I’ve always considered myself a healthy eater but it wasn’t until I started AIP, that I felt like I was actually healing. I had already seen improvements in my health by eating gluten and dairy free, so the thought of restricting further was difficult but I knew I had the willpower if it meant I would get better. Now, almost two years later, I know I have my nutrient dense diet down, most of the time. But the thing is, healing is not only about diet. It’s also about prioritizing sleep, managing stress, moving your body, and finding support. These are the things I am still working on (sometimes struggling with), and this is one of the reasons I love The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook by Mickey Tresscott and Angie Alt of Autoimmune Paleo.
The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook is not just a book about nutrition, but a true DIY guide to living well with chronic illness. It will empower you to become your own health advocate, encourage you to make changes at your own pace, and ultimately guide you through your very own unique journey. Each chapter walks you through an important wellness component: Inform, Collaborate, Nourish, Rest, Breathe, Move, and Connect.
Here are a few of my favourites from each chapter:
Inform: What if I can’t get a diagnosis? How do you cope with a diagnosis? Only two of the many questions that are answered in this chapter, but two that really resonated with me. LS is commonly misdiagnosed over and over (I was one of the lucky ones to be diagnosed early), but then once diagnosed, it is quite difficult to process. I love the advice Angie and Mickey give on coping, I know this would have helped me during such a confusing time in my life.
Collaborate: One of my favourite parts of this chapter is the part about “conflicting advice”. What should you do when you’ve been given advice from one healthcare provider but it totally contradicts advice from another practitioner? Since I personally use a natural and conventional practitioner, this kind of situation arises often.
Nourish: Cold turkey or slow and steady? How should you transition into a nutrient-dense healing diet? I love that a questionnaire is included to help you figure out which strategy is best for you. If slow and steady is the case, they offer a 6-week transition guide!
Rest: There is a ‘Where are you on the sleep-quality spectrum?’ questionnaire and a ‘Troubleshooting checklist’. I’m definitely going to try a few of the bedtime ritual ideas, especially engaging in a body scan, something I haven’t tried before! “Engage in a ‘body scan’ – lying in bed, start at your toes and end at your scalp, tensing each part of your body and releasing it.”
Breathe: The section on “warning signs of burnout and excessive stress” sure hits home, especially this point: “Frequent colds and flus with an increased recovery time – Similar to hormonal balance, the body prioritizes stress hormones over immune function, making it extra hard to fight common colds and other illnesses.” I have been struggling with this so much lately. Cold after cold, taking longer for me to recover. Stress is definitely something I need to continually work on, and I go back and forth with how well I manage it. Right now, it’s clear I need to focus a bit more on my stress coping mechanisms. Love the tips in this chapter, especially the the tip on reframing our internal thoughts around stressors. We may not be able to change the stressors in our life, but we can change how we think and react to them.
Move: Often, I feel a pressure to do more and more exercise. As if I’m never doing enough by society’s standards, but its all about finding that healthy balance. I really enjoyed the part of this chapter that covers how to tell if you’re moving too little or moving too much, and the tips on finding that balance.
Connect: Out of this whole chapter, my favourite part is about connecting with nature. It explains just how beneficial being outdoors in mother nature is for our health and gives extra tips on just how to go about doing this regularly!
These are a just a few of my favourite parts of the book, it sure is quite the amazing resource. Angie and Mickey have done a fabulous job at fitting in so much valuable information into such a user-friendly handbook. A handbook that I know will be changing many lives!
To celebrate the release, I get to share with you one of the recipes from the book (yes, there’s a ‘Recipe and Meal Plan’ chapter as well!), woohoo! How yummy and healing does this green breakfast soup look?
- 1 large, whole pastured chicken (5-6 pounds)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp acv
- 1 tbsp sea salt + additional, to taste
- 2 tablespoon solid cooking fat (tallow or lard)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger (3-to 4-inch piece)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 1.5 inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 2 large zucchini, chopped into 1.5 inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems and leaves divided and chopped
- 2 cups button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch green onions (ends removed), thinly sliced, for serving
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Begin by cleaning the chicken (rinse it under cold water and remove loose bits of fat and other tissue). Place it in a large stockpot. If it doesn’t fit, you will have to cut it into halves or quarters (kitchen shears help here-start by cutting one side of the backbone).
- Add the bay leaf, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon sea salt. Fill the pot with cold water until the chicken in just covered. Bring to a a boil, and then cover tightly and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, 60 to 90 minutes – the lower the simmer, the more tender the chicken will come out. Skim the surface of the broth to remove any scum that may appear during cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, being careful to save the broth in another pot! Discard the bay leaf.
- Place the empty pot back on the stove, add the solid cooking fat, and turn the heat to medium. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 7 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another few minutes, until fragrant.
- While the onions are cooking, remove the meat from the chicken carcass, shred it with two forks (CAUTION: hot!), and set it aside in a bowl. Keep the bones to add to your next batch of bone broth.
- Add the sweet potatoes and broth back to the pot, bring to a boil, and then cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the zucchini, chard stems, and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the chard leaves.
- Carefully transfer half of the soup to a blender, blend for 30 seconds, and transfer back to the pot. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to blend about half of the vegetables. (CAUTION: Make sure you have a blender that can handle hot liquid, and make sure to use a towel above the lid to protect your hands from getting burned.)
- Return the blended liquid to the soup pot, with the chicken. Add salt to taste.
- Serve each bowl garnished with green onions and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
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