Updated: May 6, 2020
Auto-immune protocol is a diet that is intended to heal the immune system by addressing inflammation in the intestines, aka "the gut." The protocol is to eat only meat, fruits, and vegetables (but no nightshade vegetables - i.e. tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) for 30 days; then add food groups back one by one to see how the body reacts to them. I stumbled upon the protocol during my quest to heal from bilateral ACL reconstructions because I was having such a hard time recovering. I didn't have stomach issues, so I wasn't certain if my recovery (or lack-thereof) was really linked to food issues. But I wanted to be healed so badly, so, I gave it a shot. I looked at it like a 30 day experiment if nothing else, and something that would be another tool under my belt as a health coach.
My observations during the first 30 days
First, the downside: You can't eat nearly anything pre-packaged because of sugars, preservatives, etc., so I spent a lot of time cutting up vegetables and food prepping.
But, my arthritis was nearly gone at about 10 days in, and was completely gone by the end of the month.
My hunger pains were not as severe (I used to get ravenous when it was time to eat), which made intermittent fasting easily achievable.
I easily dropped ~7 pounds off my already pretty small frame.
It was much easier to keep a positive mindset, which I have heard medical professionals say is attributed to inflammation in the brain.
I had a better understanding of what it means to eat a plant based diet. Never in my life have I prepped and cooked so many vegetables and fruit!
My observations during the reintroduction phase
I reintroduced eggs back into my diet first. Whey protein next. Nightshade vegetables next. My body really didn't have trouble with any of it. I am now a believer that most of my trouble was coming from junk preservatives and such in processed food, and just sugar and artificial sweeteners in general. I mean, think about it. What does the body doing with all that stuff? I had thought what I was eating was healthy, but after analyzing food labels for 30 days, I was shocked at things I hadn't thought about. I.e. whole grain triscuits are made with preservatives, many seasonings have silicon dioxide aka SAND in them (so called "anti-caking agents"), and so on. I realize now junk food is literally FOOD THAT IS JUNK, and what you put into your body has huge ramifications.
I would highly recommend this diet, along with taking a daily probiotic, to anyone looking to improve their health, but talk to your health practitioner because obviously not all health issues can be resolved through diet alone.
For a downloadable pdf of what is allowed and/or not allowed during the different phases, please visit:
And as always, give me a shout if there is anything I can help you with. I am here for you! XOXO, Mindy
Article by Mindy Cochran. Mindy is the founder of Kalispell's Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase "fitness is fun" is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy is also a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health and wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit: https://www.levitationnation.org/mindy.