Braised beef tacos – gluten free – grain free – dairy free – kid friendly

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It sounds a bit gruesome but I love to split a whole cow from a local farm with friends and family.  Other than hunting wild game (which, there is just no way) this is probably the most economical, humane and sustainable way to eat meat.  You know exactly ‘who’ you are eating and how they lived.  Its easier to meal plan when you have a couple months supply of beef in the freezer, there are less trips to the grocery store and less food waste overall.

Throwing out meat is something that just does not happen around my house.

For a long time I was vegan, and for an ever longer time I completely abstained from red meat, opting instead for poultry or fish.  In turn, for a long time, my blood tests have revealed super low ferritin levels (ferritin is just a fancy word for a body’s total iron stores.)

As it turns out, having low ferritin is often associated with hashimotos, and low ferritin can even end up being the true culprit behind many hashimotos symptoms (specifically, hair loss, cold sensitivity, fatigue and even heart palpitations!)

No amount of Spinach, molasses, lentils or supplementation could ever seem to do much for raising those stubborn ferritin levels.  For years, they consistently hovered between 4 and 17, but when I finally added red meat back into my diet (and cut out those grains) all of my symptoms slowly began to improve.

My ferritin levels finally crept above 20, and best of all, my hair shedding slowed dramatically.

I still love a good plant based meal, but I no longer believe that eating meat is ethically wrong.  I feel it is my first priority to be a good mom to my kids and being a suffering wreck riddled with autoimmune disease and anxiety was truly effecting my ability to parent and just exist in the world.

Anyone who has experienced either can attest, hashimotos (and PCOS) can be downright painful.

I now believe eating ethically is all about making better choices about the meat we do eat and eating less of it overall.  The most important thing we can do is listen to our bodies.  If something in our health is amiss, chances are high that something in our diet is amiss too.

I love Mexican flavors and find that this braised beef is a foolproof yet super flavorful way to cook almost any cut of beef. I have tried this with chuck, sirloin and tip roasts, it always turns out.  When in doubt, ask your butcher to recommend a roast that braises well.  The key to this beef is in the long game.  You have to make the time to cook it super low and slow, and if your cut of beef is particularly large and lean, cut it into smaller chunks before searing and braising.

My husband begs me to make this at least once a week and thinks I’m an absolute superstar every time I pull it from the oven.  My picky kids like it too.

I love this beef on grain free tortillas, but it is also a treat served over mashed potatoes or cauliflower rice.  Pair it with a side of guacamole, pico de gallo, and slaw and you’ve got dinner.

Tip * Feel free to sub the beef for chicken, just reduce the cooking time by half.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 pound beef roast

Spice rub ; 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder

4 tbsp olive oil

2 cups beef stock

1 diced jalapeno

3-4 whole garlic cloves peeled

2 diced roma tomatoes

1 cup salsa verde ( I highly recommend the Herdez brand)

1 lime

1 bunch chopped cilantro (include the stems)

 

Directions :

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Let the beef sit at room temperature for about a half hour prior to cooking

Prepare the spice rub

Cut the roast into smaller roughly 1 pound pieces

Drizzle the beef with 2 tbsp olive oil and roll in the spice rub to coat

In a dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid heat the remaining oil and sear the beef on all sides to a light brown color

Pour in the beef stock and scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot into the liquid

Toss in the salsa verde, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic cloves and a handful of chopped cilantro.

The liquid should come no more than 1/2 way up the beef

Bring up to a low simmer, cover with a lid and put into the preheated oven

Try to forget about it for 2.5 -3 hours

Tip * If you are using a super lean cut flip the beef halfway through cooking so both sides spend some time immersed in the cooking liquid.

Assemble your tortillas, slaw and guacamole

After three hours turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven another hour

Pull out the beef and shred with forks

Optionally you can use an immersion blender to turn the liquids in the pot into a smooth gravy.  If you are feeding kids you might want to pull out some, or all, of the jalapenos before pureeing.

Mix the shredded beef back into the sauce and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Swimming rama – Thai style beef peanut curry with cauliflower rice – low carb – paleo – grain free – gluten free

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Swimming Rama is my favorite of the Thai curries.  Maybe because I have such a soft spot for the ever controversial peanut butter.  But yum.

It is so rich, flavourful and satisfying.  If you can’t do peanuts you can substitute for cashew or almond butter, it will taste slightly different but will still provide that rich creaminess we are all chasing.

This curry can be made vegan by subbing the meat for tofu, it also is great with chicken, prawns or whatever protein you have on hand.

The magic is in the sauce.

Traditionally, swimming rama is poured over a bed of wilted greens, and served with rice.  I like broccolini, spinach or bok choy, but again, just use what you have on hand.

Because I’m feeling so good eating grain free, I obviously recommend subbing out those grains for a fluffy, steaming bowl of cauliflower rice, but that’s your call.

Meat or vegan, rice or cauliflower this is a perfect meal any day of the week that comes together quickly and pleases even picky family members.

 

Ingredients :

1 shallot

1-2 tbsp. red curry paste (adjust to personal spice preferences)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 can coconut milk

1-2 limes

chopped cilantro

3 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tsp fish sauce

2 cups protein of choice

As much steamed or sautéed greens as you like

As much cauliflower rice as you like

 

Directions :

Finely chop shallot and lightly saute in oil about 30 seconds

Add curry paste and continue to saute until the paste becomes fragrant

Toss in protein and roll around in the curry sauce and shallots

Slowly add coconut milk and allow to lightly simmer (don’t boil)

When the protein has cooked through (about 10 minutes) turn off heat

Add fish sauce, lime juice, peanut butter and cilantro

Stir to combine and salt and pepper to taste if needed

*Tip* Serve with an extra lime wedge and let everyone add their own chopped red chilis at the end to individually customize the heat and acid.

If you try this recipe and like it tag me @tha_wild_sage and give it a pin!

 

 

Healthy Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip – Dairy free – Gluten free – Vegan

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Please disregard the photo that looks like weird scrambled eggs (new photos are coming!). This dip is the business.  For real.  I wasn’t even prepared for how much I was going to like it.  Usually I tweak a recipe multiple times before I even consider blogging it but this was a winner on the first try.  This is the one.

The best part?

It is actually healthy.  Not just healthier than its alternatives.  It is creamy, satisfying, crowd pleasing, and also completely nutritionally sound.  Serve it with sliced veggies or some grain free tortillas and you have magic in your hands.

It also comes together in less than 5 minutes.  You get all the flavor of a traditional spinach artichoke dip for a fraction of the time and calories.

I’m still trying to figure out all of this blogging business.  Anyone who has read my post on ‘three ways to know when it’s time to quit’ know that I dropped out of my college tech program.  The tech world is simply not for me.  But I am PASSIONATE about helping others with autoimmune diseases heal without giving up all the glories of food.

What would life even be without deliciousness?!

So, if you make this and like it, share it on your social media accounts.  I really want to get recipes like this out there so all my autoimmune warrior friends will know that I’m here putting out regular delicious content and can add options like this to their snacking arsenal.

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped artichoke hearts

4 cups chopped spinach

1/2 cup cashew cheese (can be found at any health focused grocery store)

1/2 cup PLAIN vegan yogurt (can substitute for vegan mayo but it will be higher calorie)

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp chopped fresh dill (optional)

 

Directions :

Sauté the garlic until fragrant

Add the spinach and let wilt

Toss in chopped artichoke hearts

Stir in the cashew cheese and allow to ‘melt’

Turn off the heat and add the yogurt, nutritional yeast and dill

Stir just until it comes together, should be hot but not boiling

Serve immediately

If you made this and love it tag me @tha_wild_sage and/ or pin it.  I wish you all happy snacking and rapid healing!

 

Gluten free, grain free, aip, whole 30, delicious tortillas.

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These tortillas are the business.  They are soft fluffy magical little flatbreads.  The perfect vessel for pico de gallo, Mexican braised beef, ‘breaded’ fish or shredded chicken.  Beans, tofu, peanut butter and hummus are some vegan friendly accompaniments.  Whatevs’ they are easy.

Or you can just do what I do and just stuff your face with them the second they leave your skillet and singe the corners of your mouth.  It’s all good.

Seriously.  I am no genius.  I am just a girl, who found a recipe on the back of a bag of cassava flour and altered it slightly to help stretch her ingredients.

Lets just start with the flour.  I use a mix of almond and cassava.  I find it gives a nice fluffy consistency, and since I have discovered I can find almond flour dirt cheap in the international foods isle of my grocery store I don’t feel so stingy with it anymore. Cassava however, is really hard to find in stores but abundant online, so have a look around and expect to pay about $30 with shipping.  It is so worth it.

These turn out great with just cassava which is what the original recipe calls for. Using cassava as a base it would be really easy to experiment with using other grain free flour as well, I use Otto’s brand and think it is amazing.

Cassava is the closest I have come to normal old wheat flour in both taste and consistency and I have been having a heyday baking delicious things with it like my chicken pot pie, or chocolate chip cookies.

So if you have a hankering for some tacos, curries, or just want something snackable at hand give these a shake.  You will not be disappointed.

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Grain free tortillas

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cassava flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp. olive or coconut oil

1/2 cup water

Directions:

  1. Mix flours and salt
  2. Add oil and water and form a dough
  3. Separate into 8 equal balls
  4. Roll out balls between two sheets of parchment – dust with extra cassava flour if needed
  5. Fry on medium low heat 1-2 minutes per side or until bubbles form
  6. Make yourself some dang tacos!

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Healthier, grain free chewy chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies

Cookies are one of my problem foods.

It’s so hard for me to exercise self control anytime chocolate is involved.  So I really don’t make these often, and when I do I usually end up fighting my kids for the last one.

This recipe leaves you wanting nothing.  At some point we’ve all made a *healthier* cookie recipe that promises us the world and then falls flat on its face.

Not these.

They are;

A bit crunchy on the outside.

Slightly chewy.

Just sweet enough without putting you into a sugar coma.

There are nuts, so you know, healthy-ish.

The ratio of chocolate to cookie satisfies any chocolate craving.

And they are gluten/ grain and carry a much lower glycemic load than traditional cookies, they can also easily be made vegan by using a vegan egg substitute and coconut oil.

So without further ado…

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Healthier chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup + 2 tbsps. of fat (grass fed butter or coconut oil is best)

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup cassava flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup macadamia nuts (or whatever you fancy)

1 cup chocolate chunks (I use enjoy life chips, they are free of milk, nuts and soy)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Let fat sit at room temperature to soften and then cream in sugar, egg, and vanilla.  (Don’t worry if it looks a bit weird/ starts to separate coconut sugar behaves differently than normal sugar)
  3. Mix the flours, salt and baking soda and add it to the wet ingredients
  4. Stir in the nuts and chocolate (if you have a nut allergy skip the nuts and add more chocolate)
  5. Place on baking sheet and gently press cookies flat with your palm.
  6. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

One skillet primal chicken pot pie, gluten free, grain free.

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This is a much healthier skillet version of chicken pot pie.

One of my favorite weeknight dinners is the roast chicken.  It looks so impressive, tastes so good and is yet so simple.  But the real magic happens the next day when I turn the left overs into bone broth and subsequently, chicken pot pie.

Chicken pot pie was one of the first foods I was determined to make grain free.  It’s such a creamy bowl of comfort that warms up even the coldest of days.

Turns out, with the combination of Cassava and Almond flour, making a flaky, grain free lower glycemic crust is actually nbd, and I now make this all the time.

The whole thing gets made in one skillet so there is way less clean up.  Tapioca flour thickens the filling and coconut milk gives it that creaminess we all crave.

Served with shaved brussels sprouts, swiss chard and salad it is to die for, and other than the grass fed butter and potatoes, completely paleo.

 

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Grain free primal chicken pot pie

 

Pie crust ingredients:

3/4 cup cassava flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

2 tbsp ice water

 

Filling ingredients:

2 tbsp fat (butter, ghee or coconut oil)

2 cups bone broth

2 cups chopped chicken meat

1 Onion

2 carrots

3 stalks of celery

2 potatoes

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, I sometimes leave it out because my son hates them)

2 tbsp tapioca flour

2 tbsp fat (grass fed butter or coconut oil)

thyme (fresh or dried)

bay leaf

chopped fresh parsley

 

Pie crust directions:

  1. Pop your butter into the freezer to firm it up, ( if using another form or fat it should also be chilled, but I can’t promise success unless butter is used so try at your own risk.)
  2. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl or the bottom of your cold skillet.
  3. Using a box grater grate in chilled butter.
  4. Using your fingers crumble the butter into the flours (if you have a food processor a few pulses in there works too).
  5. Add the egg and just enough ice water to form a sturdy dough.
  6. Don’t over mix, just bring it all together.
  7. Wrap the dough in saran and chill in the fridge while you assemble the pie filling.
  8. Once the filling has been assembled roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment, it should roll to about 1/4 inch and be just big enough to lay across the skillet with enough excess to completely cover the filling.
  9. Poke a few holes in the top of the crust.
  10. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky and the filling bubbles over it.

 

Filling directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Chop the onions into a fine dice and cut the rest of the veggies to desired sizes.
  3. Heat the fat and sauté the onions until translucent.
  4. Toss in the garlic and thyme, sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add the rest of the veggies and the tapioca flour. (use any grain free thickener of choice)
  6. Let the flour brown lightly but don’t burn it (1-2 minutes)
  7. Pour in the chicken stock, coconut milk, bay leaf and parsley.
  8. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until the veggies soften a bit.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool a bit and then drape with the prepared pie crust.
  10. Press the excess edges of the crust into the skillet to seal in the filling.
  11. Poke a few fork holes in the top so steam can escape and return it to the oven for 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An 11 step plan to heal your body and get a jumpstart on your new life of wellness

pexels-photo-965161.jpegCheesy photo aside, this is a super important and detailed blog post so if you want to learn what I have done to make huge strides in healing my own illness, get comfy.

First a mandatory disclaimer, though I have studied nutrition, I am not a doctor and would never suggest that anyone should neglect a doctors recommendations in the face of critical illness. This being said, I also believe it is everyone’s responsibility and right to take control of their own health and choose a healing protocol that they can feel good about and believe in.  I am simply sharing what has worked for me and many others in improving heath and even reversing supposedly irreversible disease.

It is becoming a more common opinion that most illness starts in and is cured by the mind (followed by the gut), so if you believe the only road to healing your own body is following a western medical route, I would agree that you are probably right.

(Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. ~Henry Ford)

Many people facing illnesses ranging from the flu to cancer have been healed by western medicine, but on the same note, people also heal themselves every day using natural, less invasive methods. Listen to your body first, believe in its ability to heal and go from there.

These days it seems everyone is sick to some degree and it is actually more rare to meet someone experiencing vibrant health than it is to meet someone who has some form of illness. The list of modern day medical afflictions seems to be endless. Even the common cold seems to run through my kids school multiple times a year.

I truly don’t believe we were designed to live a life of illness and suffering, but sadly, our modern diet, toxic environment and lifestyle choices has predestined us to these fates. We put far too much trust in our traditional medicine that puts far too much trust in textbooks and dogma. Health care providers often fail to truly listen to their patients which then leaves us tuning out our own inner voices who are screaming at us, ‘hey, remember me, your body? Something serious is going on in here.’

Regardless of your current state of wellness, I believe it is vital for everyone on the planet to take a serious look at the foods they put in their body followed by a full body and mind detox to hit the reset button on their health.

If you are currently undergoing treatment for a life threatening disease I DO NOT recommend following these suggestions in lieu of treatment but rather integrate or turn to them after your critical illness has gone into remission.  These steps will help create an environment where your disease will be less likely to return.

Don’t be intimidated by the long to-do list, just put one foot in front of the other and check them off one at a time. Listen to your body, pay attention to how you FEEL. If supplementing, add only add one supplement at a time so you can appreciate the differences it affects in you. In no time you should feel like a completely new person.

 

1. Undergo an elimination diet followed by a complete diet overhaul. Hidden allergies and intolerances also cause constant inflammation leading your body ignite an autoimmune response. Some experts believe all modern autoimmune diseases are caused by chronic inflammation as the result of undiagnosed allergies and infections. Gluten dairy and soy are BIG ones to watch out for. You can also get professionally tested for intolerances but these tests are expensive and not always accurate. You already intuitively know what your body needs to heal, you just have to listen.

2. Begin a mostly whole foods, anti inflammatory diet and be sure to omit all ingredients you have found you have an intolerance to. You should try to make all your own sauces and become a vigilant label reader if you purchase anything processed.  Soy, gluten and sugar are hidden everywhere.

3. Replace all products that you use on your skin, hair and home with natural non toxic ones. You can make these yourself, or purchase them if you are not the DIY type. Your skin is your bodies largest organ and soaks up everything you put on it like a sponge.  A good rule of thumb I try to follow is, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth don’t put it on your body.

4. Get tested for hidden infections, viruses, candida, heavy metals, parasites and bacteria. If your immune system is working overtime fighting off a chronic condition your body will be in a constant state of inflammation which leads to many forms of illness and will keep you operating below optimal levels.  Many MD’s are reluctant to test for these things so I recommend seeking out a naturopath.

5. Begin to detox. This part of healing is controversial, some health experts claim that your body is more than capable of detoxing itself but recent studies show everyone on the planet is carrying a toxic load (even babies are being born with thousands of toxins already in their system) and when your body is working to fight off constant inflammation it may put detoxing on the back burner. The detox phase can take a while, but will ignite a radical transformation to your overall health.  For me this was a huge game changer.  Some good detox strategies are dry brushing, saunas, Epsom bath and using herbal preparations.

6. Heal your gut. When you have eliminated all food intolerances and begun to detox their residual effects it is time to repair all the damage they have done. Gut health is so super important more and more experts are being led to believe that all disease begins right there. Taking bone broth, and supplementing with the Amino Acid L-Glutamine are two proven ways to heal that precious gut lining. Probiotics (good quality ones) are also super vital to replenishing your good bacteria, especially if you have recently done a herbal cleanse/ detox.  However, there is no point even beginning this step if you have not already done step two. As long as you continue irritating your gut with foods that you are intolerant to, it will never fully heal.

7. Find your supplements. All bodies will need and respond to different supplements so it is a great idea to work with a holistic nutritionist, Chinese medicine practitioner or naturopath to determine the things your body is lacking and start adding them into your diet via high quality nutritional supplements. Not all supplements are created equal, I was anemic for years taking daily iron fumarate tablets (at my GP’s recommendation) before an integrative physician recommended iron bisglysinate and I was finally able to raise my iron levels quickly and painlessly.

8. Change your mindset. A toxic mindset creates a toxic body. Having a positive mindset is important not just for healing but for affecting all elements of your life from money and career to love and happiness. Releasing patterns formed over a lifetime takes work and time, but it is time well spent. Integrating daily meditations, gentle movement, affirmations and breathing exercises will improve not only your quality of life but your health as well.  And NO MORE negative self talk.  You are a miraculous being so lets take a moment to acknowledge that.  This step in particular has been a huge change for me.

9. Sleep. You need at least 7 hours and 8 if you are dealing with illness. Period. Even if you seem to function well on 5-6 hours chances are your body wants more. Your cells do the most healing work while you snooze so this area of your life should never be neglected. Also sleep makes you look better which never hurts in improving your overall quality of life.

10. Exercise. You have got to get sweaty. While sweating in saunas and baths is a big part of a good detox plan, actual physical exercise that pushes you to your limit and makes you sweat buckets is a vital component of your journey to lifelong health and happiness. I have left this to the end because intense physical exercise before you are ready, can stress your adrenals and lead to raised cortisol levels (wich actually can make you hold weight and increase inflammation). When you have completed all the steps above and are starting to feel like a new person it is time to start pushing your body with both weight training and cardiovascular training. You’ll know you are ready for this phase when you actually WANT to exercise and (mostly) look forward to your workouts/ feel energised rather than depleted when your workout is over.

11. Remove the toxic people from your life, or at least limit the energy you give to them. You’ve done all this work removing toxic ingredients from your diet, skincare and household products, and improving your mindset, so why are you still allowing toxic people to suck the joy out of you. You are a sum of the people you spend the most time with so make sure these are high quality people and you will notice your energy levels and outlook improve drastically.

I know this can seem like a daunting amount of work to do but if you are sick of feeling run down, dealing with illness and quite frankly, looking like shit, this is a great place to start.

Health is a journey not a destination, and if you really want to get the most out of your life, you’ve got to care for this body you are living in.
Life is so much more enjoyable when you have energy, a positive mindset, and quality people surrounding you.

In 2017 I began implementing these changes and am finally feeling like a new person going into 2019. Hopefully this helps someone else who is suffering feel like they have their life back.