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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: Keely Brickley
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
AI Disease: Celiac Disease and Crohn’s Disease
How long have you been eating AIP?
I started AIP in October of 2014 and stayed on the strict elimination phase for six months, until March 2015. From April till about August 2015, I successfully reintroduced egg yolks, ghee, seed spices and green beans. Then in September and October, we had a couple of stressful family events that required last-minute travel. During this time I let some gluten free convenience foods creep back into my diet. Between the stress and not fully following AIP, I started to have symptoms again. So right after Thanksgiving of 2015, I recommitted to AIP and followed the strict elimination phase till the end of January 2016. Since then I have reintroduced a couple of things.
How has the AIP changed your life?
AIP has changed my life in so many ways. In relation to food and eating AIP has taught me about how to fill my plate with the most nourishing and nutrient dense foods. It taught me how to be more creative in the kitchen and how to feed my kids and family properly. Outside of the kitchen AIP taught me the value of sleep and how to achieve the most restful sleep so my body has time to heal and detox. AIP has also taught me so much about lowering stress levels and to make sure to take time for myself. Taking time for myself has always been hard for me since I have two kids under the age of five.
Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
Yes, I have reintroduced the following: black pepper, seed spices, green beans, egg yolks, and ghee.
Size of your kitchen:
Approximately 165 square feet
Favorite thing about your kitchen:
I love that my kitchen has lots of natural light, is very open and has tons of storage and counter space.
Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
I wish I my kitchen was configured a little differently so that I could have a center island.
Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
Some small cheap gadgets that I use a lot are a garlic press, a julienne peeler, and a medium-sized scoop that kind of looks like a ice cream scoop to make meatballs. Also, an old infomercial gadget called an onion chopper. It’s a manual veggie chopper that I use to cut up onions, carrots, celery, and peppers when I don’t feel like pulling out my food processor and want a small uniform chop or dice.
What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
We have two small kids so we try to only make one grocery trip a week. We also buy a lot of food in bulk when it’s available or on sale. Therefore, we found that our kitchen refrigerator and freezer were not big enough to hold all of our food. Our solution was to buy a larger stand up refrigerator and freezer for our kitchen and moved the old one to the garage. That is about all that changed because our family had switched over to a Paleo/ Real food way of eating about three years ago so our big kitchen overhaul had already happened.
If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive kitchen tools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
If someone was starting to invest in useful but more expensive kitchen tools, I would tell them to either get a high speed blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec) or a countertop convection toaster oven. We use it as a back up oven and also warm leftovers in it when we don’t want to fire up the big oven. I roast veggies in it if a main dish is in our big oven and warm up frozen meatballs/emergency protein for breakfast, lunch and snacks. We use both the blender and the convection toaster oven several times a day.
Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
The trick to making AIP work in my kitchen is I try to keep the counter by the oven and main sink clear all the time. If the dishes get away from me or there is a lot of clutter on the sink then I can’t be as efficient as I sometimes need to be with hungry kids. I also try to keep the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry really well stocked and organized.
How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
We don’t separate in the pantry or refrigerator because the whole family is completely gluten-free. We food prep and batch cook so everyone has emergency meals. For the most part we all eat the same things but if my husband and kids are eating something different say with nightshades or grains then we just make sure to use separate cutting boards, pots and cooking utensils. I don’t force my kids to eat anything they don’t like and I will never refuse to make my family something they love because I can’t eat it. An example would be homemade spaghetti sauce — I enjoy making it for them because they all love it and I know I make it with high quality ingredients.
Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
I used to love making gluten-free bread and baked goods so I have a bread machine that is collecting dust, and we also got rid of our standard toaster.
What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
We always have a couple kind of meatballs in our freezer. We call them our emergency protein. Some of our favorite recipes are Phoenix Helix’s Perfect Breakfast Sausage (we use a scoop to make meatballs and bake it instead of frying patties), Turkish Doner Kebabs (minus cayenne) from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2, and for my husband, Pizza Meatballs from Stephanie Gaudreau’s The Performance Paleo Cookbook. I like to have a couple of soups and stews frozen. Our favorites are: Autoimmune Paleo’s Sweet Potato Chili, Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup, and Golden Cauliflower Soup which are both in Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2 and on her website. Other things I always have prepped are salad ingredients and I also like to freeze lemon juice, lemon peel, and sauces like the Chimichurri sauce from the The Whole 30 Cookbook for quick meals.
What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
My favorite AIP cookbook is He Won’t Know It’s Paleo by Bre’anna Emmitt. My favorite Paleo cookbooks that I use for family members (or as inspiration for AIP-compliant meals) are Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan, Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall (he has an awesome list on how to make a lot of his recipes AIP compliant!).
Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
My tips for anyone just starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchen for the first time would be to sit down and honestly review you work space, who else you are feeding, and what your triggers are. Then make a plan for success. For example, if you are the only one eating AIP then make sure you do a food prep day for yourself or find meals that your family will never know are AIP (Paleo Girl 99 has a recipe for Tarragon Chicken that is delicious, makes a lot and no one will guess it’s AIP-compliant). Always batch cook or cook meals that will have leftovers. Use fruit to get you through your cravings the first couple of weeks. Then just jump in and be kind to yourself. You will make mistakes in the first few weeks — don’t let it get to you, just keep going!
Keep an eye out for Keely’s forthcoming blog!
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!
Thanks for sharing this super helpful interview! And Keely, I’m so glad the AIP modifications in Well Fed 2 are working for you. Mickey collaborated on those with me, and I’m so grateful. Happy eating to all of you!
What a gorgeous kitchen, Keely! And I’m so glad my Perfect Breakfast Sausage is one of your family favorites.