Nightshade-free Curry Sweet Potatoes & Fennel even your kids will enjoy! The perfect comforting Whole30 side dish!


Good day, friends! Well today is not such a good day because I am incredibly sleep-deprived with a migraine and a molar-teething toddler, but I’ll fake til I make it… if I ever make it to the end of the day.


We’ve been struggling big time with our sweet little monster for the last couple months as she gains more independence & “NO!” is her most used word after “Mommy”, “Dora” and “I want that”. We’re in the thick of parenting when you question your sanity, resilience & whether or not wine at 11 am is acceptable.


My body is clearly telling me it needs sleep and rest. I talk about the highs & lows of motherhood a lot on Instagram (where you can get to know me a lot better) and how difficult it is to take care of yourself as a mother. Add a chronic autoimmune disease that flares during times of stress, and life just got a bit more complicated.


Today I’m sharing the little doses of self-care I sprinkle throughout my day to manage motherhood & autoimmunity.


ASK FOR HELP. I asked my husband to get up at 4 am so I can try to sleep off this migraine. I asked him to give me a neck rub to help with the neck pain. I asked my mom to drive 3 hours next week to come help out for a few days. The days are over when I think I can do everything on my own. I am no longer resistant to asking for help. It’s how I keep my head above water & it’s allowed my husband to become equally involved in parenting rather than it just being “my thing as the stay-at-home mom”.


GO OUTSIDE. This is a big one for me. I can feel the tension and stress release from my body when I get outside. This morning I took my dog for a 30 minute walk while my husband took care of getting her dressed and ready for the day. I came back a bit more refreshed & our messed up circadian rhythm benefit greatly from early morning sunlight.


FUTURE FUN. I make sure to have something to look forward to the in the near-ish future that is all my own. For example, I have a Napa trip planned with my sister and a good friend for March. I’ll also be taking a couple more trips this year for my Beautycounter business.

Heck, even planning my February safer beauty gifts is a fun outlet for me that gives back to others while also doing something for myself. Other days, I plan a fun workout for later in the evening once my husband gets home, and I truly look forward to that time all day. I need an “out” – knowing that every week I am able to focus on myself and let the anxieties and difficulties of parenthood drift to the back of my mind.


EAT WHAT MY BODY IS ASKING FOR. There’s a reason I don’t do nutrition challenges (although this recipe is Whole30 compliant since I know many of you gain benefit from those) or restrict my food choices any further than I need to to maintain my health and autoimmune disease status.


Each day I wake up needing something different. For example, this morning I had an early breakfast (since I’d been up since 5 am) of kale, rice, chicken and asparagus. It held me over for a few hours but by 10 am I was hungry enough for another mini meal, so I had chicken, sweet potatoes and kale.

In Paleo culture, eating mini-meals and snacks and carbs at every meal is frowned upon. I 100% do not care or follow anyone else’s advice on when or what I should eat besides my own internal cues. This has allowed me to maintain variety in my diet, not feel restricted or guilty if I don’t ‘follow a plan perfectly’ and to eat truly intuitively.


Now, I may not be hungry again until dinner in another 7 hours – who knows! Don’t beat yourself up over how you’re fueling yourself during these difficult early years of motherhood. And on a side note, I also do not strive to be fat-adapted. I’ve been fat-adapted before and I’ve been sugar-adapted, and I personally find a very minimal difference between the two. In fact, I am able to maintain and lose weight better when I’m eating carbs, recover better from workouts, and am less likely to feel the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Everyone’s body won’t react that way, but according to my genetic testing, I do well with both a high fat and high carb diet, and I would agree with that based on my own experiences. That makes eating intuitively a whole lot easier when I’m not restricting an entire macronutrient or feeling “bad” that I ate rice and sweet potatoes in the same day.



I hope the above tips help in some way – at least in giving you comfort knowing you’re not alone in the feeling of overwhelm that comes along with motherhood. It’s not easy to take care of yourself when your heart is much more invested in your baby, but implementing just a few doses of “me time” each day can be the difference between losing our patience & keeping steady and calm for our children.


Oh and about this side dish! It is incredibly easy, flavorful & nutrient dense and tastes delicious cold the next day, if you’re like me & eat lunch out of the serving dish standing at the kitchen counter while your kid has 10 minutes left of their nap 😉 If you’re AIP, simply omit the cumin!


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Curry Sweet Potatoes & Fennel

  • Author: Alaena Haber
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Total Time: 22 minutes



2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 3 to 4 cups)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces (about 12 ounces)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut cream

chopped fennel fronds for serving


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Saute until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  2. Add fennel to the skillet with an additional 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and saute until lightly browned, 3 to 4 more minutes. 
  3. Now add the sweet potatoes and remaining spices and sea salt. Toss to coat with the onions & fennel. Pour in coconut cream, reduce heat to medium-low to prevent burning and cover with a fitted lid. Steam cook potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes until tender, stirring once or twice to be sure they’re not sticking to the skillet.  
  4. Remove lid and continue to stir frequently, allowing all the liquid to evaporate, and flavors to combine for another minute or two. 
  5. Serve warm with chopped fennel fronds.