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)

+

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

+

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

+

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)

+

a medium-sized spaghetti squash – optional

+

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

=

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.

IMG_1910

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

Advertisements

Flaring Up? Don’t pop more pills just yet!

Happy Monday, all!  What an oxymoron that statement is 🙂

Just a little update before the main gist of my post…

So I am 12 days into my Autoimmune Protocol diet to begin to heal my Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune digestive condition (check out “The Paleo Mom”  with LOADS of AIP info, recipes, explanations and more). Two big changes I’ve noticed in my colitis symptoms in the past couple of days are: 1) I haven’t bled in the last 4-5 days and 2) the heavy, “inflammed” sensation I was experiencing at the base of my tailbone has greatly subsided.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still experiencing gas, bloating, and some urgency, etc. – but it’s a step in the right direction in my book, and my condition feels quite manageable for the time being.

My goal is to continue with AIP for at least 2 months before I begin reintroducing foods – MAN do I miss EGGS, though!  I’m thinking outloud here – the whole “Reintroduction” phase on this elimination diet scares the living hell out of me, because it seems like such a precise process where one slip throws 2 months of strict AIP down the drain!  I’m a worryer, so of course, I’m already stressing about what’s to come!

eat all the things

…Orrrr eat NONE of the things??

Have you had an experience with re-introducing foods on AIP/Paleo/Specific Carbohydrate Diet ??? How did you go about planinng for it realistically?  Or did you just choose to avoid these foods in your diet indefinitely?  Also I’m thinking about buying “The Paleo Approach” by Sarah Ballantyne – has anyone read this book and could give me a quick review??

the paleo approach

I suppose maybe this fear of “reintroduction” is what has kept me from truly implementing “AIP” in my life for some time now – any feedback you can offer about your own trials, errors and succsses is greatly appreciated!

I’m not ready to post my next “3 Ways to Happy Post”, but I did want to share some natural ways I like to calm my flare ups and symptoms when they hit, WITHOUT having to increase my medication.  I hope these tips help you, but please – I’m not a doctor.  If things are serious, get the help you need!

HOLISTIC FLARE-UP MANAGMENT TIPS:

—- Try sipping some aloe every day.  It soothes inflammation from the inside, just like it soothes sunburn on the outside!  I buy the Lily of the Desert brand from my local natural grocer.  If you don’t like the taste, add it to a smoothie and mix it into a low-sugar organic juice!

—- Drink some healing homemade bone broth, – check out my first post for a simple crockpot recipe!

—- Eat soft foods, while still getting nutrients.  Steam or boil all vegetables to make them easier to break down.  Puree fruits, drink smoothies with avocado and banana, eat less-fatty meats.  I personally really enjoy certain canned veggies like green beans and carrots.  Gross to some maybe, but to me they are the next best thing!

—- Consider taking a daily digestive supplement like GI REVIVE – a nutritionist I saw suggested I take it, and though I am not currently taking it, I still have some in my pantry on hand in case a flare-up rears it’s ugly head.

—- If I’m going to have a big meal, I sometimes take a swig of apple cider vinegar to aid in digestion and to ward off gas, bloating, etc., which worsen my flare-ups.  Try getting ACV into your diet in other ways like making your own delicious and health packed salad dressing!  I mixed up my own (below) in an empty glass spice bottle – 1 parts ACV to 2 parts olive oil, Himalayan salt and herbs to taste.  I used oregano, parsley and onion powder.

IMG_1880

—- Try to eat smaller meals during a flare-up to give your digestive tract a little break.  Big meals will force your system to work twice as hard to break down twice the food!  And if you have a slow digestive system like me, that spells big trouble…

—- Cut back on dried fruit – for me, dried fruit blocks me up, for some it does the opposite.  There is lots of sugar in dried fruit and cutting out that extra sugar can help regulate things.

—- Take up a calming hobby like yoga, jewelry making, reading, painting, writing, walking, etc.  Not only is doing something you like stress relieving, it will also get your mind off of harping on your current flare-up.

—- Sleep!  Sometimes a hot cup of chamomile tea and an early bed time can do wonders!  Snuggle up with a good book, sip some tea, decompress and conk out!  And don’t forget to breathe deep!

—- Ease stress during flare-up times by being over-prepared – meal prep for a couple of days with soft, healing comfort foods so you won’t be tempted to eat any problem foods when hungry and stuck in a pinch – this one is embarrassing, but pack an extra pair of undies (maybe even some TP) in your purse, book bag, gym bag, etc.  Obviously, the plan is to NOT use these items but at least you know they are there if need be!

—- LAUGH!  Go watch a funny movie, hang out with your funniest friend (my boyfriend in my case, yes I’m lucky).

Now – I’m SO interested to know – what are your healthy flare-up management tips?? Can’t wait to hear from all of you!

Stay tuned for my next “3 Ways to Happy” post in the next day or so!

 

In healthful happiness,

-Erika