“The Grain-Free Family Table” by Carrie Vitt

Sarah’s Rap: In a recent post, Tales From a Cookbook Junkie, I embarked on a journey to The Grain-Free Family Tabledive into my collection of Paleo cookbooks. Despite a major cookbook addiction, I often find myself making the same meals over and over again. My plan of action was to explore each of the gems which grace my cookbook shelf more in-depth in order to spice up my meal repertoire. The first one I started with was “The Grain-Free Family Table” by Carrie Vitt and it was a good choice. I’ve been eating well for the last two weeks! The recipes were ones that I could feel good about —  healthy and designed for people like me with many food restrictions. However anyone would love this book, not just those with illness.  The recipes are creative, yet simple and hearty.

The author suffered from severe hives and pain due to Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. By changing to a grain-free and soy-free diet, free of processed foods, she healed her body and is now in remission from her disease without needing to take thyroid medication. She developed the recipes in this book so that she could eat satisfying meals that nourished her body and didn’t leave her feeling deprived. The book’s introduction is inspiring and full of information for those suffering from illness.

One quote from her I love and can personally attest to is, “Natural healing isn’t a quick fix. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it in the end.” Well, with the recipes in this book, natural healing is a lot easier, and tastier, process. Continue reading

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Tales from a Cookbook Junkie

CookbooksSarah’s Rap: Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve loved to pore over cookbooks. I read recipes like some do magazine articles and usually head to the cookbook section in a bookstore before anything else, despite my already overflowing shelf of cooking and baking manuals. I don’t usually watch sitcoms, but sit me in front of the Food Network, Cupcake War or some other foodie cooking show and I’m sucked in. Or at least I used to be. Now that I can’t eat many of the things they are cooking on those shows, and frankly often don’t want to, I find them less appealing. Despite the fact that I started a Paleo diet because that was all I could eat, I actually prefer to fill my body with healthy foods. I love the way it make me feel and firmly believe that a daily diet full of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and healthy meats and fish is the best way to nurture both the body and the mind.

Over the last seven years, my shelf full of high-sugar, grain- and dairy-filled cookbooks has transformed to be chock full of Paleo, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, and grilling cookbooks. Wherever I look, stores are selling books and cookbooks on these topics as well as Clean Eating, Whole 30, the Mediterranean diet, the Ketogenic diet, and more. Every body is different, so a Paleo diet might not be the right choice for everyone, but there is no mistaking that cutting out sugar, gluten, corn and unhealthy oils can improve anyone’s health. There are so many great options out there for people who want to change their way of eating to one that will improve or promote better health. Continue reading

Book Review: The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan

Sarah’s Rap: Last year I was walking with a long-time friend and after voicing my unhappiness with my health issues and resulting dietary regimen (for probably the millionth time), my friend suggested that I might need to accept that this was the way things were going to be. That I might not get past this. She had a good point, and for awhile after that conversation I tried not to be upset with what I COULDN’T eat and instead was satisfied with what I COULD eat, and all the other good things I had in  my life – a loving family, a good job, enough money to buy organic, high-quality foods and more. A strange thing happened. Just by deciding to change my mindset my stress-levels reduced and I felt more enjoyment in life.

Sadly, since then I’ve regressed and reverted back to fighting my circumstances and always striving to “get better”. On one hand, it’s a good thing to want to be better. I don’t sit idly by or decide to eat whatever I want no matter how sick it makes me. I got a new doctor, did some lab work to find more food sensitivities and bacterial overgrowth issues, bought a portable sauna for the house and started doing progressive relaxation. But this mindset of always striving for better health also causes stress and a constant dissatisfaction that my life is not what I want it to be. I’m always cooking, worrying about eating at social functions and turning a bit into a hermit.  What I need to find is a balance between the two. I need to bring more LOVE into my life and only I can control how receptive I am to it. Only I can generate love within myself for others, my environment and my life experiences. No one will do it for me. I am surrounded by love from others, yet I often feel dissatisfied and depressed. I am going to call this My Year of Love and I’ve just read an inspiring book that’s going to help! Wanna join me? If so, read on!love Continue reading

Book Review: “Better Than Before”

better-than-before-2Sarah’s Rap: When Melissa and I embarked on our month of posts related to forming and keeping good habits, Melissa recommended this book to me: “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life” by Gretchen Rubin. At first I wondered how someone could make a whole book about forming habits. Don’t I just commit to making them and try my hardest to stick with it? Well, I trust Melissa’s book reviews as she’s never steered me wrong and I found another of Gretchen’s books  (“The Happiness Project”) packed full of helpful advice, so I gave it a try.

This book is chock full of great research on a variety of topics which impact our abilities to form habits and keep them, including personalities, motivators, scheduling strategies, accountability, monitoring, challenges and more. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in forming new healthy habits. By understanding more about the habit-forming beast, we can more easily tame it! Continue reading

Black Friday Awesomeness

Sarah’s Rap: Ahhhhh, the day after Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. We celebrated with a traditional dinner, heavy on the Paleo and shared with family and friends. As nice as yesterday was though, it feels wonderful to not have anything on my agenda today other than getting our Christmas tree up. So here I sit before the family awakes, watching a Hallmark Christmas movie and writing this post in my pajamas. To top off all this magnificence, for breakfast I’m enjoying a slice of paleo-friendly pumpkin pie topped with whipped coconut cream and my favorite morning beverage, an Americano. It’s doesn’t get much better than this folks. And this pie turned out so well, I gotta say, that you can probably expect to see a post about it soon.

One thing that could make today even better though would be to get my holiday shopping knocked out without having to wait in any lines today. Don’t get me wrong, I can shop til I drop when I’m in the mood, but Black Friday crowds are definitely not my thing. Thank goodness for the Internet! If you feel the same way, you might want to check out the new Sister Rap Shop on Amazon. Do you like that segue? Yes, yes, I know it’s a shameful plug but we really are passionate about the items we’ve selected and want to share them with you. shopping-love-resized4 Continue reading

Crazy Sexy Love Notes for the Soul

love-notes-4-resizedSarah’s Rap:  This deck of cards is one of my favorite things. They’re not for playing poker or Go Fish, but instead they’re fifty-two notes to feed your soul and provide needed support and affirmation.

Melissa gave this to me as a gift a few years ago when I was struggling with my digestive health and the resulting emotional turbulence. I remember opening it up and seeing the title,”Crazy Sexy Love Notes”, thinking ‘what in the heck did she send me?’. Inside I found a brilliant concept by Kris Carr, a best-selling author, cancer survivor and wellness advocate. These cards are, as the box proclaims, “Messages from your wise & fabulous inner self.”  Continue reading