food intolerances

Erica: A Teenager Healing with the GAPS Diet! (Guest Post)

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This post is especially exciting to me! This girl is going to change some lives :).

Erica kindly agreed to share her story. She blogs at Edible Attitudes.


Erica’s story:

When I reflect on my childhood, I don’t remember a long period of time when I didn’t have some type of aliment. I never dealt with anything life threatening but everything was cumulative and seemly unconnected.

My first health problem was at the age of six months old when I had my first infection. Between the ages of two and three I was on continuous antibiotics because the ear infections would not go away. I began to notice environmental and food sensitivities to lactose, dust, pollen, and certain plants. In fourth grade, I began to have problems with my joints, specifically my ankles.

Seventh grade was when things began to rapidly spiral downwards. It started with my knees and ankles causing me a lot of pain. At the time I assumed it was because I am a softball catcher. But soon the joint inflammation spread and caused me to be in pain on a daily basis and everyday tasks were more difficult.

By the start of my sophomore year of high school, only 3 years later, I developed tendinitis in both knees and elbows, multiple fingers, left wrist, and right bicep.

My journey has taken a lot of work and sacrifice! I started seeing a functional medicine doctor in 2011 and was taken off gluten, dairy, corn, MSG, sugar, and soy. I took supplements that helped manage the joint inflammation. This helped a little bit but I still struggled with pain and multiple other health problems. I was frustrated and ready to change my diet again if necessary. I started the GAPS Intro Diet in November of 2012 with my mom and brother. This led to my first large and noticeable change in the joint inflammation. A few months prior I had developed a deep stabbing bone pain in my foot and within the first month of starting the GAPS Diet, it was gone. My knees also felt better and I could catch longer before having joint pain. Although GAPS was clearly helping, I still had pain, numerous other health problems, and couldn’t reintroduce foods without a flare up.

In April 2013, I was instructed by my doctor to remove salicylates from my diet because I had developed a sensitivity. My diet was limited to about 20 foods for four months.

It was hard, really hard at times, but it was totally worth it. In only a few weeks all my pain was gone. Completely gone for the first time in five years! I am 17 now and a senior in high school and am proud to say that I am free of joint inflammation. This spring and summer I played my first pain free softball seasons in five years. I no longer dread walking up and down stairs or biking or using a scissors or bending down to pick something up. Daily tasks aren’t painful anymore.

I assumed that the biggest change from modifying my diet would be physical, but it has actually been a mental transformation. I have learned to have perseverance, discipline, and self-motivation. I took responsibility for my health. It is not my parents’ responsibility to micro-manage everything I eat and do, it’s my body and I learned to step up and care for it. I have also learned life long lessons such as, people’s opinions shouldn’t matter to me. I know why I am changing my diet. I know that it works and that is enough for me.

I still have a restrictive diet because I am still working through other health problems, but I have been able to reintroduce salicylates without joint inflammation returning.

If I hadn’t been encouraged by my mom to change my diet and if I hadn’t taken responsibility, I can’t imagine how different my life would be now. Hardly anything about taking ownership of your health is easy, but it so worth it when you start to feel better and have a better quality of life.

If this sounds like you or someone you know and would like to read my whole story, you can purchase my book, A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy. (Kindle version)

This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.


Bacon Burger with Basil Guacamole (GAPS/Paleo)

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bacon burger

I just came back from a mini vacation with my parents and my kids. I had a great time and got to visit some places that brought back a lot of good memories of my childhood. But I’m SO glad to be home!

When I’m home I have certain things I cook that taste great and aren’t hard to make. When I’m traveling, everyone asks lots of questions and they can’t BELIEVE that I don’t eat this or that. And what about this? No? You’re kidding! It’s so hard to turn down something that’s been cooked for you when that’s how the person expresses love. I forget how weird I am until I get out of my little bubble.

I bring food in my suitcase when I travel. Canned meats or seafood, some nuts, coconut. Just in case I’m stranded with no food. My suitcase is usually pretty heavy.

Another travel challenge is that I’m picky about sleeping in a very dark room. My son found it pretty amusing when I called hospitality at the hotel to request a few band aids to stick over the lights on the smoke alarm and the little TV light (I didn’t tell them this was what I was doing). You’d be surprised at how shocking those lights are to your eyeballs when you’re used to sleeping in the dark! I suppose I could use one of those sleeping masks, but I also don’t like my eyes to be too hot. You can see that I’m very high maintenance. I’m improving, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be easy going.

I do have an awesome family and I had a great time for sure. I also ended up with a few ideas for new things to cook for my family.

The inspiration for this recipe was the guacamole bacon burger from the Red Robin. I changed the guacamole and the cheese, partially so that people who don’t tolerate nightshades could try the recipe with modifications.


*8 large lettuce leaves

*4 1/4 to 1/3 lb burgers

*8 slices nitrate-free bacon

*shaved raw Parmesan (if you eat dairy)

*sliced red or sweet onion

*basil guacamole (recipe follows)

Cook the bacon in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Grill or fry the burgers and salt to taste. Layer the remaining ingredients on the burger. Put a couple of pieces of bacon on the top. You can use a “lettuce” wrap, but I just like cutting it up and eating everything mixed together.

Basil Guacamole

*3 large, ripe avocados, chopped
*1 clove garlic,  pressed or minced
*1 medium tomato, chopped (omit if avoiding nightshades)
*2 tsp fresh lemon juice
*2 green onions, chopped
*1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
*3/4  teaspoon sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)
In a large mixing bowl, mash 1 of the chopped avocados with a fork. Add the remaining chopped avocados, the garlic, tomatoes, lime juice, lemon juice, green onions, basil, and sea salt. Stir to combine.
Feel free to share any travel challenges you’ve had, or how you’ve overcome them!!! I clearly need help 🙂
This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.

“Sugar Cookie” Muffins/Cupcakes (GAPS/Paleo)

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These muffins remind me of the best mom in the world, mine :)!

She makes the world’s best sugar cookies (that I can’t have anymore) and she loves almond extract. So eating these muffins reminds me of making roll out Christmas cookies with my mom and eating the dough.


*1/4 cup melted grass fed butter -or- 1/4 cup coconut oil + 1/8 tsp sea salt
*3/4 cup honey
*4 large free range eggs, room temp
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*2 tsp almond extract
*1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

*2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

*3/4  tsp baking soda

Warm the butter and the honey until just melted. Add room temperature eggs and other wet ingredients and mix. Combine dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased muffin tins (or use cupcake liners like I do). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes. Do not overcook. The ones in my photo are a little more done than I like them, Makes about 12 muffins/cupcakes.

Think sweet thoughts!

This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.

Chocolate Muffins/Cupcakes (GAPS, Paleo)

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chocolate muffins

These are AMAZING!

I’m not so good with recipes. As I’ve said before, usually I just throw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl and cook them. So it’s a little hard to tell other people how to do what I did.

But people are asking, so I’m trying to get better at writing down my recipes. Lots of people feel bad and would like to change their diet to eliminate food intolerances and to improve their blood sugar. But sometimes it’s hard to know “what CAN I eat?” when you’ve eliminated foods from your diet. I want people to know that there are lots  of yummy foods you can eat.

There are more people eating like this than you think. Google is your best friend :).

This recipe is a “treat” recipe. I have an 11 year old, a 17 year old, and a husband who likes sweets, so we eat treats sometimes. Natasha Campbell McBride says to eat about 85% meats, fish, eggs, fermented dairy and vegetables as the main part of your diet. But about 15% of what you eat can be nuts, fruit, and baked goods (on full GAPS). I can’t eat this recipe because I’m a bit intolerant to cocoa. My 17 year old son is in love with this recipe. He can’t believe it’s GAPS/paleo friendly.

Chocolate Muffins/Cupcakes

*1 cup honey (you can cut the honey to 1/2 cup and use some stevia if you want to cut carbs, I have to use about 40-50 drops!)

*1/2 cup melted grassfed butter -or- 1/2 cup coconut oil+1/4 tsp sea salt

*2 tsp vanilla extract

*5 pastured eggs, room temperature

*1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (to balance the baking soda)

*2 cups almond flour

*1/2 cup cocoa

*1/2 tsp. baking soda

Warm the butter and the honey until just melted. Add room temperature eggs and other wet ingredients and mix. Combine dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased muffin tins (or use cupcake liners like I do). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 16.

Photo credit-my 11 yo daughter, Alaina. She’s my blog assistant :).


This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.