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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: Jennifer Sweenie
How long have you been eating AIP? 4 1/2 months
How has the AIP changed your life?
As hard as this diet is, it has only changed my life for the better. Not only do I feel, look, and sleep better than I have in years, I also have been able to answer so many unknowns in my life I’ve had for as long as I can remember. There are so many symptoms that go hand-in-hand with autoimmune disease that most (myself included) just accepted as normal for many years. Starting this diet has taught me the connection. The only downside is giving up my hot sauce and not being able to eat out as much!
Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
Black pepper and the occasional coffee.
Size of your kitchen:
Pretty decent for an NYC apartment, but probably tiny to the rest of the country!
Favorite thing about your kitchen:
My big, deep sink that I can throw all my dirty dishes into as I cook.
Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
Only one tiny little square of counter space.
Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
A julienne peeler — not expensive and a must for making quick veggie noodles.
What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
My Instant Pot started taking up most of my counter space.
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 lot of people assume that, as a chef, I have all sorts of cool gadgets for the kitchen. Not true! I use one knife about 85% of the time! These are some of my favorites that help a lot with following this strict way of life:
- Spiralizer for veggie noodles
- InstantPot — SO helpful for making homemade broth
- Diamond steel for honing in between knife sharpenings
- Two sizes of Global Chefs knives and a Shun pairing knife
- Julienne peeler
- Tongs — a must for any kitchen! They are an extension of your hand.
What are your favorite AIP beverages?
One of the hardest parts about going AIP for most people is giving up coffee. I’m asked countless times how I’ve replaced the habit. Well, I’ve become a huge tea drinker! Tea helped a lot in the beginning to quell cravings. My new morning drink is roasted dandelion tea with tiger nut milk or coconut milk, gelatin, and sometimes a splash of coconut oil. In the afternoons I drink rooibos, and I close the night out with a cup of peppermint tea after dinner.
How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
I don’t! This diet is very time consuming and you really need to put yourself first, especially at the beginning. They’re welcome to eat my food!
Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
My pasta maker and stand mixer. Also my Dutch oven, but that’s probably due to the addition of the InstantPot.
What’s inside your AIP pantry?
It can be hard gathering information about products from websites, message boards, blogs etc. when you’re first starting out. Here are my favorite staples that make cooking much easier (and very tasty!):
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Shredded coconut
- Coconut flour
- Flaked coconut
- Coconut aminos (soy sauce replacement)
- Coconut oil
- Coconut manna (a spoonful for dessert!)
- Nutritional yeast (cheese flavor substitute)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Himalayan pink sea salt
- Coconut milk (NO guar gum! Make sure to check the labels.)
- Blackstrap molasses
- D’Artagnan duck fat (makes just about everything taste better)
What’s your AIP breakfast go-to?
Breakfast is one of the hardest meals to find a replacement for on AIP. My morning go-to only has three ingredients and is super EASY to make — I’m usually half asleep as I assemble it! Brown 1/3-1/2 pound of grass-fed bison, beef, or lamb in a skillet. Dice some avocado and red onion and run your knife through a handful of fresh cilantro. Dump everything in a bowl. Season with a healthy pinch of himalayan sea salt. That’s it! The warmth of the ground meat softens the avocado. It’s delicious and doesn’t get much easier than that!
What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
As a chef, I don’t consult cookbooks much! I did pick up a copy of The Healing Kitchen, though, and am pretty impressed with the recipes I’ve tried.
Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
Building an AIP kitchen can be overwhelming when you are first starting out. First of all, I suggest taking all of the non-compliant pantry items you have, like oils and spices, and putting them in a box outside of the kitchen. There are a lot of rules and this eliminates having to google whether something is okay or not.
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!