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AIP Kitchen tour is a monthly feature where we profile someone who eats AIP and has agreed to share their kitchen setup with the community, in hopes that they can further inspire us to get our kitchens organized and set up for success! We’ve heard reports of people who are able to make AIP work in college dorms and small city apartments to large households with family members who eat otherwise, 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.
Name: Jessica Woodcock
Location: Maine, USA
AI Disease: Hashimotos
How long have you been eating AIP? 5 months
How has the AIP changed your life?
After the initial weeks of detoxing so to speak from basically everything grain, dairy, sugar, and processed foods…my energy began to improve. One of the huge successes for me was improved sleep. I have never, NEVER been a good sleeper. What most people get in one night I rarely get in one week. So to see an improvement in my sleep alone made AIP worth the effort. I also noticed an increased ability to focus, less irritability and a more rational thought process. More patience with my children. An improved sense of confidence and much less negative self talk. I just felt like a more normal version of my previous self.
Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
I committed to 8 full weeks of AIP before I even considered reintroduction. In all reality I ended up waiting about 3 months before I tried. The first thing I reintroduced was ghee. In which I very excitedly made on my own. By the way…it smells amazingly just like movie theater popcorn. Like crazy amounts! I was drooling! I had no trouble tolerating the ghee. However, I will admit I don’t have a huge desire for the flavor. I do use it when I cook but I notice things burn more easily with it.
The next reintro was eggs. First the yolk, then the white which was tricky…because I hate, LOATHE egg yolks. It was okay but not life changing, however, my body seemed to tolerate it fairly well. Egg whites (or rather when I ate the whole egg) was a completely different story. First off, it wasn’t as exciting and tasty as I was hoping or remembered. Fifteen minutes later I was a snotty, congested, allergic hot mess. This lasted for 18 hours. I wasn’t sure that it was the eggs. So a few days later I tried again. Within 30 minutes I was sneezing 37 times a minute…and it lasted for 12 hours. I gathered maybe it was the eggs. So I decided to not eat eggs anymore (so bummed). A week later I made eggs for my kids and had the same reaction just by touch.
I also tried peanuts and almonds…both of which have been unsuccessful (and very depressing). They caused me much tummy trouble and I have essentially decided my body either isn’t ready yet or those will be very limited in my diet sometime in the future. I then did a full 2 weeks of a hard reset of sorts and will stick with this before starting to reintro again.
Size of your kitchen:
20 ft. x 15 ft.
Favorite thing about your kitchen:
My brick oven. Also the size, layout, and storage.
Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
I truly love my kitchen. But probably the fact that it doesn’t clean itself.
What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
Organization of my refrigerator and pantry. Not that it was hopeless before…but I have now separated our normal pantry items (flour, oats, sugar, etc.) that I never use anymore from the AIP specific items (coconut flour, cassava flour, arrowroot, collagen peptide, gluten-free apple cider vinegar, etc.). My refrigerator is set up so that all my fruit and vegetables are easily and quickly accessible for planning meals (breakfast and lunch go with me to work). I finally cleaned the cupboard below the stove so it now cleanly and organizedly ☺ contains my Instant Pot, crock pot, food processor, and dehydrator.
If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive kitchen tools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
Instant Pot and food processor.
Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
Space is not something I have to be concerned with, thankfully. But organization and preparation is the most helpful. My space is much more organized for ease. Our freezer is organized into frozen fruit, veggies, bone broth, meat, and treats (a.k.a. our “granola” bites).
How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
Thankfully my family has always eaten healthy so the change wasn’t too traumatic. My husband is following AIP with me (though a little less strictly). My kids again thankfully have always been healthy, active eaters so fruits and vegetables and proteins are not foreign to them. Because of their higher risk of an AI disease, they have adapted a gluten-free and a slightly less strict version of the paleo diet. They love the options and rarely miss the SAD food items.
My kids have also learned to make their own hardboiled eggs and are very aware of what I can and cannot eat. And I love them dearly for it. They even refuse to request a pie or cake on their birthday that I am unable to have.
Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
Toaster for sure! And my stand mixer…as I rarely bake anymore.
What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
Sweet potato homefries, roasts, and soups. I usually make large batches of sweet potato homefries as they reheat easily and everyone loves them. They go in salads perfectly! The majority of my meals are salad or soup in nature, which are easy to throw together. Roasts are another batch-cook item. We love pork and turkey roasts and often use the pulled pork in salads and soups or just as a quick snack. I make bone broth about twice a week from turkey/chicken roasts and either use some right away or freeze the rest.
While I am roasting, I typically roast a large batch of vegetables (carrots, onion, sweet potato, celery, etc. with lots of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage), puree them and add them right to my bone broth.
What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber and Sarah Ballantyne
The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott
The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook by Katherine and Ryan Harvey (though this is not strict AIP)
Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
- Be as prepared as possible! There is nothing worse than being at work, shopping, at an appointment or with friends and not having anything you can eat. Always have things on-hand.
- Grocery shop often so you always have fresh items in the kitchen.
- Batch cook and freeze small portions so you don’t have large amounts of leftovers if you don’t like the same meal five days in a row.
- Be patient with yourself! Take one day at a time…every day it will get easier!
- Get rid of everything you can’t have (flour, oats, etc.) or put most of it in places you don’t often look.
- Get the rest of your family on board. It is so much easier if you only have to prepare/cook one meal rather than something different for everyone.
Follow Jessica her on her website, where you’ll find her photography as well as blog posts on love, life, food, passion, and soul.
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, drop us a line using the contact form!