Monday, June 15, 2015

Zesty Roasted Asparagus (AIP)


*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

I'm back with a recipe for you; it's a delicious side that is pretty easy to make and has got a whole lot of zip! You've probably noticed my extended absence. I've been doing a lot of soul-searching and trying to figure out what I wanted from my blog and where I wanted to go with it. The problem is that the more you throw yourself into something, the deeper you get entrenched and sometimes you get derailed from what you originally started without even realizing it. So I took some space to figure out what my goals really were.

And luckily a lot of my readers came to my rescue. I really was strongly considering moving on and letting the blog go. I felt overwhelmed and that I couldn't bring it together enough to be what it needed to be. And I was comparing myself to a lot of other bloggers. Except that I forgot two very important things:

  1. I have a large group of readers and supporters that follow me because they like MY recipes and like MY story and they like what I have to share. And that's exactly what each and every one of them that emailed or messaged me was sharing and reminding me. And it touched me to realized that I really had made a difference for them, because...
  2. I started my blog to help people. I didn't do this to make money or become famous. I started my blog so I could share recipes and information that would help people the way eating healthier and cleaner has helped me and continues to help me every day.
And that I can't give up. So, yes, my posting might be spotty here and there. After all, I'm working a full time job, cooking AIP recipes for a single lady all by my selfie on the daily, and living with multiple autoimmune diseases. But the best part is that I have seen such significant strides in my conditions and in my physical and mental health. So even though there are occasional bad days and yes, even sometimes the rare bad week, I'm still so far beyond where I imagined I could ever be when I started AIP almost two years ago. The girl that stared in the mirror horrified at a clump of hair and bald spot? I have a small itchy patch at the base of my scalp that mostly only drives me crazy when I'm stressed. And now I've learned when people start stressing me out that I just need to work on #AIPbalance. And I just use the words of one of my clients as I'm walking away: "You're making my head itch!"

Zesty Roasted Asparagus
1 lb asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried summer savory
½ scant tsp garlic powder
½-1 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut the white ends off the asparagus and place the spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus. Then sprinkle the herbs and salt over the asparagus. Toss to coat as evenly as possible.

For crispy spears: Place the cookie sheet in the lower bottom of the oven. Turn or toss the spears every 10-15 minutes depending on how thick the spears are. Thicker spears should go 15 minutes at a time. The spears will shrink and get crispy about 35-45 minutes in. If making crispy spears, I recommend doubling the recipe due to shrinkage.

For tender spears: Place the cookie sheet in the middle of the oven. Turn every 10 minutes. Spears should be roasted and lightly browned on the edges in 25-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Autoimmune Wellness Bundle (Act Now!)


The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle:
An Amazing Resource Available Only Until May 25th!


*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

I am so excited to share this amazing deal with you! In fact, I have been on an unannounced blogging hiatus, but decided to post just so that I could share this deal with all of you! The deal is an amazing opportunity that I wish that I had had around when I started AIP almost two years ago!

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle contains 45 e-books (worth over $500) and 26 discount codes all for just $39! But hurry, it’s only on sale until May 25th!



If you aren't familiar with e-book bundles, they typically include a variety of e-books as well as discount codes, all for a huge discount and sold for a limited time.  Not all bundles are a good deal and I only support those few that provide a large variety of the best-quality resources for a truly amazing deal--and the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle definitely delivers!

This is the very first bundle to focus on exclusively autoimmune protocol-friendly resources! And it contains all of them!  Yes, every single AIP e-book ever created--including cookbooks, meal plans, and guides--are included in this bundle!  Even better, this bundle is full of lifestyle guides to help you tackle all the other stuff too, like stress management, sleep, body image, and movement.  Need help troubleshooting the autoimmune protocol?  Then you’ll love the collection of included e-books that takes you beyond the basics to help you hone in on root issues and regain your health. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, autoimmune expert and author of The Paleo Approach has personally vetted every single resource included in this bundle. The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is quite simply the best AIP resource on the planet!  And it’s only available until Monday!  Check out all the details here.

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle features 45 e-books and 26 discount codes for just $39. That is over 92% off what you would pay if you bought each e-book separately! Plus, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of the coupon codes! 
Included in this bundle:
  • 15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $188)
  • 15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $207)
  • 15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $136)
  • 9 Brand-new e-books
  • Best of AIP Cookbook, exclusive to this bundle!
  • 26 Discount Codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products
And, it’s only available for six days!  Yes, this amazing sale ends on Monday May 25, so go grab it right now!  

And if you buy it right now you are automatically entered to win a new giveaway every single day remaining in this sale!  That’s six amazing giveaways if you buy it right now, each with fabulous prizes including two chances to win a Kindle Fire HD and the grand prize of an All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 worth $2600!  Act now for the best chances to win!  Every giveaway is international and no restrictions apply!  No purchase necessary.  Click here for more details.

Even if you don’t follow the autoimmune protocol, you will love the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle!  The cookbooks included are filled with delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy and the majority of the additional resources are useful no matter who you are!

As if a great collection of e-books wasn’t enough, the bundle also includes exclusive discount codes from all my favorite companies and authors that make AIP-compliant foods, products, and programs!  In addition to getting 45 e-books for only 87¢ each, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of these coupons!  The potential value of these discounts and coupon codes hasn’t even been added to the advertised value of the bundle!  But you could easily recoup the entire cost of the bundle just by using one or two of these coupons!


This bundle is also your first opportunity to purchase NINE brand-new e-books!  Yes, 9 e-books were created specifically for The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle!  What an opportunity to be the first to get your hands on these new resources for a price that just can’t be beat!  This includes the Best of AIP Cookbook, a NEW e-book that can only be found as part of this bundle! Created by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, the Best of AIP Cookbook contains over 160 recipes from the best autoimmune chefs in the community!  It’s a fantastic book and you can only get it here! 

Don't forget! If you're looking for recipes from me, I've got a couple EXCLUSIVE recipes in The Paleo Approach Dinner Club e-Book by Sarah Ballantyne and in the 85 Amazing AIP Breakfast Recipes by Eileen Laird!

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is an entirely digital product, which means you can get instant access by purchasing it right now!  It’s compatible with your computer, tablet and smartphone!  (Instructions are at the bottom of the bundle website if you need them.)

Now you see why I’m so excited about this bundle!

Wait! How can you offer so many resources at such a steep discount?
E-book bundles typically include a variety of e-books and other digital resources sold for a price far lower than what you would pay for each e-book individually. How does this work? There’s two major incentives for authors to donate their e-books to bundles: expanding their audience and affiliate commissions. Chances are good that you won’t be familiar with every e-book included in a bundle sale. This is what’s in it for the authors: the large number of people who look at their e-books (but normally wouldn’t have) and become new fans. When bundles have a strong theme like this one, this advantage goes both ways:  you are the perfect target audience for the e-book contributors and they are great resources for you! Contributing authors also become affiliates for the bundle so there’s still a mechanism for financial compensation for the hard work they put in to creating a great resource.

Bundles also typically contain discount codes. Again, this is what’s in it for the companies: you might try out a new product and become a new regular shopper. Because bundles are such great deals, the excitement is very high, sales tend to be fantastic, and this amounts to substantial exposure to new markets. And hopefully, the huge range of discounts included in this bundle will alert you to some great AIP products you didn’t know about yet!


This model only works when bundles are very thoughtfully organized, provide unique and high quality content, and are sold for a very limited time. The excitement over a legitimately amazing deal means lots of sales and lots exposure for the contributors. When bundle sales last too long or when there’s too many very similar bundle sales to choose from or when the advertising for a bundle includes overinflated values, then the excitement fades and so do the benefits to the contributors. The organizers of the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle are fully honoring the contributions from so many authors and vendors by doing this right! That’s why this bundle was so carefully crafted and is only available until May 25th

Bundle Details
When I’m trying to decide on whether to buy a bundle, I look at which books I would enjoy, total up the value, and then see if that’s more than the cost of the bundle (then I treat everything else as a bonus). I mean, it’s great that this bundle includes 45 e-books and is being sold at a 92% savings, but that doesn’t really mean anything if there’s only two books in the whole bundle that I’m interested in! So, here’s the nitty gritty of what’s in this bundle. Have a look and see if this bundle would be a great resource for you.

Here’s what’s included in this bundle:

15 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $192)
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott ($17 value)
  • The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt ($17 value)
  • 85 Amazing AIP Breakfast Recipes by Eileen Laird ($13 value)
  • *The Best of AIP Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne ($25 value)
  • The He Won’t Know It’s Paleo Cookbook by Bre’anna Emmitt ($15 value)
  • The AIP Paleo Cajun Cookbook by Tara Perillo ($10 value)
  • We Can All Scream for Ice Cream by Jennifer Robins and Vivian Cheng ($10 value)
  • Butter Your Broth, the AIP Version by Kiersten Peterson ($6 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Dinner Club by Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • AIP Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches by Jo Romero ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of AIP by Christina Feindel ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of Low-FODMAP AIP by Christina Feindel ($10 value)
  • Holiday Feast (AIP Edition) by Cassandra Garcia ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Quick-Start Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($18 value)
  • The FODMAP Free Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)


15 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $202)
  • The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson ($10 value)
  • *Go to Bed by Christina Feindel and Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • *Accessible Workouts by Peter Hirsh ($10 value)
  • Stress Solutions by Evan Brand ($27 value)
  • *Relax by Michele Spring ($15 value)
  • Healing, Humor, and Hashimoto’s (excerpt) by Stacey Robbins ($5 value)
  • 30 Days of Prayer: Healing Autoimmunity for Women by Ruschelle Khanna ($5 value)
  • My Butter Life Personal Care by Renee from Hard Lotion ($5 value)
  • REM Rehab by Evan Brand ($29 value)
  • Yoga for the Everyday Flow of Life by RX Yoga ($12 value)
  • How To Biohack the Ultimate Healthy Home by Ben Greenfield ($6 value)
  • Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden (Excerpt from “The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook”) by Diana Rogers ($7 value)
  • The Paleo Miracle 2 by Joe Salama ($10 value)
  • *21 Step Body Image Remix Excerpt by Summer Inannen ($39 value)
  • Stretchsitting (Excerpt from “10 Steps To A Pain-Free Back”) by Esther Gokhale ($5 value)


15 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $132)
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)
  • *Essays from 2014 by Terry Wahls ($10 value)
  • *The Paleo Approach Reintroduction Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($13 value)
  • Biohacking Autoimmune DIY by Petra Chambers-Sinclair ($9 value)
  • Birth Control Unlocked by Stefani Ruper ($9 value)
  • How To Interpret Your Lab Tests for Optimal Levels by Jamie Koonce ($20 value)
  • Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird ($9 value)
  • *Fantastic Fiber by Sarah Ballantyne ($15 value)
  • Brain Health and Stress (excerpt from Why Isn’t My Brain Working?) by Datis Kharrazian ($5 value)
  • The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Foods to Include and Eliminate by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The 10-Day Paleo Transition by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The Causes of Autoimmune Disease (Excerpt from “The Paleo Approach”) by Sarah Ballantyne ($5 value)
  • Quit PMS by Lauren Geertsen ($9 value)
  • Overcoming Hashimoto’s Fatigue by Izabella Wentz ($5 value)
  • Why Hormones Matter (Excerpt from The Hormone Cure) by Sara Gottfried ($5 value)

*Books released exclusively with this bundle!  Yes, there are nine e-books launching with this bundle!

The Best of AIP Cookbook was created exclusively for this bundle! Enjoy an amazing diversity of exquisite flavors while you embark on the autoimmune protocol with this NEW resource, only available here!  With contributions from more than 30 leading Paleo and AIP bloggers and authors, this cookbook includes the best of the best 100% AIP recipes!  Fill your plate with flavor and enjoy every bite on the road to better health!  This 193-page e-book includes: a summary of the autoimmune protocol, and over 160 Best Of recipes, all 100% strict AIP!

Want to know more details about the included books?  Simply go to the bundle website and click on any book image for a full description!

Now, you can see why this bundle isn’t just for those with autoimmune disease!  Even just a quick glance at the resources included is enough to know that this bundle is filled with amazing resources that everyone will enjoy!

Exclusive Discounts and Coupon Codes
To give you even more value and support for your health journey, The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle also includes discount codes for 26 discount codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products!  

Because the bundle organizers don’t want to assume that you’ll use every coupon code, the huge amount of money you could save by taking advantage of these discounts hasn’t even been calculated into the value of the bundle!  That’s right!  The bundle is worth over $500 NOT including the coupons and discount codes!

This is another way that I determine if a bundle is a good deal for me.  I see whether any of the included discount codes and coupons are for products I normally buy or have been meaning to buy.  If a good coupon (or two or three) will save me the cost of the bundle just by purchasing items I would have anyway, then I get to look at all the included e-books and other discount codes as a bonus!

It’s fantastic to see so many discounts and coupons for AIP-friendly products, services and programs! 


Discounts and Coupon Codes
  • AIP Batch Cook $20 off
  • Bare Bones 10% off
  • Barefoot Provisions 10% off
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness Systems 10% off
  • Chrisal 30% off select products
  • Delicious Obsessions 10% off
  • Dr Ron's 10% off
  • Fatworks 20% off
  • Footloose and Chairfree 5% off
  • Gokhale Method 15% off regularly priced items (excluding chair)
  • Kasandrinos 15% off
  • Klio Tea 10% off
  • Kombucha Kamp Free gift with purchase
  • Morrocco Method Free gift with purchase
  • One Stop Paleo Shop 10% off
  • Paleo on the go $20 off
  • Pete's Paleo $10 off
  • Primal Life Organics Starter package for $49
  • SAD to AIP in 6 Weeks $20 off
  • Step and Go 10% off
  • Test.Clear.Heal $100 off
  • The Eczema Company 10% off
  • ThePaleoMom Consulting $25 off
  • US Wellness Meats 15% off
  • Vital Proteins/Corey 20% off + free shipping
  • Wild Zora 10% off

Daily Giveaways!
Another reason to act now?  As if the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle wasn’t enticing enough, if you buy it right now you are automatically entered to win a new giveaway every single day remaining in this sale!  That’s six amazing giveaways that you’ll be entered in if you buy the bundle right now, each with amazing prizes including two chances to win a Kindle Fire HD and the grand prize of an All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 worth $2600! 

Every giveaway is international and no restrictions apply!  Yes, you can enter this giveaway from anywhere in the world!  And the prizes will be shipped anywhere!


Here’s the details of what’s being given away each day of this amazing bundle sale:

May 20:  Kindle Fire HD 7 16GB ($160 Value)
May 21:  $200USD Amazon Gift Certificate (winner may choose which country's amazon site)
May 22:  AIP Print Library ($260 Value), includes physical copies of:
  • The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
  • The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, MD
  • The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, MD
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, NTP
  • Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt
  • Nourish by Rachael Bryant
  • He Won't Know It's Paleo by Bre'anna Emmitt
May 23:  Kindle Fire HD 9 32GB ($400 Value)
May 24:  Two Premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets ($800 Value)
May 25:  All-Expense Paid Trip for Two to Paleo F(x) 2016 ($2600 Value)
  • 2 premium Paleo F(x) 2016 tickets
  • 3 nights stay at a nearby hotel (shared room)
  • 2 $400-travel vouchers
  • $200 in gift certificates to local Austin restaurants
  • AIP Travel Food Gift Baskets in your hotel room when you arrive ($200 value)

The sooner you buy, the greater your chances and the more you could win! Every purchase enters you automatically for all remaining giveaway of this bundle event!  Of course, no purchase is necessary. Click here for more details.

So, what are you waiting for?
Pretty amazing deal right?  Probably the best part is that every single resource has been specially selected and vetted by the bundle organizers to create the highest quality bundle possible!  This really is the ultimate resource for the autoimmune community or anyone looking to heal their bodies and enjoy optimal health!

This is a VERY limited time offer so go here and check out all the details and see just how much you are getting for the awesome deal of $39!  


If you bought every e-book in this bundle separately, it would cost you over $500! But, it’s available for a short time for only $39! That’s 92% off the retail price!!! And that doesn’t include the hundreds of dollars you could potentially save with all the amazing discount codes! Plus, the quality of each item in this bundle is outstanding! This is a great bundle!!!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tapioca Pizza Crust (AIP)

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

Are you ready for pizza night?! I LOVE PIZZA!!! It's up there with ice cream as one of my most favorite foods on the face of the earth. Pizza is also one of the trickiest pies to make AIP. No joke. The crust, the tomato sauce, the cheese. Nope, nope, nopes! But I refused to give up! I refused to be defeated. Creativity in the kitchen is kinda my new thing after all. 

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect pizza. Luckily, this recipe is pretty adaptable. Make sure to read through all the notes and suggestions and ideas. I tried to make this one as flexible as possible. If you don't see something different mentioned, it's because I haven't tried it yet! Make sure to do your own experiments and report back to me so I can share with others! Pizza is so highly individual, just like AIP! That's how we make it all work.

THE CRUST
To me, the perfect crust is slightly crispy on the outside and chewy and delicious on the inside. This is hard to replicate on AIP, but like I said, I'm not a quitter. I absolutely loved the Domestic Man's Grain-Free Flatbread (AIP-friendly!), and originally I used it to make my pizza crust. But it wasn't the perfect pizza crust just yet. So I used that recipe and did some more tweaking. And then I discovered Grazed and Enthused's Rosemary & Proscuitto Stromboli (yep, AIP too!). Such a gorgeous and beautiful stromboli (genius recipe, I'm telling you). She actually used the crust and made it gooey in order to make a cheese-like texture. So the idea was born. I had to combine the two to create a crisp and chewy crust that also had a gooey, cheesy texture. And I finally nailed it. (But for all you thin-crust diehards out there, I've included that variation also.)

THE SAUCE
Now this one really just requires a little bit of thinking outside the box. Luckily, there are lots of Nomato Sauce and Fauxmato Marinara recipes for you to choose from if you like a classic pie. I also thought through lots of variations, and I've included some fun ones also. Scroll down for these options!

THE CHEESE
Yeah, okay, so dairy is out. Who cares? If the rest of the toppings taste like a million bucks, we already got the ooey, gooey texture in the crust. If you're dying for a little bit of the cheesy taste, then nutritional yeast is a nice little add on. There's also Zucchini Cheese now, and lemme tell ya, it melts like a charm over pizza toppings. I've also included a few other ideas to keep the pizza moist. Besides, add extra sauce or a dipping sauce, and who needs the cheese?

It's definitely time to go cook up a pie. This has been one of the funnest recipe developments I've worked on. Who says no to eating lots of pizza??

Tapioca Pizza Crust
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Collagen Protein (or gelatin)
½ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp hot water

Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F. 

While the oven is preheating, combine the tapioca flour, sea salt, oregano, and rosemary in a medium bowl. 

Pour the coconut milk into a small bowl and add the gelatin, mixing thoroughly. Add the hot water to the coconut mixture and mix again. 

Add the olive oil and the coconut milk mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir until it starts to form a stiff dough. If there are too many dry pieces, keep mixing (by hand if necessary) until it all comes together. The dough should be a stiff ball that is slightly moist and barely sticky to the touch. 

If your dough is too runny, add tapioca flour in 1 tbsp increments until it firms. If the dough is too stiff or dry, add hot water in 1 tbsp increments until its mostly smooth and firm. 

Once the oven is fully preheated, carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Coat the skillet with a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil. 

For THICK/CHEWY CRUST: Carefully press the dough into the pan, keeping the thickness around a ¼ inch or thicker. Place the crust in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and top with sauce of choice (see below for suggestions). Top with toppings of choice (see below for suggestions). Cook on the middle rack for 8-12 minutes or until the crust is lightly crispy on the outside but still gives slightly when touched. The inside should be chewy and the parts covered by sauce should be slightly gooey (like cheese!). 

For THIN/CRISPY CRUST: Use a bigger pan (or less dough) and press the dough out until its less than ¼ inch. Place in the oven and cook 5 minutes. Top with sauce and toppings of choice (see below for suggestions and ideas). Cook on the bottom rack 8-12 minutes or until the crust is crispy. Don't overcook or the crust can turn very cracker-like.

Don't worry if the dough starts to melt or spread when it hits the hot pan. Just do your best to press the dough out, using a light coating of tapioca flour or olive oil on your hands if necessary. Be very cautious of the sides of the skillet; they are HOT!

*Sauce Suggestions
  • Nutritional Yeast (1 tbsp)
  • Zucchini Cheese
  • I also like to include toppings like sliced zucchini or sauteed mushrooms and onions which helping give a moist, cheesy feel to the pizza
*Coconut-free Option: Instead of coconut milk, use ¼ cup cold water to bloom the gelatin and then add ¼ cup hot water. Do not add the extra tablespoons of hot water unless the dough is too dry. This dough may not be as gooey under the sauce as the coconut-version but the consistency of the crust is still pretty tasty.

Pizza Ideas:
Hawaiian BBQ Pizza: Pulled pork with BBQ sauce, sauteed onions, summer squash, kale, spinach, and nutritional yeast.
Mexican Pizza: Restaurant-style salsa with chicken breast strips, sauteed onions, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, nutritional yeast.
White Pizza: Garlic Aioli Sauce (and dipping sauce!) with kale, artichokes, chicken sausage, and nutritional yeast.

Olive tapenade sauce with leftover chicken, spinach, squash, and bacon.

Artichoke spinach dip for the sauce (recipe in development) with ground veal, kale, sliced zucchini, and zucchini cheese!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nightshade-free Master Tonic (AIP)

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

Well, hello again! My break this time around has been much too long. I initially took an unscheduled, but much needed digital vacation at the end of the year. My original intentions were to be back and running things smoothly by the first of the year. I got the flu, and then a severe upper respiratory infection/ear infection, which turned into laryngitis and lastly, bronchitis. So we can definitely say that I've had a rough last two weeks. And I'm VERY BEHIND on my blog.

The good news is that I'm almost back to normal, and getting this sick while AIP was a very educational experience for me. Being this sick taught me the importance of rest, medicine, and bone broth.

First of all, when it comes to rest, sitting in front of the tv isn't going to cut it. You have to turn the tv off and GET INTO BED! I learned that while it's hard for me to sit still and do nothing (especially when I'm feeling unwell), once I crawled into bed with no distractions, I actually slept more and rested better.

And when it comes to medicine? As much as I like to keep things all-natural and homeopathic, there comes a point when you have to realize what's working and what isn't. Being a martyr doesn't get you better. Sometimes you have to give in and go to the doctor and take what they prescribe. Yes, know all your options, but then know when to weigh out the risks and benefit and make an educated choice that will get you better. In this case, I had to put aside my short-term AIP-goals in order to get better sooner so that I could get back to focusing on my long-term healing goals: I took a steroid shot and oral steroids. This isn't ideal, but I had to get back on my feet.

The last thing I have to stress is just how important bone broth is in our healing journey. I have never doubted the healing benefits of bone broth. I thought I did a pretty good job incorporating bone broth into my diet. But I haven't made it a number one priority. And I didn't realize how much more I could be doing for myself until I got sick and had soup for most of my meals. And I was pretty impressed by the results. My normally flat and flimsy nails are nice and arched and strong. There is at least a 50% improvement of my nail plate and nail bed in the last two weeks. I wish I had before and after pictures to show you, but trust me when I say: "ADD MORE BONE BROTH TO YOUR DIET! DAILY IF POSSIBLE!" And don't forget to add in some gelatin and collagen supplements on the days you can't!

Now like I said before, I prefer to go to the doctor as a last resort. Usually, I have more success with all natural remedies like elderberry syrup or fermented garlic. My most recent discovery that usually helps is the Master Tonic. The Master Tonic is also known as Fire Cider and Witches Brew.

The Master Tonic is a traditional, natural remedy for any number of illnesses, infections, or plagues; while it's usually recommended for the common cold, it's been touted as healing even more than that. How? It’s naturally antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. Some people have claimed that it can cure the most chronic conditions and persistent diseases. The most important part of making an effective Master Tonic is to use FRESH ingredients that stimulate blood circulation throughout the body.

Traditionally, the Master Tonic also uses a hot pepper like jalapeños or habaneros. Since this isn't an option for those of us following AIP, I chose to substitute lemongrass instead since it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are common health-benefits to the ingredients in the tonic.
  • Ginger is naturally antimicrobial and boosts your immune system. It has a warming effect on the body, which causes us to sweat and expel toxins. It is also known to calm the gastrointestinal tract and enhance blood flow. It can also help with chills, colds, and fever. 
  • Horseradish is naturally antibacterial and anti-parasitic, and it stimulates your immune system. It has warming properties and acts as an expectorant, so it’s a potent herb for your sinuses and lungs. It helps open up your sinus passages and increases circulation there, which is where the common cold and influenza commonly begins.
  • Onions are a good source of the antioxidant Quercetin, which is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral. Quercetin is also thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Garlic is antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It can also enhance blood flow.
  • Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory and is also warming. Turmeric is also known to have pain-relieving properties.
  • Lemongrass is mostly used to alleviate common respiratory conditions like laryngitis and sore throats. It is also known to be an anti-pyretic, which reduces high fevers (hence why it's called fevergrass in some cultures). Lemongrass has strong pain-relieving properties and can help to alleviate muscle spasms (All pain types like abdominal pain, headaches, joint pains, digestive tract spasms). Because of this pain-relieving property, lemongrass may even help to repair damaged connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons (this makes me believe it's a good substitute for most of us with AI issues!)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: There are tons and tons and tons of uses for ACV. But the focus here is that it helps your body eliminate toxins. The fermentation process that creates ACV might also strengthen the immune system, promote digestion, and relieve sore throats, colds, and sinus infections.
Nightshade-free Master Tonic
3 oz chopped ginger
3 oz chopped horseradish
3 oz chopped onions
3 oz chopped garlic
3 oz chopped turmeric
3 oz chopped lemongrass
1 qt apple cider vinegar

*It is strongly recommended by traditional fermenters that the Master Tonic be made on the New Moon and strained on the Full Moon. This is said to encourage the most positive energy and healing properties of the Master Tonic. If you're superstitious or just believe in good vibes, I suggest following the schedule. If not, then the Master Tonic needs to sit for two weeks.*

Combine all the solids in a quart mason jar. This should fill the jar approximately half-way. Fill the remainder of the jar with apple cider vinegar (you won't use all of it). Secure the lid and place the jar in a dark cabinet out of direct light but where it is easily accessible. Shake the jar vigorously at least once a day for two weeks. After two weeks, strain the liquid into an airtight bottle. You can then use the solids in recipes or dehydrate them and then grind them into a seasoning powder (just wear gloves and goggles while grinding as the mixture is potent!).

To use the Master Tonic:
  • Gargle and swallow. Don’t dilute with water.
  • Take ½-1 oz, three times daily at the first signs of a cold
  • If you’re already sick, then take it six times daily
  • You can also use it as flavoring in soups for an extra kick!

Monday, December 15, 2014

AIP Holiday Baked Goods Recipe Roundup


AIP Holiday Baked Goods Recipe Roundup
With just 10 days before the big holiday, it’s definitely officially Christmastime. There’s the décor and carols and parties aplenty. On the Gulf Coast, I’m back and forth between flip flops and boots, coats and short sleeves, but most of the rest of the country is warming themselves by the fireplace or under a pretty blanket of snow. Christmastime means something different for everyone. We all have our little traditions that help get us in the spirit of the holiday. Growing up, my favorite tradition was the day each year that my mom and I spent together in the kitchen baking batches and batches of baked goods like cookies and breads and dessert bars to share with family, friends, and neighbors. We’d make all kinds and divvy them all up into a mixed assortment to give away.

Pre-Paleo, baking was one of my favorite pastimes. I loved the routine and ritual of baking something from scratch from start to finish. After I started Paleo, baking became less and less of a priority because I didn’t enjoy almond flour concoctions. At that time, it was pretty much almond flour or nothing. I switched to using white rice flour for some goods, but the more and more research I did, the more I felt that desserts weren’t really “Paleo” even if the ingredients were. So I slowly transitioned to not eating many desserts at all. And that’s where I stand, especially now as someone who is trying to closely follow the Autoimmune Protocol.

My stance is that baked desserts aren’t AIP. Now bear with me and hear me out. The idea of the Autoimmune Protocol is to eat nutrient dense foods that heal our bodies and provide us with the most nourishment we can get. All the baked goods might taste delicious, and they might have safe ingredients, but they are almost never nutrient dense and usually have high quantities of ingredients that we should be consuming in moderation, like coconut flour or sugars. So if you ask me if that dessert is AIP? I’m going to say, “No, it’s not.”

But. There’s always a “but”. The desserts might not be AIP, but I do think they are “AIP-friendly”. That’s not an official term, but you’ll see it often on my blog. What does that mean? While the idea behind desserts and baked goods may not completely jive with all the essentials of AIP, if all the ingredients are approved on the protocol, then I feel this makes them “AIP-friendly.” And I firmly believe that AIP-friendly baked goods and desserts have a place in the Autoimmune Paleo lifestyle or any other healing diet.

Because AIP isn’t just about the food. AIP is about learning our bodies, and learning to cut back on stress and enjoy life so that we can nourish our souls too.  Now I’m not arguing in favor of binge-eating or emotional eating, but we get cravings for comfort foods, and they are called “comfort foods” for a reason. Mark Sisson has a great article about Why We Crave Comfort Foods, where he addresses the psychological aspect of eating certain foods, and why it’s not always that bad to cave and enjoy them in moderation.

AIP treats allow us to do just that, and to do that without completely derailing our healing efforts. AIP can be extremely difficult, because this isn’t a diet where 80/20 or cheat days are feasible. You’re either all in or you’re dealing with serious setbacks every time you consume a damaging food. And that’s why I’m glad for the other bloggers who create these fabulous treats for us. I may not be much of a baker myself any more, but any dessert or treat that allows us to “splurge” or enjoy ourselves and stay compliant to the Autoimmune Protocol at the same time is something that I can truly appreciate.

So this year for Christmas, I’m not going to spend the day baking batches and batches of desserts and confections to share. I’ve decided to round up the best AIP Holiday Baked Goods to share with all of you instead. Merry Christmas!


*Special thanks to all the bloggers of the AIP community that take so much time developing these recipes. It’s a true science and art form that I personally struggle with, so I couldn’t have created such a wonderful roundup without their help!*

Cookies

Bars & Handpies

Macaroons

Breads

Barks

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chunky Beef Stew (AIP)

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

I'd say "Let's get ready for winter!" with this newest recipe, but from the looks of the weather map... Well, winter has already hit pretty hard for most of the country. I'm still hanging out down here on the Gulf Coast in flip flops and a light sweater...in December! Our cold will hit us eventually, but in the meantime, there are lots of rainy days where soup makes the perfect go-to. And a traditional beef stew is what's on the menu!

Now in the Standard American Diet (SAD), there's a lot of smack that goes around for eating red meat or eating "too much" red meat. The claims are that its full of fat and bad for your heart because it causes high cholesterol.

The reality is that beef is a great addition to any healing diet. Red meat is full of essential vitamins., making it nutrient dense. Since most of us with autoimmune disorders tend to have issues with leaky gut (or increased intestinal permeability if you want to use the more official terms), eating nutrient dense foods is part of AIP 101. Why? Because leaky gut means that malabsorption of essential nutrients is more likely, and eating nutrient dense foods is more critical in order to obtain as many nutrients as our body is able.

Specifically, red meat contains significant levels of B vitamins (especially B12, which most people tend to be deficient in), Vitamin D (another common vitamin deficiency), Iron (usually the main issue in individuals suffering from anemia), zinc, copper, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, selenium, and nickel.

The saturated fat and cholesterol argument has also been debunked lately. There's been no consistent evidence that proves that saturated fat makes you fat. In fact, there are more studies and facts showing the benefits of a diet rich in healthy saturated fat. TIME also recently published an article pro-butter versus margarine. For those of us following the Autoimmune Protocol, butter might be out but animal fats such as tallow, lard, bacon fat, and duck fat are great options.

Lastly, if you're eating grass-fed beef, then your source of omega 3 fatty acids is much higher than eating poultry. Omega 6s aren't necessarily bad on their own, but the major issue is the ratio between the two. Because SAD is a diet full of omega 6s, any opportunity to boost omega 3s is an opportunity not to be wasted. If you're worried about your consumption of non-grassfed beef due to budget, no worries. While it's not the AIP or Paleo ideal, not be able to eat grass-fed or pasture-raised for every meal isn't a deal-breaker. As the Paleo Mom states in her post Paleo FAQ: “Can I still do paleo if I can’t afford or source grass-fed beef and organic produce?”:
Whether sourcing exclusively the best quality foods available or buying your groceries at your local superstore, a Paleo diet is still a nutrient-dense diet that reduces inflammation, helps regulate hormones, encourages a healthy gut and generally promotes good health.
 So don't be afraid of beef—grass-fed or not. Add some stew meat to your grocery list, and whip up big pot of this hearty stew. This recipe is also perfect for batch cooking; just freeze and heat up when you're ready for a bowl.

Chunky Beef Stew
¼ cup arrowroot starch
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp parsley flakes
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
2 lbs beef stew meat
3 tbsp beef tallow or coconut oil
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups sliced carrots
6 cups beef bone broth
3 cups white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
2 tsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp coconut vinegar (or more red wine vinegar)
2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme (½ tsp ground thyme)

In a medium bowl, combine arrowroot starch, oregano, parsley, sea salt, and garlic powder. Dredge the stew meat in the mixture to lightly coat. Set aside any remaining flour mixture.

In a dutch oven or large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of fat over medium low heat. Toss the meat in and cook until browned on all sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of fat to the pot. Add leeks, onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook until the edges start to turn translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add bone broth and sweet potatoes to the pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add stew meat and reserved arrowroot mixture to the broth and stir again. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is tender and sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Serve.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook Review (& Recipe)


*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you purchase an item your price stays the same, but I make a small commission to help run my blog. See more information here.*

The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook Review (& Recipe)
I'm hanging out with Angie Alt today on her Virtual Cookbook Tour for her new cookbook: The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook. Angie is the blogger behind the Alt-ternative Autoimmune blog and a certified health coach. 


Angie sent me a copy of her eBook for me to review. I opened it on my Kindle and am loving it! The colors are beautiful, the format is simple and easy to read. The graphic designer in me (I had a couple of classes in college) absolutely loves the small accents and the cleanliness of the design. The photos are rich in color and appetizing. I also love that the recipes are divided up into Elimination Phase and Reintroduction Phase. But the cookbook isn't just recipes. And that's one of the best parts. Angie also covers lots of information regarding what AIP is, how to go about reintroductions, and how to monitor food reactions. The cookbook is a great resource, but she's not done there. She's also touched on Balance, Cheating, and the Farmer's role in AIP. This means she's covered the emotional/mental aspect of AIP and other lifestyle details that you wouldn't find in just any cookbook. I think it's brilliant, because at the end of the day, AIP isn't a diet. The Autoimmune Protocol is a lifestyle change, and it will change your life. The best part is that Angie's cookbook will help you get started, and continue to help you along the way.

As a part of Angie's Virtual Tour "stop" at my house, I decided to do lunch with Angie using recipes from her cookbook. I am still in the elimination phase so I stuck to all strict AIP recipes. The way they are labeled makes it easy! I posted the photos this afternoon on my Instagram, but here's a recap!

Bacon & Artichoke Stuffed Pork Chops
First off, the main course! I selected her Bacon & Artichoke Stuffed Pork Chops. Can we say amazing? The recipe was easily halved to two servings. The dish looks fancy and gourmet, but it whipped up pretty quickly, and then it's popped in the oven to finish cooking so that you can get things done in the meantime. I cooked mine in a cast iron skillet so that I could place the whole dish in the oven. I added in some chopped broccoli tossed with bacon fat for an easy side, which means this has the potential to be a perfect one-pot meal. I didn't make any changes to Angie's recipe itself, and it came out delicious. I love a recipe that's perfect as is or easily flexible.


Honey & Rosemary Glazed Carrots
For an extra side, I made her Honey & Rosemary Glazed Carrots. This dish is super easy and simple, and it's prepped and cooked in minutes! I used organic carrots so after washing, I didn't even peel them. Need a quick weeknight side? Done! The flavor is also simple but balanced. The honey and rosemary pair beautifully together, and it's a nice change for carrots. I don't prepare them often enough because other than roasting, I always run out of ideas. This recipe will change that.


Lunch with Angie
The whole dish was ready in less than an hour, but most of that was dead cooking time where I could work on other things. In my opinion, that means it's a fabulous weeknight meal that's pretty simple and a crowd pleaser.

Rosemary Tea Time Biscuits
Now I couldn't help but choose a dessert to finish out the meal. While I'm not big on sweets, I do like to try baked goods as an occasional treat. So when I was flipping through and trying to decide, the Rosemary Tea Time Biscuits immediately caught my eye for several reasons. First, I love tea, and I've been dying to find an AIP biscuit or cookie recipe that would pair well together with a hot cup. When I scanned the recipe, I noticed that it was not a very sweet recipe so it's perfect for what I was looking for—a nice treat that's not overly sugary. After making the recipe, I fell in love. The texture is light and crumbly and delicate; it is beyond perfect as a tea time treat or as a light dessert. And the flavor is absolutely delectable. A true winner! I served mine with Tiesta Tea's Red Rose Loose Leaf Rooibus for a delicious fall combo.


I am so excited about this cookbook. Angie has done a fabulous job. I've already fallen in love with the eBook. But since I'm a book lover in general, I can't wait to get my hands on the print copy.

You can find the eBook here: 

And the Print version here:

The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook
by Angie Alt

Do your autoimmune bookshelf a favor, and grab yourself a copy. And as a special gift for my lovely readers, Angie has given me permission to provide you with a recipe from her cookbook! And yes, it's more rosemary, but it's my favorite herb right now! 


Shallot & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4-6
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
2 shallots, diced
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put diced squash in a large bowl and drizzle with oil. Add shallots, rosemary and salt. Stir to coat.

Spread squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes, stirring halfway through for even browning. Serve and enjoy!