Below are the TOP 7 reasons that I hear women say are holding them back from getting started. (I had EVERY SINGLE ONE of these fears when I got started.)
#7 I can’t easily get or make the right food
#6 I don’t have enough energy…
#5 I don’t have enough time…
#4 It will be too expensive…
#3 It’s so different from what I’m used to eating…
#2 My friends and family won’t understand…
#1 I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start…
Let’s start with #7: I can’t easily get or make the right food.
Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?
“I live in a small town (or far from town) and can’t find special AIP food.”
“It’s not easy to get fresh food in my area.”
“I’m not a good cook and don’t know how to make AIP meals.”
“I’m worried that I won’t know what to eat or that I’ll get tired of eating the same foods all the time.”
I remember how defeated I felt leaving the grocery store for the first time after starting the Autoimmune Protocol. It started out fine with the produce and meat sections. But then I started to wander down the aisles to see what other foods would work with my new diet. Surely the gluten-free section would have a few snacks that I could eat, right?
My eyes filled with tears as I examined the ingredient list of every single box and bag on that “healthy” shelf. Each item included something non-compliant like oats, or beans, or rice, and I realized very quickly that not only was there not a single item there that I could eat, most of it wasn’t really that healthy at all.
When I left the grocery store that day, I had no idea how I was going to survive for the 60 days that I had committed myself to the strict elimination phase. It was a big learning process for me, but along the way I learned a few things that has made sticking to AIP so much simpler. Here are my top tips and tools:
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE! This is absolutely the best advice I can give you for overcoming this feat. It can be so easy to think you need a lot of specialty foods and kitchen tools when you’re scrolling through the AIP Facebook groups:
“Ooh, I don’t have that kitchen gadget—let me add it to the Amazon cart…Here’s a new recipe that looks yummier than the 37 others I saved today…Ok, I bought that weird-sounding vegetable that somebody mentioned, now how do I cook it?”
Eating AIP really doesn’t have to be complicated. The basic formula of any meal should look something like this:
Meat + Veggie + Veggie + Healthy Fat
which could look like:
Steak + Roasted Zucchini & Yellow Squash sprinkled with herbs + Olive Oil
Salmon + Asparagus + Baked Sweet Potato sprinkled with cinnamon + Sliced Avocado
I learned quickly that most of the grocery store didn’t work for me anymore. At first that was a depressing thought, but after I realized that I could get all my shopping done in the first section it made acquiring food seem much simpler.
Special ingredients and kitchen gadgets not required. J
2. Make the internet your friend.
Even with my mantra of keeping meals simple, sometimes I do want a few “specialty” items like coconut wraps or cassava chips. You would think that living in a big city like Washington, D.C. would make these items more accessible, but even here they are still hard to find.
Here are a few favorite websites for AIP ingredients and snacks:
- www.shopaip.com – everything on this site is AIP!
- Amazon Fresh or Instacart for general grocery delivery
- Paleo on the Go for complete meals delivered (I order from them when I travel)
- Simply AIP for a monthly subscription box of AIP snacks and ingredients
3. Don’t try to recreate your favorite meals.
I decided to make tacos on my first week on AIP, which sounded easy enough. I just needed meat and a few toppings, plus something to put it all in. The recipe for cassava tortillas didn’t look too difficult, but it turned out to be a complete disaster! After the fifth attempt at a tortilla that turned out runny in the middle, I scrapped it all and put the taco filling on top of some mixed greens instead, which was delicious and easy. It was one of my first lessons in keeping things simple.
Find a few easy meat and veggie side recipes and stick to them for a while. Almost any veggie tastes pretty good when you chop it up, mix it with olive oil or bacon fat and some herbs, and roast it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Plan out a week’s worth of simple meals, then repeat for the first month. Once you’re feeling better and you’ve mastered some basic recipes, then slowly add in new recipes on days that you’ve got the energy and patience to spend some extra time in the kitchen.
What’s your biggest fear that’s holding you back from starting (or staying committed to) AIP? Email me at email@example.com and let me know your biggest fear.