The Most Important Thing to Remove from Your Diet

I love food and I love eating. It has been so fun for me to learn all about nutrition and healthy eating and the best ways to eat to support the body during illness. Cooking is so fun and when I’m too tired, it’s a joy to watch Zach cook. The smell of the apple parsnip soup simmering is making my mouth water right this minute! 

I also love to do my best at everything and once I have knowledge of what the best is, I have to live in light of that revelation or I feel like I’m cheating myself. So when it comes to the knowledge of what foods will be most beneficial for my healing journey, and what foods are best to avoid, I have found myself adhering perfectly. And since my diet adherence has been so good for so long, I’ve found myself getting to an emotional place that is on the edge of controlling and I caught myself starting to feel really negative towards eating food that wasn’t healthy. 

The most important thing to remove from your diet is fear. 

This is pretty weird for me because I don’t even fear death but I started to fear foods that could make me sick. I’m choosing organic because I’m afraid of my gut being destroyed by glyphosate. I fear eating foods I have gluten cross-reactivity to because I don’t want an internal antibody allergic response. I worry about eating too much sugar because I need to keep systemic inflammation down. It’s gotten to the point where what should be appropriate concern starts to drift into worry.

And what’s frustrating is that even though I can have a perfect diet, the resulting stress over it is probably more detrimental to my health anyway! Because stress increases your levels of cortisol and cortisol shuts off your killer T-cells so your immune system doesn’t fight infection or respond to damage. Upon reflection, it’s actually laughable!

So I guess I’m wrestling with being obsessed with healthy eating. I definitely feel that I need to continue to check my heart to make sure I don’t get to an emotionally unhealthy place.

Check your heart. 

Why am I so concerned, anyway? I guess it’s a bit of a control issue. Diet is the one thing I can control with my healing and you’d better believe that I’m going to do everything I can to heal. I want so badly to feel like myself again. I need to have my brain back. So it’s tricky because eating healthy is a really good thing, and I’m doing it for really good reasons. 

But am I turning something good like high food standards into a destructive stressor? I’ve prayed about it and pleaded with God to release me from feeling this need for control. God, allow me to trust that you desire to heal me and that it’s not up to me to ‘make it happen’. Grant me the knowledge and wisdom to live in a way that honours the body you gave me so that I can bring you glory with it. God, help me to be thankful for the food you provide and help me live in the freedom that the comes from the cross.

In Jesus I am free. 

Where do I go from here? I’m going to pick the best food available and eat it with gusto and gratitude. Now please excuse me while I inhale this apple parsnip soup.


“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
- Matthew 6:25-27

On My Plate This Week

The 10 for 6 diet has definitely forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with food and strive to get a little more creative in the kitchen! Cooking all of our meals at home is actually very cathartic for me and it’s fun to cook alongside Zach and teach Brooklyn as she starts to get involved in the little things. If only we could think of a way to avoid doing dishes… 

As I’ve searched for meals that are 10 for 6 friendly, I’ve built a little repertoire of my favourite dinners that are fast and easy! When I only get a 30min window before one of the kids starts crying or I have to lay on the floor to rest, fast and easy is a necessity!  

To help streamline the process, I’ll make a weekly meal plan and write out all of the groceries we will need to pick up… well, actually, what groceries I ask Zach to pick up. There’s a funny quote I totally relate to:

“A chronically ill person can grocery shop and cook a meal; just not on the same day.” 

It is absolutely imperative that your fridge has healthy options so that when you’re hungry, you don’t make a decision you’ll later regret! I also get some help (thanks Zach) with food prep like pre-chopping veggies or making salad dressings. We all need a Zach. 

So this is what I’ve had on my plate this week. I typically will find a great recipe and then change things around a bit. For example, I love to add extra veggies to my chili or use my own version of a dressing. I also tend to gravitate towards making the same favourite meals but try to add at least 1 new thing each week - variety is the spice of life! 


Nut bread with apple jam, avocado, bacon
This is called the Life Changing Loaf of Bread for a reason. Brooklyn even prefers “Mommy’s special bread” over her gluten free bakery bread. 

Avocado, sausage, cinnamon apples
Against All Grain has a great breakfast sausage recipe, but when I don’t have time to make them, the Smokey River Sausages at Costco have minimal ingredients! 

Bulletproof coffee
A Bulletproof coffee is perfect for when you don’t have time to eat anything!



Homemade almond milk
My favourite recipe comes from the freshtake breakfast ebook. When I’m lazy, I just throw in dates instead of making date paste. Recently I’ve had to omit the hemp but it’s still amazing. 

Piece of fruit (ex. apple, orange, banana)

A couple of figs or dates with a handful of nuts

Cucumbers or carrots with homemade AIP ranch dip
The coconut milk in the dressing gets firm once it’s been in the fridge, making it the perfect dip.



I usually make sure I cook enough dinner and put some aside for leftovers the next day

The Big Salad with homemade champagne vinaigrette
I like to throw in veggies like arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, bell pepper, micro greens, and red onion (pre-soak in a bowl of water to mellow the flavour a bit) as well as walnuts and pumpkin seeds. My favourite vinaigrette is from Against All Grain.



Blackened chicken salad
This Jaimie Oliver recipe is amazing. I especially love the minced herbs mixed with quinoa as a base. Throw in whatever you want, really. I skipped the cheese (don’t if you tolerate dairy!) and chilli pepper but added dates, grape tomatoes, bell pepper (watch out if you’re sensitive to night shades), and extra arugula. Doesn’t need any additional dressing but I put a little of this AIP ranch and it worked perfectly. 

Lemon rosemary chicken
This is the epitome of quick and easy. I love this recipe exactly as it is except we usually use a little more sweet potato. You could also use ghee instead of olive oil for richer flavour. 

Salmon with mango avocado salsa and cilantro-lime-coconut cauliflower rice
This salmon rub is perfection when combined with the sweetness of the salsa. The flavour combinations in this meal are unreal. This is my favourite dinner. I highly encourage you to purchase salmon from your local farmers market, it makes a big difference. 

I start with this super simple base recipe and then add in extra veggies: orange and yellow peppers, cremini mushrooms, and some chopped spinach (which I throw in just a few minutes before serving). I always add way more of the spices, maybe almost double what’s called for (I just sort of taste and adjust) - it’s better if the spices simmer for a while. 

Spaghetti squash boats
I’ll often cook the spaghetti squash sometime in the morning or a day before. I like to throw a chicken breast into the mix as well. It works to use spinach instead of kale. Brooklyn loves eating out of the shell!

Kale quinoa salad
One of my favourites. When you buy your kale, make sure you use it within the first couple of days or it will go wilty. It’s also imperative that you massage the dressing into your kale and let it sit for the 10min. I prefer pine nuts over the slivered almonds and I skip the parmesan (but everyone else gets it on their plates). 


Raspberry apple cake
We made this cake for my birthday and it is the perfect treat even if you're following an AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet. The sweetness of the apple contrasts perfectly with the tart raspberries. I found my freeze dried raspberries at Trader Joes. 

Dark chocolate peanut butter granola bars
This Against All Grain recipe is great for a little snack when friends come over or a sweet treat any time of the day!

I’ve mentioned before that while it’s great to use nutrient dense, whole food as a way to ease the burden on your body and nourish it so that you feel your best, no diet plan will ever cure lupus. What you choose to put into your body plays a big role in how you will feel, so I encourage you to do your research as to what foods are better or worse for you and listen to how your body responds. Diet is very important, but it is still only one part of a greater wellness plan. 

The 10 for 6 Diet

In a recent post, I alluded to the fact that I was in a car accident which triggered my current (and what feels like never ending) lupus flare. It’s been a really tough go for the last 4 months. The inflammation caused from the physical trauma became somewhat of a positive feedback cycle and the inflammation in my body spun completely out of control despite my best efforts to keep inflammation at bay. 

One of the weird things that came about was food allergies. In the past, I’ve had an allergic response to gluten so I have been very careful not to eat gluten for the past 3 years. Recently, I was tested for antibodies against gluten-associated cross-reactive foods. What this showed was that certain foods I was eating were now triggering my body to create antibodies (an immune response) to these foods as if I was eating gluten! So I started what I’m calling the 10 for 6 diet. 

10 foods cut out for 6 months. Hopefully by giving my body a break from the inflammation triggered by these foods, my immune system can calm down and I’ll feel a whole lot better. After 6 months, we can look at what can be reintroduced.

The foods (in no particular order) that I’m having an allergic response to include: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, potatoes, eggs, sorghum, amaranth, hemp, and sesame. 

If you have done an elimination diet or the whole30, you’ll know that gluten, dairy, corn, and soy are in almost every processed food! It definitely takes a lot more effort to break free of convenience packaging (and a lot more dirty dishes!), but it has been very helpful to my body so that makes the challenges worth it. I’ve survived 8 weeks so far…

It is not easy. Not easy what-so-ever. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t find comfort in food so there are definitely times I have to battle cravings and look to find comfort elsewhere. True story - the other night I wanted junk food so badly that cried to Zach “I want garbage!”.

But if we don’t find comfort in food, where should we turn? If you put any comfort item to the test (food, relationships, possessions…), they will always come up short. That cookie you thought would make you feel better didn’t. Your boyfriend didn’t live up to your expectations. Your iPhone brought you happiness only until the new version was released. 

The only place you will find everlasting comfort and peace is with Jesus. Seek him out, rest in him, learn about what he says to you in the Bible. Like a house built upon a rock (rather than sand), he is the only foundation that will stand strong when the waves of life come crashing around us (Matthew 7:24-27).

I figured that if I’m going to navigate how to eat properly around my new food allergies, I’d better channel that nerdy researcher side of me and do some reading.

I’ve done a lot of meal idea searching and have pinned great ideas on pinterest if you want to have a look! There are a lot of great recipes out there for healthy meals and snacks. And don’t be shy to ask those around you for ideas and support. A friend of mine started a little WhatsApp group where a few of us share our meal plans for each week and that has been inspiring and a great resource to draw from. I don’t know what I would do without the support of my friends. Even my church community group has gone through extra effort to bring snacks that I can eat. I really am so blessed.

I’ve found the Dr. Mercola website really helpful when it comes to things like burning fat for fuel (instead of sugar), supporting the mitochondria (for optimal cellular function), intermittent fasting, and how too much protein stimulates mTOR (a protein that leads to inflammatory pathways). I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to stick with something if you understand why you’re doing it. If you’re not convinced that what you’re doing is important for your body to heal, you won’t have the intrinsic motivation to overcome stumbling blocks. And most of those stumbling blocks are mental. So remember - you CAN make lifestyle changes. You ARE strong enough. You CHOOSE what you put in your body. I encourage you to educate yourself so that you can choose the best - you’re worth it! 

I know what your thinking… so what CAN you eat?! I have a list of 14 ‘no’s’, and several ‘should not’s’ but would you believe it, the list of things I can eat is still very long! 

I’m trying to follow what Dr. Alex Vasquez describes as the paleo-mediterranean diet. I’m sure you figured out by the name that it takes the best of the paleo diet and the mediterranean diet, and he has found it to be the best diet for improving overall health. 

I’ve been focusing my days around eating lots and lots of vegetables (as the main course, not the side dish) and healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and nuts/seeds. I try to keep my protein intake moderate and I eat almost no grains (I’ll have quinoa on occasion). I try to choose fruit with a low glycemic index (ex. apples, berries), and I’ve managed to quit snacking in the evening. I eat almost no processed food, no simple sugars and no artificial sweeteners. For as much as I’ve LOVED wine in the past, I’ve actually lost a lot of my interest in alcohol (who have I become??????) and I sleep a lot better now. Instead, I drink lots of water and bone broth. I’m still working to cut down my coffee consumption… My favourite food right now is homemade almond milk - I got a great recipe from the freshtake ebook

Family Style Blackened Chicken Salad

Family Style Blackened Chicken Salad

Probably most importantly though, I’m eating as organic as possible. I feel way better when I don’t eat GMOs (which include pesticides and antibiotics). Unfortunately, if your food doesn’t say that it’s organic, then it can have those things in it. The most common pesticide sprayed on food is called glyphosate (in Monsanto’s ‘Round Up’) which is recognized as “probably carcinogenic” and linked to causing cancer. It penetrates into the DNA of the food so you can’t wash it off and it will bioaccumulate in your body. Because of this, all of our eggs, chicken, beef, and fish are purchased from the local farmer’s market and we refer to the dirty dozen/ clean fifteen list for our produce. 

Finally, I supplement! But remember, supplements are a valuable way to strengthen a whole-foods diet, they are not a substitute for getting your vitamins and minerals from food! I’ve found  supplements have supported my body in pathways that are often depleted for people with lupus or other autoimmune diseases. Do your research and check with your doctor though, because certain supplements are not compatible with certain medications. 

I’ve found that changing my diet has been extremely beneficial for me in managing my lupus. No diet or eating plan could ever cure you, though! There is no cure for lupus. But choosing to consume nutrient dense whole food that does not stimulate your immune system is very helpful for your body to calm down. This is one aspect of my lupus that I do have control over, so you’d better believe I’ll be doing everything in my control to feel better! 

How can you get started?

I would recommend doing a 30 day elimination diet and then slowly reintroducing food groups back in so that you can feel what your body does not tolerate. If you have the means, a food allergy test saved me a lot of time finding the foods that were affecting me specifically. 

Well, I’m 8 weeks down with 18 more to go with this food allergy diet plan. I’ll keep you posted on my favourite meals and things that I find helpful!

I’m definitely no expert and my learning journey is not over yet. If you have any tips for how I can keep moving forward using food for healing, please let me know in the comments!