How To Successfully Reintroduce Foods On A Gut Healing Protocol

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Gut healing protocols and elimination diets like the autoimmune protocol, GAPS, candida and even the Whole 30 are hard. They’re hard mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, and even physically. But being through them myself, I can say one-hundred-percent that they’re worth it… hard, but worth it. Even harder than eliminating foods can be the mystery of actually reintroducing them. Not just what to reintroduce and when, but how to get over the anxiety, how to keep the food in your diet and not develop another intolerance again, and more. This is a huge topic within the realm of gut healing, which is why I wanted to delve deeper into my own experience with this and how to reintroduce foods on a gut healing protocol.

My Experience Reintroducing Foods After Gut Healing Protocols 

I remember my first appointment with my chiropractor who diagnosed me with leaky gut, so vividly. More than being completely over the fact that everything I ate made me sick, I was scared that I was just a total hypochondriac that she’d turn me away. That was anything but true. I found out that I had 40+ food intolerances from an IgG test. In retrospect, the test was definitely under counting and I don’t entirely recommend them. I had never heard on AIP or intense elimination diets at the time, so it was a necessary jolt to realize that I needed to do it, but the test never showed reactivity to corn, dairy, or other foods that I know I have a reaction to, so they’re heavily debated. Regardless, I was going to have to go on an elimination diet similar to AIP. Though having Hashimoto’s disease was a huge struggle, it quickly became apparent that healing my gut was going to be a huge battle. 

The thought of getting rid of bread, pasta, potatoes, tomatoes, and more made me sick to me stomach and I was immediately expectant to reintroduce these foods. I’d count down the weeks, and the days until I could finally start to add these foods back in. That is, until I had my first bad reaction.

Having a bad reaction to a food that seemed fine before is your body telling you that it wasn’t fine… that it’s inflammatory and you shouldn’t be eating it.

There’s a lot of confusion about bad reactions around foods that you seemed fine with previously. Take gluten for example… maybe you ate bread daily and didn’t experience a reaction directly after eating bread.. you were just generally fatigued all of the time. Then you cut it out for 60 days, try to add it back in and have a horrible reaction… what happened? Previously, your immune system was so up-regulated to gluten that you didn’t even experience intense reactions because you were always having systemic inflammation. Now that you’ve calmed the inflammation on a daily basis, the reactions are far more noticeable.  

My first experience with this reintroducing a food that I thought was fine but caused a reaction, set off this massive amount of anxiety and confusion around reintroducing foods. What was safe? What wasn’t?

After many mis-steps, I’ve successfully reintroduced….

  • Almonds
  • Egg yolks 
  • Occasional raw goat cheese 
  • White rice (and sometimes brown)
  • Chocolate
  • Decaf coffee
  • Coconut (there was a time where I couldn’t eat it)

But I’ve massively failed at reintroducing…

  • Egg whites (I get physically ill with a cold when I eat egg whites)
  • Nightshades 
  • Beans & legumes 
  • Most tree nuts (I have an IgE allergy to most tree nuts)
  • Corn (I basically turn into a zombie for days)
  • Cow dairy 
  • Blackberries & pineapple (one of my weird allergies)

I’m still reintroducing things and my diet is always changing. I’m in a period of eating more low starch and will have to go through a process of reintroducing starch down the line all over again. It’s taken years to learn how to do it well, but that’s what I want to share with you today how I’ve been able to reintroduce things well. 

How To Reintroduce Foods On a Gut Healing Protocol

How To Reintroduce Foods On a Gut Healing Protocol

1.Take the gut healing part of the process seriously 

 

So many protocols just eliminate foods and don’t focus on healing. Though removing the food will lessen inflammation, it will never treat the root cause. 

I’ve done it before, and I guarantee you’ll be in for a load of frustration if you just remove foods and don’t focus on really repairing the gut. You’re much more likely to be unsuccessful with reintroductions and just be back at square one having to keep removing over and over again. This is a very easy cycle to get stuck in and most folks that I know who have chronic issues and stay here for years. 

Here’s what I recommend for taking gut healing seriously…

  • Focus on healing foods and practices as outlined in my book, The 30 Day Gut Healing Diet Plan & Guide
  • Work with a practitioner to get to the root cause of why your gut is damaged in the first place (parasites, dysbiosis, toxicity, etc.)
  • Pursue functional stool analysis, blood testing, heavy metal testing and more to get to the root cause
  • Really focus on healing your digestion! Relaxing before meals, chewing, taking proper enzymes etc.

I say often that in today’s super toxic world, gut healing is a constant effort. We can’t ever really act like our work is 100% done. It will never be done for me, and even when it gets better, we have to keep up with maintaining our gut health. 

2. Reintroduce the least inflammatory foods first

 

When I went on my first gut healing protocol, I cut out all nightshades. At the time, I didn’t even know the connection between autoimmunity and nightshades, I only knew that tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and goji peppers it came up on my test. 

Clueless of what these were or how to reintroduce, my first reintroduction was mashed potatoes. Like, a lot of mashed potatoes. Needless to say, I felt like crap the next day. Pounding migraine, fatigue, joint pain, stomach aches. It was bad.

Little did I know, this was one of the most inflammatory foods I could reintroduce. When reintroducing foods, start with the least inflammatory first, and work your way up from there. 

If you’re looking for a good resource for reintroductions on AIP, I really like the e-book from Phoenix Helix, Reintroducing Foods On The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. She has tons of instructions, recipes, and guides for what to reintroduce and when!

3. Take note of reactions and be careful of what foods are in the same family.

 

After my mashed potato mishap when I was 20, I still had no idea what I was doing. I was incredibly anxious about my first reintroduction and went for something that seemed benign… paprika. My mom is off the boat Hungarian and I figured that maybe, just maybe, I would be fine because paprika was in my genes. I put literally 1/2 tsp of paprika in a huge soup with at least 6 cups of broth. Even that much was enough to elicit a terrible reaction. I was aching, sweating, and fatigued for 72 hours, and even more confused.

What I didn’t know at the time was that paprika and potatoes are in the same family. So often, people are reacting to an entire family of foods rather than just one singular food. Foods can be categorized in tons of different families like nightshades, legumes, starches, fodmaps, crucifers, citrus, stone fruits, etc. The list goes on!

Let’s say you react to lemons and also have some issues with oranges in the past. These are both citrus, and it would be best to delay an orange reintroduction.

Look deeper into what food you react to and figure out what family/category it’s in and be cautious with that whole family during your reintroduction period.

4. Rotate your reintroductions (and your food in general)

 

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make with food is they eat the same things every day, and all year round. In nature, we would never do this. Even before modern grocery stores (which have only been around for a century or so BTW) and we started shipping in things from all around the world, we weren’t able to eat mangoes in Idaho in the middle of December. They weren’t local, they weren’t in season, and it just wasn’t accessible. Now, we have everything at our finger tips and eat it whenever we want. Not only is this unnatural, it’s what can cause food intolerances by having these foods in excess. 

The guideline is generally a four day rotation, and that’s what’s outlined in my e-book, The 30 Day Gut Healing Diet Plan & Guide. If you eat something on Monday, don’t eat it again until Friday. This is exactly what you should be doing with reintroduced foods. If you reintroduce potatoes, go easy on them. Don’t eat them daily, and be sure that you rotate all of your foods to avoid overdoing it and causing a reaction.

You don’t have to be 100%, but be mindful of not eating the same foods every day regardless of reintroductions. 

5. Use your mindset in your favor 

 

I know how anxiety inducing it is to reintroduce foods. I know how anxious chronic illness makes you in general… both as a symptom of the illness itself and of living with the illness in general.

However, our mindset is such a powerful tool in healing. We need to be in a relaxed state to even stimulate the hormones of digestion. Where as, if we’re anxious and keyed up about a reintroduction, we’re much more likely to have bad digestion and a poor reaction. 

I know it’s hard, I know you’ve probably been burned in the past, but limiting anxiety round reintroducing foods is key to doing it successfully. I’ve had personal experiences where I’ve been able to tolerate different foods differently depending on how my current stress was around the food. Take a deep breath, think good thoughts, and trust that this reintroduction will work! 

 

6. Use pulse testing to gauge potential reactions 

I learned about Coca’s Pulse Testing for food sensitivities through the NTA, and I really love sharing it with my own clients and doing it on myself. Essentially, pulse testing taps into our bodies innate intelligence as to whether or not we can tolerate a food by testing how much our pulse speeds up when the food is in our mouth.

Here’s how you pulse test for food intolerance…

  1. Sit, relax, breath. Take a moment to calm down before you eat.
  2. Take your pulse for a full 60 seconds and write it down.
  3. Take a piece of food (one ingredient/food at a time) and chew and salivate it for about 20 seconds. Don’t swallow the food.
  4. With the food still in your mouth, record your pulse. If your pulse speeds up by 6 beats or more, you’re having a reaction to that food.
  5. Remove the food from your mouth if you reacted, and drink some water.
  6. Relax and repeat the process! 

That’s all there is to it! 

I’m not going to say that this is 100% accurate, because in my experience, no food intolerance test is. However, it is a great way to gauge your bodies reaction in the moment to a food.

 

All in all, All food is different… no apple is created equal. Our bodies and tolerances are always changing. I know how stressful it is to reintroduce foods, but I hope these tools help make the process a bit easier!

What are your tips for reintroducing foods? Leave your ideas in the comments to share with others! 🙂 

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (Gluten Free, Dairy Free & AIP)

I don’t have kids yet. However, I very much want them soon, and on some days I very much want to be one of them again. I loved kid food when I was a kid. Chicken nuggets, fruit snacks, and mac and cheese were most of my diet, and it showed as I got older and sicker. Though I’m not a parent myself, and can’t imagine how hard it must be to keep your kids away from these foods 100% of the time, I believe that there are was to make real food based kid friendly swaps to make everyone happy, including your inner child 😉 Because let’s be real, sometimes I really want to eat like a kid again! After some really long hard days, I’d rather just have comfort food than roasted veggies. So, I decided to marry real food with comfort food with these baked veggie nuggets that are paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free and autoimmune paleo friendly!

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets

Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (AIP, gluten free, dairy free)

My favorite thing about these veggie nuggets is that they’re egg free! Not only do we all need egg free recipes on the AIP, but I know tons of kiddos who are egg free these days. It’s one of the most common allergies with little alternatives when we look at processed foods. When I was just gluten free and not AIP yet, almost every store-bought gluten free processed food had eggs in it. As I realized how much egg whites were harming my gut and my health, I needed alternatives fast. These nuggets have a gelatin egg in place of a real egg, and the tapioca starch also really helps bind them!

Aside from being egg free, they’re veggie packed with tons of veggies that I know I don’t always get every day! They feature…

  • Zucchini
  • Carrots 
  • Caulifower 
  • Green onion

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t come within 10 feet of zucchini. Even as an adult, it takes a lot of work to separately prep all of these veggies. So, I love that these nuggets are packed full of all of these nutrient dense veggies! It’s recommended that we consume 8-9 cups of veggies a day, and these nuggets have 2.5 cups in total! Not bad for a nugget, huh?

As for dipping, I ate these nuggets with an easy AIP guacamole, and couldn’t stop! However, they’d also taste amazing with a compliant ketchup or ranch dressing. I’m drooling just thinking of having these with either! My husband actually eats them with mustard. It sounded weird to me at first, but he swears by it! He says it makes it taste like a corndog 😛 Honestly, a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but it makes him eat more veggies!

Baked Veggie Nuggets (Paleo & Autoimmune Paleo)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup zucchini (shredded and squeezed to remove excess liquid)
  • 1 cup cauliflower, riced
  • 1/2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp finely sliced green onion
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the gelatin egg:
  • 1 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with coconut oil
  2. Add the shredded veggies to a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine
  3. Add in the coconut flour, coconut oil, tapioca starch and seasonings, and combine
  4. For the gelatin egg, add the water to a small sauce pot and slowly pour over the gelatin
  5. Allow it to bloom over 2-3 minutes
  6. Place the pot on the stove and turn in on low heat
  7. Slowly melt the the gelatin (this will take just a few minutes) and remove from heat
  8. Vigorously whisk the gelatin egg until it becomes frothy
  9. Add the gelatin egg to the mixture immediately and combine
  10. Start forming patties and place them onto the baking sheet (you should have about a dozen)
  11. Bake for 25 minutes
  12. Very carefully flip them over and bake for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them)
  13. OPTIONAL: To crisp further, put until the broiler for 1-2 minutes
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  15. Serve with guacamole, compliant ranch dressing, or mustard (not AIP but very good combination)
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Paleo Baked Veggie Nuggets (AIP, gluten free, dairy free)

They’re best fresh out the oven, and I don’t love putting them in the microwave. If you choose to reheat them, I recommend going for the broiler. It’ll help them crisp up without drying them out! 

I hope you love these little nuggets just as much as my husband and I do! And that they make the less enthusiast veggie eaters in your family eat more veggies 😉 

How I Balanced My Hormones… Naturally! (Exercise, Diet, Gut Healing & More)

I thought that I never wanted to talk “hormones” on my blog. I wanted to keep thing like “times of the month” to myself and talk more heavily about my journey with hashimoto’s and my gut. That’s really always been more of my issue, so I never saw the need to go in-depth with hormones. However, after a crazy flare and my own constant discovery that our bodies and our health are all connected, I felt like I had to share my story of how I balanced my hormones naturally. 

I’ll be honest here, I’ve struggled with this a lot recently. I may seen like I’m in remission or healed, but that is simply not the case. My health is a journey, just as yours is. Just because I gave up gluten doesn’t mean I’m suddenly immune from health flares. Our bodies and are health our always changing. 

Like I said, I was hesitant to talk “hormones”, but if I share the good with you all, I have to share the bad too. Plus, hormones are so much more than times of the month. It’s about sleep, blood sugar, acne, mood, and more… 

My Hormonal Imbalance Flare 

I used to have terrible hormonal flares with acne, pain, and mood swings when I was a teenager. Doctors always just brushed it off as me being a teenager and didn’t look beyond that. In retrospect, I know that a lot of what caused my recently hormone flare was what was causing my flares in the past. 

I had terrible acne that just wouldn’t budge. I tried creams, ointments, and even prescription acne pills (horrible idea) and nothing helped. It was eventually determined that it was hormonal acne, and I was put on a birth control pill when I was about 17 or 18 to just silence this symptom. My acne went away and I was afraid to ever get off the pill in fear of what it would do to my skin. However, when my husband and I got married, he talked me into talking to my doctor about getting off the pill. He had his head on way straighter than I did at the time and convinced me that the pill was probably doing way more harm than good. And he was right.

I got off the pill a few years ago and had already changed my diet by the time that I did, so my symptoms were much better. I had some acne and mood swing here and there, but never anything drastic… until recently. 

This all started around this past summer…

What Happened To Trigger It?

This is always just speculation, but here are the things that were going on at the time…

  • I was taking my finals at the NTA
  • We were simultaneously buying our first house and moving 
  • I was feeling pressured to quit my full-time job and make the leap to entrepreneurship right then and there
  • We moved into a new old house that was recently remodeled 
  • I was eating more starch 
  • I got out of my normal healthy routine 

My symptoms came on so hard and so fast that I actually got tested for mold toxicity. I thought that our new house was contaminated with mold and that that’s what was triggering me. 

So basically, I was crazy stressed in more ways than one.

My Symptoms…

The symptoms were hard, fast, and debilitating at times. It wasn’t bad every day, but when it was, it was really bad.

  • Trouble sleeping… I would wake up every night at 3am which is not typical for me at all.
  • Anxiety 
  • Mood swings 
  • Acne 
  • Weight gain… I can just tell hormonal weight gain on my body. I was holding onto 7-8 pounds of hormonal weight gain that wouldn’t budge
  • Migraines 
  • Leg cramps 
  • Shooting back pain 
  • Cysts 

What my lab work said…

  • My thyroid and inflammation levels are still good (thankfully some positive news!)
  • I was estrogen dominant
  • I was low in progesterone 
  • I’m very low in Vitamin D 
  • I had elevated liver enzymes
  • I had freakishly high beta-glucaronidase 
  • I was in stage 2 adrenal fatigue (which is hopefully improving)
  • I was mineral deficient 
  • I’m highly mercury toxic (more on this in another post… omg…) 

Clearly, I had a lot of work to do. I’ve come a long way and am still working on it, but I’m finally starting to feel relief. 

How I Balanced My Hormones Naturally 

(and am still working on it)

How I Balanced My Hormones Naturally

1.I Zeroed In on Blood Sugar Control and Cut Out Starches In Excess

Blood sugar is so important for your hormones! I repeat, please care about your blood sugar. Please care about how many carbs and sugars you eat (even natural, real food sources), how much fat and protein you pair it with, and how often you eat. You want your meals to be balanced. That balance is different for everyone, but generally speaking, you don’t want half of your meals to be fruit and sweet potatoes. You want fat, protein, and a balance of vegetable based carbs.

Our hormones of blood sugar sugar control of part of our entire endocrine cascade. Our hormones have to balanced, right? Spikes in our blood sugar mean imbalances in our hormones. Ever get hangry after just having a smoothie for breakfast? What about running to the bathroom at 2 am? Or feeling tired at 3 pm and only feeling relief from eating. All signs that your blood sugar is imbalanced. 

I began to notice that the more starches and sugar I ate throughout the month, the worse my flares were. I was more anxious, had more acne, more pain, and I was just a wreck

So, here’s what I did…

  • I cut out/ cut down on starches like starchy flours (cassava, tapioca, sweet potato, etc.) 
  • I focused on eating more non-starchy veggies like carrots, squash, etc. and cooking them in lots of fat! 
  • I do fruit in moderation and as treats
  • I made sure I had little to no caffeine. Maybe a matcha here and there, but no daily coffee for sure. 

 

2. I Focused On Cutting Down My Stress Levels

I firmly believe that stress was the finally nail in the coffin of this flare, so it was the key to really getting rid of it. Stress in all forms (physical, emotional, etc.) spikes our cortisol which throws off our entire hormone cascade. I knew that my adrenals were seriously fatigued, and that I was incredibly stressed. Stress is the one thing that I always encourage my clients to really take an honest look at. We must reduce stress as much as possible to help rebalance our hormones and stop spikes and dips in stress hormone levels. But it’s easier said than done…

Stress is hard. It comes in so many different forms, and it’s impossible to get rid of stress altogether. 

There comes a point where we need to just accept a certain level of stress in our lives. We’ll never get rid of it altogether, so we just have to find ways to manage it and get rid of unnecessary stress. Stress reduction means something different for everyone. We can’t just drop our responsibilities, so we have to find a way to balance.

So, here’s what I did…

  • I worked really hard to transition away from my 8-5 job and do part time office work, consulting, and work on my own business (more on that here)
  • Spent more time outside
  • I take at least one evening a week to not have any obligations or appointments and just relax
  • I spend more time with God 

 

3. I Kept Working On My Gut

Because it all begins in the gut, right? Our mood, our hormones, everything! Little did I know that the biggest factor to my hormones was still in my gut. I know that working on my gut is a lifelong journey, and I’m up for the challenge. 

So, let’s talk beta-glucaronidase. I had never really heard of this before I realized mine was so high. Beta-glucaronidase is an enzyme that becomes elevated from unfriendly gut bacteria. The enzyme stops us from detoxing things like old hormones, and these old hormones keep recirculating in our system… which is why I had the same symptoms for months. This was the big hairy monster in my flare. Beta-glucarondiase can be found on a stool test, and it’s imperative to lower it as it’s associated with cancer of the prostate, colon, and breast cancer. 

Our gut health is huge, huge, huge. That’s why I literally wrote a book on healing your gut, and why I talk so often about healing foods like bone broth. I focus on it with all of my clients and believe that in todays toxic world, working on your gut health is an ongoing process.

A few years ago I couldn’t go a single day without having some sort of stomach ache, pain, bloating, or mystery reaction to food. Though still I have an off day here and there, I’m blown away with how far I’ve come and how much my quality of life has improved as a result. Regardless, there’s apparently still on going work to do.

Here’s what I did…

  • I worked with my doctor to get on some supplements (like calcium d-glucarate) to help out my elevated beta-glucaronidase and am continuing to work with her on treating the root cause.
  • I cut out excess starches and sugars to stop feeding bad gut bacteria. This was huge for me and I never thought I could do it! It’s not that my gut flora is depleted… quite the opposite. I had a huge diversity in my gut of both good and bad bacteria. My strategy for rebalancing has been to favor good bacteria with the right ferments, and starve bad bacteria which is part of cutting out starches and sugars which they feed on! 
  • I followed all of the principles for on-going gut healing as laid out in my e-book, the 30 Day Gut Healing Guide.

 

4. I Started Exercising Smarter 

Getting out of my routine during the stressful summer meant getting out of my workout routine. I went from a normal routine that was working for me to just not really moving with purpose at all. 

A lot of what I was dealing with my hormone flare was inflammation, and the right kind of exercise and restorative movement with purpose can be great for reducing inflammation. Everyone’s routine will be different, and actually getting into a routine is half the battle, but exercise makes such huge difference in hormone balance when we don’t over or under do it.

Here’s what I do now…

  • Walking is my anchor and I take walks several times a week
  • I try to go to a yoga class at least twice a week
  • I also try to practice yoga at home on off days for even just 10-20 minutes to get in some movement and stretch. I’m loving Yoga with Adrienne videos. 
  • I’ll strength train with weights (which I love) once or twice a week or go to a more challenging yoga class 
  • If I’m having an off week, I’ll only walk and do restorative yoga 

 

5. I Worked With My Doctor To Supplement Smarter  

I always stress that we need to be working with a practitioner one on one with things like supplementation, because I was way off on my own routine!

I’m not really going to share the exact supplements my doctor recommended for me in depth, because the last thing I want anyone doing is just grabbing what I’m on and taking that. More likely than not, it won’t work for you like it is me. You’ll likely need something different.

In short, my doctor helped me with mineral support, Vitamin D, progesterone, and initial mercury detox support. 

How My Symptoms Have Improved… 

  • I sleep perfectly!
  • My skin is better 
  • My mood swings are basically gone
  • No more headaches or migraines 
  • I shed most of my hormonal weight 
  • I’m way less stressed
  • I’m only anxious about stupid this and not irrational things (because I’m still quirky, y’all… driving with loud music makes anxious… I’m weird 😛 ) 

What I’m Still Working On…

  • Mercury detox! This is a huge bear and throws everything off in your body. More on this as I continue down this path, but it’s just starting for me. 
  • Mineral status. 
  • My gut flora and the beta-glucaronidaise. A constant journey as well!
  • My vitamin D which has been low for years, y’all 
  • My back pain still gets iffy at certain times… working on my inflammation and everything else above for this

 

So, phew! There you have it. Like I said, this is a constant journey. I’m still in the thick of it every day and have lots of work to keep doing. What I do know, is that I’m beyond grateful that I’m able to manage these shifts naturally with real food and lifestyle changes, and not birth control anymore. There’s a lot to know, and much still to learn, but as always, I’ll be here to share! 

Chocolate Matcha Energy Balls (Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, Vegan)

I’m not sure quite when it happened or why, but at some point, we all got obsessed with matcha. Though matcha is anything but “new”, it’s super trendy right now. We all love the color, the flavor, the health benefits, and the energy boost that matcha brings. I even have a hashtag going for my many matcha adventures, #matchawithmichelle. Oh, yeah. It went there. I’m so obsessed that I had to find a way other than latte’s to enjoy matcha. I wanted a grab and go energy snack with all of the benefits of matcha in snack form… thus, chocolate matcha energy balls were born!

Yes, matcha is a fun drink and these energy balls treat, but why does everyone love matcha so much? 

Health Benefits of Matcha

It’s green, so it’s healthy. Right? But really, there are benefits to drinking matcha. 

1.It’s rich in antioxidants.

Matcha powder is made from the whole green tea leaf. Green tea is a plant food is is full of antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals. Free radicals are anything that damage our cells, so antioxidants are super important! Since matcha is a more concentrated form of green tea, it’s packed with antioxidants!

2. It’s a more balanced source of caffeine 

This is subjective for sure as we all have different tolerance levels of caffeine. However, matcha is known for being a more balanced source of caffeine as compared it coffee. 

I really can’t tolerate the caffeine in coffee anymore, yet I do fine with matcha. The energy boost is subtle and sustained rather than the big boost and crash you get from coffee. 

Why I Love These Chocolate Matcha Energy Balls 

1.They offer all of the health benefits of matcha.

See above 😉 These guys don’t have ton of matcha in them, but a little goes a long way! You really only need a little bit to make a latte, and the same goes for these. You can scale up and down the amount of matcha that you put in these 

2. They’re full of healthy fat to help keep you full.

All of my energy ball recipes are made from a coconut butter base. Why? Because it’s a delicious healthy fat that keeps you satiated! Coconut butter is a healthy saturated fat which is necessary for our mood, energy, and satiation. Healthy fat helps keep us full, and these balls are no different. 

3. They help energize you without leaving a crash.

As previously mentioned, matcha is know for giving a more sustained boost of caffeine without a crash. Because they also have so much coconut butter and coconut oil, the fat also helps balance out blood sugar spikes from caffeine and sugar from the honey.

No jittery feeling, spikes or crashes!

4. They taste super yummy!

I brought these to a party and was shocked by how much everyone was eating these guys up! I was about to leave the 4-5 leftover for everyone to enjoy at the end of the night, but my husband protested and wanted to bring some home so he could enjoy them 😉 Winner, winner!

Chocolate Matcha Energy Balls (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

Chocolate Matcha Energy Ball (Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut butter/ mana/ cream concentrate (soft enough to stir but not melted)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp -1 tsp matcha powder (plus more for dusting)
  • FOR THE COATING
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (or carob for AIP)

Instructions

  1. Add the coconut butter to a bowl with the shredded coconut and stir until thoroughly combined
  2. Add the flour, oil, honey, and matcha powder. I recommend 1/2 tsp, but adding up to 1 tsp will make it stronger
  3. Continue to stir
  4. Roll the dough out into balls sizes to your liking and place them onto a plate lined with parchment paper
  5. Place the plate into the freezer for at least 1 hour to allow the balls to freeze
  6. Prepare a double boiler for the coating by placing a medium sauce pot half way filled with water on medium heat, and add a metal mixing bowl on top of the pot
  7. Add the coconut oil and cocoa/carob powder and wisk until melted into a chocolate sauce
  8. Remove the balls from the fridge and use a spoon to coat with the chocolate/carob mixture, dusting at the end with extra match. The coating should harden quickly.
  9. Place the balls back into the freezer for another hour or so
  10. Transfer to the fridge and enjoy the energy balls chilled
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These are best chilled out of the fridge, so they’re not a great purse snack or the chocolate will start to melt. So, they’re much better just kept on hand in the fridge either at work or at home as a quick energy snack for a few days.

Enjoy, matcha lovers! 

Easy Plantain Banana Bread (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Banana bread… I’m obsessed. Always have been, always will be. Honestly, I don’t really remember having banana bread as a kid. I was more a chocolate chip cookie type kiddo… still am. But, I digress. I got hooked in the banana sweet stuff in high school. One day someone brought a loaf over for some occasion and it was a done deal for me. It quickly became one of my absolute favorite sweet treats and has been for years. I haven’t had banana bread in years for various reasons. First of course, I’m Paleo/ AIP and no longer eat gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, or refined sugar, and I don’t really like complicated recipes that don’t come out close enough to the real deal. Until I made my own paleo and AIP plantain banana bread. 

So, why plantains? Well, they’re awesome. I never even had plantains until I went AIP and I was missing out for years. Plantains are basically just a more starchy banana that can be made into chips or tostones when they’re green (which is my favorite) or eaten as a sweet treat when they turn yellow. Because they’re more starchy, they help hold recipes up much better than just bananas alone, which was crucial for this recipe as there aren’t any eggs. Not even a gelatin egg! That’s why this is classified as “easy” 😉 Thanks to the plantains, this bread holds up perfectly, and all you have to do is basically mix it all together. 

Easy Banana Bread (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Another standout ingredient in this bread in cinnamon. Cinnamon and banana are just such a great flavor combination. The cinnamon gives this banana bread a bit of a cinnamon sugar type flavor, while helping give it some more color! As for topping the bread, I went with slicing a banana into thin slices and layering it on top of the bread with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. You can easily add chocolate chips (or carob for AIP) or even top it with shredded coconut. Yum! After you slice it, this bread goes great with ghee or grass-fed butter if tolerated. It’s also great with a bit of coconut oil, coconut butter, or even a homemade jam. 

Plantain Banana Bread (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Be still my heart.

I like banana bread out of the oven after it’s cooled for a bit, and my husband likes to slice it thin and toast it under the broiler! Either way, we both love adding ghee to it. 

This bread is easy to make, it holds together wonderfully, and has a subtle flavor that even non-AIP folks will love!

Easy Banana Bread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

Plantain Banana Bread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 2 yellow plantains with black spots
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup cassava flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • Optional:
  • 1 sliced banana (not overly ripe) to top the bread
  • Extra sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease it with coconut oil
  3. Add the plantains and bananas to a high speed blender or food processor to thoroughly combine and mash
  4. Scoop out the plantain banana mixture into a mixing bowl and add the remainder of the ingredients
  5. Stir to combine
  6. Pour the dough into a loaf pan and smooth out to where the top if flat
  7. Add optional toppings like sliced banana and cinnamon, etc.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving
  10. Serve warm with a spread or simply by itself
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And that’s all there is to it! Sweet, cinnamon-y goodness that’ll make you feel super nostalgic!

Enjoy <3