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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!
Name: Emma Carter
Location: Southampton, UK
AI Disease: Celiac disease
How long have you been eating AIP? Two years
Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
Yes: almonds, pumpkin seeds, a little ghee, egg yolks (occasionally) and green beans.
How has the AIP changed your life?
AIP has changed my life in so many ways. Prior to the diet I had all manner of symptoms from digestive to emotional – even after omitting gluten. I knew I needed to take my diet one step further in order to further relieve my symptoms and facilitate healing. The AIP has eliminated a huge amount of lingering symptoms and helps me feel balanced and on an even keel. As soon as I step outside of the diet I notice the effects on my body and returning to AIP brings back immediate balance.
Size of your kitchen: My kitchen is ridiculously tiny. It’s like having a campervan kitchen, but smaller, within an apartment! It’s just a very small space that extends off of my living room.
Favorite thing about your kitchen:
I think that the fact that it is so small means I have to keep everything in order or all hell would break loose! If I had a large kitchen I think it would be carnage. I like the fact that I can cook, prep and keep clean and tidy as I go, no matter how much I am juggling.
Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
My least favorite thing about my kitchen is that there’s no space for a dishwasher!! Creating multiple recipes to blog means a lot of washing up… this is where my husband comes in handy :).
Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
Having a decent speed peeler! For making vegetable spaghetti and for preparing the vast quantities of vegetables I eat. I have been really disappointed by all the spiralizers I have tried so I resort to making my spaghetti by hand. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating than a rubbish peeler when you’re turning a kilo of parsnips into pasta.
What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
The biggest change for me has been moving away from a reliance on oven-ready meals. I have had to learn how to cook from scratch using only fresh ingredients. My kitchen has gone from being a place used purely to heat up pre-prepared food, to a fully functioning kitchen full of all kinds of gadgets and gizmos!
If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive kitchen tools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
A good quality food processor! I’ve had mine two years. It was a gift from my grandmother but I was unsure how often I would use it. I’ve used it almost daily since and I would be lost without it. It opens up your meal possibilities so much and helps you save time. It really is a must-have.
Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
I have learned to be clean, tidy and focused. My kitchen space is so small that I have to keep everything in its place and clear down as I go. It also helps hugely to use a meal planner. I have one stuck to my freezer so I know exactly what I am cooking, when and how many meals it is going to stretch for. Once I have prepped a meal, it’s then portioned off and frozen or refrigerated to create another lunch or dinner.
How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
I keep very few ingredients in my house that aren’t AIP. My husband eats the same as me to make life easier for the both of us, and to reduce any chances of cross contamination. Occasionally, my freelance recipe work requires me to use non-AIP ingredients which I store in a separate shelf space.
I find the easiest way to deal with cooking for others with non-AIP ingredients is to simply make AIP adaptations of regular meals. Nobody needs to know its AIP and if it tastes great they won’t question it! Eating AIP shouldn’t feel like a sentence and it helps to just make it as “normal” a meal as possible.
Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
I ditched my microwave and my toaster. There was just no need anymore. Everything I make is fresh and from scratch. Losing these appliances was saying goodbye to fast convenience foods. It took me a while to adapt to cooking and preparing everything myself, but it is 100% worth the effort.
What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
I get through a lot of vegetables, and find that par-cooking then freezing them is a huge time saver for mid-week meals. Par-cooked root vegetables are the best because they can then be fried into a hash, roasted or mashed with freshly cooked meats.
What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
It has to be The Healing Kitchen by Sarah Ballantyne and Alaena Haber. This book is the ultimate AIP bible. It literally has everything in it you could possibly want to know!
Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
I think it requires a lot of patience. Don’t feel the need to rush the process or your reintroductions. Sometimes it feels like you move one step forward and two steps back, but you will get there! I also think its important to listen to your body and recognize what works for you. Just because something is AIP-compliant, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily right for you. Keep note of how different foods make you feel and adapt your diet to fit your individual requirements. Also ensure while eliminating that you are still getting a broad range of foods and balancing your nutritional needs – work with a professional if you can.
Learn more about Emma’s autoimmune journey on her blog, The Nourished Coeliac, and find out what she’s cooking on Instagram. Photos courtesy of Catherine Carey Photography.
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!