So, part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is that I ran into some health problems, and have been spending some time sorting things out in the aftermath.
I’m fine now – I just went from needing a hefty dose of thyroid meds to not needing ANY, without anyone noticing. The resulting massive over-medication of thyroid meds upended my whole life since October 1. Can I just say how thankful I am that it happened in Canada, vs while we were still in the US? Ooof, so many ER visits, specialists, and testing.
Now that things are leveling out, one thing led to another, and I’ll be on a restricted diet for the next few months – The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet. It’s basically a step beyond paleo, getting rid of nightshades, allergens, and inflammatory foods. Already seeing some benefit, so that’s great!
It’s been interesting, feeling my way around the first few weeks. I’m well versed in gluten-free, and I’m well versed in low carb… but following most of what I was doing while low carb, but not really worrying about carbs has been… a trip. It’s been a lot of fun being on a “diet” and actually losing weight, while not having to obsess about whether or not a small handful of shredded carrots is going to screw me up. I can have beets! Sweet potatoes! Maple syrup! All the fruit I can handle – AND IT’S SUMO ORANGE SEASON! MUAHAHAHHAAAA!!
While I do have a bunch of non-diet recipes photographed and lined up to post, I’ll be interspersing some AIP stuff as well. Much like my other recipes, this stuff is just good food – restricted or not. My husband isn’t doing AIP himself, and has been loving the offerings over the past few weeks. Basically, don’t let the “AIP” or “Paleo” scare you off, if you’re not needing those kinds of restrictions!
The first AIP recipe I want to share is my Chicken Pad Thai. It’s an allergy-friendly version of my normal pad Thai. No nightshades (hot pepper flakes), grains (rice, rice vinegar), legumes (bean sprouts), nuts (peanuts), etc. The rice noodles were swapped out in favour of shirataki noodles – Asian yam noodles. They’re 0 effective carbs, so if you’re watching that kind of thing, a GREAT option! The rice vinegar was swapped for apple cider vinegar, I bumped up the amount of tamarind for more flavour, and added some ginger for a bit of heat.
This recipe is quite customizable – add more ginger for more heat, or leave it out if you don’t like ginger. Add some shredded cabbage in at the end if you have some on hand, or maybe a couple handfuls of bean sprouts if you’re just doing paleo, rather than full AIP. If you’ve reintroduced peanuts, go ahead and toss a handful in at the end – same goes for egg. Feel free to scramble up an egg and toss it in, if you’re not avoiding them. Not worried about gout? Feel free to add some shrimp, or substitute it for the chicken entirely.
A note on the tamarind paste – you can get stuff that’s relatively solid, or you can get stuff that’s like a thick sauce – either way will work, just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure there’s nothing unacceptable added. Also, the “sauce” style tends to be a bit less in-your-face, so feel free to stir a bit extra in, if you’re not feeling it as-is. I like to start at about 1 Tbsp if solid, 1 ½ Tbsp if using the saucier style.
Paleo AIP Chicken Pad Thai
Makes 2 Servings
2 packages Shirataki noodles
1 – 1 ½ Tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 cup very hot water
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp ginger puree
1 tsp arrowroot starch
1 Tbsp olive or avacado oil
2 chicken breasts, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed/minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 lime, cut into wedges
Drain shirataki noodles. Place into a large bowl or pot, cover with water. Set aside.
For solid tamarind paste: break tamarind up in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add hot water and whisk well. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to soften, then whisk again. Strain liquid through a wire mesh strainer, pressing as much pulp through as you can. Discard remaining pulp and any seeds.
For sauce tamarind paste: Whisk paste and water together.
To the tamarind mix, add honey, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, and ginger puree. Add arrowroot starch, whisk well to combine, then set aside.
Once your sauce is ready, drain the noodles. I like to take a few paper towels and press them down into the noodles to soak up some of the excess water – the more water you get out of them, the more flavourful the noodles will be once you get them sauced!
In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, saute chicken and garlic in the olive oil, until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Add drained noodles to the pan. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes or so, allowing the noodles to dry out a little.
Whisk sauce one more time and add to the pan, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes or so, until sauce thickens a little and coats everything nicely.
Remove from heat, add cilantro, green onion, and lime wedges, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.
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