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? 🙂
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
nutritional yeast flakes
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!
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!
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?
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 replacementsthat 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)
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!
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 🙂 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 😀
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
Anyway, I liked them so much that I used them for making tapas with prosciutto, which is one of my favorite AIP appetizers.
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:
💡 Why should I eat coconut products if I’ve never eaten them before the diet?
💡 Why should I let dairy go when I’ve been eating dairy my whole life and it was only recently that I got diagnosed?
💡 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! 🙂
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 🙂
Before starting the AIP diet, I used to be a big fan of rice. I used to eat it both as side dish as well as main course, in paella. But since rice is not allowed in the Elimination Phase of AIP, I had to find a replacing option. And this is how I discovered the “cauliflower rice”.
It may sound like a trick, and it actually is a food trick meant to convince my brain that I’m not actually eating cauliflower – but rice. Anyway, I liked it so much that I decided to add it as a regular side dish in many of my lunches and dinners.
Here’s how I prepared the “cauliflower rice” with turmeric!
The ingredients I used for two servings are:
1 medium cauliflower
1 Tbsp olive oil – I use this olive oil from Bragg – extra virgin:
4 garlic cloves
1 white onion
3 Tbsp water
2 tsp turmeric
1 pinch salt
And here’s how I prepared it:
I minced the onion, leek and garlic into small cubes.
I used a larger pan and cooked the leek, garlic and onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes on medium heat, until the onion turned glossy. I then added in the water over them and let them sit for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, I washed the cauliflower, cut it into smaller chunks to make it easier for the blender to mince it, and then I blended it on medium power until it got a rice consistency.
I put the rice-like minced cauliflower into the pan besides the other ingredients and added in the salt. I mixed everything well and I put a cover over the pan. I let everything cook on medium heat until the cauliflower softened and I mixed from time to time.
When the cauliflower softened, I added in the turmeric and mixed everything well. I left it for another 3 minutes on medium heat and then I removed it.
I served the cauliflower rice with grilled chicken breast that I cut into smaller pieces, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil, thyme and salt and grilled for 3-4 minutes on each side.
This specific dish helped me remember the consistency of rice after two whole months of AIP strict diet. 🙂
Enjoy and let me know your feedback in the comments section!