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Tag: paleo

AIP Diet for Alopecia.


I have Alopecia and currently, I’m bald. I have been for around two months now.

I’ve been eating gluten-free for years now from the advice of a doctor due to how gluten can affect our autoimmune system. All these years eating GF and I’m still bald.

I developed a nasty lactose intolerance around two years ago now and had to cut out my much loved dairy. Nearly two years of gluten and lactose free and I’m still bald.

Otherwise I’m pretty healthy. I get a little tired in the afternoons (but I’m a night owl so that can be expected). Sometimes my weight goes up and down, but only by a handful of kgs so it’s nothing I can really complain about.

A year or so ago I decided to quietly go full Paleo, and stuck to it for a good six months. I cut out all dairy (incl. lactose free options), gluten and grains. I felt amazing. My skin was clear, my weight stabilised and I had more energy all day – loosing my afternoon dip. The hair I had would still fall out, but remember noticing the everyday loss was less.

After a while the occasional GF treat snuck in. I went back to using Zymil in my coffee instead of a dairy free alternative. Then I needed an extra coffee in the day. Then my clothes got a bit tighter as I put on a few kilos.

I became complacent with what was really working for me. I would think that I had it all under control. I thought my body could handle the odd sweet. The odd treat that could be ‘good for me’ because it was ‘gluten free’.

I thought wrong.

I stopped being 100% Paleo and over the past six months I’ve become tired. My skin breaks out. My moods go up and down more, especially around ‘that time of the month’.

I was advised recently to start the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for my Alopecia. It’s like Paleo, but on steroids. Despite my additions to eating, I’m still gluten and grain Free. I’m still lactose intolerant. On top of that the AIP diet cuts out eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades.


I’ve had a hard time getting my head around it, and with some upcoming travel commitments I’ve started stressing myself out about what I might be able to eat while I’m away from home. How ridiculous is that? Stressing about something that may happen next week.

Did I mention that the main cause of Alopecia is stress? No? Well, it is.

I’ve also done a bit of research, and found that while the AIP diet works for a number of other autoimmune diseases, it hasn’t yet for Alopecia specifically. So after a lot of thought I’ve decided to put the AIP diet on hold for a while. I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life lately and I don’t think I can be completely committed to it. I haven’t made this decision lightly, I’ve given it a lot of thought and reflection and time.

But with the reflection, I have decided to go back to Paleo. Not 98% paleo, 100%. I know I feel great with that and my body works at it’s best and when I feel ready, I’ll try the AIP Diet.

I’ll be posting any new recipes over on my dedicated food blog Mix Taste Eat. Check it out and subscribe.

The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Weeks 4, 5, 6 & 7

Okay, so shoot. I’m a little behind in posting. But have been cooking like a madwoman, so that makes up for it, right? And if you follow me on Instagram you can see how much I have been making for my The Happy Cookbook Challenge, and know it’s just that I’m a slack poster.

Weeks 4 5 6 7

So here’s a list of what I’ve made:

  • Oven Baked Salmon Patties
  • Super Green Smoothie
  • Lemon Butter
  • Salted Almond Butter
  • Raw Caramel Butter
  • Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties with Tahini Dressing
  • Vanilla and Blueberry Oaty Piklets
  • Zucchini Chicken Pasta with Basil Pesto
  • Pineapple Crumble with vegan Mint and Lime Ice-Cream
  • Apple and Mint Pancakes
  • Banana and Berry Bread
  • Fried Banana with Toasted Coconut and Nut Butter

I haven’t had Salmon patties in years. I used to work in a beautiful cafe that would serve them once a week, and people would line up at the door so they didn’t miss out! I know that recipe was different to the one in The Happy Cookbook so I’m planning on experimenting and making a Thermomix version of it to post for you.

The Butters are amazing, and nearly all the Raw Caramel has been eaten. With a spoon. Straight from the jar…..

I loved the Pineapple Crumble (and there’s some left in my fridge, guess what’s for lunch!) as well as the vegan Ice-Cream. What a great idea! Tastes much like a Raw Cheesecake, so good.

This week I’m going to menu plan the next few weeks to help me stay on top of my challenge, especially with Christmas just around the corner and a trip home to family coming up. Challenges are all in the planning!

28 Recipes Down, 117 to go.

*not sponsored, I just enjoy the challenge of making lots of good food!

The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 3

It’s November, and you know what that means? Busy season has hit. It comes right before the silly season as everyone is over being so busy and needs to let off steam.

Already half way through Term 4 for Noah and he’s coming home exhausted and pushing all my buttons. I had ten thousand Thermomix demonstrations last week (well, 4, but it felt like ten thousand) as well as a Night Market and…something else. I can’t remember. I’m sure there was another thing thrown into the mix.

So I only managed four recipes for my The Happy Cookbook Challenge. This week I need to catch up on not only cooking but nutrients, I’m feeling a little run down and while Hubby is doing a course for work that means I can drink smoothies for dinner and the kids can have porridge.


{Not really}
Week 3 I plan on making a few of the little quick recipes – nut butters, smoothies, a dessert – to get my number up to scratch but here’s what I made last week:

  • Spicy Mango Dressing
  • Paleo Pumpkin Bread (minus the Chilli Ricotta)
  • Zucchini Chips with Vegan Lime and Chilli Mayo
  • Superfood Smoothie

As I wrote on Instagram, the Zucchini Chips and Vegan Mayo had me all, meh. The recipe cooks them for 40 and I pulled them out at 20 as most were black by then. The Mayo has potential but is really just watered cashews. With Lime.

The Superfood Smoothie was picked because I was exhausted and wanted a pick-me-up. It was thick and sludgy and not very nice. Oh well. Can’t win with everyone.

I’ve made the Paleo Pumpkin bread before and was excited to make it again. I eat it toasted with my homemade Coconut Yoghurt and some fruit for breakfast or topped with Avocado for a quick lunch. It’s sooooo good and freezes well too.

This week isn’t as hectic. I have a busy day tomorrow but will be chill from Wednesday. I’ll be rested and ready to take on the world.

Or maybe just my kitchen.

The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 2

Week 2 of my The Happy Cookbook Challenge already! And another seven dishes down, only 133 to go.

I’ve found that I’m trying to make as many dishes as I can while I’m able to as I know that over the Christmas/New Year/School Holiday period I won’t be able to whip out as many. Holidays and celebrations and birthdays are a welcome distraction from the hustle and bustle of life, but cooking is always my escape. If I can get as many dishes done as I can, I definitely will.

This week I was able to seven though, so I’m happy!

Week 2 I made:

  • Chilli Beef Lettuce Cups (without much chilli as it doesn’t tend to agree with me)
  • Quirky Carrot Salad
  • Green Tea and Lime Raw Cake
  • Passionfruit and Lime Snowballs
  • Avocado, Mint and Lime Ice-Pops
  • Crunchy Paleo Granola (which I have been sneaking by the spoonful whenever I can!)
  • Golden Goddess Smoothie (topped with Cruncy Paleo Granola)

My favourite dishes this week were defiantly the smoothie and ice-creams, with how hot and humid it is here they’re a beautiful way to cool down. I love beef in lettuce cups so that was right down my alley and leftovers the next few days were the bomb.

If you’d like any recipes head out and grab your own copy of The Happy Cookbook*!

Here’s to another week of cooking! I already have a dish done and in the fridge (waiting patiently to be photographed!) and more to come.

Happy Cooking!

*not sponsored. 

The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 1

So, by now you might have read about my new cookbook challenge with Lola Berry’s The Happy Cookbook. I’m one week down already! How fast did that go!?

Last week I worked out that if I make 6 recipes a week I can have the challenge done by April 25th, six months away. So with that deadline in mind, I got to cooking.

This week I’ve made:

  • Avocado Bowls
  • Chicken and Quinoa Super Bowl with Chimmichurri Dressing (Yum!!)
  • Coconut Toasted Almonds
  • Epic Pumpkin Pie Pancakes for Halloween
  • Chai-Spiced Carob Balls
  • Nutella Balls. (dangerous!)
  • Poached Chicken with Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Feta and Pepitas.

The Poached Chicken dinner is hands down my favourite so far, and Hubby’s too! He actually went so far as to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever made! I don’t know about best, but I’ll take the compliment where it’s given! The Avo Bowls were so quick and easy and such a lovely light side dish for summer, they’ll be made a lot.

And Nutella Balls. Seriously. They didn’t even last a day….

Week 1

I made some of these recipes using my Thermomix for ease, the balls for example is just a matter of throwing all the ingredients in and Turbo-ing a few times, or letting them blitz till they’re the right consistency. Poaching the chicken and quinoa in the machines and I made the mix for the pancakes in about 30 seconds, so nice and easy cooking.

I just tried to see if any of these recipes are available on her website but couldn’t see them (or a search function) so if you want them you’ll have to head out and buy the book!*

I haven’t done my menu planning this week yet but will be getting stuck into a few more. I have managed to pick up the ingredients for some over the weekend so they’ll be getting whipped up soon! If you’d like to follow my progress I’m posting the recipes on my Instagram account – @TheStrandsOfMe

So that’s The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 1 down! 138 Recipes to go!

*not sponsored. I just like good food!

Paleo Banana Pancakes

Your guide to healthy living

School holidays generally equal lazy mornings and sleep ins. Or so you would think.

My two are early rises, no matter what time of year it is. The darker mornings of winter, now that it’s finally set in, makes me want to laze in bed until the sun has warmed the house. Not my kids though. Phoenix was up at 3:15am this morning, Noah following her not long after at 5:20. Tonight they’re extra rugged up in an attempted to coerce them into a longer morning sleep. At this point I’d be happy with 6 o’clock…..

To me, pancake breakfasts signify a relaxed morning. There’s no rush to get dressed, make lunches, pack bags, brush hair and teeth and eat breakfast before 8am. I suppose if I actually got up at Noah’s 5-something rise time, there wouldn’t be a rush. But I don’t. I just can’t. I am not a morning person. Noah’s shipped off back to bed and I’m crawl in between my warm sheets begging for a few more stolen moments of sleep.

It doesn’t happen. But I still try. Every. Single. Morning.

I look forward to Saturdays and school holidays, so I can enjoy my lazy morning. We’re already a week into the holiday and today is the first morning I’ve been able to make pancakes, which says a lot. Even holidays don’t seem to completely slow us down! Except for today.

I’ve been working on my Paleo Banana Pancake recipe for a little while now and it’s my absolute go to now. I even used it the other night to make waffles (for dinner!) and it worked perfectly.

And they pass the bend test. You know, being able to roll a pancake up and eat it on the go. Because it’s all about the important things.

Mine is a Thermomix recipe but you could substitute the Cashews for Almond Meal if you need to.

Paleo Banana Pancakes: 

You’ll need: 

  • 100g Cashews
  • 60g Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 2 Tsp Coconut Flour
  • 150g Banana (approx 2 bananas)
  • 300g Coconut Milk
  • 3 Eggs
  • Coconut oil, for frying.


  1. Add the Cashews, tapioca flour and coconut flour to the mixing bowl and mill for 20 Sec/Sp 9. Scrape down sides.
  2. Add the Banana, coconut milk and eggs and mix for 30 Sec/Sp 4 or until well combined and without lumps. Transfer to another container and let sit or a few minutes (I do this while I wash the mixing bowl) for the coconut flour to help thicken the mixture.
  3. heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a fry pan over low heat. Pour some of the batter into the hot pan and cook until bubbles appear. Flip and cook on the other side for another minute. Remove from the pan then continue until the mixture has finished.
  4. Enjoy!

I top mine with whatever I have in the fridge. Strawberries and Coconut Cream, lemon curd and CoYo, Nuts and CoYo. Your options are endless!

Just for your Saturday morning.


Paleo Treats


When I was a kid we would go down to the corner store and they had the rows of plastic tubs full of lollies set out on the counter. When you bought some they’d put them into a brown paper bag and you’d dive your hand in there like a lucky dip. Best of all, you got to choose which lollies you wanted, so you would always come up with something you already loved.

I remember one day my Dad was there with my younger sisters and I and he splurged and bought us a $1 bag each. I remember how FULL it was and how special that was. I would save my lollies, somehow at 8 or 9 years old having the self control to eat only a couple a day.

Can someone tell me where that self control went please, cos I made these Milk Chocolate Gummy lollies from Live It Do It’s Paleo Easter eBook and I just. can’t. stop. at. one.

I haven’t worked with gelatine a lot mainly cos I haven’t worked with gelatine a lot. Makes sense, right? It’s temperamental and finicky and I don’t like wasting ingredients. I saw how easy this recipe was so had to try it, and love that it has a Thermomix variation! Even easier!!

These jellies were set in my fridge in about 2 hours and seeing as they only took 10 minutes to throw together I’ve been making them over and over and over and over. I even make a FailSafe friendly version for Hubby who’s on a restrictive elimination diet.

Live It Do It’s Paleo Easter ebook should have been named ‘Paleo Treat Book’, it’s full of great chocolate and raw recipes that are all grain, gluten and dairy free. It’ll be my go to for treats and desserts! Best news is: her eBook is still available on the website for just $5!

Get it just for the gummies!

Paleo Breakfast Meals

One thing I’ve learnt about changing lifestyle and eating habits that’s challenging is finding the right solutions for all meals, not only for dinner, but for lunch and breakfast. Yes, there are now a gazillion dinner and not-cheesecake paleo recipes out there, but as someone who doesn’t enjoy bacon and eggs for breakfast, I initially struggled with how to start my day.

After a lot of trial and error I’ve come up with a bunch of my go-to Paleo Breakfast Meals. Most of them include some kind of fresh muesli I’ll make up a couple of times a week. I find it usually lasts for a few days in the fridge and I like the crunch of the fresh fruit and veggies I include so I prefer to make a smaller batch more often then a bigger batch once a week.

One of my go-to’s is a variation of CADA. If you have the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook it’s in there but I just use the technique from that recipe and make it my own. Essentially it’s a fresh muesli made with nuts, fruit, coconut and dates. I use whatever I have on hand, as well as a carrot for the extra crunch and it’s unique sweetness.

Mine usually has cashews, a carrot, an apple, dates and desiccated coconut in it. I never peel the carrot (or most veggies for that matter) and apple, preferring to just chop them into chunks and throw them in. I ‘guesstimate’ how much of everything else I need. A hand full of dates, nuts and then tip in a decent load of coconut. Sometimes I’ll add some ground cardamom, vanilla powder or other spices I’m feeling like too.

I turbo for 2 seconds a few times, or will blitz at Speed 4.5/6 Seconds. Then always eat it with some fresh fruit and coconut yoghurt. Sometimes a drizzle of maple syrup.



(Okay, nearly always a drizzle of maple syrup)



The above photo I’ve mixed avocado with my coconut yoghurt (or coconut cream) and a dash of lime. It’s beautiful and smooth and adds a wonderful flavour to breakfast!

For a little while a gorgeous friend lent me her dehydrator. They’re amazing, I want one. I haven’t gotten mine yet, but it’s on the wish list. For the month I had it I used it HEAPS! One of my favourite things to make was this activated muesli (recipe in Pete Evan’s Family Food Cookbook). It would last ages and was amazing. I know I didn’t have all the ingredients and would substitute like I do for the CADA. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can still make muesli in your oven too.

I soaked nuts, buckwheat and seeds overnight then drained and rinsed them well. They went into the Thermomix with some dried fruit (apricots and dates are staples in my house), vanilla, honey and coconut oil then pulsed till crumbly. If using an oven I would then spread it out on a tray or two and bake on a low setting, mixing every now and then so it cooks evenly, until dry and crispy. Or into a dehydrator on baking paper overnight.




If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page (or are a reader of my blog!) you’ll already know I love pancakes on a Saturday morning. Saturday is my relax morning, after the hustle and bustle of a busy school week. I (try to) take my time and always enjoy them with fresh fruit. Now that the weather is cooling down I’ll take them outside and eat them on our back deck.

I love the Hazelnut Pancakes from one of Pete Evan’s Paleo books and make it often. 

I also use this wonderful recipe my friend Luci from Wholesome Kids created. It’s quickly become my go-to, changing the almond for cashews or hazelnuts for a different flavour. It acts like ‘normal’ pancakes.




If I’m in a hurry I often make simple banana pancakes before school/work/day care/any excuse to leave the house really. Just one banana, one egg and a drop of vanilla extract, mixed well and cooked like a pancake. The vanilla helps to mask the really ‘eggy’ taste it usually has. With coconut yoghurt or cream and a drizzle of honey, you can close your eyes and pretend it’s Saturday.


My one vice is coffee. Sorry, but I just don’t function without it. After experimenting with a few different milks I’ve found a combination that is dairy free and tastes amazing. I make some Cashew Nut Milk once a week and for my coffee I’ll use a ratio 1:3 Coconut and Cashew Milk, froth it and enjoy. Its beautiful and creamy and tastes amazing. Try it! 


I will always have some sort of fresh fruit as I have a massive sweet tooth and it seems to satisfy that, and some kind of fat (coconut cream/yoghurt, avocado etc) to help fill me up and keep me going.

If you’re looking for a substitute to the good old bacon and eggs, I hope I’ve given you one!

The best homemade Pumpkin Soup


I love Pumpkin and I love soup and I’m the only one in my household who loves both Pumpkin and soup, so this dish is always just for me! Lately I’ve been making it for myself once a week and enjoying the leftovers for breakfast or dinner and with my fussy kids and Hubby’s strict elimination diet, it works so well having some in the fridge and not have to cook 10,000 dishes every night of the week. Or so it seems.

Add turmeric not only gives it the vibrant sunset colour that’s associated with the root, but boosts immunity within the soup. I swear this recipe gets better every time I make it, and I enjoy it so much! I make it in my Thermomix but you could cook it all together on the stove top then blitz it in your processor/with a bar mix.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup

You’ll need:

  • 500g Pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 Garlic Clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 200g Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tbs Vegetable Stock Paste
  • 1 Tsp Tumeric Powder
  • Handful of Cashews


  1. Add the onion and garlic to the Thermomix Mixing bowl and chop for 3 Sec/Speed 5. Add the coconut oil and sauté for 3 Min/100C/Speed 2 (alternatively, finely chop your onion and garlic then sauté in a pot with coconut oil until translucent)
  2. Add 250g Water, the coconut milk, vegetable stock paste and turmeric to the mixing bowl. Add the Pumpkin to the steaming basket and place inside the mixing bowl. Cook for 20 Min/Varoma/Speed 2 with the Varmoa in place. (alternatively: add the water, milk, stock paste, turmeric and pumpkin to the pot and cook until the pumpkin is soft)
  3. Once the pumpkin is soft turn into the liquid, adding the cashews to the mix. Process for 1 Min/Speed 5 gradually increasing to Speed 9 for a smooth, thick soup. (alternatively: add the cashews to the soup then tip into a food processor and process until smooth)

I enjoyed mine tonight with some smashed avocado (with coriander chopped through it! Yum!). There are heaps of other options to add to your soups, or scoop it onto some paleo bread. Take 1 cup out and blitz it with more cashews to make it even thicker and it’s an awesome sauce for steamed chicken and fish too.