“Spend your life with the people who even make going to the grocery store an adventure.”
Abundance at the Grocery Store
When you first start the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, the list of foods excluded in the elimination phase is overwhelming. It’s very common to ask, “What CAN I Eat?” This list is an abundant answer to that question. The wider the variety of foods we eat, the deeper our nutrition, and the greater our chance of succeeding on the protocol. A healing diet shouldn’t be boring. It should be delicious!
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 Pederson’s Sugar-Free Bacon and Whole Foods Naked Meats. Fully Healthy also sells a variety of AIP-friendly meat bars.
- 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 skip 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 (vanilla powder is OK.)
- Spices to Enjoy: cinnamon, clove, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mace, saffron, sea salt, and turmeric.
- Storebought Blends: Good news! There are now some AIP-friendly spice blends available.
- 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, and 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, and be cautious of herbs that stimulate the immune system. Truly AIP sells a line of AIP-friendly herbal tea blends.
- 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 Condiments from KC Natural: BBQ Sauce, Nomato Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Salsa, Salad Dressing, Ketchup and Mustard.
- 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: Fully Healthy sells many whose ingredients fit the autoimmune protocol, but these are indulgences. Don’t eat them every day.
- AIP 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, tamarind paste 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.
Printable PDF of the Paleo AIP Grocery List
People who bought my book, A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, are eligible for a free printable PDF of this food pyramid as well as a printable AIP grocery list. Just email me your receipt.
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.
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Credit: image at top of page from 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.