Wednesday, October 28, 2015


This cast iron panful was inspired by the front of the Vital Choice catalog. I cannot say enough good things about that company. My Functional Medicine doctor recommended it to me for sustainably harvested, sushi-grade wild seafood and I've never looked back. I am not compensated or otherwise encouraged to speak up for this company, but I'm nevertheless compelled to give them a thumbs-up! The products are superlative and delicious, the customer service is first rate, and there are gobs of online tutorials on their website about cooking and handling the food. Love them!

This salmon never gets old. I eat it about three times per week. My favorite way to fix it is in the broiler in cast iron.  I preheat the pan on 500 degrees in the oven, then put the skin-on portions in the pan with a little olive oil or grass-fed butter, salt and pepper, then turn on the broiler and cook for only 5 minutes. I like it medium-rare. In this case, I sauteed some fresh veggies in coconut oil with a few fennel seeds for a few minutes, then put them in the pan along with the raw fish. The whole thing was amazing!

Tips that worked out well for me:

Sauteing the veggies for a few minutes before broiling them helps them retain moisture and flavor in the fast, dry heat of the broiler.  You can do it quite some time before preheating the pan, and just let it sit off the burner so you aren't worried about doing too many things at once during the preheating and broiling process, which has to be carefully watched.

Preheating the iron pan ensures that the fish doesn't stick to it, and is also cooked evenly all the way through, not just on top. You won't regret this extra step. It'll save you 15 minutes of scrubbing fish skin off the pan, if nothing else! The fish slides right out of the pan if it is hot first.

I love simple, good food like this. Can't wait for the next batch!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I only have a "before" photo, but isn't it pretty?  As we strive to incorporate 9 cups of veg each day, It takes a little imagination to avoid getting into a rut. I bought the radishes because they were pretty, with nary a plan in mind. I wound up thinking outside of the box with a buttery saute (grass-fed butter) along with daikon and the best of the green radish tops. I chopped all of it roughly, and quickly sauteed the tubers and greens at medium-high heat. I stirred constantly and took the pan off the heat before the butter could burn. I sprinkled a little kosher salt on top and ate them all myself. The flavor was amazing -- peppery but mellow and rich, with a little crunchiness left inside. Anyone's always welcome to have a bit of my fab food, but I usually don't get any takers when I do crazy things like this. It works out well for me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Meatloaf and Parsnips

My apologies -- I have no recipe today for these recent creations. It was one of those Sunday afternoons when I was only puttering around in the kitchen, not expecting much. This all turned out pretty fabulous and healthy. Note to self:  take notes next time you putter.

I've told you about my pureed parsnips before (yum). To recap:  peel, chop and boil several fresh parsnips for about 13 minutes, then drain, reserving a little bit of the boiling water.  In a food processor, put parsnips, grass-fed butter, salt and nutmeg to taste. Process the parsnips 'til homogenous, and adjust moisture by adding a little of the boiling water, if needed, process some more until the tubers are smooth and silky mmmmm.

As for the meatloaf, here's what I remember:  I used a pound of ground grass-fed buffalo, half an onion, chopped, half a zucchini, shredded, chopped celery and carrots (one each, I think) an egg and about a cup of almond flour (powdered almonds -- I used Bob's Red Mill) instead of bread crumbs. I'm trying to cut down on gluten, so this fit the bill. I did add a small pinch of kosher salt and a splash of tamari.  I greased a glass bread pan with coconut oil, and for a glaze, I mixed organic ketchup and tamari, and spooned it on top. I think I baked this for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It was amazing, and I don't have any other meatloaf eaters in the family so it was mine, all mine!

This did fall apart a little bit, so maybe next time I will add a second egg or fewer "bread crumbs" (almond flour). I won't leave out the veggies, though -- I'm sure that's where all the flavor came from.  Sorry I can't be more help, but maybe this can be regenerative food for thought!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Following the Body's Signals

This is what I craved for lunch the other day. It's arugula, topped with a canful of sardines packed in olive oil, and a few salted marcona almonds. Don't knock it 'til you try it! I don't know how I knew the almonds would be delicious with the sardines, but it worked! These are not just any canned sardines. They are the most mild, luscious sardines from Portugal, distributed through my favorite seafood provider, Vital Choice. I also get sushi grade raw (flash frozen) Pacific Northwest fish from this company. Incidentally, Vital Choice has just begun selling bone broth, of all things! I'll continue making my own, but it's perhaps a sign that things are changing. The company was recommended by my Functional Medicine M.D. who is working with me to maximize health through diet. Omega 3's are well represented here. What a fabulous, easy lunch!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What I Do With Bacon

As a former vegan, accepting healthy animal fats back into my diet was quite a mental and emotional stretch. This organic, sustainably raised nitrate-free bacon provides building blocks for the regeneration of my brain that are impossible to find in other foods. When I purchase this expensive staple, I always immediately cut the whole package with kitchen shears into four pieces, against the grain so the bacon slices are about 2-3 inches long. Then they all go into freezer bags until I need them. I utilize bacon judiciously in my diet, never wasting it and only cooking what I will eat over a couple of days. I don't need much, but I do find eating this is strengthening and calming to the system, so am hopeful it's helping in my quest for CNS health.

Full grown bok choy is a bit more bitter and peppery than it's milder juvenile version, so a savory-salty bacon is a delicious, mellowing contrast. I can feel my brain cells growing back just looking at this! I also use a little bacon when cooking organic chicken livers, which are much larger and milder in flavor than the non-organic ones. My liver recipe also includes onions, mushrooms, a little balsamic vinegar and plenty of fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

You're Still the One!

Through all the phases of my health crusade, KALE is always there: Standard American Diet, Vegan or Wahls' Protocol-striving. I love it so much! Can't get enough. #nevertoomuchkale

Monday, July 13, 2015

Coconut Creme Fraiche

As I recall from a dairy splurge long, long ago, creme fraiche tastes like somewhat of a cross between whipped cream and sour cream. My homemade coconut creme fraiche, created from full-fat coconut milk and lemon juice, turned out to be the perfect dairy-free alternative. Creamy, rich and subtly tart, it was amazing on this bowlful of figs and berries. A drizzle of local organic honey turned it all into a dessert. I'm looking forward to my next bowl!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You Don't Know Me . . (a little rant)

It happened again last night. Ever since I first changed my diet five years ago in an effort to lengthen the able-bodied portion of my life, some strangers feel comfortable passing judgement . . . to my face. It took me over a year to become comfortable asking for food in restaurants that would fit my regimen. At first I was apologetic, not wanting to be any trouble, not wanting to call attention to myself as different. I always try to be reasonable when perusing a menu. I'm not going to select an item that needs a complete unconstruction and do-over. Instead, I choose an entree that's already mostly in line with what I need. I find that swapping a second vegetable for noodles is normally no problem for a kitchen. It's easy to leave the cheese off a salad. I'm really not causing a problem. So why do some folks feel the need to comment?

By folks, I mean servers. These are the people I hire at no small fee (plus 20% tip) to provide a special treat -- an evening out.  Once, when I was vegan and dining at a high-end steak house with a large group of friends, I ordered several vegetable sides for dinner. The server insisted I consider heavier fare and I explained I was vegan. He actually replied, "I have no idea why a vegan would come to a steak house for dinner,"

Another night, a server said, "I'm so sorry about your diet,"

Now that I'm working on a Wahls' Paleo (tm) approach, last night I simply ordered my salad without cheese, a nice piece of wild salmon without the butter sauce and a bowl of fresh berries for dessert, no cream on top. The server said, "That's the most boring food I've ever heard of," It was all delicious just the way I ordered it. By the way, my friend's creme brulee was sub-par: It was runny and watery so she didn't finish it.

What's going on? Are these guys trying to be funny? Why is it socially acceptable to say these things out loud? The only theory that makes sense to me is that there may be an assumption that I'm choosing a more careful meal only for vain reasons. Maybe they think I'm trying to stay thin. I certainly don't look anorexic. Maybe if I did they'd realize there's a health issue here and commenting would be inappropriate. My chronic illness, diagnosed 20 years ago now, is insidious in its unpredictability and occasional severity, but it is mostly invisible to those who don't know me well. It's my business, but do I have an obligation on behalf of a larger disabled community to "school" these mindless folks who I'll likely never see again? Perhaps just a, "Maybe you shouldn't judge what you don't understand,"

Has this happened to anyone else? How have you chosen to handle it? I look forward to hearing any ideas!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Hearty Lunch

Beyond the fact that all components of this delicious meal were organic, this is self-explanatory. Don't miss the red onions, radicchio and minced garlic hiding underneath. I sprinkled a little kosher salt on top, added a drizzle of EVOO and a squeeze of lemon. Colorful foods represented here! Also, one WHOLE AVOCADO! I loved chowing on all that healthy fat -- there were no added carbs beyond those naturally occurring in the raw veggies, so the fat went straight to where it was needed: my brain! YUM. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All In -- Eager for Results

Still striving for my 9 cups of fruits and veggies per day, I'm daunted by the challenge of including enough of the three types: Green, sulphur and brightly colored. The brightly colored ones are the most outside my personal comfort zone. I could eat greens, onions and mushrooms over and over again, but brightly colored foods aren't usually calling my name. So I eat a lot of blueberries!
These are photos of recent breakfasts I've enjoyed, halfway through their prep. The top one was a smoothie to which I'd also added a frozen banana and some coconut water, and the turnip was chopped and eaten with a liver pate I made out of last night's leftovers.

The weather has been too hot for grocery shopping, so I'm getting very, very creative with what I already have. With a little planning, this way of eating isn't hard to implement. I understand there will be several months before I begin to notice marked health improvements. I can't wait to see how I feel! The heat has me down a bit right now. It's amazing how it makes walking across pavement feel like walking through thick mud. On tough days like these its important not to lose perspective and to realize that this, too, shall pass.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Learning More . . .

After watching a video interview with Dr. Wahls recently, I decided to pick up The Wahls Protocol for a more careful look. Early enthusiasm sometimes gets the best of me and I tend to jump in before taking the time to formulate a plan, figuring I'll learn as I go. Well, it's been over a year now since I found out about Dr. Wahls and decided to end my four-year foray into a vegan lifestyle, and I realize I've only been dipping my toe into the Wahls Protocol (tm). Staying off dairy was always a no-brainer. Giving up gluten was a minor shift which seems to be working. Adding organic meats and seafood has been a pleasure which is paying dividends. But I've not given much thought to ketosis -- that's new. I think I'm going to try it!

I've recently returned from a week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina (a block away from the location of the first flight by the Wright Brothers). My parents-in law graciously hosted us. There is always plenty to eat and drink in their convivial company, but I worried I'd have to stray from my all-organic Wahls-ish standards. As such, I spent a lot of time at the Fresh Market and in the kitchen while I was at the beach. Back at home now, this was my breakfast today -- my husband's leftover grass-fed steak from last night along with some raw turnips, radishes and mustard, but variations of this plateful figured prominently in my beach meals. There's a lot I look forward to learning about ketosis and how it can affect my prognosis.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Kind of Burger!

Full disclosure: as I've endeavored to follow the Wahls' Protocol, I've found that fish is the easiest animal protein for my formerly-vegan system, so that's mostly the meat I'm eating. Even a very good steak is exhausting to digest (makes me tired and vaguely uncomfortable) but ground buffalo seems to work. Here's my idea of a burger:  chopped onion all through the patty, grilled expertly by my husband, along with some marinated veggies, a kale salad rubbed with lemon and oil and some lovely slices of homegrown tomato! Delish!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Second Cup Smoothie

There were better photos of the smoothie but this one's my favorite because of Ellie Belly Jelly Bean so I'm using it.

My husband had a very early meeting this morning so he woke at 5:30! Because of the early start, I found myself dragging just a tad during my most productive time of day. So I made a coffee smoothie! Smoothies are usually vehicles to incorporate more vegetables into our diets, but just this once I decided to stick only to high-powered ingredients that would go with the flavor of coffee. It was great, and seems to be doing the trick! Here's what I did:

The Second Cup Smoothie

1c. coconut water
1c. coconut milk
1c. room temperature leftover coffee
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 heaping Tbsp hemp protein powder
2 Tbsp. cacao or cacao nibs
1 frozen banana
a few ice cubes to finish

In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients except ice and blend until smooth. Taste the smoothie and make adjustments for flavor. A little more banana will add subtle sweetness but if you like it sweeter, incorporate a sweetener of your choice. Add ice and blend until frothy.

For those of you who've never tried hemp powder, the strong chocolate flavor of the cacao cancels out any perceptible hemp flavor. It would do the same with avocado if you decided on that as a fat source. You could obviously customize this type of smoothie in so many ways. Deleting the coconut water and using more of the fatty coconut milk would make it more decadent. So would almond butter. Or how about adding a big handful of fresh mint instead? Enjoy making it yours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Brain Food

Here's a recent plateful from Dad's visit. Featured are organic chicken shish kebabs (with onion, garlic, tomato, summer squash and bell pepper) wild caught salmon steamed in parchment with thyme and a rubbed kale salad with sundried tomatoes, cucumber and quinoa. I swear I always seem to think better after eating like this!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fat Bombs!

Have you heard of the fat bomb trend? Since implementing elements of the Wahls Protocol, in paleo circles, I've seen a lot about this ketosis-spurring vehicle. I'm still learning about all this, but without gluten, our bodies arrive at a state of ketosis where we burn our stores of fat instead of the blood sugar in our systems from the carbs we used to eat. A fat bomb -- a gluten-free portion of healthy fat -- is said to spur the process. I'm more interested in the health benefits to my central nervous system and the energy jolt these will provide, but I'll take the ketosis too. A word to the wise:  ketosis will not happen if you are still eating bread and pasta. In that case these are just really delicious, mostly-organic raw, vegan truffles:  still worth making!

I can't believe how deliciously decadent these turned out to be! I have a wonderful, creative job working with dear friends. I can work at home, but I also work collaboratively at the studio. On studio days I find myself so "in the zone" that I have no interest in sustenance until I find my energy flagging. I normally bring a couple of dates or a square of dark chocolate for these times so the productivity can proceed uninterrupted, but one of these will be so much better for me! I used what I had on hand, so you could obviously tweak this recipe to your convenience and liking.

Chocolate Truffle Fat Bombs

12 oz. coconut almond butter (the whole jar)
1 c. almond meal flour (Bob's Red Mill has a good one)
1/3 c. hemp protein powder (Bob's Red Mill)
1/3 c. raw organic cacao
1/2 c. date sugar (really 100% crushed dates - that's all)
1/2 c. coconut oil
1 c. raw, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. salt
a few shakes of chipotle chili powder (if you like)

1/4 c. cacao nibs
1/4 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. raw cashews

In a food processor, combine and process the first group of ingredients until smooth, periodically scraping down the sides. Add the last three ingredients and pulse, roughly chopping and incorporating them, retaining a bit of texture. Taste the mixture and add more salt, chili powder or sweetener if desired (I only added a pinch more salt). The mixture will have softened from the heat of the mixing, so refrigerate for an 1/2-1 hour to firm it up enough to roll into balls. I left mine in the fridge a little longer than that and it was quite firm and hard to scoop at first:

But at room temperature it softened pretty quickly. Roll the mixture into golf ball sized pieces and roll in shredded coconut or cacao to seal in the moisture. arrange on parchment-lined pans and freeze for an hour.

Once frozen, the fat bombs can be stored in a Ziploc freezer bag in the freezer or fridge.
Makes 22 fat bombs.

These are delicious and completely satiating! I had only one after making them and found myself completely full and energized and, dare I say it, focused for the rest of the afternoon! I could see myself chowing on a couple of them, though, if 'm really hungry. These natural fats are unstable in a warm room (they melt) so plan to store them refrigerated until munching.  Experiment with your own combination of ingredients and textures. If you don't like 'em crunchy, process until smooth. Share what you come up with!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Making Use of Leftovers

As I try to incorporate the Wahls' Protocol in a way my system can tolerate, I pay attention to cravings and stick to organics whenever possible. I find this strategy leaves me feeling the most healthy. This salad thrown together from what was on hand -- organic chicken breast from the night before cooked in coconut oil, along with organic veggies -- fit the bill nicely. I didn't even need a dressing since the chicken and its juices were so flavorful.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My Bone Broth

Dr. Wahl's bone broth is such an important part of the protocol, in my opinion. The beneficial effects of this elixir are palpable and immediate. For me, I feel grounded, strong and peaceful when I drink it. I've made soups with bone broth before, but my favorite way to have it is warmed with coconut milk, turmeric and cinnamon. It's delicious -- a real treat akin to dessert, almost like a creamy chai tea.

I love using this large glass vessel to store the bone broth. It has a rubbery plastic lid and is the perfect size and shape to fit next to my water filter pitcher in the fridge. To fill it after the broth has cooled in the crock pot, I've found these tools to be helpful. I use a wide-mouthed canning funnel on top of the pitcher, topped with a fine-mesh strainer. After the large solids are discarded from the crock pot, I use a large ladle to feed the broth through the mesh. Sometimes a garlic clove or another small bit of veg will make it's way into the strainer. I use the back of a spoon to press these delicious, mushy tidbits through the mesh into the broth below.

Most folks grimace when I talk about my bone broth, but they don't know what they're missing. I'm going to warm a fresh mugful right now!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Buffalo Meatballs

Hello friends! Here's a recent, healthy Wahls' Protocol-worthy plateful. Meatballs from ground organic buffalo meat -- I chopped raw garlic and Italian parsley and mixed it with the meat which I formed into small balls and cooked in coconut oil. An organic marinara was poured over the browned meatballs and warmed over low heat. I served the meatballs and sauce along with crispy garlic broccoli and Ume plum vinegar-steamed baby bok choy. This kind of eating seriously makes me feel so good -- healthy and strong without the dull, slowness of gluten and dairy.

Recently I've been upping my veggies, even to the exclusion of organic meats sometimes. Whenever I can manage it, though, I chow on wildcaught salmon or sardines, or organic chicken, livers or ground beef or buffalo. Over time, I've realized unground steak is too tough on my system.

As much as I can handle it, I'll continue to treat myself to simple, delicious organic food like this.