One of the joys of living is celebrating special occasions with those we love, and food often ends up being a central part of that celebration. What happens when your diet has changed and you’re no longer eating traditional celebration foods? The answer isn’t to give up on celebrations. Life is meant to be enjoyed! It just takes a little creativity to adapt the food piece in a way that’s delicious, special, and supports your healing at the same time. In this episode, two AIP experts share their favorite ways to do that. We’ll be talking about year-round holidays, birthdays, and parties in general. Whether it’s an anniversary, a graduation, or a retirement celebration, you can serve AIP food so delicious everyone will enjoy it!
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- Intro (0:00)
- Pandemic Note (2:51)
- This podcast is airing in 2020 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, so it may seem strange that I’m talking about celebrations. In the middle of tough times, I believe it’s more important than ever to create joy in our lives. I’m not suggesting we throw big parties and ignore the dangers of our times. Instead, the tips we’re sharing today can make our small, intimate gatherings feel more festive. And when the pandemic passes, the tips we share today can apply to large events as well. This episode isn’t about the pandemic. It’s about joy and favorite foods for AIP celebrations year-round.
- Thank You To Our Podcast Sponsor – Luminance Skincare (3:46)
- We’re heading into the December Holidays, and if you’d like to support a small business with your gift-giving, Luminance is a great choice! All of their products are handcrafted, and this year they have seasonal stocking stuffers under $25 (Lavender Hand & Foot Cream Set, Mini Mask Collection, Sanitizer Duo, and Lip Balm Collection). There are also sales and special offers happening throughout the month. See their home page for details.
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- Meet Our Guests (5:10)
- Wendi Washington-Hunt has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and is the blogger behind Wendi’s AIP Kitchen. Her first symptom was unexplained weight gain. She was training for a half-marathon at the time, and the more she ran, the more weight she gained. She also felt like she was always on the verge of getting the flu – tired and achy. She went to the doctor but was told there was nothing wrong – that her labs were normal. Thankfully, a Barnes & Noble associate told her about the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. Wendi took it in baby steps, going gluten-free for the first year and eventually going full AIP. Now, 5 years later, she feels in charge of her health. She knows how to listen to her body, what causes her to flare, and how to recover if she does flare. It’s more than just diet. She also needs to prioritize sleep, stress management, and social connection.
- Annika Schimmer has rheumatoid arthritis and is the blogger behind 50 Shades of Avocado. Her rock bottom was actually 10 years before developing autoimmune disease. She was 20 years old and sick all the time. She went to conventional and alternative doctors and no one was able to help her. It took two years before she found a practitioner who treated her for candida and leaky gut. She went on a gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free diet, and the results were life-changing. That was her first introduction to food as medicine. She followed this diet for a few years, but eventually moved from Germany to New York City and shifted to a high-stress life with very little home cooking. Her health suffered, and she developed rheumatoid arthritis. While that was also a very difficult time, she felt empowered rather than victimized by her diagnosis. She knew she could do things to improve her health. In addition to the AIP, she focuses on nutrient-density, limiting sweets, gut health, and a healthy lifestyle (sleep, meditation, movement, time in nature.) She also recommends therapy to anyone living with chronic illness.
- December Holidays (15:55)
- Annika’s favorite December holiday treat is AIP Apple Crisp. She loves its simplicity. It’s a foolproof recipe that anyone can make, even beginner cooks. It’s also easy to carry with you to a potluck, and it’s a recipe that pleases everyone, whether they eat a paleo diet or not.
- Wendi’s favorite December holiday treat is AIP Gingerbread Cookies. It’s always been one of her favorite family traditions. She enjoys the ritual of making them as much as she loves the cookies. Her family puts on Christmas music, the house smells amazing, and it feels warm, festive, and magical.
- For more December Holiday tips:
- New Years Eve (19:03)
- This night is often associated with champagne, but alcohol isn’t allowed during the elimination phase of the AIP. Some people are able to reintroduce it successfully in moderation, making champagne an option for the future, but not everyone. I asked Annika to share some fun, festive, mocktail options.
- When creating a celebratory mocktail, the presentation is as important as the flavor. Choose a special glass, and add a garnish.
- Annika’s favorite New Year’s mocktail is a blend of pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water. She likes equal parts of each juice with a splash of water, but feel free to play around with the ratio and find the flavor you like best. Grapefruit is a great alcohol substitute because its bitterness is reminiscent of alcohol. To finish, add some ice cubes and a sprig of fresh rosemary to the glass.
- For more ideas: 10 AIP Mocktails for the Holidays.
- Valentine’s Day (21:25)
- Wendi’s favorite Valentine’s desserts are Carob-Dipped Strawberries or Flavored Carob Candies.
- Wendi’s favorite Valentine’s dinner is Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze and a side of mashed white sweet potatoes and asparagus. Even before going AIP, she and her husband preferred spending this holiday at home away from the restaurant crowds.
- Eileen’s favorite Valentine’s dinner for non-seafood lovers is Steak Salad with Arugula.
- All of these recipes are simple and fast to prepare. You don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to plan a beautiful celebration.
- Easter (24:33)
- Annika: Many traditional feast foods are easily adapted to AIP. Just switch out refined oils for AIP-compliant ones, and substitute nightshade spices with AIP spices instead. For a glazed ham, you can simply substitute coconut sugar or maple sugar. For roasts, crust them with a thick layer of herbs (rosemary/sage/thyme). Annika’s favorite Easter side dishes are roasted asparagus, a mashed vegetable, and a sweet potato gratin (using coconut milk and nutritional yeast in place of cheese).
- Eileen also recommends serving AIP dinner rolls. When she serves paleo feasts for her non-paleo relatives, they’re disappointed if bread is missing.
- For a small Easter celebration for two people, try Annika’s Rosemary-Crusted Lamb Chop Holiday Meal.
- Thank You to Our Podcast Sponsor – Paleo on the Go (28:58)
- A frozen meal delivery service, 100% of their menu is compliant with the elimination phase of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). They have over 5o items, including entrees, side dishes, broth, AIP-friendly bacon, and desserts.
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- Halloween (30:22)
- Thanksgiving (32:54)
- Religious Holidays (33:24)
- If you practice an organized faith, there are many spiritual holidays year-round that often center around food shared with your religious community. I have a podcast on this topic specifically: Ep. 95: Religious Traditions and the AIP. Three guests share their experiences: one is Jewish, one is Christian, and one is Muslim.
- Birthday Cakes (34:21)
- Wendi’s favorite recipe: Black Forest Cake.
- Wendi’s husband’s favorite recipe: Carrot Cake.
- Annika’s favorite recipes: During the elimination phase of the AIP, her favorite birthday celebration food was a Berry Tart. Now that she’s successfully reintroduced some foods including eggs and nuts, she re-created a paleo version of the layered birthday cake of her childhood: Birthday Berry Cake.
- Casual Parties (38:54)
- Annika loves a charcuterie-style buffet. Get some AIP-compliant prosciutto, salami, and smoked salmon. Add some olives, sliced vegetables, and fruit. If you want to get a little fancier, you can wrap cantaloupe slices in prosciutto. Then set out some dips like avocado dip and cauliflower hummus alongside AIP crackers.
- Wendi loves a taco bar. It can accommodate all diets. Have a variety or tortillas, one of which is AIP, a variety of AIP meats and toppings (like guacamole, mango salsa, and AIP queso), but also serve some non-AIP ingredients like beans and cheese. Everyone can compile their own taco according to their tastes and needs.
- Formal Party Appetizers (41:03)
- Final Words of Wisdom (46:45)
- Annika: Your body is the most important possession you have and it deserves to be treated in the best way possible. Our bodies try so hard to help us, even when we’re sick. We need to help them in return. When you know certain foods are harmful, it’s important to honor that. Thankfully, we can enjoy celebrations with delicious food that supports our health at the same time. It’s worth the effort.
- Wendi: Be willing to change your mindset when it comes to food. Be flexible in your approach to what foods fit into a celebration. Be creative, have fun, and experiment with new recipes and ingredients. You’ll find you like things you never expected to like, and when you share them with others, they will too.
- Outro (49:26)
- Wendi Washington-Hunt is the blogger behind Wendi’s AIP Kitchen. She also has a YouTube Channel and has written a mini-cookbook called Simply Flavorful.
- Annika Schimmer is the blogger behind 50 Shades of Avocado. She’s also a nutritional therapy practitioner and certified AIP coach who works with clients 1:1. And she has a full-length cookbook focused on celebration foods. It’s called Enjoy.
- Eileen (your podcast host) is the author of multiple books, written to help people thrive with autoimmune disease. Learn more on the Books Page.
- If you like this podcast, follow or subscribe through your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe to Eileen’s biweekly newsletter.
- Check out the entire archive of podcast episodes.
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