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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
But the result turned out great whatsoever!
Here’s how I made my “plantain” chips:
I used 5 green bananas and 8 Tbsp duck fat for frying
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)
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
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
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
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
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 ( 🙂 ) 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!
One of the hardest foods to eliminate from my diet when I first started the Autoimmune Protocol was coffee. Coffee had been my best friend for 15 years and got to the point where I even drank 2 or 3 coffees a day – black, cappuccino, frappe, espresso – you name it! I drank them all with so much a pleasure that I’d might say I had a real addiction.
Of course I had to give up coffee in the AIP 30 days reset period because it is not on the list of foods allowed so if I’d continued to drink it I wouldn’t have had the certainty that my gut would heal so I didn’t want to take that chance. Luckily, coffee is on the Reintroduction foods list in the AIP diet, so I will reintroduce it at some point. However, until that moment comes, I had to figure something out fast as I was so sad about it…
But lucky me, I did a bit of research a and found a great substitute for coffee in a plant called chicory. I tried to drink soluble chicory at first but its simple flavor didn’t satisfy me as much as coffee did so I had to find another solution. So I tried a combination that looks more like milk coffee, which worked great for me, and which only contains anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Here are the ingredients I use for my AIP coffee:
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup coconut milk (I make my own organic milk – this is how)
1 tbsp chicory powder (ground)
1/3 tsp carob powder (ground)
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon (ground)
Here’s how I go about:
I bring the water to a boil in a kettle
I then add in the coconut milk and the rest of ingredients: chicory, carob and cinnamon
I stir everything well using a tablespoon
I let it cool a bit and it’s ready to serve!
The taste is quite satisfying for me, as there’s a light flavor of every ingredient I put in my coffee. I don’t even feel like sweetening it as it already has a mild sweetness from the coconut milk and carob, so it’s a win-win situation 🙂 And most importantly, I drink it with so much pleasure since I know everything I put in it is organic and healthy!
Avocado has been my source of inspiration lately. I like its texture, it’s color and especially I like that it’s full of antioxidants and vitamins! It’s quite funny because we don’t grow this fruit in Romania, but I’m so glad I discovered it better since I’ve started my AIP diet.
Avocado is both carbohydrates and healthy fats, which makes it the perfect choice for the AIP and Paleo diets and the whole process of healing your leaky gut. And to make things more interesting, it contains some of the most valuable vitamins, like:
Now enough with the praise, let’s do some AIP guacamole! 🙂
Here are the ingredients I used for one serving:
1 ripe avocado (the kind of use has a darker color when ripe)
1/2 medium size onion
1 tsp olive oil (the avocado is already oily so more oil makes it a bit icky). I used this olive oil since it’s 100% organic:
1 tsp lemon juice
sea salt per taste
Here’s how I prepared it:
I cut the avocado in two halves and took out its kernel. I then peeled it using a large spoon (if the fruit is ripe you just bring in the tip of the spoon between the pulp and the peel and you can easily take out the pulp by rotating the spoon)
I placed the fruit in a small mixing bowl and mashed it all using a fork. It needs to be completely mashed in order to be able to mix it with the rest of ingredients.
I then added in the chopped onion, the olive oil, the lemon juice and the sea salt and blended all ingredients together until I obtained a homogeneous mixture.
Yes, it’s that simple!
I like to eat the guacamole as it is OR as a side dish to Romanian traditional AIP “bucket meat”.
*If you prefer a bruschetta snack you can easily top any type of AIP or Paleo bread with it and you’ll have your super snack ready in no time.