Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tender slow cooker pigs tongue

Now and then, my children will request this somewhat usual dish for dinner. I find pig's tongue less gamey then cow's tongue and easier to handle. If the meat is cut up and no one mentions it is what it is, I believe more people will be in love with this dish. The texture of the meat is very tender and this slow cooking method make it an easy plan ahead flavorful main dish favored in our household.

Tender slow cooker pigs tongue

remove to tough layer on skin with a spoon


  • 6 pigs tongue
  • 2 c bone broth 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 2 stocks of garlic greens chopped
  • 2 stocks of celery
  • 1 small orange sliced
  • 1 branch of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 branch of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp pink sea salt 
  • 3 tbsp ACV
  • Coconut aminos optional
  • Fish sauce optional 
  1. Rinse pig's tongue and pat dry. 
  2. Add all ingredients in slow cooker, set at low and cook for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove tough layer of skin off tongue with a spoon. Discard. 
  4. Cut and serve with vegetable side dish.

You can simmer down the liquid into a sauce or thicken with tapioca starch
Nutrient dense offal

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Turmeric coconut milk chicken stew

A couple of days ago, I picked up some organic turmeric powder at my herbal dispensary Gaia Gardens, more for anti-inflammatory purposes. I asked the sale clerk how is it different from the ones from the grocery store, she said "it's organic!" and let me smell the jar of spice. The aroma was intense and spoke for itself. I bought a small amount, enough to fill an old store bought spice bottle. A coconut milk turmeric stew came in mind for dinner so I gather my ingredients and put my food obsessed mind to work. I was happy with the finished meal but my family repeatedly complimented me for it. My husband said "This was the best meal you have made in a while." I don't blame him, since I am always tweaking my diet and the recent FODMAP watch list has really limited ingredients I can use to make the same flavorful meals I used to cook. Well, I am glad I have transitioned well into the AIP and low FODMAP way of cooking.

Tumeric Coconut Milk Chicken stew

  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 3 stock Green onions, chopped ( option: you can use onions or garlic if you are not watching for FODMAPS)
  • 1 stock celery, chopped  
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into round 
  • 6 white mushrooms, quartered 
  • 2" peeled ginger root, smashed and thickly sliced
  • Sea salt to taste 
  • 3 tbsp EVOO 
  • 2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/2 can coconut cream  ( I uses the SAVOY brand)
  • Optional you can add hot peppers in the slow bake time if you aren't on AIP and love some heat 
  1. Rinses and dry chicken, add vegetables 
  2. Toss to coat with salt, pepper, turmeric and EVOO. 
  3. Baked in preheat oven 425F 30 mins. 
  4. Flip chicken half way of cooking time 
  5. Drop oven temperature to 325F, transfer chicken, vegetables and juice from cooking to Dutch oven, Stir in coconut milk and bake covered for 1 1/2 hrs. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Heal me through my feet

I have been really flat footed since I remember how to walk. My mother often wonder why because neither her nor dad had fallen arches. As a child, I wore arch support, they were made of metal and I remember ones I broke them, they just snapped in two. I was also a chubby and not active child. The biggest reason was I seem to always be twisting my ankles. I thought that had something to do with my flat feet. It wasn't until I was an adult and started seeing a chiropractor that I found out I had very mobile joints  "hyper laxity" is the technical term. I always knew that I was pretty flexible but didn't release that my hyper mobility was also the reason why I get hurt so easily. My muscles needed to be extra strong to support these mobile joints. Better late than never, I began to slowly focus on strengthening my muscle through yoga and other toning exercises. I still wear orthortics

I caught up with an old friend who is now running her fitness studio in Toronto called Movement Revolution Restorative Exercise Studio and she encouraged me to try creating those long lost arches I once had through .  How does this all relate to healing the gut you ask?  I believe that proper body alignment can help the organs function better. I am not expecting overnight miracles but since the last year was the beginning on transforming my body with lifestyle change, why not look into the structure of my body. Along with the focus on the feet, I recently discovered the concept of earthing or grounding to help with decreasing inflammation in the body. It seem to be an airy fairy concept, but it really resonate with me so I am going to give a try. I have been trying to walk around on the grass with my bare feet and the day this photo was taken, my kids buried my feet in the sand for close to an hour and I really felt the difference in my energy after. I just wished I had learn about this during the heat of the summer. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Law Bak Go (daikon steamed savory cake)

Fall is a time when I miss my Chinese comfort food most. My latest adaptation is Law Bak Go. My mother used to make countless batches around Chinese New Years to give away. She would buy pounds and pounds of daikon ( she insisted the long and skinny Japanese daikon is better ) then grate, chop and steam in her annual all day and night cooking affair. I remember falling asleep smelling the sautéing of meats and dried seafood then waking up smelling the steaming of daikon. It wasn't pleasant to sleep surrounded by the strong smell of food cooking, but eating her painstaking creations was worth it.

Now that I am on AIP low FODMAP, my focus is naturally to recreate my childhood meals compliant to my new eating direction. The traditional recipe calls for Chinese preserved meats and chicken bouillon cubes. Both of these have unknown ingredients and definitely MSG. I substitute these with compliant nitrates free bacon and used homemake bone broth to replace the water and bouillon cubes. I also used tapioca starch instead of the wheat starch. The result is more chewing then the traditional recipe but I am happy with the taste. You can also play around with the daikon vs. starch ratio to get the consistency you like best. I was out of a few ingredients when I make this but dried shrimps, presoaked like the dried scallop and some thinly sliced presoaked Chinese mushrooms will add more flavor to this dish. This make a great hearty snack or even breakfast.

Law Bak Go (daikon steamed savory cake)

Pan fried and ready to get in my belly

  • 1 grated daikon ( about 1 lb)
  • 1c tapioca starch mix with 1c cold bone broth  
  • 3 tbsp Dried scallop presoaked and drained 
  • 3 thick slices nitrates free bacon, chopper 
  • Chopped green onion 
  • I tsp salt 

Optional: chopped cilantro for garnish 


  1. Sautéed chopped bacon in hot pan for 3 mins, add dried presoaked scallop and green onions, cook for another 5 mins
  2. Add shredded daikon, cook for 5 mins 
  3. Mix in starch paste - tapioca starch and bone broth, add to pan and lower heat to low cook 20 mins
  4. The mixture will become really thick
  5. Put mixture in oiled pan and steam for 1/2 hr until cooked 
  6. Cool in frig 
  7. Cut into slices and pan fry to gold brown goodness.

You can garnish it with chopped cilantro and green onions.

clockwise left to right
grated daikon
 soaked dried scallop
chopped green onions
tapioca starch mixed with bone broth

cooking "dry" ingredients
After steam cooked 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My commitment to AIP + low FODMAP learning plan

I have explored several healing diets since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in June 2013. Here is my post about my one year anniversary of diagnosis.
In August (2013), I started with giving up grains, then going Paleo, completed a Whole30, then recently focusing on AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) based on Dr. Sarah Ballantyne's The Paleo Approach. My commitment to AIP was a quiet one but I remember it was sometime in August (2014) that I decided to stop going one step forward and two steps back with my diet plan. The last few weeks I added the FODMAP watch list because it felt like the right thing to do. I was listening to my gut. I call it a watch list because there seems to be a lot of foods on the list in the grey areas, I want to go through the list and record the effects each has on my system. And these restrictions don't necessary have to be forever. For example, Watermelon is a big no no, apples only gives my burpy gas. Onions and garlic are HIGH on the FODMAP list. I have had issues with onions for 20 yrs, then when I went Paleo, I was much better with them. I am still eliminating them for now and once I have calmed my gut more, I will slowly test the high offenders out.

I began to see improvements since going AIP. By accepting the challenge to add a FODMAP watch list to my AIP menu, I noticed another jump in my progress. The FODMAP decision felt hard to make, although I felt the same reluctance with every step of fine tuning my diet, I had to remind myself how overwhelmed I was about the SCD diet. I tried the intro a couple times but eventually gave it up. It is all part of the process of finding what works for yourself instead of strictly following a system. I have learned that it is important to understand why certain systems are set up the way there are and apply the concept to my own tailored menu.

I am adding a few pointers from the  " It Starts with Food" book in Chapter 12 about IBS and IBD

1. Increase water intake away from food

2. Cut down unpeelable fruits like berries

3. Cut down on raw vegetables, peel and cut vegetable into smaller pieces before cooking

The following article really helped calm my racing brain when I was trying to wrap my head around adding the FODMAP watch list to AIP.

What is AIP ( Paleo Autoimmune Protocol)? 

What is the FODMAP Diet?

Update: It has been 6 months since I first decided to commit to AIP and low FODMAP, I am doing really well to the point that I am excited to go on a solo weekend getaway with little trepidation.

I have also discovered more and more resources about AIP low FODMAP lifestyle like the 28 days Low FODMAP AIP book by Christina Feindel at A Clean Plate 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mau Gua with minced meat

The weather is getting cooler and I'm feeling some Asian comfort food is needed. I recently went out for a family Chinese dinner at a restaurant, being on AIP, the only thing I could eat was the winter melon soup. Even that was questionable whether they added MSG in it. But I enjoyed it and didn't suffer after the meal. A winter melon soup takes a lot of preparation because the soup is basically steamed in the whole melon with meats and seafood. I decided on an easier to accomplish home version that will give me similar taste and texture. I took another favoured and smaller Chinese squash called "Mau Gua" which translates to hairy squash, poached it and topped it with sautéed ground meats. The combination of cleanly (no oil) cooked veggies paired with well seasoned meats make a satisfying and easy to digest AIP meals.

Mau Gua with minced meat

Serves 4                      Prep time 30 mins                  Cook time 20 mins

  • 1 small to medium size Mau Gua, scrap off the tiny hairs with a serrated knife and cut into 1 - 11/2" sections 
  • 1"-2" ginger
  • 1lb ground meats of your choice ( I used meatloaf mix - veal, pork and beef )
  • sea salt to taste ( I use himalayan pink sea salt ) 
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp EVOO or bacon fat
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of green onions 

  1. Season ground meat with sea salt and coconut aminos and let marinade for 30 mins
  2. Clean and cut Mau Gua into sections
  3. Cook in med heat with 1-2 c water and 1" of smashed ginger in a pan until soft, 5-10 mins. The squash will turn to a lighter green when it is cooked. 
  4. In another pan, add oil and sautéed onions until translucent
  5. Add seasoned ground meats and cook until liquid isn't pink anymore. 
  6. Toss in chopped green onions, stir but leave uncovered, turn heat off. 
  7. Carefully plate cooked Mau Gua into a serving dish
  8. Spoon meat on top of each section and garnish with thinly slice ginger. 
  9. Pour the squash broth in the bottom of the dish and serve. 

You may want to season the squash broth with pink salts but I find the meats added enough flavour to the broth. 

use a serrated knife to scrap the outer layer on hair and skin off the squash 
Cut into sections