Can I Drink Coffee on the AIP diet?
If you are on the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP) diet, or just exploring it, you may have wondered about your beloved morning ritual…COFFEE. Is it okay to drink? Why or why not? And is there anything I can enjoy as a replacement during the elimination phase of AIP?
The AIP diet is a paleo-optimized diet that emphasizes vitamin-dense meals, while avoiding known inflammatory foods, processed sugar or other additives. The AIP diet’s goal is to reduce inflammation in the body and thus alleviate or cure symptoms of autoimmune disease. The diet involves eliminating specific foods for several weeks - and potentially for considerably longer - depending on how the body reacts to food re-introductions. Over time, you gradually reintroduce eliminated items and evaluate how you feel both before and after consumption. Often you’ll learn which foods your body tolerates as well as those to altogether avoid to achieve your optimal health.
So, here’s the not so awesome news. If you are starting on your AIP journey, it is recommended to remove all coffee and caffeine from your diet in the elimination phase. But whyyyyy, you ask? Here go our reasons for avoiding coffee while on AIP:
Coffee comes from beans. Did you know that coffee beans are actually seeds of the coffee plant? While following the AIP diet, it is crucial to eliminate all seeds and nuts as both are known inflammatory foods.
Coffee contains caffeine. We get it, caffeine gets you going…or keeps you going! But there are a couple of issues with caffeine. For one, caffeine activates your adrenal glands, which causes them to release cortisol. This results in the typical alert, hyper-focused feeling that many people get after drinking a cup or two of coffee. Over time, adrenal glands may become exhausted, at times resulting in tiredness. Caffeine has been connected to inducing autoimmune reactions in certain people.
Coffee is cross-reactive to gluten. A reaction to gluten-based meals is typical among individuals with hyper-permeable intestines. It’s also possible for coffee and gluten to cross-react—this means that your body might mistake gluten molecules for coffee molecules. Therefore, if you remove gluten from your diet, you may still have similar reactions to coffee, and not be able to distinguish the difference. So, especially during the elimination phase of the AIP diet, it is best to avoid caffeine completely to gather the best information you can for your body!
What are some coffee alternatives?
But wait, there’s hope! There are some awesome alternatives to coffee that can still give you the warmth or enjoyment you crave. Here are some fun options:
Tea. This is likely the simplest and most apparent option to try. During your elimination phase, you might replace coffee herbal tea options like rooibos, peppermint, and chamomile. All are excellent herbal teas that have added benefits for your body too!
Chicory. Chicory roasted over an open fire has a flavor and texture that is comparable to coffee. Chicory contains no caffeine and is even thought to aid in the removal of toxins from the body. There are a few different ways that you can prepare this root: in a French press, in a tea ball, or combined with other ingredients to even make your very own AIP-approved "bulletproof" concoction.
Bone broth. Gelatin, as well as other nutrients, are abundant in bone broth. Magnesium is also plentiful in this drink. The broth can be consumed piping hot, which might bring some of the satisfaction of a cup of coffee. The procedure is simple: simmer the bones in water or stock for several hours to produce a flavorful and nutritious broth. It's well worth your time and also has incredible benefits for your body (particularly your gut!).
Probiotic drinks. Drinks such as Kombucha and non-dairy Kefirs are cold beverages that are fantastic ways to get a daily dose of healthy bacteria into your body.
Lemon ginger infusions. This one is the easiest and most cost-friendly option of them all. To prepare ginger tea, simply slice thin pieces of the root and steep in hot water with a lemon. Ginger root has powerful anti-inflammatory effects - you’ll enjoy the smell and it has incredibly beneficial elements for your intestines.
Bottom line, coffee is not part of the AIP diet (yes, we shed some tears on this too). But there are many alternatives to coffee that are both delicious and nutritious. Consider trying one of these healthy alternatives - and hey, you can always enjoy it with a cookie or two (check out our AIP-compliant cookie mixes at www.eatgangster.com).