Prepping Your Kitchen & Pantry for the AIP

Antique rolling pin, dried flower and tea towel

Kitchen Help

I get a lot of questions from AIP-Newbies looking for advice on how to get started on the AIP, what kitchen tools they might need, what pantry items would be considered essential, etc.  If you find yourself asking these questions you may enjoy these features

AIP Kitchen Tour from Autoimmune Wellness
AIP Kitchen Tour is a long-running monthly feature where they profile a member of the AIP community and their kitchen setup in hopes that it will further inspire us to get our kitchens organized and set up for success!

They’ve interviewed folks who are making the AIP lifestyle a reality in everything from college dorms and small city apartments, to large households with non-AIP family members, and everything in between.

You can find their full archive list of AIP Kitchen Tours here.

My Kitchen Tour
If you’re interested in a reading my personal kitchen tour as featured on Autoimmune Wellness, you can check it out here:
Gail’s AIP Kitchen:  How She Manages Hashimoto’s and Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis! Not only does it offer you a glimpse into my real world, I also offer you a lot of suggestions for various kitchen tools and equipment you should consider having on hand.

Stocking Your AIP Pantry

Fully Healthy Formerly Shop AIP - AIP Discount ShoppingThis is a huge topic, and you’ll find lots of lists out there that suggest buying all kinds of weird ingredients. I’ll admit, this was a little easier for me since I’d already been gluten free for a number of years, but I’ll return to my #1 piece of AIP advice … keep it simple!  if you do, there is NO need to go out and break the bank to buy all kinds of unfamiliar ingredients. Avoid overwhelm – basic is best – don’t get caught up in idea of trying to recreate your old favorites just because there are recipes available to make it happen. Basic meat and sweet-potatoes cooking is what we’re talking about here.

The best place to start, of course, is to familiarize yourself with the food lists – if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check them out here.

Your next step is sorting!

Out with the “Bad”:  The first thing I did way back when I went gluten free was to create a separate section in our pantry for my treats and my husband’s. I was fortunate enough that he’d be eating largely the same meals as I did, so I wouldn’t need to keep two sets of food stuffs for cooking. I got rid of my cake mixes, flour, pasta, canned soups and sauces, sugar, syrups, cooking oils and the like. Then, when I started the AIP I re-organized again – I moved the maybe foods and reintroductions (unless my husband was using them) to a separate cupboard that I wouldn’t be frequenting (it helps to resist temptation) – things like chocolate, coffee, nuts, seeds, hot sauces, spices and so on.

In with the “Good”:  Having sorted and cleared your cupboards, they might be looking a little bear, so you’ll need to bring in some replacements. Since this can be quite overwhelming, I’ve tried to take the stress out of it and I’ve created some quick category shopping for you over on my Food Sourcing page – be sure to check it out. Even if you don’t buy there (though you can get 10% off your first order – check out my coupon page), it’s a great place to check brands!

Where to start:

  • Basics like cooking fats are essential – quality olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are a good place to start.
  • Then, since we eliminate refined sugars, you’ll want to ensure you have a basic elimination stage compliant sweetener or two on hand – honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar are commonly called for in AIP recipes, but you can read more about these and other non-nutritive sweeteners in my dedicated post.
  • Being dairy-free and eliminating nuts will leave you to only a few options for “milks” (most of which you would need to make yourself – check out my post – Milk Options for the AIP) and it’ll feel like everything calls for coconut when you first start out – coconut milk, coconut aminos (replaces soy sauce – definitely a good item to have on hand) coconut flour, coconut butter/manna, coconut oil and the list goes on! Additive free coconut milk is becoming the elusive unicorn, you can make your own, or check out my I’ve listed several more options in my Coconut 101 article – click here, or my AIP Amazon Storefronts
  • Grass-fed gelatin will be one you run into when you start baking, but it likely isn’t essential in the beginning. Grass-fed collagen, a close relative to gelatin is used in some recipes and can be used in smoothies as a source of protein but again wouldn’t be something you have to buy right away. You can read more about these ingredients in my dedicated post – here.
  • You’ll find you may need alternate flour options for baking and thickening – commonly used items you’ll run into are arrowroot or tapioca starch/flour, cassava flour and tigernut flour. It’s noteworthy that some folks don’t do well on some of these ingredients (cassava and tigernut are tubers and can cause digestive disturbance, so go slow if you’re tempted into recipes for baked goods using these ingredients – read more about Unfamiliar AIP Foods in my post here).
  • Seasoning, herbs, spices and vinegar are items you probably already have in your kitchen (make sure you have things like garlic and onion powder, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, thyme, oregano and rosemary), and note you’ll be ditching regular white vinegar (made from grain) and will use apple cider or balsamic vinegar instead.
  • Coffee & chocolate get removed during the elimination stage, and some teas, so you’ll want to seek out some alternatives like dandelion and chicory as your morning elixir and roasted carob to help with those sweet cravings. (You can read more about tea, coffee and chocolate in my dedicated posts – What About Tea on the AIP, Chocolate – Friend or Foe? and Kicking the Coffee Habit)
  • Of course there are an abundance of AIP compliant treats and snacks available, but resist the urge to go overboard. You’ll find lots of pre-made condiments and sauces and even noodles are now available to make your life easier (BBQ, Ketchup, Imitation Mustard and Nomato sauce), but remember your goal is to consume a nutrient dense diet, not to replace old favorites with different convenience foods. Browse around our affiliate shop categories on our food sourcing page, or my AIP Amazon Shopping post and you’ll quickly get the gist of items you’ll want to stock up on.