Grilled Salmon Packets with Strawberry Ginger Salsa

Grilled Salmon Packets with Strawberry Ginger Salsa | Phoenix Helix

“I love the culture of grilling. It creates an atmosphere that is festive but casual.” ~ Bobby Flay

Learning to Love

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I used to hate seafood. I grew up on Cape Cod and would choose PB&J’s over wildcaught fish for dinner (I kid you not). Things change. Life threw me a curveball in the form of rheumatoid arthritis, I chose the path of dietary healing, and that meant opening myself up to all sorts of foods I had considered off limits in the past (organ meats, anyone?) Some people I highly respect, like Sarah Ballantyne and Terry Wahls, insist that seafood is an important part of a healing diet. Why? Because we’re trying to reduce inflammation in our bodies, and seafood is full of anti-inflammatory omega 3′s – 2500 mg in just one 3.5 oz. piece of salmon, in fact! Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to autoimmune disease, and salmon provides over 100% of your daily need in that same serving. So, I’ve been opening my mind and mouth, and developing recipes that have slowly transformed my tastebuds. Now, I much prefer seafood to PB&J’s! Continue reading

Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #35

Welcome to the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ~ Ruth Reichl

Welcome to the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable!

If you’re not familiar with the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), check out my series of articles. In a nutshell, it’s an elimination diet, designed to help people with autoimmune disease identify food intolerances. When you’re on the protocol, it can be hard to find recipes, because so many food groups are excluded. This recipe roundtable is here to help! Continue reading

50 Fantastic AIP Recipes for Summertime

50 Fantastic AIP Recipes for Summertime

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen

Summer Yum

Summer…what a wonderful season: cookouts and picnics, water fights and firefly strolls, basking in the sun, cooling off in the shade, overflowing gardens and the siren call of ice cream. When you start the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), it can be such a dramatic change to the way you’re used to eating, that it’s easy to fear your favorite foods are gone for good, and you have no idea what to eat at all. I’m here to help! The paleo community is a huge recipe resource, and I’ve gathered together 50 AIP-friendly recipes to satisfy your summer cravings, and most of them are from bloggers who are doing the AIP just like you! Click through to The Paleo Mom, were I’m guest posting today, to see the full list. Your tastebuds will thank you!

This post is linked to the following blog carnivals:
Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Natural Living Monday, Fat Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Paleo Rodeo,

Melted Zucchini and Onions

Melted Zucchini and Onions | Phoenix Helix

“When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden,
my heart skips a beat.” ~ Gwyneth Paltrow


It’s not officially summer until anonymous bags of zucchini start appearing on your front porch. At least that’s the case if you have friends who garden. Otherwise, you might be like my husband, who simply cannot buy small quantities at the farmers market. Like a kid in a candy store, he goes a little crazy, bringing home enough vegetables for a household twice our size. It’s a good thing we love veggies!

In honor of summer, and the Grand Zucchini, I offer you my favorite way to cook it. This recipe looks deceptively simple, but something magical happens in the slow, low, cooking process. The flavors of the squash and onion blend together into something amazingly delicious. I call this recipe “melted” because everything in the pan softens, but it’s the very opposite of bland. Continue reading

The Difference Between Reversing Autoimmune Disease and a Cure

The Difference Between Reversing Autoimmune Disease and a Cure

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”
~ Michael J. Fox

My 2 Year Healing Diet Anniversary

On June 15, 2012, I started the GAPS diet. I was living a life of excruciating pain and disability. I didn’t know how I could survive each day, never mind a lifetime with rheumatoid arthritis. The GAPS diet was magic for me, not because it brought overnight healing (it didn’t), but because it started me on the path to healing. Within a week, my symptoms stopped getting worse, and very slowly, started to get better. That’s what reversing autoimmune disease is all about. It’s life-changing.

Here’s the truth, though: my goal wasn’t reversal; it was cure. I chose GAPS because it is advertised as a temporary diet, one that heals most people within six months to two years. Obviously I was hoping for 6 months, but I was sure I could do it within 2 years. Interestingly, the word “cure” is never used in the book, but it’s certainly implied. I held tight to that promise as I dove into the biggest challenge of my life.

When I plateaued in my healing at 6 months and transitioned to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, I stopped seeing the diet as temporary. I understood that paleo is a life change, not a short detour that would return me to my old life. I let go of my wish for a cure (or at least I thought I did), and on my one-year healing diet anniversary, I simply felt grateful for how much healing I had achieved.

This year, as my two-year healing diet anniversary approached, something surprising happened. Instead of feeling grateful, I would find myself crying for no reason, carrying a sadness I didn’t understand. It took me a while to realize it was a deep grief over not being cured. Intellectually, I had accepted that there was no cure, but my body still held onto that wish. Approaching the magic GAPS “2 year” mark brought it to the surface. In spite of my healing, in spite of my progress, I can’t shed RA like a snake sheds its skin. It’s part of me now, and that’s hard to accept. I remember that excruciating pain very well, and when you know your body can do that, I don’t think you ever get over the fear of it happening again.  I’m 95% better, which is an impressive statistic. RA used to be a scream inside my body, and now it’s only a whisper. I AM grateful for that, but it’s a scary whisper. Continue reading

Link Love: 50 Paleo AIP Condiments

50 Paleo AIP Condiment Recipes

“Since truffle oil and caviar aren’t always in the budget, learning to tweak and enhance just a few ingredients and flavor combinations can help you transform those ordinary ingredients into the extraordinary!” ~ Marcus Samuelsson

Pack a Flavor Punch!

Condiments are a great way to add some quick and varied flavor to your meals, and when you’re following the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), that can be a little tricky. The vast majority of condiments contain ingredients not allowed on the AIP. So, what to do? No worries…I’ve  got you covered with a great list of AIP-friendly recipes: Continue reading

Easy Shrimp Ceviche

Easy Shrimp Ceviche | Phoenix Helix

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” ~ Kellie Elmore

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a traditional South American dish of raw seafood “cooked” in citrus juice. Served cold, it’s delicious and refreshing on a hot, summer day. It’s also incredibly nutritious. Sarah Ballantyne recommends we eat seafood numerous times per week on a healing diet, due to its positive omega 3 balance. Since this recipe is so quick to prepare, I make it frequently. Continue reading

Eating Disorders and the AIP: A Conversation with Stefani Ruper

Eating Disorders and the AIP: A Conversation with Stefani Ruper

“As a woman living in modern Western culture, you have surely experienced pressure to conform to body image norms at some point. You saw a magazine. You went to a mall. You hung out with your girlfriends. How does it feel to think your body needs to look a certain way in order to be beautiful? Downright awful in my experience. Allowing body image norms to permeate your conscious is the first Old Rule that needs to be done away with. It can make you resent your body, make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, and put you at war with your very self.” ~ Stefani Ruper

Who is Stefani Ruper?

  • Author of the blog, Paleo for Women, she leapt onto the paleo scene writing from the radical perspective that men’s and women’s bodies work differently. She questioned the practice of intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets for women, and wrote the book (literally) on PCOS and hormone imbalances.
  • Host of the podcast, Live Love Eat, she led heartfelt conversations about the intersection between food, emotions, and body image.
  • Author of the book, Sexy By Nature, she’s a fierce advocate for women embracing optimal health through self-love.
  • Stefani herself started restricting her diet at age 10, trying to achieve “the perfect body.” She eventually learned to love her natural size – one that supports robust health, and is now a nationally renowned counselor, helping others do the same.
  • While Stefani’s work focuses on empowering women, she loves men as well, and our discussion today applies to both genders.

Continue reading

Steak Salad with Arugula

Steak Salad with Arugula

“The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness
of the human race than the discovery of a star.”
~ Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

I Love This Recipe for 7 Reasons

  1. It’s fast enough to make on a worknight.
  2. It’s beautiful enough to serve at a dinner party.
  3. It’s a foolproof method for cooking steak perfectly every time.
  4. Steak and arugula are a magic combination.
  5. Arugula is the one modern green that’s still similar to its wild ancestor. That means it’s higher in antioxidant activity than almost any other green.
  6. This recipe is AIP-friendly, but people on a Standard American Diet love it, too. It  tastes too good for anyone to guess it’s healthy (but it is).
  7. It’s absolutely delicious! Enough said.

Continue reading

The Great Starch Experiment

photo collage of different starchy foods

“The only way to figure out what an optimal diet is for you is to experiment and observe.” ~ Chris Kresser

Where I Started

Before doing the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), I spent 6 months on the GAPS Diet. It’s very similar to regular paleo with one major difference: it eliminates high starch vegetables, based on the belief that they are difficult to digest and end up feeding harmful bacteria in the large intestine. The GAPS diet took me out of crisis. I want from rheumatoid arthritis flares daily, to flaring just a few times per month. When I plateaued in my healing, I jumped into the AIP and my flares stopped altogether. However, I never stopped doing the GAPS low-starch protocol. I figured it was working, so why mess with it?

Fast forward to this year when I participated in the American Gut Project and got my microbiome analyzed. It showed that not only was I missing harmful bacteria (yay!) I was also missing some beneficial bacteria. That’s because bacteria doesn’t get fed in isolation – what feeds one feeds another, and by starving out some of the bad bugs, I starved some good ones, too. I decided it was time to test the starch theory. Did I really need to avoid it, or was I doing this unnecessarily? Continue reading