Welcome to Off the Grain, where:

We believe butter is better.
We have a love affair with bacon.
We think organic is best.
We believe grains and sugar are harmful.

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Allow Yourself To Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are

Allow yourself to do what you can, with what you have, where you are – Theodore Roosevelt.

Today I’m going to talk about why I love applying this statement to embracing a real food lifestyle.

I follow some amazing bloggers in the real-food “blogosphere”. They inspire me every day to continue my healing journey. It has gotten to the point that my Facebook feed rarely has updates from friends but instead is flooded with updates from my favorite blogs. I read new recipes and information daily on how to get healthier and live cleaner. Life truly has changed. But sometimes, even I’ll admit, it can get a bit overwhelming. Articles daily are being released about why this flour is suddenly not good for you, and how if you aren’t eating only grass fed meat or butter you are not doing good enough! Sometimes I look at how far ahead these people are from me and sometimes it even makes me feel that what I’m doing is still not good enough….

But hold on a second. Let’s take a look back at where my life was just a short couple years ago! I was living with hives, unwilling to take medication to heal them because I didn’t think it would do anything, and I had NO concept of real food or real nutrition. So how dare I let myself feel bad that I am not doing a “perfect” job all the time? How many other 26 year olds are having to eat the way I do because there is no other option? Last time I checked, not many.

This is where the statement I mentioned is so profound. The reality is life gets in the way sometimes and that is OKAY. I’ll be the first to admit, I do not eat 100% grass fed 100% of the time. Financially, I’m just there yet to be able to afford it. So I do what I can with what is accessible to me, and that is OK. I buy organic sunworks meat from Blush Lane when I can, and grass fed beef from the market when I’m able to, and I’m lucky that my mom sometimes buys too much and gives me her leftovers. But guess what? I shop at Safeway the rest of the time. No, I don’t buy nasty ham full of preservatives or lunch meats loaded with junk, or sausages full of sugar, nitrates and gluten — but I’ll buy their other meat. Yes I’ll cringe each time I put it in my basket. But that’s OK – why? Because I’m allowing myself to do what I can with what I have. I don’t have access to grass fed butter – afterall this is Canada- but was I even eating butter 5 years ago? Probably not. I buy lunch A LOT at Sunterra (this little food market in my office building) because they have a great salad bar, and ready to serve roasted vegetables and pieces of meat. Is it the best quality meat? No, but I’m horrible at remembering to pack a lunch – and I like eating there because it gets me out of the office to take a walk.


How To Do Ear Candling

How to do ear candling

Over the Easter weekend, my sister did some “ear candling” on my Mom. My Mom has quite bad psoriasis in her ears, and her wax hardens and becomes very difficult to get out. Even flushing her ears at doctors offices often doesn’t help. So we decided to resort to the ancient home remedy of ear candling to help remove her ear wax.

When the ear candles are lit and placed in the ear, they create a vacuum system that draws wax up out of the ear. They are not recommended for use in the event of an ear infection or serious ear condition. Always consult with your doctor before use. Ear candling should not be performed in replace of professional medical advice or treatment of ear conditions. They are however, helpful in removing wax or loosening wax.


What’s the big deal with Gluten, anyways?!

What's the big deal with gluten?


Gluten free diets are all the rage these days. Cafe’s serve gluten free biscuits, restaurants now offer gluten free menus and even pizza joints are getting on board with gluten free crusts! It seems this 4.5 billion dollar industry is only strengthening by the day. So what is the deal with this scary gluten stuff, and why does it seem that every other person is trying to avoid it?

For many people, giving up gluten it is a dietary decision, motivated by curiosity and a desire to live a healthier life.  It is no secret that gluten consumption has been linked to weight gain, allergies, digestive stress and is often avoided when following a low carb diet.

But for others, like myself, the avoidance of gluten is connected to serious issues. We don’t have the option of “going gluten free” for lunch, but not supper. Absolute elimination of this protein is a mere necessity for controlling and reversing specific diseases and illnesses.

January 2013 is when I discovered that I have a severe gluten intolerance. After Christmas I came down with a virus, which in turn triggered my urticaria. Bugger! I had made tremendous progress in the fall following the GAPS diet, and truly felt healing on a deep level. Why then did a little encounter with pink eye through my hives into full swing? It was obvious that the issues related to my urticaria are immune related, so the search for the cause of my urticaria outbreaks continued. My ND, Dr. A Beaubrun at Integra Naturopathics diagnosed me with a gluten mediated immune dysfunction – more simply put, a severe intolerance to gluten that when consumed, reaks havock on my immune system, along with damage to other systems in my body. I am a bit ashamed to admit, but I consumed a butt-load of gluten over Christmas!  I did not have the will power to resist this time. I felt fine enough to consume it and monitored my energy levels, so I figured I could cheat for a few weeks. What was the harm??? Oops.

If you believe gluten intolerance may be related to your health issue, here is what might be happening to you.


Grain Free Diet Comparison

There are many versions of grain free diets out there.  It gets a bit confusing when reading blogs and coming across different acrynms or names for all of these diets.

So here is a list of many of them, and a brief description of what they are.

paleo-primal-scd-gaps-fodmap and more

The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, also known as the ancestrial diet, caveman diet or paleolithic diet is based on the idea that we should eat foods that existed pre-agricultural revolution. It condones the consumption and preparation of food that hunters & gatherers would have eaten. It encourages followers to base the decision of what to eat based on whether or not food would have been found in nature at this period of time. The paleo concept understands that while our genetic makeup has not evolved much in the last few thousand years, our food industry has; and we are not built to consume the processed food that is readily available to us on a Standard American Diet. The concepts of what you should and shouldn’t eat on the paleo diet are as follows:


Dangerously Chocolatey Flourless Paleo Brownies

I came up with this recipe the other day after I was able to reintroduce chocolate back into my diet once my skin condition calmed down after my latest outbreak. After each round of GAPS I do I tend to crave 2 things: cupcakes and brownies (I have no idea why – I don’t usually crave these things normally, I think I just really start to crave something sweet). So to the kitchen I went, to develop a brownie recipe more simple than my last.

They turned out very delicious, and very chocolatey. I used a very dark chocolate, so they are made for those with an extreme love affair with chocolate, no moderate lovers here! They actually turned out suprisingly more fluffy than I anticipated. Since they don’t have flour, I thought they were going to be very dense, but I was pleasantly suprised that they were not.


paleo dark chocolate flour-less brownies

What You Will Need:

4 oz dark chocolate
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
4 eggs
1/3 cup of maple syrup or sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
A dash of salt

Now What?

  1. In a small double broiler or pot on low, melt chocolate and butter until thoroughly melted.
  2. In a separate small-medium sized bowl, beat eggs with an electric beater until mixed well and lightly frothed.
  3. Add chocolate and butter to egg bowl.
  4. Add cocoa, baking powder, salt and maple syrup to the mixture.
  5. Beat with the electric beater or by hand for about a minute to ensure the batter is well mixed.
  6. Place mixture in a small baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cool for about 15 minutes before you cut into brownies and Enjoy!


Honey Garlic Chicken Wings in the Crock Pot

Are you looking for an effortless, simple way to make fall-of-the-bone honey garlic chicken wings?

The crockpot will do the trick. You don’t even need a very large crockpot, and they will turn out tender, juicy and delicious every time! This is a very simple recipe with minimal ingredients, but it never fails to please. Sometimes, less is really more!

Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Wings


What You Will Need:

2-3 lb of wings (approx. 20-30 wings) – or more if your crockpot can hold (this can vary depending on the size of your wings, use enough to fill a 2 quart crock pot, double the recipe if you are using a 4 quart).
3/4 cup of raw honey (preferably liquid or melted)
1.5 tbsp of minced garlic
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Now What?

  1. Place wings in your crockpot (add more or less depending on the size of your wings, fill just about to the top of your crock).
  2. In a small bowl, mix well: honey, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until liquid. If your honey is very thick, then you may desire to heat these ingredients over the stove to soften the honey.
  3. Drizzle ingredients over wings, and stir so the sauce covers the wings throughout.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours or 3-4 hours on high.

Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Wings


What is NAET?

The following is my personal experience with NAET. Please see a certified NAET practitioner if you are interested in this method of healing.

NAET, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Treatment, is a treatment that uses acupressure, acupuncture and energy healing to determine what allergies you have and to alleviate their symptoms. It was discovered by Dr. Devi Nambudripad as a natural solution to alleviate allergies.

One allergen is treated at a time, and they must be treated in a specific order, as it may take several visits to desensitize a specific allergen. When you first start NAET you will be tested and treated for the top 15 allergens before others are able to be performed. However many patients will notice that their allergy symptoms will disappear even before they have a specific allergy treated, because with each allergy treated, your immune system will strengthen – as allergies can weaken immunity.
(source: www.naet.com)

How are allergies tested?

NAET uses kinesiology to compare the strength and weakness of any muscle in the body in the presence and absence of any substance. This is also known as  neuromuscular sensitivity testing (NST). This process is completely painless and it tests the body’s acceptance of the energy of a specific item. If your body shows that it is rejecting the energy, an allergy is discovered.

So what is the treatment?
(Please note that below is my experience with NAET, it may vary practitioner to practitioner).



Diablo Chicken

I have to thank my soon to be mother-in-law for this recipe! This is a variation of one of my favorite dishes that she makes, it’s amazing and never fails to please. It is sweet, savory and totally different from all of my other chicken recipes.

What You Will Need:

1 lb ground or cubed chicken
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of raw honey
3/4 tbsp curry powder
dash of salt

Now What:

  1. In a frying pan, cook chicken until thoroughly cooked on medium heat.
  2. Add butter and honey until they liquify in the pan.
  3. Add curry and salt.
  4. Sautee on medium for 10 minutes

Serve on a bed of spinach, lettuce or cauliflower rice.


Lemon Garlic Molasses Chicken

If you are looking to change up your typical chicken recipe, this one is great!

Sweet, savoury and very tasty!

What you will need:

4 chicken legs
1.5 tbsp organic molasses
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp melted butter

Now What:

  1. Mix molasses, lemon juice, garlic powder and butter in a bowl.
  2. Place chicken legs on a pan
  3. Pour sauce over chicken (you can use legs, thighs or breasts…up to you!) flipping legs over to ensure both sides are covered.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes
  5. Serve with your favorite side dish

Option: Marinate the chicken and sauce in the fridge for 1/2 hour before placing in the oven to enhance the flavor.


Christmas Gift Ideas for the Foodie in your Family

At a loss as to what to get the foodie in your family for Christmas? Or perhaps you are the foodie in your family and loved ones aren’t sure what to get you?

Here are some great kitchen gizmos and gadgets and books that are sure to please the butter lover and health nut! No grain free kitchen should be without them!

Fermentation Crock.

Great for making sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.

Butter Crock

Great for keeping butter fresh outside of the fridge.


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