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024: Nourishing Your Fertility With Food w/ Alison Marras, NTP

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024: Nourishing Your Fertility With Food w/ Alison Marras, NTP

Welcome to the Hey Mami podcast!

Our guest today is Alison Marras of the popular gut-healthy food blog Food by Mars, and author of The Paleo Gut Healing Cookbook.

She is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, known for Gut health and Autoimmune nutrition using Paleo and AIP templates

Alison has experienced first-hand the healing power of food, using it to manage Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and PCOS. She believes your healing journey with real food can be a stress-free lifestyle filled with joy and flavor and her content is here to help! Her cookbook and blog are full of Paleo and AIP-friendly recipes, meal plans, community, and coaching services.

Or listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube

In today’s episode we are talking about the role food plays in fertility, especially for those with Hashimoto’s or PCOS.

Highlights:

  • Alison’s story
  • Alison’s fertility journey with Hashimoto’s and PCOS
  • What role did nutrition and food play in that period of her life?
  • How did Alison work on her mindset?
  • Alison’s favorite recipes from her new cookbook

Important Links

Find Alison online

Get Alison’s guide for Paleo/AIP meal prep

The Paleo Gut Healing Cookbook

Find Alison on Instagram

024: Nourishing Your Fertility With Food w/ Alison Marras, NTP TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Maren:                          Welcome back to the Hey Mami Podcast. In today’s episode, we are talking about nourishing your fertility with food. We cover Alison’s fertility journey with Hashimoto’s and PCOS, mindset around healing and pregnancy with autoimmune disease, and navigating nutrition and healthy living as a new mom.

Dr. Maren:                          Our guest today is Alison Marras of the popular and beautiful gut healthy food blog called Food by Mars. And she is the new author of the paleo gut healing cookbook. She’s a nutritional therapy practitioner known for gut health and autoimmune nutrition using paleo and AIP templates. Alison has experienced firsthand the healing power of food using it to manage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and PCOS. She believes your healing journey with real food can be a stress free lifestyle filled with joy and flavor, and her content is here to help.

Dr. Maren:                          And I can attest to that, I’m a big fan of her blog and her cookbook. They are full of paleo and AIP friendly recipes, meal plans, also community and coaching services. Alison and I met when we were interviewed together for a series on Hashimoto’s and it was love at first sight, so I’m so happy to have you here.

Alison:                                  Thank you for having me. I couldn’t agree more, we were on that panel together and I’m like, wait, are we soulmates?

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, I know it’s like a convenient thing that we feel the same way about many things, mainly nutrition and gut healing. And I think what really resonated with both of us is nutrition is so foundational and important, but in a healing journey, it’s not the only or not even necessarily the primary thing. And I think we both agreed on that point where yeah, it’s super important but don’t stop there.

Alison:                                  Exactly, and we’ll talk about mindset and all the other stuff, but because we can just tend to overcorrect with one thing. And then it’s like well, you’re missing out on so much, you’re getting tunnel vision. So yeah, I love that philosophy.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah. So let’s just start off. Alex and I want to hear more about why you do what you do.

Alison:                                  Yeah, I’d love to. So like many people, and I know Christine, you’ve talked about your journey and I think that it’s because I went through so much of this in my own life. I grew up on the standard American diet, I grew up seeing my parents and family struggle with autoimmune disease, with diabetes, with cancer. And I just went along thinking, oh, sucks to be me. This is what I inherited, this is my gene pool. But I certainly tried to follow all the mainstream advice: did all the cardio workouts, burned out my adrenals real nicely. I did all the smoothies and juice cleanses for New Year’s, you name it. Followed all the mainstream advice thinking hey, at least maybe I can lessen the blow a little with this stuff, right?

Alison:                                  Well, I hit my mid twenties. I had been on the birth control pill for about a decade because that was the only option presented to me from a lifetime of very painful periods and PCOS, as well as acne and other things. And I got off because I was newly married and we were like, “All right, maybe we don’t need this right now.” And my body went insane, that was essentially my trigger for Hashimoto’s.

Alison:                                  And at first for most of us, it’s very jarring. It’s feeling like we’re not safe in our body, we don’t know what’s going on. I lost 75% of my hair very rapidly and that was one of the things that really kept me going, trying to figure out what is wrong with me, what is going on? And after just being dismissed by traditional doctors, being told I was crazy or I couldn’t have a thyroid problem if I wasn’t fat. That’s what an endocrinologist at NYU told me, that was amazing. I finally was just like, “You know what? I’ve got to take this into my own hands.” I was cooking at home. I was researching, I was going gluten free, I was doing all the things. That’s actually how my blog started was just to share my recipes and things that I was learning.

Alison:                                  And finally, I went back to school to become a nutritional therapy practitioner, a health coach, all the things because I had to heal myself. I really had to be my own advocate. And thankfully, I was finally diagnosed by a naturopath and here I am, I want to help women through this stuff. It can be really a lengthy, isolating, sad journey if you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t have any joy or ease brought into it, so that’s what I’m hoping to do.

Dr. Maren:                          I love that, it’s such a great story. And I love that you advocated for yourself and just kept fighting because a lot of times when the patient make it to us, they finally make it to us, but it’s been such a journey, but you can just see they’re fighters. They’re like, “I don’t accept this.” And I can resonate with that. Of course, I was a physician when I was diagnosed with all this stuff, but there’s those of us who are willing to accept it and those who are not. And I think most of the people listening here are probably in the same mindset. We’re like, “Yeah, I’m not willing to accept that piece.”

Alison:                                  Absolutely.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, I think especially when people are dismissed by clinicians, it’s really disheartening and you feel like you’re being put through, I don’t know, a kind of conveyor belt and not really seen. So I do think that, for me and probably for you too, Christine, when patients come to our door, they’re so excited and willing and ready to do all the work and look at all the things because they have finally found someone to you collaborate with rather than just be like, well, I mean, the same thing that happened to me. You’re just a stressed out female, here are some meds.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah.

Alison:                                  Totally.

Dr. Maren:                          Right.

Alison:                                  I agree. It’s like by the time we start to work with clients, patients, part of the initial value is oh, you see me? Oh my God, you’re listening to me. I’m not crazy. You’re not dismissing me. That alone is so much of the value I feel like.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, it’s some validation for sure, which is valuable. So tell us a little bit about your fertility journey with Hashimoto’s and PCOS and like what role did nutrition and food play in that period of your life?

Alison:                                  Yeah, so I was rightfully and obviously nervous about my fertility. I didn’t have a regular period, 35, 42 days was my cycle, it was extremely painful. I used to stay home at least two days from everything: school work, whatever I was in. And it just felt very debilitating, it felt like a constant nuisance, so that was annoying.

Alison:                                  And then when I got Hashimoto’s, I was like, “Oh no, is this the nail on the coffin? Am I ever going to be able to get pregnant?” And I’m sure many of your listeners do, it’s constant research and you’re hearing these crazy stories and you’re starting to almost psych yourself out so I was going through quite a bit of that.

Alison:                                  And initially, I was listening to more holistic advice and things like this and like, oh, use adaptogens and balance your hormones this way and vitex and all these things, which can be amazing but I didn’t realize that there were more foundational things that I needed to be doing first. And having come from this more mainstream nutrition advice and hey, work out and do all the cardio, my foundations were not very well supported. I was not eating enough protein, I was trying to be more vegetarian at first, I was having high sugar smoothies in the morning for breakfast. And again, I was burning myself out, I was going to the gym. I was like, “Oh my God, Hashimoto’s, gain weight, I can’t do that. I have to like take care of this and PCOS too.”

Alison:                                  So almost in an attempt to, air quotes, fix myself, I was backtracking a little bit. I was worsening some things when it comes to my foundation. So what really made an extreme difference in both fertility, PCOS and absolutely Hashimoto’s too, but especially those two things, was balancing my blood sugar. And that meant really changing, cleaning things up, even the so-called healthy food that I was eating, maybe it was too much sugar for me, maybe I could change things around the way I eat. I always say, if you follow me, I always say, “Start savory.” I always put my little hashtag because I always have a savory protein rich breakfast that’s lower in carb. When I changed my clients from that to help them out with that breakfast, their life is changed, their mind is blown. They’re like, “Oh my God, I can have energy? This is insane. Who knew that?” So that was a big shift for me to make and really just paying attention to my blood sugar dips and things like that.

Alison:                                  And what that really did is help support my hormone balancing. The rest that I was doing, like taking these different herbs and all that stuff, that was like accessories, that needed to be done either in tandem or after looking at that.

Alison:                                  And then of course supporting healthy digestion and detox. So many times, obviously as you guys know, when we are having hormonal imbalances, that means we have too much or too little of something. And so if we can’t detox whatever we have too much of, let’s say it’s estrogen or whatever it is, we’re going to have issues. So I was looking at it from a nutritional standpoint, like okay, cruciferous veggies are great for detox and staying hydrated and just simple, simple things like that that really, really helped as well. And of course healthy, joyful movement and things like that. And then all of it supporting my digestion by cooking more paleo-ish, home cooking in general, getting back to nature, focusing on nutrient density. That was really, really key for my digestion.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, I love that. And I have not seen your #startsavory, but I’m going to start using it. That’s-

Alison:                                  Yeah, can we all use it?

Dr. Maren:                          It’s so good. Like pancakes and sugary stuff in the morning just doesn’t sit well with me, so I think that is awesome.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Awesome.

Dr. Maren:                          And root cause too. I think a lot of times, as I’m sure we touched on when we were on that panel together, but people start to have maybe digestive issues and it’s obvious. And the number one thing they go to, they start eating a bunch of sour kraut and taking probiotics. And if they have one of the most common causes in of IBS, they might actually be hurting themselves.

Dr. Maren:                          So I agree, it’s like we step back, look at root cause, try to heal that and then use some of those supplements specifically based on what you need and based on testing. And they’re great tools, they’re natural tools, but it’s this paradigm shift between integrative medicine and functional medicine I think. And I was in the integrative medicine mindset for a very long time where I thought everything natural was good and often it does have less risks and it is a great tool, but let’s step back and look at the foundational root causes.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, at a bio-individual level, oftentimes it’s not very good. I have a really interesting clinical story. I had a patient actually, an awesome, really super smart, healthy chiropractor and worked out a ton, was, I think a triathlete actually. Anyway, he comes in and his A1C is like 5.9. I’m like, “What is going on? How’s that even possible?” He’s like, “Oh, I don’t know.” I said, “Well, what are you eating?” So we go through his food and he’s basically every day consuming a 24 ounce organic fruit smoothie from-

Alison:                                  Super high in sugar.

Dr. Carrasco:                      A place here in town that’s really popular. And I’m like, “Dude, this is driving your blood sugar way up. This is why you feel like garbage. You’re prediabetic.” So I think it’s very common because people think it’s natural, so it’s got to be good for me but I think blood sugar maintenance is probably one of the most important things people can do. I think it’s overlooked and then I also think the other thing that’s really overlooked is protein consumption. And I really believe we should be consuming 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight, which is very hard. So it’s like at least a hundred grams of protein a day. I’d say most of my patients don’t do that.

Dr. Maren:                          That’s hard. Yeah, it’s funny you say everybody thinks natural is good or if it’s green, right?

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah.

Alison:                                  Yes.

Dr. Maren:                          Like if it’s a green [crosstalk 00:12:44], you’re good. I put a cup of spinach in there and now it negates the banana and mango.

Alison:                                  And dates.

Dr. Maren:                          And pineapple.

Alison:                                  And sweetened almond milk.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, totally.

Alison:                                  It’s so true.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, it’s funny. So tell us when you actually got pregnant, what are some of the challenges you faced dealing with the Hashimoto’s and PCOS. What’d you go through?

Alison:                                  So I would say when I was first trying to get pregnant, I was trying to do the whole taking charge of your fertility. Great book, I think everyone should have that, but I was trying to track my temperature, I remember my basal thermometer temperature. That was a nightmare because it did not work very well for me. My temperature was all over the place having up and down thyroid stuff, so that was not easy. And also it’s really hard, you have to stay in bed, you can’t move, all these things.

Alison:                                  So that was tough and so between that and my cycle still just inching towards getting a little bit more normal month after month, it was hard to track. And I didn’t know how I was going to do this and all the challenges that were feeling like they were up against me. But ultimately, I had to trust a little bit and realize okay, I’m doing all the things, let me just trust and go for it and see what my body can do. And so that was the biggest thing.

Alison:                                  And I also remember, I was just so hell bent on getting into remission both before I got pregnant. I was like, “Well, I have to get into remission first, that’s going to be a prerequisite.” It so happened that I did but I think the reason all of those things were able to happen together was because I had to let go of it. A lot of my challenges were mindset, honestly. It was me getting in my own way. Yeah, the physical things were there, but we have to trust our body a little bit more, so that was my experience.

Alison:                                  And I think also to just add on to the letting go thing, I had to let go of a lot of stress in my life. I was doing a lot, working my old job and my new job, and keeping up with a very busy life in New York City so I had to let go of a lot of that stuff too and relax.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, when I wrote my book, I dedicated a big chunk of it to mindset and to parasympathetic nervous system support-

Alison:                                  That’s huge.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That I think is foundational for the creation of resilience. And so I definitely would love to hear more about how did you approach the mindset piece specifically? Are there tools that you used? And then did you also use parasympathetic nervous system tools to create roots? That’s kind of how I see it in the way that I practice it. I feel like your parasympathetic response is your root system and it’s what makes you strong and it’s what makes you resilient when the storms come.

Alison:                                  Absolutely, so well said. I actually mentioned that quite a bit in my cookbook. You would not think that would be in a cookbook, but I had to. I was like, “Well, it’s not just what you eat. It’s how and why you eat too.”

Dr. Carrasco:                      Exactly, yeah.

Alison:                                  And I just had to learn that the hard way and I felt like if I’m going to write a book, I’ve got to get that in there. At first, I was treating self care and parasympathetic nervous system state like, oh, another thing on my Hashimoto’s checklist to do. I have to do this, I have to meditate five minutes a day. It was just very much this type-A mentality going after it, like give me a checklist, I’ll do it, I’ll get an A+. I should be in remission in like no time if I just do all the things. And when that wasn’t quite happening, I was like, “Uh-oh, what’s wrong with me?” And so there was just all this mindset stuff going on.

Alison:                                  So what I started coming to was realizing hey, the very things that triggered my illness, this working 60 hours a week or having this perfectionist type-A mindset towards everything because the way you are in one thing, that’s how you’re going to show up in other places too. And I realize oh, I show up at work this place, I show up here at this place, and I’m showing up now with my healing journey trying to force and fix and rush this.

Alison:                                  And that’s when I had to take a step back and surrender. And it’s a very bio-individual for everyone when you’re ready to hear that. I wasn’t ready to hear that early on. I remember someone tried to tell me, they’re like, “You got to let go.” And I’m like, “No, I got goals. I got to fix this.”

Dr. Carrasco:                      I got my list.

Alison:                                  Yeah, because you know how it is. Hearing, especially autoimmune, the idea that your body is attacking itself, which I know is not exactly it but hearing that makes you feel very unsafe and feel like, oh my God, this is urgent, I have to do something about it. So I think if anyone can hear anything from this, it’s to trust your body, your body wants to heal. And we have to cultivate that trust a little bit more and use those things that we hear, meditation, parasympathetic state, as your tools and as a way to connect to your body and show it that love and show it like no, no, no, I know you’ve got this. I’m just here, I’m feeding you good food, I’m seeing my doctors and practitioner are helping me, I’m doing all these things holistically, but I know you’ve got this, I respect you kind of thing.

Alison:                                  So that’s where meditation came in, I would say mindful eating, I can’t believe I haven’t even mentioned that yet, but that’s been a huge part of my journey because it’s very easy for us to overcorrect with diet. Like I mentioned in the beginning, I see it all the time in the community. And it’s physical, it’s on our plates, it’s very easy to say, “Paleo harder, AIP harder! My antibodies aren’t where they need to be so I’ll just keep removing eggs and nuts and seeds.” And it’s like, no! We do that short term and then we have to get in tune with our body to figure out what’s working at a bio-individual level.

Alison:                                  And I hit a snag where things were getting a little complicated with food. I was starting to fear food, I was starting to feel very stressed out, the opposite of a parasympathetic state coming to each of my meals. And I started realizing like well, maybe I’m bloated because I’m rushing and stressed out during my meals, not because of what I’m eating. And I started digging a lot more into mindful eating and how it is quite literally required for proper digestion because digestion begins in the brain with switching to the parasympathetic state, that’s what’s going to kick everything off.

Alison:                                  So that has been a huge part of my journey, it’s a huge part of what I do with my clients. I talk about it in the book and it restored fun and joy back to my meals. It suddenly felt like oh, okay, now I can let the food nourish me, it’s not just another thing I’m checking off and rushing through. So that was a big part too, mindfulness, bringing it in every area of my life honestly.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, that’s awesome.

Dr. Maren:                          That’s I love that and I think it’s-

Dr. Carrasco:                      So.

Dr. Maren:                          Go ahead, Alex.

Dr. Carrasco:                      No, you go ahead.

Dr. Maren:                          I was just going to say with the food piece and the overcorrecting, it’s like when it’s creating more stress than joy in your life and then healing, then you know you have to reframe things.

Alison:                                  Absolutely.

Dr. Maren:                          When we meet with patients, I’m like, “Listen, I’m going to recommend maybe a paleo template. But the other piece to that is if this feels so stressful with your life, if you’re a mom and already maxed, then give us that feedback because at the very least let’s just do gluten free.

Alison:                                  Absolutely.

Dr. Maren:                          We can take baby steps.

Alison:                                  Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah and I think that you touched on a really important point that I believe the body is always doing the best it can with the resources it has. And I think that when you do look at your health, or at least when I work with my patients and you look at someone’s health from a holistic perspective where you’re looking at their body, the functions of their gut, at the functions of their different organ systems, thinking about their genetics but also thinking about their environment, their trauma, their stressors, you can really find where there might be a lack of resources or where you could have missed some things. And I think that’s the beauty of individualized medicine or personalized medicine where you can really dig deep with someone and say, “Okay, let’s look at all these inputs and see where we can make it a little bit better or optimize it a little bit more.”

Alison:                                  Yeah, like when you see those wheels of the circle of health and you see that there’s so many other sufferers. Food is one piece of the pie, we can’t get stuck there, we owe ourselves so much more than that. So yeah, I totally agree. And I love that you also touched on things like trauma and all of that because that started to become more of the healing work as I got into it. Like well, why am I so stressed out and a perfectionist like this? Why am I showing up like this?

Alison:                                  And so I had to dig into that and I was reading books like Anatomy of the Spirit and other stuff like that that was just getting me more journaling and digging into what is going on. I think there’s often a personality type with a lot of autoimmune and I’m sure you guys can agree, right? So we have to dig into that and look into it. And we’re not ready up front usually and it’s like, oh, I don’t want to deal with that. What does that have to do with this? I don’t want to deal with that relationship issue or whatever.

Alison:                                  And I went to this functional medicine doctor actually once when I was getting towards this, oh my God, I’m burning out on my own healing journey. And he’s like an empath and he is intuitive and he looked at my blood work, never met me, doesn’t know anything about me. Looked at my blood work, I’m like, “Why are my TPO antibodies so high? I’m eating this way, I’m doing it this.” He’s like, “Tell me about your relationship with X, Y, Z? And tell me about this?” And I’m like, “What?” And I was warned that he was like an empath, but I’m like, what are you talking about? He’s like, “Why aren’t you painting anymore?” I’m like, “What? How did you know that?” I was like, “Yeah, I used to paint growing up, I was like an artist.” This is what I said, I love photographing food and this is my creative outlet. I was like, “How did you know that?” It freaked me out? And he was just like, “You’re not doing all the things that you love anymore. You’ve made all of this, this healing, everything,” He’s like, “You’re eating fine, stop. Stop it.” And it was just, again, like I had to get it through my hard head a few times, but yeah, it’s a lot more than food, guys.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Have y’all watched the new Disney movie Encanto yet?

Alison:                                  I have, yeah, but in bits and pieces with a toddler.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, I think it touches on a lot of these themes, right? Intergenerational trauma, the ways that we think that we have to be, how that correlates into real life and how that can be damaging. So it’s a good one, it’s good to watch with kids, but it’s also pretty deep.

Dr. Maren:                          I love that.

Alison:                                  Yeah, the Disney movies are pretty deep. They’re not just for kids.

Dr. Carrasco:                      So now that you’re a mom, how do you find yourself managing health and work and life as a new parent and managing all the things because it’s hard-

Alison:                                  Yeah.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s why Christine and I started Hey Mami because we didn’t feel like a lot of moms had support.

Alison:                                  No, it’s so true. And especially when we have a lens on our health and we’re taking care of so much of that. And we’re doing things a little bit differently in our homes probably. I’m always figuring it out.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Taking the next best step?

Alison:                                  Oh my God, yeah. I mean, there’s just so many phases with them, right? Like baby to toddler, oh my goodness. So I have been pretty sleep deprived. I have a two and a half year old and that was one thing I can say I always was a good sleeper. On my wheel, it was always at least I’ve got this.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s gone.

Alison:                                  Yeah, that is gone.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That is gone, you’re probably like a dolphin now. That’s how I feel-

Alison:                                  Yes.

Dr. Carrasco:                      I feel like I have dolphin sonar.

Alison:                                  Yeah, it’s insane. So I’m hoping that I’m navigating it and I’m checking my perfection. I’m checking those little personality tweaks that will come up that I’m like, “No, no, no, no. We don’t do that.”

Alison:                                  I will say it’s nice to have a new baby, does that make sense? Like where Hashimoto’s was my baby, before it was like fix Hashimoto’s! Fix Hashimoto’s! Now it’s like, it’s all right, that’s fine. I check it, it’s fine, I’m still around good numbers.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Your purpose has shifted.

Alison:                                  Exactly. Now it’s like I’m forced to be more in the present in a great, beautiful way and relearning how to be present and just enjoying the simple things and stopping to smell the roses and all that because you know how a kid will tell you straight up you’re not paying attention. She tells us, “Put your phone away.” She hates it.

Dr. Maren:                          I know.

Alison:                                  So it’s been, honestly, such a gift. Yes, there’re challenges, no doubt. Every mom is going to have challenges, but it’s been a gift. And I think something that fuels me even more now to be consistent or to keep doing the work is that I know she’s watching me. My daughter and I, I want it to just be a part of her. I don’t want it to feel like such I got to make new habits, got to do this thing. It’s just going to be a part of her

Dr. Carrasco:                      Built into the family culture.

Alison:                                  Exactly, so that’s exciting to me that I got to do so much of this work beforehand. And yeah, I’m just excited to see how that plays out a little bit more I think.

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, it’s fun.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Love that.

Dr. Maren:                          It is funny, they really do watch us, everything and they pick up on a lot. My 10 year old is basically a nutritionist at this point.

Alison:                                  That’s amazing. Giving out consults [crosstalk 00:27:00] .

Dr. Maren:                          I’m going to give her a degree.

Alison:                                  That’s amazing.

Dr. Carrasco:                      My daughter called me from school yesterday and she was like, “Mommy, I have red bumps on my hand. Should I take an antihistamine?” I’m like, “You have one in your backpack?” She’s like, “Yeah.” Okay, go for it.

Alison:                                  That’s amazing. In her little pill case? Her rainbow pill case?

Dr. Maren:                          She’s like already a dermatologist.

Dr. Carrasco:                      [crosstalk 00:27:21]. She’s like, “Should I send the picture to my dad?” I’m like, “No, it’s fine.”

Alison:                                  That’s so cool. [crosstalk 00:27:25].

Dr. Maren:                          That’s so funny. So Alison, I’ve got your beautiful cookbook right next to me. And I am curious, because I’m going to start cooking away this weekend, so tell us why’d you create this first of all and then what are a couple of your favorite recipes? What should we try?

Alison:                                  Yeah. I’d love to.

Dr. Carrasco:                      And what are some of the easiest ones?

Alison:                                  Oh yeah, especially moms. Good point.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Like low ingredient, low attention.

Alison:                                  Yeah, 30-ish minute.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah.

Alison:                                  Yeah, I like that. So firstly, I made the book because I’ve just loved making food more joyful so that it can heal us. Again, if we are coming to each meal stressed, what are we doing? Like Christine said, like it’s a total backwards step.

Alison:                                  So the way that I approached a lot of the recipes, and this is the way I cook on my blog too, is recreating my favorites, making them more paleo-friendly. So things like ziti or different soups that I missed that were creamy that I can’t have dairy now, so I’m going to have this. Just different things like that. I think that makes it much easier on us when we’re trying a new diet that it’s like oh, I can still have the foods that I love and grew up with and that I miss. So there’s quite a bit of that going on.

Alison:                                  And like I mentioned, I also include a lot of tips and strategies for just living a gut healthy lifestyle because this is not a thing you do for 30 days and you fix your whole life, your whole 30, 40, 50 years of living and eating a certain way. That’s not the way it’s going to work, this is a lifestyle shift. So incorporating things like broths and fermented foods when it works and in dosages that it works and nutrient dense foods and all that other stuff. How do we make it a lifestyle versus this magic pill which doesn’t exist? So I include that and I include a meal plan to get going with as well.

Alison:                                  Okay, in terms of favorite recipes, the soups and stews chapter as well as just the entrees has a lot of quick, and I have a little icon that has a little timer so you can quickly pick out-

Dr. Carrasco:                      Oh, that’s cool.

Alison:                                  Quick 30 minute meals. But I have a green minestrone soup with sausage that is amazing. So there’s no nightshades like a normal minestrone soup, it’s all green veggies and it’s to die for; it’s super good. What else? I have a chicken zoodle soup, that’s actually not that quick, that’s like a legit chicken soup. But a lot of other soups, the cover, the Italian wedding soup, it’s all 30-ish minutes. If you have bone broth and just a few of the ingredients, you can throw all of these things together. And I have to add another one, it’s called jibaritos. And those are like you take the green plantains and smash them into sandwich bread. And I make a chicken mango sandwich that’s really tasty

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, that sounds amazing.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Actually, I was going to ask you had anything with plantains or tostones in your [crosstalk 00:30:24].

Alison:                                  I have lots. I have tostones recipes and I have what we call pastelón, but it’s like using the sweet plantains as pasta-

Dr. Carrasco:                      Do you make like a little, it’s almost like a-

Alison:                                  Yes.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Like a lasagna, right.

Alison:                                  A layered casserole. Yeah, like a lasagna.

Dr. Carrasco:                      Yeah, a layered casserole, yeah.

Alison:                                  Yeah, growing up we did potatoes, green beans and then the ground meat. And I’m using just mashed cauliflower and a picadio that I make that’s really tasty. And it’s all nightshade free as well, so it came out so good. My mom was the recipe tester and she calls me up and she’s like, “Wait a minute, you forgot this.” I’m like, “Do you not…”

Dr. Carrasco:                      Like I cannot put bell peppers in there.

Dr. Maren:                          [crosstalk 00:31:09].

Alison:                                  Yeah. And she’s like, “Well, I’m actually surprised. This is really, really good. We’re going to make it like this.” I’m like, “Win!”

Dr. Maren:                          Yeah, that’s awesome.

Alison:                                  Yeah.

Dr. Maren:                          Oh, I love it.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s really cool.

Dr. Maren:                          I also really love your page on sort of how, going back to that lifestyle piece, you have a page on how do you deal with sugar cravings? And you have some really great recommendations in there, so I think that’s an important one. Awesome. Well, tell us where people can find you? I know you have a free download on your website, so give us the details.

Alison:                                  Yeah, I’d love to. So come and visit me at Food by Mars, like the planet, .com. And right on my homepage, I also have it, but I’m going to give you guys the link too, I have a 20 minute paleo and AIP friendly meal preparation guide. And this is literally how I meal prepare every weekend. People tend to think like oh, you must meal prep for hours. No, who has time for that? I said I have a toddler, there’s no way that’s happening. So all I do is this simple base meal preparation and then I switch it up all week long. It’s my main thing, making sure I get that good amount of protein and veggies and then you just mix it up. So definitely give that a download, it’ll save your life. And you can find me on Instagram, I have been known to start dancing on the TikToks recently because that’s where the people are.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s where the are.

Alison:                                  That’s where the people are. But yeah, I’m pretty active on Instagram so come and say hi and I share a lot of tips there too.

Dr. Maren:                          Amazing.

Dr. Carrasco:                      That’s awesome.

Dr. Maren:                          Thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate you, and we’ll see you on the interwebs.

Alison:                                  Yes, thanks for having me.

Alejandra Carrasco M.D. and Christine Maren D.O.

Hello! We are Alejandra Carrasco M.D. and Christine Maren D.O. We founded Hey Mami because we felt a lack of support for fellow mamis. As physicians, we see women every day who struggle with fertility, are forgotten about postpartum, and have put their health on hold for years while they raise a family. We’re here to change that.

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