Gluten-Free Paleo Recipes From Author Carrie Vitt
Sometimes life takes a turn and you end up in a place you never even imagined. That’s what happened to me. In 2008 I suddenly developed hives from the neck up that wouldn’t go away. My hair began falling out, I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t have any energy. I cried. I became very depressed. I didn’t want to go anywhere because not only did I look horrible, but I was in constant pain. I spent many days in bed with ice packs on my face because my skin was burning, red and peeling.
I had become allergic to everything. If I ate vegetables I would swell. If I ate meat I would swell. If I walked into a room with too much perfume, I would swell. So I stayed at home. All day. Every day.
I spent nine months going from doctor to doctor without anyone really listening to me or running tests. I finally found a doctor who listened, ran the required tests and in the spring of 2009 diagnosed me with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
The doctor’s prognosis was unsatisfying: I could take medicine to potentially manage my symptoms, but my thyroid would eventually stop working and I’d be on medications for the rest of my life. I decided to look for another path.
Years ago, I overcame chronic migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and eczema by switching to unprocessed foods, so I called a highly recommended nutritionist and asked for her help with my new health issue. She helped me understand that when the body is taxed, grains and processed foods can cause inflammation. By removing the offending foods, I could let my body rest and encourage recovery.
This new path required a dedication to changing my diet unlike anything I’d experienced before. I couldn’t cheat at all – just one dose of gluten could have caused my body to start attacking itself again! I omitted all processed foods, grains and most sugars.
So what did I eat? I ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from pastured meats, healthy fats, eggs, unprocessed dairy (I never had an issue with unprocessed dairy, and in fact, it had a very positive effect on my recovery), seeds, nuts, lots of vegetables, small amounts of natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
It sounds extreme; it felt extreme, too! I was determined to reverse my disease, though. Once I got going, it wasn’t as hard as I’d anticipated. More importantly, my hives eventually went away (I haven’t had any since November of 2009), my hair grew back, my disease is in full remission and I can now spend time with my family and friends.
Changing my diet helped me get my life back!
My health struggles and path to healing led me to write my new book, The Grain-Free Family Table: 125 Delicious Recipes for Fresh, Healthy Eating Every Day. In this book I share my entire story of recovery, tips to help reduce inflammation and encourage recovery from disease, and over 125 grain-free recipes to get you moving on this new path.
Here are two of my favorite recipes from my cookbook that are easy and quick to prepare:
Cauliflower and Bacon Hash
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
6 bacon slices (nitrate-free and pastured preferred), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion
1 head “riced” cauliflower*
2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the chopped onion to the bacon fat and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower has softened and some pieces are just beginning to turn golden brown on the edges. Stir the bacon in to the cauliflower mixture and serve.
*Cut the cauliflower into 2-inch pieces. Place half the cauliflower in the food processor and pulse for seven or eight 1-second pulses, or until the cauliflower pieces are about the size of grains of rice. Pour into a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.
Baked Pears and Cream
You can substitute peaches, nectarines, apricots, or apples for the pears, depending on what looks good or is in season. To change the flavors a bit in this recipe you can add cinnamon, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice, or add a splash of amaretto or brandy just before serving. Plumped raisins tossed on top would also make a nice addition.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
2 Bosc or Bartlett pears, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and adjust the rack to the middle position.
Pour half of the butter and half of the maple syrup in a shallow baking dish. Place the pears cut side down and pour the remaining butter and syrup over the pears. Bake for 10 minutes. Pour the cream over the pears and bake 10 minutes more. Serve the pears warm, drizzled with the sweet cream.
Paleo/dairy-free adaptation: Use coconut oil in place of the butter. Use 1/4 cup canned coconut milk in place of the cream.
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