5 AUTOIMMUNE PALEO (AIP) TIPS AND TRICKS FOR OPTIMAL SUCCESS

If you’re just here for the tips, I totally get that! Just scroll down to the bottom, they’re numbered somewhere down there. If you want to read the rambling story of how I even stumbled on the Autoimmune protocol, please keep reading.

STORY TIME! When my husband was first diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (both autoimmune diseases) he was still seeing only Western medicine providers. He was first prescribed steroids, then a self-administered shot called Humira. After 6ish months of use, the Humira stopped being effective. The next logical step was, OF COURSE… an in office transfusion called Remicade. Big surprise, after 6ish months of use that stopped working. He was then told the next step was freezing some sperm and going on a mild chemotherapy drug.

At no point were his providers looking for root cause or addressing diet!

Our next step was a naturopathic doctor who implemented an alkaline diet and supplemental protocol to help anti-inflame the body, heal the gut, and support the liver. From there I started doing my own research and we quickly transitioned to a loose paleo template. We both saw so many fantastic results! But it was a process and a huge leap from what we were currently eating. I mean, I’m ITALIAN! We were regularly eating homemade stuffed shells, lasagna, spaghetti, and chicken parmigiana. Delicious, but definitely NOT anti-inflammatory! Paleo was a great initial stepping stone because it eliminates a lot of potentially inflammatory foods like:

  • Grains

  • Dairy

  • Processed Sugar

  • Beans

  • Trans/processed Fats

With this transition came a lot more cooking and recipe research. I quickly found Mickie Trescott of Autoimmune Wellness and an autoimmune paleo (AIP) way of eating. From there we saw an even bigger improvement of symptoms. YES! We’re finally on to something! When we implemented AIP, we cut out the following (in addition to the Paleo template we were still on):

  • Eggs

  • Nightshades

  • All nuts and seeds

  • Alcohol

We did this for 2 YEARS! We didn’t really try to reintroduce anything because we were terrified of an increase in symptoms. Eventually we found a wellness provider that implemented muscle testing and Steve started adding some foods back in like eggs and nightshades, with the exception of peppers.

So as you can see, this journey took us 4-5 YEARS! I want to help you to streamline this by giving you the 5 tips that I wish someone would have told us.

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  1. Determine if you’re a slow roll or rip the bandaid off kind of person. Are you the type of person that needs to cut one thing out at a time? Maybe you need to crowd out certain foods first. I am definitely more of an abstainer, so I prefer to just take everything out and start from scratch. You’ll find more success if you honor what type of person you are.

  2. Use Pinterest or go to the library for recipe inspiration. I still do this! Pinterest is essentially a search engine with great pictures and descriptions. From there you can determine if any of the websites have cookbooks. This is when the library comes in handy. Now you can try before you buy! My favorite blogs for AIP recipes are - Healing Family Eats, Autoimmune Wellness, and The Paleo Mom.

  3. Meal planning and batch cooking are going to be your best friend. Seriously, if you’re just starting out, this is definitely a necessity. Pick 4-5 recipes and take a day to cook everything up. Add in salads and other raw and cooked veggies for more volume and nutrient density. You’ll be skipping a lot of empty and nutrient poor foods that you may have been filling your plate with, which brings me to my next tip.

  4. Make sure you’re getting enough fat in! This really threw my husband and I for a loop. We started off by not replacing the higher fat and protein foods we had cut out like nuts, seeds, and eggs. That was a huge miss and in turn we were hungry. All. The. Time. Be very mindful about adding in coconut products, fattier cuts of meat, animal fats, olives and olive oil, and avocados. Fat helps to keep our bodies satiated longer so we’re not hungry 2 hours after eating. Kind of important since nobody enjoys eating every couple hours.

  5. Re-introduce! A lot of programs recommend after 30 days or once you experience a decrease in symptoms. This is awesome advice, just please don’t wait longer than you need to! Phoenix Helix has a fantastic post about reintroduction that I wish we had found 5 years ago.



PIZZA FRITTATA

If you follow me on Instagram you know of my absolute love and obsession for pizza frittata’s. This idea came about one night when I was really craving pizza, but didn’t want to feel like crap the next day or spend any extra money. Usually I’ll make tiny pizza bites, which are turkey pepperoni (I have a pork sensitivity) with a dollop of spaghetti sauce and some cheese and then thrown under the broiler to melt the cheese. Tasty in a pinch, but not exactly what I was craving. As I looked into the abyss of the fridge I thought maybe, just maybe, I could use eggs as a “crust”. They’re fairly mild in flavor and frittata’s are definitely one of my go-to’s…THIS JUST MIGHT WORK! Spoiler alert: it did. And it was everything I’d hoped it could be!

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The amazing part about these pizza frittata’s is that you can add the same exact toppings you would on a regular pizza. For this one I sautéed some onions and sweet bell peppers in a pot with a combo of coconut oil and ghee, then added 3 scramble eggs. Let the bottom cook and then throw under the broiler on high (middle rack) until top is just cooked. Remove from oven and add spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and cheese. Place back under the broiler until cheese melts. Easy peasy and extremely customizable! I’ve done a variety of veggies, pepperoni, ground italian sausage, and many types of cheese. And let me tell you, the spaghetti sauce is key. I made it once without it on accident and it was not pizza like AT ALL! So don’t make my mistake and you will continually have a super yummy pizza alternative.

Stay awesome,

Amber

LOOKING TO DECREASE INFLAMMATION? START HERE!

This is going to be one of the simplest swaps for your health.

Trade and upgrade your fats and oils!

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Firstly, we want to get rid of highly processed, deodorized, franken-fats and oils. These fats and oils are nowhere near their natural state and the steps needed to get them into a palatable “food” is a thing of nightmares. Processing and refining of a lot of common oils creates an unstable fat or oil, leading to inflammation in our bodies from oxidation stress and free radicals. We want to get back to fats and oils that are as close to their natural state as possible, as well as extracted in a way that does not degrade these delicate nutrient powerhouses. Degradation happens quite often with oils. Most popular commercial oils are made from nuts and seeds that are polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA’s. PUFA’s are delicate and should only be cold pressed and not used for cooking. This is why you will usually see flax seed oil in dark containers and refrigerated!

Get rid of:

  • Margarine or other butter “spreads” - Usually full of trans fats (which our body does not recognize) and other highly processed oils that are put through some sort of dark witchcraft in order to be spreadable.

  • Canola oil

  • Soybean oil

  • Corn oil

  • Sunflower oil

  • Cottonseed oil

Now that your pantry is cleared of these inflammatory oils, let’s restock! You will be looking for a variety of minimally processed fats and oils. We want these items to be as close to their natural state as possible so our body recognizes them as food and not franken-food!

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  • Grass fed butter or ghee - organic, grass fed, and pastured if possible. I love Pure Indian Foods for ghee.

  • Coconut oil - Organic, unrefined, and cold pressed if you can find it.

  • Animal Fats - Tallow, lard, and duck fat, which should always be from pastured, organic, and free range animals. I use Epic brand animal fats. Someday I’ll render my own!

  • Avocado oil - cold pressed and dark container for best protection.

  • Olive oil - cold pressed and dark container for best protection.

I’m so excited to hear if you’ve made any of these trades! It really is one of the simplest things we can do to decrease inflammation and improve overall health and wellness. Here’s to swapping out our fats.

Stay awesome!

Amber

WHY I (almost) NEVER RECOMMEND SMOOTHIES

Yes, I’m totally attacking smoothies! Buckle up, because I have some very strong feelings.

Photo by  Alex Loup  on  Unsplash

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

There are a lot of reasons that people reach for smoothies. In turn, a lot of those reasons are why I don’t recommend them. Here are some of the reasons that my clients tell me they luuurve their smoothies:

  • Quick AND easy to make

  • Easy way to get fruits in (and sometimes veggies)

  • Eat on the go

Let’s break these down!

  • Quick to make - I can’t even knock this one. We are busy humans and it’s important for our food to fit our lifestyle, while also being properly prepared, nutrient dense, and well rounded in macronutrients (protein/carbs/fat). This last point is where our typical smoothie could use some work.

  • Easy to make - Can’t knock this one either. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m the laziest cook! You shouldn’t have to spend 1-3 hours in the kitchen for 1 meal. But believe me, there are better ways to get satiating and delicious food in your belly.

  • Easy way to get fruits and (maybe) veggies - This is true…sort of. When you really break down the ingredients in most smoothies, you’re looking at 2-3+ cups of fruit. Now I want to know if you’d ever sit down and eat this amount of fruit in 1 sitting? Probably not. So why would you drink it?!

  • Eat on the go - This is my biggest reason for telling my clients to swap out the smoothies. Digestion begins in the brain with seeing, smelling, and chewing our food. This starts a signal from the brain to every single organ of digestion. The brain tells the mouth to release salivary enzymes that begin the breakdown of carbohydrates, tells the stomach to excrete acid to further breakdown nutrients, tells the liver/gallbladder to release bile to breakdown fats, tells the intestines to move the food through. We need to be in a relaxed state for all of this to happen. And honestly, when have you ever seen someone sitting down and chewing a smoothie in a relaxed state? Slim to none most likely.

Thinking twice about smoothies? Good! Now we need to talk about alternatives or smoothie upgrades.

Quick + Easy Alternatives

  • Coconut Chia Seed Pudding - quick to put together and you can make 5 for the whole week for breakfast or mini meals.

  • Egg Bakes - These are one of my go-to’s for breakfast. It’s so quick and easy to make a whole pan for the week. It’s also pretty hard to get sick of this since you can constantly change up the ingredients!

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

Get Your Fruit In

  • Aiming for 1 cup or less of fruit per day and 3-4 cups of veggies is my personal recommendation for my clients. With smoothies you are getting in more like 3+, so it’s a bit of overkill.

  • Opt for berries over tropical fruits. Lower sugar and more antioxidants. Win!

  • Start decreasing (not eliminating) fruit in your smoothie and try adding fats and proteins like nut butters, coconut, avocado, and full fat yogurt or kefir if you tolerate dairy well.

Eat on the go

  • Please stop doing this. For the love of all things holy, please stop eating anything while driving, walking, running to your car, working, etc.

  • If you’re going to go for a smoothie, try a smoothie bowl that you have to sit down and eat with a spoon.

  • I know it sounds ridiculous, but chew your smoothie! This signals the body to produce salivary enzymes to begin the breakdown of carbohydrates like fruits and veggies.

That’s all folks. Thanks for sticking around for all that info and please let me know in the comments if you’ve implemented any of the tips!

Stay awesome,

Amber





IS YOUR NECK CONNECTED TO YOUR PANCREAS?

Happy Monday, friends! I hope your weekend was everything you wanted it to be. I had some much needed relaxation time and got to pick up a shift at Pharmaca. I absolutely love my on-call position there! It’s so nice being able to work with other women that are passionate about nutrition, health, and wellness. AND the fact that it’s on-call means that if I have a client heavy day, I just pass on it. WIN!

As I was hanging out on the deck this weekend, I realized I never put a link up to the guest blog post I did for my favorite chiropractor of all time, Dr. Sharonrose Samelak at Seed of Life Chiropractic and Wellness. Dr. Sam and I met when I joined a networking group in Seattle and we clicked immediately! We nerded out over the nervous system, muscle testing, and the connection between muscles and organs.

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As a massage therapist of 18 years, the connection between the muscles and organs is something that I didn’t really know about until 4ish years ago. And let me tell you, after that my whole world changed! How I see each individual massage client has become way more holistic and foundational than ever. In my nutrition practice it is all about root cause. Why is a particular symptom presenting itself? I now take this same “detective work” into my massage practice with my functional massage. Why does someone have chronic headaches, tight shoulders, or low back pain? Is it postural, structural, trauma, or related to an organ being out of balance? Quite possibly it’s 2 or more. Maybe we can address some of these pieces so the body has space to balance the remaining imbalances. So, if you’re interested in learning more about how your neck and shoulders may be connected to your pancreas, please check out the guest post I did over at Seed of Life.

Also, if you’re interested in booking a functional massage, you can find the info here. If you have any questions about functional massage, please leave me a comment below!

Stay awesome,

Amber

WHAT IS THE #1 NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY?

Were you guessing some obscure vitamin or mineral?! Most of my clients are shocked to hear that one of the most common nutrient deficiencies is WATER! If you’re anything like me, getting enough water in during a typical busy day can be a struggle. The great news is it’s an easy fix that doesn’t take a huge budget, lifestyle, or time commitment. Keep reading for some symptoms to look out for and some actionable items for optimal hydration.

Photo by  Steve Johnson  on  Unsplash

Not sure if you need more water during your day? Here are some signs that you may be dehydrated.

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Anxiety

  • Cramps

  • Irritability

  • Cravings

  • Joint Pain

  • Migraines

  • Constipation

Real Talk: These symptoms don’t always mean that you’re dehydrated, BUT a good first step is a glass of water. From here you can reassess and determine if more steps are needed. Now…if we’re going to put the time into drinking more water, let’s dial it in!

  • Filtered or spring water is best. Find a fresh water spring near you here. I love our Berkey water filtration device. Ours is equipped with the black and fluoride filters. I also have colleagues that like the GOpure.

  • Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day. This is very bioindividual, so play around with it. Find what your body needs depending on details like time of year, activity level, caffeine consumption, etc.

  • Sip, don’t chug your water. Give your body time to absorb, not expel. if you find you’re peeing all. the. time., please slow down!

  • Set a water timer. It’s so easy to get distracted with life and forget to drink your water. Totally guilty of this! I’ve found that this is the trigger I need to actually drink enough water for my body.

Remember marvelous humans, we’re basically sacks of water walking around this space rock, so make sure you’re loving up on your body and give it the nutrients it needs. Starting with water!

I’d love to know if you add one of these action items into your day, so please leave a comment and keep me updated.

Stay awesome,

Amber



FUNCTIONAL NUTRITIONAL THERAPY

Wondering what it is I do in my 1:1 nutrition practice? Awesome, because I’m about to tell you! 

First of all, my ultimate focus when working with each unique client, is to find your bodies balance so you can heal and your body can self regulate. We do this by:

MAXIMIZING:

Nutrient Dense, properly prepared, real foods - Learn about the best way to make all food as nutrient giving as possible though soaking, sprouting, organic, etc.

Increase Parasympathetic State – The parasympathetic state of the Autonomic Nervous System is foundational to digestion, regeneration, detoxification, and immune function. We will go over how to tap into this state and how important it is for overall wellness.

Optimize Digestion – Your absorption and nutrient profile is only as good as your digestion. We work north to south through all organs of digestion to optimize

Balance Blood Sugar – Your body will prioritize blood sugar regulation over a lot of functions of the body. Learn how to take your own blood glucose readings and how what and how you eat affects your blood sugar.

Hydration – About 65% of the body is water! If that doesn’t give you some insight to how important water quality and amount is to health, then I don’t know what will!

Essential Fatty Acid Balance – Are we eating foods that contain essential fatty acids or taking supplements to acquire adequate levels?

Mineral and Vitamin – Mineral and vitamin balance can be an effect of poor digestive function and/or a diet low in real, nutrient dense foods. Balance of these items is absolutely essential for optimal body function.

Antioxidants – There are thousands of different kinds, some we make and some we consume. They are vital for disarming free radicals, which can be found in fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and air pollutants.

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MINIMIZE:

Stress – Stress is neither good or bad, it’s the fact that in our culture stress is so high and out of balance that it sets the foundation for illness.

Allergens – This includes foods, environmental allergies, and even fabrics and household products.

Toxins – Toxins are all around us. How can we minimize what we come into contact with on a regular basis to decrease our overall toxic load?

Infections - Fungal, Viral, Parasitic, Bacterial, oh my! This can be anything from a chronic underlying issue to an acute infection.

 

PRIORITIZE:

Sleep

Rest

Laughter

Stress Reduction

Exercise

Stretching

Breathing

Relationships

 

I use the following tools to figure out our priorities in regards to food, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

1)    In-depth interview process

2)    Muscle Testing (Autonomic Response Technique and Applied Kinesiology)

3)    Labwork Interpretation (Areas of opportunity and optimizing “normal” reference ranges)

4)    Hands-on palpations to determine inflammation/stress

5)    Ongoing support and goal setting through a private client portal

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WHAT THIS IS NOT.

Cookie cutter protocols

15-30 minute in and out appointments

Masking/Band-Aids for symptoms only

Does this sound like something you’re interested in? If you’re in the Seattle area and would like to set up a discovery call, please hit the button below. I look forward to talking with you!