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) 🙂 And then I told myself:
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 can||Est. duration – 1->7 days|
|Step 3 – Prep Meals in Advance||Est. duration – 1->2 days|
|Step 4 – Taking food to Work? Buy Casseroles||Est. 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:
- Breakfast: AIP smoothie
- Coffee: “AIP coffee” (recipe above)
- Lunch: AIP soup and sauteed veggies with roasted chicken wings
- Dessert: AIP orange jello
- Snack: Plantain chips
- 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? 🙂
- 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! ❤