AIP Balance Week | Day 3: Social Isolation


Growing up, I was always the kid who wanted to be the center of attention. I like to make people laugh, to get them to open up, and to be the maker of memories for a group of friends. I thrived around people, was certainly an extrovert, and spent the majority of high school and college involved in social activities every night. Once I graduated from school and moved away from my best friends, these social encounters became fewer and farther in between but I still made sure to attend social events at least twice a week. I began dating my husband at age 22 and a lot of my free time was spent with other couples instead of fostering relationships with girlfriends. This didn’t start bothering me until I moved to Chicago, away from our large group of friends and family, and had to start completely from scratch. Thankfully, I did meet several girls I connected with and one in particular provided not just an ear or a shoulder but a whole lotta heart. Everyone needs a friend like her, and I don’t think I would have fared nearly as well the last 18 months in a foreign city away from my loved ones without her.

When I was just “plain” Paleo for 2 years, my diet did not affect my social participation. In fact, my friends loved all my fresh foods, frittatas, muffins, and yummy dinner parties. I still drank alcohol at least 1-2 times a week which is a huge facilitator of social engagement when you’re in your twenties, of course! Once I transitioned to AIP, things changed drastically. I made a commitment to focus on my sleep, my food, my inflammation, and my energy levels. I started turning down invitations for happy hours and late nights out, and soon those invitations just stopped coming altogether. When I found out friends would gather without me, my feelings would be really hurt, but I knew they weren’t trying to be exclusive. I had put up a barrier between me and them. We weren’t the same anymore in their eyes, although I still enjoyed doing girly things like shopping, pedicures, and yoga classes. For some reason, my lack of alcohol drinking really put a wedge in a lot of my relationships, which is so sad and frankly ridiculous. But I don’t expect everyone to understand the connection between lifestyle and autoimmunity especially if they haven’t felt the insecurity of autoimmune disease personally.

I have experienced a lot of success on AIP but I also felt a new emotion: loneliness. I missed going out to dinners and trivia nights at the bar. I longed for late night snacks and opening up that leftover bottle of wine at 2 a.m. when really we should just go to bed. I missed hangover brunches with girlfriends that were full of giggles and happy hormones. I even missed just cracking a gluten free beer with my husband for the hell of it and going for a walk with my marginally illegal open container. I’m not the only one, I know this, and I have heard from many of you who feel paralyzed by this lifestyle and lack of connection in relationships. This is NORMAL. I can promise you that every person who has ever been on AIP has felt this way at some point. How could you not? Food and eating with others hit on some major human needs: belonging, love, and nourishment. Social inclusion has been linked to mental wellness in many research studies for good reason. We need to be surrounded by others who are like us.  I suggest we all recognize it, accept it, and find a solution for it. Below are a few of my tips for managing social isolation while adhering to AIP.

YES

  • Talk to your friends and family about your autoimmune disease and why you’re doing AIP. Explain to them that social support is necessary for your success and that you need to continue to spend time with them even if you can’t eat or drink the same things right now. Don’t be shy or embarrassed of this but remember to be patient if they don’t seem to understand or respect your decision to do the AIP. Ignorance can be obliterated through education.
  • Meet new likeminded friends. Go to meetup.com or thepaleomomcommunity.com to find local members of the Paleo and AIP community … you can NEVER have enough friends! I only stopped feeling alone in my autoimmunity once I joined and actively participated in these support groups and began emailing back and forth with women who not only understood me but could offer valuable and empathic advice. Recently I got to meet Paleo Cajun Lady and The Bacon Mum at a book signing, and I felt instantly connected to these ladies through our AI experiences.  I had dinner with Sarah & Stacy after that same book signing, and I cannot tell you how relieving it was too not be the only person at the table with food restrictions! Every black sheep wants to be part of the herd at some point. 
  • Join online support groups such as The Paleo Approach Community and AIP Support groups on Facebook such as this oneor this one . You don’t have to meet people face-to-face to feel like you know them these days. I can think of two handfuls of women who I can count on for help or advice at the drop of a hat that I’ve never met in person.
  • Do “normal” things. Go to happy hours with friends and bring a bottle of kombucha that you can pour over ice at the bar. Go dancing with your girls and let yourself sleep off the late night on Sunday. Join a yoga studio or group fitness gym and get to know the members so you feel like you’re socializing by default an hour each day! I’ve made several friends at my gym and although we don’t gather outside of class, we still spend time laughing and catching up with each other every day.
  • Sarah Ballantyne asked the AIP blogging community help develop The Paleo Approach Dinner Club e-book for good reason! We all know how difficult it is to participate in food and alcohol-related social events while on AIP (and isn’t that like 95% of the stuff we do with our friends in the first place??) An AIP dinner club is a group of individuals dedicated to gathering for a potluck each week to enjoy nourishing food together and to laugh and tell stories like normal people (hey, we need fun too!) If you feel lost and lonely on AIP, a dinner club is going to change your perspective and revitalize your social energy.

NO

  • Don’t put a wedge between you and your friends. Make an effort not to turn down their offers for social outings or they will start thinking you don’t want to or can’t hang out with them while on AIP which is NOT true. If you are too tired to go out, ask them if they’ll stay in with you and watch a movie. Explain why. If they never take you up on your offer, you’re not missing out on much anyways. I was really bad about this for awhile, partly because I inherently didn’t like the dive bars they go to and partly because I felt like “what’s in it for me?” – uh freakin’ friendships, that’s what!
  • Don’t keep your autoimmune disease to yourself. I spent the first 6 years of my diagnosis prior to starting this blog very rarely talking about Hashimoto’s, leaky gut, or histamine intolerance, even with my family. I went to every scary doctor’s appointment by myself and got stuck with dozens of needles without ever having someone there to distract me or hold my hand. I became a little resentful of my friends who never asked or seemed to wonder about my less than admirable health. This started a cycle with my friendships and I became the one who stopped calling… they didn’t seem to care about what I was going through because they didn’t KNOW what I was going through. How could they support me if I didn’t let them in? Educate your friends on your symptoms and how they can make leading your old “normal” life difficult. Call them when you’re not feeling well and let them bring over AIP-compliant food or help you walk your dog. A lot of people with autoimmunity are Type A personalities (“we can do everything ourselves!!!!”), but don’t let those pesonality traits get in the way of feeling social inclusion and belongingness on your AIP journey… after all it is just as important as food, sunshine, and exercise!
     

Check back for the last post for AIP Balance Week on Exercise & AIP tomorrow!

AIP Jellied Cranberry Sauce


I remember the first year I saw cranberry jelly on our Thanksgiving table. I think we had guests in town and my mom was trying to be welcoming and inclusive. She bought that Ocean Spray brand stuff, opened it using the can opener, and let me run a spoon around the edges of it. It plopped out on the serving plate in a perfect cylinder with those tell-tale ridges. I remember thinking it looked pretty cool, like roller skating rink candy or my Jelly shoes (90’s kid for ya). I was so excited to try it with Lebanese Roast Chicken (my AIP version of that recipe will be up soon!) and stuffing but was SO disappointed in this taste. The bright red color and Jello-y texture was enough to keep me happy though, so I asked my mom to buy it again the next year. No one touched the stuff. Years passed before we had Cranberry Relish on our table, and this time it was the real deal: fresh cranberries, simmered with fresh orange juice, orange zest, and honey. It had a granular texture though, and I really did prefer the gelatin texture of the canned variety but liked the taste of fresh fruit MUCH more. 

This year, my first Thanksgiving on AIP, calls for a combination of the two. Fresh cranberries cooked with BONE BROTH instead of water, plus honey to sweeten it lightly. Grass-fed Great Lakes gelatin helped it gel perfectly. I served it with my AIP Lebanese Roast Chicken & Stuffing this week and it brought me right back to my Mom’s Thanksgiving table. Enjoy just in time for the holidays!

AIP Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Serves 6 | Prep Time 5 min| Cook Time 30 min | Fridge Time 2 hours

12 oz fresh organic cranberries

1 ½ cups bone broth, divided

3 T honey, divided

2 T grass-fed gelatin

Pinch sea salt

2 mandarin oranges, peeled

  1. Place cranberries, 1 cup bone broth, and 2 T honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a high-powered blender.
  2. Warm the remaining ½ cup bone broth in either the saucepan or the microwave until hot but not boiling. Stir in gelatin, remaining 1 T honey, and sea salt. Pour this mixture into the blender with the cranberries and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Pour into a serving dish. Lay mandarin slices on top of the cranberry mixture and place in fridge to solidify, 1-2 hours. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge for a more developed flavor (my favorite way!)

Roast Chicken with Lebanese Stuffing (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

I was crossing my fingers that I would nail this recipe on the first attempt and I did. I think because I have such an emotional connection to this meal from childhood, my limbic system was able to guide my cooking intuition. I explained on Instagram recently that my family didn’t do traditional Thanksgiving turkey & stuffing growing up, but a simple Lebanese roasted chicken stuffed with a spiced mixture of beef, rice, onion, pine nuts, cinnamon and allspice. I was hell-bent on making an AIP version of all my favorite “Lebanese Feast” (that’s what my twin sister and I call it) dishes so I can enjoy them this year too. Last year, I couldn’t eat ANY of the Christmas dinner, and I threw a temper tantrum full of tears and “Why can’t  you guys realize that it sucks to have allergies, and that I deserve to eat this food too!!!!” So attractive. I still throw tantrums in my head, but I try not to execute them in front of other humans. That’s how you do AIP responsibly.

 

It was really only after that outburst that my family recognized my need to have that emotional connection to food that they all still get to enjoy. Nobody was going to forgo the rice stuffing or tahini and chickpea hummus just for me though, so I said F it, I’m going to make my own AIP versions and they’re going to be even better, starting with this dish! The parsnips add such a nice earthy taste, and you won’t believe how awesome ground beef stuffing with a perfectly roasted chicken tastes! The skin will be crispy and the meat very juicy by using my method below. With a squeeze of roasted lemon on top and a heaping scoop of stuffing, you’re going to shoot right out of any bland food rut you may have found yourself in lately (it happens to the best of us!)

 

So for Lebanese Christmas Feast this year, I’ll be making both the traditional and AIP versions of these dishes

– Lebanese Chicken & Stuffing (recipe  below)

AIP Hummus by Me

AIP Pita by He Won’t Know Its Paleo

– Whole Carrot Taboulleh from The Paleo Approach Cookbook

– AIP Kibbeh (recipe to be developed) <– this usually has gluten, pine nuts, and seed-based spices

– AIP Mammoul Balls (recipe to be developed) <– these are traditionally made of walnuts

 

 

 

Lebanese Roast Chicken & Stuffing

Serves 4-5 | Ready in

Beef & Parsnip Rice Stuffing

1 lb lean grass-fed ground beef

1 small onion, peeled and diced

6 large parsnips, cut into chunks

1 tsp cinnamon, divided

1/16 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup bone broth, divided

1 T lard

2 T dried mint

¼ tsp granulated garlic

2 tsp lemon juice

Optional: 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (if tolerated – not AIP)

  1. Process parsnips in food processor using the ricing disc, or alternatively pulse in a high powered blender until the parnsip is broken into rice-sized pieces.
  2. Cook ground beef in a large, deep skillet until almost cooked through. Break up with a spoon into small pieces as it cooks. Turn heat off and stir in just ½ tsp cinnamon, cloves, and ¼ tsp sea salt. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Heat lard over medium heat in the same skillet. Add onions first and then the parsnips, cover, and let cook for 3 minutes until the bottom layer of onions begins to caramelize. Remove lid and stir well. Add just ½ cup bone broth to skillet. Cover with lid again and let steam cook for 3 more minutes until parsnips are cooked through but still tender. Remove pan from heat, stir in mint, remaining ½ tsp cinnamon, remaining ½ cup bone broth, remaining ¼ tsp sea salt, garlic, lemon juice,  the cooked ground beef, and pine nuts (if using). The broth should be absorbed in the meat and vegetables as you stir.

Lebanese Roast Chicken

1 whole pasture-raised chicken (about 3 lbs)

1 T lard

½ lemon

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

½ tsp sea salt

  1. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to seasoning.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a small roasting rack on top of a large baking sheet. This allows the chicken to crisp up on the bottom too. No one likes soggy chicken skin.
  3. Prepare the chicken for roasting: Dry the chicken well by patting with paper towels both on the outside and inside the cavity (very important!!). Rub lard on the chicken, coating evenly. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the whole chicken. Stuff the lemon and fresh herbs in the cavity and tie the legs together with kitchen string. You can also bring the wings closer to the breast and secure them tightly with another piece of string.
  4. Cook the chicken: Roast on prepared rack and baking sheet for 55 minutes. Increasing cooking time by 15 minutes per lb (if chicken weighs more than 3 lbs) until breast internal temperature reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the oven off and let the chicken rest in the oven for 10 minutes with the door closed. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest on the countertop, covered, for 10 more minutes before slicing. After slicing, squeeze lemon all over chicken and sprinkle with more sea salt. Serve with warm Beef & Parsnip Stuffing and AIP Hummus!

Avocado Carob Fudge Bars – my favorite AIP dessert!! (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)


I’m obsessed with these. They fill a lot of craving voids on AIP… convenience snack, nighttime treat, on-the-go breakfast (there are worse things), and kid/husband-friendly. They taste exceptionally good the next day. The avocado comes through slightly but is balanced with the sweetness of the dates and coconut and more complex flavor of the carob. I don’t think I need to sell you on AIP-compliant fudge bars so I’ll change the subject.

 

My husband was out of town all week. I missed his companionship, but I stayed very busy with fieldwork, the dog, blog, and catching up on my reading. It reminded me that I’m not really good at staying on schedule when I live by myself for whatever reason. I ate maybe 2-3 actual meals, snacked all day on too many treats (like these bars. omg they are so good.), skipped the gym multiple times, and stayed up late reading about spinal cord injuries. Other than that last part, I sound like an irresponsible teenager who goes all free willy when her parents leave her home alone. God only knows what the heck he does when I go out of town. Frightening thoughts.

 

The honeymoon countdown has begun… 1 week until we will be in Arizona! I am being forced to not plan a thing, or be a freak and look up every hike, trail, horseback ride, restaurant, bar, tea shop, Whole Foods, and farmer’s market in the near vicinity. I have been instructed to “just go with it”. WHAT IS THAT? I’m gonna roll with the unstructured vacation though since it is our honeymoon after all, but I’m still packing snacks damn it. Did you see my post on AIP-Friendly Travel Snack & Meal Ideas? It got a ton of great response, even more than some of my recipes (let’s be honest: the vegetable ones). I’m wondering if people want more useful AIP lifestyle information? Leave me your thoughts if you feel so inclined!

 

Avocado Carob Fudge Bars 

Makes 5 bars or 20 squares | Prep Time 10 minutes | Freeze Time 55 minutes

Carob Date Crust

10 Medjool dates, pitted

2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

2 T carob powder

½ tsp vanilla bean powder (For AIP: use pure vanilla powder)

Pinch sea salt

2 T melted coconut oil

  1. Blend dates, coconut, cinnamon, carob, and sea salt in a food processor or blender until crumbly. Add coconut oil to blender and incorporate until wet.
  2. Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on at least 1 of the sides. Press date mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until hardened.
  3. While the crust is in the fridge, make the Avocado Fudge

Avocado Fudge

¼ cup coconut butter, melted

¼ cup + 2 T palm shortening

¼ cup well-mashed ripe avocado

1 T honey

½ tsp vanilla bean powder (For AIP: use pure vanilla powder)

Pinch sea salt

  1. Melt the coconut butter and palm shortening in a glass dish in the microwave. Stir avocado, honey, vanilla and sea salt until smooth.
  2. Pour over the hardened crust and spoon evenly over the entire surface. Freeze for 25 minutes.

Carob Layer

¼ cup coconut butter

¼ cup palm shortening

2 T carob powder

½ tsp honey

  1. Melt coconut butter and palm shortening in a microwaveable glass dish, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carob powder and honey until smooth. Pour evenly over the Avocado Fudge Layer. Let freeze for 10 minutes to harden. Slice bars or cut into squares and serve. Store in refrigerator.

Paleo Chocolate Lava Cakes (Egg-Free, Nut-Free, AIP Adaptable)

 

So this is my official announcement that I have reintroduced chocolate back into my life. Our break-up was a harsh one. There was lots of name-calling, plate-throwing, and feelings of mistrust. In fact, my heart used to feel like it had dropped into my stomach every time chocolate and I had a misfortunate date. Along with  cramps and embarrassing trips to the bathroom. I feel like the poster child for AIP reintroductions with this one because I NEVER thought I would be able to eat it again. My reactions were so bad just 3 months ago that I would violently vomit all night if I tried to reintroduce it. I’ve been having a little every day and no issues! I do have to be careful though because of the caffeine levels. I do NOT handle caffeine well, never have, and I doubt I ever will. It’s just not in my DNA.

 


Hi pretty little cake! I’m going to make you disappear faster than you can say Ghiradelli 10 times in a row. So chocolate is a Stage 2 Reintroduction on The Paleo Approach. In Stage 1, I reintroduced fresh legumes and fruit-based spices (like the vanilla bean in this recipe) with no problemo. (although I still only eat them occasionally). Eggs, seed-based spices, and ghee weren’t tolerated, and I found out I still have an egg and dairy allergy, so that makes sense.

 

In Stage 2, I have reintroduced nuts/seeds  (except sesame seeds – those did not fair well) and cocoa. When reintroducing a food that is part of a recipe, you must know that you do not have an intolerance or allergy to any of the other ingredients in that recipe! That way you can tell if a negative reaction is the new food or another AIP-compliant ingredient that you may indeed be intolerant to (i.e. arrowrroot and coconut sugar are “AIP” foods in moderation, but some people still react to them). I am fine with both of these foods in moderate amounts, so this recipe would be a good choice for me. You must also have already introduced vanilla bean powder for this recipe. I chose not to use vanilla extract because it will not be fully cooked out, and I cannot tolerate alcohol, (a stage 2 reintro) even in small amounts.

 

PLEASE read The Reintroduction Guide for more information in reintroducing foods on AIP! It is very important to do it “right” or risk inappropriately including or excluding a food from your diet. You can purchase your copy HERE. It tells you how much you should eat per day and how/when to track for reactions.

 

Paleo Chocolate Lava Cakes [Egg-free/Nut-Free]

Makes 4 single-serve cakes | Ready in 35 minutes

½ cup high quality cocoa powder* (For AIP: Use carob powder)

½ cup arrowroot flour

1 T coconut flour

1/3 c coconut sugar

¾ tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla bean powder (For AIP: use pure vanilla powder)

2 T grass-fed gelatin

¼ c boiling water

¼ cup lard

2 T coconut oil

Pinch fine sea salt

Lard for greasing

Raspberries for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 small ramekins with lard.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, arrowroot, coconut flour, baking soda, vanilla bean powder, and sea salt.
  3. In a large coffee mug, whisk together coconut sugar and 2 T boiling water until dissolved. Now stir in the gelatin and remaining 2 T boiling water until the gelatin is also dissolved. Let sit for 2 minutes. Stir in the lard until melted.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the gelatin-lard mixture and stir until incorporated. Now add in the coconut oil and stir to combine well.
  5. Divide cake batter (it will be dense and moist, not liquidy at all) equally among ramekins. Press down lightly. Fill a glass baking dish halfway with tap water. Place ramekins in this “water bath” so the water comes about ¾ of the way up exterior of the ramekin. This adds extra moisture to the cake. Cool trick, huh?
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in glass dish for 2 minutes. While cooling, make chocolate lava below.
  7. Pour chocolate lava on top of each cake. Serve topped with fresh raspberries and whipped coconut cream (not pictured).

For chocolate lava

3 T Coconut butter, melted

2 T Cocoa powder (For AIP: Use carob powder)

1 T coconut oil, melted

1 T honey

½ tsp vanilla bean powder (For AIP: Use pure vanilla powder)

Pinch fine sea salt

  • Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth! Use in Step 7 above.

Sweet & Crunchy Kale Granola (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

 

 

Yay for AIP snack food that you can actually travel with, enjoy the taste, and is nutritious to boot. I got the idea for Kale Granola after visiting Hu Kitchen in NYC last weekend. Their version was much sweeter and had nuts/seeds in it, so I was bent on developing an AIP version I could make for vacations or school snacks when I definitely want to stay 100% within AIP. You will love it! Promise! Even if you’re not a fan of kale chips.

 

I didn’t celebrate Halloween this year – it’s really a hit or miss holiday for me. I particularly do not like dressing up nor spending money on a costume that I will only wear once and likely be embarrassed of within 5 years. We instead saw Million Dollar Quarter with my mom who was visiting for 4 days. On the train ride home, the costumes provided a good chuckle. A group of Guy Fieri impersonators wearing flame-decorated shirt and bandanas. Ted the giant teddy bear, who stared at me the whole time with intent of making me as uncomfortable as possible. And a large white boy dressed as a ditzy white girl… Uggs, stretch pants, Victoria’s secret bag in hand, blonde wig saying things like “Omg guys we lost Stacy. We lost Stacy!!” and “Can we take a selfie? SELFIE TIME! Omg, wait, can we do it again? I wasn’t on my good side.”

 

Maybe you had to be there. Or maybe you need to just got turn on Bravo for 3 minutes and then you’ll understand why Generation Y is the way they are. Including myself – I do have VIP status at Sephora after all.

 

Sweet & Crunchy Kale Granola [AIP Friendly]

Serves 4 | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 35 minutes

  • 1 large bunch curly kale, stems removed, torn into 1-inch pieces*
  •  6-8 pitted dates (I used 8 Deglet Noir dates, but I recommend 6 if using Medjool which are larger)
  •  2 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I used Let’s Do Organics brand)

*Make sure the kale is very dry. I did this by sending it through my salad spinner after tearing it.

1.     Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.     Soak the dates in very hot water for 10 minutes until softened. Drain the dates and place in a shallow bowl. Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, mash dates with coconut oil into a paste. Stir in cinnamon, ginger and sea salt and mix well.

3.     Place kale in a large mixing well. Pour the date mixture into the bowl and mix well to coat the kale. Now stir in the blackstrap molasses until well coated. Add the raisins and coconut flakes and ensure they are coated as well.

4.     Spread kale onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for another 18-20 minutes until all kale leaves are crispy and the coconut is a toasty brown.

 

AIP Sticky Sweet Potato Mug Cake (Paleo)

 


Ugh this mug cake is a game changer. I don’t think any diet/lifestyle could take me away from my occasional sweet. They just make me happy, and I think they can belong on your health continuum. For some people, that may mean just at Christmas or Thanksgiving. For others, that may mean a once weekly batch of coconut milk ice cream sweetened with just a tablespoon of raw honey. The Paleo Approach recommends enjoying them seldomly,but in an otherwise high nutrient diet, I find I can have a sugar-free or low-sugar treat 2-3 times a week without reprecussions – one portion that is. It usually is just 1 Medjool date with a tsp of coconut oil and cinnamon, or a small bowl of raisins and coconut flakes. Portion control is so boring.

 

My mom’s in town for 4 days – she is the BEST. I’ve been missing her so much lately and cannot wait to be closer to Florida this winter. Next spring I’ll be spending 3 months there for work too, which coincides perfectly with my sister’s wedding! Signing myself up to get bossed around. So selfless.

 

I bought the Instant Pot on Amazon, and I used it for the first time tonight. I made gelatin-rich bone broth in 40 minutes flat, and it is the best tasting, richest broth to date. I jumpted up & down when I finally was able to open the lid! I am a little terrified of it though – anything with warning stickers all over it freaks me out. But this broth is worth a burned hand or two. Just a casual second degree burn, nothing too serious.

 

Enjoy this mug cake… it makes me happy and I think it will do the same for you too! Or angry at me because you’re going to want to mug cake every dang day until you cannot mug cake anymore.

 

AIP Sticky Sweet Potato Mug Cake

Makes 1 mug cake | Ready in 6 minutes

1/3 cup mashed sweet potato

1 T gelatin

1 T room temperature water

2 T hot or boiling water*

1 tsp blackstrap molasses

2 T coconut flour

1 T arrowroot flour

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ginger

1/8 tsp baking soda

Pinch sea salt

½ T melted coconut oil

For serving: ½ tsp molasses, 1 tsp shredded coconut

*I steam my sweet potato prior to mashing it then reserve 2 T of the hot water. It adds extra sweetness!

  1. In a large coffee mug, stir the gelatin and room temperature water together. Add the hot/boiling water and whisk until smooth. Stir in sweet potato and molasses until incorporated.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients in the mug and stir to combine. Now stir in the melted coconut oil.
  3. Microwave on high for 4 minutes until the cake is cooked through but still moist. You may want to cook it for 3 minutes, then in 20 second increments to prevent overcooking since all microwaves are different. Serve drizzled with molasses and sprinkled with coconut!

AIP Garlic Butter (Paleo, Vegan)

 

I didn’t know I missed garlic butter until I tasted AIP garlic butter. My mother (aka Mommy and Moo-Moo… yes Moo-Moo) used to stir fresh crushed garlic into tubs of butter when I was growing up, and we would slather it all over toast with a giant salad as the main course. There’s a reason I have a vegetable fetish – we ate salads almost every single night for dinner. Fist bump, Moo-Moo, you did it right!

 

So you can make this recipe into the solid form as seen above with a simple modification of adding 1 T coconut oil, OR you can leave that out and just have a whipped butter spread. Presentation-wise, the butter stick is more endearing for dinner parties and such, but either way it’s going to end up into melted goodness as seen on that euphoric roasted Japanese yam below. Ah, this stuff is SO good. I tossed my steamed veggies in it tonight, served it as a spread on cold chicken meatballs the other day, and have eaten more than 1 and less than 6 spoonfuls of the stuff just for fun.

 

I head to NYC on Friday for my twin sister’s bachelorette party. I’m the “matron” of honor, so I’ve been planning the whole thing. I’ll update everyone when I get back, but I hope to share some of my eats on Instagram over the weekend! This old matron needs her rest now – I think my eyelids droop a quarter inch every time I type the word “matron” .

 

 
AIP Garlic Butter

Ready in 5 minutes (+ 1 hour fridge time for stick version)

½ cup palm shortening

2 T red palm oil

1 ½ tsp pressed garlic (about 3-4 large cloves)

¼ tsp fine sea salt

1 T melted coconut oil (optional: for butter stick version)

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the palm shortening, red palm oil, garlic, and sea salt until well combined and smooth. Alternately, you can whip it together for the ultimate light and fluffy texture using a hand mixer.
  2. For whipped butter, simply store in a covered glass container for up to 2 weeks.
  3. For stick butter, stir in the melted coconut oil. Pour mixture into a log shape on a square of parchment or wax paper. Roll into a rectangular shape, using your fingers to square off the ends and shape the butter as desired. Let harden in refrigerator for 1 hour. Store in a covered glass container for up to 2 weeks.

AIP Hummus (Paleo, Whole30, Vegan)

I freakin’ love hummus. It hurts so bad. You know that lame quote “If you love something let it go, if it comes back to you…”  That’s how I feel about eating AIP Hummus. Sorry, if you used that quotation on your MySpace in 2004; I don’t mean to offend. Internet memes are the new MySpace quote. I just feel like if we spent as much time and energy into volunteering or holding the door for a stranger as we did making memes, this world would really be a different place.

 

Speaking of good deeds, I walked by a homeless man last night. He asked me for money, but I didn’t have anything with me. He told me he takes credit cards. That made me chuckle, so I wanted to go get him a nice treat as a thank you. I went into a little vegan bakery next door and just gave them my memorized credit card number so I could purchase a couple muffins for the gentleman. I thought “I bet he would LOVE some fresh-baked muffins when he wakes up tomorrow morning.” I tracked him down in the parking lot of the gas station he was hanging out, and the following conversation ensued.

 

“Hi, sir. I bought you some muffins. There’s a chocolate and a blueberry.”

– “I don’t want your muffins.”

“But, I bought them just for you. They’re nice and fresh!”

– “I don’t like muffins. I don’t want muffins. I ain’t gonna eat your muffins.”

 

That reads like an innuendo, but it is not. Lesson learned: ask people what they want if you’re going to buy them food! I ended up handing them off to a couple valet guys that looked cold and bored. The irony is we ended up watching the Muffin Top episode of Seinfield an hour after this happened. SEE BELOW. I DIED. Life lessons, life lessons.

 

Rebecca: Are you the ones leaving the muffin pieces behind our shelter?

Elaine: You been enjoying them?

Rebecca: They’re just stumps.

Elaine: Well they’re perfectly edible.

Rebecca: Oh, so you just assume that the homeless will eat them, they’ll eat anything?

Mr. Lippman: No no, we just thought…

Rebecca: I know what you thought. They don’t have homes, they don’t have jobs, what do they need the top of a muffin for? They’re lucky to get the stumps.

Elaine: If the homeless don’t like them the homeless don’t have to eat them.

Rebecca: The homeless don’t like them.

Elaine: Fine.

 

Muffins and hummus have nothing to do with one another but dang it are they both delicious! This bean-free AIP hummus is missing tahini (which is a seed and not allowed in the elimination diet until reintroductions) so it’s not exactly like real hummus but I have served it to family at holidays with my AIP Taboulleh and everyone loved it just the same!

 

 

AIP Hummus

Preparation 00:00 2017-06-29T00:00:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:00 2017-06-29T00:00:00+00:00

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed white sweet potato
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (additional for thinning if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Fit a steamer basket over a pot filled halfway with water. Place the cubed sweet potatoes in the basket. Cover and bring to a boil. Let steam for 10 minutes until the potato easily breaks apart with a fork. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. Place sweet potato, ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid, and remaining ingredients in food processor. Blend until pureed and completely smooth. You may thin with additional olive oil to your preference.
  3. Serve drizzled with olive oil, fresh parsley, and chopped vegetable crudite, or as a spread on AIP or Paleo sandwiches. Store covered in refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving (It will solidify slightly in the fridge).

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, Whole30, 21DSD)

 


AIP is inherently an anti-inflammatory diet, so the title of this recipe is like describing a banana to someone who has never eaten one as “banana-y”. These ‘balls are especially designed for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and colitis. Just so happens they taste fantastic.

 

I wanted to support my anti-inflammatory claims with some hard & fast research. This kind of stuff really gets me going, and I have a feeling most of you are pretty into the magic of food too.

 

Ginger Benefits

  • Ginger has been shown to relieve joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by inhibiting prostaglandin activity and leukotriene biosynthesis, which are major players in the inflammatory process
  • Researches fed 33 mg of ginger oil to arthritic rats for 26 days, significantly suppressing paw and joint swelling
  • 75% of RA patients in one study experienced marked pain relief and swelling reduction when ingesting ginger, and 100% of people in the study with muscular discomfort reported the same results (Al-Nahain, Jahan & Rahmatullah, 2014)

 

Cilantro Benefits

  • Rats with carageenan*-induced paw edema had significant reductions in inflammation when fed dried coriander (cilantro) seeds via a reduction in macrophagic (inflammatory) activity
  • These rats also showed a significant reduction in granulomas and tumors (Nair, Singh & Gupta, 2013)
  • *Yeah that stuff in your ice cream.

 

Garlic Benefits

  • A study exploring the effects of garlic on insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress of diabetic rats on a high fructose diet found that garlic reduced blood glucose levels and indications of oxidative stress caused by diabetes
  • Garlic has been shown in other studies to lower blood lipid levels and have anti-coagulant and anti-cancer effects
  • Garlic extract used in the study above was made by boiling 100g whole garlic in water for 20 minutes (Sivaraman, Senthilkumar & Bobby, 2013)

 

 

 

These anti-inflammatory beef meatballs feature the powers of cilantro, garlic and ginger!

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory Meatballs

Preparation 00:15 2017-06-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 00:25 2017-06-29T00:25:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, tightly packed
  • 5 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into 12 equal size meatballs, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Bake for 23-25 minutes until the center is light pink. Sprinkle with extra sea salt before serving.
  3. Store in a sealed glass container in the fridge or freezer. Serve with a green salad with sliced avocado, parsley, and cilantro.

Recipe Notes

 You may also use ground pork here or 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger in place of the ground ginger.