If you have uncomfortable digestive symptoms and the low FODMAP diet is not doing the trick, then you may require a more restrictive eating regimen. The AIP diet, also known as the autoimmune protocol is an anti-inflammatory eating plan designed for those with serious digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Because this diet avoids so many foods, you may wonder is this diet going to be bland, boring, and hard to stick with? The answer is no. This is because there are some spices that are allowed on this eating plan that make it more flavorful. Let’s learn a bit about the AIP diet and what spices are allowed on this regimen.
What is the AIP diet?
The AIP diet is designed to limit inflammatory foods that may trigger symptoms in those with autoimmune diseases. Such conditions include psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, as well as Crohn’s and colitis, which are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The AIP is basically a much stricter version of the popular Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is based on meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. However, the AIP avoids some vegetables and other foods on this diet to reduce inflammation.
The allowed foods on the AIP diet include:
- Meat and fish, preferably not factory raised
- Vegetables, except for nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Small quantities of fruit (10-25 grams of fructose a day); this could include a few cups or medium pieces of low fructose fruits like lemons, raspberries, or strawberries.
- No dairy products; instead choose coconut milk and dairy-free fermented beverages like kombucha and kefir made with coconut milk as well as green tea and non-seed herbal teas
- Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi
- Small quantities of honey and maple syrup
- Bone broth
- Vinegars such as apple cider and balsamic vinegars
As you can see, there are no eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, food additives, alcohol, or dairy on this regimen. Also, the only oils allowed include those plant-based, minimally processed ones such as coconut, olive, and avocado oil.
Spices and AIP
When it comes to flavoring foods, there are some spices allowed on the AIP diet. Basically, non-seed spices are ok on this eating plan. What this means is that herbs like basil, oregano, and mint are ok. Other AIP-friendly spices include:
- Bay leaves
- Dill weed
- Onion powder
How to add spices to your AIP diet plan
These AIP seasonings can be used in a variety of ways to make this regimen easier to follow. Use the spices as rubs on meat and fish, or sprinkle on steamed or stir-fried vegetables. Also, you can add seasonings like bay leaves, salt, and garlic to bone broth as a base for meat and/or vegetables for a flavorful soup creation. Finally, you can use dillweed to add a bit of flavor to your fish recipes.
You can also use coconut cream as a way to thicken soups and sauces for your favorite recipes. It can be delicious in savory soups like sweet potato turmeric soup or in sweet dishes like as an alternative to whipped cream with added shredded coconut, vanilla, and a bit of honey.
Take home message
Just because a diet lacks a lot of food choices, that doesn’t mean it has to lack flavor. The AIP diet can be a wonderful way to help those with IBD reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Therefore, finding ways to flavor foods on this eating regimen can help those who need this diet stick with it and feel better. You can use spices like the AIP-friendly spices mentioned above to help you enjoy your food while helping to heal your gut.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com