Getting used to a dairy-free diet can be tough, especially when you have to also avoid so many other foods on AIP.
The food industry makes it even more difficult, as there are hardly any prepared foods that are AIP-friendly.
And then online recipes and cookbooks aren’t much help (unless you buy AIP-specific cookbooks like our’s here).
That’s why we’ve created this list of dairy substitutes. So you can still enjoy some of your favorite recipes – dairy-free and AIP-compliant.
Please note: as always, even if an ingredient is AIP-compliant, if you’re sensitive to it, please avoid it.
While dairy (especially in the raw and fermented forms) can be highly nourishing, it can also be problematic for many people with autoimmune conditions.
In particular, most forms of dairy we eat today is highly processed. Pasteurization destroys the beneficial bacteria and enzymes found in raw dairy that would help us to digest it.
These aren’t things you want in your body when you’re trying to heal from an autoimmune illness.
Plus, many people with autoimmune issues have sensitivities to the lactose or casein in dairy products. (3)
Dr. Amy Myers, MD is an advocate for reversing autoimmunity with diet and lifestyle. According to Myers, “Gluten and dairy are at the top of my list of foods you should never eat, especially if you have an autoimmune disease.”
In many cases, you might not think you have those sensitivities even if you do. That’s why it’s very important to avoid all dairy products for at least 30 days and then try introducing them one at a time.
The best substitute for butter or ghee on the Paleo autoimmune protocol is coconut oil.
It’s also creamy and reacts in a similar way. It’s great for baked goods or sautéing meats and vegetables.
In some baked recipes, you may be able to use coconut butter (also called coconut manna). Note that coconut butter contains coconut oil as well as dried coconut bits so it doesn’t work well as a cooking oil, but it’s a great substitute for nut butters.
Lard, or pig fat, is another great option instead of butter or ghee. Use it in cooking sautés or baking savory dishes as it does have a slightly “meaty” flavor.
Since nut milks, rice milk and soy milk are all out on the Paleo autoimmune protocol, coconut milk and coconut cream are the best substitutes for traditional dairy milk.
The best option is to make your own coconut milk (try this recipe here) as most of the prepackaged brands use guar gum or another non-AIP thickener to create a creamier milk.
Recently I’m seeing more brands that don’t contain funky additives, like this one here. The ingredients are just organic coconut and purified water.
To get coconut cream, just let the canned coconut milk settle for a day. Then carefully open the can and scoop out the coconut cream from the top of the can. The bottom water can be thrown away.
While the most popular types of dairy-free cheese are made from nuts (like cashews), which aren’t allowed on AIP, there are AIP-cheese options…
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that looks like yellow ground flakes and tastes cheesy. It’s been popular in vegan cuisine as a cheese-alternative for years, and it’s also AIP-compliant.
As with everything that comes packaged, be sure you check the ingredients and choose a brand that doesn’t have other unwanted ingredients.
Recipes to try that use nutritional yeast:
This AIP cheese recipe uses butternut squash, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, gelatin, and avocado oil to create a cheese texture, color, as well as flavor.
Don’t have butternut squash or want a lower carb option for cheese? Check out this recipe using zucchini.
This recipe uses cauliflower to create a white-colored sliceable dairy-free cheese. Omit the black pepper to make it AIP-friendly.
And this recipe produces a beautiful golden yellow cauliflower AIP cheese (colored using turmeric).
Cauliflower is also super versatile so you can also use it to create a cheesy dip like this recipe here (which is flavored using nutritional yeast).
The main alternative to regular yogurt on the autoimmune protocol is coconut yogurt.
While many stores in the US and in Europe have started selling coconut yogurt, it’s often loaded with non-AIP ingredients (like guar gum). So the best option is to make your own.
Check out our recipe for it here: Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt Recipe.
It’s possible to eat ice cream while on AIP…it just involves making the ice cream using coconut cream instead of the traditional cream/milk and egg yolks.
Take a look at our roundup of 21 Divine AIP Ice Cream Recipes To Enjoy All Summer Long. You’ll have plenty of ice cream ideas to try.
Granted – being on an AIP diet can be a challenge sometimes. But you don’t see me struggling when I’m stuffing my face with these incredibly crunchy AIP chip recipes!
You may not be able to enjoy the store-bought potato chips that used to be your favorite. And why should you? We’ve got 3 dozen super delicious and healthy alternatives for you.
Everything from seasoned kale chips to cinnamon-flavored banana chips, to coconut, or apple chips are on this list. Nope, you won’t be struggling with your diet – the major struggle is trying to figure out which one of these to make first.
I bet you never would have thought of snacks like baked cucumber chips, or Brussels sprouts chips. Just be careful since they can both be extremely addictive – don’t say I didn’t warn you!
What I love about these AIP chips is that they’re more than just snacks. Sure, you’ll probably want to devour them as they are, but there are many ways to enjoy them:
– Coconut chips are perfect for decorating baked AIP treats – or dairy-free ice cream!
– Sprinkle some crispy kale chips on top of your lunch dish for an extra crunch.
– Mix banana and apple chips with AIP-friendly coconut yogurt for a yummy breakfast.
– Serve seasoned chips as a side dish, with your favorite entree.
– In a pinch, a bag of homemade AIP chips can work as a quick lunch on a busy workday.
– Whip up a tasty dip and serve the chips as a game night snack.
While a food dehydrator can be really handy when making vegetable chips, you won’t have to buy one just to make these. Cooking the chips in a low-temperature oven for a longer period of time will do the trick.
I am so thrilled to show you all these amazing kebabs recipes that your AIP diet has been missing! Finally, you can take it easy and put together a BBQ menu without having to worry about your diet getting messed up.
Whether you love lamb, pork, shrimp or scallops, there is a perfect option for you on this list. My guess is you’re going to have a hard time deciding, so why not make a batch of each and throw a massive party! (That’s what I’m gonna do!)
Besides the more common meats, we’ve also included special recipes for offal, such as beef heart and chicken liver kebabs!
Now, don’t fret even if you’ve never cooked organ meats before. They are delicious when grilled, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals, with numerous health benefits.
Start with the chicken livers and hearts that have a subtle flavor, and your picky eaters won’t even realize they’re eating organ meats.
How To Make Sure Your AIP Kebabs Turn Out Perfect- Use stainless steel skewers, or soak your wooden skewers in water for about half an hour before using them.- Cut the ingredients into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.- For each skewer, choose ingredients that have similar cooking times (i.e. pieces of beef take much longer to cook than slices of zucchini).- Skip the store-bought barbecue sauces and spice mixes unless you are 100% sure they are AIP-friendly.
These AIP kebab recipes will bring you flavors from all over the world – Puerto Rico, Greece, and the Middle East, to name a few places. Of course, if you’d rather “stay home” there is definitely something for everyone on the list.
There are plenty of options so that you can make every family member their favorite – or maybe you’d like to mix and match, to let everyone try something new?
Being on AIP diet is a great excuse to throw a BBQ party! There are plenty of grilled dishes that are perfect for this diet, as long as you keep a few simple things in mind.
To help you plan for your next backyard feast, we are presenting our favorite AIP grilling recipes for you to try. There are so many options you’re going to have a hard time deciding on your menu!
Chicken is always a safe option that both, kids and grandparents enjoy. Why not try AIP-friendly grilled drumsticks, or maybe you’d rather have the scrumptious garlic & artichoke stuffed chicken?
My favorites on this list are the organ meat recipes! Organ meats (or offal) seem to be overlooked these days, which is a shame.
People tend to think they’re not very tasty, but when you cook them right you’re going to end up with a mouthwatering meal. Grilling and organ meats go together really well – that’s why we’ve included some AIP barbecue recipes made of liver, heart, and tongue.
Why You Should Incorporate Organ Meats In Your Diet* Organ meats are nutritious with plenty of B-vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc* They are often cheaper then other cuts of meat* Organ meats are a great source of protein* When you eat offal you are helping reduce food waste
What is a BBQ without a great BBQ sauce? Unfortunately most store-bought BBQ sauces are not good for your AIP diet.
You’ll find several easy-to-make barbecue sauce recipes on our list, each one tastier than the other. And you won’t have to worry about any ingredients that might cause trouble with your diet, since these are carefully thought out and nightshade-free!
There are many reasons why cabbage has been such a popular meal ingredient all over the world for centuries.
It’s rich in fiber, which makes it healthy and filling, and it can help improve digestion. Cabbage is filled with vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate.
Cabbage is the perfect option when you’re looking for a tasty, AIP-friendly main or side dish ingredient. You’ll also find it available throughout the year in most places, so it’s very inexpensive and a great choice when you’re cooking for a crowd.
Cabbage is often mentioned as one of the staple ingredients of Southern cuisine. Your AIP diet shouldn’t stop you from enjoying those traditional flavors!
Although cabbage loves bacon, we’ve also included completely vegan cabbage side dish options for you to try. Both, common, and slightly unexpected spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric and even cardamom will help you amp up these AIP cabbage recipes like never before!
3 Delicious Ways To Enjoy Cabbage on Your AIP Diet* Short on time? No cooking needed when you’re making a tasty AIP coleslaw.* Feeling lazy? Whip up a quick stir-fry or a cabbage and avocado salad for lunch.* Looking for a tasty family meal? Try Irish colcannon or mouthwatering pork and cabbage stew.
Experiment with different kinds of cabbage to find your favorite! Red cabbage makes a beautiful presentation – however, nothing says “comfort food” like stuffed cabbage rolls made of green cabbage, if you ask me. And they are nightshade-free!
To make things even easier, bring out your crockpot and try slow cooking your cabbage dishes. It’s the perfect way to cook this vegetable and will give you such flavorful results, you’ll want to have cabbage for dinner every other day.
Everyone deserves a cookie. It is one of those treats that just makes everybody feel better in their soul. When we are invested in a diet, especially one as diligent as the AIP diet, cutting those small treats out can be one of the most significant challenges. Thankfully, we are here to give you a cookie and give your inner child something to smile about.
This AIP “chocolate” cookie recipe is precisely the treat you need to get you through those harder days of your diet. Having a snack like these to indulge on once and a while is what we all deserve.
Creating a “chocolate” cookie recipe for an AIP diet presents many challenges. There is nothing about a traditional cookie that would be congruent with the stricter diet. Each of the critical ingredients required looking at and sourcing alternatives. The results are an ideal replica that changes the game on what you are limited to on your diet.
What would a big feast be without a beautiful sauce to slather everything in? Gravy can take a perfectly cooked roast beef to a whole other level. A rich sauce full of flavor to enhance your dinner is something that will please you, your guests and the family.
We understand that making gravy can be an overwhelming and lengthy job, but the results are always so well worth it, how could you not want to give it a try. This AIP gravy recipe is straightforward enough that there is nothing that will challenge your skills. The key here is patience, and you will be paid off with the results of a delicious sauce.
If you thought your AIP diet would prevent you from ever eating Indian food again, you were wrong.
AIP is all about finding the best solutions to enjoy good food, without letting it make you feel worse – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with these awesome Indian recipes!
Whether you’re looking for something completely vegetarian, or one of your favorite Indian dishes with meat or fish, you’re going to find it on this list.
I guarantee you’re going to love the many curry recipes, as well as the creamy sauces that I’ve always loved about Indian food. You probably won’t believe they are dairy-free!
You’ll get completely nightshade-free versions of your old favorites, so you won’t have to worry about a thing when eating these. You can even enjoy tikka masala again!
My favorite things about these AIP Indian recipes are:
1) Turmeric and ginger – several of these recipes include one or both of these ingredients, which is great because they are anti-inflammatory.
2) These meals taste even better the next day; spicy food often does. That’s why I tend to make a double batch, to make sure I have leftovers.
3) Crockpot options – I love using my slow cooker to cook these flavorful recipes to perfection. It works especially well on meaty dishes!
I like to choose white fish for the fish recipes because it tends to hold its shape better, even when I’m using the slow cooker.
And let’s not forget about snacks and desserts! One of my all-time favorite AIP-friendly snacks is on this list; I bet the coconut turmeric snack balls are going to make your mouth water, too! They are extremely easy to make, and they’re perfect for those afternoons when you feel like you need an extra treat.
Eating more kale is an inexpensive way to incorporate various nutrients in your diet. It is a super versatile ingredient that can be used in all kinds of dishes!
On this list of anti-inflammatory kale recipes you’ll find kale smoothies, kale salads, breakfast dishes with kale, soups and stews – you name it! And all of these recipes are AIP-friendly so you won’t have to worry about ruining your diet.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. There are plenty of health benefits you get from eating kale on a regular basis – here are a few, for starters:
There are so many ways to cook kale that it’s practically impossible to get bored of it! Boiling kale will diminish some of its nutrients, but you’ll still get plenty of vitamins. However, if you’d like to make sure you get the most health benefits, you can try microwaving, stir-frying or steaming your kale.
Our list of AIP kale recipes includes something for every meal – I bet you can’t wait to try:
In 1998 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, and later with Pernicious anemia and Addison’s disease.
Seventeen years of mismanagement in my treatment by mainstream doctors resulted in my being extremely unwell and barely functioning. I was so sick and tired I literally could not function. I was at times incapacitated and could not even get out of bed.
I had severe pain in my legs and body, and I could hardly sleep at all – it was all taking its toll on me. Mentally, emotionally and physically I was falling apart. It was so bad at times I really thought my husband (Stephen) and son would be better off if I just left one way or another. I was that bad!
All this pain and grief came at a very high cost. Stephen had to be absent from work sometimes to look after our son and me. Eventually, he was forced to quit his wonderful career to stay home and look after us.
This left me absolutely devastated, as the financial burden was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. At that stage; I was seriously considering some desperate things.
In 2014 I was going through one of the worst flares of my illness. I believe major changes and stressors in my life brought this on.
I relentlessly researched trying to find the key to what I was missing to help me regain some normalcy and enjoyment in my life. I researched for thousands of hours and spent thousands of dollars trying numerous supplements and treatments.
One day my research brought me to Dr. Terry Wahls’ TED talk about Minding your Mitochondria; this was my light bulb moment!! It clicked; this could be the key I had spent so many years searching for!!
I became obsessed. I read everything I could about the Autoimmune Protocol and Paleo, and I figured, in my haze of brain fog I had nothing to change but the way I ate! I decided, with what I was dealing with that it was better for me to go full AIP straight out of the gate!
I had a small advantage in that I am quite an experienced cook, and for the most part could adapt and substitute recipes to Australian produce and the available products, and convert lots of my recipes to the AIP.
Yes, I absolutely stuck to elimination phase strictly because I knew how sick I was and that I would only be setting all my hard work back by cheating. I wanted to set myself up for success, not failure. I knew that if I cheated on the elimination phase it could potentially set off another flare and at the time I was so sick I was willing to do anything to feel well again, so adhering to the protocol fully was essential to me.
I had also read about the biggest mistakes people make when going AIP. Rushing the elimination or cheating whilst in the elimination phase were some of the biggest reasons people had failed at AIP. Failure wasn’t an option anymore – I was determined, despite how debilitated I was physically, emotionally and mentally.
I didn’t really feel any results for about 6 months as my body was so inflamed after almost 20 years of autoimmunity. I knew it was going to take a substantial amount of time for my body to start to calm down. During this time, for the first time in my life, I learned how to really listen to my body and to have self-love and compassion for my body, after surviving this.
The first few weeks were the hardest, especially considering there were zero recourses with Australian lifestyle and seasonal produce in mind. We eat very differently from the US, and the majority of AIP recipes are from there.
I stared the reintro process after 6 months on the elimination phase, which is much longer than recommended – however it is what I felt was right for my body. At the time I wanted to give my whole mind, body and spirit as much love, compassion and space to calm and heal as I could.
I knew that AIP isn’t meant to be a forever way of living, yet I was also quite nervous about starting the process, as I know many are. It’s like I was afraid of undoing all my hard work, but I knew I wouldn’t succeed if I didn’t give it a go.
The first foods I brought back in were seed spices, which I was really keen for. I was really missing a proper chai and pepper! I had no issues with them and then moved onto egg yolk. That was ok, but whites were an issue for a while until I discovered that I was ok with them cooked in something – not just by themselves. This made me very happy because we all miss our eggs on AIP. They are just so versatile and baking is so much easier!!
After nearly 3 years I have been able to add back in just about everything on a infrequent/rotational basis. I feel it’s really important to our overall long-term healing success to be able to bring back in as many eliminated foods as possible. We need them for their wide range of nutrients and diversity of the microbiome – and above all, having optimal enjoyment from our food and lifestyle.
My goal when I started AIP was to put all my conditions into remission, no matter what I had to sacrifice. After being on the protocol for several months the thing I actually noticed first was that my skin got better. I had struggled with acne all my life and was extremely self conscious about my face. I began to notice my skin wasn’t as sensitive and oily. The hormonal breakouts had all but disappeared and the dry cracked skin on my feet was healing.
So for me, it was great to finally have clear skin and to be confident for the first time in my life – to not have to use heavy, full makeup to hide behind.
Sixteen months after starting AIP I discovered I had a hidden co-infection, Candidiasis, in my gut. This is where Candida (a form of yeast) actually becomes overgrown. It took a great deal of further hard work and more sacrifice to heal. I eliminated all sugar, stopped drinking Kombucha and water kefir and all other yeasts and used a combination of herbs and supplements to address it.
Once the Candidiasis was cleared up I got the results I had been working so hard for, “you are in remission!” After being on AIP and then a modified paleo diet for so long I really thought I wasn’t going to one of the “lucky” ones. After finding out that I had in fact achieved remission it actually took the best part of a year for me to fully appreciate and accept my recovery.
AIP has given me the foundation to successfully manage my conditions for life. I am beyond grateful for the knowledge I now have.
Here are the links to a couple of my favorite AIP recipes, which you can find on my site.
The biggest tip for anyone considering AIP would be to just simply do it! I got to such a bad place and I had literally tried EVERYTHING. I had spent tens of thousands on supplements and all sorts of therapies, specialists – you name it. I figured I had nothing to lose except to change the way I eat.
Yes, I had a huge emotional attachment to the foods I was giving up, especially nightshades, as I am of European descent and love them, but I had to change the way I felt about the food I was eating. I switched from focusing on the foods I couldn’t have that were harming me, to the foods that were healing me.
Another pitfall I encountered was not initially taking a holistic approach by also addressing my emotional, mental and spiritual health. AIP isn’t just about the food. Making sure you are healing all aspects of your health is essential to overall healing. Also remember that AIP isn’t meant to last forever. In the meantime, you’ll be amazed at how well you can adapt and actually enjoy this lifestyle.
You know, those mornings when you wake up extra sore and achy? Maybe the weather’s changed or you overdid it a bit or you’re just having a flare-up.
Those are the days when you need a little bit more TLC. When your body could use some extra support.
And even though AIP removes inflammatory foods from your diet, you can take that one step further and add an anti-inflammatory spice to your meals!
I’m talking about Turmeric.
This distinctive, golden-yellow spice has a pungent, almost mustard-like smell, and has been used for thousands of years to ease digestive distress, heal skin conditions, and more.
Turmeric is a power anti-inflammatory and is commonly used today to help treat arthritis, joint pain, and many other conditions.
And since inflammation plays a role in nearly every major Western illness and autoimmune disease, Turmeric helps treat those illnesses at the source of the problem.
So on those days when you’re feeling particularly achy…when the weather turns or you have a flare up…try one of these 34 delicious Turmeric recipes!
Snacks can be a lifesaver between meals, whether you’re in need of an energy boost or just a quick nibble of something sweet.
But if you’re not careful, snacks can a black hole of nutrition, full of processed food that will leave you queasy and unsatisfied. Not to worry! You can the savior of snacks with this easy AIP-friendly list.
Chock full of chip and dip recipes, from delicious plantain crackers to super easy guacamole, this list is great for sweet and savory bites to help keep you full throughout the day. Each and every recipe is AIP-friendly, so you can snack happy!
From luscious muffin tops to two-bite morsels, muffins can be a decadent breakfast treat or a travel-friendly meal on the go.
And just because you’re avoiding eggs or wheat flour or nuts on AIP doesn’t mean you have to miss out on muffins! That’s why I’ve put together a list of 27 of my favorite AIP muffin recipes.
Whether you’re looking for a classic cranberry and orange muffin, perfect for a weekend brunch, or a more savory morsel, like muffins stuffed with bacon and herbs, this AIP-friendly list will have you crazy for muffins!