Gluten-Free Blueberry Vanilla Granola

Sarah’s Rap: I am always looking for way to improve the nutritional value and reduce sugar content of the snacks and breakfasts which my kids consume. This recipe is their new favorite and a great replacement for the more sugar-laden store varieties of granola. Another bonus? When you bake it your house will smell so good, you’ll wish you could make it every day! Continue reading

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WTF is Leaky Gut?!

Leaky GutSarah’s Rap: Most people have never heard of Leaky Gut. Among those that have, I’d estimate that at least half think it is a quack diagnosis, including those close to Leaky Gut suffers such as myself. It is difficult to have a condition where you’re met with skepticism rather than support, with accusation rather than help. I can tell you that there are a lot of doctors out there that support this illness and many people that benefit from treatment designed for a Leaky Gut. Even those with diagnoses of IBS, IBD, Autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease, Thyroid conditions, Autism and more!

The best course of action is to get informed and if you’re suffering, know that you are not alone. The more people learn about the condition and others like it, the better able we will be able to heal, get medical attention and receive the support needed for healing. Even if you don’t think you have any health problems, I hope you still read this as I guarantee you that someone you know does!

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Paleo Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin breadSarah’s Rap: One of my family’s favorite baked goods is pumpkin bread. I’ve been making it since I was a twelve year old girl with an early love of baking. I was given my first cookbook, a classic Betty Crocker, and spent the next few years working my way through the recipes.  Out of all the things I made, the pumpkin bread recipe got the most use. We’ve tried various other recipes and box mixes over the years, but the classic Betty Crocker pumpkin bread recipe is still preferred by my family and always a hit with friends and co-workers.

Sadly I can’t eat this version any more, so over the last few years, I’ve tried many Paleo pumpkin bread recipes. I’ve never found one that tasted as good as our family favorite. So instead I set out to make my own based on that and I have to say that this year I finally nailed it. Continue reading

“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

Plans for a Paleo Thanksgiving

Sarah’s Rap: Time sure has been flying by! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. It is one of my family’s favorite holidays. We will miss spending it with our extended family on the East coast this year, but are fortunate that several friends will come share a meal with us. I’m sure you know by now if you follow my blog that I eat a strict Paleo diet for health reasons. This means that my Thanksgiving meal will be full of delicious vegetable dishes, meats, nuts and fruits. Many of you may be thinking… a Thanksgiving without bread, macaroni and cheese and sugar?! How is that even possible? Well, it’s actually pretty easy considering the umpteen ways to prepare vegetables, all the cookbooks and websites offering Paleo recipes and the plethora of grain, dairy, sugar and gluten alternative ingredients at the grocery store. There are so many wonderful dishes you can make using wholesome ingredients without having to be in the kitchen for a week straight. Be thankful for your health by rewarding it this Thanksgiving with a delicious, and surprisingly simple, Paleo meal. I know I will!

Thanksgiving

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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

Roasted Delicata Squash with Bacon and Crispy Kale

IMG_5562Sarah’s Rap: I have discovered a heavenly pairing of two fall vegetables- kale and delicata squash, made even better by roasting with shallots until the squash and shallots are slightly caramelized and the kale is crispy, then finishing it off with a liberal sprinkling of bacon. This side-dish is gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, but full of flavor and very versatile.

It will make an excellent accompaniment to any meat or fish entree, or can serve as an entree all on it’s own. For my own dinner last night, I had it with chicken sausage and asparagus. Fresh from the oven, the kale was crispy and made the dish really stand out. Today, I ate leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg – the kale had softened, which actually was a better compliment to the egg, and the bacon flavor permeated the squash more as they’d apparently gotten to know each other better overnight. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Feel free to mix up the seasonings to your taste.

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Health Crisis Part 5: Denial

Sarah’s Rap: This is the last post in this series and about perhaps the biggest hurdle of all to our health: DENIAL. This is what prevents people with illness from acknowledging the problem, committing to taking steps towards better health and/or from making changes to key contributors to the country’s (and world’s) disease epidemic: the Standard American Diet, a broken healthcare system, unhealthy lifestyle choices and environmental toxins.

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Denial is a tricky beast– difficult to overcome. If a person is in denial, he/she won’t believe it. This is the nature of denial. Even now many of you are reading this, thinking it doesn’t apply to you. And it may not. Please humor me though. I’d like you to ask you to open your mind and keep reading. Let this post help you to take a deeper at your health and lifestyle, and perhaps by the end you might feel differently. If not, and you have no health issues, that’s wonderful. Keep up the good work! Maybe you’ll think of a friend that is in denial and needs your help. Or maybe, you will admit that you are suffering from illness and want to take control of your health and happiness.

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Health Crisis Part 4: Environment

Sarah’s Rap: If you’re like me, you barely go a day without meeting someone with health issues of their own or talking about someone they know with illness. It makes me so sad, partly because of the sheer prevalence but also because most people chalk up their illness or symptoms to genetics, bad luck or no idea. They often live a life of suffering, prescription medications and a pile-up of diseases.

Sure, genetics can play a role– some of us are more susceptible to certain conditions based on our DNA, and when we live a lifestyle that doesn’t support our own body’s needs we can flip that genetic switch on. But just because your grandmother had breast cancer, doesn’t mean you will definitely get it. The conditions have to be right. And maybe bad luck has a small part, but ultimately I feel that the majority of illnesses are caused by a handful of specific things. I’m not alone in this. Raymond Francis, author of Never Be Sick Again, believes that only two causes of disease– deficiency and toxicity. Continue reading