Why Change What You’re Eating?- Lauren Finds Balance with Real Food (Guest Post)

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Yay! I have another food healing story to share. This is doubly awesome since my computer died and I’m in the process of finding a new one. So THANK YOU, Lauren 🙂

Lauren lives in beautiful Summerside, Prince Edward Island.  She has a job she LOVES in healthcare and recently adopted a bunny named Binky. Some of the stuff she shares on her blog: whole foods, home cooking, fermentation, probiotics, natural birthing and fertility, alternative medicines, and homeschooling.

Check out her blog at Naturally Living in the Maritimes.

Lauren’s Story 

I’m always growing in my real-food diet. It’s been a journey from the first time I picked up a book on veganism and renounced meat for good, working in a used book store to now, through a struggle with my eating disorder, to now – confidently eating and cooking organic veggies, grains and meats.

I was a vegetarian for 4 years, and a vegan for a year and a half of that time. I was 19, I had left an unhappy home and it was a stressful time. I was starting out on my own in my new apartment, a vegetarian because it was cheaper and easy to cook. I had a two burner stove top, a microwave, and an Easy-Bake Oven sized toaster oven. My diet consisted of veggie chicken nuggets, pierogies, garlic bread and alcohol. I was running every night and had started to become concerned about my weight.

That winter, I was the victim of a sexual assault. It went unreported and I didn’t talk about it. It was someone I’d seen every week and I was so stressed, I was beginning to unravel. I needed something in my life I felt I could control. I found myself falling, very quickly, into purge-type anorexia. The weight gain from hormonal birth controls coupled with the pressure on my body of eating processed foods, day in and day out caused me to gain ten pounds. Apparently, those ten pounds were what set me over the edge. It was a really dark time.

After about a year of hiding my diet-pill-and-diet-coke diet and two hour workouts, seven days a week, I decided I’d change my mind about veganism, and “go paleo”. I didn’t understand what paleo was, and I figured that my best bet was just to eat lots of meat because that would help me put more muscle on, and more muscle meant that my basal metabolic rate would be higher, burning more calories daily. It didn’t work because in order to have enough meat to get me through my new high-protein diet, the quality of meat suffered. I gained weight, and that was more stressful.

After about six months of this, I found my first blog on “Real Food” eating. I decided that the best thing I could do for myself was to make real food – quality vegetables (organic if possible), limiting chemicals and boxed products, humanely-raised local meat, and cooking things myself. I sat my fiancé down and had a conversation about how we could afford these foods and we determined that we could do everything but the meat – it was too expensive. So, we set about on our new, real food, vegetarian diet with the promise that I would become accountable to my fiancé about my calorie intake and my purging habits.

The results?

We cooked better, we found great recipes, we felt healthier. Both of us lost the weight we’d put on – for me, it was about 15lbs, for him it’s been almost 20lbs, and he’s still losing. I felt more confident about myself, not due to me being skinnier, but about the fact that eating had become a method of fueling myself and I truly enjoyed the act of cooking. Eating is not scary, it’s not something to be calculated and counted and stressed over. It is now an art and a hobby. Grocery shopping is something I look forward to every week. I’m even looking at becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist! Aubrey took up baking breads, and we started working towards self-sufficiency together. I’d be lying if I said a negative-thought about food never crossed my mind, but I now put it aside and think about the positive things that I love about eating real food. Today, at 22, I’m feeling the healthiest I’ve ever been, I feel I’m being responsible to those animals I read about almost five years ago that made me turn my back on meat to begin with, and I feel like I’m honoring myself. I love my body, I love what food does to heal me, and I’m proud to be an example of how food can not only physically heal your body, but emotionally heal your soul as well.

Best wishes on your real food journey and I hope my experiences can be a push to heal yourself as well!

Why Change What You’re Eating?- The Story of a Boy With a Starving Brain (Guest Post)

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The past couple of weeks have been amazing and exhausting! I had my finals and graduation for my Nutritional Therapy program!!! Yay!  Add in all of my procrastinated homework, my regular day job,  and birthday parties for my daughter and I’m pretty beat. But grateful !

Everyone at our graduation celebration had a chance to talk about how changing what they ate changed their health. I’m a total sucker for a good healing story, and there were a lot of them :).

Drastically changing what you eat isn’t an easy thing, so most people just don’t do it. Food is a BIG deal! Your mommy gave you food to take care of you and show you love. Our culture is built around food, eating out, convenience, addictive foods.

So over the next few weeks I’m going to share some stories of people who transformed their lives by changing what they were eating. Like I said, I love a good story so I’m pretty sappy about the whole thing. The first one is by Kristen of Live Simply.

Piper's-Story

                                                 By Kristen @ LiveSimply

This post is long overdue.

A story I have been wanting to share, but just haven’t had the courage to sit down and write.

A story about my son Piper, a speech disorder, a starving brain, and how real food and a key nutrient played a key role in his rehabilitation.

This is Piper’s story…

In 2009 I found out I was pregnant. The thought of carrying life inside my belly for nine months seemed to be a daunting task.  I, like most mothers, wanted to provide my child with the very best start in life. One area life that was not ideal was food. I ate a Standard American Diet of heavily processed foods, low-fat everything, and lots of take-out. You can read more about our real food journey here, but in short, after spending many nights watching documentaries like Food Inc. and reading countless Micheal Pollan books, I was convinced a dietary change had to be made. I cut all the processed foods from our life and went a step further, a huge step, I eliminated all animal products from my diet. The only animal product I consumed was honey.

Keep reading….

This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.

Honey Toffee Shortbread (GAPS/Paleo)

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toffee shortbread

I don’t think I have anything to say (which is rare, ask my friends!) So, here it is 🙂

Shortbread Thumbprints

*2  cups packed almond flour (I like Honeyville)

*3/4 to 1 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

*1/4 cup unsalted pasture butter -or- ghee

*1/4 cup honey

*1 pastured egg

Cream together room temperature butter or ghee and honey. Add the egg and salt and stir to combine. Add the almond flour and mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll dough into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Put “thumbprints” in the cookies. Sometimes the dough cracks a little when you do the thumbprint, just stick it back together :) . It’s because almond flour doesn’t bind like grain flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes on the top rack of the oven (to prevent burning the bottom). This makes about 18 cookies.

Honey Toffee

*1/4 cup unsalted pasture butter

*2 Tbsp honey (1/8 cup)

*1/4 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until bubbly. Turn to medium-low and continue stirring until temperature reaches 235-240 degrees. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute. Spoon into the thumbprints in the shortbread and let cool.

IMPORTANT: I’ve noticed something interesting about the salt in the shortbread recipe.  I love salt like most people with adrenal fatigue :).  But the cookies taste salty to me on the first day.  The flavors seem to blend perfectly the next day. Weird.  And make sure to use unsalted butter. I’ve had more than one person accidentally try it with salted butter and it was way too salty with the amount of salt added. It makes a difference!

Now that I’ve tweaked and perfected this recipe, it’s definitely one of my best!!!! Tell me how it goes.

Meatloaf 3 Ways (GAPS/Paleo)

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Copy (1 ) of meatloaf

I like blogging and cooking, but I also have a husband, a couple of kids, two cats, and a job in special ed. And I’m going to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. So while I love spending time in the kitchen, tonight it’s not going to happen. My go to meal when I have no time is meatloaf and some veggie, usually mashed cauliflower. My family doesn’t like the same thing all of the time, so I have three different ways I like to season the meatloaf.

Italian Seasoned

* 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (pork, beef, or turkey, any mix you like)

* 1/2 onion, finely chopped

* 1 1/2 tsp oregano

* 1 1/2 tsp basil

* 3/4 to 1 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

*1/4 c raw Parmesan (can be omitted)

* 1 clove of garlic, finely minced or pressed

Asian Seasoned

* 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, pork)

* 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

* 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced

* 2 green onions, chopped

* 1/4 tsp fish sauce (Red Boat is GAPS legal)

* 3/4 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

* 1 tsp honey  (optional)

“Breakfast Sausage” Seasoned

* 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, or mix)

* 1/2 onion, finely chopped

* 1 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

* 1 1/2 Tbsp rubbed sage

* 1 1/2 tsp thyme

* 1 tsp paprika

* 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne (if you want it spicy)

* 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Directions for any of the three

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Put the mixture into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes to let some of the juices reabsorb.

If you absolutely need ketchup with your meatloaf (I don’t), here’s a recipe.

In case you’re wondering what the stuff at the bottom of the picture is, it’s some of my home fermented cortido (it’s like Mexican sauerkraut). And in case you’re wondering whether I’m really going to eat three pieces of meatloaf, the answer is yes :). I’m starving!

Apricot/Raspberry Shortbread (GAPS/Paleo)

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 apricot raspberry shortbread

I was at Trader Joe’s on Friday and saw a lady with apricot shortbread in her cart. I’ve made almond flour shortbread before, so I thought, “That couldn’t be too hard.”  Alaina had a fun time sticking her thumb in them :). I think we’ll use these as a Christmas cookie recipe.
Note: I edited the amount of almond flour and salt in this recipe the day after posting. It gives it more of a shortbread flavor.

*2  cups packed almond flour (I like Honeyville)

*3/4 to 1 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

*1/4 cup unsalted pasture butter -or- ghee (we used ghee, amazing!)

*1/4 cup honey

*1 pastured egg

*apricot and raspberry jam, all fruit or honey sweetened

Cream together room temperature butter or ghee and honey. Add the egg and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix almond flour and salt. mix wet and dry ingredients and refrigerate (at least 1 hour). Roll dough into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Put “thumbprints” in the cookies and fill with 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Sometimes the dough cracks a little when you do the thumbprint, just stick it back together :). It’s because almond flour doesn’t bind like grain flour. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes on the top rack of the oven (to prevent burning the bottom). This makes about 18 cookies.

IMPORTANT: I’ve noticed something interesting about the salt in the shortbread recipe. I do love salt like most adrenally fatigued people do :) . But sometimes the cookies taste salty on the first day.  The flavors seem to blend perfectly the next day. Weird. And make sure to use unsalted butter. I’ve had more than one person accidentally try it with salted butter and it was way too salty with the amount of salt added. It makes a difference!

These are super easy to make! Tell me how it goes.

Meatzza! (GAPS/Paleo)

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meatzza 3

Even though this doesn’t really taste like pizza with bread crust, this is one of my family’s favorites. The whole thing gets snarfed down in one meal. Hopefully your family will have some leftovers :).

I got the directions for cooking the meat crust from The Clothes Make The Girl. But I use my own seasoning and tomato sauce for the recipe. We also like ours with a bit of raw Parmesan. Yummy!

Meat “Crust”

* 1 1/2 lbs ground meat (pork, beef, or turkey, any mix you like)

* 1 1/2 tsp oregano

* 1 1/2 tsp basil

* 3/4 tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

*1/4 c raw Parmesan (can be omitted)

*1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped

* 1 clove of garlic, finely minced or pressed

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Press the meat evenly into a 13″ by 9″ pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes to let some of the juices reabsorb.

Sauce

* 1 15oz can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes

* 1 tsp basil

* 1 tsp oregano

* 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed

* 1 tbsp olive oil

* A drizzle of honey -or- a few drops of stevia (optional, most Italian people I know put a little sugar in their sauce)

* 1 tbsp red wine (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on low-medium heat while the meat is cooking. Stir occasionally. This recipe will make more sauce than is needed for the recipe, so enjoy the leftovers as a “dip” for other things.

To Assemble

Put the rectangle of meat on a cookie sheet. Spread about 1/2 of the sauce on the meat. You can also add a thin layer of shaved raw Parmesan and some sauteed veggies of your choice. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 to fifteen more minutes.

Buon appetito 🙂

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Asian Meatballs (GAPS/Paleo)

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sweet sour cabbage

I’ve already done the sweet and sour thing, but I decided to do it differently last night. I skipped the cauliflower rice, and stir fried some cabbage instead. It tasted awesome!

Asian Meatballs

* 3 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, pork)

* 1/3 cup coconut aminos

* 1 Tbsp sesame oil

* 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

* 4 green onions, chopped

* 1/2 tsp fish sauce (Red Boat is GAPS legal)

* 1 to 1 1/2  tsp sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)

* 1 tsp honey -or- 5 drops stevia (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into about 1 inch balls and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

*1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into thin strips

*1 large carrot, cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler

*2 Tbsp refined coconut oil (unscented)

*1/3 cup coconut aminos

*1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

*1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp honey

*sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan) to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add cabbage and carrots and stir fry for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add the coconut aminos, vinegar, and honey. Cook cabbage until it starts to turn tender and the flavors blend. Use sea salt to taste. Serve with meatballs.

Enjoy your dinner! And stay warm :).