AIP Spices and Herbs

If you are following the Autoimmune Protocol, you might be left wondering what AIP herbs and spices you are able to have, and which ones that you are supposed to be avoiding.

This is something that can easily become quite confusing in the beginning, which is why we are here to help to clear things up.

In this article, we are going to tell you everything that you need to know about herbs and spices when it comes to following the Autoimmune Protocol, as there are lots of things that you will need to know, and it can be difficult to absorb all of the available information.

Just keep reading to find out more.

Your Food Can Be Flavorful

One of the biggest myths surrounding the Autoimmune Protocol is that the food you make is destined to be bland and tasteless as you cannot use the majority of what are considered to be normal spices.

However, this is not actually the case. Just like many other parts of the AIP diet, the entire thing is more about relearning how to use what you can use, rather than dwelling on what you can’t use. 

So, we are going to start off this article by talking about what you can and can’t have during the elimination portion of this diet. Following on from this, we will tell you all about the different things that you can add to your food to provide flavor to your dishes.

What Spices Are Allowed On AIP?

  • Asafetida
  • Basil leaf
  • Bay Leaf
  • Chamomile
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro / Coriander Leaf (leaf only)
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Curry Leaf
  • Dill Weed
  • Fennel Leaf
  • Fenugreek Leaf
  • Galangal
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish Root
  • Kaffir Lime Leaf
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Mace
  • Marjoram Leaf
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano Leaf
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Savory Leaf
  • Spearmint
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Wasabi (additive-free)

What Spices Are NOT Allowed On AIP?

  • Allspice
  • Anise Seed
  • Annatto Seed
  • Black Caraway
  • Black Cumin
  • Black Pepper
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Capsicums
  • Cayenne
  • Celery Seed
  • Chili Pepper Flakes
  • Chili Powder
  • Chinese Five-Spice
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Coriander Seed
  • Cumin Seed
  • Curry Powder (typically contains nightshades)
  • Dill Seed
  • Fennel Seed
  • Fenugreek Seed
  • Garam Masala
  • Juniper
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Pepper (from black, green, pink, or white peppercorns)
  • Poppy Seed
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Red Pepper
  • Russian Caraway
  • Star Anise
  • Steak Seasoning
  • Sumac
  • Taco Seasoning

Something that might be really beneficial for you to do would be to print off your very own list of the things that you can and can’t have to put up in your kitchen or pantry. This will help to save some time when it comes to making your favorite dishes, as you will have easy access to a list of herbs and spices that you can use.

How to Read Packaging 

If you have gone to the store and you are on the AIP diet, you might be confused at the sight of the packaging for herbs and spices. If you are getting any type of non-perishable foods, you will need to carefully consider the ingredients list before you make your purchase.

One thing that you should try to avoid entirely is the words ‘spices’ or ‘seasonings’. This is because these will typically contain spices that are not compliant with the diet, mostly paprika.

Seasoning Blends

Store-bought seasoning blends that you can buy to season foods like steaks and other meat will usually contain spices that you are not able to have on this diet. This is why it is usually best to stay away from these products altogether.  It can be a good idea to create your own seasoning blends while you are on the elimination diet, and this can be a great alternative to buying store bought products that you can’t have.

Store Bought AIP Spices

One type of seasoning that is particularly flavorful is the blend called Herbes de Provence, which can be used to sprinkle on different meats and veggies before you cook them. However, you will need to keep an eye out for fennel seed, which can be present in some types of Herbes de Provence blends. This is an ingredient that is not allowed at this stage in the diet, so you will need to choose a blend that does not contain this ingredient.

Another great option that comes pre-made is Italian seasoning, which can provide an authentic taste to sauces and help to spice up your meats and veggies. A great brand to take a look at is Primal Palate, who have created a range of AIP seasonings for you to choose from. Some of the blends that they have created are:

  • Super Gyro – A Greek-style blend that goes well with meets
  • Breakfast Blend – This makes a great addition to breakfast hashes and potatoes
  • Garlic and Herb – You can put this on just about anything, including steak, chicken, fish, and veggies

Some of the Best AIP Alternatives

Curry powder is typically something that you cannot have on this diet, and this is because it contains a variety of nightshade and seed-based spices that are not AIP-friendly. However, Paleo on the Go does their own version of curry powder, which is perfect for adding that curry flavor that you have been craving.

Something that lots of people crave, especially during the fall and the lead up to christmas is pumpkin spice. Unfortunately, this is something that you aren’t supposed to have, but you can make your own using mace instead of nutmeg. Mace is made from the outer red coating of the nutmeg plant, and it tastes very similar. It can be difficult to locate in stores at times, so you might want to have a look for it online instead. 

If you are looking for that extra kick that you get from using black pepper with your food, you might want to try using ginger instead, which can provide a similar effect. You can use it either dried or fresh.

AIP Meals That Use Spices

There are lots of AIP meals that use spices, so it doesn’t always have to mean flavorless meals. The following are some meals that use herbs and spices to make the dishes very flavorful:

  • AIP Thai Chicken Soup
  • AIP Chai Latte
  • AIP Gyro Sandwich with Tzatziki Sauce
  • 5 AIP Chicken Marinades
  • AIP Tandoori Pumpkin Soup

AIP Spices Allowed in the Reintroduction Phase

Thankfully, once you get past the first stage of this diet, most of the spices that you have been missing throughout the process can be reintroduced during the reintroduction phase of the diet. We will leave a list of the spices and what stage that can be reintroduced into your diet below.

Stage 1

Fruit and berry-based spices: Allspice, star anise, caraway, cardamom pod, juniper, pepper (from black, green, pink, or white peppercorns), and sumac.

Seed-based spices: Anise seed, annatto seed, black caraway (Russian caraway, black cumin), celery seed, coriander seed, cumin seed, dill seed, fennel seed, fenugreek, mustard, and nutmeg.

Stage 2

None added, except poppy seed, which is sometimes used as a flavoring.

Stage 3

Paprika is the only added spice at this stage.

Stage 4

Nightshades or spices derived from nightshades: cayenne pepper, chili powder, chili-based spices, crushed red pepper, curry powder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Eat Cumin On AIP?

Unfortunately, you cannot eat cumin when you are on the elimination phase of the diet as it is a seed spice.

Can I Eat Paprika On AIP?

No, paprike is from the nightshade family, which means that it is non-AIP-compliant. You should be careful to look out for packaged goods that include the word ‘spices’ in their ingredients, as paprika is often one of these spices, making it unsuitable for this diet.

Can I Eat Cinnamon On AIP?

Yes, thankfully, you do not have to give up cinnamon when you are following the AIP diet, and it is a great warming spice that can add a lot of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.