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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale Chips | AIP Paleo Breakfast Recipe

The biggest hurdle to get over when starting the Autoimmune Protocol diet is wrapping your mind around what to eat for breakfast. With all grains, eggs, nuts, and dairy off limits, panic might start to set in. What exactly can I eat for breakfast??? This is sort of a “well, duh!” statement, but it took me a while to come around to it: Breakfast is just another meal of the day. This means you can eat anything for breakfast that you would any other meal of the day! One of my favorite AIP compliant breakfast dishes is roasted sweet potatoes and kale chips.

roasted sweet potato kale chip

Are you ready for a breakfast dish full of complimenting opposites? Salty and sweet! Crunchy and soft! Hearty and light! The sweet potatoes and kale are opposites in many ways, but roasting them together with a good amount of fat and seasoning turns these two into a delicious pair.

My goal is for my family to eat a high -starch and low-starch vegetable at breakfast, but I don’t want to cook two separate vegetable dishes. That’s too much work so early in the morning! So one Sunday morning when I was running late, I threw some kale in with my sweet potatoes and it turned out delicious! Don’t you just love happy accidents? This recipe is now in my regular breakfast rotation.

Before I jump into the recipe, first a couple cooking tips:

Prep the Vegetables the Night Before

To save on prep time in the morning, chop the kale and sweet potatoes the night before. Place them in separate, air tight containers and store in the fridge. I take out the meat I plan to serve with the sweet potatoes and kale chips at this time too. Mise en place is done, and I’m ready to cook when I enter the kitchen in the morning!

Dice the Sweet Potatoes Small

To fully cook the sweet potatoes without burning the kale, dice the sweet potatoes fairly small, less than 1/2″ dice. If we’re being precise, I’d say about a 3/8″ dice, 1/4″ is too small. Full disclosure: I had to look at a measuring tape to see how small I dice the potatoes. Eyeballing measurements is not my forte. 

Cooked kale chips

Thoroughly Coat Vegetables

Using bacon fat to coat the vegetables is the best fat to use, but if you don’t have any around, olive oil works just fine too. Any other oil/fat that is liquid or soft at room temperature will work. Coconut oil is not recommended as it will firm up quickly as it is mixed with the cold greens and sweet potatoes even when melted first.

Once you have your fat of choice, make sure to use enough of it. The vegetables should glisten and the seasoning stick to all sides easily. However, don’t use so much fat that it pools in the bottom of the bowl. Just keep adding fat until it looks like below, add a small amount at a time to avoid overdoing it.

Stir Halfway Through Baking

I’m sure I’m not the only lazy cook/rule-breaker out there. You DO need to stir the vegetables halfway through the cook time. This will allow all the kale to dry out adequately and cook the sweet potatoes evenly. Don’t skip this step!

With those few tips, your sweet potatoes and kale chips should turn out fantastic! Serve this dish alongside your meat of choice, usually sausage patties or bacon for me, and enjoy this nutrient dense breakfast! Roasted sweet potato and kale chips, a part of this complete breakfast!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale Chips

Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Chips

AIP, Paleo breakfast dish that is egg-free, dairy-free, grain-free, hearty and satisfying! Serve with a side of your favorite breakfast meat for a complete breakfast.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine AIP, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 266 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced small
  • 6 whole kale leaves stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir to evenly coat. Add more bacon fat as necessary.

  3. Pour onto lined baking sheet. Spread so sweet potatoes are in single layer. Kale may rest on top of the sweet potatoes. If potatoes overlap, use two pans.

  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir again. If potatoes are not soft yet, continue baking for 5-10 more minutes until soft when poked with a fork.

Recipe Notes

One serving has 34g of carbohydrates and 5g of fiber which results in a net carb count of 29g.

 


What are your favorite hot breakfast dishes? Does anyone out there take the time for hot breakfast?

AIP Reintroduction Mace
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AIP Reintroduction Phase | Stage 1: Fruit and Seed Spices and Oils

After the egg yolk debacle that threw off my Type 1 diabetes game for 3 full weeks, I was hesitant to try to reintroduce any more food. While I did really want the freedom of a more varied diet, the thought of a stressful 3 weeks of recovery due to a few small bites was a very nerve wracking thought. After working up the guts to test wine (and succeeding!), I decided to tackle a few fruit and seed spices and seed oils. The objects up for testing today are mace, mustard seed, sesame oil, and green beans.

AIP Reintroduction Sesame Oil

The four stages of reintroductions are in the graphic below. All of the ones I’m discussing today are all in Stage 1. Mace is a fruit-based spice used in bratwurst. Fun fact: mace is the most distinguishing flavor in a brat. It’s not a brat without mace! Mustard seed is, wait for it, a seed spice! Sesame oil is a seed oil, and green beans are a legume with an edible pod.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

Reintroducing a new food to the diet is a structured process, and it basically has three steps:

  1. Take one small bite and monitor for 15 minutes for a severe reaction
  2. Eat one normal sized bite and monitor for 2-3 hours
  3. Eat one serving of the food then monitor symptoms for 3-7 days

I followed all of these steps, except #1 which I forgot sometimes. So reintroducing these four items took some time. I’ll give you the good news up front: all of these were successful! Whew!

For any other Type 1 Diabetics out there wondering how I evaluate a successful reintroduction on the Autoimmune Protocol, below are my stats after eating these foods. If this is too much info for you non-diabetics, you can stop reading now!

Below is a reminder of my blood sugar goals which will help you evaluate if a food is a successful re-addition to your diet or not.

Starting/Fasting Blood Glucose: <130

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: <150

Fasting Blood Glucose the next morning: <150

Mace & Mustard Seed

These two spices were reintroduced together because they are both in the bratwurst recipe my husband and I made. Testing two spices at the same time is not recommended. If it had failed, I would still need to retest one at a time to figure out which one or both was affecting my gut! Lucky for me, they both passed with flying colors.

Meal: Brats with breakfast

Fasting Blood Glucose: 140

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 106

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 132

Win, win, win! Meat grinding and sausage stuffing is a newfound hobby of ours, so this victory is so exciting! No need to stop making brats at our house!

**Note: Mustard seed is not the same as prepared, yellow mustard. Mustard seed is only the seed without other ingredients. Traditional yellow mustard has paprika in it which is a nightshade and a Stage 3 reintroduction.**

AIP Reintroduction Mace

Sesame Oil

With Korean blood running through our family, Asian food is near and dear to our hearts. Many Korean dishes we make are just flat without sesame oil. For that reason, I chose sesame oil as the next challenge.

Meal: Cauliflower rice drizzled with sesame oil at dinner

Starting Blood Glucose: 88

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 134

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 149

A fasting blood sugar of high 140’s is still a success in my book. My blood sugar had been in the 140’s all this week, so 149 was right in line with where I was that week. Another win that will make my food even more delicious!

Green Beans

The final reintroduction today is green beans. Prior to the Autoimmune Protocol, I would buy huge bags of frozen, organic green beans from Costco. For me, it’s an easy, quick second vegetable to add to our dinner, and bonus, cooks on the stovetop versus the oven. Many meals look like this for us: meat and starchy vegetable roasts in the oven and green beans in a sauce pan on the stove. I have a much greater chance of finishing all the dishes at the same time when items are spread out between oven and stove.

Meal: Green beans were drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and served as a side dish to baked chicken chimichurri and acorn squash for dinner. 

Starting Blood Glucose: 103

Two-Three Hour Post Blood Glucose: 110

Fasting Blood Glucose the Next Morning: 143

What a relief to have some successes under my belt! Mace, mustard seed, sesame oil, and even green beans are not a part of my daily diet, but rather 1-2 times a week at this point. I’ve tried all of these multiple times, and I continue to have good blood sugar readings. So I’m confident that these four are a permanent re-addition to my diet!


What have you been winning at in your life lately? Food? Diet? Exercise? Reading? Feeding your dog??? Any win, do share; encourage us!

AIP Reintroduction Mustard Seed

Finished flat Roman shade
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Window Treatment DIY | Flat Roman Shade Reveal

Showing off my new flat Roman shades is what I hoped to post last week, but due to other priorities, that was not possible. I’m happy to report one of my two Roman shades is finished! Underestimating the time needed to complete any DIY project is definitely a problem for me. Even when I’m trying to be very realistic, I tend to be way off. I thought I could get two shades finished in one week. Well, it looks like I can only get one done in that period of time!

As mentioned in this post, these shades are for function and beauty. The dining room window faces west, and the sun in the spring and summer is brutal for the lucky people seated facing the window. The sunshine is downright blinding. For that reason, oh and privacy and needing window treatments in general, I decided to make a flat Roman shade for this window and the corresponding window in the living room.

flat roman shade

Dining Room Window Before

The dining room is not a room I’ve shared on the blog yet, mostly because so much of it is incomplete. Maybe this summer I’ll finish it? Here is a look at my naked window. This poor window has looked like this for five whole years. Five! I’ve never put any curtains, shade, or blinds on it; I guess you get used to things and they seem normal after a while. Right?

window without shade

Dining Room Window After

And now looking much more finished! The folds have not been trained yet, so those will be flatter and more even in time, but I’m so happy with how it turned out! Window treatments add so much to a window and room! As I’m typing this, I keep peaking over at the dining room window to check out the view, and it looks good!

Finished flat Roman shade

Even though the shade is fully operational, it will be open most of the day and likely night. It will only be closed to hide that blasting evening sun during dinner time.

Although perhaps we will start shutting the shade at night. We’ve lived with bare, open windows for so long, I don’t know that I’ll remember to shut them at night! Do you shut your curtains/shades every night? I leave everything wide open on our main floor. Am I the odd ball here?

functional roman shade

To optimize the light from this large window and to match the height of the curtains over the sliding door also in this room, I opted for an outside mount and hung it about 6 inches above the window trim. Hanging window treatments higher and wider than your windows is always a good idea though. It helps the windows look larger and blocks less light when the shades are open, and it tricks the eye into seeing uniformity between all the windows and doors in a room, even if they are all different heights.

For the most part, these flat Roman shades are straightforward to make. It’s just a rectangle with rings attached, no pleats or anything fancy to factor in. However, it challenged my ability to draw a straight line. Who knew it could be so difficult? I drew the rectangle for the face fabric at least 3 times, and I don’t mean a tweak here or there 3 times, erasing-the-whole-thing-and-starting-all-over 3 times. Dan finally helped me see the pattern was printed on the fabric crooked. Ah! Sanity restored! I’m planning to share a tutorial once I get the other shade done, and I think a bit on how to draw a straight line might be helpful. Anyone else struggle with this? Am I alone in this struggle?

One more house project, done! One step closer to a more finished, functional, and beautiful home. Flat Roman shades are a relatively easy DIY project to add color and interest to your room. They block the sun, provide privacy, and add a structured splash of color to liven up your home.


What beauty and function have you added to your home lately, DIY or not? Do you have any Roman shades in your home? Love them or leave them?

flat roman shade

on-the-go meal options
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Autoimmune Protocol | On-The-Go Meal

How do the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and sack lunches get along? I have two young kids, so I am regularly packing lunches for us whether going to the zoo, seeing daddy at work, or just a having play-date at the playground. It can be tricky to think of what to pack for an on-the-go meal when your diet is all fresh food. My go-to for an on-the-go, AIP-approved lunch is what my kids call a “snack-y” lunch. Kid translation: a lunch comprised of all finger foods. One of our favorite combinations is on the Mediterranean side: Kalamata olives, salami, pickles, dates, fresh fruit, and a crunchy side.

On-the-go meals have three parts for us which usually means three separate containers. There’s the main meat and vegetables which go in one container for each person. A sliced fresh fruit in its own container, enough for all who are eating. The last part is a crunchy, salty snack which I also pack in one container with enough for the whole family to eat.

Main Meat and Vegetable

Ease of serving and eating an on-the-go lunch is top priority for me. I take the time to make individual containers for myself and each kid so that serving lunch is just a matter of taking the lid off and handing it to the child.

on-the-go meal meat veggie

Fresh Fruit

The only exception is our fresh fruit. Since fresh fruit is likely to be juicy, I usually slice it up and put it in a separate dish. As you may know, I am one of THOSE parents, so this serves two purposes:

  1. The juices of the fruit not to mix or taint the meat/pickled vegetables and vice versa.
  2. It allows my kids to finish their meat and vegetables BEFORE they get fruit.

I know. I know. What a mean mom, right? Fruit is filled with sugar, and who wouldn’t rather eat sweet fruit than vegetables and meat? I know my kids’ tendencies, so I have them finish the rest of the meal before having fruit.

on-the-go meal fruit

Crunchy, Salty Side

The last part to this lunch is crackers or chicharrones, as diet allows. I have not removed nuts from my kid’s diet, so they have a small handful of almond crackers with their “snacky lunch.” Sometimes they pile the meat on the cracker, but mostly they eat them plain. Chicharrones, or pork rinds, are my snack/treat. They are zero carb as they are only pig skin fried in lard and sprinkled with salt. It is the only snack food I know of that will not raise my blood sugar.

**Note: I only eat the plain chicharrones that are only pig skin and salt. The flavored chicharrones have gluten in the seasoning.**

I love chicharrones far too much. 🙂 Brutal honesty here, I can down an entire bag in one sitting, no problem. According to the nutrition facts, I am consuming 7 servings and 560 calories when I do that. Ha!

Want your mind blown? Calories don’t matter if you are eating the right food. 560 calories in fat will not make you fat at all. Fat is fuel to your body, brain, cells, everything. Eat more fat!

on-the-go meal crunchy

So there you have my favorite on-the-go meal that still sticks to the Autoimmune Protocol, fills me up, and fuels me for the rest of the day. It’s a simple as filling a container with salami, pickles, olives, and dates. Serve it with a side of freshly sliced fruit and maybe a crunchy snack like chicharrones. It’s the perfect lunch!


What is your go-to meal when you need to eat away from home? Any other “snacky” lunch combinations you enjoy?

finger food lunch

Real Productivity | How I “Lost” a Week of My Life

There are days I judge my success as a mom, blogger, wife, and housekeeper by the number of items crossed off on my to do list. While I know this is not the measure of real productivity, it is an easy habit to fall into. Can I tell you about last week? I need to get it off my chest. It feels like I not only lost a week of my life but life kept running on ahead of me.

real productivity

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have picked up I like goals and to do lists. I’ve taken several webinars from Ruth Soukup (LivingWellSpendingLess), and I love her approach to productivity. There are several parts to her methods, but the one I’ve latched onto the most is a daily prioritized to do list.

Every morning I sit down with my tea and Bible to talk to God and set my focus for the day. During that time, I also make my prioritized to do list for the day. Prioritized is the key. Focus on the big tasks first and leave the mundane tasks to the end.

I began each day last week with this usual routine and the best of intentions. Do you know what I happened? I accomplished nothing. Even food was barely making it to the table (we ate dinner late every night), two loads of laundry were done merely out of necessity, and I didn’t touch the blog or house projects at all.

By the end of the week, I was feeling so deflated by my lack of accomplishments around the house and the blog (it was the first week since November 2017 that I didn’t get 3 posts up!) that I almost gave up my prioritized to do list.

What’s the point? It isn’t helping me accomplish anything. I am failing at everything right now. Every ball has been dropped.

It took until the weekend and having time to discuss with Dan what’s been going on.

I’ve been parenting.

Yes, parenting. Hard, long days of parenting. Absolutely nothing but parenting and barely feeding us is what I’ve done this week. While I am exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I need to remind myself that I haven’t done “nothing” this week.

The foundation of God’s truth and His values are being laid in my children’s hearts.

Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

An exact number of how many times I or my kids have said that verse this week would be comical. The number must be astronomical.

Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. ~Ephesians 6:1

These truths and the many others we’ve been working on is not “nothing.” The task of guiding my children to be loving, God-fearing adults is of the utmost importance as a mom. It’s more important than my blog, more important than clean floors (or toilets!), more important than even me time (Know that it is hard for me to type that. I cherish my “me” time.). Yes, training my children to know and obey God’s word is my highest priority.

Dan and I are taking a parenting class, and it feels like things have only gotten worse since we started that class. In fact, if I were to look at only my children’s actions, reactions, and outward behavior as my measure for being a successful mom, I would be an absolute failure.

A truth dawned on me, without my comprehension at the time, as I was texting Dan one day relating another series of unfortunate events.

Emily: After I told you the morning was going pretty good, it was all downhill from there. I just don’t understand their naughtiness. It knows no bounds. They have no remorse over what they do and choose to disobey immediately after I talk to them.

Dan: Do you mean not having remorse or no change of heart? How do we fix that? Change it, whatever?

Emily: I guess I mean no change of heart. They aren’t resistant to asking for forgiveness, so maybe that means they have a little remorse? I guess I’m just struggling with not seeing change when I feel like I am addressing the situation calmly, answering their questions, and explaining what they did wrong. Right now our new parenting strategies are only changing me not the children. Maybe I need to come first though. It’s just really hard.

Dan: For sure. I didn’t think about that, changing us first. That’s a really profound thought.

Being profound wasn’t my goal, it just came out. I think there is good truth in that statement though. Even though there has been no change in my offspring, I am a changed momma, and if I expect them to change, then it is not too outrageous to think that their mom/parents ought to change first, right? After all, aren’t we their primary role models?

In light of my “lost” week, I’d like to encourage you with what I did accomplish this week. It took some time of quiet reflection, and I challenge you to do the same. When time just seems to be slipping away, stop and think of what has been changing in you.

No More Yelling (or very little)

I’m a yeller, folks. I never thought I would be, but that is my primary reaction when things aren’t going my way. I raise my voice. Last week I began implementing strategies to talk through the issues with my kids. What did you do wrong? Why did you hit your brother? How did that make him feel? How did you feel hitting him? Why shouldn’t we hit? etc. etc.

Having a game plan of how to talk to my kids has stopped my gut instinct to yell. I have to be brutally honest because I don’t like to be anything close to false here. Yelling did occur a few times, but never to the degree of intensity that it used to.

Longer Fuse

The amount of compassion and patience I have for my kids and their plight that led them to act/do something naughty is infinitely higher. It is easier for me to see the frustration that led to the outburst and have some empathy for their lack of ways to express frustration. Crying and hitting are their primary ways to release frustration. It is my job to teach them appropriate ways to get their frustration out. When I think of the situation in this light, my temper doesn’t flare nearly as easily.

Reliance on my Partner

Dan and I are now 100% on the same page with parenting. I know how he’s going to handle an outburst, and he knows how I will. This is such a relief! I also know he’s got my back. Not that he didn’t before, but being on the same page brings our support of each other to a different level. I depend on his wisdom more and keep him in the loop more. Such a huge win!

The number of character qualities I have gained in my “lost” week far outweigh the outward productivity that could’ve been accomplished. This is real productivity: growth in character that has life-long impact. I have an all new appreciation for “let it go.” Housework, sewing projects, laundry, and even blogging pale in comparison to taking the time to shape my children into loving adults.


So instead of focusing on how your house is dirty, the dishes aren’t done, hobbies haven’t been touched, showers haven’t been taken…how have you changed this week? What have you learned as a wife/husband and mother/father that are of lasting good?
brush on glaze
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Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash | Paleo AIP Side Dish Recipe

As I’m going through the Autoimmune Protocol, eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables is a priority. I love starchy vegetables and sweet fruit, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I have to watch my carbohydrate intake as I work to heal my gut. Squash, in general, graces our plates often as it is starchy (read “filling and satisfying”) but not as high in carbohydrates as other starchy veggies like sweet potatoes. One of my favorites is acorn squash. The whole family agrees this slightly sweet Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash is delicious!

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Today I’d like to show you a sweet way to eat acorn squash as a side dish as opposed to savory. Acorn squash works wonderfully as a savory dish too, (Pair it with sausage and sage; it’s delightful!) but this one is likely to please any palate that isn’t put off by soft textures.

The prep is very easy. Cut the acorn squash in half then use a spoon to scoop/scrape out the seeds. Next, slice each half into four wedges. Place on an aluminum foil lined pan, flesh side up.  

Cooking tip: Use a very sharp, large knife to cut any squash! With a properly sharpened utensil, squash should be relatively easy to cut into. If you are struggling, please be VERY careful as the knife may slip or cut crooked.

acorn squash halved seeded

Now mix up the magic! The maple cinnamon glaze is what takes the acorn squash up a notch. Mix the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a glass bowl.

maple cinnamon glaze

Use a pastry brush to apply a generous coat to all sides of the flesh of each slice. No need to put any on the skin. There will be extra glaze. Set it aside, to use later in the cooking process.

brush on glaze

Bake for 30 minutes at 400° then remove from the oven to apply another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until soft when stabbing with a fork.

Cooking tip: I have a tendency to under-cook acorn squash. So if you are in doubt as to whether or not the squash is done, cook it longer. My last iteration of this recipe was dubbed “al dente” by my husband. Oops. That’s not what I was going for!

After taking the squash out of the oven, put on another coat of the maple cinnamon glaze. This third coat is usually pretty light, but I don’t want to waste any of the delicious glaze! Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve warm. Enjoy!


What is your favorite squash? Is acorn squash outside your comfort zone? How do you season your acorn squash?

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Sweet, but not overly, and soft acorn squash is the perfect side dish to your Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol dinner!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 117 kcal
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 whole acorn squash halved, seeded
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half then scrape out the pulp and seeds.

  3. Slice each half into four equal sections and place on lined baking sheet, flesh side up.

  4. Melt coconut oil in a glass dish in microwave, about 30 seconds. Stir in maple syrup and cinnamon until well combined.

  5. Brush all sides of the flesh of the acorn squash with the maple cinnamon glaze.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes then remove from oven and brush on another coat of glaze. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until very soft when stabbed with a fork. When fully cooked, remove from oven and brush remaining glaze over the squash. Lightly sprinkle with salt and serve!

Recipe Notes

One serving of Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash has 15 carbs.

Maple Cinnamon Acorn Squash

AIP Reintroduction Wine
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The Autoimmune Protocol | Stage 2 Reintroduction: Wine

I am a Type 1 Diabetic working through the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. I stayed on the strict elimination phase for 43 days before trying my first reintroduction, egg yolks, and that failed miserably. Today, I’m happy to report a successful Stage 2 reintroduction: wine.

AIP Reintroduction Wine

A quick reminder of the reintroduction stages is below. The stages are organized by which foods an autoimmune-impaired body will mostly likely tolerate (stage 1) to least likely (stage 4). It isn’t necessary to follow in a precise order, but the most likely place for a win is in stage 1.

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phase

My first reintroduction of egg yolks elevated my blood sugar for 3 weeks! In my first report, I thought I had recovered after 2 weeks, but really my morning blood sugar didn’t return to sub-150’s until 3 full weeks after the egg yolk challenge.

Feeling pretty defeated after that first reintroduction, I chose my second reintroduction to please myself rather than following the Autoimmune Protocol stages. I am human, folks. Wine in small quantities was my second reintroduction.

Type 1 Diabetic  Reintroduction Criteria: Two-three hours post consumption blood glucose reading of less than 150, and a fasting blood glucose the next morning of less than 150.

Reintroduction Challenge: Red Wine

The first introduction of wine, or any alcohol, should be in small quantities. I measured out 2 ounces of red wine and drank it in in one sitting after dinner. I did not do the one small sip then wait for a reaction after 15 minutes. This step is to watch for severe allergies with an anaphylaxis reaction; I’m banking on wine won’t do that to me. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t!)

The pre-bed blood glucose reading that night, about 3 hours after drinking the wine, was 116, and my fasting blood glucose the next morning was 155. Since the fasting blood glucose is my major measure of success, I was hesitant to call this a win. However, glucose meters have a margin of error of ±20%. So while my blood sugar could have been as high as 186, it also could have been as low as 124 (20% above 155 is 186 and 20% below 155 is 124).

AIP Reintroduction Wine

Given that information, I decided to try again…

Reintroduction Challenge: Blueberry Wine

I tried blueberry wine for my round 2 reintroduction challenge of wine. Again, I drank 2 ounces of blueberry wine in one sitting then tested my blood sugar 3 hours later. My pre-bed reading was 140, and fasting reading the next morning was 147.

So I am interpreting this challenge as a success, but it is borderline. At this point, I am thinking going forward to only having a small amount of wine, 2 ounces, in each sitting and not having it too often, likely once a week at this point. However, there’s one more step…

Monitor Symptoms for 3-7 Days

The final step after the initial blood glucose readings of 3 hours post challenge and fasting blood glucose the following morning, is to monitor blood glucose levels for 3-7 days. During that time period, do not eat/drink more of the challenged item. Wait and look for elevated blood glucose results.

In the 7 days after the wine reintroduction, I had 1 fasting blood glucose over 160, but my kids were sick and up multiple times that night. Besides that one reading of 164, my fasting glucose was between 143 and 156. That’s a win in my book!

Why wine?

You may be thinking my results aren’t super great, maybe I shouldn’t be drinking wine at all! I realize that my blood sugar is borderline the morning after I consume wine. However, there are activities that bond our family, and wine-making is one of them.

My husband used to be very into beer brewing and bread making prior to my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. Once we cut gluten from our diet, his desire for both of those foods were gone. However, he loves the process of making food and the experimentation that goes with mastering cooking/brewing/creating. So he took up making wine and hard cider.

While my involvement in the wine-making is minimal, I really don’t help much at all, he and I work together to bottle it. I find the activity fun and a good thing to do while we talk. When he was brewing beer, I used to help him bottle that too. Quality time is one of my love languages, so I love the time spent bottling our alcoholic beverages together. For that reason, I want to make wine work.

As I move forward with other reintroductions, I will be keeping an eye on how wine continues to affect me, but truthfully, I’m biased. I want to make it to work.

My first successful reintroduction after the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol as a Type 1 Diabetic is a Stage 2 reintroduction: wine. Small quantities is all I am consuming right now and not too frequently. After feeling so deflated after the egg yolk fail, a success feels so good!


What hobbies or processes bring you and your significant other together? Have you had to move away from any due to health reasons?

AIP Reintroduction Wine

roman shade books
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Roman Shades | Planning and Inspiration

Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! I like to get my hands dirty making my home beautiful, and my next area to tackle is window treatments for my living room and dining room windows. Roman shades are my latest obsession for window coverings. Full length curtains are my first love, but sometimes curtains are just not right for the window or space. Roman shades are great for blocking light and adding privacy while adding a splash of color to a room. Form and function, that’s really what I’m all about!

Planning a Roman ShadeMy living room and dining room have been sporting naked windows since we moved into the house 5 years ago! I think it’s time to make some window coverings!

Roman shades beforeI would prefer full-length drapes on all the windows on my main floor, but the location of the fireplace prevents that. The fireplace was installed by the previous owners after the house was built. They did not leave enough space between the window and the fireplace mantle for drapes to fit without covering part of the window. Roman shades will provide the privacy and light protection needed without encroaching on the fireplace (“Need”, if life has gone on 5 years without it, is it a need? Ha!).

Even though these windows are in separate rooms, they are almost always visible together. My plan is to make matching Roman shades for these windows, and eventually, make coordinating full length drapes for the front window and back sliding door.

Full disclosure: I’m totally second guessing this decision of matching Roman shades. Just so you know, I’m ok with making decor mistakes in my house. If you read this and think, “What are you doing, Emily? That is all wrong!”, feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’m ok with learning through my mistakes and other’s wisdom. I hope to inspire you to take risks too!

Style of Roman Shade

Since the options are limited as far as style of drapery for these two windows, the only options I needed to consider were style of Roman shade and inside or outside mount. Before we explore the styles of Roman shades, let’s talk briefly about inside or outside mount.

The two classic Roman shades I’ve made so far were both inside mount. An inside mount shade is mounted inside of the window casing, so the shade is the same size as the glass part of the window. An inside mount still gives plenty of privacy, but there is a sliver of light that shines through on the sides between the shade and the window casing/trim.

In the dining room, the shade is desperately needed because the evening sun is blinding during dinner. I would hate to go through all the effort to make a beautiful shade only to have that sliver of light still land in someone’s eye still resulting in shifting back and forth throughout dinner. For that reason, I will be hanging these shades outside and above the window casing, even with the drapery rod over the front window and slider door.  I’m hoping having all the window treatments hung the same height in these two rooms will make them look more cohesive and intentional.

Flat Roman Shade

The flat Roman shade is just that, flat from the top of the mounting hardware to the bottom of the shade. It raises in neat folds but does not use dowel rods to help create the folds. Since no dowel rod is used, this eliminates the horizontal sew lines. The flat Roman shade has the cleanest, simplest lines of all the Roman shades.

simple roman shade, love the fabric

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Relaxed Roman Shades

Relaxed Roman shades have a dramatic droop in the middle. It is made with one dowel rod at the bottom of the shade to control the swoop, making it look intentional not sloppy. This shade does not have a dowel rod at each fold or drapery rings in the middle of the shade. Leaving these two pieces out allows the shade to droop gracefully. Relaxed Roman shades are lovely and more elegant, in my opinion.

{Inspired By} Fabric Roman Shades

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Classic Roman Shades

The classic Roman shade has a sewn seam to make the rod pocket for the boning/dowel rod at even intervals up the shade. The look is crisp and clean with evenly spaced horizontal seams the entire length of the shade.This is the one type of roman shade I have made personally. I have a classic roman shade in the basement bathroom (second picture below) and the laundry room.

how to make Roman shades -44 - finished Roman shade

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Classic Roman Shade with Pattern

Source: Basement Bathroom

For the living room and dining room windows, I’ve decided to make a flat Roman shade with an outside mount. I love the clean lines. It’s simple and sophisticated, and in a space that is often messy, loud, with lots of activity, I think simple shades would be best. Not having sew lines through the fabric is also a plus. It kind of irked me that the floral pattern in my basement bathroom no longer lined up once the pockets were sewn in.

Fabric for Roman Shade

There are so many fabric options for curtains! It’s hard to choose! I like using sturdy decorator fabric, usually made of cotton. It is thick and doesn’t move around too much, making sewing much easier!

Field’s Fabric is a local fabric store chain in West Michigan, and while their regular selection is good and fairly priced, the clearance section is awesome. Everything in the clearance section is $3.97 per yard. That is a killer price for decorator fabric!

I went into the store just to scope out the new fabrics, and I happened on a fairly large piece of this fabric in the clearance section. Crossing my fingers, I took it to the counter to have it measured. I needed 2, 3-yard sections for my curtain, 6 yards total. It was 4.5 yards. Bummer!

The lovely saleslady said she would send out a request to the other stores to see if they had any remnants. About a week later, one more section was found, but it was only 1.5 yards. Rats! They reassured me to hold out because the request had not made it through all the stores yet.

A few days later, another 3.5 yards was found!

I ended up buying two lengths of 3 yards each plus the 1.5 yard piece for a grand total of $30. Yes, I got 7.5 yards of decorator fabric for $4/yard. Isn’t that incredible? At the time, the cheapest I could find online was $26.99/yard. These windows would have cost over $200! (Now it looks like the price has come down to $10/yard online, but it’s still a significant savings!)

Fabric for Roman Shades

So I’ve got my lovely fabric, and I know the style of Roman shade. Now how to make it best.

Method for Sewing the Roman Shade

Since Pinterest was giving me too many hacks, I wasn’t trusting the information I found. I want to make a flat Roman shade the RIGHT way: no hacks, mini blinds, fabric glue, or iron-on hem tape! I want to use an actual sewing machine to make them legit.

Where do you turn when you don’t know how to do something??? Old school, folks, the library. Say what??

Roman Shades Books

I know this is such a crazy suggestion given our technological age, but let me give a plug for the library. It is a WEALTH of information. The books are free (unless you don’t return on time!). The information is (likely) more sound. I say that with some hesitation, but I believe fewer people publish untruth in a book than a blog. A book is so much more difficult to accomplish. The library is a great resource. Use yours!

There were four shelves dedicated entire to sewing curtains and pillows for the home. So. Many. Books. I narrowed down my selection to three books that specifically talked about flat Roman shades. They each have detailed instructions and pictures which should prove very helpful. Each has a slightly different method, so I plan to compile what I read into a method that works for me and my windows.

If you are curious about my research, below is a list of resources that I plan to use to figure out how to best make my Roman shades.

  1. The Complete Photo Guide to Window Treatments by Linda Neubauer
  2. Waverly at Home: Windows by Waverly and Vicki L. Ingham
  3. Curtains, Draperies, & Shades by Editors of Sunset Books
  4. Addicted 2 Decorating – Blogger Kristi who rocks at many home decor things but especially window treatments

I think I’m ready to start cutting my fabric! I feel confident that an outside mount, flat Roman shade is the best for my windows. The Kelly Ripa Flying Colors Pool fabric is so pretty, not too loud, and most importantly, I’ve learned the best method for sewing my shades. Here we go!


When’s the last time you ventured into your library? Are you a book lover too? What project are you inspired by that you want to tackle the right way?

Roman Shade Planning

hash cooking vegetables
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Cooking Tip | How to Make a Great Hash

My journey through the Autoimmune Protocol has taught me to up my breakfast game. When eggs and grains are not a part of the diet, you need to get creative with what to eat for breakfast. Discovering and perfecting a hash has revitalized my breakfast routine. Hash is a warm, hearty dish of meat and veggies, usually eaten for breakfast but is delicious at any meal! Today I’d like to show you my generic recipe for whipping up a great hash.

How to Make Hash

Hash Ingredients

There are 5 key ingredients in my hash: meat, aromatics, a starchy vegetable, a secondary vegetable/fruit, and a wilting vegetable. Just looking at this list shows you how to incorporate more vegetables into your breakfasts! When I make hash, I get two to three different vegetables into my diet at the beginning of the day!

Hash Raw IngredientsChoose any meat and vegetables that strike your fancy. The possibilities are endless, but here are some of my favorites to whet your appetite!

Meat

  • Ground Breakfast Sausage
  • Ground Turkey
  • Bacon – cooked then chopped
  • Taco seasoned ground beef
  • Chorizo
  • Leftover steak – cubed
  • Leftover chicken – cubed

Aromatics

  • Onions – diced, any variety
  • Garlic – minced
  • Spices

Starchy Vegetable

  • Sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed
  • Butternut Squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • Parsnips – peeled and cubed
  • Turnips – peeled and cubed

Secondary Vegetable/Fruit

  • Zucchini – quartered and sliced
  • Broccoli – cut into small florets
  • Summer Squash – quartered and sliced
  • Brussel Sprouts – stemmed and halved
  • Carrots – diced or shredded
  • Mushrooms – sliced or chopped
  • Apples – chopped

Wilting Vegetable

  • Kale – stemmed and chopped
  • Spinach – rough chop
  • Swiss Chard – stemmed and chopped

Cooking Process

The method for cooking a hash is the same order every time, only cooking time may vary depending on the denseness of the vegetables. Follow these steps, and your hash will be delicious every time!

hash cooking vegetables

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or coconut oil) to a large skillet or dutch oven then add meat and brown completely. If using leftover, fully-cooked meat, skip this step. Once meat is fully cooked, pour into a bowl and set aside. Return pan to stove top.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, over medium heat, and brown the onions. When the onions are soft and brown, stir in garlic or any other spice and warm for 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom. When smelling fragrant, quickly add the starchy vegetable so the spices do not burn.
  3. Add the primary starchy vegetable to the onion/spice mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to cover in oil and spices then cover and cook until almost tender. Add olive oil and reduce heat as needed to prevent burning.
  4. Add the secondary vegetable/fruit to the same pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until both primary and secondary vegetable are soft to your liking.
  5. When vegetables are just about done, stir in the meat and wilting vegetable along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to wilt the vegetable and warm the meat.
  6. Remove from heat and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient Combinations

To get your cooking genius rolling, here are a couple ingredient combinations I think would be delicious.

Mexican-style Hash

  • Meat – Chorizo
  • Aromatics – Onion, Garlic, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Primary Vegetable – Sweet Potato
  • Secondary Vegetable – Zucchini
  • Wilting Vegetable – Spinach

Thanksgiving Hash

  • Meat – Leftover Turkey
  • Aromatics – Onion, Garlic, Sage
  • Primary Vegetable – Butternut Squash
  • Secondary Vegetable – Mushrooms
  • Wilting Vegetable – Kale

Summer’s Bounty Hash

  • Meat – Ground Breakfast Sausage
  • Aromatics – Onion
  • Primary Vegetable – Zucchini
  • Secondary Vegetable – Summer Squash
  • Wilting Vegetable – Kale

A hash is a great way to move your diet to whole foods and more vegetables, especially for the breakfast meal. Use your imagination; use your leftovers! Don’t sweat the spices either. When in doubt, just use salt and pepper. Real food is delicious and doesn’t need to be covered up in spice. Just 5 ingredients plus one pan are all that’s needed to make a quick, hearty, whole-food meal!

Generic Hash Recipe

The solution to an egg-free, dairy-free, and grain-free breakfast is a warm, hearty hash filled with fresh vegetables and meat. Hash is Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol compliant, and a great way to start the day!

Course Breakfast, Dinner
Cuisine AIP, Paleo
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Emily Stauch

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound meat of choice (Ground Sausage, Beef, Pork, or Chicken, Chorizo, Cubed Leftover Meat)
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 4 cups Starchy vegetable, cubed (sweet potato, butternut squash)
  • 2 cups Non-starchy vegetable/fruit, cubed (zucchini, apple, brussel sprout, broccoli)
  • 3-4 cups leafy green, chopped (kale, spinach, swiss chard)

Instructions

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven then add meat and brown completely. If using leftover, fully-cooked meat, skip this step. Once meat is fully cooked, pour into a bowl and set aside. Return pan to stove top.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet, over medium heat, and brown the onions. When the onions are soft and brown, stir in garlic or any other spice and warm for 30 seconds to allow the flavors to bloom. When smelling fragrant, quickly add the next ingredient so the spices do not burn.

  3. Add the primary starchy vegetable to the onion/spice mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to cover in oil and spices then cover and cook until almost tender. Add oil and reduce heat as needed to prevent burning. 

  4. Add the secondary vegetable/fruit to the same pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until both primary and secondary vegetable are soft to your liking. 

  5. When vegetables are just about done, stir in the meat and wilting vegetable along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to wilt the vegetable and warm the meat.

  6. Remove from heat and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

    Serve and enjoy!


What do you typically make for breakfast? How do you incorporate vegetables into the most important meal of the day?

How to Make Breakfast Hash

 

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The Autoimmune Protocol | Family and Diet Change

The Autoimmune Protocol has become a way of life for me. It looks like I will be on the diet for the foreseeable future, so I’ve embraced it as a fact of life for the management of my Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve mentioned before that the whole family eats according to the Autoimmune Protocol so I thought I’d give you some insight into my family and diet change dynamics: what do they like/dislike, foods they miss, and thoughts on the diet. I was surprised by some of the responses, and I hope this gives you hope that it IS possible to do dramatic things with food/diet and take the whole family with you.

aip and family

First up, let me set the stage with how our boys eat and my(our) expectations as a parent(s). I have two boys, a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old. They are good eaters, but they each have their dislikes, just like any kid. However, we do make them eat what is served. All of it. We are THOSE parents. 🙂 Although we don’t go overboard on serving size if we know it is something they truly don’t like, but it is expected to clean the plate at every meal. If a snack was eaten too close to a meal, then we might let them leave some of the meal for the next snack or meal if they are having trouble finishing it.

I(we) also sprinkle in some grace in the form of ketchup or mustard. Neither are AIP compliant during the elimination phase, but we’ve allowed them to have these condiments for the particularly hard-to-swallow meals. I don’t understand kids in this regard. Put a condiment on any dish and suddenly it is palatable!

With that general guide of how our family eats, let’s see what the kids think!

Jackson – 4 years old

What do you think of mommy’s diet/the food we eat?

Yum

Do you like the food we eat?

Yes

What is your favorite thing that we eat?

Burgers

Do you like vegetables?

Yes

What is your favorite vegetable?

Roasted broccoli (Emily’s note: This is hilarious. Not what I would’ve said his favorite was!)

What is your favorite fruit?

{Sigh} Oh, I like a lot. I like orangeeees, bananas….and kiwi.

What food do you miss?

Pancakes (Emily’s note: Me too, buddy, me too!)

Judah – 2 years old

What do you think of mommy’s diet/the food we eat?

Gross (Emily’s note: This is his new favorite word. I don’t think this is actually how he feels.)

Do you like the food we eat?

Yes

What is your favorite thing that we eat?

Burgers (pronounced “boogers”) and gummies (His multivitamin)

Do you like vegetables?

Yes

What is your favorite vegetable?

Acorn Squash

What is your favorite fruit?

Strawberries

What food do you miss?

Bread. Mommy, we haven’t eaten bread in a loooooong time. (Emily’s Note: Nope, we haven’t. Sorry, bud! This response surprised me. I figured his 2 year old brain had long forgotten bread. We haven’t had bread regularly in about a year.)

Dan – 34 years old

Now for some deeper questions for my husband, Dan (who made me put his age, for cohesiveness), who is hopefully a little more descriptive!

What is your general feeling about our new diet?

I don’t mind it, and I could even see myself adopting it full-time if it were a little less strict, more like Paleo.

Does the diet feel like a hardship to you since it isn’t specifically for your health?

Negative, ghost rider, that pattern is full. 

What do you enjoy the most about the Autoimmune Protocol?

The variety of vegetables we are eating. It’s more varied and the quantity is more than we’ve ever eaten which has to mean good things for our health.

What is the worst thing we’ve eaten?

That breakfast “oatmeal” made from spaghetti squash was terrible.

Emily’s note: This makes me laugh! The spaghetti squash was mixed with coconut milk, cinnamon, and cinnamon roasted pears. I thought it was great, but the rest of the family did NOT agree.

What do you miss the most while eating according to the Autoimmune Protocol?

I’d like to say dairy, but that’s not really true because I feel like garbage when I do eat it. My next thought is sweets because I used to have a huge sweet tooth. However, I don’t really crave sweets anymore. It’s not beer; I have plenty of other alcoholic options.

After thinking through those, I’d have to say I miss the process of homemade pizza and bread making the most. We had really nailed the homemade, whole grain pizza crust recipe, hadn’t we? I spent so much time refining the process of making fresh milled, whole grain, sourdough bread. That’s the only aspect I do miss, the process and experimentation, more than the food itself.

What is your experience with following the Autoimmune Protocol when eating outside our home?

It hasn’t been difficult for me to follow the diet. Finding alternatives on the menu or leaving things out of a dish haven’t been terribly hard. The hard part is getting over not being able to eat what I want when I go out. 

This diet would’ve been much harder if we had tried it cold-turkey early on in our marriage. We were poor then and only concerned with eating cheap food which wasn’t very healthy and only partially homemade. We’ve been heading toward this diet in baby steps for 10 years now. The last 9 months have been strictly Paleo so the jump to Autoimmune Protocol was not a huge leap.

Have you experienced good results from the diet, as a normal, healthy, non-Autoimmune person?

Yes, I no longer experience a mid-afternoon crash. I sleep much better, sounder, at night, and I have successfully warded off die-uh-beet-us. 🙂

Closing Thoughts

While my kids do miss some foods, bread and pancakes, overall they enjoy the food we eat. They are very used to seeing most of their plates filled with vegetables now, but I want to be sure to emphasize that they were eased into it. It all began last summer adding vegetables to every meal. Once they were used to that, I put two vegetables on their plate every meal. So the change was gradual.

If you are trying to make a quick and sudden switch to the Autoimmune Protocol (or any diet!) from the standard American diet, I would expect it to be difficult for anyone, especially kids. Assuming your health needs are not urgent, start taking baby-steps today toward a healthier diet today!

My husband is the best. He is and has always been 100% supportive of any diet or health change I’ve wanted to make. In the area of health, he is usually the one leading the way with me following, dragging my feet (not an exaggeration, kicking and muttering-under-my-breath might be closer to the truth). So when I wanted to dive into this gluten-free thing a year ago, he was all in. He happily eats every meal I make – including spaghetti squash “oatmeal!” You see? He’s the best.

So just in case I haven’t been clear, I’m all in for the entire family eating the same food. The Autoimmune Protocol is strict, but it is healthy and good for all members of the family. If one member of the family has diet restrictions, then I think everyone should accept those restrictions as encouragement. Be sure to add in some grace where your family needs it though (hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, anyone?). The dining table is a great place to learn to eat odd/new/delicious/terrible foods and practice grace, love, and support of fellow family members.


Thoughts? Have you tried a drastic diet change? Did you include the rest of the family? How did it go, if you did?