Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meatless Whole 30 Quiche

Quiche is back on the menu for breakfast!

I recently started reintroducing eggs back into my diet after taking a break from them for awhile.  If you follow the autoimmune protocol diet, than you know that eggs are to be avoided.   Those with severe allergies or severely leaky guts need to be concerned with a specific protease called lysozyme.

Humans normally produce lysozyme as part of our normal defense mechanisms against bacterial infections.  It is present in our saliva, tears, and mucus- including the mucus that lines the intestines.  However, when it is eaten in the form off eggs, it binds to other proteins, many of which are protease inhibitors.  As these lysozyme complexes travel through the environment of our gut, it can also bind to bacterial proteins from the bacteria normally present in our digestive tract.   The problem this creates it that the other proteins that piggyback on lysozymes cross the gut enterocyte barrier, "leaking" into the blood stream.  Thus, these foreign proteins can contribute to a molecular mimicry response in the body, where it forms an autoimmune response.

However, eggs are usually the easiest food to reintroduce back into your diet, especially the egg yolk, if you are following the autoimmune protocol.  Egg yolks are not likely to cause as many issues as egg white proteins.  Easing in is important, and this is a great recipe to get you started!

What I love about this quiche is that it is less bulky in the egg department but well stuffed with veggies.  Not to mention it has a yummy sweet potato crust, rich in Vitamin A and other nutrients.  The dairy is omitted here and full fat coconut milk was used as a dairy substitute, providing an extra creamy taste- and I promise you won't taste the coconut!

Feel free to experiment with veggies here.  I wanted an excuse to eat more mushrooms, a new food item in my diet.  I have been trying to sneak mushrooms into my food (I don't particularly like them by themselves!) because they are high in fiber, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and they are surprisingly low in calories, with a 100 gram serving having under 30 calories!  Mushrooms were an easy choice for me to sneak into this quiche.


Meatless Whole 30 Quiche (GF, DF, soy free, paleo, AIP, whole 30)

9 organic eggs
1 large sweet potato
1/2 can full fat coconut milk (Arroy-D)
1/2 cup chopped portobello mushroom'
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 tsp dill
dash of black pepper
dash of himalayan sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil sweet potato for 30 to 40 minutes. Then mash to form crust over a greased pie pan.  Cook in oven for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop mushroom, onions and broccoli and set aside in small bowl.  Take another medium sized bowl and whip 9 eggs.  Add veggies into eggs and stir.  Finally, add your seasonings and coconut milk.  Once sweet potato crust done cooking, add in egg/veggie mixture.  Increase oven temp to 400 degrees and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your quiche.  Serve immediately or save in the fridge!



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin in June?

As far as I'm concerned, there's never a bad time for pumpkin.  I literally look forward to it being in stores all year! Not to mention I love to sweeten things and top my squashes with pumpkin pie spice. It is heavenly.

Pumpkin is so nutritious.  So much so that it's a shame not to use it year round.  First of all, it is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, helping to promote joint, organ, and soft tissue health.  Plus, it is rich in Vitamin A and C, so it protects the eyes and boosts your immunity.  In addition, pumpkin is rich in fiber, zinc, and potassium- all important nutrients your body needs daily to function.  I love this article from the Huffington Post entitled "8 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin" that discusses just how much pumpkin can help your workout, boost your mood, and even protect your skin!  Pumpkin is easy to put in many dishes, and one that many children enjoy too.

Pumpkin is naturally sweet, and while it has a glycemic index value of 75 (still much lower than bread, grains and other starchy vegetables!), it has a glycemic load of only 3, making it a safe option for those watching their blood sugar.  The low glycemic load makes pumpkin low in carbohydrates and a great aid for weight loss.

Would you believe that this recipe I'm sharing has no added sugar, is vegan, whole 30, paleo and autoimmune protocol compliant?  Seriously!  This is a no bake recipe with only a few ingredients.  The more time-consuming part will be making the nut cheese.

If you haven't heard of or made nut cheese before, you're in for a treat.  This is a great dairy substitute with a lot of flavor.  If you have been to any vegan restaurants before, then you know this is a main component used on desserts and with main dishes.  What's great about nut cheese is that it incorporates nuts after they have been soaked, so it is gentler on the digestion system.

Enjoy and can't wait to hear what you think!

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (whole 30, paleo, AIP, GF, DF, soy free, and vegan)

1 can (BPA free) organic pumpkin, unsweetened
1 cup nut cheese (organic almonds and water)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tspn pumpkin pie spice

Dozen organic dates (I use Made in Nature brand)
1 heaping tbsp maca-cocoa powder
3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (I use Arroy-D brand)

First, prepare the nut cheese.  Soak 1 cup raw organic almonds for 8 hours or overnight.  Then drain and peel off the skin and discard; I like to let mine set for almost a full day to make it easier to peel off the skin. Add the nuts to a blender with 3/4 cup water.  May add a tbsp of coconut oil here if you like that coconut taste and creamy consistency.  Blend on high for a couple minutes until mixture is smooth.  Place nut mixture in nut milk bag or with cheesecloth in coriander.  Give light squeeze and place in refrigerator overnight.  The next day, puree your nut cheese with organic pumpkin, adding in the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

While your nut cheese is in the fridge, it's a good idea to start on your crust.  Using a food processor, add your dates, maca powder and coconut milk and pulse.  Will get a thick ball mix that you can spread flat on a pie dish or 8 x 8 pan.  You can let this set in the fridge or use right away. Just add your cheesecake filling on top and set in freezer for 3 hours and your done! You can serve this at that time or at a later occasion.  It's delicious!



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seaweed: the superfood you should be eating daily!

Seaweed. Thumbs up or thumbs down?  Pre-baby I had to force-feed this to myself.  During pregnancy I hated it.  I opted for kelp granules more often.  Post-baby, I'm loving it!

What is so special about seaweed?  I learned how awesome this food is for those with autoimmune conditions, especially multiple sclerosis.  The high amounts of iron, calcium, antioxidants and fiber found in this food help to increase alertness and mental clarity.  In addition, the selenium in seaweed can also strengthen your bones, eyes and skin while sharpening your brain through detoxification.

Big supporters on the use of seaweed in your diet include Dr. Mercola and Dr. Terri Wahls.  Wahls is a doctor who was struck with MS in and was able to go from being wheelchair-bound to biking over 20 miles daily through dietary changes in under a year's time.  She credits having algae and seaweed as mainstays in her diet contributed to helping her jump that hurdle.  Dr. Mercola highlights Dr. Wahls in his article called "Doctor Reverses  Multiple Sclerosis in 9 Months by Eating These Foods."  He discusses how seaweed is high in iodine and selenium, helping with thyroid regulation and to detoxify the body.  It's important to note that most Americans are deficient in iodine and should look for ways to get it in their diet.  Seaweed and kelp granules are great choices.

I personally love to put kelp granules on everything!! I basically treat it like a salt shaker, lathering my green veggies, starchy vegetables, meats, salad dressings, and even popcorn with it.  It provides a nice salty taste for those that get overwhelmed by the taste of seaweed.

Right now I am loving seaweed.  Seaweed and seaweed snacks are easy to find at your Whole Foods and most supermarkets, and most are organic varieties.  My favorite is the seaweed snacks with a hint of sea salt.  I love to use it as a wrap for veggies and meat, just like my chicken salad here.  With only 30 calories per container, this is a great alternative to bread and heavy starches and grains for your meals and snacks.

Give seaweed a try!  Here is my delicious Whole 30 chicken salad recipe for you to enjoy with it:

Chicken Salad Seaweed Snack (GF, DF, soy-free, whole 30, paleo, AIP)

1 pound shredded organic chicken (optimal to tenderize in crockpot by roasting whole chicken)
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk (add more or less for consistency you desire)
1 long stalk chopped celery
dozen crushed almonds
1/4 cup organic raisins
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dill
1 tsp basil
dash of black pepper
dash of himilayan sea salt

Too easy.  Mix all the ingredients together and your done!  Add more or less full fat coconut milk for consistency you desire (I prefer Arroy-D brand that comes in carton). Scoop a tbsp on your seaweed snacks for an easy meal or snack!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Tahini Date Cookies

Craving a no-added sugar treat?

In addressing autoimmune symptoms I have found that letting my adrenals rest as much as possible is critical. So currently I am not consuming chocolate and caffeine as I pursue a more whole 30/autoimmune protocol diet in my daily eating.  I have not been regularly eating high glycemic fruit or dried fruit as to avoid the high sugar.  However, I am a firm believer that having a little something special occasionally is good for you!

I have always loved baking.  Even from when I was a child.  There is something so special about baking in a kitchen with those you love.  Sneaking in a spoonful of batter here and there.  Feeling accomplished about the finished product.  And sharing a piece of your heart with those you love.  For me this has usually has been shared in the forms of chocolate and cookies, brownie and cake.  But when you switch to a more paleo and autoimmune protocol way of eating, baking takes on a new form, though it doesn't need to disappoint.

Making these treats was such a joy because they are healthy, naturally sweetened and a filling treat. Not to mention organic, gluten free, dairy free and soy free.  I wanted to utilize my organic tahini and let that be the star here.  Tahini differs from other butter in that it is not a nut butter nor from a legume.  Rather, it comes from ground sesame seeds, which is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Tahini is rich in phosphorus, copper, magnesium, lecithin, potassium, iron, and methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.  In addition, it is high in calcium, the B vitamins, and Vitamin E.  Even more important for those of us with the sensitive guts, this seed is easy for our body to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content.

Try out these tahini date cookies for a great breakfast, snack or dessert treat.  No guilt included! Plus you can feel good about staying compliant with autoimmune protocol and paleo.

Tahini Date Cookies

1/2 cup organic tahini butter
1/2 cup packed organic medjool dates
1/4 cup organic raisins
2 tbsp organic coconut flour
4 tbsp organic apple juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash himalayan sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 cup maca powder (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender or large food processor with the exception of the baking powder.  Blend for 1 to 2 minutes to create cookie dough-like consistency (you might need to add another tbsp apple juice if you use the maca powder).  Add in baking powder and stir.   Scoop out 1 tbsp cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Enjoy and store extra cookies in fridge!



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY Fluoride-free Toothpaste

I'm all about toothpaste.

Why is that?  As a nurse, I have seen for my patients and for myself how important oral health is.  I think flossing and oil pulling are a big part of oral health, but using toothpaste definitely serves an important purpose.  And I'm certainly not leaving my house in the morning unless I've used it to brush my teeth, or I'm asking for horrendous bad breath!

For the past year and a half I have been fluoride free with my toothpaste, and that is for many reasons.  Probably the most important reason is because when I became very sick a year ago, I saw an immediate need to completely eradicate all the chemicals I was regularly using.  This included house cleaners, shampoos, makeup, my toothpaste, etc.  Did I go overboard?  It might seem that way to some.  However, whether you have autoimmune symptoms or not, removing chemicals from your daily environment is important to both your short term and long term health- and this applies to your entire family's health as well!

Fluoride is one chemical that seems to be everywhere these days, and unfortunately it wrecks havoc on our bodies.  Swallowing the toxin has been found to damage your soft tissues, as well as teeth and bones.   There are numerous published studies illustrating fluoride's harm to the brain.  In addition, fluoride accumulates over time in the body, making it very dangerous to your system long-term.

While it might prove to be difficult to remove the fluoride out of your drinking water, it is certainly easy to remove it out of your toothpaste.  And it definitely is important to!  Many toothpastes are filled with harmful ingredients and chemicals.  Just recently, Crest was challenged by dentists and  consumers in regards to the plastic microbeads in their toothpaste.  The tiny scrubbers contain polyethylene, a form of plastic that does not degrade and stays embedded in your mouth.  Crest says they were just using the beads for decoration, so what purpose do they serve being in our bodies?!

None.  And neither does the sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), triclosan, blue #1 and #2, hydrated silica, DEA, propylene glycol, and the several other harmful ingredients in toothpaste.

So I started making my own toothpaste.

I already have been buying fluoride and SLS- free toothpaste, but this can certainly be costly.  The average chemical free tube averages from $8 to $18, and while I love my teeth, that's a pretty penny I prefer not to chew on! (totally did that on purpose!).  Making it at home is easy, cost-effective, and lasts a long time.  What's great about this recipe is most of these ingredients are items you probably already have in your home: coconut oil and baking soda.  Getting the oil to go with it might require that extra purpose, and if so you can get oils on Amazon, Whole Foods and many other retailers.  My favorite brand that is tried and true is Young Living.  In fact, I love the purity of their oils so much that I am a member and a distributor of the oils.  Making this toothpaste was another great way to put my peppermint to use besides its more common other uses for heartburn and nausea.

Hope you enjoy the simplicity of this household staple and enjoy using it for your whole family!  Make sure to use separate containers for each individual's toothpaste to help prevent transfer of germs.

DIY Fluoride-free Toothpaste

1/2 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil
2 1/2 tbsp baking soda (Bob Mills brand best)
15-20 drops peppermint or cinnamon oil (I use young living brand)

Make sure coconut oil is soft or liquid form.  Add to glass jar and stir in baking soda.  Lastly, add the oil of your choice.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Gluten-Free NoGii Bars!!!

I have always been a protein bar girl.  I remember playing soccer in elementary school and reaching for power bars as a snack.  Remember power bars?  Gosh.  They were awful tasting.  But I remember my coach telling us, "You need the protein and carbs!." 

Flash forward nearly 20 years.  I rarely eat protein bars now, with the exception of ones I make and a few brands I trust.  However, recently I was given the opportunity to try out the NoGii product line by Moms Meet, which is an awesome blogging network that highlights organic and healthy products (check them out at!).   What is NoGii?  It is a gluten free, non-GMO protein bar/powder/snack line that was created by Elisabeth Hasselback.  Needless to say, I was sold.

My husband helped me try out this line by having the protein bars, while I stuck to the line's paleo bars.  What I love about these bars is that they are made with sustainably sourced, premium ingredients, and they have an ideal balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates.  In addition, they do not contain any trans fat, hydrogenated oils, or high fructose corn syrup.  They have been the perfect on-the-go snack while I have been breastfeeding and for refueling my hubby after his workouts.

My favorite thing about this brand is that they offer the paleo bars for people with multiple gut sensitivities like me.  The varieties include Nuts About Berries, Nuts About Nuts, and Nuts About Tropical Fruit.  Nuts About Nuts was my favorite, and the lowest in sugar, highest in protein and lowest in carbohydrates.  This bar has almonds, dates, cashews, sunflower seeds and pistachios all loaded up in one bar!! 

NoGii bars can be enjoyed by the entire family, and they are designed to fit a busy and healthy lifestyle.  My husband's favorite products were the brand's new High Protein Peanut Butter & Chocolate bar, which has 20 grams of high quality protein.  He noticed a definite change in his energy after his workouts after having the bar.  In addition, he loves using their whey & quinoa protein powder, which offers a complete profile of amino acids and branched chain amino acids.  This is the perfect protein powder to add to smoothies and shakes for after a workout or to use as a meal replacement.

NoGii Bar Jenga!

If you are interested in trying the bars but want to know more about specific ingredients and nutrition, you can see the information at  Also, Nogii's Facebook page at has great recipes using the products, promotions and giveaways, and helpful info for those who are or are trying to be gluten-free.  Don't forget to enter their NoGii tablesetters contest, where you can win a trip to NYC to meet and have lunch with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  The contest ends July 31st, 2015.  Click here to enter!


Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

DIY Organic Coconut Milk

I'm a big coconut fan.

I feel like I use coconut for everything.  For baking, salad dressings, desserts, and I even put coconut oil with my pup's dog food.  Not to mention using it for oil pulling, a carrier with my essential oils,  and my babe's skin care products.  Between coconut flakes, cream, butter, oil and flour, our family loves coconut!!

Coconut boasts many benefits. It can help speed up metabolism, containing specific fats that promote a healthy body weight and help shed unwanted pounds.  These heart-healthy fats also can benefit one's cholesterol levels.  Coconut is high in manganese and copper, which help to activate antioxidant enzymes needed to protect your cells from damage.  In addition, copper plays a role in energy production and helps make elastin and collagen, two proteins that strengthen your tissues.

Coconut is so versatile and easy to use for so many things.  It should come as no surprise that is an easy staple for the making of coconut milk.

I have avoided dairy for most of my life with the exception of pregnancy when I craved it! I miss having it now, but I have gotten use to it.  Dairy, more often than not, does not sit well with me.  In addition, I avoid it for the autoimmune protocol diet.  Maybe someday I can reintroduce it, but for now, it is easy to substitute.

You might recall a couple weeks ago I posted a DIY almond milk recipe here on the blog.  I like this recipe for DIY coconut milk just as much, if not more because it is more affordable to make, and I get lots of leftover coconut pulp that I can use for making flour for baking and bulking up recipes.  I haven't done this recipe in a few months so it was fun revisiting, especially using my new nut milk bag which is much easier and more versatile than cheesecloth.  My recipe has the milk come out a bit creamy, so you can do less or more water to suit your taste when it comes to creaminess.

Hope you enjoy!

DIY Organic Coconut Milk (yields 2 cups coconut milk)

2 cups unsweetened organic shredded coconut
2 1/2 cups of filtered water

Place 2 cups of shredded coconut in a blender and pour the filtered water over it.  Thoroughly stir.  Let sit for 2 to 4 hours.  After soaking, cover blender and puree for a minute.  Take out bowl and nut milk bag (or cheesecloth) and pour coconut mixture into bag that is sitting in bowl.  Gather the nut milk bag in your hands and squeeze/wring out the milk mixture (be more gentle with cheesecloth).  Once you have squeezed the liquid out, remove the pulp and set it in the fridge.  You can keep it there for a couple days or place in freezer for longer storage (eventually you can dry out to make coconut flour).  Set coconut milk liquid in glass bottle in fridge.