Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mini Lamb Meatballs in Mushroom Sauce

Hold On by Wilson Phillips
This has been my mantra for 31 days now.  My post will explain further.  But I've been doing something very difficult - for me - with hopeful promise of better days ahead.  And at the end of each day I congratulate myself for making it one more day - and send myself encouraging thoughts to just hold on for yet one more day.  Day by day.  That's how you do hard things.

Right after my last post I went to an 
appointment with my endocrinologist.
I've had concerns with the growing number of
autoimmune issues I've been having.
She had some encouraging words for me
and gave me some homework.
First, to read a book about the root causes of
autoimmune diseases.
Second, to check out something called the
AIP diet - which stands for Autoimmune Protocol.
The book was very clinical and difficult for me 
to get through but I pressed forward
and learned about some hopeful new thoughts
about my situation.
Then I checked out the diet.

This isn't a diet to lose weight -
with which I am very familiar!
This is a diet designed to heal your gut.
It's not meant to be a lifetime way of eating.
It's diagnostic to see what foods
could be making your body ill 
and attack itself.
You begin by eliminating a vast amount
of food from your diet by either a weaning process
or by cold turkey - your choice.
Then you go through a 30 day elimination
phase without these foods - designed to 
give your gut time to settle down and heal.
Then you begin reintroducing foods back
 in a slow and methodical manner.

There are a few differing opinions in
the AIP diet community as to which 
foods are OK to eat and which are not.
But the majority of the foods are agreed upon.
It took me a good long week to
rumble with myself as to how would be 
best to approach this huge undertaking.
I chose to start cold turkey because
I wanted to start getting results faster.

Cold turkey - even though we had a two week
vacation the first part of January!
Was I nuts?!?!?!

Probably - but we are ALWAYS traveling
and trying to find a long stretch of time
where I'd be home just wasn't feasible.
So, January 1, I started.

My list of NO foods are as follows:
Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)
Canola, sesame, sunflower, flaxseed oils
Chocolate (let's pause for the impact with this one!)

The YES foods:
All vegetables that aren't nightshades
Coconut, olive, avocado oils
Animal fats
And I allowed myself Rice

Scary right?

I eat simply now.

And the results?

I feel better than I ever have!
I am beginning to think I've never known
what it's like to not feel bloated and gassy.
It's a beautiful feeling!
Weight loss has been a pleasant 
side effect for me.

Today I start to reintroduce.
I've made up a calendar for when I get to
say hello to all the foods I've eliminated.
Shellfish is my first one.
March 15 is chocolate.
I'm LIVING for March 15!

One of my YES foods is lamb.
I haven't cooked much with lamb
but, when your choices are limited, you 
expand your horizons, right?

I came up with this recipe and am 
really happy how it turned out!
I thought I'd share it in case others out there
might be looking for foods within
the protocol.
Or even if you just wanted to
try lamb and were afraid to try!
I made them mini for my grandkids
(who, incidentally, ate them up!)
but you could turn it into a loaf or larger meatballs!

Mini Lamb Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce
serves 4

For meatballs:
1 lb. ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.  Shape into mini meatballs and place in a mini-muffin tin.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

While meatballs are baking make the Mushroom Sauce.

Mushroom Sauce:
8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 - 3/4 cup coconut milk (I used light)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the oil.  Sprinkle with the salt and cook until they start to get a dark golden brown.  Stir in the chicken stock and cook until it reduces by half.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the coconut milk.  Return to heat and continue to cook it down until it reduces by half.  Remove cooked meatballs from the oven and toss into the pan with the mushroom sauce and stir to coat.  Serve while hot.

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