Collagen Protein Cookies (Paleo & AIP)

Real talk, I used to love store-bought protein bars and powders. I always had some on hand, and regularly used them as meal replacements. Rather than full, nourishing meals of quality proteins and roasted veggies, I was reaching for a protein shake and calling it a day. Though I adamantly speak against using protein snacks as meal replacements, and using poor quality protein snacks in general, I too am a busy woman on the go and need a good grab and go snack every so often. So rather than constantly eat beef jerky for every need, I got a little creative and made AIP and paleo collagen protein cookies!

These may look like cookies, but they’re not the carb-y sugar bombs that are void of healthy fats that you’re used it. These guys have no unnatural sugar, no fuss, and have only high quality protein from grass-fed collagen! 

Collagen Protein Benefits 

 

So, what is collagen protein anyway? 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and comes from bones, muscle, skin, and tendons. This particular collagen that I use, Vital Proteins, is made from grass-fed cows. It’s flavorless, easily dissolves in liquid of disappears in treats like these cookies, and is the perfect way to add a protein boost. Collagen is a super trendy ingredient right now, so what makes it so great?

  • Supports a healthy gut lining (it’s found in recipes in my 30 Day Gut Healing Guide for this reason)
  • Supports healthy hair, nails, joints, and skin.
  • A natural source of high quality protein 

 

Paleo Collagen Protein Cookies

Why I Love These Cookies… 

 

1. They’re a great AIP/Paleo grab ‘n’ go snack. 

Like most everyone who reads my blog, and everyone in general these days… I’m a busy woman. On top of working in digital marketing, working one on one with nutrition clients and writing my blog, I’m all over the place. Though I really value having at least three sit down meals filled with veggies and high quality protein at each meal, I can’t deny that I also value having a little snack to have in my purse if I’m running around being clients. 

It’s not secret that the processed food world preys on people like us. With 100 calorie snack packs, protein bars, shakes, and convenient fast food restaurants on every corner, the odds are against anyone who’s busy and also wants to stay healthy, Paleo, or even AIP.

Probably the number one question I get as a seasoned Autoimmune Paleo blogger is “what do I eat when I travel/ am on the go?” My answer is always to have real food that’s travel friendly like sliced veggies, seaweed snacks, beef jerky, fruit, veggie chips, etc. I made these cookies to add to that mix! They’re full of real food ingredients, and are the perfect thing to just throw in your purse and have a good fat and protein snack on the go. 

2. They taste darned good.

Aside from being a good grab ‘n’ go snack, these taste like a treat, and do indeed have honey in them. They’re also perfect for an actual treat to have on hand when you just really want a cookie, or need something sweet to throw in your kids lunch box!

Paleo Collagen Protein Cookies

3. Collagen, duh.

That means these cookies have high quality protein rather than mystery protein powder. See above for all of the benefits of grass-fed collagen 😉 I just love getting it in my diet when I can! 

4. They’re full of healthy fat.

On top of collagen, these cookies have 3/4 cups of coconut oil, which we all know is a delicious healthy fat. Fats like coconut are vital for our hormone health, brain health, and helps to keep us satiated and full. The fat in these cookies really helps balance out the sugar in the honey to control your blood sugar more, and keep you full.

I also love coconut oil particularly as it’s easier to digest for those who have issues digesting fats. In my experience, almost all of my clients struggle with this to some extent, and it’s far more common than we may realize.

5. They’re made with coconut flour.

Coconut flour is a great for baking! It has great flavor, it’s grain free, Paleo, AIP and is much lower carb than more starchy flours. Though these cookies also have honey to sweeten them and help bind them as they’re egg free, they’re much lower in sugar and carbs than your average cookie, and coconut flour helps that tremendously! 

Collagen Protein Cookies (Paleo & AIP)

Collagen Protein Cookies (Paleo & AIP)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 c + 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 scoops collagen peptides
  • 1/2 ground tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free)
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • For the frosting (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (softened by not melted)
  • 1 tbsp carob powder
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a parchment lined baking sheet with coconut oil.
  2. Combine coconut flour and collagen in a mixing bowl
  3. Add the coconut oil and stir vigorously until well combined. You want the coconut oil to be softened, but not melted.
  4. Add the remainder on the ingredients and combine.
  5. Form the dough into cookies (you'll have about 7-8 medium sized cookies) and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, being careful to not let them burn. Expect the edges to crisp a bit.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
  8. While the cookies are still warm but not hot, prepare the frosting (optional) by adding the ingredients to a bowl and mixing vigorously. Heat for just a few seconds to soften if needed, but don't allow it to melt.
  9. Pour the frosting mixture into a piping bag or just a plastic bag with the tip cut off and drizzle over the cookies. The heat from the cookies should help melt the frosting over the cookies.
  10. Throw the cookies in your purse as a snack, in your lunch box, or eat them as a snack at home!
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I hope you love these protein cookies as much as my husband and I do! They disappeared pretty quickly the couple of times that I’ve made them, and I can’t wait to make them again 😉

Collagen Protein Cookies with Coconut Flour (paleo, AIP)

Paleo Egg-free Pancakes with Almond Flour

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Pancakes have always been a favorite in my family for special breakfasts. Whether it be birthdays, Christmas morning, or just a special Sunday, pancakes are the go-to. They’re quick, easy to make, and just the absolute perfect breakfast comfort food.

There was a time where I was obsessed with protein pancakes when I first went gluten free to heal my Hashimoto’s and leaky gut. Most of us who go gluten free go through that phase really. Who can resist pancakes as easy as banana, egg, and whey protein? Right? Well… though they served their purpose at the time, they just weren’t really cutting it anymore.

After I realizing that whey protein and whole eggs were aggravating my gut and my autoimmune disease equally as much as the gluten in pancakes, I had to reshift my focus when it came to pancakes. I needed something egg free with high quality ingredients, and something that didn’t always have to have the taste of banana or coconut. Sometimes I just don’t want the overpowering tastes and textures of banana or coconut in my pancakes.

So I set out to make almond and cassava flour pancakes that are both egg free and banana free! 

These pancakes are incredibly easy to make, satisfying, and in the words of my non-Paleo husband, “they taste almost like a snickerdoodle cookie”! They definitely don’t feel like you’re going without at all.

It’s also important to note that though they may not be AIP, all they require is an almond reintroduction, and the rest of the ingredients are AIP friendly! As someone who’s successfully reintroduced almonds, but not whole eggs (the whites still get me), these are perfect, and they’re also great for just paleo folks who are egg free.

So, what binds these guys so well if there are no eggs or bananas? No it’s not some weird gum and it’s definitely not apple sauce either. It’s actually almond butter! I make my almond butter homemade (but you can certainly use store-bought) and when you whisk it well enough, it makes the perfect binder and egg substitute in these pancakes. Plus, it meshes perfectly with the taste that’s already there in the flour and isn’t offensive like banana can sometimes be.

I love topping these with fruit and jam, and my husband is all about maple syrup! They’re also great with a pat of ghee and a side of bacon for a more savory breakfast. 

However, you choose to top them, they just straight up taste good.

Paleo Egg-free Pancakes with Almond Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cassava flour
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk (I use MALK organics)
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Ghee or coconut oil to grease the pan

Instructions

  1. Combine the two flours in a large mixing bowl and stir
  2. Add in the wet ingredients and the baking soda and stir well. You'll really want to make sure that the almond butter is broken down! Add another tbsp of almond milk if you'd like the batter to be thinner.
  3. Heat a skillet (preferably something that doesn't stick) and melt about 1 tsp of ghee or coconut oil.
  4. Add about 1/4 cup of batter at a time.
  5. Flip the pancakes once the edges begin to brown. These pancakes don't truly "bubble" like traditional pancakes do.
  6. Add another tsp of cooking fat, and repeat the process.
  7. Continue the process until the batter is gone. You'll have about 8-9 pancakes to top with syrup, jam, or fruit, and enjoy!
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I hope you all enjoy these paleo pancakes!

I know for sure that I’ll be serving them this Christmas morning with maple syrup, pomegranate seeds and maybeeee in a Rudolph shape with bacon antlers, chocolate chip eyes, and a cherry nose 😉

Happy Holidays! <3 

Almond Flour Paleo Pancakes (Egg free and banana free)

Paleo Peppermint Bark (AIP & Dairy Free)

The holidays are officially here! Like, for real here. Here to the point that I’m no longer getting shamed for having my tree up and listening to Christmas music. I’m one of those people, yes.

Warm soups, twinkly lights, and tons of holiday treats! I just love it all. This December I’ll be spending two weekends traveling to Asia (because that’s normal) so I’ve really been doing it up with all of the winter things these final weeks before I take my trip… and I’m seriously loving it. 

Though I’m clearly an advocate for a real food lifestyle and just don’t believe that full on junk food is necessary to enjoy the holidays, I firmly believe in making healthy swaps.

I love coming up with recipes like this for the holidays that are healthy, paleo, AIP, easy to prep, and no bake. Hallelujah! I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve cried over failed roll out sugar cookies in my day… too many to count. Can we just all agree to ditch the oven for treats when possible? Okay? GOOD.  This paleo peppermint bark is perfect then!

Peppermint bark is so easy to prepare which is incredibly necessary during the holidays where we al spend tons of extra time in the kitchen. All it takes is some time to set in the fridge and you’re good to go for a treat to bring a long to a party that your friends won’t even realize is totally allergen free, and refined sugar free!

The Best Paleo Peppermint Bark
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup coconut butter
  2. 1/3 cup coconut oil
  3. 1 tsp peppermint oil
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  5. 2 tbsp raw honey
  6. 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  7. 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  8. A pinch of sea salt (if desired)
Instructions
  1. 1. Add the coconut oil and coconut butter to a mixing bowl and stir until softened and combined.
  2. 2. Add in the vanilla, honey, and peppermint oil and combine.
  3. 3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the mixture onto the sheet.
  4. 4. Top with pomegranate seeds, shredded coconut and sea salt (if desired) and place in the fridge for at least and hour to harden.
  5. 5. Remove from the fridge, break up with your hands, and enjoy!
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This peppermint bark is perfect as a snack on its own, dipped in hot chocolate for some added creaminess, or gifted to a friend as an edible gift. My husband seriously loved it when I made it, and I can’t wait to share with others this holiday season!

Happy holidays, and enjoy!

Healing Halloween Pumpkin Turmeric Gummies (AIP, Paleo)

The words “Healing” and “Halloween” typically don’t go anywhere near each other. Halloween is literally all about sugar (or alcohol if you’re a drunken college student dressed as a mouse… duh) which is anything but healing. However, not everyone has the option to binge on sugar, and in my opinion, nobody really needs to do so.

Halloween is fun, I get it. Candy is fun, I know. I’ve done it, and I get it, and I don’t think you should stop doing it completely. Everyone needs a little treat now and then. It’s fun and it helps keep things balanced. However, I just can’t binge on M&M’s. I literally have to abstain or I’m looking at a flare of my autoimmune disease, and I know many others who can relate.

But let’s face it… social pressures are there and traditions are a thing, so even a grumpy nutritionist with an autoimmune disease like me wants to join in on the fun of treats. So, how about turmeric pumpkin gummies?

 Pumpkin Turmeric Gummies (AIP, Paleo)

These guys are cute, festive, delicious, easy to make and have all of the benefits of a healing food! How can you go wrong? So, what are some of the benefits of these ingredients? 

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric is a hot topic these days, and seems like a big food trend. My anti-inflammatory coconut turmeric bites have quickly become my most popular recipe on my blog. However, it’s anything but a fad. Turmeric has been used in aryuvedic medicine for centuries, and the active ingredient, curcumin in known as an anti-inflammatory aid.

So, what are the healing benefits of turmeric?

  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Increases antioxidant count
  • Can potentially help fight cancer 
  • Improves arthritis symptoms in many
  • Helps reduce cholesterol (by lessening inflammation)

It’s important to know that turmeric is fat soluble, and black pepper can help the bioavailability. Black pepper isn’t allowed on the elimination stage of AIP, so leave it out if needed. 

Turmeric has a deep orange color which can easily overtake a dish, but they’re perfect for these pumpkin gummies as the pumpkin is already orange!

The Healing Benefits of Gelatin 

I used to think that gummies were made from some sort of nasty, gelatinous mystery ingredients. And conventional gummies still aren’t ideal. However, gummies made from grass-fed gelatin are an amazing healing food that make incredibly fun little snacks. 

Everyone in the paleo world brags hard on gelatin.. and for good reason.

What are the benefits of gelatin?

  • Promotes healing of the gut lining
  • Aids the elasticity of skin, and support healthy hair and nails 
  • Supports joint and bone health

So, basically… pumpkin turmeric gummies are the best halloween candy ever, right? 

I think yes.

I don’t know if you can even call these candy, but for our purposes… they’re candy. 

 Pumpkin Turmeric Gummies (AIP, Paleo)

Healing Halloween Pumpkin Turmeric Gummies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup grassfed collagen
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free)
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend (use an AIP version without nutmeg for strict AIP)
  • A pinch of black pepper (omit for strict AIP)

Instructions

  1. In a high speed blender like a vitamix, mix all of the ingredients, reserving the gelatin, on high and blend until combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and heat on medium heat. Add the gelatin little by little, stirring in to make sure there are no clumps and heating on medium for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add the mixture to pumpkin molds and refrigerate for at least an hour.
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Pumpkin Turmeric Gummies (AIP, Paleo)

Have a happy halloween, friends! 

“Chocolate” Pumpkin Butter Cups (AIP, Paleo, Dairy & Nut free)

It’s finally my favorite time of year… pumpkin season! 

Though it may still by 90 degree’s in Dallas, TX as we speak (remind me why I live here again?) my local CSA is serving up butternut squash, and Target is all Halloween’ed out, so I’m in full on pumpkin mode. 

This Halloween will be the first year that my husband and I are in our very first home and will likely be visited by trick-or-treaters in the coming weeks! I mean, we probably got a few knock in our apartment the last two years but were probably too much of jerks to notice. This year, I’m going for it.

As you’d probably guess, I’m going to be one of those kind of annoying houses who doesn’t have snickers. Sorry, neighborhood kids. Though I see the fun in a Halloween candy splurge and totally participated in it myself for years, I work with too many people who have suffered ill effects from sugar (myself included). I just don’t have the heart to perpetuate the junky food. 

So, I decided to try and get creative and make my own pumpkin candy! For inspiration, I looked to one my absolute favorite conventional candies were peanut butter cups. Chocolate-y, creamy, sugar-y, and delicious. Peanuts are highly allergenic, and conventional peanut butter cups also have soy in them, which are both allergenic as well as an endocrine disruptor. So, I put a spin on it and made “chocolate” paleo pumpkin butter cups!

"Chocolate" Pumpkin Butter Cups (AIP, Paleo, Dairy & Nut Free)

Not only are they obviously nut free as I subbed homemade pumpkin butter instead, but they’re chocolate free which makes them autoimmune protocol friendly. Chocolate is actually a bean, and is best avoided for those with autoimmune disease. These can easily be made with chocolate, but the actual recipe calls for carob powder rather than cocoa. 

"Chocolate" Pumpkin Butter Cups (AIP, Paleo, Dairy & Nut Free)

“Chocolate” Pumpkin Butter Cups (AIP, Paleo, Dairy & Nut free)

Ingredients

  • - 1 cup carob powder (sub cocoa for non-AIP)
  • - 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • - 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • - 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • - 2 tsp raw honey
  • - 1 tsp cinnamon
  • - 1/2 tsp mace powder

Instructions

  1. Combine the carob powder, 1 tsp of honey and coconut oil in a small sauce pan and melt on low heat.
  2. Stir with a wisk until thoroughly combined and no clumps are present.
  3. Using a silicone candy cup mold, fill it about half way with the carob mixture.
  4. For the pumpkin butter, combine the pumpkin, vanilla, 1 tsp of honey and spices in a bowl and stir.
  5. Add about 1/2 tsp (or more depending on the size of your candy mold) to the top of the carob mixture. You want it to be a sizable amount that you'd want to bite into, but still leave some room for some more carob coating.
  6. Add the more carob mixture on top to fill the mold.
  7. Place the mold in the fridge for at least an hour.
  8. Pop them out and eat immediately! They can get melty!
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And that’s all there is to it! I don’t know if I’ll be willing enough to share with trick-or-treaters on actual Halloween, but this recipe is great for a party, gathering, or just to enjoy yourself!

Happy pumpkin season my friends… let the games begin…

"Chocolate" Pumpkin Butter Cups (AIP, Paleo, Dairy & Nut Free)

This recipe was shared in the Phoenix Helix AIP roundtable. Check it out!

Homemade Paleo & AIP Snacks Ideas on the Go

Arguably the most fun part of any eating routine are the snacks. They’re like the purses of food. Cute, fun, and portable. Snack time was always the most fun ncrn school, and one of the best little escapes during the workday. Seriously.. who doesn’t love snacks?

Though they may be fun, packaged convenience snacks can get super expensive, especially when they’re paleo, AIP, and gluten free. Not only are processed convenience expensive, but even if they’re allergen friendly or claim to be healthy, they’re still processed. I can easily spend a quarter of my grocery budget just loading up on processed convenience snacks that really aren’t health promoting what-so-ever.  Thus, making healthy and homemade AIP snacks at home is a must to save money and stay on track.

As a nutritional therapy practitioner, I work with my clients to help them heal with a healthy and sustainable diet that works for them. I build out a full meal plan that often includes snack ideas, recipes and tips. So, why do I okay my clients to snack if so many people claim it unhealthy?

Why Snacking isn’t Totally “Unhealthy” For Everyone…

Snacking gets a bad reputation in many circles as being unhealthy, and unnecessary. Well, yes and no. Typically, not everybody needs snacks. 

Snacking can overburden your digestion and add unnecessary to junk food to your diet for no real reason. Digestion takes place in a rested, and relaxed state and needs to be done in increments throughout the day. Snacking constantly on the run disturbs the digestive process and can lead to gut health issues. So, it’s not for everyone.

However, most of my clients come to me with blood sugar issues that they don’t really even realize they have. It’s often the root cause of their sugar cravings, energy issues, mood swings, hormonal imbalance, and even gut health problems. When regulating blood sugar issues, it’s crucial to keep your blood sugar balanced while you’re in a healing state. Blood sugar drops and spikes only worsen the issue. Having balanced, healthy homemade snacks on hand that are preferably Paleo or AIP (if you’re dealing with autoimmune disease) will help balance your blood sugar as they lack carbohydrate rich grains and are often higher in protein and fat. 

The argument is often made to just eat more fat at meals and you don’t need to snack. Again, yes and no. Yes, because that’s totally accurate, but no because all of my clients also have digestion issues and aren’t ready to just load up on fat at every meal and call it a day. We work together to slowly and carefully improve their fat digestion by mindfully upping their fat intake while supplementing with digestive enzymes and adding in foods that support fat digestion. Luckily, the body naturally wants to come back into balance, and I see many of my clients improve within a matter of weeks. However, we have to do the work to get there. Not everyone is ready to switch to being a fat burner over night, so snacking is still needed in the interim. 

Though I’m a much larger advocate of full meals that are nourishing, and satiating and do not believe that everyone needs snacks daily, they’re perfectly find in the right context and when they’re the right kinds of snacks. So, how do you snack healthy? 

How to Snack Healthy…

Protein bars and peanut butter packets are not exactly a health promoting choice… like… at all. I know as well as you do that that’s the idea we’re fed by magazines, and even health professionals. I studied to be a registered dietitian before I pivoted to become an NTP, and the ideas I heard for healthy snacks from other RD’s shocked me. So, how do you do it right?

1.Balance your snacks.

Most processed snacks are just filled with refined carbohydrates and sugar… even those that claim to be protein rich. Having snacks that are balanced with protein, fat, and carbs (like those below) are more likely to keep you fuller longer. 

2. Only have them when you need them.

Like I said above, snacks are appropriate if you’re working towards better blood sugar regulation, or if you’re just legitimately hungry. That doesn’t meant that everyone needs 3 snacks a day. Snack only if you’re hungry and try to avoid snacking just for the sake of it!

3. Don’t let them replace meals. 

In a society where most women are constantly dieting (including myself for years) it’s easy to just run off of protein bars, and small bowls of cereal. Not only is this approach detrimental to your blood sugar and gut health, but it’s just not satisfying. Sitting down to a nourishing, full meal that keeps you full for hours is so much more satisfying that just nibbling on cereal bars all day. Don’t let your snacks replace whole meals. 

4. Make them homemade.

Processed snacks are pricey, and likely unhealthy. Making snacks homemade allow you to control what goes in them and keep your grocery budget down. 

Making homemade snacks can be easy, fun, and doable with some of these ideas!

Healthy Homemade AIP & Paleo Snacks on the Go

Homemade Beef Jerky and Apples 

Homemade jerky is so much easier than it sounds. I follow my own recipe that’s similar to this for homemade jerky that’s made from ground beef, and can easily just be left in the oven overnight! Pair it with half and apple and you’ve got a super satiating snack.

Turkey and Sliced Veggies 

Good quality deli meat can be hard to find, so I highly moderate it, but a quality turkey with sliced veggies is a great snack to can be thrown together super easily.

Wild Caught Tuna and Avocado

I love having tuna with avocado as it has a similar creamy consistency to mayo. Tuna and avocado are a great protein/fat snack to keep you full and not spike your blood sugar!

Chocolate-y Collagen Protein Bites

These tasty protein bites are my own recipe made with coconut butter, collagen, and carob powder for just a hint of sweetness. They taste like a treat and do an amazing job at keeping your full and satisfied.

Cinnamon Banana and Coconut Butter

Definitely the closest to a treat and are more likely to raise your blood sugar a bit, but it’s oh-so tasty. Banana with cinnamon and coconut butter has a creamy, almost cake batter like taste that will satisfy and sweet treat craving!

Healthy Homemade AIP & Paleo Snacks on the Go