Tag Archives: Autoimmune Protocol

Learn How to Cook Like Your Grandmother and Save Time in the Kitchen: AIP Batch Cook

How to Cook ike Your Grandmother and Save Time in the Kitchen With AIP Batch Cook

“I know I need to follow the autoimmune protocol for the sake of my health, but with an elementary schooler, a toddler and a baby I really need to just have easy and convenient food ideas. What should I do?”

“I know that AIP has helped you, but it takes so long to cook all of that food, how do you do it?”

“I work full time, I barely have time to eat, I just won’t be able to eat that way if it requires a lot of cooking.”

This sentiment is probably the concern I hear the most from people who are considering following the autoimmune protocol. We live in a world that prioritizes convenience and speed above almost everything else. A quick scan of the grocery store shelves will prove that point,

1 minute rice, instant mashed potato, premade microwaveable dinners, and for those who don’t even have the time to heat anything up you can walk into the store, load up a take out container at the hot bar and walk out with dinner, that is if you didn’t already go through the fast food drive through.

Our relationship with food and cooking has been reduced to the minimum requirement necessary for survival and satiation. So, when you are presented with the challenge of having to cook most, if not, all of what you eat from scratch it is understandably overwhelming.

How to Cook like Your Grandmother and Save Time in the Kitchen with AIP Batch Cook

It is at this point, that I typically stop and remind myself of the fact that my grandmother didn’t live in a world of fast food chains or microwaves.

Just two generations ago, people were cooking their food, every day, on stoves and in ovens. It was a skill and it was a routine.

My grandmother still had time to raise children, have a marriage, socialize, have friends, she even worked and volunteered, all while still cooking food. In part, the difference between then and now is our attitude and our expectations. When everyone cooked everything there was no other option or expectation, today we have to make a conscience choice to use our time differently and that can be a challenge. The other difference, is that cooking a lot in a short amount of time is a skill. It was a skill that our grandmothers had, but it has been lost.

Today, we call the practice of cooking large batches of food quickly and at one time, batch cooking. Batch cooking is what will allow you to follow the autoimmune protocol without giving up your sanity. Because we are used to food being available quickly we have stopped planning ahead when it comes to meals, but planning and preparing food ahead is really the only way to have nourishing food available to you when you are hungry without spending most of each day in the kitchen. I have written two posts on batch cooking in the past one about my batch cooking routine and one about why you should be batch cooking, but now I have something even better for you. My friend Mickey Trescott over at Autoimmune Paleo just launched a new program called AIP Batch Cook!

AIP Batch Cookaipbatchcooksidebar is a program that walks people through the planning and cooking of all of their meals for one week on the Autoimmune Protocol. Each session includes:

  •       A program guide walking users through what batch cooking is and how to use the materials properly
  •       A one-week meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the Autoimmune Protocol
  •       Two instructional videos walking users through the preparation of all of the food on the meal plan
  •       Shopping listschop lists, and tool lists that help them get organized for each batch-cooking session
  •       Video tutorials for making staples like bone broth, rendering their own solid cooking fat, and making their own kombucha
  •       Digital versions of every recipe and tutorial we cook together in the instructional videos

 

Right now Mickey is launching Session 1: The Basics with plans to launch five more sessions this summer. If you sign up and purchase the first session you will have the option to upgrade to the additional sessions as they come out.

This resource is truly a high quality program. The videos are professional, both in their quality and their presentation, and Mickey really gives you everything you need to master the art of batch cooking and regain your health as well as your life outside of the kitchen. This really is a must-have resource for anyone who is new to AIP or who isn’t batch cooking yet.

Because I think this program is so important for you all to try out I have a couple of promotions to help encourage you to check it out.

For the next two weeks, April 15, 2015-April 30, 2015 You will be able to purchase the program for $47 rather than the regular price of $67… $20 off is a pretty significant discount so, if you are budget conscious like me, jump on that.

On top of that discount I am also offering to email an additional FREE week-long meal plan to the first 20 people (EDIT* I currently have 5 meal plans left) who purchase the program off of this site. This offer is going to go quickly so click HERE to purchase the program and I will send you your meal plan via email within the next 24-48 hours.

Success on the autoimmune protocol really stems from two things committing to the lifestyle until it is routine and utilizing your resources. This resource really is one that is worth the money because it is truly an investment in your success.

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Finding the Missing Link: Troubleshooting on the Autoimmune Protocol

Why am I Still Not Feeling Better? Troubleshooting on AIP

Even after years of research, trial and error, doctors appointments and tests I still find that a small part of me wants to believe in the concept of a magic bullet; a simple answer, a single diagnosis, an “easy” fix. Honestly, this is a bit comical because every logical and educated part of me knows that no such thing exists. Our bodies are designed through an array of complex systems that all work together, or in some cases, fail together. When one piece of the system stops working every subsequent piece is thrown off and struggles to function properly. Having an autoimmune disease is the health equivalent of taking a beautiful and intricate puzzle and scrambling the pieces.

I spent about eight years living with my pieces scrambled. I had no diagnosis, no solution, I was just sick. I would go to the doctor and get testing done and try to see if we could find two or more pieces that fit together, but they never really fit. Then I got my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and the perimeter of the puzzle started to take shape. I kind of had a rough framework for what was happening to my body, but it still wasn’t really working. We tried different prescriptions, added on complimentary diagnoses that weren’t really definitive and tried to cram more pieces together unsuccessfully. You could even say that we stuck some pieces in the wrong spots, causing more confusion down the line, but regardless, the perimeter was solid. Then I found the paleo diet and began to understand the connection between what I was eating and the inflammation in my body and some more pieces fell into place. You could even start to make out the picture through the holes.

Then I hit a road block.

I got sick again and it just seemed like the puzzle was doomed. In fact, I had to start taking pieces out in order to find where I had gone wrong. Some of my complimentary diagnoses were misguided and some of my medications were making things much worse than they needed to be. I was about to give up and walk away when I found the autoimmune protocol. All of the sudden a cascade of pieces fell into place. Everything started to take shape. I was addressing the lingering sensitivities in my diet, then I started to address some of the environmental toxins that were possible triggers and I even started to work on managing my stress and my emotions in a healthier way I thought I had this puzzle thing in the bag, until I realized I was still missing the last few pieces.

I couldn’t seem to shake these lingering symptoms.

Why am I Still Not Feeling Better? Troubleshooting on AIPI had a small flare, the result of the stress surrounding a major life change, and after that it seemed that things were still just slightly out of whack. I wasn’t bed ridden like I had been in the past, my world wasn’t falling down around me, I wasn’t really in pain or immobile, I was just not 100%. At first I tried to just wait it out, as if staring at the puzzle for a while would make the pieces magically appear… that didn’t work. Then I started searching for pieces in unlikely places. I wandered away from the perimeter of my autoimmune disease and decided maybe my symptoms were just side effects of medications or some minor, unrelated ailment, which was not the case. Finally, I went back to the original drawing board, the puzzle box, the autoimmune protocol and started to troubleshoot. The Paleo Approach book by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne has a comprehensive troubleshooting checklist in it. I sat down with a pencil and began to work my way through it. I was following the elimination diet, avoiding cross contamination, eating fish 3x per week, eating offal, checking my supplement ingredients, sleeping, managing my stress… I went through the checklist and there was really only three things that came up as possible issues. I could stand to eat more offal, I could try digestive enzymes, and I could get tested for and underlying infections, imbalances, or deficiencies. I poured myself an extra cup of bone broth and decided to look into the concept of digestive enzymes, as I really knew almost nothing about them. I read two helpful articles that I will recommend to you here since I am neither a doctor or a scientist the first was from Dr. Mercola and the second was a resource on the Whole 9 Website

Both of these articles seemed to be in favor of trying digestive enzymes if you were experiencing unresolved digestive issues after changing your diet or if you were dealing with issues surrounding leaky gut. They also seemed to take a just try them and see approach. To be fair, I also read a lot of other articles that stated that no conclusive scientific data existed to support the claim that supplementing with digestive enzymes was beneficial unless you suffered from a severe pancreatic abnormality. Finally, I read a review from a woman who said she had tried them for her fibromyalgia at the suggestion of her naturopath and that they had helped. I decided to give it a try and researched effective and credible brands of enzymes and decided to try this broad-spectrum supplement. I started taking them as directed and to my genuine surprise I could see a notable difference in my overall digestive health within about four days. Just like that, one more puzzle piece fell into place.

My troubleshooting journey is still not over.

I have plans to pursue testing in the near future to rule out or address any lingering hormonal imbalances that may be hindering my healing process, but I have found this process to actually be quite rewarding because it has served as a great reminder that healing through the autoimmune protocol is all encompassing. It is not just about any one lifestyle element or any one part of he picture, it is about putting all of the puzzle pieces back in place. The great news is that most of the time we have all of the information, tools and resources we need right in front of us.

For a full troubleshooting guide I recommend that you purchase either the print or e-book version of The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, but here are a few tips to get you started:

• Are you following all of the recommendations outlined in The Paleo Apprach in regards to diet?

• Are you successfully avoiding cross contamination and exposure to race amounts of gluten and grains?

• Have you double checked your supplements for non AIP ingredients? • Are you eating offal 2-5 times per week?

• Are you eating a variety of foods?

• Are you eating probiotic foods or taking a probiotic supplement?

• Do you avoid eating under duress?

• Are you getting 8-12 hours of quality sleep each night?

• Do you participate in mild to moderate physical activity each day?

• Are you working to decrease stress in your life?

• Have your cortisol levels and thyroid function been tested?

Stuffed Plantains (AIP, Paleo)

Stuffed Plantains (AIP/Paleo)

If I had to pick one food that is my favorite AIP specific food, meaning that I didn’t eat it before following AIP, it would be the plantain. How I spent so much of my life not enjoying this starchy delight is beyond me. Plantains are a resistant starch, which means that they make great food for the good bacteria inhabiting your digestive system. It also means that they can help fill you up and add some healthy carbs to your diet if you are feeling hungry a lot or looking for some workout fuel.

It has been important to me since day one of following AIP to maintain an adequate level of healthy fats and carbs because I have never been in a position of needing to lose a lot of weight and I have always needed a little extra boost of energy for running after little ones and being on my feet a lot. Plantains are one of my favorite ways to do this. I love plantain chips as a snack and as you may have noticed from looking around at other AIP recipes, plantains make an awesome and versatile base for a lot of baking recipes as well.

However, this new recipe is an AIP friendly spin on a traditional South American dish called Canoas. The traditional dish used bell peppers, tomatoes and cheese, but this version is just as delicious, I promise. It is simple to make and will leave you feeling full, satisfied and healthy.

What is your favorite new “AIP- Specific” Food?

 

Stuffed Plantains (AIP, Paleo)

Stuffed Plantains (AIP/paleo) Ingredients:

4 Ripe Plantains, peeled.

1 lb of Ground Beef

1 small onion, chopped finely

3 cloves of garlic, minced

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp oregano

1 avocado

1 tsp olive oil

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your peeled plantains and slice off a tiny amount of the plantain from the outside of the curve so that the plantain can sit without falling over. Then, slice down the inside of the curve without cutting all the way through the plantain. Scoop out about a tablespoon from the inside of the plantain so that the filling can be put in later. Brush the plantains with olive oil and bake on a lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes. While the plantains are baking, take a large skillet and brown your ground beef. After the ground beef has begun to brown add in your minced garlic and chopped onions and sauté. Stir in your spices and set aside until the plantains are ready, then spoon your filling into the plantain and bake again for another 5-8 minutes. Garnish with avocado and sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

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.

 

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.