This Week I Tried…October 30th Edition

This week I tried some old recipes, some new favorite recipes, and some new new recipes! I also bought a pound of grass-fed beef liver at the Farmer’s Market and have not had the courage to cook it yet, I just don’t like it.  But as I’ve mentioned, and as all AIP followers will tell you, organ meats are essential on this diet.

I’m working on it!  As sugar and gluten-filled bread’s biggest fan switching to meats and veggies has been hard enough without having to incorporate foods I could have gone my whole life without ever tasting.

For health’s sake you sometimes have to change your perspective on food rather than try to mold the food to your perspective.  Food was always my escape, whether I was trying a new restaurant, mowing down on some late night pizza, or baking delicious treats for friends (and myself, who am I kidding).  Food was a central part of my social world, as it is for so many.

That’s not to say that I can’t enjoy foods now, but it plays a different role in my life then it did before.  It’s secondary in social settings, it’s my fuel rather than my fire, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down?

I do want to make one thing clear, this diet is not about losing weight or body image (although I do hope you feel good about your body because its beautiful as is).  This diet is about healing and feeling good and I will attest to those two things only!

Okay, onto the fun stuff, here’s what I had this week!

 

BONE BROTH

Cost: $10

Rating (1-10): 1

Review: Sometimes my bone broth is a 7 and sometimes it’s like this week’s broth, BAD!  That said, what makes an edible bone broth is good veggies and spices.

Notes: $10 and you get bone broth for multiple meals, you can usually save the bones for one additional batch as well.  Marrow, joint, and knuckle bones are best!   I usually throw leftover carrots, celery, onion, rosemary, thyme, salt, and a bay leaf in with the bones and water.  Pressure cook in the Instant Pot for 3 hours ;).

MAPLE SAGE BREAKFAST PATTIES, recipe here!

Cost: $15 (if you already have the maple syrup)

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: These are my go-to breakfast protein, I usually pair with strawberries and tea, occasionally I’ll throw a mug of bone broth into the breakfast routine as well.  I am not a big breakfast eater so I keep it simple.

Notes: $15 for 9 patties, this gets you the most bang for your buck.  I freeze these babies and throw them in the microwave each morning and voila, breakfast!

 

“CURRIED” CHICKEN SALAD recipe here!

Cost: $37 (only if you need to buy all new ingredients otherwise it’s roughly $25) 

Rating (1-10): 9 

Review: Clearly I didn’t take this picture, I forgot, but I had to share because this is one of my favorite AIP recipes and it’s so delicious.  It has so much flavor, it may not match the spiciness of traditional curry, but it hits the spot.  I also keep the AIP garlic mayo for homemade sweet potato fries later in the week.

Notes: $37 for 4 meals is not bad and it’s even cheaper if you have the coconut manna (butter) and spices on hand, which if you’ve done AIP even for two weeks you likely will.  I usually double the recipe to have enough for each meal (which is also factored into the cost).  For the shredded chicken check out the recipe here! This will get you two pounds of shredded chicken enough for a doubled curried chicken salad recipe.

I also did not take a photo of my cinnamon-sage spiced butternut squash, but I use this recipe here!  It calls for delicata squash, but delicata is only really available right now in the fall, so I use butternut.  I buy already cubed organic butternut squash because I loathe cutting squash, but it’s cheaper to buy the squash as is and cut it yourself ;).

 

SIMPLE, ASIAN-INSPIRED STIR-FRY, recipe here!

Cost: $30

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: I clearly didn’t take this picture, again, I forgot.  Eric has been good about reminding me, but when he’s not around it goes right out the window, I blame hanger. My stir-fry creation comes out looking more like a stew but it is still delicious.  The mix of coconut aminos, honey, apple cider vinegar, and homemade bone broth give this a uniquely sweet/savory taste.

Notes: $30 for a 4 meals and it’s even cheaper if you already have the coconut aminos and honey! I have the deli thin slice the meat, you can sometimes find quality meat already sliced but I haven’t had any luck thus far.  I use broccoli, carrots, and parsnips for my veggies (roughly 4 carrots, 2 parsnips, and 2-3 bunches of broccoli).   I paired this with sweet potato rounds, because I can’t get enough of them (it’s the sweet of the AIP world).

 

HERBED BEEF STEW w/ CARROTS and CELERIAC, recipe here!

Cost: $57

Rating (1-10): 5

Review: Yes, clearly I took this picture!  I was not a fan of this one, it is also much too large a recipe for my 6 quart InstaPot, I would recommend halving the recipe if you have a smaller InstaPot.  You can also cook it in a conventional stew pot.  That said, this one was not worth the price, even if you can get 4-6 meals out of it.  I thought the taste was meh, but that could also be the way I made it.  Again, this is my personal opinion, I recommend you try ALL of the recipes you can.

Notes: $57 for 4-6 meals and, as I mentioned above, not worth the money.  Stews have been hit or miss for me on this protocol, but when they’re good you have food for days and can even freeze them for months.  I do recommend trying all of the stews you can, they are good to have around.

 

COLORFUL NUTRIENT-DENSE KALE SALAD recipe here!

Cost: $15

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: I am not a salad girl, I just don’t get satisfaction from them, I never have!  I do, however, have to give this one props for being easy and refreshing.  I would never go as far as to say it was “filling” but it was a good side to the stew above and easy to make!

Notes: $15 for a side salad for 2-3 meals, although it will likely be cheaper if you have some of the ingredients already.

 

TUNA SALAD ENDIVE BOATS, recipe here!

Cost: $25

Rating (1-10): 9

Review: Yet another image I failed to capture, but I will say this meal comes out the closest to looking like the picture than any other.  I love this meal and have made it a few times, it also makes a whole helluva lot of tuna salad.  It’s so crisp and flavorful, it’s good even if you aren’t a tuna fan like me.

Notes: $25 for 3-4 meals and you can eat it without the endive heads if you like, the only organic endives I’ve found are at Whole Foods.

I want to mention the dirty dozen and clean 15 list here, it will help when you’re shopping on a budget.  Some fruits and veggies can be bought conventional and this list will help to guide you.

 

SNACK

I wanted to quickly mention one of my favorite snacks that are way too pricey!  You could bake/dehydrate your own green apples, but if you’re lazy/busy like me these are great on the fly.  Amazon has them cheaper but I pick them up at Whole Foods for about $4.69/each.

 

FARMERS MARKET FARE & REINTRODUCTIONS

I bought eggs y’all! These are from my favorite little Mar Vista Farmer’s Market in our neighborhood, open on Sundays from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. Omma’s Garden eggs say free-range but they are also pastured, soy-free, non-GMO, etc. and if you don’t know the difference, check out more info here! Eggs are a NO on AIP but are usually fairly easy to integrate back in, that is to say the YOLK is easy to reintroduce. I know that seems counter to popular culture, egg whites are supposed to be more healthy!  Not so for those of us with autoimmune diseases, egg whites hold a bevy of inflammatory qualities, normally good for a healthy person (within reason).

I waited 60 days to start reintroductions and decided it was time, everyone is different, go at your own pace. I went ahead and followed the reintroduction protocol and hard boiled these babies in order to isolate the yolk for testing.  It seems like I am in the clear, phew, here’s hoping egg whites make the cut in phase III.

The Paleo Mom, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne has a great FREE pdf download of the reintroduction process.  I would recommend checking this out if/when you get to this point, it’s super helpful

 

I also splurged and bought an overpriced organic juice at the Farmer’s Market as well, it was delicious and Sundays are for indulging and binging television, right?

Tomorrow I am going to reintroduce almonds, there are so many great recipes with almonds and almond flours and with Thanksgiving around the corner I want/need to have all of the ingredients I can get.  Wine and chocolate are up next and just in time for family gatherings, it will be necessary.

Have a good week!

XOXO

Mack

This Week I Tried…October 23rd Edition

I’m pretty bad at remembering to take pictures of my food (not very hipster of me). I succeeded some days and failed miserably on other days, I’ll try to be better so I can share my ups an downs with AIP.

Food bloggers create beautiful art of their meals but we all know that takes time and experience and usually our own recreations come out looking like garbage.  That’s not what matters, what matters is that the food tastes good and I am here to tell you just that, in my humble opinion at least. I’ll share my amateur foodagrahs along with the corresponding recipes and roughly what it cost to make each meal.

CABBAGE-LEAF TACOS WITH COD & MANGO SALSA, recipe here

Cost: $32

Rating (1-10): 5

Review: I don’t LOVE fish which is why it has a low rating, but fish is SO good for you, the salsa helps a lot.

Notes: $32 for a 3-4 meals (unless you need to buy the ground ginger, garlic powder, or coconut oil (these three (3) ingredients come up a lot so you should have them around).  The first set of groceries you buy is going to be your most expensive, but it get’s better.

BBQ CHICKEN MEATBALLS, recipe here!

So I forgot to take a picture of the chicken meatballs, but I got the BBQ sauce.  This BBQ sauce has NO tomatoes, you heard that right, tomatoes are a NO on AIP as they’re highly inflammatory (normally really good for a healthy person).

Cost: $34

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: These were so delicious, not a favorite but super filling and easy to make.   This wasn’t too time consuming, as many AIP recipes can be.  I recommend prepping as much as possible for meals before cooking them.  I am still working on that.

Notes: $34 for a 4 meals, this recipe has some small pricier ingredients (maple syrup grade B and smoked sea salt) that will end up lasting you for a long time.  It’s not as pricey as it seems at face value as you’ll get a lot of use out of them in other meals. Also, I do have vegetables at every meal, I had baked sweet potato rounds with sea salt and cinnamon (2 sliced sweet potatoes, toss in 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil, line a baking sheet in aluminum foil or parchment paper, lay out sweet potatoes, sprinkle with cinnamon and sea salt, bake at 350 for 15 minutes, flip over, bake for an additional 15 minutes, and they should be ready).  They’re not crisp more soft, but delicious! I rate them a 9 ;).

 

HAMBURGERS w/ NOMATO KETCHUP & ONIONS on LETTUCE WRAP, nomato ketchup recipe here!

Cost: $27 (unless you need to buy any of the regular AIP spices brand new) 

Rating (1-10): 9 for the burger, 10 for nomato ketchup 

Review: Nothing beats a hamburger and this nomato ketchup is so close to the real thing. I didn’t think it was possible (and I LOVE ketchup), it’s a tad sweeter than normal ketchup but so good. Yes, I miss the bun but I miss other breads more.   That said the cravings subside and it get’s better with time.

Notes: $27 for a 4 meals, I buy 100% grass-fed ground beef (Trader Joe’s has it for $6.99/lb) and add some garlic powder and salt into the mix.  Grill them in the cast iron skillet, you can usually get six (6) patties from 2lbs of the ground beef.  Refrigerate/freeze the leftovers for meals throughout the week. I also had sweet potato rounds with this because I could not find yuca (to make yuca fries) anywhere.  One of these days!

PORK ROAST w/ BALSAMIC REDUCTION, recipe here!

Cost: $30 cost is mostly due to newly bought balsamic vinegar (organic only) and maple syrup.

Rating (1-10): 10

Review: I was shocked that I loved this, if I am being honest while I never hated meat I could have lived without it, especially pork.  My dad is a farmer and I had my fill of pork growing up.  It is so flavorful due to the slow cook and sauce.

Notes: $30 for a 4 meals, I buy pastured pork roast (easiest to find this at the Farmer’e Market), since Amazon bought Whole Foods the meat quality has decreased. Remember to prepare this 8-10 hours before you want to eat, although super easy to put together (easier than most meals) it takes awhile.  Worth the wait! I ate this along with roasted asparagus (laid out on baking sheet, drizzled/rolled in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook for roughly 25 minutes at 400 degrees)

VITAMINS

Disclaimer regarding vitamins, these are not my recommendations, I wanted to share what I’ve been taking.

SELENIUM: I take selenium based on Izabella Wentz, PharmD’s personal research on Hashimoto’s here, there’s also other vitamin recommendations included here as well.

MAGNESIUM MALATE: The magnesium is a recommendation from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne/Paleo Mom and Autoimmune Wellness.

VITAMIN D: The vitamin D is because I spend a lot of time indoors but I will likely discontinue use soon.

Vitamins/supplements to come are Fermented Cod-Liver Oil because I don’t eat enough organ meats (I don’t like them) and a good Probiotic (this depends on the person and takes time to figure out) which are excellent for folks with autoimmune diseases, but again I would recommend consulting with a doctor for obvious reasons…I’m not a doctor. 😉

XOXO

Mack

 

 

AIP and the Essentials

One thing that I felt I was missing in preparing for the transition to the AIP diet was information on the places, items, and tools (actual tools) I would need to set me up as a beginner.  Autoimmune Wellness is an AMAZING resource to get you started and to keep you going.  They have a “YES” and “NO” food list + a free two (2) week meal plan with a grocery list to get you started on the journey.

That said,  I felt the little “essentials” I needed weren’t listed all in one place. I know not everyone, including myself, can afford to buy brand new equipment all at once, in which case you can certainly improvise in the meantime!  For me the food came first and the switching out of my products has been a slow progression, it’s expensive overhauling the items you use in your daily life.

Every two (2) weeks I switch out or buy the equipment and/or natural/organic products that I want/need to integrate into my life.  It is overwhelming to read through the many alterations you have to make in your life to conform to the AIP lifestyle, but I/we need to remember this diet and the products we use can be individualized, I may react to rosemary in my lotion (I don’t) and another person will be totally fine with it. It’s a process and it takes some time to figure it all out, be kind to yourself, that’s part of the lifestyle too!

All that said, below are a few items I found super helpful to have around the house/kitchen.

  • The Instant Pot is a must have, I promise you it is worth every penny, this version is smaller.  If you need to feed more than just yourself I’d recommend the larger versions.  It’s great for soups, stews, and the essential AIP nutrient dense food, bone broth.
  • Slow cooker, especially good for easy meals
  • Lots of glass mason jars, glass tupperware, or bpa-free plastic tupperware to store/save your meals for the week.  Batch cooking is a life-saver with this diet
  • Blender (and it doesn’t need to be fancy to get the job done, mine cost $26)
  • Food processor (you can get by with a blender, but this is good to have handy)
  • Mandolin (not necessary, but nice to have, I DON’T have one)
  • Juicer (also not necessary, but a nice to have for a quick breakfast)
  • A good set of knives
  • Cast-iron skillet(s)
  • Stainless steel cookware
  • Wood cutting boards and stirring spoons
  • Coconut Oil (lots of it, virgin, organic, and unrefined)
  • (Not a product) planning meals ahead, cook in bulk, and freeze/store food for breakfast/lunch/dinner.  If you work full time this is 100% necessary to be successful.

As far as food, you can find a lot of great organic fruits and veggies at Ralphs (and similar stores) and Sprouts for cheap, the Farmer’s Markets for harder to find healthier meats like grass-fed beef and pastured pork and chicken + fresh/organic seasonal fruits and veggies, Amazon for hard to find compliant flours and gelatins, and of course Whole Foods has a vast array of compliant ingredients (but is pricier).

There are so many great online resources for AIP recipes and helpful lifestyle guides for skincare, haircare, cleaning products, etc. that I shared in my previous post, it’s not just about food but that’s a great place to start. The five areas of healing are in your food, products, environment, sleep, and stress level. Maintaining these parts of your life is the key to a better life with an autoimmune disease.  I am still working on all of them everyday!

Some other AIP resources I didn’t mention before are listed below

Meatified

Grazed and Enthused

Eat Heal Thrive

A great resource for Hashimoto’s, while not strictly AIP is Izabella Wentz, PharmD

I bought Izabella’s book “Hashimoto’s Protocol” and am still in the process of reading, her protocol is specifically targeted to those with Hashimoto’s and will be my next venture in healing.

Thanks for reading!

XOXO

Hashimama

I have Hashimoto’s Disease, while it’s not the best news it’s certainly not the worst.  In case you don’t know anything about it (who does?!) it’s an autoimmune disease that causes your antibodies to attack your thyroid gland.  If you don’t know anything about your thyroid gland (I didn’t) it regulates your metabolism, temperature, energy, etc. and produces hormones that are sent through your bloodstream to help regulate every system in your body.  Because my thyroid is being attacked the following symptoms can occur and worsen over time:

constipation, depression, anxiety, enlarged thyroid, extreme fatigue, hair loss, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, puffy eyes, sensitivity to cold, slow heart rate, swelling in extremities, and/or weight gain (I had to start with constipation didn’t I?)

The symptoms above don’t sound terribly scary but at their extremes can be debilitating, not to mention your chances of acquiring another autoimmune disease increases. I wasn’t exactly surprised by the diagnosis, my mom was also diagnosed a few years back (yes, it’s a fun genetic disease)!  Over the last year I noticed a drop in my energy, decreased ability to handle stress, hair loss, foggy brain, forgetfulness, depression, and a little weight gain but I chalked it up to being too busy.  That is until I went to my doctor for a general checkup and they noticed a swollen thyroid…we all know where this led.

I am lucky, I found out earlier than most people do and I dug into research to see if there was some way to halt the progression and put this beast into remission. Conventional searches will tell you there is no cure and the only treatment is a thyroid replacement pill every day for the rest of your life and that, eventually, your thyroid will completely stop working.  While it sounds simple the medication is hard to control and doesn’t manage all of the symptoms consistently and is very much imperfect, as are most autoimmune medications.

While there is no “cure” I stumbled across the AIP Diet (Auto Immune Protocol Diet) in my obsessive search of Hashimoto’s (similar to the Paleo diet).  Basically you take everything you ever loved to eat and stop eating it, simple, right?! It’s also not one of those diets where you can have a “cheat” day because eating these inflammatory foods can mean you set yourself back by days, weeks, or months in your healing.

The basics of the diet all stem from the “leaky gut” theory and that healing begins in the gut with the right foods! Listen, I’ll be the first to tell you I do not WANT to eat this way, but I WANT to feel good and basically the food I love is hurting me and not in the way I previously considered. Being a lover of food of all kinds you can imagine that starting this diet sucks.

However, I am a two months into the diet and I can attest to feeling really good, I have more energy, stamina, less brain fog, better circulation, less stress/anxiety, and I am happier.  It’s a process, there are more obstacles to overcome and road blocks but it’s a first step in the right direction.  It’s been awhile since I’ve shared so I thought I’d make it…educational.

A couple of great resources if you’re curious about the diet are:

Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt’s site: Autoimmune Wellness

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s site: Paleo Mom

Sophie’s site: A Squirrel in the Kitchen

Amanda Torres’ site: The Curious Coconut

Bre’anna Emmet’s site: He Won’t Know its Paleo

and so many more!

Listen, doing this diet aint cheap, it’s hard work, and not all of the recipes will rock your world.  That’s why I will be here to bring you my AIP creations and critiques in the weeks to come from various AIP food bloggers.  I also hope to bring you tidbits about the other autoimmune friendly products that I am trying.

This “Hashimama” [copyright ;)] is signing off, have a colorful day and eat some pizza for me!

XOXO,

Mack