Kimberly Wolfe, RN
Thai-flavored Meatballs Over Glass Noodles
This is one of my favorite meals. The best part? You can totally freeze the meatballs and pull them out on a night you don't feel like cooking. If you would like to do that, make sure to double the recipe. These meatballs are so good that half of them are mysteriously missing as soon as I take them out of the oven!
This is the kind of meal that is perfect for serving guests, especially those who are not familiar with AIP or Paleo recipes. They won't have any idea you are feeding them according to the elimination phase of AIP. This may even be a great time to teach family and friends about your dietary needs, why AIP is what you choose to follow, and how AIP has or can help you live the life you want to live. The fact is, these ingredients make for a wholesome meal that anyone can enjoy.
I have found in the past that it's sometimes hard to explain AIP to people who have never heard of it before. It's truly not just a "diet". It's about lifestyle and what you put in and around your body that affects the response and healing process of your chronic illness. No, autoimmune disease doesn't ever go away completely, but living a healthy life (specifically catered to your needs) can decrease symptoms, heal your gut, decrease inflammation, increase your microbiome, and sometimes even put chronic illness into remission. Personally, I've experienced all of it.
I am walking proof that finding the right combination of "wellness" for your body is an effective way to handle a chronic illness. Yes, sometimes medications and other medical interventions are completely necessary but I am always going to be here to advocate the other side as well. Too often, I find that people with chronic illness pick a "one or the other" approach. It's not about picking one intervention and hoping that will fix all of your problems. It's about learning and implementing medical AND holistic interventions and then listening to your intuition. Everyone responds to interventions differently....and no, maybe meditating for a week won't "cure" you but have you learned about all of the ways meditating on a long-term basis can help your body back to homeostasis? Perhaps meditating or eating a diet specifically catered to your needs is only PART of the puzzle. So please don't be so quick to discount interventions that may sound cheesy or unhelpful.
AIP: Not JUST a diet
Explaining to people what AIP is can sometimes be tough. Why? AIP is not JUST a diet. Friends and family of mine look at what I'm doing and often think that AIP is all about the food I eat (or don't eat) that is making me healthier. It's so much more than that! AIP actually consists of several components, that when combined, create a systematic approach to living a clean, healthy, specifically-catered-to-you lifestyle.
What does it mean to live the "AIP life"?
Eat: Yes, I think we are all aware that AIP has a food component to it. Essentially, the idea is to find out which foods your body does well while eliminating the foods your body doesn't respond well to, all while trying to eat as many nutrient-dense meals as possible. The goal is to help heal your gut and eventually (possibly even years after you start this process) reintroduce as many nutrients as possible back into your diet. This is different for everybody and the best way to go about it (in my opinion) is through the help of a healthcare practitioner or support person (health coach, nutritionist, nutritional therapist, etc.)
Rest: Sleeping well and resting your body in the proper way is just as important as the food you eat. When you sleep, your body is able to heal and regenerate cells in your body. Getting proper sleep also helps with hormone regulation, bringing your body back to a state of homeostasis and wellness.
Breathe: This is the part everyone seems to bypass in life. Stress management. When your body is in a stressed state, it can not heal (let's say it again for the people in the back)...WHEN YOUR BODY IS IN A STRESSED STATE, IT CAN NOT HEAL. Maybe you've heard about the caveman running from the lion story? In that situation, your body goes into "flight or fight mode", which means that all of your body's mechanisms turn to the areas that need them the most...your legs and arms (obviously for running....fast....away from that lion!). This also means other mechanisms are completely turned off during this time. Things like healing and digesting are not priority. Ok, so maybe you're not running from a lion, but man, that day at work or with the kids was STRESSSSSFUL. Your body cannot differentiate between a stressful day at work and a lion chasing you down. So yes, stress management is SUPER important to the healing process.
Move: Movement is a tough one, especially when you have a chronic illness. Fatigue and pain are often accompanied by autoimmune disease. This can make it especially hard to get moving. The fact is, moving your body doesn't mean you have to run a marathon. In fact, running a marathon may actually do more harm than good if that's not what your body specifically needs. Walking or stretching is a great place to start. Just getting that blood flowing and those muscles moving can do a lot for you, including possible decrease in pain. You should feel energized after moving, otherwise, that may be a sign that you did too much.
Connect: This is one aspect of AIP (and honestly, overall wellness) you may have never thought about: connecting with others, connecting with nature, and connecting with yourself. We are social human beings (no matter how introverted you may be!) AIP can be overwhelming when you first start so having support people around can be extremely helpful. It can be helpful to talk it out with another human being and it can also be helpful to take a second in your life for meaningful relationships and time outdoors. Did you know that hugs and playing in the dirt can help relieve some of that stress?...not to mention all of the good bacteria you're getting from the dirt! So go outside! Play! Bring a friend!
Thai-flavored Meatballs Over Glass Noodles
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 bundle green onions
1 chopped sweet potato
2-3 cloves of garlic
⅓ cup coconut aminos for the meatballs
salt to taste
1 package of glass noodles (sweet potato noodles)
2-3 tbsp. olive/avocado oil
⅓ cup coconut aminos for the noodles
Turn oven on at 400 degrees
In a food processor or blender, process all vegetables into very small pieces (process until you can't process any further!)
In a large mixing bowl, add salt, coconut aminos, and then ground beef with the finely processed vegetables until everything is thoroughly mixed together
Make medium-sized meatballs to put on a baking sheet (cast iron or stoneware works best!). Place in the oven for 15-20 min or until thoroughly cooked through.
Boil glass noodles in water until thoroughly cooked (follow instructions on package)
Strain noodles and rinse with cold water
Place in a large bowl and add 2-3 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil plus ⅓ cup coconut aminos (with salt to taste)
Place meatballs on top of noodles and enjoy!