Wednesday, February 25, 2015

He won't know it's Paleo book review - Asian Lettuce Wrap

>This blog post contains affiliate links. Click here to learn more what it means. 

I received my copy of the He won't know it's Paleo 153 pages cookbook the week before my first AIP Chinese New Year's feast.  I let my husband, who also loves to cook and eat, thumb through the book and he was surprised said, "You can eat all these?"

I learned about Breanna's blog right when I was first introduced to the Paleo lifestyle, I loved the name she chose and the concept behind it. As I continue my personal search for a healing diet to manage my Ulcerative Colitis, I experienced a very similar path as Breanna even thought our Autoimmunities are different. 
Being a busy family, easy and quick compliant meals are very important to keep everyone happy and healthy. Breanna offers many 30 mins meal in this book which will definitely make this AIP mom smiling from kitchen to table. 

A taster on Belgium endives

Besides my excitement about diving into this book, I also had to think about what to cook for a family gathering just a week away.  This year was my first AIP Chinese New Year feast at the house.  I have made a few turkey AIP dinners but the Chinese theme made me a little nervous.  Asian AIP recipes seem a bit harder to come by so I had to modify traditional recipes to make them AIP friendly. I decided to roast two ( stuffed ) ducks, bake a basa wrapped in banana leaf and what a perfect opportunity to try out a recipe from the He won't know its Paleo cookbook. When I opened Breanna's book, the recipe that caught  my eye was the Asian Lettuce Wrap on Page 94. I kept that thought in the back of my mind and continue to focus on planning out the rest of the menu. Perhaps I had faith in Breanna or I was just a bit overwhelmed about roasting the ducks, I only quickly glanced at her recipe to make sure I have all the ingredients without too much pondering. 

The day of the feast came and I had my day scheduled out. When it came time to making the Asian Lettuce Wrap, I had to look twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. Really? That simple? What a smart girl she is! Of course this is one of her many 30 mins meal's recipes and I was gratefully that it was indeed that simple. The dish was tasty and easy to prepare. I even easily modified it to low FODMAP by replacing the closed garlic with garlic scapes ( greens ). Honestly, I found separating each leaf from the head of lettuce more of a chore then cooking the dish. 

A note about Chinese New Years good luck dishes. Lettuce Wrap is often served in Chinese banquet dinners and New Years because the lettuce symbolizes money and wealth. 

My family came, ate and were merry. I love their reaction when they see the AIP meals I prepare and enjoy them along side me. Being the youngest in my generation, it is an honour to cook for the elders in the family. 

As I flip through the last pages of my new cookbook, all I wish for was a He won't know it's Paleo restaurant where I can pick and choose from the many all American comfort dishes without worrying how I will feel afterwards. Here is an affiliate link if you want to get your own copy of this great cookbook.

Thank you Breanna and your family for creating this lovely guide to happiness through AIP meals.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Art of Fermentation Workshop with Sandor Katz

My morning toast to the water view before the big day

>This blog post contains affiliate links. Click here to learn more what it means. 

On February 8,  I had the privilege to attend a workshop The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz at the Pacific Rim College in Victoria BC.

Sandor is known for his passion and knowledge about fermentation, he has written books like The Art of Fermentation and The Wild Fermentation and is well respected in the fermenter communities all around the world. I highly recommend anyone interested in fermenting to acquire these books as great resource materials.

Traveling to attend this workshop was also a turning point for me. I haven't travel alone since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis a little over a year ago. The thought of venturing out of my comfort zone was daunting but when this opportunity came up, I knew this was my chance to take the next step on my healing journey.

What is Fermentation?

Sandor starts the workshop with the definition.

Fermentation = microbial transformation 

He covered many topics from his books along with demos and Q and A throughout the 9-5 workshop.

Demo time
In my 8 pages of notes,  I would like to share a couple of topics I am glad to have gotten clarification and affirmation from:

1. Anaerobic ( without oxygen like sauerkraut being submerged under water  )  vs. aerobic ( with oxygen like kombucha being kept in a breathable cover ) ferments

2. The Purpose of fermentation
  • Preservation of in Season foods
  • Pre-digestion for easier absorption
  • Detoxification by improving and balancing gut flora health

What I got out of the event?

As a facilitator, Sandor is a down to earth and knowledgable speaker. He warmingly shares his stories around ferments through his extensive travels. I appreciate how he gracefully addressed questions without dismissing any that are more specific to nutritional needs and outside of his area of knowledge.

The Art of Fermentation workshop gave me the opportunity to be in good company of like minded fermenters. The event has affirmed my love for fermentation and interest in the human microbiome. I am glad I took the online course Gut Check: Exploring the human microbiome from Coursera a few months back where I got an introduction of the Scientific background on the topic. The "Expansive possibilities" of ferments fascinate me so much that I wish to continue learning about this world of microbial community.

Specifically,  this workshop has inspired me to explore wild fermentation more. I have since started my first batch of Beet Kvass and cucumber, radish, garlic greens ferment and patiently waiting. I also want to experiment wild fermenting fresh fruit in water to see how it does. As Sandor says, " everything ( food ) is fermentable and I will continue to explore.

Left: Brine method ferment - cucumbers, radishes, dill and garlic
Right: 2nd pressing Beet Kvass

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stretching the 24 hours clock on AIP

Everyone has the same number of hours in the day but some people seem to be able to accomplish more, why is that?

Being an AIP mom ( which entails extra cooking and food preparation time ), I often get into the topic of how I balance my time amongst, family, business, blogging, my health... and the list continues. By no means am I implying that I have it all figured out and am always on tops of things, I am merely sharing some of the techniques I found helpful for me to find my style of time management. I still get frazzled at times, but I don't get wrapped up and let it carry me away to the land of out of control stress anymore. In the past, stress has triggered my Ulcerative Colitis to flare up no matter how diligent I am with my diet. Now, I am better at addressing this important component to my healing health.

Time management is usually thought of to increase productivity, for someone with a chronic condition, it is essential to maintain a low stress level for health's sick.

Here is my strategy.
  • Finding your most productive time. I find that I am more productive in the early mornings so I get up a couple hours before the rest of the family awakes to get some me time to practice yoga.
  • Start with structure as my guideline. I use several methods to keep track of things; a calendar,  make lists both pen to paper and on my phone.
  • Get them done and cross them off. Once I have the task established, I try to complete them one by one and get them off my mind, it is a sense of accomplishment I enjoy feeling. 
  • Be flexible. When unexpected things come up, I have learned be open and go with the flow. 
  • Prioritizing. Sometime I want to do what I like first and leave the other ones for later, prioritizing keeps the more pressing tasks and projects that require more time higher up on the list. 
  • Regroup and reset. Anytime I start to get overwhelmed, I have learned to stop and reassess my workload and health status. I have learned it's ok to say "no" to previous commitments sometimes. Asking for help and learning to delegate is not a defeat or sign of weakness. It is a sign of intelligence.
  • FOOD - find easy to prepare recipes like this  and batch cook ahead of time. My children seem to be always hungry so having ready to eat AIP/ Paleo food in the house is very important. 
  • Practice makes habits. Once I keep using my techniques over and over, I can into the groove and things just flow easier even when I am busy. 


  • Personal Kanban " kanban is a tool to visualize, organize, and complete work. - See more at: on fridge, this is a great tool especially for visual learners, I also make graphic versions for my kids
  • Set reminder alarms on my phone, I make good use of both the 1st and 2nd alert the calendar app on my phone
  • Stay calm and take deep breathes, it seems so simple yet so powerful. You can do it anywhere. 
  • Practice yoga daily, this is a really important one, I certainly feel the difference if I miss my practice a couple of days. It is high on my priority list and I have to make time for it. 
  • Get enough sleep, it is not worth it trade rest time for work time, 30 mins later a few nights in a roll will catch up on me. 
  • Believe that when things are crazy that it's only the ebb and flow of life, it will level out and balance 
  • Trust you inner self to that you will bring things in order 
hope these ideas will help you add to your time and stress management system so you can maintain better health. What technique do you personally use that is effective? I would like to hear what works for you too. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Busy Family One Pan Chicken Legs

It was a busy school afternoon. The day just ran right past me with errands and I haven't prepped dinner. I had chicken legs in the fridge but it was already 4pm and we still have a few activities to go to before dinner. I am finally more comfortable with setting the oven delay and auto shut off now so I prepped and made this meal for dinner. 

>This blog post contains affiliate links. Click here to learn more what it means. 

Busy Family One Pan Chicken Legs

Serves 4     Prep time 15mins + optional marinade time   Cook time 1 hr 20 mins

  • 3 lbs Chicken Legs
For marinade
  • 3 stalks garlic greens, chopped
  • 1 c coconut milk kefir
  • 1 tsp organic turmeric like (this one
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
  1. In a large oven glass pan, mix marinade ingredients well
  2. Add chicken legs and stir to coat with marinade
  3. Cover and let sit for 30mins or longer if you have the time
  4. Preheat oven to 475 F
  5. Bake at the high heat for 15mins 
  6. Turn chicken legs over
  7. Turn oven down to 275 F and slow bake for 1 hour
  8. Stir cooked chicken in pan and broil for 5 mins before serving 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy V day

My taste buds have certainly changed since I starting healing with food. I love chocolate, especially really dark ones, I love the bitterness of dark chocolate but sometimes anything over 75% feels really dry in the mouth. Another thing is chocolate does stir up gut symptoms for me so I needed to AIP hack a recipe that works for my taste buds. I decided to mix carob for the "cocoa" taste and added turmeric for it's unique hint of bitterness to create this recipe. When I was experimenting with this recipe, I wouldn't tell my family ( my front taste tester team ) what was in it. There were mixed reviews but they were more intrigued with " what was in it?" I wouldn't tell them and told them they had to wait for my blog post. I know... a bit cruel but fun! 

AIP Carob Turmeric Hearts

Makes 12 hearts    Prep time 10 mins  Set time 10 mins

  • 2 tbsp carob powder ( sifted)
  • 2 tsp red palm oil
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp organic turmeric
  • 2 tsp maple syrup ( or to taste)   
  1. Melt oils over low heat in small pan
  2. Add rest of ingredients and stir until smooth
  3. Pour in silicone molds and set in freezer for 10 mins
  4. Remove from mold and store in air tight container in fridge