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Month: May 2018

Surviving AIP: Two Must-Have Foods

Surviving AIP: Two Must-Have Foods

I’ve survived AIP as long as I have mainly due to two indispensible foods: Terre Plantain chips and Chunky Avocado. I eat these plantain chips dipped in chunky avocado nearly everyday in the mid-afternoon as a snack (alternating occasionally with sweet potato chips). They are absolutely indispensible for sticking with AIP week after week.

I was afraid to try the plantain chips at first because plantains were new to me and sounded weird. Plantains are basically a type of banana that you cook. If you cook them when they’re green, they taste starchy, like potatoes. I read about this, especially from Sarah Ballantyne in her blog (thepaleomom.com) and in her books. She’s a big fan of plantains. I had been eating Siete grain-free chips, which are made with cassava flour and taste similar to potato chips, but cost $4.99 per 5 oz. bag and contain chia seeds, so they are not technically AIP. I was looking for a cheaper chip that was compliant with AIP. Terre also has root vegetable chips that taste good, but they are cooked in safflower/sunflower oil so they are not technically AIP either. However, Terre’s plantain chips are cooked in coconut oil, so they are AIP-compliant, and they only cost $3.49 per 5 oz. bag at the Whole Foods near me.

So, I bought a bag and screwed up my courage to try them. I was pleasantly surprised. They taste closer to potato chips than the root vegetable chips. They are crunchy and salty and don’t curl up funny like sweet potato chips do. They are great for dipping into my chunky avocado. The price is reasonable and I find they often go on sale. They have become a staple, must-have in my AIP diet!

Terre Plantain chips with sea salt are a must-have to survive AIP.

The other must-have food that goes with the plantain chips is Chunky Avocado. I looked at a lot of different guacamoles in several different grocery stores and all of them had at least one ingredient that was not compliant with AIP (jalapenos, pepper, tomatoes, etc.). I tried making my own guacamole at home. I bought fresh avocados, mashed them up, and added AIP-compliant spices like lime juice, sea salt, etc.  When it was freshly made, this homemade guacamole was okay, but I found it was kind of runny. Too moist, too much extra liquid, and it just wasn’t as appealing as the store-bought kind.

Then, I found Chunky Avocado in Walmart of all places. The only ingredients are Hass Avocados, with no other seasonings. The taste is plain, but AIP-compliant and very easy to buy and eat as a dip. After I open it and it eat the first time, I squirt lime juice over the surface to help prevent the avocado from turning brown in the fridge. It will still turn brown around the edges, but the lime juice helps prevent the whole top surface from turning brown and also adds some flavor. Regular guacamole certainly tastes more flavorful, but this Chunky Avocado is quick and easy and helps me get through many AIP days. I can only find it at Walmart in the fresh section, next to the other guacamoles.

Chunky Avocado from Walmart is a nice dip that only contains Hass Avocados and is AIP-compliant.
Giving up Coffee on AIP Paleo

Giving up Coffee on AIP Paleo

One of the hardest changes I made in my diet starting on January 2 was giving up coffee. Since coffee comes from beans, which are legumes, they are excluded from the AIP Paleo diet. I had suspected for some time that the acidity from my morning coffee was contributing to my frequent acid reflux and annoying need to constantly clear my throat. I switched to low-acid coffee and it might have helped a little. I also switched to almond creamer to eliminate the dairy creamer I usually used. The almond flavor complements coffee perfectly and, since it contains sugar, adds just the right amount of sweetness. I thoroughly savored that sweet, hot liquid every morning. I sipped my coffee slowly and kept my cup on a cup warmer so it would stay warm longer and I wasn’t rushed to drink it.

So, when I started to “officially” do AIP for 30 days in January, I reluctantly switched to black tea and then to green tea. The first few days were definitely hard. That first morning, I looked mournfully down at the unsweetened, brown, translucent liquid in my cup and wondered how in the world I was supposed to get myself going in the morning for the next 30 days by drinking that dirty hot water.

I decided to make it special by learning how to make tea the proper English way. I was a bit surprised to find there are tutorials online! I actually have an English teapot and two lovely, matching bone china teacups that I bought at Whittard in Leeds when I was there on a work trip in 2013. The teapot and cups have been displayed in my china cabinet, unused, for 5 years. I decided that if I was going to drink tea every day for 30 days, I was going to do it in style. I learned that the key to making quality tea is to warm the teapot. So, I dutifully boil water in the pretty red kettle that my sister-in-law gave me at some point and pour some of the boiling water in the teapot first, swirl it around, and pour it out. Then, I add the tea (usually teabags with the strings hanging over the side), pour boiling water over top to fill the pot, put on the lid with a clink, and let it brew.

I also read online that a tea cozy is a must for keeping your teapot hotter longer. There are patterns for knitting tea cozies, but since I can’t knit, I hunted down a pattern for a crocheted tea cozy. It took some weeks to make it, but I finally finished and it was worth it. I love the way it looks on my teapot every morning! It brings me joy to see my teapot in its little sweater. Here’s the link to the pattern I used: BERNAT CROCHET POPCORN TEA COZY.

My teapot wearing the tea cozy I crocheted, and a lovely cup of green tea.

After a few days, my taste buds adjusted to the blander flavor of the tea and I got used to it. Another nutritionist advised me to switch to green tea because it has less caffeine, so I tried that next. I think the green tea actually tastes better than black.

Now, it’s May and I’m still drinking green tea every morning. I started reintroducing foods in April, but I haven’t reintroduced coffee yet. There were more important foods to start with and I’m okay drinking my tea for now. Since I started AIP, I haven’t had acid reflux again. It was clearly a result of something I was eating or drinking. I’ll reintroduce coffee this month with unsweetened almond creamer and see how it goes…