Sarah’s AIP Kitchen: How She Manages 3 Autoimmune Diseases in North Carolina

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Kitchen Tour

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: Sarah Jackson

Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA

AI Disease: Celiac, Raynaud’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis

How long have you been eating AIP?
About 6 months, but I had a restricted diet before and just recently learned about AIP.

Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
So far I’ve been able to reintroduce chickpeas, almonds and chia seeds.

How has the AIP changed your life?
It’s helped manage my symptoms allowing me to workout more again, maintain energy at work, and be in less pain throughout my day. Surprisingly, it’s help me maintain a stable mood and emotions throughout my day as well.

Size of your AIP kitchen: Fairly small

Favorite thing about your kitchen:
I have a lot of counter space, which allows me to batch cook a lot easier. I can have multiple meals in motion at once. I also love our gas stove top!

Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
The layout feels a little weird to me. I end up having cutting boards of veggies laid out everywhere when I’m trying to cook a meal.

Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
I bought a little food processor when I first started the AIP diet and I use it ALL the time. I also bought a garlic press, which I thought was going to be a useless gadget, but I’ve been putting garlic in everything and it’s definitely saved me time from all the chopping and mincing.

What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted the AIP?
I batch cook so much more now than I did before. Previous to starting AIP, I would prepare lunches for the week and that was about it. Now I spend a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons, but most of the cooking is completely, or almost completely, finished by the time I’m done. It really saves me from feeling like I have to ‘cheat’ throughout the week.

If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive AIP kitchen tools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
The Instant Pot! It makes my batch cooking much faster, because I can have multiple meals going at once. It has also saved me on more than one occasion when I’m getting home from work late and don’t want to wait on chili or something to cook.

Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
I bought all the glassware. If I have fully-prepared meals, ready to pop in the microwave as-is, the diet doesn’t stress me out throughout the week when life gets busy. I can just chose what I want and it’s ready in minutes.

How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
I always make a core meal that I can eat. I’ll add sides of grains or nightshades for family that want to partake, and I’ll set out extra seasonings for those who want more ‘spice’.

Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet has changed?
I rarely use my coffee maker anyone. It’s actually not hidden away under a cabinet in the kitchen. I don’t use my blender much anymore either, as I’m not making smoothies every morning.

What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
Chili, meatballs with fig jam, anything with a bunch of roasted veggies.

What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
The Nutrient Dense Kitchen, hands down. I also am on Pinterest daily looking for new recipes.

Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their kitchens for the first time?
Get the stuff you can’t eat out! It was so much easier for me to make the ‘right’ decision if I couldn’t just walk into my kitchen and grab it. Also, always be sure to have snacks around that you can eat just in case the cravings for something start.

If you’d like to learn more about Sarah’s AIP journey, you can follow her on Instagram.

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. 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. Here at Autoimmune Wellness, Grace writes book reviews, manages blog content, and organizes social media publishing. She splits her time between living in Seattle with her friends, Minnesota with her family, and Asia, where she likes to spend the winter months. You can find out where she is now on Instagram and learn more about how she balances work and travel on her website, Said with Grace.

1 comment

  • Beverly Bellmore says

    Your organization is very inspirational. I like the idea of having a weeks worth of meals already prepared like that to grab and go. Very smart! And by the way, that picture of you with the lighthouse and sunrise behind you looks like a painting! Beautiful. You should print that up for your wall. Anyway, thanks for your tips!

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