Butternut Squash Soup

By: Esther Vasa

Butternut Squash Soup
You can find a million butternut squash soup recipes out on the internet and then many reasons why this soup is the best in the world. This recipe though has been my favorite because am lazy and I don't like to spend too much time cooking. It is a paleo style soup. You can modify it to your liking.

  • Butternut Squash - 1
  • Carrots - 3
  • Onion - 1
  • Celery Sticks - 3
  • Parsley - few sprigs
  • Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Homemade Bone Broth - 2 cups or more
  • Turmeric - 1 heaped teaspoon
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Ghee or Coconut Oil - 1 tsp
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Wash and poke the squash randomly, put it on a baking tray and stick the tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, roughly chop carrots, onions and celery sticks and set aside.
  • After the twenty minute period, add carrots, onions and celery sticks to the squash and push the tray into the oven for another 20 minutes. Check for doneness.
  • In a power blender, blend parsley and the baked contents in batches by adding coconut milk and bone broth.
  • Add the contents to a soup pot. Mix in ghee or coconut oil, freshly ground pepper and salt. Cook it for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut and enjoy the soup right away.

Zoodles with Sweet Potato Sauce

By: Esther Vasa

Zoodles with Sweet Potato Sauce

You need a spiralizer for this recipe. However, if you don't have one, you can simply use a vegetable peeler, to peel the zucchini and make something that resembles fettuccine. The hit is the sweet potato sauce. The secret ingredient is homemade gelatinous gooey bone broth.

Zucchini - 3
For Sauce:
One medium sized sweet potato
Fresh thyme and rosemary to taste
Dessicated coconut - 2 tsp
Garlic clove - 1
Salt to taste

  1. Using your spiralizer, make zoodles with zucchini and set aside.
  2. Add bone broth, herbs and salt to the blender.
  3. Boil sweet potato on stove top with ample water added. Be sure to check for doneness. Peel and add to the blender also.
  4. Blend the ingredients from steps 2 and 3 until smooth.
  5. Add it over zoodles. Mix.
  6. Sprinkle dessicated coconut and enjoy!
  7. Serves 3-4.

Spaghetti Squash with AIP Alfredo Sauce

By: Esther Vasa

Spaghetti Squash with AIP Alfredo Sauce
Working on my way up to AIP and am in the mid-stage of transitioning to AIP. This time, with my dietary changes, I have the awesome company of my son, Anoop Yadiki. We are in fact doing this to help each other. As you can see, everyday is an adventure around here, experimenting with foods and various things. We have made some blunders but we have learned tons these past few years.

I have always wanted to try spaghetti squash but somehow kept postponing it, until today. The first try is a huge success. So here it is! Can you hear me screaming, "This is our staple going forward?" I kid. Truly, where was I until now?

Medium sized spaghetti squash - 1

For AIP Alfredo Sauce:
  • Cauliflower florets - 2 cups
  • Homemade coconut milk or canned coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • Garlic - 1 clove
  • Italian Seasoning - 1/4th tsp or to your taste
  • Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt to taste

To cook the squash, wash the surface of the squash and poke with a paring knife all over the squash. You can put this in the oven for 40 minutes. You can alternately use microwave for 15-20 minutes although microwave isn't the best option. Either in the oven or in the microwave, around half the time, turn the squash around for even cooking. Let it cool off. Then, cut in half. For longer spaghetti strands, cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using a fork get all the "spaghetti" off the squash. Set aside.

For AIP Alfredo Sauce:
  • Steam cauliflower florets until the florets are fork tender.
  • While the cauliflower is being steamed, in your blender, add coconut milk, salt and herbs.
  • Transfer the cooked cauli florets. Blend until smooth.
  • Add this sauce to your spaghetti and enjoy. Yum!

Homemade Bone Broth

By: Esther Vasa
In my opinion, everybody should drink bone broth. If you are fighting an ailment, you MUST try and drink bone broth. Well, of course, if you are a vegetarian, that is a different story. You can make bone broth with many different kinds of bones - lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, fish, beef or pork. I personally prefer using lamb/goat/chicken bones. We are slowly going to increase our choice of bones. It has become an everyday norm in our house now. You can find a ton of recipes online. Pick a recipe and be sure to make and have your bone broth whatever method you choose. Or simply give this recipe a try. You won't be disappointed. Drinking bone broth reminds me of my childhood days when my grandma would serve bone broth any time and every time I had cold or sore throat or fever. It has these healing benefits since times immemorial. So, don't be afraid to give this jiggly gooey goodness a try! You'll be hooked I assure.

  • Bones of your choice - 2 pounds
  • Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Ceylon Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
  • Cloves - 3
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Sage - 5 leaves
  • Garlic - 3 cloves
  • Onion - 1 (roughly chopped)
  • Carrot - 1 (roughly chopped)
  • Celery tops - 2 handfuls
  • Water about 10 cups or more
    Gelatinous Homemade Bone Broth
    Mix bones with turmeric, ACV and roast either in oven for 30 minutes at 350F or on stove top for 10 minutes at the least.
  • Add all the ingredients into the stockpot or crockpot. If you are using stockpot, make sure you bring the stock to a boil and let simmer for 2.5 hours. If you are using crockpot, let it cook on low for 24 hours. For those on GAPS intro, you need to follow GAPS protocol. I have also used pressure cooker to make our bone broth. I cook broth for a minimum of two hours.
  • Let it cool down well before you store in your refrigerator.
  • The broth should get jiggly when it sits in fridge for an hour or two. In the picture, I scooped a mug full of cold broth and you can see it is jiggly. I wanted to show you the expected texture when it is cooled down.
  • You can drink this broth by adding a pinch of Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt. You could use to make your sauces or soups. If you do eat grains, you cook grains with broth for nutrition boost.

Spicy Kimchi

By: Esther Vasa


Vegetables for Kimchi
Kimchi all ready for fermenting
  • Napa Cabbage - 1 head (about 3 pounds - cut into bite sized pieces)
  • Carrots - 2 (cut into matchsticks)
  • Daikon Radish - 1 (cut into matchsticks)
  • Green Onions - 1 bunch (cut diagonally)
  • Nori Wraps (this is optional) - 3 (randomly torn into pieces)
  • Sea Salt or Kosher Salt or any non-iodized salt (about 4 tbsp)
Salad Dressing
  • Gochugaru or Korean Chilli Powder - 2 tbsp (adjust to your taste and liking)
  • Four large garlic cloves and an inch piece of ginger - Crush them together in a mortar and pestle
  • Rice Flour - 1/4th cup
  • Brown Sugar - about 2-3 tbsp
  • Non-chlorinated Water - about two liters
  1. Put the napa cabbage bits in a clean bowl. Salt generously. Cover the salted napa cabbage bits with ample water. Takes nearly four cups of water. Rest it for about two hours.
  2. In a saucepan put the rice flour and add two cups of water and mix it well. Then, cook this on low heat while constantly stirring. It takes about 5 minutes to make it into congee or porridge consistency. You can add extra water if you think the congee is too thick. It depends on the type of rice flour you used. Add brown sugar, mix well and switch off the stove and cool the congee.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix carrots, daikon radish, green onions, nori bits, crushed ginger and garlic, and gochugaru and set aside. Gochugaru is not that spicy and it actually has fruity flavor. I use a bit more of gochugaru in my kimchi. Adjust to your liking.
  4. Add cold congee into the vegetable mix we prepared in step 3. Mix well.
  5. Drain the soaking napa cabbage. Rinse and drain at least three times. This sort of clears out excess salt and also softens the cabbage.
  6. Add the cabbage to the mixture in step 4. Slip in clean gloves and thoroughly combine the cabbage and vegetable mixture.
  7. Transfer the fresh kimchi into a mason jar large enough to fit in the kimchi. If it requires two mason jars, use them. Press the vegetables down firmly, clean the rim and close it and leave it in a warm dark place for about 48 hours. Make sure you burp it every 12 hours or so. I don't mind eating the fresh kimchi right away. But, it tastes very well after it gets fermented. 
  8. You can eat kimchi with rice or flat bread or any bread. This is nice flavorful and quite rich in probiotics. Helps in the detox process as well.

PS: For other kimchi ideas please follow Maangchi. You can make kimchi without using the rice flour congee. Maangchi calls it "Emergency Kimchi".

Coconut Frosting

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Vegan and Paleo Coconut Frosting
Coconut Cream Frosting: the Vegan way
1 cup coconut milk

1 cup agave nectar
pinch Himalayan sea salt
5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon water
1¼ cup coconut oil
1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes
2. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste
3. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan
4. Whisk vigorously to combine, then bring to a boil, briefly, until shiny
5. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil with a hand blender
6. Allow pot to cool for 10 minutes
7. Place pot in refrigerator for 45-120 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white
8. Remove from refrigerator and blend again with a hand blender, until fluffy.


Coconut frosting: the Paleo way
1. Place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight with the lid open. The coconut milk will thicken and separate from its water.
2. Scoop the solid coconut cream that forms on the top of the can and place it in a bowl. Be careful not to mix the solid coconut with the water in the bottom of the can.
3. Add one teaspoon vanilla extract and whip the coconut with a hand mixer until fluffy.

Coconut frosting: the Pumpkin way
250 ml coconut milk
Coconut Frosting: The Pumpkin Way

¼ cup pumpkin (freshly roasted)
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp cinnamon
12 drops vanilla (crème stevia)
Put all the ingredients together in a bowl. With a hand mixer – whip until fluffy.
Coconut frosting: the rice milk way
⅔ Cup Organic Refined Coconut Oil, soft at room temperature
⅔ Cup Pure Honey
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Pinch Fine Himalayan Salt
⅓ Cup Rice Milk Powder
1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Chia Seeds, optional
1. In a deep bowl with electric beaters, beat the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt until combined.
2. Slowly sift in the soymilk powder and blend on low speed to incorporate. Then blend on high speed until the mixture becomes lighter–both in color and texture–and fluffy.
3. If it seems too soft to hold a peak, add the chia and beat to incorporate; let stand 2-5 minutes, then beat again before using.

Heal Your Heartburn

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Heal Your Heartburn
Heal your heartburn and attack your acid reflux in a purposeful way:

  1. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar: Acid reflux typically results from having too little acid in your stomach. You can easily improve the acid content of your stomach by taking one tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water.
  2. Betaine: Another option is to take a betaine hydrochloric supplement, which is available in health food stores without prescription. You'll want to take as many as you need to get the slightest burning sensation and then decrease by one capsule. This will help your body to better digest your food, and will also help kill the H. pylori bacteria.
  3. Baking soda: One-half to one full teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in an eight-ounce glass of water may ease the burn of acid reflux as it helps neutralize stomach acid. I would not recommend this is a regular solution but it can sure help in an emergency when you are in excruciating pain.
  4. Aloe juice: The juice of the aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, which may ease symptoms of acid reflux. Drink about ½ cup of aloe vera juice before meals. If you want to avoid its laxative effect, look for a brand that has removed the laxative component.
  5. Ginger root or chamomile tea: Ginger has been found to have a gastroprotective effect by blocking acid and suppressing helicobacter pylori. According to a 2007 study, it's also far superior to lansoprazole for preventing the formation of ulcers, exhibiting six- to eight-fold greater potency over the drug! This is perhaps not all that surprising, considering the fact that ginger root has been traditionally used against gastric disturbances since ancient times.
    • Add two or three slices of fresh ginger root to two cups of hot water. Let steep for about half an hour. Drink about 20 minutes or so before your meal.
    • Before bed, try a cup of chamomile tea, which can help soothe stomach inflammation and help you sleep.
  6. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for addressing any infectious component. Once your vitamin D levels are optimized, you're also going to optimize your production of about 200 antimicrobial peptides that will help your body eradicate any infection that shouldn't be there.
    • As I've discussed in many previous articles, you can increase your vitamin D levels through appropriate amounts of sun exposure, or through the use of a safe tanning bed. If neither of those are available, you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement; just remember to also increase your vitamin K2 intake.
  7. Astaxanthin: This exceptionally potent antioxidant was found to reduce symptoms of acid reflux in patients when compared to a placebo, particularly in those with pronounced helicobacter pylori infection. Best results were obtained at a daily dose of 40 mg.
  8. Slippery elm: Slippery elm coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, and contains antioxidants that can help address inflammatory bowel conditions. It also stimulates nerve endings in your gastrointestinal tract. This helps increase mucus secretion, which protects your gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity. The University of Maryland Medical Center makes the following adult dosing recommendations:
    • Tea: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 4 g (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark, then steep for 3 - 5 minutes. Drink 3 times per day.
    • Tincture: 5 mL 3 times per day.
    • Capsules: 400 - 500 mg 3 - 4 times daily for 4 - 8 weeks. Take with a full glass of water.
    • Lozenges: follow dosing instructions on label.
  9. Chinese herbs for the treatment of "Gu" symptoms caused by chronic inflammatory diseases: So-called "Gu" symptoms include digestive issues associated with inflammation and pathogenic infestation. For more information about classical herbs used in Chinese Medicine for the treatment of such symptoms, please see the article, "Treating Chronic Inflammatory Diseases with Chinese Herbs: 'Gu Syndrome' in Modern Clinical Practice," published by the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
  10. Glutamine: Research published in 2009 found that gastrointestinal damage caused by H. pylori can be addressed with the amino acid glutamine, found in many foods, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, and some fruits and vegetables. L-glutamine, the biologically active isomer of glutamine, is also widely available as a supplement.
  11. Folate or folic acid (vitamin B9) and other B vitamins: As reported by clinical nutritionist Byron Richards, research suggests B vitamins can reduce your risk for acid reflux. Higher folic acid intake was found to reduce acid reflux by approximately 40 percent. Low vitamin B2 and B6 levels were also linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. The best way to raise your folate levels is by eating folate-rich whole foods, such as liver, asparagus, spinach, okra, and beans.

Worst Food Series 11: Table Salt

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Table Salt
Salt is essential for life — you cannot live without it. However, regular ‘table salt’ and the salt found in processed foods are NOT identical to the salt your body really needs. In fact, table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. One is health damaging, and the other is healing.

  1. Processed salt is 98 percent sodium chloride, and the remaining two percent comprises man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents, and a little added iodine. These are dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to table salt.
  2. Natural salt is about 84 percent sodium chloride. The remaining 16 percent of natural salt consists of other naturally occurring minerals, including trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium
  3. Given that salt is absolutely essential to good health, I recommend switching to a pure, unrefined salt. My favorite is an ancient, all-natural sea salt from the Himalayas. Himalayan salt is completely pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from impurities, so it isn't polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it's hand-mined, hand-washed, and minimally processed. Himalayan salt is only 85 percent sodium chloride, the remaining 15 percent contains 84 trace minerals from our prehistoric seas. 
  4. While natural unprocessed salt has many health benefits, that does not mean you should use it with impunity. Another important factor is the potassium to sodium ratio of your diet. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and other health problems, including heart disease, memory decline, erectile dysfunction and more. The easiest way to avoid this imbalance is by avoiding processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium. Instead, eat a diet of whole, ideally organically-grown foods to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium.

    Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:
    • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
    • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
    • Maintain and regulate blood pressure
    • Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning
    • Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange

Worst Food Series 10: Non-Organic Potatoes and Other Fresh Produce with High Pesticide Contamination

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk
Non-Organic Potatoes
Other Fresh Produce with High Pesticide Contamination

Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load. While Koch focuses on potatoes, as they tend to take up a lot of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals present in the soil, I would recommend reviewing the "Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce" by the Environmental Working Group.

Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically: Apples, Celery, Cherry tomatoes, Cucumbers, Grapes, Hot peppers, Nectarines (imported), Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet bell peppers, Kale, Collard greens and Summer squash.

In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables: Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Sweet corn (non-GMO), Eggplant, Grapefruit, Kiwi Mango, Mushrooms, Onions and Papayas (non-GMO), Pineapple, Sweet peas (frozen) and Sweet potatoes. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you’re unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I’d recommend opting for organic varieties.

Worst Food Series 11: Table Salt
Worst Food Series 9: Soy Protein Isolate and Other Unfermented Soy Products

Worst Food Series 9: Soy Protein Isolate and Other Unfermented Soy Products

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Soy Protein Isolate
Other Unfermented Soy Products
Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE), and these are used to create soy protein isolate. Genetically engineered soybeans are designed to be "Roundup ready,” which means they’re engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide.

The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle. What's more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

Glyphosate’s mechanism of harm was only recently identified, and demonstrates how this chemical disrupts cellular function and induce many of our modern diseases, including autism. Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to be a serious label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Soy expert Dr. Kaayla Daniel offers a free Special Report7, "Where the Soys Are," on her Web site. It lists the many "aliases" that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists -- words like "bouillon," "natural flavor" and "textured plant protein." Besides soy protein isolate, ALL unfermented soy products are best avoided if you value your health. Thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

The only soy with health benefits is organic soy that has been properly fermented, and these are the only soy products I ever recommend consuming. After a long fermentation process, the phytate and "anti-nutrient" levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system. To learn more, please see this previous article detailing the dangers of unfermented soy.

Worst Food Series 10: Non Organic and Others with High Pesticide Contamination
Worst Food Series 8: Microwave Popcorn