Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto (Paleo/AIP/21dsd)

Paleo Risotto
Is there a sexier food word than risotto? Maybe creme fraiche (really drawing out the shhhhh at the end). Has anyone seen that South Park episode? I’m not even going to go there.
I have only made true brothy, buttery, cheesy risotto one time in my life. It was when I was 18 and I remember standing in my mom’s kitchen, stirring a pot of arborio rice for 45 minutes and periodically scooping broth into the pot and allowing it to absorb into the rice. It was magical how creamy it got! But it was also very labor intensive + I can’t say any food is worth an achy shoulder and wrist.
While I do eat white rice, I wanted to create a lower carb AIP risotto that can be enjoyed by all of you without the dairy or grains. The finished product is thick, creamy, flavorful, and made up almost entirely of vegetables! You can serve it as a meatless meal or serve some thinly sliced seared pork loin, cod, or shrimp on top.
Mushroom Risotto
RECIPE TIPS & FAQs
  • Pre-riced and bagged cauliflower is ideal for this recipe because you are ensured even sized pieces. I find that some people over-process cauliflower when they rice it at home in their food processor.
  • With pressure cooking every minute counts when you’re cooking vegetables, so ensure whatever cauliflower rice you use it is not overly-processed mush!
  • I’ve never made this on a stove – it’s an Instant Pot recipe. Please don’t ask me how to do this! There’s a reason I’m posting a lot of Instant Pot recipes these days – they save you the hassle of standing over the stove constantly checking on food or worrying if it’s undercooked.
  • Don’t have Italian herb seasoning? Make your own custom mix from dried basil, oregano, marjoram, and thyme.

 

Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

Preparation 0:15 2017-04-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:15 2017-04-29T00:15:00+00:00 Serves 4     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 16 ounce bag cauliflower rice (about 3 1/2 cups rice)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
  • for serving, chopped chives and cracked black pepper (omit pepper for AIP)

Instructions

  1. Turn Instant Pot "Saute" function on. Heat olive oil in the insert.
    Saute mushrooms, leeks, zucchini, herbs, garlic, and sea salt for 6 to 8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in coconut milk, broth, and cauliflower rice. Seal the lid and set to "Manual" function for 3 minutes. Once the timer elapses, vent and remove the lid.
  3. Turn the "Saute" function back on and slowly sprinkle in the arrowroot, stirring continuously, as the mixture thickens for another 2 to 3 minutes. You can always sprinkle in additional arrowroot a teaspoon at a time if you find you want even thicker, creamier risotto.
  4. Serve with chopped chives and black pepper for a punch of flavor!

Hidden Liver Meatballs Your Family Will Love! (Paleo/Whole30)

Hidden Liver Meatballs

I started the AIP 3 years ago, and it wasn’t until now that I really enjoy and look forward to eating organ meats! I cannot thank US Wellness Meats enough for creating these two products and making organ meats not just edible but actually delicious!

I am a previous organ meat hater. You could not put enough bacon, apples, or herbs in liver pate so make me actually enjoy it. I didn’t grow up eating organ meats so their metallic taste is really off-putting to me. Not the way USWM does it though! They mix it with beef trim and nightshade-free spices so it tastes 90% like ground beef and 10% like organ meat (my personal math).
I bought 8 pounds of it a couple months ago, and then promptly ordered another 8 pounds when I fried up slices of some of the Braunschweiger and Liverwurst for breakfast and realized what an easy, tasty and nutrient dense breakfast this could be for my family every day. Both of these sausages come frozen as fully cooked sausage and have the texture of really soft ground beef. They are seasoned with some seed spices and white pepper, so they are not AIP but they are nightshade-free, and that’s most important for me and how I manage my autoimmune disease.
I feed them to my 8-month-old every day! I chop them up into little bite size pieces that she picks up.If you’re feeding them to a baby who can’t finger feed themselves yet, you could easily puree these already-cooked sausages with some braised or steamed root vegetables for a super nutrient dense baby puree!She LOVES them. And I feel awesome giving them to her because organ meats are 10 to 100 times more nutrient dense than muscle meats like ground beef, and since babies don’t eat a large volume of food, it’s best to make sure every solid that goes into their mouth is giving your babe the biggest bang for her bite.
Wondering about the difference between Liverwurst and Braunschweiger? Despite it’s name, Liverwurst actually has grassfed beef trim, liver, kidney, heart, and spices in it while Braunschweiger just has the grassfed beef trim, liver and spices.
So after feeding them to my family for the last couple months for breakfast, I finally felt inspired to serve them for dinner too! Or lunch or snack! I had a pound of pastured ground pork from the farmer’s market, and my favorite way to use pork is in meatballs with ground beef. They make for a really moist and flavorful meatball and they cover up any lingering organ meat taste so your kids really won’t know what’s in these little guys! Especially if you set out their favorite homemade dipping sauce! You can try my Pineapple Dipping Sauce, the ranch dressing from The Healing Kitchen, or my Pronto Pesto if you need some inspiration!

Hidden Liver Meatballs

Preparation 0:15 2017-04-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:15 2017-04-29T00:15:00+00:00 Serves 4 to 6 servings     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound US Wellness Meats Liverwurst, chopped
  • Solid fat of choice for frying (pastured lard, bacon fat, duck fat, or tallow)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the ground pork and liverwurst until smooth.
  2. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch wide meatballs and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat of choice in a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs to the skillet, being sure to not overcrowd (if so, cook in two batches).
  4. Fry on all sides until browned and cooked through, about 13 to 15 minutes total.
  5. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving with your favorite dipping sauce.

Caviar for Babies!? (O)mega Nutrition + Pincer Grasp Practice Using Fish Eggs

 

caviar for babies

 

Fish eggs for babies?! “Is that a joke?” you may be asking. I don’t blame you. It does not sound a little odd, a little outlandish. They may sound like a delicacy reserved for the British elite and fancy sushi rolls, but caviar is actually a very accessible and incredibly nutritious baby food option. 

 

Now, I’m not talking black caviar that costs $200 an ounce. That’s a particularly posh kind of sturgeon caviar imported from Russia, most often. Heck no. Please do NOT go buy that before finishing this blog post. I’m referring to the much more accessible and affordable Vital Choice Wild Salmon Caviar.

 

This is the caviar we use. It does not cost $32/serving. The jar is 6 ounces. I serve 1/10th of an ounce at each serving, so I get 60 servings out of the jar. Therefore each serving is about 50 cents. Paired with some broth-braised root vegetables, it’s actually a really budget-friendly, easy to masticate and digest, nutrient dense option for first foods. 1/10th of an ounce gives your child about 150mg of omega-3s.

 

Comparably, 1 ounce of wild salmon gives your baby about 3x that amount of omega-3s (about 450mg), so fish eggs are not the only way to get omega-3s into your baby’s diet, but ounce for ounce they are MUCH higher in omega-3s than salmon. And a fun, no cook way to get more variety onto their plates! 

 

Why Salmon Eggs are Baby Food

▪️ They are already pea-sized. Wild salmon roe (aka fish eggs or caviar) can easily be smashed in between gums if baby doesn’t have teeth yet, and if they do have teeth they will be even easier to masticate.They “pop” with slight pressure and release the omega-3-rich liquid easily.

 

▪️ They are one of the highest food sources of omega-3’s which promote healthy brain and nervous system development, immune system regulation and inflammation management. Wild Salmon Caviar contain two types of omega 3 fats called EPA and DHA. These are the omega-3s that have the greatest positive impact on health and have been linked to heart disease and cancer prevention (source: Harvard.edu)

 

▪️Your baby’s body doesn’t have to convert EPA and DHA into the most useful forms of omega-3s because they’re already it! You get EPA + DHA straight from the eggs unlike “superfood seeds” (sarcasm) like flax and chia seeds. Flax and chia seeds are marketed as high in omega-3s but they are predominantly an omega-3 called ALA (alphalinolenic acid) which does not have near the health benefits as EPA + DHA according to current literature, and was even linked Further more, the body inefficiently converts ALA into EPA + DHA with some studies suggesting a conversion rate of only 1%! (source: University of Maryland Medicine)
▪️It’s lower in salt content than most traditional caviars which is important because you still need to keep sodium to a minimum for babies. You won’t be coming close to even feeding your baby an ounce of caviar. In fact, we only give her maybe 1/10th of an ounce per serving which is only 30mg sodium. 
▪️Fish roe is one of the rare real food sources of vitamin D (other food-based vitamin D sources include mackerel, salmon, beef liver, raw grassfed dairy and egg yolks). The modern human population is by and large chronically vitamin-D deficient. If you and your baby live in a northern climate, you likely need to focus even more on food sources of vitamin D compared to someone living in a tropical environment who has ample sun exposure year-round.

 

 ▪️They have a stronger “fishy” taste and a unique fatty liquid texture, so if you focus on expanding your baby’s preferences, there are not many other foods quite like caviar!

 

How to Practice Pincer Grasp with Fish Eggs

I started wild salmon eggs with my daughter when she was 7 months and 3 weeks old. She had been demonstrating increased preference for grasping food with a pincer grasp rather than a raking, full-fisted grasp. A pincer grasp is a dexterous fine motor grasp that involves picking up a small item with the thumb and forefinger.

 

Imagine how you would pick up a marble off the table. You are using your pincer grasp.Pincer grasp is an important fine motor development because it is required for many independent self-care and play activities your baby and toddler will be practicing such as untying laces, buttoning large buttons, picking up small items that don’t belong in their mouths like small leaves and coins. Pincer grasp emerges around 7 to 10 months but can certainly appear later than that. All babies are on their own developmental timeline, but that doesn’t mean we can’t alter their environment to encourage practice and exploration. 

 

Make sure your baby is secured in their high chair or sitting with support in your lap facing a flat surface that you can place the eggs on. I know everyone feeds their baby differently. Having solid postural and trunk support can make using their hands for fine motor activities much easier. If our trunk is not strong, our hands cannot function optimally.

 

Place 1 fish egg in front of them on a solid surface. Watch how your baby or toddler manipulates the fish egg. Maybe they’ll smash it with their hand, try to pick it up with their fist, smear it across the table, or possibly use their thumb and first finger to secure it and bring it to their mouth.I usually place 5 fish eggs in front of my daughter at a time. If she signals that she would like more, I will place 5 more. We usually max out at 10. They make for an awesome no-cook portable baby food option too. Try them for yourself! They’re nature’s Pop Rocks! 

 

 

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a certified nutritionist, but simply a mom who wants to get her baby off to the best start using the most nutritious foods I can source! My articles are for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. I request that my readers assume full responsibility for how they choose to use this information. This information is not a substitution for medical or nutritional advice. 

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken (Paleo/AIP/Whole30)

Instant Pot Pinapple Chicken

My Instant Pot rescued me AGAIN last night. I made some last minute plans and had 45 minutes to prep and serve dinner before I had to leave. I wanted to do a take on my Hawaiian Pork from The Healing Kitchen using the organic chicken breast I had on hand.

 

I’ve been craving and eating tons of pineapple lately, so I always have that in my fridge too, which reminded me of the pork recipe. I like this version even better. It’s lighter and easier to digest since it’s lower in fat than pulled pork and very filling. I served it with fried plantains and steamed kale. Best way to steam kale? After cleaning out your Instant Pot, add a couple bunches of chopped curly kale into your Instant Pot and set to cook on Manual for 1 minute! Totally hands off + an easy nutritious side dish. No excuses to not have any greens on your plate!

 

Instant Pot Pinapple Chicken

 

Pineapple Chicken is the perfect tropics-inspired combo of salty, sweet and smokey + the recipe is affordable and makes a ton for leftovers! Family and kid-friendly for sure! 

 

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken

Preparation 0:00 2017-04-29T00:00:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:00 2017-04-29T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 6 to 8     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons Red Boat fish sauce, divided
  • 1 piece dried galangal or 2-inch piece peeled ginger root
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in Instant Pot insert. Sprinkle with sea salt and layer bacon on top. Add in pineapple, onion, aminos, fish sauce and galangal or ginger.
  2. Seal the lid and set "Manua"l pressure cooking timer to 25 minutes. Once timer elapses, release pressure valve and open the lid.
  3. Carefully transfer contents of pot with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid in the pot, to a large glass bowl.
  4. Turn the Instant Pot “Saute” function on. Add the garlic and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce to the cooking liquid. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, reduce slightly, and turn a golden yellow.
  5. Meanwhile, shred the chicken with the pineapple, onions and bacon with two forks until finely shredded.
  6. Pour the reduced sauce from the pot over the shredded chicken and stir well to immerse the meat. Serve warm with cauliflower rice, steamed kale, and fried plantains.

Why You Should Switch to Safer Deodorant

This past weekend I asked someone, “If you don’t trust what the government allows in our food supply, why would you trust what they allow in our personal care products?” (or our water, our prescription drugs, our household cleaners for that matter…)The person looked a little perplexed, and it definitely got them thinking.

 

I explained that the US government hasn’t passed a major federal law governing the safety of our personal care products since 1938. Companies aren’t even required to disclose exactly how or where their products are manufactured, which is why toxic chemicals like heavy metals make their way into our bathroom cabinets, our lip glosses, and our kid’s “baby oil” from contaminated sources in overseas production facilities and even on our home turf in America. Not only that, the FDA does not have the authority to mandate recalls of personal care products they deem harmful. They can only suggest the company participates in a voluntary recall at their own financial burden. Haha, yeah right.  (source: FDA website) 

 

It’s not like scientists haven’t discovered the potential and proven dangers of the toxins in our personal care products. They have. In fact, the European Union has banned 1,400 of the 1,500 chemicals that American cosmetics company Beautycounter has banned from their products. America has only banned 30 of the 1,500 chemicals known to be potentially harmful or confirmed to be harmful.And just because a shampoo gets washed out of your hair or a mascara touches just your eyelashes doesn’t mean these chemicals aren’t getting absorbed through your skin and mucous membranes.

 

One of the biggest potential offenders in your bathroom

is actually your deodorant.

 

Why deodorant? Well we put it on every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and we apply it to our underarms. Our axillary lymph nodes can be found in this area of our body. Other lymph nodes can be found in the groin and in the neck. They are part of our larger lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering and draining fluids, bacteria, and toxins as well as acting as an important part of our immune system. Yes, the lymphatic system is INCREDIBLY important in preventing autoimmune diseases!!

 

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

Current research is challenging the safety of typical over-the-counter underarm antiperspirants, but it still isn’t clear the quantity of chemicals absorbed through the skin. Maybe the research will turn up that we were always in the clear, but I’m going to say likely not since it has been proven that toxic chemicals applied to the skin do pass the skin barrier and can be absorbed into our bloodstream.

 

 

And frankly, our bodies were MEANT to sweat! It’s one of our detoxification mechanisms, so why would we block that using an antiperspirant? Especially one full of these chemicals like these!

  • Parabens (endocrine hormone disruptors)
  • Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy metal toxicity)
  • Propylene glycol (a synthetic chemical solvent)
  • Silica (a Prop 65 carcinogen)
  • Phthalates (endocrine disruptors linked to permanent birth defects)
  • Formaldehyde contaminated synthetics (a carcinogen)
  • Triclosan (which can lead to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction and has been banned by the FDA last year in effect as of September 2017).

What’s in a popular Dove women’s anti-pespirant that is potentially absorbing into your bloodstream? Mmmm… 

Active Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (15.2%). Purpose: Antiperspirant. Inactive Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ppg-14 Butyl Ether, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Peg-8, Fragrance (Parfum), Dimethicone, Silica, Polyethylene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Steareth-100, Bht, Hydroxyethyl Urea.

source: Dove website

THE POISON IS IN EVEN THE LOWEST DOSE

One could argue that the dose is in the poison. We don’t slather on deodorant over our entire bodies, mascara is only applied to our eye lashes, and foundation only touches our face.

But the Environmental Working Group is disproving that notion. The poison may be in even the lowest dose of a partially-carcinogenic chemical (which are found in MANY of our personal care products).The Environmental Working Group has its own team dedicated to cancer prevention research. This is from a 2015 article titled “Rethinking Carcinogens”:

The Halifax Project team investigated 85 common chemicals not known to be carcinogenic on their own and found that 50 can disrupt cancer-related pathways (known as the Hallmarks of Cancer) at low doses typically encountered in the environment. The researchers go on to propose that combinations of these chemicals could cause cancer by disrupting multiple pathways and overwhelming the body’s defenses. This thinking is in-line with the current understanding of cancer as a multi-step process. They also noted that even in the lowest doses, these potentially cancer-causing ingredients were disrupting cancer-related pathways. You didn’t need to glug a bottle of parabens a day!

 

It’s simply that the everyday choices we make overtime make our bodies more prone to developing and having difficulty fighting cancer. One of the first products I switched out for safer was my underarm deodorant.

 

Although it hasn’t been without-a-doubt confirmed that the aluminum and hormone-disrupting chemicals found in deodorant definitely cause breast cancer, I’m not willing to put chemicals on top of the lymph nodes nearest my breast (and that breast cancer frequently spreads to).

I went without deodorant for 3 years between 2013 and 2016. I lived in colder climates for most of the time, so it wasn’t a big deal, but once summer hit in Austin, Texas, I knew I needed to bring deodorant back into my routine! Now that I live in Florida where it’s pretty much 80 degrees or warmer year round, yeah I can’t away with no deodorant anymore!

After trying 3 different brands of safer deodorant from Whole Foods that neither prevented perspiration or covered up any sweaty smells, I had almost given up. But then I discovered Primally Pure.

 

PRIMALLY PURE SENSITIVE DEODORANT 

Primally Pure is this truly inspiring skincare and beauty company started by Bethany McDaniel. Bethany is a fellow new mom whose passion for safer products has extended to a full line of highly effective solutions to our everyday problems like dry skin, fine lines, stinky underarms, chapped lips, and even beard itch (man problem, ladies!) I wrote about her company here. She’s been a huge inspiration for me throughout my journey in motherhood and switching to safer products. One of the most generous and kind people I’ve “met” in our Paleo community of business owners! And her products are innovative, environmentally-conscious, and well-researched.

Primally Pure Sensitive Deodorant is the only safer deodorant I’ve tried that doesn’t just look pretty but it works. It is SO effective, I put it on in the morning and I don’t have to fear what I’m going to smell like by the end of the day. Showers are a luxury these days since staying home with an 8-month-old doesn’t give you much time for self care.

I use the Sensitive Deodorant in Lavender because the scent makes me feel happy and relaxed. It also comes in Tea Tree, Lemongrass & Unscented, if you prefer one of those.So what’s in this safer deodorant you may be wondering? How could it possibly put the stop on stink without pore-clogging aluminum and hormone-disrupting

fragrances?

 

It is formulated with a small amount of baking soda which even your grandmother used for absorbing smells. Baking soda is a time-tested odor absorber, so you know it’s going to do its job. I recommend the Sensitive formula over her original formula only because some people react to the higher amount of baking soda in the original with a red rash under their arms. I have gotten a rash from safer deodorants in the past + I’ve been using Primally Pure Sensitive Deodorant for months with no rash! Other ingredients include non-nano zinc oxide to fight smells, kaolin clay to help with detoxification and moisturizing coconut oil and grass fed tallow.

Compare THAT to the list of ingredients in Dove deodorant above! Start small with your lifestyle changes – even just switching to a safer deodorant can make a big difference in your overall toxin burden.

 

Beef & Mushroom Carbonara (Paleo/AIP)

Beef Mushroom Carbonara

Beef Mushroom Carbonara

 

I’m a lover of meat sauces. My mom used to make a big pot of her meat sauce every few weeks when we were kids, and the smell of it simmering all day got me so excited for dinnertime! Of course then we served it with boiled pasta, and in my well-informed years of adulthood, I’m serving it with spaghetti squash! By the way, this is also how my mom serves her meat sauce now! We both went Paleo around the same time in 2012!

 

Last night I made the Meat Sauce from The Healing Kitchen and I was inspired by this Beef + Mushroom Carbonara to add a glug of red wine to it… omgsh you guys. And THEN I served it over white sweet potato wedges for an Italian take on Poutine!

 

WHAT MADE THIS RECIPE EVEN BETTER?

Using Butcher Box ground beef!

I didn’t think ground beef could get yummier than my local farmer, but Butcher Box consistently delivers me the tastiest beef and pork I’ve ever had! Everything arrives at your door in a neat reusable cooler bag that I take to the beach or for traveling with homemade food! My mom signed up to receive her shipment every other month and is always anxious to get her next box in!

 

It would honestly be even yummier (if that’s possible) with this Carbonara because of the bacon and mushrooms! I topped everyone else’s Italian Poutine with raw grass-fed sharp cheddar and they went bonkers over it. Just bonkers. So that being said – you don’t have to serve this over spaghetti squash – you can eat it with par-boiled zoodles, sweet potato fries, over cauliflower rice, or in a bowl by itself!

 

Find the full recipe HERE

What the F is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)?

 

 

I couldn’t resist titling this article “What the F is EFT?” I can’t tell you how many people have asked me this very same question when I started talking about my experiences with the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) last year. And I said the same thing when I first heard of this interesting form of therapy myself.

What the F is EFT?

EFT is a therapeutic emotional tool implemented by practitioners all over the world that combines the principles of acupressure (tapping along meridians with your fingers), talk therapy and replacing current thought patterns with positive affirmations in order to move energy around your body and nervous system. In a way, it has similarities to acupuncture which uses needles along known energy meridians to re-circuit the body’s qi (another word for energy). 

 

I have come across several different philosophies behind EFT, so rather than explaining the who’s, why’s, and how’s… I’m going to share my personal experiences so you can get a more unique look inside an EFT session. I do encourage you to reach out to a local EFT practitioner if you have one in your area, if this sounds like it may be beneficial for you. I received great benefit from my sessions + much, much, much better results than a traditional therapeutic approach or even hypnosis (I tried that too). It’s VERY woo-woo at first, but once I saw benefit, I put my initial judgments aside and just went with it. 

 

Humans tend to bury the things that frighten us the most deep, deep, deep into our cells. Our cells, our mitochondria, are responsible for giving us life and controlling every bodily process you can think of… including how we think. Our immune system. Our brains. Our guts. Our cortisol response. When our cells are contaminated with a personal history of fear, trauma, abuse, and invalidation, a switch turns on.

 

This switch could be the trigger that pulls the gun for autoimmunity that was already loaded by your genetic and environmental toxins. Or it could be the switch that keeps you from living life in your truest form and achieving true happiness and fulfillment. Don’t you find life’s greatest moments result when you just drop expectations? For EFT to “work”, you really have to become as non-judgmental as you can be and not overthink it one bit.

 

Think of it this way. Most humans are walking around on earth tightly wound up like a spring. Everyday experiences continue to load that spring until it gets tighter and tighter and smaller and smaller, so that it no longer feels, looks, or acts like itself.

 

Until we release the tension caused by all of these experiences, we are going to stay tightly wound, our cells starved for new flow of energy. This didn’t totally make sense to me until I tried EFT with a very skilled practitioner in Austin. I no longer live in Austin but I continue to use what I learned from my therapist to cope and thrive in my everyday life. 

 

How does it work?

Ideally you learn to self-administer EFT tapping with an experienced therapist in a quiet and safe setting. It’s important to trust your EFT therapist because you will likely be talking about your deepest concerns, fears, and anxieties. Some people use EFT to calm headaches, allergic reactions, back pain, bloating, constipation, rashes, etc. I started EFT after hearing what an effective treatment is can be for someone with PTSD, emotional trauma, and anxiety. I wanted to change my thought patterns because I knew if I changed those, other things in my life would naturally fall into place to make me a happier and whole being. 

 

EFT is applicable to pretty well any physical, emotional, or cognitive issue or ailment you are experiencing. While I haven’t used EFT on more than two occasions for physical illness (an exposure to an allergen), I have used it for the last 6 months to successfully heal emotional wounds that I have carried with me from birth, childhood and young adulthood.

 

One could argue that the trauma we carry with us may have caused enough stress to trigger our autoimmune diseases. Now it’s time to unload the gun so that if the trigger is pulled by a daily event, it’s not going to harm us.

 

Okay, so here’s how it works…While narrating your thoughts, you tap along designated acupressure points in a calming pattern. Top of the head, above the eyebrow, the side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, on the breast bone, across the chest, under the ribcage, side of your body, along your forearm, hand, and fingers. It’s important to really let the thoughts flow and to not judge them. If you need to vent about your ex-husband, mother-in-law, the girl who stole your treadmill at the gym, or the guy who rear-ended you this morning in a non-judgmental space, this is the place to be.

 

EFT doesn’t encourage you to pretend everything is roses + pack away your real feelings. Remember, it’s about the good, bad and the fuuuugly. I’ve learned that to cope in life, we need to be aware of our reactions first and foremost. I have less to cope with now since EFT has changed my outlook so dramatically on people and events. 

 

My Personal Experiences with EFT

I find the subtle drumbeat of tapping vibrating through my body INCREDIBLY calming, and will now even start tapping in public subconsciously if something is stressing me out. For example, the other day a car drove by my daughter and I while we were walking in my neighborhood way too fast.

 

My cells immediately wound up in anxiety, my heartbeat faster, and I started to sweat. To calm this cortisol response down quickly, I started tapping, tapping, tapping, and within a few moments, I felt level again and ready to appreciate the beautiful morning for what it was. In the past, that event would have set up me for anxiety all day, heightening my adrenal response, lowering my digestion, and stimulating my immune system. 

 

During our first session, I felt what I can only describe as a ball of energy form in my throat, almost choking me, and certainly uncomfortable. I consider that the first and largest release of energy from my body that was keeping me sick and unhappy. My body gathered up energy in my throat likely for a few reasons: I have a diagnosed thyroid disease and the energy was right where my thyroid is located. I have felt my voice was squashed for so long… I used to hide my diagnosis (especially my infertility diagnosis) from friends and peers, even my family. I’ve also always had a fear of choking or of anyone touching my neck. It makes complete sense that this is where my body’s energy expulsion targeted. My therapist said some people burp, pass gas, become sleepy, or feel other odd sensations during EFT sessions.

 

We continued to tap along the meridians of my body, me following the lead of my therapist. The room had lowered lights, soft music playing, and my therapist encouraged me to keep speaking my inner thoughts. The ones I had pushed deep into my cells for so long. That ball of energy slowly started to release into the top of my throat, near my mouth, and suddenly it was gone. I no longer felt like I was choking or couldn’t breathe. I didn’t burst into tears (this session), it just went away. And the issue we were talking about truly stopped bothering me. It was an issue that was rooted in a past relationship. That’s some heavy stuff to work through that quickly. Other topics took several sessions for us to work through, though, so even if you don’t feel completely resolved after one session, don’t give up yet.  

 

Of course I was incredibly curious to return for more sessions once I had that effective initial experience. And each subsequent session we focused on whatever was on my mind that week. One week it was my birth experience, another week it was about missing deceased family members, another week it was to combat anxiety I was experiencing in anticipation of having six weeks straight of visitors when Grace was a few months old. We also discussed past relationships and experiences (like a scary experience I had walking home by myself in college as well as the tragic death of two friends).

 

On top of the fear and trauma that results from those situations is blame and an unwillingness to make ourselves vulnerable… for fear it may happen again. Or maybe it’s embarrassment for others to know. Either way, neither fear, invalidation or embarrassment are creating a positive flow of energy in your body and are negatively impacting your efforts in healing. Wrapped up in my past trauma is years and years and years of living a life of someone who was unwell and had lost her zest for life. 

 

The guilt, shame, fear, pain, sorrow, and hopelessness that many of us that have been diagnosed with a chronic illness or infertility comes as a package with our diagnosis. We have to unwrap that package, stare at it, examine it, question it, and then decide how we’re going to address it. Do we want to hold those emotions in our cells, keeping us from leading the life we were meant to live? Or do we want to release those emotions + clear our energy meridians so we can instead bring them true emotional and physical nourishment?

 

I lived in these negative emotions far too long, especially with my infertility diagnosis. I can say with confidence that my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s would not have been nearly as devastating to me if it hadn’t come along with an infertility diagnosis a year later. After the birth of my daughter, the greatest gift I could have ever received, I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t going to raise my daughter as a tightly-wound emotional spring, off-gassing my trauma on her. She deserved better and so did I. I had to face my own demons, the ones that were keeping me in a place of emotional restriction and possibly from reaching my full healing potential. That may sound strange to you depending on your own spirituality + openness to new ideas. But I fully believe that what we carry with us affects those around us.

 

Haven’t you been around someone who just made you feel off? There was a girl in my occupational therapy program who literally gave me the heebie jeebies… there was something in her energy that was so negative, it made my stomach twist and turn when I was near her. I had to work closely with her during the time of a Hashimoto’s flare and the days we were together, I felt so exhausted and sick. I wish I had known about EFT back then because I could have better protected myself in that situation. 

 

So what have I gained from EFT?

  • In a rather short time, I have increased my coping abilities dramatically. I go through my day with greater ease.
  • I have further accepted my body for what it does, what it looks like, and what it may do in the future. I don’t live in fear of autoimmune flares or fear of situations I cannot control.
  •  I have stopped blaming myself for everything. I’ve stopped worrying and “but what if-ing” everything.
  • I have stopped trying to control the future so much but rather live and stay in the present.
  • I feel healed from past traumas and aware of the healing that still needs to occur.
  • All of these tendencies and behavioral/thought patterns were rooted in anxiety and that anxiety was flowing through my cells like the Colorado River. We disrupted the flow.
  • Shifted my cognitive patterns using an almost trance-like state that is consciously tapping… and it really changed my outlook on the world and my place in the world.

Kale Pesto Chicken Soup (Paleo/AIP/21dsd/Whole30)

kale pesto chicken soup

 

Anyone else a pesto fanatic like myself? I can’t get enough of AIP pesto… I really don’t miss the nuts or cheese. I know that sounds crazy and like I’ve been doing this too long, and maybe I have. 

 

Pesto Chicken is my favorite combo which is why I created the infamous (as in infamous for turning you into a pizza-craving demon) Pesto Chicken Pizza for The Healing Kitchen. That recipe is legit. Definitely try it if you haven’t yet. Gimme.

 

You all make some crazy delicious pizzas out of my pizza crust recipe from the cookbook – holy moly! I stalk all of them.Today, however, I’m eating it as soup. I’ve never thought to combine the two until I had a craving for bone broth + garlic herb goodness. And goodness. A perfect pair. Still not into making your own bone broth? I found this frozen bone broth by a company called Bonafide Provisions at my local health food store the other day + used it in a pinch for a different soup I made. It was SUPER delicious! It’s also AIP – no nightshades or seed spices – making it the perfect in-a-pinch broth for your gut-healing soups, stews + mugs!

 

Find my recipe for Kale Pesto Chicken Soup

over on the 21 Day Sugar Detox blog!

Turmeric Chicken Cous-Cous Bowls (Paleo/AIP)


How 2017 am I this week? I wore sneakers with shorts (it’s acceptable again for the first time since 4th grade), sitting in a hipster coffee shop with my Mac Book + cold-brew decaf + almond milk, AND I’m wearing make up again. 
That last one may seem really ridiculous. “You stopped wearing makeup? What are you? A masochist?”

 

Quite the opposite, I say to you. I stopped wearing makeup every day because everything I had was full of harmful toxins that were getting absorbed in my skin and therefore into my bloodstream. It’s about to get really intense here. Please keep reading and hand me a tissue. 

 

You guys, I struggled with infertility from the age of 20 to 27. I worked my butt off to conceive naturally + went to the end of the world and back to have my baby girl. I know a lot of you have been through this + are going through this. That’s why I’m opening up about the most vulnerable moment of my life.

 

I reversed my infertility diagnosis in a multi-prong approach that took time, work, dedication + becoming a self-informed advocate for me and my future children. Joke’s on the doctor and not my ovaries because those bad b*tches are working again. How did I do it? How did I hear my diagnosis over and over again from 10 different doctors in my early twenties + tell them, “No, I’m not going to accept that. I’m going to have the daughter I’ve always wanted.”

 

I’m going to share something with you today that I’ve only ever told my husband. It was just last week I told him on one of our nightly walks, through tears in my eyes. 

 

At my lowest point in my struggle with autoimmune disease and infertility, I was so clinically depressed, I didn’t want to go on anymore. This was in Spring 2015 during a severe Hashimoto’s flare that last almost a year. I didn’t want to wake up the next day. I hoped something would happen to me. I literally prayed a car would jump the sidewalk and hit me. You guys, this is when I was writing The Healing Kitchen + blogging. Those were dark times. On a particularly difficult moment, I laid curled up in a puddle of my own tears, my heart wringing itself out in a painful sorrow I can’t even describe.

 

ALL I WANTED WAS A CHILD. I didn’t just want one, I needed one. I had this extreme pull towards motherhood, like I was put on earth to be a mother and that was my God-given purpose. To have your purpose in life denied to you, well I can’t really think of anything worse for a purpose-driven individual. 

 

I was in the fetal position, pounding my fist on the floor out of frustration and sadness, and suddenly a vision popped into my head. An extremely vivid, lucid vision. Almost a daydream. I saw myself (in my early thirties) standing in a grassy field smiling + laughing and staring at a small, brown-haired, brown-eyed little girl with wavy hair, laughing, and running away from me. I was overcome with calm, peace, and a new purpose. That was my daughter. And I needed to do everything in my power to have her. That was my daughter – it was Grace. I saw her. You may not believe me, but I know that was her. Everything changed after that moment. I no longer felt defeated. My baby was almost mine. I was on the right path. I finally knew I had something big to live for. It gives me goose bumps to this day.

 

 What next? I made a few changes to prepare my body for pregnancy + motherhood. I needed to clean the slate. To protect myself and Grace from the toxic burden of our everyday lives. Some toxins are unavoidable, others (like the ones we bring into our homes) are under our control. I knew that environmental and consumer product toxins caused birth defects + abnormal development + brain damage + nervous system toxicity + hormonal disruption. I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby who had a fair shot at life. I knew I was passing on my autoimmunity genetics to this girl. I couldn’t be the gun that pulled the trigger in her DNA. 

 

Then I realized these toxins were also worsening my adrenal fatigue, contributing to the inflammation in my body, to my genetic difficulty with detoxing, and my chemical sensitivity.

 

And my symptoms disappeared when I made the changes. Noticeable, life-changing changes. But something was missing – I didn’t have a skincare or a makeup routine anymore, I didn’t look forward to getting ready for outings because my routine was so boring. I missed wearing a bright red lip + giving myself at-home facials + cleaning my apartment from door to door. I realized I could lead a life of minimalism and less toxins… and I could have my under eye concealer too. I could really get my clothes clean without Tide. I didn’t need Swiffer to make my floors shining and spotless. I switched to safer beauty products, safer body products, safer household cleaners (+ started making my own!) I bought a Berkey water filter + a new mattress.

 

In terms of diet, I ate copious amounts of wild seafood and healthy fats <– SIDE NOTE: BABY MAKING FOOD, PEOPLEThe headaches went away. The strange little face rashes went away. The constant unquenchable thirst from drinking barely-filtered water went away. And I got my groove back with my beauty  + skincare routine. I stopped looking blah and feeling blah, and I started to look like my old self and feeling pretty again. I missed feeling pretty. I missed getting sexed-up for date nights. I wanted to wear some damn bronzer and foundation again!! Is that so much to ask!? Not anymore.

 

I found a way to have beauty + reduce my toxin load at the same time. And it really changed my life. I feel so much more confident walking down the street now than when I was in my plain-face, ‘fraid of toxins. Beautycounter is one of the companies that changed my world. It helped this recovered Sephora-Addict get her sexy back. Something I’m eternally grateful for now that I get less sleep, less time in the sunshine, and definitely less time for facials. 

 

Besides eating beauty foods (which I’ll be doing an article on soon – turmeric included) … here’s been my morning skincare routine for the last 6 months that I wanted to share with you guys today. It’s the perfect routine for a busy woman who still wants to look put together + confident, but doesn’t want to slather on cancer and infertility-causing products onto her body. 

 

 

 

Charcoal Bar + Nourishing Day Cream + Rejuvenating Eye Cream + Tint Skin Foundation in Honey (use as undereye concealer too) + Cream Blusher in Hibiscus (on the apples of my cheeks + on my lips)

 

 

NOW FOR THAT DELICIOUS HEALING RECIPE

 

Turmeric Chicken Cous Cous Bowls

Preparation 0:15 2017-04-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:20 2017-04-29T00:20:00+00:00 Serves 3     adjust servings

Ingredients

Turmeric Chicken

  • 3 cups cooked + shredded chicken breast, warm*
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Cous Cous Salad

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, riced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/4 cup diced dried apricot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Combine chicken with the coconut milk, honey and seasonings until well coated. Set aside while you make the cous cous bowl.
  2. Dry toast the riced cauliflower, stirring continuously, in a large pan set over medium heat for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt if desired. Serve Turmeric Chicken over Cous-Cous Salad in individual bowls.

Recipe Notes

*Time saver tip: use shredded plain rotisserie chicken

 

 

5 Safer Baby Body Products

5 Safer Baby Body Products

How often have you heard “the skin is our largest organ” and “everything you put on your skin enters your body”?

And yet we still purchase body products at drugstores, department store or baby stores without really looking into the ingredients. Maybe a loosely-regulated or not-regulated-at-all marketing claim like “all-natural” or “natural ingredients” were convincing enough to toss the product into your shopping cart. Or the label has a pretty little leaf or the color green on it?

 

Did you know marketers use the color green because we associate it with nature and health? Even if what’s inside the bottle didn’t come from nature + certainly doesn’t promote health. Ugh.  I’ve fallen for it before too. Until I informed myself about just how dangerous these ingredients are for our bodies.

 

We put so much effort into the sourcing of our food, yet we forget that what touches the skin often times enters the bloodstream. Why else would nicotine patches, birth control patches, or muscle cream exist if it didn’t penetrate the skin?And our babies are not protected from this mechanism. 

 

More than 10 years ago, the Environmental Working Group published a study called “Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns“. The EWF confirmed that…

  • More than 275 (287 to be exact) toxic chemicals were detected in the blood of newborn’s umbilical cords
  • 180 of those toxins are known carcinogens
  • 208 of those toxins cause birth defects and abnormal development
  • 217 of those toxins damage the brain + nervous system

 

What a dichotomy. We look at our gorgeous little newborns who look pristine… pure perfection. Yet before they even have taken their first breath of air outside the womb, their cells have encountered almost 300 known toxins. It’s incredibly saddening, but the first step in reconciling this hurdle is changing their environment.

 

Our job as parents is to protect our children and allow them to develop naturally + to their greatest potential. We can only do our best work if we are informed. 

 

An easy way to decrease the toxic burden of the modern world on our children is to change our bath + skin products to products by brands who do their research too. I don’t want this blog post to be about all the toxic chemicals found in brands with the cute + charming TV commercials.

 

This post is about supporting the companies that are dedicating their mission to protecting our children, advancing the public’s knowledge of safer products +/or advocating for legislative change to laws governing consumer product safety. Beautycounter is in partnership with the Environmental Working Group to ensure the safety of their products (their company mission after all). Eco Chic Movement is based out of Canada and run by a naturopath and toxicologist named Dr. Alexis Reid. She is a member of the Paleo community. Badger is a family-run company that has created some of the safest plant-derived skin products on the market. All 3 companies are all about environmental responsibility + consumer advocacy. 

 

 

Beautycounter Baby Gentle All-Over Wash is appropriate for infant and toddler bathing. It’s gentle formula is tear-free, lightly lathers, and effectively cleans. It leaves my baby’s skin with a yummy light baby-fresh scent, soft, and doesn’t dry it out at all thanks to coconut-derived fatty acids. BIG plus is Beautycounter was one of the first skincare companies to be EWG Verified, which means they have passed the most rigorous test for skincare safety out there. This body wash also doesn’t contain any formaldehyde-releasing chemicals unlike America’s most popular baby bath brand. 

 

Eco Chic Movement Diaper Cream

 

Eco Chic Movement Diaper Cream is a super-nourishing emollient made out of a variety of oils and plant extracts that work synergistically to heal your baby’s luscious bottom. This cream protects from diaper rash beautifully + I also apply it to my chunk monkey’s fabulous and endless rolls and under her chin(s). 

 

Beautycounter Baby Soothing Oil

Beautycounter Baby Soothing Oil

It doesn’t get more clean + simple than this… 4 ingredients make for the silkiest healing oil for all newborn and older skin concerns. This yummy oil is gluten-free, soy-free, non-gmo, vegan, and made with certified organic oils. Which means it’s the perfect baby shower gift for the new mom in your life (even if that’s you!) I use this after bath as a massage oil for a heavenly + relaxing baby massage that’s good for her insides + outsides too. Best of all? It’s fragrance-free which means you won’t have to worry about hormone-disrupting chemicals interfering with your nighttime routine. 

 

Badger Baby Sunscreen

 

Badger Baby Sunscreen SPF 30This is the only baby sunscreen I will put on my daughter this summer. It’s made with non-nano uncoated zinc oxide, EWG’s top choice for the safest active ingredient in a consumer sunscreen product. While sun exposure is incredibly healthy for babies, living in Florida means the strong UV rays have the potential to be damaging if we spend more than 30 minutes at the beach. After your baby hits 6 months of age, you can start applying baby sunscreen to their delicate skin. Make sure to do a patch test first (such as the inside of their leg) and wait 48 hours to watch for a reaction before using all over. Other ways to protect? A cotton hat, staying inside between 10 am and 4pm, and wearing a light cotton long-sleeve shirt and pants.

Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil

 Dr. Bronner’s Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil isn’t what you’d traditionally consider a baby body product, but it certainly has it’s place in your caregiving routine. My preferred use for coconut oil is for cradle cap.

 

Cradle cap is a ubiquitous (most babies have it) scalp condition that causes yellow flakes and scales of dry skin. It is a common condition beginning around 3 months and sometimes lasting longer than 12 months. (It may extend to the ears and eyebrows in more severe cases, but if you find dry scaly skin elsewhere on your baby, please have them evaluated by a doctor for eczema.) 

 

We have used coconut oil lightly massaged on Grace’s scalp to remove any dry skin. Let the coconut oil sit on the scalp from 15 to 30 minutes then using a soft organic wash cloth rinsed in warm water, gently exfoliate the dead skin away. Follow up with a lovely hair wash using the Gentle All-Over Wash