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When I first started my blog, which feels like ages ago, I was really motivated and I was posting recipes at least once a week. My blog and social media stats were soaring and it was pretty exciting. My health problems were clearing up. I felt better emotionally, mentally and physically. I have to admit though, in the last little while, the novelty of this new chapter in my life faded out a bit.

I think it was because I was also noticing some other changes in my life that I was less than happy about. I had started to avoid social situations quite a bit, mostly so that I wasn’t tempted by foods that used to be a part of my regular diet like grains, dairy, sugar and processed/packaged foods. I had always been a bit of an ‘all or nothing’ type of person but it was getting extreme.

I know that the paleo diet eliminates or treats a lot of my health problems (like acne, eczema, hormone imbalance/PCOS, depression/anxiety, etc) but I got to the point where I just wanted to be normal. For me, the paleo diet ‘out of the box’ wasn’t cutting it for me. I had also started becoming sensitive to nightshade vegetables, eggs, nuts/seeds, and FODMAPs. I started to wish I could eat whatever I wanted and not deal with the unpleasant side effects. It was starting to feel like a lot of work just to make the paleo diet work for me.

The fact is, none of us are “normal”. Everyone has their struggles, diet related or not. I had gotten out of touch with this reality with all the roadblocks I came up against along my healing journey.

I knew I needed to strike a better balance so that I didn’t feel so deprived. In the last few months, I have been experimenting with trying a more balanced lifestyle between strict paleo and the occasional indulgence. Unfortunately when I first tried this, I had some pretty serious binges on junk food. After being so strict for a while, non-paleo foods tasted like crack to me (for lack of a better word)!

It has been tough as I try to find somewhere in the middle that is not too strict but not to lenient, but I am learning not to beat myself up too much if I am really bad one day or one week or even one month. Life can get overwhelming sometimes and it isn’t always possible or realistic to be perfect with your diet. The more I would beat myself for eating too many non-paleo foods, the harder it became to bounce back and get back on track.

Holy shit woman, what is the point of these ramblings?

When people read my blog, I don’t want them to think that I’m always perfect when it comes to this diet. I want them to know that I struggle and sometimes have major setbacks which are tough to overcome. I want them to know that as long as they catch themselves and keep trying, that it is still making a positive difference in their health. Nobody is perfect and I am positive that even the top paleo bloggers out there also have their setbacks and cheat days despite how their blogs might sometimes make it sound super easy.

The paleo diet IS very extreme in comparison to the ‘Standard American Diet (SAD)’ that most people are used to. Let’s face it. But I do still believe in it. I think everybody will have to experiment and find their own version of it that works for them.

I continue to have my struggles with it, but when I look back I can see how much positivity and benefit has come from it. I believe that if you want it bad enough, you can do it.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
1/8 – 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/powder
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chipoltle chili powder
sea salt
pepper
coconut oil, ghee or butter (for frying)
1/4 cup tomato basil sauce
optional: fresh grated organic parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk your egg. In another bowl, combine the arrowroot starch, garlic powder, basil, cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat a pan between low-medium heat. Dip each chicken breast in egg and then the breading mixture. Melt your cooking fat in the pan and fry the breaded chicken until cooked through, flipping part way through.

Top your fried chicken with tomato basil sauce and serve. If you add parmesan cheese, you could top your fried chicken with tomato basil sauce and parmesan and bake at 400F or so until the cheese is melted.

Zoodles is my favourite word lately! You’re probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. I am not talking about Zoodles that you buy in a can (although I did grow up eating those too which is hilarious). “Zoodles” are spiral cut zucchini noodles. They are my top choice for a grain free noodle replacement by far. This is what they look like when I’m frying them up in butter or ghee in my cast iron skillet!

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I bought the World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer from Amazon. Totally worth it! You can spiral so many different things like sweet potato, squash, carrots, cucumber, celeriac, rutabaga, etc. Really good for making breakfast “hash” too…

I do have another alfredo recipe on my blog but I think this one is pretty kick ass too as it uses avocado as the creamy base to the sauce.

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Ingredients:

1 zucchinis (1 zucchini is good for 1 serving – add additional zucchinis for however many servings you need)
1 chicken breast
1-2 tbsp butter or ghee (coconut oil would work too)

Sauce: (makes at least 4 servings of sauce)
1 cup raw cashews
2 small or 1 large ripe avocado
2 tbsp canned coconut milk (BPA free if possible)
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
sea salt

Optional (for garnish):
Green onion
chives
parsley
fresh grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Start by either frying or baking your chicken breast in butter, ghee or coconut oil. After you’ve start the chicken, spiral cut your zucchini (you could also use a cheese grater I bet) and sautee them in your fat of choice. While those are cooking, blend all your sauce ingredients together in a food processor (or a good quality blender would work too).

Once the chicken is cooked through and the zoodles are getting soft, assemble everything on your plate including your optional garnishes and dig in!

Refrigerate any remaining sauce you have for leftovers. Because the sauce has lemon and salt, the avocado shouldn’t go brown as fast as it normally does. I usually get a day or two out of the leftover sauce.

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I am excited and proud to announce that I have just officially launched an e-book for my freelance client (and fellow paleo/primal food blogger) Kathryn Kos of Primal Bliss Nutrition. I met her online about a year ago and have been working with her ever since on her website, newsletters, e-book etc.

For the e-book, I helped with editing the text, designing and laying out the book as well as selling and marketing it online. It was a really great learning experience.
Who was this e-book written for?

Well, anyone really! Kathryn wrote this e-book based on her son Joshua’s school lunches, but there is absolutely no reason why kids, teenagers, adults and seniors wouldn’t also enjoy and benefit from it too.

  • Parents who want inspiration and ideas for healthy gluten free whole food lunches
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to make healthy, balanced meals and snacks
Things you’ll find:
  • Over 50 gluten free, healthy, real food lunch ideas and recipes
  • Snack ideas and recipes for school and home
  • How to ditch processed deli meats and replace with 100% grass-fed, organic, all beef hot dogs, bacon and ham
  • Busting negative rumors about baby carrots
  • Why bottled juices labeled ”healthy” are not so healthy
  • Why drinking modern day store-bought cows milk might be harming your health
  • How to feed your children with love
  • Helpful links and resources

 

Check out the e-book page on her website where it is for sale for $15.99 (USD).

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2014 has been a good year so far for me! My new years resolution was to get seriously committed to healing my body and to follow the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet with absolutely no cheating. I’m happy to say that I am on day 54 of the full GAPS diet. I’ve lost the Christmas weight, my acne has cleared up, my digestion has improved and I generally feel so much happier. Before Christmas I was doing a bit of an 80/20 split between paleo and just gluten free and was still experiencing acne, eczema, digestion issues, candida, leaky gut, hormonal imbalances, depression and anxiety. I knew I had to kick it up a notch if I really wanted to heal fully.

The GAPS diet is really focused around the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy mind. If the state of your gut health is bad, then you will almost definitely be experiencing some type of mental illness whether it be depression, anxiety, OCD, autism, to name a few. Your gut health can be affected by the Standard American Diet (SAD), pharmaceutical medications (particularly antibiotics and birth control pills), stress, candida, bacteria overgrowth and the list goes on.

For me, I know I have done a lot of damage to my body over the years that paved the way to being so sensitive, mentally and physically. When I was a kid I got severe eczema and was lathered up in steroid cream and petroleum jelly every night.

I developed PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) after puberty and was prescribed birth control pills (Diane 35) for acne and hormone imbalance. Birth control pills can alter gut bacteria, and not in a good way. I was experiencing emotional side effects from the birth control pills so my doctor at the time decided to put me on a low dose antibiotic for acne. I then took this antibiotic (Tetracycline) for up to a year, and the entire time I had a rash on my face. I didn’t make the connection until years later, but what happened was the antibiotics destroyed and wiped out all the good bacteria in my body/gut and without the good bacteria to fight off the bad, the bad stuff got out of control. The rash on my face was systemic candida showing itself.

After that, my body went into a vicious cycle of recurring infections which were then treated by antibiotics. This went on and on for years and at this point I had also developed pretty severe anxiety and depression.

I was managing the symptoms with pharmaceutical medications and was doing alright (or so I thought) until I moved to Vancouver and our house had mold in it. Within a month my immune system and digestion was thrown into overdrive. I was experiencing all my previous symptoms tenfold, plus more. Not only was I covered in eczema, but I developed severe allergies, food intolerances, systemic candida, leaky gut, and the list goes on. Lets just say I was a serious mess. More on that here >>

Anyways, back to the point of my ramblings. MY GUT WAS AND STILL IS in some serious need of TLC. You often hear about people who cannot heal with just the paleo or GAPS diet alone, well I am one of those people. Despite them being legal on the paleo and full GAPS diet, I still cannot tolerate too many nuts, eggs, and FODMAPs. So for me, these muffins I will be sharing are a once in a while treat!

This sucks right. But here is the good news, on this modified GAPS/paleo diet alone, I can treat and heal all these things I’ve been dealing with nearly half my life.

  • PCOS – acne, hormone imbalances
  • Eczema and skin rashes
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Allergies
  • Leaky gut
  • Digestion issues
  • Candida
  • Chronic recurring infections

And to me, living my life symptom free sounds way better than being able to eat whatever the fuck I want!

Get this too. As of Friday, this is the first time I have been pharmaceutical medication free since I was around 12. If anything positive has come out of all this (and a lot has) its that I have developed a deep passion for natural health and alternative medicine.

Boom. Now here is some delicious food fo yo taste buds! Despite these being refined sugar free, it is still good to eat these puppies in moderation. Because lets face it, sugar is sugar is sugar. Sadly :(

Ingredients:

4 organic free range eggs
2 frozen bananas, thawed
4 tbsp coconut milk OR homemade yogurt (incubated at least 24 hours)
3 tbsp organic cold pressed coconut oil
1/8 cup unpasteurized honey (or for sugar free, ditch honey and add an extra banana)
1 tbsp pure good quality vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
Frozen organic blueberries & cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 360F. Prepare a muffin tin with baking cups or coconut oil.

I used my bad ass food processor to whip these up but a blender would work too. Blend everything together until smooth, and then carefully fold in however many frozen blueberries and cranberries you like and pour evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for roughly 30-40 minutes (depending how much dough I eat before hand. Ugh I am so bad for that!) until starting to brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.Serves well with some melted butter on top :)

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This is one of those dishes that I have been making for a long time but never watched or wrote down the damn measurements! Yesterday I finally wrote down all the measurements while I cooked and it turned out particularly good so I think I finally perfected it. Sooooo… Now I can post it on my blog. Woooooo.

I love looking at non-paleo recipes and converting them to paleo. I knew this one was going to be good as soon as I came up with the idea.

Chow mein recipes typically call for soy sauce (which often contains both soy and wheat – not paleo friendly) but thankfully there is coconut aminos! It is both gluten/soy free and is a great healthy alternative.

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs
4 tbsp organic butter + extra for frying chicken
1 bag broccoli slaw (340g – shredded broccoli, carrot and cabbage)
1/2 small white onion
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup coconut aminos
2 tsp unpasteurized honey
green onions

Instructions:

Fry chicken thighs in butter until fully cooked. At the same time, fry chopped onion, minced garlic and broccoli slaw on low-medium with 4 tbsp butter. Check and stir often as it can burn easily.

Chop and set aside chicken once cooked. Once vegetables are getting soft, add coconut aminos, honey and chopped chicken to the pan and fry for roughly 5 more minutes. Garnish with chopped green onions!

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This started as one of those ‘how do I start using up all the food I have in my cupboards’ kind of situations. I had lots of cacao powder and Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder, among other things.

They are incredibly easy to make, and I found them best served frozen or chilled otherwise they get a bit soft.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup raw almond butter
1 tbsp organic cold pressed coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp raw honey
5 medjool dates, de-pitted
1/4 + 1/8 cup raw cacao powder + extra for coating
1/4 + 1/8 cup raw Vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder
2 tsp raw maca powder

Directions:

In a food processor, mix all ingredients until smooth. If they are a bit too wet to roll, you could add more protein or cacao powder. And if they are too dry, add a bit of extra honey or coconut oil!

Roll into small balls and coat with extra cacao powder.

Freeze and eat frozen or chilled.

Boom.

It all started almost two years ago when my boyfriend Matt and I moved to Vancouver, BC so I could go back to school.

Within 1 month of moving into an apartment in Burnaby, I had developed a really bad rash around my eyes and on my cheeks, forehead, lip and arms. I also got small scabs all over my scalp that were really itchy. I started getting really bad allergic reactions to everything, or so it seemed like. My eyes would water and itch and my eyes and face would swell up sometimes.

face rash 4    face rash 5    arm rash

I started seeing a doctor in Vancouver but it was at a walk in clinic so I pretty well saw someone new every time. I started experimenting with cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet, as I suspected food allergies. Eventually I had an allergy test and was allergic to mold, dust, smoke, and some grasses and trees. I was also allergic to rice which I was coincidentally eating a lot more of because of going gluten free. That is when I started to suspect leaky gut because it appeared that I was becoming allergic to whatever I ate a lot of.

So of course I cut rice out of my diet and within 24 hours my rash cleared up almost completely. I started to feel relieved because I thought the problem was solved.

2 days no rice

Sadly, within a few days the rash came rushing back. At this point I started reading about the paleo diet. I read Wheat Belly and The Paleo Solution and started experimenting even more with my diet.

I was starting to feel quite sick despite my dietary efforts and was often tired and out of it from taking so much benedryl for the allergic reactions. My school was suffering and I was getting stressed out.

I forget exactly how it happened but one day we were looking around in the kitchen and we moved a couple paint cans that were stacked up underneath the sink (which we had never moved before since moving in). They were literally sinking into the floor from water damage. Apparently the water had been leaking through the counter underneath for a long time, probably long before we moved in. We moved all the paint cans out and it became clear that there was a serious mold problem.

mold     mold

We immediately notified the landlord of the mold infestation. They had someone fix the leak and offered to have him come back to rip everything out from under the sink and fix it. We didn’t think that was a good idea while we were still living there so requested that we be let out of the lease.

Meanwhile, I got a doctors note to take 6 months off school and started seeing a naturopath in Vancouver. I had some tests done which determined I had multiple food and chemical intolerances/sensitivities including food colors/additives, MSG, Aspartame, yeast, beer and wine, all dairy products and most grains (particularly wheat), red meat, some nuts and a few random fruits and vegetables.

Other tests also suggested my body was experiencing systemic candida and fungal infection, gut disbiosis (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth – SIBO), leaky gut, blood sugar issues, digestive difficulties with breaking down food, compromised routes of elimination (which was why everything was coming out through my skin).

The naturopath immediately gave me anti candida supplements as well as detox support and suggested I follow the candida diet and look into alternative diets such as SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) or paleo.

We moved out within a month and came back to the Yukon. I continued doing more and more reading and research on the candida/SCD/paleo diets and tried out a lot of recipes. I was still experiencing the rash and allergic reactions even with being out of the mold.

swollen face and rash     swollen eye

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I knew my body was in seriously rough shape and I needed to make some major changes. I had to stop taking benedryl even when I needed it as it rendered me useless and actually made me feel really agitated.

I saw another naturopath in the Yukon and started another candida cleanse. It definitely helped a bit but even after the month I still had the rash! Throughout the last year and some I have continued to educate myself and experiment with variations and combinations of the paleo, Whole 30, SCD, GAPS, FODMAPs, Autoimmune paleo and candida diets. On most days I am essentially 100% gluten free and 80% paleo or some variation of it.

Since we got back to the Yukon almost two years ago, my health has come a long way and my rash and allergies have cleared up a lot but I still have to maintain a strict diet or my rash will come back within a day or two. Although now when I get it, it is usually only on my cheeks.

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I am still very sensitive to chemicals and scents, I have a lot of digestive issues, allergies, and food sensitivities. I absolutely know it was because of the mold because I had none of these problems before I went there.

I believe I may have been susceptible to feel such great effect from the mold because of eating so much processed, packaged and refined foods for most of my life before this. I may have paved the way to it happening, but the mold exposure sent my body and particularly my immune system off the deep end. Here I am almost 2 years later still dealing with it.

One good thing that has come out of all this is that I have become really passionate about eating and living naturally healthy. If it weren’t for everything that happened, I probably would never have started this blog in hopes that I might be able to help others out there going through the same thing as me…

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Since I posted last (a long ass time ago I know!) I have witnessed more and more of my friends and family adopting or at least researching and showing interest in the paleo lifestyle. I love it. For me this means that I get to talk about it more often and with more people! Score.

My boyfriend’s Uncle Al decided to try out the paleo diet after visiting and staying with us in Whitehorse this summer. I leant him two books that I got started with myself: The Paleo Solution and It Starts with Food. He read both and was convinced and eager to get back to Windsor, Ontario so he could clear out his cupboards and start fresh. I’ve actually asked Al to do a guest blog post on his paleo journey which will be coming soon.

My dad has recently picked up the paleo lifestyle and has lost roughly 30 pounds. He also lowered his blood pressure and has a ton of energy. The paleo diet frequently dominates our conversations these days. He’s the one sending me links to health related YouTube videos now!

Aside from Al and my Dad, my mom, brother and boyfriend are also interested. I also have numerous friends who either follow the paleo diet full time, or are researching and/or experimenting with it.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the paleo diet being “just another trend” but I watched a great documentary recently called In Search of the Perfect Human Diet which basically illustrated that “if the paleo diet is a trend, then it’s a 10,000+ year trend”. What this means is that humans essentially ate the paleo diet right up until modern technology and increased population/demand (among other things) prompted us to start mass producing this shit we call food today… So if our ancestors ate this way for so long, it only makes sense that we should too.

There is so much research and information out there to support the benefits of the paleo diet. There is also a ton of motivating and inspirational paleo success stories out there. I think anyone who has done the research and/or experienced the benefit of the paleo lifestyle would agree that it’s the shit! Period.

Anyways, back to the purpose of this post… food!

Ingredients:

1 rutabaga
Roughly 2 tbsp coconut oil, butter or ghee
Sea salt

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Peel the rutabaga and slice into fries. In a large bowl, toss fries in melted oil/fat and spread on foil covered (or oiled) cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Flip fries and then turn the heat up to broil and continue baking for 5 minutes or so. Take out when fries have started to brown up on the sides.

Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and serve immediately!

P.s. these are delicious with any type of sauce ;)

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I always hear of people using a portobello mushroom as a vegetarian burger patty. It only seems appropriate to try it as the bun with a beef burger! Paleo style.

I also figured that adding homemade guacamole and nitrate free bacon would make it double awesome, and I was right.

I’ll give the ingredients for 1 burger so multiply as you wish!

Ingredients:

2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 all natural gluten free beef burger patty
2-3 slices tomato
2-3 slices nitrate free bacon, cooked
A healthy serving of homemade guacamole
a few rings of sliced red onion

Instructions:

BBQ both the portobello mushrooms (with stems removed) face down, as well as the burger patty. I found they take about the same amount of time, but keep an eye on the mushrooms and take them off when they suit your liking.

While those are on the BBQ, fry the bacon, prepare the homemade guacamole and slice the tomato and red onion.

Pile your mushroom high with your burger patty, bacon, sliced tomato, guacamole and red onion. Top with the other mushroom. Eat it like a regular burger, if you can fit it in your mouth!

You could try this with any other paleo friendly toppings too.

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I can’t believe I haven’t posted this before because this is one of my oldest recipes of all time! Since I came up with it, I have been making it at least once a week. It’s a classic.

Ingredients:

2-3 ripe avocados
1/3 cup chopped tomato
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 minced garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lemon
himalayan salt to taste
minced chives (optional)

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor or put everything in a large bowl mash with a fork until you achieve the consistency you desire! Serve right away and top with minced chives (optional).

I like this dish served with paleo lettuce tacos, portobelllo mushroom burgers, and lettuce BLTs. And lets just be honest here, this shit is good with pretty much anything!

Enjoy :)