Rough day calls for an easy dinner

Today has been rough. Loads of fatigue. I basically only peeled myself off the couch to make sure my kid was fed. On days like today, if it ain’t easy, it ain’t happenin’. But with the right things in the fridge, throwing something kid friendly and healthy together is simple and easy.

Grassfed, uncured hot dogs, pickles (the only ones I can find that don’t have yellow #5 added ūüôĄ) wrapped in Applegate Black Forest ham. Microwaved broccoli. Baby spinach saut√©ed in pork lard. Cinnamon carrots cooked in Kerrygold butter. And, of course, avocado.

Perfect alternative to sugar loaded ketchup.

Not your usual hotdog. Applegate is a great, easily accessible brand that I trust for convenience foods like lunch meat and uncured bacon.

This is so sad, but this is literally the ONLY brand of pickles I’ve been able to find at the grocery store that doesn’t contain yellow #5. And they’re literally the exact same color as regular pickles. So silly. ūü§¶ūüŹľ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ

Stuffed Avocados

I’m venturing back into the paleo-ish world and y’all- it’s so much easier to be paleo now than it was 6 years ago. Publix has coconut aminos! Whattttt??? Plus all these dressings and marinades. I’m stoked!

Recent health struggles have reminded me that I can’t out-supplement a bad diet, so while I don’t plan to be as strict as I was back in 2013, I know my body functions best when I’m following Paleo principles. So this was dinner last night…

Spring mix greens and avocados (stuffed with mushrooms, onions, and garlic sautéed in pork lard) drizzled in paleo ranch. Roasted red peppers, grapes, and 2 fried eggs, over medium.

Simple. Fast. Yum.

What I’ve been eating (when I’m not eating crap)

Despite my best efforts at sticking to strict paleo, my emotional wounds have called for emotional eating. As these wounds slowly begin healing, I find it easier to take better care of my health. But it’s a process and I have to go easy on myself. So I’m not going to post the photos of the crap I’ve eaten lately (delicious and sometimes very well made, high quality crap- just not good for my body and physical healing process). This “crap” has included KFC, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell; cupcakes and snack food at parties; midnight PB&J’s (though I often use sunflower butter and organic jam); Keebler cookies and Quaker granola bars; and whatever I feel like eating at social functions and when out at restaurants with friends.

I quickly destroy all evidence of “bad” food- receipts, wrappers, etc. But here is some evidence of good, healing foods I’ve been eating.

Grass-fed beef burger on a bed of Bubbie’s sauerkraut, topped with all the usual suspects (organic mustard and ketchup, homemade paleo mayo- recipe below). A big slice of tomato and a blob of guacamole. All on a butter lettuce “bun”.

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Tomato slices topped with mustard, Applegate ham, and chopped fresh basil, broiled until warm, juicy, and delicious.

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Homemade dried fruit. (Thanks, Mom, for the dehydrator!) Apples, strawberries, bananas, and peaches. This stuff is seriously like candy.

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Grassfed meatballs with ketchup, sauerkraut, guac, and a boiled egg. With a side of Brussels sprouts and olives. This was one of those random “pull things out of the fridge and make a meal out of it” dinners.

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Lunch with my munchkin. Applegate, uncured, grass-fed beef hot dog with ketchup, sauerkraut, and the only pickle I could find without yellow #4. The carrots are also pickled. And a cup of unsweetened applesauce to balance all that saltiness.

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Tuna-avocado boats with carrots. The tuna salad has sauerkraut and homemade paleo mayo, which is super easy to make and tastes soooo much better than store bought. Just make sure you’re using high quality eggs. Bring all ingredients to room temp, then blend 2 eggs, juice of a lemon, and a tablespoon of mustard in a blender. While blending, drizzle in avocado (or olive, or coconut, or whatever’s healthy) oil until it “sets up”. You’ll know when that happens. So yummy.

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And homemade veal jerky. I got the recipe from Eat Like a Dinosaur by the Paleo Parents. Fantastic cookbook with an illustrated story for kids to help explain the whys behind eating paleo, and each recipe is kid-friendly with lots of tips on how they can help in the kitchen. Munchkin loves helping cook (and eat) dinosaur food.

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I’m still kickin’!

After successfully weaning off of prednisone in late October 2013, some things in my personal life began falling apart. By January, I was in such a desperate place emotionally that I could barely eat at all, much less follow a healthy diet. My health hasn’t been great, but it’s been tremendously better than what I experienced last year, despite eating almost exclusively dairy and gluten (comfort foods!) for months. That all came crashing down a couple of weeks ago when a minor throat infection landed me in the hospital overnight. It was a wake up call. I’d also recently been having pretty consistent upset stomachs. Clearly, I’ve destroyed the progress I’d made healing my gut in 2013, and it’s time to get back at it, regardless of my still fluctuating emotional state.

After all my research and experimentation last year, I learned that the Paleo diet works best for my individual goals and issues. Specifically, I credit the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol for finally helping me get off that horrific steroid that everyone loves to hate. As my health situation is not as dire as it was last year, I am going to ease back into this by eating squeaky clean Paleo for 3 weeks and seeing how things go. I started 5 days ago, and have already noticed improvements. Several months ago, I developed a strange rash near each eye on my upper cheeks. It’s been there for months. Five days on Paleo and it’s completely gone. Also, no more upset stomach.

Here are some examples of what I’ve been eating.

Breakfast usually consists of lots of bacon (Applegate Farms uncured), fruit, and chai tea with almond milk.

This morning, it was Applegate chicken and apple sausage and lots of cherries.

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Lunch usually involves leftovers, Applegate lunch meat or grass-fed hot dogs, or tuna/salmon salad with homemade paleo mayo (2 eggs, juice of half a lemon, dab of mustard- all room temp and whirled in blender while drizzling in avocado or olive oil until it “sets up”) and raw sauerkraut (as pictured below) with olives, tomatoes, and basil leaves.

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Coming off of several months of eating mostly simple starches and sugar, I’m having to satisfy those cravings with Paleo-friendly treats. Hopefully, over time, they’ll become less necessary.

My daughter has dubbed this “banana swirl”. Frozen bananas with a bit of almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, topped with cinnamon. Yum! Instant paleo ice cream.

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And I got a super simple chocolate coconut pudding recipe from a friend (1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight and only use the cream that collects on top, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder) and topped it with fried bananas. The bananas were fried in grass-fed butter, my one dairy allowance.

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It’s good to be back. Not sure how consistent I’ll be, but I’m ready to start taking care of myself again. Is there really any other choice?

What I’ve Been Eatin’

Today has been a long day. Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been getting to sleep early enough the past few days, and it’s caught up to me. I have several oral lesions and I’m exhausted. I’d call it a mini flare. I’m still able to eat normal foods, it just takes a bit more time and effort. Planning on knocking out early tonight. Hoping that’ll jumpstart the healing process.

Here’s what I’ve been eating lately:

Coconut butter is a new discovery for me. The Artisana brand is super delicious and way smoother than what I can make in my own food processor. Spread it on some pear slices- fantastic AIP snack.

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This was breakfast, but it would work any time of day. Saut√©ed sweet potatoes with garlic and spinach, and my very own AIP meatloaf patties. I always make a double batch and freeze extras for quick meals when I’m tired or rushed (or sick). Love ’em!

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This was my plate of food from a recent party. I brought a salmon salad for me and a dish of roasted garlicky broccoli to share so I’d be sure to have something to eat. But it turned out that there was more food that was AIP compliant at the party. My husband’s grandfather made a delicious baked yuca dish, and my mother-in-law smoked a brisket (she only used a tenderizer on it, which wasn’t ideal for my diet, but not a huge deviation from it). It was soooo delicious. And really fun to enjoy eating with a large group (without having my own “special” food). There was a lot at the party that I couldn’t eat, but I was full on this stuff. So it didn’t matter.

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I’ve been having this for breakfast most mornings. AIP meatloaf patties made into an actual meatloaf, alongside mashed cauliflower or fermented cabbage (pictured here). And a big ol’ mug of bone broth.

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This works as a snack or light lunch alongside a smoothie. Smoked salmon and olive rolls. The brand of smoked salmon that I use (Echo Falls) has only wild caught salmon, salt, and natural hardwood smoke as ingredients.

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Off to bed! Hope the little one cooperates!

My first original recipe: AIP Meatloaf Patties

Grass-fed or pastured meat patties are a staple in the Autoimmune Paleo world. ¬†Even given the severe restrictions of the diet, there are lots of options for seasoning and enhancing a meat patty. ¬†Herbs, veggies, non-nightshade and non-seed spices. ¬†So I found it frustrating when the first couple of recipes I followed didn’t turn out that great. ¬†Sure, I may have overcooked one batch a bit, but I am far from a perfectionist in the kitchen. ¬†Perfection is just never going to happen for me. ¬†Sometimes, the oven timer goes off and I don’t get there to take out whatever’s baking until half an hour later. ¬†Thank goodness my oven automatically shuts off when the time’s up, otherwise I probably would’ve burned the house down by now. ¬†But my point is, grass-fed ground beef is typically leaner and seems to be slightly more finicky than conventional meat, meaning a few minutes overdone yields a rock hard meat patty. ¬†But there is a very simple, and extremely nutritious solution… add tons of veggies! ¬†Finely diced onions, grated carrots and zucchini, minced garlic, chopped mushrooms, pureed squash or plantain… anything that has it’s own moisture will impart all that nutritious juicy-ness to the meat patty, whether it’s a hamburger, a breakfast sausage, or a meat loaf. ¬†This revelation led me to create my first original recipe. ¬†I guess it’s not TOTALLY original, because the foundation for the tomato sauce ingredients came from Against All Grain’s Tomato-less Meat Sauce Recipe. ¬†Once I figured out how to make a nightshade free “tomato” sauce, adding it to the meat patties along with a plantain “binder” (since I can’t use eggs or any type of breadcrumbs) to make it all taste like tomatoey meatloaf goodness was just intuitive. ¬†So, without further ado….

Autoimmune Paleo Friendly Meatloaf Patties (can also be made into muffins or an actual meatloaf, just increase cooking time)

Ingredients:

1 small or 1/2 large beet

2 carrots

1 green plantain

4 cloves garlic

1 onion, chopped

1 pound of grass-fed ground beef

salt to taste

 

Directions:

For the “tomato” sauce, add the beet, carrots, plantain, garlic, and salt to a vitamix or other high powered blender or food processor. ¬†Process at low speeds, using the tamper tool (or stopping to scrape down the sides often) to get all bits incorporated. ¬†Some small chunks are OK.

Mix the sauce with the ground beef and chopped onion. ¬†I use my hands. ¬†There’s just no easier way to get it all mixed in. ¬†The mixture should be very moist. ¬†

Form into 12 patties and place on a cookie sheet or muffin pan.  Bake at 415 for 40 minutes.  (or 350 for about an hour, or 400 for 40 minutes, or any of these temperatures and times and then just let them sit when the timer goes off until you can finish cleaning the pee off the floor from your potty training toddler and hopefully remember to wash your hands before removing your dinner from the oven).  You could also easily cook them in a frying pan on the stovetop.  No matter what you do, these patties will be moist and yummy!

Serve on a bed of mashed cauliflower with a side of broccoli, or on a bed of salad greens with a side of sweet potato fries… or for breakfast along with a green smoothie. ¬†Here it is on spring mix salad greens with rutabaga fries. This is my comfort food. ¬†Mmmmmmm.

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If you don’t like beets, this is a great way to sneak them in. ¬†My husband hates beets. ¬†I don’t get it. ¬†They’re sweet and earthy and delicious. ¬†But I know they take some getting used to, and apparently some people, like my husband, don’t ever get used to them. ¬†But he gobbled up these meatloaf patties and wanted more. ¬†I don’t think he even realized there were beets in there. ¬†Beets are an AMAZINGLY nutritious vegetable and have LOADS of health benefits. ¬†Check out this link for reasons to work beets into your diet.¬† Along with the carrots and plantain, these patties become extremely nutrient dense. ¬†And you don’t even feel like you’re eating a vegetable! ¬†Can’t beat that! ¬†

Going strong on Autoimmune Paleo Protocol

It finally feels like autumn around here. My daughter got to wear her winter boots and a hoodie to school this morning. Though I’m sure she’ll be sweating in those boots by this afternoon, this little taste of what’s to come is nice. (Baby Girl (3 years old) is convinced all the leaves on the trees will fall off by tonight. That doesn’t happen around here until, oh, maybe January?) At any rate, I am happily blogging from our hammock on the back porch- with a blanket! Lovely!

I have been feeling really, really good. Not amazing. But really good. I have been nearly 100% compliant on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. I accidentally ingested nightshade extracts in the ham I was eating. And there are flax and chia seeds in one of the detox supplements I’m taking this week. But I’m ok with that for now. I intend to follow AIP until I stop getting lesions, or for 3 months (which would be until January- right through the holiday season- eeek!) whichever comes first.

My recent focus has been on getting better sleep- higher quality and more of it. I’ve come to realize that, as I continue to heal, I really need closer to 12 hours of sleep per night. That may not always be possible, but I need a bare minimum of 10, and need to get as close to 12 as often as possible. Considering that I have historically slept about 7-8 hours a night, I’m looking at potentially 5 fewer hours of consciousness each day. That seems nuts! But I’m hoping my increased energy and more vibrant health will help me be more productive during the 12 hours I’m awake, so no one will notice that I sleep all the time.

Last night was the first night I accomplished this goal. I’ve been working toward it for weeks, but with a co-sleeping 3 year old who vehemently dislikes being unconscious, it’s been tricky. What I’ve done to make this happen: eliminate her afternoon naps, start dinner earlier (5:30/6), and start our bedtime routine earlier so that we are in bed, reading a book before 8pm. Lights are out at 8, and we listen to e-audiobooks that I download free from the library. We are currently listening to the first Harry Potter book. Baby Girl also loves the Fancy Nancy series, which is fantastic (“which is a fancy word for great”) for building her vocabulary. I’ve also eliminated all nightlights, so we are sleeping in near-total darkness. (I’m basically still afraid of the dark, so this was a big step for me. It was no problem for the toddler. Lol). We have been working backwards from our previous typical bedtime of 11pm/12am. So this is kinda huge. Last night, we were in bed and read 3 books before 8pm. Lights were out by 8 and we were asleep by 8:30. I did wake up a few times during the night, but was able to go back to sleep rather quickly. We didn’t wake up until 7:30 this morning, so that’s 11 full hours of glorious sleep. And I feel great! Over the past couple of days, I’ve been dealing with a few lurking lesions and thrush- all of which were significantly diminished overnight. I need more of this amazingly effective disease treatment! And it’s free!

A few other things I’m doing that I believe are helping in the sleep arena… I’ve been taking a calcium/magnesium supplement forever, but I recently started using topical magnesium oil. This stuff burns when I spray it on my body, so I’m only using it on my feet and covering with socks a few nights per week, but I think that, along with a few Epsom salt baths per week, is really boosting my magnesium levels. And magnesium is extremely important for relaxing muscles and inducing healthy sleep patterns.

I stopped taking all my regular supplements this week except pregnenolone, and added in a 7-day detox formula from Garden of Life. I haven’t changed anything else about how I’m eating because AIP is restrictive enough and I can’t risk losing any weight. I’m just trying to stay really well hydrated and doing more Epsom/baking soda baths to assist with toxin elimination.

And this is some of what I’ve been eating this week:

Bananas, pears, and kiwi topped with the most delicious homemade coconut yogurt. (Coconut cream from 2 refrigerated bpa free cans of coconut milk, mixed with 2-3 good probiotic capsules and cultured in an “off” oven with the light on for 24 hours). Super easy and so rich and tangy!

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What I thought was a great AIP breakfast. (Darn those sneaky nightshade extracts that contaminated my ham!) Applegate Naturals ham, roasted asparagus, and avocado with a salty mug of chicken bone broth (very healing for the gut).

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One of my new favorite snacks: smoked salmon (beware of ingredients!) with coconut yogurt and capers. There was some sugar listed on the salmon ingredients, but from what I understand, the sugar is mostly eliminated during the curing process. And that was the only questionable ingredient in this brand. I checked several other brands and they all had funky stuff in them. I’ve thrown out the package now, but I’ll post more info on this next time I get more smoked salmon.

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Nice AIP lunch… Applegate turkey (boo- carrageenan!) wrapped around homemade fermented carrots (yay- probiotics!) and avocado, with pear slices.

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Pan-fried tilapia (seasoned with only salt) on a mound of mashed cauliflower with a side of sweet, ripe plantains. Yum yum yum yum yum!

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Ingredients for delicious and seasonally appropriate pumpkin pudding. Super easy and AIP friendly. The only potentially tricky part is the gelatin. (This is not conventional store-bought gelatin by the way. ¬†You will NOT find this stuff next to the jell-o at Publix. ¬†Don’t eat that! ¬†This is grass fed and has no added nastiness.) Put all other ingredients in a blender. Put 1/2 tablespoon gelatin in 2 ounces of water and let it “bloom” for 5 minutes. Then add that to the blender as well. Blend everything until smooth, then pour into individual serving cups and refrigerate until “set” (a few hours or overnight). As you can see, it was a hit with my little one. I put these in her lunch for school as a treat, and I feel good about all the vitamins she’s getting from the pumpkin, the amino acids and protein from the gelatin, and the healthy fat from the coconut. And there’s nothing in this “treat” that would be likely to irritate her gut or compromise her immune system in any way (as is the case with most treats!). Totally win/win.

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I have been eating a LOT of canned tuna lately. It’s just so convenient. Good thing it’s wild, sustainably sourced, and BPA free. For this tuna salad, I was out of coconut yogurt, so I added some olive juice for flavor and moisture, along with some olives, chopped celery, and homemade fermented carrots. Turned out quite good. I put some on whole wheat bread for my husband and just ate mine plain with a fork.

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Something else I’ve been eating a LOT of lately- these AIP meatloaf patties. I’ll post more about these later, because this is my first notable, original recipe. Super exciting! It may be the only one I ever have, but it deserves it’s own post. Here I had them on a bed of greens with a side of rutabaga fries.

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And, finally, a recipe that was truly a revelation for me this week. I have scoured grocery and health food store shelves for a wholesome chocolate sauce. It may be out there, but I haven’t found it. During my flirtations with raw veganism, I found a recipe for chocolate sauce that was delicious, but a bit complicated and time consuming for something that I would only enjoy on occasion, and even then, only a small bit at a time. I saw this combination as part of a larger recipe and the lightbulb that went off in my head was blinding. I can’t believe I never thought of this!

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It’s so incredibly simple! I can’t have chocolate on AIP, so I had to use carob powder. But the potential variations are mouth-watering! I can’t wait to do a Mexican chocolate sauce: a little raw cacao, vanilla, and cinnamon mixed into that maple syrup. Wow! This sauce can be used as a topping or as a mix for hot chocolate or chocolate milk. This has opened up a whole new world for me. Still gotta be careful, because nobody wants the sugar rush that would follow too much maple syrup, but this will add an easy, decadent layer to lots of dishes.

Such as this one. Plantain pancakes topped with coconut cream and chocolate sauce. (Husband and kid went NUTS for these!) Two ripe (mostly black) plantains mashed up with cinnamon and fried (1/4 cup scoops) in coconut oil. Topped with unsweetened coconut cream and super sweet chocolate sauce. We had this for breakfast, but it really should be a dessert. It’s THAT decadent.

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Sorry for the crazy-long post! Now that I’m getting my energy back, I have a lot to say. Probably need to be posting daily to get it out in a more manageable format. I’ll work on that! ūüôā

The medical community’s odd view of health and an AIP version of an old favorite.

My husband and I took an online health assessment for our insurance company and got $100 each toward our HSA after speaking to someone over the phone about our assessment results. Part of the conversation I had with this person (the HealthMatters Professional, hereafter dubbed HP) struck me as funny.

HP: Do you limit your consumption of red meat?
Me: No.
HP: Do you limit your consumption of fatty foods?
Me: No.
HP: Do you limit your consumption of sugar?
Me: Yes.
HP: Do you eat 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day?
Me: Yes.
HP: Do you plan to take steps to improve your diet?
Me: Ummmm, based on my research, it doesn’t get much healthier than what I’m eating. So, no.

And then later, after explaining my hospitalization and struggle to get off medication and continuing struggle with autoimmune disease, the lady tells me, “Well, you’re obviously very healthy.” Ummmm, what? I constantly have lesions in my mouth that sometimes make it impossible to eat, I struggle with extreme exhaustion and debilitating feverish aches and painful skin sensitivity during flares. I was hospitalized for this condition in the not-too-distant past, and had a close call in the even-less-distant past and was only kept out of the hospital thanks to a quick thinking doctor and a high dose steroid injection. But I am “obviously” very healthy. What kind of standards are we using here? In what definition of “healthy” would that apply to me? This comment stood out to me because I’ve heard it before from my family doctor, the one who treated me in the hospital in January and gave me that high dose steroid injection a few months ago. Once I was beyond the crisis situation, he told me, “Well, you’re quite healthy. I don’t need to see you back until it’s time for your yearly physical.” Granted, I don’t want to see him for anything other than crisis situations and a yearly physical, but to say I’m healthy? Constantly on the brink of a physical melt down is healthy? I’m getting healthier every day and I’m certainly healthier than I would be if I wasn’t paying such close attention to what I put on and in my body. And I WILL be truly healthy soon. But I’m not there yet. And it blows my mind that conventional health professionals would consider me “healthy”. That’s just crazy.

Anyway, I’m still feeling pretty good on this 5th day sans prednisone. Had a moment this afternoon where exhaustion just hit me like a load of bricks and I had to stop what I was doing and go relax for a couple of hours. It was nap time for my daughter, so it worked out nicely, but I can’t wait for the day my adrenals and hormones are balanced and I have strong, steady energy from sun-up to sun-down.

Here’s what I’ve been eating…

Tuna salad (BPA free, wild caught tuna, raw sauerkraut, and homemade coconut yogurt) and garlicky plantain chips. Perfect dipping partners.

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Didn’t think it existed, but here’s an AIP compliant spaghetti and meat sauce. Without grains and nightshades, I thought our old staple would be inaccessible to me until my gut heals. This takes a little more work, but totally hits the spot left empty by Italian comfort food. I veered from the original recipe because I didn’t have some of the ingredients (and didn’t want to use butter or wine due to AIP restrictions) but you can see Against All Grain’s original recipe here.

Zucchini noodles made easy thanks to my handy-dandy spiralizer.

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Onions, garlic, carrots, and beets go into the pot with a bit of Applegate Farms ham. Then added lots of homemade chicken bone broth.

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It’s all pur√©ed with an immersion blender, then you add the meat (I used ground buffalo) and fresh herbs (I used sage, rosemary, and oregano from the garden). Throw in the noodles for the last few minutes of cooking, top with parsley, and voila…

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Super delicious AIP friendly spaghetti and meat sauce. (Non-paleo husband and kid approved.)

AIP Breakfast and “Ham with Jam”

Feeling soooo much better today! Yayyyyyyy!!!!! Mouth still has lots of healing to do, and I have to be careful if someone makes me smile or laugh, because this lesion on my lip is no joke and has cracked painfully and bled on several occasions. I have an extremely funny husband and daughter, so while I am still delighted by their humor, it comes with what feels like a punch in the mouth. But it’s worth it. Laughter is healing.

I’m eating lots of solid foods today!!! Yum! And dipping my toes into the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo Protocol). Made beef breakfast patties and kale chips today.

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Served ’em with avocado, clementines, and a pickle spear (at my daughter’s request). The pickle was marinated with carrots and red peppers, so technically is not compliant with AIP (because of the nightshades- peppers) but I’m moving into this protocol slowly.

Here’s what went into the breakfast patties. The herbs are from the garden. Parsley, rosemary, and sage.

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I over cooked them a bit, but they still came out good. This meal took me FOREVER to eat, since every bite feels like a mini-marathon. But it was delicious, and the lesions have healed enough at this point that it is possible, if laborious, to eat, so I’m taking full advantage.

My daughter and I have been reading a book called “Ham with Jam” most nights before bed. It’s a free app from ABCmouse, and is so nice to have (along with all their other book-apps) when I’m sick and can barely talk, much less read a bedtime story. Each book has a “read to me” option, so a narrator reads the book for us. We still get our nighttime reading ritual, even when I’m too sick to do it myself. Anyway, this “Ham with Jam” book is about a little girl who likes jam, but detests ham, and a little boy who enjoys ham, but doesn’t like jam. They come up with the genius idea of putting the two together and it’s so delicious that both kids change their minds and end up liking both foods. It sounded pretty good, so I decided to try a healthier version of it.

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Rinsed and diced the strawberries, then mixed them with a teaspoon of honey and rolled them up in a slice of Applegate ham. The sweet/salty combination is delish!

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And I’ll have to double check the ingredients in the ham, but I’m pretty sure it’s AIP friendly.

My sweet husband picked up some coconut water for me yesterday, so I drank a lot of that and felt really hydrated. Continuing with that today, and I’ve been focusing on getting to bed by 10pm. I’m rarely (never) asleep by 10, but getting to bed earlier is becoming easier. Hopefully I can soon adjust my internal clock enough to not only be in bed by 10, but be fully asleep by 10. I think this will be easier to do as the days continue to get shorter and shorter. This timing of sleep-hours is vital to adrenal function, so as I taper off the last few mg of this steroid, giving my adrenals every fighting chance will be really important. And it makes a big difference in how I feel throughout the day (and how quickly I heal from flares).

Living Grain Free

I’m on day 6 of 4 mg on the prednisone taper. And this is the best I’ve felt since I began the taper 2 months ago. I’ve been feeling really good for a few days, but was afraid to talk about it too much- didn’t want to jinx it. I’ll be dropping to 2 mg on Sunday. I’m almost there! Almost done! Almost free!

Here’s some examples of what I’ve been eating lately. Grain-free isn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. As the Paleo Mom says, it’s only effort until it’s routine.

These are grass fed burgers on a lettuce bun with tomato, avocado, and mushrooms. With rutabaga fries. Seriously delicious.

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Breakfast for the family: saut√©ed sweet potato and beet greens with garlic. Applegate naturals chicken and apple breakfast sausage, and sliced fruit- pluot, banana, and Granny Smith apple. This meal would almost fit within the guidelines of the autoimmune paleo protocol. The sausage is seasoned with spices that include pepper, and nightshades are restricted on the AIP, but it’s pretty close.

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Loving my vitamix¬†and it’s ability to turn large amounts of fruits and veggies into delicious smoothies! Here, I pur√©ed a cucumber (not organic, so I peeled it before blending), a plum, a whole head of romaine, and a beet. I drank 2 big glasses, then blended what was leftover with a frozen banana for my 3 year old. Super sweet and she loved it.

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Super salty lunch salad: 2 cups of baby spinach topped with Applegate naturals uncured salami, raw sauerkraut, and Sicilian style olives. It was tricky to find jarred olives without nasty additives. These have lactic acid and acetic acid (which I think is basically vinegar), but are otherwise just olives, water, and salt. Most of the jarred olives had preservatives, so this was the best option I could find.

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This is now one of my all time favorite recipes. Nut-free, Coconut-free Paleo Muffins from the Paleo Mom. I doubled the batch, made 12 plain muffins, 12 blueberry muffins, and then made blueberry pancakes with what wouldn’t fit in the muffin tins. Everything came out perfect.

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Quick lunch for me while my daughter’s at school: 2 grassfed beef uncured hot dogs with organic ketchup and mustard, olives, raw sauerkraut, and jarred organic shredded red beets.

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I often send these in my daughter’s lunch. Great substitute for a ham sandwich. A grain free crepe from the Against all Grain cookbook, Applegate naturals uncured ham, and raw sauerkraut for a good dose of probiotics to help with digestion.

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And when I eat them myself, I dip it in mustard, and pair it up with a pickle spear, olives, and shredded beets.

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And, in case you missed it in previous posts, this bread recipe is part of what has made my transition to grain-free so easy. Crazy delicious.

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Bread-less Sandwiches and a Paleo Meal for Date Night

I’ve been feeling pretty good the last couple of days and I am so grateful for that. Still on the tail end of this cold (congested and sore throat, but very mild) and oral lesions are mild. So I’ve been able to expand on what I’ve been eating and add in some crunchy leaves (that are really difficult to eat when I’m having lots of issues with my mouth). Considering my recent switch to grain-free, being able to eat leaves is nice because I can wrap traditional sandwich fixings in a leaf and BAM- easy meal.

For example:

Grass fed uncured beef hotdogs with organic ketchup and mustard, and raw sauerkraut on a romaine lettuce leaf, with a side of crunchy carrots and hummus.

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And breakfast this morning was egg “sandwiches”. Uncured ham and an egg fried in coconut oil, topped with avocado and a side of fruit (the purple thing is a pluot, the yellow is a “flavor grenade” pluot, and everybody knows what an orange looks like).

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Some other notable (and mostly paleo) things I’ve been eating lately…

Sardines are supposed to be really healthy. Great way to get those omega 3’s we hear so much about, and lower in mercury than most other fish, particularly canned fish like tuna and salmon. Problem is, I don’t really like sardines. It seems weird that all their bones are in there, and they really need to be prepared in a way that complements their flavor. I’ve had them on crackers with a bit of mustard before, which was good. But crackers (even gf ones) aren’t an option for me anymore. So I found a recipe online for coconut crusted sardines. I love coconut shrimp, so I figured I’d try it. Rinsed the sardines, dredged them in an egg wash, then coated them with coconut and saut√©ed them in coconut oil. Dipped them in organic mustard. Not too bad.

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And for our date night (at home, because I really can’t eat out very easily and this is cheaper anyway) we made (yes, my husband helped) the recipe for meatloaf muffins from my favorite cookbook, Against all Grain. Topped with some organic ketchup and mashed cauliflower. With a side of oven roasted asparagus. Very delicious and comforting meal. (I made a double batch, so we have lots of meatloaf muffins in the freezer for quick meals when we’re busy- or for when I’m sick).

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And date night dessert was sliced pears, tossed in coconut oil and cinnamon, and roasted in the oven. Then topped with coconut cream (from the top of a refrigerated can of coconut milk- organic and BPA free) enhanced with a little local raw honey and vanilla extract. Soooo good.

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This paleo thing is going to be fun. ūüôā

Entertaining (mostly) Grain Free

Had a wonderful time catching up with our old friends (and watching our toddlers get to know each other- so cute!) We ate every meal here at the house during their visit, and the only time I spent in the kitchen (about 20 minutes) involved making this AMAZING grain free bread. (Click here for the recipe from Against All Grain). I misread the recipe and used tablespoons instead of teaspoons for the vinegar. I actually think it turned out even better. Gave it almost a sourdough flavor. We (four adults and two toddlers) ate the entire loaf in one sitting. I served it smothered in grass-fed butter alongside a roasted beet salad with citrus vinaigrette and organic chicken soup- all of which had been made ahead of time and just had to be warmed up and plated. I had a frosty glass of pomegranate kombucha with mine.

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Our friends supplied the steaks for dinner, which the boys grilled while I warmed up the pre-baked sweet potatoes and saut√©ed the sprouts mixture I’d put together ahead of time. Dinner was on the table in 15 minutes. I love being prepared.

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Dessert was not grain free. I made and froze this dish before I made the switch. Though I’m pretty sure it would be easily converted to grain free. I’ll have to try it soon. Anyway, it was a pear/peach cobbler made with brown rice flour (so it IS gluten free at least) and sweetened with honey. I adjusted my Granny’s old peach cobbler recipe to eliminate the refined sugars and wheat flour. Topped it off with coconut whip cream (the delicious white stuff from the top of a refrigerated can of coconut milk, then mixed with vanilla extract and agave). Mmmmmmm. So good.

Prepping for Visitors

I’m feeling good. Mouth is still healing and throat is slightly sore, but I’m almost back to normal. Today is the first day I haven’t needed to take one of those crazy pain pills. I’m going to stay at 10 mg (of prednisone) for this week, just to give myself a break before I taper down to 8 mg and risk another severe flare.

Plus we’re going to have visitors this week, and I’d rather not be sick. And I’d rather not spend the entire day in the kitchen while they’re here, trying to come up with something they’ll like to eat that fits with my diet plan. So I did a little planning and prep work today. Having these prepped meals on hand will also be nice in the event that I get sick again and need quick, easy options to feed my family.

Quick breakfast option: Sausage Skillet Scramble. Once this is prepped, you just throw a handful (per person) of the mix in a skillet and saut√© until it’s almost done. Then scramble in a few eggs (or throw in a few handfuls of greens until wilted and serve topped with fried eggs).

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I chopped an onion, a red pepper, a green pepper, and lots of garlic, and put them in a large plastic freezer bag. Slightly defrosted a package of Applegate Naturals Chicken Apple Breakfast Sausage, sliced ’em up and threw them in the bag. Then chopped and saut√©ed a large sweet potato until it was almost done (it’ll cook the rest of the way when I saut√© it all together).

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Mixed it all up in the bag and it’s ready to go.

I roasted some beets and baked some sweet potatoes to have on hand. The beets will be great in salads with a citrus vinaigrette and the potatoes will be a nice side dish along with a protein and green veggie.

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Many people aren’t familiar with fresh beets, but they’re really easy to work with. To roast them, just trim off the leaves and “tail” and scrub clean. Put them in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 2 hours or so (it rarely takes that long, but I detest underdone root veggies). Once they’ve cooled enough to touch, it’s really easy to just peel off the skin, like I did here.

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Beets are incredibly nutritious and are really helpful with detox. My old nutritionist graduated from Bastyr University and said anytime you eat with someone who went to school there, you can always bet on having beets and kale somewhere on the table.

Another quick lunch/dinner option I prepped is this Wienie Sprout Skillet. I used to make this with kielbasa sausage, but since nitrates/nitrites/MSG/etc. are no longer allowed in my house, I substituted Applegate Grass-fed Beef Hot Dogs. Into this plastic freezer bag, I threw a chopped onion, lots of garlic, 2 diced hot dogs, and a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts. When I go to make this dish, I’ll also put a few handfuls of spinach in the skillet just before its done cooking. It’s great on its own as a light lunch, or as a side dish for dinner.

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A little prep work early in the week (or whenever you have time) makes it a lot easier to maintain your plan during busier moments. And now I know I’ll be able to relax and enjoy our company rather than worrying about what to feed them. And we all get the added benefit of our meals being super nutritious! Win-Win.

Saturday

Lesions and thrush continue to improve, though now the congestion and sore throat I’ve been fighting off seems to be digging in its nails. Coughed a lot during the night and am now losing my voice. Still not having the same throat issues as before (when it swells shut and affects swallowing and breathing) so I’m not concerned. And my ability to eat regular food continues to improve. I’m heading in the right direction.

Breakfast this morning was banana porridge from “Aainst All Grain”. It’s cashews and almonds, soaked overnight and blended with coconut milk, a ripe banana, cinnamon, and sea salt. The recipe called for pecans as well, but I didn’t have any, so I just added more of the other nuts. Great alternative to cream of wheat or oatmeal. It’s very rich, so a small serving is plenty. When my mouth is better, I’ll add some fresh fruit and coconut cream or dried fruit and nuts as a topping.

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The fun thing about paleo is it brings back the possibility of hot dogs! These are Applegate Farms grass fed beef hotdogs. Other than just being a bit high in sodium, they’re pretty healthful as far as I can tell. The only other issue I have with Applegate Farms products is that they use carrageenan in some (not all) of their lunch meats. I’m not letting that keep me from buying their products at the moment, but it may be a deciding factor down the line if I find a better option.

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I wrapped my hot dog in a homemade coconut crepe (eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut oil, and sea salt) also from “Against All Grain”. It ended up tasting like a corn dog. Put some raw fermented sauerkraut and organic ketchup and mustard on the side. Delish.

I intend to also use these crepes as tortillas and sandwich wraps, though at this point, only about 50% of my attempts actually come out looking like crepes. Hopefully, practice will improve that percentage. In the meantime, the other 50% goes into dishes like this- perfect for my toddler- a paleo hot dog bowl. Crumbled crepe, sliced hot dog, swirl of ketchup and mustard, topped with sauerkraut.

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I am really loving the “Against All Grain” cookbook right now. Danielle Walker (the author) cured herself from a nearly fatal case of ulcerative colitis by following the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) then transitioned into paleo after the birth of her son and a severe flare triggered by several months of deviating from her diet plan (and the mess of post-natal hormones, I’m sure). I got my copy on Amazon. If you’re interested in the cookbook, click here. She also has a fantastic blog. If you’re interested in that, click here. Though her site is mostly focused on her book tour at the moment. This cookbook is likely to be my non-grains bible for the foreseeable future.

Solid Food!!! Woo-hoo!!!

Today would’ve been my seventh full day on liquids. This flare, triggered when I hit the 10 mg mark of my prednisone taper, has been one of the most severe flares I’ve ever had. It has not been the most painful or the scariest by any means. But it has been long and hard and my mouth has been an absolute mess. I’ve never had this many lesions at once. And they’re everywhere. I posted some really disgusting photos on a separate page titled “An Ugly Flare” if you’re interested in seeing what’s been happening in my mouth.

Thankfully, I haven’t had any problems with my throat or swallowing, and very little pain associated with drinking. So I’ve been able to stay nourished and hydrated using some good meal replacements and supplements from Garden of Life, along with lots of bone broth and kombucha. If not for the hydrocodone/acetaminophen pill I’ve had to take twice a day most days to function somewhat normally, it could’ve been a decent detox.

Today, the lesions are beginning to scab over and some of the scabs are falling off. (Gross, I know, but that’s what happens, and that’s how I can tell when the flare is wrapping up and I’ll be feeling better soon, so I always get really excited when this process starts!) My tongue isn’t as swollen and the thrush is beginning to recede a bit. So, without the danger of chewing off a chunk of my swollen tongue, I decided today might be a good day to attempt to eat something a little more solid.

Coming off of this forced detox also puts me in a unique position to change my diet, possibly start an elimination diet. I’ve been researching and thinking about some different options the last few days. I decided to just stick with something simple for now, but something new that I haven’t tried yet. Eliminating ALL grains. That’s right. No rice, no quinoa, no oats, no gluten free bread, wraps, or crackers- unless they are also grain free, which is rare.

I’ll still be able to make baked goods from coconut and almond flours, and I’ve found some great cookbooks and online resources for recipes, so I’m not too worried about feeling deprived. This will just be another small adjustment.

I’m also going to strictly eliminate dairy (again). I may incorporate some raw goat milk products further down the line, but not anytime soon. My body has let me know that dairy is not good for me right now (congestion, headaches, acne) so I need to honor that, regardless of my love for cheese. And I considered following something close to the autoimmune paleo protocol, which eliminates eggs and nightshades (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) but I’ll save that for later if eliminating grains doesn’t work on its own.

So, I’m basically paleo now, I guess.

And here’s what I had for my first solid meal in a week. Applegate Farms Smoked Turkey and avocado wraps dipped on homemade mayo and organic spicy mustard.

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The first bite was pretty rough. I realized I should’ve trimmed off the harder edges of the turkey as they stabbed various sensitive spots inside my mouth, and my tongue moved quickly to try to alleviate that pain, causing more pain to the tender underside of my tongue… ending up with me virtually swallowing the first bite whole, without chewing at all. I took a pain pill, waited 5 minutes, and tried again. Tearing off smaller pieces of turkey and eating the avocado by itself. Slowly, bite by bite, I eat the first roll-up. It is delicious, but I am exhausted. I think, “That’s it. I can’t eat the other two. I’m still so hungry, but I just can’t do it.” By now, it’s been about 20 minutes since I took the pain pill (yes, it took that long to eat one little roll-up.) And I am so hungry I decide to just take one bite of the second roll-up. Chew, swallow, no problem. Yay! I didn’t think I could do it, but I end up eating all three. So satisfying!

Dinner was served up by my sweet husband. Salmon and spinach. Perfect paleo meal. Thanks, babe.

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I was able to eat most of it.

Food Sensitivities and Girlie Problems

The consequences of my week of rebellion extended further than I originally expected. As the yeast infection cleared, it left in its wake a pretty severe autoimmune flare “down there”. I’m assuming the infection triggered my immune system, which went overboard and didn’t know when to quit. This was a new experience for me, as my issues have always been oral flares, which are exponentially more painful and debilitating in comparison. At least with this one, I could still eat.

And recovery was pretty quick, thanks in part to helichrysum essential oil. That stuff is crazy expensive, but works wonders when it comes to general healing and pain relief. And a little goes a very long way. I’ve been using (topically) a 95/5 blend of olive oil/helichrysum oil- and it’s been very effective.

I’m still playing with my nutrition plan. Based on recent and past experiences, there are a few things I’ve learned about my body. One, I have a hard time processing sugar- whether it’s white sugar, agave nectar, or honey- I can feel it almost immediately when I’ve had too much and I know this negatively affects my metabolic processes. Two, caffeine exacerbates this issue with sugar and makes it even more difficult to keep it balanced- leaving me with lots of cravings and panicky moments of low blood sugar. Three, dairy (whether raw or pasteurized, organic or not, cultured (like yogurt and kefir) or not) makes me slightly congested. Ghee (clarified butter) does not have this effect, but I’m not sure about regular butter. This congestion lets me know that my body is having some sort of immune-reaction to dairy, so I really should avoid it. At least until I give my gut more time to heal. I may have to experiment more with goat milk and the products made from it, since I’m not sure if it affects me the same way, but for the time being, I’m going to avoid cow milk and anything made from it.

Then there’s soy, corn, and gluten. None of which I’ve noticed a reaction to, but read enough about that they all make me nervous. So, to avoid that crazy, insect-stomach exploding BT toxin in GMO corn, I will not eat any corn, or anything made from corn, that is not organic. When it comes to soy, I will only eat organic, fermented versions (tempeh, miso) or completely unprocessed organic soybeans (edamame). And, until this disease is in remission, I’ll still be avoiding gluten. Once I’m well, I may incorporate some sprouted/soaked organic wheat or sourdough.

So that’s my basic plan. Plus I’ll be sticking to organic meats and eggs. And avoiding pork, shellfish, and fish that don’t have fins/scales (like catfish) in an attempt to implement (sort of) the Maker’s Diet (book by Jordan Rubin).

This week, I’m down to 14 mg on my prednisone taper. Dealing with a few uncomfortable oral lesions, but not a big deal.

Here’s some of what I’ve been eating.

Breakfast: 2 organic eggs, Applegate farms turkey breast (no nitrites/nitrates, humanely raised), spring mix greens and fermented veggies.

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My new favorite treat- dried figs with goat cheese and cinnamon. Sooo good.

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Chicken salad for dinner, dressed with homemade mayo watered down with fermented veggie juice.

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And a chocolate milkshake: frozen banana, cup of ice, dates, coconut milk, almond milk, vanilla extract, sprinkle of cinnamon, carob powder, maca powder, 2 cups of spinach, and a few drops of stevia. I swear it tastes like a Frosty from Wendy’s.

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The Week of Rebellion

Well, I got frustrated with the fact that I got seriously sick again after 6 months of nearly perfect eating (as far as I understand nutrition) and total focus on consistent supplementation and funneling all of our resources Into my health and recovery. I was pissed. What was I doing wrong? And what’s the point of working so hard and sacrificing so much (especially financially) if nothing has changed.

In an act of rebellion, I relaxed (slightly) on my diet. I drank coffee for the first time since I left the hospital in January. I’m pretty sure I actually got high on that first cup. Had a small cup with raw goat milk or cow cream and raw organic honey for the next 4 days (except the one day I had coffee at a friends house and used flavored creamer (gasp!)). Anyway, after a few days I started noticing how jittery I felt. And there was a moment in the grocery store when I felt like my blood sugar suddenly plummeted and left me shaky and starving and panicky- leading me to scarf down a whole package of goat cheese in the car before driving home. I remember that kind of thing happening regularly in the past, but I’d forgotten about it, because it hasn’t happened in the past 6 months. Conclusion? Coffee is not right for me. At least not caffeinated. Lesson learned.

In my rebellion, I also ate whatever I wanted at play dates and parties that week. Gluten? Yum. Dairy? Yum. Sugar? Yum. GMO? Yum. Why deprive myself at social functions if I keep getting sick anyway? Yeah, well. There was a consequence for that.

For women who take a lot of prednisone, yeast infections are very common because decreased immunity creates a prime environment for the fungus to thrive. Apparently, my healthy, low sugar diet was protecting me from this terribly uncomfortable side effect, because after my week of rebellion, I have a raging one. I’ve had issues with oral thrush along the way, but haven’t had any problems “down there” until now. And lemme tell ya- this discomfort is not worth those sugary (albeit delicious) desserts. It’s just not.

I didn’t deviate much from my usual plan at home (aside from 2 bowls of sugary cereal- only in the house as a treat for my daughter), but I did try incorporating some raw dairy into my diet. Got a little congested (I’ve noticed that before in response to dairy) and got lots of cystic acne in my T-zone. All around my mouth and nose and between my eyebrows. I haven’t had acne like this since college. Not sure if it’s a reaction to the stress of everything, the dairy, or the toxins in all the cheat foods I was eating- or a combination of all of that. I hadn’t realized how good my skin had actually gotten, so that’s additional motivation to keep me on track with my nutrition efforts.

Coming off my week of rebellion kinda feels like coming home from a crazy drunken spring break or Mardi Gras. It was fun, but I’m still suffering the consequences. And I never want to do it again.

Not everything that I ate was horrible. Here’s some pics of some good things. Sorry- no evidence of the bad stuff.

Ingredients for amazing chicken salad. Including my homemade mayo- emulsified in my new vitamix! Yay!

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Chicken salad sandwich on a gluten-free bun with fermented veggies on the side.

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Ingredients for organic roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary. In the bowl: crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.

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Once they cooled, I tore all the meat from the bones (keeping it in the fridge for more chicken salad) and then put the carcasses in the crock pot with lots of water, herbs, celery, carrots, a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt, and let it go for 24 hours. The bone broth is supposed to be very healing for the gut. I’ve been drinking it most mornings since giving up coffee (again).

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This green smoothie tastes like a vanilla milk shake. No joke. Frozen banana, ice, full fat coconut milk, tons of spinach, a few dates, vanilla extract, maca powder, and a few drops of stevia. So, so, so delicious.

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Saturday

Avocado fruit bowl for breakfast. I love these. Totally customizable. Today I used apples, oranges, pumpkin seeds, and a squeeze of lime juice.

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Had another birthday party this weekend (it’s that season). I really hope one day I’ll be well enough to have a piece of birthday cake at a party. I used to loveeee birthday cake. I had trail mix instead.

Came home and made this rich, delicious smoothie. Banana, kale, strawberries, raw cacao, dates, almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia. Yum!

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Had technical difficulties, so no photo of dinner- but it was brown rice pasta with homemade (oil free) marinara and a green salad with yellow cherry tomatoes and orange vinaigrette.

Have a slight headache tonight. May have gotten a bit dehydrated outside in the heat today. Drinking lots of water and rubbed a little PanAway on the back of my neck. Should wake up fine in the morning.

Friday

Scrambled eggs with spinach, goat cheese, and avocado.

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Smoothie time! Waited too long to post and now I don’t remember what I put in it. I think bananas, cherries, carob, maca, and dates.

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Alkalizing greens: kale, cucumber, yellow pepper, apples.

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Leftover moqueca (Brazilian fish stew).

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Spinach, cranberries, and goat cheese in orange vinaigrette.

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Carrot-beet juice. Nice nutrient boost before bed. TMI side note- I no longer experience beeturia (red/pink urine and/or poo after consuming beets). I’d read somewhere that beeturia was a sign of weak digestion, but figured that might be bogus since pretty much everyone gets it when they eat beets or drink beet juice. Yet, I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks that beets no longer have that effect. I’d love to think this means I’ve made improvements in my digestive system. I’ll take it as a sign I’m moving in the right direction. Not much matters if I keep flaring and I I can’t get off prednisone, but I’ll take a small win where I can get it. (And I’m not currently flaring, so… Yay- Big Win!)

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Thursday

Feeling fantastic today. Got a great night’s sleep (9 1/2 hours!) and woke up energized and refreshed. This energy lasted ALL. DAY. LONG. I did not experience a single slump (which is unheard of!) When baby girl went down for her nap, I deep cleaned the bathrooms. I also mowed the front lawn as a surprise for my husband (he never looks at the blog, so it’ll still be a surprise). I’ve NEVER mowed our lawn before. EVER. Raked the leaves once last year… Anyway, I’d love to know where all this energy is coming from and how I can hold onto it.

What I ate today:

An alkalizing green juice to start the day right.

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That’s a half gallon jar, so I was drinking on this all day.

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After spending so much time juicing, ran out of time for breakfast before our play date. Scarfed down these crackers and pear goat cheese. And juice.

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Lunch salad to counteract all the cheese and chocolate I’ve been eating today: mixed greens, chicken breast, fermented veggies, all drizzled with orange vinaigrette.

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My friend served these cupcakes at our play date. Gluten free, egg free, soy free, corn free, dairy free, and sweetened with agave nectar. The texture was fantastic. Sooooo good. I ate 3. :/

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Dinner was “cookie dough” and watermelon. The cookie dough is made from pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, medjool dates, and cinnamon. Once you blend them up enough in a food processor, they start to stick together and you can form yummy raw cookies or truffle balls. But lately I’ve just been skipping that step and eating the “dough” by the handful. (You can do this with almost any nut and dried fruit, by the way.)

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And a little more cheese. I’m really making up for lost time with these goat cheeses. Should probably lay off and stick with 1 ounce a day. I read somewhere that goat’s milk (and it’s products) are actually alkalizing to the body (whereas cow’s milk makes you acidic), but I don’t understand the science behind that and I’m not sure I believe it.

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