My name is Kate Johnson and I am the author of Eat, Recycle, Repeat, a blog all about the search for health, happiness, and the best way to eat & celebrate life. I’m originally from Wisconsin, but now I live in a little agricultural corner in Chiba, Japan, a move that triggered a sweet potato obsession. I write about food, emotional eating, our relationship to nature & health, and show how you can make the most out of every opportunity, good or bad, because each moment of life is gifted to us.
Knowing that I’ve had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroid, for several years, I’ve taken an astonishingly long time to come around to the fact that I should commit to the autoimmune protocol (AIP) for a paleo/ancestral diet. I had already eliminated nuts, eggs, and most nightshades from my diet, but I couldn’t bring myself to the consistency of a strict 30 day AIP challenge until I did some emotional healing. Still, I created all sorts of great excuses, therefore obstacles, before I realized I had to let it go and just jump in, since many things in my body are waaaaay out of balance of late. Of course the first, panicky thoughts of “what am I going to do without cumin and mustard?!” eventually gave way to the realization that in focusing solely on the negative, I couldn’t open up to the positive influences that would come my way from adapting another lifestyle shift.
You see, when I think only about what I can’t eat, there is no room for creativity to experiment with what I can eat. When the worry-brain takes over, anticipating every hardship or difficulty, I have no room to think of great solutions, replacements, or substitutions for what I might be “missing”. Really, I need to think of all the gains on the other side of this tunnel: improved health, better culinary skills, more self-love, and perhaps even a bit more grace, or at least balance.
If you’re on the AIP and you immediately dismiss a recipe because of some ingredients, just stop for a second and see if you can’t find a way around it. Perhaps you’ll just have some inspiration for your next meal, rather than an exact recreation. You’ll still get to eat amazing food. I’ve never been more tapped into my culinary creativity than when I’ve been on a restricted diet. I don’t have a great reason why that is, so I’ll refer you to the clever person who said “necessity is the mother of invention”.
When I first made this recipe, I used mustard (YUM) and it was so delicious I chose to eat this over steak! Ok, admittedly I’m actually not a huge steak lover, but there was a time when I’d take ANY muscle meat over organ meats. But allowing the liver to “cure” just a bit takes away the strong earthy flavor, and blending it with other taste-bud-popping flavors creates a much more pleasant texture. I also thought that Sarah would love this recipe because of all the true superfoods in it: organ meats, seaweed, fermented foods, and a fermented cod liver oil dressing. JUST KIDDING on the last part about the dressing. That’ll be the day.
Once I realized mustard was not AIP, I simply did a bit of Googling on “mustard substitutions”. Ten minutes later, I had a good idea of what to do: replace with balsamic vinegar if it is in a salad dressing, horseradish for the zing, and eventually a few of my own ideas popped up. A week of experimenting, and I had a recipe that was just as good as the first. I’ve included both of them here. I didn’t end up using horseradish at all, because it is in the same family as mustard and would definitely pose a problem for those with an allergenic (aka anaphylactic) response to mustard, as well as posing a risk for those of us who’d like to adhere faithfully to the AIP in it’s earliest stages. So, ginger for the bite, lemon juice for the zing, a bit of olive juice or apple cider vinegar for the binding brine, and voila! an AIP friendly, superfood salad is born. No obstacles, no mustard, no worries.
Superfood Salad Original Recipe
For the ground liver:
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 250 grams or 8-9 oz chicken livers
- 1-2 tsp of grainy mustard
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Saute the chicken livers in coconut oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Remove and let cool to room temperature. In a food processor, combine the chicken livers, mustard, and pink salt and pulse until the texture resembles ground meat. If possible, refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
For the salad:
- 3- 4 medium sized radishes, cooked*
- 1 c of fresh seaweed, or equivalent amount of kelp noodles
- 1/3 c of sauerkraut, kimchi, or fermented vegetable of choice
- 1/3 c raw or pickled red onion
- romaine or butter lettuce
Simmer the radishes for 20 minutes, until they can be pierced with a fork but still retain their shape. Allow to cool to room temperature, than dice into small cubes. It should be about 2-3 cups when diced.
Arrange the seaweed, fermented vegetables, and pickled red onion on a bed of lettuce. Top with the ground liver mixture. Toss to make a delicious salad with a natural dressing or serve as is in lettuce boats.
Superfood Salad – AIP Version
Instead of mustard, substitute a one inch piece of peeled ginger, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of olive brine or 2-3 olives (pits removed) or 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of coconut milk. Blend with the liver and salt and follow instructions above.