Surf & Turf Stuffed Summer Squash (Paleo, AIP, LowFodmap, 21DSD)

I am starting to feel myself again after having some time off from one of my jobs and from weightlifting. Not to say those were the issues but it has given me some time to really reflect on things and organize my life. This morning at physical therapy I was finally able to play with a barbell again and given the “OK” to add some lifting back in! I plan on taking my time and really focusing on improving my form, technique, stability and mobility so I don’t end up back where I started. Every time I injure myself I take it as a learning experience and use it to grow stronger and more aware of my body’s capacity. I tend to get so wrapped up my goals that I overlook smaller details in my training that need attention. This past week was quite humbling and a good reminder that I am still recovering from years of being sick and treating my body like crap. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and having strong foundations inside and out is without a doubt the most important. 

I won’t bore you with too much blabbering about myself today, but stay tuned for an update of my bio within the next week or two. I left it with a little bit of a cliffhanger because I wasn’t sure that I was ready to share my full story at the time. But after the loss of a friend who was a big influence on my life and ultimately some of the reason why I am where I am today, I feel compelled to share in hopes that it might reach some people that are struggling or have struggled with the same issues that I have and give them a glimmer of hope.

Anyways, to lighten up the rest of this post lets get to the recipe! This is based off of my all time favorite recipe from the 21 Day Sugar Detox . If you don’t own the books or haven’t tried the detox, you need to! I can honestly say that through many years of being Paleo I always continued to struggle with an addiction to sugar. It’s one of those things that is INCREDIBLY hard to shake, probably harder than smoking although I’ve never smoked so I can’t compare personally, but the withdrawals are real! Once you realize that you don’t need sugar for energy, your body can start to fuel itself properly and you will get a whole new and sustainable level of energy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 TB. cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TB. coconut aminos
  • 3-5 drops fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out as much of the insides as possible (the more you scoop out the more room for stuffing!!)

  

-Place the squash face down on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on thickness) until they are easily pierced by a fork on the inside

-While the squash cooks, melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat 

-Dice the remaining squash and add it to the skillet along with the onion, carrots, celery, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper

  
  

-Satuee veggies for 5 minutes then add minced shrimp, ground beef, minced ginger and scallions to the skillet

-Continue cooking until the shrimp are pink and the ground beef is browned

  
-Remove squash from oven when fully cooked and flip them over on the pan

-Stuff each squash as much as possible! Then broil them in the oven for 2-3 minutes until they are nicely bribes in top

-Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and some more diced scallions and enjoy! 

  
Notes: The recipe in the 21 DSD cookbook is called “cabbage-wrapped dumplings”. Diane gives a recipe for a delicious sauce to top these with but I will keep that a secret… Grab the book to find out!😜

Also- to make this lower FODMAP leave out the white onions and add more scallions. 

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    White Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP)

    Hey everyone! I apologize for neglecting my blog lately I have just been consistently wrapped up in too many things! It’s definitely gotten to me as my adrenals are telling me they can’t keep up. Between long hours of work, cooking, baking, personal training, lifting, WODs, and now physical therapy, there just isn’t enough time in the day! Lucky for my readers and for myself I have decided to (and been forced to) make some changes in order to restore my health once again and to get back to doing the things that make me happy (like THIS!).

    For those of you that know me, I continue to struggle with spinal issues. It’s a work in progress and at this point it just one thing after another, but I hope that eventually my troubles will be much farther and fewer between. Most currently I have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my lumbar spine that was causing muscle weakness in my right leg and subsequent knee pain because my right leg was failing to get into the proper position. Since I went back to Physical Therapy (shout out to ProEX in Springfield for being amazing!) I have seen a HUGE improvement in my right leg. In fact I ended up getting a PR on my snatch a few days into PT. On the downside, the pain has since centralized itself to my lumbar spine which is far more uncomfortable than my knee! It’s a process that needs to happen though, and since i have had back pain I have been advised to cease all activity that compresses the spine…. It doesn’t take long to realize that cuts out mostly everything besides a few specific exercises. Luckily I should be able to get back to lifting in about 2 weeks or once the pain is gone. Until then I’m all about them core exercises! And my compex, which has super helpful in muscle recovery and also has strength settings so I don’t feel like I am doing NOTHING for the next 2 weeks!

      
    On the plus side, my relatively nonexistent workout load gives me some much needed time to let my creative wheels turn again in the kitchen! (I’m sure my boyfriend will be happy about this because I’ve been cooking the most basic and uninteresting things lately! lol… sorry Mickey!) Some of you might have seen my recipe for Red Velvet Hash, which was AH-mazing! Well, this one has similar ingredients but a whole different flavor profile, a MUST try!


    Ingredients:

    • 1 large white sweet potato (Japanese or Hannah), shaved
    • 2 medium golden beets, peeled and shaved
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 2-4 TB. coconut oil
    • 2 TB. fresh chives, diced
    • 1 TB. tarragon
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1.8 tsp. pepper

    Instructions:

    -In a large skillet melt 2 TB. coconut oil over medium-high heat

    -Add diced onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes

    -Add shaved beets and potato to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice

    -Add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the coconut oil if you need it) to the skillet and stir to combine

      
    -Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beets and potatoes are soft

      
    -Add in some cooked meats if desired, top with some eggs or use as a delicious side dish! You could also turn the skillet to high and really crisp up the hash if you prefer it crispy! Lots of possibilities with this one!

      
    Enjoy!

    Blueberry Gummies (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    I apologize for being so behind in my blog posts lately! I have had to put more time into reducing my stress levels again lately as they tend to creep up when I over-commit myself to things. Once again I like to think that I can “do it all” and I sure can, but it comes with a cost which is usually a decline in my health. Anyways, I won’t bore you with details from my fitness updates today but overall things are going well. I have a slight stability problem in my right knee/ankle that is causing some inflammation in my knee but I am actively working on figuring that out, I will likely head back to my friends at ProEX Physical Therapy to strengthen that issue. In the mean time my lifting is going quite well and I have been making progress everyday! No complaints there.

    In the Primal Treats and Eats realm I have been baking away for Mother’s Day! I had some mini-cake specials going on so that people could treat themselves as well as the mothers in their lives! I unfortunately will not be seeing my mother or my family this weekend because I will be working on Mother’s Day, but I did of course bake my mom something special and will celebrate with her the following weekend.

      
    Mini cakes! 

    Another positive note is that the weather in New England has been amazing!! I think we deserve it after that harsh winter… I got to enjoy it a little yesterday while hiking. 😊

      
    Views from the top of the Notch in Amherst.

    Now for the gummies!

    This is a great recipe that is super easy to make. After listening to the Glowing Skin Summit I got a swift reminder of the importance of gelatin, collagen, antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients that support skin health. Skin is the largest organ in the body and it has internal and external components. Skin serves to protect the body from external elements: it lets things that we need in such as sunlight to create vitamin D, and keeps out the toxins. Although in modern times the world we live in is a very toxic one. Our skin is exposed to chemicals and toxins throughout the day in our skincare products, shampoos, soaps, perfume, deodorants, detergents, and even in the air and water supply. It’s more important than ever to take a loot at your products and the ingredients in them and try your best to detoxify your life from these harmful agents. This may surprise you but all of these products can be made pretty simply! More info on that to come as I learn for myself how to create my own household cleaning products and find the best chemical and toxin free skincare products. For now I can share that Dr. Bronner makes a great multipurpose soap. Himalayan sea salt soap is all you need to clean and exfoliate the skin. And last but not least Dragonfly Traditions has amazing natural skin care products! 

    Ok, now I’ll really get to the recipe:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup organic berries (I used blueberries)
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 4 TB Great Lakes Beef gelatin
    • 1-2 TB coconut water (optional)
    • 1-2 TB local raw honey (optional)

    Instructions:

    -Add blueberries, lemon juice, coconut water and honey to a saucepan over medium heat

      
    -Cook, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have deflated and let the mixture is mostly liquid

      
    -Let cool for 1-2 minutes then add berry mixture to a blender with gelatin and blend unit smooth

    -Pour gelatin mixture into candy molds or into a glass pan

      
    -Pop in the fridge for an hour to solidify

    -Cut into preferred shape and size and enjoy one or a few daily!

      

    Crispy Slow Cooked Ribs (Paleo, AIP, 21dsd)

    The last week I have been doing some self-experimentation and seeing how my body responds to different types of stressors. 

    If you read my last post I went on a rant about how exercise (aka Crossfit and Olympic lifting) seem to have such a great positive mental and emotional effect on me that it seems to negate the “stress on the body” factor. Physically it is demanding, and my body has been getting stronger and more stable each week, but with every step forward there are bound to be some bumps in the road. 

    I have had a long history of right-sided shoulder pain caused by a pinched nerve in my spine. I stay on top of it as best as I can with weekly trips to the chiropractor, bi-weekly accupuncture, and a massage once a month. These things help greatly but sometimes things go arye. I experienced that last week when I was doing snatched and something caused a pinched nerve, but this time on the left side. The pain was pretty serious and I couldn’t lift my left elbow past parallel without excruciating shooting pain. This might have been one of the most frustrating moments for me… I wasn’t doing anything different, didn’t catch the bar in any super awkward compromised position, it just was one of those things that was going to happen regardless of what I did. 

    Upon leaving the gym I scheduled an appointment with my chicopractor for the following day and also made a doctors appointment because my frustration got the best of me and I decided that I wanted to get X-Rays. Not only of my neck but also of my collar bone which has recently developed a large bump, that I am fairly certain is a contusion from the barbell but I wanted to be sure. You know if you google “lump on collar bone” you get everything from fracture to cancer and multiple other scary sounding things. 

    Well, after my Chiro appointment I felt 95% better, had full range of motion back, only a slight tightness in one position. From there I went to the doctor, who (warning: western medicine vent coming up) told me that I shouldn’t be lifting, working (bc my job is physically demanding), or going to the chiropractor, and should take anti inflammatory drugs….. 

    I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself on natural ways of healing, and also know how our modern day health care system works. What the doctor told me didn’t surprise me at all and when she followed her prognosis up with “that’s what I tell all of my patients” it really hit home. Now would be a good time to strongly suggest to everyone reading this to go and download the Underground Wellness Podcast and listen to episode titled “Gerland Roliz: Ex-pharma sales rep tells all”. It’s a game changer in so many ways. 

    Anyways, the doctor did provide me with what I went in for, which was the X-Rays. They may or may not be of any actual help or value in the end but for peace of mind I wanted to take a deeper look. In the mean time I have been back at the gym, snatching and completing all of my lifting without pain, thanks again to my chiropractor. I have found a way to cushion my barbell so it doesn’t irritate the bump on my collar bone, and my anti-inflammatory diet keeps my RA in check.   And to celebrate: let’s get to that recipe! 

    This recipe was based off a recipe from: https://salixisme.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/aip-paleo-pork-ribs-spice-rub/

    However I didn’t have some ingredients so I improvised and instead of creating a sauce for the ribs, I mashed the parsnips from the crockpot which made a tasty flavorful side dish!😄

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large rack pork ribs
    • 2 TB  spice rub (see below)
    • Juice from 1/2 an orange
    • 2 TB bone broth 
    • 1 extra large or 2 medium parsnips, diced
    • 1 TB Fresh thyme
    • 2 TB chopped scallions

    AIP Spice Rub

      • ½ tbsp Himalayan Salt
      • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
      • 1 tbsp dried oregano
      • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
      • 2 tsp dried thyme
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • ½ tsp ground ginger
      • ½ tsp turmeric

      Instructions:

      -In a large crockpot, add the diced parnsips, orange juice, bone broth, scallions and fresh thyme 

        
      -In a bowl or herb grinder combine ingredients for the spice rub and mix thoroughly

      -Rub mixture over the entire rack of ribs

        

      -Cut the rack in half and place on top of the parsnips in the crockpot

        

      -Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours

      -Preheat oven to broil

      -Remove ribs from the crockpot and cut into individual wings

      -Place on a baking sheet and broil until crispy, about 3-5 minutes 

      -While ribs are broiling, transfer the parsnips to a large bowl and mash with a fork or hand mixer until no large chunks remain

        

      -Serve mashed parsnips with crispy ribs and enjoy!

        

      Toasted Coconut Plantain Pancakes (Paleo, AIP)

      I have to say that pretty much the entire time (we’re talking several months) that I was following the strict Autoimmune diet, I was dying for pancakes. It’s funny because even before I started the AI protocol I would only make paleo pancakes every once in a blue moon. I think it was mostly because of the fact that I attempted to make a few different versions of egg-free AIP pancakes and they all failed miserably. Of course now that I am allowed to incorporate more foods back into my diet, I find that I still stick to eating mostly AIP, with the exception of natural sweeteners or a bite of dark chocolate once in a while. Eating AIP just simply makes me feel better.

      I am still experimenting with eggs to see if I can (ever) actually reincorporate them into my diet. The more I read and hear through other people’s experiences the more I find that eggs tend to be a common irritant. So for now, I have finally made one AIP pancake recipe that works! I plan on using some other flours and starches to work on some more recipes as well. These are definitely tasty but not “pancake-texture”, so if that’s what your looking for you might want to try someone else’s recipe, for now.


      Ingredients:

      • 2 ripe (black) plantains
      • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (plus a little more for topping!)
      • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp. allspice
      • 2 TB coconut oil
      • 1-2 TB full-fat coconut cream
      • Dash of vanilla extract

      Instructions:

      -In a 300 degree oven, toast the shredded coconut on a baking pan for 4-5 minutes, flipping regularly so the coconut doesn’t burn. Toast until golden brown.

      -Preheat a large skillet to medium-high head and add 1 TB. coconut oil to the skillet.

      -In a large mixing bowl, mash the plantain with the toasted coconut, cinnamon and allspice until no large chunks remain (there will likely still be some small ones).

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      -Once the skillet is hot add 1/4 cup of the plantain mixture to the pan, using the bottom of a spoon to mold the mixture into a thin circle (about 1/4 inch thick)

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      -Cook for 2-3 minutes per side then move to another plate to cool for 2 minutes.

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      -While the pancakes are cooling whip up the coconut cream with the vanilla and toss onto pancakes. Garnish with some more toasted coconut and enjoy!

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      Notes: You can find coconut cream in canned full-fat coconut milk. The cream usually separates from the water. Another option is to buy this brand of coconut “milk” which is essentially just the cream.

      Chicory Coffee (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      This week I have been in Eastern Mass working for my parents and tending to the house, cat, dog and horse while my parents are away. I have to say even though I have been busy as usual, it’s a different kind of busy. Taking care of animals and working in retail feels like a vacation compared to my life back home! Although I have changed a lot in the past 8 months to improve my lifestyle and reduce stress, I know that I still need to tweak some things that are impeding on my progress. In fact, my doctor sent me a scientific paper titled “Overtraining, Exercise and Adrenal Insufficiency” last week, that didn’t sit well with me. I wouldn’t say he was wrong, I know a lot about overtraining- but for me, the issue isn’t with exercise specifically, it’s simply doing too much, all the time, never stopping. I do prioritize my sleep and use acupuncture not only to keep my shoulder happy but also to relax. I guess practicing relaxation once a week for around an hour isn’t enough?! We’ll call this the first step: realizing that there is a problem that needs addressing.

      On the other hand, since I have been able to relax and my stress levels are pretty low at the moment- I have been feeling great. I haven’t had crazy food cravings, have been able to start losing the stress weight that I tend to hold onto when I am in overdrive for too long, my body has been recovering quickly from workouts and lifting, and the pain in my shoulder has been pretty sparse. Oh yah, and I also got my period again after being two weeks late. Sorry for the TMI but it just goes to show you how much you can really screw up your body processes when you don’t relax. Those who say “i’ll sleep when I’m dead”: with that mindset it will be sooner than you think, trust me.

      So, while I figure out the next steps that need to happen in order for me to keep my body balanced and happy, I do have a lot to look forward to the next few weeks. I am going to start up a new lifting program next week which I am thrilled about. Endurance comes pretty naturally to me but strength does not, so I plan on focusing on getting stronger the next few months in order to improve my overall athletic ability. Not to mention I love lifting. I may still be relatively new to Olympic lifting but I absolutely love the technicality of it, the room for constant improvement, the confidence that it builds, the list goes on. I also have been fortunate enough to have been able to learn a lot from Nikita who is an amazing coach and one day I hope to make him proud when I am a super strong lifter.  😉

      While reading this post you might think I am contradicting myself by saying I need more relaxing in my life and then throw in that I am starting a lifting program, but the truth of the matter is that I know what is causing the stress in life, and it’s not working out. While I am aware that lifting adds physical stress to the body, it also clears my mind, gives me something to look forward to, and releases endorphins that allow me to feel fulfilled. The kind of stress that causes adrenal fatigue (for me) comes from work and from over-committing myself to things. AKA I suck at saying no. I tend to pride myself on being able to get a zillion things done in a day and help everyone that I come across. While I do enjoy being able to do everything, clearly my body does not. I have some work to do in sorting out what can stay and what needs to go in my life, but the end result will be worth it.


      In other news: since I am still not allowed to have coffee (It’s not on the Autoimmune Paleo protocol), I have found this surprisingly similar alternative. I love coffee, not for the caffeine but for the taste. I also am surrounded by coffee when I am at work at Jake’s and find it to be torturous at times. While I haven’t had a problem swapping coffee out for tea or bone broth, I miss the savory robust coffee taste!

      I’m not sure why this took me so long to stumble across, mostly because I had no idea it existed until I heard about it on a podcast, but Chicory Coffee is a thing, and it’s quite delicious! I made some for the first time today after realizing that River Valley Market carries ground chicory root. So far I have also found that you definitely don’t need as much chicory grinds to make a great cup of coffee, its pretty strong! It also really DOES taste like coffee, I would say its more on the acidic side so I recommend adding some coconut oil, full-fat coconut milk, maybe even some ghee and spices. I personally prefer coconut oil, coconut milk and some cinnamon.

      So, If you can have coffee, why should you switch to chicory? Personally I think that the world relies a little too much on coffee and caffeinated beverages. If you are the type that needs a coffee in the morning or mid-day just to make it through the day, then you have something deeper going on that needs addressing. Your energy plummets due to lack of proper nutrition, being on the Standard American Diet blood sugar roller-coaster, or simply not getting enough rejuvenating deep sleep. Chicory is naturally caffeine free also has a number of health benefits including liver and digestive support.

      How do you make it? Simple, the same way as you make coffee! Throw some chicory grinds into a filter, add water to your coffee machine, and let the magic happen! Remember, it’s potent so go I would suggest using half the amount you would normally use to make regular coffee. I use 1 TB. for 4 cups of coffee. I prefer it to not be that strong but you can tweak this to your desired taste.

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      Then, add in whatever you would like, here are some suggestions:

      • 2 tsp. coconut oil
      • 1 TB. full-fat coconut milk
      • 2 tsp. ghee
      • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp. ginger
      • 1/4 tsp. baking soda (Why baking soda? Check out this post)
      • 1/4 tsp. cacao powder

      Whatever combo you choose, blend it up after or use a handy frother and voilia! Delicious craft “coffee” that is AIP friendly!

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      Parsnip and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Thighs (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

      Sometimes life likes to throw everything at you all at once, for me this happens quite often. As much as I feel like I handle multiple tasks well, the body isn’t made to be in a constant state of overdrive. If you think about the human lifestyle before the modern convenience of homes, cars, grocery stores and etc, humans hand to find a way to survive and thrive on their own. Hunting and gathering were tasks that involved much walking, short bursts of high intensity movement, and selectively expending energy if the payoff was greater than the loss. Humans slept when the sun went down and woke when the sun came up. They had to expend enough energy each day to achieve deep restorative sleep each night, they couldn’t rely on coffee and energy drinks to get them moving in the morning. The human body works the same way as it did back when life was simply about survival.

      When the body is in a state of heightened alertness, it is in fight or flight mode. Essentially your body is turning up its senses and getting ready to react to whatever situation may arise. In this state, the focus is on survival, all other processes like digestion are slowed so the body can react quickly. Your body enters the fight or flight stage more often then you think, this response can be triggered by daily deadlines, important phone calls, incoming bills, making big decisions, or simply running late for work. Most of us live in this state quite often, and even though it may not trigger a panic attack or extreme anxiety that being chased by a bear would elicit, the effect on your body remains the same.

      In addition to living in a world where the daily hustle exists in almost everyone’s lives, we tend to stack harmful behaviors against our bodies by not getting the proper quantity or quality of sleep. Sleep is the only anabolic state for the body… deep sleep, that is. Being awake is a catabolic state, meaning our bodies are breaking down daily and the only way to restore and replenish them is by getting DEEP sleep! Can you see how this would be important? Deep sleep is also known as stage 3 and 4, Non-REM, during this stage you typically do not have dreams. Your body can only make growth-hormone when you sleep, and it’s also smart enough to only make this available at night. if you think you can outsmart your circadian rhythm and sleep whenever you feel like it and reap the same benefits, you are sadly mistaken.

      Recognizing the importance of getting adequate sleep and spending large parts of the day in rest-and-digest mode instead of fight-or-flight is the first step. Doing so in such a fast-paced modern world presents its own challenges. While I am doing my own experimentation on learning how to find the proper balance to support my body, learning and listening to other people’s methods of relaxation is always helpful. I have recently tuned into a few new podcasts. I highly recommend listening to episode #51 from the Total Human Optimization podcast called Sleep Smarter with Shawn Stevenson. (Thank you Rick for recommending that one!) There are also some great talks on the Underground Wellness Podcast, and tune into the Functional Wellness Summit that will be available to listen to for FREE from April 14-21st, all you have to do is enter your e-mail to receive the link to the interviews. There is always more to learn and educating yourself is the best way to start living a better life.


      Now for the recipe! This is another one that came out of the “whatever is in my kitchen” approach, but I have to say its savory, satisfying and delicious! Oh, and its pretty easy! Try it out 🙂

      Ingredients:

      • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs (I used skinless but you could also leave the skin on!)
      • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
      • 1 package of sugar-free bacon
      • 2 cups spinach
      • sea salt
      • poultry seasoning

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large skillet, cook 2 slices of bacon until crispy.

      -In the microwave or on the stove, steam parsnips until you can easily pierce them with a fork and mash them until no large chunks remain

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      -When bacon is cooked remove it from the skillet and add the spinach, sautĂŠ until spinach is wilted

      -Chop the crispy bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and add it to the mashed parsnip

      -Add the cooked spinach to the parsnips also, mix to combine ingredients

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      -Season the inside and outside of the chicken thighs with salt and poultry seasoning

      -Place a large scoop of the parsnip mixture in the center of each chicken thigh and wrap with an uncooked slice of bacon (use a toothpick to secure the bacon if needed)

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      -Place the stuffed thighs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

      -Turn the oven to HI broil and cook for 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway so the bacon cooks on all sides

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      -Remove from oven and serve! Yum!

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      Hidden Liver Bacon Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      I hope everyone had a great Easter! I spent my day working at Jake’s and baking most of the evening. I did, of course, miss seeing my family and my boyfriend’s family but I plan to see them all another time soon! This past Saturday I had a great Primal Treats and Eats tasting at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will. It was the last day of the Lurong Paleo Challenge and I was super impressed by everyones improvements and overall results. I love the paleo challenges because it motivates people to try paleo and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Obviously not everyone is successful in staying on track, but at the very least it helps people develop the skills to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish everyone would take these skills and continue on with the paleo diet and lifestyle after the challenges, but if they don’t then I hope they were successful enough during the challenge to see and feel the difference in their body when it is properly nourished. (Here’s where I will remind everyone that gluten remains in your system for about 14 days… if you can’t go 2 weeks without consuming gluten then you will never know how great your body can feel without it!)

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      Here’s a shot of my setup at CFIW! I love being able to provide people with paleo treats! I do, however, know that treats are treats, and they aren’t meant to be binge eaten just like conventional processed crap. I take pride in making sure all of my treats have only the highest quality, organic, locally sourced (when possible) and nutrient dense ingredients. These are intended to be consumed as treats! They are perfect for special occasions, for a quick boost of energy, and as a reward for a long week of hard work. I bake them because I find that there aren’t many (if at all) good options for paleo treats, and they have become part of a modern lifestyle. I also happen to really enjoy creating beautiful, delicious and nutrient dense treats, and the same goes for meals. Paleo can be fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging if you commit yourself to it. It can also be pretty darn easy! It is what you make of it, and I hope that more people start to realize that you only have things to gain when you switch to a paleo lifestyle.


      Today I wanted to share this awesome recipe that I created to work on incorporating more organ meats into my daily life. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and it’s a shame that people get so irked by them! I love liver pate but I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated liver and could appeal to a larger group of people, including kids! I think these tasty bacon-wrapped meatballs might be the key, try it out and let me know what you think!

      Ingredients:

      • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
      • 3-4 chicken livers, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
      • 1 package of sugar-free bacon (if your having a hard time finding this try US Wellness meats or Pete’s Paleo)
      •  2. TB arrowroot
      • 1 TB. dried rosemary, finely ground
      • 1 TB. dried thyme
      • 1 TB. dried parsley
      • 1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
      • dash of freshly ground black pepper

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for bacon and mix until well incorporated

      -Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and wrap a half a slice of bacon around each

      -Place meatballs in a large rimmed baking dish, with the ends of the bacon slices tucked under the meatballs

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      -Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 more minutes

      -Remove from oven to flip back over so the bacon is on top and turn oven to broil

      -Return meatballs to oven for 3-5 minutes until bacon is crispy (make sure to leave the oven cracked open when broiling or else the meatballs will be overcooked

      -Let cook for a few minutes and then enjoy!

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      Notes: I like chicken livers because they have a more mild taste than beef liver. I have not tried beef liver in this recipe yet but once I do I will update this post with the results! Also, make sure you are using high quality chicken livers, just like the rest of the meat from the animal, organs of poorly fed and maintained animals should be avoided! Look for locally sourced, organic, pasture raised chickens without hormones or antibiotics. If you live in western mass check out Sutter Meats or River Valley Market if you can’t get to a local farm. If you have a meat grinder feel free to use that to grind up the liver. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine. Also- If you are not avoiding FODMAP’s try adding some sautĂŠed onions and grated garlic to the meatballs! Yum!

      Not Your Average Pizza (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      What better way to celebrate the end of my first Crossfit Open than with some pizza?! Don’t worry I kept it paleo, of course. I know I haven’t posted much at all lately so I’ll use this post to briefly sum up my workouts and experience.

      Out of the 5 Open’s workouts I ended up doing 15.1 and 15.3 scaled. I chose to do them scaled because I was coming back from an injury and a reoccurring pinched nerve in my neck. When the opens began I couldn’t hold anything overhead with snatch grip without excruciating pain in my right trap, and the muscle that I pulled in my back was at about 85%. Prior to the opens I had been doing strictly squats (I followed the Smolov Jr. squat program) to let my back and shoulder heal. My mindset going into the opens was to listen to my body and only do things that wouldn’t put me at risk for re-injury. Looking back I think I made the right decisions in deciding which workouts I had to do scaled, but I also know that I am capable of doing them RX’d and plan on taking them on again in the future.

      The last two workouts were mentally challenging for me. 15.4 was the only workout I did twice. The first time I attempted 15.4 I hadn’t done a handstand pushup in… months. Even when I did do them in the past I wasn’t very good! I hadn’t practiced before the workout, I was coming off of a long week of work and I was mentally and physically pretty exhausted. I ended up struggling so bad with the HSPU that I only got 6 reps total. For some reason I just couldn’t figure out how to get my feet to hit the wall and stay there! It was the first workout were I have ever felt defeated. The next day I came into the gym and got some lessons on HSPU technique from Heath, the owner of our gym, which helped tremendously. The following monday I attempted the workout for the second time with Heath as my judge, who carefully planned out when I should make HSPU attempts and how long I should rest to be successful at those attempts. I ended up with a score of 15 which is more than double my first attempt. Still nothing to write home about but it was a mental accomplishment for me and it helped give me some perspective on how to navigate workouts like that without getting frustrated.

      The last workout of the Opens was a doozy. With there only being a few movements left to choose from, its no surprise that it was thrusters and rowing! A little background on my history with those movements: rowing drains the living daylights out of me, and thrusters give me flashbacks to the first (and only) time I did Fran, as the final workout of a competition that I completely bombed… It also happened to be when my back was still injured and all I remember was pain and embarrassment. So, if you could catch my drift, this is one workout I was not looking forward to. On the bright side, I took the lesson I learned from 15.4 and tried applying it to this workout by taking friday and saturday to work on thrusters, improve my technique, and put some time in on the rower. When Monday rolled around I felt slightly better about the workout but I still had anxious thoughts that I was battling. I went into the workout with a planned rep scheme that ended up going out the window as soon as I started the thrusters but my overall goal was to stay calm and keep the thrusters feeling strong. I ended the workout in 13:38. Overall I am glad its over and also very thankful to have had a great coach (thanks Alice!) who helped keep me calm and focused.

      At the end of the day I have learned a lot of lessons from this Open competition! I still have a long ways to go and many things to work on, including my own anxiety when it comes to competition and things that I am not that good at. I came in 2,134 out of 11,255 women in the North East region, not bad for my first opens, room to grow for sure. I am looking forward to seeing how much I can improve in a year, starting with getting stronger!


      Now, back to that whole pizza thing. This recipe was based off of some delicious cabbage wrapped dumplings that I made from the 21 day sugar detox cookbook. Its essentially a deconstructed dumpling on top of a crispy, crunchy, nut and egg-free crust.

      Ingredients:

      For the crust:

      • 1 1/2 cups tapioca or arrowroot flour
      • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
      • 2 TB. coconut oil
      • 1-2 TB. water
      • 1 TB. italian seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • (optional add-ins if you aren’t worried about FODMAP’s: 2 TB. onion, finely chopped and 2 cloves of garlic)

      For the toppings:

      • 1 lb. ground pork
      • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
      • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
      • 2 medium carrots, shredded
      • 2 cups red cabbage, chopped and steamed
      • 2 TB. coconut aminos
      • 4 drops fish sauce
      • 2 TB. coconut oil
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • pepper to taste

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place your cast iron skillet in oven to heat up

      -While oven is heating, steam cabbage and grate carrots and zucchini with a box grater or mandolin

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      -In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt coconut oil and sautĂŠ carrots and zucchini for 2-3 minutes

      -Add pork and chicken or turkey, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until no pink remains in the meat

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      -While meat is cooking, prepare the crust

      -In a small pot heat coconut oil, coconut milk, water and salt until warm

      -Add the wet ingredients to the flour in a large bowl and kneed with your hands to combine

      -Add in italian seasoning and continue mixing until a large ball of dough forms (you may need to add some extra water)

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      -Remove *PIPING HOT* cast iron skillet from the oven and very carefully roll out the dough into a large crust in the pan. I usually keep my oven mits on when doing this to ensure that i don’t burn my hands

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      -Then add steamed cabbage and meat toppings and bake in 500 degree oven for 12-15 minutes

      -Cut and enjoy!

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