Choosing an AIP/Paleo Prenatal Vitamin

Choosing an AIP/Paleo Prenatal Vitamin

Now that I am coming into the home stretch of my pregnancy I am at a point where I can start to form opinions on the trimesters that have past and the choices I have made. I am the type of person who researches everything. This wasn’t always the case, but since making the decision three years ago to take my health and the management of my autoimmune disease into my own hands, I have become an avid researcher. This mentality has definitely carried over into my pregnancy. I have researched just about everything from ovulation to gestational diabetes testing to optimal fetal positioning and beyond. One of the first things that I started researching, long before I got pregnant, was the vast realm of prenatal vitamins.

The day I found out I was pregnant I went to the doctor to get a confirmation blood test and on the way out the door they handed me a bag full of information on pregnancy and a a bunch of samples of prenatal vitamins. Talk about overwhelming…. I had literally known I was pregnant for all of about 2 minutes and already there were decisions to be made. Thankfully, I had already done my research but I was still incredibly overwhelmed. My goal in this post is to simplify the process for you and hopefully minimize your confusion and stress. So let’s go:

Should I take a prenatal vitamin?

It may seem like a given that you will take a prenatal vitamin, but it is still a question worth asking yourself. Some people prefer to take a number of separate supplements rather than one multi vitamin, other people decide to rely solely on diet.

As much as I am a huge advocate for getting your nutrients primarily from food, I feel that pregnancy is a special circumstance. There is a lot happening in your body at a fast rate, and in fact, your body is actually two bodies both of which are requiring a substantial amount of nutrients. Even women with the best diets and supplementation routines should expect to have some vitamin and mineral deficiencies by the end of pregnancy because, especially towards the end of pregnancy, it becomes next to impossible to eat enough to replenish what the baby and your body are requiring. As long as you are mindful of this you will be able to recover and replenish postpartum, but obviously the goal is to minimize the severity of any postpartum issues. As a result, I decided to go ahead and supplement my paleo/AIP diet with a prenatal vitamin as well as some other supplements that I will talk about later.

When Should I Start Taking My Prenatal Vitamin?

This is not a question that everyone may find themselves asking. If you were surprised by your pregnancy, you found out later in your first trimester, or you just didn’t think about this topic until the stick turned pink then that is just fine. However, if you, like me, find yourself researching this topic before trying to conceive than you might be wondering when to start supplementing.

I am a strong advocate of preconception health. Understanding your body, nurturing it with real food and minimizing inflammation before trying to conceive can save a lot of people a lot of heartache and it also helps set the stage for a healthy low risk pregnancy. Before pregnancy you should definitely be more focused on diet than on supplementation. A prenatal vitamin alone will not regulate your cycles, reduce inflammation or improve your egg quality, all of which diet and lifestyle changes can help with. That being said, if you are already following a real-food diet and paying attention to your overall health, than starting to supplement with a prenatal vitamin before conceiving may not be a bad idea.

The main reason for supplementing before conceiving has to do with your levels of folate, a substance your baby needs right from the start of pregnancy. I am going to go in depth on this topic in the next section but suffice it to say that there is really no harm in starting to take a good quality prenatal vitamin up to three months ahead of trying to conceive, as long as you are not using it in place of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

What is the Deal on Folate vs Folic Acid?

This is the big question that requires the research. In every single mainstream pregnancy book, website, resource, brochure… you will hear about the importance of folic acid. You may not see the word folate at all or you may see the terms used interchangeably. This alone is confusing. If you have spent much time on paleo, or holistic wellness sites you may have heard the term MTHFR thrown around and heard that folate and folic acid are not the same thing… cue more confusion. I am not a doctor but I will break down my understanding for you.

Folate is a natural vitamin found in food. It can sometimes be called vitamin b-9. Folic acid is a synthetic compound found in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid was not developed until 1943 and it was not introduced as a mandatory food fortification until 1998.

Folate has been found to play a role in minimizing neural tube defects in developing embryos.

Many people have no trouble turning synthetic folic acid into a useable form of folate in their bodies. However, people with a certain gene mutation known as the MTHFR gene mutation have trouble turning folic acid into a useable form of folate. As a result, they can end up with dangerously high levels of folic acid in their system but very low levels of useable folate. This can cause of a number of problems, but in regards to pregnancy, it can increase the risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.

Some doctors and researchers are now starting to think that there may be a higher rate of the MTHFR gene mutation in people who have a history of autoimmune disease.

So what do you do? Well first you can go get tested for the gene mutation. Most functional medicine practitioners are aware of it and will test for it and knowing you status will give you a lot of information about your health beyond pregnancy.

However, regardless of your gene status there is nothing wrong or harmful in choosing to supplement with folate rather than folic acid in a prenatal vitamin (If you are not pregnant or trying to conceive do not supplement without consulting a doctor). Leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli and beets are all good dietary sources of folate as are pastured calf’s liver and chicken liver.

You should aim to eat these foods regularly, but even with that it may be hard to get the recommended pregnancy amount of 800-1200 mcg per day. As a result, you should look for supplements that use the terms Metfolin, methyl-folate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5-MTHF.

What are the AIP Friendly Brands and Ingredients?

If you have followed the autoimmune protocol for any length of time you know that finding compliant supplements can be tricky, sadly shopping for a prenatal is no different. There are two brands that I have found that are entirely AIP friendly and two that are just shy of hitting the mark.

Optimal Prenatal:

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This is the best prenatal vitamin I have been able to find. It contains folate rather than folic acid, it doesn’t have any non AIP ingredients and it didn’t make me sick to my stomach at all. The downsides to this vitamin are the it is expensive, the capsules are small and easy to take but you have to take 8 per day which is annoying, and it does not contain iron or DHA. I took this vitamin before getting pregnant and through my first trimester, when I felt I needed the most supplementation and then I stopped it due to cost.

 

Thorne Basic Prenatal:

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This is also a very high quality prenatal vitamin. It also contains folate rather than folic acid, and contains no non-AIP ingredients. The capsules are small and you only need to take 3 per day so that is also a big plus. This vitamin also contains iron which, if you need it, may be a benefit. It is also much more affordable than the Optimal brand. Most of the reviews I read on this product said that it did not bother people’s stomachs so I thought for sure this would be my go-to vitamin. I had also had great luck with Thorne supplements in the past. However, no matter when or how I took this vitamin it made me sick. I started taking it a few months before trying to conceive and every time I took it I got terribly nauseous. That being said, I have heard that the formula has been changed recently and I still think it is a great supplement and worth a try. It also does not contain DHA.

 

Mega Foods Baby and Me:

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This is a food-based supplement which is great for anyone who has a sensitive stomach as it should not make you sick at all. Since this is food based, it contains folate also as well as iron. It is also affordable and easy to find in a lot of health food stores. However, the downsides are that the biotin in this brand is sourced from rice. 1 serving contains 60 mg of biotin and the biotin is extracted from the rice, however rice is not AIP friendly so if you are worried about that than you need to be aware. Also, these tablets are larger than the previous two supplements and may be difficult for some people to swallow. It does not contain DHA. I ended up switching to this vitamin in my second trimester because it was more affordable and it didn’t mess with my stomach. Personally, I have had no problems with it but again I must stress that it is not 100% AIP friendly.

 

Raise Them Well Prenatal:

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This vitamin is actually formulated by the Dr. who runs the functional medicine practice I go to. It is easy to swallow, uses folate, and has iron. However, it does contain rice flour as an additional ingredient, s it is not entirely AIP compliant. It also does not contain DHA.

 

 

Additional Supplements:

In addition to taking a prenatal I chose to take a few additional supplements as well.

Since none of these prenatals contain DHA, which is important for baby’s brain development but also for your mood and pregnancy brain I supplement with this AIP friendly brand of DHA.

I also highly recommend taking a good quality probiotic throughout pregnancy to help reduce your chances of testing positive for group B strep in the third trimester. This is the one I have been taking.

Magnesium is my number one recommendation for a comfortable pregnancy. Taking oral magnesium will help keep you from getting constipated when progesterone slows down your digestion, it helps with pregnancy insomnia and it can help with morning sickness and restless leg syndrome.

Iron, if you decide on a prenatal without iron and you want to supplement or if you become anemic during pregnancy I highly recommend this iron supplement. I have taken it in the past and during pregnancy and it has never bothered my stomach or made my constipated.

 

 

 

 

Winter Squash Soup (AIP/Paleo)

Winter Squash Soup (AIP/Paleo)

I am going to complain for a minute. I want (read: need) cooler weather to arrive. I want to wear jeans and boots and scarves and I want to drink hot tea and kiss humidity good bye. I am usually all about the summer but this summer has done me in. I don’t think it has been under 90 since May and the humidity level is at a constant 1000%. My entire maternity wardrobe consists of shorts and tank tops and I haven’t stopped sweating since the minute I found out about our little bundle of joy. All of that being said, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that even though my phone tells me that the heat isn’t going anywhere in the next ten days that it will eventually go away and that I will eventually stop being sticky and hot. In the meantime, I am hopeful that if I eat enough pumpkin and bake with enough cinnamon that I might be able to trick myself into feeling fallish!

This recipe has quickly become one of my go to favorites for this season. It is easy, delicious and surprisingly filling. In fact, I have included it in my lunch for the past two weeks! The key to this recipe is seasoning it well. It should have a full flavor and should not be bland. I hope you enjoy it and, if you could, send up a little wish for cooler weather as you try it because my pregnant self needs a break! Enjoy!

Winter Squash Soup (AIP/Paleo)

Winter Squash Soup (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients: 

1 TBS olive oil

1 onion minced

3 cloves of garlic

2 cups of pureed pumpkin

2 cups of pureed butternut squash

3 cups of bone broth

 

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper (optional, omit for elimination AIP)

1 cup of full fat coconut milk

1 tsp ground sage

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions: 

In a stock pot or a large dutch oven sauté your onion and garlic in olive oil over medium/high heat until the onions are translucent. Add in your pumpkin and butternut squash along with your bone broth and coconut milk. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add in all of your seasonings and stir to combine. Finally, take an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

 

My AIP/Paleo Pregnancy: The Second Trimester

My AIP/Paleo Pregnancy: The second Trimester

It has been a while since I gave you all an update on how my AIP/Paleo pregnancy has been progressing. My last update came at the end of my first trimester and recapped the absolute craziness that those first 14 weeks had entailed. I am still overwhelmed thinking back on those months and all of the changes that happened so quickly both in our lives and to my body! However, I have now entered into the third trimester, believe it or not, so I decided it was time to give you all a recap of how the second trimester went.

Physically, the second trimester was fairly easy. However, we used that to our advantage and had a very busy summer. We celebrated my sister’s wedding, made two trips up north to visit family, I spent a week in Texas, and the hubby went on three work trips one of which took him to Guatemala. The summer is also a busy time for me, as a nanny, since all of the kiddos are home from school. Each day was jam packed and I needed every extra bit of energy I had to deal with the schedule and the 90 degree weather!

Diet:

In contrast to the first trimester, the second trimester was easy in terms of diet. As soon as the morning sickness subsided I was able to easily go back to my pre pregnancy diet, which was AIP with a few reintroductions. I removed the white rice I had added in during the first trimester and ate a fairly normal amount of food. The only thing that got added was an extra snack before bed to help stabilize my blood sugar over night and keep me from waking up at 3am. I added kombucha back in, after abstaining during the first trimester, and I started drinking THIS pregnancy tea once a day to help prepare my uterus for birth and add in a few more good nutrients. All in all though, there were no big dietary changes to report, I didn’t have many cravings and all was well. I have still had consistent hormone-induced acid reflux though, which I have managed with medication, as I did in the first trimester.

Physical Self Care:

I didn’t have lots of physical complaints in the second trimester. Right at the beginning of the second trimester I had some hip and back pain, but that was managed through regular visits to the chiropractor. I have seen the chiropractor every two weeks throughout my pregnancy, which I would recommend to every pregnant woman. It helps tremendously with back pain and hip pain and it is a must for helping baby get into a good position for birth. I am carrying this baby very low so my pelvis and my hips easily get out of alignment and I don’t know what I would do without chiropractic care. I also take regular Epsom salt baths, which help to ease sore muscles and also help with my sleep. In terms of exercise, outside of running after 4 kiddos every day, I mostly walked for exercise. I tried to do at least three 4 mile walks each week around our local parks.

Medical Care:

The big second trimester medical event was the anatomy scan ultrasound. I have declined most ultrasounds during my pregnancy with the exception of ones used to check on the baby after some first trimester bleeding, but we did consent to this ultrasound since it gives the doctor’s good information about conditions that could impact the growth and delivery of the baby. We had this ultrasound at 19 weeks. This is typically where people find out the sex of the baby, but we declined finding out and decided to leave it as a surprise for delivery day! It was fun to see our little sweet potato on the screen, but it looks like he or she may be fairly strong willed since the little darling spent most of the time trying to hide and escape from the ultrasound wand. As a result, our one take home picture is of the baby doing a back flip… That being said baby passed with flying colors and looked healthy as could be!

It was around this point in the pregnancy that we made the decision to switch obstetric practices. Having an autoimmune disease has shown me the importance of advocating for myself and has shown me what a big difference having the right care team can make. After spending half of our pregnancy with my original practice I knew in my heart that I needed a different care team. I originally chose to be seen by midwives because the midwifery model of care emphasizes the importance of limiting unnecessary interventions, focusing on a well balanced lifestyle, and trusting women and their bodies to do what they were designed to do. My pregnancy has been very low risk so far and I am a good candidate for this type of care. That being said, just like all OBs are not the same neither are all midwives and it became clear to me that my original team of midwives was taking a much more medically and fear driven approach than I was comfortable with. As a result, I switched to a different practice around 23 weeks and have been very pleased with our decision ever since. I will be honest, this process was a pain, but it was well worth it and it reminded me again of the importance of self-advocacy and following your gut when it comes to who you trust with your care.

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Baby Prep:

Because our summer was so busy we didn’t do tons of baby prep, but we did attend a class on water birth, which is an option that our hospital allows, we had a wonderful family baby shower, and we started setting up some of the baby’s things like the crib! We also used what little spare time we had to do some cleaning out and organizing around the house so that things weren’t too cluttered for baby’s arrival.

 

Overall, I would say the second trimester was much more similar to “normal” life than the first trimester. I felt well most of the time. My energy level was ok, although I didn’t get a big burst of energy like some do. I was able to keep up with AIP no problem, I had normal pregnancy weight gain, the baby continued to growth well and with some good self care I felt fine most days. That being said, the first few weeks of the third trimester have been another story entirely, but that is a post for a few weeks from now!

Sweet Potato Pie (AIP/Paleo)

Sweet Potato Pie (AIP/Paleo)

It is officially September and for me that brings a lot of excitement! Excitement over cooler weather (being pregnant in the summer has not been my favorite), excitement over being in my last trimester of pregnancy, and excitement about upcoming celebrations and holidays and special times. The past six months of my life have been filled with a lot of changes, some have been wonderful and some have been very difficult. As I look forward to the fall I can’t help but feel very hopeful that having some time at home, enjoying cooler days and relishing in some holiday traditions will help to bring some normalcy back into my life (as normal as life can be when welcoming a new baby).

With these hopes in mind, I decided to get a little jump on my fall recipe creations a few weeks ago by putting together this new pie recipe! Obviously, I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes in all forms so it seemed like it was time to finally create an AIP version of this Southern staple. The great thing about sweet potato pie is that it is not nearly as sweet at most pumpkin pies which makes it a great alternative to anyone who wants a fall dessert but doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth.

I want to give a special shout out to my fellow blogger Alaena over at Grazed and Enthused for inspiring the crust portion of this pie. In the past, I have stuck with coconut based crusts when pie baking, but they have their own flavor and aren’t quite the traditional neutral pastry type of crust that most people are used to. One of my biggest AIP pregnancy splurges has been making the Stromboli recipe from Grazed and Enthused which consists of a super simple, very workable dough that is actually made from sweet potatoes! I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a sweet potato pie with a sweet potato crust so I am going to direct you to her site for the crust ingredients and instructions and then you can come back here to finish the pie! I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Potato Pie (AIP/Paleo)

Sweet Potato Pie (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients: 

Crust: 

Click HERE for the ingredients and instructions on making the dough from this recipe.

2 TBS melted coconut oil

Filling: 

2 cups of mashed orange sweet potato

½ cup of coconut oil

¼ cup of maple syrup

¼ cup of black strap molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup of coconut cream

2 ½ TBS gelatin

Topping:

1 cup of sliced tigernuts

¼ cup of palm shortening

dash of salt

1 TBS maple syrup

1 TBS of coconut sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375. Combine your dough ingredients as per the instructions from the link above. Roll out your dough until it is roughly large enough to fill a 10″ pie plate. Grease your pie plate well. Transfer the dough to the pie plate and press down the dough to form the crust. Brush with melted coconut oil. Bake your crust for 20 minutes, then broil it for 2 minutes to brown the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside. To make your filling, combine all of your filling ingredients except the gelatin into your food processor and puree until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly add in your gelatin and blend for another minute or so. Spoon your filling into your crust and smooth out the top. Place in the refrigerator until the pie has set, at least 3 hours. To make your topping, add all of your ingredients to your food processor and pulse until combined. Sprinkle the topping on the pie and serve.

My Big Fat AIP Wedding

My BIg Fat AIP Wedding

From Samantha:  I am super excited to share today’s post with you all. Some of you may remember my sister from her previous post about her journey with ulcerative colitis, well today she is back with an extra fun post all about her recent wedding! She got married in June and it was an absolutely beautiful event! She and her husband put so much thought into the details of the ceremony and the day and their personalities really shined through in every aspect. I was so honored to be my sister’s “Best Woman” (I didn’t want to be the Matron of Honor because if felt like too old of a title) and I am honored again to have her here today to tell you all about some of the AIP-related details of the day. As anyone who has every tried to attend a wedding on the autoimmune protocol knows, its difficult. Now imagine being an AIP bride! Cake, champagne, buffet style food, lots of chemical-y cosmetics and finally travel to a honeymoon destination… there are a lot of potential pitfalls and areas of stress to deal with on a day that is supposed to be one of the best of your life. Jesse handled it all with incredible grace and she picked up some great tips to share along the way, so without further ado I will let her tell you all about it…

The Caterer

When following the Autoimmune Protocol food is obviously the most important factor in your daily life, so why wouldn’t it also be on one of the most important days of your life? After all, it is your big days and you shouldn’t have to be stuck eating bland chicken and watery vegetables. Find a caterer who will work with as well as for you. Our dinner was served “family style”, meaning there were several different menu items on each table for the guests to choose from. This made it easy to accommodate any other dietary resections for our guests. The caterer also made AIP versions of most of the menu items for my sister and I and served them to us individually during the dinner reception. When it came time for the toasts, while the guests had the choice between champagne or sparkling cider, my sister and I toasted with a locally brewed Kombucha so we could still have that “bubbly” effect.

View More: http://kristieleaphoto.pass.us/jesse--jesse

 

The Cake

My husband loves pie. Apple, cherry, lemon, blueberry… You name it and he will love it. So, instead of the traditional wedding cake, we decided to have a pie table. We chose about 5 different varieties of pie for the guests to choose from and display on our table. This made it easier to have an AIP pie that we could display and cut into during the reception. My sister, the best maid of honor ever, made the Raspberry “Cheesecake” from Autoimmune-Paleo.

cake poses

Cosmetics

I highly recommend two AIP friendly products that played a crucial role on my wedding day. The first is Primal Pit Paste Deodorant. You’re going to be sweaty on your wedding day, there is no way of getting around it, and you need something that will give you piece of mind and not mess up your dress! I have used this deodorant for two years now and love it. With the primary ingredients of baking soda, arrowroot powder and essential oils, this deodorant keeps your dry and smelling fresh all while being chemical free! They also offer varying levels of strength and a baking soda free option, depending on your level of sensitivity.

 

The second product is OWay Sculpting Mist. I have utilized an all-natural hair care routine for several years. However, when I met with my hair stylist to do the trial run of my updo for the wedding, I didn’t give a second thought to using traditional aerosol hairspray. Unfortunately, about 2 hours after the trial I got a terrible headache, and when I went to wash my hair, large amounts of hair started falling out. I was stumped as to how I would keep my updo to hold shape for close to 9 hours on the big day without all the terrible side effects. So I recruited my sister, who wonderfully scouted out to her AIP blogger connections to see if she could locate an AIP friendly hair spray and she did! Kat Cline from The Primordial Table recommended OWay, an all-natural hair spray that she uses in her professional salon. Let me tell you, this bad boy worked! It wasn’t too wet, making it easy to style hair, it help the hair perfectly without making it too hard or crunchy, and it didn’t give me a single ounce notion of headache or tension!

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Managing Stress

Planning and executing a wedding can be very stressful. There is no way of getting around that fact, so it is important to implement solid stress management techniques during this season of your life. These are a few that really helped me:

  1. Mindfullness
  2. Acupuncture
  3. Walking/ Light Exercise
  4. Sunshine

Having a support system and people helping you is key. Planning a wedding is a multifaceted task and it’s important to delegate and ask for help. My mom basically acted as my wedding planner and it is because of her I was able to have the wedding of my dreams. Find help, delegate tasks, and definitely don’t plan this event on your own. It is also important to start organized. This really helped me manage all the to-do lists and ensure I was able to sleep at night. I typically had several notepads next to my bed so I could right down all of my thoughts before bed. This enabled me to sleep soundly and return to planning in the morning.

View More: http://kristieleaphoto.pass.us/jesse--jesse

The Honeymoon

  1. Travel

Travel can be physically taxing and anxiety producing, so why add more stress and exhaustions to the days proceeding the wedding? I chose the keep the travel distance short and go to a honeymoon destination within the continental U.S. So, we chose Anna Maria Island, FL. It was beautiful little piece of tropical paradise without all of the travel.

  1. Accommodations

My husband and I nixed the idea of doing the “all inclusive resort” because I wouldn’t be able to eat any of the food or drink of the drinks and, most likely, wouldn’t be able to either bring in any food or cook while we were there. Instead, we rented a little on bedroom beachfront apartment that was part of a cottage resort. This way we were still able to enjoy some amenities on the property like laundry service, access to property grills, hammocks and tiki huts, chairs and umbrellas, as well as enjoy being right on the beach. We had a full kitchen, so I was able to make all AIP friendly meals for the week and enjoy them on our balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

  1. Paleo on the Go

Since we still had about a 9-hour travel day on the first day of our honeymoon, we decided to utilize Paleo on the Go to supply our dinner the first night. They delivered the food straight to our hotel, where the staff kindly unpacked the food and placed it in our refrigerator prior to our arrival. They have a wide variety of menu options and the food was delicious!

 

Photos by Kristie Lea Photography 

 

 

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Life has been a little (Read: A lot) crazy lately. Between working full time with my nanny kiddos home for summer vacation, trying to fit in traveling and family visits before I get too pregnant to go far away, and preparing for Baby Sweet Potato’s arrival I have been all about making simple, maintenance meals. Most night’s consist of stir fry, leftovers, or something from the crockpot. However, I have also been re-discovering the joy of my cast iron skillets and how tastey they can make even the simplest of one-pot dishes. I have especially been enjoying cooking meat in them lately. The combination of searing the outsides and baking the insides of everything from chicken to steak creates a fantastic texture to the meat and really amplifies the flavor but it also super easy!

I know that you all are probably just as busy as me these days to I wanted to pass along this simple little recipe in the hopes that it will bring some delicious ease to your weeknight dinners. Enjoy.

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Herb Seasoned Cast Iron Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients: 

2 TBS Coconut Oil

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Dried Basil

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

 

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 375. Take an 8 inch or larger cast iron skillet and melt your coconut over medium/high heat. Combine all of your spices into a bowl and stir to combine. Rub your seasoning mix over your chicken, covering it entirely. When your pan is hot place the chicken in the pan and reduce your heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, flipping the chicken in two minute increments. Leaving the chicken in the skillet place it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

What AIP Bloggers Do For Fun…

What AIP Bloggers Do For Fun...

I know that each of you out there has a handful of AIP or Paleo bloggers who are just your favorites! They post your favorite recipes and you love to follow them on Instagram. What you may be surprised to know, however, that most of us are actually friends in real life! We talk often about recipes, our goals and community projects and we also just like to have a good time. Recently, I got the amazing chance to hang out with four of these awesome writers in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for a weekend and it was a blast! I was joined by Eileen of Phoenix Helix, Angie of Autoimmune Paleo, Sophie of A Squirrel in the Kitchen, and Jamie of Gutsy By Nature, and since we all live in different parts of the United States it was a rare treat to get to hang with these beautiful ladies in person.

Attachment-26So you may be asking yourself what does a group of AIP bloggers do for fun? Well, we do a lot of hanging out and talking to start with. It was so fascinating to get to hear how everyone’s health journey is going, and how everyone’s experience with the autoimmune protocol has effected them. We all have different autoimmune diseases but its easy to understand and relate to the frustrations and victories of each other’s journeys. We also talked about our blogs and our fantastic readers and what our goals are for the future of our writing. When we tired of talking we did some fun activities like getting fantastic reflexology done on our feet… (side note: if you are pregnant go right now and have someone do Attachment-15reflexology on you because it feels incredible after spending all of your time carrying another growing human around). We also explored the local town and attempted to go tubing down a river but were thwarted by some nasty weather. Finally, no AIP retreat would be complete without lots and lots of yummy food!

The bulk of our food was generously provided by Paleo on the Go, which is a meal delivery service that has both paleo and AIP friendly meal options that are already cooked and delivered to your home. Honestly, I have been eyeing Paleo on the Go for months and I even thought about ordering food from them for our trip to Hawaii but I was skeptical so I never pulled the trigger. After this weekend I am no longer a skeptic. My biggest concerns before trying them

Examples of some of our yummy food from Paleo on the Go

Examples of some of our yummy food from Paleo on the Go

were the price and the portion size. From looking at the food online it looked like a lot of money for not a lot of food, but I was definitely wrong on that front. The portion sizes are very generous and even at six months pregnant one meal serving filled me up for everything we tried. The first night we tried their herb roasted chicken, roasted root vegetables and bone broth. Everything was very good and very well seasoned! The next morning for breakfast I tried the chicken breakfast sausage and collard greens. The sausages were much larger patties than I usually make and they were very flavorful and the collard greens were a delicious AIP version of southern style collards. Our second dinner was the shepherd’s pie. I was a little skeptical of this dish because I usually make mine with sweet potatoes on top rather than cauliflower and the meat contained some beef heart, which I had never tried. Let me tell you, usually I can sniff out organ meat a mile away but I gobbled up that shepherd’s pie without a second thought and the cauliflower made a perfectly thick topping. Plus again, the portions were very big. We also had their cream of broccoli soup that night, and honestly that may have been one of my favorite dishes. It distinctly reminded me of my favorite broccoli and cheddar soup that used to be served at this café on my college campus. I will happily admit I ate three bowls of it over the course of the weekend. Over the course of the rest of the weekend we also had their chicken soup, the creamy chicken and bacon alfredo, and the bangers and mash. I was genuinely impressed with each dish. It has been a long time since I was able to put a pre-cooked dinner in the microwave and be sitting down to eat a few minutes later and honestly it was a treat. We as AIPers spend so much time in the kitchen it was a true blessing to get a break for one weekend and instead focus on relaxation and good company. Now having tried the food, I am strongly considering buying some for my postpartum period and for future vacations. Cost wise, I would say that you need to compare it to the cost of eating out at an AIP compliant restaurant while on vacation. The food is up to that caliber as is the convenience and if you look at it through that lens the prices are very reasonable. If you are interested in checking out Paleo on the Go click HERE.

I am so thrilled that I was able to spend time with all of these fantastic bloggers and selfishly, it was nice to have a weekend to focus on myself and think about the blog before we get ready to welcome our new little arrival this fall. If you haven’t added these lovely ladies to your list of go-to bloggers you should do so immediately!

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