Today, author, blogger, wife and mum Bre’anna Emmitt from He Won’t Know it’s Paleo joins us for a chat! Thanks so much for your time Bre’anna – and huge congratulations on the publication of your first cookbook He Won’t Know it’s Paleo! It is a beautiful book with gorgeous, inspiring recipes that, as you say, “bridges the gap between a standard diet and the paleo Autoimmune Protocol”, and in such a delicious way! For those of you that don’t know, the name of Bre’anna’s blog came about after Bre’anna started preparing paleo meals for her husband and family – and it was 6 months before she told her husband!
Check out some of the scrumptious AIP dishes Bre’anna has created!
G I V E A W A Y: Rather excitingly, Bre’anna has given us an e-book to giveaway on the blog! And believe me, this is a prize you’ll want to win! All you have to do is follow The Nutritionista on Facebook and Instagram and post a comment below 🙂 The winner will be drawn on Thursday 19th March – good luck!
Bre’anna, I already love your food and now I’d love to get to know a bit more about you!
Bre’anna, you gave some background in your book as to how you got started with paleo and then moved on to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), but could you give us a brief rundown here for anyone that hasn’t bought the book yet?
I have Hashimoto’s and Celiac Disease. Looking back, my symptoms began as a preteen, but it was in college when I started experiencing digestion issues. Being young and carefree, I didn’t seek help and just figured it was just the way I was. Then as the years went by, it got worse. In 2009, I suddenly put on 5-10 pounds of unexplained weight gain – that I could NOT lose. Coupled with fatigue and newfound bouts of depression and anxiety, I knew something was up.
I went and saw my family doctor and found out I had Hashimoto’s. At this point, my thyroid levels were still within normal range (except for my high antibodies), and I was told to basically live with the symptoms and that they may not be related to the Hashimoto’s. Two years later, my symptoms worsened again, leaving me with much more severe digestive issues that made me nervous to leave the house every day before noon. My hair started falling out like crazy, and I had ever-increasing joint pain and stiffness to the point my right wrist barely bent and my head wouldn’t turn left. I was a mess. All of these things left me thinking something was wrong, but my busy schedule made me brush it off and chalk it up to having 3 babies in 4 years.
When I started experiencing nerve pain, numbness and tingling (focused mainly on my left side), however, I knew I had to seek professional medical help. During several months of fruitless doctor’s appointments, I was often given the diagnosis of, “Well, it is likely Celiac Disease or Lupus.” After a gluten-free trial, I felt fantastic and did a “gluten challenge” to prepare for an endoscopy at my physician’s instruction. This was the worst mistake of my life, health wise. Eating boatloads of gluten after being gluten-free put me into a flare of multiple systems that lasted several months.
Deemed too dangerous for me to continue the gluten challenge, I was given a Celiac diagnosis by exclusion (After being tested for MS, Lupus, and RA). Wanting to clear up even more symptoms, I cut out dairy, then went paleo, then eventually AIP. Paleo (except for those darn nightshades) and AIP helped me tremendously!
You mention in your book that you started AIP once, gave up, but then started it again. What was it that made you give AIP another go and what helped you stick to it? Apart from your delicious recipes, of course!
Yes! After two weeks, I quit. I had been gluten free, then gluten and dairy free, then paleo, and not AIP. I felt like the exclusions were never-ending! I jumped right back in to eating “just” paleo and saw symptoms immediately. I knew my mass reintroductions were to blame, so gave AIP another shot.
The biggest thing that helped me stick with it was how good I felt. When foods give me symptoms, I just cannot see that food being worth it.
Does your whole family follow AIP inside the home now? Do you allow any foods into your home that aren’t AIP compliant?
Not 100%. I eat strictly AIP, but I keep my house gluten-free and mostly paleo. I cook AIP meals and desserts I can enjoy too, but make modifications like nightshades and white rice and potatoes for the rest of the family as they request it. Putting some salsa and cheese out with taco night for the husband goes a long way!
All your food looks absolutely delicious! Have you always been such a good cook?!
I have certainly had my trials and errors, but I have loved to cook and bake since I was a child. I remember getting grounded from the kitchen as an elementary-aged girl. It was the worse punishment because baking (brownies, espeically) was my happy place!
What are your family’s favourite recipes from the book – and what’s your favourite one to make?
Coconut Cream Pie is a huge hit, and so are the Asian Lettuce Wraps. My favorite to make is probably the Mint Ice Cream. I make (and eat) it quite often 🙂
Have you been able to make any reintroductions or are you currently sticking to strict AIP?
I stick with pretty strict AIP. So far, black pepper is a go. Green beans and cocoa are a go as long as I don’t overdo them, but I am sticking pretty strict for now and not rushing reintros (I tried to rush them a few times with bad results).
What is your favourite food that you eat now that you hadn’t discovered until starting AIP?
I just discovered Taro chips. OH MY. It’s like lays potato with a better crunch! These and all of the squashes have been fun to experiement with!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started on AIP, or who has already started, but is finding it difficult to keep up?
Stick with it, listen to your body, and use trusted recipes that make great food!
And my favourite question – please share with us something about yourself that not many people know!
I used to barrel race horses! It’s actually one of my most proud-of past times and one I hope to teach my daughter one day!
(If you are like me and don’t know what “barrel racing” is click here – pretty cool, huh?! I have been missing out!!!)
Bre’anna, thank you so much for your time and your thoroughly entertaining answers! And also for the insight you’ve given into your life 🙂
Keep up to date with Bre’anna and her cooking adventures by following her here: