Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. – William Ellery Channing

Who is Stephanie Meyer?  Other than a dork (!), I am a cooking evangelist!

I believe in the power of cooking to transform health and then whole lives. I believe it because it’s happened to me and to so many people I’ve gotten to know on my cooking and healing journey.

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In 2010 I was exhausted, increasingly overweight, depressed, and diagnosed with hypothyroid disorder. By eliminating gluten and grains from my diet, my health improved tremendously. But in 2013, due to high stress, I relapsed and started experiencing a wide variety of food sensitivities and reactions. In February 2014, I adopted the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) – a more restrictive version of the paleo diet that eliminates common food allergens and autoimmune triggers, allowing for gut healing and testing for sensitivities through the gradual reintroduction of foods.

Cauliflower-Leek Soup with Crispy Shrimp(AIP, Paleo)

Given my line of work – which at the time included writing a cookbook – I was very sad to give up so many favorite foods. In fact, I bawled – loudly. But then something amazing happened: I decided that instead of feeling deprived, I would have some fun and embrace the bounty of the foods that I could still eat. The limitations – and the goal of healing – infused a welcome shot of energy into my cooking and writing. I made a grocery list, hit the store, and got cooking.

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Within weeks of following the AIP, my symptoms started to improve and after several months, I felt and looked like my best self again. Yes! To boot, I’ve had more fun creating dishes, eating, and sharing recipes than I have had in years. Update: After more than a year of healing, I’ve started reintroducing eliminated foods (that’s the goal of the AIP, to heal and reintroduce). So far, so good: eggs, nuts, seed spices, coffee, and occasional dairy, chocolate, potatoes, and cooked tomatoes. Still no-go: coconut products (allowed on AIP, I just personally have a terrible reaction to coconut), flours of any kind, chiles, and legumes. I’ll keep you posted…

Beef, Bacon & Kale Meatballs | Fresh Tart (AIP, Paleo)

If you’re feeling down and frustrated about dietary limitations, take heart. There are ever more fantastic food blogs and cookbooks being created as I write this, clever home cooks who have decided – like I have – that the perfect antidote to deprivation is creativity and deliciousness. You are most definitely not alone on your healing path. Your first stop, if you haven’t yet been there, is The Paleo Mom, Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, author of The Paleo Approach (the AIP guidelines that I follow) and The Paleo Approach Cookbook. Her blog is a goldmine of information as are both books.

See my Resources page for a comprehensive list of FABULOUS paleo, AIP, grain-free, nutrition, and health websites, books, and podcasts. Get ready to change your health!

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A note: I buy locally-sourced, organic fruits and vegetables, high-quality meats, and sustainable wild fish whenever I can. (Not every fruit and vegetable you buy needs to be organic – see this list to help you spend your hard-earned money wisely.) Shopping in bulk at co-ops, farmers markets, and directly from farmers is a great way to stretch your dollar and support your local economy while enjoying clean, beautiful, nutritious food.

Thank you for stopping by! If you’re interested in contacting me for food photography, recipe development, cooking classes, events, media appearances, free-lance writing, advertising on Fresh Tart, or if you have questions about a recipe, by all means send me a note (click here).

In good and delicious health,
xoxo Stephanie

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