Incredible things are happening in the autoimmune protocol (AIP) world.
Bloggers from all around the globe are creating comfort foods you’d never imagine could be made without eggs, dairy, nuts, and nightshades. One of those bloggers is Alaena Haber, from the blog Grazed and Enthused. She’s brought comfort food dishes like Rosemary and Prosciutto Stromboli, Apple and Cinnamon Rolls, and Italian Sausage Flatbread to AIP kitchens everywhere. Alaena can make pastry out of sweet potatoes. I mean, the woman is a genius. And so it’s her blog I always go to for comfort food.
The layout of the book is designed to be easy to follow and focuses on convenience. There are ‘Make Ahead’ notes and guidance for each recipe and advice on how to store the dish for reheating later.
And then there’s Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom herself, who backs up all of the virtues of the diet and lifestyle with science. True, I visit her website for her AIP plantain pancake recipe, but mostly for the science. When the ‘red meat causes cancer’ headlines struck, Sarah reassuringly stepped in with a scientific explanation of the facts. Wondering why seeds in blackberries are ok on AIP but not seed spices like cumin? Sarah weighs in there, too. Whether you really need to eat organ meats? She’s got you covered there, as well.
Now imagine if Alaena and Sarah were to work together on a book, that combined all this scientific knowledge and incredible comfort food that was totally AIP-compliant?
And right there, you have The Healing Kitchen.
When I first picked up the book, I had to double-check the title. A quick flick through the brightly coloured photographs revealed Cherry Pie Bars, Apple Crumble, Pizza Crust, and Red Sangria. Seriously? And yep, they were all AIP-compliant. As well as desserts, you’ll have plenty to choose from for dinner and breakfast, with the Crispy Salmon Hash (I used parsnips in place of white sweet potatoes, as the recipe suggests – it was gorgeous) and Roasted Brussels with Bacon and Cinnamon. The book has lots of inspiration for people following AIP for the first time, and enough tinkering with new flavours to keep AIP experts interested, too. The cinnamon on the sprouts and bacon added a rich, toasty flavour, and the zesty, fragrant flavours in the Mojo Pulled Chicken were perfect in a burrito-style salad.
The photos are great, the book is informative and easy to use and the (over 175) recipes will keep you going for a good few months at least, even if you tried a new dish every day.
The layout of the book is designed to be easy to follow and focuses on convenience. There are ‘Make Ahead’ notes and guidance for each recipe and advice on how to store the dish for reheating later. You get colour photos for each recipe so you know what the dish is supposed to look like when you’re finished (always a bonus), and for most of them you won’t need to do any expensive shopping for unusual ingredients online. I’m working my way through the recipes from the book, and I’ve managed to find pretty much everything at my local supermarket so far (for the frosting on the Friendship Cake I subbed coconut butter for the recipe’s palm shortening, but that was about it).
At the back of The Healing Kitchen, you have indexes to point you quickly to recipes you can make in a flash (under 20 minutes), as well as ones you don’t even need to turn the oven on for. It all helps with your meal planning, and that’s brilliant.
So, what about the science? Sarah gets to work at the front of the book, telling us what AIP is all about, as well as the foods you can and can’t eat, how certain foods can cause inflammation in the body and suggestions on what to eat for maximum nutrient density. It’s just not enough to say you can’t eat something on the initial elimination stage of AIP – all the background information is here to help you understand the reasons why, too.
The photos are great, the book is informative and easy to use and the (over 175) recipes will keep you going for a good few months at least, even if you tried a new dish every day. So is there anything not quite up to scratch with it?
The only sticking point I can think of to this book is its £24.99 (RRP) price tag, which is a little steep at first glance, although it’s currently on offer on Amazon.co.uk. And if you don’t mind not having a paper copy, you can get the Kindle version, which is quite a bit cheaper (around £7.99). But I think it’s well worth the money, and I’m not just saying that. With the combination of recipes you’ll really want to make (trust me, I haven’t put the book down for weeks) and all the information on not just diet but lifestyle too, it’s a really fantastic resource for AIPers.
Anyway. I’m off out to the shops. Those Cherry Pie Bars aren’t going to make themselves!
To keep in touch with Sarah Ballantyne and Alaena Haber, follow them on social media:
The Healing Kitchen is the perfect resource for the Paleo AIP lifestyle and diet, with recipes that include everything from healthy breakfasts to indulgent desserts and bakes. There's also information on autoimmune disease and inflammation as well as foods to avoid and foods to include for nutrient density. The book also goes into the details of other lifestyle factors that can help influence your healing.