Crustless Butternut Pie

Crustless Butternut Pie 2

After almost 2½ years on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), we’re finally in reintroduction territory!

Matthew has reintroduced coffee, white rice (occasionally), soaked and dehydrated pumpkin seeds, and eggs (sometimes). I have reintroduced soaked and dehydrated nuts, cocoa and eggs.

We overlap on the eggs, and that has been fun.

Butternut Pie 2This recipe is our new favorite.

Where do eggs fit on the paleo healing protocols?

The elimination phase of the AIP excludes eggs, as do the Wahls Protocols.

Sarah Ballantyne explains why in this post.

When attempting egg reintroduction, starting with yolks is recommended. Eileen Laird has a how to video on how to separate whites and yolks three different ways, and also elaborates on the nutrient-density of eggs.

Find Eileen’s book on AIP reintroductions here.

If you find you can tolerate yolks but not whites, you can still make this recipe. Just use eight egg yolks rather than four whole eggs.

Some paleo protocols that don’t focus on autoimmunity recommend eggs as a dietary staple, if they come from naturally-raised chickens. These protocols include the Primal Blueprint, the Bulletproof Diet and the Whole 30.

Now Pie!

Continue reading

Personalize Your Diet for Weight Loss

Personalize Your Diet for Weight LossWe each respond differently to the same food.

Specifically, our blood sugar responses differ.

And elevated blood sugar leads to all kinds of health issues, including obesity.

A New Scientific Understanding about Obesity

Like most people who have struggled with being overweight for most of their lives, I’ve suspected for decades that our response to food is individualized.

Because I’ve spent those decades watching my effortlessly-slim sister scarf down all the food she wants.

If I ate like she does, I’d be obese.

I know. Because I used to be.

Obese.

But now, we have scientific proof to back up what most overweight people have always known…

Breaking News: Maybe Overweight People Haven’t Been Secretly Binging & Lying About It All This Time

Continue reading

Poached Salmon with Leek & Fennel Soup

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup 5Before money, we caught fish.

We gathered plants.

We created money, in part, so we could pay someone else to get our food & bring it to us.

With money, we no longer had to know how to find food for ourselves.

Money allowed us to specialize: You get the food, I’ll sit here and make baskets.

And specialization led to civilization.

And civilizations to economies.

In order to try to understand this evolution better, I took an economics course last year.

It wasn’t progressive economics.

It was the kind that asserts that any problem can be solved by money.

For example, if your neighbour’s dog barks incessantly and you value your quiet at $500 and your neighbour only values her dog at $499, you can purchase your quiet for $500.

That’s an actual example from my textbook.

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup rotatedWhat happens to the dog?

The textbook didn’t say.

Disconnection.

The course helped me to understand how we got so disconnected from the natural world.

Through quantification.

We decided that everything had monetary value. And that it is up the free market to determine what that value is.

Which led me to consider the economics of food.

The Economics of Supper

Even if we buy all of our food at the supermarket, we can still resist the quantification of the food that we eat to survive.

I can value my food, not only because it contributes to my well-being, but because it is an expression of the life force of this planet.

It has inherent value.

Spear fish. Dig roots.

Or buy everything you need from the supermarket.

Make soup.

It’s the spirit, and the intent, that matters.

Leek Fennel Salmon Soup 7

Poached Pacific Salmon with Leeks & Fennel

 from petra8paleoLeek Fennel Salmon Soup 2

  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • 1 large Leek
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 cups Bone Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan Salt
  • 2 wild Pacific Salmon steaks

Slice the Fennel Bulb thinly, including the stalks.

Trim any very tough ends from the Leek. Slice it lengthwise and wash thoroughly to remove any dirt. Slice it into rounds. Include the greens.

Melt the Coconut Oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and add the sliced vegetables, Turmeric and Salt.

Stir occasionally until the vegetables are softened, then add the Bone Broth.

Lay the Salmon Steaks on top and cover the saucepan.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

To serve, carefully remove the salmon steaks onto plates with a slotted spoon and ladle the soup into bowls. Add a green salad.

Or, be rustic & all-in-one-bowl, laying the salmon on top of the bowl of soup. Add a saucer to receive the bones and skin (though the skin is entirely edible).

Rainbow ‘Rice’ (AIP~)

Rainbow Rice 6When walking, walk. When eating, eat.

That’s a Zen Proverb.

Eating mindfully is a powerful way to approach the diet and lifestyle changes that are required on a healing protocol.

And it is also an excellent way to begin a mindfulness practice.

Though I’m hardly an expert.

Mondful EatingI’ve been serious about yoga for 13 years, and even though yoga asanas are specifically designed to prepare the body and mind for meditation, I’m still a fussy and distracted meditator.

I do have moments of accidental mindfulness.

When I am simply here now, acutely aware of everything.

But you don’t get full marks for being accidentally mindful.

The goal is to be mindfully mindful.

Even though I consider myself to be profoundly inexpert in the mindfulness realm, eating is a good place to start.

There is something inherently contemplative about sitting quietly with a bowl of rice. Continue reading

12 Healing Protocols: a guide (part 2)

Healing Protocols 2Find part 1 of this post here.

In part 1, I considered the Autoimmune Protocol, The Wahls Protocols and the Bulletproof Diet.

This post offers an overview of 6 more healing protocols:

  • Jacob’s Gut Healing protocol;
  • The Brainmaker Diet;
  • Your Personal Paleo Code;
  • Paleo;
  • Primal; &
  • the Whole 30.

Jacob’s Gut Healing Protocol

Jacob does a beautiful job of explaining how the gut works in Digestive Health with REAL Food (2013).

This is the most restrictive protocol of the dozen, with only 4 vegetables included during the elimination phase. If you are simultaneously on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), you’ll be down to 3, as one of those (green beans) is not AIP-friendly.

created this diet specifically for people suffering from gut dysbiosis and significant digestive issues and therefore it removes all the usual foods that can cause leaky gut and systemic inflammation, as well as carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. Continue reading

N=1 Nation

n=1Okay, this is an anthem.

Seriously.

It’s not a song. It’s just full of the same zeal that some people feel for their country. Or for hockey.

I get it from a sense of kinship & unity with all the people who are expanding our collective conception of health and well-being through personal inquiry.

Biohackers~.

My tribe.

Here’s my anthem:

N=1 Nation

We are n=1 nation.

We know that bioindividuality is the frontier of health and well-being.

And that the outer reaches of human capacity have barely been explored~.

We are aware that each of us has to fine-tune our own pattern of living through individualized experimentation.

And that by doing so we can influence how our genes are expressed.

We are n=1 nation.

We revere the teachings of the ancients. And the patterns of living codified over millennia by our ancestors.

Two of my favourite biohackers: Joanna Frankham & Rory Linehan

Two of my favourite members of n=1 Nation: Joanna Frankham & Rory Linehan

And we respect the quantum.

We believe in using the latest technology to measure results. And in using that information to inform personalized adaptation.

We accept that mainstream medicine is based on dated science and 20th century strategies.

But we don’t assume that one path is right for everyone.

Instead, we believe in gathering data. And sharing what we find with each other.

We assume that everyone can improve the quality of their life through using evidence from their own n=1 experiments.

My favorite Healers & Optimizers, from the top, left to right: Angie, Alt, Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, my husband Matthew~, Eileen Laird, Terry Wahls, Dave Asprey, Mickey Trescott, Mark Sisson

More members of n=1 Nation~ (from the top, left to right: Angie, Alt, Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, Matthew Chambers-Sinclair, Eileen Laird, Terry Wahls, Dave Asprey, Mickey Trescott & Mark Sisson)

We are biohackers~.

We are exploring new ways to reverse ‘uncurable’ illnesses. To reach states of peak experience and peak performance that in previous generations were only available to the elite.

We are ordinary people. Doing extraordinary things.

That humans were designed to do~.

We are n=1 nation.

We are reprogramming our brains. To reduce the limitations of trauma. And mitigate (and even invert) the effects of aging.

We are spreading the healing (because healing spreads) from each of us to others. From us to the planet. Because we are all connected.

As people have done since the beginning of time, we are finding out what it really means to be human. Accelerated~.

To meet the challenges that lie ahead.

To express our genetic destiny.

To evolve ~fully~ as a species.

We are n=1 nation.

And you are welcome here~

Everyone is welcome here.

Image converted using ifftoany

 

Ancestral Eating (& decolonizing our food)

Ancestral eating croppedA couple hundred years after my ancestors destroyed the food systems of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas we’ve started our very own ancestral food movement.

And most Indigenous people, after generations of marginalization, colonization and cultural (as well as literal) genocide aren’t in a position to afford to eat ancestrally, unless they managed to maintain their traditional hunting, fishing and gathering practices.

I wrote about this once already in My Ancestors came from Candy-land.

But I need to write about it again.

Please! When you come, bring Moose, Venison, Beaver, Bear or Salmon~

A tour of Southwestern Canada last summer by Unist’ot’en Hereditary Chiefs to gather support for the Unist’ot’en’s stand against the construction of fossil fuel pipelines through Northern British Columbia included an event in Victoria, where I live.

Venison pot roast, present & future 2

Venison pot roast, present & future~

Event organizers made an urgent request on behalf of the Unist’ot’en delegation: “Our guests eat a meat and fish rich diet. If you are in any position to bring any wild game – moose, venison, beaver, bear or salmon, any of these are most appreciated.”

Those of us who eat ancestrally can appreciate the challenge of finding food while traveling. Wanting to be gracious guests while trying to find anything (anything?) that resembles real food in faraway lands.

Continue reading

Biohacking 101: Clean your Laboratory

Carafe of clean and dirty water

You are the laboratory~

You are the laboratory~.

To generate useful data to improve your health and well-being, you first need to get your laboratory cleaned up!

Once you do, you’ll be able to develop your own protocol. You’ll know what foods are best for you, what forms exercise (& in what dosage) you need, and what other lifestyle factors support your health.

How you approach your laboratory clean-up project is entirely up to you. As long as it’s through an elimination diet.

An Elimination Diet

If you see a naturopath, you are (inevitably) going to be told to remove the basic inflammatory foods for 30 days & then reintroduce those foods, to see how they affect you.

A more extensive elimination diet is recommended by all my favourite healers & optimizers, including Chris Kresser in Your Personal Paleo Code, Sarah Ballantyne in The Paleo Approach, Terry Wahls in The Wahls Protocol, and Dave Asprey in The Bulletproof Diet.

Though these protocols vary slightly, they are based on the same science and are extremely compatible (if not largely identical).

They are all Paleo protocols.

But the timeframe for the recommended elimination phase varies.

The Bulletproof Diet

Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet focuses on optimization; helping people without complex health issues to significantly upgrade their lives.

His recommended elimination phase is brief: 2 weeks. But he suggests that once people experience the benefits, they might decide to stay on the Bulletproof Diet for life.

The Autoimmune Protocol

Sarah Ballantyne focuses on reversing autoimmune conditions.

For people with autoimmune disease, she notes that improvement in symptoms will depend on:

  • the degree of inflammation and intestinal permeability;
  • what type of antibodies are being mobilized;
  • which cells those antibodies are attacking;
  • how long the body has been in autoimmune response;
  • how gene expression responds to improved conditions; and
  • how strictly the protocol is implemented.

She suggests that most people should have experienced improvements within 2-4 months on the Autoimmune Protocol, but that significant healing often takes years.

Clean Your Laboratory (thoroughly~)

Matthew and I first learned about Paleo healing protocols from Diane Sanfilippo’s 2012 book Practical Paleo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt that time, Matthew was extremely disabled by several autoimmune conditions & I had been Paleo for a year.

Matthew had tried being Paleo for awhile, but found that a regular Paleo diet exacerbated his symptoms.

We decided to try the 30-day autoimmune elimination diet from Diane’s book & expected nothing less than miraculous results by month-end. So when Matthew experienced no improvement, he became tremendously discouraged and reverted back to eating all his SAD-old comfort foods.

It wasn’t until months later that we noticed that his psoriasis symptoms were better than they had been in years.

On reflection, we realized that the trend had started with the elimination diet. Which was enough to convince Matthew to (unenthusiastically) try it again. This time with the help of Eileen Laird & Sarah Ballantyne‘s blogs.

Festina Lente

~Make Haste Slowly

~Make Haste Slowly

‘Festina Lente’ is Latin & means ‘Make haste slowly’.

It’s an ancient concept, but one that isn’t often championed in our culture.

Festina Lente could be the maxim for cleaning your internal laboratory. It could also be the adage for healing through nutritional and lifestyle protocols.

The fantastic news is that by ‘making haste slowly’ with an elimination diet, you are not only cleaning your laboratory, which will enable you to know yourself better and gather data to improve your n=1 experiments, but you are also initiating the healing process.

Make Haste Slowly

To truly clean up your laboratory, 30 days is probably not enough. But it’s a beautiful beginning~.

You run the experiment, you get the data & you decide.

You are the laboratory.

 

 

The Child & Youth Mental Health Epidemic

Healing Complex SystemsMaybe we all have a reason to be here.

If I have a mission for my time on earth, it’s about healing.

Supporting the healing capacity of complex systems~.

That’s what I’m attempting with this blog. It’s what I try to do in my personal life. And it’s the primary emphasis of my career.

In my work, I coordinate a Collective Impact initiative called the Child & Youth Health Network.

A principal concern of all our partners in that initiative, across sectors & cultures, is the current mental health epidemic among children and youth.

We are hearing from our school district partners that our schools are overwhelmed, starting in Kindergarten.

Anxiety and depression rates are increasing. As are diagnoses of ADHD, autism and behavioral disorders.

Our kids are suffering.

We know from our government and non-profit organizations, as well as from youth and parents, that mental health services are insufficient and outdated. And the waitlists for those services are ridiculously long.

Youth who struggle with metal health issues have told us that the current mental health system is like Mordor. As in: “Even if you can get in, you’re still screwed”.

Even if you can get in...

Some data on youth mental health from my corner of the planet:

  • Among Southern Vancouver Island youth who attended secondary schools in 2013, 8% of males and 15% of females seriously thought about killing themselves in the past year (that’s over 1 in 10). And 4% of males and 7% of females reported attempting suicide in the past year.
  • In 2013, 8% of males and 22% of females who attended secondary schools on Southern Vancouver Island also reported cutting or intentionally injuring themselves in the past year.
  • Rates of problematic mental health for youth who are not engaged in secondary school are even higher, as often it is mental health issues, compounded with other risk factors, that result in disengagement from the education system. For example, 68% of homeless and street-involved youth in British Columbia (62% of males & 72% of females) reported having at least one specific mental health condition in 2015.

As I have Collective Impact conversations with diverse cross-sectoral partners who genuinely want to figure out how to reverse this alarming trend, I have to decide (over and over again) how much I am going to share about what I understand about the origin of this epidemic.

About the origin of illness.

Because saying that the Canada Food Guide is part of the problem is still considered a fringe perspective. Not supported by evidence.

The paradigm is changing, but it hasn’t shifted sufficiently yet to enable us to consider some of the primary contributing factors to this serious population-level health problem. Doctors are still dismissive of the role of diet in health.

So instead, we all get together and talk earnestly about better arrangements for the deck chairs on the Titanic. As the saying goes.

Even though we are coming together because we all acknowledge that such a serious health problem is going to require that we work together in innovative ways and try new approaches.

The Healing CapacityI know the system isn’t ready until it’s ready.

I know that because I have devoted my life to system-level work.

Supporting the healing capacity of complex systems.

It’s my thing~.

I know that I can influence systems by nurturing the conditions that will lead to a tipping point, but no one can force a system to do anything it isn’t ready to do. Or, more accurately, the resources required to try to instigate that kind of change make those efforts extremely wasteful and low leverage.

The Complex Origins of Mental Health Issues

I know, from experience, that mental health issues have complex origins.

I have worked with children, youth and families who live with conditions of complex risk for over 20 years. And I struggled with depression and anxiety for over 30 years, from the time I was 10 until a few years ago.

I still need to stick very close to my optimization protocol to be emotionally and spiritually well.

I know that my own mental health is impacted by a combination of:

  1. My personal history of connection and trauma (& the way my brain is wired as a result);
  2. My biological health;
  3. My spiritual health; &
  4. Epigenetic factors: the impacts of my experiences and my environment on the way my genes express themselves.

As is yours.

Through my own n=1 experiments I am working to address these four factors.

In my experience, it is the elements of the Microbiome Protocol that have had the most profound impact on my mental health, specifically through an intentional return to ancestral patterns of living, combined with continual monitoring of my well-being through biohacking methodologies.

I can’t say that out loud in my work.

Very often.

But I feel tremendous urgency.

Because I know that our young people are suffering. Really suffering. Right now.

And the impacts of the origin of the mental health epidemic become harder to reverse as time goes on.

beach youthWhen these children and youth become adults, how many of them will continue to struggle with their mental health?

How many will develop autoimmune conditions?

Because it seems that the origin of these illnesses, in many cases, is the same.

I believe the health of our young people is a pretty good indicator of the health of our society.

How much of this epidemic is preventable?

And when can we talk about it?

Peach-Glazed Beef & Broccoli (AIP)

Beef & Broccoli 3When I was a vegetarian, I read a cookbook by Nigella Lawson & was perplexed by her admission that sometimes she just needed to curl up & eat a big comforting bowl of ground meat.

Ground meat as comfort food.

I didn’t get it back then, as my comfort foods were all conveniently-packaged starches. They went straight from the grocery store shelf & into my mouth.

BeefWrecking my microbiome as they moved through my digestive system, causing depression & anxiety (which then provoked more starches).

Ground meat as comfort food.

Now I get it~.

But this recipe isn’t just a bowl full of meat.

It’s a bowl full of meat with flair.

But it’s still comforting in exactly the way Nigella described.

One of the hallmarks of comfort food (at least if you have to make it for yourself) is ease. Rapidity is another.

Beef & BroccoliFrom ingredients to fragrant steaming bowl of comfort, it needs to happen quick.

And it needs to be familiar.

Comfort-food-time is not the moment to start sourcing ground wild water buffalo or cricket flour.

Just some happily pastured ground beef. Classically presented. With broccoli.

And one homey-exotic twist: a peach.

So your comfort isn’t mundane.

It’s elevated. A bowl full of meat that’s full of comfort, exultation and well-being~.

Peach-Glazed Beef & Broccoli

 from petra8paleoBeef & Broccoli 2

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons lard, tallow or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Himalyan Salt (or similar)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried Basil
  • 4 heaping cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 ripe Peach
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 cup Water (or warm bone broth)

Cut the Broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Trim the stalks before chopping them, if they’re tough.

Melt the fat and fry the Beef in a skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, halve the Peach, and puree one half with the Coconut Aminos and Water (or substitute warm bone broth) in a food processor.

When the Beef is no longer pink, turn the heat up slightly, add the chopped Broccoli and pour the Peach puree over top. Stir to combine.

Don’t be alarmed if it looks like you might be making hamburger soup. You aren’t.

Leave the skillet uncovered and stir occasionally as the liquid reduces.

Meanwhile, dice the remaining half Peach.

When the Broccoli is al dente,  serve in bowls, garnished with diced Peaches.

Broccoli & Peach 3