if it’s possible to eat keto if you are following an autoimmune protocol (AIP) (see my companion article: Should You Try a Keto Diet if You Have an Autoimmune Disease?).

The good news is, you can enjoy the full benefits of a keto diet with a few easy swaps that make it 100% autoimmune-friendly. To get started, be sure to check out The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook, which includes over 150 AIP recipes along with expanded options for ketogenic diets!

Foods in a Typical Keto Diet

Keto diets are based upon severely limiting your carbohydrate intake, and replacing high-carb foods with lots of healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein. The typical percentages of daily intakes for macronutrients in different diets are as follows:

  • Standard diet:
    • 45-60% carbohydrates (225-325g/day)
    • 20-35% fat
    • 10-35% protein
  • Paleo:
    • 22-40% carbohydrates (110-200g/day)
    • 28-47% fat
    • 19-35% protein
  • Pseudo-ketogenic:
    • 15-20% carbohydrates (30-50g/day)
    • 40-60% fat
    • 20-30% protein
  • Keto:
    • 5% carbohydrates (20-30g/day)
    • 80% fat
    • 15% protein

As you can see, true keto diets contain far fewer carbs than standard diets or even Paleo diets, and the majority of your daily caloric intake will be from fatty foods. This puts your body into a state known as “ketosis” where it burns stored fat for fuel, rather than relying on glucose from carbs as its main energy source. It takes more calories to change fat into energy than it does carbs, and in ketosis you’re dipping into your own fat stores for energy. These two factors combined make keto diets an excellent tool for weight loss.1

Keto diets have also been used historically as a treatment for epilepsy, and may have potential benefits for diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases caused by chronic inflammation.23

Typically, a keto diet focuses on such foods as:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish
  • Butter or cream
  • Cheese
  • Milk or yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils (including olive, coconut, and avocado oils)
  • Avocados
  • Low-carb veggies (green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.)4

You might be looking at this list and thinking, “I can’t eat any of that!” Don’t panic just yet! If you have an autoimmune disease, simply swapping out the foods you CAN’T eat for a few easy, healthful, and equally delicious substitutes will ensure your keto diet fits in seamlessly with your Autoimmune Solution Protocol.

Making Your Keto Diet Autoimmune-Friendly

Much of what you would eat on a typical keto diet is already AIP. For example, you can eat plenty of grass-fed meat, fatty fish such as wild salmon, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb veggies on an autoimmune-friendly keto diet. Plus, did you know I already carry two products in my store that are already keto-approved? My Paleo Protein and Collagen Protein are low- and no-carb sources of clean protein that you can seamlessly add into your daily routine.

In addition, many of the foods that you would avoid on a keto diet you are already avoiding by following an autoimmune-friendly diet! This will give you a head start when making the switch to keto. Use the following guidelines to make your keto diet AIP-friendly.

Foods to Enjoy:
Foods to Eat in Moderation:
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Starchy vegetables (such as artichokes and okra)
  • Root veggies (including beets, carrots, and parsnips)
  • Berries
  • Fresh fruit or vegetable juice (limit to 8 oz./day)
Foods to Toss:
  • Sugar
  • Grains
  • Fruit (small portions of low-carb fruit such as strawberries are okay)
  • Beans or legumes
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol

The biggest challenge will be finding appropriate food swaps for keto staples such as dairy, nuts, seeds, eggs, and nightshades. You want to ensure your replacement foods are full of healthy fats, nutrients, and moderate amounts of protein, while still being low-carb. Use the list below for some food swap ideas to get you started.

Foods to Swap:
  • Swap out: Eggs
    • Swap in: Chicken, beef, or fish; For baking: 1 Tbsp gelatin dissolved in 3 Tbsp warm water
  • Swap out: Butter or cream
  • Swap out: Cheese
  • Swap out: Milk or yogurt
    • Swap in: Full-fat coconut milk or coconut yogurt
  • Swap out: Nuts and seeds
  • Swap out: Low-carb nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
    • Swap in: Any other low-carb veggies including broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, celery, and cucumbers

The most important part of transitioning to a keto diet–or any new diet, for that matter–is listening to your body. I personally did not do well on a keto diet, and have found that many of my patients who are women or who have thyroid dysfunction do not tolerate it either, due to hormone imbalances or adrenal fatigue. If you find you do not tolerate keto, don’t try to stick it out just because it’s the latest craze.

Otherwise, feel free to experiment with keto alongside the Autoimmune Solution Protocol and see what works best for you. And be sure to check out The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook for over 150 delicious, nutrient-dense AIP recipes that can be easily adapted to fit your keto diet!

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