AIP for Vegetarians

Transitioning to AIP is a challenge itself, especially if we think about the 30 days reset phase. And that’s quite easy to understand, especially if you’re starting from a filthy-greasy-fast foody diet like mine was before AIP.

The challenge, however, is even more difficult for certain people, who have specific food restrictions that are adding an even greater effort: those are the people who have specific food intolerance to certain AIP ingredients or the ones who are vegetarians.

In this article we’re going to discuss the case of vegetarians, since the AIP diet is itself a diet based on protein in quite a large proportion. So the simple thought of vegetarians on AIP diet made me a bit scared at first, but that’s only until I saw the WHAT THE HEALTH documentary on Netflix.

This film has been a life changer for me. And it’s not because I became an instant vegetarian, but because it offered me the right information to understand that the protein we get from meat can actually be taken from any vegetables out there.

So it was then when I understood that the AIP diet for vegetarians is absolutely possible and even recommended. The documentary shows the really nasty business behind meat production, proving all its harmful effect to both the environment as well to the human body, if we talk about processed meat. And the solution to that lays in the botanical nature, pretty much the nature that vegetarians enjoy.

Now here are some vegetarian AIP recipes that I found online and that I tried myself in times of vegetarian experimenting:

And these are just some of the dozens of vegetarian AIP combinations you could make. For non-vegetarians like me they normally make great side dishes, but most of them are so rich in vitamins and minerals that you could just eat them alone.

Enjoy!

Going Out while AIP-ing

I’ve been on the AIP diet for a bit over 6 months now. It’s become a lifestyle and I now find it very easy to eat healthy – which I never thought I’d achieve if you’d asked me a while back. Actually, if you’d see me you’d probably say I’m the most food-disciplined human being on earth. But I wasn’t always like that…..

One of the greatest struggles for me was finding a way of respecting this diet while still socializing with people, while still going out. And since none of my friends and family were on any diet when I first started, this going out thing was really challenging to do at first.

I read all these articles and all these personal opinions on groups and communities, people saying that AIP is the beginning of the end when it comes to going out and enjoying lunch or dinner with friends. But you know what? None of these opinions brought me down, in fact reading all of this made me focus all my intuition into finding a balance between my new healthy eating and keeping my social life.

I developed this 6th sense out of reading all the ingredients in the menus and identifying all those non-compliant ones to avoid. And let me tell you, it turned our pretty nice after some reintros.

To be honest, one of the most helpful reintro was THE EGGS. Yes, as we know it, eggs lay at the basis of some quite tasty recipes. And starting with a simple omelet with uncured bacon (fried in lard), I started getting more and more self-confident when visiting restaurants.

This was also great news for my friends who stopped being so stressed out when seeing me read through all those restaurant menus like I was studying philosophers of the twentieth century.

Here are some of the AIP compliant meals I love to order when going out:

  • Raw veggie salad had been one of my first saviors and especially now, after I reintroduced tomatoes and condiments, everything seems so tasty and neat with all that olive oil soaking the veggies like in a static nature painting.
  • Grilled pork, beef and chicken – grilled food reduces the risk of using any non-compliant oil, especially if you mention this to the waiter in advance. And after reintroducing the condiments, the grilled goodies I ate are absolutely amazing (I’m a sucker for medium-rare beef actually).
  • All kinds of compliant soups, especially after reintroducing tomatoes and eggs – because here in my country these are some of the long kept secrets of soup taste.
  • Veggie and mushroom sauteed sides also come in very handy – of course after verifying that they are prepared using olive oil…YUMMM
  • And as for dessert, traditional ice-cream or gelato made from frozen fruit (which some restaurants serve here) is always a great choice – after checking for any added sugar in advance “biensur”.
  • Fruit salad is also a winner, with the elimination of any syrups or additives like whipped cream.
  • Drinks are the easiest, especially after I reintroduced coffee, which I prefer black, so no danger there. There’s also the fruit smoothie and the lemonade that I love, so I do have a lot of options here. And I’ll tell you a bit about the wine below…

Now you may ask one important question, and that is – what if any of these foods have been in contact with any non-compliant ingredients? And to be honest, I thought of that myself. But then I thought about the serious effort I’ve been doing in the past 6 months and decided to take it easy on the “”contamination” idea, as long as I’m still doing my best to comply to the allowed foods.

And I feel great!

P.S. I also reintroduced alcohol, so a glass of quality wine usually makes my day when going out. My favorite one is an Italian wine called Amarone, which has a slight bitter flavor that simply makes my papillae go crazy. Quite nice, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

I Used Meditation with AIP and Here’s What Happened

When I first read about AIP, I found that it’s much more than just a food diet. It shocked me to find that AIP is a real lifestyle that includes both dietary changes as well as lifestyle improvements. All things like getting enough rest, reducing stress, blocking toxic people from getting to you – all of these come to complete the physical diet and improve its beneficial effects.

And to be completely honest with you, reading all of this about the AIP diet scared me a little, because I was not a spiritual person before, and I had absolutely no idea how to handle something so deep like meditation and conversation with my inner self.

If I rewind my life a bit and remember the way I used to be before discovering this diet, I remember a lot of anxiety, self-induced stress and fear that i used to feel 24/7. And it was all in my head. Psychologist Joseph Murphy explains this state of mind in very few simple words: the way any life situation makes you feel and the way you perceive life in all its aspects – is only generated by your mind.

So I might get over-stressed by situations that don't stress another person at all, which proves my mind is the one that created the stress, not the situation itself. 

And the only way I could actually feel these words was by experimenting the first authentic introspection of my life. It didn’t come natural, because I didn’t understand the role of meditation before. It just seemed like something unproven and useless. And for skeptical people like I used to be, meditation never comes natural from the first attempt, especially as we are programmed by our environment, by our families and by society to live with certain beliefs, feelings and fears. And maybe the greatest challenge is to leave all these behind. But nothing is impossible! And even if I only managed to get into this state by constant practice that I’ve been doing in the past 7 days, I feel so satisfied because I tried it with all my heart.

And I didn’t do any yoga, simply because right now I was so determined and I wanted this to be a 100% authentic experience with me being alone in my own company. However, the principles of yoga are strongly connected to my personal experiences presented in this article.

And my findings were absolutely incredible for myself. I think I managed to deeply get to my inner self for the first time in my life. And I did this by practicing some self-induced new feelings: I practiced forgiveness, I practiced gratitude and found an answer to a question that had been haunting me for so much time:

Why do things happen to us? Why do we attract certain situations, certain people, or certain diseases into our lives?

Well, the answer I’ve figured out was that nothing in this life is arbitrary. We are all made of Divine energy and we attract or reject different kinds of energy only by our way of thinking – that turns into our way of feeling. And I also had to do a comprehensive research on the human mind to figure this thing out. Joseph Murphy, an author who got me out of my mind’s darkness, and who was also a priest before being a psychologist, offers an interesting idea in that even the Bible itself connects the Divine power to our subconscious mind, treating our inner self as a gate to Divinity. And if we think about it, intuitions, coincidences and just about all the situations we cannot explain ourselves using our conscious mind, are generated by energies in our inner self.

During this past week I analyzed the impact of my autoimmune disease and of the AIP diet on my physical body. The impact of the disease was really generated by both negative thoughts and emotions that I had constantly developed and experienced, thus printing them deep in my subconscious mind. And I compared all of these negative states of mind that I’d been having with positive emotions and listened to my body while doing this. And so, with the help and guidance of bright and spiritual people who opened my inner eyes, I reached one important conclusion that I actually felt:

We are what we believe we are, we are our fears, our disappointments, our grief and our pain. And at the same time, we are anything that we strongly believe in!

After I’ve seen a self-healing documentary called “Heal” (you can find it on Netflix), I thought about all the people who miraculously healed only by their strong belief that they can be healed, so I gave the placebo effect a second thought. What is the placebo effect? It is nothing more than our brain’s reaction to something that we strongly believe is good for us. The studies conducted with patients who had been given actual medication vs patients given sugar pills and still obtaining the same effect – are absolutely amazing to prove how strong our brain can influence us if we believe strong enough in an idea, if we are deeply and strongly convinced by something. You can find more such examples in the documentary.

And then I thought about how great the AIP diet made me feel. And about how my antibodies lowered with this diet, while being sure that only medication couldn’t have done that – as I’d seen through my blood tests.

And so I became aware of the superpower laying in our minds. I always feared negative energy, but in my conscious mind I could not define this negative energy through a deep and comprehensible definition. Because I had never truly felt neither positive nor negative energy. I only felt frustration and anger that I would ease though a vicious life. I didn't know what those two antagonistic ideas felt like. Because they were abstract in my mind. And this loss of mine to understand them is probably because I was never really connected to my inner self like I am now. We cannot feel something we didn't experience before, because we're programmed to follow predefined patterns: predefined by family, by environment, by previous experiences. 

So meditation helped me achieve a deep connection with my inner self and my body, and helped me figure out once more that my healing diet is the right choice for me, besides medication. I had never done this before, but instead I would only be certain that the AIP diet is good for me and that it would heal me. I used to have this belief unconsciously before meditating on it in depth. This kind of faith – the faith of healing – is the core belief that spirituality and yoga actually promote. The faith that you will get healed.

And then I thought about all these people in support groups who say that the AIP diet is not good for them and that it makes them feel sick and brings them all these symptoms they didn’t have before. And so I figured out something new:

If our brain accepts an idea, which in psychology is called auto-suggestion, our body will follow that idea as long as we believe in it strong enough. What is strong enough? You may ask now, because I've been asking myself the same question. The answer is that strong enough is not physical strong but spiritual strong. So if my brain is 100% convinced that the AIP diet, or any other diet - is not good for me, my body will respond accordingly and will reject that diet - it will give me these symptoms and signals that do nothing more than strengthening my belief. 

And I practiced this, like the “Heal” movie shows in an example, with body reactions to other stimuli that are not physical but are only in my imagination. Like the lemon. I closed my eyes and I imagined I am licking half a lemon. My salivary glands already started to work, generated by a simple thought! So I didn’t have any lemon, I just imagined licking one and my body started to listen to my induced thought.

Stress is also an example. Whenever we feel stress, out body gives us all these physical reactions: we have stomach aches, sometimes nausea, headaches and so on. And all of these are generated by a simple thought! Stress is just a thought in our head, it is not real! It is just generated by our brain by our fears, by our frustrations and by our beliefs that something is probably going to hurt us at that moment. And so the body reacts to this thought.

By reading Joseph Murphy’s book “The power of your Subconscious Mind“, I found that the mind is an incredibly powerful source of energy. Both for ourselves and for others. And the secret is to turn this energy into positive and deviate it away from negative. And how to do that? Well, a simple explanation is this:

  • The first generator of energy is the thought
  • If this thought is accepted as being real by our brain, it creates a feeling
  • Then the feeling influences us and our body instantly (there is no delay in feelings, they act on the spot)

So, by simple deduction, if the thought is positive – the result will be a good influence on our body. And in the same way, if the thought is negative – it will have a negative impact on our body. And we all know that negative thoughts don’t come alone. They like company, so they trigger more negative thoughts and hence, more body reactions.

The above theory is not supported by traditional medicine, but then again, neither is the AIP diet. What brought me to the conclusion that “we are what we think about” is the research I made on the real life cases of diseases put into remission by the simple thoughts of faith and positiveness. So when medicine gave no other alternative for stage 4 cancer patients for example, as you will see in the “Heal” documentary, they used the healing power of their minds.

This article does not promote the cut of medication or the self-treatment! Science has its important role and it always works if we put the same strong BELIEF in it! In the same way presented above, there are people who put all their faith in doctors and medication and can be healed in the same way! Because they focus on this thought and so their body reacts in a positive way – in the way of healing. This is also the power of thought but just focused in a different direction. At the same time, there are people who don’t think the AIP diet is good for them and they may find comfort in any other diet out there – paleo diet, keto diet or any diet that they trust and believe in. They just have to believe in its healing effects and they will surely see results.

I am not a mentalist, but I do feel greater than ever now, after I figured out that my greatest, strongest wish is HEALING. I also feel incredibly good when I help people. I am just a person who was diagnosed with Graves disease and who tried all the healing options out there and who now found the answer deep inside. I did this with the help of Joseph Murphy’s books and with motivating documentaries like “Heal”, “Memory Hackers” and others.

I hope my experience with meditation and with the AIP diet will be able to help you in any way and I am sure you have the healing power right there, in your mind. You only have to wish for it and I’m 100% convinced you will achieve it, just the way you are able to achieve anything else you want in your life. I am sending you lots of positive energy to support your strength. BECAUSE YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!

Just remember: fear, disappointment and hate are biologically transmitted to our physical body and turned into negative energy, harming us and affecting our health. If we replace these with love, forgiveness and gratitude, our body will respond so good, in ways that we never imagined! And if we have the AIP diet, or any other healthy diet, to provide our physical nurture, besides our spiritual “food”, we can be sure that the only way is up!

One of my next articles will be about me training my mother into mindful meditation for healing. She suffers from Hashimoto's and she is a very positive person on the outside, however deep inside she has a very heavy luggage of fear, grief and disappointment that she will need to throw away. She has always encouraged me to be positive, but she never actually told me how to do that, and especially what I can obtain out of it. Because she didn't have these answers herself. So this will be me, actually training my trainer πŸ™‚ 

Until next time, I wish you speedy healing and if you have any questions feel free to join our AIP and Paleo Support Group on Facebook!

And remember: YOU ARE IN CONTROL! ❀

AIP Pizza Recipe

I’m so proud of this pizza recipe! I made some ingredient testing last night and I found the perfect AIP pizza formula that reminded me a lot of the tasty pizza I used to eat before the AIP diet (and that I used to love!).

Just note that I've been using eggs since I've been reintroducing both yolk and whites. So if you're still in the AIP Elimination Phase you can leave the eggs out of the recipe and it will still be tasty!

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 200 grams plantain flour – I used this flour from NuNaturals:
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 150 ml water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs (omit if in the Elimination Phase)
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 6 olives
  • arugula leaves
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • salt

And here’s how I made the pizza:

  • I preheated the oven at 400 F or 180 C.
  • And I started to work on the crust like this: I mixed the plantain flour and the salt in a bowl and added in the olive oil to the mixture. I then added in the water bit by bit, while continuing to mix. What formed was a dough that was easy to mold.
  • I placed the dough in a round baking pan pan lined with a baking sheet and – using another baking sheet that I put on top – I pressed the dough until I made it thin and even enough. Like this thin:
  • I then removed the top baking sheet and set all the ingredients on the crust: I cracked the eggs and mixed together the yolk and the egg white in a separate bowl, and then poured the egg all over the pizza surface. Then added the prosciutto, sliced mushrooms and salt.
  • I put the pan in the oven and let it bake for about 18 minutes. After 18 minutes, I took it out and added the sliced olives, the arugula leaves and sprinkled the nutritional yeast flakes on top. I then put it back in the oven and let it bake for another 2-3 minutes. So in total I baked it for about 20-21 minutes (I checked the crust a couple of times

I can’t describe the feeling of satisfaction I had when I took the pan out of the oven and saw the wonderful compliant Pizza I made! I’m a pretty modest person but cooking AIP always gives me such a rewarding feeling!

I’ve missed pizza so much and I’m so glad I found this Autoimmune Paleo diet recipe for one of my favorite foods!

Enjoy and speedy healing! ❀

AIP Hearts & Gizzards a la Gloria

A big shoutout to my mother, Gloria, who gets all the credit for this super-delicious AIP recipe. My mother is a great Romanian cook with an incredible sense of taste, so I am naming this recipe “Hearts & Gizzards a la Gloria”! ❀

Offal is highly recommended in the AIP diet, as it accelerates the gut healing process, so besides the healthy fats, gelatin, collagen and fermented foods, offal should be consumed at least weekly. You can also replace heavy types of meat with offal if you don’t tolerate red meat for example.

List of ingredients (measured in grams and ml):

  • 500 g frozen spinach
  • 500 g chicken hearts and gizzards
  • 250 ml bone broth
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 white onions
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 cup dill (chopped)
  • salt (as per taste)

And here’s how to make the sensational dish:

  • Heat the coconut oil in a larger pan o medium heat, then add in the chicken hearts and gizzards. Put a cover over the pot and add half of the bone broth in bit by bit. You need to let them cook with the cover until the hearts and gizzards tender well (you can test them with a fork, if they’re not cooked enough leave them a bit longer).
  • When the offal is tender, add in the minced onion, stir well and let it cook for a couple of more minutes.
  • You then add in the spinach and the other half of the bone broth, the chopped parsley, chopped dill, turmeric, ginger, vinegar and salt, stir and let everything cook for 2-3 more minutes.

And Voila! The Hearts & Gizzards a la Gloria are now set using this amazing Autoimmune Paleo recipe!

Enjoy and speedy healing! ❀

AIP Starter Pack

Note: This article contains a bit of AIP humor because I intended to make it less boring and more motivating. Through this article, my goal is to make you worry less over AIP and motivate you into enjoying this diet - stress relief and a positive state of mind are 50% of the keys to healing. Enjoy! 

When I first started the AIP diet I was feeling like an outcast toad among the people surrounding me. Everyone was like: “Are you kidding me? How’s this diet better than Dukan/Keto/Whatever Diet?” So since it takes a lot of time and effort to explain the benefits of AIP to someone who isn’t suffering from an autoimmune disease, I rested my case and decided not to discuss this with anyone who isn’t suffering from autoimmunity. That was my tiny moment of revolution until I got the hang of the diet myself (actually felt pretty good being an outcast at that time when my antibodies were up in the sky) πŸ™‚ And then I told myself:

AIP diet

I’ve tried this diet on my own, with no help from any functional doctor but just by researching, self-teaching and experimenting on my own body, so I now want to put all my effort down under the form of advice for everyone who is starting the AIP diet and who finds it difficult to begin. And I’m doing this because it’s actually not that difficult! I’ve been receiving all kinds of feedback on AIP lately, mostly from our AIP support group on Facebook. It seems that the greatest struggle of all is getting started with the AIP diet.

So in this article I’m putting together an easy AIP starter pack for everyone who wants to start the AIP diet and is not sure where to begin! I’m putting all the steps in the chart in brief and I’m detailing every step below the chart. Here we go!

Step 1 – Chase For AIP Ingredients
Est. duration – 1->3 days
Step 2 – Browse and Save as many recipes as you canEst. duration – 1->7 days
Step 3 – Prep Meals in AdvanceEst. duration – 1->2 days
Step 4 – Taking food to Work? Buy CasserolesEst. duration – 30 minutes
Step 5 – Not sure about Something?ASK OUT!

Step 1 – Chase for ingredients – Est. duration 1-3 days

Buy/order/pre-order all the compliant ingredients of the AIP diet. You can find the full list of AIP allowed foods HERE! You NEED to have as much compliant food as possible at hand, so you can just jump to the fridge/cupboard whenever you’re hungry and fix yourself an AIP soup/steak/snack/hash/dessert. Trust me, the feeling of knowing you have everything at hand is very comforting and it gives you a small but very important feeling of accomplishment.

To be completely honest, I’ve been running like crazy after some ingredients, flours mostly, because I’ve been so desperate to learn how to make myself compliant bread that I literally lost count of other cravings. While other people may have finer and more expensive cravings (foie-gras, caviar, etc) I used to be a sucker for bread ever since I was a baby. And bread has been one of my best friends (used to eat it in good times, in bad times, used to eat it in grief, used to eat bread as I laughed (can you imagine??) and even used to eat it as I cried, it comforted me more than anything). Bread literally was my best food friend before the AIP.

But the AIP diet was so kind to me that it let me find great solutions of bread replacements that I actually cook and eat every day! So if there was hope for me, there sure is hope for you!


Step 2 – Browse and save as many AIP recipes as you can – Est. duration 1-7 days

Once you start AIP, you’ll feel the need to keep your biorhythm and continue to respect your meal and snack hours. Or else, your body will get pretty mad at you and start kicking other parts than autoimmunity. So you’ll need as many recipes as you can possibly get, to satisfy all your cravings. And believe me when I say, there is nothing you eat outside of AIP that you can’t replace with an AIP compliant ingredient or food. I mean, look at me:

  • I’ve replaced coffee with “AIP coffee” (and I was a real coffee lover)
  • Replaced gluten bread with compliant AIP bread
  • Replaced my daily soups with compliant AIP soup
  • Replaced sugar with honey (I use canola honey)
  • Replaced sunflower frying oil with lard, coconut oil and other compliant substitutes

So you shouldn’t worry about the strictness of the diet, there really are plenty of foods you can eat and enjoy while on the AIP Paleo diet.


Step 3 – Prep meals in Advance – Est. duration 1-2 days

Always start with doing this on a piece of paper or in an Excel sheet. I do it like this:

Monday

  1. Breakfast: AIP smoothie
  2. Coffee: “AIP coffee” (recipe above)
  3. Lunch: AIP soup and sauteed veggies with roasted chicken wings
  4. Dessert: AIP orange jello
  5. Snack: Plantain chips
  6. Dinner: Sweet Potato Zucchini hash

….and so on for the rest of the week.

Then you can start cooking! With cooking you have two options:

  • You either cook and eat fresh – for example you can cook a soup, store it in the fridge and eat it in maximum 4 days. The same goes for a tray of roasted veggies (these can only be stored for up to 2 days).
  • Or you can cook any prep and freeze it so you can eat it whenever you want (you can do this with soups, stews, drinks and even hashes). This option is recommended for the people who don’t have time to cook every day and just want a faster and more comfortable option of staying compliant.

Step 4 – Taking food to work? – Buy casseroles! – Est. duration – 30 minutes

Taking your AIP food to work is the wisest choice you’ll make! That’s because it’s very unlikely you’ll find a catering company that delivers AIP lunch. Even if you’re on the pure Paleo diet, it’s still incredibly difficult to find a caterer who will use only compliant ingredients.

I work remotely in another town where I manage a shopping center so my work is half office work – half operational onsite. So what I do is I take all my food to work with me, packed in casseroles. I like cooking every evening for the following day (because thank God I have the time!), but even if I didn’t, I’d still do this casserole thing since it’s incredibly comfortable! I bought all these different sized and shaped casseroles and I pack all foods in them in the mornings and carry them all around! You may find some of the people at work consider you’re a bit eccentric (or maybe a variation of the old lady with the cats), but you really shouldn’t care about all that as long as this diet is helping you heal your symptoms!

So put those casseroles to work!


Step 5 – Not sure about something? ASK OUT!

At first, the AIP diet may be full of question marks and even tricks. Why isn’t olive oil good for frying? Why isn’t regular palm oil fully compliant while palm shortening is? What does “consume honey in moderation” actually mean? What is this moderation stuff? Are you kidding me???

If you have any questions whatsoever, just ASK OUT! Join support groups, ask your questions in social media, send emails to people who’ve been on the diet. Don’t hold any question in, as you usually get only one chance to do things right (and by this I mean the 30 days reset phase).

If you think any of your questions may sound stupid, here are some of the questions I’ve asked myself at first – with a bit of a humorous approach that I can afford now, after almost 3 fully compliant months:

  • How am I supposed to start? Is starting naked compliant?
  • What am I supposed to eat? πŸ™‚
  • How am I supposed to replace eggs for breakfast or Greek salad for dinner? What am I some sort stupid girl you can trick with greenies?
  • What shall I do with the non-compliant ingredients still left in my fridge? Feed them to the sharks?

…all these and just about any question out there – need to have an answer that doesn’t sound like rocket science! And the AIP is not rocket science, trust me! It just needs a bit of motivation and organization.


Join our Facebook AIP support group for asking any questions you feel like, sharing your experience and just make yourself at home! And remember, you’re not alone in your autoimmune journey!


Speedy healing everyone! ❀

Scientific Proof of Why the AIP Diet is Good for Me

Question everything!

Albert Einstein

While many of us started the AIP diet out of a real need to put our diseases in remission, most of us do wonder if this diet is really supported by studies and real science. Questioning everything makes us stronger and empowers us into finding the right solutions to our problems.

And a very legit question to ask ourselves is: Why do I need the AIP Diet? – because in spite of all the AIP positive feedback we see around us in real people, science has evolved so much lately and we all know that real experiments and studies are the ones proving the actual efficiency of a medical action. Here are some questions that I’ve asked myself before starting this diet:

πŸ’‘ Why should I eat coconut products if I’ve never eaten them before the diet?

πŸ’‘ Why should I let dairy go when I’ve been eating dairy my whole life and it was only recently that I got diagnosed?

πŸ’‘ Why should I consume all these weird starches I’ve never eaten before in my life and how do I know they will bring me more benefits than the foods my body was used to?

Well, to answer all of these questions in short, the explanation is quite simple:

The foods allowed in the AIP diet are foods that have been tested by a scientist for anti-inflammatory reactions. The scientist's name is Dr. Loren Cordain and he was the doctor who introduced the Paleo Movement to the world in 2002. Inflammation may seem like a bit of unclear concept at first, however food sensitivities and body reactions are real and they are triggered by this exact reason - inflammation.

In my case, the body reaction has been the triggering of my Graves disease (my immune system attacking my thyroid and eyes). In other cases, the immune system attacks other organs of the body, triggering other autoimmune dysfunctions. So autoimmunity is the result of our body sensitivity to stress, inflammatory foods and other harmful factors – sensitivities that we were not aware of before getting diagnosed.

In my research to find scientific evidence for the AIP diet, I found these resourceful scientific articles that answer the following questions:

Why AIP Diet? – To answer the Why question, I found a comprehensive article from NextGen Medicine, where the author provides the scientific evidence behind the Autoimmune Protocol. The article is very well researched and includes personal experience as well as valuable scientific reference for the gut healing process.

Who discovered AIP? – This question is perhaps the easiest to answer, as the Autoimmune protocol was discovered by the same scientist who introduced the Paleo Movement to the world in 2002 – Dr. Loren Cordain. After testing the reactions of foods on various groups of patients, he came up with the AIP allowed foods list, which are the absolute anti-inflammatory foods that most patients can tolerate. This is how the Elimination Phase was created, through experimenting and studies.

Proof of AIP results? – Now this is the fun part, because I know I trust something when I see real numbers. So the studies conducted with AIP are of real interest for me, and here is what I found. Dr. Gauree G. Konjieti is a Primary doctor at Scripps Clinic in California – Division of Gastroenterology. He conducted this study of testing AIP on 15 patients with autoimmune conditions and noted down all the detailed results in the excerpt. The study is self-evoking and proves the efficiency of the diet if it is held as strictly as possible.

So this is my documented research on the scientific proof showing how the AIP diet was discovered in the first place, how it helped patients throughout time and how the gut healing mechanism works. I will not go into further scientific details in this article, but I invite you to access the links above and read through all the diet science and proof. This will definitely change your opinion on the diet if you’ve been on the skeptical side so far.

I also recommend reading Amy Meyers, the American endocrinologist who followed the Autoimmune Protocol and who also brought her own improvements to the diet, for the condition she was suffering from – Graves Disease.

If there’s one thing I slightly regret, it’s that I don’t have access to functional medicine here in my country. If I had, it would’ve probably been easier for me to make my diet plans under the strict guidance of a functional practitioner. However, research has always been my best friend so, with or without functional medicine, I am so glad I have you to share my AIP experiences with. For me this is more than any functional doctor! πŸ™‚

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or in our AIP and Paleo Facebook group.

Speedy healing everyone! ❀

AIP Lipia Bread for Appetizers

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Now getting back to our recipe, I should first tell you that since I’ve been on AIP, I really missed appetizers (we like to call them tapas). And while I previously made AIP appetizers using sweet potato as the base, I couldn’t help but wondering what replacement I could find for bread or toast that I’d been using before this diet.

So I tried a very simple combination of plantain flour, olive oil, salt and water and baked the mixture. What turned out was an excellent AIP bread lipia that can can be used with any AIP compliant topping to create the perfect tapas.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 200 grams plantain flour – I used this flour from NuNaturals:
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 150 ml water
  • Pinch of salt

And here’s how I made the lipia:

  • I preheated the oven at 400 F or 180 C.
  • I mixed the flour and the salt in a bowl and added in the olive oil to the mixture. I then added in the water bit by bit, while continuing to mix. What formed was a dough that was easy to mold.
  • I placed the dough on a baking sheet and using another baking sheet that I put on top, I pressed it until I made it thin enough. Like this thin:
  • I placed the baking paper in a baking pan and put it n the oven, where I left it for about 20 minutes. After 15 minutes I checked it regularly to avoid it getting burnt.
  • When taken out of the oven, it should come out crunchy on the edges and just a bit puffy in the middle.

With all the modesty I can tell you it was tastier than any other AIP bread I’ve tried so far. I ate mine with thin prosciutto slices on top but you might as well top it with any other AIP compliant ingredient (guacamole, offal pate, bacon, etc). You can also eat it as it is because mine is salty enough that I tastes like a biscuit – I like my food saltier πŸ™‚

I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

How Spirulina Triggered my Graves Disease

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After I started the AIP diet I became obsessed with explaining myself everything. Maybe because I started this healing journey that treats the root of the disease rather than the effect, so I guess this inspired me a lot in finding what made me sick in the first place.

Until 2018, my biggest health concern had been the fear of getting cancer. This was the absolute worst disease in my mind, a disease I was so afraid of. This fear was probably caused by the fact that the cruel cancer had occurred in my family, I saw it manifesting and was well aware of the grief it could cause. Whenever I heard of cancer I would remain speechless with terror.

But in my case, one fear led to another, which this time was 100% real, as in 2018 I got diagnosed with Graves disease. So my health priorities changed from obsessive cancer prevention to coping with a real autoimmune thyroid disease. I had never been seriously ill before getting the Graves diagnosis, I had only been obsessed with preventing diseases that were just in my head, not inside my body.

Now, let’s start with the beginning, with the life choices I made that triggered my autoimmune symptoms.

Unlike other Graves disease patients, I am 100% sure what triggered my disease. It was the huge amounts of spirulina I used to consume. I found out about it only after I got diagnosed with Graves, and started to look for my triggers in an obsessive way.

So knowing this for sure, with the help of my doctors who confirmed it, after I got my Graves diagnosis I even encouraged myself into thinking: “if I know what caused Graves in me and if maybe I caused it myself – the way I know it – I will certainly find a way out of it!

Before I got Graves, I used to be obsessed with staying healthy, especially given my previous fear of cancer. Used to be obsessed with keeping my immunity high and used to do all kinds of researches for it. All these studies and researches got me into buying and consuming all kinds of food supplements, some more organic than others. I used to consume A LOT of spirulina, maca powder and pollen – besides all the raw greenies I used to be crazy about. One might consider this as a pretty healthy choice, eating all organic and adding supplements to almost all the foods I prepared.

But I jumped the line.

I made two mistakes:

  1. I kind of auto-medicated myself, which I now understand is a very reckless thing to do, not having real sense of quantities or recommended combinations of supplements. I used to just add handfuls of supplements to my smoothies daily and would expect the best of my health out of doing this.
  2. I hadn’t had any blood tests done before taking supplements, so I ended up getting too much of a specific nutrient in my blood, which eventually made me sick.

And I did all of this out of a stupid fear for getting cancer.

Since I hadn’t had any blood tests done before taking the supplements, it was only after I got diagnosed with Graves disease that I started to review every action I’d done in a reversed order, to figure out what I’d done wrong. So by reviewing about everything I ate the year before, with support from two physicians who helped me reach a conclusion, I finally figured it out: the supplement that triggered my autoimmunity and that blew up my antibodies was SPIRULINA.

Here are the factors that lay at the basis of my theory:

  • I ate industrial quantities of spirulina 2 months before I got diagnosed with Graves disease. All my smoothies, shakes and desserts used to contain at least 2 tsp of this supplement, that I was seeing as the no. 1 cancer-prevention at that time.
  • Spirulina contains very high values of iodine, which in my case triggered the thyroid reactions and caused me some symptoms that were incredibly new and disturbing (extreme fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps all over my body).
  • I also consumed spirulina a couple of times after I got diagnosed with Graves, to figure out if it was really a trigger, and every time I did it, the symptoms would become worse than those of any other foods I’d eat.

So instead of acting like a superfood, in my case Spirulina brought out all its iodine into play and triggered my antibodies, making my autoimmunity speed up so much.

My advice for you would be to act very careful on what supplements you are taking and always try get an opinion from a functional doctor or at least a nutritionist.

I hope my experience with spirulina will help all the hyperthyroid and Graves patients out there!

Sauteed Veggies – AIP and Paleo

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Tonight I didn’t feel like eating meat. Maybe because I overreacted with meat-ing in the past couple of weeks. So when I was thinking of eating something fresh and tasty at the same time, I had this idea of making a sauteed veggie dish.

So using my kitchen knife I cut:

  • 8 medium mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • 4 green onions

…and sprinkled garlic powder and salt over them. I then heated 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan.

I put all vegetables in the pan and sauteed them for 5-6 minutes on medium heat, or until the mushrooms soaked a bit. I added in a bit more Himalayan salt because I like my food a bit more salty than average taste.

I ate them as they are and really enjoyed the flavored taste super fast dinner!

Hope you’ll enjoy them too! πŸ™‚

How to make Plantain Chips – AIP and Paleo

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Plantains some of the few AIP compliant foods that can be turned into real snacks! Yeah, you saw it well, I wrote snacks! Plantain chips are made per a traditional African recipe (and South American), that combines the crunchy texture with a mildly salted flavor. Yum!

The difficult part for me in making plantain chips is that I didn’t actually find any plantains :))) – because no supermarket sells them in Romania. So I had to deal with what I had, and that is “barely green” bananas πŸ™‚

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But the result turned out great whatsoever!

Here’s how I made my “plantain” chips:

  1. I used 5 green bananas and 8 Tbsp duck fat for frying
  2. Peeled the green bananas and cut them into very thin slices (they need to be thin so that they cook well and don’t remain soft in the middle)
  3. I placed all the plantain sliced in a bowl with enough water to cover them, in which I also added in 1 tsp Himalayan salt. I let them rest for 30 minutes in water
  4. Heated 6 Tbsp duck fat in a larger pan on high heat and once the fat was very hot I turned the heat to medium-low. You need to make sure there’s enough fat in the pan to cover the plantains, as they will need to be deep fried
  5. I placed the first batch of plantain chips from the water bowl on a paper towel to have the water removed a bit before frying (water in hot grease is pretty dangerous to be next to). I then placed them in the heated duck fat (after I turned the heat to medium-low, otherwise the fat would have sprinkled everywhere). Make sure there’s enough space between the chips, or else they’ll stick to each other, which we don’t want
  6. I deep fried them for about 3 minutes on each side and them placed them from the pan to a paper towel to have the grease removed. You can get them out when they look crispy enough and their color becomes golden. Once taken out, sprinkle more salt over them while they’re still hot
  7. I repeated the same steps with the next batches of plantains, adding in more duck fat as needed

You can also use any other vegetable oil for deep frying them, however I preferred duck fat in order to have them 100% AIP compliant (as olive oil is not normally used for deep frying). But if I think about it, you can also try frying them in coconut oil as well (which is also appropriate for deep frying).

The plantain chips are an AIP friendly snack that you can store for up to 2 days and enjoy a healthy crunchy snack anytime you need one. Aaaaand if you do find plantains instead of green bananas ( πŸ™‚ ) it’s going to be even better!

P.S. The avocado oil in this post’s image was just used for the green salad that I combined the plantains with!

Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Orange Jello – AIP and Paleo

I’m so happy with this dessert! I only used 3 ingredients and it was also incredibly fast to make! It was so delicious I even forgot I’m on a diet πŸ™‚

Here are the ingredients I used:
  1. 4 bigger oranges
  2. 1 Tbsp honey
  3. 2 Tbsp gelatin – I used this one which is my favorite from Swanson:
And here's how I made it:
  • I first squeezed the juice from the 2 oranges by using a citric squeezer. I then filtered the juice again using a strainer, to make sure there is no pulp left.
  • I put the juice in a medium pot over low heat, added in the honey and steered until it heated a bit.
  • I then sprinkled the gelatin slowly, careful not to create any clumps and continued to stir slowly until everything was dissolved and homogeneous.
  • After the gelatin was dissolved, I removed the pot from heat and poured the liquid into small molds that I put in the fridge for minimum 2 hours.

After two hours, I got the chance to enjoy my beautiful jello, a healthy AIP-compliant dessert that took me 10 minutes to prepare (without refrigerating).

Enjoy!

AIP – 30 Day Reset Phase – Allowed and Banned Foods

Before adopting the AIP diet for your autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s, Graves, Lupus, Celiac or others), you may wonder what this diet can do for you and your symptoms. In this article I’m going to explain the role of the diet and the allowed foods list in the simplest words and by real examples.

Ruxandra Cuna

First things first, what is the AIP diet?

The Autoimmune Paleo diet starts from the idea that most autoimmune diseases are caused by a leaky gut syndrome. In simple words, this can be explained as below.

By triggers like eating unhealthy foods, by stress and excesses, our gut is attacked by inflammations that create small holes in the membrane of the intestine and get toxins spread out into our immune system. This way, our immune system reacts to these toxins and starts attacking organs in our body, like in the examples below:

  • it attacks thyroid in Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease
  • it attacks small intestine in Celiac disease
  • it attacks the immune system itself by Lupus

So the purpose of the AIP diet is to heal the inflammations, or holes in the gut and make it recover, to prevent these inflammations from leaking toxins into our immune system. But for this gut healing process to take place, the gut needs an initial recovery period, which is the 30 days (or even more) Reset Period, during which the AIP diet only allows anti-inflammatory foods. These specific foods are meant to heal the membrane of the gut and stop the autoimmune symptoms.

While it has ben proven that the AIP diet helps in most autoimmune conditions, there is also a slight possibility that it may not work in some cases, most likely because there are also other measures to take for healing autoimmune. These are a change of lifestyle with more rest, less stress and a gradual elimination of the triggers causing autoimmunity in general. But it’s definitely Worth trying, just considering that it’s such a healthy choice it can’t actually do harm to the body.


The AIP diet has two main phases:
  1. The 30 day Reset Phase-extended until up to 90 days if needed, or until symptoms improve considerably and antibody blood tests also back up the efficiency.
  2. The Re-introductions Phase – which follows right after the Reset Period and involves the gradual and careful re-introduction of the foods that have been banned in the 30-90 day Reset Phase.

Now let’s take the 1st phase separately, the Reset Phase, and see what we’re allowed to eat πŸ™‚


The 30 days Reset Phase – Allowed and Banned Foods List

Like mentioned above, the 30 day Reset Phase may be extended to up to 90 days if the symptoms of your disease are not yet improved considerably, or if your antibody blood tests are not modified for the best.

I’ve been quite strict on my 30 days Reset Phase, making it 45 days Reset in my case, as I wanted to make sure I offer my gut enough time to heal by eating all organic and anti-inflammatory foods.

Here’s what you’re allowed to eat in the Reset Phase:

Meat (Grass fed or Organic)

PorkLamb
ChickenGoat
Offal (liver, heart, tongue, kidney)Duck
BeefGoose
RabbitFish-Seafood (moderate for Hyper)

Vegetables (Excluding Beans + Peas + Nightshades: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes)

Sweet potatoSpinachBrussel SproutKale
BeetsBroccoliButternut SquashMushrooms
RadishRed OnionLettuceCarrots
ParsleyPumpkinSquashAvocado
Celery + rootParsnipOkraBok Choy
CauliflowerCabbageZucchiniLeeks
Acorn SquashCucumberSquashJicama
ArtichokeFennelTurnipsEndive
AsparagusGreen onionCassava

Healthy fats

Olive oil (for salads)Coconut oil (high temp cooking)
Avocado oilDuck fat
Pork lardBeef tallow

Fruit (maximum 2 servings per day, non-tropical fruit recommended)


ApplesPearsBerries
BananasCoconutPineapple
MangoPlumsMelon

Spices

BasilTurmenicChives
GarlicGingerDill
CilantroSaltRosemary

Flour

Coconut flourArrowroot powder
Cassava flourPlantain flour
Tiger-nut flourTapioca flour

Miscellaneous

Gelatin (grass fed)Tapioca pearls
Carob powderBaking powder (gluten-free)

Here’s what you’re not allowed to eat in the Reset Phase

Gluten and grains

WheatRiceQuinoa
CornAmaranthRye
BarleyMilletSorghum

Dairy (only banned in the Reset Phase)

MilkCheese
YoghurtGhee
ButterCream

Nightshades (only banned in the Reset Phase)

TomatoesEggplants
PotatoesPeppers
Red spicesGround cherries

Legumes (only banned in the Reset Phase)

BeansPeas
Soy beans Lentils

All nuts and seeds (only banned in the Reset Phase)

SunflowerPeanutsWalnuts
CoffeeCocoaPumpkin
HazelnutsAlmondsCashew

Miscellaneous (only banned in the Reset Phase)

Eggs
Alcohol

I will return shortly with the article on the 2nd phase of the diet, the re-introductions phase. Meanwhile, you can get inspiration from my daily recipes and start healing your autoimmunity. πŸ™‚

The recipes I post on the blog are 100% AIP compliant, with special mention in case some ingredients may not be allowed in the Reset Phase, but are to be introduced in the Re-introductions phase. For example, if I use Eggs in a recipe, I will sure mention that Eggs are not allowed in the Reset Phase and suggest a replacing option for them, for example gelatin egg, which can be used in the Reset Phase.

Ruxandra Cuna

I hope the AIP foods list will help up at least as much as it helped me and I’m here to support you on your autoimmune healing journey with an open heart πŸ™‚

You can refer to the comments section or to the AIP and Paleo Facebook page and group for any support in your autoimmune healing through AIP!

Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato Chips – AIP and Paleo


After all this time on the AIP Elimination diet, tonight I felt like tasting something different. Something fried. And I mean something that tastes like junk fried… And so, after thinking it through, I came up with an AIP option that’s much better than any junk food!

I found chicken nuggets and sweet potatoes fried in duck fat, all flavored with AIP garlic mayo… The chicken has coconut and garlic crust and the sweet potatoes I can only say it turned out YUM πŸ˜‹

It’s a very simple AIP dish, here’s how I made it! ❀


The ingredients:

  1. 500 g (1 cup) chicken breast cut in smaller pieces (nuggets)
  2. 1/2 sweet potato
  3. 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  4. 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  5. 1 and 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
  6. 2 Tbsp ground thyme
  7. 5 Tbsp duck fat
  8. 8 cloves of garlic (for the mayo)
  9. 1 Tbsp olive oil (for the mayo)
  10. 1 or 2 Tbsp filtered water (for the mayo)

And here’s how I made the whole delish:

  1. I mixed the coconut flour, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp thyme in a medium bowl, until they blended well.
  2. I put all the chicken nuggets in the bowl and covered them well in the dry ingredients to make sure the coating is even on every nugget.
  3. I cut the sweet potato in thin round slices, to make sure they cooks well in the middle. I sprinkled over all slices salt and the other Tbsp thyme I had left.
  4. I heated 2 Tbsp duck fat in a medium pan on medium heat (6th heat grade on my stove).
  5. I then put half the nuggets in the pan and cooked them for 4-5 minutes on each side, that is a tital of 9-10 minutes on both sides. You can check them out after 4 minutes, they might cook even faster depending on your heat.
  6. After they fried well on both sides, I placed them on a paper towel and continued the same with the next batch of nuggets. I added in another Tbsp duck fat to the pan to make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
  7. After I finished frying all nuggets, I placed the salted and thymed sweet potato slices to the pan, adding another Tbsp duck fat and fried them for 4-5 minutes on each side. Make sure they have space between them and check them from time to time so you can turn them on the other side if they get too crunchy on the sides.
  8. After finishing the first batch of sweet potatoes I repeated the process with the second and third batches, adding in extra duck fat to the pan in each batch.

And I served them all with AIP garlic mayonnaise, that I made like this:

  1. I mashed 8 cloves of garlic and added them to a small mixing bowl with 1/2 tsp himalayan salt and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. I mixed all three ingredients until very well combined.
  2. I slowly drizzled 1 tsp olive oil and mixed continuously for a couple of minutes until I created an emulsion. I continue to drizzle another tsp olive oil mixing continuously
  3. I then added in one Tbsp filtered water and continued mizing until the mixture became homogeneous. If you like the mayonnaise less concentrated you can add another Tbsp water but remember to mix everything well.

And Voila!

P.S. I dipped the nuggets and the sweet potato chips in the mayo like there was no tomorrow, that’s how delicious the dish was!

Hope you enjoy my AIP dinner inspiration, feel free to ask any questions in the comments section! 🀠

Carrot Cake with Coconut frosting – AIP and Paleo

I’ve been needing something to sweeten me up after all the thyroid running back and fourth in the past months. So I opened my fridge and decided to do a cake out of the first ingredient I see. And that ingredient was carrot!

I did an AIP friendly carrot cake using the below ingredients that turned out very tasty and sweet, just what I needed! I listed the ingredients into two categories – the carrot cake category and the frosting category – both with separate instructions so as to make it easier for you to follow them.

Here's what I used for the cake:
  • 1 cup tigernut flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour – I used this one from Bob’s Red Mill:
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (used full fat)
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil – I used this one for Barlean’s which is great for cooking:
Coconut oil
  • 1 cup carrots (shredded)
  • 2 gelatin eggs – Instructions for the “eggs” below
Here's how I did it:
  • I preheated the oven to 180 C or 350 F and lined a baking pan with parchment paper that I greased with coconut oil throughout, including on the edges and in the corners. We wouldn’t want the cake to stick on any side!
  • I mixed the dry ingredients in a larger bowl (tigernut flour, arowroot flour, coconut flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, and in another medium bowl I mixed together the wet ingredients (coconut milk, coconut oil, honey and the lemon juice).
  • I mixed the wet ingredients into the wet ones bit by bit to make sure they combine evenly and then mixed in the carrots.
Time for the gelatin eggs!!
  • I added 4 Tbsp of filtered water to a small sauce pot and sprinkled 2 Tbsp gelatin on top as evenly as possible, to avoid it creating any clumps. I let it bloom for a couple of minutes and them put it on stove on medium heat until all the gelatin was dissolved. When all gelatin dissolved I started whisking vigorously until it created a bit of foam on top. The gelatin eggs are done!
And we're back to the carrot cake recipe now!
  • I added in the gelatin eggs over the cake mixture and stirred everything until it became homogeneous.
  • I then poured the mixture to the baking pan using a spoon and made sure the top is as even as possible. I used another piece of parchment paper to smooth the top even more, and so my pan was ready for baking!
  • I put the pan in the preheated oven and left it for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes I tested it with a toothpick to see if it was completely baked. If the toothpick comes out with cake parts on it you should leave it a couple of minutes more. If the toothpick comes out clean then the cake is done. Try to test again with the toothpick after a couple of minutes and repeat the process if needed.
  • I let it cool completely.
The carrot cake after baking
And here's what I used for the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (you can use home made – just take the upper part that forms in the coconut milk jar, or you can use canned – just take the solid part of the canned coconut milk kept in the fridge. Just remember to only use the solid part from the jar or can, as if you add liquid milk it will not be so frothy.
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp honey
And I did it like this: 
  • I put the coconut butter into a smaller bowl and mixed it using a hand mixer, until it became smooth (in its natural form coconut butter is a bit clumpy so we need to smooth it up).
  • I added in the honey gradually, mixing continuously until the frosting became all homogeneous.
  • I left it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until the cake cooled completely.
  • I then took it out and spread it evenly on the cake before cutting it into pieces.
Paleo carrot cake
The frosted carrot cake cut into pieces

Enjoy!

Coconut Pudding – AIP and Paleo

My kind of pudding! It’s sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free and it turned out super tasy! Aaaand it’s incredibly easy to make!

Here’s the list of ingredients I used:

  • 1 cup organic coconut milk (I’m using my home-made organic milk)
  • 1 tbsp gelatin. I used this one which is my favorite from Swanson:
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • berries of your choice

And here’s how I did it:

  • In a small bowl I sprinkled the gelatin over 1/4 cup of coconut milk, let it bloom for 2-3 minutes and then I stirred the mixture together slowly to make sure the gelatin dissolves without clumps.
  • I heated the rest of the coconut milk in a small saucepan. When it started to simmer I poured in the gelatin over in the saucepan and continued to whisk hard until it dissolved completely.
  • I placed the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least 3,5 hours and then took it out and started to place the berries on top.

Ready to be served!

*You may add more gelatin if you like the pudding harder (i.e. add up to 4 tsp), but I prefer it softer so I prefer to stick to the 1 tbsp gelatin.

How to make your own Coconut Milk at Home

Coconut milk is a valuable ingredient in AIP and Paleo recipes, 
for milder digestion compared to dairy
and for all vitamins and minerals it contains!
My home-made coconut milk!

I’ve been trying out most coconut milk options on the market, both canned and carton, and compared them in terms of taste and texture. After using all these ready-made options, I realized the most organic coconut milk is the one you do yourself actual coconuts. However, while I trust canned coconut milk, I do not trust the one that comes in carton boxes – it is full of preservatives and flavors that are not AIP-friendly!

Making your homemade coconut milk is very easy, very rewarding and especially very economic compared to buying your canned coconut milk from stores. Normally, out of one single coconut I produce around 700 ml of pure coconut milk. Here’s how I do it:

So here’s how I make my own milk:

I only need:

  • 1 coconut (make sure it’s got liquid inside when you buy it, or else it might be rotten)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • a blender
  • a strainer (optionally a cheesecloth)
  • a coconut breaking kit (screwdriver, hammer, protection gloves – optional)
Presenting my Coconut Breaking Kit πŸ˜‰

First things first, I heat up all the filtered water and bring it to boil

  • I first break the coconut using a screwdriver and a small hammer – right into the three black points you see on top of the fruit. That is by fixing the screwdriver on one of the holes and hammering the back of the screwdriver until it penetrates the fruit. I then let the fruit holes-down on top of a glass, so that all the coconut water pours out. (don’t get confused by the coconut water, you don’t need it for producing the milk, the coconut water is just the liquid you set aside and drink separately)
  • I then hammer the coconut again using until the crust breaks a bit and then take off the rest of crust that’s still stuck to the fruit using a kitchen knife to separate it from the fruit. I hammer the crust more if needed to ease up the process.
Half-hammering process looks like this
  • After all the crust is removed, I peel off the next brown peel (yes, after the crust there’s another peel to remove), using a knife or a peeler tool.
  • I then take all the clean pieces of the coconut left, wash them a bit and then chop them up by knife in smaller pieces (so that the blender knife can chop them well).
This is before chopping them a bit with the knife
  • I then put all the chopped pieces in the blender and add the 500 mp hot water over the coconut. I turn on the blender for about one minute and…. here comes the fun part!
  • I pour the mixture over a strainer – placed over a larger bowl or pot and squeeze all the mixture very well with my bare hands until all the milk is dipped out (you can also use a cheesecloth for squeezing the pulp).
Voila the straining/squeezing part!

And there you have it! There’s the produce right there! I put the milk in a larger jar and leave it to cool a bit. Then I store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The best part is that if you leave it overnight it will sediment and will lift up the jar a surprise that’s called the coconut butter!

Absolutely rewarding produce!

* some recipes mention a double blending of the pulp – meaning adding a second round of water over the pulp and blending the second time, but I prefer the milk thicker so I only blend it once – it’s a matter of choice – whether you like it thicker or not

You can use the coconut milk in a variety of AIP and Paleo recipes and enjoy its numerous health benefits while replacing dairy milk forever!

Enjoy!

AIP Bread Rolls from Cassava and Tapioca

When I was a kid, my mom used to mock me every time I would try to cook something (or to do anything in the kitchen for that matter). That’s because she always said she wanted me to be much more than a housewife and she did her best in offering me the wings to aim high. So she would always make fun of me having two left hands when it came to cooking πŸ™‚ But now look at how life turned all my priorities upside down, and forced me into cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, as a part of my AIP diet! Don’t tell anyone but I’m really proud of my new lifestyle and of my cooking skills today πŸ˜€

Today’s story is about a new AIP bread recipe:

So I made AIP bread rolls, this time using cassava flour and tapioca starch. They are a bit different than the previous AIP bread recipes I made, as cassava flour tends to give baking a bit of crunchiness compared to other types of flour. Anyway, I like a bit of crunchy, as it reminds me of toast that I sometimes miss πŸ™‚

Here are the ingredients I used for the bread rolls:

  • 130 g cassava flour
  • 4 Tbsp tapioca starch – I used my favorite from Bob’s Red Mill:
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground Himalaya salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp gelatin for making a gelatin egg
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, for brushing the rolls
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, for sprinkling over the baked rolls

And here’s how I made my AIP bread rolls:

  • I first preheated my oven at 200 C or 400 F.
  • I mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined (cassava flour and tapioca starch, garlic powder, salt and baking soda).
  • I then started working on my gelatin egg: I put the water in a small saucepan and sprinkled all the gelatin over evenly, making sure it does not create any clumps! I let it sit for 5 minutes and then put the pan on medium heat for one more minute. I then started to stir slowly until I made sure it is all dissolved.
Bloomed gelatin before putting it on heat
  • Once dissolved, I put the gelatin egg and the apple cider vinegar in the bowl with the dry ingredients and mixed them all together using a wooden spoon until dough was formed.
  • I let the dough rest for 3 minutes and prepared for creating my rolls by dusting some tapioca flour on my hands to make sure the dough doesn’t stick.
  • I then divided the dough into five separate pieces, trying to make them all as equal sized as possible. Don’t worry if the dough may crumble, just try to smooth their edges as even as possible using your fingers, for being able to put them in the pan as whole rolls. I flattened the rolls a bit (like in the photo) and placed them on the baking tray lined with a parchment paper, making sure there’s enough space left between them.
  • Before putting them in the oven, I brushed them with olive oil until completely covered and baked them for 10 minutes. I then took them out and brushed them again with olive oil to make sure they turn to a golden color. I put them back in the oven and baked them again for another 10 minutes. Then I took them out and brushed them again with olive oil for the third time, sprinkled thyme over them and let them bake for another 2 minutes or until their crust turned to golden.

They turned out DELICIOUS! Their consistency is a bit different from the previous AIP breads I baked, as the cassava flour tends to make them a bit crunchy. So they reminded me more of toast than of regular bread πŸ™‚

Anyway, I liked them so much that I used them for making tapas with prosciutto, which is one of my favorite AIP appetizers.

Enjoy!