Chronic Illness - AIP

8 things I eat on the Wahls diet when I don’t feel like cooking

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Adopting the Wahls diet (also known as the Wahls Protocol), has truly transformed my life. This version of a paleo diet/ketogenic diet has significantly reduced my joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, overall inflammation, and the constant debilitating stomach pain I’ve been living with for more than a decade.

For those who don’t know, the Wahls Protocol is an AIP (auto-immune protocol) diet that “aims to reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms caused by autoimmune disease, and rheumatoid arthritis” (source: Healthline).

However, despite all the incredible benefits of this diet on the symptoms of my auto-immune disease, and even my mental health, adopting an AIP diet such as the Wahls Protocol poses many (many) challenges. One of them being: what the hell do you eat on the Wahls diet when you don’t feel like cooking?

Mind you, I’m only at level 1. It gets even more complicated (especially in social settings) when you go to levels 2 and 3 (!).

The Wahls diet and the challenge of cooking all of your meals

Most people who know me know that I do not like to cook. Ok, I’ll say it: I hate cooking (although, I’m slowly learning to appreciate it more. Moving on). The problem is when you follow an AIP diet, such as the Wahls Protocol, you pretty much have to cook ALL of your meals.

Therefore, when the only thing that’s been effective in easing my pain involves constant cooking, I find it particularly challenging. To put it bluntly: it’s a pain in my butt, and probably yours too.

I mean, who has the time?!

Unfortunately, AIP-friendly, ready-to-eat meals have not yet made their way into restaurants and supermarkets. Not where I live, anyway. And so, for now, if you (and I) want to adopt an AIP diet, we will most likely have to cook ALL of our meals.

Or break our diet.

Yay, fun!

So anyway, after a year or two of this nagging question: what do you eat on a Wahls diet especially when you don’t feel like cooking (?), I have identified a few easy no-cook meals and snacks that are AIP-friendly and involve absolutely no cooking! These are my go-to AIP foods, for days when I’m hungry as a beast, out and about or lazy as hell, and of course, don’t feel like cooking.

But, wait! What is the Wahls Protocol anyway?

The Wahls Protocol is a diet that has 3 levels. Level 1 is closest to a paleo-style diet, and level 3 is closer to a ketogenic diet. On the Wahls Protocol you eat a lot of:

  • Dark, leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, you get the gist);
  • Brightly colored vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, beets, etc.);
  • Sulfur-rich vegetables (such as garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.);
  • Meat and fish.

Also, say goodbye to all grains, dairy products and eggs, legumes, and sugar (source: WebMD).

I will not get into too much detail here. If you want to know more, there are lots of valuable resources on the internet, or just check out Terry Wahls’ book. And I will write a lengthier post about it soon!

What to eat on the Wahls diet when you don’t feel like cooking?

Ok, so you don’t feel like cooking today? Don’t panic! No need to buy a sandwich and throw all your efforts out the window. There are certain AIP-friendly foods you can keep at all times in your fridge (and your pantry) for those lazy days when you don’t feel like cooking. Or if you are out and about, simply stop at a supermarket instead of opting for a slice of pizza.

These foods are still Wahls Protocol friendly (only for level 1) and there is absolutely no cooking involved. They work great as a snack, breakfast, lunch, or supper. But don’t eat just that at every meal during the day as it will not provide all the recommended nutrients prescribed in the Wahls diet.   

Disclaimer:

I am not a doctor, dietician, or health professional. I only share my own experience and what I read. Please, make your own research and talk to your doctor before making any radical changes to your diet!

K, thanks!

Ok! So, with all this out of the way, if you are on an AIP diet and don’t feel like cooking at all, make a quick trip to your neighborhood supermarket and grab these:

1. Brown rice cakes

Brown rice cakes are awesome for those days when you are super lazy, but super hungry and you don’t want to break your AIP diet. Rice cakes make any snack or meal more consistent, without breaking your diet, or having to cook.

Make sure you don’t go over the Wahls diet level 1 prescribed portion of 1 serving, or ½ a cup, per day.  

Also, check the ingredient list before! Make sure they are made of brown rice and nothing else! Most rice cakes often contain a dozen ‘forbidden’ ingredients like milk (?) and sugar (??). Um, okaaay.

AIP foods when you don'T feel like cooking_Rice cakes

So, check the ingredients and opt for a brand that uses only whole-grain brown rice.

2. Cherry tomatoes

I say cherry tomatoes and not regular tomatoes because I’m lazy and there is no slicing involved when you go with cherry tomatoes. This also implies fewer dirty dishes after.

AIP foods when you don't want to cook - tomatoes

3. Baby carrots

Again, I prefer baby carrots to regular carrots because this way, I can eat them right out of the bag. No cutting or slicing is involved. Full disclaimer, though: I still wash them before eating them but that’s just me. That’s about all the ‘handling’ I do before eating them. I can live with that.

4. Houmous (or hummus)

When it comes to AIP meals that involve no cooking, houmous is your best friend. Again, only in level 1, people!

I go with store-bought houmous, because, well… did I mention I’m lazy and don’t like to cook? If, on the other hand, you make your own houmous, then 1) even better (!), and 2) kudos to you! You are a better man (or woman) than I am.

I ‘pimp’ my houmous (and make it even more “Wahls Protocol-friendly”) by adding 1 or 2 tbsp of olive oil, and (that’s just personal preference) a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

As always, if you go for the store-bought option, make sure you check the ingredients!

5. Olives

Olives are delicious, but they are also rich in healthy fats, vitamin, and antioxidants (source: Healthline).

Wahls diet meals without cooking
Stuffed olive!

I go with green olives stuffed with garlic, that way I can also count it toward my 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables. Just because I’m lazy, doesn’t mean I can’t try to be smart about it.

6. Canned tuna

I’m not a fancy girl so I go with canned tuna. On those lazy days when I don’t feel like cooking but still want to align with the requirements of the Wahls diet (i.e., 6 to 12 ounces of meat, fish, poultry, or game per day), I simply open a can of tuna, and voilà!

To give it a little oomph, add some olive oil and pepper, and eat it with rice cakes (and everything else on this list).

By the way, you can also go with canned sardines, herring, and mackerel. They are an even better option as they are fattier, omega-rich fish.

You’re welcome.

7. Avocado slices

I had to mention avocados. Avocados are filling and a great addition to this list of easy foods to eat on the Wahls Protocol and that don’t require any cooking, just a bit of handling when it comes to slicing them.

Honestly, if I could eat avocadoes, I would eat them all the time, especially when I don’t feel like cooking. But I can’t. I get sick just looking at them (okay, I am exaggerating, but barely).

Slice your avocado and put it on your rice cakes. Or simply cut it into small pieces and eat it with a bit of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Delish!

8. Sliced bell peppers

I don’t always go for peppers when I’m hungry, lazy as F., and don’t feel like cooking, but I still eat them quite often. That’s because, just like avocados, there is some slicing involved.

But, if I do muster the energy to slice something, then I will go with bell peppers (mostly red, but sometimes orange and yellow), and dip them in houmous. So good!

Last tip:

For a quick, easy AIP snack, pick 2 or 3 things on this list (for example baby carrots with houmous or avocado slices on rice cakes).

For an AIP meal that involves no cooking, you could easily go with all the foods listed here, like this:

AIP foods when you don't feel like cooking_snack

There you have it! My go-to foods for when I don’t feel like cooking but still want to follow my AIP diet.

Let me know if you would add anything to this list (?) Or, if you are currently on a restrictive diet, what difficulties do you deal with on a daily basis?

Leave a comment, or just say Hi!

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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4 thoughts on “8 things I eat on the Wahls diet when I don’t feel like cooking

  1. I never heard of this diet. It sounds interesting so I’ll be checking more on it. Curious to know if you have a way making sure the anti nutrients in brown rice doesn’t affect you as much? Or what are your thoughts on ingesting?

    Other than that we sorta eat like this but with eggs and raw dairy. Glad to see you write this!

    1. Hey Sol, I apologize for my late answer!! And thank you for your comment! I’ve never tried raw dairy, never really had access to it. So I’m not sure how it would affect me. As for eggs, I really thought they didn’t impact me much, until I stopped eating them for a month and realized how wrong I was. They really do make my wrist pain and joint inflammation worse.

      Now, the thing with Brown rice is that, from what I’ve observed, it doesn’t affect me as much as white rice does. But if I eat too much of it, it does. In the Wahls diet, they recommend not going over 1 or 2 cups/week (I think). And I’ve noticed that, when I go over that limit, I tend to have more pain.

      Honestly the Wahls Protocol has made such a big impact on my health, I can’t imagine how I’de be if I hadn’t found that book. But it’s a lot about trial and error and figuring out what works for you, with careful testing and observation.

  2. I was always avoid nightshades such as bell peppers with any sort of autoimmune history , how cqn this be the case as Terry got better using them Thaanks Steve

    1. Hi Steve, funny you should mention this. After 2 years of improvements, the wahls diet was no longer working for me (I plan on writing more about this). Then I stopped eating nightshades and things have improved dramatically! I just never realized they were the problem. It took me almost 3 years to figure this out.

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