The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Hanging out with Angie Alt

The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook Review Cover Photo

Design By Chelsey Luther

Today is a super exciting day here on the blog because we are being joined by a special guest! She is the blogger behind the site Alt-Ternative Autoimmune, she is a health coach over at The Paleo Mom Consulting, and she is now the author of her very own cookbook: The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating for all Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.

Recently, I got the chance to hang out with Angie and talk a little bit about her new book. It was so fun to get to talk with her, you can easily see how passionate she is about this project and how her love of encouraging others carries through in this project. Here is our interview:

There is so much to love about Angie’s book I could honestly go on for pages, as I sat there reading it for the first time I found myself almost on the brink of tears because I connected so avocado lime hand pies (AIP) deeply with her story. As I mentioned in the video above, the cookbook is laid out in a very unique way; interspersed between sections of recipes are snippets of Angie’s personal story of disease, diagnosis and healing. In my opinion, this is the primary thing that sets this book apart from some of the others on the market. Both the tone and the recipes are relatable, approachable, and fun  in a way that feels as though  you are sitting at home with your best friend sharing stories and recipes. This is not just a reference book, it is a resource for your kitchen and your spirit.

The second thing that sets this book apart from the others is that it covers all the phases of the autoimmune protocol diet from elimination to reintroduction. This element clearly shows “the light at the end of the tunnel” following the often intimidating elimination phase. This also means that it is a book you can easily continue using long after the elimination phase of the diet is complete.

I could go on and on about how much I love this book, because I genuinely do love it, but I would rather let you fall in love with it yourself. Angie has graciously agreed to give away one copy of the e-book version of her new book! To enter, fill out the form below. The winner will be contacted via email and sent their copy of the book!

Cookbook 2

The book is currently available HERE in an instant download E-book format or HERE in print format. Get your copy today!
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Mini Pumpkin “Cheesecakes” (AIP)

Pumpkin Spice "Cheesecake" (AIP)

Recently, I was given the huge honor of being asked to write a guest post over at The Paleo Mom. This blog is the work of Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook and one of THE leading minds behind the Autoimmune Protocol diet. Here is a snippet of my post, for the full post and recipe click the link at the bottom of the page. 

Mini Pumpkin Spice “Cheesecakes” (AIP, Paleo)

There tend to be a lot of expectations surrounding the holiday season. We expect to be filled with joy and surrounded by loved ones. We expect to have fun at holiday gatherings, to eat familiar and tasty treats, and to feel content in every way. Granted, these expectations may be a bit of a stretch for most of us. However, if you’re actively sick with an autoimmune disease you may feel as though none of these expectations will be fully met and your thoughts of supposed holiday cheer may be filled with dread. That is where I was last holiday season.

I had been suffering from a non-stop ulcerative colitis flare for almost six months. My body felt like it had fought a war and lost. Blood loss, abdominal pain, joint pain, severe fatigue and unpredictable digestive ailments had left me almost bedridden and as I thought about the looming holiday season I wasn’t filled with glad tidings and thanksgiving but rather with anxiety and sadness. I didn’t know how I would manage to drive out of the state to see my family, let alone enjoy myself. I didn’t know how I would help prepare holiday food when I could barely look at food without getting sick, but most of all I couldn’t bear the thought of ringing in a new year sick and exhausted.

After over a year following the paleo diet and six months spent trying what felt like everything from steroids to standing on my head, I finally decided to try the autoimmune protocol. I had done my research, I knew that it made sense and I knew that it could work, but in my miserable state and with Thanksgiving literally a week away, the thought of giving up so many of my favorite foods seemed almost as daunting as being sick.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake 3A year ago there were no published AIP books or cookbooks on my bookshelves; I had only a handful of blogs and a small set of resources, but I was determined to ring in the new year in a state of health, no matter how daunting. My first full week on the autoimmune protocol diet was the week of Thanksgiving. By Christmas I had gone two full weeks with no blood loss, and I welcomed 2014 in a state of healing. It took me months to fully recover my health and return to normal, but last year will forever be remembered as one of my most joyful holiday seasons, because there are few gifts greater than the gift of health.

This year, I feel so blessed to be healthy and I feel even more blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing AIP resources and recipes that allow me to enjoy the flavors of the season without compromising my health. That being said, I know the holidays can be an especially challenging time to follow a restricted diet so here are a few tips that helped me make it through the holiday season while on the full elimination phase of the autoimmune protocol:

  1. Be Honest with Your Loved Ones: Whether you are celebrating the holidays with family, friends or neighbors, be open and honest with them about what the autoimmune protocol is, what you can and can’t eat and why you are eating this way. Give them lists of foods to avoid and help them find recipes that meet your needs. Chances are your loved ones care more about celebrating with you than they do about the menu and they will be more likely to help accommodate you if they know what is going on.
  2. Give Yourself Options: One of the biggest reasons I hear for “cheating” or “falling off the wagon” on the autoimmune protocol is a lack of options and an emotional desire for a food. This is especially true around the holidays. Many memories and emotions can be tied up in holiday meals and that may make it hard to simply abstain from eating something unless you have a suitable replacement. If you know that your mom’s Christmas cookies are a treat you look forward to all year long, make sure you have an AIP friendly dessertnearby to satisfy your desire for something sweet. If you like to ring in the New Year with a glass of champagne and the thought of only having water or herbal tea makes your shudder, make sure you pour some beautifully bubbly kombucha in a champagne flute and enjoy the toast! Is it the same? No, but it will allow you to get through and enjoy your traditions without sacrificing your health or feeling deprived.
  3. Don’t Get Overwhelmed: Its easy to get overwhelmed if you start thinking  about creating new menus for multiple holidays or events, but just remember to take each day as it comes, ask for help, and treat the experience like an adventure. This adventure will give you the opportunity to create nourishing meals for the ones you love, try new things, celebrate the holidays without feeling deprived, and give yourself the gift of health and wellbeing, which will last a lifetime. I promise it is worth it.

So, as you begin to think about this year’s quickly approaching holiday season, don’t shy away from making a commitment to your health. There is no need to wait. If you are already following theautoimmune protocol then there is no need to worry about “cheating”. You can still enjoy all of your favorite flavors of the season while taking control of your health and reversing your autoimmune disease. To help get you started towards a fun and nourishing AIP holiday season, here is a special little recipe the make your celebrations just a little bit sweeter!

For the Recipe Click HERE

Sweet and Savory Baked Kale Chips Snack Mix

Sweet and Savory kale Snack Mix (AIP, Paleo)

Sweet and Savory Baked Kale Chips Snack Mix

As some of you may know, about twice a month I have the opportunity to write a post over at the blog Homemade For Elle. This month, I shared a recipe perfect for those days when you just want to munch on something snacky. I hope you enjoy! 

As someone who has found great health and healing in a traditional, nourishing diet filled with high quality animal fat, bacon, honey, and a number of other “old fashioned” foods that have been labeled as “unhealthy” in our society, I tend to shy away from trendy foods and diets. For this reason, I have always been irrationally suspicious of kale. Clearly, it is a wonderful, healthy, leafy green. It is filled with tons of nutrients that our bodies need, and as a rule us Americans definitely need to be eating more greens. However, with various fad diets, the vegetarian crowd, and the gym addict crowd all hailing kale as a super food, the rebel in me wants to stick with mustard greens and a side of liver pate and remain firmly outside of the mainstream.

I exaggerate slightly, however the truth remains: I don’t tend to eat a ton of kale. However, in trying to develop this recipe I got to thinking and I remembered that early in my paleo days, I did go through a brief phase of making kale chips because they were quick, easy and I could do them in the oven rather than in a dehydrator. This got me thinking and I decided to start looking around for a kale chip based snack mix. Surprisingly, I found very few recipes that combined kale chips with any thing else to create a more well rounded snack. Always being up for a challenge, I decided to give it a shot.

Sweet and Savory kale Snack Mix (AIP, Paleo) The result was delicious! I have always been a sucker for a sweet and savory flavor combo and this hit the spot!

This snack mix is great for those times where you just want something to munch on, maybe while you watch a movie, or as an appetizer at a party… or as you sit at your desk writing a blog post… (oh wait, that’s just me!)

All jokes aside, kale is a great source B vitamins, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Folate all of which are nutrients many people are deficient in, making it a fantastic snack option!

Do you have any foods you irrationally avoid?

For the Recipe Click HERE

A Simple and Sustainable Christmas List

A Simple and Sustainable Christmas List

About a year ago I read an article by author Shannon Hayes on the topic of investing. She wasn’t talking about investing money, per say, at least not as it relates to mutual funds and stock options, she was talking about making wise purchases that act as investments in your family’s lifestyle. The sentiment in this article has weighed heavily on my mind this holiday season as I buy gifts for those I love and receive gifts that were bought in love. How will the things I ask for, receive and buy further the values, goals, and lifestyle of my family or my loved one?

In the case of my husband and I our lifestyle tends to circle around the values of faith, simplicity, sustainability, and frugality. In the past, these values have led us towards purchasing primarily reusable vs disposable products, doing a lot of things ourselves, and focusing more on the quality or meaning behind things we buy rather than the quantity or popularity. This may sound boring in terms of gift giving, but receiving gifts that help further our goals by saving us money or increasing our sustainability bring us a lot of joy.

So what does a simple and sustainable Christmas list look like? Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Sustainability: 

 

Health:

 

Other Ideas:

  • A membership to a gym, yoga studio or dance studio

  • Money or gift certificates for date nights

  • Money towards a family vacation

  • Subscription to Hulu plus, Netflix, or amazon prime so that you ditch that cable TV

 

Guest Post by Martine Partridge: AIP, Crohn’s Disease and Cauli-Leek Mash

Today we are joined by Martine Partridge the blogger behind The Paleo Partridge, a great AIP blog filled with delicious recipes. She has graciously agreed to share her story with you all today as I take some time to focus on my move and spend the holidays with my family. Please take the time to head over to her site today and show her some love! 

Cauli-Leek Mash (AIP, Paleo)

My history with Crohn’s Disease is long and storied, so I’ll attempt to give you a brief outline of my experiences over the last 20ish years. While it will appear bleak at first, I promise you that it gets better, so bear with me for just a few moments, and know that I share these details as a way to offer you some perspective on my healing journey. I understand too well that when you’re trying to find your way through the darkest days of a chronic illness, hearing accounts of success is incredibly encouraging. So first the bad bits:

I’ve had a lengthy and jarring ride on the prednisone train. I’ve trekked back and forth to the pharmacy, trying countless drugs that ultimately proved ineffective for me. (For example, I endured a couple of bouts of painful pancreatitis after reacting terribly to Imuran.) I swallowed six 5-ASA pills called Salofalk (think big, orange horse pills) daily for 15 years. I’ve been hospitalized. I had one doctor describe my colon as a bloody, ulcerated mess of “hamburger” after a scope. Oh, yes, I’ve had scopes, scopes, and more scopes. I almost lost my colon. And for quite some time, I did lose my self-worth because this disease takes its toll on your pride and dignity.

Finding first paleo (in the new year) and then AIP (in the spring/summer of this year) has been a game changer – it has given me my life back because I no longer live in fear of autoimmunity. My days look a whole lot different and a whole lot brighter now that I’m not stuck in the middle of a nasty and difficult Game of Crohn’s. I still take some medication, but I’ve been able to cut the number of drugs and amounts by half.

For decades I battled relentlessly high inflammatory markers and low iron levels, but I’m thrilled to report that since adopting a paleo lifestyle, the inflammatory markers have come down (and stayed) in the normal range, and I’ve even been able to bring my iron levels up without the need for repeated infusions.

However, while eating a paleo diet, I was still suffering with some Crohn’s symptoms. Sure, I was feeling the best I had since receiving the IBD diagnosis, and this was euphoric, really! But I wanted to ramp up the healing that was taking place, which is why I researched and ultimately committed to AIP in all its nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory glory. I’ve come to love and look forward to my daily intake of as many greens as I can handle along with my weekly liver pâté sessions.

Because I’m no longer chronically inflamed, struggling with a whole host of horrid symptoms related to IBD, I’m healthier, yes, but happier too. I have a better relationship with myself and with those around me. In fact, after the first few months of making these changes in my diet, my husband commented on how much calmer and contented I was. Not only was I benefiting physically from using food as medicine, I was also experiencing an improved state of emotional and mental wellbeing.

And one more benefit? I found my love for food again! I adore playing around in the kitchen, coming up with AIP-compliant recipes that my family and friends enjoy and rave about.

So here’s one of those recipes. This Cauli-Leek Mash always evokes a delighted response. I attribute that to the addition of duck fat and truffle salt. I’m totes in foodie heaven with that pairing!

Cauli-Leek Mash

Cauli-Leek Mash (AIP, Paleo)Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, washed and chopped finely

1 tbsp. duck fat

1 tsp. truffle salt

¼ to ⅓ c. bone broth

 

Directions

  1. Steam the cauliflower florets for around 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower is steaming, sauté the leek in the duck fat until the leek is soft and nearing translucent. Set aside.
  3. When the cauliflower is finished steaming and is sufficiently soft, transfer the florets to a food processor or high speed blender. Add the sautéed leeks, truffle salt, and bone broth.
  4. Process until there are no more large cauliflower chunks. (I like this mash a little on the chunky side as opposed to completely puréed and smooth.)

Author Bio: 

MPMartine Partridge is an eater of paleo and AIP food. She is also a combatter of Crohn’s Disease. When Martine isn’t ogling food photos or creating scrumptious paleo and AIP dishes to share with friends and family, she is practicing yoga, reading a novel, hanging with her darling husband and sweet pup, and just generally blissing out on life. She is forever grateful to her parents for their unconditional love and incredible support, especially through the darkest days of dealing with Crohn’s Disease. Martine also admires and applauds the strength and inspiration of her fellow AI warriors who refuse to let disease define them and who continue to fight against autoimmunity. For more food and AIP-lifestyle ideas, follow Martine’s blog, and check her out on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook

Molasses Spice Cookies (AIP)

Molasses Spice Cookie (AIP, Paleo)

Since around the time I became a teenager Christmas cookies have been my “job” around the holidays. My mom and dad loved to decorate the house, my sister is good at wrapping gifts and I am the baker. I am really the only one in the family that has the patience to deal with Christmas cookies. I loved the process, the intricacies, and the nuances of each type of cookie. The candy cane sugar cookies were delicate and needed to be placed on parchment paper, lest they crumble into a million pieces while being taken from the oven. The toffee squares were simple and hearty, difficult to mess up and the gingerbread men couldn’t be rushed as the dough had to be chilled completely before a single one could be rolled out. After a few years I had the Christmas cookie making down to a science.

Then I went gluten free, but I adapted. I made flourless chocolate peppermint cookies and flourless peanut butter cookies, almond flour shortbread and molasses lace.

Then I went paleo and I continued to bake, but the list of cookies grew shorter.

The last year, a month after going AIP, my Christmas cookies consisted of one batch of coconut flour shortbread, a sad attempt at gingerbread, and that was it.

This year I am bound and determined to broaden my horizons and regain some of that joy that baking Christmas cookies has always brought me.

This recipe was based off of my previous love of molasses sugar cookies. I love the taste of molasses and I thought that the molasses sugar cookie was the perfect combination of flavors without being finicky like gingerbread or overly sweet and plain like traditional sugar cookies.

This cookie is simple and fun and is a gorgeous cross between a molasses sugar cookie and a snickerdoodle.

The holidays are a time for keeping traditions, making new memories, and finding joy in simple things and I hope that this year you will find joy in your health, make memories around a table filled with nourishing food, and keep the traditions that fill your heart with gladness.

 


Molasses Spice Cookies:

Ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkin

Molasses Spice Cookies (AIP, Paleo) 2 TBS arrowroot

pinch of salt

¼ cup of coconut oil melted

¼ cup of maple syrup

4 TBS molasses

½ cup of coconut flour

¼ tsp cinnamon, cloves, ginger

2 TBS of coconut sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all of your ingredients except the coconut sugar and mix until thick dough has formed. Using a tablespoon measurer roll your dough into balls. Place your coconut sugar in a separate bowl and gently roll your cookie balls in it, dusting them slightly. Place on a lined baking sheet and pat down slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the to cool before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

 

DIY Christmas Gift Roundup

DIY Christmas Gift Roundup

Well, it is officially time to break out the gift wrap, ribbon, and tape the season of giving is upon us. We are having a small Christmas in terms of giving this year, since we are also in the process of moving to a new city and my hubby is graduating for graduate school two weeks before Christmas. We will still be giving gifts to our loved ones but we have had to make them intentionally smaller than we have in years past. Last year I made all but two of the gifts I gave for Christmas, and did a gift basket theme where I made different themed baskets filled with homemade products and treats.

While I am not going all out with DIY stuff this year, as most of my supplies are in boxes, doing an all DIY year followed by a small gift year has given me a new perspective on this time of year. On the Friday after Thanksgiving this year I spent my morning in my PJs in the kitchen talking with my mother, in the afternoon my family loaded up the car and drove through the snow covered Appalachian mountains to go cut down a Christmas tree, and in the evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal in honor of my father’s birthday. There was no shopping, no crowds, no lines just fun filled memories of family time and love. Memories worth a lot more than a discounted TV set.

I have also found that by intentionally changing the standard of what Christmas gifts look like, I ended up lowering the stress I was putting on myself and others. I have now spent two years free of the burden of stressing over the affordability of the gifts I am giving others and instead have enjoyed the spirit of the gift and the time spent with each friend and family member and in return others feel less of a sense of obligation to return the gift in kind, especially if it is over their budget.

This isn’t to say that if someone in your life truly desires something that happens to have a larger price tag you shouldn’t give it to them if you can, I am a big fan of having people go in together to get larger gifts and I am one of the few Christmas babies who allows people to combine my birthday and Christmas presents when I desire something pricier. Rather, my point is to consider removing the arbitrary expectation of spending a lot of money on gifts and rather focus on the spirit of giving and the quality of the time you spend with your loved ones this holiday season because those two things will last much longer than any physical gift.

Here are a few great ideas for DIY Gifts to get you started this holiday season!

 

DIY Christmas Gift Roundup: