Have you ever wondered when you should start your AIP healing journey?

Did you feel the pressure to mark January 1st on the calendar as the day you’d start the Autoimmune Protocol? If so, how’d that work out for you?

While I’m hoping that you’ve had great success, the likelihood is that you’ve faced your share of challenges. Maybe you didn’t make a resolution and you feel like you missed your opportunity. Either way, I’m here to encourage you not to beat yourself up – be kind to yourself, because January 1st may not have been the best choice anyway!

Did You Know:
90% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within just a few weeks or months!

So, why aren’t we more successful at keeping New Year’s resolutions? Some reasons are that; we’re thinking too big, we’re not considering the ‘why’ behind our resolutions, we didn’t make a solid plan to set ourselves up for success … and a biggie … we may not be ready for change!

Beyond this however, there are some seasonal reasons, and I want to talk about these first.

This past fall, I stumbled upon a post that I’ve since lost track of, but the message resonated with me. The premise was basically that January (winter) is probably the worst time to make big changes in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but when we’re already struggling with our health, diagnosis and dealing with the harsh realities of autoimmune life, all that “New Year – New Me” stuff just adds way too much pressure!

Having an autoimmune disease is a lot! You don’t need any extra pressure, and I hope you’ll consider doing nothing other than remaining open to the possibility of your potential to heal, receptive to change and ready to show yourself compassion during your struggles.

Why January 1st is a Terrible Time To Make Big Life Changes

  1. After a month of indulgence, the last thing you’ll want to face is feelings of deprivation. Don’t count on self-discipline to magically kick in – you may last a couple of days, but you’re likely to be overcome by feelings of deprivation and you’ll resent the rules you’ve imposed on yourself. Heck, going cold turkey or weaning yourself off of sugar, alcohol or any favorite food is difficult enough at the best of times, never mind when your body may still be trying to kick those hopped-up, holiday-induced cravings!
  2. It’s the middle of winter! Willpower is weak and the temptation to hibernate or spend chilly evenings sitting by a fire with a nice glass of wine and the remains of the holiday treats very appealing. I don’t know too many people who enjoy eating salads or walking around the block when it’s blustery and cold outside.
  3. Don’t follow the crowd. The vast majority of New Year’s diet and exercise resolutions fall by the wayside quickly and fail. Resist falling into the comparison trap by starting the AIP diet or lifestyle changes at the same time your friends, family or co-workers might be making resolutions. Their abilities will be different than yours. While it may sound like a good idea to jump in while you feel you have support of those around you, it may also feel defeating if you don’t have the energy to keep up with their exercise plans, and let’s face it, your dietary restrictions are likely more considerably more complicated than theirs. 
  4. The master of habit and behaviour change, James Clear, believes the problem with resolutions is that we are outcome focussed –  we want our new behaviours to deliver new results. Unfortunately, new goals and healthy resolutions don’t deliver new results, new lifestyles do … and a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process.

All that said, perhaps it’s better to approach each new year as a time for planning!

Next year, use January to cozy up by the fire and create a timeline of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) and establish your “why” (why you want to get started on the AIP – think bigger than just to get healthy – keep reading to learn more).

Use January to assemble the resources you need to achieve your healthy resolutions – you’ve already found a source for your journey right here on my website! Click these links for getting started, prepping your kitchen and pantry for the AIP, daily recipe inspiration to keep you motivated, my motivational resources, the best Meal Planning App that was created for AIPers, food sourcing options and discounts

Establishing your SMART goals and making plans means you’re far more likely to make changes that will actually last.

Maybe It’s a Spring Thing!

As Spring begins to unfold, I thought this would be a great time to talk about the best time to make healthy resolutions.

  1. Spring is known as “the season of hope.” It symbolizes the resurgence of life after the challenges of winter. The arrival of Spring typically makes us feel more optimistic, which makes it an ideal time to either establish our healthy goals or move forward from the planning phase to the action stage. 
  2. April 1st represents the start of Spring. Motivation is usually higher once we shake off the winter blues – the days become longer, the sunshine and air are warmer, moods lighten, fresh produce becomes more plentiful and our healing journey feels a little less daunting. Try Spring cleaning your cupboards to get rid of non-AIP temptations … it’s a great way to support your healthy lifestyle changes. Read my post – Prepping Your Kitchen & Pantry for the AIP.
  3. Do what works for you, rather than following the majority. We’ve established January might not be best .. but maybe April isn’t for you either if you’re dealing with a lot of stress or temptations that may throw you off track.
  4. Start with small, simple habits, consider habit stacking and build on your successes. Remember, the AIP is about more than dietary changes, so there will be plenty of opportunities to create small, achievable goals that will continue to motivate you. Be sure to read my Healthy AIP Resolutions post for more advice on getting started and creating lasting change.

When Should You Start?

If you truly want to succeed, I suggest NOT starting right before a big life event, stressful occasion or when you’re simply overwhelmed with it all. Do NOT try to make big changes when temptations will be high, such as around holidays and special occasions.

Success typically comes when you’ve decided it’s time. When you’ve established your “why,” and that “why” is strong enough to motivate you and keep you on track.

Sure, your doctor, nutritionist or AIP coach can encourage you to get started, but to be successful, you have to be in the right place and have the right mindset to make it stick. Sure, there’s some motivation in knowing that your condition is likely only to deteriorate if you don’t get started, but that doesn’t make it any easier or mean you’ll stick to your goals.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my personal journey and when helping others, it’s that NO ONE can tell you when to start. You have to REALLY want to make lasting changes … you have to KNOW YOUR WHY!

Now, when I say “know your why,” I don’t mean that your motivation is simply that you want to be healthy, that’s not a powerful enough reason to make it happen. You have to have the right mindset. You have to know why you want to get healthy, envision your life and what it will be like when you start to feel better! Goals that have real purpose are what get you there. (If you’re still a little confused by what I’m talking about, you might want to grab a copy of “Healing Mindset” by Eileen Laird – click to learn more.)

Start Where You Are

Maybe January IS the time for you, maybe it’s Spring, or maybe it’s July 32nd – No matter the date, start where you are!

The only thing worse than starting on a date that might not have been perfect for you, is not starting at all.

Don’t get caught in the research trap. Use the simple beginner resources I’ve provided on my website and start making small, achievable changes.

Don’t worry about slip ups or flare ups – the AIP is about progress over perfection – you’ve got this!

With the holiday season creeping up, I thought it was about time that I finally compile this very important FAQ post on what to do if you’ve been glutened while on the AIP. Much of this information also applies if you accidentally eat something that’s not currently a part of your AIP diet, so this is definitely a good resource to keep bookmarked.

If you’re here because you’ve been contemplating just how bad it would be to cheat on the AIP this holiday season or for a special event, you’ll also want to check out my FAQ: Can I Cheat on the AIP?

While I’m hopeful you’re making good decisions and choosing food wisely for your healing journey, I know all too well that sometimes, as careful as we are, it happens – we get glutened! Or we accidentally eat a non-compliant ingredient. It’s especially challenging if we’re eating at a restaurant, or even at friends’ and families’ homes. 

The BEST advice I can give is – DON’T PANIC! Stressing about the situation only makes matters worse and gives your body more to deal with. Try to remain calm.

FACT:  Feeling emotionally stressed can compound the physical reactions you might have when gluten gets into your system. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can affect your body in many ways, including causing symptoms such as stomach pain that overlap and amplify possible physical symptoms of gluten consumption.
– Source: Gluten.org

How do you know if you’ve been “Glutened?” 

Some common reactions of gluten exposure include:

Constipation
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Nausea
Abdominal pain
Numbness
Bloating
Gas
Headaches / Migraines
Brain fog
Mood swings
Anxiety
Depression
Joint pain
Fatigue
Insomnia
Skin issues / Rashes / Mouth Ulcers

Depending on the person, the effects can last from a few hours to a few weeks, but the less time someone has to feel these effects, the better!

Emergency Preparedness 

Preparation is always key! As someone living with food sensitivities and/or allergies, you should have an emergency plan in place. I recommend consulting a medical professional BEFORE you’re in situation where you get glutened – that way you know what protocol is right for YOU.

Some suggestions from Dr. Izabella Wentz:  Being prepared with some digestive enzymes, and keeping these other tools on hand, can help minimize the impact of your reaction. See her Instagram post – click here.

  1. Digestive Enzymes. If you are going somewhere they cannot guarantee a 100% gluten-free kitchen, or if you’re wary about cross-contamination, try taking digestive enzymes, which can assist with the breakdown of gluten, and blunt some of the digestive effects.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Support. Add an herbal tea such as peppermint, chamomile or ginger. Curcumin supplements, boswellia, ginger, and fish oils offer natural anti-inflammatory support, and may be especially beneficial if your reaction to gluten tends to result in pain/brain fog. 
  3. Mast Cell Stabilizers. These can be used to minimize food reactions in sensitive individuals. Mast cell stabilizers downregulate the body’s response to the offending food/allergen. Natural mast cell stabilizers include quercetin, zinc carnosine and chamomile.
  4. Gut Support. Try using warm lemon water and bone broth to help support gut healing.
  5. Electrolytes. Hydration and adequate electrolytes can help mitigate the feeling of “being hit by a bus” after exposure to a reactive food.
  6. Magnesium can take the edge off food reactions. Epsom salt baths can help with overall tension, headaches, aches and pains that can occur from reactive foods. If you experience constipation, a magnesium citrate supplement can help.
  7. Binders like activated charcoal can help bind up toxins and minimize reactions. Do this with caution though, because it will interfere with medications and can lead to constipation if you aren’t drinking lots of water.

Angie Alt from Autoimmune Wellness chimes in on the topic in her article “Gluten Exposure: A Healing Guide” – click here for the whole article.

  1. Start by focusing on hydration. Get plenty of fluids and consider adding a pinch of sea salt to each glass of water if you are experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.
  2. Consider a binder. Activated charcoal binds toxins and can decrease gas and bloating. Do this with caution though, because it will interfere with medications and can lead to constipation if you aren’t drinking lots of water.
  3. Add an herbal tea to help with GI pain. Peppermint, chamomile, and ginger are especially effective at calming cramping, gas, and nausea.
  4. Add healing elements. Now is the time for bone broth, stirring a little collagen in your herbal tea, or l-glutamine. These options are focused on the amino acids that can help repair the gut lining. You could also consider herbs that coat the gastrointestinal tract and soothe it, like slippery elm and marshmallow root (like charcoal, these can impact medication absorption, so talk to your doctor first).
  5. Keep your diet simple. For a few days keep your diet to easily digested foods (chicken soup, for example) and not too much fat (it can have a laxative effect, which you might not want if you’re experiencing diarrhea). As your system feels less raw, start focusing on omega-3 rich foods that are anti-inflammatory, like salmon, well-cooked veggies, and consider avoiding dairy and sugar, even if you are no longer in AIP elimination phase.
  6. Get some rest. Getting glutened can leave you feeling like you were hit by a truck. Prioritize as much rest as possible.

How Long Will It Take to Repair the Gut?

Dive into the science of it all with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne – reach her article “How Long Does it Take the Gut to Repair after Gluten Exposure?” Prefer a podcast? Listen to her episode “What Do I Do After a Bad Reaction?

Do I Need To Start Over?

It’s common to be concerned that you’ll need to start over at day one of the elimination stage if you accidentally consume something that’s non-compliant. I’m happy to tell you that this is not necessary. Work on the above steps to support hydration and digestion and simply keep going. 

Source: Dr. Izabella Wentz. (Be sure to follow her at @izabellawentzpharmd for more on how to take charge of your own health!)

This post contains affiliate links.  Click here to see what that means.

If you’re on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) elimination diet, you may or may not realize that our goal is nutrient density – and that means LOTS and LOTS of colorful fruits and veggies. 

Since the AIP is actually a modification of the Paleo Diet, some people get confused and think of it as the carnivore diet – but it’s definitely NOT that.

So, does that mean the it’s a vegetarian, vegan, pegan or pescetarian diet? Nope! While it’s definitely veggie-centric with 8 servings or more of vegetables and fruit per day, it’s actually not recommended to do the AIP as a vegetarian or vegan (you can read more about that here). 

We need to find balance on the AIP and focus on healing nutrients. You want to become a “Nutrivore!”

While I’m usually pretty good at eating a variety of fruit and veg, a recent chat with my Functional Medicine Practitioner helped to bring it back to top of mind and it inspired me to share this with you too since I’m often asked about serving sizes, variety and how to get more fruit and veg into our diets. 

How Much is a Serving?

I get this question a LOT when ever I reference the “8+ servings” goal. I’ll let Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s article, The Importance of Vegetables, do the explaining here:

The standard vegetable and fruit serving size established by the World Health Organization in 2005, and used in more scientific studies evaluating benefits of high vegetable and fruit consumption, is defined as 80 grams raw, or just shy of 3 ounces.

This roughly translates to:

  • 1 cup raw vegetables
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables
  • 2 cups raw leafy greens
  • 1 medium fruit (about the size of baseball)
  • ½ cup chopped fruit (or berries)
  • ½ cup cooked fruit

If you’re concerned with getting enough veggies in, you’re going to want to stay tuned and check out the resources at the end of this post that will help you stay on track, increase awareness of your vegetable intake and whether or not it meets your healing goals.  It’s the easiest and most intuitive way to ensure we’re getting enough veggies, fruit and high-quality meat and seafood into our diets weekly – no perfectionist tendencies, no guilt!

Eat the AIP Rainbow

While there are diets out there focused on helping you eat the rainbow every day, they’re not really suitable for the AIP, since we avoid some brightly colored options during the elimination stage (think nightshades like peppers, eggplant, beans, tomatoes and more that are out in the beginning. Looking for AIP food lists? – click here.)

So, what’s an AIP-er to do?

First of all, mindset is HUGE! Always look at the CANs instead of the CAN’Ts! There’s an abundance of nutrient dense options we can choose from. Just look at this image – almost all of the fruits and veggies are suitable for every stage of the AIP. 

It’s really a matter of re-training ourselves. We need to look past our old go-to choices – why not venture out of our comfort-zone and wander into areas of the produce section you might have skipped before? Make it a goal to take home at least ONE compliant fruit or veggie that you’ve never tried before (or that you rarely eat). Browse the AIP Recipe Collection Group on Facebook (where our big database of AIP recipes lives) for ways to prepare your new-found food – you’ll usually find at least a couple of options. Not finding many recipes there that suit your fancy? Try an Internet search for “AIP [insert vegetable or fruit name here] Recipes” and share one with the group as a new post so that we can all be inspired and try something new.

How-To Eat the AIP Rainbow!

Stuck in a rut and not sure how to get out? Here are a few tips to putting more colorful variety on your plate! 

  1. Try Something New: As I mentioned above – try something new! If you have kiddos, assign them the task – they’ll be even more excited to try it once you get home. Have you ever had star fruit or dragon fruit? How fun are they!
  2. Go Rainbow-Inspired: Some dishes lend themselves to incorporating lots of colors – think about a great big stir-fry or breakfast hash, or maybe AIP egg-roll in a bowl … how many colors can you squeeze in?
  3. Top It Off: Dish looking a little bland? It’s not too late to reach for some colorful fruit or veggie toppings.
  4. Mix Them In: You don’t have to use everything in it’s traditional sense. A great example of that is cauliflower, which seems capable of just about anything these days! Zucchini and avocados can go undetected in smoothies and sauces.
  5. Prep Them Differently: Bored with steamed veg? I hear ya! I much prefer roasting or broiling them – I find the cooking process really changes up the flavor. How about a little smoky BBQ infusion? You can even grill your lettuce! (Check out my Grilled Caesar.)
  6. Dip It: There are lots of inventive AIP dips that you can make out of veggies – beet or cauliflower hummus come to mind. Double dip by dipping into your veggie dip with more of them or use it as a spread on a sandwich with a lettuce wrap/bun.
  7. Sip a Smoothie: Some of our least-loved veggies and herb go great in smoothies, but they’re the tops when it comes to nutrient density! Try kale, spinach, cilantro, parsley, cucumbers, zucchini and more!
  8. Desserts and Snacks: Try using fruit instead of over-indulging in sugar-laden options. How about some avocado mousse? An apple with a spread of caramel made from dates TigerNut or Coconut Butter? Try the group search in my AIP Recipe Collection Group on Facebook or my AIP Snack Guide.
  9. Use Your Freezer:  Fresh produce spoils quickly, so be sure to extend its usefulness by freezing it before it goes bad. There are lots of tips on the Internet for how to best preserve fruits, veg and herbs for later use. Also, don’t poo-pooh the idea of buying pre-packaged frozen options – they’re often flash frozen at the height of ripeness and they have just as many nutrients and their fresh counterparts.
  10. Nerd Out with Nutrivore: Learning more about fruits and veggies and concentrating on those that can move us forward on our healing journey is a great way to get motivated to eat more of the right things. Using the Nutrivore Serving Matrix is a fun way to stay accountable without falling into the perfectionist trap of dieting. Keep reading to learn more!

Become a Nutrivore!

Nutrivore for AIPIf you’ve been following the AIP for a while, you’re probably familiar with the aforementioned Dr. Sarah Ballantyne – she’s sort of a big deal! She’s the scientific Doc who helped “pioneer,” The Autoimmune Protocol – yep, she even wrote the book!  What’s amazing about Dr. Sarah, is the fact that she never stops!  She didn’t just create the protocol and let it end there … she continued researching, working on medical studies and updating it to what we have today. 

But wait, there’s more! Taking it a step further, Dr. Sarah has combined her book smarts and nutritional research with her experience working with real-world autoimmune sufferers and expanded her approach to healing. While she still encourages us to personalize our AIP or Paleo diet, she wants to help us become Nutrivores using her “Guide to Nutrivore” resources.

Wait, what!? More rules to live by, more restriction!?

Absolutely not! In her real world experience, Dr. Sarah has come to realize that “diet culture” can create food fears and disordered eating. This is not the fault of the protocol, but the failure of users to implement it properly (elimination stage PLUS reintroduction of healthful foods).  Remember: Our goal on the AIP is nutrient density and achieving an understanding of what works best for our own body and health condition. 

Nutrivore is a diet philosophy that focuses on the quality of your diet – a tool that can help EVERYONE find balance and health through nourishment, not judgement.

I LOVE that Dr. Sarah’s Nutrivore resources are NOT emphasizing perfection. That’s right, everything doesn’t have to be organic (even if you’re on a budget you can still be a Nutrivore), serving sizes and measurements don’t have to be precise (the serving matrix is amazing at teaching you approximate sizes using your hand), you don’t have to over-think it and eat like a nutritionist every day, AND you don’t have to track every single thing that you eat! With Nutrivore, you’re focusing on the positive – the healthiest foods you’ve eaten – such a mentally healthy approach. Thank you Dr. Sarah – I LOVE it! ♥

Does that mean that Dr. Sarah is ditching The Autoimmune Protocol and the elimination diet?

Absolutely not! The AIP / elimination diet remains the gold standard for discovering food sensitivities – at this time, there is no replacement for this process – not even food sensitivity testing (read more here). Nutrivore can go hand-in-hand with the AIP, helping you ensure you’re reaching at least nutrient sufficiency if not nutrient density. Did you know that many on the AIP don’t eat enough? Hardly surprising since many are left feeling there’s nothing left to eat during the elimination stage. If you’re eating the rainbow, you’ll quickly find out that this is NOT the case, and “The Guide to Nutrivore” and the accompanying weekly serving matrix check lists will help ensure you’re satisfying your body’s needs.

The Nutrivore approach is meant to help you get the most out of your efforts to eat a healthy, healing diet by concentrating on foods that offer the MOST nutrient density to meet your body’s needs. And THAT is why I’m introducing you to it here in my post about eating the rainbow.

If you want to learn which foods will give you the most healing “bang” for your buck, Dr. Sarah’s “Nutrivore” resources are just what you need! Click here to learn more. I HIGHLY recommend you pick up the Digital Collection – Paired with The Nutrivore Guide, the Nutrivore Weekly Serving Matrix and Video Tutorial takes it to the next level – so much amazing information! 

 
As each New Year approaches my AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group is inundated by requests from new members wanting to take control of their health.
 
Many have heard about the AIP but don’t know where to start. Others have tried the AIP and found it difficult sticking to it. Some have done it before and recognized the benefits, but slowly let things slide and they’re looking to do a re-set and need some fresh inspiration to keep them on track.
 
No matter which category you fall into, I know you’re here because you’re setting healthy resolutions for the new year … and I’m here to help!
 
If you’re completely new to the AIP or need a refresher, keep reading, there’s a lot of information to help you get started right on your healing journey. If you’ve “been there, done that” and are just looking for delicious daily inspiration, head right over to my searchable Facebook Group – just click here and be sure to answer all of the questions for admittance.
 

Where to Start?

You’ll find a lot of resources right here on my website, and I include a step-by-step series of posts for getting started – you can begin by clicking here – but be sure to check out my suggestions below to help with your healthy resolutions (many of the suggestions below are NOT included in the other posts).
 
Another thing I want to make sure I say before you get started … be kind to yourself! I have written a post about grief over illness and diagnosis – it’s a very real thing and your healing process depends on you understanding this. I hope you’ll take time to consider this – click here.
 

Top Resources

 
#1 – THE MAIN AIP RESOURCE BOOK – Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s The Autoimmune Protocol 
When I started the AIP I wasn’t sure which resource was THE right one! There was so much conflicting information out there that I was confused and didn’t buy anything for fear it was the wrong one. FEAR NO MORE Friends … this is THE one! This is the GOLD STANDARD elimination process for those wanting to embark on the AIP. It has all of the what’s and why’s of what we include and what we eliminate from our diet, and it covers everything from elimination to reintroduction. It’s available only as an e-book so that you get updates for free if the protocol is adjusted based on continuing research and medical studies. The e-book format is great because you can easily search your questions! Don’t like e-books? Take the pdf to your local office supply shop/printer and have them print it for you (in full or part – I just had the resource section of the book printed so I could make notes.)
Buy it as a stand alone book or grab The Paleo Mom Collection of e-books and save 20%! The bundle includes “Go to Bed” (quality sleep on the AIP plays a huge role) and “The Paleo Template” (our ultimate goal is to be a nutrivore with fewer restrictions with a more Paleo-style diet).
 
IMPORTANT UPDATE – JANUARY 2024: 
The AIP as presented in the book above remains the GOLD STANDARD for the autoimmune elimination diet. It is now also being referred to as AIP Core Elimination.  
 
While ongoing research has led to optional modifications that may be suitable for some, Dr. Ballantyne will NOT be updating the above book to include this modified elimination option. Her research as presented in the book is still valid and it remains the foundational core resource for the overall Autoimmune Protocol.
 
If you’re having a hard time starting, sticking to, or maintaining the Elimination Phase of the AIP because it feels too restrictive or inaccessible, you may want to try the AIP Modified Elimination first to see if you have an improvement in symptoms. If not, you may need to attempt the AIP Core Elimination (learn more about the two options and the reason for the update here).
 
#2 – THE AIP LECTURE SERIES – Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s In-Depth, Self-Paced Video Course
Learn everything you need to know about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) from its creator in this self-paced online course! Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, is an award-winning public speaker, New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned health expert, creator of the AIP and founder of Nutrivore!

The AIP Lecture Series comprehensive course materials include:

  • 44 on-demand video lectures (totalling 18 hours) with printable slides
  • 6 FAQ videos (totalling 3 hours)
  • 60+ printable guides
  • action steps to help you go from theory to practice
  • daily self-discovery exercises to reinforce and refine implementation
  • recommended reading for every topic
  • interactive quizzes to test your knowledge
  • weekly Q&A with answers to over 60 questions, total

CLICK TO LEARN MORE & SAVE 70% – (Instant Access)

RealPlans is one of the top resources I recommend for AIPers – it’s your perfect partner on the AIP – and WAY Better than some pre-set Meal Plan you can purchase from an AIP blogger! Why do I say that? Because with this app you get to choose meals YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT! Not something that a random stranger put together for you! AND, it’s an app, a shopping list creator and it even keeps track of what you have on hand in your pantry! And did I mention it was created purposefully with AIPers in mind!?  It’s also COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE, so, if you have additional sensitivities you’re working with, it helps you navigate around those ingredients with ease.
SEE HOW IT WORKS – CLICK HERE!  You can also read my in-depth review by clicking here.
 
New Year’s resolutions often include exercise, and while that may feel a long way off for someone with chronic illness and fatigue, it is possible (but there’s no need to rush into it – remember – be kind to yourself).
SIGN UP FOR A FREE 7-DAY TRIAL or commit to a monthly, annual or group membership – you’ve got this!
Save $30 on an Annual Membership with Code: AIP30
 
Following the AIP is about more than just diet and exercise – it’s a “lifestyle” protocol. Having the right mindset on your healing journey is imperative for success, and this book is filled with practical information, actionable steps and testimonials from people just like us who have harnessed the power of mindset to achieve more on their healing path.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE & FIND OUT WHERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS!
 
If you’re already on the AIP, you might be looking to make the transition to a modified Paleo diet … aka your Personalized AIP!  If that’s the case, congratulations, that means you’re making progress on your healing journey – I’m so proud of you!  Reintroductions can feel a little scary, but I’ve got you! Check out my reintroduction post and the Reintroduction Cookbook by Kate Jay – it’s AMAZING!  It’s actually even beneficial for new AIPers, so grab a copy – you’re going to need it sooner or later!
CLICK HERE FOR MY BOOK REVIEW & WHERE TO BUY
 
The AIP Summit is an educational event held annually in January. The week-long program is devoted to the autoimmune protocol and is presented by AIP Certified Coaches. It features cooking demonstrations, deep dives into science or specific conditions, discussions about the impact of lifestyle factors, best practices for integrating AIP into life in the real world, and more.
You can watch for FREE daily, or sign up to receive month-long access for a small fee.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE
 

Recognize Your Obstacles!

Let’s face it, on the AIP you’re giving up a LOT, and that can be hard … but don’t psyche yourself out before you get started … your success depends greatly on your own mindset! Try to focus not so much on “elimination” but on “addition” – because there are a lot of amazing foods you can add to your diet for variety, flavor and nutrient density that you will likely come to enjoy very much.

TIP: Don’t focus on the popular question: “Will I ever get to eat my favourite foods again?” Take it one day at a time … You’ve Got This!

I hear you though, I know that giving up coffee, alcohol, chocolate, bread, nightshades and more is no small feat, so I’ve got you! I have resources, answers to FAQs, enjoyable substitutes and recipes to fill your bellies, and coupon codes and links to save you money too. To get started, check out the list of quick links below for some of the most common things I hear, and BE SURE to browse through the FAQ section of my site as well.

Shopping can be hard on the AIP – there’s a lot of label reading to be done! I’ve tried to make your journey easier and provide an abundance of food sourcing resources – click here.

Preparing Your Kitchen for the AIP
Food Lists
AIP Shopping on Amazon (for the USA, Canada and the UK)
Fully Healthy (formerly Shop AIP) – the ONLY Shop dedicated to the AIP!
AIP on a Budget
AIP Coupon Codes

Can I Cheat on the AIP?
Can I Do the AIP as a Vegetarian/Vegan?
Chocolate – Friend or Foe? (My favorite recipe for taming the chocolate cravings – Carob Avocado Mousse – be sure to use an AIP Milk option)
Kicking the Coffee Habit (The BEST coffee substitute – Sip Herbals – it actually tastes like coffee! Save 10% with Code: AIP10)
AIP Protein Powder
Surviving Social Life on the AIP
Alcohol & The AIP
AIP Snack Guide
Breakfast – this is a biggie that I get asked about ALL the time. There are probably hundreds of recipes posted in my searchable Facebook Group – click here to join.
Nightshades – I don’t have a post on them (yet) but I will share my favorite Faux-Mato Sauce Recipe with you! You c

The Truth Behind Forming Healthy Habits

It takes 21days to form a habit – really? If you’ve ever tried it, you know that’s just a myth. My training as a transformational coach confirms it .. there’s definitely more to it! Check out this amazing article by Dr. Ballantyne and set yourself up for success!  Click here to read the full article. 

Be realistic and prepare for setbacks – they’re inevitably going to happen, but they don’t need to derail you. Be sure to check out this amazing article by Angie Alt – 10 Tips for Staying On The AIP Wagon.

Still Want More?

Sign up for my newsletter and don’t forget to join my searchable AIP Recipe Collection Group on Facebook or follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page for a different kind of inspiration where I go beyond recipes and share my own meals, tips and motivation. AND don’t forget to take a look around the rest of my website – there’s so much more I don’t want you to miss! ♥
 

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If you’ve never heard the word “Hygge” before (pronounced HUE-ge), you might be curious why I’m posting about it on an AIP recipe website. Since I always intended this site to be about so much more than filling your bellies, I’m sharing this to fill your soul. Hopefully it will inspire you to make simple changes to your AIP lifestyle that can help reduce stress, decrease anxiety and disconnect from the pace of everyday life and the sometimes harsh realities of our limitations due to our illnesses.

Hygge is about joy and contentment. It is about experiencing happiness in simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be okay.

If you’re like me, thinking about creating a self-care routine just sounds like more work that you don’t have time for – am I right? Thankfully, the reality is that hygge can be as simple as dedicating time for yourself to enjoy any activity that makes you happy. It’s about intentional being more intentional with cozy wellness and small steps toward self-care. Snuggle up in a cozy pair of PJ’s with a warm, soft blanket and a favorite soothing drink, carve out time for art-therapy using paints or coloring books, listen to soft music, enjoy some aroma-therapy and some AIP comfort food or snacks. 

What is Hygge?

The Danish word “hygge” is about the art of getting comfy and cozy, it’s a way of life, one that makes ordinary moments feel special, pleasurable, and meaningful.

According to Meik Wiking, New York Times Best Selling author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things.” It’s also about creating a comforting social and emotional environment or support network for yourself – which, if you’re paying attention you’ll know that having connection and a good support network is an important part of the AIP Lifestyle.

Benefits of Hygge

  • Calms the Mind
    Intentionally taking time to create a hygge atmosphere, get cozy and slow down is important for our mind and soul. You’ll find a sense of calm, and stress-less when you unplug and wrap yourself in the feeling of safety that this comfy lifestyle provides.
  • Relaxes Mind & Body
    Climbing under a snuggly blanket or into a hot Epsom salt bath with the intention of relaxation (not to curl up with your phone in hand) helps us to relax and unwind. Allow your cozy blanket to be the trigger that reminds you to be mindful of your breathing, to be present. Drop your shoulders and let the tension go.
  • Nourishes Your Body
    Consuming wholesome, home-cooked AIP comfort foods, and even an indulgent AIP treat now and then, nourishes your body. You’ll feel your best when you concentrate on eating “real,” nutrient-dense foods. There’s also something about cooking simple meals that really provides food for the soul – it’s reminiscent of cozy family meals growing up.
  • Promotes Connection
    Hygge isn’t about being alone, it’s about being with loved ones. Slowing down to truly connect with friends or family in a positive, comfy environment helps increase happiness and feel-good serotonin levels.
  • Relieves Strain
    Creating an atmosphere of hygge with candles or dimming the lights goes a long way to promoting relaxation and relieving tension that we may not even realize we have from the constant bombardment of blue light from devices and fluorescent lighting.
  • Improves Sleep
    Learning to hygge helps us “unplug” from our hectic lives. Practicing self-care with hygge promotes an atmosphere of comfort where we can feel relaxed and safe. Removing negative feelings and slowing down should help reduce stress hormones and help improve sleep.

How to Hygge

  • Be Present
    A hygge lifestyle is about being in the moment. Get rid of the distractions, turn off the phone and connect with friends and family or just re-connect with yourself. Learn to really relax by creating a bedtime ritual (see my post on sleep struggles for more), or create a morning routine perhaps with gentle stretching and meditation that helps you get in the zone for the day.
  • Get Cozy
    Think cozy sweaters, thick socks or slippers and warm blankets. Have you tried a weighted blanket? I hear it’s like being wrapped in a warm hug, and they can help with anxiety and stress.
  • Set the Mood
    Candles and scents are a huge part of hygge. But since we’re careful on the AIP to remove toxins from our lives, be sure to choose unscented bees wax candles, and use quality essential oils to create a luxurious atmosphere with an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Quality Time
    Schedule hygge time – make it a special event – whether that be a casual dinner with friends, game night with the family, time to read a book or just relax and connect with your significant other. Carve time out of your busy life for this self-care practice, indulge in a special treat that you might not otherwise buy for yourself (check out my round up of delicious AIP snacks or try a cup of tea or AIP coffee that won’t make you wired).
  • Practice Mindfulness & Gratitude
    Mindfulness and gratitude are key elements of hygge. If you’re new to meditation and mindfulness, try using a simple app like Insight Timer (it’s free), or simply make it a practice of recounting 3 things you have to be grateful for each night before you drift off to sleep. If you’re looking for more guidance on being mindful, I highly recommend the book by Eileen Laird called “Healing Mindset”
  • Comfort Food
    And here we are – right back on track with the food and recipe theme of this website! I know you’re probably saying, “but my old comfort foods really aren’t AIP compliant!” I hear you … and quite frankly, that’s how this post actually came to being – because so many members of my AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group requested comfort food recipes in a recent poll! Click here to reach the search results for “AIP Comfort Food” – this will get you started! Let the search results there inspire you to search for more recipes in the group.

 

AIP Comfort Foods – A Few Favorite Recipes

This round up was originally shared in my AIP Recipe Collection newsletter. If you want delicious AIP inspiration delivered to your inbox click here to sign up.

AIP Products & Discounts to Help You Hygge

PALEO ON THE GO – Chef-Made, AIP Compliant Comfort Food Delivered to your door! 
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: and Save $15 Off Your First Order with Coupon Code
: AIPRecipes

SIP HERBALS – There’s nothing quite like relaxing with a warm cup of your favorite beverage – try the BEST Coffee Substitute we’ve ever tasted! All the coffee feels without the flaws.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIP10

PIQUE TEA – Top Quality Toxin Free Tea! (Be sure to avoid adaptogenic blends during the elimination stage of the AIP)
CLICK HERE TO SHOP

LOVEBIRD AIP CEREAL – Curl up with a bowl of AIP cereal and bring back warm memories of your childhood.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 15% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIP

SWEET APRICITY – Decadent AIP Compliant Caramels, Marshmallows and Caramel Sauce- be sure to shop the AIP offerings or give a gift card if you’re unsure!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIPCOLLECTION

EAT G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. – Delicious and Convenient AIP Elimination Stage Compliant Baking Mixes.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order! Coupon Code: AIP10

SWEETPOTATO AWESOME – Truly awesome AIP snacks with simplest ingredients! (Shop the AIP options)
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIPRECIPES

FULLY HEALTHY (formerly SHOP AIP) – Your go-to shop for the AIP – Shop with confidence knowing someone else has read the label! Everything is clearly marked as compliant for the elimination stage or each phase of reintroductions. You’ll find lots of great sweets and treats, broths, protein snacks, pantry items and even personal care products. Gift Certificates Available!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP And Save 10% Off Your First Order with Coupon Code: AIPRecipe

WILD ZORA  – Delicious, comforting AIP meat and veggie bars, freeze-dried stews and soups, hot cereals and more!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And save 10% Off First Order with Coupon Code: AIPRecipe

AIP ON AMAZON – I’ve compiled lots of lists on Amazon for AIPers – pantry items, snacks, treats, hard to find ingredients, AIP Lifestyle products and so much more!
Check out my AIP Lifestyle Category in my Amazon Storefronts – USA / Canada / UK.

This post contains affiliate links.  Click here to see what that means.

Sleep … sometimes the struggle is real! 

Prior to starting my collection of autoimmune diseases, sleep was one of the things I was best at – I slept like a baby! Unfortunately, now I can relate all too well to those with insomnia and sleep disturbances, and  have had more than my share of sleepless nights.

Sadly, insomnia and sleep debt is more than just an annoyance. Lack of sleep effects your circadian rhythm, production of cortisol and melatonin and subsequently messes with your gut microbiome and autoimmune health.

If you’re caught in the endless cycle of sleepless nights, inflammation and autoimmune flares, you may be at the end of your rope.

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Shockingly, just TWO nights of poor quality sleep, or not enough sleep, can contribute to changes in your gut health, allowing the bad bugs (inflammatory bacteria) to get the upper hand over the good guys (healthy microbes). Left unchecked, poor sleep habits and sleep debt can cause a host of problems like digestive upset, diarrhea, mood changes, brain fog, leaky gut/gut permeability, increased inflammation and so much more.

It’s recommended that we get to bed by 10 pm for optimal rest and recovery, and that we get 7 to 10 hours of sleep per night (for autoimmune sufferers it might be 9-10 hours or even 12 hours every night to heal).

Quick Sleep Tips:

Good sleep starts in the morning – yes, the morning!

  • Ditch the traditional alarm clock and try a wake light. Waking up to a jarring noise (even if it’s your favourite radio station) is very physiologically stressful, and can impact cortisol levels.
  • Aim to get 5-15 minutes of sun exposure, preferably outdoors but a window will suffice if needed. I’ve also found using a light therapy box helpful.

What you eat, drink and do during the day can help.

  • During the day – avoid caffeinated beverages after 2 or 3pm. (If you’re on the AIP and trying to cut coffee and caffein, check out my post on “Kicking the Coffee Habit”)
  • Add foods rich in magnesium to your diet, such as avocados, dark leafy greens, fatty fish like salmon, bananas (almonds and sesame seeds if you’ve reintroduced).
  • Just 30 minutes of bright light exposure during the daylight hours can help regulate our circadian rhythms, and improve your sleep-wake cycles. Try eating lunch outside if your climate permits!
  • Inactivity causes poor sleep – just 30 minutes of walking each day can improve your sleep. 
  • Harness the anti-inflammatory power of your mind! Learn and implement mind-body techniques to help with sleep and so much more – grab your copy of this amazing book “The Healing Mindset.”
  • Consider taking a magnesium supplement with dinner (consult with your medical professional to see if this is right for you). 
  • Be active and social during the day rather than at night
  • Eating a serving of starch with your dinner, 4-5 hours before bedtime, can improve sleep quality. Try my Bacon Mashed White Sweet Potatoes recipe.
  • Enjoy a cup of chamomile or banana peel tea (make sure your bananas are organic) an hour or so before bed.

Cue the Zzzz’s – what you do before bed matters!

  • Our bodies love routine – keep a consistent schedule – waking and getting to bed at the same time each day is best.
  • Learn to relax and avoid overstimulation before bedtime, and turn off screens 30 minutes prior to going to bed. If you really struggle with avoiding screen time before bed, consider some blue-blocking glasses or a blue blocking app on your devices.
  • Wind down with a warm bath. Soaking in an epsom salt bath can help relieve stress and anxiety, and ease muscle aches and inflammation. 
  • Check out Ancient Minerals (or here on Amazon) for adding magnesium transdermally (Fun Fact: magnesium oil makes a great natural deodorant).
  • Stretching isn’t reserved for mornings – try a few gentle bedtime yoga poses/stretches before climbing into bed.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool. Good ventilation is key but be careful to avoid drafts.
  • Be strict about what you do in bed. Avoid watching TV, surfing/scrolling on our devices and even reading. When you climb into bed and lie down, this should be the cue for our bodies and minds to sleep, not rev up for the next episode of our favorite show or the next juicy chapter of a book.
  • White noise machines or a quiet fan can be great tools for blocking noise from our environment, creating a calm environment 
  • Aromatherapy can help create a calming atmosphere for your evening routines. In addition to chamomile, scents like lavender, cedarwood, and jasmine have been shown to lower heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and promote better sleep efficiency. Using my diffuser (I love GreenAir brand) is one of the favourite parts of my sleep routine.
  • Meditation, mindfulness and gratitude can help reduce stress, and stress-reduction is critical to sleep quality. There are lots of apps available to help you get into the routine. Calm and Headspace are popular paid options, but Insight Timer is a quality option you can try for FREE. See below for some amazing 
  • The one foot rule – make sure your bedroom as dark as possible – if you can see your hand one foot away from your face, it’s not dark enough. Consider using a sleep mask or black-out curtains.
  • Try vibrotactile technology! I’ve recently been testing these drug-free, toxin-free REM Sleep Patches, and the results are seriously impressive. While they don’t help you get to sleep, they help you achieve deeper, more restorative sleep. Learn more about this simple technology here.

When All Else Fails

Despite the best laid plans, sometimes I just can’t sleep (usually because I didn’t follow some of the tips above) or I get to sleep only to be woken up by my snoring husband or a hot flash!  So what then?

I’ve found there’s no point staying in bed, tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, checking the clock. In fact, it’s said if you don’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes you should get out of bed – you don’t want to associate feeling anxious and restless with the bed itself because that can lead to insomnia. 

If you’re tossing because you’re not tired, get out of bed and read a chapter or two of a favourite book – try avoiding reading on a device or use blue-blocking glasses or a blue blocking app. If you’re tired and really wishing you could get some Zzzz’s, I recommend a sleep story or guided meditation (if you share your bed, you’ll want to get out of bed so you don’t disturb your partner).

My sure fire way to get back to sleep is using my acupressure mat (it doesn’t have to be expensive – buy what you can afford)! I was skeptical about the benefits and effects of using this simple tool, but it really does seem to calm the parasympathetic nervous system and help me relax and fall asleep.

LOOKING for More AIP Lifestyle Tools?
Visit my Categorized AIP Amazon Store Fronts – USA Canada UK

Hand-in-hand with my mat, I love to listen to a sleep story – they work so well, I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard one from beginning to end! Sometimes I realize I’m drifting off to sleep so I go back to bed, but other times I end up completely out for the count and sleep right through.

There are lots of sleep story options out there in various apps, and I’ve tried a few, but my very favourite story is “Wonder” – read by Matthew McConaughey – check it out along with a bunch of amazing FREE resources Calm provided when the pandemic hit.

There’s A Book For That!

If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into the topic of sleep and autoimmune disease, you’ll want to check out the Go To Bed: 14 Easy Steps to Healthier Sleep e-book by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne to help you get the quality sleep you need!

Go To Bed includes a 350+ page guidebook, packed with information and inspiration! It’s quite simply the most comprehensive guidebook ever created for improving sleep, with the detailed science of sleep for optimal health and every scientifically validated tip and trick for improving sleep!

And, with the 14-Day Go To Bed Sleep Challenge, you’ll add one small change every day to add up to big improvements in your sleep in just two weeks!

Plus, if that doesn’t get you enjoying awesome sleep, Go To Bed also contains a huge collection of troubleshooting strategies and biohacks for common sleep challenges!

Wishing you the sweetest of dreams …… 

More References:

Sleep: Why It’s Important For Those With Autoimmune Disease, and How To Get More Of It.
Optimize Sleep to Optimize Your Immune System

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STOP! Wait right there … don’t just scroll to the lists of goodies! This is meant to be an AIP Snack Guide, not just a list of deliciousness. If you’ve been around these parts before, you know that my goal is to empower you on your autoimmune healing journey, and that means providing a bit of education and information along the way. There are actually a few factors to consider … so here we go!

Rumbly In My Tumbly

So, your tummy’s grumbling – is it really hunger pangs or is it just your digestive system doing it’s job? Did you know a growling stomach doesn’t always signal that your body needs nutrients but, rather, that your migrating motor complex, or MMC, is busy at work? Interestingly, interrupting the MMC’s cleansing process by snacking or grazing throughout the day can cause dysbiosis in the gut. Since many of us with autoimmune disease have digestive issues and the root of good health begins in the gut, I encourage you to read up a little further on your migrating motor complex to make sure you’re supporting your body as best you can. (I found this article on the topic very easy to understand.)

Snack Attack

If you think you’re actually having an AIP snack attack I want you first to ask yourself – WHY? Why am I hungry? Am I really hungry? What does my body actually need right now? Have I had enough water to drink today, maybe I’m just thirsty? Am I having a bad day? Am I stressed, emotional or maybe just bored? Have I had enough to eat today? Did what I ate really satisfy me? Have my meals (including breakfast) been well balanced with protein, fats and good carbs? Am I getting enough good, restorative sleep? (People who aren’t getting enough sleep tend to make poor food choices – it’s a fact!)

Because we do a LOT of cooking on the AIP, it can be easy to fall into opting for less filling/satisfying meals like salads with a little protein on top. Or maybe we’re plain sick and tired of cooking and we’ve really been slipping with our food intake, leaning on less than nutrient dense conveniences like AIP pastas. While there’s nothing wrong with these things from time to time, we really need to make sure we’re achieving nutrient sufficiency and balancing our blood sugar, or yes, we’re going to come down with a serious case of the hangries! 

Now, all that said, I’m not going to say you should never snack – that would just be ridiculous! What I want to do here is arm you with some quick, easy ideas and healthful AIP convenience options to keep you fueled for when the need arises.

AIPRecipeCollection.com AIP Snacks AIP Snack Ideas

Quick & Easy:

  • Fresh fruit in general is a great place to start (confused about fruit and the AIP – read more here)
  • Apple slices with a drizzle of coconut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Tigernuts – they’re not nuts but you might be nuts about them! (learn more here)
  • Dates stuffed with tigernut butter, coconut butter or coconut oil and a pinch of salt – YUM!
  • Frozen grapes
  • Melon – keep some cut up and ready to go – it’s refreshing and hydrating!
  • Veggies and AIP guacamole or AIP hummus (lots of recipes in my Facebook Group and a few below)
  • Coconut yogurt (make sure it’s compliant or try making your own)
  • Roll compliant sliced meat with a smear of AIP guacamole or hummus and handful of microgreens
  • Olives (make sure they’re compliant – try Fully Healthy (formerly Shop AIP) or my Amazon Storefronts – USA / Canada / UK)
  • Sauerkraut or pickled veggies (make sure they’re compliant – lots of recipes in my Facebook Group)
  • Leftover meatballs (one of my favorite recipes below)
  • Plantain or sweet potato chips and AIP dip (lots of dip options in my Facebook Group and some below)
  • Canned tuna, salmon or sardines / chicken salad or tuna salad 

AIPRecipeCollection.com AIP Snacks AIP Snack Ideas

FULLY HEALTHY (formerly SHOP AIP) – Your go-to shop for the AIP – Shop with confidence knowing someone else has read the label and made sure it’s compliant for your healing journey! Everything is clearly marked as compliant for the elimination stage or each phase of reintroductions. From salty to savory or sweet, crunchy or chewy, Fully Healthy has you covered. Be sure to check out the “Snack Attack” bundle and use the search feature to narrow down over 100 snack options!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP And Save 10% Off Your First Order with Coupon Code: AIPRecipe

WILD ZORA  – Delicious AIP options – meat and veggie bars, freeze-dried stews and soups, dehydrated real fruit snacks, hot cereal and even convenient raw honey sticks! They have variety packs and bulk offerings to help you stock your pantry. Perfect for every day snacking, travel, brown bagging, hiking, camping and emergencies! Just click “shop” and then “AIP Compliant.” 
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And save 10% Off First Order with Coupon Code: AIPRecipe

SWEETPOTATO AWESOME – Truly awesome AIP snacks with simplest ingredients! Try the AIP Sampler Pack or use it as a guide to help you select the AIP compliant products and just order your favorites!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIPRECIPES

TIGERNUTS USA – If you’re missing nuts and a quick crunchy snck, these tiny tubers will likely do the trick! Eat them plain or use them whole or flaked in AIP granola, use the flour to easily make tigernut butter and so many more amazing AIP treats and snacks!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 5% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIP5

EAT G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. – Delicious and Convenient AIP Elimination Stage Compliant Baking Mixes.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order! Coupon Code: AIP10

SWEET APRICITY – Decadent AIP Compliant Caramels, Marshmallows and Caramel Sauce (perfect for dipping your apple slices in) – be sure to shop the AIP offerings.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIPCOLLECTION

LOVEBIRD AIP CEREAL – If you used to offer your toddler Cheerios as a snack, this is the health AIP compliant option. This AIP cereal has the look and crunch of a traditional cereal, and there’s a great cause attached – every purchase helps support pediatric cancer research.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 15% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIP1

SERENITY KIDS FOODS – These shelf-stable BPA-free pouches of baby and toddler foods are perfect for EVERY AIPer! You can read more about why I personally use these products for myself in my blog post – click here – they make a convenient snack and delicious too!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 15% Off Your First Order with Coupon Code: AIPRECIPES

AIP SNACKING ON AMAZON – I’ve compiled lots of categorized shopping lists on Amazon for AIPers – pantry items, snacks, treats, hard to find ingredients and so much more!
Check out all of my suggestions on Amazon in the AIP Recipe Collection Amazon Storefronts – USA / Canada / UK.

PALEO ON THE GO – On the AIP we have to prep and cook almost everything meal that we eat – it’s exhausting! Give yourself a break and try Paleo on the Go! Beyond meals and sides, they offer treats and snacks like AIP compliant Paleo Pop Tarts, cobbler, cakes, muffins, cookies, and bone broth pops (seasonally). 
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: and Save $15 Off Your First Order with Coupon Code
: AIPRecipes

What snack is complete without coffee (substitute) or tea?

SIP HERBALS – The BEST Coffee Substitute we’ve ever tasted!
CLICK HERE TO SHOP: And Save 10% Off Every Order with Coupon Code: AIP10

PIQUE TEA – Top Quality Toxin Free Tea! Be sure to avoid adaptogenic blends during the elimination stage of the AIP – stick to the herbal tea blends, Matcha or Turmeric. 
CLICK HERE TO SHOP

While snacks don’t have to be complicated, sometimes a recipe or two for inspiration is all it takes to keep you on track. There are honestly so many great options, I simply can’t include them all here, so join me in my Facebook Group and utilize the group search – click here to join! (Reminder – all sweets and treats in moderation on the AIP.)

Sweet Snacks

Apple Pie Cereal Bars – AIP Recipe Collection
Berry Coconut Panna Cotta – Downshiftology
Carob Avocado Mousse – Sweet Treats Blog Spot (use tigernut milk or additive free coconut milk)
Cherry Ginger Gummies – Autoimmune Wellness
Chewy Apple Plantain Cookies – Lichen Paleo, Loving AIP
Love Bird Cereal Cookie Clusters – AIP Recipe Collection
Matcha Mint Fat Bombs – Body Unburdened (check out my matcha recommendation here)
Pumpkin Spice Granola – Autoimmune Wellness

Savory Snacks

Avocado Cauliflower Hummus – Unbound Wellness (It’s like a hummus/guacamole hybrid – so good!)
Bacon Beef Liver Pate with Rosemary and Thyme – Autoimmune Wellness
Butternut Breakfast Bites – Adventures in Partaking
Coconut Flour Naan – My Heart Beets
Creamy Avocado Caesar Dressing/Dip – AIP Recipe Collection (it’s coconut free!)
Microwave Salsa – Unskilled Cavewoman
Supah Guac – Wendi’s AIP Kitchen
Superfood Sardine Salad – Phoenix Helix (tasty on top of Sweetpotato Awesome slices – coupon above)
Quick Salmon and Leek Pate – Healing Family Eats
Tzatziki – AIP Recipe Collection

There’s An App For That!

Another great source for all things recipes and meal planning is REAL PLANS Meal Planning App – This app is perfect for pretty much any diet (you can read my full review on it here) but it’s completely customizable and totally geared to those on the AIP – and yes – it has snacks! You can even tweak it further for additional food sensitivities and nutritional requirements and add recipes from around the web or personal favorites – it truly makes life on the AIP easier! There’s even a 10-day money back guarantee so there’s no risk in trying it out –  SUBSCRIBE HERE. 

 

This post contains affiliate links.  Click here to see what that means.

Okay, so we’re cutting out dairy on the AIP, nuts and grains too … so what’s left for options when it comes to “milk” on the AIP?

Great question! I’m going to keep it plain and simple – you have 4 options during the elimination phase of the AIP: Coconut Milk, Tigernut Milk (Tigernuts are not nuts, they’re tubers), Avocado Milk and Banana Milk.

All four of these can easily be made at home, and quality additive-free coconut milk (NOT coconut “beverage”) can be found in lots of stores these days (warning – be sure your coconut milk contains nothing but coconut and water – no other ingredients, emulsifiers or thickeners like guar gum, locust bean gum, etc. You can find additive-free coconut milk using my shopping resources – click here, and some brand recommendations here.)

While there are variations of these recipes available online, the following are the basics.

Coconut Milk:

4 Cups Hot Water 
1 1/2 to 2 Cups Unsweetened Unsulphured Shredded Coconut
Optional Sweetener: 1/2 to 1 tsp Honey or Maple Syrup to Taste or 1 unsulphured pitted date to sweeten 
Optional Flavor:  1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (not flavor), 1/2 cup pureed fresh or frozen strawberries

Place hot but not boiling water and coconut in a high-speed blender. Blend on high speed for several minutes until thick and creamy.
Using a large bowl to catch the milk, pour the mixture through a nut milk bad or fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and allow to strain.
Once cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much milk as possible.
Once you have extracted all of your milk add any optional flavoring and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar for up to 3 days. 
NOTE: you will want to use a wide mouth jar so you can scrape any coconut cream off the top that forms after refrigeration for use in other things, or simply shake to reincorporate

Avocado Milk:

2 Cups Filtered Water
1/2 Cup Diced Avocado (ensure it’s not over ripe and does not have any dark spots)
Pinch of Sea Salt
Optional Sweetener: 1/2 to 1 tsp Honey or Maple Syrup to Taste or 1 unsulphured pitted date to sweeten 
Optional Flavor: 1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (not flavor) 

Combine water, avocado and a pinch of salt together in a blender or use an immersion blender. If you want a slightly sweet taste, add the sweetener of choice from above, blend and test the flavor, adjust if necessary. 
Serve chilled.
Note: Best consumed or used right away in a recipe

Banana Milk:

2 Cups Filtered Water
1 Banana (ripe but not over-ripe)
Pinch of Sea Salt
Optional Flavor:  1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (not flavor) or a Pinch of Cinnamon

Combine water, banana and a pinch of salt together in a blender or use an immersion blender. If you want a slightly sweet taste, add the sweetener of choice from above, blend and test the flavor, adjust if necessary. 
Serve chilled.
Note: Best consumed or used right away in a recipe

Tigernut Milk:

4 Cups Hot Water (Plus more for soaking)
1 Cup Tigernuts
Optional Sweetener: 1/2 to 1 tsp Honey or Maple Syrup to Taste or 1 unsulphured pitted date to sweeten 
Optional Flavor:  1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (not flavor) or Cinnamon

Place tigernuts in a bowl and cover with warm water, allowing to soak for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, drain and place in a high-speed blender. Add 1/2 a cup of the hot water and blend for 3 minutes. If the mixture is too dry during this time, add a little more of the water and scrape the sides.
Add remaining water and blend for 10-15 minutes.
Using a large bowl to catch the milk, pour the mixture through a nut milk bad or fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and allow to strain.
Once cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much milk as possible.
Once you have extracted all of your milk add any optional flavoring and store in the refrigerator in a glass container for up to 3 days. 

BONUS TIP: Don’t waste the pulp! You can dehydrate it and you have tigernut flour! Simply spread the pulp on a large, rimmed baking tray and place it in a 160 to 175 degree oven for 4-6 hours or until dry. Be sure to stir it a few times during the drying process. Once it has completely dried pulse it in a food processor until it is the consistency of powder or flour. If you can’t get it completely fine, that’s not a problem – tigernut flour tends to be a little gritty. You can choose to sift it to get rid of any larger pieces.

Sweet Potato Milk: 

1 Large White Sweet Potato (Learn more about various varieties of white sweet potatoes and where to find them – click here)
4 Cups of Filtered Water (plus more after cooking – see instructions)
Optional Flavor:  1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract (not flavor) or Cinnamon

Add filtered water to a medium pot. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1 inch cubes and immediately add to the pot of water.
Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Use a slotted spoon and transfer the sweet potatoes to a blender.
Pour the cooking water into a large measuring cup and add additional filtered water to equal a total of 4 cups of liquid.
Add water to the blender and blend on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. 
The “milk” should be plenty sweet enough, but if you like you can add in your optional flavors now and 1/2 to 1 tsp of pure maple syrup if you wish.
Store in the refrigerator in a glass container for up to 3 days or the freezer for 3 months.

Learn More:

Want to know the ins and outs, what’s and whys of eliminating dairy and options for reintroductions when the time comes? Check out the following articles.

The Great Dairy Debate
Why I Don’t Need to Worry About Calcium
Goat Milk and the Benefits of A2 Dairy
The Best Dairy Choice for Growing Children

This post contains affiliate links.  Click here to see what that means.

The elimination stage of the AIP is NOT meant to last forever, but how do you feel about the reintroduction process? Many find the thought of it completely overwhelming and some are afraid to move beyond eliminations because they’ve seen so many improvements in their health they don’t want to risk throwing anything off. It’s really important, however, that we not get stuck .. we need to keep moving forward on our healing journeys! Thankfully, now we can move forward with confidence thanks to the help of The Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Cookbook – the first cookbook dedicated to the reintroduction phases of the AIP.

This amazing new book comes to us from trained chef, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and AIP Coach, Kate Jay of the AIP blog, Healing Family Eats. Kate is passionate about making sure our healing journey is delicious, nutrient dense and in her new cookbook as easy as possible, guiding us through the challenges of reintroductions step-by-step through each stage so that we don’t trigger an autoimmune flare. 

“My aim is to encourage and support you as you navigate the reintroduction phase of the AIP. The recipes have been developed with gentle reintroductions in mind, taking you through all four stages, with the ultimate goal of you finding your own unique template.” ~ Kate

While the focus of Kate’s latest cookbook is reintroductions, a large number of the recipes are easily adapted for those in the elimination stage, making it a wonderful, motivational handbook even if you’re just getting started on the AIP.

It’s a feast for the eyes, filled with beautiful photos and over 100 amazing recipes to tantalize your taste buds, each recipe indicating at a glance; which of the four reintroduction stages it’s suitable for, whether or not it can be made elimination stage compliant, if it’s coconut free or can be made that way, if it can be made low-FODMAP, and even if it’s freezer friendly.

Here are a handful of recipes I’m eyeing:

  • Cornish Pasty (elimination friendly)
  • Chocolate Sweet Potato Mud Cake (elimination friendly)
  • Windfall Country Mustard
  • Nightshade-Free Brown Sauce (elimination friendly)
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding (elimination friendly)
  • Mint Mayonnaise
  • Rum ‘N Raisin Stracciatella Ice Cream
  • Choc-Hazelnut Hummus
  • Fish Tacos with Watermelon Tomato Salsa (elimination friendly)
  • Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura (elimination friendly)

On top of all the amazing recipes, you get a guide to what the AIP is and what it isn’t, food lists, how to transition to the AIP, tips and best practices, troubleshooting advice for why the AIP might not be working for you, how and when to approach reintroductions, how to identify reactions, how to avoid flares and handle an unsuccessful reintroduction – it’s just what every AIPer needs.

Let The Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Cookbook be your reassuring companion through every step of your AIP journey!
Grab your copy on Amazon:  USA / CANADA / UK

Not ready to jump into The Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Cookbook just yet? Check out Kate’s mini elimination stage e-cookbook “Healing Eats – 25 Recipes to Heal the Gut While Soothing the Soul.”

Enter to win a copy of The Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Cookbook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* GIVEAWAY OPEN TO RESIDENTS OF THE USA ONLY *

ONE GRAND PRIZE will be awarded – 1 Print copy of the Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction Cookbook by Kate Jay

  • Contest open until end of day June 26th, 2021 (EST)
  • Winner will be announced and contacted by June 28th, 2021
  • This giveaway is sponsored by Kate Jay at Healing Family Eats
  • Prize package will be shipped by Kate or her publisher
  • This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram or Facebook
  • Void where prohibited
Since there is a lot of confusion about turmeric, curcumin and the use of black pepper, I decided to write a dedicated post as a reference in our FAQ section.
 
Inevitably when I post a recipe in the AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group and indicate that we should “omit black pepper unless it’s been successfully reintroduced,” I’m flooded with questions or comments that black pepper must be added to the recipe or the turmeric isn’t going to be effective as an anti-inflammatory compound, so let me share the research I’ve found.
 

Turmeric & Curcumin – The Same Thing?

First thing’s first – DO NOT confuse turmeric with its most well-known active compound, curcumin. Turmeric contains a variety of inflammation-fighting compounds known as curcuminoids ~ the most widely known and extensively studied of which is curcumin.
 
That said, if you’re questioning the efficacy of turmeric without black pepper based on something you’ve read, I encourage you to go back and re-read the information – it’s more likely than not that you’re reading about the compound CURCUMIN as an EXTRACT, not TURMERIC itself as a WHOLE herbaceous tuber or spice. 
 
While it’s true that curcumin – the compound or extract on its own, requires a compound in black pepper called piperine for it (curcumin) to be effective, unfortunately this has led people to believe that it’s useless taking or using TURMERIC as a whole herb/spice without black pepper. This is simply not the case.
 

What’s Better, Turmeric or Curcumin?

 
Well known lecturer, botanist and herbalist, David Winston states, “ In my experience, I achieve better clinical outcomes with whole Turmeric products.” Importantly, he also points out that, large doses of curcumin (the extract) can cause gastric upset, while the herb turmeric (as a whole) contains a number of active ingredients that combine to have a gastro-protective effect. 
 
A very important point to understand with turmeric is that the naturally occurring molecules and the volatile oils naturally contained within turmeric actually help its many compounds to absorb and metabolize. So in other words, turmeric by itself, with nothing added, absorbs quite well because of the synergism of the molecules contained within turmeric. It’s when the product is broken down into different compounds, like curcumin supplements, that additional compounds (like those extracted from black pepper) are required for absorption. 
 
CONCLUSION:  You do NOT need to add black pepper to reap the benefits of turmeric when you’re using turmeric as a whole herb/spice.
 
It reminds me of what Dr. Ballantyne, one of the pioneers of the Autoimmune Protocol, says … “if you want the benefit of the thing, just eat the thing” … not the compound or extract or essence of the thing (she was referencing things like vanilla, extracts and essential oils – but the same applies here with herbs).
 
More often than not, nature knows best and has already pre-packaged all of the compounds and components you need – right there in the food or herb – no need for scientific intervention or additions!
 

What About Absorption?

 
There is no harm in adding black pepper when using turmeric IF you are tolerant to it and you’re not in the elimination stage of the AIP, but the truth is you don’t need it to absorb the molecules contained within turmeric.
 
The main difference is that turmeric with black pepper will likely absorb faster than turmeric by itself and may stay in the blood stream longer. This is neither good nor bad. Using turmeric with a healthy fat such a coconut milk, coconut oil, good quality extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil will enhance overall absorption, so there’s an option for you if you really feel you must add something. 
 

To Summarize:

 
Curcumin itself as an extract/compound (man-made) is harder for the body to absorb and therefore requires the addition of the black pepper compound called piperine. Curcumin is more easily excreted and can also cause gastric upset when consumed in large quantities.
 
Turmeric as a whole (nature-made) absorbs well in the body because of the other naturally occurring compounds in turmeric itself and does not require anything to aid absorption. Turmeric as a whole has a gastro-protective effect.
 
NOTEWORTHY:
Never forget that we, and our diseases, are all unique. What works for one person, doesn’t always work for someone else. There is no saying turmeric will improve everyone’s health or their inflammation to the same extent as it will someone else – even someone else with the same disease.
 
In Depth Resource:
Check out this post from Emery Herbals – A Tale of Turmeric, The Quest for Whole Plant Medicine
 

Turmeric Recipes!

Looking for some great ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet?
 
Check out my friend Indira’s cookbook – AIP Indian Fusion – click here. I have a teaser recipe from the AIP Indian Fusion Cookbook you can enjoy, just click here – Tandoori Shrimp & Kale Bowl. I also have my very own recipe creation, Honey Curry Chicken Breasts which includes an AIP compliant Curry Spice Blend that I always keep on hand – be sure to check it out. If you’re looking for a warming anti-inflammatory treat, you’ll want to grab some Sip Herbals Coffee substitute (Save 10% off every order with Code: “AIP10”) and whip up this ahhh-mazing Golden Milk Latte!
 
Still want more? We have LOTS of flavorful recipes that incorporate turmeric posted in my FREE, searchable AIP Recipe Collection Facebook Group – just click here to join!  Once you’re a member, you can simply search for “turmeric” or for things like golden milk, turmeric lemonade, lattes,  curry pastes, Indian dishes and so much more.