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“The human animal differs from the lesser primates
in his passion for lists.”
~ H. Allen Smith
Meat, Poultry and Fish
- All Fresh Meat: beef, bison, pork, lamb, venison, rabbit, etc.
- All Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey, goose, ostrich, quail, etc.
- All Seafood: salmon, tuna, trout, halibut, sardines, scallops, etc.
-Packed with anti-inflammatory omega 3's, eat seafood at least once a week on the AIP (several times is even better). For the healthiest seafood choices, read my article: Does Healthy Sustainable Seafood Exist?
- Organ Meats: liver, kidneys, heart, sweetbreads, etc.
-Higher in nutrition than any other cut of meat, eat these at least once a week on the AIP (several times is even better). If you need recipes, check out this roundup.
- Ideally: grassfed, organic and sustainable, but work within your budget. If you can afford organic, buy fatty cuts of meat with a bone. If you can't, buy lean meats. (Organic fat contains wonderful nutrients; conventional fat stores toxins.)
- Avoid: deli, cured and pre-cooked meats. They usually contain nightshade spices, corn syrup and other additives. The exceptions are US Wellness (choose from the AIP-Friendly menu on their home page), Pederson's Sugar-Free Bacon, and Whole Foods Naked Meats. Epic Bar also sells three AIP-friendly pemmican bars: Bison, Beef and Pork. And Wild Zora has 2 AIP-friendly meat and veggie bars: Lamb with Kale and Rosemary, and Pork with Apple and Kale.
- Vegetables to Enjoy: acorn squash, artichoke, arugula, asparagus, avocado, beets, bok choy, broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chayote, collards, cucumber, daikon, delicata squash, endive, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens, jerusalem artichokes, jicama, kabocha squash, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, lotus root, mushrooms, mustard greens, nopales, okra, olives (pimento-free), onions, parsnips, plantain, pumpkin, radicchio, radish, rapini, rhubarb, rutabaga, salsify, scallions, seaweed, spaghetti squash, spinach, summer squash, sweet potato, taro, turnip, yuca and zucchini. Need a recipe? Check out this A-Z Vegetable Recipe Roundup.
- Vegetables to Avoid: (1) nightshades: potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, bell peppers, hot peppers, pimentos, pepinos, tamarillos, eggplant and “ground cherries”. (2) dried legumes: peanuts, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, etc. (3) corn: it's actually a grain. (4) for people with Hashimoto's disease, the thyroid-goitrogenic vegetable connection seems to be a myth; if you want to be extra cautious, eat them cooked instead of raw.
- Grey Area Veggies: Although fresh peas and green beans are technically legumes, they don’t usually cause the digestive problems of the dried varieties. However, they are eliminated on the AIP as a precaution, but are one of the first foods recommended for reintroduction.
- Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen: the Environmental Working Group has a pocket guide you can print for your wallet. It tells which conventional produce has the highest pesticide residue (dirty dozen) and which has the lowest (clean fifteen).
- Natural fats from grass-fed organic meats: tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck and goose fat.
- Unrefined oils: coconut oil, avocado oil, red palm oil, organic palm shortening, and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Note: Fats are necessary for your health. Don't skimp on these.
Herbs and Spices
- Enjoy All Herbs: basil, bay leaf, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, etc.
– The only exception is ashwaghanda, which is an ayurvedic healing herb that is in the nightshade family.
- Spices to Avoid: (1) Nightshades: cayenne, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, curry, and spice blends that contain these nightshade spices. (2) Seeds: anise seed, annatto, celery seed, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nutmeg, poppy seed, and sesame seed. (3) Fruits: allspice, star anise, caraway, cardamom, juniper, peppercorns, sumac, and vanilla bean (alcohol-free vanilla is OK.)
- Spices to Enjoy: cinnamon, clove, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mace, saffron, sea salt, and turmeric. There are also a few AIP-friendly spice blends available through Primal Palate. Another is Herbamare seasoned salt.
- For more information: check out this AIP-Friendly Spice Primer.
- Enjoy all Coconut Products: fresh coconut, dried unsweetened coconut, coconut flour, unrefined coconut oil, coconut aminos, coconut butter, coconut wraps, coconut power balls, and additive-free or homemade coconut milk.
- A Note on Quantity: Coconut is high in inulin fiber, and when eaten in large amounts, it can cause digestive distress. Limit coconut milk to 1 cup daily, coconut flakes/coconut butter to 1/4 cup daily, and coconut flour to 1/8 cup daily. There is no need to limit coconut oil.
- Water: filtered, spring or tap water that has tested as clean/pure. You can also add a few pieces of fruit to infuse it with extra flavor.
- Herbal tea: check the ingredient list to be sure it doesn't contain soy lecithin, gluten or other additives. Be cautious of herbs that stimulate the immune system. Two AIP-friendly herbal teas are Rooibos and Honeybush.
- Fermented Beverages: kombucha, water kefir, and beet kvass. Check labels carefully for sugar content and added ingredients. You'll save a lot of money, if you brew these at home.
- Gelatin and Collagen: Recommended for gut-healing, these are natural components of bone broth, but you can also buy these to add to other foods. Great Lakes brand has two grass-fed options. The red can is used for gel-style desserts like juice jello and making gelatin eggs for baking. The green can dissolves in liquid and can be added to any soup or beverage as a supplement.
- Red Boat Fish Sauce: This adds a salty-savory umami flavor to recipes.
- AIP Sauces from KC Natural: BBQ Sauce, Nomato Sauce, and AIP Ketchup.
- Non-Fortified Nutritional Yeast: This is often used to give AIP recipes a “cheesy” flavor. Most brands have synthetic folic acid added, which can be harmful to health. Sari Foods is a popular, non-fortified brand.
- Your Choice of Vinegars: apple cider, balsamic, champagne, coconut, red wine, sherry, ume plum and white wine. Just avoid the grain-based ones (rice vinegar and distilled white vinegar).
- Fruit: All fruit is allowed on the AIP, but limit servings to 2-3 per day. Goji berries are the one exception; they are a nightshade & need to be avoided.
- Freshly juiced vegetables and fruit: Some people juice to get extra nutrients into their diet. However, juicing too much can actually cause health problems. Limit to 1 cup per day, choose a higher ratio of vegetables to fruit, and drink alongside a meal with plenty of fat and protein.
- AIP Chips: I've linked to the brands whose ingredients fit the autoimmune protocol, but these are indulgences. Don't eat them every day: Bacon's Heir Pork Clouds, Jica Chips, Original Sea Snax, Bare Fruit Apple Chips, Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips, Artisan Tropic Plantain Strips, Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips.
- Flours: arrowroot powder, cassava flour, coconut flour, plantain flour, sweet potato flour, tapioca starch, tigernut flour, water chestnut and cricket.
- Natural Sweeteners: raw honey, fruit juice, dried fruit, date sugar, maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, coconut sugar and carob powder.
- Caffeine: black/green/white tea and yerba mate. One of my favorite teas is Hannah's Special Blend, which is an AIP-friendly blend of black, white, green, rooibos and yerba mate tea. Note: If you have adrenal fatigue, avoid all caffeine.
- Ideally: choose organic.
My Blog's Healing Store
If you have trouble finding some of these items locally, I have tried to provide online shopping links throughout this list, and my blog's Healing Store has many of these items as well as other helpful AIP Resources.
I've written a series of articles to guide you through the autoimmune protocol, step by step. It includes FAQ, mistakes to avoid, book reviews, and more. Click here to see the whole list.
Photo Credit goes to Megan Thackeray, who graciously let me use her fun shopping cart photo for this article. By the way, that's exactly how fast you should go through the processed food aisles on your way to the real food sections.