I can’t wrap my mind around where summer went. It feels like it was just the beginning of July and here we are now at the end of August. Who let that happen?
One thing I know for sure, I am soaking in on all of the summer produce possible. Fresh items like peaches, nectarines, berries (all the berries!), summer squash and greens are in such abundance right now. So I am using them up in every way I can possibly fit them into my meals.
Prior to the days where I no longer eat grains and legumes I loved hummus! Seriously I’d dip whatever I could into it, pretzels, carrots, cucumbers, spread it on tortillas the list goes on. When I think about how I used to eat, it was never a poor diet, the main difference between what I felt was healthy then, and what I know is healthy now is a matter of nutrients. And even though my diet lifestyle was seemingly “healthy” is was nutritionally void.
I am not here to protest legumes, or tell you that they are bad, by any means. Since healing with AIP I have had an occasional chickpea with no ailments. However, knowing what kind of damage they can do to the gut (one that still is healing) long term I choose not to eat them. I think they can be great for some people who already have incredibly established gut flora and a microbiome that eat’s the crap out of carbs (in a good way!) But I’m taking a gander that you may not be that person either. So in desperation of wanting that salty, creamy dip back I’ve been experimenting with ways to create a similar palate without the use of legumes.
It’s the newest trend in the foodie culture to sit down to a big bowl of grains filled with all kinds of warm yummy toppings like eggs, greens, vegetables and other delicious edibles. So in doing what I feel is a public service to what I’d call the “non-grain community” at large is create a “grainless” bowl that resembles it’s original inspiration, yet tastier, more nutrient dense, and vegetable focused.
These bowls are the perfect dish to transition from winter to spring as they’re served warm, with warming spices and a pop of citrus from the kumquats. Personally, around this time of the year I cannot get enough of kumquats to save my life! They’re so fun, for one, and for two they are basically nature’s starburst!!
An open letter to anyone going through the phases of reintroducing foods after following an elimination diet.
Dear beautiful human,
So you’ve been on an elimination diet, and you’re finally ready to see what you can eat again. Congratulations, this is a big deal!! This means that you must feel AMAZING right now, especially compared to where you were before the start of your elimination protocol. You really deserve an award for sticking through something so difficult in pursuit of feeling better. Let’s not down play just how hard it is to remove certain foods from your life.
Eliminating food, is hard. I know, because I’ve been there. Let me say that getting to the reintroduction phase is an accomplishment. Reintroducing foods means healing has occurred within you, and naturally that’s a really great feeling. It can also however, breed a lot of anxiety when it comes to trying new foods that were temporarily “off limits”. It’s completely normal to feel a little scared about adding foods back into your system that could potentially make you feel unwell, perhaps even cause a flare if you have an autoimmune condition or instigate those painful headaches that you finally got rid of.
You may think this fear is even too great to even risk reintroducing foods, don’t let it be. When you’re going to reintroduce foods you want to be methodical about how you go about doing it, if you’re following a certain system, make sure that you follow the steps of reintroducing, like through the autoimmune protocol for example. There are outlined steps and a system that works when it comes to reintroducing foods and being aware of how they affect your body is hugely important in the process. This is essential to knowing what does and does not work for you right now. Perhaps it won’t be forever, but for right now some foods will and will not work in your individual system, and that is okay.
The other day I had a client ask me, “what got you through the holidays when you were on the autoimmune protocol?” I thought this was a great question. After much thought since our conversation I realized my answer would benefit so many of you as much as it did her.
When the holidays come around it can be an especially challenging for people who are a midst lifestyle changes or an elimination protocol. It can already be stressful for many regardless of worrying about what to eat, or what not to eat rather. So I have a few suggestions on how to deal.
1. Realign with your motivation
One of the best things you can do for yourself is be constantly reminded of your intention behind why you’re choosing to do something. For me, when the Holidays approach, I know that much of the food is going to make me feel ill. I also know that my “ill” has the potential to turn into lack of mobility, or no mobility at all. That is my constant motivation for most everything I do, and frankly it’s not worth it to me to potentially jeopardize my ability to move. For you it may be similar pain, or it could be weight to lose, it could be the progress with your energy levels, whatever it is for you, stick with it.
2. Be open with family and friends
Talk to your family and friends about your commitment to yourself and ask for their support. They don’t have to agree or understand to be supportive of you’re doing. By putting it out there it takes a weight off you in having to hide something, and to feel more comfortable with your choices in public, at parties and family gatherings.
3. This is not about deprivation
This is an important one. Know that you always have a choice. You have a choice to eat that pecan pumpkin pie as much as you have a choice to dive into the green-bean casserole. If you choose not to, that’s your prerogative. It’s not about keeping yourself from something “bad” it’s about intentionally eating foods that will make you feel good. I tell my clients to say the affirmation, I eat to heal. It’s helpful in changing our thoughts around food when we focus on what to eat to make us feel amazing.
4. Reframe your viewpoint
The holidays are not about food. Food is simply one aspect of the holidays. Yes, it’s enjoyable and communal, it is not something that has to be the main focus. Though, most of the time it is the center purpose of the holidays, begin to think about what the holidays actually mean for you. What if you weren’t able to have food at all, would the things that truly matter, matter less?
If you are concerned about missing treats, check out the ones I have here.
5. Find joy in all aspects
There are tons of amazing ways to spend the holidays with friends or family, you’re not going to be left out because of food. What are some of your favorite aspects of the holidays? Allow yourself to fully be present and enjoy those. For me, I know that eating certain foods would cause inflammation, pain and would pull from where I want to be in the present moment to instead thinking about what’s going on inside my body. I want to focus my attention on the moment of joy with family and friends, not distracted by what’s going on inside my body. I want to feel well.
So what do you say? How do these tips help you, and how will you deal during the Holidays? Leave me a comment and let me know!
One of the reasons fall is my favorite season is because it means that slow cooked meals are more frequent. The ease of adding a few ingredients to a slow cooker or Instant Pot and letting it do all the work for you, makes meals so much easier. A bonus being that the whole house smells intoxicating during the day from the cooking process. I also love slow cooking over night, and waking up to a complete dish ready for the week ahead.
A go-to meal-prep of mine is cooking a whole chicken for the week ahead. By doing this I set myself up for a ton of protein throughout the week and I also have bones from the carcass to make bone broth. YUM!
I love really herby and fragrant chicken. By loading it with fresh fennel, onion and lemon the aroma is refreshing and the flavor bright. This fennel and lemon chicken makes the most rich bone-broth as well as the acid in the lemon breaks down the protein enzymes and extracts all the wonderful collagen. You can use any slow cooker for this method, but I use and highly recommend the Instant Pot. I cannot say enough good things about my Instant Pot it makes food not only delicious and quick but it is so incredibly easy to use. It pressure cooks, slow cooks, makes rice, yogurt, soups, stews, steams, saute, the options are endless with this incredible machine.
After just returning from a trip across the country for my best friend’s wedding this chicken is going immediately into the Instant Pot and will feed me easily for the next week and beyond! Not to mention, it renders some of the most flavorful broth I have made yet!
SLOW COOKED FENNEL & LEMON CHICKEN
1 whole organic/pasture-raised chicken
1 cup fresh chopped fennel
1/2 cup yellow onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped fennel fronds
2 cloves garlic crushed.
1 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare the whole chicken, remove any giblets or organs. I often throw in the neck or save it for bone broth! Clean the chicken and pat dry.
Chop the onion, fennel, and fennel fronds. Cut the lemon in half.
Stuff half the lemon, onion, fennel and 1 clove garlic inside the cavity of the chicken.
Place the chicken in the Instant Pot (slow cooker). Then cover it with the rest of the onion, garlic, fennel and then coat the outside with the fennel fronds and sea salt.
Place the timer on 6 hours and allow for it to work it’s magic. When it’s finished the chicken will super succulent and juicy! You may even have some broth already made from the natural juices.
Let’s face it, Brussels sprouts are basically baby cabbage and ‘baby’ anything is cute, right? So naturally, you’d think more people would be all heart-eyes over Brussels sprouts, and I can tell you I am, though I haven’t always been.
I love cabbage, and always have. In fact my Grandpa and I have jokingly fought over my Grandma’s cabbage. But Brussels sprouts, not so much. I feel like they’re the younger sibling, totally left out of the fun and somehow they’ve gotten the bad rap of being “that vegetable” that no kid wants to go near. Nearly everyone has a story associated with why they don’t like them, and refuse to try them ever again.
I too have a horror story. Get ready to laugh your ass off.
Some people either love or hate okra, but maybe you haven’t even tried it! Oh this is exciting. If you love it already, then this recipe is definitely for you and if you’ve not liked it in the past I encourage you to give it another shot, that ultra slimy feel and taste that cause most people to shy away from okra is not present here. Just simply delicious flavor and a decent crunch factor.
Okra of course reminds me of my Southern roots. It’s gotten it’s popularity in America as a fried food mostly or a vegetable addition to soups, stews and gumbos. Hailing from Africa, these pods were prevalent in the Southern states.
I love them because they are so versatile. They’re great fried up with onions, added to my morning soups, chopped in a fresh salad, or like here, roasted with plantains!
Last weekend I visited my Dad in southern Alabama, the first stop on my trip out west. Knowing full well both my love for cooking delicious and nutritious foods he already had in mind a few things he wanted me to make him while I was there.
It’s kind of the coolest thing ever to get to cook for a parent, especially when they ooh and awe over your food. My Dad is pretty much the best recipe taste-tester I have. He loves food just as much (if not more) than I do. One of his favorite recipes of mine are these rosemary mashed sweet potatoes, in fact these are also a favorite of my sister. They have both asked me on several occasions to make this side dish, and I don’t blame them. These sweet potatoes are so creamy and luscious it’s hard to have just a single serving. Trust me.
A few weeks ago I had friends in town visiting. I was so happy to have them here not just because I enjoy spending time with them but also because I loved cooking for them. We spent every morning enjoying the most awesome friends breakfasts and just about every day they’d say “OMG, I need the recipe for this.” Which made me of course feel so good about the food I was making them! One of those happened to be these five spice sausages.
Part of why we love food so much is getting to share it with those we love, when we change our lifestyles to focus on healthier food sometimes that becomes difficult if our family or friends don’t make similar choices. But I always love the opportunity to cook for them, one of which follows a Paleo lifestyle and the other who doesn’t but still makes healthy choices. Needless to say after they raved over these I knew I had to share them with you all.