Ginger Cookie Crunch Ice Cream (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

 

ginger cookie ice cream
There are five food groups for me: meat, seafood, fruits, veggies and CRUNCHY food. I love a good crispy carrot stick, and I usually nibble on those while I cook dinner (so I don’t eat said dinner’s leftovers for the next day!) But on the AIP, it’s hard to get that crunchy sensation  outside of veggies and fruits. Enter Mission Heirloom. Enter 1-ingredient, grain-free Yucan Crunch. Enter my mouth.

Yucan Crunch is a 100% organic, non-gmo AIP-Friendly cracker made from yuca root fiber!

 

Mission Heirloom is a well-known Paleo-friendly restaurant in California that offers organic and biodynamic foods free from grains, soy, legumes, etc. They are very in tune with the needs of the autoimmune community and have special AIP menu items available all the time! I have contemplated taking a trip out to the San Francisco area just so I could dine with them!

 

Yucan Crunch can be topped with an assortment of sweet and savory toppings! Just toast to your liking in a pan or in your oven (I eat them without toasting for time’s sake) and get creative with toppings!

 

 

How I Crunch

  • Layered with pate, avocado slices and kraut for a nutrient-rich 5-minute breakfast or lunch!
  • Smeared with coconut oil, a touch raw honey, sliced strawberries and sea salt for a low-sugar treat!
  • Topped with mashed sardines, avocado, lime juice, sea salt and diced cucumber for an omega-3 rich lunch!
  • Finely crushed and blended with dates, coconut oil, orange zest & rosewater for a Middle Eastern inspired energy ball!
  • In this Ginger Cookie Ice Cream – little crunchy pieces are coated with ground ginger for a no-bake anti-inflammatory summer dessert!

 

 

Yucan Crunch is now available on Amazon! You can even Prime it!

 

 

This ice cream tastes like a ginger cookie but is made with coconut milk & sweet potato! I use my Whynter Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker for the creamiest homemade ice cream!

 

Ginger Cookie Crunch Ice Cream

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:00 Serves 3

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients except the Yucan Crunch, 1/2 tsp ginger and the coconut oil in a blender on high speed until smooth. Transfer to your ice cream maker.
  2. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer's directions. Meanwhile, toss the Yucan Crunch pieces with the coconut oil and ginger until well coated in a small bowl. When ice cream is almost finished churning, mix in these "Ginger Cookie" pieces until fully incorporated in the ice cream.
  3. Serve immediately or store in a glass container in the freezer for up to 3 days. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften prior to serving if not serving immediately.

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Toasted "Couscous" with Pine Nuts + Raisins

 

Before I get into this delicious, easy and fast Paleo & Whole 30 & AIP-adaptable side dish…let’s chat about what I’ve been up to lately!

 

I have so many ideas swirling through my head for blog content that would provide such value to expecting and new moms, and I want to get it out there! But the irony is being a stay-at-home mom leaves me almost zero time to get any of it done! So I took the advice of many women and hired a nanny just 6 hours a week to start.

 

It’s already made a big difference in my happiness, peace and productivity. I look forward to the two morning a week when I leave the house to go work and run errands baby-free. And Grace doesn’t even notice when I leave – she loves her nanny so much! 

 

This was such a necessary step in our relationship as mother and daughter. It provides us independence from one another so we can continue to pursue our daily interests and explorations. It’s wonderful for her to connect with another woman so quickly, and I’m much calmer knowing I have someone to help me during the long weeks.

 

My husband is gone almost 60 hours a week AND works when he gets home, so I was getting worn down fast trying to juggle the blog, Beautycounter and baby (and a baby who wakes up at least 2x a night to feed). 3 B’s I’m super passionate about and there weren’t enough hours in the day for all of them.Obviously the human B gets all my attention first!

 

Now onto this tasty Lebanese-inspired easy side dish! I’ve been loving pan-toasting or roasting my cauliflower rice lately because it doesn’t steam cook and get mushy but instead keeps it’s firmer bite. Turning it into couscous is a a no-brainer!

 

This is necessary if I’m going to call a dish couscous because a true Middle Eastern cous dish is not a mushfest. This “rice” dish is flavored with toasted pinenuts, raisins, parsley, mint and lemon + so addicting. It’s so easy to make it could easily become a frequent go-to for your family.

 

I ALWAYS keep an abundance of fresh herbs in my fridge. Just wash and dry them well and wrap them in paper towels in a sealed bag, and they will last a couple weeks for sure. I have fresh vibrant parsley that is almost 3 weeks old in my fridge using this storage method! Fresh herbs are incredibly dense in minerals, provide bright flavors to your finished dishes and are plain old beautiful to look at!

 

Wondering what you should serve this with? What about my AIP Beef Shawarma or my Crispy Lebanese Chicken?

This grain-free couscous will get cure your craving for Mediterranean fare!

Toasted Cauliflower Cous Cous with Pine Nuts & Raisins

 

 

9 reviews

Toasted Cauliflower Cous Cous with Pine Nuts & Raisins

Prep Time 00:07 Cook Time 00:12 Serves 4

Fragrant Middle Eastern-inspired low carb cauliflower cous cous side dish! Serve with my Beef Shawarma or Crispy Lebanese Chicken linked in the blog post.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced white onion
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 12 oz Trader Joe’s frozen organic cauliflower rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley and mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stainless steel skillet. Add white onion and a pinch of sea salt and sautee for 3 to 4 minutes until browned. Add pine nuts and toast for 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Add cauliflower rice with another pinch of sea salt to the pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 to 6 minutes until the cauliflower is crisp tender. No mushy cauliflower rice! Continuously stirring the rice releases the steam so your cauliflower rice toasts rather than steams in the skillet.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the raisins, herbs, and lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and sea salt, if desired.

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Recipe Notes

I prefer to use jumbo raisins because they are more plump and juicy. You may use 3 cups of homemade riced cauliflower in place of the Trader Joe's rice. For AIP, omit pine nuts and replace with equal amount chopped dried apricots.

 

AIP Italian Calzones

AIP Italian Calzone

 

AIP Italian Calzone

 

My AIP Stromboli recipe has been such a hit with us pizza-deprived humans that I made an Italian Calzone version for my monthly feature on Autoimmune Wellness! Have you been craving pizza on your grain and dairy-free diet? Look no further than either of these recipes! They have cured many, many, many pizza hankerings in our community. These Stromboli and Calzones may be my life’s greatest accomplishment outside of the birth of Grace… because a tummy full of pizza makes for a happy and fulfilled human.

 

 It’s a super flexible recipe:

  • Replace the arrowroot starch with equal amount of tapioca starch, if desired. 
  • Add a variety of finely diced vegetables like onion, mushroom and zucchini
  • Use a variety of starch white-fleshed sweet potato. I’ve been wondering if this recipe will work with pureed green plantain! Have you tried the Stromboli with plantain? Let us know in the comments!
  • Use any type of AIP-compliant savory sausage or meat like ham, pancetta, or prosciutto. 

 

Enjoy, my pizza-craving soulmates! 

GET THE RECIPE ON AUTOIMMUNE WELLNESS!

 

AIP Italian Calzone

AIP Instant Breakfast Cereal (and it’s really, really delicious!)

 

aip oatmeal

 

Breakfast! How did you grow up enjoying this meal? We mostly had breakfast cereal because mornings were rushed, and I have to say my twin sister and I were moderately obsessed with cereal up until our early twenties. I remember one time in college we both couldn’t sleep and we walked into the kitchen at the same time to have a bowl of Toasted Oatmeal Flakes. Glad those days are over.

 

One of the first things my husband and I bonded over was our childhood love of Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and how we never met another person that wasn’t 82 that liked it. There’s just something so comforting about sitting down with a bowl of cereal and milk. Maybe it’s pulling on the strings of nostalgia or something about the cold milk and the crunchy lightly sweetened cereal. And then we have oatmeal – I used to demolish a bowl of Instant oatmeal every morning. I topped it with cinnamon, bananas and blueberries and microwaved those little Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets – yeesh. Where the heck was my protein in the morning?

 

I seriously didn’t start eating protein for breakfast until I went Paleo and it squelched my blood sugar swings, so now I always include some protein at breakfast every day. Even if it’s a scoop of collagen protein in my smoothie or coffee or mug of broth. There are some mornings when I’m just not in the mood for leftover dinner for breakfast though and want something a little more familiar to my yesteryears. And now there’s a new AIP-Friendly Instant Farina that fills that void! I tried this cereal 3 times this weekend to be sure I loved it enough to recommend it! 

 

INTRODUCING….AIP INSTANT FARINA by Pure TraditionsThis AIP Instant Breakfast Cereal is made from just 5 ingredients: coconut, tigernuts, konjac root, cinnamon and sea salt! It is a finely ground powder that you add hot liquid to (like water or coconut milk) and let sit for 2 minutes as it thickens. The less water you add, the thicker the porridge which is how I like it! It tastes like Cracklin’ Oat Bran, in fact, so I’m a huge fan! I am super impressed with the taste!My only complaint is the serving size is small, so if you want to make it a filling meal you definitely need to top it with some hearty fruit like bananas and berries. I would also serve it with a side of bacon or a protein smoothie so you are eating it with protein too.WHAT I LOVE

  • Low in carbs if you prefer a lower carb diet
  • High in fiber which may be helpful if you have constipation
  • Unsweetened for an anti-inflammatory, low-sugar diet
  • Super convenient for traveling or busy mornings
  • Kid-friendly – convincingly the texture of oatmeal
  • Sold by Wild Mountain Paleo which offers over 100 AIP products that after often cheaper than Amazon sells them for!

NOTE WORTHY

  • Small serving size – I would say it’s more like 3 servings per bag rather than 6 servings as stated on the label. Still a good price at only $2.50 per serving of high quality ingredients and a convenient option! On AIP, having a few convenient options is worth its weight in gold.
  • Konjac root may be irritating on a gut sensitive to fiber – it’s a small amount and is used to help thicken the porridge when liquid is added. I found it helped stimulate a bowel movement and with Hashimoto’s, constipation occurs at times, so I didn’t mind this side effect. 

49 reviews

Warm Banana Instant Oatmeal

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:02 Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Pure Traditions Instant Farina
  • 1/3 cup warmed coconut milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 banana, sliced and lightly sauteed in coconut oil
  • shredded coconut, for serving

Directions

  1. Combine Farina and coconut milk in a bowl with the maple and cinnamon.
  2. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes to thicken.
  3. Top with sauteed banana slices and shredded coconut. Serve warm.

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AIP "Chocolate" Fudge – Two Ways! (AIP/Low-Sugar)

My husband and I celebrated Valentine’s early this year. We were supposed to go to one of my good childhood friend’s wedding, but Grace decided that this weekend was a mighty fine time to cut her first tooth. On Friday evening, she was screaming at the top of her lungs and I couldn’t figure out why. I looked in her mouth once she calmed down, and that poor little tooth was just breaking through! This explains why last week was so difficult.

 

It also explains why I ate more than my fair share of this fudge. We women sure do love to stress eat on some chocolate. I wonder why men don’t do that. It must be some sort of biological mechanism… like when our brain perceives we’re stressed it doesn’t want us to shut down and make fertility a non-priority, so it makes us crave fatty sweet things? Making this up as I type by the way. But if you know why, please share. 

 

We went to the farmer’s market Saturday morning. Our new city has this really amazing produce stand of dozens of vegetables for a good price. They’re all organic and locally grown and fresh as fuhhhh…dge. So I made us grilled local grass-fed flank steak with chimichurri sauce, steamed artichokes with lemon oil, a big salad of baby lettuce and olives, and roasted broccoli with Primal Palate’s new Garam Masala spice blend. Then we drank too much white wine, tried to watch Secret Life of Pets but I fell asleep with my very sexy blue-light blocker safety goggles on. Then my husband texted a picture of me to his friend. Sensual per usual. 

 

Spiced Maple Caramelized Sweet Plantains + Garam Masala Plantains and Apples using Primal Palate Garam Masala blend!

 

So I’m freakin’ obsessed with that spice blend and the Chinese Five Spice blend that are in their new Taste of Asia 3-pack. Those two are both nightshade-free and the accompanying Curry blend has cayenne in it, so I’ll be saving that one for my husband. Their spices are way, way, way better than anything you’ll try from the grocery store. You really need to try them + they’re on Amazon Prime now so no excuses. Prime Up Your Life. I use them everyday, pretty much on every meal. We used the Garam Masala for macaroons, rice, a pork and veggie skillet and this plantain and apple side dish I’m sending out to my newsletter subscribers only. Then the next day I made Spiced Maple Caramelized Sweet Plantains. Holy tropical starch balls, those were good. 

 

FUN FUDGE IDEAS

Strawberry or Raspberry Crust: Crush freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries and press the crushed mixture into the mold once its been filled and before it’s been refrigerated.

Peppermint Fudge: Add 8 to 10 drops (or to taste) of peppermint oil to fudge mixture before setting.

Toasted Coconut Fudge: Refrigerate fudge until hardened and then use your hands to quickly roll fudge into round truffles. Roll in toasted shredded coconut. 

1 review

AIP

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:05 Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup carob powder
  • 1 small ripe Haas avocado, chopped
  • 3 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (optional but recommended*)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil, maple, and coconut milk  together over medium-low heat. Whisk in carob powder until combined. Remove from heat for a few minutes before transferring the still-warm mixture to a food processor.
  2. Add avocado, collagen,  and salt to food processor and blend until you achieve a silky chocolate fudge. Add in the arrowroot and blend briefly until combined.
  3. Spoon fudge mixture into desired silicone molds and place in refrigerator until set (2 to 3 hours). Remove from molds prior to serving. Store in fridge. You may also use the warm fudge as a topping for coconut milk ice cream or fruit.

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Dairy-Free Mushroom Risotto (made in your Instant Pot!) – Paleo, AIP, 21dsd, Whole30

Paleo Risotto

Dairy-free Risotto made in your Instant Pot = the most hands-off risotto recipe you’ve ever tried!

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.

 

 

9 reviews

Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 4

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)

Directions

  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!

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

Hidden Liver Meatballs

Hidden Liver Meatballs

 

These Hidden Liver Meatballs have only a few ingredients and pack a nutrient-dense punch in our family dinners. They feature the most delicious pastured organic meat sausage you can easily source online. They’re Paleo, dairy-free and Whole30 friendly too!

 

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

1 review

Hidden Liver Meatballs

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 4 to 6 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)

Directions

  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.

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Hidden Liver Meatballs

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

Safely Dining out on AIP or with Food Allergies [AIP/Paleo]

 

 

Whether or not you’re following the autoimmune protocol because you have food allergies/intolerances or are removing foods known to cause inflammation, it can be very difficult to avoid eating out in restaurants. Going out to dinner or brunch is a social activity that we shouldn’t turn down just because we are on an elimination diet. Rather than dining out being a free-for-all, order whatever you want event, it will be something you think more carefully and cautiously about. And that’s okay! This isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself. You can make yourself all of the delicious food in the world 95% of the time, but for that 5% that you go out to eat, it’s okay to take it back to the basics to be as safe as possible. After following the AIP for 2 1/2 years and eating out probably over 100 times, here are the steps I always take to ensure my meal is free of allergens and cross-contamination. 

 

4 STEPS TO DINING OUT WITH ALLERGIES

 

STEP 1  Do your research.

In the age of the Internet, almost every restaurant posts their menu online through either their own website or restaurant review websites like Yelp. You can look at a menu for a steakhouse in Hong Kong while you’re sitting in your apartment in Ohio, for goodness’ sake! It’s really never been easier to find a few viable restaurants in your hometown or before you travel to a new city. Here are the search words I use when looking online for an AIP-friendly restaurant using a top-down approach: “gluten free”, “Paleo”, “allergy”, “celiac”, “soy free”, “dairy free”, “vegan”, “organic”, “grass fed”. I’ll give an example of how I navigate those search terms now.

How to Use Yelp to Find an Allergy-Friendly Restaurant

1. Go to Yelp.com since it is the most visited review website for restaurants and the reviews are searchable for terms.

2. Type in the city you are trying to find a restaurant in. If it’s a small town, Yelp will likely pull up restaurants under your search for nearby towns and cities as well as the search town.

3. Now start with one of my more broad search terms like “gluten free”. Let’s say 10 restaurants pop up under this term. Click on the restaurant that looks most interesting to you and find the search bar on that restaurant’s review page. Type in “gluten free” again. Yelp will now pull up any reviews for that restaurant that include the term “gluten free”. I often will find reviewers who say things like, “This place is NOT gluten free friendly. My friend has Celiac and wasn’t able to find anything here that didn’t risk cross contamination.” Time to move on from Restaurant A. Other times the review will say something like, “I’m on a Paleo-type diet, and it’s hard for me to find a place that suits my needs. This restaurant has a Gluten Free menu, so it was easy to work off of it to find a meal that they could also make grain-free and dairy-free.” Generally if a restaurant has taken the time to make a gluten-free menu, it will also take your other allergy concerns seriously.

4. Continue this process until you narrow down all the restaurants in that search term that may be options. It’s up to you how deep you want to get into your research, but if I’m traveling somewhere new I often spend a couple hours researching restaurants using all the search terms above.

 

STEP 2 Call the restaurant.

You can stop your research after Step 1 once you find a restaurant online that you think will work, but if you want to be extra diligent I suggest calling the restaurant next. Call them at a non-busy time. For example, if it’s a brunch place, avoid calling between 8 am and 12 pm. If it’s a fine dining establishment that’s hard to get into, call them earlier in the afternoon like around 2 to 4 pm before the dinner rush arrives. You will have the highest likelihood of getting the manager or chef on the phone, and they know the menu best. Often times if the hostess is the one answering my questions, I sense hesitation and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. The host or hostess usually does not know what oil they use or if the protein is pre-marinated.Never call same day either because it may take 24 hours for the manager or chef to return your phone call if they are unavailable.

Here are some questions to ask the manager or chef on the phone before you decide to dine there.

  • Do you accommodate people with allergies, gluten intolerance, and Celiac disease? (If they say they cannot guarantee no gluten cross contamination and you are not willing to take that risk, this place may not be the right choice for you.)
  • Do you pre-marinade your proteins? If so, what oils and spices do you use for marinades? Do you have any clean pieces of protein that you can cook fresh for me? (Most places that do marinade will have clean, untouched protein in the freezer they can take out for you if you call far enough in advance. Don’t be afraid to ask!)
  •  Does your kitchen know what nightshades are? (If they say yes, list out the nightshades and tell them you can’t have any, even in a seasoning mix on your food. If they respond confidently that will be no problem, it will likely be okay. If they say, “No our bacon does not have any nitrates in it…. Oh nightshades, no what are those?” then you may want to move on. This happens to me a lot, and because I am so sensitive to nightshades, I don’t take chances if someone has no idea what nightshades are. You may be okay taking that risk if you order something very plain like steamed fish and veggies though.
  • Are you willing to come out to the table if I dine with you and answer any additional questions I have about menu items? (I find that ordering directly from the manager or chef to be more successful in ensuring my food is properly prepared. Waiters and waitresses often are so hurried they will forget to write down that you have a dairy intolerance or avoid soy.)
  • Do you think it’s best to dine at your restaurant earlier in the night before the kitchen gets really busy to avoid any mistakes being made when preparing my meal? (This one is a no-brainer. They will likely say yes. Sometimes they will even suggest this on their own.) 

 

 

STEP 3 How to Order Food

 

When you arrive at the restaurant, let the hostess know that you called earlier about your allergies. She will likely let your server and the manager know, if it’s a quality restaurant. You really can judge a place based on how seriously they take food allergies at all stops on the hierarchy. If she smiles and just says, “Okay” try to make it more clear to your server how serious your allergies are instead.If the restaurant offers a Gluten-Free Menu, ask for it right off the bat. Expect them to still ask you if you want bread before you meal. It doesn’t matter how many times I say the words “gluten free”, the waiter still thinks there’s a chance I want bread. This is a great time to giggle to yourself. Let’s pray the kitchen has a better idea about gluten than your waiter at this point. Hopefully you’ve seen the menu before you even arrived at the restaurant and have already found a few options that may work. Maybe you’ve even already discussed the exact meal you will be ordering with the manager or chef (this is ideal)! The hard part for you is already over, but you still need to relay all of this information to your waiter so the order gets put into their system correctly.Here are some tips for ordering off a menu when dining out with allergies.

 

 

  • Look at the entrée salads first. They have the highest likelihood of just being vegetables, protein, cheese and dressing, all of which you can leave off. I am going to give an example of how I order off the salad menu at a place here in Austin called The Grove. 
  • Here’s a salad I often adapt for myself at a local restaurant. I order the Kale Salad which is already notated as gluten-free. To make it AIP, I check to see if the grilled watermelon has been marinated before. It has not. I ask to remove the pepitas (pumpkin seeds), feta cheese (dairy), and lemon poppyseed dressing (seed oils and seeds). Then to make the meal more substantial, I add a plain piece of grilled salmon, a double portion of avocado, and a side of olive oil and lemon. I bring my own sea salt grinder in my purse so I can add as much salt as I want to make my meal more flavorful without worrying if the salt they use is iodized or table salt.
  • If nothing on the salad menu looks enticing, move over to the entrées. Find a piece of meat that is least likely to be marinated or touched by spices such as a filet mignon or ribeye. It  is up to you if you are okay with eating grain-fed meat when you are out. Unless you have a severe corn allergy and corn-fed meat affects you, it may be your best bet! Most restaurants do not offer high quality pastured and grass fed options, but they are becoming more available. Seafood is also not often marinated. Look for raw oysters, shrimp, salmon, or scallops. Most restaurants cook do not marinate these since marinades can break down the seafood into a mushy mess. They are also quick to defrost if they have some in the freezer that are completely untouched!
  • Now build out the vegetables in your meal. Take a look at the sides. Do they offer steamed broccoli, asparagus, or sautéed spinach? Steamed vegetables don’t usually have any oil added to them but they may have seasoning so ask just for salt (or bring your own sea salt and ask for plain). If you choose sautéed vegetables like a squash medley or spinach, ask them to cook the vegetables in olive oil only. If they don’t have any pure olive oil (it’s often cut with canola or soybean oil in restaurants), then ask them to steam those vegetables or dry sautee them instead.
  • Never order anything fried even if they say it’s gluten free. Unless they have a gluten-free fryer, use coconut flour and arrowroot as the breading, and fry in coconut oil (haha, yeah right), you cannot eat fried food on AIP.
  • If you still can’t find anything on the menu that remotely looks AIP-friendly, don’t be afraid to build your own meal!
  • Here is an example of a meal I will build when nothing else works: plain grilled chicken breast, salad greens, avocado (I ask for a double portion), fresh herbs (if they have), and another side of vegetables/fruit (steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato, a cup of fruit). It’s not exciting and it’s not going to win any awards, but if you’re hungry it gets the job done.

 

 

STEP 4 Express Gratitude

Your motto when dining out with allergies is “Thank You”. Should we double over in gratitude when a kitchen serves us plain cooked chicken and lettuce? Eh. But they are stepping outside their comfort zone, taking measures to ensure your safety, and open to changing up menu items/retrieving something from the freezer/making an entirely new dish for you even if it’s super simple. I always thank the waiter/waitress several times during the ordering and dining process, and if the meal was exceptionally good I’ll ask to personally thank the manager or chef. 

 

WARNING: CROSS CONTAMINATION

Cross contamination is a very real thing in the restaurant industry, and there are also allergens hidden in many foods you’d never think! Rather than worrying about being “a pain” and asking too many questions about exactly how a dish is prepared, do your absolute best to be sure you don’t encounter cross contamination. Here are some ways foods you are avoiding may end up in your meal, but this is not an exhaustive list. Make sure you always ask about every ingredient that goes into your meal. 

  • Breadcrumbs in dishes like meatballs, meatloaf, pan-fried fish, croutons. 
  • MSG, Soy and Gluten in soups, stews, chowders, gravies etc in the form of bouillon cubes, premade stocks, MSG, soy sauce
  • Nightshades in marinades, sauces, dips, spice mixes, and guacamole
  • Dairy in sautéed vegetables, cooked meats/fish, soups, salad dressings
  • Corn in the form of high-fructose corn syrup in salad dressing and marinades, vegetable oil cooked protein and vegetables
  • Eggs in salad dressings, “washes” on pan-fried proteins
  • Refined sugar in salad dressings, marinades, mixed beverages
  • Soy, Gluten, Corn, Canola, or Peanut in anything that has been in a fryer or next to the fryer
  • Shared cutting boards, grill pans, utensils grills, work spaces. Ask for your meal to be cooked in a separate, clean pan or ask them to properly clean an area of the grill for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for clean cutting boards and utensils to be used too. It’s YOUR health at stake, not theirs!
  • Gluten in hamburger joints – most places grill their buns on the same grill as their burgers.
  • Anything that goes into your meal that contains a label before it does. Gluten can hide in tons of different additives and food labels such as “natural flavors” and “modified food starch”. That’s why I suggest ordering VERY simply and sticking with plain protein and veggies!

 

BEST TYPES OF RESTAURANTS FOR PEOPLE WITH FOOD ALLERGIES

  • Places with Gluten-Free Menus
  • Mid to Higher End Restaurants
  • Farm to Table Restaurants
  • Vegan Restaurants (In a pinch! Don’t bring your own meat! See tips above for dining in a vegan restaurant.)
  • Seafood Restaurants
  • Steakhouses

 

RESTAURANTS BEST TO AVOID ON THE AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL

  • Asian (Sushi restaurants are an exception. See tips below.)
  • Mexican
  • BBQ
  • Food Trucks
  • National Chains like Applebee’s, TGIFridays, Carabbas, PF Changs (Higher likelihood of only cooking with vegetable oils, offering low quality marinated meats and vegetables, heavily grain and dairy-based menus)

 

 

MEAL IDEAS FOR SPECIFIC RESTAURANTS

Vegan Restaurant This is the time to really up your vegetable consumption! When eating at a vegan restaurant (usually because it’s the most organic, healthy option available), I order a vegetable juice like the one below to start. I also order fruit for carbs, since most vegan restaurants don’t offer non-grain based carbs like sweet potatoes (since those tend not to be served raw). I then order a large salad and remove any seeds, sprouts, or grains from it and add extra avocado. Avocado is your best friend when dining out on AIP because it provides a high amount of satiating fat and calories.

 

Example of a vegetarian/vegan restaurant I’ve dined at in Sedona while following AIP.

 

 

  • Sushi Restaurant Order sashimi which is thinly sliced raw fish. Ask for a side of avocado since most sushi restaurants use avocado in their rolls. Bring your own coconut aminos as a dipping sauce. Some sushi restaurants are now offering low carb rolls that don’t include rice. Order a salmon, avocado, cucumber and carrot rice-less roll wrapped in seaweed or even thinly sliced cucumber. 

 

  • Steakhouse Order any steak of your choice and ask that it comes only seasoned with sea salt. Order sides of steamed broccoli and asparagus or spinach. If they don’t have baked sweet potato on the menu, I have brought my own and just slipped it on the plate. Sure they look a little confused when they come by to ask how your meal is, but if you need some carbs with your meal, don’t be embarrassed! 

 

  • Burger Joints Ask for your burger to be grilled on a cleaned portion of the grill away from the buns, using clean utensils. Ask for the burger to be placed on top of several large pieces of lettuce so you can wrap it up. Get avocado and red onion on your burger for extra flavor. Some places offer bacon, but I would ask for all of the ingredients on the bacon package since they can contain spice extractive (i.e. nightshades), nitrates, or preservatives. 

 

WHAT TO DO IF EXPOSED TO A FOOD ALLERGEN

I have only been exposed to a known allergen one time in the last 2 1/2 years and it was this past summer at a sushi restaurant here called Uchi. I went for my wedding anniversary with my husband when my daughter was 6 weeks old and it was our first (and still only) night out alone. I chose that place because it’s known to be one of the most popular, nicest places in town that is frequented by celebs. In fact, we saw Pierce Brosnan there that night. The meal cost us over $200 and I ended up with a terrible full-body case of hives that lasted 3 1/2 weeks. The time it took me away from my daughter during those weeks is irreplaceable. I was running around to doctors, acupuncturists, pharmacies, taking several salt baths a day. Seriously, awful. You bet I didn’t let them get away with something like that! They refunded my money completely (so at least my husband got to enjoy his free meal), and I expressed how important it is for everyone in their kitchen to be trained in food allergies. 

  • Consider taking activated charcoal immediately. I like ones made from coconut shells but that tends to be hard to find. Instead, it’s easy to source a gelatin capsule charcoal like this one from Nature’s Way. 
  • Talk to the manager immediately. That may mean calling the restaurant the next day and following up if they do not respond. It’s vital you let them know their kitchen slipped up and served you an allergen. This needs to be taken extremely seriously because some of us have anaphylactic reactions. 
  • Write a review on Yelp even if you’ve spoken to the apologetic manager. Other diners with allergies need to know whether or not a place has a poor track record. On the flip side, if a place does an excellent job accommodating you, tell the world as well!
  • Consider taking GlutenEase at meals when dining out. It can help you digest gluten and casein enzymes that your sensitive immune system is unable to on it’s own. This is NOT an excuse to eat pizza when you are out. 

 

 

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PURSE WHEN DINING OUT

Small Sea Salt Grinder

Coconut Aminos

Allergy Cards

Small bottle of olive oil

Avocado

Power Balls

Baked Sweet Potato

 

 

 

Need extra protein because the restaurant only gave you a few ounces of chicken? A pack of Power Balls provides 12 extra grams of collagen protein!

Spicy Sweet Potato Pineapple Salad (Paleo, AIP, Whole30 & Vegan)

spicy-sweet-potato-salad

spicy sweet potato salad

 

This spicy roasted sweet potato and pineapple side dish is so delicious! It’s Paleo, Whole30, AIP and makes for an interesting addition to your summer BBQ meal!

 

I created this recipe so that we would have a good transitional side dish to take us from season to season. This recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Pineapple Salad married my two favorite seasons: summer and fall! You can find the main ingredients year-round at any grocery store. I find this to be a budget-friendly Paleo side that goes a long way too!

 

WHAT YOU NEED FOR SPICY ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND PINEAPPLE SALAD:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Fresh pineapple

  • Cilantro

  • Fresh Ginger

  • Lime Juice

  • Chives

 

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. On one baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with lard and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Spread 3 cups pineapple out onto second baking sheet.

  3. Bake sweet potato and pineapple for 40 to 45 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you make the dressing.

  4. In a food processor, combine remaining 1 cup pineapple, ginger, remaining ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ginger, lime, and fish sauce until smooth.

  5. Transfer sweet potatoes and pineapple to a serving bowl and toss with spicy pineapple dressing, cilantro, and chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

LOOKING FOR OTHER EASY PALEO SIDE DISHES?

1. Toasted “Cous-Cous” with Pine Nuts & Raisins

2. Maple Mustard & Dill Glazed Carrots

3. Mediterranean Cauliflower Cous-Cous Salad

 

I made this recipe in conjunction with Autoimmune Wellness. This spicy roasted sweet potato side dish is compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol. If you love the recipe, you’ll definitely want to check out my print cookbook The Healing Kitchen! It features almost 200 allergy-friendly recipes specifically designed to support the health of those with autoimmune disease, inflammation or chronic illness.

 

GET THE FULL RECIPE HERE

 

spicy roasted sweet potato salad