anigif

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do?

Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10th

Everyone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown

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28-Days-of-AIP

UPDATE:  This giveaway is over.  The winner was Diane B.  Congrats to Diane!  Go checkout this book folks!  You will not be disappointed.

Have you ever come across an awesome food blogger & thought, "Sigh.  I want to try all of these recipes.  I just wish they were organized into menu plans for me."  (BTW, I actually do say the word, "sigh" out loud when thinking to myself.)  If you are anything like me, you love trying new, delicious foods, but you are not necessarily a gigantic fan of tedious menu planning & shopping list creation.  I teach people to do this . . . every day . . . for a living, but I must confess I do not like menu planning.  I create one every week & I make up the list every week, 'cause I know it works, but deep down I can't stand it.  When I started AIP, this chore got a whole lot more "chorey" for me.

Enter my hero, Christina Feindel of A Clean Plate.  As far as I'm concerned she might as well be swooping in to my rescue with a kick-ass cape & a body suit on, because she is saving me from one of my most dreaded duties . . . menu planning & shopping list creation!!  Plus, she is one of those awesome food bloggers who have tons of new, delicious recipes I want to try, but I'm just not organized enough to get 'er done!  Christina has written a very affordable, uncomplicated e-book, 28 Days of AIP, with four-week's worth of fully AIP menu plans & shopping lists covering some of her most unique & tasty recipe creations.  Breakfast, lunch, & dinner, seven days a week, for four weeks, & all AIP.  See what I mean?  Hero material (cape & body suit not required).  As per ushe, I want to tell you guys why I love this book with a list.

Reasons why I love 28 Days of AIP:

1)  Somebody did the work for me!  For real people, what do I want more than anything else?  Not a red Ferrari, not a mansion overlooking the beach, not a vacation in Fiji (well, okay, I sorta' want that).  I'm a simple girl, I just want somebody to pick up a little bit of the slack for me.  I want some pre-planned menus & shopping lists, that's all.  Wish granted!  Christina has laid it all out so beautifully in her e-book.  The shopping lists alone could be a piece of art compared to the messy excuses for shopping lists I write up every week.

2)  Variety is the spice of life.  My menu plans have been a bit dull lately.  I tend to get into routines and make too much of the same thing over & over.  This is not good from a health perspective, since food variety also helps ward off nutrient deficiency, but it is also not good from a psychological perspective.  Research shows that novel experiences help us feel happier.  Christina has managed to create four whole weeks of delicious, varied meals.  Morning, noon, & night you can look forward to something you may have never tried before, especially because Christina has a knack for adapting ethnic foods to AIP.  I feel much less bored already!

3)  The healthy stuff is all there.  You know what I had trouble with?  Making sure I get at least nine cups of veggies a day.  I don't always get enough servings of seafood in every week.  Organ meat several times a week.  Nope, not always.  Christina remembered it all & planned it for me though.  A Five-Veggie Stir-Fry that is sure to help me squeeze in all those veggies.  Salmon Fritters.  Yes, please!  And a liverwurst recipe that is so incredibly flavorful I won't have to worry about trying to choke down my organ meat quota.

You can purchase a copy of 28 Days of AIP here or check out my giveaway below.

Giveaway

I honestly love 28 Days of AIP & think that you'll find a copy of your own extremely helpful too.  Lucky you, you can win one here!  All you have to do to enter is go like Christina's Facebook page & then come back & leave a comment on this post letting me know you liked her page.  One of the comments will be chosen at random & I'll announce a winner on September 3, 2014.  This is an e-book giveaway, so no worries about shipping costs.  It's open to anyone, anywhere  (See Australia, NZ, & Europe, I've got your back!

82 Comments

TPAC-Final-front-cover-sm2

UPDATE:  This giveaway is over.  The winner was Mary N.  Congrats to Mary!  Go checkout this book folks!  You will not be disappointed.

What happened today that is exciting for autoimmune warriors like you & I?  The much anticipated The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mom) was released!!  Full confession . . . I got to do my happy dance a few weeks ago when my review copies arrived.  I'm doing the happy dance all over again today though, 'cause you guys are going to looooove this thing.  I mean TOTALLY HEART it from cover to cover.

You all know my style, I like to keep reviews simple.  Sarah's work is always all or nothing & speaks for itself.  I just want to give you the clear-cut deets on the awesomeness inside.

Reasons I love The Paleo Approach Cookbook:

1)  It's fearless.  You know what there is way too much of in the AI battle.  Fear.  It is scary to be diagnosed with an AI disease or worse yet to suspect one for years, but wrestle over & over trying to get a name for it.  If you're here, you're probably ready to start healing with food & moving past that fear, but you might be moving into a new one.  Some of the most healing foods are freaky!  I have sometimes faced this fear myself & I encounter fear of new foods often as a health coach.  Sarah to the rescue!  She is completely into trying everyone of these super nutrient-dense, healing foods & she takes us along for the ride.  From the comparatively benign calamari all the way to the extremely adventurous "Rocky Mountain Fried Oysters," Sarah shows us how to prepare these dishes with gusto & chow down without trepidation.  (Trivia Time:  I'm from the mountain West, so I know what's up, but do you know what a "Rocky Mountain Fried Oyster" is??)

2)  It's exhaustive.  No, no.  I didn't say exhausting (it's anything but that), I said exhaustive.  If you already own a copy of Sarah's first book, The Paleo Approach, you'll know what I'm talking about here.  Sarah is an incredibly meticulous researcher & writer & that style applies to her cookbook too.  There are nutrition facts with every recipe, FODMAP alerts (shout out to my SIBO brothers & sisters!), preparation tips, meal plans, shopping guides, plenty of review on the basics, AND over 200 recipes!!

3)  It's inclusive.  I've mentioned this while reviewing a few Paleo Autoimmune books, but it is honestly my feeling every time I flip through one of these resources.  I don't feel alone anymore.  This battle for our health, it's a tough one.  Using a dietary & lifestyle protocol as restrictive as this one can feel isolating, but with yet another incredible resource from Sarah I am again reminded that I can find health & still eat scrumptious food.  How scrumptious?  Well, last year I was one of the lucky folks that got to help Sarah test recipes & one of my recipes was the Carob Ganache Mini Torte (found on page 360 of the book).  It was AMAZING!  Then in February, while Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo & I were working with Sarah on development of The Paleo Mom Consulting, I got a chance to try the Olive Oil Ice "Cream" (found on page 355 of the book).  Let's just say it is the most decadent thing I've ever put in my mouth & Mickey & Sarah probably would have preferred to hear a lot less obscene eating noise from me.  That's what I mean about inclusive though . . . after years of following this protocol, it is a welcome feeling to have joy back in eating & even be able to share it with friends.

You can purchase a copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook here or check out my giveaway below.

Giveaway

Okay, so now you know all about why I love The Paleo Approach Cookbook, but you probably want your own copy now.  You can win one here!  All you have to do to enter is like my Facebook page or subscribe to my blog via email using the subscription put at the top or bottom right sidebar.  Then comment on this post & tell me which you did.  One of the comments will be chosen at random & I'll announce a winner on August 28, 2014.  I'll ship anywhere in the world, so don't be shy Australia, NZ, & Europe (I know you guys are around!).

It’s become a tradition on my blog to host giveaways of my favorite books. Entering to win is easy. Either “like” my page on Facebook or subscribe to my blog by email. When you’ve done that, simply leave a comment below, letting me know which one you’ve done. I’ve decided to open this giveaway up to the whole world, so even if you live outside the U.S., you’re welcome to enter. The winner will be randomly chosen on August 15, 2014. That’s 11 days before the book is available in stores! Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of the book as well as a copy to give away, with no obligation. I’m 100% honest in my opinions. If I didn’t love this book, I wouldn’t have written the review, nor hosted the giveaway. As proof, I’m putting my money where my mouth is; this book is heavy! Sarah donated the book, but I’m donating shipping, and I’ll ship anywhere in the world that the winner lives.

- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2014/08/11/paleo-approach-cookbook-review-recipe-and-giveaway/#more-12396

It’s become a tradition on my blog to host giveaways of my favorite books. Entering to win is easy. Either “like” my page on Facebook or subscribe to my blog by email. When you’ve done that, simply leave a comment below, letting me know which one you’ve done. I’ve decided to open this giveaway up to the whole world, so even if you live outside the U.S., you’re welcome to enter. The winner will be randomly chosen on August 15, 2014. That’s 11 days before the book is available in stores! Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a review copy of the book as well as a copy to give away, with no obligation. I’m 100% honest in my opinions. If I didn’t love this book, I wouldn’t have written the review, nor hosted the giveaway. As proof, I’m putting my money where my mouth is; this book is heavy! Sarah donated the book, but I’m donating shipping, and I’ll ship anywhere in the world that the winner lives.

- See more at: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2014/08/11/paleo-approach-cookbook-review-recipe-and-giveaway/#more-12396

18 Comments

Endo Woman Repaired

Here it is folks, here's my surgery update.  The long & short of it . . . the outcome was AAAAMAZING!  It has been 11 days & I'm still not really done floating on the super surprising & very positive outcome.  Based on the surgeons early estimations of what was wrong & what would be required to fix it, the post-surgery results are downright miraculous.  I count myself a very, very blessed woman.  So let's recap . . .

On May 27th, my husband & I met with the very experienced surgeon we ultimately decided to go with to perform my laparoscopic surgery.  Based on symptoms, physical exam, imaging, & my prior Endo. history, the surgeon thought that I had severe Stage 4 Endo that was in my bowel wall.  He told us that he would use the laparoscopy to assess how serious the bowel involvement was, & if required, I would have to have a second surgery to resection my bowel.  While he promised that he would not preform full hysterectomy on me, he thought my right ovary & tube might also need to be removed.  He further explained that he was concerned it might be in my chest cavity, since 4-5% of his patients with Endo of the bowel also had implants in their chest cavity, a very dangerous situation that can compromise heart, lungs, and/or diaphragm.  The surgeon told us if it was found on or near my heart or lungs a hormonal treatment method would be required.  I would be put on drugs that induce menopause & destroy the implants.  My case was further complicated by my MTHFR gene mutation, which put me at high risk for blood clots following surgery & during the potential hormonal treatment.

It was a scary prognosis to say the least.  I wrote about that fear in this blog post.  I also decided to do the most that I could to help myself.  I learned all I could about Endo affecting the bowel & other organs.  I learned about the more advanced surgical procedure my surgeon advocates.  I learned about the hospital where the surgery would be done & I learned how to read the lab work I needed to assess my clot risks pre-surgery.  I then consulted all my friends in the "alternative" health fields & put together a master plan of supplements & complimentary therapies to help me before & after surgery.  Then I went on vacation, threw myself into my cookbook project, & prayed every day with my husband.

Eleven days ago my husband & I arrived at the hospital at six AM, as prepared as we were going to be for whatever came next.  Literally every member of the surgical team, including a student (lucky me, I got to be a young doctor's lesson of the day!) came & spoke to me one at a time, each of them acquainting his or herself with the specifics of my history.  Then the surgeon came & spoke to us once more.  It was the most confident I have ever felt about my life in the hands of a health care team.  At eight AM, the anesthesiologist told me she was now giving me something that would "really chill me out" & then . . . lights out.

I woke up in recovery with Nurse Connie.  I was very groggy & out of it, with a terrible sore throat from the breathing tube, but even in that state I was very clear about one thing . . . "If I need to eat to take a pain pill, you need to get my husband.  He has a banana for me.  I'm a Celiac & I am NOT eating a cracker!"  LOL!  I pestered Nurse Connie about my husband & his banana (I'm sure I sounded obscene) at least 30 times.  She finally went & got him & returned with a smile.  "Wow!  Your husband is tall."  In my still mostly drugged brain I replied, "Yes & he's handsome.  That's going to help me when we get old."  Oh post-anesthesia blabbering!

My hubby walked in, I ate my banana, had some water, & took my pain pill & then he told me the full update from the doctor.  I sat there with tears streaming down my face as he recounted every detail of their conversation.  I did have very severe Endo in my pelvic cavity & due to this the surgery took twice as long as expected, but he was able to save all reproductive organs, even the ovary & fallopian tube he thought may be damaged beyond repair.  Waiting even a month longer would have meant my bowel wall would be compromised, but he was able to remove all the Endo & I would not require a resectioning.  There was no evidence of Endo in my chest.  Even better, he feels that I do not need hormonal therapy of any kind & due to his careful techniques, I have a reasonable chance of staying free of Endo for at least 10 years.  After talking with a hematologist, they had also decided that I did not require blood thinners post-surgery.  It was a shocking turnaround from what we had been prepared for & we were ecstatic.  My husband told me that even the surgeon seemed ready to jump up & down with surprise & relief.  I will meet with him in a few weeks for a follow-up & go over more detail about the surgery & the future.

I walked three times a day every day after surgery.  I stopped narcotic pain killers after day three & only needed three doses of NSAIDS after that.  I have been a little more tired if I try to do too much & had some tiny uncomfortable twinges here & there, but in general my recovery has been awesome.  The supplements I am taking are having a dramatic effect on my mood & healing.  If the external healing is any indicator, then the internal healing must be going really well.  The incisions look fantastic, although after two laporoscopies, I think my belly button is probably going to stay slightly mangled.  And that is okay with me.  I have so much to be thankful for & the battle wounds to prove it.  I think there is light at the end of this tunnel.

9 Comments

ang8 copy
Avocado-Lime Hand Pies

Let's get something straight right away . . . I NEVER thought I would write a cookbook.  Never.  I have pretty much always wanted to write a book, but a cookbook?  No.  That was not my gig.  I'm a good cook.  I've been cooking since I was a kid & navigated my way through kitchens all over the world through adulthood, even tackled the dreaded, restrictive Paleo Autoimmune Protocol . . . all with great success & the happy tummies of friends & family.  I never intended to write a cookbook though.

Something happened very late last year that started to change my mind . . . I realized that a big part of the story I long to tell is in food.  What I ate had dramatically changed my life & I was showing other folks how to do that day in & day out.  My Facebook audience was growing & I was sharing photos of my meals several times a week.  The one comment I got over & over from nervous, but reassured folks was, "You make me feel like I can do this.  Your food looks real."  I was inspired by the vulnerability of those comments.  People were ready to change their lives & reclaim their health, they just needed to know that somebody just like them, a regular person in a regular kitchen making regular food, had actually done it too.

I started to put some plans together & I began talking to my AIP soul-sister, Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo.  She encouraged me over & over to consider it.  She is the sort of friend that always challenges you to press beyond your comfort zone.  My comfort zone was in telling stories, but not in finding a way to better share my skill in the kitchen with a fast-growing community that was anxious to learn how to heal with food.  She made things simple & accessible for folks & I saw how much the community appreciated that resource coming from a woman they could identify with on many levels.  The spark of inspiration that had started with the vulnerability of my readers was fanned into flames by my kind friend & quickly burned right out of my former "zone."

I started working on my own e-cookbook in January.  In February I asked my youngest sister, Jenifer, to join me in the process.  In her younger years she could not be trusted to boil water, but she had worked hard to develop her skills & I knew her creativity in the kitchen would be a wonderful addition.  Plus, who doesn't want to do a fun project with their sister?  And then I thought, how can I triple the fun?  In March, we asked our long-time friend & professional photographer, Toni of Toni Rae Photography, to work with us.  We started with over 100 recipes & have diligently tested & refined for months now.  The final cut came down to 60 delicious, inventive recipes that touch on all phases of the Autoimmune Protocol, from strict elimination phase dishes to recipes with ingredients from each of the four reintroduction stages (as laid out in Sarah Ballantyne's, The Paleo Approach).

My sister, Jeni, & I
My sister, Jeni, & I

For my vacation this year, I flew to Montana (my home state), along with 63 pounds meat.  I was thrilled to be kicking off my project there, but I live in Maryland now & that's where my incredible friends & farmers, Nora of Clark's Farm & Kelly of Hensing's Hilltop Acres, are located.  I knew that my cookbook needed to feature their amazing, top-quality, grass-fed, organic meats.  The moment I arrived I got busy cooking up a storm with Jenifer & Toni.  We cooked 10 recipes a day, eight hours a day, for six days!

Unusual vacation choice, I know, but it was an awesome way to spend time with the people I love.  Luckily, my entire family lives in Montana, so we had eager recipe testers & obliging dishwashers every day.  We had lots of fun, lots of bloopers, & very tired feet, but I am proud to say with Toni's remarkable skill we do not have a single shot that isn't REAL food.  (Since my early fan's fears about adopting this diet were eased by seeing photos of my real plates day after day, it was very important to me that we not use "fake food" in a single photo.)  We are working hard at perfecting the writing, editing, & design now & hope to release the e-cookbook by early December.

I hope you will find my e-cookbook to be another valuable weapon in your personal arensal for the autoimmune battle.  I hope it is helpful, inspiring, & eases any apprehension you have about whether or not life can still be delicious on a healing diet.  Thank you for letting me have a voice in this community, I hope my work will show you how much it means to me to be able to offer another one of my skills to you.

In September of 2012 I started the current incarnation of my blog with a post called, "A New Story."  I ended that post saying, "I want to tell you some new stories."  I am very excited to leave my comfort zone behind & announce "the next story."  I am working hard to make sure it is the tastiest story yet.