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Keeping the Clear Liquid Diet Paleo / AIP

Can you keep the clear liquid diet Paleo…or even AIP?

Just last month I had the pleasure (note sarcasm) of prepping for both a barium upper GI X-ray AND a colonoscopy. Whew! So. Much. Fun was had.

For the lab technicians and doctors to be able to see those varying parts of my gastrointestinal tract at both imaging appointments, I needed to make sure there wasn’t any food, or remnants thereof, blocking their views. Because who wants to go through all the hassle of drinking chalky sludge to illuminate your stomach and upper intestines…or experience the bathroom-trip-inducing laxatives, anesthesia and scope probe of a colonoscopy just to be told you didn’t do your prep right and be sent home to start all over again? NOT me. NOPE.

paleo aip imaging autoimmune disease
Yup. That’s me. Apparently this is a normal result. Looks like a cloudy ghost is living in there…


But how was I to keep the prescribed clear diet Paleo? Aren’t we told to consume bouillon cubes melted in water, loads of jello, hard candies and soda-pop? Blech. I work too adamantly to avoid chemicals in my diet, beauty and skincare products as it is. I don’t want to intentionally ingest any more non-natural ingredients than absolutely necessary for medical procedures. The actual solutions and preparation medications themselves are bad enough…don’t get me started on those necessary evils!



The standard clear liquid diet consists of some of some of these not-so-ancestral recommendations (which contain some ingredients that are far from anti-inflammatory):

  • Clear meal replacement drinks

(sugar, corn syrup solids, whey protein isolate,  citric acid, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, food coloring, synthetic vitamins)


  • Fruit juice drinks

(some contain high fructose corn syrup and fluoridated water)


  • Packaged gelatin desserts

(sugar, GMO-fed gelatin, adipic acid, artificial flavor, preservatives and artificial coloring)


  • Frozen ice pops

(high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, preservatives and stabilizing gums, artificial and natural flavors and colors)


  • Bouillon cubes / powder

(MSG, hydrogenated GMO vegetable oils and proteins, GMO-fed dehydrated meats, autolyzed yeast extract, lactose, artificial coloring, sulfites)


  • Sodas

(fluoridated water, high fructose corn syrup, artificial non-nutritive sweeteners, preservatives, artificial coloring, citric & phosphoric acid)


  • Sports drinks

(sucrose, dextrose, artificial non-nutritive sweeteners, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium chloride, preservatives, artificial coloring)


Those were a bunch of food-like substances I used to consume before I discovered real food, Paleo and clean eating. I wasn’t interested in filling up my grocery cart or my body with a bunch of chemical sludge just for the sake of convenience or to follow along with the standard clear diet guidelines. So what was I supposed to consume in their places?





I looked to my pantry and realized everything I needed for my Paleo (and AIP if I wanted that option) clear liquid diet was already there:

  • Herbal teas (I stayed away from red teas like Hibiscus and Rooibus because I was advised to not consume red liquids…they can mimic the appearance of blood during a colonoscopy which is NOT a good trick to play on Doc!)

herbal tea paleo aip

  • Coconut water

(nature’s re-hydrating electrolyte drink)

coconut water paleo aip


  • Decaf coffee or coffee substitutes *FOR AIP: Use compliant coffee-substitutes instead of coffee.

(I skipped adding my usual morning fixings like butter, coconut oil and coconut milk, though, as they are fats and not considered “clear”…which could have caused problems with my imaging)

coffee paleo aip

(strained very well of all solids and skimmed of fat, with plenty of Himalayan salt added and a splash of apple cider vinegar if desired)

bone broth paleo aip


  • Homemade less-sour lemonade

(1 tsp lemon juice – no pulp, 1 Tb honey, pinch Himalayan salt, 12 oz water)

lemonade paleo aip

  • Homemade ice pops

(freeze organic 100% juice – no pulp, non-red varieties like apple – or honey sweetened honeybush tea with lemon juice in ice lolly molds)

popsicles paleo aip

  • Sparkling spring water

(add lemon, lime or ginger juice to taste)

seltzer water paleo aip

  • Apple juice

(look for 100% juice and made with non-fluoridated water)

juice paleo aip


  • Homemade fruit juice / tea gelatin squares  *Try using silicone gummy molds for fun-to-eat variations.

(Check the gelatin package for cooking instructions depending on the consistency you like. I preferred a thick, hearty square with a bite to it, so that I felt like I was actually eating and able to chew on something!)

gelatin jello gummies paleo aip


There is of course, always water water water. I have been meaning to implement a once-weekly water fast to help with gut and overall body healing, but I haven’t jumped into it quite yet. I have done a 36 hour bone broth fast (with the intention of making it 3 days…whew) but never just water.


We will see what the future holds! I do feel stronger-willed after having completed two different days of this Paleo / AIP clear liquid diet…and to be honest I felt that even the small amounts of natural sweeteners I used for my gelatin and teas, as well as the fruit juices, were too much sugar for me to have all day. It was like, “Yay, sweet thing in my mouth. AGAIN. *groan*” by the middle of the day. So going with bone broth or water would be a great keto option for the future that won’t bombard the body with sugars.

Intermittent fasting has also helped my digestion during the day, and I think it has built up my stamina in preparation for longer, healing fasting. Finger crossed! I want the benefits. All of them. Gimme gimme.

Whatever your choice for a clear liquid diet may be, I wish you luck, lots of rest, and success with your healing journey and adventures to come!


For gut healing foods to eat after your clear liquid diet,

check out the easy-to make and quick recipes

in both of these great new ebooks!

aip autoimmune protocol easy fast meals allergy friendly clean eating

AIP Sheet Pan Recipes

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  • Louise Gagne

    Thank you for this. I’ve done what you noted above and it wasn’t my best experience, even though I kept it AIP! However, right now I’m in the middle of a liquid fast (day 2) and am hoping for great results. I feel pretty good. Have done the intermittent fasting up to now, but wanted to go the extra length. Haven’t committed to a “water” fast yet cause I don’t know how I would do, but think I might try it next.
    Great article and keep up the great work Samantha Jo.

    • Samantha Jo Teague

      Hi Louise,
      Oh I feel ya there…it’s definitely not the most pleasant experience going without solid food. If it weren’t for the chewy gelatin squares it would have been very difficult! I hope your fasting brings on some super healing powers! *Hugs*