Thank you Artisan Tropic for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.
The New Year is here, and thus, new health goals! The holidays are packed with treats, stress, and tons of breaks from our normal routine, so it’s no wonder that resets and reboots are so popular this time of year. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with a little reset to get things going with your health. However, what’s really important is setting longterm sustainable goals for health all year… not just in January! This is especially true for those of us dealing with chronic illness, or autoimmunity.
“Resolution” get a bad reputation. Many folks don’t like the idea of just making a short term goal for 2-3 weeks and then going right back to your old life soon after. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can make goals today that are sustainable enough last us throughout the year!
Here are my tips for setting sustainable health goals for the new year…
1. Define your goals and have an action plan
You can’t reach your goals unless you clearly define what they are. We all want to be “healthy”, but what does that really mean for you? How do you quantify it?
Dig deeper than just “heathy” as a goal and give actionable goals like…
- Improving your blood work
- Being able to tolerate more foods
- Lessening of pain or inflammation
- Fitness benchmarks like completing a 5k, going on a big hike, etc.
Now, goals are one thing. We all have goals. However, what we don’t always have is a plan on how to achieve them!
Rather than just defining high level goals, my husband and I sit down every new year to evaluate where we want to be in the next year, five years, ten years, and beyond, and what our action plan is to get there. Don’t know what it will take to get there? Start from square one and just work up from there!
For example… years ago, my goal was to put my Hashimoto’s into remission. The initial plan back then looked something like this….
- Research Hashimoto’s online
- Experiment with different diet protocols
- Read new books on autoimmunity
- Find a new holistic doctor
- Join some online communities
That was just the start! Then from there, I was able to flesh out my plan even more as time went on.
2. Find your favorite healthy staple meals and recipes that you can always lean on
Cooking and trying new recipes is fun! I love cracking open new cookbooks and making new creations. However, it can also be time consuming. Though it sounds glamorous, it’s just not sustainable to cook a brand new recipe every single evening.
Rather than pulling out a fancy cookbook several times a week, find your 4-5 staple recipes that you love and can lean on in a pinch. That way, you’ll able to still have fun and delicious recipes that you love without feeling like a fish out of water for ever meal. Reserve the fancy stuff for special occasions. For tons of ideas, check out my recipe page!
3. Find healthy snacks and treats that you love rather than restricting year round
I get the feeling of wanting a reset or a detox once January hits. Trust me! I enjoy my holiday indulgences as much as the next foodie. I’ve had plenty of sugar hangovers and stomach pain after one too many bacon wrapped dates.
However, we can’t live in reset mode 365 days a year. Balance is hard to find, but the best place to start is finding real food snacks and treats that you love that won’t wreck your health goals! There are endless recipes online that fit those qualifications, however, having convenience snacks that you love is always an amazing option.
One of my favorite snacks that don’t leave me feeling like I need a detox afterwards are plantain chips!
The plantain & cassava strips from Artisan Tropic are paleo and AIP compliant, made with real food ingredients, and are the perfect way to indulge in a healthy snack. The plantain chips come in a few different flavors like a basic savory chip, a naturally sweeter chip, and a cinnamon plantain chip for when you have a bit more of a sweet tooth. The Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips are basically the closest things I’ve had to potato chips since I’ve gone AIP and nightshade free!
The first time I had these was when I went on a business trip to Indonesia in 2016 and brought along all of my own healthy snacks. I broke into the bag on my way to Singapore and was blown away that they were actually AIP! The didn’t make me feel like junk, and they tasted so incredible! I tried to save some to share with my husband when I got back… but it didn’t happen that time around 😉
Plus, all of the Artisan Tropic Plantain and Cassava Strips are so tasty that they’re great for sharing! One of the biggest concerns that I hear from readers and clients when they’re transitioning to a healthier lifestyle or an AIP diet is that they won’t be able to indulge at social events. My answer is always to bring along yummy foods that everyone will love, and these plantain strips fit the bill!
4. Commit to movement that you actually want to do
Movement is a privilege… not a punishment!
All too often, we choose work outs that are oppressive and just too hard to keep up with throughout the year. Speaking as someone who’s been burnt out from crazy workout routines in the past, trust me, you don’t need to go down that road to stay healthy!
Rather than punishing yourself with gym routines that you hate, find movement that you actually love and want to stick to. It could be as simple as just walking for 30 minutes after work, or you could take up a new sport, yoga practice, or light weight lifting. Whatever it is, make it something that you actually love to do.
5. Lean on Community Support to Keep You Accountable
One of my favorite things to come out of my blogging journey has been the community here in this health community! I’ve been able to connect with so many friends and colleagues online that have supported me through rough patches, inspired me, and listened to me when I needed an ear. I created a Facebook community specifically for Gut Healing Support to serve as a safe place for community support to keep eachother accountable, and inspired!
I hope these easy tips help you along in making your New Years goals more sustainable for all of 2018!
Happy New Year!! 2018 is here, and most of us are likely starting to feel the sugar crash of the holidays coming on. Regardless of whether or not you’re doing a full on sugar detox or Whole30 for the new year, getting in more nutrient dense and healing foods is always a plus. Even more of a plus is foods that are also detoxifying! Thus, my first recipe of 2018… Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Chicken Soup! It’s anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and paleo, AIP, and whole 30 compliant.
But first, let me explain what I mean when I say “detox” here… because you may be thinking… ‘Isn’t that just a spammy buzz word?” Yes, and no. Yes if you’re just calling anything detoxifying because it’s low in calories, but certain vegetables do help support our detox pathways. What makes this soup a “detox” soup is not only the amount of veggies, but a secret ingredient… golden beets! Beets actually support the natural detox pathways in your liver by stimulating bile flow.
Not to mention it’s an anti-inflammatory powerhouse soup! Spices like turmeric and ginger both help to ease inflammation in the body. Turmeric is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory when taken as a supplement, and when ingested in our food, and it really adds an amazing flavor as well. The spices aren’t the only anti-inflammatory ingredients here… the bone broth also helps to soothe the gut lining.
With nourishing bone broth, nutrient dense veggies, detoxifying beets, anti-inflammatory turmeric, and more, this soup is the perfect way to start the new year off with a bang.
The Benefits of this Anti-inflammatory Turmeric Chicken Soup
- The bone broth is filled with gut healing nutrients that soothe the gut
- Golden beets help support your natural detox pathways
- It’s packed with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger
- Ginger also helps aid digestion
- It’s full of vegetables! Can’t argue with that 😉
The Ingredients You’ll Need & Substitutions
Chicken bone broth and coconut cream
Chicken bone broth works best for this soup to add in more gut healing nutrients. Bone broth can also help to ease inflammation in the gut and soothe the gut lining.
Coconut cream makes this soup creamy, but you can easily leave this out and sub more broth if you don’t tolerate coconut.
Pre-cooked and shredded chicken is what I used for this soup.
Ah ha… the secret ingredient for actually supporting your detox pathways. Beets assist the liver in the natural detox process by actually stimulating the bile flow and increasing the enzymatic activity. Many fat digesting enzyme supplements are made with beets! So, eating them actually does support our detox pathways.
The golden beets in this soup are far less earthy than purple beets, and they won’t stain the soup red. I find golden beets easily at health food stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers.
Carrots, cauliflower, celery, onions, and kale
These are the main veggie ingredients in this soup. You can mix it up a bit, but these yield the best flavor and are the best combination for this soup.
Turmeric, ginger, and parsley
Turmeric is a main spice here and really takes center stage with it’s rich color! Turmeric is known to be anti-inflammatory as well as ginger. Parsley adds a layer of freshness and flavor.
Detox Turmeric Chicken Soup (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30)
- 5 cups chicken bone broth
- 1 cup coconut cream (optional.. sub more bone broth)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (sub chicken fat or ghee in not AIP)
- 10-12 oz chicken, cooked and shredded
- 2 medium golden beets, peeled and chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into half moons
- 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1.5 cups kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
- 2-3 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
- Sea salt to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- Using a large pot, melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil on on medium heat
- Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until translucent
- Add in the carrots, celery, cauliflower, and beets and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until lightly softened
- Pour in the broth and coconut cream and stir until creamy
- Season with turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper and stir until the soup is a rich golden color
- Add the chicken and parsley and stir
- Simmer on medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are softened to liking
- Stir in the kale and simmer for another 5 minutes
- Remove from the heat and allow to slightly cool before serving
- Serve topped with parsley
This soup is so nutrient dense and delicious! It’s the perfect thing to batch cook at the start of the week to have nourishing meals all week long. It’s rich flavors really spice it up and add so much more interest than just a plain old chicken soup.
This soup is best fresh, or stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, but you can also experiment with freezing it.
Have a happy and healthy new year, and enjoy this tasty soup!!
As the year comes to a close, I am blown away by all that’s happened in just a years time. It’s been a crazy, long, hard, and over all exciting year. It was a huge year for Unbound Wellness which is honestly still in it’s baby stages as a business, and I’m excited to share those developments with you!
But before I get into all of that, I wanted to let you know that a lot of this couldn’t be possible without you and your support. Thank you for reading my blog, trying my recipes, following along on Instagram, listening to the podcast, and more. I’m so grateful for your friendship and support!
Now, let’s get on with what happened this year…
2017 Year in Review
What Happened for Unbound Wellness…
Traffic to UnboundWellness.com increased by 724%
Yep. Seven hundred and twenty four percent increase from 2016 to 2017. Holy moly.
My main goal for Unbound Wellness in 2017 was to just grow. More eyes, more lovely readers enjoying my recipes, and more interaction and engagement. I wanted to spread my message further, and zeroed in on putting tons of effort into growing.
I shared 69 recipes new recipes!
If you’re wondering how I increased my traffic in 2017, this is one of the top 3 answers for sure. I put a ton of time, effort, and research into stepping up my recipe development game this year, and I’ve been beyond thrilled to see how much it’s paid off! Recipe development, food photography, and sharing my recipes online brings me such an immense amount of joy!
I released the 30 Day Gut Healing Diet Plan & Guide and have been blown away by how popular it’s been
January 1st, 2017 was when the 30 Day Gut Healing Diet Plan & Guide hit the world wide web! As someone who has gone through their fairshare of gut issues, I created the guide because it was something that I wish would have existed when I started this journey.
This e-book has 30 days of gut healing meals with photos of each day to make it super easy to follow, exclusive recipes, and more.
You will definitely be seeing more things like this from me in the future!
I hit over 10k followers on Instagram
Coming from a background of working professionally in social media, I know that numbers don’t always mean much. Buying followers and spending all of your time on social media can be pretty pointless. However, getting to 10k followers on Instagram actually unlocks some extra features, and I’ve really loved growing my community! I was around 1k followers in January of 2017, and I’m at 10.7k in December. You can follow me here.
I got to speak at Paleo f(X)
This was a huge check off my bucket list! Speaking is one of my biggest passions, and the opportunity to talk business at Paleo f(X) was incredible!! I talked about growing your email list, which is something that I plan to focus on a lot more myself in 2018.
Anne and I launched the Unbound Healing Podcast
Having my own podcast has been a dream of mine for years. When I met Anne Marie Garland of Grassfed Salsa, I felt like that could become a reality! Anne has dealt with autoimmune issues herself and is a nutritionist that is AIP minded. Anne I are so aligned on so many things, and she really fills in on the gaps that I lack! She’s become such a dear friend that I respect so much, and I appreciate the heck out of her.
We started the Unbound Healing Podcast for others who are dealing with autoimmune and chronic illness issues, and we share how to manage those issues with diet, lifestyle, and more. You can subscribe on both iTunes and stitcher!!
The Most Popular Posts on Unbound Wellness in 2017…
1. Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers
The sweet potato chicken popper has over 230k repins on pinterest, and I get tagged on Instagram in pictures of you guys making this one almost daily!! <3
2. Baked Veggie Nuggets
I like nuggets, okay?! And apparently you guys do too!! These Veggie Nuggets are one of my all time favorites!
3. How I Reversed Hashimoto’s
A real talk blog post of how I got my Hashimoto’s under control with diet, lifestyle, gut health, and more.
What Happened in My Personal Life
I left my full-time job.
This was huge. I was able to leave my full-time job to pursue other opportunities like freelancing, and working on my business last January. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been beyond worth it! You can read more about my transition here.
I made some big steps forward in my own health journey
This year was all about focusing on Mercury detoxification after I learned that I was super toxic later in 2016. I wound up bringing down my levels significantly, and making some other strides. You can read all about that, and how I did it, here.
I got to travel quite a bit
Though Daniel and I really didn’t take any big vacations, we did a lot of smaller trips, work trips, and weekend trips. In 2017 I got to go to Austin 3 times total… 2 for work and 1 for fun (read one of my recaps here), Vegas for work, Key West and Orlando as a piggy back on Daniels work trip, Port Aransas as a family trip, DC as a friend reunion, and New York as another family trip and reunion (recap here). Working for myself has definetly allowed me to be a lot more flexible to work from wherever, and travel more!
My husband and I found a new home church.
Daniel and I have been looking for a church where we both feel at home since we’ve been married! We were always driving way too far to churches we used to go to in the past, and could never really find one near us that we felt at home at. When we bought out house in 2016, we jumped around for months before we decided to try a church close to our house in about the late winter of 2017. It’s a church that we both love and really feel at home at, and I’m so grateful to feel more grounded with it!!
What I Was Really Into in 2017…
I started getting into vintage when I was a kid. I always loved old music and that slowly started to transition into fashion when I got into my teens. I would always frequent thrift stores and search online for fun vintage inspired looks, but honestly, it’s hard to really develop a strong personal style when you’re a teen!
My stye got pretty sterile to fit the office environment when I hit my 20’s, and it was only when I left my full time office job that was I was able to indulge my love for vintage again. Vintage doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to find, and it’s a lot more sustainable ethically speaking. I’m going to be doing a whole blog post on my tips and my whole collection, but here are some of my favorite finds of 2017…
This 1970’s maxi dress.
Photography by Karla Janneth, and dress from Vintage Tex.
This 1960’s jumper dress… it’s all one piece!
Photography by Karla Janneth, and dress from Ally Hoot Vintage.
This 80’s barbie dream jumper.
Photo by my husband, jumper from The Kissing Tree.
If you couldn’t tell from all of the recipes I put out there this year, I’m really into recipe development. I’m constantly researching online and in books, and am brainstorming new ideas and flavor combinations. It’s the perfect mix of all of the creative things that I love like cooking, photography, editing, food styling, and the creative thinking needed for actually coming up with grain free, dairy free, egg free, nightshade free recipes that taste good!
My Favorite Murder Podcast
Working for yourself gets lonely. Even though I’m fairly introverted, I miss being around people. One of the ways I get past this is listening to podcasts. But honestly, listening to just health podcasts wears me out. I feel like I’m constantly in work mode and just can’t shut my brain off. I needed more entertaining podcasts and a fun community to get into.
I found My Favorite Murder around the spring of 2017. As a person who is has always been into true crime, I thought it sounded interesting. MFM is a huge podcast with a flourishing fan base, and I was immediately hooked. It’s a true crime/comedy podcast (…but not together… you have to listen to really get it) and the hosts are so relatable and fun, it feels like they’re my new coworkers! I even dragged Daniel to their live show in Dallas, and would honestly do it again.
Give it a listen… at your own risk if you scare easily!
What’s coming in 2018…
Daniel and I will be married for 4 year this January, and we’re moving closer and closer towards adding to our family. We know that there’s no way to ever be truly ready, but we want to be as prepared as we can. There are a lot of conversations to be had and decisions to be made for us as a couple, and we’re excited to start having them this year!
Tons more recipes
Trust me, I am not slowing down with pumping out recipes! I’m currently planned out through March of 2018 as we speak.
More on gut health, more podcasts, more vintage, and hopefully more on faith too!
I’ll be sharing more content on all of the things I’ve already been sharing, and will hopefully adding more into the mix on things like vintage, and faith.
A huge announcement soooon
Don’t worry… you’re not going to miss this one!
Thank you all again for all of your support, love, and friendship over the last year. It’s been an absolute dream to do what I love and share it with you. Happy New Year, and I’ll see you lots more in 2018!!
We are knee deep in holiday party season with New Years Eve approaching fast, and before you know it, Super Bowl Sunday will be here! Truthfully, I’m down for delicious shareable food every day of the year, but there’s no better time for tasty party food than right now. I used to dread the idea of going to a party filled with foods that I couldn’t have, but this recipe is the answer to delicious food that everyone will love. That’s right… I’m adding to the chicken popper family with these Orange Chicken Poppers!
I feel like there was always a lot of orange chicken in my house growing up. It was my little brothers order of choice from Asian restaurants, and for good reason. Orange chicken is satiating, savory, and just the right amount of sweet. Everyone can enjoy it, and when you’re thoughtful about the ingredients, it can be super nutrient dense!
These orange chicken poppers aren’t your average take out orange chicken. They’re Whole 30, Paleo, and AIP while having all of the flavors that you know and love! Not to mention, they feature some hidden veggies, and are much easier to make than you think.
The Ingredients (and Substitutions) For The Orange Chicken Poppers
I don’t have any trouble finding ground chicken at my local farmers market, however, you can also use a food processor to make your own, or just sub ground turkey! I often use ground turkey in this recipe and like it just as much.
Carrots are one of the secret ingredients in these poppers that helps to separate them from just straight up meatballs, and add more substance. You can buy shredded carrots at the store, or just throw some carrots in a food processor… easy!
White onion and green onion
The poppers have white onion in the base, and green onions are great for topping.
Coconut flour and coconut oil
Coconut flour is what helps make the poppers a bit more crispy, and coconut oil helps keep it juicy and binds it further. You can sub other flours or sources of fat. For example, cassava flour works, as does tapioca starch. For the fat, it’s best to use something that’s solid like chicken fat or beef tallow. Regardless, you can get creative with the different flours or fats that you use depending on what you can tolerate.
Coconut aminos is the soy sauce substitute in this recipe. You can easily find this at health food stores or online.
Fresh orange juice and zest add in more of that original flavor.
Honey is an optional ingredient that adds more sweetness, and texture to the sauce.
- 1 lb ground chicken (see above for substitutions)
- 2 cups carrots, finely shredded/riced
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp fresh orange zest
- 2-3 springs of green onion, sliced on the bias
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of one orange
- 1 tbsp honey (omit for Whole30)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare a baking sheet with coconut oil
- Using a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken (or turkey), carrots, and onion.
- Next, add in the coconut oil, coconut flour, sea salt, black pepper (if using) and orange zest. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
- Roll the mixture into small, slightly flattened poppers about one inch in diameter (you'll have about 20-25 poppers) and place them on the cooking sheet
- Place in the oven for 25-28 minutes, flipping half way through
- Remove from the oven and set aside
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the coconut aminos, orange zest, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar fresh orange juice, honey, and onion powder and whisk together.
- Cook on medium/low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often
- Carefully add the poppers into the bowl with the sauce, lightly mixing and spooning the sauce over them. Be careful not to break the poppers, but spoon enough sauce to saturate them.
- Spoon out the poppers onto a serving dish and either top with the remainder of the sauce, or serve the sauce on the side.
- Top with green onion and enjoy!
These easy orange chicken poppers are so, so yummy and easily one of my favorite of the bunch yet! Here’s a quick fire of some common questions with these tasty little guys…
Can you make substitutions? See all of my recommended substitutions above! I can’t really recommend any others than what I’ve stated as I can’t vouch for the end result.
Do they store well? Yes! I made two big batches and my husband I ate them for 2-3 days afterwards for both lunch and dinner.
Do they freeze well? Yes! I would just freeze them without the sauce, and make the sauce after you defrost them.
Here’s how I suggest serving them…
- With a side of cauliflower rice as a weeknight dinner
- With a side salad or roasted veggies as a quick lunch
- With toothpicks as a party appetizer
Enjoy, and have a happy new year!!
Peppermint is one of those flavors that just screams holidays! It’s a good flavor in it’s own right, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always guaranteed to get me in the holiday spirit. Peppermint tea, peppermint candies and peppermint treats are all welcome in my house this time of year. Last year, I made a really delicious Peppermint Bark recipe that received high praise, and this year, I wanted to share Paleo Chocolate Peppermint Truffles!
These truffles are soft, chewy, sweet and definitely don’t taste like they’re paleo and AIP. They have a soft interior, a hard chocolate shell, and a peppermint flavor inside that pairs so well with the chocolate. There’s no artificial sweetener, white sugar, weird coloring, etc. Just real food!
Reduced coconut milk gives the inside of the truffles that creamy, but dairy free texture.
A bit of maple syrup in the base of the truffle helps to sweeten.
A few dates also help to add sweetness to the truffle, and made for a soft and chewy texture.
Coconut flakes & coconut flour
These give the truffles structure.
Coconut butter & coconut oil
Coconut butter (also known as coconut mana or coconut cream concentrate) and coconut oil together give the truffles a steel coating. This gives that chocolate texture but without actually melting chocolate. It’s also filled with healthy fats rather than sugar!
Cocoa or carob powder for AIP
You can use either cocoa or carob powder if you’re AIP to create the chocolate coating and interior.
Gotta have the peppermint flavor!
Paleo Peppermint Truffles (AIP)
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 4-5 dates, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder for AIP)
- 1/3 + 2 tbsp cup melted coconut butter
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- Using a medium size sauce pan, combine the coconut milk and maple syrup and set it on the stove on medium heat
- Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 90 minutes to reduce. I suggest potentially using a splatter guard as the coconut milk may splatter. Stir the mixture occasionally
- Once the mixture is reduced, stir in the shredded coconut, coconut flour, dates, 1 tbsp of cocoa or carob powder, and peppermint extract
- Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or overnight
- Once entirely cooled, roll the mixture into small truffles and set aside
- Combine 1/3 cup of fully melted coconut butter with 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil and stir in 2 tbsp of carob or cocoa powder until the mixture looks like chocolate
- Using a spoon, submerge the truffles one by one in the chocolate mixture until evenly coated. Dip twice or make more of the coating if needed.
- Set the truffles on parchment paper and drizzle the top with 2 tbsp of melted coconut butter to give a white drizzle
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to let the coating harden
- Serve chilled and enjoy!
And there you have it! Festive little treats that are great for storing the fridge, or bringing a tray of to a party. Your guests will never know that it’s a paleo treat.
For a year round AIP truffle, check out this recipe from A Squirrel in the Kitchen which is similar, and better for year round use.
Happy holidays, and enjoy!