Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience

happy faceAfter 2 years of refining my pattern of paleo living, I now seem to be in a state of peak experience ~of connectedness, energy & good humoured devotion~ much of the time.

Peak experiences are mini enlightenment occurrences that happen infrequently for most of us. But many people can identify one or two, if not as adults, then from childhood.

Before social conditioning & crappy food interfered.

Few of us reach enlightenment, but we get an occasional taste (or perhaps it’s a reminder) of an enlightened state, through fleeting peak experiences.

Peak experiences often happen during seemingly inconsequential moments:

  • Suddenly noticing sunlight shining through leaves and being overcome by a transcendent moment of affiliation and awe;Maslow
  • Playing soccer and being wholly and completely at one with everything, including the ball, the grass and the opposing team;
  • Listening to music while driving and suddenly, profoundly, understanding forever ~ or just for that moment, and what’s the difference between the two, anyway~ the perfection of everything.

Peak experiences are ephemeral. They briefly bring us out of ourselves and at the same time illuminate our true nature.

In Buddhist philosophy, achieving a state of frequent or ongoing peak experience might be called Satori, an early step on the path toward nirvana.

Peak experiences have also been linked to self-actualization in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:Maslows Hierarchy 2

I seem to have biohacked my way in to a state of frequent, sometimes almost continual, peak experience. Honestly, I almost want to print up some inspirational pamphlets & start going door to door, because I have not only seen the light, but I’m now living in it most of the time.

The funny thing is that Buddhists suggest that it takes years of devoted mediation to reach such a state. My sassy paleolithic response: maybe only if you insist on vegetarianism!

Along with an experience of Satori, in which I am in peak experience for prolonged periods daily, I am also regularly experiencing what Csikszentmihaly calls ‘flow’.

Flow is the state in which one becomes fully immersed in an endeavour. Self-consciousness fades and is supplanted by an experience of unity with that activity. When in flow, time flies, or becomes bendable, and capacities, including focus, are honed.

It’s a state of perfection.

Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience

Accessing Peak Experiences through nutrition makes sense from a Maslow’s Hierarchy point of view.

According to Maslow’s model, you need solid nutrition in order to access the higher levels of actualization, so why not, for efficiencies sake, use nutrition and other foundational levels (water, sleep, sex) in the hierarchy to leverage peak experiences?

Eileen at Phoenix Helix reminds us that nutritional experiments are ultimately n=1, meaning that each one of us is unique and we each need to experiment to find what will work for us.

After 2 years of experimenting, here’s my current regime:

As I’m an introvert, you needn’t worry, I will never knock on your door with an inspirational pamphlet.

But I will keep experimenting. And I will keep writing about my experiments and my experiences.

So consider yourself pamphleted.

Roasted Asparagus with Bitter Lemon Pesto (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

asparagus & lemon pestoAn elegant grown-up breakfast!

Serve with strawberry shortcake fudge, a Victorious Offal Muffin & spinach wilted in bone broth. Gorgeous!

I adapted the Roasted Asparagus from Simple and Merry  to make it thoroughly AIP & WahlsPaleo+ friendly.

I adapted the Bitter Lemon Pesto from my own recipe for Avocado Pesto, because the roasted asparagus was just begging for it.

Roasted Asparagus with Bitter Lemon Pesto (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

Roasted Asparagusroasted

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 350

Snap the ends off the asparagus spears & lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Melt the coconut oil & pour over the asparagus. Use your hands to ensure the spears are well-coated.

Using a garlic press, squeeze a clove or two of garlic & sprinkle garlic bits onto the asparagus.

Finish with a sprinkle of salt.

Bake 20 minutes for slender asparagus; 25 minutes for thicker stalks.

Bitter Lemon PestoBitter lemon pesto

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ½ small organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Cut the lemon into small pieces to remove the seeds, but leave the peel.

Trim the ends, but leave the stems of the cilantro.

Whirl ingredients in a food processor until combined.

Keeps great in the fridge!

Bitter Lemon Pesto is also amazing with spaghetti squash…spaghetti squash & bitter lemon pesto

 

 

 

An Adapted (semi-ketogenic) version of the Wahls Paleo Plus

Adapted WahlsPaleo+ food pyramidThis is the WahlsPaleo+ variation I’m using currently, and I think I’ve found my sweet spot.

At least for now!

This variation is Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & is adapted from the WahlsPaleo+ protocol in the following ways:

  • It excludes nightshades, nuts, & seeds (also excluding seed spices), in line with the AIP;
  • It includes upgraded MCT oil (2 tablespoons daily) for increased energy;
  • It includes high carb vegetables (roots for me so far, but winter squash are good too) after intensive exercise to increase stamina for intensive exercise & increase energy for life in general. If I engage in more intensive exercise four times a week, that’s how often I eat higher carb veg,even if that kicks me out of ketosis for awhile.

Here’s the low-carb vegetable (+ berries) list for the WahlsPaleo+:Carbohydrate list

This list doesn’t mention sea vegetables. But it should: I include a few spoons of sea vegetable flakes daily.

Keep in mind I’m not a nutritionist. Or a doctor. I’m just a person who is doing nutritional experiments on myself. For fun. Please read my post Thinking Out Loud. It’s my disclaimer.

A lot of people have strong feelings about ketogenic diets. You can google around & check some of those opinions out. To get you started, the Paleo Mom shares thoughts here & Mark Sisson here.

I’m currently experimenting with my own adapted, semi-ketogenic version of the WahlsPaleo+ for reasons I outline in my 2 latest biohacking updates: 40 days on the WahlsPaleo+ and 5 months on the Autoimmune Protocol.

I originally started the WahlsPaleo+ as an experiment in Nutritional Ethics and that is still a primary reason why I’m pursuing this variation.

I’m also just intensely curious. And really interested in achieving peak experiences through health.

I’ll report out on my observations as I go.

Biohacking Update: 5 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

Veg5 months in review

On December 23, Matthew & I embarked on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

Matthew is the man I love & he has multiple autoimmune conditions including Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis and an undiagnosed severe dizziness & nausea that developed last fall and doctors think may be Ménière’s disease.

His body has been in autoimmune response since infancy so it’s a tenacious situation.

Matthew’s been on disability leave from work since January 1st, which is (in case you’re wondering) really stressful, as our life, which includes 3 teenaged children, really requires two incomes.

Though I don’t have any health issues that I know of, nutritional biohacking has become my hobby since I went Paleo a little over 2 years ago, and I’m all in for these experiments.

5 months of AIP variations

We’ve experimented with additional restrictions on the AIP over the past 5 months.

After a few weeks on the regular AIP, we first diverged into a low-FODMAP version, which we sustained for a few months until we encountered an AIP reset in March.

Soon after that, I started the Wahls Paleo Plus. Matthew recently joined me in a nightshade/seed/nut-free variation of the WahlsPaleo+ for a couple of weeks, but found that the coconut oil was exacerbating his nausea and he couldn’t continue.

Now he’s just back on a regular AIP, but still sticking with the WahlsPaleo+ format: two meals a day with fasting in between.

After 6 weeks in ketosis on the WahlsPaleo+ I’m hacking a semi-ketogenic variation which is giving me better energy for life & the stamina I need for exercise.

I think I may have found my sweet spot…

Health outcomes at the 5-month mark

Matthew

It’s still unpredictable. It’s not predictable at all. That’s the only thing I can say with any certainty.”

M&M 3Before the AIP reset in March (it involved gluten free toast & macadamia nuts), which occurred after 2½ months on the AIP, Matthew was starting to have some pharmaceutical-free days.

He’d also stopped snoring (weird) and started lucid dreaming, provoking a blog post exploring the possible connection between gut health and psyche health.

After the reset, both Matthew and I got pure again, but his symptoms reverted. Increased pain, increased nausea and resumption of snoring (weird).

It’s taken until now (another 2½ months) for him to begin to regain the progress he had made before the reset.

He has had one pharmaceutical free day (last week) and just recently stopped snoring again.

One improvement that has been steady is his psychological well-being.

Mental health is difficult to measure, but as someone who is always affected by his mood, I’d say that his emotional resilience is markedly improved, and therefore he is better able to manage the pain, uncertainty and stress of chronic illness.

Of course, he’s also been off work for almost 5 months, and it’s entirely possible that the reduction in work stress is partially or wholly responsible for this improvement.

paleo takes timeWe knew that this would be a long-term (perhaps eternal) intervention, but it’s still discouraging sometimes to see such slow progress.

But it’s actually not slower than expected.

It’s completely in line with what other AIPers have experienced. This 6-month update from the Field Notes on Healing blog is one example.

Petra

I recently posted a biohacking update, 40 days on the WahlsPaleo+, but I have a couple of quick things to add.

My decision to adapt the WahlsPaleo+ to include higher carb vegetables after intensive exercise came from a desire for greater physical stamina. Recently I started planning my higher intensity exercise for before one of my two daily meals & including 1 cup of higher carb vegetables (such as turnip or yam) in that meal.

Instantly my energy picked up and I’m back to my previous levels of vigour.

On days when my exercise is mild or moderate (walking or a short happy run-walk) I stick with the Wahlspaleo+ protocol & I go back into ketosis.

Even if a couple of days elapse between higher intensity exercise, my stamina is (so far) easily sustained & my energy is awesome.

The other thing I attribute this improvement to is Upgraded MCT oil, which I’m now taking daily, but it alone on a very low-carb ketogenic diet was not enough for me.

So now I’m in & out of ketosis. I’m still sticking with the 2 meals a day and all other parameters of the Wahlspaleo+. I’m not experiencing any hunger, even when I’m out of ketosis.

Aside from decreased energy & stamina, I also experienced menstrual irregularity as another outcome I am cautiously contributing to the WahlsPaleo+.

Cautiously because I’m a total research nerd and I’m wary of making any assumptions about attribution, but here’s my justification for the suspected relationship:

  • The WahlsPaleo+ diet preceded the irregularity;
  • The irregularity abated after I increased carbohydrates & kicked myself out of ketosis now & again;
  • Intermittent fasting has been linked to disrupted fertility & menstrual irregularities.

On the other hand, I am 43, and it is entirely possible that I’m simply peri-menopausal. Which would be great! All of my offspring are now over 6 feet tall, and I’m really amply sufficient with the assortment of children I have, so menstruation seems like a redundancy. But that’s an aside.

More to the point, my wish is that 5 months from now I’ll be able to write an update to share the news that Matthew’s health is substantially improved.

For reference, here’s an update after 2 months on the AIP.

 

 

Broccoli~Bacon~Anchovy stuffed Portobellos (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

yumOne of these for breakfast makes a busy workweek with a broken dishwasher seem doable!

Broccoli~Bacon~Anchovy stuffed mushrooms (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 5 generous cups broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup bone broth or water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 anchovy fillets (packed in olive oil)
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Preheat oven to 350

Fry the bacon over low heat to caramelize. When brown & crisp, set aside.

Add the broccoli & bone broth or water to the hot bacon pan & cook until bright green.

Whirl broccoli in a food processor with the coconut oil & salt.

Decant to a mixing bowl & stir in crumbled bacon & chopped anchovies.

Fill portobellos with broccoli mixture & bake for 45 minutes.

Variation

Use 1lb of crimini mushrooms.

breakfast
Breakfast!

My ancestors came from candy-land

sweetsReally. They were candy makers.

They made candy in Northern England and when they came to Canada, they kept making candy.

There is still a Sweet Shop here in Victoria that was started my forebears.

As an aside, my grandfather wasn’t allowed into his candy-making grandparents’ house, because his mother, Bertha Bland (what a wonderfully unfortunate name), had been a factory-worker in the old country.

And they were lofty candy-makers.

So my grandfather, young Kenneth George, was only permitted on his grandparent’s front porch, whereas the other grandchildren could come & go into the house as they pleased.

My ancestors brought their classism & their candy with them.

That’s how I come to be from candy-land.

Or biscuit land.UK made from biscuits

Just ponder what all those biscuits are doing to people internally.

Another of my ancestors was a King of Scotland. Sort of a wimpy king, if you’ve ever watched Braveheart: Robert the Bruce.

I’ve already written a bit about my dismal experience as a vegetarian in Scotland.

But all this rambling about British stodge has a point.

The point is I’m descended from candy-making, biscuit-consuming, classist, wimpy colonists.

The health of their intestinal flora can’t have been great, even way back when they were colonizing this great land, and this thought has lead me to wonder about gut health & colonialism.

When all those biscuit eaters with their disorderly intestinal flora and associated nervous complaints arrived here, what did they find?

People eating a perfect paleo diet who were probably enjoying magnificent gut health. If all the research (and my own experience) about the correlation between mental health & gut health is to be believed, Indigenous people were probably also enjoying psychological well-being.

How galling.

All these happy people. How dare they?

Have another biscuit.

We really need to do something.

And that something was done.

The irony was not lost on me as I drove to work one morning last week, having had bison liver and an avocado and a smoothie made from dandelion greens for breakfast, and I saw three Indigenous kids walking to school with lollipops in their mouths.

The candy makers were thorough.

Just one more reason I am continuing my experiment in nutritional ethics on the Wahls Paleo Plus.

 I found the biscuit map here.

Biohacking update: 40 days on the Wahlspaleo+

Bison heart

Quick summary

  • Loving it? Yes;
  • Hungry? No;
  • Reduced stamina for high-intensity exercise? Currently hacking that.

For a review on what’s legal on the Wahls Paleo Plus see this post.

Energy

For the first month on the WahlsPaleo+ my energy for daily life seemed lower & my stamina for exercise was definitely reduced.

So I decided to experiment with scaling back my exercise. I walked most days. Did a couple of easier hot yoga classes. A couple of run-walks.

Just to see.Chard 2

I thought, maybe my usual regime is just a counterbalance to a higher carb diet, and a more gentle approach will be amply sufficient for me when I’m eating mostly green leafy things.

But I missed the intensity.

I’m a super intense person. And somewhat-intense physical exercise seems to be cathartically necessary for me. A way to transmogrify some of that intensity.

After a month of daily walks, I was slumping on my ball-chair at work. Losing my core strength. My stress levels were higher. I was fidgety & discontented. That was enough data for me.

On day 31 I decided I’d resume my usual pattern of exercise & if I didn’t have my usual stamina, I’d just modify.

At the same time I added Upgraded MCT oil into my diet, and almost immediately my energy was back up.

I’m LOVING the MCT oil.

I’m having it in coffee & I’ve been quite the green tea purist for a bunch of months now. But it’s just really good in coffee, it almost seems to want to be in coffee & also seems to mitigate the negative effects that coffee has on me (including a spike & crash in energy).

As far as my energy for daily life goes, so far it’s increased significantly since the MCT: 2 tablespoons a day.

Another hack I’m going to try to increase my endurance is adding higher-carb vegetables twice a week after I exercise. So far I’ve excluded all high-carb vegetables (roots & squashes), but they are legal on the WahlsPaleo+ twice a week (as long as you can maintain ketosis) and I want to see if I can use them to leverage my stamina further.

An offal update

In April, I  made a Paleo New Year resolution to eat organ meats. So far I’ve had bison liver, chicken liver and bison heart, and it’s not even mid-May.

I’m feeling pretty proud.

That’s me & Frida & a bison heart at the top of this post. Ventricles, aortas & all.

I made cinnamon beef stew with that bison heart & some lamb (minus the carrots). It was completely yummy, but I admit I did do my best to unremember the aortas while I was eating it.

A sad story about cashews

Unlike the AIP, the WahlsPaleo + does allow small amounts of soaked nuts & seeds.

I included a quarter of a cup of my beloved cashews (soaked & dehydrated: I bought them that way) a few times during the first month. I wasn’t sure how they were affecting me, so on day 30, I thought I’d test them. I ate 2 cups of soaked & dehydrated organic cashews (& nothing else) for supper.

Would they kick me out of ketosis? Would I have any adverse reactions?

The answer was Yes.

I was in an absolutely foul mood the next day and a pretty bad mood for 3 days after that. My energy levels also tanked.

Conversationally, I told my vegetarian teenager what a bad mood I was in and she said smugly, maybe it’s your diet.

Because (according to her) that’s what I always say to her.

She is a little bit right. But I still think I do admirable job about keeping my mouth shut about her abominable vegetarian food choices most of the time.

In any case, she was a little surprised when I agreed with her. It was my diet that was making me so cranky.

Sad as it is, I think I’m removing cashews entirely.

 Coconut oil nauseacoconut oil

65% of daily calories come from coconut oil on the WahlsPaleo+.

Though Dr Wahls doesn’t mention ‘Upgraded MCT Oil’ in her book, I’m now an MCT- devotee, so I’m including it my coconut oil quota.

But adjusting to that much coconut oil can take a while.

I did experience coconut-oil induced nausea at first, and woke up in the middle of the night with wicked stomach cramps a few times in the first couple of weeks when I consumed a lot of coconut oil before bed.

But I’m adapted & no longer have any trouble.

Two more month 2 adjustments:

Oil pulling

If you’ve never tried oil pulling, you should.

At least once.

It’s an old Ayurvedic trick.

It’s weird & wonderful & makes me feel good. I used to do it, but fell out of the habit. Now I’m back at it.

Just pop a big spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and let it melt. First thing in the morning is best. Swish the melted oil around your mouth for 20 minutes (set a timer).

Then spit it out. Don’t spit it in the sink because it’ll harden up as it cools.

I rinse my mouth with salt water after.

Warm lemon water

This is another habit that fell by the wayside that I’ve reinstituted in month 2 on the WahlsPaleo+. Just because it makes me feel good.

That’s my criteria.

Squeeze a lemon into a mug. Fill the mug halfway with cold water, then top with boiling water.

Drink it up.

 

 

 

10 delicious ways to increase coconut oil on the Wahls Paleo Plus

blackberries & coconut cream
Frozen Blackberries & Coconut Cream~

65% of your calories come from coconut fat on the Wahls paleo plus, so it helps to have a diversity of strategies for including it in your daily life.

MCT oilSources can include culinary coconut oil, upgraded MCT oil, coconut milk or coconut butter.

I’ve just started including upgraded MCT (Medium-chain Triglyceride) oil & I’m excited about it’s potential.

Dr Wahls recommends the use of culinary coconut oil and full-fat tinned coconut milk as  sources of coconut fat. I’m thrilled to have found a local source for additive-free tinned coconut milk. I generally refrigerate the tins and skim of the coconut cream, either using it as is or whipping it. I often put the remaining coconut ‘water’ in my bone broth pot, if I’ve got one going. Or I discard it.

Coconut butter is pureed coconut, and is the highest carb, lowest fat source. It should be used in moderation, if ketosis is your goal.

Additive-free!
Additive-free!

Here are 9 delicious ways to keep the Medium-Chain Triglycerides flowing:

  1. In coffee.  A tablespoon of upgraded MCT oil and a dollop of whipped coconut cream;
  2. In salad dressing (see recipe below);
  3. As the primary ingredient in berry fudge: try Blue-raspberry & Strawberry Shortcake versions;
  4. In green smoothies, such as this Dandelion~Blueberry variation;
  5. In whipped cauliflower: Beautiful sulfur-rich comfort food (see recipe below);
  6. In creamed greens: Stir fry minced ginger & greens in coconut oil until bright green, add coconut cream & cook until greens are softened;
  7. In coconut curry stew, like this one made with nettles, turmeric & coconut cream;artichoke
  8. Just keep in simple with frozen blackberries & whipped coconut cream: so easy & divine. (To make whipped coconut cream, refrigerate a tin of coconut milk for several hours or overnight, spoon off the cream on top & whip with an electric mixer);
  9. Use warm coconut oil with a pinch of salt as a dip for a glorious artichoke!
  10. Cabbage Bacon!

Coconut Oil Salad Dressing (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleodressing

You can make salad dressing with coconut oil or upgraded MCT oil. Heat coconut oil until liquid & swap it for whatever oil you use in your favorite salad dressing. Upgraded MCT oil is liquid at room temperature, so you can use it straight from the bottle.

For a super simple everyday salad dressing, proceed thusly:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (not sulphites)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon Himalyan salt (or similar)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea vegetable flakes
  • 1 teaspoon basil (optional)

The tiny mason jelly jars are perfect for salad dressing. Otherwise use a small glass container with a lid.

Day~supperPut the coconut oil in the jar and place in a warm (250) oven for a few minutes until liquefied. Add the remaining ingredients, put in the lid & shake vigorously.

Pour over a bounteous green salad & toss.

 

Whipped Cauliflower (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoCauli mash 4

A paleo classic & a perfect vehicle for coconut oil.

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sea vegetable flakes

Cut the cauliflower into florets. Trim the stem as needed and slice it, too. Steam until soft.

Put the cauliflower in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and whirl until smooth. Remove 1 cup of whipped cauliflower to 3 or more small oven-proof baking dishes, ideally ones with lids.

Refrigerate.

Reheat in a 350 oven for 20 minutes to add coconut oil + comfort food to any meal.

Wahls Paleo PlusCauli mash 2

If you’re on the WahlsPaleo+, you’ll be tracking your food.

An average sized head of cauliflower yields about 3 cups whipped cauliflower: each 1 cup portion contains 2.66 tablespoons of coconut oil. Cauliflowers vary, so do the math to figure out what dosage each 1 cup portion of whipped cauliflower contains. 8 (tablespoons) divided by the number of cups will give you the answer.

 

Strawberry Shortcake Fudge (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

strawberry shortcake fudge 3I eat fudge every day!

And as we’re coming up on strawberry season here on Vancouver Island, it only made sense to create a strawberry shortcake version.

The shortcake in this fudge is a delicious illusion created by toasting coconut butter until it’s golden brown & cake-like.

Then add fresh strawberries & top everything with strawberry fudge.

Easy & so yummy!

Wahls Paleo Plusstrawberry shortcake fudge

I eat fudge daily because I’ve found it to be the most effective way to stay ketogenic on the WahlsPaleo+ (I explain a little bit about the relationship between coconut oil & ketosis in my Blue Raspberry Fudge post).

Berry fudge has become my go-to because it has minimal ingredients, waits patiently for me in the fridge, is pre-portioned to provide perfect doses of coconut oil, and complements any meal.

You could have up to 4 of these a day and still be within your 1 cup of berries recommended on the WahlsPaleo+. I usually eat one or two with breakfast and one with supper, but it depends on what else I’m eating, how hungry I am & whether I need to boost my coconut oil consumption.

If you decide to incorporate fudge into your ketogenic strategy, it will be most effective if you can overcome any residual dessert-last conditioning. Eat the fudge with other foods to ensure that your body can incorporate the coconut oil as it decides how to process your food.

This fudge recipe has a little more coconut oil & a little less coconut butter than my Blue Raspberry Fudge, making it lower in carbohydrates & higher in fat. All to the good.

Sourcing strawberries

I normally don’t specify that ingredients ought to be organic or local or pastured.

I figure we all aspire to do what we can to source quality food.

However, strawberries vary enormously. For superlative fudge, use 1 cup of fresh local strawberries.

For an eminently edible, perfectly acceptable, but perhaps not life-changing fudge, those gargantuan organic supermarket strawberries work too. I’ve made it both ways.

Use 1 cup of fresh berries, either way. The remaining 2 cups of strawberries can be frozen, as long as they’re warm when you whirl the fudge mixture.

Strawberry Shortcake Fudge (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleostrawberry shortcake fudge 2

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut butter
  • 1  1/4 cups coconut oil
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 300

Warm the coconut butter &  2 cups of berries in the oven in 2 separate oven-proof bowls.

Line a 12-muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

After 10 minutes, remove the coconut butter from the oven. Pour 1 tablespoon of warm coconut butter into each muffin cup.

Place muffin tin in warm oven for 6 minutes or until the coconut butter is a friendly brown colour. Remove from the oven to cool.

Meanwhile, re-measure the remaining coconut butter. It tends to take up more space when cold, so you’ll probably need to top the remainder up to ensure you have 3/4 cup. Return to the oven and turn off the heat.

When the strawberries in the oven are warm (this will take a little longer if you started with frozen berries) and the coconut butter is warm & soft, place both in a food processor with the coconut oil & whirl until fully combined.

Divide the 1 cup fresh strawberries between the 12 muffin cups. Slice them, if necessary.

Pour the strawberry fudge mixture over top to fill each muffin cup to the brim.

Refrigerate all day or overnight.

Store in the refrigerator.

Wahl’s Paleo Plus

If you’re on the WahlsPaleo+ you’ll be tracking your food.

1 piece of fudge:

  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup berries

Have one or two pieces of fudge as part of a meal that includes green leafy & sulfur-rich vegetables & some animal protein~.

 

 

 

Victorious Offal Muffins (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Bison liver~!
Bison liver~!

I’ve been victorious!

I was an offal wimp, but now I’m initiated.

When I made a resolution to venture into organ meats for my Paleo New Year I got heaps of helpful comments.

I decided to incorporate as many of these tips as I could into my offal adventure, including:

  1. Bison liver, as a great introductory level offal (thanks Alice!);
  2. The Paleo Mom’s 50/50/50 burgers as a way to ease in (thanks Kate!);
  3. Putting offal in ice cube trays. A tip from This Sidney Life (Though I thought it was unlikely I’d ever feel inspired to throw a cube of icy offal into my supper, this suggestion did inspire me think of my muffin tin like an ice cube tray…);
  4. The Paleo PI’s post about pureeing offal as a way to slip it in to other dishes; and
  5. The reminder that liver loves onions (thanks to my offal-loving husband Matthew).

I also employed another strategy that I am rather proud of.

bison liver pureeRather than buying offal fresh from the butcher and then a couple of days later thinking oh dear and slipping it in the freezer like I usually do, I bought it frozen at the beginning of a long string of errands.

How devious.

By the time I got home it was already slightly defrosted so I couldn’t in good conscience refreeze it.

But that was only necessary the first time.

Offal muffinsI hesitated about calling these Offal Muffins.

First off, they are only 33.3% offal

Second, they aren’t awful at all.

Okay, I didn’t love them on day one. I ate the first one with grim determination. Way too much grimness & an almost comical amount of determination. I’d been steeling myself for some time, and the bison liver slurry that I created in my food processor for this recipe was still pretty fresh in my mind.

But the thing is, bison liver made me feel good.

Having been on the Autoimmune Protocol for 3½ months and then the Wahls Paleo Plus for the past couple of weeks, I now get pretty rapid feedback about whether & how much my body likes particular foods.

It loves bison liver.

To the point where I was looking forward to having another of these muffins for breakfast before I even went to bed on day one.

Weird.

Or at least, unexpected.

Dr Terry Wahls recommends 12oz of offal a week.

Each muffin is 4oz in total, and contains 1.33oz of bison liver (as well as 1.33oz of bacon & 1.33oz of ground lamb), meaning that 9 of these are required to meet Dr. Wahls recommended dosage in a given week.

Recently, I eat one of these most days, so I’m not quite hitting the target yet.

But I’m not worrying too much about about dosage. Just now, having figured out how to cook & eat offal is a victory.

Hence Victorious Offal Muffins

Victorious Offal Muffins (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleo

  • 1 lb bison liverDay~supper
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb bacon, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup caramelized onions
  • ½ cup fresh herbs: basil, marjoram, sage, thyme (or 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Himalyan salt (a little more if your bacon isn’t very salty)
  • 2 tablespoons sea vegetable flakes

Advance prep: Make caramelized onions (see recipe below). Not necessary, but yum.

Preheat oven to 350.

Fill the sink with hot soapy water as you’ll probably want to wash your food processor right away.

Puree the bison liver in a food processor.

Mix the pureed bison liver & all other ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl with your hands. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper muffins cups, and heap each with the meat muffin mixture. Pack it in & pile it high.

Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any wayward bacon fat and place the muffin tray on the top rack.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Once cooled, these muffins freeze beautifully.

To reheat, just wrap in tin foil & pop in a hot oven while you prepare your vegetables.

Caramelized onions

  • 1-2lbs onionsCaramelized onions
  • 2 or so tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup bone broth

Next time you have to spend awhile in the kitchen, peel & slice a pound or two of onions, thinly, like apples & then separate each slice into its natural layers. Melt a good amount of coconut oil in a large pan on very low heat & add the onions. Stir occasionally, adding a couple of tablespoons of bone broth whenever brown bits start to stick to the pan.When the onions are browned, reduced and gloriously sticky, they’re done. Refrigerate or freeze.