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!

 

 

Low carb savory flax muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free, keto)


Sometimes you want the texture of bread even if you’re not currently eating bread (maybe because you’re gluten-free, grain-free, or maybe you need to eat lower carbohydrate for metabolic issues). These savory flax muffins are the perfect solution. Plus they’re full of protein and healthy fats to keep you full and stabilize blood sugar. 
Ingredients:

Makes about 6 muffins

3 eggs 

1/4 cup fat/oil of your choice (pastured lard, ghee, butter, coconut oil, palm oil shortening, Olive oil, avocado oil, etc)

1 cup golden flax meal (not whole flax)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional, or add other spices as desired)

2 tablespoons water (if needed to thin batter — should be consistency of thick pancake batter)

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese ) only if desired — this is optional and the recipe works without it)

Pinch of salt
Directions:

In small bowl, beat the eggs and oil with a fork until combined. Add cheese if using, and spice, salt, and leaveners. Add water if needed to thin (this will depend on the viscosity of your oil). 

Let stand 5-10 minutes for flax to absorb the moisture. Spoon into approximately 6 well-greased muffin cups in a muffin tin (do not use liners) — fill half way. Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked in the center. Remove from the tin and allow to cool.

the metabolic consequences of distracted eating

Whether or not you’ve been formally diagnosed with thyroid disease, you can still be in a poor metabolic state: chronic hormonal imbalances, and blood sugar or insulin swings.

This can be due to:
-poor eating habits we acquired from our families of origin
-external stressors
-internal stressors (shame, fear, anger, resentment, etc)
-chemical exposure
-genetic inheritance
-congenital nutrient deficiencies and hormonal imbalances
-and more

Poor eating habits can mean the kinds of foods we grew up eating but it can also mean eating habits like eating too quickly, eating while stressed or angry, not paying attention while we’re eating, craving distractions like tv or social media while eating, and constantly overeating because it’s pleasurable.

This weekend some family friends visited us. They have an 8 month old who is exploring foods and loving them. He’s a hefty boy with a new found love of food. His mom asked me if I thought babies could ever overeat. I told her I didn’t believe babies this young were able to turn off the “I’m full signal” from gut to brain, but that adults are VERY good at this. If you’ve been around kids for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed they physically can’t (ahem) “hold down” too much food. It feels very uncomfortable to them. Also note the full sensory experience that eating is for young children — they are involving their every sense.

One of the best ways to start regulating hormones and your metabolic, fat burning potential is to merely pay attention to what you’re eating. When you really pay attention, you are more satisfied with the amount of food you’re eating. You feel full faster and don’t end a meal feeling like you still would like something to eat (aka the after dinner snack). You don’t stuff yourself to get a burst of pleasure (aka dopamine rush), because the meal itself was already pleasurable.

how to identify subconscious “undercurrent” stressors to improve your health

In my work with women over the years, I’ve noticed a few trends. Even though clients come to me for nutritional needs, they inevitably start talking about the stressors in their lives — which is why I now offer a separate 3-Month Thyroid Mind-Body Program. I can’t tell you how many women have sat in my office, and upon me merely asking how they’re doing that day (and REALLY listening to their answer), they start crying, start divulging their stresses, fears, insecurities, and after a few minutes of being truly heard, take a big breath, a deep sigh of relief and apologize for crying or “talking too much”. I always make sure to tell them “it’s okay. Crying is good” because usually when someone cries, they get shushed and “comforted” by people telling them, “it’s okay, don’t cry!”. In truth, they get told to stop crying so the observers aren’t uncomfortable or have to process emotions. Crying is a better medicine than learning to not cry.

What I see in my clients is similar to what I have also noticed and experienced through out my life — very often, women have been taught to trivialize their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, because it makes other people uncomfortable when they express their true thoughts. Other people may not know how to process their own emotions so they feel very uncomfortable being asked to experience someone else’s. We are expected to be stoic or appear to have it all together because it makes people uncomfortable at the thought that we could be “dependent” or “needy” or “hysterical”. So we learn to suppress. And suppress and suppress and suppress because we definitely don’t want our mental health to be in question — ever.

Think of stress like a body of water. The sand, shore and blue-green water are a beautiful scene but take a closer look and you’ll notice that every now and then the surface current picks up. We’re suddenly aware of the passing temperament of the water. We often judge our stress level by the “surface current” in our lives — those major stresses like finances, relationships, work, children, an uncleaned house, making sure to get to important meetings on time, unexpected circumstances like a broke down car or water heater, or the unexpected environmental events we can’t control like fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. And addressing those fears and anxieties is important. But the work I prefer to do with my clients is the work of beginning to recognize and address the UNDERCURRENT. 

The “undercurrent” in our lives is the subconscious behaviors and thoughts we have been taught and that cause us intense stress by trying to live up to certain standards, or meet certain expectations, or be a certain way to keep towing the line and being what others demand. The undercurrent is the power play in our relationships that we are scared to upset. It is the way we get subconsciously punished when we don’t stay inside another person’s expectations. It is the pressure we put on ourselves to look and act a certain way in order to get the affirmation we desire. It is the way we walk, hold ourselves, speak, and dress to get positive feedback. Most of the time, we do not even think about doing these things — it is all subconscious choices that we have become accustomed to. It is an inauthentic way to live. And the undercurrent is ultimately what hurts people the most.

Here are “undercurrent” themes I have seen in my work with clients:

  • feeling pressure to look a certain way to keep their spouse’s attention (and getting hurt feelings when they don’t receive their husband’s full sexual attention visually)
  • fears that their spouse will leave (for various reasons — all because of false perceptions of ourselves — “If only I did this better”, “If only I looked more like that”, “He’s going to find someone better”, “I’ll never be good enough”)
  • letting others (often a father figure or other strong figure, like a stern mother or grandmother) take the lead on decisions and daily activities, suppressing your natural desire to lead (it can be something as simple as always letting them drive because you are retaining their rightful place as the leader and you as the follower)
  • diluting your opinions so you don’t rock the boat (minimizing and sugarcoating how you really feel so you don’t face consequences, or straight-up lying so you don’t get “in trouble”)
  • agonizing over your wardrobe choices so you don’t upset anyone or receive unsolicited comments (whether sexual attention from strangers or disapproval from friends/family)
  • feeling ashamed of certain body parts (ex: my eyebrows aren’t thick enough, my skin tone looks horrible without makeup, my feet are disgusting, my hands are manly, my neck is too saggy, my stomach will never be good enough. We can have hundreds of these “subconscious” thoughts every day!)
  • feeling ashamed of eating in front of people, no matter what you are eating or how much
  • trying to hyper-feminize your voice to appear less aggressive or assertive
  • speaking in passive sentences or writing in passive sentences to appear less assertive (ex: “Is there any way you could please help me take out the trash?” versus, “Please help me take out the trash”)
  • apologizing and saying sorry for normal requests so you are not perceived as aggressive or rude (“I’m sorry to ask but could you please cook this burger a little more? I asked for well-done and it’s rare. I apologize — it’s not your fault!”)
  • over-thinking your choice of specific clothing or make-up colors so you will be taken seriously in business encounters
  • feminizing ourselves so we don’t emasculate fathers, spouses, and friends (fear of emasculating because it brings forth anger from others)
  • and so many more!

 

Now here’s how those undercurrent themes stress you out physically:

  • shallow breathing (can lead to dizziness and panic attacks)
  • resentment that causes adrenaline rushes and high cortisol (notice next time you get secretly resentful how jittery you feel)
  • tensed stomach (causes improper digestion, gas, bloating, heavy full feeling, ulcers, stomach acid problems. Inhibitory responses also cause low thyroid function)
  • painful lump in throat when suppressing tears or words
  • strained vocal cords and muscles
  • tense neck, shoulder, and back muscles
  • tense jaw muscles and TMJ (you would be amazed how much tension we can hold there!)
  • racing thoughts, fear, anger, resentment, and shame
  • inability to fall asleep (due to racing anxious thoughts and unexpressed desires)
  • low thyroid function (a lifetime of inhibitory responses can cause this. When we inhibit normal breathing, muscle function, and digestive function, it slows thyroid hormone release)
  • adrenal fatigue (low or high cortisol problems)
  • and more!

Have you ever thought about your “undercurrent” stressors? Consider which subconscious thoughts and behaviors are stressing you daily and why (or for whom) you are still choosing them. After you recognize them, you can begin to live more authentically and therefore be less stressed and healthier.