Slow Cooker Orange Ginger Pork (AIP/Paleo)

Slow Cooker Orange Ginger Pork

For about two years now I have been posting AIP recipes on this blog just about every week. However, contrary to popular belief, I am not very creative when it comes to what I actually cook on a day-to-day basis. I have a handful of recipes that I know I can make quickly, cheaply and easily and I rotate them. Fish, chicken, pork, beef, repeat. So, when I come up with a new recipe that is easy enough to add into my rotation, you know it is a good one!

I came up with this recipe specifically the pair with my apple cabbage slaw recipe. I love pairing pork and coleslaw, but my typical Eastern Carolina style BBQ was not going to pair well with the sweet and citrusy flavors in the apple slaw. This orange ginger pork recipe, on the other hand, works perfectly!

Not only is this a super simple weeknight recipe it is also a great fall recipe because the ginger in the pork paired with the apple in the coleslaw and the slight hint of orange really brings to mind the sweet and spicy flavors of the season.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it adds some much needed zest to your weekly routine!

Slow Cooker Orange Ginger Pork

Slow Cooker Orange Ginger Pork (AIP/Paleo):


1- 4-5 lb Pork Loin

1 Large Orange, Sliced

2 tsp Ground Ginger

½ ts Sea Salt

¼ Cup Honey


Place your pork in the bottom of your slow cooker. Surround it with your orange slices. Rub your pork with your ginger and salt and then pour your honey over the top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. This pairs perfectly with this apple cabbage slaw recipe. Serve and enjoy.

I Don’t Have Time for AIP

Myth-Busters Excuses Edition: "I don't have time for AIP"

“I really respect you for following that diet, but I don’t have time to do all of that cooking/research/shopping!” This is something I hear a lot from people in my day-to-day interactions. These are people who know that they need to adjust their diet and lifestyle, and they are interested in the topic, but part of them is still hesitant and looking for an excuse.

Transitioning to the autoimmune protocol or really any real food diet from the standard American diet is an adjustment in time management, because the standard American diet is built around the idea of speed and convenience. Fast food, microwavable food, pre-packaged food, processed food, its all designed to keep you out of the kitchen, what its not designed to do is keep you healthy. So, if you want to be healthy some level of cooking is going to be involved. With that in mind, let’s break down this excuse.

What you’re saying: “I don’t have time for all of that cooking/research/shopping.”

What you mean: “That’s a lot of work and I am looking for an easier answer.”

  • Well good luck my friend! If you find an easier answer that actually works you will become extremely popular extremely fast, because all of the other chronically ill people out there who have tried every pill, fad diet, cleanse, and miracle cure with no luck will want to know your secret! The honest truth is that the only magic cure for getting healthy is giving up what is making you unhealthy and in this case that is the food you are putting in your mouth. Plus what’s easier: cooking or spending the rest of your life in and out of doctor’s offices and pharmacies?

What you mean: “I don’t value myself and my health enough to commit that much time and energy getting better.”

  • If you’re in this camp, you are not alone. Many people grow up believing that it is somehow selfish or wrong to invest in your physical wellbeing, so they sabotage themselves and find themselves incapable of making change. This is an incredibly hard thought process to break, but you need to break it. The best thing you can do for the people around you is to get healthy. Your family, friends, children, even the people you work with, will benefit if you become the healthiest version of yourself. You may also feel that you aren’t worth the time or effort because you feel like your body has let you down, believe in your body. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, your body is not a mistake, it just needs some help. I highly encourage anyone who is struggling with these types of feelings to seek the help of a licensed counselor in order to break this vicious cycle and move forward in your healing journey.

What you mean: I am self-conscious and I don’t want to be different from everyone else/I’m worried about my social life.

  • This is a common concern. Most of us have sailed through life with the understanding that things are just easier when you follow the crowd. No one wants to be marginalized. However, I encourage you to really step back and think about what elements of your social life are important. Is it the pizza that brings you to the girl’s night or is it your friends? Is it the drinks that takes you to the club or is it the dancing? Is it the coffee that draws you the hang out or is it the conversation? Many of our social customs revolve around food, but relationships and fun do not require food. Your true friends will support you in your commitment to your health and you will find other ways to socialize. Drink tea not coffee, dance don’t drink, go for a walk and a picnic instead of out to lunch, go to a movie instead of a restaurant.

What you mean: I don’t want to give up anything else in my life in order to work on my health.

  • As with most things in life, commitment to something new usually does require some sacrifice. Staying up late to celebrate a friend’s birthday party means you are sacrificing your productivity at work tomorrow due to lack of sleep, those new boots you just bought sacrificed you your savings, and that pizza you ate for dinner last night sacrificed your health. If you are sick and/or suffering from an autoimmune disease how much are you currently sacrificing? Your quality of life? Your ability to work? The ability to play with your kids? Life without the side effects of medication? The only difference between these sacrifices and those you may have to make to get healthy is that you are used to these. Plus, your current sacrifices have no real reward, sacrificing junk food or late night TV in order to regain your health and well-being is a pretty big reward.

We all have excuses that stand in the way of us being our best selves, however if you are really serious about regaining control of your health you need to break down your excuses and move past them until there are no excuses left, because that is what you deserve.

Myth-Busters Excuses Edition: "I don't have time for AIP"

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Fall is officially here and that gives me mixed emotions. On the one hand I love summer, I like the warmer weather, the vacations, the fun, the relaxed schedule. On the other hand, I am ready for a change. My summer this year, while fun, was filled with a lot of busyness and a lot of health issues, so a big part of me is ready for a change and the chance to stay close to home for a while.

Food wise, the start of fall can seem kind of sad. Our gardens filled with fresh, green, summer veggies are dying and it may leave you wondering what’s so great about fall and winter vegetables. Well, I love fall vegetables! Squash, tubers, and starchier vegetables are my favorites because they are so filling and so yummy!

This recipe highlights this fall deliciousness by adding a spicy, sweet kick to two of fall’s best players carrots and parsnips.

I hope that this recipe helps you to say goodbye to summer and say hello to the cool crisp days of fall!

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Carrots and Parsnips


1 lb Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

½ lb Parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced

2 TBS Olive Oil

¼ tsp Sea Salt

2 TBS Blackstrap Molasses

1 tsp Ground Ginger


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine your carrots and parsnips. In a small bowl, mix together you olive oil, salt, molasses, and ginger. Pour your liquid mixture over your vegetables and toss to coat. Spread them evenly across a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then use a spatula to toss the veggies, then bake for another 20 minutes or until they’re tender. Enjoy.

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Healing diets like the autoimmune protocol or paleo diet can produce wonderful results, but there is no denying that the transition from the standard American diet is hard. It takes time for our pallets to change, for our cravings to subside, and for our lives to adjust to different routines and customs surrounding food. We do not always accept these challenges with willing hearts, and almost everyone I know has asked themselves the same question at one point or another during this transition, “why can some people eat whatever they want and still be healthy, but I have to eat like this?”

It is totally natural to have this “why me?” feeling from time to time, because on the surface it just doesn’t seem to add up. You’ve just spent an hour at the grocery store searching out rutabagas, coconut flour, and bones for your broth only to get in line to check out behind some 105 pound, fitness magazine model, with her diet soda, sugar free yogurt, and lean cuisine meal and you want to scream. Been there, but here’s the thing you can’t compare how you feel to how someone else looks. You honestly can’t even compare how you feel to how someone else says that they feel. I have close friends who give me a hard time about how many health problems I have but don’t recognize that not menstruating, having diarrhea, being chronically tired, not being able to lose weight or getting colds 5 times a year are all major health problems.

Here are some interesting facts for you:

  • 40 million adults in the US ages 18 and older have a diagnosed anxiety disorder (18% of the population) (Source)
  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15-44 with the median age of onset at 32 years of age. (Source)
  • The number of patients diagnosed with depression increases by apprx. 20% per year (Source)
  • States with the highest rates of depression also have the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, stroke, sleep disorders (Source)
  • More than 1/3 of adult Americans are considered obese (Source)
  • An average adult in the US sleeps for 6 hours per night (Source)
  • More than 40% of adults say that they lay awake at light because of stress (Source)
  • 83% of people with celiac disease go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed with other conditions (Source)
  • IBS affects 10-15% of the entire population of the US (Source)

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

So what does all of this mean? It means that most of our population is actually walking around feeling pretty crumby. In fact, I believe that feeling crumby has become so common that it is now just the cultural norm. So, when someone decides that there may be a different way to live and takes steps to achieve that they are seen as having problems, when in reality many of the issues are ones that we all share.

Now, I am not one of those people who believes that just because I can’t eat dairy all dairy is evil. Some people can tolerate raw, grass fed, dairy products just fine, in fact it may even be helpful for them. Many people tolerate eggs, nightshades, and even some grains without issues. But I am here to tell you that no one can tolerate a diet mountain dew and a bowl of easy mac without eventually experiencing some issues. Our bodies were not designed to eat chemicals, plain and simple.

So next time you find yourself in a slump, remember that comparison is the thief of joy. You do not know what is going on inside the lives or guts of anyone else but rest assured that you are on the right track and feel empowered that you valued yourself enough to step away from the pack and realize that feeling crumby is not normal!

Caramelized Salmon (AIP/Paleo)

Caramelized Salmon (AIP/Paleo)

If you’ve ever had salmon at a restaurant and wondered a. how they got that delicious gorgeous golden brown crust on the outside or b. why it tastes so much better than the salmon you make at home, here is your answer: it probably had sugar on it. Carmelized salmon is a really popular option at a lot of chain and local restaurants and it is delicious, but if you are trying to avoid refined sugar it can be a problem.

I hardly ever use coconut sugar because I try to really limit my sugar intake and it is not as good of an option as honey or maple syrup in most cases, but there are just some recipes where a crystallized sugar replacement is a necessity and this is one of them. That being said, coconut sugar is not well tolerated by everyone. Coconut sugar is very high in inulin fiber, which is very hard for FODMAP sensitive people to digest.

That being said, I have very few issues with High FODMAP foods and have never had an issue with coconut sugar when used occasionally.

I hope that it goes without saying, that this is not the healthiest way to prepare salmon, but it is delicious and it is a great recipe to pull out when you are entertaining guests or looking for something special. I hope you all enjoy it!

Caramelized Salmon (AIP/Paleo)

Caramelized Salmon (AIP/Paleo)


¼ cup coconut sugar

1 TBS sea salt

Dash of black pepper (optional)

2 Salmon Filets

2 TBS Olive oil


In a small bowl combine your coconut sugar, sea salt, and pepper. Add your olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium heat. Take your salmon fillets and apply your spice rub evenly all over. When your oil is hot place your fillets in the pan cooking about two minutes on each side or until flaky and fully cooked. Enjoy.

Shopping For A Non Toxic Mattress

Shopping For a Non Toxic Mattress

Shopping For A Non Toxic Mattress

If you’ve followed my blog since the beginning then you probably know that I am pretty frugal. I upcycle clothes from the thrift store, I use almost no disposable products, and I use my heat and a/c as little as possible. That being said, I never pinch pennies on things that are an investment in my health. The money I save by using reusable products goes into the grocery budget so that we can afford to eat the best food and the money we save on utilities goes towards paying for doctor’s visits with my integrative health doctor. So, when it came time to look for a new mattress I didn’t just want the best deal, I wanted the best value.

We spend a third of each year sleeping. Think about that. The only other single activity you may spend that much time doing, is working at your job. You spend less time eating, exercising, reading, or socializing with friends then you do in your bed. Yet, when we think about our health, our mattress rarely comes to mind at all.

When my hubby and I first got married we didn’t have much and I, like many people, had little interest in taking what little money we did have and sinking it into a mattress. We had a queen size mattress that, while old, would work. I mean a mattress is a mattress right? Wrong. Over the first three years of our marriage we battled every sleep problem possible. Not being able to go to sleep, not being able to stay asleep, waking up in pain, going to sleep in pain, not being comfortable… the works. We chalked it up to not sleeping well together, not having enough space, being stressed, being sick, not having enough time to sleep, being on different schedules… Finally, we ran out of excuses. We were both focused on having a good sleep routine, we dedicated enough hours to sleeping, we weren’t stressed yet we were still tired each and every day and having a miserable time sleeping. I had chronic pain in my neck and shoulders and had experienced three episodes of having a disc derangement in my neck that took weeks to recover from. It was time for a new mattress. So we started saving and I started researching.

Through my involvement in the natural health community I become aware that there was more to a mattress than just its size and comfort. Some mattresses can be downright toxic.

Fire Retardants:

Did you know that by U.S. law, mattresses are required to withstand a two foot wide open flame from a blowtorch for 70 seconds? Yikes. I don’t know about you, but I never expected my mattress to be quite that fireproof. To meet this somewhat ridiculous standard, mattress manufacturers use toxic fire retardant chemicals to drench the mattress as the final step in their production process. As if that isn’t questionable enough, there are no regulations requiring manufacturers to disclose what chemicals they use. Here are some of the more commonly used fire retardants:

  • Boric Acid: A pesticide with a classification at Toxicity Category III from the EPA.
  • Melamine resin: contains formaldehyde
  • PCDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers): Highly toxic, but more commonly used in mattresses made before 2004. Most manufacturers have now started phasing it out due to its toxicity.

Foam Off Gassing:

Over the past decade more and more people have become attracted to memory foam mattresses because of their comfort. Those that are looking to prolong the life of an old mattress often buy a foam topper for their bed as an added comfort measure. So, anyone who has ever unrolled a new topper or taken a new foam mattress out of the box, knows that there is an unpleasant smell that lasts for a few days. This smell is called off-gassing and it may actually be somewhat toxic. Memory foam is not normal foam. In order to manufacture memory foam, chemicals must be added to make it both more dense and viscous at the same time. These volatile compounds can include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons and other chemicals that can be quite concerning.

All of these chemicals can leech into the air and the skin and in fact a study done in 2000 found that mattress emissions are toxic to the lungs and respiratory system of mice. (source)

Personally, I have found that synthetic chemicals in most forms are a potential trigger for my autoimmune disease. I don’t take many over the counter medications for this reason, I don’t burn scented candles or use scented room deodorizers, and I only use natural cosmetic products, so why on earth would I go through all of that only to sleep in a pool of toxic chemicals each night?

With this in mind, when I began looking for a new mattress I knew that I needed to figure out a way to find one that would not be a potential hazard to my health. When it came down to it I narrowed my search down to two options:

  1. Purchase an organic, non-foam mattress and utilize a doctor’s note to have it manufactured without fire retardants: When thinking about purchasing something safe we often go immediately towards things categorized as organic. There are a number of organic mattress options out there and let me tell you, I looked at them all. I talked to people that had them, I looked at reviews online, I researched them, and I compared prices on them. What I found is that they were expensive and they lacked durability. None of them had a substantial warranty and many of the reviews that I came across spoke to customers experiencing durability issues early on in use. This was a no-go for me because we do not have the money to invest in a new mattress every few years, whatever we bought needed to last for quite some time. Also, just because a mattress is organic does not mean that it is exempt from the fire safety standards. Even those that claim to use wool as a fire retardant still have to use chemicals on top of the wool to meet the U.S. regulations. The only way around this is to have a mattress specially manufactured for you with a prescription from a doctor saying that you can not be exposed to the fire retardants. This again, is also pricey.
  2. Buy An Intellibed: This was the option that we chose. Intellibed is a company that produces only non-toxic mattresses. They do this in two ways. The first is by avoiding memory foam. They use a soy based, furniture grade, foam that has not been altered with chemicals in the same way that memory foam has been so it does not off-gas. Plus it is used deep within the mattress not as the primary support. Second, to meet the fire retardant standards Intellibed uses an inert, silca-coated, fiber that is woven into the outer covering of the mattress. This form of fire retardant does not transfer to the body through any contact, does not get into the air and cannot be broken down. As a result intellibed mattresses are safe and non toxic. Intellibed mattresses are also incredibly durable and most come with a 30 year warranty!

Shopping for a non-toxic mattress

Our Intellibed:

I will be honest, I was super nervous about buying a bed online. It looked perfect on paper, but how was it going to be in reality? Thankfully, Intellibed offers an in home trial period, so if you don’t like it the bed can be returned. The funny thing is though, our trial period came and went and by the end of it I couldn’t imagine giving up my bed. I was falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer and waking up without any neck and shoulder pain. I am now completely hooked and it has made a huge difference in both my and my husband’s health. He has much more energy then he used to and wakes up much earlier, feeling refreshed.

So, if you are in the market for a new mattress I would highly recommend doing your research on mattress chemicals and checking out intellibed to see if they will be a good fit for your family. Also, since I loved our bed so much I have teamed up with intellibed to offer my readers a discount on Intellibed mattresses and products. By clicking HERE or adding the code SWEET10 at checkout online or over the phone, you will get 10% off your purchase.

Citrus Herb Meatballs (AIP/Paleo)

Citrus Herb Meatballs (AIP/Paleo)

This week, for this first time in a while, I am beginning a full time job outside of the house. Before our move earlier this year I was working a number of part time jobs that kept me very busy. That, on top of a number of other circumstances, led me to becoming extremely burnt out. Thankfully, following our move I was given the opportunity to take a little break and focus my attention on healing, my family and my writing here. That time has been an incredible blessing, but now that I have recovered from my burn out I am super excited to add a new job into my life. That being said, with full time work comes less time at home in my kitchen and less energy to cook. So, I have been spending a lot more time on dinner recipe ideas then I have in the past. I like to have variety in my dinner menus but I also like to make recipes that are quick and easy so that I can spend most of my evenings being with my hubby and recovering from the day rather than working in the kitchen.

This recipe definitely fits the bill. Lemon is not a flavor that often pairs with beef, but it actually turns out quite nicely in this context. The thing that makes this recipe quick is that it doesn’t have many steps and the cooking time on the meatballs gives you just enough time to clean up and prepare your “noodles” so that you don’t have much work left later.

I know dinner is a really challenging element to this diet for a lot of people so I hope that you will find this recipe a quick and easy anecdote to your work week monotony.

Citrus Herb Meatballs (AIP/Paleo)

Citrus Herb Meatballs (AIP/Paleo)


1 lb ground beef

½ red onion, minced

2 TBS fresh rosemary

1 TBS fresh thyme

1 tsp sea salt

juice from 1 lemon

1 TBS garlic powder


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of your ingredients. Using a scoop or a spoon roll out your meatballs to be about the size of a ping pong ball. Place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes. Serve over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles tossed in olive oil, garlic and lemon juice for a complete meal. Enjoy.