Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 | Blood Sugar When Sick

Welcome! I am going through the Elimination Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. Why? I am a type 1, insulin-free, diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, my blood sugar levels were higher than desired. On February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control. 

Check out how Week 1Week 2, and Week 3 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Blood sugar control when sick is a valid area of concern for a type 1 diabetic. The diabetic educator at my endocrinologist’s office spent a good bit of our first meeting discussing what to do when I get sick. The balance of activity and food intake is thrown off, so how should a type 1 diabetic handle sick days?

Since I am not taking insulin (my Paleo diet and exercise is enough to keep my blood sugar in range), the way I manage my blood sugar when sick is different. I continue to eat as I am hungry, and I eat the same fresh, AIP-friendly food I did when not sick. My pancreas is controlling my blood sugar levels so I will not go low, even with low food consumption. I have found my daytime blood sugar will stay in range, even when I sit on the couch all day!

The hard part of managing my blood sugar when sick is the morning or fasting blood sugar reading. This week a light has begun to dawn on me. I think the reason my fasting blood sugar has been higher is a combination of three things:

  1. Not sleeping through the night
  2. Not waking up on time
  3. Not getting exercise

In many ways, Week 4 felt like a repeat of Week 3. My family was still sick, and I succumbed to the sickness for about a day and a half. I only got a headache and sore throat for 36 hours which I attribute the short length and severity to my healthy diet. The major change came at the end of Week 4: my kids started sleeping through the night again! I am now seeing some improvement in my fasting blood sugar reading. My hunch as the reason? I started sleeping through the night, waking up at normal time, and getting a work-out in. Time will tell if the readings will continue to improve, but I am encouraged so far!

Let’s dig into the food I ate!


I continued my goal of making breakfast easier from Week 3 into Week 4. Prepping my veggies the night before and cooking two meals at once is the way to go! Breakfast comes together so much easier!


Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 Breakfast

Day 20 – Turkey Apple Hash

Day 21 – Ham, Broccoli, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Berries

Day 22 – Ham and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Day 23 – Sausage, Zucchini, and Sweet Potato Hash with Apples

Day 24 – Leftover Turkey Apple Hash

Day 25 – Turkey Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash


Leftovers is the name of the game for lunch. I plan to make enough at dinner to eat the same meal again the next day. I try to make it a little bit different by adding fresh vegetables or fruit, but sometimes it is the exact same meal. This is a sanity-saver for me. I need one of my meals each day to be easy, meaning on the table in less than 5 minutes. Leftovers is how I do it!

Autoimmune Protocol Week 4 Lunch

Day 20 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana, Roasted Veggies, and Fruit

Day 21 – Leftover Korean Chicken Soup (similar), Carrot Sticks, Chicharrones

Day 22 – Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash with Vegetable Beef Soup, Apples and Grapes

Day 23 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup with Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash, Chicharrones, and Frozen Fruit

Day 24 – Chopped Ham Topped with Leftover Vegetables and Broth, Avocado Mayo and Sweet Potato Fries, Apple

Day 25 – Leftover Turkey Sausage Hash, Tuna Salad, Fresh Veggies, and Blueberries


Dinner is where the real bulk of my cooking takes place. I love variety and cooking, so most of my effort goes to this meal.

Week 5 started out with my birthday! I made an AIP-friendly tapioca pudding, pictured below, and it was so pretty, I had to include it in the dinner round-up. Also Day 21 and 22 had the exact same thing for dinner, no need to see the same meal twice!

Autoimmune Protocol Dinners


Day 20 – Grilled Elk Steak, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash & Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding

Day 21 – Italian Wedding Soup and Grapes

Day 22 – Italian Wedding Soup with dollup of Roasted Garlic Parsnip/Cauliflower Mash

Day 23 – Adobo Chicken Burger topped with Avocado Mayo and Sweet Potato Fries

Day 24 – Hamburger Topped with Onion and Avocado Mayo, Roasted Beets, Turnips, and Carrots

Day 25 – Leftover Turkey Sausage Hash, Tuna Salad, and Roasted Asparagus

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Korean Chicken Soup (similar) – This is my husband’s absolute favorite chicken soup. It is the same one his mom made for him when he was sick as a child. I did alter this recipe to make it AIP/Paleo friendly. The Autoimmune Protocol is grain-free, so I left out the rice completely. I stuffed the chicken cavity with only garlic, dates, and ginger, plus salt and pepper. It is such a simple soup and so delicious! To serve the soup, top with sesame seeds (Paleo only) and chopped green onions. I forgot to buy onions this time, much to my husband’s disappointment.
  2. Adobo Chicken Burger – A recipe so good, I’ve made it twice in this Autoimmune Protocol journey! The burgers come together quickly, and they are delicious. I do follow the AIP-friendly spice blend, not the store-bought one recommended in the recipe. Top these burgers with the Avocado Mayo and a side of roasted vegetables, and you’ve got one delicious meal!

Blood Sugar

AIP Blood Sugar Chart

Yet another week of interrupted sleep and no morning routine, and just to spice it up, throw in a Daylight Savings Time in there! Ha! I didn’t need another thing messing up my sleep!

Life is not always perfect. I roll with the punches just like you do. As noted above, I am encouraged by my sleep routine returning to normal that my morning blood sugar will follow suit. Normal for me, a type 1 diabetic, would be less than 130 when I wake up. Currently, I’m in the 160’s and low 170’s when I wake up.

One odd thing happened this week. On Day 23, I was very high at bed time, 248 ( My goal is less than 150 when I go to bed.). I still haven’t figured out what happened. I took the usual precautions after a high reading. (A mis-read due to dirty hands is usually the culprit.) So I washed my hands, dried them well, then got a new test strip and tried again. The second reading was 251. Hmm. So I guess my blood sugar is really high.

I changed a couple things at dinner that night that I thought might be a problem: a new priobiotic and skin on the sweet potato fries. Due to my son being on antibiotics, I bought childrens priobiotics to help repopulate his gut bacteria after wiping it out. I thought this was a good a time as any for the whole family to take a probiotic, so I purchased some for the rest of us. Day 23 was the first day I took the priobiotic with dinner.

Skin on white potatoes digests differently than the flesh of the potato. The skin itself can be inflammatory; some potatoes, like Yukon Gold, can be tolerated if the skin is removed. I don’t know if this is true of sweet potatoes though. Those are the only things I ate differently that night versus other nights.

I don’t have an answer for why this reading was so high. I’ve continued to take the probiotic since Day 23 with no adverse blood sugar effects. I’ve also eaten the leftover sweet potato fries without a dramatic increase is blood glucose. I don’t have an answer. A fluke? Seems unlikely, but I’m moving on. No need to cry over spilt milk!

How I Feel

I continue to have great energy, even when battling sickness myself. I’ve been sick twice in the last few months, and both times the sickness only lasted 36 hours. That’s crazy! It’s a huge testament to the strength of my immune system to fight off infection and my healthy diet.

Shameless Paleo plug: You could be sick less too! Stop eating wheat and processed foods! You will be so much healthier, less sick, and have more energy!

Goals for Week 5

I’ve been posting these updates by weeks as opposed to days. It looks like I’m at the end of the elimination period of the Autoimmune Protocol, but in reality, I’m only at Day 25 (as you can see in the food pictures above). For now, I’m continuing on with the elimination period. I’ve encountered two other individuals who’ve gone through the Autoimmune Protocol, and both were in the elimination period longer than 30 days (one for 3 months, one for 1 year).

I’ve grocery shopped for 2 more weeks of Autoimmune Protocol diet, and I’ll evaluate at the end of the period to see if I will start to reintroduce foods. As far as food goals, I was able to incorporate some salmon and lamb into my diet in the next week. So excited to eat some different meat!

Mark’s Daily Apple is a great source of health information. This article about the Autoimmune Protocol is very interesting. My biggest takeaway is that I’ve been eating dates and chocolate! Doh! Both in small amounts, but I have been breaking the diet in that respect. I’m getting back on the AIP elimination phase completely. I’m hoping that returning to a normal sleep schedule, morning routine with exercise, and removing these two things from my diet will do wonders on my blood sugar. I’ll keep you posted!

A type 1 diabetic can maintain in range blood sugar when sick! Press on! Figure out what is throwing you off and course correct if you can. If you can’t, wait it out. Life will return to normal eventually. Two weeks of sickness and lack of sleep really took it’s toll on my fasting blood sugar. I’m trusting the food I eat and my lifestyle habits will course correct this next week. My plan is eat real food, sleep 8 hours every night, wake-up at the same time every morning, and get back to exercising.

What’s your plan to live a healthy lifestyle? What is important to you? Sleep? Food? Organic food? No processed food? What are you passionate about?

Click to check out the Week 1Week 2, and Week 3 reviews. Follow me on Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Autoimmune Protocol Review


Maximize Fresh Produce | How to Store Leafy Greens

Here at Flawed yet Functional, I believe in eating real, whole foods. In order to eat real, whole foods, proper storage is key. There’s nothing more frustrating for me than to carefully plan a meal, shop for the ingredients, then go to make it a few days later and the key ingredient has spoiled. Enough of that crazy cycle! Today, we’ll focus on the proper storage of leafy greens. This method of storing fresh greens applies to all those rich green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, collard greens, leaf lettuce, Swiss Chard, herbs, etc.

My latest shopping trip brought home 2 bunches of spinach, 1 bunch of kale, and 1 bunch of cilantro. Before learning and taking the time to properly store these leafy greens, the cilantro would be yellow or brown in a day or two. The spinach might get half eaten then the other bunch and a half meet the trash can once they started to stink. The only real contender to make it one week was the kale, as it is the most hardy. None of these greens stood a change of making it to the two week mark.

I used to get discouraged because I could never plan my meals just right to get the fresh, leafy greens all consumed in 2-3 days. Here’s some truth for you: when properly stored, greens can last two weeks or more in the refrigerator. What? Are you mind-blown? I was!

I grocery shop, with a plan, every other week. Fresh, leafy greens are purchased every time, and they stay fresh until the next shopping trip. Well, what’s left of them, I usually have everything used up. On the rare occasion I have some left, it is still edible two weeks after leaving the store. Want to know how? I’m so glad you asked! Read on!

Fresh Green Info Graphic

5 Simple Steps to Save the Leafy Greens

Items needed:

  • Bunches of fresh greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, leaf lettuce, herbs, etc.)
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic bag (I usually just use the produce bag I brought home from the store, but a shopping bag or zip top bag works great too.)

Remove the ties or wrapping around the greens

The key to keeping lettuce or any leafy green fresh long is letting them breathe. The first step to doing this is to remove the metal or plastic tie that is holding them together from the store. When you loosen this tie, you may find wilting or mushy stems or leaves hiding in the middle of the bunch. Go ahead and throw those way now. No sense in letting a little rot spoil the whole bunch!

Fresh Greens from Store

Rinse with cold water and shake out excess water

Run the bunch of greens under cold water to get out any dirt or bugs that might be hiding in there. I know that sounds gross, but you never know! Produce spray is also very helpful for removing dirt, especially if you are storing greens from your own garden which will be much more dirty than greens from the store.

Cleaning the greens now before storing them not only allows them to last longer, but it makes it quicker to use them when you are cooking. Just pull from the fridge, chop, and toss in your recipe!

Cleaned Fresh Spinach

Wrap in paper towel

Not too tight! Wrap the towel tight enough to keep the bunch together as the paper towel gets wet from the freshly washed greens but not so tight as to not let air in. Remember, the greens need to breathe!

Some methods will say to dampen the paper towel at this point. I have found that if my greens are still damp from the wash, there is no need to wet the paper towel. In fact, wet greens + damp paper towel = too much wetness. Rot is quickly to follow. Only dampen the paper towel if you’ve allowed your greens to dry after washing.

Store Green Wrapped

Slide into Plastic Bag

Slide your little leafy green burrito into a very loose fitting plastic bag, leaving the end open. Again, the greens need to breathe! I usually use the produce bag I brought the greens home in from the grocery store to hold my leafy green burritos. I’ve also used the plastic shopping bag or even an unzipped, zip-top bag. Really any plastic bag will do. It just needs to form a little bit of protection from the cold air of the refrigerator while allowing, wait for it, the greens to breathe!

Fresh Spinach Stored

Store in the Fridge for Two Weeks (or more!)

Be careful putting the packages in the refrigerator. Make sure they aren’t smashed by other food or each other. These do best in my fridge alone on a shelf or resting on top of some leftover containers on the deeper shelves. I don’t put these in the produce drawer. There’s not enough air flow in mine (could be because mine are stuffed to the gills though!). Remember, keep the bag loose so the greens have room to breathe, so place them wherever that is optimal in your fridge.

Greens Wrapped Bagged

That’s it! Super simple 5 steps: untie, rinse, wrap, bag, store! It does take a little bit of time when you arrive home from the grocery store. However, a few minutes of work for 2 weeks worth of fresh greens? I’ll take it!

Another perk, beyond frustration when cooking is proper storage will save you money! The best way to save money on your grocery bill and maximize your health is to not throw food away. Don’t let it rot in your fridge! Want to read more? Check out this post for other tips to maximize your grocery budget.

How do you store your fresh lettuce, herbs, and leafy greens? Any other tips to keep them fresh for a long time?

How to Store Fresh Greens


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 | Success through Sickness

Welcome! Here’s a little background information to catch you up: I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, my blood sugar levels were higher than desired due to dairy in the candy I was eating. Eliminating the candy from my diet (and coffee and alcohol, the other two suspects) didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, 2018, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.

Check out how Week 1 and Week 2 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Week 3 threw me some curveballs: diet-breaking eating out, family illness, a broken appliance, and raging hormones. I had no trouble cooking and eating my Autoimmune Protocol-friendly meals (even while sick!), but my blood sugar levels were not quite where I’d like them to be. At the end of the week, even with higher than desired blood sugar, I was still in the healthy range for a Type 1 Diabetic. You too can conquer your autoimmune disease through this diet, while battling sickness.

Let me explain a bit to set the stage for my week:

1. Dining out at the end of Week 2

At the end of Week 2, I went out to eat at a restaurant that is very careful with food sensitivities and allergies. I’ve had no issues eating there before, but I also was not on the Autoimmune Protocol when I went there last. I broke the diet in, at least, two ways: a duck egg and dessert. The duck egg is obvious, eggs are out during the elimination phase. The dessert is more unclear because I don’t know exactly what was in it. It was a flourless Meyer lemon cake topped with powdered sugar and a scoop of grapefruit sorbet on the the side. The waiter assured me it was gluten-free and dairy-free. I believe it was, but I’ll bet it was not AIP compliant. It had lots of sugar and likely nut flour of some kind. The powdered sugar on top could have had corn starch or something similar in it too. So all that to say, I don’t know exactly what was in it. It could have been the source of my higher blood sugar levels in the following days.

2. Sickness

The flu hit my family hard this week. Some days I was very busy cleaning and caring for my family, and other days were very sedentary as I sat on the couch for most of the day holding sick, miserable babies. My night’s sleep was always interrupted as well. By the end of the week, I succumbed to the plague too.

3. Broken washing machine

I know this might sound trivial, but the fact that I couldn’t wash sheets or clothes while my family was sick was very hard. One day I just had to do some laundry. Thankfully, a friend let me pop over to their house throughout the day to run laundry. Six trips and four loads later, we were set to make it until the part arrived for our washer.

The good news is the new part is now installed, and the washer is up and running again! Yay!

4. Hormones

The last issue may by TMI, but I think it is important to point out. Men, feel free to skip to the Food section if you don’t want to hear about “womanly” issues! I have to take a journey back a few years to fully explain this, so bear with me.

The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, and when all the hormones are in balance, regular menstrual cycles ensue through childbearing years. My menstrual cycle has never been regular, ever, and I struggled with infertility when trying to start our family. After many blood tests and ultrasounds, the fertility doctor told me it wasn’t that my body wasn’t working properly, as in the organs were functional, but my hormone levels were all out of whack. When the hormones are not in the right ratio to each other, functions, like menstruation, don’t start when they should.

To solve the infertility problem, I took some hormone regulating pills and voila, got pregnant.

Fast forward to summer 2017, when I am vigorously working on my diet to regulate my blood sugar and manage my type 1 diabetes. Guess what I did in the process? I regulated the hormones in my body, including the ones that control menstruation. Wheat can disrupt your hormones, did you know that??

After a few months on a gluten-free diet, I began have a regular, predictable menstrual cycle for the first time in my life. In my life. No joke. I have never been able to track my menstrual cycles, and now I can. Food is huge folks. I’m not kidding.

That was a lot of back story all to say, I think my average blood glucose level rises right before my menstrual cycle begins. Research goes both ways (blood sugar raises or lowers as a result of menstruation), basically it depends on the individual. For me, I think it raises a couple days before my cycle begins.

Ok, done with the “womanly” issues, on to the rest of the results of Week 3 of the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet!


My one change for this week of the Autoimmune Protocol: make breakfast easier. Included in my meal plan for the week was cooking breakfast only every other day. To accomplish this, I prepped the vegetables the night before, and I doubled every recipe so I cooked enough food for two meals. The prepping the vegetables took some discipline. “Cooking” once my kids are down for bed is not my favorite, but the result of putting breakfast on the table faster (and for 2 days!) was worth it.


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Breakfast

Day 14 – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, and Sausage Links

Day 15 – Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Avocado Mayo, Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash, and Sausage Links

Day 16 – Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs)

Day 17 – Leftover Butternut Squash and Sausage Hash (without eggs) and Leftover Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash

Day 18 – Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash

Day 19 – Leftover Turkey Apple Breakfast Hash


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Lunch

Day 14 – Leftover Ranch Cauliflower Mash topped with Sliced Elk Steak and Fresh Blackberries and Strawberries

Day 15 – Leftover Nightshade-Free Vegetable Beef Soup and Pears

Day 16 – Leftover Faux Broccoli Cheese Soup, Fresh Veggies and Cilantro Avocado Mayo (with Tuna stirred in to increase protein intake)

Day 17 – Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Avocado, Pears, and Broiled Chicken Skin

Day 18 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana

Day 19 – Leftover Zuppa Toscana, Leftover Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts, Frozen Fruit


Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Dinners

Day 14 – Chicken PoppersCilantro Avocado Mayo, Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash, Fresh Strawberries

Day 15 – Leftover Chicken Poppers, Faux Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Cilantro Avocado Mayo

Day 16 – Baked Lemon Herb Chicken Thighs (leave out cumin and cayenne pepper for AIP compliance); Roasted Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts; and Pears

Day 17 – Zuppa Toscana and Roasted Broccoli

Day 18 – Korean Chicken Soup

Day 19 – Leftover Korean Chicken Soup and Apples

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Cilantro Avocado Mayo – This dip was so good. I put more horseradish in than the recipe called for. I love the zing of horseradish! We dipped all sorts of things in it this week: roasted sweet potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers, and Chicken Poppers.
  2. Chicken Poppers – While called “poppers,” these chicken bites resemble chicken nuggets more. They were a hit with the whole family: super flavorful, juicy, (When eaten fresh, they were a tad dry reheated.) and fun to eat. I was hesitant to put raw bacon in my blender, and it did get wrapped around the blade a bit, but it all worked out. I worked in small batches, and it wasn’t too difficult to get everything blended in the end.
  3. Zuppa Toscana – Wow! This soup was so flavorful! It uses zucchini instead of potatoes, but it was still flat out delicious. I did up the zucchini amount by about half, and I think I might add another vegetable next time. This soup is heavy on the broth, and I like my soups to be a little more chunky and hearty. It was very good, and it will become a regular on our table, I’m sure.

Blood Sugar

This week was rough. I was dealing with hormones fluctuating, sick family, lack of sleep, and general life pressures. I am not complaining just explaining. No one can have a perfect, stress-free life, and I want to paint a real picture of my life during the Autoimmune Protocol so you can have confidence to succeed as well.

My blood sugar was less stable this week, and I’m afraid there are too many variables for me to flesh out exactly what was the cause of my higher evening and morning blood sugar. My average blood sugar (straight average, no weighting) was 130. For reference, the straight average for Week 1 was 123 and Week 2 was 124. So while my blood glucose levels are still plenty low enough for a type 1 diabetic, this week was higher than my first two weeks on the Autoimmune Protocol. I am going to chalk this week up as an anomaly. Next week is bound to be better!

Autoimmune Protocol Blood Sugar Chart

How I Feel

I spoke about my boundless energy in the summary of Week 2. If I didn’t have so much energy, I don’t know how I would have gotten through this week with (1) sick husband, (2) sick kids, (3) broken washer, (4) doing laundry at a friend’s house 2 miles away, and (5) still providing Autoimmune Protocol compliant meals, three times a day for me and my family. I had energy to do all of that and not collapse part way through the day or even at the end of the day.

This is what real food can do for you! It will nourish your body and provide you with all the energy you need to complete your work for the day, whatever that might be.

Goals for Week 4

I am hoping and striving to return to in-range morning blood sugar levels in this next week. Week 2 was so promising, but life hit me hard in Week 3. I press on with a positive outlook. I’m confident the Autoimmune Protocol will work!

With the setbacks at the end of Week 2 (Diet broken eating out) and Week 3 (sickness, hormones, lack of sleep, broken washer), I am beginning to wonder if I’ll need to extend the elimination phase longer than 30 days. My gut may need more time to heal. It’s just a thought right now. We’ll see how the remainder of the elimination phases goes.

When life hits you hard, it does not need to derail your health progress. The Autoimmune Protocol is completely doable while dealing with real life pressures and sickness. Healthy meals, in-range blood sugar, and feeling good (relative to the sickness of course!) are all still possible. For me, Week 3 was still on track overall, even with all of these less than advantageous factors.


What setbacks are you struggling with right now? Are you able to shake them off and press-on? What is your strategy for letting life’s stresses roll off your back?

Click to check out the Week 1 and Week 2 reviews. Follow me on Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Autoimmune Protocol Week 3 Review



Make a Paleo Diet Work | Practical Solutions to Diet Change

Welcome new readers! A little background: I am an adult-onset, type 1 diabetic, who has found healing through a Paleo diet. I began my diet change journey by reading about the link of gluten to autoimmune diseases, further refined my diet to include more vegetables, then found dairy was irritating my gut too, so I went full-blown Paleo. 

I’m starting to get the question from my in-person friends who read my blog…How do you eat like that everyday? How do you keep up? How do you have time to cook? I could never spend that much time in the kitchen, how do you do it?

I’ve been pondering how I actually do make this happen day in and day out. First of all, it is a lifestyle change. This is not something I intend to drop in a month or two. I’m in this for the long haul, so I am constantly working and refining my daily routine, shopping, and kitchen skills so I continue to get better and eating Paleo becomes easier.

Below are 10 Practical Solutions to Diet Change that I’ve learned over the last year to make my Paleo meal preparation easier and less time-consuming. I’ve learned (not necessarily mastered, mind you!) these over a year or more. If you can’t begin to imagine yourself doing this, take your time. One step at a time, and you will get there!

Prep Breakfast the Night Before

Chop the veggies, take the meat out of the freezer (Cook it too if you have time!), shred/grind/mince, whatever you need to do in the morning that would be time consuming, do it the night before. I chop each item, then put in individual containers in the fridge. In the morning, mise en place is done, just turn on your stove/oven and cook!

I’ve created some really yummy hashes for my Autoimmune Protocol. Hashes reheat so well. You can even cook them completely the night before, and simply reheat in the microwave or stovetop in the morning. Breakfast will be ready in less than 5 minutes!

Roasted Veggie Soup

Plan for Leftovers

This is a huge time and energy saver no matter your diet. I recommend it heartily no matter how you are menu planning. You need a break when you are cooking from scratch. Leftovers are the easiest way to get a break, stay on track with your diet, put a quick meal on the table, and save money by not eating out. Win, win, win, and win!

Embrace leftovers! Plan on having extra when you cook! It will relieve you of the stress of cooking a new meal every day!

Get the Family on Board

If mommy/daddy’s on a special diet, then we’re all on a special diet.

That’s a saying, right? The Paleo diet is an optimal diet for anyone: kids or adults, infant or elderly, pregnant or beer belly. 🙂 If one needs the diet (or just wants the health benefits!) then the whole family should adopt the diet.

This will ease temptations to cheat if there are no processed foods or wheat products in the house.

Solidarity – we can use all the support we can get, right?

kids in the kitchen

Ask for Help from Your Family

If one adult in the family is slaving away in the kitchen day in and day out with no help, bitterness is not far away (and neither is quitting!). It’s a large task that needs hands-on support from the whole family. So beyond just “we all eat the same food” from above, we all need to help prepare the food. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Ask your spouse to make one recipe while you make another. Dinner will be ready twice as fast (a good solution if you both work outside the home!).
  • Have your child to stir the pot while you add ingredients.
  • Ask your child to throw away the scraps from chopping vegetables.
  • Ask your spouse to grill the main meat course while you prepare the sides inside.
  • Ask your child/spouse to chop the vegetables while you start cooking.

Beet soup

Try New Foods

Nightshades are out during the Autoimmune Protocol. Nightshades are tomatoes and peppers. This restriction can feel very limiting and daunting at the beginning. Opening your mind to trying new foods, will greatly expand the palate of your meals and your enjoyment of them.

For example, take the soup pictured above. It is not tomato-based. Want to know where that red color comes from? Beets! Beets have been on my “Do Not Like” list since I was 6. After trying this recipe, I’ve decided I need to give beets another chance. This soup was flat out delicious!

A Paleo diet is heavy on the vegetables so to deepen your satisfaction with your meals and snacks, try a new vegetable each week! I bet you will be surprised how much you like vegetables!

Vegetable Variety

Eat a Variety

You need variety in your diet (Paleo or otherwise) for both nutrition and palate. I heard a tidbit on the Broken Brain documentary that said,

You eat 21 meals in a week. Aim for 21 different vegetables.

I thought this was an interesting idea, so I counted up the vegetables I ate during Week 1 of the Autoimmune Protocol. I ate 14 different vegetables, listed below. Not bad! I think I could get more variety in my diet in the coming weeks.

  1. Sweet Potato
  2. Zucchinni
  3. Carrots
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Avocado
  6. Kale
  7. Spinach
  8. Butternut Squash
  9. Broccoli
  10. Mushroom
  11. cabbage
  12. acorn squash
  13. celery
  14. cucumber

Ready for the shocker: The delicious beet soup above that all of my family went back for seconds of, had 12 different vegetables in it! 12! That’s almost the same variety in my entire Autoimmune Protocol Week 1 menu plan! Think of all the nutrients in those vegetables too! So much better than eating a slice of bread or mac and cheese!

Learn Basic Knife Skills

Fact: You will have to chop a lot of vegetables for a Paleo diet.

You might as well learn how to do it right. Properly chopping a vegetable is not only quicker, but it uses less energy. Get on YouTube and search for how to cut a particular vegetable. There IS a proper way to chop an onion, to julienne carrots, to mince garlic (How to peel garlic! America’s Test Kitchen is a wealth of information. Trust them for all things kitchen! I’m getting sidetracked…), etc.

There is a best way to cut everything. Learn it and it will make your cooking easier and faster!

Calphalon Santoku Knife

Invest in a Good Knife

Once you learn to chop/mince/dice properly, you’ll need a good knife that keeps its edge. There are lots of good ones out there, but you really don’t need to spend a fortune, especially for a home cook. This one is my favorite. It’s not very expensive, $24 right now, and it can be resharpened, which is key.

So while we’re on a roll in the knife category…


Learn How to Sharpen Your Knife(ves)

You can learn this by watching YouTube videos and purchasing a couple of whetstones. We have a course and a fine grit (for both smooth blades and serrated), and they have paid for themselves many times over. You can find someone local to you to sharpen your knives, but learning the skill will be so much cheaper and you’ll be able to sharpen them on your schedule. You won’t have to be without your favorite knife for a week!

Another perk? You’ve learned a useful skill! You know how to sharpen a knife!

And now for the last solution, but certainly not the least…

Try Again, Don’t Give Up

I’m reminded of a line from a poem my dad used to quote over and over to me growing up:

If at first you don’t succeed, try , try again.

Changing what you eat is hard. Learning how to prepare new vegetables and meat is difficult. Cooking from scratch is time-consuming. I want to tell you it is worth it. Your health is worth it. Your family’s health is worth it. Keep at it. Try again tomorrow.

The more vegetables you chop, the faster you will be.

The more vegetables you roast, the better you will become at identifying when it’s done.

The more recipes you cook, the better you will be at “throwing” something together at the last minute.

You will get better. You will get more efficient. Paleo will get easier. Keep trying!

What aspect of a Paleo diet change (or any diet change!) is the most daunting for you? Does spending time in the kitchen freak you out? Does eating food you suspect might not be yummy (or worse yet slimy/mushy!) give you the shivers? What is your sticking point for you? Share in the comments below!

Paleo strategies





Almond Date Bars | AKA Homemade Larabars

Hello and welcome to Flawed yet Functional!

I am a Type 1 Diabetic who has found healing of my gut and thereby insulin-free management of my diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes (The pancreas is dead or dying.) but not for me! How have I managed to not be on insulin? I follow a gluten-free, high vegetable, dairy-free diet, a.k.a. Paleo! You will find inspiration to be your healthiest self here at Flawed yet Functional, diabetic or not. So glad you stopped by!

Let’s talk about snacks today. Snacks are so important when you have kids. All you parents out there can attest to this, I’m sure. I don’t leave the house without a snack packed, if we are going to be gone more than an hour. Grocery shopping, hardware store, or even just a long drive to a friend’s house, snacks are always on hand.

One of our favorite is Almond Date Bars or more commonly, homemade Larabars (or “laraballs” according to an ever-so-precise 2 or 4 year old). These tasty treats are full of raw nuts and dates. In fact, if you disregard the pinch of salt and splash of vanilla, they are only raw nuts and dates! A snack with a very short list of easily known ingredients? This is a snack I can get behind!

Other perks???

  • Quick to make
  • Kids can help make it
  • No hidden ingredients
  • Raw/whole ingredients
  • Hand held
  • Just sticky enough to hold together while little ones eat it
  • Perfect.

When I make Almond Date Bars, I blend them up in my Vitamix. Be careful if you are using a blender! These ingredients put a lot of stress on the motor. I start on low, letting the dates and almonds bounce around and get roughly chopped. When it all looks uniform but still large pieces, I turn up the power 1 or 2 notches until pieces are smaller but still bouncing. Lastly, I turn the power up 1 or 2 more notches and use the damper to push the mixture down to the blade. When a paste starts to form, I quickly stop. It should look blended, sticky, and with chunks the size of the almond pieces in the pictures above.

If you smell the motor start to smoke, STOP. You can, in fact, burn out a motor on a Vitamix. Ask me how I know…not with this recipe in particular, but we’ve put our Vitamix through the ringer these last 8 or 9 years. We love it, but we are on our 3rd motor…good thing the warranty is for 10 years!

If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can also pulse these in a food processor. I haven’t made them using this appliance, so I can’t explain how it works, but follow the same guidelines, pulse carefully until mixture turns sticky and almonds are chopped small. Be careful not to overwork the motor.

There may be some or quite a bit of loose almond bits. Don’t worry about those! Pour the mixture, loose nuts and all onto a clean surface. Kneed the “dough” to incorporate all the loose nuts and make a uniform, sticky ball.

Roll out and cut into bars or grab a small piece and roll into a ball. This step is perfect for little helpers. My kids love rolling these into balls (and snacking on one or two while they are at it!).

There are recipes a plenty for Date Bars, aka mock Larabars, but this almond combination is our favorite. Check out this post for more flavor combinations!


Almond Date Bars

Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, kid-friendly homemade Larabars. Simple to blend up. No cooking involved!

Course Snack
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Kid-friendly, Paleo
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 160 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup whole, pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 pinches sea salt


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender. Turn on low until almonds are roughly chopped. Turn up blender slowly, damping the dates and almonds down. Work quickly, this will be heavy on the motor. Turn off as soon as almonds are chopped small and forms sticky lumps.

  2. **Can be made in a food processor too. Pulse to chop and combine ingredients until it forms sticky lumps.**

  3. Pour out onto a mat and kneed together, incorporating any loose almonds.

  4. Roll into individual balls or roll out in rectangle and cut into bars. 

homemade almond larabar


Autoimmune Protocol – Week 2 Review

To catch you all up, I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, I was exposed to dairy for about 8 weeks. “Exposed” sounds accidental. It was, but it was my own fault for not vetting my candy choices more carefully! This resulted in higher blood sugar levels overall, but especially in my fasting blood sugar which is taken first thing in the morning. Eliminating the candy from my diet didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) again to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.

Check out how Week 1 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Week 2 of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) was even easier than Week 1, and MILES easier than when I attempted the AIP diet in October 2017.

I began to see more blood sugar control this week. Except the night the family went out for sorbet, I was high that night, but my blood sugar recovered nicely on it’s own without the help of artificial insulin. At the end of the week, I even saw another fasting blood sugar level less than 130! Woot! I’ve had 3 fasting blood sugar reading under 130 since beginning the diet, and I haven’t seen levels that low since November 2017. Yikes, I let this problem go on for far too long!

As with the review of Week 1, I will review the food I ate, how my blood sugar fared, how I felt this past week, and my goals for the next week. First up, Food!


The variety of breakfast food this week was extremely satisfying to me: from delicious fresh fruit salad on Day 9 to roasted broccoli AND sweet potatoes on Day 11 to savory cauliflower mash on Day 12. I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables and flavors this week.

I made two different types of hash this week. One simple with sweet potatoes, onion, and kale, and the other more involved with roasted butternut squash, sauteed mushrooms, breakfast sausage, and spinach. Both stood alone just fine and were filling and satisfying, but there was a little part of me wishing for a yoke-y egg on top. Sigh. Soon.


Week of AIP Breakfasts

Day 8 – Sweet Potato, Kale, and Onion Hash; Bacon; and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Fruit Salad

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Pears

Day 11 – Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 12 – Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl

Day 13 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Sauteed Mushrooms, Sausage, and Spinach Hash


Week of AIP Lunches

Day 8 – Leftover Braised Pork with Carrot Sticks and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Leftover Braised Pork, Leftover Ham Breakfast Hash, and Apple

Day 10 – Leftover Braised Pork and Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Apples

Day 11 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup with Fresh Berries

Day 12 – Leftover Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 13 – Leftover Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup


Week of AIP Dinners

Day 8 – Hamburgers Topped with Guacamole, Sauteed Summer Squash and Onions with Wilted Spinach, and Fresh Strawberries

Day 9 – Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup and Frozen Blueberries

Day 11 – Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup

Day 12 – Dinner out at Bistro Bella Vita – Duck (Grilled, Pulled, and Egg) on Roasted Winter Vegetables with Flourless Lemon Cake and Grapefruit Sorbet

Day 13 – Dinner at Friend’s House – Elk Steak, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower-Parsnip Mash , and Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding (similar)

Dinner out on Day 12 did not follow the Autoimmune Protocol. I had egg and refined sugar in the dessert. The dinner qualifies as Paleo but not with the extra restrictions of the Autoimmune Protocol. I did end the night of Day 12 with great blood sugar (126!), but my blood sugar was elevated all day on Day 13. While this is not the end of the world, I am trying to keep note so I will know exactly how food affects my body (This is one of my goals for 2018!).

It was my goal at the end of Week 1 to include fish and organ meat, but I accomplished neither. Oops. I opted out in favor of staying on budget. Seafood in Michigan is not cheap (is it cheap anywhere???), and I didn’t hunt too hard to find organ meat. I still need to work on putting on my big-girl pants for that one.

Overall though, the week was filled with delicious food. Look at the color variety in those pictures! It was a tasty week!

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup – This was hands-down my favorite recipe this week. The color was stunning, and it even fooled my husband! His first comment when peeking in the pot before dinner, “I thought tomatoes were out of our diet right now?!” It was super tasty and filling. All four of us went back for seconds. The only caveats I would add are (1) it was time-consuming to make (2 hours) and (2) it made at least 12 servings (The recipe says 6-8. No way, we might even get 15!). I totally don’t mind either of these conditions. It was delicious; therefore, well worth my time. Also, we love leftovers!
  2.  Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup – This soup has a wonderful complexity to it due to roasting the vegetables first then pureeing half and adding the puree to the broth. This was in our regular rotation prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol. I was thrilled to read through the recipe to see that it was still AIP compliant! Super delicious soup. Try it!
  3. Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl – I was looking for different breakfast options other than hash, and I stumbled upon this cauliflower mash. It was delightful. It kind of reminded me of oatmeal in that it was hot and mushy, but the savory flavors were out of this world! I absolutely love sauteed mushrooms and bacon. They are a perfect combination! The only note I need to make is follow the seasoning ratios. I tend to pour spices in my palm to measure, and I overdid it a bit. The cauliflower mash was not just savory. It was SAVORY. I’ll scale back a bit next time!

Blood Sugar

Improving my overall blood sugar level AND reducing my morning (fasting) blood sugar are the primary reasons I am doing the Autoimmune Protocol. That is what diabetes is all about: blood sugar management. I made improvement in my fasting blood sugar this week. I had 3 mornings with readings less than 130! That is a major win for me!

You’ll notice a spike in the blue, squiggly line. That is the night my husband and I took the family out for sorbet. My blood sugar was high at bedtime (199!), but it recovered just fine by morning (144).

If you ignore the sorbet spike, week 2 looks just about the same as week 1, a little lower at times and a little higher at times. The pattern looks the same though. I’m also counting this as a win and calling it blood sugar control. My blood sugar is following a predictable pattern each day and throughout the day.

Below is a graph showing week 1 (red) as compared to week 2 (blue). Interesting, isn’t it? (It’s ok to say no, this isn’t interesting, Emily! I’m not hurt if you don’t love my numbers and charts!)

AIP Type 1 Diabetes Chart


For reference, the squiggly lines show the fluctuation of my blood glucose readings throughout the day, and the straight line of the same color is showing the trend of my blood sugar levels that week. Red is week 1, and blue is week 2. 

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol diet is creating more stable blood sugars. Other than outlier of sorbet, my blood sugar is following a predictable, stable pattern for a Type 1 Diabetic.

I am so thrilled by more on-goal fasting blood sugars. I’m hoping to see those more consistently in the coming weeks.

How I Feel

I’ve noticed this week on the days I wake with a blood sugar level of less than or around 130, I have vastly more energy to work out. I’m usually still asleep a bit and a tad not-wanting-to-workout when I begin my morning workout. The mornings my blood sugar was 136, 132, and 120, I was raring to go the entire work-out. That was odd to me, yet invigorating!

My husband has asked before if I feel different when I’m around 100 as opposed to 150 or 170. I’ve always told him no, I feel the same if I’m below 300. There’s no difference. After this week, I think there might be a difference in my level of energy! I will have to keep tracking this to be sure.

Do you want endless energy??? I think you should give this diet  a try! (Or even just the less strict Paleo diet if you don’t have leaky gut. Actually, start with just not eating wheat!) You will be a whole new person!

Goals for Week 3

For Week 3, my diet will not see any major changes. The focus will continue to be on eating a good quantity and variety of vegetables that are Autoimmune Protocol approved. Seafood and organ meat were not in Week 2, and due to budget constraints, I have to make the same decision in Week 3.

The huge win for the week was fasting blood sugars of 130 or less in the second half of Week 2, so I’m hoping that means my gut is healing. I’m hoping to continue to see blood sugar level improvement for the morning readings.

I am so pleased with these results. I’m eating well and enjoying my food. I am not stressed by the diet, and I’m seeing results. What more could a girl ask for?!

That wraps up my second week on the Autoimmune Protocol 30 Day Elimination Diet! Check out Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

For a review of Week 1, click here.

Do I have any diabetic readers out there who’d care to share what your typical fasting blood sugar levels look like? What strategies have you tried to maintain control of these levels? Is this the most difficult reading of the day to manage?

For my non-diabetic readers, what you working to change in your diet to make your diet move in the healthier direction? More veggies? Cleaner ingredients? Grass-fed meat? What successes have you had lately?? Any suggestions for meats/veggies I should try?


AIP Meals for a week


Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups

Welcome to Flawed yet Function! I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my blood sugar through a Paleo diet and a healthy lifestyle. I love to cook, which is a good since Paleo requires a lot of cooking! I share my own Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) recipes on the blog, but you can find so many more ideas on my Pinterest boards. Follow me there to see what I might be cooking next! 

As a kid, I hated peanut butter. Absolutely hated it. So much so, my mom actually allowed me to forgo it whenever we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is saying something, my mom was an eat-what’s-put-in-front-of-you kind of mom (as I am…weird…). I did not like the texture:  so sticky! The feeling of my tongue getting stuck to the roof of my mouth, not being able to get it off my teeth. Ugh! I did not like the flavor either: nuts were not my thing.

And then, I grew up. Ha. I learned to love peanut butter after I graduated from college. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch was like dessert for the main course. Yum!

Funny story: my husband lived on PB&J while he saved for my engagement ring, so needless to say he wasn’t fond of this sandwich when we got married. I fell in love with this kid-friendly favorite right when he couldn’t stand it. I learned quickly as a new wife to not send PB&J in his lunch. Ha!

Pre-diabetes diagnosis, my kids and I would eat peanut butter and jelly on the regular for lunch. I thought I was giving my kids a healthy meal of whole grains from our homemade bread and protein from the peanut butter. I knew the jelly wasn’t healthy, but I figured that it was a small enough amount to not be TOO harmful. Right?

Fast-forward through the type 1 diabetes diagnosis, elimination of gluten, introduction of many veggies, and our lunches turn out to be primarily leftovers from dinner. Really, this isn’t a problem. My kids eat leftovers just fine. But every now and then, I want to give them a treat. I want them to know the sticky, sweet goodness of peanut butter and jelly.

In order to indulge in this treat, I had to make several adjustments:

  1. Almond butter instead of peanut butter (peanuts are inflammatory)
  2. Homemade jelly instead of store bought (cut down on unknown ingredients)
  3. A Paleo, grain-free, dairy-free wrap to hold the goodness together.

Almond butter is now a staple in our home. I buy ours from Costco. I make strawberry freezer jam every June from strawberries we pick down the road. The wraps were the only tricky part. I found this recipe for soft tortilla shells, and after we ate them with chicken tacos, I thought they could be so much more versatile than just a tortilla. The flavor is mostly egg and quite mild egg flavor at that. I adjusted the ratios to make the wrap a little thicker to hold up to the almond butter and jelly, see my version below.

With a few leftover wraps from chicken tacos the night before, I decided to give them a whirl as a holder for almond butter and jelly. It looked like it might be a sticky mess so I rolled it up.

kid-friendly lunch paleo pb&j

As with all new foods, presentation is everything. I enthusiastically presented them to my kids as Almond Butter & Jelly Roll-ups, and they were a hit! They loved picking up the roll and taking bits from the end or cutting it up into bite-size rolls.

paleo kid lunch

I serve our lunches with fresh fruit and veggies to add nutrition to an otherwise fairly nutrition-less main course. Again, this is not a staple in our house anymore, just a treat which the kids and I love (Hubby is still on the fence!).

Note: When starting from a fresh batch of wraps, I let them sit on a plate or cutting board to cool a bit until just warm before topping with almond butter and jelly. If the wrap is too warm, the almond butter and jelly melts. The wrap is still pliable when cold, but a touch warm is much easier to roll.

Any one else used to hate peanut butter (or any nut butter!) as a kid? Am I alone in this aversion? So funny that now I can’t get enough of it. I love any type of nut butter. Yum!

Paleo Wrap

Grain-free, dairy-free, and kid-friendly wrap good for many uses: tortilla shell, wrap for sandwiches, or low-carb pancakes!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 104 kcal
Author Emily Stauch


  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Whisk eggs in large mixing bowl.

  2. Add coconut flour, almond milk, and salt. Whisk to completely mix. Batter will be thin.

  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

  4. When pan is hot, pour ~1/4 cup amounts of batter to middle of the skillet. Use the back of the measuring cup to spread batter out into thin circle.

  5. Cook until light brown on one side, flip and cook on other side. Total cook time is short, less than 1 minute.

Recipe Notes

*Cook one at a time to avoid wraps running into each other.

*Store in airtight container in fridge.

kid friendly pb&j


Autoimmune Protocol – Week 1 Review

I’ve made it through the first week of the Autoimmune Protocol elimination diet! I must say this round of AIP has been much easier than when I attempted in in October.

The difference this time is I’ve found many more resoures for tasty AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) recipes. I know this might sound snobbish, but I just can’t tolerate bland food. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and it is deflating for me to put so much time and effort into a meal only to have it tatse boring and lackluster.

I have shared all the meals I made this week along with the stand-outs below. Some recipes I tried were absolutely fantastic. I will be making them again soon! Here are a couple blogs that have helped me get through this week with ease.

In this review each week, I will review the food I ate, how my blood sugar fared, how I felt this past week, and my goals for the next week. With that being said, let’s dive into the food. It’s all about the food, isn’t it?


Breakfast was the meal I was least confident in my ability to provide nutritious, delicious meals that my whole family would enjoy. My main concern? Not eating eggs. Eggs are out for the 30 day elimination period of the autoimmune protocol. My youngest still shouts out every morning as he comes down the stairs, “Mommy, are you making EGGS?!?” Emphasis is real, he loves his eggs. He is surviving without his eggs though, as are the rest of us.

To be honest, I am not just surviving. I’m thriving. I know that’s cliche to say, but it’s true. These breakfasts fill me up, give me energy to hop up from the table and attack my day, and keep me full until lunch. There’s no mid-morning crash, no cravings around 11am, and no bloat. I am fueled, energized, and ready for the day after eating this diet.

I listed out the recipes below the picture on the day I made them (If you’d like more ideas, check out my AIP board on Pinterest). You will see I planned for leftovers, and I believe this is necessary for success in this diet. The time in the kitchen is quite a bit more than the typical American is used to. In order to maximize that time and minimize the time in the kitchen other days, plan and use leftovers.

BreakfastAIP Breakfasts

Day 1 – Chicken, Apple, Bacon, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet

Day 2 – Breakfast Hash Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cilantro – I took liberties with this one. I cubed the squash instead of shredding it, and I added cubed ham at the end, just putting it in the pan long enough to warm it up.

Day 3 – Leftover Butternut Squash, Cilantro, and Ham Hash with fresh pears

Day 4 – Skillet Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, and Bacon

Day 5 – Leftover Roasted Broccoli, Leftover Hash (I mixed the sweet potatoes from Day 4 with the remaining leftovers from Day 2…delicious!), and Bacon

Day 6 – Skillet Sweet Potatoes and Kale (My own recipe. When I’ve perfected it, I’ll share.), Avocado, and Sausage


AIP Week 2 Lunches

Day 1 – Leftover Braised Pork with Carrots and Egg Roll in a Bowl

Day 2 – Leftover Sampler: Egg Roll in a Bowl, Braised Pork, and Veggies Nuggets with Guacamole

Day 3 – Leftover Sampler: Egg Roll in a Bowl and Veggies Nuggets

Day 4 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup and Peach, Pineapple, Banana Smoothie

Day 5 – Leftover Italian Wedding Soup and Fresh Pears

Day 6 – Leftover Shepherd’s Pie and Tapioca Pudding


Autoimmune Protocol Dinners

Day 1 – Chicken Burgers with Guacamole and Veggie Nuggets

Day 2 – Faux Chicken Pho

Day 3 – Italian Wedding Soup and Pears

Day 4 – Roasted Chicken with Pears and Rosemary, Baked Sweet Potato, and Cucumbers

Day 5 – AIP Shepherd’s Pie

Day 6 – Hamburgers with Guacamole and Caramelized Onions, Carrot Fries, and Frozen Berries

As you can see, I ate well! Both my husband and I were more satisfied after each meal than we were the first time we tried the elimination diet. I don’t know the exact reason for this possibly more fat or just flavors we enjoy. From further reading, I know we were lacking fish and organ meat in our diet. I will try to include that next week. The organ meat will be a first for me!

Top Recipes of the Week
  1. Roasted Chicken with Pears and Rosemary – absolutely delicious! I will make this again even when finished with the elimination diet.
  2. Tapioca Pudding – This was a winner for me, but I love pudding and pudding texture more than my family. It did raise my blood sugar quite a bit too, so I won’t be having it often!
  3. Chicken, Apple, Bacon, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet – I made this with ground turkey because I couldn’t find ground chicken, but it was still so flavorful and filling! I’ll be making it again!

Blood Sugar

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen my blood glucose readings every day. They have been really good for a type 1 diabetic, especially one not using insulin! My blood sugar is definitely lower overall and far less volatile.

Being the numbers nerd that I am (I was an actuarial analyst in my past life!), I wanted to put a graph to the numbers.

Blood Glucose Chart

The squiggly lines show the fluctuation of my blood glucose readings throughout the day. The red line is the week before I started the AIP diet, i.e. the Control Week (although I had already cut out coffee and alcohol during this week). The blue squiggly line is my blood glucose readings after I started the AIP diet. Notice that the red line has higher peaks. The blue line doesn’t go above 150 (that’s a major win!).

Now data with that much variation is hard to draw conclusions from, so I drew a trend line (exponential, for those interested, I don’t expect you do be!) so I could see the general direction of the data.

The light red, straight line is the trend line for the control week, and the light blue, straight line is the trend line for AIP Week 1. The blue line is lower overall from the red line, and it is headed down whereas the light red line is trending up.

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol diet is not only lowering my average blood sugar level, it is causing each reading to be going lower and lower (towards normal = 100) over time.

Major win. I’m excited to see what the following weeks have in store!

How I Feel

If any of you out there are skeptical of the impact that changing your diet could have on your long-term health, daily productivity, and general feeling of well being in your body, you are not alone. I was there once too. I was a total skeptic of the role of gluten in our bodies (the negative role, mind you, in everyone’s body.) For example, I thought it was totally ridiculous that my church started only serving Cherrios as snack in the children’s classes to eliminate allergens from the classroom (And now, one year later, I don’t even want my kids to eat Cherrios at all!).

What I thought was true has been totally turned on its head. Diet is infinitely important, and you can heal your body through food!

Beyond the role of food, I was also skeptical that I would feel different when eating a Paleo/AIP diet.

Wrong again, folks.

I thought I had plenty of energy to complete my day, but now, I have endless energy. I don’t have a problem completing household chores in the afternoon or evening. Prior to my first elimination diet, if I didn’t get my cleaning, laundry, projects done before noon, they weren’t getting done at all. I just didn’t have the energy or desire to keep working after lunch.

All that has changed. I have energy to clean the bathrooms during nap time. I have energy to prep vegetables for breakfast the next day after the kids go to bed. I have so. much. energy. My desire to keep going throughout the day has changed too. While I don’t always jump for joy to wash the dishes, I can talk myself into it easily. I have the energy, it really is quick, why not?

So how did I feel during Week 1?

I felt great, but I did get sick days 4 and 5. I had a sore throat, and actually, it was the shortest-lived sore throat I’ve ever had: 36 hours! That might be a testament to how healthy and strong my body is! Just a guess…

I’ve had energy to not only cook more fresh meals with more vegetables, but I’ve kept up on my other responsibilities. If this had happened a year ago, the laundry would be undone, house filthy, and I might have skipped commitments to try to catch-up.

It’s been a great week!

Goals for Week 2

For Week 2, I plan to eat some fish and organ meat. I have learned to like fish as an adult, but I have never bought, prepared, or eaten organ meat. This will be a learning experience for me!

Otherwise, Week 2 is planned to be much of the same as Week 1. I hope not to get sick this week so that my sleep schedule stays on track, but really, I only slept in on Day 5. I was still on routine the rest of the days.

That wraps up my first week on the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet! Check out Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

Anyone else doing hard things out there? Is your interest piqued to heal your body with food? Do you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover? Comment below or send me a note!

Autoimmune Protocol Review of Week 1


Daily Paleo Menu #3

For more Paleo meal ideas, follow me on Pinterest! Check out my Paleo | XXXX boards for the inspiration I’ve gathered. My Tried & True | Paleo | XXXX boards are the recipes I’ve made and loved. Happy hunting!

Example: Paleo | Meal Ideas are all the main course recipes I’d like to try, and Tried & True | Paleo | Entrees are main courses I’ve made and loved.

Breakfast – Mexican Breakfast Casserole

I’m becoming a fan of breakfast casseroles. They allow me to make a hearty breakfast with lots of veggies and enough to serve my family two meals! This breakfast is inspired by Paleo Running Momma’s Mexican Breakfast Casserole, but I really changed things up.

I miscounted how many pounds of breakfast sausage I would need this week, so I didn’t have any left to make this dish, so I used ground beef. I made the ground beef as if I were making tacos: brown the beef then add seasoning and tomato sauce.

I layered my dish with sweet potato rounds, sliced onions, and bell peppers and roasted all of those together in the bottom of the dish before adding the beef, tomatoes, and eggs.

In my egg mixture, I added salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder. I did this because I was in too much of a hurry to look up the actual recipe! This method turned out delicious (my boys each had 3 helpings!), but I do plan to make it again closer to the original recipe and see how it turns out!

Beef Sweet Potato Egg Casserole

Lunch – Cauliflower Pizza and Broccoli

Pizza was one of our specialties pre-Paleo diet. We had a killer deep dish pizza down-pat, and we were perfecting our thin crust when the diabetes hit.

I have tried a couple Paleo pizza crusts, but most of them use arrowroot powder which is really high in carbs. In the effort to not overload my pancreas (and thereby over-taxing and possibly killing it more) and yet still have pizza, I decided to give a cauliflower crust a try.

I followed this recipe by

Overall, it was good. The crust is loaded with seasoning and does not taste like cauliflower at all. The texture was a bit soft and spongy. I might not have squeezed enough of the water out of the cauliflower. We’ll have it again, and I’ll try to get the crust more crusty.

I made my own pizza sauce from a recipe from my mom then topped the pizza with crumbled bacon, sliced pepperoni, and chopped onions. I try to have 2 vegetables with every meal so I added steamed broccoli on the side. My other veggie was the cauliflower. Does that count?

Easy Pizza Sauce

Quick and easy, homemade pizza sauce. Just a few ingredients and you'll have a tasty sauce with no unknown ingredients or additives!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Author Emily Stauch


  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano


  1. Combine tomato sauce and spices in small sauce pan. Cook over low heat until sauce reaches desired consistency. The cook time will be depend on how runny the tomato sauce is and how thick you want the sauce to be. I typically cook it for 30-60 minutes.

  2. When sauce reaches desired thickness, remove from heat and spread on prepared pizza dough.

  3. Store in refrigerator for a week or freeze for up to 1 year.

Recipe Notes

Makes enough for 3 medium sized pizzas, about 8" in diameter.

Dinner – Paleo Mexican Picadillo

My all-time favorite cookbook is The Best Mexican Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen. Much to my heart’s sadness, most of the recipes are not Paleo-friendly. One of the dishes I’ve been able to adapt most easily is the Mexican Picadillo. My version of the recipe, complete with cauliflower rice is below.

This dish is hearty yet won’t leave you with a rock in your stomach! It’s chock full of good vegetables so while tasting like a comfort food, it’s good for you!

Paleo Mexican Picadillo

Ground beef and chopped vegetables in a hearty Mexican-flavored sauce served over cauliflower rice. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Paleo
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Emily Stauch



  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 bell pepper stemmed, seeded, quartered
  • 6 oz white sweet potatoes peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 carrots washed thoroughly, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 24 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 jalapano stemmed, seeded, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 heads cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup water


Make the Picadillo.

  1. Chop onion and bell pepper in a blender at low speed until roughly chopped. Put in a bowl and set aside.

  2. Chop potatoes and carrots in blender at low speed until roughly chopped. Put in a bowl and set aside.

  3. Blend tomatoes and jalapeno in blender until smooth. Pour into bowl and set aside.

  4. Heat olive oil in large skillet until hot. Add the onion/bell pepper mixture and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Stir in chili powder and garlic until fragrant then add ground beef. Cook ground beef until all brown and cooked through.

  5. Add potato/carrot mixture and tomato/jalapano mixture to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, on low but simmering until potatoes and carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.

  6. Stir in cilantro. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve over cauliflower rice with sliced avocado.

Make Cauliflower Rice

  1. Clean the blender pitcher. Chop the cauliflower florets on low speed in small batches until chopped into rice-sized pieces. Put in bowl. Repeat until all cauliflower is riced.

  2. Heat oil in large skillet or dutch oven until shimmering. Add onion and cook until starting to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

  3. Add cauliflower to skillet along with salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Add water then cover and cook for 8-12 minutes, Stir every 2-3 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

  4. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately topped with picadillo. 

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftovers in the fridge in airtight container.
  • Reheat in the microwave for a quick lunch.
  • Recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen Mexican-Style Picadillo. Adjustments were made to make this recipe Paleo-friendly.

Although these are not typical Mexican and pizza dishes, they are truly delicious! You and your family will enjoy them even if they are not like the real thing. I find myself being more easily satisfied with my food knowing that I am nourishing my body, not just satisfying a craving.

What have you tried that is atypical to the American diet?? Any great recipe hacks to share?

Paleo Pizza


Paleo Hot Chocolate

Here’s a Paleo and kid-friendly treat for you and your family! My kids love to play out in the snow in the wintertime, and they equally love to get a cup of hot cocoa when they come back in! Dairy-free hot chocolate is hard to find in a pre-made mix, but it is super easy to whip up on the stove.

For more Paleo recipe ideas, follow me on Pinterest!

This is one area I have a little bit of guilt over in regards to this Paleo lifestyle: my kids missing out.

I know the health facts. I know I am setting them up for the healthiest, longest, disease-free life with this diet and lifestyle. And yet, it is still hard to tell them no.

No, you can’t have animal crackers at Bible study.

No, you can’t have half of your Halloween candy.

No, you can’t have those florescent cupcakes and pizza at the birthday party.


It is just hard to say no even when I know it’s the right thing to do. I KNOW those things aren’t good for them (even the gluten, grain, and dairy-free Halloween candy isn’t good for them!), but it tastes good. I know it does. They know it does.

They are really so good and understanding of why we eat the way we eat, but it is still hard for this momma at times.

So…today…I want to share with you my version of hot chocolate. I make this Paleo-friendly version so my kids can experience that sweet chocolate-y warm goodness when they come in from playing in the snow.

Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

It’s still has sugar in it, so this isn’t a healthy recipe by any means, but it’s a treat that I like to indulge my kids with so they have part of a normal childhood.

It is still rich and chocolate-y, just like regular hot chocolate.

easy paleo hot chocolate

Depending on your choice of sugar and milk, the flavor will be slightly different, but this recipe is very flexible. Use the milk and sugar of your choice, just keep the ratios the same. I use almond milk which give a nice nutty depth of flavor. I haven’t tried with coconut milk, but I’m sure that would be great too!

Stove top hot chocolate

Paleo Hot Chocolate

Kid-friendly, dairy-free hot chocolate for the whole family to enjoy!

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 1
Author Emily Stauch


  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small sauce pan. Pour in 1/4 cup of almond milk and whisk until mostly smooth and dissolved.

  2. Turn heat on medium-low and whisk continuously until sugar is completely dissolved, about 30 seconds.

  3. Pour in the remaining almond milk and whisk until combined. Heat until desired temperature.

  4. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Use any milk or milk-alternative
  • Use any sugar

Paleo mommas, what do think your kids “need” to indulge in? Where do you make allowances in their diet? Sugar? Dairy? How often do you allow treats? For reference, I think I make this once a week in the winter.

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate