31 July 2017


Grilled Salmon with Beets and Fennel
Grilled Salmon with Beets and Fennel
This recipe was originally featured in the June issue of About Magazine.

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients." -Julia Child

Summer tends to always bring a side of fresh, local vegetables to every meal in our house. When the hot summer sun trickles inside we tend to avoid heavy, hearty meals and instead focus on light dishes that are loaded with fruits and vegetables. We've also been attempting to cut back on our meat intake so we can make sure we are incorporating as many phytonutrients into each meal as possible. For our proteins, we're focusing on wild caught fish, legumes and farm raised chicken.

Because it is such a versatile fish, wild caught salmon is one of our go-to seafood dishes. Did you know that the nutritional content of wild caught salmon makes it one of the world’s healthiest foods? It is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve brain function and, combined with the amino acids, help to prevent macular degeneration and loss of vision. It also contains minerals like selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Salmon (wild caught) is a good source for vitamin D, vitamin A and some members of the B vitamin family. Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the small intestine, and people who have irritable bowl diseases may not be able to absorb enough B12. If you struggle with IBD you may want to consider consulting your doctor and checking your vitamin B12 and D levels.

While salmon is very beneficial to our health, it's important to know about the product you are consuming and where it is sourced from. Farm-raised salmon is a hot topic for discussion these days and while there are ethical and sustainable farms, there are far too many that are unethical in their production which leads to pollution, the spreading of disease and sea lice and extra usage of natural resources. Some farmed salmon has been found to contain toxic chemicals. Questionable practices also come into play. For various reasons, the content of the feed is often supplemented with chemicals. Seafood Watch, a website run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is a useful resource for monitoring the fish you consume. Their recommendations help you choose seafood that's fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment; I highly recommend checking out this site and downloading their app!

Grilled Salmon with Yellow Beet, Fennel & Citrus Salad
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free
yield: 4-6 servings


4 (6 ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
Coconut or olive oil
Kosher or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat grill.
2. Brush the salmon fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Grill the salmon fillets skinned side down over moderate heat for about 3 minutes. Turn and grill about 3 minutes longer, or until the salmon is nearly cooked through. Make sure each side is generously coated in oil. Transfer to a platter.

2 medium yellow beets
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood orange, thinly sliced and peeled
1 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments

4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs grapefruit juice
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Himalayan salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Coat the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 375 degrees until they can be pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes, set aside and let cool.
2. Make the vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a bowl and mixing with an immersion blender until thick and creamy.
3. Peel the beets and thinly slice.
4. Toss the fennel, orange and grapefruit together. Add the beets and toss together with the dressing.
5. Plate individual plates or a platter with a heap of salad and place a salmon fillet on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Add parsley for a garnish.

*Note: fennel is legal on the SCD diet but it is very fibrous. It should only be used when you are symptom free of your irritable bowel disease and have reached remission.

26 July 2017

A Trip To The Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
Toledo Zoo
The days of simple zoo trips seem so long ago. Now we're faced with actually finding time to visit the zoo, planning our meals so we don't have to eat at their facilities or searching for a restaurant that can accommodate our dietary needs. I honestly wish life wasn't so busy, that our days weren't so hectic, but as the kids get older our schedules get busier. We're actually over due for another trip to the zoo, but back in May we found ourselves in Toledo for the Ohio State Cup soccer tournament. We decided to take full advantage and spend the day at the zoo, and it was definitely worth the trip! And spending twenty bucks on lettuce to feed the giraffes? Totally worth it!

If you're planning a trip to the zoo or an amusement park you may enjoy this post on How To Eat Healthy at an Amusement Park. Feel free to add any of your tips or suggestions in the comments below!

*Jessica's dress and Joshua's shirt are c/o Tea Collection. As a Tea Collection Ambassador, I love sharing more about this amazing company with you. This spring, Tea Collection partnered with National Geographic Explorer and Shark Conservationist, Jess Cramp to inspire little citizens to care about (and for) our planet and together they launched the Save the Sharks campaign.

14 July 2017

Lemon Vanilla Sponge Cake | SCD + Paleo

SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
"When I got to France I realized I didn't know very much about food at all. I'd never had a real cake. I'd had those cakes from cake mixes or the ones that have a lot of baking powder in them. A really good French cake doesn't have anything like that in it - it's all egg power."
Julia Child

While the origins of the sponge cake date back to Italy, there is no denying that eggs play an essential role in this light, fluffy dessert. A traditional sponge cake is very easy to make, consisting of just three very basic ingredients: flour, sugar and eggs. When you take away two of those key ingredients, flour and sugar, you need to get a little creative in your recipe development. I've made this cake three times now and by the final round my family was asking for more.

No summer is complete without indulging in sponge cake that is drenched in fresh, local fruit and a whipped topping. You can easily add ice cream made with coconut milk, icing made with coconut cream, fruit preserves or the mernigue icing mentioned below. Just make sure not to overcook this delicate dessert!

Lemon Vanilla Sponge Cake
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free
yield: 8-10 pieces

1 ½ cups raw cashews
4 eggs, separated
zest from one lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
¼ c honey
1 tsp baking soda
3 Tbs coconut flour
½ tsp sea salt

9 inch springform pan
parchment paper
food processor
Vitamix (or blender)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer until soft peaks form.
3. Place the raw cashews in a food processer and process until creamy, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Grease a 9 inch spring-form pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
5. Once the cashews are creamy and resemble the texture of cashew butter, add the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and honey. Pulse to blend. Add the baking soda, coconut flour, and sea salt and pulse until blended together.
6. Transfer the cashew mixture to a large bowl and fold in ½ cup of the egg whites until combined.
7. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Make sure not to overmix.
8. Transfer the batter to the spring form pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. Do not overbake!
9. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
10. Top with berries and icing and enjoy!

Meringue Icing
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free

2 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup honey
¼ tsp lemon juice

1. Bring the honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Beat the egg whites and lemon juice until soft peaks form.
3. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour the honey into the egg white mixture.
4. Continue beating the meringue on high for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the meringue forms stiff peaks and has doubled in size.
5. Chill in the fridge for ½ hour before using.

**This post contains affiliate links.

11 July 2017

How to Eat Healthy at an Amusement Park

Theme Park Tips
Theme Park Tips
Theme Park Tips
While amusement parks and theme parks deliver the thrills of excitement and adventure, they can be challenging for a family like ours who focuses on a lifestyle of clean eating. And unfortunately, for our family, splurging in moderation is not an option since we are using diet to treat our son's Crohn's disease. This summer we decided to stay local and embrace what Ohio has to offer, and any Ohioan knows that Cedar Point is a must. This particular trip was slightly out of our comfort zone, especially when it comes to the food department. If you've been following along for awhile, then you know that food plays a huge role in our travels and vacations. Just take a look at our trip to Friday Harbor last year and you'll see what I mean.

Unfortunately, most amusement parks have very little to offer when it comes to healthy food choices. Sugar-filled treats, preservatives, fried foods, high-calorie meals and processed drinks seem to be lurking around every corner. While it seems almost impossible to eat healthy at a theme park, it is not impossible. It may take a little work on your end, but it is well worth it to stay on track.

We try to enter to park as soon as it opens so we can make sure we're out of there well before dinner. Before arrival, I made sure we ate a large, healthy meal to fill our bellies and fuel us for the day. Be sure to include a protein, a healthy fat and plenty of fruits and veggies. Make sure you do a little research. Some parks will allow you to bring a cooler and leave it outside the park in a designated area with picnic benches. If this is a possibility, I highly recommend planning out your meals and taking advantage of this opportunity. You'll be able to stick with your healthy eating, save on money, and take a break from the park.

Bringing your own snacks is absolutely essential, especially if you follow a strict diet like the SCD diet. Since you'll be running around from ride to ride, you'll be burning off energy that will need to be replaced. Homemade snack bars, cubed cheese, fruit strips, meat sticks, packaged olives and and nuts all make good options. While some of the following snacks are not technically SCD complaint (because there is no letter from the company) we have found that our son can tolerate them in moderation. Packing Larabars, Epic bars, just fruit bars and apple or beet chips can cut down on the packing time and preparation time for homemade snacks. It's very important to remember, that even if you can tolerate these packaged foods you should only eat them in moderation.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I can't say this enough. Did you know your brain is made up of about 75 percent water? Drinking water will actually help you think, focus and concentrate better and it will boost your energy levels. When fatigue hits, there is a chance that you are showing signs of dehydration. Water helps to flush the toxins out of your system and plays a key role in overall body function.

As mentioned above, you should have plenty of snacks with you, but if you need to purchase a snack seek out freshly cut fruit and vegetables. Often you will be able to find a container of fruit or a side of carrots and celery. In order to stick with your clean eating, omit any sauces provided for the vegetables because they will contain sugar, preservatives and most likely starches.

While smoothies always sound like a healthy choice, I highly recommend avoiding smoothies in theme parks, malls and restaurants. The terms natural, made with fresh fruit and preservative-free are EXTREMELY misleading. These smoothies are often times made from a pre-made frozen concentrate that contains sugar, natural flavors, cellulose gum, dyes, and maltodextrin. These drinks that are being sold as "healthy" are in fact the complete opposite and offer little to no health benefits and can wreck havoc on your gut micro-biome.

There is bound to be a time when you don't have a choice and must eat out while visiting a theme park. For obvious reasons, steer clear of the classic stands that carry cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza and French fries. Try and find a sit down restaurant and don't hesitate from starting an open dialogue with your server and manager about your dietary requirements. Choose simple, customized meals and avoid all sauces and dressings. A salad is a good choice but try and avoid cheese (unless you know it's an aged cheese and not processed) and ask for olive oil, vinegar and lemons to use as a dressing. If you order a steak, make sure it is only cooked in butter or olive oil and avoid spices with the exception of salt and pepper. We avoid chicken in restaurants, unless we know that it is a quality product. Chicken is often injected with water, salt and other additives and preservatives to help it stay juicier and more flavorful, therefore making it a questionable choice. This is the same reason why we avoid pork. Grilled fish with a side of steamed veggies is always a decent option as well.

Probably the most important step you can take is talking to your kids. Explain to them why you choose the lifestyle of clean eating and healthy living. It's very important that you focus on healthy eating and physical exercise rather than weight. Clean eating is not just another diet. Rather, it is a lifestyle that focuses on overall body and mind health. By promoting a healthy lifestyle, hopefully your children will learn to understand why certain foods like sugars, preservatives and so forth are bad for the body and how they negatively impact the gut flora. And don't forget, children learn by their parents example. If you lead a healthy and active life then chances are your decisions will trickle down to your children and they will follow in your footsteps.