“Your health is a long-range investment that will pay-off when you need it most.”
― Bryant McGill
One of the questions I get asked most frequently is:
How much does it cost to eat the AIP-way?
And, it’s a good question.
The short answer is, there’s no simple answer.
Or, if I can put it another way…
I don’t know how much it will cost for you.
I can tell you that it doesn’t cost us anymore here at JFC HQ. If anything, our food bill has gone down.
And, I can give you some pointers on how to make it more cost effective at your place, too.
Let’s start with the easy stuff…
What you stop buying/paying for…
You know that the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is an anti-inflammatory diet designed to heal the gut and mitigate autoimmune symptoms, right?
That means there are things you remove from your diet. Potentially expensive things.
Things like alcohol
Alcohol doesn’t feature in the elimination phase of the protocol*. And, even if alcohol is successfully reintroduced, it’s pretty likely that your consumption levels will be significantly lower. Unless you’re a non-drinker, of course!
Things like takeaways and fast food
There’s no easy way to say this, but takeaways are pretty much guaranteed to become a memory. Even after reintroductions. Convenience foods like takeaways are the ones highest in transfats, gluten, soy, additives and preservatives. All things seasoned AIPers steer well clear of. Sorry.
Things like dining out
That’s not to say that you can’t dine out. You can. But – there’s always a but! – it certainly can be a little challenging. And when you remove all the add-ons; things like bread, wine, cocktails, dessert – well, suddenly it’s a lot cheaper!
AIP-Approved ‘Special’ Ingredients
There are a few specialist ingredients that feature on the Autoimmune Protocol. And, they are on the expensive side.
Gelatin falls into this camp. But, it’s worth it. And, a little goes a long way.
Specialist AIP-approved flours also feature. Otto’s Cassava Flour (available from here if you’re in Australia) and tiger nut flour (not yet available in Australia) are two such flours, popular for creating AIP ‘treats’.
So far, we’ve been talking about the direct cost of AIP. The amount that has to be paid or spent.
What about the indirect cost?
Honestly? To be successful following the Autoimmune Protocol, this is where the real cost is realised.
And most of this indirect cost falls into under the umbrella of time…
Time to plan ahead
Planning ahead is the single biggest learning curve for most people new to the protocol to come to terms with. We live in a time of immediacy and convenience. And, AIP takes planning.
- Making bone broth takes time (between 3 and 72 hours depending on your cooking method)
- Fermenting vegetables takes time (between 1 and 3 weeks depending on the time of year)
- Refrigerating coconut cream or gelatin gummies takes time (3 hours minimum)
Time to cook
To succeed on the protocol, you must cook. It’s so important, I’m going to say that again.
To succeed on AIP you must cook
If you are not a cook now, you will become one. It’s simply not negotiable.
You don’t have to cook ‘fancy’. You don’t have to be a cordon bleu chef. But, you must learn to cook.
And cooking takes time. Especially the long, slow cooking that is favoured for maximum health benefit.
Time to factor in the other elements of the protocol
The final indirect cost is the one that is easy to overlook.
And that is all the work that takes place outside of the food purchasing, preparation and consumption.
I’m talking specifically about the lifestyle factors of the protocol – getting outside in the sun, moving, sleeping, managing your stress, laughing and connecting.
Have you got any tips for managing cost on the Autoimmune Protocol?
*with the exception of where it is used as an ingredient in cooked food and the alcohol is cooked off.