Category Archives: eating local

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

One of the biggest paleo or AIP diet deterrents I hear people talk about is the cost. There is no denying that eating junk food or processed foods is usually cheaper than eating organic, paleo, gluten free, or AIP. That being said, it is not at all impossible to eat a healthy diet on a budget. I have been doing it for years. My trick is that I shop at multiple stores and buy each ingredient at the place where it is cheapest. You can read more about this in my post about creating a grocery price binder. That may sound daunting, but in reality it means that I go to 2-4 stores throughout the week and I buy the occasional item in bulk online. I buy my plantain chips at Big Lots because they are only $1, I buy any specific health food stuff like my raw sauerkraut or broth bones at Earth Fare or Whole Foods, and then everything else I buy from Walmart or Aldi. Now you are probably thinking “What?! Stop right there! A health food blogger shops at Big Box and Discount Grocery stores?! She’s a fraud, run away!!!” Well just hang on. I realize that not all of the practices of big chains like Walmart are good and trust me when I say that if I could afford to get everything from local farmers, the farmers market and small businesses I would, but in reality I am human. I am a human who works in human service type jobs married to another human who works in a church… suffice it to say we have a limited (read: very tiny) budget. However, we place a big importance on our health so we cut back in other areas to give ourselves some more room in our grocery budget and then we shop as smart as possible and one of the smartest choices I ever made was shopping at Aldi.

Aldi is a discount grocery store that is owned by the same people who own Trader Joes. They have deeply discounted prices because they are super bear bones. They only carry the most popular grocery items and there is less of a selection among items so instead of 15 kinds of pasta sauce to choose from there are usually about 2. They also don’t have fancy amenities and they look a little more wharehouse-ish than most grocery stores. They also have a small number of employees who primarily just check you out. You bag your own groceries (in bags you bring yourself) and put your own cart away. So, its not a luxurious experience, but if you’re like me you would gladly forgo the hot bar, coffee counter, free samples and endless plastic bags in order to save a ton of money. And trust me you will save money! We are not talking a few cents here, we are talking dollars. I get the majority of my grocery staples at Aldi and I usually end up paying less than $60 a week for them all. So, that being said I have decided to put together a little shopping list of the groceries I buy at Aldi to help encourage you to check it out if you’re lucky enough to have one in your neighborhood. As you go through the list you will see that some of the items are labeled (Not AIP), these are the items I buy for my hubby to eat. He is paleo/whole 30 but not AIP. If you are not fully Paleo or AIP they also have good deals on rice, corn chips, and gluten free products as well.

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi:

Snacks:

Dates

Dried Apricots

Nuts (Not AIP)

Salsa (Not AIP)

Sweet Potato Chips (Not AIP)

Unsweetened Natural Applesauce

Baking/Cooking:

Vanilla Extract (Contains Alcohol, Omit or Follow Cooking Guidelines for Alcohol if on Intro AIP)

Baking Soda

Honey

Maple Syrup

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Dried Herbs

Canned Pumpkin

Produce:

Organic Apples

Organic Bananas

Organic Greens (Spinach, Kale…)

Local Sweet Potatoes

Organic Avocados

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen Berries

Local Seasonal Items (Pumpkins, Watermelon, Squash)

Plenty of other conventionally grown produce (onions, carrots, celery, mangos, berries, lettuce, pineapple…)

Canned Tomatoes and Tomato Paste (Not AIP)

Meat:

Wild Caught Salmon

Grass-Fed Ground Beef

Antibiotic Free Chicken

Standard Chicken (whole and in parts)

Bacon

Standard Pork Loins and Pork Chops

Standard Steaks

Ground Turkey

Frozen Burgers

Frozen shrimp

Frozen scallops

Frozen Tilapia

Standard Eggs (Not AIP)

Drinks:

Seltzer Water

Fresh Orange Juice

Almond Milk (Not AIP)

Note: The information in this post is solely my opinion based on my own experiences. I am in no way affiliated with Aldi or any of the stores named. 

Blueberry Cobbler (AIP/Paleo)

Blueberry Cobbler (AIP/Paleo)

Being from the mountains, blueberries are a big part of early summer. My dad grows blueberries in our back yard and there are tons of blueberry farms all around us. The great thing about this, is that locally grown seasonal blueberries are incredible, nothing like a lot of store bought blueberries. They are huge and juicy and have the perfect balance between sweetness and tartness.

At this time of year blueberries often find their way into just about every meal on our table. In a smoothie for breakfast, on salad for lunch, they can even be delicious paired with meat for dinner, but my favorite use for them is in cobbler.

There is just something about cobbler that gives me a sense of nostalgia for those southern summer days filed with time outside, work in the garden, and kids running through the sprinkler. It is one of the quintessential staples of summer for me. A staple, that until now, I had not enjoyed in many years. This year I decided that I wanted to give it a try and I was very pleased with this result. This cobbler is easy to make, simple, and delicious. I served it last week and my hubby liked it so much I found him sneaking the last bit out of the pan as a snack the next day.

Summer is the best and easiest time to eat local so if you are lucky enough to have some blueberries around you this summer I highly recommend that you sneak them into a cobbler and enjoy!

 Blueberry Cobbler (AIP/Paleo)

Blueberry Cobbler (AIP/Paleo)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups of fresh blueberries

1 TBS melted coconut oil plus more for greasing

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

½ lemon, juiced

2 TBS honey

1/2 cup of arrowroot flour

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/2 cup of honey

4 TBS melted coconut oil

a pinch of salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9×9 baking dish with coconut oil. In a small bowl combine your 1 TBS melted coconut oil, vanilla, 2 TBS honey, and your lemon juice. Cover the bottom of the pan with your blueberries and then pour the liquid over top, tossing to coat. In a medium bowl combine your arrowroot and coconut flour along with your honey, salt, coconut oil, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the batter over the blueberries leaving only a few holes for the blueberries to poke through. Sprinkle your cinnamon on top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the entire crust is golden brown. Serve alone or with some coconut milk ice cream and enjoy!

AIP Friendly Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce (AIP, Paleo)

Today it is exactly one month before Thanksgiving (don’t panic). For most of the country that means that there is still plenty of time. Most people have the same foods every year, celebrate in the same way, so there is no need to begin thinking about the holiday until it is just a week or two away. However, for someone on a healing diet the thought of either creating a new holiday meal to suite their needs or attending a meal at someone else’s house can be extremely anxiety producing.

Every family celebrates a bit differently. Some roast their turkey and some fry it, some have stuffing/dressing others do not, some have sweet potato casserole covered in marshmallows and others have sauerkraut, however one item that seems to be on most tables without exception is cranberry sauce. That delicious spread that pairs perfectly with turkey and stuffing to create a holiday for your taste buds. While I m sure there are a lot of families out there who make their own cranberry sauce, most Thanksgiving meals that I have attended have included the type out of the can. It seems reasonable enough, you cook the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the vegetables and the breads all from scratch the cranberry sauce is the one thing that is easy to simplify. Right?

Well, ironically that cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make healthier and also one of the foods with the least redeeming nutritional value when taken from a can. The ingredients in Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce are as follows: Cranberries/ High Fructose Corn Syrup/ Water/Corn Syrup. That is a lot of corn syrup. The good news is that cranberry sauce is so simple to make in general and even simpler to make AIP friendly.

So, as you begin to think about your holiday meal do not panic because many Thanksgiving staples actually lend themselves extremely well to a healing diet, I mean originally it was a meal based around local, seasonal foods and fellowship… think about that.

 

Cranberry Sauce (AIP, Paleo)AIP Friendly Cranberry Sauce:

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Cranberries

¼ Cup of Maple syrup

½ Cup of Fresh Orange Juice

 

Directions:

Combine all of your ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil over medium/high heat. When it begins to boil turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer until it has thickened stirring often.

 

 

Reintroducing Egg Yolks and a Recipe Roundup

Reintroducing Egg Yolks on AIP Well, as I announced last week in my post on the Emotions of Reintroducing Foods on the AIP Diet, I have begun the reintroduction process. I have been strictly in the elimination phase for about seven months and my ulcerative colitis has been fully in remission for a little over four months.

I am very adamant that this is not a process that can or should be rushed. I am not reintroducing foods because I am desperate or deprived. I am reintroducing them slowly and in the proper order because I feel that I have given my gut enough time to heal and now it is time to move on to the next stage of information gathering.

Reintroducing Egg Yolks on AIPSo, what do I mean by reintroducing foods in the right order? According to Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach, “My (Sarah’s) suggested order of food reintroductions takes into consideration both the likelihood of reaction (based on what science says about how that particular food interacts with the gut barrier or the immune system) and the inherent nutritional value of the food.” 1

Sarah breaks up the order of reintroductions into four phases. Right now, I am still in phase one. Some of the phase one foods are foods that were optional to remove in the first place, such as legumes with edible pods like green beans, and other things like fruit based spices, neither of which I needed to remove. The rest of the foods are things that are the least likely to cause problems, such as egg yolks, seed based spices and grass-fed ghee.

When I first started thinking about reintroductions I was not terribly thrilled about only being able to add back in the yolk of the egg. What is the point? I thought. An egg is an egg; only being able to add back in half of it to my diet doesn’t really help me. However, as I started to more seriously research the reintroduction process and create a plan for myself I realized that egg yolks from pastured, healthy chickens, actually have a lot of nutritional value and that being able to include them into my diet would be beneficial for my health as well as for my morale as I began the reintroduction process. I was right. Just being able to taste the egg yolk made me excited and lifted my spirits. Plus after going through the reintroduction process with seed based spices, having an egg yolk felt so substantial and like a great achievement. That may sound silly to you, but it was a great morale booster for me and made me feel more confident about my future reintroductions.

All of that being said, cooking with just an egg yolk can be kind of strange at first. For my actual reintroduction I chose to just poach or fry my egg yolks in a safe oil. However, now that my reintroduction was successful I am excited to try some new more involved recipes. Here are a few egg yolk only recipes I found that are otherwise AIP friendly, enjoy!


Egg Yolk Recipe Roundup: 

Ice Cream: http://paleoleap.com/paleo-coconut-vanilla-ice-cream/ paleo-leap-46

Garlic Aioli: http://paleomg.com/carrot-fries-with-garlic-aioli/

Coconut Milk Custard: http://lifefoodjourney.blogspot.com/2012/02/baked-custard-recipe-gapspaleo.html

Hollandaise Sauce: http://againstallgrain.com/201202/21/paleo-coconut-oil-hollandaise-sauce/

 

 

Citation: (1) Ballantyne, Sarah. The paleo approach: reverse autoimmune disease and heal your body. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing Inc. , 2013. Print. 

 

 

4 Tips for Eating Out on the AIP Diet

eating out on AIP

Eating out is probably one of the most difficult aspects about committing to the AIP diet. I will admit that I have only been able to eat out on a handful of occasions over the past 7 months, but once I found a few good go-to places things got a little bit easier. I still pack my food whenever possible, but sometimes everyone needs a night out, or has to attend a party or function at a restaurant. Here are four of my go to tricks for eating out without compromising health.

 

Burgers: With the popularity of organic and grass-fed meat on the rise, it is beginning to get a little easier to find responsibly sourced meat at restaurants. We have a restaurant near us called Tribeca Tavern that sells local grass-fed burgers. I usually get a burger with avocado and bacon wrapped in lettuce and accompanied by a cooked veggie like asparagus, which they cook in olive oil. Sure, the burger would be better with some condiments, but it is still satisfying and filling and the avocado gives the meal more texture than just eating a plain piece of meat. Add some sparkling water and you’ll feel almost fancy!

Seafood: Steamed seafood or grilled salmon are two of my other go-to options. Many places, like seafood restaurants and steak houses usually have salmon on the menu. I recommend getting it grilled and completely plain. Then add some salt or pepper, if you are having pepper, once it gets to the table. Again pair it with a cooked veggie or a plain sweet potato. Steamed seafood is another delicious choice. Just last week my hubby and I went to the beach for the day and stopped by a seafood restaurant for dinner where we split a heaping plate of steamed shrimp and steamed crab legs with fresh lemon and cooked veggies. All AIP and delicious.

South American Cuisine: This is one of my most exciting recent finds. There is a small Peruvian restaurant near us that a friend recommended to me a while back. I didn’t think much of it until one day when I was desperate for a night off from cooking. We went and checked it out and I was like a kid in a candy store. They had fresh local chicken cooked in a wood burning rotisserie and seasoned with basic spices like salt, garlic and lemon. You get the amount of chicken you want (1/4, 1/2, Or a whole chicken!) with bones, skin and all (a plus for pale folks). As sides they had green plantains (tostones), ripe plantains, and yucca fries to choose from. No flour, no sugar just fried plantain and yucca. I have had all three and none of them made me sick.

Panera Bread Power Menu: Finally, as a last resort, I fall back on the Panera Bread power menu. This will still take a few adjustments to make doable but basically you can put together a combination of meat, lettuce, veggies or avocado and then get a dressing of olive oil and a half a lemon. The turkey and steak are relatively safe, however the chicken has paprika on it so I would not recommend that. It is doable, but you will still be hungry later.

 

Again, like I said. Eating out is not easy on AIP and I honestly wouldn’t recommend it but on the rarest of occasions. However, I do believe that a key to being successful on a restricted diet is finding ways to live your life without feeling deprived and sometimes a night out is a big part of that.

 

The Emotions of Food Reintroductions on the AIP Diet

The Emotions of Reintroducing Foods on the AIP Diet

When I began my journey with the autoimmune protocol on November 22, 2014 I did not honestly know the journey I was embarking on. I knew I was desperate. I knew I had been losing blood for six months. I knew my life was a faded shadow of what it had been before and I knew I was getting dangerously close to losing a vital organ and potentially giving up my ability to ever have a “normal” life. I had tried everything else, natural and medical alike outside of receiving intravenous biologic medications that carried with them a risk of lymphoma. The AIP diet was the last trick left in my bag and the only thing I knew was that it HAD to work.

I didn’t really think about how long I would be on it. I didn’t really think about reintroducing foods. I just thought about being able to make it through one day without pain, exhaustion and blood loss.

Well, almost 7 months later my disease is currently in remission. My energy level is back, my weight has stabilized, and I am usually completely pain free. After I began to see the effects of the AIP diet I decided to stay on it for six months to give my body a chance to really rest and heal. I didn’t want to rush into anything, however I still longed for the day that the reintroduction process would begin. A few weeks ago, that day came but to my surprise it wasn’t filled with joy and excitement the way that I had imagined it. Sure, I was excited, but I was also afraid and anxious and incredibly pessimistic about what lay in front of me. I am here today to let you in on a secret I only just learned; the reintroduction process is an emotional one.

Excitement:

Obviously, I miss some of the foods I haven’t had since November and I am excited at the potential of adding them back into my diet. I am excited at the potential of having a more flexible social life and of having more options at my disposal. As the complexity of the foods I am reintroducing increases so does my excitement. (I never thought anyone could be so excited about an egg yolk prior to this week.) I am also excited to learn what my body has to tell me. Until I neared the reintroduction process, I felt like the elimination period was the most important part of the diet, it is what put me into remission after all, but once I started thinking about it within the context of my long term goals I realized that the reintroduction process is the thing that makes this journey personal and my body’s reactions to certain foods will be the guide map that allows me to live an active life while managing my disease. All of the sudden I realized the unique opportunity I had given myself to start over with a blank slate and get reintroduced to my body.

Fear:

Following closely on the heels of excitement however has been fear. Fear that I won’t be in tune with my body enough to know what foods I can’t tolerate. Fear of having negative reactions and triggering my disease, Fear that the reintroductions will all go poorly and my healing will not be progressed as far as I had thought. I know logically, that these fears are unfounded. I know that I will be able to decipher my body’s reactions, because my body has always let me know how it feels loud and clear up to this point. I know that I will have negative reactions to some foods, that is part of the process, but I know that I am better equipped at handling those reactions now and that by nourishing my body and removing the offending food I can avoid triggering a flare of my disease. Finally, my progress speaks for itself and I am confident in the healing that has taken place in my body, plus I have already successfully reintroduced Cardamom, nutmeg, mustard and egg yolks so I am already not a total failure at reintroductions! All of that being said, this isn’t just about logic and sometimes fears sneak in.

Pessimism:

I am terrified of getting my hopes up about a certain food that I love. I don’t even want to think about coffee or chocolate because I am terrified that I will try them, combust, and never be able to have chocolate again! I have also basically convinced myself that I will never eat another almond or tomato in my life just because the world that those two foods open up in terms of convenience is way too large for me to even think about. Obviously, self-defeating thoughts are not productive and I have a lot of work to do mentally before I tackle chocolate, coffee, tomatoes or almonds. All I know is that if my gut overrides my brain and I do well with even one of these foods I will be a very happy girl!

 

Honestly, there is a little bit of frustration involved too. It is easy to think of reintroduction as the end of being on AIP, but in truth, in order to make the most out of this experience the reintroduction process needs to be done slowly and diligently. Each food, no matter how small, is a minimum of a 5 day process for me, this includes spices. If a negative reaction arises then it will become important to take a few weeks off to recover before reintroducing anything new. My hope is to have completed my initial reintroduction process by next November 22nd so that I can look back on the year and smile knowing that I invested a year into my health and came out stronger, wiser and healthier because of it.

What’s Social Change Got to do With it? 4 ways living naturally can affect social change

4 ways natural living affects social changeAs some of you may have noticed I’ve been spending more time on the blog lately, writing more posts, changing the appearance, and connecting with some other bloggers.

Now that I have been blogging for over a year I feel like I have successfully tested the waters and it is time to commit to turning this blog into something bigger that can reach more people and truly be an outlet for affecting social change. That was my original intent after all, to affect social change through sharing my journey and experiences with natural, simplified living.
As I pondered this thought last week, I began to wonder if I had really been doing a very good job of incorporating the element of social change into my writing. I have been developing recipes free of allergens, but isn’t that only changing my digestion? I have talked about container gardening, but isn’t that only affecting my food budget? Even those natural cosmetics are really only changing the ingredients I put on my skin right? Wrong.
I think some times in advocating for simplified living, local eating, and creating community we forget about the awesome global consequences our lifestyle changes can have.

Here are a few ways natural lifestyle choices can affect social change:
1. Supporting the local economy: A study done in Georgia found that “if each of the approximately 3.7 million households in the state devoted $10 per week to locally grown products…, it would add more than $1.9 billon back into the state’s economy.” 1
2. Reduce healthcare costs: Researchers have found that if the rates of diet related, preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure were reduced by even 5% the country could save more that $5 billion in healthcare costs. Reducing rates of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke prevalence by 5% would raise those savings to more that $19 billion, and with the addition of a 2.5% reduction in some forms of cancer, COPD and arthritis the savings would go up to $21 billion. 2
3. Vote with you dollar: Its simple supply and demand, if customers demand that their food contain only healthy oils instead of processed vegetable oils, the supply of healthier options would rise. If we show that there is a demand for local food, maybe more stores would start supporting local farmers, and if we stopped buying processed foods like chips and soda just because they are cheap the prices of healthier foods may even go down.
4. Lower carbon footprint: Did you know that the average American throws out about 1,200 pounds of waste every year that could be composted. For every pound of waste that you compost and prevent from going into a landfill, you save 2.5 pounds of CO2 emissions! That 3,000-pound emission reduction per year is equal to the emissions produced by a round-trip flight from New York to Denver. 3
My goal is to start pointing out the social change implications inherent in the things I write about on a more regular basis. However, in the mean time I hope that this post serves as a reminder of how important the choices we make are. Sure, our choices affect us and our families, but they also affect everyone in our communities and many choices even have global effects. I recently saw a quote that I think sums up this point that stated,
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

Sources:
1. http://georgiaorganics.org/news-center/news-articles/what-if-georgians-ate-georgia-produce/
2. http://healthyamericans.org/reports/prevention08/Prevention08.pdf
3. http://www.sustainability.psu.edu/live/what-penn-state-can-do/recycling-and-waste-management/composting