Feeling better

It’s been just over a month since I’ve been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.  It’s also been just over a month that I’ve been following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) to help my disease.  This protocol isn’t forever – it’s only temporary and depending on each person can last anywhere from 30 days to 3 years.  During this period you eliminate foods that cause inflammation and irritations to your gut: nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, cocoa, coffee beans, all peppers, spices such as cumin, chili powder (anything derived from peppers)), nuts and seeds (including cocoa and coffee beans – GULP!), eggs, or alcohol.  This is in addition of course to the paleo restrictions of no dairy, legumes, grains.  To begin with I did have the overwhelming feeling of: Well, what CAN I eat?! The answer is actually really simple.. I can eat everything except the above listed foods.   I’m talking lots of vegetables and good quality meats.  In the beginning it was pretty difficult, I won’t lie.  However after only about two weeks everything started to fall into place and became “business as usual.”

After the first week or so I was still experiencing a fair bit of abdominal cramping, but no where near as much.  By week 3 I was feeling much better – no cramping at all! What was even better – no bleeding.  No bleeding at all.  For the past year of my life every time I went to the bathroom I experienced blood (and usually a fair bit of it) – but no longer.  The bleeding is very rare and I’m very hopeful that sooner rather than later it will be completely gone – and same with the abdominal cramping.

It hasn’t been easy staying away from coffee or chocolate.  You may find it surprising that I miss eggs and nuts more than coffee and chocolate though.   Eggs were a staple to me – I had them EVERY day for breakfast — and hey, perhaps that’s why I was feeling SO bad.  Same with nuts.  I’ve actually thought back on the months leading up to finally getting diagnosed (the worst 3 months I experienced) and the foods I ate actually make me laugh.  Eggs, nuts, lots of raw vegetables especially tomatoes and red peppers – basically all of the foods that cause inflammation.. I was eating in abundance.  I’m not saying these aren’t healthy foods – they are – it’s the simple fact that I (for now at least) can’t tolerate them.  

At times I do still feel disheartened, discouraged, and sometimes just plain sad.  However, I have some friends and family (and one amazing boyfriend) who support me and show me love.  If you’ve been diagnosed with an IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), an autoimmune disease, I strongly recommend you trying the Autoimmune Protocol for a minimum of 30 days.

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Mocha-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love coffee. I love chocolate. I love baked goodies (the healthy versions, of course). This recipe consists of all of all of these things. So by now you should have realized something.  And that is.. this recipe is awesome.

Oh. I almost forgot to mention that this recipe is free from any refined sugars, grains, gluten & dairy. BOO-YAH. …Who even says boo-yah anymore? Um. Moving on to the recipe before I embarrass myself any further…

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pureed butternut squash
  • 1 cup nut-butter of choice (peanut, almond, cashew, sunbutter, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao powder
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (or dark chocolate) (**I only only put 2 chips on top of each mini muffin, as I feel like there’s already enough chocolate in the muffins!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350f/175c
  • Steam/Boil butternut squash until it’s tender (you’ll be able to easily stick a fork in it)
  • Use a food processor/blender to puree the butternut OR mash by hand (I’ve done both)
  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Evenly distribute batter amongst 24 mini muffins
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

Substitutions:

  • Sweet potato in place of butternut squash
  • Crunchy or smooth nut-butters – your preference
  • Substitute another sweetener for the maple syrup (agave nectar, honey, etc)

Enjoy as part of breakfast, brunch, snack, dessert.. Hey, if you want them for lunch: go for it, who am I to judge? Though, I would recommend you accompany it with something a little more nutritious as well.

My excellent assistant, stirring away.

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Sniff test! Yup, that’s good and chocolate-y.

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Into the muffin pan they go! Bake for 15 minutes or so and..

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Voila! Look at these cuties!

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And a close up just to tease you.

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..What are you still doing on here? GO MAKE THESE!

Pumpkin cream bars

There’s a few foods that I realllly love, and one of them is pumpkin.  It’s one of those versatile foods that you can cook it various ways, each tasting different.  This recipe is a dessert, that is guilt-free, and could actually be served as a breakfast/brunch treat as well – being that it’s actually not THAT sweet (but totally hits the spot).

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Who says making quiche is hard?

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My favorite food is breakfast. Or even better, brunch.  I don’t know what it is about these delectable foods that we get to consume in the AM that I love so much, but I do.  Quiche however, is an exception.  You can have quiche with literally any meal.  Breakfast? Yes. Brunch? Aww yea! Dinner? Oh, why yes you can. Snack time? Don’t mind if I do.  Pair your quiche with a salad and some balsamic vinegar and you’ve got a fantastic meal.

Unfortunately though, there’s this illusion that quiche is hard to make.  I’m here to tell you on the contrary, quiche is quite simple to make.  You can make it as a big quiche for everyone to share, or in muffin tins so everyone can just grab their own.  Honestly, I prefer mini quiches.. Probably because they’re just so darn cute. But also, you don’t have to make the entire batch the same.  Which would be especially useful if you had a vegetarian friend coming over, but you would personally like some ham or sausage in yours.

All right, all right.. I’ll stop blabbing on now.

What you’ll need:

*The veggies you put in is going to depend on what kind of quiche you want to make! The one below is just for spinach and mushroom. You can easily add cherry tomatoes, peppers (aka capsicum), onion, artichoke, etc.  With all of these I would do about about 1 cup.

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 8 oz (or 1-2 cups) baby-bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (optional)
  • Splash of milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp basil and/or oregano (optional)

Steps:

  • Preheat to 375F/190C
  • Sautee mushroom
  • Using about medium heat, cook the spinach until wilted

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  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Lightly spray pan with cooking spray (or put liners in)
  • Fill about 3/4 full

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes

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If you would prefer to do these in a bigger dish, you don’t have the change anything for the recipe, only add about 10 minutes to the cook time.  Use the toothpick trick to check if it’s done.

Busy bee

My mom has always called me a busy bee, and I guess it really is true.  I tend to keep myself extremely busy with work, school, gym, cooking, errands, trying to have a bit of life.. You know how it is!

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Fortunately, this fall semester is coming to a close in just about a week now, so I’m going to have a little bit more free time on my hands.  Which means more time to make posts on here!  There are so many recipes that I’m eager to share.   There are also many topics that I want to discuss, such as the benefits of lots of foods, plants, herbs, etc.  I want to address some questions that I’ve had, that some of you may have, such as: what is an omega-3, fatty acid, Do I need them, and if so why, and where can I get it?  Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K? Iron? Potassium? Is all saturated fat, bad fat?

I think one of the reasons I love health and nutrition so much is I’m constantly learning, and trying new things.  The biggest problem we have as a whole, is we simply don’t know what it is that our bodies need.  Hopefully that’s where I can come in 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato soup

This was my first attempt at this recipe, and it was sooo good (Is the cook allowed to say that?) Well, I think this soup is actually one of my favorite dishes I’ve made so far!  I found a recipe on instagram, and had to try it.  It was made without any of the additional things I added to it after the soup had been made (mushroom, chicken, cauliflower, etc) – to me just plain soup is not filling enough but YOU should cook it however YOU want it.

And without further adieu.. The recipe!

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Ingredients:

– 4 Tomatoes

– 1/2 Onion

– 1 Red Pepper

– Garlic clove

– 1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken, your choice)

– 1 cup coconut milk (your choice of milk – optional*)

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If you want more than just a plain (but still yummy) soup:

– 1/2 mushroom

– Chicken Breast

– 1 cup cauflower

– 1 diced tomato

Directions: 

1) Preheat oven to 350 F (or 175 c)

2) Dice the onion, red pepper, garlic, (3) tomatoes.

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3) Line a baking dish with aluminum foil for easy clean up, and put the above ingredients in the dish.

4) Add a few dashes of dried herbs to the mix; whatever you have and like: I did paprika, italian herbs, oregano, basil,  and parsley.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes

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6) Scoop your now roasted vegetables into your blender or food processor (until you get a texture you’re happy with)

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7) Combine 1 cup broth, with the vegetables.  *If desired, add the coconut milk now.  I added it because it just made it smooth, and creamy, and lessened the kick of the paprika* and bring to a boil.  Stir often!

8) You can either stop now, or continue to add like I did.  I just boiled cauliflower, diced 1 tomato, sauteed the mushroom, and shredded a left over chicken breast – then topped with a little goat cheese.

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Bon Appétit!