A LOT of you guys have made these unique bars and I usually get the same comment, “They look so good, but they sound so weird [goes and makes bars] OMG THEY ARE SO GOOD. HIDE ME.” These three layer bars get a lot of lip service from us and I highly recommend making a batch to keep in the fridge for an on-the-go snack. They are very low in sugar compared to most AIP or Paleo treats, so they won’t whack you out for the rest of the day. Let’s just say they taste a lot more “bad” for you than they actually are – they are full of healthy fats and are hearty enough to fill you up too!
Now I actually haven’t gotten tons of feedback on this recipe, but I think a lot of you guys are Googling “AIP Hummus” and my recipe is the first link. I’ve made this three times for the occasion of a Lebanese Feast. I think this tastes like the real deal. No, not Sabra Hummus. That stuff tastes NOTHING like real Middle Eastern hummus, I’m sorry. Real hummus is thick, lemony, oily and salty. I had one reader make a comment that made me laugh. She said it tastes like lemony mashed potatoes, which is exactly what this is!! BUT if you make it as directed in the recipe, the texture should be very similar to traditional hummus and will definitely suffice your hummus and veggie cravings! Serve it with my Lebanese Roast Chicken with Beef & Parsnip Rice Stuffing for a true Meditteranean meal!
8. PMS Brownies
So with this on-slaught of estrogen dominance that I’ve been wading through with my Hashimoto’s flare, my menstrual cycles are pretty bitch-assy right now. The girls are sore pretty much 28/30 days of the month, water retention is real life, and my cravings for carbs around that time of the month are torturous. Rather than completely derail my efforts to avoid too much sugar, I made these dense, fudgy brownies with coconut sugar (which I tolerate better than even honey, personally). In typical me fashion, I had to put a fruit or vegetable in these puppies, so I chose almost a cup of blueberries, which don’t impart a blueberry flavor at all but at least I can be like, “Well, I’m eating a superfood shaped like a brownie, right?”
One of my first forays into baking with sweet potato flour and back when I didn’t want to touch sugar with a 10-foot pole. I’ve now loosened up on those restrictions a little bit for the sake of flavor in certain baked goods, but these carrot-sweet potato muffin-cupcake hybrids really don’t need any! They are topped with a lemon-y palm shortening frosting, but I’ve seen some readers use whipped coconut cream, or my Whipped Honey Butter (SO GOOD) on them instead!
I created this recipe on the fly when I was staying with my sister in Florida for a weekend and had neglected to go shopping for any protein or extra vegetables. It was so hot that day in Florida, I only wanted to turn the stove on for a couple minutes, if at all! It’s a very adaptable recipe which you can get quite creative with. This version has cinnamon and blueberries and uses the optional thickener (sweet potato flour) but you can leave that out to make this SCD-legal and low starch. The base of the recipe, yellow squash, is neutral and will take on whatever you flavor it with – I’m thinking roasted strawberries would be awesome on top of this!
These are my (and yours!) absolute favorite meatball I have tried. Full of strong flavors like cilantro, ginger, and garlic then punched up with lime zest. Serve them with pesto zoodles, salad, or simply a side of fresh melon.
I made this recipe right around the time I was getting married last year because I was hankering for something naughty but in typical dumb-girl fashion, I was trying to be super “good” until my wedding day where I gorged on gluten-free donuts and fried fish with compressed watermelon. The chicken is pretty standard, but still juicy. What makes this recipe is the easy “gravy” made from white sweet potatoes, bacon grease, and fresh herbs. I’ve never eaten white gravy before, but people that have that I have fed this to say they love it.
When I first made these 3-ingredient no-bake “treats” as one of my first blog posts, I was shocked they received the attention they did! Not because they aren’t good but because they’re kind of one of those “no recipe recipes” that I made on the fly one afternoon as I was about to go into a hard workout pretty hungry but wanted to avoid the energy crash of doing so…. while not having to digest anything when my body was about to go into fight or flight mode. These little dudes are mostly fat which our bodies can quickly absorb as an energy source but also give you a quick burst of sugar in the form of sundried raisins. Plus those raisins MAKE these fat bombs because they add a chewy texture so it feels like you’re eating when you’re really not having your digestive system do much work at all.
Do you miss pizza but seriously cannot tolerate dairy or gluten-free crusts? Are those AIP-friendly flatbreads just not cutting it without the gooey cheesiness that makes pizza one of America’s most loved foods? I promise you will be satisfied with these stromboli (which some of you have turned into pizza, calzones, and hot pockets). The dough is made from mashed white sweet potato and tapioca flour which creates a cheesy, stringy flavor and eating experience. Adding prosciutto and rosemary gives this winner an upscale Italian feel but you guys have also filled it with pulled pork, sausage meat, veggies, and buffalo chicken. Yum!
This recipe was going to be a guest post on a popular Paleo blog, but I’m so glad I hoarded it for G&E! You lovelies are frequently sharing your cinnamon roll creations with me on Instagram and I’ve never seen anyone make any changes! I guess they’re pretty darn good, especially if you stay away from any grains whatsoever. I called them “Rustic” because they are definitely not fluffy, gooey shopping mall cinnamon rolls but more hearty and filling. The dough is also made from white sweet potato, unsweetened applesauce, and a bit of AIP-friendly flour that can be found in most grocers these days. The filling is diced fresh apples with a few Medjool dates and a hefty spoon of cinnamon because cinnamon makes me goo-goo-ga-ga. In fact, my favorite breakfast that I used to make myself every morning starting at age 6 was “Cinnamon Toast”. It was heinous (actually delicious) but I cannot BELIEVE my parents let me start my day off with two slices of toast smeared in Country Crock butter, sprinkled with cinnamon, and then one sprinkled in white sugar and the other sprinkled in brown sugar. No wonder I had attention and hyperactivity issues and couldn’t sit still long enough in class to ever get stickers for good behavior.
I am forever looking for convenience foods that aren’t from the store… foods I can grab on the go, bring to the movies, on a spontaneous picnic, or offer up for snacks when I have friends over. I love making dried fruit energy balls with unique ingredients. How many times have we seen the standard date, coconut, almond balls cross our Pinterest homepage? When I started this blog, I vowed to never create recipes that are already available, or if I do then they must be improved upon. I don’t want to waste my time (or money) and most importantly yours, so I strive to only bring you all new and interesting recipes. These energy bites are 100% delicious, nutritious, and satisfying for a snacky sweet tooth or energy slump. Dried apricots are a wonderful choice for dried fruit as they are lower in sugar and calories than dates and higher in antioxidants and vitamin A than prunes. They also get the bowels talking with that high fiber content. Why the orange blossom and rose water? Besides being a common feature in Middle Eastern desserts (which I grew up on), they also provide antioxidants and their floral aromatic scent is very calming and nourishing. If you don’t own these beautiful waters yet, then I really suggest snagging some on Amazon (links in the recipe) or in the international aisle of your grocer. I use them both in my beauty routine, adding a few drops to face masks, body lotions, and facial tonics. Girly Heaven.
Now, I have Google Analytics, and I can see which of my recipes are most popular, ahem Cherry Pie Bars, Anti-Inflammatory Meatballs, Chicken n’ Gravy. Those are all easy to prepare recipes with few ingredients and make wonderful leftovers. I see a trend here. You mean you’re not a Paleo superwoman? Ready to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen every week to provide you and your family healthy home cookin’? I don’t blame you. And if it wasn’t for this project I’m working on (announcement soon!), then I would only be in the kitchen a few times a week myself. There’s just so much more I would rather be doing – like walking my dog, playing on the beach, or pretending to do a crossword.
Paleo is about sustainability – in both senses of the word. Sustainable foods from ground to kitchen and a sustainable lifestyle that won’t drive you up the wall. Prior to AIP, I sustained Paleo with a 90/10 mentality. I often had dairy, gluten-free pizza, tortilla chips, and chocolate sweetened with cane sugar on the weekends. And I was more sane for it. I realized that going through life transitions in a new city caused a bit o’ stress on the ol’ bod and that manifested in a nasty leaky gut. But I yearn for the day when I can occasionally enjoy a gluten-free beer with my friends again or have the chips and guacamole at Chipotle. They sound like little, nonsense bits, but if I’m doing those things, it means I’m living life and not worried about being prepared for my next meal. Who’s with me? Everyone? Thought so.
So moral of the story… make the autoimmune protocol work for you. If that means having a treat each day, make it one that won’t undo all your hard work (berries & coconut cream with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey… doesn’t get much better than that), or eating AIP recipes that are reinventions of your standard American diet favorites once or twice a week, DO IT. As my mother always says, “Life is for the living.” So live it up, live it good, and don’t forget to have a life.
Sticky Antioxidant Energy Bites
Makes 6-8 bites | Prep Time <5 minutes | Total Time <5 minutes + setting time
1 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp orange blossom water
¼ tsp rose water
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until combined. The apricots should be finely chopped and the mixture should adhere to itself well.
- Roll into balls or press into mini muffin tin cups (as seen in photo). Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
I’ve been mashing up more carrots than a room full of babies with tiny teeth lately. They’re a non-starchy option for those of us who do best on lower carb diets and when you add bone broth to anything, you’ve already succeeded at life. I love how flexible this recipe is too! Use beef or chicken broth and rosemary or thyme for different flavors. Serve it underneath some crispy chicken thighs or this Greek-Inspired Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb. Aw yeah.
Ugh, I’m so tired. If you guys were here, you would tell me to go to bed. I have a difficult time peeling (phewph, when I was spell-checking this, I read “peeing”) myself off the couch and the laptop is keeping my legs nice and toasty. I’m also using my dog as a foot rest, so can you really blame me for avoiding altering this situation? He smells like vanilla cookies too. I woke up cold this morning. Wanna know why? Because Chicago is having seasonal amnesia and decided that lows in the 50’s is perfectly acceptable for July. You know, one of the hottest months of the year.
I have noticed that I just feel better out of the Florida humidity. I don’t know what the humidity does to me on a physiological level but I know it makes me feel cranky, swollen, brain foggy, and grumpy. Two of those words are synonyms because I needed to stress how unpleasant I am when moisture levels exceed 40%. Which is unavoidable in the deep south. Actually, the humidity is one of my top 3 deciding factors on where I want to move next. We are exploring Austin as an option, which definitely has it’s sticky moments, but you tend not to get hot and humid at the same time there. Damn, how much longer can I talk about weather before I put myself to sleep. Not a bad idea considering my previous paragraph.
Mashed carrots are a tasty low-carb veggie side for roasted chicken, pork loin & roast beef!
Mashed Carrots with Leek & Rosemary
Chop carrots into 1 ½-inch pieces and place in a large pot. You do not need to peel them. Add the bone broth, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain any remaining liquid and transfer carrots to serving dish. Mash to desired chunkiness with a potato masher. Stir in the lemon juice and sea salt.
Sautee the leek and rosemary in the olive oil in the same pot you cooked the carrots in over medium heat until wilted and golden brown at the edges. Top the mashed carrots with the mixture and serve warm.
They say everything is better with bacon, but I have to admit I am not a bacon lover. Actually the smell of it cooking in the morning makes me incredibly nauseous! Weird. Word.
BUT bacon-wrapped things make me very happy. One of the best restaurants in Chicago is called HB (stands for Home Bistro) in Lakeview and they have bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates on their menu that are nothing like you’ve had before. There’s also a heavy sprinkle of brown sugar, so they don’t fit in to my life anymore but I’m glad I enjoyed them when I did. In fact, there’s an excessive amount of foods I am so glad I imbibed in pre-AIP because I likely will never enjoy true nightshade-y BBQ, fresh picked corn elote-style with grass-fed butter and lime zest, caramel cheesecake, and Jeni’s Spledid Brambleberry Crisp! Whew – did I just make you second-guess this whole healthy eating thing? Don’t – because a life of health, happiness, and vitality is much more satisfying than momentary gustatory pleasure.
To make up for the lack of the above in my life, at times I choose to indulge… as much as Paleo & Autoimmune Protocol lets you indulge! Cheers to overcoming illness and inflammation while still enjoying some delicious food like these
Get the recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Cinnamon Apples!
We all need those simple recipes in our memory cache to utilize during busy mornings, harried afternoons, or just when you’re too dang hot to use your stove, oven, or grill. I whipped up this smoothie for my husband as he frolicked in the pool like an 8-year-old boy. We had a pleasant weekend with my parents – I use the word pleasant as it was nothing too exciting but just quality time catching up with them before we head back to Chicago for July and August. And then on to the next city. Where? I don’t know. We lead a nomadic life. How much more Paleo can that get?
The Tampa Bay Lightning (my current hometown) and the Chicago Blackhawks (my former and soon-to-be hometown) are playing each other in the Playoffs right now. We have been watching all the games (me in between recipe testing or stalking sublets on craigslist) and cheering them on. I even got into it for the whole last 3 minutes of the 3rd period in last night’s game. We watched at a bar called Try Wine where you receive a pre-loaded debit card that allows you to choose 1/2 ounces – 5 ounces of dozens of varieties of wine. I hadn’t had a drink in I can’t even count how many months, so I splurged on 2 oz of wine divided between a sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, and port (delicious!). Two ounces and my sleep suffered and I felt extra tired all day. We remedied that with a long ocean swim. I love challenging myself to swim out to the buoys a few times. It’s really not that much of a challenge since salt water makes you pretty much weightless. I like to pretend I’m training for a triathalon though. Even though I look like a drowning frog.
Strawberry Peaches n’ Cream Smoothie
Serves 1-2 | Ready in 5 minutes or less
1 cup Frozen strawberries
1 Peach, sliced
½ cup Coconut milk
2 tbsp Collagen (optional)
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. If desired, add Collagen Peptides right before serving.
I am in the latter half of the most severe Hashimoto’s flare I have had since being diagnosed in 2008 at age 19 after a bad food allergy reaction at a sushi restaurant. I can count my flares on one hand… the one in 2009 that resulted in severe anemia and gastritis, the one in 2010 after a senior year college spring break trip to Mexico left me with a nasty stomach virus and my first noticeable signs of leaky gut, and the one that started in September 2014 (and that I continue to fight) after a water leak in my apartment led to several weeks of black mold exposure thanks to the management company’s reluctance to fix the issue.
I have been an avid exerciser since age 6 when I started playing soccer. In fact, the only time I have ever gone without daily exercise is during this flare. I have a history of over-exercising (sometimes 2-3 hours a day if I added up my walk, jog, yoga, weights, and/or swimming), but I have come to realize that my body just flat out craves stimulation. After working with children with sensory processing disorder, I now realize that we all have our individual sensory thresholds that need to be met. I NEED to move my body, my food has to be strong in flavor or I don’t register it at all, I LOVE being touched (hugs, massages, tickles, anything), and I also get a huge jolt of satisfaction from pushing my body kinesthetically. I even stand at work and in school because sitting zaps my attention, creativity, and arousal.
If you have ever experienced Hashimoto’s or adrenal fatigue though, you will understand that your body just flat out doesn’t want to move even if your mind is asking it too. It’s in these cases that “Just do it” does not apply. Forcing yourself into physical activity when every cell in your body is saying “No, you crazy $%@^%!” is never a good idea. It can even drive you further into a state of disease. Just as we must eat intuitively, we must exercise intuitively. I wanted to share my experience and tips with maintaining a healthy mind and body during an autoimmune and adrenal flare.
When you are experiencing adrenal fatigue (I was at Stage IV which is considered severe), you may feel like everything you do needs to be done with more effort than previously. You will likely lack the motivation to get yourself to the 5pm gym class after being at the office since 8 am. In fact, there may only be a couple hours in the day that find you have any energy at all! For me, the difference between adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid fatigue is the following. With adrenal fatigue I can only do 1-2 sets of an exercise that I used to be able to do 3-4 sets of with ease. With hypothyroid fatigue, I cannot physically bring my body into motion. I trip over stairs, my feet shuffle when I walk, even showering standing up is laborious.
- Take it easy. High intensity exercise raises cortisol levels. Those with adrenal fatigue should be working on normalizing cortisol through stress reduction activities such as yoga, meditation, and walking. But some of us want a good sweat and a heart-pumping workout, so what’s a gal to do?
- Extra long walks: Make time for several 90 minute walks a week. If you have hills or hiking trails nearby, incorporate those into your walking routine for a cardiovascular benefit.
- Strength training: Short bursts of moderate intensity strength training to maintain muscle mass should be fine, but please listen to your body. Did you used to do 45-minute circuits with barely a break for water? Now you may want to stick with single muscle group movements that help maintain muscle mass but do not get the HR up such as biceps curls, shoulder presses, and triceps dips. I had a 6-week stint of being incapable of even a couple squats and biceps curls. Three months later I am back to 3 1-hour weight training sessions a week that include explosive movements that really get my heart rate up like box jumps, rope slams, and sled pushes.
- Yoga: Rather than joining a gym during my flare, I joined a yoga studio and committed to at least 3 classes a week. Even if my schedule only allowed me to attend the advanced classes, I never pushed myself past a traditional Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow despite what the rest of the class was doing.
The fatigue that those in Hashi’s flares suffer from is no joke. In my opinion (after experiencing both), it is by far more incapacitating than adrenal fatigue. At my worst, I was unable to do 1 (ONE!) body weight squat after a 10-hour sleep! That “gym session” ended in a flood of tears and a deep depression the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t believe what my body was incapable of doing compared to what it used to do!
If your hypothyroidism is at the severity that mine was this winter, I do not suggest incorporating anything higher than mild intensity exercise into your routine. You will be fatiguing yourself even further which will only leave you too exhausted to participate in valued activities such as socialization, cooking, playing with your children, etc. Here are some suggestions for physical activity during a severe flare.
- Short walks: I went for 10-15 minutes walks 2-3 times a day spaced out by several hours. None of these short strolls would leave me so exhausted that I needed to spend the rest of the day on the couch. I also only did my walks on nature trails as they provided a calming environment that encouraged me to take meditation breaks (usually sitting on a log or on bench).
- Guided meditation: This is more of an exercise of the mind, but meditating for 10 minutes a day really helped calm the anxiety I was getting from not being able to move my body like I am used to moving it. I love the Headspace App. After a 10-minute session, I always feel like I’ve just had a wonderful nap.
- Gentle yoga at home: On my worst days, I would be too exhausted to even attend a yoga class at my studio. Instead of forcing myself, I would take my yoga mat to a quiet place in my apartment building and do a series of my favorite stretches like downward dog, pigeon, triangle, and cobra.
Toning down your exercise may be the last thing you want to do, especially if you are experience the rapid weight gain that comes along with Hashimoto’s like I am, but your future self with thank you. In fact, I 100% do not believe I would have recovered enough to resume my daily exercise if it wasn’t for those 3 months of rest. When you’re going stir-crazy in your own body, just remind yourself that this will all pass and you will live the physically fulfilled life you desire soon again once healing has occurred!
If you like olives, make this tonight. If you don’t like olives, we cannot be friends in real life. Fine. Yes, we can. We just can’t be the type of friends that sit around on a Thursday night throwing olives into each other’s mouths from across the living room.
You know what I’m tired of seeing? Paleo recipes that use quotation marks to delineate that the “Rice” or “Bread” in the recipe isn’t your standard grain-based rice or bread. It makes you feel like you’re losing out (you’re not). Like, “hey you know Rice, that sexy guy down the street? This isn’t him, but it’s Rice’s cute little sister “rice”‘. How about we just revise what those words mean and never use quotation marks again?
I had my first visit with a naturopathic doctor today. I have given up on the Western medical community. I am reserving their services the next time I sprain my ankle or need some advice on what not to do. I am super excited about her. She sent me home with a stool test. That should be fun. I had to take the train home with my nondescript white paper bag full of empty stool samples that cost $300. I was PARANOID that someone would choose this evening to mug me. I sometimes plan in my head what I will say if someone does try to rob me (“What would your mother say if she saw what you were up to?”) Tonight I decided a simple “That’s for my poop.” should ward off any villains.
Lamb with Olive Tapenade Rice
Serves 3-4 | Prep Time 10 minutes | Cook Time 14 minutes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 tbsp chopped fresh Oregano
1 tbsp Olive oil
3 cups Butternut squash, cubes
1 lb Ground lamb
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 tsp Sea salt
Place olives, oregano, and olive oil in a food processor/blender and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
Now place butternut squash in the blender/processor (no need to wash it – yay!) and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground lamb. Do not disturb for 4 minutes until the lamb is browned on one side. Now use a wooden spoon to break the meat into bite-sized chunks (size of mini meatballs). Flip each chunk and brown the other side for 2 minutes.
Add in the riced olives, butternut, cinnamon, raisins, and sea salt. Stir well, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5-6 more minutes. Serve warm.
My newest guest post recipe on Autoimmune Paleo is a triple threat: simple to prepare, nutritious, and refreshing enough for a hot summer day. I envision myself lounging around on the pool deck in mid-July after a long day playing in the ocean, kicking back with a fizzy Kombucha, ceviche, and some plantain chips with guac! Does that not sound like perfection? Okay true perfection would be an ice cold lager, but that ain’t happening.
To make this an even quicker preparation, find pre-cooked shrimp at your seafood counter. You could even grill the shrimp for added flavor. I would marinade them in some lime juice, olive oil and garlic beforehand for extra flavor!
So just how healthy is Shrimp Ceviche Salad?
Shrimp is rich in copper, selenium, omega-3’s, and vitamin B12. I don’t recommend making it a huge portion of your seafood budget because it’s difficult to source wild-caught and sustainably caught shrimp these days. Sad face. They are often farmed and/or trolled, so chat with your local fish dude and ask him what your best option is!
Get the recipe for
Italian Sausage Pizza made with homemade, nightshade-free sausage and sauce + an extra-extra dose of veggies… your family will love this grain-free, dairy-free pizza!
I love a recipe where you can still get your meat and veggies but its a big enough departure from your typical daily meals that it feels special. I made this pizza after watching my husband scarf down some nasty (slash delicious) looking NY thin crust. It features a savory herb “nomato” sauce with sauteed veggies and homemade AIP-compliant sausage crumbles.
This recipe was the first time I made the famous AIP Thin Crust Pizza that eventually went into The Healing Kitchen. You can also find this crust recipe in my Pesto Chicken Pizza… which if you haven’t tried. YOU MUST. It is so incredibly flavorful and free of all those pesky allergens.
on Empowered Sustenance