AIP

Chocolate Cake & Me

This picture is of me doing Parakeet — a pilates move based on control, balance, and some strength. You don’t have to be a super athlete to do it, but it sure looks cool during times when I am experiencing a flare and could barely walk. I wanted to share this picture because of what I wrote and to show you how I can move when I don’t have a flare. Living with an autoimmune conditions takes a lot of twist and turns. Why developing self-compassion and a support group has been so important for me as part of my healing journey.

This picture is of me doing Parakeet — a pilates move based on control, balance, and some strength. You don’t have to be a super athlete to do it, but it sure looks cool during times when I am experiencing a flare and could barely walk. I wanted to share this picture because of what I wrote and to show you how I can move when I don’t have a flare. Living with an autoimmune conditions takes a lot of twist and turns. Why developing self-compassion and a support group has been so important for me as part of my healing journey.

I wrote an article on Medium yesterday and wanted to share what I wrote here.  

Being stiff sucks, but not as much as it did a couple of days ago — when I could barely walk.

Seating on my couch, I tried to retrace my steps to figure out why I was in so much pain and could barely see out of my left eye about two weeks ago. For those of you who haven’t figured out, I was experiencing a flare (when someone with an autoimmune conditions feels more of their symptoms).

“Why is this happening?” were questions asked by my friends, colleagues, doctors and even myself. This question was typically followed with another one, such as ‘“What did I do?” or “Was I stressed out about something?”’ For the latter, I would respond with a solid, ”Nope.” If anything, I was only feeling more stressed because of this damn flare! So what could have started it? What did I do that was different the past few weeks or days?

Okay, well there was something I did do differently. A couple of weeks ago, I ate a chocolate cake from a BBQ that I assumed was flourless. Apparently, it was not. The day I ate it, I started to notice something different about me, but I ignored it; thinking I was going to be just fine.

After several days, my body started showing signs of fierce retaliation with this ‘flourless’ cake. One of the first signs I knew something was up was when I started to experience a scratchy sensation in my left eye. This mild irritation slowly transformed into a bout of photophobia (when the eye becomes sensitive to light) — something was going terribly wrong.

This was definitely a case of uveitis (when part of the iris becomes inflamed). I haven’t had uveitis for at least 2.5 years— when I started the autoimmunepaleo protocol (a paleo based elimination diet and lifestyle). Before starting the diet elimination part of the autoimmunepaleo (AIP) , I took biologics (powerful anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce my symptoms of uveitis and spondylitis.

Being drug-free and uveitis-free, since going AIP, I was in heaven for 2.5 years! I forgot that I could get flares like this serious one again. I also didn’t think by eating a piece of chocolate cake that I could go back to my same old self.

Now, I was back to filling my free time with doctor appointments, going to the pharmacy for steroids, and sitting indoors with a baseball cap and shades because natural light irritated my eye. All for eating a stupid yet delicious large piece of chocolate cake. Worth it? Kind of… but I don’t think to this negative degree on my health.

I just wanted to make it go away without the use of drugs. At the same time, I was also working with my feelings of shame. Leading a San Francisco autoimmunepaleo (AIP) support group, studying the impact of gluten on autoimmune conditions, and blogging about gluten-free recipes and wellness, how could I have made this type of mistake? I wanted to be a leader who knew better. But I guess I am not that perfect person. I am still learning to take care of myself and learning through my mistakes.

Fortunately, I have learned a lot since my last flare. Being a nutrition nerd and student at Bauman College for Holistic Nutrition, I figured out what I could do to calm my flare.

Once I targeted what initiated my current flare, I started an appropriate healing protocol for me. I started drinking bone broths, chewing more, drinking bitters and sour concoctions, meditating more, doing less, taking more naps, and taking both supplements and herbal antibiotics. After a week’s worth of appropriate self-care, I was back to walking and seeing normal again. During this time, I still took a steriod for my eye; respecting both western and eastern practices when used appropriately.

With flares like this one, I don’t take for granted my movement capability or get down on myself for not working harder to be part of some fitspo community on social media. As a movement instructor and healer, I simply want to walk and see. And to teach my clients and community how to move smarter, get stronger, and feel better. I lost my ego to looking like a super fit model for inspiration a long time ago. Plus, I have been there, done that. And learned that you can look fit, but not feel well too. Another topic, I can discuss in another article.

In addition, I am grateful for knowing what to do when I get my flares. I may not be perfect with every decision I make — especially if the decision has to do with ‘chocolate’ & ‘cake,’ but I can continue to work on putting myself together whenever I do fall apart.

I have shared this part of my life with you in hopes that you may find some self-compassion and light humor when you find yourself straying from your wellness rituals. Lastly, I wrote this piece to help you understand a small part of what some people with autoimmune conditions may experience.

 

Pulled Meat Of Your Dreams!

My all-time favorite pressure cooked meat is picnic from pork or lamb.  It is also my favorite meat to use for batch cooking. I typically cook between 2 - 5 lb. of shoulder meat at a time. 

The first version of this recipe was inspired by Nom Nom Paleo, who got me into to using an instant pot for the first time.  Her slow cooker recipe didn't quite cook the meat the way I desired (I think there was a mistake in the publication I read), so I tried pressure cooking the ingredients through her pressure cooking recipe. I found her pressure cooking recipe through an instant pot support group on Facebook. Yep, Facebook was a lifesaver in this case.  Anyhow, you can add bacon like Michelle, from Nom Nom Paleo, does if bacon makes you happy.  I am working on some sensitivities to glutamate, what gives the umami flavor in bacon (why I didn't add bacon to this recipe).

Ingredients

5 lbs of shoulder - my favorite is picnic.  

5 cloves of crushed garlic

2 tsp of turmeric powder

1-2 tsp of sea salt * 

1 cup of bone broth or filtered water

Directions

  1. Slice pockets in the shoulder and place the pieces of crushed garlic in them.  
  2. Place the in a meat in a pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker)
  3. Dash the sea salt over the meat
  4. Add the bone broth.
  5. Cover the pressure cooker
  6. Cook all of the ingredients at high pressure for 90 minutes. 
  7. When the pressure cooker has cooled off, open it.  Pull out the meat pieces onto a plate, allowing it to cool off before pulling it.  
  8. Add the pulled meat back into the pressure cooker so that you can mix it with the leftover sauce.  
  9. I save the excess meat and sauce in mason jars and put them in the freezer for future use.  
  10. Enjoy!

*My favorite sea salt for this recipe is Murray's River Flake or Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt. 

 

 

 

 

Where I Buy My Grass-Fed & Pastured Raised Meats In The Bay Area

Organic Pastured Raised Pulled Lamb Shoulder 

Organic Pastured Raised Pulled Lamb Shoulder 

With the term grass-fed label now not being used as form of certification, I wanted to share with you some places I trust when I want to buy meat in the Bay Area. As always, getting  to know your farmer is best to stay current with their practices.  

Belcampo

Bi-Rite Market * +

Good Eggs +

Marina Meats*

Prather Ranch*

The Local Butcher Shop

Marin Sun Farms

True Grass Farms

Farmer's Markets  - google ones for your city and support your local farmer! Go early to have the most options.  

 

Other options that I haven't tried for myself, but maybe you may like to do:

Be part of CSA that offers meat.  One local CSA is called Soul Food Farm.  

Order a whole animal for yourself or with a group of folks.

Order online from US Wellness or 5280 Meats

 

*For special cuts, call in advance to make sure they have what you want.  

+Great place to buy seafood as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure Cooked Salmon

I truly believe that high quality ingredients don't need a lot of work to make a tasty meal.  This recipe is part of my standard diet, since it is so easy to make and taste delicious!  

Recipe will produce about 4 servings.

Ingredients

1 lb. of wild caught salmon

3 crushed garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon Sea salt

4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Use Citrus Dressing as a topping with parsley to your liking.  

 

Directions

Place all of the ingredients, with the exception of Citrus Dressing and parsley,  in a pressure cooker at high for 15 minutes to fully cook it. If you would like rarer version, you can cook the salmon for 10 minutes.  My preference is a 10-minute timing.  After the cooking time, remove the salmon from the pressure cooker after it has cooled enough for it to be safe for removal.  Place the salmon on a plate and enjoy it with your citrus dressing and parsley.  The combination of flavors, nutrition, and easy to follow steps will have you repeating this recipe quite often. 

 

 

Easy Beet Salad

Premixed Beet Salad

Premixed Beet Salad

 

After studying how to support liver health, I thought to myself that I must share my favorite easy beet salad.  I love the combination of roasted beets, oregano, and citrus dressing!  

Ingredients

1 cup of chopped roasted beets - my favorite are golden beets!

1 teaspoon of oregano

1/8 cup of citrus dressing

Instructions

Mix all of these ingredients together in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Serve and enjoy immediately!