allergen-free meal prep plan

In addition to being a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I am also a full-time mom. Well, when I’m not busy with work, that is. The only way my family is able to stick to eating allergen-free, nutrient-dense foods on a weekly basis is through some simple meal preparations that I do twice a week. Here are some of my tricks of the trade so you can be super prepared for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks — without reaching for junk food or empty carbs to fill you up!

Remember to invest at least one to two hours, twice per week on meal prep and you’ll have at least 7 days worth of food ready to grab and go. Spend one of your hours on a Saturday or Sunday making these items, then about 3-4 days later, spend another hour or two making these same items. The following week, you can rotate your meal ideas/recipes, but try to stick to the same meal ideas for both prep sessions each week for sake of convenience, ease in grocery shopping, and storage space in your fridge. The goal is to keep everything fairly neutral so it can be rolled over into another meal. If your family tends to eat more than this list, at least you will have done a ton of prep work in advance so you will significantly lighten your load, even if you do need to prepare more proteins after a few days.

Here’s a general meal prep for a family of 3-4. Keep in mind, this is for those people who really only want to eat out once, maybe twice per week max! So your every meal and snack needs to be accounted for here. It may look like a lot of food but it will get eaten if this is all you have to rely on — no quick microwaveable t.v. dinners. (Be sure to avoid your individual allergens — perhaps dairy, eggs, salicylates, legumes, or nightshades).

It’s best to have multiple protein sources (as this is the main dish and the most filling) for lunches and dinners. Here we have bacon for breakfast or salads, ground sauteed meat for salads, to put with a roasted veggie, to put on baked potatoes, or to turn into a sandwich or quesadilla. 

Then we have multiple kinds of vegetables — both raw and cooked. The raw veg can be kept raw and eaten as snacks or salads, or they can be sauteed quickly since they’re already prepped for you.

Cut up fruits that can be stored without oxidizing. Mangoes work well. Also be sure to have grab-and-go fruits like apples on hand since they can be added to meals that you already prepped and there is no additional work involved. 

And finally, choose which kinds of carbs you would like: from grains or starches, or from fruits and vegetables. This will depend on which unique diet you need to be eating. Gluten-free starches that can easily be added to this prep work include rice and roasted potatoes. 

Spent 1-2 hours prepping:

  1. 1/2 dozen flax muffins or coconut flour muffins
  2. coconut flour banana bread
  3. 1 dozen (hard boiled) eggs
  4. chopped up vegetables: 5 bell peppers, 4 cucumbers, 1 large jicama, shred 1 bag carrots, cut 1 bag celery
  5. sautee 3 pounds ground beef, turkey, or chicken meat with neutral spices like onion and garlic powder
  6. cut and roast 2 medium cauliflower
  7. halve and stuff 4 zucchini with loose breakfast sausage meat, then bake until cooked through
  8. bake 1 pound bacon (in oven on cookie sheet — super simple)
  9. chop 4 large mangoes (or other fruit you like that won’t brown)

 

Other things to have on hand to be able to put meals together with the foods you prepped:

  • a salad dressing you like — either homemade or store bought
  • large bag of lettuce of your choice
  • starches, if you are someone who needs to eat a higher carbohydrate diet (for example, swap out the roasted cauliflower for roasted carrots, parsnips, beets, celery root, potatoes, turnip or rutabagas) or gluten-free bread to make sandwiches
  • water-packed olives, water chestnuts, beets, capers to add to salads
  • raw fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut (if you tolerate them)
  • crumbled and shredded cheeses (if you tolerate them) to put on salads
  • no work produce like avocados — just slice and eat! also, apples, peaches, plums, pears, bananas, and tangerines
  • condiments you like to spice things up: mustard, mayo, honey mustard, hot sauce, salsa

 

Here’s what those meals will look like:

Breakfast:

  • flax or coconut flour muffin
  • piece of banana bread
  • hard boiled eggs and mango
  • bacon and mango
  • a combination of the above
  • roasted cauliflower warmed up and served with bacon sprinkled on top
  • sauteed green bell peppers (that you already cut up) with scrambled eggs
  • sauteed green bell peppers with fresh-cooked breakfast sausage
  • stuffed zucchini
  • roasted cauliflower topped with a fresh fried egg

Lunches/dinners:

  • salad with ground meat, chopped raw vegetables, salad dressing of your choice (add hard boiled egg if you tolerate eggs)
  • roasted cauliflower (or other veg of your choice) with sauteed ground meat (and side salad of chopped raw veggies with dressing)
  • flax muffin sandwich with avocado, bacon, and lettuce 
  • stuffed zucchini with raw vegetable salad, coconut flour banana bread
  • stuffed zucchini with roasted cauliflower
  • “BLT” salad: lettuce, bacon, hard boiled egg, cucumber, avocado with dressing, flax muffin
  • gluten-free bread with ground meat and lettuce, side salad of raw veggies
  • quesadilla with ground meat (if you can have dairy), side salad of raw veggies
  • loaded baked potato (if you can have potatoes) with ground meat and side salad of raw veggies

Snacks:

  • mango
  • flax muffins or coconut flour muffins
  • coconut flour banana bread
  • hard boiled eggs
  • raw celery
  • raw jicama
  • raw cucumber

Then about 3 days later, pull from the same list and make the same items for the remainder of the week. If you’re really into variety, you’ll want to choose different dishes. But for sake of simplicity and ease of preparation (and less grocery shopping!), using the same meal ideas makes things easier on you. You don’t have to prepare gourmet meals — keep it simple and make what works. The goal is to get full and stick to your health journey. Even just one hour of prep work is worth it!

 

 

definitive guide to low-carb snacking for weight loss (and who should eat low carb)

I never ever recommend the same diet to every client I work with. We are all way too genetically and “environmentally” different. That is, no two people have the same nutritionally-significant gene mutations and no two people were raised with … Continue reading

sourdough “white flour” gluten-free tortillas

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Fermenting grains is intimidating at first. But once you learn simple methods (like this one) for souring your grains and flours — and once you become addicted to the delicious sourdough flavor — you’ll also probably want to ferment any grain or legume products you cook. These tortillas are meant to mimic a traditional white flour tortilla because sometimes you get sick of corn on a gluten-free diet, or maybe you can’t eat corn altogether. Hence the sourdough “white flour” gluten-free tortilla.They’re chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside and pleasantly sour.

There is a school of thought that “white flour” products don’t need to be soaked or soured because the phytic acid (that is naturally-occurring in grains and legumes, and is a cause of health problems) has in large part been reduced or removed from the flour. For these tortillas, I use a mixture of white rice flour and starch. So while the phytic acid is slim to nil, I still sour this dough to get rid of any residual phytic acid and also because it develops the flavor, and removes any bitterness from the white rice flour (sometimes a problem with gluten-free flours), as well as reducing the carbohydrate content.

Remember, this is a method. You could switch up the flours and other ingredients. If you didn’t want to use white rice flour, you could use chickpea, brown rice, sorghum, etc. It just won’t have the same “white flour” feel. Also the measurements can be approximated depending on which flours you have; feel free to experiment — soured flatbreads like this almost always turn out well (some people even omit the starch and just use a soured flour).

sourdough “white flour” gluten-free tortillas

ingredients

approx 2 cups fine white rice flour

approx 1/2 cup gluten-free starch of your choice (tapioca is what I use)

approx 1/4 cup unflavored whole fat yogurt of your choice (I use a local grass-fed non-pasteurized yogurt but you could also find a non-dairy that has no distinctive flavor or use raw fermented sauerkraut liquid. I’m not going to lie — using a non-dairy yogurt that, well, tastes non-dairy will probably ruin this recipe — make sure it is truly unflavored)

water or milk of your choice (will vary — enough to work the flours into a thick dough. I use raw milk because I feel better about letting it sit at room temperature than a pasteurized milk; raw milk still contains live probiotic cultures that will help to sour the dough, rather than run the risk of spoiling as in pasteurized which has been stripped of its probiotics)

pinch of sea salt

large mixing bowl that has a lid (or find something else to cover the bowl)

spoon

method

Place white rice flour and tapioca starch in large mixing bowl with salt and mix until blended together. Add yogurt and mix. The dough will still be dry at this point. Add water or milk until the dough pulls together and becomes very thick but no longer dry. It should be the consistency of masa (or, play-Doh, for those who don’t live in Texas). Place lid or cover over bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. The dough will sour like a sourdough bread, thanks to the cultures in the yogurt. It will start to smell like sourdough/yogurt which is how you know it has had enough time at room temperature. Once it has soured to your liking, place in fridge for a few hours to harden up before cooking. (Note that you don’t want to let the dough sit at room temp for longer than the 12-24 hours because it will start to get way too sour and almost alcoholic or acetone, unpleasant tasting, as when bread has over-proofed).

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Once dough has had a chance to chill and firm up, preheat a cast-iron pan over medium with a few tablespoons of fat of your choice. (Of course I use pastured lard that I render from cheap, but good quality fat from the farmer’s market — because I’m lucky enough to be able to find that locally. Pastured animal fat is a — no, “the” — source of vitamins A, D, E, and K so don’t be scared and stop eating low-fat/low cholesterol).

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Roll a ball of dough of about 4 tablespoons in your hand or in a tortilla press until you form a very thin circular tortilla. Once pan has preheated, place tortilla in pan and fry until brown and crispy on one side, then flip and do the same for the other side. Then top with toppings of your choice and eat like an open-faced tostada, or gently fold into a taco, or use for a dairy or non-dairy quesadilla. Delicious! 20150617_181708. 20150617_181658

anti-candida diet menu ideas

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Systemic yeast infections are a hallmark of autoimmune and thyroid disease — the two often go hand in hand with yeast overgrowth or fungal infections. In order to improve your thyroid numbers and immune function, eliminating the yeast in your body — and the foods that feed yeast — is essential.

Anti-candida (ie: yeast) diets vary in severity, but the most important points to remember on any anti-yeast elimination diet are:

  1. avoid sugars — even natural ones (like honey or maple syrup), high-sugar fruits, and also artificial sweeteners
  2. avoid anything that is inherently moldy or a mushroom itself (ie: moldy food, mushrooms, truffles, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, old spices)
  3. avoid vinegar and condiments made with vinegar (mustard, mayo, ketchup)
  4. avoid food allergens — most commonly gluten and dairy, but also avoid any other allergens you react to
  5. avoid high starch foods — grains, beans, legumes
  6. avoid processed meats and low-quality proteins — choose organic, wild-caught, pastured, grass-fed proteins
  7. avoid refined fats and oils (ie: canola, soy, sunflower)
  8. add probiotic foods
  9. avoid chemicals in your food, water, and beauty/hygiene routine
  10. usually there is an underlying food sensitivity that needs to be addressed. “untreated” food intolerances can and will feed yeast in the body. common examples: gluten intolerance, egg or airy intolerance, oxalate sensitivity, phenol sensitivity, histamine intolerance, etc. so yes, elimination of known allergens is important, but consider which foods you may also be sensitive to and eliminate those. 

Keep in mind that going too low-carb can actually slow your thyroid, so a strictly ketogenic diet (no carbs, even in the form of low-sugar fruits and root vegetables) is not ideal or the goal. Candida takes time to eliminate and chances are, if it’s causing you trouble (ie: thyroid or autoimmune symptoms) it’s already pathogenic and will need months or years to get rid of. Be patient and don’t rush the process. Stress can and will give yeast a better opportunity to proliferate. Shorter “cleanses” — where the diet is followed for a month or two — can be useful as well if you don’t feel comfortable committing to a long-term diet upfront.

anti-candida meal ideas:

  • B: smoked salmon and fried egg with sauteed zucchini and bell peppers, or cucumber slices
  • B: bacon (high quality with no additives) and roasted sweet potato with toppings you like (coconut butter or ghee, caramelized onions and spinach)
  • B: sausage (high quality with no additives) and eggs with a low-glycemic fruit and coconut flour bread
  • B: chia seed pudding with unsweetened coconut milk, cinnamon, and berries of your choice (or also use coconut butter to make it more rich)
  • L: leftover salmon with plantain chips and salsa and guacamole
  • L: simple tuna salad (lemon, fresh herbs, water-packed olives, olive oil) over lettuce and veggies
  • L: homemade beef chili (meat, veggies, fat, broth, and spices) topped with green onion and zucchini “pasta” if you like
  • L: homemade baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant, garlic, onion, pureed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and tahini if you like) with veggie chips and roasted chicken
  • D: middle eastern meatballs (ground pork, onion, cilantro and basil, curry powder) with roasted beets, and raw vegetable sticks and garlic-hemp seed dipping sauce
  • D: grain-free salmon cakes with water-packed olives and roasted red peppers served over a salad, with roasted spaghetti squash
  • D: seared scallops  or shrimp with roasted carrots, parsnips and onions, served with sauerkraut
  • D: lettuce wraps of bacon, roasted chicken, tomato, onion, leftover baba ghanouj on romaine lettuce leaves with sweet potato chips