Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (2023)

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Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (1)

AIP Kitchen Tour is a monthly feature in which we profilea member of theAIP community and theirkitchen setup in hopes that it willfurther inspire us to get our kitchens organized and set up for success! We’ve interviewed folkswho are makingtheAIP lifestyle a realityin everything from college dorms and small city apartments, to large households with non-AIP family members, and everything in between. Through these interviews, we hope to share how they make it happen across a variety of budgets and living situations, and give the community a wealth of inspiration. Read moreKitchen Tours here!

Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (2)

Name: Jennifer Thompson

Location:Illinois

Preferred pronouns: she, her

AI disease: hidradenitis suppurativa

How long have you been eating AIP? 3 years

Have you successfully reintroduced any foods?
I have had a few successful reintroductions and a few fails and setbacks. I am most thrilled about cacao and coffee. I do still try to limit these treats, but love having them back. I also did okay with all kinds of peas and found a green pea pasta that is a savior! I did great with black pepper and vodka as well. Ghee didn’t go so well but I am hoping to try it again soon. I’ve had a few illnesses and incredibly stressful times that have delayed my reintroductions, but hopefully soon I’m trying new things again!

Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (3)

How has the AIP changed your life?
AIP has given me an entirely different mindset and changed so many things in my life. I am no longer in pain everyday. I suffered from joint pain, fatigue, skin flare ups, brain fog, and stomach issues that I had no idea could be managed with changing the way I ate. The weird part of feeling sick all the time is just that, you feel it all the time. It becomes your normal and when things began to lift away the more I changed my diet, I had a whole new perspective on food and my life. The way your mindset and energy changes when the pain is gone, it is absolutely worth never eating “normally” again for me. My body doesn’t want suffering back.

It is also a little harder to open up about, but I struggled with binge eating and having a terrible relationship with food. I was hitting the scales just over 350 lbs and steadily gaining every week. Learning about my autoimmune disease and how food could effect my symptoms, forced me to really look at what how I was eating and the voids I was trying to fill with food. I had to stop killing myself with a fork. I have lost around 130 lbs on my healing journey. I have never felt better and now have a healthier relationship with food. I may cook for a family of four, but I’m no longer eating for a family of four.

Size of your AIP kitchen:15 ft x10 ft

Favorite thing about your kitchen:
I love that my kitchen has so much counter space. It has almost 15 feet of counter space. Some AIP recipes require a lot of prep work and gadgets, you’re going to need some room. I don’t have to move my big air fryer or blender that I use every single day to make room for what I need to do next. I’ve got room for some plants and herbs I like to have around. There is enough space to have my produce tucked in the corner, my appliances I need and room to dry the never ending dishes. Which, sigh, leads us into the what I would change right away if I could.

Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (4)

Least favorite thing about your kitchen:
I wish I had a dishwasher. I know they’re not terribly expensive anymore, but hear me out. I have custom cabinets that were built in the 60’s. Nothing measures to standard sizes these days and I’ll likely need someone to come rework my cabinets and drawers out. I’m a single gal on a tight budget so I’ll keep scrubbing away. AIP means a lot of dishes, like A LOT. I’m only cooking for one, but I try to batch cook and make life easier. I’m always washing dishes. I adore my little house and kitchen, but a dishwasher… a girl can dream. I’d also upgrade my stove, change the flooring, add greenhouse windows… the wish list of updates grows. What I do have, I’m grateful for.

Are there any cheap gadgets or little tools that you have found make AIP easier?
My favorite gadgets that were under $10 are my hand juicer and garlic press. I use my citrus hand juicer every single day, whether it is for lemon water or adding lemon to smoothie or recipes. I love this thing and I’d recommend it to everyone that loves lemon. I also use my garlic press very frequently. I admit, I’m not the best at mincing garlic and this saves me time. My biggest advice here, find one that opens up for easier cleaning. Mine has a little door that unlocks and swings open so you can really get all the garlic bits out. Garlic and lemon add so much flavor and these guys help me do it faster and easier. Also, a really sharp knife. You’re going to be chopping a lot of things.

What is the biggest thing that changed in your kitchen setup when you adopted theAIP?
When I began AIP, things didn’t change a lot at first besides removing everything on the nope list. After a short time, I realized the storage container section was growing and growing while the pantry was no longer full of processed snacks. I reorganized all the spaces to make more sense. I started utilizing my ancient lazy Susan corner cabinet for canned goods and snacks instead of the pantry space. The pantry is utilized so much better now with my storage containers organized and appliances I don’t use often.

If someone was just starting to invest in some useful but more expensive kitchentools, which one would you tell them to buy first?
My most useful expensive kitchen tool is hands down my blender. There are recipes that are going to require a high powered machine to demolish these tough root veggies. I make a smoothie for breakfast every day. I am spoiled, my blender was a birthday gift and a celebratory AIP journey gift from friends. I don’t know if they know how invaluable it as become. I make soups, desserts, my tomato sauce substitute, my queso sauce, and so many other delicious things that make AIP easier. I’d also recommend one that works as a food processor, this saves so much prep time too.

Are there any tricks you have learned to make AIP work in your space?
Organizing has to be my biggest trick to make AIP easier in my kitchen. Having my pots and pans organized by how often I will use them, my storage containers easily accessible, and all my flour substitutes in order make cooking so much easier. I didn’t really have a need to organize like this before. My kitchen was always full of ready to eat foods and now it is full of whole ingredients to become my food.

Jennifer's AIP Kitchen: How She Manages Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Illinois (5)

How do you deal with food for family members that are not AIP?
I’m sort of lucky, I don’t have to really deal with non AIP food in my kitchen. I live alone so I have the whole kitchen to myself. When family or friends come over, they’re likely bringing their own meals or eating AIP with me. I suppose if I found someone worthy of sharing my space with, maybe I’d give him a few shelves in the fridge and a shelf in the cabinet. And I’d drool over the goodies but remind myself that my journey is bigger than the momentary joy of a Reese’s cup.

Are there any tools or appliances that you’ve stopped using now that your diet haschanged?
Since I began AIP, I broke up with my Keurig machine and my rice cooker. I didn’t have a need for coffee in the beginning stage, plus the K-cups were so pricey and full of bad things too. I switched to using a kettle to make hot tea. The rice cooker can be used as a slow cooker as well, but of course I have one of those too.

What are your favorite meals to batch cook?
I am currently hooked on Brussels sprouts roasted with baby carrots and red onion. I drizzle balsamic and maple syrup over them and can’t get enough of these sweet savory veggies. I have been making a large pan of these and using them for lunch prep for weeks on end. I usually pair this with roasted chicken or pork. It has been really warm here and hot food for lunch hasn’t been appealing, so I’ve also thrown together a veggie, prosciutto, green pea pasta salad that is super tasty and easy to batch cook. Some of my other go to flavor enhancers I try to keep on hand are “queso” sauce, tomato sauce sub, and a mayo sub. I always try to have a protein ready to go as well, usually grass fed ground beef.

What are your favorite AIP and Paleo cookbooks?
The Autoimmune Protocol Comfort Food Cookbook by Michelle Hoover is my favorite. I grew up with comfort foods and she covers so many of my childhood meals. I have a few memorized already, like the stroganoff and biscuits and gravy. I spend way too much time on Pinterest saving recipes too. There are so many incredible blogs and sources online for recipes, I could spend all day listing them.

Do you have any tips for those starting an elimination diet and setting up their AIP kitchens for the first time?
My best tip for starting an elimination diet is probably out of sight out of mind. In the beginning, the temptations are stronger, well for me they were. It was easier to eliminate things if they weren’t sitting around looking at me. The items I knew I couldn’t have yet but would be able to reintroduce soon, went into the back corner of the cabinets. I put them in time out. I felt like I couldn’t mess up if I didn’t have things in front of me and it really helped. Food is literally all around us and such a huge part of life, but it doesn’t have to hurt us.

You can connect with Jennifer on her website, Don’t Feed the Fat Girl and onFacebook.

Would you like to be featured in anAIP Kitchen Tour?We feature members of the community who are willing to share the real spaces where they cook, as well as their stories of transitioning to this lifestyle. If you are interested, fill out our interest form!

FAQs

Are eggs good for HS? ›

By decreasing inflammation and maintaining a balance of helpful bacteria in the gut, the diet may reduce HS symptoms. The diet includes: Lean meats, poultry, and fish. Eggs.

What foods help with HS? ›

Foods that may help hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms
  • fresh and frozen fruit.
  • fresh and frozen vegetables.
  • fresh and dried herbs.
  • lentils.
  • beans.
  • brown rice.
  • barley.
  • oats.

What is the AIP diet? ›

The AIP diet is an elimination diet designed to help reduce inflammation or other symptoms caused by autoimmune disorders. It's comprised of two phases designed to help you identify and ultimately avoid the foods that may trigger inflammation and disease-specific symptoms.

How I cured my hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

There's no known cure for HS, but treatment can help prevent flare-ups and stop disease progression. There are many options for treating HS naturally, including making dietary changes, supplementing with turmeric and zinc, taking Epsom salt baths, and making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, among more.

What vitamin is good for HS? ›

Vitamins, minerals, and supplements with the most reported literature for positive clinical effects in HS include zinc, vitamin D, and turmeric/curcumin. Preliminary evidence supports the use of Zinc in HS. Zinc has been reported in several studies to significantly decrease disease severity.

Does vitamin D Help with HS? ›

In the study of Guillet et al., introducing vitamin supplements have resulted in a significant clinical improvement among patients with HS with vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation was also found to decrease the severity of other dermatologic conditions like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis [25].

What soap is best for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

When you shower, use a soap-free wash like Cetaphil. Gentle cleansers that are fragrance-free, dye-free, and soap-free are your best bet for preventing further skin irritation.

Does B12 help with HS? ›

Included articles in this systematic review reveal that low serum zinc and vitamin D levels are associated with increased lesion count in HS. Supplementation of zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, or exclusion of dairy or brewer's yeast can be effective in partial or complete lesion resolution.

How much zinc should I take for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

Zinc salts have been used for a long time in the treatment of mild and moder- ate acne, and the usual dosage is between 30 and 60 mg of zinc metal per day (corresponding to 2 capsules of 15 mg zinc gluconate per day in France) [5, 6] .

How do you calm HS flares? ›

Like encouraging a zit to come to a head, putting warm compresses on your HS abscesses can get them to drain faster, says Dr. Sayed. And the faster they drain, the faster they go away. Cold therapy can help, too, and it can be even more effective when combined with heat.

Does taking zinc help HS? ›

Three studies assessed the effect of oral zinc supplementation in adults with hidradenitis suppurativa. Hessam and colleagues found a significant decrease in disease severity, erythema and number of inflammatory nodules.

How long does it take to heal on AIP? ›

It's good to be clear on exactly when you're going to be in the strict Elimination Phase of AIP. An absolute minimum amount of time is 30 days, but I truly believe that 60 days or longer is a more realistic timeframe for your body to heal.

How long does the AIP diet take to work? ›

The length of the elimination phase of AIP can vary, depending on how an individual feels. Usually, people start to notice results within the first 3 weeks. On average, the elimination phase lasts from 30 to 90 days.

How do I know if my AIP diet is working? ›

Here are some changes that might indicate digestion is on the right track:
  1. Less acid reflux or GERD.
  2. Less indigestion.
  3. Less gas and bloating.
  4. A resolution or lessening of constipation or diarrhea.
  5. Daily, optimal, complete eliminations (or closer to the mark than before)
20 May 2019

Does HS go away with age? ›

HS is a lifelong disease. As time goes on more research is being done and more treatments are becoming available but still no cure. If caught early, symptoms can be managed more effectively and it may stop the disease progressing to irreversible skin damage.

What is the root cause of hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

Hidradenitis suppurativa develops when hair follicles become blocked. The exact cause for this isn't known. Experts think it could be connected to hormones, genetic predisposition, cigarette smoking or excess weight.

Is there a permanent cure for HS? ›

Although HS cannot be cured, your dermatologist can create a treatment plan to control the disease and lessen your symptoms. Treatment can: Reduce flare-ups. Heal wounds.

How can I prevent my HS from getting worse? ›

How do I manage hidradenitis suppurativa?
  1. Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Don't smoke.
  3. Stay out of hot, humid climates.
  4. Try to keep a low stress level,
  5. Seek counseling if you feel isolated and depressed.
  6. Don't wear tight, synthetic clothing.
  7. Take good care of your skin and maintain proper hygiene.

Does tumeric work for HS? ›

Unlike tea tree oil, however, turmeric is nontoxic and can be applied topically or ingested as a supplement to help prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Turmeric is commonly used as a complementary remedy for HS. It may help with symptoms by reducing inflammation.

Can people with HS get disability? ›

For Hidradenitis Suppurativa to be considered a disability, the symptoms must be severe enough to keep you out of work for twelve months or longer. If you are able to continue working, you will not be able to qualify for disability benefits.

Does Metformin help with HS? ›

Metformin, an oral hypoglycaemic agent, may play an important role in delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metformin has been reported as having efficacy in HS.

What drains from hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

These are small early pus-filled and non-pus filled lesions. In hidradenitis suppurativa, there can be scarring and color changes seen from prior skin inflammation. This person with hidradenitis suppurativa has a draining sinus. The armpit is a typical site of involvement.

What deodorant is best for HS? ›

Mudgil says that sticking to deodorants that have “mild preparations without too much fragrance” is important for those with hidradenitis suppurativa. He also notes that “natural” and “aluminum-free” are two good terms to pay attention to on labels. Native's Unscented Deodorant ticks all of those boxe.

Does Epsom salt baths help with hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

Epsom Salts

But, Pichardo says, “An Epsom salt bath can help dry the pus coming from HS lesions, and it will help overall with inflammation.” How to use it: Create a bath soak by adding about one and a quarter cups of Epsom salts to a full tub of water.

What is the best cream for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

Topical antibiotics, such as clindamycin (Cleocin T, Clinda-Derm), are commonly prescribed for mild HS. They can treat infections, reduce inflammation, and prevent new lesions from forming. They may also reduce the odors that can sometimes accompany infection.

Is HS an immune deficiency? ›

Inflammation, not infection. HS is caused by the immune system generating too much inflammation. HS isn't exactly an “autoimmune disease,” but it is caused by over-activity of the immune system, which causes inflammation. Inflammation in the skin causes the mix of redness, swelling, itching, pain, sores, and drainage.

Do probiotics help hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

While further evidence is required, our research suggests that dietary alteration and personalized probiotic supplementation might also be beneficial for HS patients, particularly since treatment options are limited for these individuals.”

Does magnesium help hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

An oral supplementation based on myo-inositol, folic acid and liposomal magnesium may act synergistically with antibiotic therapy and can improve metabolic profile in patients affected by Hidradenitis suppurativa: our experience.

What is the best antibiotic for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

First-line treatment is oral tetracyclines: 100 mg doxycycline once or twice daily, 100 mg minocycline once or twice daily, or tetracycline 500 mg twice daily. Systemic antibiotics are the medications most often prescribed for patients with HS and have been shown to be the most effective traditional therapy.

Which zinc is best for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

Treatment is a challenge because of the paucity of effective therapies and frequent exacerbations, with a negative impact on quality of life. 1 Brocard et al first described zinc gluconate (90 mg daily for 4 months) as an effective therapeutic alternative for the management of HS.

How do you survive AIP? ›

  1. Top tips for surviving the AIP: #1: Learn to plan ahead. Be sure to plan your meals ahead further in advance than you are used to. ...
  2. #2: Treat yourself to something special each week. Let yourself eat something you REALLY enjoy at least once a week. ...
  3. #3: Give yourself backup plans for quick meals at home. ...
  4. #4: Cook in batches.
22 Feb 2015

Do you lose weight with AIP? ›

The AIP diet can help you lose weight.

Since the AIP diet eliminates a lot of unhealthy foods, you can lose weight efficiently. If you've struggled to lose weight on other diets, the AIP might work. Keep in mind that when you begin to reintroduce foods, you'll want to do so in moderation to maintain your weight loss.

What happens to your body on AIP? ›

The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet helps to uncover a more personalized Paleo-based diet that helps to reduce inflammation , promote gut healing, and diminish autoimmune-related symptoms for the long-term.

Can you eat banana on AIP? ›

AIP approved fruits include: Apples. Apricots. Bananas.

Can I have coffee on AIP? ›

The AIP diet eliminates all grains, dairy, eggs, legumes (like beans and peanuts), nightshade vegetables (like potato and eggplant), sugar and processed foods. Coffee and alcohol are also out (sorry). It's basically a stricter version of the Paleo diet, since even ghee, seeds and nuts aren't allowed.

How do I start AIP diet? ›

To begin your AIP diet, eliminate eggs, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, added sweeteners, alcohol, nightshade veggies, and processed foods (check the box below for a list of foods to eat or avoid). If you're already following Paleo principles, you'll likely already be gluten-free and dairy-free.

Why do I feel worse on AIP? ›

Your plate on the AIP may look much different than before in terms of your ratios of protein, fat, and carbs. In the beginning, many people new to AIP can end up with symptoms of low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue until they adjust to a lower-carb diet and adjust their ratios of protein and fats to be more sustaining.

Why is AIP so hard? ›

Rushing the Reintroduction Process

The Autoimmune Protocol is hard to do. It's restrictive and time consuming. For that reason, many people force themselves through the elimination period (barely) and then binge on all the restricted foods at once. Unfortunately, this nullifies the whole experiment.

Does AIP allow rice? ›

The AIP diet does not allow you to eat: All grains (including oats, wheat, and rice) All dairy.

What triggers hidradenitis? ›

Hidradenitis suppurativa develops when hair follicles become blocked. The exact cause for this isn't known. Experts think it could be connected to hormones, genetic predisposition, cigarette smoking or excess weight.

What flare up hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

The exact cause of hidradenitis suppurativa is unknown, but the lumps develop as a result of blocked hair follicles. Smoking and obesity are both strongly associated with hidradenitis suppurativa, and if you're obese and/or smoke it will make your symptoms worse.

What 4 main complications can occur in patients with HS? ›

Complications
  • Tracts. The inflammation and infection can form tunnels under the skin. ...
  • Scars and skin changes. Severe HS may leave thick raised scars, pitted skin or patches of skin that are darker than normal.
  • Restricted movement. ...
  • Cellulitis.

How can I make my HS drain faster? ›

This includes applying a warm compress to lumps for 10 minutes a few times each day. This can help the boil drain on its own. You can also lessen inflammation and flares by keeping your skin cool. Avoid wearing too many layers, keep your environment as cool as possible, and limit sweating.

Can you get disability for hidradenitis suppurativa? ›

The SSA recognizes hidradenitis suppurativa as a disability under the list of Skin Conditions. However, qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits isn't as simple as just having the medical condition.

How do you keep your HS under control? ›

Advice that dermatologists give their patients
  1. Wash your skin with an antimicrobial wash. ...
  2. Quit scrubbing your skin. ...
  3. Take care when shaving or waxing skin with HS. ...
  4. Consider laser hair removal as a way to remove hair where you have HS. ...
  5. Treat a painful lump at home with heat. ...
  6. Avoid sweating and overheating.
3 May 2022

How can we prevent HS from spreading? ›

Keep the affected area clean by gently washing with antibacterial soap. Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing to reduce friction on your skin. Try not to shave where you have breakouts. Some patients don't shave their underarms.

Are there any new treatments for HS? ›

Adalimumab is currently the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- and European Medicines Agency (EMA)-approved biologic therapy for moderate to severe HS in adults and adolescents.

Does the sun help HS? ›

Hidradenitis suppurativa

Some call vitamin D the “sunshine vitamin” because your body makes it when you bare your skin to the sun's rays. Vitamin D could also ease the symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). This skin disease causes painful lumps beneath the skin.

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