Behind The Scenes

January // The idea

In 2012 I decided I was going to write and publish the first cookbook for the Autoimmune Protocol (at the time, there were only a few blogs and no published resources for the protocol). I self-published The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook as an ebook in 2013 and as a hardcover print book in 2014, after having my idea turned down by publishing houses (you can read the full story at My Journey to Publishing The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook). 

After my experience putting together The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, I knew I'd want to do it again. I just didn't think it would take so long for me to have the space in my life to get there!

This past January I was reflecting on how far the AIP movement had come since those early days and what I had to offer going forward. I began to think about how as the movement has exploded, the protocol has become condensed to focus almost exclusively on the elimination phase and what can't be eaten. I decided my next cookbook would contain teachings and actionable information to help people see the importance and effectiveness of incorporating nutrient density into their meals, an area that I see as still lacking in our community. 

As the AIP community has grown, there are more people customizing the protocol, like adding on a low-carb or low-FODMAP layer. In addition, everyone is interested in how to prepare food quickly, with less cleanup. I wanted to create a resource for these people, too!

February-May // The recipes

I had been collecting some of the best ideas I had come up with in the last few years for a new book, but it wasn't quite the head start I had imagined! In February I started with heavy brainstorming. These are some of the questions I used to come up with recipe ideas for the book: 

Are these ingredients available at any grocery store? 
Could this recipe be made both on the stovetop/oven and in an Instant Pot? 
Does this recipe use an affordable/common cut of protein?
Is this recipe a one-pot or whole nourishing meal, with broth, protein, and vegetables?
Can any specifically seasonal ingredients be swapped out?
Is it an easy way to cook a new ingredient?
It it a pleasant way to try a new ingredient?
Is it likely to be a hit with kids and family members?
Does this recipe store well in either the refrigerator or freezer?
Does this recipe need any fancy specialty tools?

While not every recipe in the book is a "yes" for all of those questions, my goal was not only to create delicious recipes, but ones that you would cook over and over. Answering "no" to too many of those questions is a barrier for me to make certain recipes, and I love to cook! I wanted to make everything as affordable, adaptable, cookable, and palatable as possible. 

Oh, I forgot THE most important question!

Does this recipe contain nutrient-dense ingredients?

June-October // Photography and editing

After having a bulk of the recipes developed (with my trusty kitchen assistant, Amy), we moved on to the refining and photographing stage. 

I hired my friend Charlotte Dupont to photograph the book (Angie and I worked with her on The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook and could not be more thrilled with the results). 

We decided since Charlotte was in Bend, Oregon that we'd travel there once a month for a 2-day photoshoot. Over the two days, Amy and Noah (my husband) would prepare 20-30 recipes, I would style them and Charlotte would photograph them. 

In September I began working with my editor, Lisa Gordanier, on tightening up the manuscript and getting it ready for design.

Here is the shot of a very tired team, still happy at the end of a photoshoot day!

November // Editing and design

This is the month we are in now... and the list of tasks to accomplish is big!

  • Final copyedit
  • Final cover design
  • Launch pre-order campaign

December // Printing

In the middle of December we should have all the interior page layouts finished and ready to be proofed and sent to the printer. Just in time for a holiday break!