My Story

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Happy New Year! Can you believe it is 2015? Also, where are the flying cars already? I’ve been waiting since at least 2000.

Let me get on with it and tell you the big news you really came here for . . . as of today, Mickey Trescott and I will be blogging together at Autoimmune Paleo. What in the world does that mean? Mostly, it means serving the AIP community is still incredibly important to Mickey and I, but we didn’t want to take on this mission alone anymore. We decided to join forces and blog together at her site, Autoimmune Paleo, as well as share articles, recipes, and other resources from a rapidly growing group of talented AIP bloggers. We want to give you all the great content you’ve loved getting from us for years, but we want to offer you more and we want you to be able to find it in one simple spot!

Mickey and I met back in 2012. Our healing journeys were relatively new and we were two of only a handful of AIP voices on the web. Between us we were battling five autoimmune diseases, including Celiac disease. A strong friendship developed and we began collaborating more and more.

Over the course of 2014, as the AIP community grew rapidly, we realized that it was not sustainable for us to continue as solo bloggers. We both wanted to keep contributing to the community, but we couldn’t do that and “practice what we preach.” For us, modeling AIP diet and lifestyle ideals for those on the autoimmune journey meant being committed, even if it required approaching our careers differently.

We started kicking around some ideas and in September we decided the best way forward was together! We agreed to combine our efforts and blog together. Our goal is to build a community where anyone suffering with chronic illness can seek wellness and feel supported by a wide variety of resources specific to the healing journey.

Leaving Alt-Ternative Autoimmune was not a light decision for me. I actually began this blog in 2009, telling the stories of my family’s adjustment to life in West Africa. Every word I ever published here was a labor of love and a heartfelt attempt at connecting with others. The site will still be here, but we will soon be moving the best of the best to Autoimmune Paleo, where you will also find new content from me. Telling the honest, helpful, and often vulnerable stories of autoimmunity is still my labor of love. Connecting with all of you is still my heartfelt intention. But now I’m going to do my storytelling with a friend at my side. See you at Autoimmune Paleo!!!

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It’s finally here!!  The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook: Eating for all Phases of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol has arrived!  Life is about so much more than food . . . and this cookbook covers all the other things that happen when you change your food. The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook will show you how to restore your health with one flavorful, nutritious meal at a time AND inspire you with the stories of wellness transformation.

I hope you will love it!  I am so excited to share it with everyone!  CLICK ON THIS LINK to learn ALL THE DETAILS about the book and get your copy today.

Oh!  One special announcement!  Thirty lucky winners will be chosen at random from the first 300 ebook purchase to receive a GORGEOUS, FREE, TOTALLY HANDMADE, 100% UNIQUE APRON.  That's a 1 in 10 chance of winning a handmade apron!!  You are automatically entered in the drawing with your ebook purchase, no extra steps necessary.  Take a look at some of the beautiful designs & colors below:

Aprons

Aprons IV

Aprons V

The print version is coming soon!!
The print version is coming soon!!

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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.

 

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Celebration

Update:  A winner was chosen for this giveaway.  Thanks for celebrating with me!

Today is my two year Paleo-Versary!  I was so busy doing life, that I forgot about it!!  I was on a phone call with a client & I looked at my calendar & suddenly remembered . . . today is the day.  I've been living this lifestyle for two full years and the positive changes have been amazing.

What are those positive changes?  Let me regale you with my favorite . . . a list!

  • My Celiac Disease is well controlled using a version of Paleo, the AutoImmune Protocol.  Shout out to the AIPers, I know you guys are rockstars!!
  • My Endometriosis, although not completely healed, has in many ways improved.
  • I spend 98% of my time free of all my former confusing, upsetting AI symptoms.
  • My mental & emotional health are 110% improved.  I feel calm, capable, & happy now.
  • My family is healthier.
  • I LOVE cooking & LOVE the food I eat.
  • I have a new career, Health Coaching, & it's all because of this journey!!

Honestly, I could go on & on, but what I really want to do is share the Paleo life with other folks.  So, to celebrate my Paleo-versary I am giving away a spot in my group program, SAD to AIP in SIX.  You can read all about it here.  Entering the giveaway is easy.  Just leave a comment on this post telling me what part of the Paleo lifestyle you enjoy the most or, if you haven't gotten started yet, which part of the Paleo lifestyle you are most interested in.  The winner will be chosen using a random number generator.

Thanks for helping me celebrate everyone!  Living this life is easier, 'cause I have so many awesome cheerleaders out there.  Happy Paleo-Versary to me!  😉