Starting AIP can be challenging, so this post shows you what a day of AIP could look like from breakfast to dinner – simple, nutrient dense and tasty. There are recipe links and two bonus recipes right in the post – a green smoothie bowl and a simple zucchini noodle salad.
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Guest Post by Amanda Wilks
Amanda is a passionate writer and cooking enthusiast. She enjoys writing about nutrition, healthy eating, and cooking methods. Through her writings, she hopes to inspire others to make smart choices regarding their own diet. Learn more about Amanda on Twitter.
In this article, Amanda shares her passion for the AIP diet and gives some fun ideas for what a day in the life of AIP might look like.
A Day in the Life of an AIP Dieter
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet’s primary goal is to reduce gut inflammation, the underlying cause of autoimmune responses. There are three critical stages of the AIP diet: the elimination stage, the reintroduction stage, and the maintenance phase.
The elimination phase is probably the hardest one for people who want to follow this eating plan. During this stage, you will have to follow two simultaneous paths: the removal of foods that cause inflammation and gut irritation and the introduction of nutrient-dense foods that help heal the gut flora.
However, following an AIP diet does not mean you have to give up on flavor, taste, texture, and the great feeling we get when we eat something extraordinary. For this reason, I will show you five healthy, cheap, and savory recipes to inspire you to cook your way through the elimination stage like a 5-star chef and seasoned gourmand! Just remember you have to commit to the elimination stage 100% as there should be no shortcuts and compromises on your health!
During the strict AIP elimination stage, breakfast poses most of the problems, especially for people used to eating greasy eggs, sweets, dairy, nuts, seeds, and sugary cereal for breakfast. One of the easiest ways to adjust to your new AIP-centered lifestyle in the elimination stage is to reinvent your meal. Your family’s support is critical right now, so make things look like fun and not a burden! For a seamless, delicious morning, you should try this green smoothie bowl.
Green Smoothie Bowl – Recipe and Instructions
This green breakfast smoothie bowl does not contain coconut-based products, but it is a nutritious and delicious way to get you through the morning while on the AIP diet.
- 2-3 cups of fresh (baby) spinach
- ¼ cup of peeled and diced avocado
- 1/2 peeled and diced mango
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- the juice of one lemon
- the juice of one orange
- 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder (optional);
- additional fruits for garnish
- mix everything except the garnish fruits in a high speed blender until puréed
- pour the mix in a bowl and keep it in the fridge for a few minutes while you wash and prepare other fruits to garnish the smoothie
- enjoy the chilled bowl of green smoothie and fruit – it packs a big punch of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more.
You can also give this fresh delight to the kids who want something sweet for breakfast- for them, you can sprinkle the bowl with some coconut flakes or nuts (AIP reintro if they tolerate them).
NOTE – While avocado contains some protein, for best results you should add more protein to your breakfast. Few protein powders work with AIP, so you could try adding collagen peptides to your smoothie bowls. A serving of such protein (that you get naturally from bone broth) in your green smoothie bowl will offer you the satisfaction and energy boost you need to go about your business every morning until lunchtime.
Speaking of bone broth and stock, you should know that they are the VIPs of any AIP diet. One delicious soup you can try – together with your family no less – is the autoimmune creamy lemon chicken kale soup from Primal Palate. You can follow the original recipe or change a few things here and there, like adding a bit of olive oil and reducing or increasing the number of lemons used. It all depends on your taste. Keep in mind, however, that some ingredients are mandatory – the chicken stock and the bone broth.
The best part of this soup is that if you make a full pot, you can treat yourself with a bowl for a few days in a row. If you are hungry at lunch, you can heat up the soup and have a delicious meal
This hearty, creamy soup is easy to make, and it packs not only flavor but also all the nutrients you need to boost your health. Chicken stock and bone broth are the fundamentals of the AIP diet, and this recipe makes chicken the superstar of your meal.
NOTE – You can cook the soup in a crock-pot, but this would also be a good time to use a ceramic pot as they are non-reactive, non-sticky, and non-toxic. They offer more rustic flavor to your dishes as they cook the food from both the inside and outside at the same time. I recommend you some further reading on the best ceramic cookware to learn more about the benefits of ceramic cookware and how to pick the right product for you. For AIP dishes – especially soups, stews, broths, and stocks – ceramic pots and pans are the surefire paths to take.
Zucchini Pasta Salad
The AIP diet loves zucchini, primarily if you use the spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. These veggie “noodles” are the base of plenty AIP recipes, as you can turn them into a salad of its own, a side dish for some chicken, shrimp, or fish, or a bowl of pure pasta-like delight if you season them with the right AIP sauce.
A bowl of zucchini pasta salad for an AIP lunch is the best way to feel fed, satisfied, and pampered as well. As I have said before, following the elimination stage to a tee should not be a burden or a grim perspective upon a life without taste and flavor. On the contrary, the moment you fully immerse into it, the AIP diet will surprise you with innovative, easy-to-make, savory, and fresh recipes to make your life interesting.
If you have family support as well, you can try luring the kids and the hubby into trying the zucchini pasta salad, as it presents veggies in a novel and appealing manner.
We will keep this recipe simple so that you can use it for elaborate dishes too.
- 2-3 medium sized zucchini
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Use the spiralizer to make zucchini noodles out of 2-3 fresh zucchinis;
- Boil the noodles for a few minutes in a ceramic pot with water and a pinch of salt; make sure they are a bit al dente because if you over boil them, they will turn to mush;
- Strain and put the noodles in a large bowl and season them with the juice of ½ lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil for a fun summery salad
Refine your zucchini salad: finely chop 1-2 green onions (white and green parts together for color, crunchiness, and spice); take a handful of olives and half them; peel and slice 1 avocado and add it to the salad; roast and chop 1-2 red medium beets and add them as well;
For the fall/winter version of this salad, bake ½ butternut squash and shred it with a fork (or use the spiralizer) to add its creamy texture and vibrant color to your dish.
You can make anything you want from zucchini noodles if you use your imagination in the AIP elimination stage. You can eat it simple for lunch – with lemon and olive oil – or you can turn it into a salad of its own and serve it as it is or as a side dish to a freshly baked slice of chicken or fish fillet.
Following the AIP diet is not easy in the first few weeks of the elimination stage. However, eating AIP dishes should not be boring, dreadful, tasteless, or obnoxiously expensive. Learn more about the AIP diet, create a meal plan that matches your tastes, and enjoy a life of full health and joy for your palate.
Lunch can take many forms in your life, so you should not feel trapped when dieting. Either you can have the hearty soup leftover from yesterday, you can cook your fresh warm zucchini noodle salad, or you can have both in moderate portions for a delicious and complete meal.
3. Dinner and Snacks
If you make lifestyle changes with determination – like switching to the AIP diet – you will find ways to counter some of the frustrations or shortcomings that inherently will come your way in the first few days and weeks. For this reason, you should be ready to tackle any sudden munches, cravings, old eating habits, and meal routines with a smile and a set of great recipes. Let us see how you can manage dinner and snacks while in the elimination process.
Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots – Instructions
If the AIP diet is generous in one regard, it is generous in the vegetable department (keep away from nightshades & legumes, however!). When it comes to cooking vegetables, the sky is the limit for your all-year-round salads and snacks. This beet salad with crispy shallots recipe mixes several flavors, textures, and colors into an excellent salad for the entire family at a budget anyone can handle with ease.
Follow the recipe if you want a deliciously textured and flavored dinner or a quick snack between two main meals if you need a boost of energy and vitamins.
Again, you can serve this healthy, nutrient-dense salad if you want to impress your guests or show your children that eating their veggies is a lot of fun.
Beef Brisket with Cauliflower Mash – Instructions
Grass-fed lean beef is a fundamental ingredient in the AIP elimination stage. This beef brisket recipe from Elena’s Pantry is perfect if you want a hearty, healthy meal that follows the AIP protocol and brings flavor, nutrients, and texture to the table.
The recipe also brings novelty to the table as cauliflower mash (use olive oil for AIP elimination stage compliance) is a side dish that you can eat separately (or alongside the beet salad we have already mentioned) whenever you feel in the mood for some sumptuous 5-star meals.
I suggest you use a ceramic pot for very (very) slow beef cooking without toxins and well-distributed heat that makes the meat melt in your mouth. Whenever you feel like giving yourself a treat, prepare this brisket and the cauliflower mash for dinner and call it a day.
Cauliflower mash is an excellent alternative to potatoes for AIP dieters. It also makes a perfect side dish for healthy Thanksgiving meals. The recipe above offers complete instructions for the beef brisket and cauliflower mash, so keep it close at hand for Thanksgiving, dinner parties, or cozy meals at home with your family.
As you can easily imagine, these recipes are just the tip of the iceberg. I love the smoothie bowl for breakfast and the zucchini pasta salad for lunch because they bring something new and do not allow the AIP diet to become dull. However, you can always reinvent the recipes and add other seasonings and ingredients as long as they comply with the AIP elimination stage rules.
If you have always wanted a challenge like mastering cooking like a chef, there is no better time to do it! The best thing? You will feel amazing (and potentially have less pain) like you haven’t felt in a great while!