All Disease Begins in the Gut – Hippocrates Had it Right!

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TSL Trust Your Gut

(Image from here)

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. (Hippocrates)

There is just no delicate way to write this post. And, to be honest, I considered not writing it. But, I’ve been on this health caper for some time now. I’m pretty committed. I’m studying integrative nutrition. And, I’m reading all about health in my spare time, too. You could say that I’m my own wee health experiment. So, it’s no surprise that the direction of This Sydney Life is changing with me.

I should also mention that I have this rather crippling aversion to over sharing on the interweb. I am so not selfie-girl. It’s why you don’t see any pics of me posted on my blog. But as I get further along in my studies, I realise that if I’m really serious about this course of action that I’m taking, I’ll have to put myself out there a little more. Something along the lines of more risk, more reward. Maybe.

So, while I’m not quite ready to be posting candid shots of myself all over the place, today’s post is all about gut bacteria and my disastrous results from the Bioscreen Faecal Microbial Analysis I recently undertook. As you can imagine, it may have been easier to have just posted a picture of myself in my undies…

Let’s start with a bit of back story… I started the autoimmune protocol back in February of this year. At the time, I had been suffering from a pretty revolting skin disorder for over twenty years. Skin problems run in my family. I had discovered my skin problems became significantly improved when I removed all gluten from my diet and determined that they were autoimmune in nature. I had been putting on weight, which was proving very resistant to lose, despite having adopted a Primal/Weston A. Price style of diet for over a year. I had just been given the all clear from a particularly nasty parasite infection. And, my very good functional medical doctor, coupled with my equally great Naturopath, had been working with me to identify the root cause(s) of my problems. It turns out I also have Pyrrole Disorder and am positive for MTHFR. Oh yes – and this year I threw in some periodontal surgery for good measure.

So, since February, I have been on a cocktail of supplements for my Pyrrole and MTHFR, stuff for my teeth and gums, not to mention a few other goodies to improve my general well-being. With the exception of the one slip up (which I wrote about here), I have been dedicated to the autoimmune protocol. That means a pretty restrictive elimination diet, working on managing stress, getting enough sleep, and ensuring I get outside in the sunshine as often as possible for Vitamin D (Bella loves that!).

And, on the whole, it has been a really positive experience. I feel better. My skin has never looked so good (people comment on it). I just look healthier.

But, its a chubby healthy. I’m not losing weight. And, given my lifestyle, there should be less of me.

My blood test results don’t send of major alarm bells – just a couple of minor blips – so my GP suggested the fairly pricey Bioscreen Faecal Microbial Analysis.

The purpose of this exercise was to understand the state of my gut health. The Bioscreen test is a specialist assessment that cultures and counts the bacteria that should normally be in a healthy gut.

What if it’s not just our genetic history or our lifestyle, that makes us skinny or fat. Or, healthy or unwell? What if it’s also the makeup of the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our gut?

It makes sense. Did you know that the human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. It has even been said that we’re more bacterial than we are human.

According to the very knowledgable Chris Kresser, “We’ve only recently begun to understand the extent of the gut flora’s role in human health and disease. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. Dysregulated gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s and inflammatory bowel disease.”

Weightloss Orangatang

Could the state of our gut health impact our weight?
(Image from here)

And, apparently the evidence just keeps mounting that the microbes in our digestive systems are a factor in the global obesity epidemic.

Chris goes on to say that “There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. Therefore, we hypothesise that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop autoimmunity”. This is important. Autoimmune diseases are now listed at number 3 in the leading causes of death in the western world. The reason we don’t all read about it more (yet) in mainstream media is that autoimmunity can affect so many different parts of the body. It’s not isolated to one part of the body – like the heart or the brain.

All disease begins in the gut (Hippocrates)

So, understanding all this, I went off and followed the slightly icky instructions from Bioscreen before submitting my sample for analysis. And, given my autoimmune-driven skin issues, I expected to learn that I had some form of gut dysbiosis. I just didn’t expect it to be quite so extreme. It turns out that I have an over abundance of the bad types of bacteria and not nearly enough of the good ones. When I asked my GP to rate how serious my gut issues were on a scale of 1 to 10, she felt my gut problems sit at about an 8 or 9. Pretty bad, really. In her opinion, if I hadn’t been religiously following the autoimmune protocol over the past few months, it is quite likely that I would be a very sick girl.

Not Happy Jan!

(Image by TSL)

But why is my gut so unhealthy?

Well, it turns out that antibiotics are particularly harmful to the gut flora. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use can cause a massive and very rapid loss of diversity and a shift in the composition of your gut flora. This diversity is not recovered after antibiotic use without some form of intervention. And, if you were given courses of antibiotics in your early childhood and teenage years, as you were developing, your gut is likely to be more compromised. It just so happens that I had a particularly serious case of scarlet fever when I was quite young, and then I was prescribed the fateful Roaccutane for my very bad teenage cystic acne.

So that means it’s back to the drawing board for me. Super strict autoimmune protocol. For three months. And better than that – no sugar. And, in case you don’t know – that means no fruit, dates, maple syrup, or honey, too. None. Zip. The fun police are camping out at my place.

TSL Bone Broth

Gut Healing Bone Broth
(Image by TSL)

And, in addition to that, I’ve got a special four week protocol to follow. It involves consuming large quantities of bone broth and taking all sorts of goodies to kill off the bad bacteria, before I can start rebuilding my gut with good bacteria. Oh goody!

If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. (Hippocrates)

I’ve been doing my research. Apparently, if you have gut dysbiosis, things you should be doing are:

  • Removing all food toxins from your diet. Check – that’s the autoimmune protocol.
  • Eating plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.) I can do that.
  • Eating fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc., and/or take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic. I already make my own fermented vegetables and I have a high-quality, multi-species probiotic prescribed as part of the protocol.
  • Treating any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present. Done!
  • Taking steps to manage your stress. This is an ongoing part of the autoimmune protocol. A big part. I need to refocus on this one.

What all of this means is that my reintroduction phase of the autoimmune protocol has come to an abrupt stop. Hopefully, it’s temporary. I’m going to be back to AIP recipes – only with less of the treats. And, I’ll share what I’m learning about the gut micro biome while I’m at it. I’ve got a sneaky wee feeling I’m not the only one experiencing those problems… Stick with me?

How to Make Green Sauce (AIP-Compliant )

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TSL Green Sauce Ingredients

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

A while back, I posted my recipe for the best ‘knock their socks off’ salsa verde. And, in my opinion, it still is. The best, that is. Only, it has mustard in it. Not to mention cornichons (baby gherkins). Both of which are verboten, at least during the strict elimination stage of the AIP.

My folks just happen to be in Germany at the moment. Mum originates from Frankfurt - a place where they are so passionate about green sauce they have their very own name for it: Frankfurter Grie Soß. In this region of Germany, the sauce is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt, sour cream, and generous amounts of seven fresh herbs - borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet. You can even buy fresh packets of the seven herbs to make Grie Soß at the supermarket.

How cool is that?

I have very fond memories of visiting my Omi just out of Frankfurt and eating the sauce, served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs. Its one of those regional meals that evokes almost an emotional response in me… It’s little wonder I am missing my salsa verde!

You have five wonderful things:
Capers
Anchovies
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Parsley
There is no end to the possibilities… (Fergus Henderson, ‘The Complete Nose to Tail – A Kind of British Cooking’)

Green sauce, or whatever you choose to call it, is one of those incredibly easy additions to a simply cooked – grilled, roasted, boiled – piece of protein – meat, fish, eggs – that elevates it to a whole new level.

And, it just happens to be a great way to increase the nutrient density of your meal, too. One of the things I love about this AIP-caper that I’m on – I’m learning about food that tastes great AND is good for me…

TSL Green Sauce

Green Sauce!
(Image by TSL)

Want to know just how green sauce achieves that?

Well, even if we limit ourselves to the wonderfully eccentric Fergus Henderson’s five wonderful things that make up the base of a good green sauce, here’s a brief run down of what you’re adding:

Capers

Capers are one of the plant sources high in flavonoid compounds rutin (or rutoside) and quercetin. Both these compounds are powerful anti-oxidants. There is evidence that quercetin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. And, rutin helps in smooth circulation of blood and it can be very helpful in treating strained blood vessels.

The spicy caper buds contain healthy levels of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin K, niacin, and riboflavin. Niacin helps lower LDL cholesterol.

Minerals like calcium, iron, and copper are also present in capers.

Those who include fat and red meat (that’s me!) in their daily diet should eat capers since they destroys certain byproducts found in meat and foods which are rich in fat. These byproducts can be responsible for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Capers can help to keep diabetes in check. They contain chemicals that keep blood sugar under control. I did not know that!

Anchovies

Anchovies are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy unsaturated fats that lower inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating one or two 3-ounce servings of oily fish each week reduces your risk of fatal heart disease by up to 36 percent*.

Anchovy fillets are a source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. All three minerals are essential for the growth and maintenance of strong bones.

In addition to forming bones, calcium and magnesium have important roles in the cardiovascular system. Calcium stimulates muscles in the heart and blood vessels to contract, and magnesium makes them relax. They maintain your heart beat and regulate blood pressure. Anchovies also provides niacin, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6. Vitamins B-12 and B-6 remove a substance from the blood that contributes to heart disease. Niacin lowers levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and may reduce the chance of dying from a heart attack.

Anchovies are a rich source of iron. Iron is the transporter of oxygen throughout the body, but it’s also necessary for cells to make energy and to help white blood cells kill bacteria.
Considerations

Bottled or tinned anchovies are often first preserved in salt and then packed in oil or more salt. If you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, you can eliminate some of the excess salt by rinsing the fillets or soaking them in cold water for 30 minutes before using.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Always go for the best EVOO you can afford. The quality of olive oil production — especially the stage of pressing — really does make a difference when it comes to health benefits.

EVOO has anti-inflammatory properties. It contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, nutrients that can fight inflammation. It has been suggested that one of the mechanisms behind olive oil’s benefits, is its ability to fight inflammation. The oil’s main anti-inflammatory effects seem to be mediated by the antioxidants present, primarily oleocanthal, which has been shown to work like ibuprofen, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug.

EVOO appears to protect against cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). Many observational studies show that death from these diseases is low in certain areas of the world, particularly countries around the Mediterranean Sea. It’s pretty well known that following a Mediterranean-style Diet can help prevent heart disease.

The oleic acid in olive oil is also highly resistant to oxidation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. For this reason, saturated fats (no double bonds) are resistant to high heat, while polyunsaturated fats (many double bonds) are sensitive and become damaged.

Garlic

Garlic strengthens the immune system as well as helps to fight chest infections, coughs and congestion. In the winter months garlic is a great food to boost your immune system and ward off colds and flu.

An old folk remedy is to eat a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey at the first sign of a cold. I love garlic, but I’ve never been brave enough to give this a go…

Garlic has high levels of iodine which makes it a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions.

Garlic has good levels of vitamin C.

Cardiovascular disease can be reduced by ingesting garlic. LDL cholesterol is no friend of garlic and the aortic plaque deposits that gather on the walls of your body’s veins can be reduced with the use of garlic too.

Fungal and bacterial infections can be improved when treated with garlic! When crushed or bruised, garlic releases Allicin which is a sulphuric compound that is a natural antibiotic. Apparently, WWI soldiers even used crushed garlic on infected wounds suffered in battle.

Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. Vitamin B6 can also help with mood swings. Do you think Pharell Williams eats a lot of garlic?

Garlic can aid in the prevention of multiple types of cancer. Bladder cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and stomach cancer have all been shown to have their tumors reduced when treated with garlic. Vitamin B6 is said to have cancer fighting abilities.

Garlic regulates blood sugar as it enhances the level of insulin in the blood. This may help in the control of diabetes.

Parsley

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins, including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system, too.

Parsley helps flush out excess fluid from the body, which supports your kidney function. Parsley does contain oxalates, which can cause problems for those with existing kidney and gall bladder problems.

Regular use of parsley can help control your blood pressure. The folate in this herb is like a tonic for your heart.

When used daily, parsley can apparently cause relief from joint pain. That’s because the herb has anti-inflammatory properties.

Parsley tea relaxes stiff muscles and encourages digestion.

All great reasons to make more green sauce, I say!

TSL Sorrel and Chervil

I had some fresh sorrel and chervil just calling out to be added to my sauce…
(Image by TSL)

 

AIP-Compliant Green Sauce

  • Servings: Lots
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
  • Print

TSL Green Sauce

Ingredients

For base sauce:
1 x bunch flat leaf parsley
8 – 12 x cloves garlic
1 x small tin of anchovies in EVOO
1 x handful of capers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper (Optional – omit for strict AIP)

Optional Extras:
Hard boiled eggs
Cornichons (baby gherkins)
Mint
Dill
Oregano
Red wine vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Mustard
Sorrel
Chervil

Method

1. Chop your parsley and optional extra herbs finely by hand. Chuck into a bowl.

2. Now, in turn, chop your garlic, capers and anchovies. Add to the herb mixture.

3. Add your Extra Virgin Olive Oil – enough that your sauce retains a spoonable but not runny (or – UGH! – oily) texture. Mix well.

4. Taste. Season with black pepper. Mix again. The sauce should not need extra salt with the capers and anchovies for flavour.

5. Now is the time to add any other optional mustard or vinegar. If adding cornichons or chopped hard-boiled egg, leave this until just before serving.

E N J O Y !

*according to research published in the October 2006 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”

This recipe featured in the Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe Roundtable

The EASIEST Brisket Recipe in the World

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The Easiest Brisket

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

The are two types of vegetarians: (1) those who have beef with chicken; and (2) those who are too chicken to have beef. (Mokokoma Mokhonoana)

You all know that I am certainly no vegetarian. And, you’re still here, so I’m guessing you’re ok with that…

And what committed meat-eater doesn’t love a good brisket? I’m not kidding when I say this is the easiest brisket recipe. It REALLY is. And, it tastes great! I promise.

I was out with a friend today. We were talking about things health related and I mentioned I didn’t think it was possible to be truly healthy without spending time cooking, from scratch, in the kitchen with quality ingredients. She’s not as confident in the kitchen as me. Hardly surprising, really – I have twenty years on her. And, I didn’t really start cooking until I was about thirty. She’s got ages ’til she reaches that milestone. But, she is a keen follower of the blog. This one’s for her…

My style of cooking is very traditional. At least in the sense that I’m not an overly fussy cook. I like to prepare hearty, uncomplicated food. I favour slow braises. Lots of flavour and really good ingredients. I leave the fancy-schmancy stuff for when I go out to dinner…

So, this brisket is pretty much idiot-proof. And, the house will smell amazing while this is working its magic. And, you’ll have leftovers. Always a good thing, I reckon!

Sliced Onions

Step 1: Slice your onions

Seasoned Brisket

Step 2: Add your seasoned brisket

TSL Easiest Brisket

Step 3: Cook until meltingly tender! It’s that easy.
(Images by TSL)

The EASIEST Brisket Recipe in the World

  • Servings: 6-ish
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
  • Print

The Easiest Brisket

Ingredients

1 x happy, grass-fed brisket from your favourite butcher (mine was 1.2 kilos. Small for me!)
1 x very large onion (or, you could use a couple of small ones)
salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
1 x teaspoon each of garlic granules, dried basil, dried sage and dried oregano
2 x cups bone broth (I used chicken. Beef would be better)

Method

1. Heat your oven to 175°C (fan forced)/350°F.

2. Slice your large onion roughly and throw into the bottom of your casserole dish.

3. Mix your salt, garlic and herbs. Rub the mix into your brisket, making sure to cover the whole cut. Pop your brisket on top of the onions.

4. Place in the oven for 90 minutes. At this stage, leave the lid off. The onions will start to go brown (and smell amazing!)

5. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and pour over your bone broth. Now is the time to pop your lid on securely. Reduce the heat to 160°C/325°F and place the casserole back in the oven.

6. Cook for a further 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Every 45 minutes or so, baste the brisket with the broth to keep it lovely and moist.

7. Serve with the lovely caramelised onions on top.

E N J O Y !

The EASIEST Vegetable Frittata in the World (Bacon Optional!)

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TSL Vegetable Frittata

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here. This recipe is only suitable for the autoimmune protocol if you have successfully reintroduced eggs. 

I have met a lot of hardboiled eggs in my time, but you’re twenty minutes.(Oscar Wilde)

It seems Sarah Ballantyne and her autoimmune protocol are gaining considerable global traction. And, I can understand why. I’m a believer. It has taken me some time, not to mention a pretty big level of commitment, but I am currently finally free of the autoimmune symptoms that have been plaguing me for 23 years. TWENTY THREE YEARS! That’s pretty amazing…

But that’s not the purpose of this wee post.

One of the best things about undertaking a protocol like AIP, other than the health benefits you hope to achieve, is the support you receive from other people within the ‘AIP Community’ from around the world. There are blogs and Facebook groups, forums and Pinterest boards. And without exception, I have found the people in these groups to be knowledgable, encouraging and understanding. It can be a bit of a lonely road when most of your friends eat a pretty standard diet and you can no longer go out to restaurants, have a coffee or a glass of wine.

And, one of the most common questions asked within these groups is around how to provide food for a family when you are so restricted by the elimination of all potentially inflammatory foods – often for a long period of time. It’s a valid question, especially when there are young children involved.

In this, I am very lucky. LM has totally supported my weird food journey from the first. He’s happy to eat whatever I eat and considers himself my ‘Primary Recipe Tester’. And while its true that the food we eat is full of great flavour and super healthy, we are certainly limited because of the restrictions – particularly by way of spices, nightshades (tomatoes!), nuts and eggs.

1 Dozen Eggs

First you gotta’ crack some eggs…
(Image by TSL)

Raw Frittata

Then, you mix everything together and pop it into a greased dish
(Image by TSL)

Frittata

…and pop it in the oven until its ready!
(Image by TSL)

Regardless of whether we are on the autoimmune protocol or not, Casa TSL is a gluten-free and dairy-free zone*. LM has a violent reaction to cow juice and just feels better when he’s not eating gluten. But, it is fair to say that I feel a little guilty about the fact that his diet is so restricted because of me.

Because of that, even though I’m not eating eggs at the moment, I’ve taken to making him one of these SUPER easy frittatas. It takes no time to whip one up on a Sunday night and its a much healthier alternative to the sandwiches that traditionally fill a lunchbox, with a big hit of protein from the eggs and loads of vegetables.

LM calls this his frittata-ta-ta-ta-ta…. While the base recipe remains constant, I mix it up and throw in pretty much whatever I feel like (read: whatever’s in the fridge). It’s kind of LM’s Potluck Frittata-ta-ta-ta-ta…

The EASIEST Vegetable Frittata in the World

  • Servings: 6 (12 for little people)
  • Time: about an hour
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
  • Print

TSL Frittata 5

Ingredients

Base Frittata:
1 x large courgette (zucchini), grated and squeezed in a clean tea towel to remove as much moisture as possible
1 x large carrot, grated
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt (I use pink Himalayan salt) & freshly ground pepper
12 x happy eggs, beaten
1 x Tablespoon lard or coconut oil

Optional extras:
garlic
Shredded kumara (sweet potato),
cheese (here we use goats curd or sheep’s milk cheese)
onion
chopped bacon or pancetta
leftover roast meat
leftover roast veggies
smoked salmon
broccoli/cauli’ florets
Sliced leeks
Brussels sprouts
wilted spinach/silver-beet/chard
additional herbs

Method

1. Heat your oven to 180°C (fan forced)/360°F. Grease a ceramic dish with your lard or coconut oil (my dish is 19cm square)

2. Crack your eggs into a large bowl. Add salt and pepper. Whisk well.

3. Stir in your grated courgette and carrot, chopped fresh parsley, and any other ingredients.*

4. Pop in the oven for approximately 45 minutes (until the edges are golden brown). The frittata will puff up a little in the oven and then flatten out as it cools.

*this time I added sautéed red onion and pancetta, and a little goats curd

E N J O Y !

*I hope to be able to reintroduce some high quality dairy eventually

 

 

 

The GREAT RAW CHOCOLATE Ice Cream Experiment…

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I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. (Don Kardong)

Today is LM’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, LM!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you just how difficult it is to find just the right birthday present for that special man in your life. Well, any male over the age of 15, really. And LM is considerably older than 15. So, because I was having zero joy finding just the right gift for my beloved, I bought myself an ice cream maker for his birthday. More specifically, I bought myself the ice cream maker attachment to my gorgeous tangerine Kitchen Aid mixer, which I had been eye-ing off for a g e s , and needed a good excuse to acquire…

Tangerine Kitchen Aid and Ice Cream Maker Attachment

Photographic evidence…
(Image by TSL)

Here’s my self-talk logic behind that decision: “I can’t find ANYTHING for LM’s birthday… I can’t even take him out to dinner because of this $?@# restrictive AIP caper that I’m on…  Bugger… I know! I’ll make him an extra special meal… He’d really love a special treat and he hasn’t been able to enjoy ice cream since we discovered his allergy to dairy… What if I made him some dairy-free ice cream..? I guess I’ll need to buy that Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment-thingy, then. It’s for LM, after all… “

See, it was LM’s birthday present – sort of!

So, I bought the ice cream maker on Tuesday. And then, just like magic, I seemed to come across all these helpful instructions for how to make dairy free ice cream. First, there was the fabulous Beth from Tasty Yummies with her tutorial on ‘How to Make Dairy-Free Ice Cream‘. She was the first one to suggest the addition of gelatin as a binder. Inspired. But, her bestest-looking vanilla ice cream contains nut milks. A no go for me at this stage.

How to Make Dairy Free Ice Cream

(Image from Beth at Tasty Yummies)

…and then, the über talented Jen’ from Predominantly Paleo posted about her latest collaboration with Vivian from The Real Food Guide. An e-book on ice cream for followers of the Autoimmune Protocol. That is – free of all the potentially inflammatory ingredients that traditionally make up ice cream that we ‘AIP-ers’ have to steer clear of – think eggs and cream! Of course I had to get me a copy of that book!

Ice Cream e-book for AIP

Ice Cream for AIP Peeps!

Armed with my trusty tutorial from Beth AND helpful e-book care of Jen’ and Vivian, of course it would only be sensible to make a practice ice cream before we actually get to the special birthday dinner, yes?

Also, if I’m being honest, I couldn’t decide which ice cream to make. Mint Choc-Chip sounds like heaven to me, but I know it’s not really LM’s bag. Neapolitan Stacks sound a m a z i n g, but perhaps a tad fiddly for a practice round. I was leaning towards a tried-and-true chocolate ice cream…

…and, since I’ve now been on the second round of the AIP for over a month and am free of my symptoms AND I seem to have a reaction to carob (which means no Carob Ice Cream) AND chocolate is one of LM’s favourite flavours (also mine!), I decided to amalgamate the tutorial base recipe for vanilla ice cream and the carob ice cream recipe from the e-book to make my own version of raw chocolate ice cream.

If it worked, LM would be happy AND I could count cacao as my first reintroduction test*…

And, you know what?

It only 1/2 worked…

I subbed in raw cacao for carob and it tasted pretty good in its pre-churned state. Once the ice cream machine had worked its magic, I was excited. The taste was good – perhaps not Italian chocolate gelato amazing - but a solid ‘good’. The texture was impressive, too.

And, I think, if we had eaten it right then and there, I would have been happy. Instead – since it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon – I popped it into the freezer so we could have it as dessert.

After dinner, I removed it from the freezer and it was OBSIDIAN rock hard! No leaving it on the bench for 15 minutes to come to temperature for this baby. It took a solid 45 minutes AND even then we were chipping away at it. So – not entirely successful.

BUT! I am not giving up! Tonight I will follow an actual recipe to the letter and make trusty vanilla ice cream. I think we’ll make dairy-free ice cream sundaes – with whipped coconut cream and raspberry sauce. Watch this space for an update!

…stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. (Robert J. Hastings, Tinyburg Tales)

*On the upside – no reaction to last night’s chocolate indulgence (yet). YAHOOO!

SINFULLY GOOD Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with a Ginger and Coconut Topping

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TSL AIP-friendly Crumble

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

Never rub another man’s rhubarb. (Jack Nicholson as The Joker, ‘Batman’)

I know I said I wasn’t a fan of sweet breakfasts. But, I make an exception for cold leftover crumble. It’s especially perfect when you’re on the autoimmune protocol and just can’t face another breakfast hash! I imagine it’s a bit like those people who enjoy cold leftover pizza for breakfast. Hey – I don’t judge…

Rhubarb always makes me think of my Dad. He adores rhubarb with its tart taste. And, LM loves it too. This is a good thing because rhubarb is pretty readily available here in Sydney. It marries well with a number of flavours – strawberries, oranges, blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, and – of course – apple.

Over the weekend I experimented a little with making an AIP-friendly crumble. For this wee number, I took a leaf out of the ever-so-wonderful Maggie Beer’s book and used verjuice (the juice of unfermented grapes) as a more gentle acid than the more traditional lemon juice to keep the apples from browning. I was quite pleased with the result!

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

The 4 Stages of Rhubarb & Apple Crumble!
(Images by TSL)

Now, for you crumble purists out there, this is not the same topping as when you make a flour and butter topping in the traditional way. It’s not even the same as using oats as a substitute. But, for those of us who are gluten-free AND who struggle with oats, too (that would be me!), this recipe offers an alternative that tastes great and gives you the ‘I’m eating a crumble’ feeling.  LM gives it his big tick of approval, as well.

On the LM scoring sheet, this one sits at a, ‘You can make this any time. I’ll eat it every day’

 

SINFULLY GOOD Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Time: about an hour
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
  • Print

AIP-friendly crumble

Ingredients

For the fruit filling:
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup verjuice
*
50 g coconut oil, melted
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored
1 x bunch rhubarb (10 – 15 sticks), washed, trimmed and cut into 2 – 3 cm lengths

For the crumble:
½ x cup coconut flour
1 1/2 x cups coconut flakes
1/3 x cup coconut sugar
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 x teaspoon ground ginger
¼ tsp Salt 

cream or ice cream, to serve (optional – I like mine straight up)

 Method

1. Heat your oven to 180° C/350° F (fan forced)

2. Mix your sugar, verjuice and melted coconut oil in a bowl. Cut your apple quarters into thin slices. Add to the verjuice mixture, tossing to combine well. Transfer to your baking dish. Give it a shake to distribute the fruit evenly. Scatter the rhubarb over the apple.

3. Bake the apple and rhubarb mixture for 20 – 25 minutes until fruit starts to soften but retains its shape.

4. While the fruit is cooking, prepare the crumble topping by mixing your coconut flour, coconut flakes, coconut sugar, coconut oil, ginger and salt in a bowl, stirring until a crumb forms.

5. When the fruit is ready, spoon the topping evenly over the top.

6. Bake for 20 min or until the topping starts to turn a golden brown.

* as an alternative to verjuice, 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and enough water to make up a 1/4 cup will do the trick

E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe Roundtable

WORLD FAMOUS Super-Power Chicken Soup

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World Famous Chicken Soup

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff. (Britney Spears)

I think I mentioned making my world-famous-at-Casa-TSL chicken soup for my sister last week. It’s a bit of a winner because it tastes good AND is chock-full of super-power boosting nutritional goodness. Especially good when you feel a little under the weather. And, at this time of the year (down here, anyway) this soup is a great preventive measure against the winter sniffles.

There’s a reason chicken soup has reached cult status around the world, but perhaps most famously with Jewish mamas. It is the ultimate comfort food when made from scratch for someone you love. I made it for my sister after her return from hospital (although I’m a little surprised she had any room for soup after scoffing down all those gingerbread men…!) But, even making the soup for someone gives you a feeling of warmth and love. Amazing how food can do that…

While this recipe seems a little longer than my usual numbers, the process is very simple. The first stage is making the base stock (which can be prepared in advance) followed by throwing all the ingredients together for the soup. This is best done just before eating because there are a number of fresh ingredients (like garlic, ginger and turmeric) full of immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory goodness.

Gotta say – this is a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a wintry weekend afternoon, too. And, your home will smell amazing!

WORLD FAMOUS Super-Power Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
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Super Power Chicken Soup

Ingredients

For your base stock:
1 x whole happy chicken (mine was 1.3 kilos)
2 x large onions, finely chopped
1 x large carrot, cut into three pieces
1 x large stick of celery, cut into three pieces
The finely chopped stalks of one bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 x teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 x Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
A small handful of wakame, or other sea vegetables (optional*)

For your soup:
2 x litres of chicken stock
2 x cups chicken meat, shredded
2 x stalks celery, finely diced
1 x large carrot, finely diced
1 x leek, halved and finely sliced
4 x  cloves garlic, minced
2 x teaspoons ginger, finely grated
1 x teaspoon fresh turmeric, finely grated
1 x bunch flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped (Use the tops of the stalks you put in the stock)
1/2 x bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 x Tablespoon coconut oil or lard
generous seasoning of sea salt and pepper

Method

For your base stock:

1. Pop your chicken in a large stock pot, with the veggies, herbs, vinegar and sea vegetables. Cover with cold filtered water.

2. Bring to the boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a strong simmer. Cook for 90 minutes. When the meat starts to separate easily from the bone, your chicken is cooked.

3. Remove the carrot and celery pieces and discard. Carefully remove the bird from the stock.

4. Once cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone. You’ll need a generous couple of cups for the soup. Any leftover shredded chicken can be popped straight into the fridge. Either discard the bones or keep for further stock.

5. You’ll need a couple of litres of stock for the soup. Any leftover can be popped straight in the fridge or freezer for other cooking.

For your soup:

6. Heat your fat in the bottom of a largish pot. Add your finely diced celery, carrot, leek and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

7. Pour in your stock and add the chicken meat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Your vegetables should still have a little crunch, but be cooked through.

8. Add the garlic, turmeric and ginger. Simmer for another minute or two. Season generously with sea salt. Taste for seasoning.

9. Remove the pot from the heat and stir through the coriander and parsley. Serve immediately.

E N J O Y !

* Wakame is my favourite sea vegetable (sea weed). It is naturally high in iodine. I add it to soups, stocks and braises.

 

‘I can’t believe they’re AIP-friendly’ Chewy Gingerbread Men

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Gingerbread Man

(Image by TSL)

 

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

I had all these plans for the blog this week. Ideas for posts kept popping into my head at the most unlikely of times. And, I’m finally back – firing on all cylinders – in the kitchen again after the big move into the smaller wee place. So, there really has been no excuse for not being more organised. I’m not even really sure what happened.  So today, I start with an apology…

Sorry! I don’t know where the week went.

My little sister is undergoing a routine medical procedure today. It involves fasting because she’s having a general anaesthetic. She’s just back from holidaying overseas and has jumped straight into the autoimmune protocol. So, I figured some chicken soup was in order. And then, I thought about the awful gluten-filled biscuits and sweet, milky cups of tea they give you when you’re just out of your anaesthetic – Ugh! – and I just had to make these wee gingerbread beauties.

A much better alternative to the hospital-provided snack-age AND AIP-friendly, to boot!

Gingerbread Fancy Dress

(Image by TSL)

I can’t take any credit for this recipe. That must all go to the very talented Tyler over at The Primitive Homemaker. You can find the recipe for these lovely wee Chewy Ginger Thin Cookies here. They are a doddle to make, contain only four ingredients, and are a scrummy treat with just the right about of crunch, ginger and sweetness.

Thanks Tyler!

ROCKING Fennel and Apple Slaw

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Apple and Fennel Slaw

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

You can never put too much pork in your mouth as far as I’m concerned. (Lewis Black)

I love pork. I r e a l l y love it. And, not a week goes by that we don’t pick up some cut of the best-pork-in-the-whole-world from the lovely team at Linga Longa. I’m not kidding – their pork is so good that I’m salivating just thinking about it… It just melts in your mouth.

And don’t even get me started about their bacon.

The Linga Longa stand is our first stop during our weekly jaunt to the farmers market at Eveleigh. And, I would still love them, even if they didn’t tell me every week that Bella is their favourite market dog!  Anyhoo, this week I picked up 2.8 kilos – that’s just over a whopping 6 pounds for you Americans! – of pork neck. I guess-timated that this amount of meat would just squeeze into my Le Creuset… It did, but it was a tight fit!

Now, I’m no expert (and I’ll be confirming this with Greg from Linga Longa on Saturday), but I’m pretty sure that this is the very same cut as the ‘Boston Butt’ I keep reading about in all the U.S. recipes for pulled pork.

Cuts of Pork

Pork Neck = Boston Butt?
(Image from here)

I ended up making a very tasty pulled pork with my ‘Boston Butt’. I’ll post the recipe after I’ve tweaked it a bit more. Of course, it may take a wee while – I have an awful lot of meat to get through!

It almost goes without saying that coleslaw is the traditional accompaniment to pulled pork. The thing is, the temperature has suddenly taken a dive here, so I played around with a slaw that might just be considered a tad more wintery. Apples marry so well with pork, and so does fennel – seems almost logical to pair them both up in my slaw.

Apple and Fennel Slaw

(Image by TSL)

Don’t just eat McDonald’s, get something a bit better. Eat a salad. That’s what fashion is. It’s something that is a bit better. (Vivienne Westwood)

For this recipe, it definitely helps if you have a mandolin. You could chop the apples and fennel by hand, but so MUCH easier (and faster) with a mandolin…

ROCKING Fennel & Apple Slaw

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes + sitting time
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
  • Print

Apple and Fennel Slaw

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 x small or 1 x large granny smith apples
1 medium head of fennel
1/2 x small red onion
1/8 cup best quality EVOO
1 x Tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

1. Pop your lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Peel and core your apples. Julienne into match sticks using your mandolin. Toss the apples in the lemon juice (this stops them from browning).

3. Wash and julienne your fennel. Add to the apples.

4. Remembering to change the blade on your mandolin, finely slice the red onion Add to the apples and fennel.

5. Add the olive oil and parsley. Season well to taste.

6. Leave for at least 30 minutes before serving. (All slaws improve in flavour after sitting!) Check seasoning once more.

6. Serve with a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt and raspberry sauce.

E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe Roundtable.

KNOCK OUT Plantain Hotcakes with Raspberry Sauce and Coconut Yoghurt

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Plantain Hotcakes with Raspberry Sauce & Coconut Yoghurt

(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes. (Kathleen Flinn, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family)

When I was a little girl and my parents were going out for the evening, it was traditional for my Mum to make pancakes for my sister, brother and me. No take aways for us, thank you very much. She used to make her pancakes à la minute*. And, except for the first one in the batch (which is never perfect), they were seriously good. So good that my sister, brother and I used to gobble them down and then argue over who was due the next pancake.

Mum is originally from Germany. Her pancakes definitely lean more towards the thin French crêpe than the fluffier American flapjack or hotcake. And, she served them with lemon juice and sugar. Just thinking about them now makes me want to be back in the kitchen with Mum making pancakes…

But, that’s not going to happen. I’m in Australia. She’s in New Zealand. And, regular pancake batter is full of dairy, eggs, sugar and gluten… (sigh).

But AIP-friendly plantain hotcakes are another story…

Now, as a rule, I’m not really a sweet breakfast kind of girl. I definitely prefer a savoury start to the day. Of course, LM needs no excuse to indulge in sweets at any time of the day. AND I have been promising him plantain hotcakes for months. Ever since I first spotted a recipe for AIP-friendly pancakes on the Paleo Mom’s blog. The problem was, the recipe calls for black plantains. That is to say – über ripe ones. And usually my plantains don’t last long enough to get past the green stage.

But! – LM bought me a few plantains a wee while ago. Because my kitchen was in such disarray after our move, I threw them into the back of the fridge and forgot about them. How fortuitous…

TSL's Raspberry Sauce and Coconut Yoghurt

TSL's Plantain Hotcakes

TSL's Plantain Hotcakes

(Images by TSL)

And, these wee beauties are pretty scrummy as a weekend brunch option. I will definitely be waiting for my plantains to blacken in the future so that I can whip up some more. Next time, I’m thinking stewed rhubarb and apple with vanilla coconut cream

These hotcakes are so easy to make. Really. And, if I wasn’t on the autoimmune protocol, I might play around with the spices and adding some sultanas or nuts for flavour and crunch.

KNOCK OUT Plantain Hotcakes with Raspberry Sauce and Coconut Yoghurt

  • Servings: 8 hotcakes
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy-peasey
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TSL's Plantain Hotcakes

Adapted from a recipe by The Paleo Mom

Ingredients

Raspberry Sauce:
1 x cup frozen raspberries
1 x Tablespoon maple syrup

Plantain Pancakes:
2 black plantains
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1/3 x cup coconut yoghurt

Method

1. Pop your frozen raspberries and maple syrup into a small pot. Give it a stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Give them a good stir until pureed. Set aside to cool.

2. Peel and roughly chop your black plantains. Throw them into a food processor and give them a good whiz. Add your spices. Whiz again until thoroughly mixed.

3. Heat half of the coconut oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

4. Spoon 1/4 cup-sized portions of the plantain batter into the frying pan. Using a spoon, spread them into your desired shape and thickness. I easily managed four hotcakes in the pan at a time, so two batches.

5. Cook for 7 minutes on the first side (I used a timer and kept an eye on them. You don’t want the temperature too hot). Flip them over and cook for another 7 minutes on the other side. Add more coconut oil to the pan before cooking subsequent batches.

6. Serve with a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt and raspberry sauce.

E N J O Y !

*to order