January 25, 2013

Some Tips From Me to You

Eating a paleo/ SCD or GAPS diet can be difficult, especially in the beginning. Knowing where you can find safe products can be quite a challenge . And once you do find things that are safe certain foods can be quite expensive!
Here are a few helpful tips I have learned along the way:

1. Buy in bulk

This may sound like a no-brainer but buying in large quantities can save you a lot of money! Some of the things I buy in bulk are: raw nuts, shredded coconut, and almond flour. As well, buying the larger size of most items is often cheaper (take coconut oil, honey, oils, for example). I would also recommend getting a Costco membership, or befriending someone with one! I get my honey, oils, and certain meats there for a much cheaper price! It may seem like more money at the time, but in the long run it will save you money!

2. Get to know your local producers

After searching online for safe meats in my area I contacted local butchers directly to have certain products made for me. I get my sausages specially prepared by a local group who raises hormone free pigs. They make their sausages from scratch so I know exactly what does and doesn't go into them. I order about 10lbs of sausages every couple months, and get my back bacon from the same place. I have found that many producers are quite willing to modify their products if you ask them!

3. Contact your local Weston A Price Leader

I had never heard of this group before turning to the SCD/ GAPS diet but man can they be helpful! My local leader had contacts for everything I was having trouble finding (lard, bacon, beef products).
I highly recommend getting in touch with them if you are having trouble finding products that are safe!

4. Get a Freezer and Use it! 

Whenever I make a batch of baked goods I always make more than I will eat and freeze the extras. This serves me well when I am on busy rotations and have less time to cook. This goes for certain meals as well (soups, stews etc.). This may sound simple but I know a lot of people who have trouble planning ahead and this takes the hassle out of preparing meals every night! You always have something delicious waiting to be heated.

5. Shop Online and Don't be Afraid of Stocking up When you Travel! 

I have found that this is especially important for us Canadians. I am sorry but we get ripped off when it comes to pretty much all products! I order my almond flour from the States and even with paying $50 for shipping it costs way less than any local almond flour I have found. This goes for coconut butter and coconut oil as well. I get my almond flour from Digestive Wellness and many other products from iherb. Every time I go to the States I always have extra room in my suitcase for food products. This sounds ridiculous but I stock up on almond flour, spices and coconut butter whenever I am in the US. It's at the point where every member of my family offers to bring me back almond flour whenever they travel to the States. I have them well trained!

Do you have any shopping tips? Are there any websites you have found to order certain things from? I would love to get feedback!
And as always feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

January 22, 2013

Creamy Coconut Icing

As promised here is the icing to go with the carrot cake!

Creamy Coconut Icing (SCD, Dessert) 

Ingredients

1/2 cup dripped SCD yogurt ** (use about 1 cup of yogurt and allow it to drip through a coffee filter for about 12 hours and this should yield about 1/2 cup of dripped yogurt)
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey (depending on your sweet tooth) 
1 tsp vanilla 

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients into a glass bowl and blend with a hand blender until well combined and all chunks have been removed
2. Ice cake with icing!

** To make the icing dairy free you could simply increased the amount of coconut butter and oil by 1/4 cup each (will taste more coconuty)

Keep any extra icing in the fridge. And try not to eat it straight from the jar! (I may have done this on a few occasions... ) 

January 21, 2013

Carrot Cake Muffins with Creamy Coconut Icing (SCD, Dessert)

So this was my birthday dessert. It is a little known fact that I LOVE CARROT CAKE!
I have made this recipe a few times and have altered it a little each time. I think this version is my absolute favourite! And of course carrot cake just wouldn't be complete without cream cheese icing... now cream cheese is definitely not SCD legal... but I have to say that this icing tastes pretty darn amazing!
Now the challenge is not eating this entire cake in one sitting... it is tempting...

Carrot Cake Muffins with Creamy Coconut Icing (SCD, Dessert)


Cake Ingredients

4 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1TBSP ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla 
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter... I actually used a combo of both)
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup grated apple
1 cup ground pecans (I prefer to leave this coarsely ground to give the cake some texture) 
Optional: 1 cup raisins or chopped dried apricots

Cake Instructions

1. In your mix master combine all dry ingredients on a medium setting 
2. Add eggs, vanilla, honey, coconut oil and blend until all ingredients are combined, and chunks of coconut oil have disappeared (the batter will be quite thick and dense at this point, don't worry it gets fluffier with the next steps)
3. Add grated carrots and apple and mix well (I use my hand to mix once I am at this part)
4. Add ground pecans and mix well 
5. Preheat oven to 325 F
6. Line muffin pan with silicone muffin liners
7. Fill each muffin liner with dough to the brim of the liner
8. Bake for 20 mins at 325 F and then turn oven up to 345 F for an additional 8-10 minutes (until toothpick inserted inside comes out clean)



** You should have some batter left! I used it to make a small cake in a round cake pan. I cooked this for 20 min at 325 and it turned out perfectly. Alternatively you could make a few more muffins... but I wanted some sort of real looking cake for my birthday! 
*** This recipe can be used to make a large cake as well, I don't have the exact timing down but next time I will try this version and get back to you! (I have made it before but never wrote down the instructions) 





Please let me know what you think! I will post the recipe for the icing next. Because let's be honest, cake just isn't cake without the icing. Oh yum

I hope everyone had a great weekend! 

It's My Birthday And I'll Eat What I Want To!

So it was my birthday on Friday, and no the title of this post doesn't mean I cheated and ate something that isn't safe. But I do think being able to eat what you want on your birthday is something to celebrate!
When I first started eating this way I did feel quite limited in my options. But over the last year and half I have learned to adapt my whole style of cooking and it is at the point where I don't miss any of the foods I used to eat. It's amazing how the body can adapt!
So when my mother asked me what I wanted for my family birthday dinner over the weekend I didn't even hesitate... RIBS! With squash, stir fried vegis and a carrot cake for dessert (I will post this recipe next!) It was all pretty delicious if you ask me.

I know this is a short post but it was something that felt important to me. I am sure there are many of you out there feeling limited in your food options... but trust me there are so many things you can make while still avoiding certain foods that have become a staple in the modern North American diet (gluten, soy, dairy to name just a few). There are more and more blogs popping up that are dedicated to this way of living plus many cookbooks that are SCD, GAPS and paleo friendly!

How was your weekend? Did you eat anything special? What will be on your menu for your birthday?

January 13, 2013

Cinnamon Ginger Cookies (SCD, Paleo, Egg Free, Dairy Free)

Well everyone it's Sunday. Which means tomorrow it's back to work. Oh goody!
 I hope everyone has had a good weekend! Mine has been filled with a lot of homework but I did have time to fit in a bit of baking today. I hope you like these! I made these cookies a few times over the holidays and I am still not sick of them. That is a sign of a good cookie if you ask me.

Cinnamon Ginger Cookies (SCD, Paleo, Egg Free, Dairy Free)  

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups almond flour
5 TBSP butter or coconut oil (to make it dairy free)
1/3 cup honey
2 TBSP Organic gluten free vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda 
2 tsp ground ginger (I know it seems like a lot, but trust me it works!) 
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground all spice
1/8 tsp nutmeg 
1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions

1. Place almond flour and butter in a glass bowl
2. Microwave bowl for 1 minute on high to melt butter
3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well with a pastry blender
4. Preheat oven to 300 F
5. Form dough into balls approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and place on a cookie sheet
6. Flatten balls with a fork (make a criss-cross pattern) (**tip: if you wet the fork the dough won't stick to it)
7. Bake cookies for 15 minutes
8. Turn oven down to 200 F and cook for an additional 12-16 minutes (this depends on your texture preference, the cookies will turn out softer if cooked for 12 minutes but will be more like ginger snaps if cooked for longer)
9. Remove cookies from oven and cool for a few minutes before transferring to a plate or rack to cool completely (DON'T let these cool completely on the cookie sheet or they will be VERY hard to remove - trust me I did that the first time I made these and it wasn't fun!)





That's it! You're done! Now try to eat just one, I dare you!
These go great with some chai tea. But if you ask me pretty much anything goes with chai tea. Yum

Let me know how these turn out for you! I am always open to suggestions and feedback! 

January 12, 2013

Kitchen Staples: Ingredients

Happy weekend everyone! I hope everyone is getting a well deserved break from work!
Although I'm not working I am busy getting a presentation together and starting a case report that I need to get done... the work just never ends!

But on to a more exciting topic... food!

Here is another of my Kitchen Staples posts, but this time I am focussing on some of the ingredients that I couldn't live without!

1. Almond Flour

I use this stuff a lot! For baking, thickening, holding other ingredients together... I go through a lot of it! I get mine from Digestive Wellness and even though the shipping to Canada is expensive it is still MUCH cheaper than trying to buy almond flour locally (the price differences between Canada and the US drive me crazy sometimes!)



2. Coconut Oil

This is a staple on the paleo diet and it is an ingredient I have come to love. This can be used in baking or for frying. It is also great as a moisturizer (sounds weird but just try it!). I don't have a favorite brand of this yet, I usually just try to buy what's on sale at my local organic grocery store.


3. Mustard

Yes I know this may not sound like a special ingredient, but I do go through a lot of mustard! I use this to top burgers, fish and chicken on a regular basis. I often combine it with a little honey for a very simple, yet tasty honey mustard sauce. It also ends up in a lot of the recipes I make to add flavour. My favorite is Digon but I also like most grainy mustards. Yum. Again I don't have a particular favorite brand of mustard, but I always use organic to ensure that it hasn't been contaminated with corn as a natural flavour (this is outlined in the SCD book "Breaking the Viscous Cycle")


4. Honey

I LOVE HONEY. I go through bottles and bottles of this stuff. I usually get mine from Costco in large quantities. This is the only sweetener allowed on the SCD diet and I have yet to try any other sweeteners at this point. So this goes in everything! Baking, sauces, glazes, drinks... I can't think of many things that don't taste better with a little honey. I use pasteurized honey (unfortunately you can't get honey that is both pasteurized and organic so I prefer pasteurized myself).



5. Simply Organic Spices

Did you know that many pre-mixed spices are cut with starch when they are mixed? Well I had no idea until I started the SCD diet. Since then I have only used Simply Organic Spices which are known to be SCD friendly and not cut with any additives. Cooking without spices just isn't the same and the flavour of these spices is amazing. I have to order most of mine from the US (I use this website) but the extra cost is worth it if you ask me! I get the most use of the ground mustard, rosemary, cinnamon, and italian.



Ok well I think that is enough sharing for one day! What are the ingredients that you can't live without in your kitchen? I always love to hear what other people use... inspiration can come from anywhere!

Well enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone! Stay warm!

January 08, 2013

Coconut Fried Rice (SCD, GAPS, Paleo)

My first actual recipe post! You will have to forgive the pictures... it's still some trial and error for now!
This is a recipe I have never made before but I am pretty happy with how it turned out! I will definitely be making this one again. This was inspired by this recipe over at one of my favorite blogs, although really the only thing that I kept the same was the cauliflower...
Well without further ado (is that how you spell that?) here it is!

Coconut Fried Rice (Paleo, GAPS, SCD) 

Ingredients

1 whole cauliflower
1 yellow pepper
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 head of broccoli
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 package creamed coconut (buy here)
1/2 cup organic peach juice (pear or mango should also work)
1/2 tsp sea salt (could use more or less depending on your preference)
1/2 tsp ground organic ginger (more or less depending on preference)
1/2 tsp ground organic turmeric (will give the rice a yellow-ish colour)

Directions

1. Chop your cauliflower and steam until tender
2. While cauliflower is cooking finely dice carrots, celery, yellow pepper and broccoli
3. Place coconut oil in large skillet on medium heat and allow to melt
4. Add diced vegis to skillet and allow to tenderize while cauliflower is still cooking
5. Once cauliflower is done mash with a potato masher (or hand blender would also work well). This will form your "rice" so the smaller the pieces the better.
6. Transfer cauliflower rice to skillet
7. Add creamed coconut, juice and spices to skillet and allow to cook/ fry on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until all liquids have been absorbed
8. Serve and enjoy! I added chopped pork tenderloin to mine to make it a full meal but this would be great as a side dish for many other meat dishes (chicken, pork, veal... whatever you like!)



Let me know how this turns out! The feedback would be very much appreciated!
And if you have any questions let me know... about anything really... recipes, medicine, me... go ahead ask away!

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by



January 06, 2013

Food Anxiety

I suffer from what I like to call food anxiety. What this means is that I get nervous in situations where I cannot provide my own food or if I am expected to try food that someone else has prepared. If any of you are on specialized diets for health reasons I am sure you can appreciate what I am talking about! I feel much more comfortable if I can bring things that I make myself to eat. It is often perceived as rude or strange when I decline offers from people who have made food, or are willing to buy food for me. This often leads to awkward discussions where I try to explain the diet that I am on, but most people just don't get it. It's frustrating. This could happen at restaurants, get togethers with friends or family or other various functions. Most people do not understand or have never heard of the diet that I follow so I am often given strange looks or asked numerous questions about the food I eat. And even then, people just don't get it (for the most part). For this reason I often avoid situations where I know food will be an issue. It's sad. I have missed many functions for this very reason and when I think about it this sounds ridiculous! However I have been in too many situations where I ate something that was supposed to be "safe" and then ended up sick the next day. For me it's just not worth it. Ideally I could bring my own food with me at all times. Unfortunately this just isn't always possible depending on the nature of the event.

As sad as it is, the western medical community (for the most part) puts very little emphasis on nutrition as part of the healing and treatment of diseases. This has never made sense to me. How could the things you put into your body to fuel it not impact disease? However, the problem is that in today's medical world people like to have evidence to back up any treatments, which I do fully support, but it is very difficult to study nutrition as a treatment option because it is so individual. What may work for one or a few people may not work for others. Plus it is very difficult to get a study population to eat a very specific diet as it would mean you would have to provide all the food for a study, which is basically impossible. So to have good quality studies with many subjects that can be well controlled is virtually impossible when it comes to nutrition. Hence the lack of evidence.  Sadly I don't know if this will ever change. However, I know that many patients out there have turned to nutrition to treat their own diseases and are having great results. If you look at the number of blogs out there dedicated to just this issue it is amazing! Hopefully, over time the push from the general public who have found nutritional treatments to be helpful will become so great that the medical community has to get on board. I don't see any other way for the current situation to change.

Until that time I will have to live with my food anxiety for a while. This is just fact. I have accepted it, although it doesn't mean that I like it. I would love to be able to go to a restaurant and not worry that I will be sick for the next couple days, or accept food from someone and not worry that it is contaminated. But this isn't my reality. At least not right now. Maybe one day...

I would love to hear from people about this topic! What situations do you find the hardest? What do you do to cope? Are your family/ friends/ community supportive of your way of eating?


January 05, 2013

Toasted Lemon Coconut Macaroons (SCD, GAPS, Paleo, Egg Free, Gluten Free)


NOTE: This recipe and post was updated on April 11, 2015

Hi everyone. How was your weekend? Fantastic I hope.

For the few of you who have been following me here from the beginning you will have witnessed the progression on the blog. Better recipes, better photographs and better content (at least I hope you have appreciated these changes). So one of my missions is to go back and re-vamp all those old recipes with the terrible pictures and unclear directions and make them better. And that mission starts today. With these macaroons.


These Toasted Lemon Coconut Macaroons are actually really delicious, but you would never have known that with the less than pretty pictures I had of them initially. Because if there is one lesson I have learned through this blogging journey of mine it is that food blogging is all about pretty pictures. You can have the tastiest recipe out there, but if the photograph is bad no one is going to try it. Period.


I was having a craving for something lemony and sweet when I came up with this recipe. I for one really like lemon flavoured desserts, and hopefully you do too. This recipe is also super simple to make, and takes less than 15 minutes to cook. And I bet most of you already have the ingredients for this one in your pantry because there is nothing complicated here folks. Lemons, honey, shredded coconut, almond flour, vanilla, sea salt and coconut oil. Yep that's all you need. Plus there is very little mess to deal with when you make these. Everything is made in one bowl and then transferred to a baking sheet. Because as much as I love to bake, I really hate doing dishes. So the fewer the better if you ask me.

I am going to keep it short and sweet today since I don't have that much time. But I would love to hear what you think of these. Happy eating friends!

And if you have a chance please don't forget to visit my social media pages on PinterestInstagram and Facebook

Toasted Lemon Coconut Macaroons Recipe


Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (I recommend this brand)
1 cup almond flour (buy here)
2 TBSP fresh lemon zest
pinch sea salt 
1/3 cup coconut oil (this is my favourite
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 tbsp gluten free organic vanilla (I use this brand




Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F
2. In a large bowl mix together the shredded coconut, almond flour, sea salt, lemon zest, coconut oil, honey and vanilla with a pastry blender
3. Once the above ingredients are combined add the fresh lemon juice and mix together with the pastry blender. The mixture should be moist, but not wet  
4. Form the mixed ingredients into approximately 1inch balls with the palm of your hands and place on a baking sheet
5. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes or until tops start to turn golden brown
6. Remove from oven and let macaroons cool for a few minutes
7. Once slightly cooled remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a plate or metal rack (they will stick to your baking sheet if left to cool completely on it. I cooled mine in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process and it worked great!) 
8. Serve and enjoy!

** TIP: If you are having a hard time getting these to stick together, wet your hands and then try forming the macaroons
*** NOTE: These also taste really good after they have been refrigerated 






*** Pin This Recipe For Later ***

January 01, 2013

Kitchen Staples: Tools

I am planning on writing a series of Kitchen Staples posts that focus on various topics. I am starting with the tools that I use on a regular basis and have made my life much much easier!

For anyone starting out on this kind of diet there are many aspects that seem extremely daunting at first... making your own yogurt, baking with nut flours (nuts can be used as flour?!), using various coconut products, using new fats... the list goes on but these were some of my initial fears. Over time I have totally changed the way I work in the kitchen and cooking this way has just become second nature and not a chore.

But here are a few of the products that I would highly recommend investing in:

1. Hand Blender: I use mine to blend soups, cream carrots or other cooked vegis and to make smoothies. For such an un-expensive item I have gotten a lot of use out of mine

2. Yogurt Maker: A main staple on the SCD diet is the home made yogurt. I read all sorts of blogs where people manage to make this with cheese cloth and a pot. I wasn't into that so I invested in a yogurt maker. This has become one of my most well used purchases to date. I make a new batch of yogurt every 1-2 weeks depending on how much I am eating. I use the Yogourmet brand. You can buy one here 

3. Food Processor/ Chopper: I use this at least weekly to grind nuts into pieces, flours, butter.. you name it. I also use this to blend dips and sauces. Pretty much anything that requires more power than my hand blender gets thrown in here. Its fabulous. I currently use the Cuisinart 4 cup Food Processor which you can find here

4. Pastry Blender: This one sounds so simple but I use this pretty much every time I bake something. I prefer this to my electric blender for mixing things with almond flour. I have no idea where mine is from, we've had it forever. You can find these almost anywhere that sells kitchen supplies.

5. Silicone Bakeware: I have acquired a few silicone items. Muffin cups, loaf pan, and a few muffin trays. Of all the ones that I have I definitely use the muffin cups the most. If you were going to invest in any I would suggest these first. It just seems that baked good made with almond flour seem to stick to the paper muffin cups too easily. I don't know why this is, but I tend to prefer my muffins to be paper free when I eat them. But maybe that's just me. Anyways I got mine at Canadian Tire. For those of you in the US I am sure you can find these almost anywhere for relatively cheap. But don't quote me.

Ok I think that is a pretty good start! You should be able to get all of these items for under $200 in total. I know for some of you that may seem like a lot of money but trust me it will be worth it if you plan on eating this way for a while (hopefully forever, but I am a little biased).

Let me know what you think about my suggestions! Does anyone else have any tools that they can't live without?? I would love to hear from you!