Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Welcome Back Granola!

My mornings are sweet and precious.  They are quiet and filled with coffee and devotions.  This is a special time of heartfelt prayer and conversation with my Heavenly Father. It is my time to focus before the world wakes up and fills my day with busy, but, sweet chaos.  

When I transition from my devotion time to breakfast, I struggle with my food options. When I started the AIP diet, I was disappointed by the breakfast choices.  They included the weirdest combinations of meat and vegetables.  None of the options went well with my sweet coffee morning bliss. So, I started researching ingredients that were AIP compliant and came up with a granola that is grain free and fits my life perfectly.  This scrumptious granola is great over fruit in the morning, as cereal with coconut milk,  or as a snack while hiking, kayaking, traveling, or even binge watching a Netflix show. 

The ingredients are simple.  Coconut is the main ingredient.  You can use any size of flakes you want.  Our local Walmart carries this organic brand for a super great price.  

Our local Natural Grocers stores sells these larger flakes in their bulk department for a super great price. 

So...... start with the coconut and mix it with maple syrup and your favorite dried fruit.  I use tart cherries because they help calm inflammation. 

Mix the ingredients well and place in a 9 X 13 pan lined with parchment paper.  

Place in the oven on 350 degrees and stir every 5 minutes until crisp and golden.

I have found that I can store this granola in a Rubbermaid container for a couple of weeks. Enjoy :) 

Sunshine Granola (AIP friendly)

2 cups of shredded coconut
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of tart cherries or your favorite dried fruit
  • Mix all ingredients together 
  • Place in a 9 X 13 pan that is lined with parchment paper
  • Bake at 350 degrees
  • Stir every 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp
  • Store in airtight container for 2 weeks

Thursday, October 5, 2017

AIP Meatballs on the Traeger

It is much easier to eat AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) in the summer.  The weather is hot, the appetite is less and fresh fruits and veggies abound.  Now that fall is here my appetite is increasing.

One thing that I really miss in fall is a big juicy burger, fresh off the grill, slathered with barbecue sauce.  Since barbecue sauce is made with tomatoes, which are not on the AIP plan, I was desperate to find a replacement.

My rhubarb plant was still producing beautiful stalks of fruit until a couple of weeks ago, so I did a quick search online and found this recipe for AIP Paleo Rhubarb BBQ Sauce .  All I can say is thank you to Gabriella.  This sauce is amazing and I don't feel like I'm missing out anymore!  The sauce is really awesome over my AIP Meatballs that I make on my Traeger and totally delicious slathered over big juicy hamburgers. I'm a happy girl!

To make my meatballs I begin by chopping vegetables.  Carrots add moisture and pack a nutritional punch, so I dice them fine.  

No meatloaf is complete without diced onions. Mmmmmmm

Add the diced carrots, onions, smoked sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder to the hamburger. Mix well!  It is easiest to mix if you wash your hands and dive right in. 

I got this old ice cream scoop years ago and it is a perfect 2 tablespoon scoop. I use it to scoop my meatballs. 

Clean up is a whole lot easier if I line my 9X13 pan with foil. Place the meatballs in the pan. 

Put the pan of meatballs in the traeger or oven.  

After 25 minutes, slather your sauce over them all and bake another 10 minutes. 

I like to place the cooked meatballs over lettuce and slice red onion and green onion over the top. Seriously so delicious!  

AIP Traeger Meatballs

2 pounds of good quality grass-fed ground beef
1 large onion
1 cup of diced carrots
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Preheat oven or Traeger to 375 degrees.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Form meatballs with 2 tablespoons of mixture for each.
  • Place meatballs in a 9X13 inch pan.
  • Place on a preheated Traeger or oven and close door.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Spoon AIP Paleo Rhubarb BBQ Sauce over each meatball.
  • Close door and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Entertaining While Living the AIP Life

Summer is on its way and my greatest joy is having people to our home, with long lingering visits over a table full of food and wine. In the summer we dine on the patio with candles flickering and little white hanging lights that envelope our time of fellowship with a warm ambiance. 

One of the hardest things for me while eating an AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) diet, has been figuring out how to plan a menu for dinner parties. A menu that satisfies my guests and doesn't cause me inflammation.  

A couple of weeks ago, I made it over this hurdle by planning a menu that is delicious enough to serve at a dinner party while sticking to my eating plan.  

I made my Barbecue Drumsticks with a few changes. 
  • Instead of soy sauce, use Coconut Aminos. 
  • Replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar.  
  • Add barbecue sauce at the end to only half of the drumsticks. (AIP does not allow tomato products) 
For the side dish I made Sweet Potato Soufflé with 4 simple AIP approved ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Coconut Milk
  • Bacon
  • Salt
Pure deliciousness!! (The recipe is at the bottom of this page)

For the salad I tore romaine lettuce into a bowl and added: 

  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Kalamata olives
  • Olive oil and white wine vinegar drizzled over the salad
  • A couple of turns of the Himalayan Sea Salt grinder over the top
Simple perfection!

I have come to realize that grilling meat, roasting veggies and tossing a salad are all AIP and guest approved. Add a nice bottle of wine on the patio and let the summer entertaining begin.

*As a side note, wine is not AIP approved. I have been on the plan long enough that I know what I can and cannot eat and drink. There are a few wines that actually calm my inflammation instead of cause inflammation. Strange......but true :)  

This is how easy it is to make the Sweet Potato Souffle:

Wash, peel and dice your sweet potatoes 

Place the sweet potatoes in hot water and boil

When done, use an immersion blender to mash the potatoes.  Add a can of full fat coconut milk and mix with the blender again.

Add salt and bacon and stir with a spoon until well blended.  Scoop into a souffle dish.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.  

Sweet Potato Souffle

4 lbs sweet potatoes (white sweet potatoes are my fave in this dish)
1 13.5 oz can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 tsp sea salt

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small cubes.
Place into a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
Boil the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until soft.
Mash the sweet potatoes or use an immersion blender until smooth.
Add the can of coconut milk and salt.
Whip until creamy.
Stir in bacon.
Place in 2 quart casserole dish or soufflé dish.
Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Healing Kitchen Journey

Hang on, I'm back! I know it's been quite some time since my last post, on World Arthritis Day, when I had made the decision to start Enbrel Injections. I needed some time to figure things out before I updated all of you. I did the injections for 3 weeks. Those were 3 weeks spent on the couch feeling nauseous, tired with painful horrible swollen injection sights on my legs.  So, I stopped!

As I have said quite often, there has to be a better way than pharmaceuticals. Hippocrates said "Let food be your medicine."  In the past I have lived by that saying. I feel like I gave up on my eating plan too soon. Maybe....maybe not. Maybe I needed 3 weeks of misery as a reminder that I still believed in Hippocrates mission. 

I was sick, depressed, and without hope. A good friend of mine had recently been diagnosed with RA and when medication failed to help her she found another solution.   An amazing book that she recommended to me has changed my life.  Rocked my world.  The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber and Sarah Ballantyne came to my rescue.  

The Healing Kitchen teaches the Auto Immune Protocol diet. It's hard you guys! Really hard! When you are a foodie like me and cannot eat and cook in a way that you find fulfilling, it's quite a challenge. Much discipline is required. The list of acceptable ingredients is limited. In the beginning I felt like I was cooking most of the day. But, with the healing and positive results I've seen, this plan is so worth it. I feel better than I have in years and my body is beginning to heal.

Back to talking about food though. I have discovered that life as I know is not over because I can't eat pasta, cake or cheese. Oh wow! I miss cheese! My cooking abilities have been stretched and what has come out of it is only positive. I don't feel too deprived when there are great things to eat such as: 

Scrumptious Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies

Chicken Kabobs with Garlic Roasted Veggies

 Bacon Wrapped Dates......seriously decadent! 

So you see, life moves on and I still get amazing delicious food that is healing my body. It's a big adjustment with quite the learning curve and I can finally say (on most days) that it's all good. What worked in the beginning of my auto immune journey does not work now. Whether it is hormonal changes or progression of the disease that caused this change I cannot say. But, several months into this new eating plan and happily, 24 pounds lighter, I can say with great confidence that the Auto Immune Protocol has most definitely changed my life. So thanks to the book and the ladies behind The Healing Kitchen, I can say once again, "Let food be your medicine."

P.S. I won't just leave you here. I will be sharing recipes and ideas to help you navigate the AIP lifestyle a little bit easier and hopefully with a little less frustration than I had in the beginning. We are in this together friend. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

An Honest Look at Autoimmune Disease on World Arthritis Day

Today seems an appropriate day for me to add a blog post.  It is World Arthritis Day and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune disease.
An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system begins attacking cells and destroying healthy tissue.  There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases.  Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Osteo-Arthritis are well known autoimmune diseases.  Chronic inflammation plays a large role in these types of arthritis and may lead to irreversible damage if not controlled. 
Not all inflammation is bad.  Bodies need some inflammation to fight viruses, infections and help repair itself.  The problem comes when there is too much inflammation leading to pain, swelling, and damage.  It is imperative to get the inflammation under control right away to prevent future damage to joints and organs.   In the past I have been able to control many of these symptoms with an anti-inflammatory diet.  Not so much anymore. 
I have looked back at this blog noticing the changes in my body and life because of my disease. What started out as an anti-inflammatory eating blog that would control my RA is now changing.  Of course, isn't that the way of life?  Always changing. 
In the beginning I could eat whole grain pasta, bread and cereal.                    Now I cannot. In the beginning I could enjoy cheese, sour cream, and yogurt.                    Now I cannot. In the beginning I could bake and enjoy the sugary delicious treats.                   Now I cannot. Most things that I eat cause pain and swelling to the point that I am unable to function.  
Once upon a time I believed the way I ate could help heal all who suffered an auto-immune disease.  I wanted to share it with the world.  Time and pain are such great teachers.  
I am not sure what caused these changes and I'm not happy about it.  Two weeks ago I made the decision to start Enbrel Injections.  My decision has been frowned upon by many (not all) of my natural and holistic friends.  I understand their concern.  I have the same concern.  The choice I faced was to watch and feel my body crippling before my eyes or start the injections and pray they would work, with minimal side effects.  I've missed out on so many moments because of pain and am ready to get back to the business of life.  
So, on this World Arthritis Day, if you or someone you knows suffers with chronic pain, stiffness, or sickness, think seriously about it.  Now may be the time to see a doctor and get some relief.  Please don't wait until your symptoms cripple you.  Go now.