Author Archives: Samantha

Fool-Proof Plantain Pancakes (AIP/Paleo)

Fool-Proof AIP Pancakes (AIP/Paleo)

A while ago a friend of mine who is also an AIP blogger and a health coach sent a message asking for recommendations on fool-proof AIP pancake and waffle recipes. She had a client who had tried a number of recipes that resulted in falling apart pancakes without a good flavor or texture. A number of people responded with some great waffle recipes, but no one had recommendations on a truly fool-proof pancake recipe. If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that most of my recipes are born out of necessity so I got to work trying to figure out this issue. It has taken me a while, but I finally have a recipe that I am considering to be as close to fool-proof as we can get. The key to this recipe is to cook them over a very low heat while covered. This essentially bakes them rather than fries them which allows them to rise and stick together well. The key to the flavor is to use slightly sweeter ripe plantains rather  than green plantains. So, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Fool-Proof Plantain Pancakes (AIP/Paleo)

Fool Proof Plantain Pancakes (AIP/Paleo)

(Makes 4-6 small/medium sized pancakes)

Ingredients: 

2 TBS Coconut Oil

2 ripe plantains (yellow and black, no green)

1 TBS + 1 Tsp Coconut Flour

½ tsp tapioca flour (or 2 egg yolks if reintroduced)

¼ tsp baking powder (baking soda and cream of tartar combined in a 2:1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda)

Optional Add ins: cinnamon, vanilla extract, …

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in the food processor until smooth. Melt 2 TBS coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. When the coconut oil is melted, reduce the heat to medium low. Spoon your batter into the pan to create small pancakes. Cover (very important) and cook for about 3-4 minutes on the first side or until you see the pancake start to fluff up slightly and see small bubbles form around the edges. Flip them and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the second side or until firm and golden brown.

Skillet Honey Garlic Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Skillet Honey Garlic Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

One of my most popular recipes is a super simple slow cooker recipe that I came up with in the early days of my transition to the autoimmune protocol, slow cooker honey garlic chicken. It is easy to see why it is popular, it is so simple and uses ingredients that most of us keep in our pantries all of the time. I love my slow cooker and it can often be a great way to save time in the kitchen, that being said it isn’t always possible to get dinner ready 8 hours ahead of time either because you can’t or, let’s be honest, because you forgot. With that in mind, I decided to come up with a skillet version of this slow cooker favorite so that it’s yummy flavors can be enjoyed regardless of how much time you have in the kitchen. This is a great weeknight dinner and it sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Skillet Honey Garlic Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Skillet Honey Garlic Chicken (AIP/Paleo)

Ingredients 

2 TBS Coconut Oil 

2-3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/4 Cup of Diced Onion

Green beans or substitute broccoli for intro AIP

1 TBS Minced Garlic

1/4 Cup of Coconut Aminos

2 TBS Honey

1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Directions

In a large skillet melt your coconut oil over medium heat. Cut up your chicken into bite size pieces and add them to your skillet. Cook until browned before adding in your onion, garlic and vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat until chicken is fully cooked, onion is translucent and vegetables are tender. In a small bowl combine your coconut aminos, honey, apple cider vinegar and salt and stir until well mixed. Pour over your skillet and toss to coat. Serve and Enjoy.

 

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Valentine’s Day is just about a week away, which is a little hard to believe. It feels like we were just celebrating the start of 2017 and setting resolutions. If one of your resolutions was to follow the autoimmune protocol, Valentine’s Day might be the first holiday celebration that you are trying to navigate. This can be especially challenging since many people are used to celebrating with romantic restaurant dinners, boxes of chocolate and glasses of wine.

There is no real reason why you have to celebrate the love in your life by eating and drinking. There are plenty of non-food related ways to enjoy time with your loved ones. Here are 20 ideas to get you started.  That being said, I know that being surrounded by sweet treats that you can’t eat is a recipe for grumpiness at best and derailing your healing at worst so I have created a fun new recipe to help you celebrate. A few years ago I developed this truffle recipe that I think is perfect for an adult Valentine’s Day celebration, my hope is that these cookies will be a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with paleo little one’s and grown ups alike.

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies (AIP/Paleo)

Yields 12-18 Cookies

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 Cups Cassava Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

1 TBS Gelatin

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

2/3 Cup of Softened Coconut Oil (Not Melted)

1 TBS Vanilla Extract

3 TBS Water

1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup

3 TBS Beet Root Powder

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all of your dry ingredients except the beet root powder and mix well. Add in your coconut oil, vanilla, water and maple syrup and beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer until little balls start to form. Use your hands to press your dough into a large ball and set half aside. Using your mixer, mix in your beat root powder to the other half of the dough until it is entirely pink. Take a cookie dough baller or a TBS and form small balls out of both the colored and the uncolored dough and lay them next to each other in an alternating pattern forming a rectangle (Pink dough ball, white dough ball, pink dough ball…) gently knead all of the dough together until the colors are marbled together, don’t over mix it. Place the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper or silicone baking mats and roll it out to about a quarter inch thick. Cut it into heart shapes and transfer your cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Enjoy.

 

My AIP/Paleo Pregnancy: The Postpartum Period

My AIP/Paleo Pregnancy: The Postpartum Period

Well, It has been about two months since Baby Sweet Potato arrived… that is so hard to believe! So, I thought it was time to talk to you all about my postpartum experience so far. I have tried to break it up into the different phases of our experience, but as anyone with a new baby can attest time sort of runs together in those early days so bear with me if it’s a little scrambled.

The Hospital Stay

I told you all about my wonderful hospital water birth experience in my last post, but I didn’t go into any detail on my hospital stay following the delivery. I chose to give birth in a hospital as opposed to a birth center or at home, in part because I thought it would be nice to have the support of the nursing staff in those first 24 hours. I knew that we wouldn’t get much sleep and that people would be coming in and out of our room, but I still thought I would appreciate some support while dealing with bathroom issues, breastfeeding, and pain management.

Unfortunately, things did not go the way I had envisioned. I was transferred to my postpartum room about three hours after the birth, I was physically exhausted from standing, moving and laboring for 27 hours so I was having trouble walking and without the option of taking NSAIDs I was having some pain from the stitches that I needed following the delivery. I think because the nurses saw in my chart that I had an uncomplicated delivery with no medication they assumed I didn’t need much attention so after one assisted trip to the bathroom they said I should just do it on my own and even after my insistence that I wanted to take Tylenol every 4 hours they never brought it in without me reminding them. Suffice it to say that even though I am more than used to having to advocate for myself in medical settings I was overwhelmed and exhausted by how many things I had to remind them to do during our stay and the anxiety I felt surrounding the situation kept me from sleeping at all. Given that this was our experience we really pushed to get discharged ASAP and we were home within 36 hours of the birth. I have never been so happy to be in my own bed in my life.

A lot of people have asked how I handled the food situation while in the hospital. I had a lot of snacks packed in my labor bag like these paleo protein bars (Not AIP), some honey sticks, apple sauce packets, almond butter (not AIP), and some plantain chips. I also packed ginger tea, coconut water, mineral water and chamomile tea to drink. Outside of that I decided to buy two days worth of meals from Paleo on the Go, and this was by far one of the best decisions I made! I really wanted to have good, nourishing foods on hand but having to cook it all ahead of time and portion it out and bring it to the hospital was not something I felt like doing in the later days of my pregnancy so I ordered the food from Paleo on the Go ahead of time put it all together in my freezer. My mom threw it in a cooler as we left for the hospital and when we arrived in our postpartum room we labeled it and put it in the fridge at the nurse’s station. All we had to do was microwave it when I was ready to eat. For breakfast I had the Chicken Breakfast Sausage and plantain pancakes, for lunches I had the Bacon Apple Chicken Burgers with Maple Cranberry Sauce and the Loaded Baked Sweet Potato Soup and for dinners I had the Organic Shepherd’s Pie and the Vegetable Lasagna with Pork Sausage. I also ordered two containers of bone broth and drank that with meals. Having AIP friendly, nourishing food, that I was looking forward to eating, was so incredibly helpful and was a huge stress reliever. I have never had a single meal from Paleo On The Go that I didn’t love, so  I highly recommend it to anyone else planning a hospital stay!

The First Month

As a birth doula I understood the importance of having adequate support in those first few weeks postpartum. I enlisted the help of my mother who came and stayed with us for about two weeks after the birth. She handled everything around our house like cooking, shopping, cleaning and laundry so that I could focus on learning to breastfeed, recovering and going to various appointments and my husband could focus on helping me during his two weeks of paternity leave. To help my physical recovery I took a lot of baths with Epsom salts and a postpartum herbal sitz bath mix, I used an herbal tincture called After Ease in place of an NSAID to help with afterbirth cramps, I drank a lot of bone broth and ate a lot of iron rich foods like grass fed ground beef, and dark leafy greens, I also visited the chiropractor often to help my body recover from birth and adjust back to its non-pregnant state. To help support my hormones and thyroid I stayed away from caffeine (I know, crazy), ate regular meals and snacks, and I encapsulated my placenta. Now, a lot of you may think that placenta encapsulation is super weird and gross and I don’t blame you, but trust me when I say that it really helps! The placenta contains small amounts of hormones, a lot of iron, and a lot of nutrients that help the body recover after birth. When you choose to encapsulate your placenta you hire someone who is trained to do it, give them the placenta soon after the delivery and they take it and dehydrate it, grind it up and put it in capsules for you to take like a pill. I had enough pills to last my first 6 weeks postpartum and I could tell a huge difference in my mood and my energy while I was taking them. While I had the occasional moment of baby blue’s I never had any major mood issues and my energy levels were great given the crazy new mom sleep schedule, I was never wandering around like a zombie like we often see people do on TV or in movies.

I have been very blessed to have had a fairly smooth transition into breastfeeding. My milk came in on the third day, which is the average for most women, I had some pain on one side that was the result of one nursing session with a bad latch while we were in the hospital but it cleared up after a few days. My birth doula is also an IBCLC and came over and checked on our latch and gave me some tips on positioning in the beginning that helped get us started. Multiple people I have worked with have actually complimented me on how high in fat my milk is (weird right?) and I totally think (Just my opinion) that that is a result of my diet. Breastmilks is great for all babies if they can get it, but paleo babies get some super good stuff! In fact, the only issue I have had is an oversupply, which, while annoying sometimes, is not too bad in the big scheme of things! I will say that breastfeeding has made me much hungrier than being pregnant ever did so I have had to add in a few more snacks to me regular routine.

I want to say that while I consider my transition into breastfeeding to have gone smoothly, I still required a ton of support in the first few weeks as we were figuring things out and having that support is what made it go smoothly. If you plan to breastfeed make sure that you have a lactation consultant lined up before giving birth so that you can get help when you need it!

The second half of our first month was spent adjusting to life as a family of three and celebrating Christmas. I still continued drinking bone broth daily, taking Epsom salt baths daily and resting to help my healing continue.

The Second Month

This past month has been spent gradually increasing my activity level and getting back into a more normal routine. Around three weeks I started taking some short walks with Baby Sweet Potato in the Moby Wrap or the Ergo Carrier. Around week 4 I started including some gentle yoga and some basic exercises like squats and glute bridges to help start to regain some strength in my pelvic floor and my core. Right now I am aiming to do either a 2-3 mile babywearing walk or 20-30 minutes of yoga 4-5 days a week to help support my hormones and regain strength but I am not doing any intense of strenuous exercise because I do not want to tax my adrenals any more than they are already being taxed and risk increasing my inflammation.

At 6 weeks I followed up with my midwife and my ND and had my thyroid, iron, vitamin d and vitamin b-12 levels checked and made the necessary adjustments. I shifted from being hypothyroid to being hyperthyroid after birth so that has resulted in some ups and downs in mood and energy as I have had to adjust my medication. My primary focus at the moment is to support my hormones and adrenals as much as possible by resting, eating regular meals and snacks, minimizing my sugar and caffeine intake and supplementing as needed so that I can try to keep my inflammation levels low and avoid a flare.

Helping Baby Adjust

I think people often forget that babies are little humans who’s bodies and brains need help adjusting to life after birth. I have implemented a few of the things that have helped me into her routine and it has been so fun to see how they have effected her. Following her birth we took her to the chiropractor to help her body recover physically from birth and to help her latch

Infant chiropractic adjustments are extremely gentle and simple, but they help with a wide range of issues.

Infant chiropractic adjustments are extremely gentle and simple, but they help with a wide range of issues.

more effectively while breastfeeding. She continues to get adjusted about once a month for maintenance and it always produces a noticeable difference. In regards to her sleep we started right away with trying to help her establish a strong circadian rhythm. During the day we keep the lights bright, she sleeps in the baby carrier while I work around the house, in the car seat while running errands or in the rock and play in the living room and we don’t make any attempt to keep things quiet. However, at night we turn the amber lights on after the sun goes down, use the white noise machine, and swaddle her comfortably. It was amazing to see how quickly she adjusted. After just a few weeks she developed a regular sleeping pattern that included a longer stretch of sleep at night. Most breastfed babies do not sleep fully through the night for a long time so I had no expectation of that, but most nights she does at least a five hour stretch sometimes more. When she wakes up over night I only use the amber lights and I keep things very quiet and un-stimulating and she is usually back asleep in under an hour. The only potential downside to this approach is that you don’t get the regular nap schedule with long stretches of sleep during the day, she just sleeps when she is tired for varying lengths of time. Every baby is different when it comes to sleep so I am not delusional enough to think that what works for one baby will work for them all but I knew how important developing my circadian rhythm has been for my health so I felt that it was something that would be helpful to implement with her right from the start. Finally, to help all of those little skin issues that baby’s tend to have we have steered clear of the typical Johnson & Johnson products and used coconut oil for basically everything and it has worked great.

It is amazing how many ways the autoimmune protocol has helped me outside of just the management of my autoimmune symptoms. The practice of advocating for myself was vital during my hospital stay, already being in the practice of self care helped tremendously in the healing process and already eating a diet and living a lifestyle that supports hormone regulation has minimized a lot of the “typical” postpartum issues that many women experience. While I was not a huge fan of being pregnant I can honestly say that these first two months postpartum have gone much better than I anticipated and I have genuinely enjoyed them.

“Baby” Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP/Paleo/Sugar Free)

As many of you probably know by now, our family has officially grown from two to three with the birth of Baby Sweet Potato. I am taking some time off from blogging to settle into my new role as a mother so for the next month I have authors from around the web stopping by to tell their stories and share their favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy all they have to say, I look forward to being back with new posts and recipes of my own soon!

Today’s post is by Rebecca Boucher of Lichen Paleo, Loving AIP.

"Baby" Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP/Paleo/Sugar Free)

Developing AIP treats sweetened with only fruits and vegetables has become a kind of passion of mine. I’m always so satisfied when I’m able to enjoy a sweet snack without worrying about my blood sugar levels skyrocketing.  So when Samantha asked me to guest post here on Sweet Potatoes and Social Change, I knew I had to create a treat including sweet potatoes. I mean, how could I not?  As I was testing this recipe, the taste kept reminding me of those Gerber arrowroot cookies. The texture, however, is totally different.  These are not crispy, but more soft and a bit fluffy, like banana bread in cookie form.  Now with so much baby love in the air around here, I thought naming them ‘Baby Sweet Potato Cookies” would be completely appropriate. Plus they really are the perfect cookies for babies considering they are only sweetened with sweet potatoes and bananas, and they pretty much just melt in the mouth!

"Baby" Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP/Paleo/Sugar Free)

“Baby” Sweet Potato Cookies (AIP/Paleo/Sugar Free)

Makes 15 cookies

Ingredients: 

1 Cup chopped white sweet potato

1/2 Cup sliced banana

1/4 Cup coconut flour

1/3 Cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 Cup arrowroot flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. Drop by the TBS onto the prepared cookie sheet and with a spatula (or the back of a spoon) spread the cookies in a circular motion until they are approximately 2 inches wide.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool.
  6. Enjoy!

rebecca-boucher

Rebecca Boucher is the author behind the blog Lichen Paleo, Loving AIP. She was diagnosed with lichen sclerosis in 2006 when she was 21 years old. While she always considered herself a healthy eater, it wasn’t until starting the paleo autoimmune protocol that she truly felt like she was on the true road to health. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook Pinterest and Instagram.

5 Tips for Better Sleep

As many of you probably know by now, our family has officially grown from two to three with the birth of Baby Sweet Potato. I am taking some time off from blogging to settle into my new role as a mother so for the next month I have authors from around the web stopping by to tell their stories and share their favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy all they have to say, I look forward to being back with new posts and recipes of my own soon!

Today’s post is by Michelle Hoover of Unbound Wellness.  

5 Tips For Better Sleep

Hi, there! Michelle Hoover from Unbound Wellness here. If you don’t know me, I’m an NTP, blogger, and have used real food and lifestyle to overcome chronic gut issues and Hashimoto’s disease. Under the lifestyle umbrella, sleep is huge… and something that poor Samantha is probably struggling with right now with a newborn.

Sleep is one of those obvious health needs like drinking water, or getting exercise, but that doesn’t mean that people actually get enough of it it. Especially for those of us with chronic illness, sleep can be hard to come by, and incredibly important to heal. It’s in times of rest that our body rebuilds, and sleep is our built in rebuilding time every single day.

Trouble getting asleep and staying asleep is common in many autoimmune illnesses and related conditions, so what do we do to get more of it?

Here are my top 5 tips For Better Sleep

Get Sunlight Early and Avoid Light Before Bed

From the time we wake up, our bodies are already preparing for sleep the next day. Regulating our circadian rhythm is hugely about getting enough sunlight during the day. It doesn’t have to be an hour every morning. Even taking a 10 minute walk around the parking lot at your place of work can be enough to get your body into the groove.

Just as important as getting sunlight early is avoiding light at night. Blue blocker glasses are popular for late night screen time, however, I urge you to just try and avoid screen time altogether and opt for other night time activities like reading. (Using amber light bulbs like THESE are also helpful) 

Move During The Day

Most people have jobs where they sit all day and expend little energy (myself included) which is bound to result in a poor nights sleep. Moving your body during a short walk, time at the gym, or even just playing with your kids can have a drastic effect on your sleep

Eat a Good Fat Snack Before Bed

Many of my own clients report to me that they have issues with waking up at 2am and not being able to get back to sleep. This is typically caused by cortisol and blood sugar shifts from stress to the adrenals, or a drop in blood sugar from a poorly balanced diet. When this happens, I suggest trying a good fat snack before bed! This could be an avocado, some coconut butter, or a snack like my anti-inflammatory coconut turmeric bites.

5 Tips For Better Sleep

Photo by @mydallasobsession.

Get a Night Time Routine Down

Morning routines get talked up a lot for productivity, but night time routines are just as important. Sleep helps us to be more productive during the day!

Focus on getting down a routine that works for you. This may change on the week versus the weekend, or in different seasons of your life. It could be anything from a restorative yoga routine before bed, snuggling up with tea and a book, or whatever floats your boat! As long as it’s something that relaxes you and makes you want to keep doing it, go for it.

5 Tips For Better Sleep

Make it Non-Negotiable

We put value on so many things in our life… why not sleep? Make it non-negotiable to get to bed early, and do everything you can to make your sleep restful.

My husband and I like to hold each other accountable for things like this, and I highly recommend leaning on partner, or a even a daily reminder on your phone to go to bed!

I hope these 5 tips are helpful! Sleep tight!

For more information on sleep and autoimmune disease I encourage you to read my post on how I decided to buy a non-toxic mattress and how it helped my health – Samantha

 

michelle-hooverMichelle Hoover is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner from Dallas, Texas who after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s as a teen, turned to the paleo and autoimmune protocol diets to manage her autoimmune disease and heal her gut naturally. She is now the author behind the blog Unbound Wellness and you can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Tender Herb Crusted Pot Roast (Instant Pot, AIP/Paleo)

Tender Herb Crusted Pot Roast (Instant Pot, AIP/Paleo)

As many of you probably know by now, our family has officially grown from two to three with the birth of Baby Sweet Potato. I am taking some time off from blogging to settle into my new role as a mother so for the next month I have authors from around the web stopping by to tell their stories and share their favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy all they have to say, I look forward to being back with new posts and recipes of my own soon!

Today’s post is by Lexi Haverly of AYCE To Better Health

I recently ordered a fourth of a cow and I had a lot of cuts that I didn’t know what to do with. One of those was the regular roast. This cut tends to be very lean and if not cooked properly, it can turn out very rubbery. After butchering a few roasts in the oven, I finally discovered how much easier it was to cook in the Instant Pot and it would turn out nice and tender! This recipe does well for larger pieces of meat by increasing the herbs, while keeping the water amount the same. Cooking time may need to increase if it’s over 2 lb (I would increase by about 10 minutes for every additional pound). Keep in mind, this recipe requires the meat to be fully defrosted; half frozen meat will result in a tough inside. This roast is wonderful for the holidays or for batch cooking, as it can make quite a bit of meat without much effort!

Tender Herb Crusted Pot Roast (Instant Pot, AIP/Paleo)

Tender Herb Crusted Pot Roast (Instant Pot, AIP/Paleo)

Makes 4-5 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs cooking fat (coconut oil works great)
  • 1-1.5 lb chuck eye or sirloin tip roast
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Press “SAUTEE” on your Instant Pot and wait for it to heat up.
  2. Place the cooking oil in the liner and lightly brown all sides of your roast,
  3. Once browned, press “OFF”. Pour in 1 cup of water, making sure the top of the meat is not submerged. You may need to pour in a little less.
  4. Blend your seasonings and olive oil in a small bowl to form a paste
  5. Once blended, cover the top of the meat with the paste. Allow some bits to fall into the water – this will infuse the flavor into the meat as it cooks.
  6. Press the “MEAT/STEW” option and “ADJUST.” This will adjust the time to 45 minutes. Allow to naturally release, which takes about 30 minutes.
  7. Slice on the thin side and enjoy!

 

About Lexi: 

lexi-pictureLexi is a student of nutrition and firm believer that our body has more strength than we believe, as well as an AIP/Paleo/Real Food blogger sharing her story of healing, developing recipes, and working towards nutrition coaching. In 2014, she became ill and was eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Since then, she has used the Autoimmune Protocol Diet to drastically improve her health and regain her life. In addition to exploring new foods and flavors, she also enjoys traveling and makes it a point to find AIP/Paleo compliant foods and restaurants wherever she goes and shares her adventures with her followers. You can find more of her on her site, Facebook, or Instagram.