Itchy patches and Remicade

allergy testing

Allergies.  They are THEE worst.  And a problem I’ve managed to avoid until about 6 months ago when I started a new infusion-therapy drug for my Ulcerative Colitis called Remicade.  Now, instead of continuing to figure out why I have UC, I’m spending my energy and time deducing why my lips and face have been swelling like a balloon, and how these reactions fit into my personal health equation.

Without going into the nitty-gritty side effects of Remicade (even I…even my doctor doesn’t know everything that can happen. Very comforting.), I’ll simply say that the drug shuts down the part of my immune system that is attacking my colon – the autoimmune component of my disease.  And because of that shut down, I’m way more prone to infections, viruses and apparently – allergic reactions.

Around the Holidays, my lips started swelling from some unknown substance in one of the chapsticks I was using – this from Burt’s Bees and this from EOS at the time, which I’d bought in an attempt to use more “natural products.”  Soon after those reactions, my face started swelling and then my eyelids, which used to happen periodically in high school.  Overall, I was miserable, and missed several days of work and some family get-togethers.  Once the swelling would go down, I’d be left with tight, itchy, flaking skin on my face – always a lovely accessory to any outfit.  Especially in the winter!  And so the cycle continued for several weeks.  The picture below may not look like much to you, but trust me – my upper lip was double its normal size!  And SO itchy!

swollen lips

I finally made an appointment with an allergist who ran several rounds of blood and prick tests on me, all of which showed only a mild allergy to cats and dogs.  The picture above was taken of me yesterday evening and shows the most recent allergy testing I’m having done – patch testing thru the T.R.U.E. test by SmartPractice.

They are highly sticky patches with little squares of about 30 common allergens that cause contact dermatitis – most of which I can’t pronounce because they’re synthetic chemicals and compounds.  There are two spots on my back that are currently VERY itchy, so I’m hoping that those two are “IT”, the mysterious allergen culprits that have been causing my issues.  I’ll be getting the patches removed tomorrow morning and evaluated for Round 1 and then a second time on Friday.  Have I mentioned that I cannot shower because of these little guys on my back?  Yes, it’s bird baths for me all week…nothing makes me feel more like a lady than washing just the essentials of my bod and skipping the rest!

After using my deductive reasoning – and making a list of every ingredient in ALL the products I was using on my body – I had a hunch that my allergies were caused synthetic sunscreens, beeswax and/or aloe.  However, I don’t think that any of those substances are being tested on the patches currently on my body.  I may have to set up a custom panel – so I should probably just give my entire  paycheck to the doctor’s office.

To help myself out a bit, I’ve limited my use of most beauty products besides pure Vaseline  for my lips, a suncreen-free, soothing face lotion with cucumber by the YesTo brand and using only Physicians Formula brand concealer and powder.  No foundation.  These three brands have not caused me any issues to date, so regardless of what my results reveal, I’ll be continuing to use products from these companies.

I’ll be sure to check in with an update on my results tomorrow.  I’m going to be straight up pissed if this incessant itching means nothing.  You can be sure my fingers and toes are crossed to increase my chances of getting some answers and putting this problem to bed.

In happy health,

Erika

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Minimalist Wishes and Why

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What happens when we strip away the stuff?

By one definition, it’s an art genre from the 1950’s, but Minimalism, as I’ve learned from my research, is a lot more than just a name for art.

It’s a way of living, of thinking, of doing.  And it’s a lifestyle I’m craving for several reasons.  The idea behind minimalism is to incorporate just the essentials into every part of your life and nothing more.  No excess, no clutter.  Putting less emphasis on stuff, and giving more time and energy to experiences, learning new things, accomplishing goals and dreams, living in the moment, spending less time cleaning.  Ultimately, less stress.  Um. Yes.  I want that.

To me, Minimalism equals simplicity – something I’ve never seemed to have in my life.  I see it as a holistic approach to living because the focus is on the essentials, a “back to the basics” mentality, that would allow for more time to focus on improving my health, sticking to a workout routine, lessening stress.  Many tasks, including keeping the house clean, getting out the door on time, staying organized, paying bills, and more, always seem harder for me than everyone else to manage efficiently.  So, living a simple life, seems like a lofty, foggy unattainable goal that I’ll never cross off my list.  No matter how bad I want to.

When most people think of a Minimalist home, they might picture an image like the one below.  A predominantly white, futuristic living room, with zero stuff, exposed light bulbs as lamps, maybe two pieces of furniture at most.  Sleek to a fault, with no mess or imperfection to be seen.  But that’s not the aspect of Minimalism I want to instill in my day-to-day life.

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I want to adopt the mindset that less (things) is more.  Having only the essentials around with no unnecessary distractions and stress is so appealing to me.   As everyone does, there’s so much I want to do in life – books i want to read, places I want to go, things I want to learn.  But, most of the time, a pile of papers or things to clean or a drawer to organize pull me away from these goals.  I often think that if I significantly simplified my life and home, that things and stuff would no longer stand in my way. That it would be easier to get myself out of my own way…

I enjoy being innovative and re-purposing things for multiple uses.  I love to DIY and make my own useful creations out of things I already own.  Adopting a Minimalist lifestyle would force me to adapt and utilize even more creativity to make use of what I have and not simply run to the store to buy what I need or want.

Balance has never been something that comes easily to me and maybe that’s because I’ve allowed my life to become too complicated.  I’ve been feeling an urge to settle down into a simpler, easier life with less distractions and more intentional living, so maybe this Minimalist mindset is the start of a beautiful thing for me.

This list of 10 benefits of a Minimalist lifestyle pretty much sums up why I want to explore this way of moving through life.  And here are five ways that I plan to immediately implement Minimalism in our home:

  1. Cut down on our paper piles and improve our filing system – the bills, magazine articles, newsletters, coupons, pamphlets overwhelm me so easily.  Less of them would be an immediate stress relief!
  2. Clean out my closet – it’s time to give away or sell some of those clothes that I haven’t worn in literally years.  Let someone else enjoy them and lighten up my closet.
  3. Simplify my healthcare.  Clean up our diet and streamline my supplements, in order to achieve less trips to the doctor, less medication, less stress, less illness.  And more of the good things in life.
  4. Clean off – and KEEP CLEAN – our kitchen table.  It is our “catch-all” space of the house and things get buried on top of each other.  The less I allow to make it to the table, the more I’ll realize I don’t need all the crap in the first place.
  5. Devising a simple plan for accomplishing my goals.  I’m hoping that removing the junk from my physical life will automatically lessen the mental junk too, and will create space for me to focus on what I truly want to achieve in life.

Does this lifestyle appeal to you?  If so, why?  How do you try to simplify your daily life?

Here’s to a happy Monday,

Erika

Not sure what foods trigger you? Try using the My Symptoms App!

mySymptoms

Checking in with a quick update today – not feeling awesome, flaring/bleeding slightly.  I’m watching what I’m eating but not being QUITE so restrictive with myself.  In terms of the AIP protocol I try to follow, albeit loosely, I’m still steering clear of tomatoes, nuts and seeds as I’m pretty positive they tear up my already-inflamed colon.

I’ve decided that I REALLY DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHICH FOODS I HAVE INTOLERANCES OF OR AM ALLERGIC TO!  If you suffer from an Autoimmune condition like Ulcerative Colitis and are trying to treat it as much as possible with diet, than you know my frustration…

A decision I made earlier this week was to continue using an app I’d purchased/downloaded on my iphone around April of last year called “MySymptoms” by SkyGazer Labs, to record, organize and analyze the foods I was eating, supplements I was taking, exercise, etc., to see if and where some connections could be made.

How successful the app can be for identifying your “suspect” culprit foods depends on these factors:

– how often you record what you are eating

– how detailed you get about the individual ingredients of the foods you are eating

– how accurate you are with recording in “real time” – or, getting as close to the actual time a food was eaten as possible and not simply estimating.

Take a look at this app – I think it cost me a couple of dollars, $2.99 maybe for a one-time download?  Not positive on that, but I can say that whatever dollars I DID spend on it were well worth it.

*** This app is NOT meant to produce a diagnosis but aims to provide you with information about what foods, habits and maybe drugs are causing you trouble so you can more knowledgably adjust your lifestyle.

Do any of you know of or use any similar apps?? If so, PLEASE SHARE – this stuff intrigues me so much!

I plan to check in with my results once I’ve gotten a few more days of recording in the diary.  Thanks and happy Friday!

In healthful happiness,

Erika

Long months away – big changes at play

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Long story short – my last post on here marked my last peaceful days before my horrifying struggle with anxiety, depression and moderate OCD set in May, 2014.  Truth be told, during that black hole of my life, I never thought I’d be sitting here writing to you about those months.  Though not fully recovered mentally, I can recall immediately how those months literally seemed unending, like a literal weight on my psyche that would never lift.  Wanting things to get better, to feel better, and yet I had no energy to make that happen.  The only way I can attest to that I came to be here today is from sheer willpower.  I willed myself to believe in the wonderful, beautiful person I am, despite my mistakes, my faults, my inconsistencies, my weaknesses.  At some point, my weaknesses turned into my strengths – or perhaps the strength came from recognizing that I was weak and that it was okay, completely ok, to be weak in certain areas and strong in others.  I decided that writing and sharing my struggles became an even bigger part of my healing process.  Now, I’m attempting to heal from not only my ulcerative colitis, but also a recent diagnosis of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), General Anxiety Disorder and Depression.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that all these conditions are related & I am going to devote as much energy and time as I can to work to connect the dots to reach the holistic equilibrium of my life.  And I will share as much of this journey with you as I can.  I’m still very much so learning to help myself and to live true to myself, and if I can show you you’re not alone in that, my healing will quadruple. 🙂 Like that quote says at the beginning of my post, the deeper you go, the more you can grow.  I will add that I was and am still currently taking SSRIs (Prozac) to manage my Depression, but hope to be off of them soon.  I am NOT a fan of medication at all, which hopefully puts into perspective how scared I was of how I was feeling to willingly take some of the toughest meds out there.

With that (and there IS so much more to say…), I’d like to list for my own sake and yours 5 holistic changes or new habits I have been working on implementing in my life for my health, happiness and success.  If nothing else, puling myself out of this tar pit of depression, confusion and mental imprisonment, has proved to me that to live life holistically is the best way to live it.

1.  Practicing self-love:  I’ll talk a lot about this in future, but practices of self love for me personally included eating better (cutting out sugar), journaling for self-discovery and being open to why I had the fears I have (mostly about my relationship) and how to  comfort myself, and resting or sleeping when I either wanted to or had to.  There are so many ways to be loving to yourself – just Google “self love” and you’ve hit the ground running!  I also read and am still reading a handful of amazing really enlightening books, that I’ll share down the road.

2.  Yoga has changed my life in the 3+ years since I started practicing on and off.  It’s meditation, cardio, toning and self love all in one.  Start practicing a couple times a week if you implement one thing on this list.  The website linked above has free videos of all levels.

3.  Meditation.  It’s a bit of a buzz word right now, but it’s as good for you as “they” say it is. Perspective, clarity, connection.

4.  Talking about the pain I felt, even if I didn’t know why I felt it.  I talked to my parents, my amazingly strong boyfriend, my therapist, my psychiatrist, close friends, co-workers, people on trusted forums going through what I was, more or less.  I got it out.  I didn’t keep it in.  Turns out, I was the ONLY one condemning myself for the things I thought I was doing.

5.  Signing up for a program called “Trust Yourself” by an amazing international anxiety counselor named Sheryl Paul.  If you struggle with anxiety, especially relationship anxiety, check out her blog.  Her wisdom and peace will change your life.

I’ll go into depth the changes I’ve been making.  I’m still walking a long road, so I thank you for walking with me 🙂

Has anyone else suffered from anxiety, depression, or OCD?  What has helped you manage your symptoms and find peace?

In health and happiness,

Erika

Which came first: hormonal imbalance or Ulcerative Colitis?

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I have been wondering about this “chicken or the egg” question for a long time – which REALLY came first: my hormonal imbalances or my Ulcerative Colitis?  Or were both issues stewing in my system for years and feeding off of each other? I’m highly intrigued by the possible correlation between my out-of-whack hormones and my UC diagnosis., and have done a decent bit of research on the topic.  In addition, I plan to start myself on a “Healthy Hormone” Supplement Plan courtesy of The Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner, ND, and will outline below the supplements I plan to take as suggested in the book for my specific* hormonal issues.

*My supplement plan is NOT for everyone – the book outlines really great HOLISTIC supplement/diet/lifestyle suggestions for ALL hormonal imbalances, so it’s definitely worth a read for yourself if your hormone issues vary greatly from mine.

When I was 15, I found out I had excess testosterone through a blood test and was put on birth control for 7 years.  I stopped taking birth control a little over a year ago, because I was tired of putting yet another drug in my body everyday (9 pills a day for my UC was enough, thank you), and since then my issues have slowly returned.  I currently have mild acne, darker hair growth on my body/chin/cheeks and breast reduction – all signs of excess testosterone or excess androgen in females.  Not to mention, I seem to have “flare-ups” around the same time as my periods which are not regular.

No connection? I think not…

Realizing that my hormonal problems had not been fixed, but just masked by birth control, and remembering the strides I’d made with treating my Ulcerative Colitis with diet, supplements and lifestyle changes, I dove into research about how to naturally regulate my hormones and have learned some pretty encouraging information, the most important of which is that:

Systemic Inflammation is the underlying cause of most hormonal imbalances, as well as autoimmune diseases! 

Natasha Turner, author of The Hormone Diet, created the hormonal “Treatment Pyramid”, which outlines how inflammation can lead to a host of other hormonal imbalances (click on the “Treatment Pyramid” link for a photo of the pyramid), and should be the first issue to be addressed before correcting the rest of your hormonal imbalances.  All this time I was thinking I needed to simply lower my testosterone, where as inflammation could be at the root of the problem…

Here are the basics of the “Treatment Pyramid” / Hormonal Imbalances, starting from the base:

3.  “Stress and Anti-Stress Hormones” (in order of Importance):  A) Low Cortisol  B)  Low DHEA

4.  “Sex Hormones” (in order of Importance) :  A) Excess Estrogen  B)  Low Estrogen  C)  Low Progesterone                             D)  Excess Progesterone  E)  Low Testosterone  F) Excess Testosterone

5.  “Metabolism”: Low Thyroid

6.  “Renewal” (in order of Importance):  A)  Low Acetylcholine  B)  Low Melatonin

7.  “Strength”  Low Growth Hormone

I actually found by taking the hormonal imbalance test in the book that I have multiple imbalances – Inflammation, Excess Insulin, Low Serotonin, Low GABA, Excess Cortisol, Excess Testosterone and Low Thyroid.  Damn – that’s a lot of problems.  As Turner suggests, I am going to start by treating the inflammation and if that doesn’t work, move on to treating the next imbalance (for me, it will be Excess Insulin) and so on.  My current diet of no grains, no dairy and low sugar to treat/heal my Ulcerative Colitis has already begun to help me regulate my insulin levels.

Erika’s Hormonal Balance Supplement Plan:

General Supplements and doses for ALL people regardless of hormonal imbalance:

  • Probiotic – I use one specifically for Colon Health, but there are lots of great options out there
  • High Quality Multivitamin containing 800-1,000 IU of Vitamin D3, Iron and Folic Acid (important for women of reproductive age)
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil High in DHA – 2 to 4 grams a day with meals
  • Calcium-Magnesium in a Citrate base with Vitamin D3

Supplements for Specific Hormonal Imbalances (I’m going to start with treating my inflammation and then move on to the next hormone levels if need be:

1st – Inflammation – (Pyramid Base)

  • Turmeric – also supports liver function and detox – 500 – 1,500 mg/day on empty stomach
  • Organic Green Tea – 2 to 3 times a day in tea form or capsule form

2nd – Excess Insulin –

  • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – has anti-inflammatory properties – take 1,500 mg 2x/day with food for 3 months – “conjulite form”

3rd – Low Serotonin –

  • 5HTP – 50 – 400 mg/day – divide in 2 throughout the day or take whole does at bedtime

4th – Low GABA –

  • GABA – 500 to 2,000 mg 1-2 hours before bed
  • also helpful to regulate GABA is getting more regular sleep and practicing yoga!

5th – Excess Cortisol –

  • Vitamin C (lots of it!) – 2,000 – 6,000 mg spread throughout the day – should contain bioflavonoids

6th – Excess Testosterone –

  • Saw Palmetto 160 mg 2x/day on empty stomach
  • supplements taken for Excess Insulin and Excess Cortisol can regulate testosterone also!

I’m truly hoping to NOT need to take all of these – but it feels SO good to have a clear-cut plan to begin to deal with hormonal problems that have been plaguing me my whole life.  It would be such an awesome plus if my Ulcerative Colitis followed suit and responds to the reduction in inflammation.

I’ll be sure to post updates about my progress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

instead of wallowing in my pity, I decided to dive into some research to learn how I could naturally reset my hormones.

AIP-Friendly Goodies – “soft serve” and cake-cookies

So – I like sweet things – like alot, a lot.

I don’t remember EVER having as much of a sweet tooth as I do currently and ever since going Paleo just under a year ago.  I used to crave cheese, carbs – in college I had pasta almost every day!! – but never really sweets.  Sure, I rarely turned them down either, but I literally could not say no to a plate of pasta.  Sweets I could have lived without.

Then things changed.  I could care less about cheese and pasta now – again, SURE, I miss them both from time to time but I don’t long for them.  What I do long for most days is just a simple cookie or two that won’t break my AIP diet, or any baked good really! …..

So, I’ve realized that I experiment the most with AIP dessert recipes and find that I spend most of my lunch hour browsing the AIP dessert section of Pinterest – follow my AIP Board, I post at least one new recipe I want to try almost every day – and Chowstalker’s AIP recipes, and actually get giddy thinking about baking when I get home from work.  I admit that baking with coconut flour is hard and that many of my attempts have fizzled into mostly almost-burnt-to-a-crisp cookies that crumble (and not in a good way) once they’ve cooled.  And since removing eggs and nuts from my diet about 3 weeks ago, baking while sticking to my diet became about 10 times harder.  But for now, I’m taking it as a challenge, not a negative, and have recently come up with two really yummy and easy AIP friendly treats!  I’m still working on the recipes for both, but I didn’t want to wait to share them, so here they are:

Creamy Banana Berry “soft Serve”

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First of all, sorry for the shadowy pictures – I am no photographer, that’s for sure!

So, this is, like, the easiest thing ever to make – and it’s almost like its simplicity makes it that much more delicious!  I walked around my house eating this creamy and cold dessert going “mmmm” after every bite.  The texture is perfect and the recipe leaves room for SO many different flavor combinations, you’ll never get bored!  It’s best if eaten right away but can be frozen – it will just need to thaw a bit on the counter or more quickly in the microwave to regain its creamy texture.

I used my Nutribullet to make this treat, but a blender or food processor would work just fine.  I’m still currently saving up for a good food processor, so the “‘bullet” was a good second choice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized frozen bananas cut into chunks
  • at least 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries and/or strawberries, plus a handful to top/mix into your “yogurt” if desired
  • the fat/crème from 1 can full fat coconut milk (I used Taste of Thai which I can find for pretty cheap at my local Walmart)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Add all the ingredients into your Nutribullet, blender or food processor and mix/pulse until smooth.  Using the bullet I had to pulse mine a couple times and shake the mixing cup once or twice since the mixture was pretty thick.  If you want a thinner texture add a teaspoon or two of the coconut milk left in the can after scooping out the fat (clear or milky liquid), and if you want a thicker texture, add more banana or try a couple of ice cubes and pulse until well mixed.  The mixture should have the texture of soft serve – hence it’s name!  As you will notice, I didn’t add any additional sweetener, but a little honey, coconut sugar or maple syrup would be nice!!  Once warmer weather is here to stay, i’ll be pouring this mixture into some popsicle molds for a quick treat!

To make something similar to a “Dairy Queen Blizzard” (especially in time for summer!), add some crunch and texture to your “soft serve” with the following diet-appropriate suggestions:

For AIP –

For Regular Paleo (less restrictive than AIP):

Hand-mixed Pumpkin Banana “Cake Cookies”

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Now THESE little beauties I am proud of – especially because I just threw the ingredients in a bowl and told myself I was going to eat them however they tasted.  Well – I actually ate TOO MANY of them because they were so good…Coconut flour has a lot of inulin fiber which can aggrevate some GI conditions like Ulcaertaive Colitis.  So, just a precaution, limit your self to a couple of these a day, don’t eat the whole batch in one day like I did!  I got carried away…with pride…

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • about 1/3 can of pumpkin puree (I use the Aldi’s brand – no additives and it’s cheap)
  • 4-5 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsps. baking soda
  • cinnamon – it’s your call on the amount – I added some into the batter and sprinkled some on top of the cookies before I put them in the over.  I REALLY like cinnamon.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • about 1 tbsp coconut oil, softened but not melted
  • 1-2 tbsp. of preferred natural sweetener – I used about a tablespoon of coconut sugar, but maple syrup would work too, you may just need to add more coconut flour to soak up a little more moisture

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  • Mix all ingredients together in one bowl (yep, just one!) I used my hands to mix the batter.  The batter should be on the dry side, a little spongy and should leave no residue on the sides of the bowl. It should be the consistency of – well, cookie dough 🙂
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Roll dough into balls of about 1″ in size and flatten with fingers to about 1/4″ thick.  Depending on size of cookies, this recipe makes between a dozen and 16 cookies.
  • Bake for 40 -45 minutes, checking every so often that the cookies aren’t burning. My cookies were soft on the inside and fully baked and a little chewy on the outside, and reminded me of cake!
  • Once these cooled, I squirted a little honey on them and they were amazing!

So amazing, I ate too many, kind of defeating the purpose of a sweet “treat” – it was more like a sweet meal.  Still, it was better than eating too many processed cookies.  Just be careful with coconut flour quantity if you have UC.

BUT 2 or 3 of these puppies with a hot cup of black coffee or tea in the morning with a little fruit or (((bacon))) would be the perfect start to any day.

Hope you enjoyed these recipes!  Have any ideas on how to make them better – please let me know!!

 

Yours truly,

-Erika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fool-proof AIP meal: my “go-to” nutrient-dense lunch/dinner equation

So —- meal planning while eating on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet is hard.  Especially for me.  Something you’ll learn about me is that I like to save money wherever I can, even while eating a super-healthy diet and steering clear of cheap, processed foods (it’s no accident that 1) these foods are cheap as dirt and 2) most of the coupons floating around out there are for these items)).

While our local GIANT Food Store offers an OK selection of organic meats, I refuse to buy an expensive cut of organic meat at full price, just because I’ve been having a hankering for a pork chop or a nice steak.  I ALWAYS buy 2-3 packs of whatever meat is on sale (more if it’s a REALLY good price to stash in my freezer) and plan my menu for the week around those items – a process which has led to some pretty intersting meal combinations (most pretty good, some definitely not!).  I’m a a big fan of having my meat mixed in with my veggies, rather than just a big hunk of it on my plate.  That being said, I’ve become pretty creative over the last year with my meals, and have created a general, rule-of-thumb equation, so to speak, for a fool-proof easy AIP meal, with any type of meat, vegetables, fats and seasonings you are currently craving!  It’s kind of a cross between a stir-fry and a salad.  You’re intrigued now…I know you are!

So here it goes…..:

FOOL-PROOF QUICK AIP DINNER EQUATION – ENDLESS MEAL COMBINATIONS AND NUTRIENTS AHEAD!

At least 1 lb. of organic, grass-fed meat (get organic, grass-fed meat whenever possible)

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1-2 tablespoons of AIP-friendly cooking oil (I’m partial to olive oil, but do use coconut oil sometimes)

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3-4 cups of sauteed veggies (any combo works – one of my favorites is cabbage, mushrooms and greens of some kind)

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1-2 tablespoons (combined) of your desired AIP-friendly spice/seasoning mix (I frequently use a mix of pink himalayan salt, garlic powder, parsley, and oregano)

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a medium-sized spaghetti squash – optional

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A couple big handfuls of fresh spinach or other salad greens (more for a group of 3+) – optional

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the perfect savory and filling AIP meal, every time!

Did I mention that these are 1-skillet meals??  Just icing on the cake, right??

Here is my latest meal creation using my Fool-Proof AIP Equation – Ground beef stir fry with cooked cabbage, mushrooms and spaghetti squash on top of fresh spinach!   It’s not the prettiest picture, but you get the idea – it was a lot prettier before I mixed it up and it was really savory and juicy.

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It’s so simple – but I’ll be glad to walk you through the process 🙂

  • PREP: I baked the spaghetti squash for 45 minutes at 400°F – you could bake it in the morning or even the night before to save yourself some dinner-prep time.  Cut the squash in half (hot-dog style) scrape out the seeds, rub/brush the insides with your oil of choice, sprinkle with salt and desired seasonings, and place in your oven on a baking sheet/pan lined with tinfoil.  Chop up whatever veggies you’re using – I used half a wedge of cabbage and a pack of mini-portabella mushrooms
  • While that’s baking, brown your ground beef in the skillet at low-med heat.  I did not strain the fat from my meat because it was organic.  In conventionally produced meat, toxins are stored in the fat, so if you aren’t using organic meat, strain it first.
  • Transfer the meat to your serving bowl when finished and top with lid to keep hot
  • In the same pan, add a tablespoon (or less) of desired cooking oil and toss in cut up veggies and desired seasonings – I cooked my cabbage for about 5-10 minutes on med heat to get a little brown, before adding the mushrooms.  Cook your veggies to your liking on low-med heat – I like mine tender and juicy but not soggy!
  •  Transfer veggies to serving bowl and mix in with the ground beef.  When the squash is finished cooking, let it sit for a few minutes to cool and then scrape out the insides with a fork and transfer to your serving bowl, or keep it hot in a separate container.
  • Divide your spinach on your dinner plates and pile the meat and veggies mixture on top – I added some of my homemade apple cider vinegar dressing, which gave it JUST a little bit of tang that went great with the spaghetti squash.

This was my lunch two days in a row and I was totally okay with that because it was really yummy and didn’t upset my stomach at all or my UC symptoms from what I could tell.

Speaking of UC symptoms, I’m doing well right now.  No blood for the past couple of days, which is very exciting. Other aspects could be better (passing some mucus, a bit of bloating and gas) but one step at a time, right?

There are so many combinations you could make using this equation, hot, cold or both!  I’ve mixed in shredded chicken, bacon and collard greens and that is probably one of our FAVORITE meals.  SUPER SAVORY, and bacon makes everything better 🙂

What are your fool-proof breakfast/lunch/dinner AIP recipes???  I want to hear them all, so please leave me comments and links below!  I’ve been obsessed for the past couple of days with gathering AIP recipes on Chowstalker – check it out if you have an hour or two to spare!

Yours truly,

-Erika

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