AIP Kitchen Tour – April 2016

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AIP Kitchen Tour is a monthly feature in which we profile a member of the AIP community and their kitchen setup in hopes that it will further inspire us to get our kitchens organized and set up for success! We’ve interviewed folks who are making the AIP lifestyle a reality in everything from college dorms and small city apartments, to large households with non-AIP family members, and everything in between. Through these interviews, we hope to share how they make it happen across a variety of budgets and living situations, and give the community a wealth of inspiration. Read more Kitchen Tours here!

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Name: Whitney Hoshaw

Location: Eugene, OR

AI Disease: I actually don’t have an AI disease, as far as I know. I’ve been diagnosed with a variety of conditions including Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, dysautonomia, and fibromyalgia. Those three have been the major source of discomfort and pain in recent years. In November, I finally gave in and saw a pain management specialist who recommended the diet as a potential source of relief for my chronic pain from all these other conditions.

How long have you been eating AIP? Since November 2015, so about 5 months.

How has the AIP changed your life?
So far, it’s the only thing that has been worth anything in reducing my pain and a whole lot of other symptoms I didn’t know could even be fixed or that even existed! I missed one day of work right after I started the diet — I think due to some serious detoxing. And since then, I haven’t missed a day of work due to pain or other symptoms, which is a huge change from before. I was gone from work or non-functional at work at least a few times a month. I finally feel functional and renewed with energy. My brain fog is another thing that has lifted almost entirely. I am a lot more clear, less forgetful, and I can successful run things at work, like meetings. It’s been a huge help and relief. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started to improve.

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Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
I have strayed in places from the diet, but so far I seem to be okay with coffee, alcoholic drinks (I mostly stick to wine), almonds, pepper and probably more seeds, and goat’s milk. I’m still testing out some other nuts and regular dairy. Eggs have really not been successful.

I know I wasn’t supposed to, but I reintroduced rice after I had a major setback over the holidays (I’m thinking from sugar — so tempting during the holidays). It was the only thing that sounded like it could settle my nausea and it made me feel a whole lot better. I try to keep it to a minimum, but my husband is really happy it’s back. And, it makes for speeding up dinners when we’re in a crunch. But, there’s always cauliflower rice too (see the photo of my freezer contents).

Size of your kitchen:
We’re estimating it’s about 8 feet x12 feet — tons of storage space, but a pretty average sized kitchen for a home.

Favorite thing about your kitchen:
My favorite thing about our kitchen is that it’s an open layout. So, when I’m spending all the extra time it takes to prep and cook with AIP, I still get to be part of everything that’s happening at home — whether it’s just me and my husband at home after work or if we’ve got people over and I’m making something.

Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
We bought the house at the end of this summer and have done some serious work to improve it, especially the kitchen and living area! But, I still don’t like the sink — it’s split into two parts with a tiny faucet. And, with all the washing that goes along with AIP it’s a pain. I’ve also got projects in line to fix the floor, replace the appliances, and better organize the storage. But, it’s got a lot of potential so it’s hard to complain!

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Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
Our garlic masher is great. I actually broke it last night, but we’ve already ordered a new one. Other things I really wouldn’t like to live without on an AIP diet: a million cutting boards, nice chopping knives, a vegetable peeler, a handy little juicer, an avocado slicer, and of course, endless glass storage containers.

What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
Probably the amount of fresh foods we have. I was already into eating cleaner, more natural foods. In college I went vegetarian and cut out most processed, conventional foods and I saw a huge improvement to my life. So, I had already been eating cleaner and less processed. Now, this AIP diet has taken it to a whole new level. Our fridge veggie drawers are always overwhelmingly stocked and there’s hardly anything (that gets used) in our pantry or fridge doors and upper shelves anymore.

If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive kitchen tools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
For AIP — a food processor. I use that and my NutriBullet way more than I thought I ever would since jumping onto this diet. I also love my digital meat thermometer, and of course, again, nice knives.

Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
Prep. Prep. Prep. And buying in bulk. I have the space (garage, freezer, and pantry) to keep extra food stuffs, so buying in bulk really helps with time spent driving back and forth to the store. Things like cutting up veggies (especially sweet potatoes) and making snacks on the weekends that will last through the week have helped a lot.

In the mornings, I cut up my sweet potatoes for hash (most days) then microwave them in a bowl while I cook or prep other things. Microwaving the sweet potatoes and other larger veggies (like broccoli) speeds up the cooking process and I’m not left spending an hour making a small breakfast hash every single morning before work.

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How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
At first, I was really peeved that my husband wasn’t also following the diet with me and was just blatantly adding cheese and hot sauce to everything. But, once I started feeling better on the diet, I didn’t really care. It’s just not worth it to risk all the progress I’ve made. And it’s not worth fighting over.

So, my motto is: “deal with it” to family members and friends who aren’t AIP and I’m cooking for them. Really most of the recipes I cook for other people are absolutely delicious and most people don’t even realize that it’s gluten-, dairy-, and whatever-else-free. It’s just good tasting, quality food! And, I just tell my family and in-laws to not worry about me. I bring my own food and eat along with them. Don’t make a big deal out of it, and they’ll get used to it.

Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
My toaster. I’ve used it a couple times to reheat frozen AIP-compliant biscuits and waffles. But really, I hardly ever use it at all. Oddly enough, I use my waffle maker way more often though.

What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
It’s easier for me to batch cook when it’s just me at home, mainly because I don’t have to share any of the food. I can just put it all in storage tins. Easy enough. But, otherwise for batch cooking soups are easy, roasts, and whole chicken is the easiest. Since it’s just two of us, we usually just cook a normal meal and I take the leftovers for lunch. Anything we don’t finish for leftovers in a few days I put into the freezer for emergency no-time, need-to-eat meal prep (shredded chicken is great to freeze). Waffles are another good make-ahead item for busy times.

What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
Pinterest is my life. I haven’t invested in any AIP or Paleo cookbooks yet. I always look into buying some at the store in person — Paleo ones — but most of them use egg and I haven’t responded well to eggs (yet!). So, Pinterest and my own experiments are all I’ve used so far.

Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
First, be prepared to do this right. I’ve tried an elimination diet before on my own, but I’ve never had the power to do it. The only reason I stuck with this is because it was doctor prescribed. I was VERY skeptical about this diet at the beginning and didn’t think it would stick. I was also under the impression it would be 30 days and I would immediately start reintroducing, so that might have created a light at the end of the tunnel for me (and more so, for my hubby). After 30 days, I went back to the doctor and she said, “Don’t change anything. It’s working for you. I can see it in your face, coloring, and energy.” That was a shock, but I’m past it now and am accepting and embracing it.

Having support was essential. My husband wasn’t super enthused about it, but I had other people more removed from my life (meaning I didn’t see them every day) who I would text and talk to about recipes and cravings. It’s really reassuring to have other people in your life that also struggle with diet and food-related issues. And, with the popularity of the paleo frenzy, I’m sure you have other people in your life that are paleo and can help you along your journey!

As far as setting up your kitchen, it sounds repetitive to say, but PREP! Buy in bulk. Meal plan as much as you can — or at least in general have an idea of things that go together and a few meals to make this week. I took it as a cooking challenge, so that’s something that can get you through the first few weeks or months.

Follow along with Whitney on Instagram, and check out her recipes and reflections on her blog, Organically Crafty.

Would you like to be featured in an AIP Kitchen Tour? We feature members of the community who are willing to share the real spaces where they cook, as well as their stories of transitioning to this lifestyle. If you are interested, fill out our interest form!

About Grace Heerman

Grace Heerman is a writer, content coach and yoga teacher from Seattle, and the Blog/Social Media Director for Autoimmune Wellness. Grace designs websites and creates content that capture how great her clients are so they can effectively and authentically share their expertise with the world. She also shares recipes and explores how to live her most vibrant life on her blog.

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