I thought I’d occasionally share ideas for staples that I keep in our kitchen and use nearly every day. One of my favorites is ginger juice. Spicy, pungent, great for digestion and in cold and flu tonics… I use it so often that it became a chore I needed to simplify. So I came up with this idea of how to always have the flavor of ginger ready to go. There’s really no recipe here, only a few descriptive steps. Be sure you have a pair of protective plastic gloves to wear while working with the ginger, especially if you have skin that reacts strongly to handling spicy foods. I purchased a box of disposable nitrile gloves which keep me from dealing with burning and irritated hands anytime I prep a bunch of ginger. You’ll also need a powerful blender such as a Vitamix to purée the ginger, which is one tough root.
At long last I return to this small space on the world wide web. It’s been a nice break, and I needed it to find my balance after radically changing how I eat as a result of following the autoimmune paleo protocol. With the experience of three very different food jobs in three very different kitchens behind me, I’ve also realized that I like working best at a slow and meditative pace, alone, in the relative quiet of home. Of course there is the clanking of pans, the stirring of whisks, the sliding of drawers, and on and on, but it’s orchestrated by me and is a kind of music to the ears, a background to occasional moments of inspiration. Our dog, Hiro, keeps watch while perched on the couch where he can see me, when he’s not sleeping, as I’m working in the kitchen. He is not a fan of the music I make.
I’ve started baking again, experimenting with grain-free flours such as cassava, butternut squash, and arrowroot, among others, as well as more natural sugars like coconut, maple, and honey. These scones are the result of many half-batches of tweaking this and then that, and then trying something even more challenging by making them AIP-compliant, with an amazing result on the first try. Sometimes inspiration strikes, but not without laying a lot of groundwork.
In a matter of days, lunch all over the United States shifted from salads to soups, courtesy of an arctic front delivered via an ocean storm that hit Alaska’s Aleutian Islands over the weekend. Shades of polar vortex to come, perhaps? I submit that this phenomenon has existed here in Texas long before the term was coined last year, where it is not unusual to see a 40 degree temperature drop from one day to the next.
Not all things are an efficient use of your time and energy. Take, for instance, the handheld electric fly swatter. The premise of the handheld electric fly swatter is that you smack said insect once and the electric current zaps the bug dead. It’s sort of like the big POW! that kills the bugs in the cartoons in bug spray commercials, but without the use of toxic chemicals. It’s a fine idea, in theory; quick, easy, portable, and just the sort of thing that calls to husbands from hardware store shelves.
We’ve never had figs in the fall before.
It’s not that we’ve never eaten figs in the fall before. Our fig trees have always produced fruit during the summer, just as they did this year, but they’ve never produced fruit in the fall. If you’re a symbol-oriented person like me, you might wonder if it’s a sign or something. Or, you might be logical and say it’s just that the trees have matured to the point where they’re able to produce two harvests, as certain types of fig trees do. Maybe though, it’s possible that the answer lies somewhere in between those seemingly opposed perceptions. After all, as Solomon, a king of Israel from 970 to 931 B.C. wrote; “God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things.” 1
My little experiment of following a paleo autoimmune protocol for the past few months has been quite the revelation. I have a whole new view of what food can do for my body when it’s nutrient-dense and non-inflammatory, and for me, there’s no going back. Though the process hasn’t always been easy, I’ve made steady progress in many areas, including stabilizing my blood sugar, effortless weight loss, and actually beginning to see the psoriasis that appeared over three years ago begin to get better.
It’s the end of week four, and in terms of the whole30 challenge, my husband and I have officially completed the full 30 days and finished well (high five!) As I mentioned last week, we’ll be continuing on the paleo auto-immune protocol for another two months, and after that will try re-introducing certain foods like eggs, nuts and seeds, and nightshades. In terms of what we put on our plate, for us, this has been a real change in direction, and not merely a temporary diversion from certain foods like other elimination diets we’ve tried before. It hasn’t been easy, but here’s the thing: no lasting, life-changing choice ever is.
My husband and I are still diligently holding the line here in following the whole30 auto-immune protocol, and we have one week left until we complete the 30-day challenge. Once we reach that goal, we’ll to try to stick to the auto-immune protocol for an additional two months to see what kind of progress we can make in our health.
So if you’re following our story here, we’ve completed one week of the whole30 auto-immune protocol. The photo you see above, with a ground chicken patty, roasted sweet potatoes, wilted spinach and sliced avocado, all drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil and a dusting of sea salt, has been a pretty typical breakfast for us this week. We might switch out the sweet potatoes (which are left-overs from dinner) for a piece of fruit, but there is always some kind of meat and dark greens on the plate.
Tomorrow my husband and I start a program called “The Whole30,” a kind of nutritional reset that eliminates sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol and processed food for a period of thirty days. It’s a brilliant way to help the body heal by eating nutritionally dense real food such as pastured meats and organic vegetables and fruits while avoiding food that contributes to inflammation, a damaged digestive system, and any number of resulting chronic health issues.