Shopping for the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

healthy food available on the paleo dietIf you have an autoimmune disease we have to take the Paleo diet a step further and do a thirty day elimination diet to test for sensitivities to nuts, eggs & nightshade vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, aubergines & potatoes. It also makes sense (if you can hack it) to remove coffee for the 30 days as well as that is a common gluten cross reactor (your body thinks it is gluten).

When reading about the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, all too often the focus is on what you can’t eat rather than the wide and varied range of food choices left available to you so, rather than play the dietary Nazi, I am going lay out a list of foods that should for the basis of your shopping and I will follow this up next week with some simple ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks (because I am nice like that).

Autoimmune Friendly Shopping List

So, just to be clear, all the following are 100% autoimmune protocol friendly and should form the basis of your shopping.


Your plate should be piled high with vegetables and the following are all 100% autoimmune friendly

  • artichoke
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • beetroot
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • butternut squash
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • celeriac
  • celery
  • chard
  • collards
  • courgette
  • cress
  • cucumbers
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • leek
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms (all)
  • okra
  • onions
  • parsnips
  • pumpkin
  • radish
  • rhubarb
  • shallots
  • spinach
  • squash (all)
  • swede
  • sweet potato
  • turnips
  • watercress
  • yams
So, as you can see, there is a wealth of vegetable choices for you to work with and no need to lament those peppers and tomatoes.


Technically, no fruits are really off limits (discounting tomatoes) but it does make sense to try and stay on the lowish carb side of things and to avoid excessive amounts of fructose so I would work with the following list of low fructose fruits for the 30 day program and make these a snack rather than your main source of food.

  • Pineapples
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • lemons
  • limes
  • bananas
  • rhubarb
  • orange

Again, there are plenty to choose from and no reason to feel like you are denying yourself.

Meat & Fish

Well, it gets even easier here and we are fairly standard paleo at this point so some simple pointers to set you off on the right path should be enough.


Meat is pretty simple, you can buy the farm if you go for grass fed or pastured meat and you can eat the fattiest cuts you can find. If you are shopping in the supermarket then stick to lean cuts like pork loin, chicken breast etc and avoid fatty cuts of grain fed animals.


Pretty much all fish is on the menu but if possible stick with wild caught fish. This is most often a problem with Salmon where the stuff in your supermarket comes from salmon farms where they are fed an unhealthy, unatural diet and are kept in cramped, unhygenic nets with thousands of other fish. Some larger supermarkets sell fresh wild salmon but it can be expensive but there is an easy answer as most frozen salmon is wild caught and usually comes in at around half the price of fresh. The same applies with Tuna and other fish so check out the freezer section and keep it wild caught!

A Matter of Perspective

Ultimately, as with many things in life, this is simply a matter of perspective and you can view it as an exciting month of exploring new food choices OR you can mope and moan and attempt to hate your way through the month whilst you ultimately edge ever closer to giving in and giving up.

Remember, it’s only 30 days and you can try to reintroduce these foods and whilst you may find you have problems with some of them you are then a whole lot closer to securing your health.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

This is tough, no two ways about it, but do a little bit of planning and make sure you have a good set of meals laid out for breakfast, lunch and dinner else you are going to find yourself in a pickle, hungry and prone to making bad food choices. So, grab yourself a pen and pencil and sit down and sketch out some meals that you can shop for and fit in with what you and your family want to eat. Also, be sure to check back next week as I will lay out a bunch of my favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes along with some autoimmune friendly snacks.

About Marcus

Husband to an amazing wife who was diagnosed with MS nearly three years ago. Since then we have been fighting, and winning with the help of the Paleo diet and the ancestral health movement. Dedicated to sharing the lifestyle we use to keep beating MS and to helping others with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.

13 Responses to Shopping for the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

  1. Mdrnldy August 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for this list! I’ve been Paleo on and off for a year, and have tinkered with the idea of going AIP for a while now. This list will make it so much easier! Thanks again!

  2. Nicole August 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Thanks for this handy list. I will be starting my AIP Saturday.

  3. Leo September 5, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    Hi Marcus, Been suffering with RA since 3 months now. Wondering what is the best suggestion for someone who is vegetarian and eats fish once in a while. Thanks

    • Marcus September 5, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Hey Leo, the big problem here is that the vegetarian diet is just not all that healthy overall and ultimately, it would be better if you could work in some more wild caught fish (tinned salmon, tinned sardines, fresh etc as long as wild caught). Beyond that, you just want to make sure you get the basics right so…

      – No grains, legumes or dairy – this is a big one
      – No seed oils
      – Add in some omega 3 & good quality vitamin D

      Then, add in the autoimmune protocol to test for other problem foods for you:

      Ultimately, a solid Paleo diet with the AIP hacks on top will generally do wonders. This is a bit more challenging for you as you have the vegetarian thing to deal with but try to work in more good fish. Oily fish maybe 3 times a week and some cod etc other times. There are a lot of moving parts here but a lowish carb, paleo diet with the Autoimmune hacks on top should work wonders for you.

      This is worth a read:

      • Marcus September 5, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        Also, get yourself some coconut oil as well to get some good saturated fats in that diet.

  4. Leo September 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for the valuable input. I really like your blog very much.
    There are a few things I would like to add. I have been a follower of Tim Ferriss-4 hour body SCD, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson’s primal blueprint , Whole9 and Dave Asprey’s bulletproof blog.

    Though they all have excellent food information, and it is the absolutely correct that we should avoid processed food, it is also a myth that eating pure Paleo foods heals the body. Though it may work for several others, everyone is different and the human body needs time to heal itself after years of bad eating habits.

    That being said, the one major thing that you can read on several health blogs is moderation, i.e. most of these diets tell you that you can eat loads of red meat and you’ll be fine. But too much of red meat (though grass fed, free range etc.) and a high protein diet does contain a lot of toxins, which needs to be countered with anti-oxidants and detoxifying the body. In short the body needs a break, it isn’t a trash can. I should add that I did follow the SCD for about 6 months and even though I lost about 10 kilos, its a very unhealthy diet, and felt constipated the whole time. Btw, just to clarify, I am not vegetarian.

    Once someone has an auto-immune issue such as myself (RA), just taking anti-oxidant supplements will not help much. Instead, it is far more complicated process, it needs a lot of time, dedicated effort and positive thinking to make changes. I take it one day at a time.

    Here a few tips: (this may sound ridiculous to the readers, but it has helped me tremendously)

    Food/ Diet
    -Start a detox fast (therapeutic), with maybe lemon juice in hot water for 2 days. Eat nothing else, requires some preparation and the first day is extremely hard. The second day, surprisingly the hunger goes away.
    -Break the fast slowly with only veggies & fruit (absolutely no meat, otherwise you’re asking for serious trouble).
    -Try focussing on inflammation on all parts of the body, this requires concentrating on which part of your body, joints are hurting and say to yourself (your mind) to stop the pain and stop attacking the body. The mind is the most powerful section of the human body, and everything will listen to it provided your train it (learn meditation).
    -Make some ginger juice, and keep drinking throughout the day, this will control the inflammation.
    -For the next 5 days or so, eat only veggies, fruit, and some meat (preferable no red meat) or fish, and give the body to slowly adjust to the food intake.
    -Do the fast again for 2 days.
    -So in total, 9 days, keep repeating till your body starts to feel better.
    -Add the fruits, veggies should be exactly as your describe in your blog, the Paleo style for auto-immune diseases, so please avoid diary, grains, night shades, sugar and artificial stuff.

    Exercise/ Physical
    -I suggest hydrotherapy for anyone with RA or arthritis, from warm baths to walking in the pool and if you’re able, do swim a few rounds.
    -Get 30 mins of sunlight everyday, your body should sweat.
    -Rub coconut oil, on all painful joints and let it sit in for a couple of hours.
    -Get a massage once a week (more is better).
    -Try Hot yoga if you have access to a yoga centre nearby.

    Other Useful stuff
    -Try ayurveda medicine (the Indian ancient medicine), though very slow, has a steady and holistic approach.
    -Try acupuncture if there is a practitioner nearby.

    This has helped me a lot from my personal experience, in my next post, I will list some supplements which I take to feel better. I am also experimenting, so will keep you posted on the progress.

    Thanks once again.

    • Marcus September 13, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Hey Leo

      Great response, please do keep us posted. Would you be interested in providing a guest post outlining your experiences?


  5. Trish January 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    HI there,

    I’ve been interested in the Paleo way of eating for over a year now and doing my best to eat this way. Listening to loads of podcasts on the subject. Brilliant to find something in the UK at last,

    Thanks again

  6. Ally E June 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I’m on the AIP and most people look at me with o_O expression saying ‘so what do you eat?!?’ I find that ocado is a good place to shop when looking for good food, as they have a pretty good coconut yoghurt, and having just that eases the transition to AIP, I also like that they carry Laverstoke farm pork :) if I can’t order from ocado that week, I feel deprived. Tesco’s has a wild alaskan smoked salmon, which is great!

    • Jase June 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Ally,

      There are still plenty of great foods to choose from on the AIP, personally I prefer more simple meals out of choice anyway.

      Supermarkets are getting better these days too and remember that New Zealand lamb is always grass-fed & quite affordable if you’re stuck.

      I’ve recently been eating some grass-fed mince fried in ghee with a little bit of stock, with a tabouleh-style salad on the side – loads of parsley, peeled & sliced cucumber with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and salt – AIP friendly without even intending it to be and very tasty & quick to prepare.

      Please keep us informed how you get on!

  7. Robbie in Tokyo September 8, 2013 at 2:43 am #


    Thanks for the great info. Just getting started on the Paleo IP diet. Will share any new info I come across.

    Good luck.
    Robbie in Tokyo


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