Why Do Cooking Skills & Experimentation Matter on AIP?

If you don’t know already, I am following a diet and lifestyle protocol called the Autoimmune Paleo Approach (AIP) to heal from an autoimmune condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis.  In case the term AIP is not familiar with you, it is an elimination diet that is nutrient-dense focused, along with a lifestyle approach to support the process of healing for people with chronic conditions.

One of the popular questions I receive from folks is, "What CAN I eat on AIP when seeds, nuts, grains, egg whites, nightshades, additives, added sugar, and legumes are not included?" I normally answer back that I have plenty of choices of foods that I CAN eat - such as vegetables, herbs, starches, meats, seafood, berries, lemons (I don't do well with the other forms of citrus), sea salts, offal, and good fats.

The more appropriate question I would love to receive more often is, "Do I know how to cook and have the willingness to experiment with my food choices?"  Without my ability to cook and willingness to experiment, I would not have lasted long on AIP.  I would not have tried cooking nutrient-dense dishes that I now have on a weekly basis - such as liver pâté and bone broth. Ultimately, I would have gotten bored with my food choices and my past standard flavor combinations.  On top of that, I would have had to spend so much more money to eat this type of food at a San Francisco restaurant on a daily basis.  

Because it is much easier to track and control the type of food and its cost when I buy and cook it,  I encourage people following AIP to do the same and to learn how to cook in whatever way works for them. There are YouTube videos, books, workshops, friends, relatives, social media, and you experimenting (how we all learn) with food. For inspiration and proof it can be done, I have some pictures of dishes I have made while on my elimination diet. Do any of the dishes look deprived or lacking?  Geez, I hope not!

If you know of anyone who could benefit from following AIP, please share my story with them.  

 Duck with Fried Oregano, Sweet Potato with Coconut Oil, Spinach and Bacon

Duck with Fried Oregano, Sweet Potato with Coconut Oil, Spinach and Bacon

 Wild Salmon Topped with Seaweed and Wasabi; Plantains Covered in a Beet Reduction Sauce and Steamed Cabbage

Wild Salmon Topped with Seaweed and Wasabi; Plantains Covered in a Beet Reduction Sauce and Steamed Cabbage

 Egg Yolks, Sautéed Cabbage, and Plantains

Egg Yolks, Sautéed Cabbage, and Plantains

 Chicken Breakfast Patty, Beets, Plantains, Thyme and Liver Pâté

Chicken Breakfast Patty, Beets, Plantains, Thyme and Liver Pâté

 Spring Salad with Chicken Breakfast Patties, Beets, and Citrus Dressing

Spring Salad with Chicken Breakfast Patties, Beets, and Citrus Dressing

 Sweet Potatoes Stained with Beet Juice

Sweet Potatoes Stained with Beet Juice