Why Batch Cooking is the Answer to A lot of Your AIP Problems

 

 

batch cooking final

There is no denying that making the switch to the full autoimmune protocol elimination diet is a big adjustment. No matter what, there will probably be more cooking, planning, and thinking about food than you’re used to. That being said, I often hear people voicing concerns, complaints or even excuses for “falling off of the wagon” that could all be fixed with one relatively small lifestyle adjustment…. Batch cooking.

Batch cooking is the practice of cooking large amounts of food ahead of time and storing them for later use. Most people do this at the beginning of the week or the beginning of the month. Personally, I batch cook my breakfasts and lunches and any pantry staples like bone broth or kombucha at the start of every week, pretty much without exception. I don’t know how else I would be able to have been able to succeed on this diet without adopting that practice early.

Here are five of the top complaints I hear surrounding the adjustment to the elimination phase of AIP and how batch cooking can help:

 

Eating This Way is Too Expensive

If you have only been eating processed foods then, yes, you may have to spend a little more, but if I can do it on a grad student budget you can do it to. Just find the highest quality food that YOU can afford and work from there. Batch cooking will help you save money because it forces you to plan ahead and have food available so that you are not running out to the store for expensive convenience foods or extra ingredients that you don’t need. Buy all of your food at one time and don’t go back to the store. Cooking your own food WILL save you money in the long run I promise.

I Don’t Have Time to Do All of This Cooking:

Cooking a lot of food at once may sound time consuming but it actually takes me just about the same amount of time to make a week’s worth of breakfast hash as it would to make one day’s worth. What takes a lot of time is having t make every single thing you eat from start to finish over and over and over again. Maximize the time you are in the kitchen by making more at once.

I’m Spending Too Much Time in the Kitchen:

If you are making breakfast from scratch every morning, making lunch every day before you go to work, preparing snacks and coming home to make dinner, you’re right you are spending too much time in the kitchen. However, if you spend an hour to an hour and half on a weekend making your breakfasts, lunches, snacks and staples ahead of time you won’t have to touch the stove until dinner during the week and you’ll be free to get back to the rest of your life.

I’m Too Hungry at Meal Times to Cook From Scratch:

Well then you are not planning ahead like you should be. I am the poster girl for the term Hangry, also known as the anger that results from getting too hungry. If I don’t plan ahead I will end up just eating whatever is closest to me. By batch cooking at a non meal time I am able to ensure that I have food readily available during the day when I get hungry. Batch cooking also forces me to plan my dinners head of time so I am never faced with looking at an empty fridge with no plan at 6pm on a week night.

I Am An Emotional Eater:

This is a struggle for many people, but part of the unhealthy nature of emotional eating is that people tend to over eat on foods high I sugar or fat that are convenient and within reach. Ensuring that you have healthy, AIP friendly foods within reach, that are easy to eat will not solve your emotional eating tendencies but give you a much healthier option. So be sure to plan ahead and always make sure you have an AIP friendly snack or meal on hand.

Eating this Way is Not Convenient:

Well, to this I say you’re right. When compared to the ability to get a full meal handed to you without every having to get out of your car, I suppose it is not convenient. However, spending your life with your body attacking itself in painful and damaging ways is also not convenient. Batch cooking does, however, make the AIP lifestyle more convenient my efficiently using your time and allowing you the convenience of ready to eat food at the times when you need it most, during the week, at work, or while you are running around all day long. The minute my feet hit the floor in the morning I have an AIP friendly breakfast waiting to be heated up and eaten… doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

Very Berry Gut Healing Gummies (AIP/Paleo)

Very Berry Gut Healing Gummies (AIP/Paleo)

While I have no little ones of my own right now, I have spent most of my life being a nanny, babysitter, or day care teacher and as a birth doula a large part of my life is working with families and children. That being said, I often think about the importance of feeding children nourishing food. Establishing a healthy gut and immune system as well as a healthy appreciation for real food is on of the best gifts you can give a child. However, that is a lot easier said than done when children today are surrounded by friends eating colorful non-food items that look more like toys than food and being shown commercials for junk food marketed to them by their favorite cartoon character. How are us real food warriors supposed to feed our kids offal and spinach when their friends are eating neon colored cookies?

Well, I don’t have an easy answer for you because it isn’t easy. I think the best thing we can do is educate children on why we want them to eat the foods we do so that they quickly know enough to help avoid the temptations society throws their way. In the mean time, there is no reason that nourishing foods can’t also be fun. Gummy snacks are always a popular option with kids but the kind that you can buy in the store are pumped full of food coloring, high fructose corn syrup and low quality gelatin. These gummy snacks are just as fun but will give your kids a yummy and healthy serving of real fruit, probiotics, and gut healing grass-fed gelatin. It’s a perfect option for putting in their lunch boxes or serving as an after school snack!

The good news for you is that gummies are super easy and quick to make and require no actual cooking. You do not have to be Martha Stewart to whip up a batch of these. The only trick it to pour the into the molds or the backing sheet quickly after adding the hot water, otherwise it will start to gel before you’re ready and you will end up with a mess.

How do you get your kids to eat nourishing foods? Are you surprised by what they like and don’t like?

 

Very Berry Gut Healing Gummies

Ingredients:

Very Berry Gut Healing Gummies (AIP/Paleo)1 banana

¾ cup of frozen raspberries

½ cup of kombucha (any fruit flavor)

5 TBS Grass-fed Gelatin

½ cup of warm water

Directions:

In your food processor, combine your banana and raspberries and blend until fully pureed. In a small bowl combine your gelatin with your kombucha and stir until combined. Allow it to set for one minute. It should get puffy and gelatinous. Then take the gelatin mixture and stir it into the fruit puree. Then, take your ½ cup of warm water and pour it over the fruit and gelatin mixture and stir quickly until everything has liquefied. Then pour it into your silicone molds or onto a lined baking sheet, spreading it out to about a ¼ of an inch. Set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until it has set. Store in the refrigerator.

 

There is Only 100%: The Importance of True Commitment When Following the Autoimmune Protocol

The Importance of True Commitment on AIP

When you’re looking at a delicious breakfast of ham and eggs what is the difference between the chicken and the pig? The chicken is dedicated the pig is committed.

As silly as that little illustration may be it is a true reminder of the difference between dedication and commitment. I am often approached by people via email, blog comment or Facebook message saying that they have been trying so hard to heal their gut, or lose weight, or manage their autoimmune disease but they aren’t seeing any results. I immediately start asking questions like, have you checked your supplements and vitamins for non-AIP ingredients? Are you drinking bone broth? Are you eating liver? How much fish are you eating? How much fructose are you eating? How much are you sleeping? How is your stress level? Have you accidentally exposed yourself to cross contaminates by eating out?

I am usually met with a collection of half hearted and wishy washy answers that go something like this, “Well my supplements are compliant except for my probiotic, its dairy based, but that’s ok right?” “I tried drinking bone broth but it was gross and I couldn’t get it down” “I ate a while plate of AIP cookies last night, but that’s ok because they are made with AIP ingredients” “I don’t have any more time to sleep”

The Importance of True Commitment on AIPNo one ever likes what I have to say next.

You’re not committed enough.

You’re not going to see results until you are committed enough. There is no 80% AIP solution. Period. End of story.

It sounds harsh but it is the truth. You have not been 100% AIP for three weeks if last week you ate a handful of nuts because you were hungry. You should not be surprised if you haven’t seen any results and you are taking a supplement every day that contains dairy, nightshades and soy, you are not going to heal your gut just by eliminating certain foods and AIP-ifying your favorite treats without also adding in any other nutrient dense foods like bone broth and liver.

The AIP elimination phase is a short term, all encompassing, healing period. It is not a long-term lifestyle like paleo. You may hear some paleo blogs talking about the concept of 80/20. Meaning that if you are 80% paleo then there is room for some non-paleo, but still gluten free, foods 20% of the time. That is not the case on AIP. There is no 80% solution. There is no 95% solution, there is no 99% solution, there is only 100%.

I am usually a feel good person, I like to hear people’s feelings and emotions, I am all about being kind to ourselves and living a positive life, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all need a wake up call and a dose of tough love every once in a while.

Let me clarify, that yes, when you have been on AIP for 6 months, 8 months, 1 year, 2 years, life happens. I am not 100% all of the time. I go out to eat and probably accidentally expose myself to vegetable oil or soy. I go through periods of stress where I don’t sleep 8-9 hours every night. I forget to make a batch of bone broth one week and go without it, but that is only the case now that I have seen healing, now that I know what my body needs, how it works, and what my triggers are. That was not the case in my first 30-60 days on AIP.

For those first 30-60 days on the elimination phase your job is to live, breath, and eat AIP, if you want to get the most out of it. You need to immerse yourself in it, learn, read, do everything you can do. Plan out your meals, make them ahead of time, don’t go anywhere without AIP food for yourself, sleep like your life depends on it (because it does), take baths, use aroma therapy, manage your stress like your life depends on it (because it does). At any given moment ask yourself this question:

“WHAT CAN I BE DOING RIGHT NOW TO HEAL MYSELF?”

Right now, in this very moment. Could you be sitting outside while you do your work so you can get some more vitamin D? Could you be drinking a cup of bone broth? Could you be drinking some ginger tea with some gelatin and L-Glutamine in it? Could you be taking a walk while you talk on the phone? Could you be eating some liver pate instead of your third handful of dates? Could you be taking a 20 minute nap before your kids come home from school? Could you be saying no to an extra responsibility and making yourself a priority?

If you aren’t asking yourself that question every moment of every day and following through, until you start to see an improvement in your health, you are not committed, and there is still more you could be doing. Do it.

 

My Experience Using Essential Oils Alongside the Autoimmune Protocol

My Experience Using Essential Oils Alongside the Autoimmune Protocol

If you have started following the autoimmune protocol then you know the beginning is overwhelming. No matter how much you have researched and prepared, no matter how gradually you do the elimination phase, no matter how long you followed paleo or gaps or SCD in the past it is still a lifestyle change that requires a period of adjustment. The adjustment doesn’t just happen in your diet however, the thing that sets AIP apart from many other diets is that it isn’t just a diet it is a lifestyle protocol that addresses healing from every angle. This includes your lifestyle and your environment.

That was the area that overwhelmed me the most when I first began my AIP journey. In her book The Paleo Approach, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne discusses the importance of lifestyle and environment, saying that they are just as important as diet in managing autoimmune disease. She addresses issues like stress management, medications and sleep, demonstrating how important properly managing these areas of your life is to proper immune function and reducing inflammation. But that is a lot easier said then done.

After spending a lifetime with various aches and pains I was used to popping two ibuprofen at the first sign of joint pain or a headache, I was a typical type-a, high stress, college student who became a high stress employee and then entrepreneur. I didn’t sleep enough, my stress was far from managed, I bought the cheapest cosmetic and cleaning products I could find to save money and I felt dependent on over the counter medications to get through my day and battle my non autoimmune disease ailments. This had been the case as long as I could remember, how was I supposed to change that?

Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Some elements, like my non-autoimmune disease ailments have resolved significantly as my overall health has improved. I no longer get colds and sinus infections every month like I used to and I don’t get nearly as many headaches. I had to learn how to pay attention to my stress level and prioritize my health over other things in my life, and I had to learn how to prioritize sleep. All of that being said, I was able to find one tool that really helped ease my transition and support my AIP lifestyle in a healthy and safe way… essential oils.

I first learned about essential oils through another blogger who wrote about a digestive blend that she used. I was intrigued and I bought a bottle at retail value (Learn More) . I tried it a handful of times and I was really surprised by how effective it was. It didn’t cure anything, but in those times when I was experiencing an acute reaction to a food I would rub some on my abdomen and I would start feeling functional and well again within 10-15 minutes. I still carry that oil around in my purse, just in case.

After seeing the potential in essential oils I did more research and began to understand how multifunctional essential oils are. One bottle of lavender could be used to support my sleep, support stress management, relieve a sunburn, and clean a cut all in a way that was natural, AIP safe, and saving me money!

You might wonder how essential oils can save you money when you see that one little bottle of Lavender is almost $30, I know I did, but when I realized that you only needed 1-2 drops at a time and it could be used to replace so many products around my house, the savings quickly started to add up. (Learn More)

After a few months of trying 2-3 different oils sparingly I decided it was time to jump on the bandwagon fully. I researched the best way to get the best value on my oils and went from there. (Learn More) Now I use essential oils for just about any issue that comes up.

It may seem like that isn’t really related to AIP, but I feel like anything that helps increase my chances of success in a way that is safe and in line with the principles of the autoimmune protocol takes me one step further in my healing journey.

That being said, here is one of the major major things I learned when using oils alongside the autoimmune protocol: DON’T TAKE THEM INTERNALLY. This can be confusing because a lot of people out there say that if you use a high quality oil like, the brand I use, you can take them internally. This isn’t taking into account the actual properties of the oils. Many essential oils have been found to have significant antibacterial properties. This means that they have the potential to wipe out your good gut bacteria along with the bad, this is exactly what we want to avoid on AIP.

However, used topically and aromatically I have found essential oils to be an awesome tool in my AIP lifestyle toolbox.

You may also question which brand of oils to use because there is a lot of conversation out there about which company has the best practices or highest quality oils. You may also hear a lot of people complaining that some companies use multi-level marketing. All I can say about that is that I chose to use doTerra oils because I tried them and they worked and that was all the information I needed. In terms of marketing, I think in the instance of essential oils the best way to decide if they are right for you is to hear other people talk about their experiences and then try them out. I believe in sharing my experiences as a means of helping others, that is what this blog is all about and my experience with essential oils is no different.

If you are interested in purchasing oils to try or learning more about them simple click here to go to my essential oils page and learn more.

Garlic Rosemary Plantain Fries (AIP/Paleo)

Garlic Rosemary Plantain Fries (AIP/Paleo)

There is a lot that goes into calling a new place home. You have to set up your new house, learn your way around your new town, find places to get plugged in and meet people, and figure out your new go-to spots for everything from eating out to getting gas in your car.

We’ve had a lot of fun exploring our new home the past month or so. Not only are we in a new place but we also have a new schedule that allows us to have more time to go out and do fun things. We’ve gone for walks at a few parks, seen a movie, and even tested out some new restaurants to see how AIP friendly they are. One of our favorites is a little burger place that allows you to build your own burger with lots of topping options. I always get a regular burger, no bun, with sliced avocado bacon, and sautéed onions. However, one of their claims to fame is their unique menu of fries. They have everything from sweet potato fries to nacho fries, to fries cooked in truffle oil with parmesan cheese on top. Obviously, I can’t enjoy most of these options but their unique pairings gave me some inspiration to try and spice up my usual plantain fry recipe at home. The easiest option from their menu to AIP-ify was their garlic and rosemary fries.

Garlic and rosemary are two of my favorite flavors so I decided to give it a try. The result was simple deliciousness! We paired it with some homemade grass-fed burgers and it was a wonderful weeknight dinner!

What is your favorite way to eat a burger? Do you have any fun fry combos that you enjoy?

 

Garlic Rosemary Plantain Fries (AIP/Paleo)

Garlic Rosemary Plantain Fries (AIP/Paleo)Ingredients:

2 Green Plantains

2 TBS Olive Oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 TBS Dried Rosemary

8 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel your plantains and cut them into strips. In a medium mixing bowl, toss your plantains in olive oil and combine with seas salt and rosemary. On a lined baking sheet spread you fries in an even layer, with the strips touching as little as possible. Sprinkle your minced garlic on top of the fries and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and rotate the fries, baking for another 5 minutes or until they become slightly golden on top.

AIP and Conventional Medicine: Finding a Balance that Works for You!

Google Hangout Trailer

I am really excited about 2015 in regards to blog. Up until now this blog has always been one of the many jobs I was trying to manage while my hubby finished graduate school, but what began as a hobby quickly grew to something I could never had imagined thanks to all of your support and encouragement. Now, in 2015 with graduate school and our move behind us, I am taking some time to work from home and solely focus on blogging about the autoimmune protocol and related lifestyle topics. Having more time and more energy has allowed me to brainstorm a lot of fun and exciting things that I can’t wait to share with you, one of which is a focus on navigating the conventional medicine arena while also being committed to AIP.

Some folks with autoimmune diseases are able to use the autoimmune protocol to eventually get off of all medications and manage their symptoms 100% holistically, however others of us have had to strike a balance between natural healing and still utilizing conventional medicine as well. This can be hard because doctors are not always supportive of techniques outside of their expertise and patients may sometimes feel pressured to go on medications or have procedures that they are not fully comfortable with.

With this in mind, I decided to host a live panel discussion with some of my AIP blogger friends who I knew were utilizing conventional medicine while also finding healing with the autoimmune protocol. We got together for a live Google Hangout earlier this week to address your questions and talk about our experiences. It was a wonderful event and I am so thankful for their help and participation.

However, I know not everyone was able to attend it live so I have included the recorded video below for you to watch whenever you want! Let me know what you think!

Cranberry Ginger Mocktail (AIP/Paleo)

Cranberry Ginger Mocktail (AIP/Paleo)

I used to joke that being part Irish and part German meant I could probably drink just about anyone under the table. That being said, I never really tried. I was raised with a healthy respect for alcohol and while I used to enjoy going out to my favorite local bar with friends every now and again, I very rarely ever drank too much, in part, because it always did a number on my stomach. Even before I knew that alcohol was a contributor to leaky gut I knew that it wasn’t helping my ulcerative colitis.

That being said, it was hard to be diagnosed with a life-altering autoimmune disease and come to this realization, at 21 years old. The time when everyone else is out for happy hour after work, attending parties and having fun wondering why you are being the party pooper. It doesn’t get much easier when you are married and 25 because when you don’t drink everyone automatically assumes you must be pregnant… (insert annoyed look here).

I know how important my health is and no amount of inconvenience, nostalgia or peer pressure is going to cause my commitment to waver, but every now and again I do get bored with herbal tea, water and yes, even kombucha.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I decided to put together a fun AIP friendly mocktail that everyone can enjoy as a fun variation from the norm. So maybe, when your snuggling with your love, after a hearty homemade AIP dinner this Valentine’s Day you can sip on something with a little excitement!

 

Cranberry Ginger Mocktail:

Ingredients:

Cranberry Ginger Mocktail (AIP/Paleo)¼ cup of honey

¼ cup of water

1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ cup of finely chopped ginger root

1 TBS grated orange peel

¼- ½ cup of seltzer water

½ lime to garnish

Directions:

In a small saucepan, over medium combine your honey, water, cranberries, ginger and orange peel. Bring the pot up to a steady simmer and allow it to simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pot from the heat and cover. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. When it is done sitting, strain the liquid into a glass and add seltzer water to taste. Add ice and garnish with a lime. Enjoy!