This Week I Tried…(Thanksgiving Special) Week of November 27th

This past week of food was a fun one because it was…Thanksgiving!  Some of my creations were awesome and others were just so-so but I successfully had a Paleo Thanksgiving. Eric and I hosted his parents and they’ve all been wonderful and were totally open to trying a modified holiday dinner.  I tried to get all of the appropriate reintroductions in before the holiday to make sure I could have everything I absolutely wanted at the feast.

I was lucky enough to spend the day with loved ones even if I was so far away from my family back in Indiana (shout out to Missouri & Orange County).  Check out what we had!

PALEO STUFFING

Cost: $30

Rating (1-10): 2

Review: I tried my best to modify my mom’s stuffing recipe with paleo bread, but some things are not meant to be.  Stuffing is one of those things that need the real thing in order to taste authentic.  It wasn’t terrible, but if you want that REAL stuffing taste, you won’t find it here. The bread recipe on it’s own was not bad at all, check it out here!

PALEO GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE, recipe here!

Cost: $20

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: By design there is not an AIP version of green bean casserole (green beans are a no-no), but there is a paleo version and it was fantastic!  I am shocked at how close to the real thing this was without any cream, butter, or fried onions!  The onions were caramelized and the sauce came from parsnips and nutritional yeast!  I highly recommend this for any paleo go-ers who miss green bean casserole.

SWEET POTATO MASH, recipe here!

Cost: $4

Rating (1-10): 6

Review: While no substitute for regular mashed potatoes this dish was really good and a nice sweet side to the meal!

PALEO DINNER ROLLS, recipe here!

Cost: $5 – $25 (depending on the ingredients you have)

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: These were delicious and a solid choice if you go the paleo route, I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, but eggs make the world of difference in baking.  If you can successfully reintroduce them it’s a life saver.  They would be best with a jam or jelly, I made an awesome AIP fig jam awhile back that would be awesome with these.  They’re a bit bland/dry with just ghee butter.

PUMPKIN PIE COOKIES, recipe here!

Cost: $20 – $35 (depending on the ingredients you have)

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: I liked these, but they weren’t my favorite AIP/Paleo cookies, plus organic almond butter is SO expensive.  I wouldn’t recommend baking these a lot, it could get very pricey, you basically use a whole jar of the almond butter.  That said they were yummy and everyone seemed to enjoy them, for special occasions only!

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, recipe here!

Yes, I forgot to take my own picture before we started eating!  I was too excited!

Cost: $18 – $25 (depending on the ingredients you have)

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: This little dessert was SO good, I love chocolate mousse so much and it was nice to have a treat that brought me back to the “old days” for a moment.  I highly recommend them but I would advise you to pay attention the kind of chocolate you are buying.

Honorable mention goes out to my guy Eric for purchasing an amazing turkey from Bludso’s (pic below), so good!  He knew how much I was going to be cooking so it made it much easier to get everything ready (thanks ;). Also, a big thanks to Trish and Alan for the wonderful apps and awesome gifts they brought us, they will be put to good use. <3

Next up is Christmas, should be interesting back in the homeland, until next time!

 

XOXO,

Mack

 

The AIP Product Swap

AIP is big on diet, but also big on lifestyle changes overall, which includes the products you use everyday.  Makeup, hair, and cleaning products, etc. are a hot bed for toxins that can affect your healing.

Again, switching out products can be expensive, I’ve done a slow progression of weeding out old chemical-filled products with natural and organic products, I also try to do paleo only products if I can find them (note that paleo makeup isn’t the greatest as far as the way it looks and it’s pricey, some are better than others).  I usually wait until I am finished with an existing product before swapping, unless I feel it needs to hit the bricks immediately like my body wash, moisturizer, and foundation.

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a great site for checking out the toxicity in your products and/or looking for better products, find them here!

They use a rating system for each of the chemicals in your products and include a list of EWG certified products which have their seal of approval. There are somewhat obvious chemicals that are bad for everyone, but for people with AI diseases you need to be especially aware of immune and hormone disruptors as well, most people don’t look out for this.

I have found some great products and some that are pretty meh, but I can rest easy knowing my body will thank me for them.  That said, I am still in the process of finding the right products for me, so you don’t HAVE to suffer with crappy makeup, but it may take time to find your favorites!

Check out my latest finds!

Brand: Mineral Fusion Foundation (EWG Certified)

Cost: $33

Rating: 7

Notes: This costs as much or less than your Sephora stocked products and goes on pretty much the same as regular foundation.  I admit I do have to blend a bit more and I am no a makeup aficionado.  I do want to test a few more options, but this is great as far as toxin-free makeups go. Buy it at Whole Foods or directly through the site!

 

Brand: Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara (EWG Certified)

Cost: $18

Rating: 7

Notes: Same as above, I honestly don’t love it as much as my Cover Girl Volumizing Mascara, but it does the job and no one but me would notice! Buy it at Whole Foods or directly through their site!

 

Brand: Primal Life Organics Cheek Stain (Paleo)

Cost: $24

Rating: 6

Notes: The site Phoenix Helix (by Eileen Laird) was what led me to Primal Life Organics, many people in the AIP community use their products.  I’ll be honest, these products are as advertised, absolutely primal.  They do not work the same way conventional makeups work, but the cheek stain works pretty well.  I use it dry but they recommend wet (I didn’t like the result). I use the hibiscus coral color, it’s not too pink which I like! Buy it at Primal Life Organics.

 

Brand: Primal Life Organics Concealer (Paleo)

Cost: $18

Rating: 3

Notes: I have to admit, Primal Life Organics concealer is awful, but I am sticking it out until I am through with it.  If you rely on concealer I would recommend finding another brand, I will be searching in the weeks to come.  It’s fine for the time being, but I wouldn’t encourage you to buy this product, especially for the price, although I do know the ingredients are quality. Buy it at Primal Life Organics.

Side Note:  I also received a sample of Primal Life Organic’s tooth powder as a free gift with my conealer/cheek stain and, while I am sure it is great and healthy, I did not feel as if my teeth were properly cleaned.  That said, I think everyone should give products their own try and not take my word for it, that is if the products are safe!

 

Brand: Acure Mint Shampoo/Conditioner (Low on EWG Toxicity)

Cost: $8 – $10/per bottle

Rating: 8

Notes: I’ve been using the same bottles/tubes for the last 2 months and I am still not out.  a little goes a long way and works just as well as my chemical filled shampoo/conditioners.  I try to avoid anything with faux fragrances in them :). Buy it at Target, Whole Foods, or Amazon.

 

Brand: Dr. Bronners Castile Soap, Shave Soap, & Toothpaste

Cost: $12/body wash, $8 shave soap, $7 toothpaste

Rating: 7

Notes: I am not too picky when it comes to body wash and shaving, Dr. Bronners is great and is used by many.  Do take note that their organic status changes from product-to-product.  I plan on switching to another toothpaste soon as the ingredients are only 70% natural.  I am working towards all-natural and fluoride-FREE.  Fluoride is especially problematic for those with autoimmune diseases. Buy it at Whole Foods and Amazon.

 

Brand: Andalou Lavender & Thyme Lotion and Rose Hip Facial Moisturizer

Cost: $12/lotion & $14/moisturizer

Rating: 8

Notes: While I love both of these products and they are LOW on the EWG rating, they may not be the best I can use on my skin.  That said if you’re just looking to lessen your toxic intake, these are great! Whole Foods or Amazon!

 

Brand: Primal Pit Paste, Lavender Deodorant

Cost: $8

Rating: 6

Notes: Natural deodorants do not contain aluminum (for starters), don’t be fooled by Tom’s, they are “natural” in the conventional sense only and do contain aluminum.  That said actual paleo/natural deodorant is hard to put on and you will likely stink by the end of the day.  That said, if you reapply throughout the day you should be good.  The natural lavender scent is great, and keeps the smellies at bay ;). I bought this through Amazon but you can buy at Whole Foods as well.

 

Brand: Seventh Generation All-Purpose Cleaner, Glass Cleaner,  Lavender Laundry Detergent, Dish Soap and Dishwasher Detergent

Cost: $5  – $10

Rating: 7

Notes: The EWG rating on Seventh Generation products is very low and I do not use them that often (except for the detergents/dish soap).  Powdered laundry detergent is, admittedly, safer but I use liquid.  All around I feel there is no difference between these products and conventional products and they do not leave a terrible/chemically smell in your house.  You can find these products online or at Whole Foods.

 

Brand: Honest Company Mandarin Hand Soap

Cost: $8

Rating: 7

Notes: I actually don’t know the EWG rating on this product, but The Honest Company is pretty great regardless, maybe not perfect, but worth it.  I wanted lavender (because I am obsessed with lavender) but they are always out it, guess I am not the only one.  This another one you can buy directly through the site, Amazon, or Whole Foods.

This Week I Tried…November 13th Edition

The AIP community is centered around positivity, which I love, being negative isn’t going to change/help anything, but one thing I feel is missing is conversation and discourse.  Many AIP leaders talk about road blocks, journeys, trouble shooting, and share success stories, but I don’t hear enough from the community as whole, both positive and negative.

The reason I bring this up is because I had my endo check in today and my TSH levels are higher, jumping up a full point +.  It is still in the normal range, but for most people your TSH levels should/would not vacillate drastically. Of course, there are so many reasons this can be the case and AIP has been a big help overall, but it’s disappointing that my labs are worse and not better.  Listen, I know I am getting ahead of myself, I usually do, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, I’ve worked so hard. Discouragement is easy when you haven’t had Italian food in three months ;).

Again, I have to go with how I feel, and the diet makes me feel better, but I also need to start trouble shooting to see if I can stop this attack on my tender little thyroid!  It’s going to be a frustrating process and I suppose I should saddle up.

As much as I want to share positivity and encouragement I also want you to know you’re allowed to be angry/sad from time to time. It isn’t easy trying to navigate “alternative” healing, but when the other choice is a hit or miss medication that doesn’t fix anything, it’s certainly worth figuring it out.

All that said I did have some delicious meals this week that I am going to share with you, yay!

PRESSURE COOKER ASIAN PORK, recipe here

Cost: $30 – $50

Rating (1-10): 6

Review: This was actually better the next day, it was a bit tasteless and watery straight out of the pot.  I would recommend starting with the slow cooker version, those seem to have the most flavor!  Overall it was good, I threw it on a bed of kale and added extra pink sea salt.

Notes: $30 – $50 for a 3-4 meals and depends on what ingredients you have, I usually have coconut aminos, fish sauce, and honey around but if you don’t it makes this recipe a bit pricier.  That said you can always make recipes for what you do have in your pantry/refrigerator to make everything more cost efficient.

SEA SALT & LIME SPINACH CHIPS, recipe here!

Cost: $5

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: These we’re tasty and easy to make, I used about 1 1/4 bags of organic spinach from Trader Joes.  I would also get two limes for this recipe, just in case.  It was nice to have a snack that was both nutrient dense and convenient.

Notes: $5 for a snack that will get you through a couple of days, it unlikely you can have TOO many leafy greens, so enjoy!

 

SPATCHCOCKED ADOBO CHICKEN recipe here!

Yeah I couldn’t wait to eat this, hence the pic…patience is a virtue!

Cost: $12 – $25

Rating (1-10): 9

Review: This was easy to make and so flavorful!  I had never done a spatchcocked chicken but it’s definitely a good life hack for cooking chicken faster.  That said I hope you don’t have any issue with cracking some bones because this requires that you cut the backbone out of your whole chicken and piercing its sternum (you can use it for a bone broth later that week).  Luckily I am fascinated with anatomy and it didn’t bother me too much ;).

Notes: $12 – $25 for 4 meals, again it depends on the ingredients and/or quality of chicken you can buy, but you get A LOT of bang for your buck on this one.  While it takes around 45 minutes to cook, the prep time is around 15-20 minutes which is considerably less time than most AIP meals. I highly recommend you try it.

ROSEMARY & GARLIC BEEF LIVER, recipe here!

Cost: $12

Rating (1-10): 6

Review: I have to say I didn’t hate this recipe, I thought I was going to have to choke this liver down but I actually enjoyed eating it.  Having the apples and garlic/rosemary really helped with the liver flavor.  I have not been eating enough organ meats on AIP and I am trying to get back in the groove.

Notes: $12 for a pound of liver and the additional ingredients, organ meats are relatively cheap, even the grass-fed pastured versions!

WINE AND CHOCOLATE (reintroductions)

Oh what joy!  This week I added back in two of my favorites and so far so good.  I usually go for the reds when I drink wine, but a dry white was recommended so I went for the only white I like, sauvignon blanc.  No symptoms and it was so wonderfully delicious.

 

 

The second introduction this past week was chocolate, whoop whoop!  Instead of trying to track down a brand I could eat I made my own and it was really easy.  Organic cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla extract, honey and voila!  I also added some sea salt to mine, I love salty and sweet together!  Recipe, here!

In regards to my opening, today is one day of (hopefully) many more to come, I can’t let it derail me from answers and healing.  Have a good week, only one more full week until the holiday, and damn do we need it!

XOXO,

Mack

 

This Week I Tried…November 6th Edition

This week I avoided Reeses and Snickers, which is a staple for me almost every Halloween.  My mom still likes to send my brothers and I a care package filled with ALL of the goods, even though we’re in our 30s, but you know candy is good at any age, am I right?!  I asked my mom to resist the urge to send me candy this year, and she did (thank you mom).  That didn’t stop here from sending traditional festive socks and decorations so I could still get in the spirit without the treats.

This week was not a home run in the food department, but I am well-fed and that in and of itself means I am lucky.  The fact that I am even able to do this diet is a privilege. I know a lot of these AIP sites tell you there are ways to get deals and discounts, but I know that takes time and time is already so limited in our lives add in work and a family and what’s left? It is also, even with deals/sourcing/discounts, not cheap.

I would still encourage those with an autoimmune disease to try this diet/lifestyle and remember to take it one day at time, I have to remind myself of that constantly.  I won’t solve my disease in a month, even thought I want to, I, like so many want everything to have a concrete answer and plan, but it just doesn’t work that way.  This is a journey that will have many missteps, pitfalls, and stops along the way to healing and we cannot do it alone.

Have I sufficiently gone off the rails?  I tend to do that, what I am trying to say is that it takes awhile and you need a good support system.  You need people who will encourage you along the way and not bring negativity/toxicity to your healing, it’s just as important that you surround yourself with good/positive people as it is to feed your body with good/healthy foods. I hope that you have that and if you don’t, hey I am happy to start the circle!

Without further ado, here’s what I ate this week!

AIP PIZZA, recipe here!

Cost: $15 – $45

Rating (1-10): 4

Review: I am a pizza purest and AIP pizza doesn’t not hold up, crusts and breads made the AIP way are not good.  Don’t let anyone fool you, beef gelatin as a solidifier is not a true replacement for eggs.  If you don’t eat this expecting it to taste like pizza it’s actually alright and better the next day.

Notes: $15 – $45 for 3-4 meals and the cost depends on the ingredients you have like the beef gelatin which is about $25 (but lasts for forever and you’ll use it a lot).  I recommend trying other pizza recipes, I am determined to find one that works, but I may have to wait until I can go the paleo route. Also, I ate this with a side of roasted asparagus, the picture was blurry, I failed. 😉

CUCUMBER MINT WATER

Cost: $3

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: Okay, so I definitely didn’t reinvent the wheel with this one, but it was nice to switch up regular water for some cucumber/mint water.  I just threw in some leftovers and had a nice refreshing drink with my meal.

Notes: $3 for the ingredients, if you want to use them strictly for cucumber/mint water you would be set for a week.

 

100% GRASS-FED BURGER PATTIES ON A BED OF GREENS w/ NOMATO KETCHUP

Cost: $12

Rating (1-10): 7

Review: This is a recipe I threw together with leftover foods I had in the refrigerator.  I cooked up a couple of 100% grass-fed ground beef patties (Trader Joe’s), threw them on a bed of kale, sprinkled with leftover red onion and nomato ketchup.  Easy and delicious!

Notes: $12 for roughly 2 meals, I got one meal from this but I only used 3/4 pound of meat, the other 1/4 went to the AIP pizza.  The nomato ketchup I had from the week before and an onion/kale from a previous meal.

 

CRISPY COCONUT FRIED TILAPIA, recipe here! and ROASTED GOLDEN BEETS w/ APPLE & SAGE, recipe here!

Cost: $30 – $45

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: This meal was easy and satisfying, tilapia is a cheaper fish which makes it more accessible to everyone.  I loved all of the different flavors in the fish and the side dish of apples/beets.

Notes: $30 – $45 for a 3 meals depending on the ingredients you already have!

 

BEST DAMN STEW EVER, recipe here!

Cost: $50

Rating (1-10): 6

Review: This stew is nice and hearty, but does take some considerable prep/cook time.  I spent roughly 1.5 hours on this and the result was not THE best damn stew, but good stew.  I consider having to omit two of my favorite ingredients, worcestershire and peas, to the stew’s rating!  Hopefully peas will be back in my life soon, but until then they’re out!

Notes: $50 for 4 meals and somewhat worth it, like I said in my previous post, stews aren’t my best or favorite work.  They’re often labor intensive and not as satisfying as other meals.  That said you get a lot of meals/snacks out of stew and they’re worth it in that arena!

 

TAZO ORGANIC SPICEY GINGER TEA

Cost: $4.69

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: I love this tea and it is caffeine free, it helps stave off hunger pangs between meals and has a nice little kick to it.  I usually put a bit of raw honey in to sweeten it up, but I have to be careful with the sweet stuff.  I find this tea at Whole Foods, when buying teas remember to buy organic and to look at the ingredients (no preservatives, filler, or AIP NO-list ingredients).

Notes: $4.69 for 20 tea bags and you’re set for awhile!

 

AIP BANANA BREAD, recipe here!

Cost: $5 – $31

Rating (1-10): 9

Review: Lucky for me I had all of the ingredients lying around to make these bad boys and I needed something to attempt a reintroduction of ghee butter (see below).  This recipe does not create traditional banana bread but it is still yummy all the same.  I am going to try to bake it more traditionally next time and see how I do, but the batter and end result are pretty divine!

Notes: $5 – $31 depending on the ingredients you already have around the house, again if you’ve been doing AIP for a bit you will likely have most of these ingredients.

 

GHEE BUTTER (REINTRODUCTION)

Cost: $14

Rating (1-10): 8

Review: I reintroduced ghee butter in anticipation for Thanksgiving, and so far so good.  I haven’t had any reactions and it’s nice to have butter back in my life.  Ghee butter should be 100% grass-fed, is clarified, and lactose free.  To boil it down, ghee is healthier for you than traditional butters.

Notes: $14 is pretty hefty for butter, but you’re not supposed to have it daily so it should last you quite awhile and is not to be refrigerated.

 

FARMERS MARKET FARE , BEET KVASS @ LA VIE, site here!

La Vie has a small probiotic stand at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market where you can pick yourself up some beet kvass!  I had a sample of all of their flavors including the traditional beet kvass.  Kvass, saurkraut, kombucha, and kefir are just some of the fermented foods that are wonderful for healing the gut on AIP.  I don’t get enough fermented foods so I was excited to try this beet kvass with apple and ginger, cleverly named “Root Awakening”.  They are located next to the crepe stand, which smells awesome even if you can’t actually eat one.

I had a lot of old faithfuls this past week and I didn’t want to bore you with repeats, more to share in the coming weeks.  I am especially excited to showcase my Thanksgiving feast!

 

I hope you all have a good week, until next time!

XOXO,

Mack