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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

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

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

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?

mise en place
Status

Kitchen Tip | Mise En Place

I love to cook. I hope that comes across in my posts! Cooking is not a drudgery, and I purposely look for ways to improve my cooking skills. My primary focus is skills that will give me more output with less effort. For example, proper knife use, how to optimally cut an onion, or how to use heat better are all things I’ve read/watched about. These specific skills are great and have made me a better cook, but the biggest skill I’ve learned in the last few years that makes my food turn out with less stress and more flavor (not of the burnt variety) is “mise en place.”

Mise en place is a french cooking term meaning “in its place.” Practically, it means chop all the veggies, get out all the ingredients, and prep all the things BEFORE you start cooking.

Thinking back to my childhood and baking with my mom, I know she told me to get everything out before starting to mix. I can vividly see her reading down the recipe with me, teaching me how to bake cookies.

That teaching moment must not  have sunk in too far because I graduated from college and started cooking on my own in a very different way. Time was always lacking so I thought I could “save time” by prepping as I cooked.

Take ham and vegetable soup for example. First, I would chop the onion and let that saute while I chopped the rest of the vegetables for the soup.

The onions would burn in the time it took to chop carrots, celery, and potatoes.

No big deal (or so I thought), toss a little more oil in the plan along with the vegetables, and let those cook a bit while I chop up the ham.

Oops, over cooked the vegetables, now they are too mushy. Oh well, toss that ham in along with the chicken stock.

Oh, I need to add a thickener, usually corn starch and water or flour and water (pre-Paleo days!). Where is that corn starch…???

Found it! Mix it up. Add it to the soup. Serve it up for dinner and…the ham is dried out because I cooked that step too long as well while I searched for the corn starch.

Rats.

So many mistakes. So many mediocre meals that could have been avoided by just prepping my ingredients first. I figure I’m not the only one out there trying to prep and cook at the same time, so I thought I’d share how I cook now using mise en place.

Chop/Dice/Mince the Ingredients

mise en place

Cutting up all the vegetables/meat/fruit for our meals is by far the longest single piece of prep work for our meals. I cut up all the ingredients that will be cooked, no matter their order of being used and put them in individual bowls.

The bowls I use most often are the regular cereal-type bowls from our everyday dishes and clear glass custard cups. Larger amounts of veggies go in the bowls (the white ones pictured above) like chopped carrots, sweet potato, or brussel sprouts. Then I put smaller amounts into the glass custard dishes, like garlic, ginger, or shallots.

Have Compost Bowl Close By

Mise En Place and Compost2

Keep a large bowl (or bowls, in my case!) right next to your cutting board to collect the peels, husks, paper, and all other organic matter that you aren’t going to be cooking. I’ve found having this bowl right next to me speeds up my prep work. I peel root vegetables right into the bowl: sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, etc. As I chop other vegetables, I toss the unwanted ends in as I go: onions, celery, beets, etc.

If you don’t have a compost bin/container, just toss the entire contents in the trash once you are finished. You will still be more efficient at the cutting board with this trash bowl close by even if you don’t compost!

Combine Like Steps

mise en place combine

Put all the vegetables used at each stage of the recipe in the same bowl. So if you are making soup, after the onions and garlic are sauteed, usually all the firm, starchy vegetables are added at the same time. Save a little bit of time (and dishes!) by putting all these vegetables into the same bowl so they can be added to the pot in one pour.

In the picture above, sweet potato, celery, and carrots are combined in the large glass measuring cup and garlic and onions are in the white bowl.

At this time, also add any spices to the appropriate vegetable bowls according to the directions in the recipe. A common grouping in my Mexican recipes is minced garlic along with cumin, oregano, and chili powder. After mincing the garlic, I put it in a glass custard bowl. Then I scoop the cumin, oregano, and chili powder right on top of the garlic. Not only is this easier than pouring 4 separate bowls into the pan (Also much faster than measuring the spices from the container into the pan!), it saves precious time as garlic and dry spices bloom in about 30 seconds. Time is precious at these steps!

Line Up Bowls

mise en place mexican

Particularly when cooking complex recipes (I’m looking at you America’s Test Kitchen! Delicious but many more steps than average!), it is helpful to line up the bowls in the order you will need them. It just takes a bit more of the guess work out when you are in the thick of cooking.

This step also prevents me from mixing up my recipes if I’ve got two or more going at the same time. I line up the items for each recipe on either side of my stove so I don’t get confused.

Don’t Forget the Finishing Steps

Prep even the garnishes or leafy greens that get wilted at the very end of the recipe. Don’t tell yourself you’ll have time while ____ is cooking. That time is better served cleaning up, if that time exists at all. I usually find there is zero extra time once I get rolling cooking. So prep everything at the beginning, before starting any cooking.

Clean Up as You Go

Mise en place might cause you to balk because of the extra dishes it requires. Discipline yourself to pour the ingredient into the pan and immediately put the dish in the dishwasher. This step is as much a practical step as a mind game. Yes, it gives a head start on the meal clean-up, but it also leaves less visual clutter on the counters which makes my brain more energized to clean up. It feels like there much less to do, which may or may not be true!

Mise en place takes some practice and discipline. Don’t fool yourself, like I tried to for many years, that you can keep up chopping and cooking. You can’t! This practice will let you cook with less stress and have a better tasting food because you won’t be over-cooking any steps as you prep the next one. Bring on the tastier food! Mise en place!


I’m curious, do you prep your ingredients before you start cooking? Do you see this method as helpful? Would you be less stressed preparing dinner if you had all the ingredients lined up, ready to go?

mise en place

Aside

Autoimmune Protocol | Egg Yolk Reintroduction

I am a Type 1 diabetic, managing my blood glucose levels through the Autoimmune Protocol and healthy lifestyle habits. I began my second round of the Autoimmune Protocol on February 19, 2018 to bring my blood sugar back into range after being exposed to dairy over the holidays of 2017. With 43 days of the elimination phase under my belt and an A1c of 5.8, I am ready to start my first reintroduction: egg yolk!


I’ve read many sources on the reintroduction phase, and there seems to be universal agreement that egg yolks should be accepted by just about any gut, even an autoimmune impaired one. Egg yolks are the most universally accepted item in the Stage 1 reintroductions. For reference, here are the reintroduction stages and foods to try in each stage:

Autoimmune protocol reintroduction phaseOn day 43, April 2, 2018, I made 2 egg yolks to go with my breakfast that morning. I really had no idea how to cook them, so I scrambled them. Do you know how much 2 scrambled egg yolks is? About a tablespoon. Ha! It was pathetic looking on my plate! Good thing I was not relying on the egg yolks to fill me up!

Family was in town that day so I had a normal busy morning playing and wrangling kids then we all headed out to eat for lunch before everyone headed home from the Easter weekend.

I thankfully remembered my glucometer and tested before lunch: 146.

Cue deflation and depression.

For reference, a normal non-diabetic’s blood glucose is around 100, and my normal for pre-lunch from the 2 weeks prior to this introduction was 105.

146 is high for me.

Rats.

For dinner that day, my blood glucose was 147 and at bedtime 146. What? So high! I’m seriously kicking myself now. Two little egg yolks just messed everything up.

The next morning confirmed it. I woke up at 163.

For the next 14 days, I was out of range for my blood glucose goals. Fourteen days! I’ve had mornings as high as 197 and pre-bed as high as 207. I’ve had nights where I was high and had no explanation, nothing to eat since dinner and dinner was not high in carbohydrates. And yet, my blood sugar was high come bedtime. There was even a day I test in the 170’s all day. All. Day.

My interpretation of this is my gut is re-inflamed.

I looked back in my food journal to when I had the duck egg at the beginning of Week 3 of the elimination period. Would you like to take a guess as to how long it took me to see normal results again? Fourteen days. At the time, I blamed our sickness and my sleep schedule being all messed up, but I’m thinking the more likely culprit was the egg.

The last two weeks have been very taxing on me emotionally. While I have felt just fine physically, each high reading gets me really down. Even knowing I would probably see improvement in two weeks did not really help to lift my spirits.

Let’s walk through my methods for this reintroduction, what I did well, what I did wrong, and where I plan to go from here. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t mess up your gut during reintroductions!

egg yolk reintroduction

What I did Well

Reintroduce only the egg yolk at first, avoid the egg white. The egg white can permeate the gut wall causing the autoimmune response to worsen. Surprisingly, I actually did this part correctly! I had two egg yolks scrambled for my reintroduction. 

Unfortunately, this is the only part I did right!

What I did Wrong

Steps to Reintroduction

  1. Take a small bite then monitor for a reaction for 10-15 minutes
  2. Take a normal-sized bite then monitor for a reaction for 2-3 hours
  3. Eat a normal serving then monitor the results for 3-7 days

I didn’t do any of that! I just cooked two egg yolks and gulped them down. The only monitoring I did was checking my blood sugar 4 hours later at lunch, and as you know, that was high.

Blood sugar doesn’t react as rapidly as an allergic reaction, but I wonder what my blood sugar would have done if I’d followed the steps above? At the very least, I may have discovered the elevated levels before I ate 2 egg yolks. Maybe I could have lessened the damage to my gut.

Pasture-Raise, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free Eggs

I had read that quality of the egg mattered, but I didn’t really believe it. The eggs I ate were the cage-free, organic ones from Costco. Obviously, that wasn’t high enough quality! They are not pasture-raised, likely not soy-free, and I have no idea about wheat-free.

Where to Go from Here?

As you might be able to tell from this post, I’m not exactly posting in real time. I’m giving myself a couple weeks to analyze results and share with you. Currently, I am on Day 58 of the Autoimmune Protocol, and I can absolutely see why people are on this diet for a year or more before they feel healed and know what they can eat. Reintroducing foods is hard!

I’m going to give myself another week or so to stabilize my blood sugar. Once I am confident that I’ve returned to my normal, then I’ll reintroduce the next food.

Eggs are not on my list for next reintroduction. 🙂 It’s hard on me emotionally to fail. I hate seeing high reading after high reading for 2 weeks following an introduction. So I’m going to seek out a win before I go back to eggs (Also I need to find a source for pasture-raised, soy & wheat-free eggs!).

Next, I am thinking of trying sesame oil. I like to cook Korean food, and when I leave out the sesame oil, the flavor is really lacking! Sesame oil would be a big win for me in the cooking-tasty-meals department.

Finally, I plan to actually follow the steps for reintroducing foods and document this process better. Here is my plan for reintroducing foods on the Autoimmune Protocol, as a Type 1 Diabetic:

  1. Test blood sugar for a baseline.
  2. Take 1 small bite of the new food. Wait 15 minutes then test blood sugar again. If the result is reasonably close to the baseline (which I think it will be, not sure how quickly blood sugar can react.), go on to step 2.
  3. Take 1 normal bite of the new food. Wait 2 hours then test blood sugar again. If the result is higher than 150, consider the food a fail. If less than 150, go on to step 4.
  4. Eat a normal serving of the food. Continue on normal blood sugar testing routine (fasting, pre-lunch, pre-dinner, and pre-bed) and monitor the results.

Egg yolks were a failed reintroduction on the Autoimmune Protocol. Ingesting two scrambled egg yolks resulted in higher than normal blood sugar levels for 14 days. Since I did not follow the reintroduction steps exactly, I will try to reintroduce egg yolks again, but I will be waiting a few weeks or months to let my blood sugar stabilize and gut heal.


How do you handle let-downs in your life? Don’t give up! Keep pressing on, the results might not be visible right away!

AIP Reintroduction Egg Yolk

Unripe Avocado
Status

Maximize Fresh Produce | Avocados

Here at Flawed yet Functional, I am all about maximizing the dollars I invest in groceries. I do not want to be throwing anything away or forgetting to use ingredients I’ve bought. A problem fruit for me for years was avocados. The ripe period of an avocado is so short. If only there was a way to capture that perfect time of ripeness!

How to Store Avocados

Avocados are full of good fat, and are the perfect additive or side to so many dishes. Yet it is hard to plan a menu around when the avocados will be ripe. If it’s winter, avocados take a few days to ripen on my counter. In the summertime, they just might be rotten before grocery shopping day is over!

Take these avocados, for example. All four are rock hard yet the darker one will ripen the fastest and the brighter green one, the slowest. The odds of these four being ready to eat on the same day is not good.

Avocado Spectrum

However, you don’t need to plan your meals around the ripening schedule of avocados any more! Here is the super simple, 2-step trick to preserving ripe avocados for 1 to 2 weeks and prevent avocados from rotting for good!

1. Ripen the avocado on the counter until dark green/brown and soft.

Ripe Avocados

The avocados must be ripe before going on to step two! Be patient, let the avocados get quite soft but not starting to shrivel.  Leave the avocados on the counter, checking them daily, to see when they are ripest. Make sure they have plenty of space and are not likely to get knocked off the counter or smashed by other fruit/veggies. Then…

2. Put the ripe avocado in the refrigerator.

Yep, that’s it. Stick it in the refrigerator. It doesn’t matter where you put them either (so long as they aren’t squished!). I’ve put them in the crisper, on the shelf, and in the door with success in all locations. The cold of the refrigerator will stop the ripening process keeping that delicious avocado in that perfect period of ripeness for 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks!

If I’m totally honest, I’ve found a lone avocado hidden under some carrots in the vegetable drawer that had been there for who knows how long. It was a little brown on the inside, but not past the point of eating! It had been there for over 2 weeks, possibly 3 or 4.

If I’m really, really honest, I’ve found forgotten avocados in my fridge many times. So this method really is tried and true, if not on purpose, by accidental forgetfulness!

Storing avocados this way allows me to have multiple avocados ripe and ready for eating at any time. The only special menu planning I do for avocados now is I don’t plan to eat them for a couple days after grocery shopping so they have a chance to ripen.

Ripe avocado from fridge

I bought 10 avocados on my last shopping trip, and by day 3 after shopping, all were ripe and in my fridge. I used two to make Cilantro Avocado Mayo today, and I have no worries that all 8 will be ready any day I want to eat them!

That’s it! First, let the avocados ripen on the counter then second, put them in the fridge. How simple is that? They will stay perfectly ripe for up to two weeks. Amazing or what?!


Do you use avocados regularly? What is your favorite way to eat them? How do you store avocados??

how to ripen avocados