May 30, 2016

Paleo Double Berry Coconut Ice Cream (Dairy Free, AIP, SCD, GAPS, No Added Sweetener)


Happy Memorial Day Long Weekend to all my American readers! I hope you are enjoying the extra time off. We had our long weekend last week here in Canada so it's business as usual for me today. But I do have a pretty special recipe to share with you guys today. This Double Berry Coconut Ice Cream is so good! 



I need to vent for a second here guys. Last week Canada approved the sale of AquaBounty's genetically modified salmon. It is expected to be on shelves next year. Not only do I have a problem with the product itself, but what's even worse is that this fish will not even be labelled! Honestly it's insane. I truly believe that people have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies. You all know that I consider food to be a form of medicine, and genetically modified food has no business going into our bodies if you ask me. It totally frustrates me that we are just an ongoing science experiment when it comes to food. We really have no idea what kind of long term effects eating this kind of scientifically designed fish will have on human health. Why? Because the studies haven't been done. Unlike drugs, that have to undergo rigorous testing before being approved, food products (as well as skincare and beauty products) are not subject to nearly the same scrutiny. As far as I can tell there have only been a few studies of this fish on humans, using very small numbers of people as test subjects over a very short period of time. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to actually track down these studies to read them myself, so I am basing this on other reports that I have read. I have written to my MP, as well as Health Canada requesting these studies, but so far I haven't heard anything back. I strongly urge you to write to your MP and Health Canada as well, urging them to reconsider this approval, and at the very least to ensure that labelling it will be required. You have a right to know what you are eating! And there is definitely power in numbers! It only takes a few minutes of your time and could potentially make a huge difference.

Okay, deep breath. Rant over...


On a totally different note... do any of you watch Scandal? That has become my guilty pleasure these days. I just finished season 5. Man, the characters on that show are so evil! I am secretly hoping that Olivia and Fitz will get back together. Anyone else? I totally prefer Fitz over Jake. Just saying. It's nice living vicariously through TV sometimes. A total escape from reality that's for sure. And if you aren't watching this show yet, you definitely should! I promise it's addicting. 

But let's talk about this ice cream shall we? I know that's why you are really here. There are so many great things about this dish. First, it doesn't have any added sweeteners, so even those of you avoiding sugar can eat this! You're welcome. 

Second, it is filled with coconut milk, coconut oil and coconut butter which are all great sources of healthy fats. This also contains grassfed gelatin which is one of my favourite and most recommended superfoods. It is great for gut health, skin, nails, hair and so much more. I have raved about grassfed gelatin before, and you can find my post dedicated to this superfood here.
As well, this ice cream doesn't require an ice cream maker so anyone can make it with the tools you already have in your kitchen. Plus, and most importantly, it tastes great! I may have had more than one bowl the first time I made it.  Perhaps even three... 


One tip for this recipe is that it stores best in the fridge. I know that sounds strange for ice cream, but the gelatin in this keeps it firm enough in the fridge after it has been frozen initially. But I guarantee it won't last long in the fridge if your taste buds are anything like mine. But with all the healthy ingredients in this recipe you don't have to feel guilty about indulging in this treat that's for sure. 

Happy Eating friends! 

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Double Berry Coconut Ice Cream Recipe




Ingredients

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (I recommend this brand because it is BPA and guar gum free) 

1 1/4 cups coconut manna or coconut butter 
1/4 cup coconut oil (this brand is my favourite) 
1 TBSP organic vanilla extract (I use this brand) (omit for AIP) 
pinch sea salt



Directions

1. Place a large pot on the stove
2. Add the berries, banana and coconut milk to the pot
3. Using your immersion blender blend the ingredients until smooth (or use your Vitamix or other blender to blend them and then transfer them to the pot)
4. Turn the heat onto medium
5. Add the remaining ingredients and allow them to come to a low boil 
6. Simmer for 5 minutes
7. Slowly stir in the gelatin and stir well to combine
8. Turn off the burner
9. Transfer the ingredients to a freezer safe bowl
10. Place the bowl in the freezer for 90 minutes
11. Serve and enjoy!

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May 23, 2016

Roasted Honey Dijon Pecans (SCD, GAPS, Paleo, Gluten Free)


Well friends, today it's all about snack food, and my latest snacking addiction. These Roasted Honey Dijon Pecans are so addicting! A little sweet, a little spice, and a lot of crunch! Oh yum!

And we'll get to the recipe in a second...

First I want to give you a little update on my life because it feels like it's been a while since I did that (and I know that you all care very deeply).

I am actually writing this post from Kelowna, BC where I am staying for a month for an elective. Well that's a lie. I am actually staying in Coldstream at my parents' place, but no one knows where that is so let's just call it Kelowna. It's gorgeous out here. Beautiful blue lakes, sunny skies and summer temperatures (well most of the time). There is already fresh produce growing in the garden! It's amazing. I have been snacking on fresh strawberries and I am just about to head out to pick a crazy amount of fresh basil for a pesto recipe I am working on. So keep your eyes peeled for that in the coming weeks! Because there is nothing better than food made with seasonal ingredients. Right? Right!


Can you believe I am almost finished residency? I have only five weeks left! Isn't that crazy? It doesn't feel real. I have been in post secondary education for the last 13 years of my life. Man that's a long time. I honestly can't wait to be done. Although it is also a terrifying thought to start working independently as well. So many mixed emotions. I just have to get through my rheumatology exams in the fall and then I will never have to write another exam again! Amazing right? To celebrate Erik and I are planning a trip in October. We are thinking about going to Bali but we are open to suggestions so if you have any please let me know! If I had my choice I would love to take a year off and just travel, and blog. Unfortunately, going that long without an income would be just a little challenging. So unless this little blog starts making me some decent money soon that will just remain a dream. An amazing sounding one if you ask me though.



So let's talk about these Roasted Honey Dijon Pecans. Because they are delicious! These did not last long the first time I made them that's for sure. Erik and I inhaled them. Literally inhaled. It can be challenging to find healthy snacks while on the Paleo diet so these are a great option to have on hand. They are super simple to make, only require 5 ingredients and have an amazing flavour. I personally love anything with a great crunchy texture and these definitely have that. Sweet, flavourful and crunchy. Three things that make a great snack if you ask me. If your will power is better than mine you can store these in the fridge for weeks and they will still taste great. I hope you like them!

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Until next time, happy eating friends! 


Roasted Honey Dijon Pecans 





Ingredients

5 cups raw pecans (preferably soaked and dehydrated first) 
2 TBSP avocado oil (I use this brand
2 TBSP honey (ideally local) 
2 TBSP dijon mustard (I use this brand
1/2 tsp sea salt (or more to taste) 



Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 325F
2. Place the pecans in a large glass or ceramic bowl
3. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well with a spoon
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
5. Spread the pecans onto the parchment paper 
6. Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until starting to brown
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for ~20 minutes
8. Serve and enjoy!

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May 16, 2016

Sweet Potato Nacho Dip and Ditch The Wheat Cookbook Review (Paleo, Dairy Free, Whole 30)
























It's that time again! I have another amazing cookbook to review for you today. Today it's all about Ditch The Wheat by Carol Lovett. Carol is a fellow Canadian who blogs over at Ditch The Wheat. If you haven't already checked out her blog you definitely should (just after you finish reading this post). Like myself, Carol switched to a grain free diet years ago to help solve her various health problems. She used to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic headaches, vertigo, depression, anxiety and being overweight. Switching to a paleo diet cured all of those problems. It's like I always say, food is medicine! So she decided to create a cookbook to help empower those who don't tolerate gluten, and want to adopt a paleo diet, without having to give up the foods they love.

This cookbook is a such a treat to flip through. Carol starts off by telling her story, and how she came to eat a paleo style diet. She then discusses why it's important to eat paleo, and how this diet evolved after many modern health conditions were found to originate when traditional societies moved to a North-American style diet filled with white flours, processed foods, sugars etc. She then describes what foods should, and should not be eaten, and how to choose high quality food products and maintain a paleo lifestyle.


The next section of Ditch the Wheat, which I think many people will appreciate, describes the various, hidden sources of gluten and soy, so that you know what to watch for when you are grocery shopping or eating out. Carol then breaks down some of the common ingredients that are used to cook paleo, including the various flours, fats, sugars and seasonings, as well as the tools you need to help you succeed in a paleo style kitchen.

One of my favourite sections of the book (minus the recipes of course), is "How To Bake With Success." Carol definitely taught me a few things that I could be doing better when I am baking. Tricks like sifting coconut flour and keeping eggs at room temperature to help them expand when the bake. Who knew? I am betting there are a few other tips in this section that will help you in the kitchen as well.

Next she outlines some important tricks like, "How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken" (because it is way cheaper to buy chickens whole than in individual pieces), "How To Cook Veggies And Starches" and "How To Make Paleo Noodles."




Then we get to the good stuff, the food! Carol has broken Ditch The Wheat into nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1: The Basics
  • Chapter 2: Fermented Foods and Drinks
  • Chapter 3: Crackers, Wraps, Breads, Bagels and Muffins
  • Chapter 4: Breakfast Favourites 
  • Chapter 5: Snacks and Starters 
  • Chapter 6: Soups and Salads 
  • Chapter 7: Main Meals
  • Chapter 8: Sides
  • Chapter 9: Desserts
Another great feature of this cookbook is that every recipe has a photograph. I personally hate when recipes don't have pictures in cookbooks. How else do you know what the food is supposed to look like? As well, each recipe is labelled as nut free, dairy free or egg free so that you can easily determine what is safe for you to eat depending on your own dietary restrictions. 

Now, I am lucky enough to get to share the recipe for the Sweet Potato Nacho Dip with you today, but there are so many other recipes in this book that I cannot wait to make. Here are just a few that I can't wait to try:

  • Spicy Citrus Salad Dressing
  • Smoky Pineapple BBQ Sauce
  • Watermelon Kiwi Kombucha
  • Berry Giger Kombucha
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt
  • Vegetable Crackers
  • Everything Bagel Inspired Crackers
  • Morning Glory Muffins
  • Grain Free Tortillas
  • Sandwich Buns
  • Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits
  • The Original DTW Meat Bagel
  • Coconut Flour Pancakes
  • Yuca Hash Browns
  • Apple Butter Chicken Liver Pate 
  • BBQ Kale Chips
  • Artichoke with Bacon Spinach Dip 
  • Salted Mexican Chocolate Clusters 
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Enchilada Soup
  • BLT Wedge Salad
  • Kale Citrus Salad
  • Warm Dandelion Salad
  • Curry Shrimp Dish
  • Spicy Fish Cakes with Dipping Sauce
  • Ginger Beef Stir Fry
  • Smoky Chipotle Aioli Burgers with Crunchy Mango Slaw
  • Meatloaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
  • Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken Thighs
  • Smoky Pineapple Pulled Pork
  • Apple Butter BBQ Ribs
  • Mango Proscuitto Grain Free Pizza
  • Crispy Sautéed Kale with Bacon and Onions
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Caramel Chocolate Nut Bars
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb
Okay, my mouth is officially watering! As you can see there are recipes for everyone inside Ditch the Wheat, including those picky kids of yours. In fact, there are 120 recipes inside this cookbook. That's a lot of delicious looking food! 

To learn more about this amazing book, please visit here.

And in case you needed a bit more motivation, here are a couple photos from the book of the Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Salted Mexican Chocolate Clusters. Don't they both look incredible? I can't wait to try these treats! Now keep scrolling to get to the Sweet Potato Nacho Dip recipe.



 
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Until next time, happy eating everyone! 



Sweet Potato Nacho Dip Recipe



Yield: About 1 cup   Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 25 minutes

I love cheese, but I don’t digest it well, so traditional nacho cheese dip is not an option for me. This recipe is my alternative to a dairy-based nacho dip. The pureed sweet potato is amazingly creamy and dippable. I assure you, it does not taste like mashed sweet potatoes; it tastes like an addictive nacho-flavored dip that I can’t stop scooping with cassava chips.


Ingredients


1 large sweet potato (¾ to 1 pound), peeled and coarsely chopped
½ cup nutritional yeast (buy here
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon onion powder (I like this brand)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I use this brand
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon paprika (this brand is my favourite) 
¼ teaspoon ground cumin (buy here
Pinch of chili powder
Crudités or chips of choice, for serving

Directions

1. Place the chopped sweet potage in a 1 1/2 quart pot and fill with enough water to cover.
2. Cover and boil for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is fork-tender. Drain the water from the pot, leaving the potato in the pot. 
3. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, paprika, cumin and chili powder to the pot. Puree with a hand blender, or transfer the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth. 
4. Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve immediately with your favourite veggies or chips. 

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May 02, 2016

How To Heal Keratosis Pilaris With Diet


Chances are if you made it here you have tried other things to try and heal your keratosis pilaris (KP) and are just not having success. Well I'm glad you stopped by. Since I shared "How I Healed My Keratosis Pilaris (KP) Naturally" a few months ago, it has quickly become the most popular post on the blog. In that post I shared the external, and topical treatments that I used to help heal my KP within 3 months.

You can find that post here.

But since that post, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is "what are the best foods to eat to help heal KP?" So I finally decided to address your questions.

If you follow my blog you know that I firmly believe that food is a form of medicine. What you put into your body affects your entire system. And this is true when it comes to KP as well. Changing my diet was a crucial factor in healing my KP.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and so increased inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, allergies, hormonal imbalances, etc. can all present with various skin manifestations, including KP (at least in my opinion). Unfortunately, there have been no studies published looking at the role of nutrition in treating KP, so this post is based on my personal experience and research that has been done on other skin conditions that are related to KP (I will post some references at the end if you are interested).


You can see in my "before" photo just how bad my KP was before I started treating it. I had the pustular form which I also had a tendency to pick, which only made things worse.



This "after" photo is from 6 months after I started treating my KP. As you can see I still have a little residual scarring, but even that is fading compared to the photo from my first post (you can see it here) which was taken at 3 months.

In this post I will provide my general recommendations for healing keratosis pilaris though diet. However, I have found that for some people (like myself), keratosis pilaris is linked to leaky gut syndrome, in which case these changes may not be enough for you. This is especially true for those that have the inflammatory type of KP, that presents as small pustules (ie. lesions filled with pus). I am working on a specific post about the protocol I used to heal my leaky gut so stay tuned for that! But for now, here are my tips for healing KP naturally through diet.




How To Heal Keratosis Pilaris Naturally With Diet 


1. Eliminate Grains

If you follow the blog you might remember my recent post, Why Grains Are NOT Healthy. I firmly believe that the high intake of grains that is typical of most modern diets is related to many different healthy problems, including KP. If you haven't read my post about Why Grains Are NOT Healthy I strongly recommend that you do to fully understand all the reasons why grains are not a good food choice. A few key reasons why include their high lectin content, their high phytic acid content, their gliadin content, and their high omega 6 content. These substances can damage your intestines leading to leaky gut syndrome, decrease your absorption of vitamins and minerals and increase the inflammation in your body. In other words, they can make you sick! You can see read the full article here. 

Food sensitivities to grains (especially gluten) are also very common. And many skin conditions, including KP can be caused or exacerbated by food sensitivities.

To help heal KP I strongly suggest removing all grains from your diet. Yes, all grains. This includes both gluten and gluten free grains as well as things like corn and quinoa. If you aren't sure if something qualifies as a grain or not, simply send me a message and we can chat! 

2. Increase Omega 3 Intake

Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for skin health. Omega 3 supplementation has been found to help treat acne, psoriasis, eczema and a number of other health conditions. As well, increased omega 3 intake makes you less likely to get a sunburn (crazy right?). Unfortunately, modern diets tend to be very unbalanced in essential fatty acid intake with the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in Western diets being anywhere from 6:1 to 60:1 depending on the source you read. Ideally, the ratio should be more like 1:1, as this is the ratio our ancestors evolved on, and the ratio that is idea for optimal health. The problem is that the way our food is raised today (i.e.. animals fed grains, hormones, antibiotics etc), makes the omega 3 content in these animals to be almost non-existant. This increased omega 6 intake contributes to inflammation in the body, which has been linked to almost every health problem out there (including many skin conditions). And omega 3 is crucial to help balance and calm this inflammation. Unfortunately, like diet, no studies have looked at the role of omega 3 and 6 in KP development, or treatment, but myself, as well as many others, have seen success when we fix this ratio. 

To get more omega 3 in your diet I suggest eating:

  • Grassfed beef - Being grassfed is very important. Grassfed beef has an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of around 1:1 which is very different than animals that are fed grains, antibiotics and hormones who have very high omega 6 values. You can buy grassfed beef products here. 
  • Wild (NOT farmed) fish including salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, trout and oysters. 
  • Pasture raised eggs
If you are not able to eat the things I mentioned, you may need to supplement your diet with omega 3. Now, I always recommend that you get as many nutrients as you can from food, rather than supplements,  but sometimes it is challenging and expensive to eat as well as we should. I recommend the following brands of cod liver oil to increase your omega 3 intake:

2. Rosita Cod Liver Oil

3. Eliminate Dairy

As I mentioned, KP can be caused by food sensitivities or allergies, and sensitivities to dairy are very common. More specifically, intolerance to casein (a protein found in dairy) is a problem for many people, which can irritate the skin causing issues like acne, eczema and KP. As well, dairy is high in lectins and can lead to leaky gut syndrome (just like grains) which can also cause, and make KP worse. Now, I also realize there are significant health benefits that are related to consuming dairy products (mainly full fat dairy from pasture raised animals) so you may not have to eliminate dairy forever. Everyone is different. I would try eliminating it for at least 6 weeks and see if your symptoms improve. You could then try reintroducing full fat, pasture raised, dairy products slowly, and see how your body responds. 

4. Remove Sugars 

Sugars can wreak havoc on the skin. Sugars and starchy carbohydrates have been linked to the development of acne, but so far no studies have been published regarding sugar intake and keratosis pilaris. However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that when people eliminate sugars and high glycemic index foods from their diet their KP gets better. Coincidence? I think not. Many grains are also high on the glycemic index, which is just another reason why they can make your KP worse.
I recommend removing all added sugars from your diet for at least a month, including natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. High glycemic index fruits and vegetables that should be avoided include: apricots, watermelon, mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsips and pumpkin.

5. Increase Your Fat Soluble Vitamin Intake 

The fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K are all very important for healthy skin. And unfortunately, based on our modern diets, and lifestyles, many people are deficient in these extremely important vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes etc. There is also some evidence that vitamin D deficiency is involved in acne, and many patients swear that their KP and acne improve when they supplement with vitamin D. Vitamin A deficiency is known to cause a skin condition called Phrynoderma, which is related to KP as it is also a condition involving keratin, and supplementation has been shown to treat this disorder. Vitamin E has been shown to help treat atopic dermatitis and has been shown to be protective against skin damage from the sun by acting as an antioxidant. There are fewer studies looking at the vitamin K when it comes to skin health, but there is evidence to suggest that topical vitamin K can help the skin heal faster after medical procedures.

Here is a list of foods that are high in fat soluble vitamins to help you increase your intake:
  • Vitamin A: Liver from pasture raised animals, and wild fish
  • Vitamin D: Fresh, oily fish, including salmon, sardines and oysters
  • Vitamin E: Almonds, hazelnuts, flax seed oil, green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin K: Cooked kale, raw swiss chard, dandelion greens, raw radicchio and spinach
Now, another quick word about vitamin D. Most people live in places where you cannot obtain enough vitamin D through sun exposurea alone, so if you live above the confederate line in the USA you will need to take vitamin D. I suggest anywhere between 1000-5000IU daily. You can have your level checked through your family physician to determine how much you need to take, and ensure that you are not taking too much.


Well there you have it! The foods you should, and shouldn't be eating to help heal your KP. Now, there are also some key supplements that you should be taking to help heal you KP and I will be posting that topic next in this series. I am not sure when that will be, but to find out when that post goes live please sign up for the blog's newsletter below and you won't miss out!




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And if you are interested, here are some references for further reading:
1. Diet and Acne
2. Cutaneous Manifestations of Nutritional Deficiency
3. RCT of Omega 3 in Acne
4. Fish Oil and Sunburn
5. Treatment of Phrynoderma with Vitamins
6. Topical Vitamin K and Skin Healing

DISCLAIMERS: 
1. The statements made on this website have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. You assume full responsibility for how you use this information. Always consult with your physician or other health professionals before making any diet or lifestyle changes. 

2. This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase these products I receive a small percentage of the sale price. This allows me to keep the blog running and I thank you for allowing me to do that!