Updated: May 11, 2020
This blog post is for those of you who are thinking of going to an AIP diet / autoimmune diet / grain-free diet or those of you who have just started who may be struggling a little with keeping it up.
It is extremely difficult when changing your diet and the way that you eat - especially when you are used to eating a WPD (Western Pattern Diet) or SAD diet (Standard American Diet) - diets which include highly processed foods, lots of grains, sugar, dairy etc. There are so many elements to consider when changing your diet. The main blocks I identified in my experience seemed to be:
Mental and emotional blocks: There is the mental and emotional side in which, as humans, our brains are programmed to not like change especially as we can get emotionally addicted to comfort foods. We use these comfort foods containing flour and sugar in order to soothe and numb painful emotions. Being unable to numb these negative emotions brings about a whole new world of pain for us to experience in the short-term BUT understanding and being conscious of this is crucial in healing long-term.
If you want to read more about dealing with the mental side and developing resilience, check out my blog on this here.
Support blocks: Family and friends may not be supportive in this massive diet change and therefore this can lead you to going back to your old ways and sinking into a depression as you feel like you are doing it all on your own with no help or support.
Physical blocks: There is also the physical side of the body physically detoxing from the unhealthy foods we used to eat. This can include fatigue, aches, flu-like symptoms, headaches, hives etc. We may decide that the detox symptoms are too much as it can be overwhelming for the body.
Practical / time blocks: Then there is the practical side of how are you going to fit this new diet into your life. This new diet which involves making EVERY SINGLE THING from scratch!! It seems absolutely impossible at first to make everything from scratch. When will I have the time to do this? This is a full-time job just prepping and cooking AIP food!
The truth is, going AIP is not just a diet change - it is a lifestyle change. In order to stick to it, you will need to change your lifestyle in order to set you up for success every day. I feel like getting organised with your meals is SO IMPORTANT. Getting super organised is going to help you massively and therefore allow you to cope with the other blocks listed above better. This is why I’ve put together some top tips that you can do to make sure that you are always prepared to stay on this new way-of-eating!
Plan your weekly meals and make large meals that can be used for 2 or 3 servings. Good meal ideas are slow cooker stews and trays of garlic and herb-roasted veggies with chicken or fish.
Always have some sort of broth / stock in the fridge or freezer. You could roast an organic chicken once a week and use there carcass to make bone broth.
Simple and easy bone broth recipe: Put the chicken carcass in a slow cooker. Sprinkle thyme, rosemary, garlic powder and plenty of sea salt over the top. Pour over purified water until you have covered the carcass completely and add 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar. Leave for 10-24 hours. Once ready, cool and strain into glass jars and pop into the fridge to use throughout the week. These will come in handy for making soups and quick dinners where you need to add more flavour to veggies.
Always have a can of coconut milk in your cupboards (make sure the can is BPA free - I buy Biona Organic https://biona.co.uk/product/biona-organic-coconut-milk/) as this is perfect for adding to and creating desserts, buckwheat porridge, maca lattes or smoothies.
My favourite easy dessert using coconut milk is SO SIMPLE and only uses 4 ingredients!
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 can coconut milk
Carob powder (strict AIP) or Cacao powder (flexible AIP)
Maple syrup or honey (optional if you need the sweetness - i can usually have this without)
Just whip up all the ingredients in a blender and pop in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Serve with strawberries and raspberries decorated on top!
Always prepare your lunch for the next day and make 2 batches at once! This saves you having to make it EVERY.SINGLE.EVENING. You have to be smart when you food prep. If you are slicing up courgette (zucchini) to go with your dinner tonight, you may as well get the spiraliser out and make your courgetti/zoodles for your lunch salad. Likewise, if you steam double the amount of veggies for dinner, you can have the rest the next evening for dinner. Its about being more efficient with your food prep.
Invest in MULTIPLE glass storage jars and dishes in a variety of different sizes. Your fridge is going to be full of them for lots of different things, and you’ll need ones to take a packed lunch and snacks in for when you are out and about.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS bring an avocado (and a spoon) with you if you are going out - especially on a long journey. Make sure that you are stocked up when they are running low. They are so vital to bring with you if you are going out anywhere. They are a FANTASTIC AIP-complaint snack, really filling and blood-sugar stabilising.
ALWAYS take a bottle of water with you when you are going out. Especially if you are going on a car journey as you never know if there’s going to be traffic and you may be sat in it for some time. It’s so important to keep the body hydrated - especially when we are detoxifying the body. it helps to flush the toxins out that are circulating.
Flavoured water recipe: To make water more interesting, put a couple of lemon or lime slices in with a chunk of ginger. Feel free to mix it up on some days with cucumber, or even mint leaves and strawberries for a Pimms-inspired water! This combination is fantastic with sparkling water too.
I hope this helps you if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about the AIP diet. Organisation, prepping and batch cooking are KEY! Once you get into the habit of doing these things and build it into your weekly routine it will get easier. It really does get so much easier with time. You CAN DO THIS!!