It may seem like you have a limited repertoire on your grocery list, the same old appearances over and over again. But that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. Rarely on 3 years of AIP have I ever been bored of my food choices – and that’s also why I started this blog. To keep me creative, interested, and forever-seeking new and easy ways to add vibrant food into my life.
So to keep with that theme and prove that there’s always new foods to be discovered, I’ve compiled a list of 10 foods you may not know are AIP-compliant. These foods are fairly easy to find, but I also urge you to visit local ethnic markets to see for yourself that your diet doesn’t have to be limited to carrots, sweet potatoes, beef, and broccoli.
Variety is the spice of AIP. Force yourself out of your food rut!
TigernutsYou may have heard of tigernuts if you’re big into AIP baking. If you haven’t, you may be wondering, “I thought nuts weren’t AIP-friendly!” They aren’t – they are a common food allergen/intolerance and can be difficult to digest, especially for people with compromised guts like those with autoimmue conditions. But tigernuts are actually little hard tubers (root vegetables) that are high in prebiotic fibers. The unpeeled snacking variety can be really difficult to eat, so it’s best to stick to the peeled tigernuts for snacking or tigernut flour for baking needs. I haven’t baked with tigernut flour much, but I hear it can be pretty grainy, so it’s best to mix it with other grain-free flours like coconut and arrowroot. Beyond the Bite is an AIP blog that uses lots of tigernut flour, so please peruse her page of tigernut treats!
Cloves Part of the reason AIP seems initially restricting on flavor is because it eliminates a lot of seed and nut seasonings (allspice, nutmeg, cumin, etc) as well as nightshade seasonings (chili pepper, paprika, curry powder, etc). Clove is an exception though! They are actually little dried buds of the clove tree and a popular aromatic, ethnic spice used in cooking both savory and sweet dishes. Use whole cloves to flavor soups, roasted chicken, my AIP Sangria and Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef.
BBQ Sauce Nightshades are definitely not an autoimmune person’s friend. They tend to be one of the most inflammatory and bothersome foods those of us with autoimmune conditions can eat. Which means tomato-based sauces, southwestern cuisine, Mexican food, and a whole lotta other yummy stuff is off the table. Thankfully, there’s a brand of AIP-friendly BBQ Sauce that gets RAVE reviews from the community! Go check out KC Naturals BBQ Sauce which can be purchased on Amazon and try both of their nightshade-free flavors as a marinade for your next grill night or mixed with pressure cooker pork.
Wine VinegarsWine vinegars like white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and ume plum vinegar are totally AIP-compliant and can add a lovely balance to your salad dressings, marinades, and finished dishes. If you have histamine intolerance, you may want to stay away from vinegar but otherwise go ahead and enjoy. Always be sure to read the ingredients though (‘grape must’ is compliant) and look for ones that don’t contain added sweeteners, corn, sulphur dioxide, or other preservatives.
Sucanat I’m sure you know that sweeteners should be limited on AIP. I won’t beat a dead horse over that. So, don’t go eat a bag of sucanat? Because you’re a responsible adult, and why would you? Or you could argue you earned your independence in a stifled childhood, so you may very well go eat a bag of sugar if you please at age 39. I won’t judge – you just may not feel your best the next day. I just realized you may be wondering what sucanat is… sorry it’s 6 am and Grace woke me up an hour ago… on a Sunday morning. Motherhood. Sucanat is a fairly unprocessed cane sugar – it’s simply crushed cane sugar and doesn’t go through the refining/bleaching process regular sugar does. So in that way it is about as unprocessed as sweeteners like honey and maple that we see more often in AIP recipes. Use it very sparingly to sweeten special treats like He Won’t Know It’s Paleo’s Dutch Apple Pie. Find a recipe that uses sucanat but you don’t have any on hand? Replace with coconut sugar or maple sugar, which have a similar amount of moisture.
Yerba Mate Yerba mate is a South American tea that contains a decent variety of vitamins and antioxidants, but also contains a decent dose of caffeine. CaffeineInformer.com says it contains about 85mg caffeine per cup which is about as much caffeine as a Starbucks Cafe Americano. If you’re working on your adrenals (who isn’t?), it may not be the best choice for you. Stick to lower caffeine teas like herbal teas or white silverneedle tea (my favorite!) There are claims floating around the internet that touts yerba mate for it’s fat-burning effect, but that only has been proven in high doses, which would certainly push most people over their caffeine limit. Enjoy a brewed cup in the morning as a pick-me-up but make sure you’re doing a lot of lifestyle checks on your adrenals. Drink that tea outside on your porch as the sun rises, maybe? Guayaki is a popular brand of yerba mate that can be bought online.
Water Chestnuts What? Another nut imposter!? What kind of world is this!? Although roasted chestnuts are incredibly delicious, water chestnuts aren’t actually nuts! They are a vegetable that usually comes pre-boiled and canned for a crunchy and yes, watery, addition to salads and stir fries. Water chestnuts can also be dehydrated and ground into water chestnut flour, which is another alternative baking flour that is totally AIP. The problem is finding it without cross-contamination with gluten and soy from factory processing! Therefore, I have never baked with it personally… but if you can find an allergen-free bag of it in your local Asian grocery store, give it a try and make some Paleo-O’s cereal or these Pumpkin Empanadas with Salted Caramel Drizzle from Predominantly Paleo.
La CroixYou wouldn’t think a flavored beverage in a can (sounds suspiciously like soda, right?) would be AIP-friendly, but La Croix flavored waters can be enjoyed by all since the flavors are derived from the named fruit (i.e. lemon oil, grapefruit essence, etc). You should avoid them if you are sensitive to a particular fruit or flavor in them, of course. For example, when I was histamine intolerant, I found a reacted to the citrus flavors. I also see a lot of AIP-ers make fun mocktails with La Croix like this Grapefruit Paloma Mocktail by my friend Laura Vein of Sweet Treats. You may as well also check out her other recipes because she is a trained pastry chef & talented cook!
HorseradishOoh, so spicy! Horseradish is one of the only truly spicy foods those of us on AIP can use to kick it up a notch. Is that what Emeril used to say in that cheesy 90’s programming? BAM. Buy a fresh horseradish root and finely grate it to mix in salads, sauces, soups, and as an accompaniment to steak or seafood. You can even make these tasty Carrot Fries with Horseradish Cream by Simple & Merry or Quick Shepherd’s Pie with Golden Horseradish Mash by Healing Family Eats! Have you seen Kate’s other recipes? She is such a talented chef and food photographer. Her recipes just warm my heart.
photo credit: Kate Jay of Healing Family Eats
Kelp Noodles Woohoo! Noodles on AIP! Now we’re talking. Sort of… kelp noodles are actually a pretty nutritious noodle made from seawood, salt, and water. They are a low-carb and affordable way to bulk up meals, but aren’t for everyone. They have a very crunchy, stiff texture even after soaking. I wouldn’t serve these with AIP pasta sauces or meat sauces though – reserve them for stir-fries and Asian-inspired fare like this Thai-Inspired Pork Salad with kelp noodles – another fab recipe by Kate Jay. I know, she’s AIP girl crush status.Well, that’s it! I hope you learned of at least one new food to try while following the AIP! My most treasured advice while following the protocol is to never limit yourself unnecessarily. Food and freedom with food are so nourishing for our mental health. Rather than restricting, consider what you can add in to your meals so that you won’t even notice that you aren’t eating that nightshade-ridden storebought BBQ sauce or missing out on pasta night with the family. Now if only someone would come up with a non-alcoholic and gluten-free AIP beer that also gets you tipsy. A girl can dream.
Have any other AIP-approved foods in your pantry
you think other’s would like to know about?