Tag Archives for " paleo "

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Summer will be officially here this week. It seems like Ohio forgets how summer is supposed to be. 🙂 Last year on Father’s Day it was 95+ degrees and this year we walked into church and it was 68. Not totally complaining, but the forecast this week does look a bit gloomy and we are ready for the pool at Grandma and Grandpa’s next weekend! This week my friend Katie Mathews is sharing a delicious muffin recipe here on the blog. Katie and I met at a local photography class this summer. She is so sweet and you must follow her on Instagram @FarelyRooted, her food is amazing, beautiful, and healthy! Enjoy Katie’s post below and have a blessed Father’s day to all the Dad’s out there!

Dr. Hartzler

Summer, we love ya. You’re the most blessed season for wholesome foodies. The farmer’s markets are up and running and bursting with the most beautiful produce we see all year in the Midwest. Bravo, farmers of our communities. You fill our market bags with farm fresh berries, vibrant leafy greens, homemade baked goods, and zucchini the size of our faces. Your work is something to celebrate.

In all my farmer’s market excitement, I always seem to buy so much more face-sized zucchini than a small family can consume in a few days time, so after feasting on said gigantic zucchini for three days, in the form of raw, roasted, zoodles, and more, I still have zucchini to spare and have no desire to put it to waste. Coincidentally, my love for chocolate has not changed at all despite the change of the seasons. 

Enter these delightful GLUTEN AND GRAIN FREE CHOCOLATE TAHINI ZUCCHINI MUFFINS, packed with chocolate and veggies because didn’t you know that they always belonged together? 

Enjoy! ~Katie

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Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
They are soft and sweet and nutrient dense and you’ll feel great about eating them any time of the day. Enjoy them warm with a glass of cold almond milk or a spoonful of peanut butter (my personal favorite), and the satisfaction of knowing that your overspending, for once, has turned out for the best, because chocolate muffins are life, am I right?
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease muffin tin.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Add dry to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Fold in zucchini and 2/3 cup chocolate chips.
  6. Fill muffin tin cups with batter about 3/4 of the way up and top with remaining chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set (mine were done in 22).
  8. Enjoy immediately while the chocolate is gooey or re-heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Life hack: instead of using all your muscles grating zucchini on your own, chop it and pop it in a food processor for 10 seconds and it will magically grate on its own. After shredding, (very important squeeze out most of the water in a bunch of paper towels so the muffs aren’t too wet).

For those Low-Carb and Keto folks out there:

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White Sweet Potato Turkey Soup

If you have followed me for any bit of time, you may have seen this recipe posted on my Facebook page from the Castaway Kitchen. Her Sweet Potato White Turkey Chili has been a fan favorite in this house for awhile now. However since I don’t tolerate FODMAPs (ie leeks in this recipe) very well I decided to post my low-fodmap version.

I know it’s 90+ degrees across most of the USA, but my kids love this soup no matter the temperature outside. So here’s to cooler weather and yummy soup!

Dr. Hartzler

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White Sweet Potato Turkey Soup

This soup is amazing any time of year. It's super forgiving if you want to change up some of the ingredients. I've done 1/2 turnips before to decrease carbs and even thrown in some zucchini recently to give some more nutrients to the kiddos! It turned slightly green but tasted just as good. My kids eat this up like I haven't fed them in days. I hope it becomes a staple in your house too.

Course Soup

Prep Time 10
Cook Time 30


Potato Base



Course Soup

Prep Time 10
Cook Time 30


Potato Base



  1. First begin by peeling your sweet potatoes. (On the Castaway Kitchen Blog she has you save the peels to fry which you can, but I typically don't have time.)

  2. Heat pressure cooker on sauté mode. Cut your bacon into 1/4 inch pieces. Add it to the pot and cook until crispy.

  3. Cut your sweet potatoes into large cubes.

  4. Once your bacon is crispy remove it from the pot.

  5. Add in the sweet potato and sauté for a few minutes in the bacon grease. Depending on how much fat was on the bacon you can pour off some of this if you would like.

  6. Add in the broth, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cancel saute function. Close the lid. Set to PRESSURE COOK: steam mode.

  7. You can wait until the pressure cooker is done and saute the turkey in the pressure cooker to have only 1 pot to clean up, but I'm normally short on time so I cook the turkey separately on the stove top. To do this, place your ground turkey in a skillet or pan with salt, mustard, and cook until done and set aside.

  8. When the pressure cooker is done, release the pressure manually to speed up the process.

    Then transfer all of the contents to a blender, carefully. Blend the potato mix until smooth. Add in more broth as desired.

    Place the insert back in the pot an heat on saute mode. (can cook turkey here if you haven't already)

  9. Pour your soup base into the pressure cooker and bring to a simmer with the turkey, this won't take but a minute or two.

    Stir in MOST of the bacon, save some for topping. I also top with chives.

    This will make a lot, about 5-6 bowls, which is about 8-10 cups.

Recipe Notes
  1. I leave out the white pepper often for the kids because it has a bit of a kick, but it's pretty amazing with it!
  2. The White Sweet Potatoes (Japanese yams) are fodmap foods too in nature, but generally a regular serving of something like this isn't a huge trigger for most, especially when swapping chives instead of leaks, and garlic-infused oil in place of regular garlic. If you don't need to be low-fodmap, throw in all the garlic you would like. You could sauté it with the bacon at the beginning!

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Can Fat be Healthy?

Guest Post: Why Dietary Fat is Healthy

A student and I originally wrote this post for my friend Laurel who writes over at Hickory Creek Lane.  We wanted to share some evidenced-based wisdom on some of the confusion that surrounds fat consumption. There is lots of confusion about which foods or fats can be “good” or “bad” and it gets complex. Sometimes it can even come down to our genetic make-up or gut microbiome! We are all individual but this is some general guidance on why we need some healthy fat in our lives! Enjoy! 

Why is Fat Healthy?

If you think the title of this blog entry seems a bit contradictory, you are not alone. Many of us have been told for decades that fat leads to high cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease and stroke. In the early 2000’s, food companies began labeling “0 grams of trans fat” in packages as the FDA granted a petition intended to help Americans follow appropriate diet recommendations.1 Today, many mainstream trends focus on low-fat diets to promote weight loss and improve cardiovascular outcomes. However, this shift does not necessarily make us healthier, likely because we are cutting back on healthy fats while also increasing the amount of foods high in carbohydrates and sugar.

But why is fat good for us?

Virtually all natural foods contain some fat. In fact, fat is contained in foods as it serves as the primary source for the body’s energy needs.  Fat (or triglycerides) from food is broken down into fatty acids and glycerol (a sugar alcohol intermediate) in a process called lipolysis.2 These fatty acids are again broken down for energy or used to make glucose (sugar) that is important for cellular respiration and functions of the human brain – which consumes 60% of blood glucose in fasting, sedentary individuals.3 All of this to say, our bodies were designed to intake fat!

Heart Disease and Fat

  • Myth: Heart Disease is caused by saturated fat intake
  • Fact: There is an inverse relationship between saturated fat and stroke

Historically, saturated fat received a bad name in 1953 when a paper was published comparing saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality.4 However, this theory was flawed for several reasons: Frist, the study surveyed 22 countries yet only included the results from 6 of the 22 countries, disregarding almost three-quarters of the data collected. Second, the results of the data collected from the select 6 countries simply indicated a correlation between saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality. It is important to note that correlation does not equal causation. For example, the number of Nobel Peace Prizes won by a country may correlate well with per capita chocolate consumption, but this does not equal causation. Newer studies indicate that the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease is little to none.5 In fact, there is an inverse relationship to saturated fat and stroke.6 This means that consuming saturated fat may be beneficial to your health!

Coconut oil is composed of 92% saturated fat. Roughly 50% of this fat content is made up of an ingredient called lauric acid.7 When coconut oil is consumed, lauric acid is converted in our bodies to monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.8 Because of this, coconut oil has demonstrated significant health benefits in areas such as immune system support, anti-inflammatory, and focus and mental performance. Additionally, coconut oil has added digestive support oral hygiene through fighting irritation and infection from Candida (yeast infection).9

Other natural and healthy sources of fat include:10-13

  • Tallow (beef/mutton fat) from grass-fed (pastured) animals
    • High concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is good for cholesterol levels
  • Lard (Unprocessed and un-hydrogenated)
    • Combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats for heat stability
    • High in vitamin D
  • Pastured butter (emulsified if >250°F)
    • Rich in butyric acid, which can decrease inflammation
  • Pastured ghee (clarified butter)
    • Smoke point of 450°F; Does not contain lactose or casein
  • Avocados
    • High amount of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, and protein
  • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Demonstrated to reduce the incidence of heart attack and dying of heart disease
    • Not recommended for cooking at high temperatures; great for salad dressings
    • When purchasing:
      • Look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council
      • Check the harvesting date on the label (avoid “light”, “pure”, or “blend”)
      • Opt for dark bottles to protect from oxidation

The underlying problem…

The gut immune system, the largest immune system in our body, actively responds to pathogens (invading microorganisms) while at the same time remaining relatively unresponsive to food (non-pathogenic) ingested.14 Essentially, cells in the intestine are exposed to bacteria and food breakdown products all the time.15Malabsorption means the failure of the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract, usually the small intestine, to absorb one or more substances from the diet (let’s say, fat). This is generally the result of some defect or damage to the mucosal lining of the small intestine, where most of our nutrient absorption takes place. Common causes of malabsorption include diabetes, bacterial overgrowth, past intestinal surgery, AIDS, radiation to the abdomen, lymphoma or motility disorders. 16,17

 What we eat and drink plays a huge role inInflammation

Inflammation is a defense reaction of the body against injury, and is traditionally characterized by redness, swelling, pain, heat, and impaired body function.18 However, chronic inflammation can lead to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and more. Refined carbohydrates and sugars are high in glycemic load (the impact of a carbohydrate quality and quantity on blood glucose levels). This leads to high insulin levels followed by a plummet in blood glucose, encouraging low-grade inflammation.18.19

Foods that can cause inflammation are:

  • Grains (especially improperly prepared grains)
  • Sugar
  • Conventional Dairy
  • Other foods may contribute to inflammation once the gut is “damaged” and leaky and the immune system is overresponsive

Big picture:

When our gut is damaged or inflamed, healthy fat is not appropriately processed in our body. As a result, plaque builds up in the artery walls and makes it hard for blood to get through, ultimately leading to cardiovascular complications. (See leaky gut post for a more in-depth description)

The solution!

As you may be aware, there are a variety of fats in our food. Having a good understanding of how different fats affect our health is important to establish the concept of why fat is healthy. Some people have referred to these different types as “good fats” and “bad fats.” The types of fat that exist are:20-22


Unsaturated “good” Fats Saturated “in-between” Fats Trans “bad” Fats
Liquid at room temperature

Includes (mono-) and (poly-) unsaturated fats and omega-3,6

Naturally occurring, found in animal foods and certain plants Made by heating liquid vegetable oils via hydrogenation

Should be avoided

Sources: Peanut oil, avocados, high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils, most nuts, fish and flax seeds (omega-3) Sources: Red meat, coconut and coconut oil, cheese, whole milk and yogurt Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the foundation for fried and processed foods

Consuming fat does not directly make you “fat.” In fact, consuming fat is necessary for our body to function and have energy for daily activities. Instead, an imbalanced diet, malnutrition, bacterial imbalances, sedentary lifestyles and large portion sizes are the leading factors to excess weight gain. Unfortunately, a focus on fat intake alone distracts from the more appropriate focus on total energy intake and physical activity levels.

A healthy diet should include fat.

Looking at the literature

A recent study combined 21 studies with over 23 years of data looking at saturated fat intake in nearly 350,000 people. Despite popular belief, it was ultimately concluded that there is not enough evidence to claim saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.23Additionally, the analysis also concluded that more data is warranted to determine if heart disease is related to other nutrients used to replace fat. In particular, one of these studies found that saturated fat consumption in 50 heathy men for 5 weeks had no effect on systemic inflammation markers.24

Another study focused on weight-reducing regimens through dietary interventions. It was found that the group of men receiving a diet high in monounsaturated fats saw significant weight loss and reduction waist circumference.25

As mentioned above, coconut oil is an example of a saturated fat. One of the main components of coconut oil is lauric acid. This saturated fat is a medium length fatty acid and has been shown in other studies to have an antimicrobial effect against certain bacteria (gram-positive) and yeasts.26 Even compared to other acids, lauric acid ultimately gave better results in fighting infections and inflammation.27

How do I choose which fats to eat?

 When it comes to cooking, there are many options to incorporate healthy fat into the diet.  Like all foods, however, fats contain calories and should be consumed in moderation in order to regulate calories to acceptable daily intake levels.

Using coconut oil is another great option. While unrefined coconut oil may be stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage, it should still be used with caution and not cooked at elevated temperatures (350°F) due to oxidative stress, causing fragmentation and polymerization of the oil leading to damaging effects to the body.  Refined coconut oil can be used at a higher cooking temperature (400°F).28

A diet rich in monounsaturated fats has also been proven to improve the blood cholesterol profile.29 Monounsaturated fats are found often in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados and whole milk. The most common monounsaturated fat found in food is oleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in vegetable and animal oils.

Best Monounsaturated Fats30

Some of the best sources of monounsaturated fats are:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Almonds
  • Cashews

Eating polyunsaturated fats in place of highly refined carbohydrates reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and improves the cholesterol profile. It also lowers triglycerides.31 Additionally, our bodies require but do not produce these fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in normal growth and development, play a role in the prevention of coronary and cardiovascular diseases, of diabetes mellitus, of arterial hypertension, arthritis and cancer.31.32 Common quality sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, chia seeds, and fish. Additionally, current research suggests there may be beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on athletic performance.33

Fat is necessary for a well-balanced diet.

Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain energy, or simply promote an overall healthy lifestyle, incorporating fat into your diet is essential to maintaining your health. Fat is necessary for many normal functions such as digestion, hormone function, and energy extraction. Staying away from greasy, fried foods high in trans-fat and oxidized fats and replacing these with naturally occurring sources such as avocados and coconut oil are great steps towards your wellness journey.

Thanks to Danielle Baker, PharmD Intern who wrote the majority of this post while on rotation with me in the fall!



  1. Division of Nutrition Programs and Labeling, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  2. Duncan, Robin E.; Ahmadian, Maryam; Jaworski, Kathy; Sarkadi-Nagy, Eszter; Sul, Hei Sook (August 2007). “Regulation of Lipolysis in Adipocytes”. Annual Review of Nutrition27(1): 79–101.
    doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.27.061406.093734.
  3. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 30.2.
  4. Keys A. Atherosclerosis: a problem in newer public health. J Mt Sinai Hosp N Y 1953;20:118 –39.
  5. Hooper L, Martin N., Abdelhamid A, et al. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Systematic Review, 2015.
  6. Cheng P, Wang J, Shao W, Liu M, Zhang H. Can dietary saturated fat be beneficial in prevention of stroke risk? A meta-analysis. Neurological Sciences: Official Journal Of The Italian Neurological Society And Of The Italian Society Of Clinical Neurophysiology. July 2016;37(7):1089-1098.
  7. Eyres L, Eyres MF, Chisholm A, Brown RC. Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Nutrition Reviews. 2016;74(4):267-280. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuw002.
  8. Dayrit F. The Properties of Lauric Acid and Their Significance in Coconut Oil. Journal Of The American Oil Chemists’ Society (JAOCS]. January 2015;92(1):1-15. Available from: Food Science Source, Ipswich, MA.
  9. Lui Dwen T, Ame Suciati S, Emma R. Exposure time of virgin coconut oil against oral Candida albicans. Padjadjaran Journal Of Dentistry, Vol 28, Iss 2 (2016) 2016;(2)
  10. Kawahara S., Takenoyama S., Nagato, et. Evaluation of beef tallow as a natural source of conjugated linoleic acid. Animal Science Journal, 73: 533–538. doi:10.1046/j.1344-3941.2002.00073.x
  11. Kon SK, Booth RG. The vitamin D activity of butter: An attempt to elucidate the nature of the labile factor in butter antirachitic for the rat. The antirachitic potency of lard, olive oil, egg oil and the fatty acids of butters and lard. Biochemical Journal. 1934;28(1):121-130.
  12. van der Beek C, Dejong C, Troost F, Masclee A, Lenaerts K. Role of short-chain fatty acids in colonic inflammation, carcinogenesis, and mucosal protection and healing. Nutrition Review. April 2017;75(4):286-305. Available from: Food Science Source, Ipswich, MA.
  13. Patel S, Shende S, Arora S, Singh R, Rastogi S, Singh Rawat A. Antioxidant potential of herbs and spices during deep frying of ghee. International Journal Of Dairy Technology. August 2014;67(3):365-372.
  14. Ji Y, Sakata Y, Tso P. Nutrient-induced inflammation in the intestine. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care. 2011;14(4):315-321. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283476e74
  15. Johansson MEV, Sjövall H, Hansson GC. The gastrointestinal mucus system in health and disease. Nature reviews Gastroenterology & hepatology. 2013;10(6):352-361. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2013.35.
  16. Williams AJ, Merrick MV, Eastwood MA. Idiopathic bile acid malabsorption–a review of clinical presentation, diagnosis, and response to treatment. Gut. 1991;32(9):1004-1006.
  17. Wake Gastroenterology. Malabsorption Syndromes.
  18. Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. Psychosomatic medicine. 2010;72(4):365-369. doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181dbf489.
  19. Hakansson A, Molin G. Gut Microbiota and Inflammation. Nutrients. 2011;3(6):637-682. doi:10.3390/nu3060637.
  20. Liu A, Ford N, Hu F, Zelman K, Mozaffarian D, Kris-Etherton P. A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion. Nutrition Journal. August 30, 2017;16:1-15.
  21. Remig V, Nece T, Street J, Kostas G, Franklin B, Margolis S. Trans Fats in America: A Review of Their Use, Consumption, Health Implications, and Regulation. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. April 2010;110(4):585-592.
  22. O’Sullivan T, Hafekost K, Mitrou F, Lawrence D. Food Sources of Saturated Fat and the Association With Mortality: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal Of Public. September 2013;103(9):e31-42.
  23. Mozaffarian, D., R. Micha, and S. Wallace, Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS Med, 2010. 7(3): p. e1000252.
  24. Hwalla N, Torbay N, Andari N, Adra N, Azar S, Habbal Z. Restoration of normal insulinemia and insulin sensitivity in hyperinsulinemic normoglycemic men by a hypoenergetic high monounsaturated fat diet. Journal Of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine. March 2004;14(1):29-38.
  25. Baer DJ, et al. Dietary fatty acids affect plasma markers of inflammation in healthy men fed controlled diets: a randomized crossover study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(6):969–973.
  26. Salleh E, Muhamad II. Starch-based antimicrobial films incorporated with lauric acid and chitosan. AIP Conference Proceedings. 2010;1217(1):432-436.
  27. Huang W, Tsai T, Chuang L, Li Y, Zouboulis CC, Tsai P. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of capric acid against propionibacterium acnes: A comparative study with lauric acid. J Dermatol Sci. 2014;73(3):232-240.
  28. Good, Jennifer. Healthiest Cooking Oil Comparison Chart with Smoke Points and Omega 3 Fatty Acid Ratios. The Baseline of Health Foundation. April, 2012.
  29. Jamison J. Cardiovascular health: a case study exploring the feasibility of a diet relatively rich in monounsaturated fats. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine [serial online]. September 1998;8(3):257-263.
  30. American Heart Association. Monounsaturated Fats
  31. Kim H, Kim H, Yoon K, et al. Comparative analysis of the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids for hypertriglyceridaemia management in Korea. Journal Of Clinical Pharmacy & Therapeutics. October 2016;41(5):508-514.
  32. Hals P, Xiaoli W, Yong-Fu X. Effects of a purified krill oil phospholipid rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular disease risk factors in non-human primates with naturally occurring diabetes type-2 and dyslipidemia. Lipids In Health & Disease. January 17, 2017;16:1-16. Available from: Food Science Source, Ipswich, MA.
  33. Gligor S., Gligor R. The potential role of omega-3 fatty acids supplements in increasing athletic performance. Timisoara Physical Education & Rehabilitation Journal

Tuna Butternut Squash Casserole (Whole30, Paleo)

Growing up I loved tuna, my dad hated the smell, so at home I could only eat it when he was out of town. That did happen to be a lot. Back in elementary school I also packed it in my lunch and had to ask the principal to open my can. Pouches didn’t exist yet, and the pull tab cans were hard for a 5th grader; I did feel bad when he spilled it on himself a couple of times.

At home I often paired tuna with the famous Kraft Mac and Cheese, so this recipe is inspired by that creamy comfort food taste except this one has no grains, no dairy, and is loaded with healthy fats and veggies. The possibilities are endless with this dish, it could easily be made with shredded chicken too. I’ve also made it before with cheese, so if dairy is ok for you go for it! If you do add a creamy cheese, you can probably decrease the mayo to 1/2 cup. The healthy mayo used in this recipe is from Thrive Market and is the Primal Kitchen brand which is Whole 30 approved. I also got the Plantain Chips and Safe Catch tuna there. Use one of the links above and get 20% off your first 3 orders. You also get a free 30 day trial.

This month 10% generated from affiliate links will be going to the ministry She Has a Name out of Columbus, Ohio. Human trafficking is unfortunately growing all around us. I’ve had family and friends personally observe it recently. I’m thankful for organizations like this that are shedding light on darkness and helping to redeem those that have suffered in these horrific situations.

Enjoy this recipe, stay well and warm this winter.

Print Recipe
Tuna Butternut Squash Casserole (Whole30, Paleo)
If you are longing for a tuna noodle casserole but have given up grains or dairy, or you just want to make a healthier choice, this is the recipe for you! It's creamy and delightful. Feel free to adapt and throw in any veggies you would like. Artichokes, peas would be great here as well as any other veggies you can think of.
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 40
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 40
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 25 minutes, until tender, tossing once halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, add 5 slices of bacon diced. I typically use kitchen scissors and just cut the slices into pieces as I'm adding them to the pan to avoid getting a cutting board dirty. Cook until bacon pieces are crispy, then remove bacon with slotted spoon. In the bacon drippings, add the spinach, onions, and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender.
  3. In a separate bowl mix tuna, mayo, mustard. After the squash is done and the spinach, onions, and garlic are tender and fragrant. Mix everything in with the tuna mix. Then place in a round or square casserole dish, top with crushed plantain chips (leave out for Whole 30), and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Spice it up with some crushed red pepper if you like spicy or even some curry powder would be yummy. 🙂 If you are ok with dairy you can add parmesan cheese to the top as well.

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Sweet Potato and Broccoli Breakfast Hash

Today’s post is a guest post by Laurel Miller of Hickory Creek Lane.  Make sure to check out her site. Laurel is a good friend from college. Together with our husbands we were on the University’s Residence Life Staff and started our marriages eating in the school cafeteria. 🙂  Since then we’ve both learned a lot about nourishing food! This is the first recipe post on the site, but don’t worry there are more to come. Any kind of hash has been on our menu a lot this month with all the yummy summer veggies, I hope you enjoy!

Dr. Hartzler


I’m so happy to be writing this guest post for Pharm to Table. Dr. Hartzler provides great information that our family has already adopted into our lives. Both my toddler and my 3 month old are now taking a high quality probiotic thanks to the evidenced-based article she recently posted on this topic. It’s nice to have a reliable resource for functional medicine at our fingertips.

As she has alluded throughout her site, perhaps one of the greatest ways we can impact our wellness is through our diet. I grew up in the fat-free, highly processed era of the ’90s and it wasn’t until the last few years that I have made steps to transform the way our family eats as the diet recommendations of the past seem to be doing more harm than good. I never realized how much of a role the food we eat plays on how we feel. It turns out that consuming the right foods can make us feel fabulous!

Because I’m a former cereal lover (always paired with skim milk and a tall glass of orange juice), breakfast can sometimes be a challenging meal for me to choose the best option. I’m a firm believer that food should not only nourish us, it should also be delicious. Luckily, I discovered a new love of sweet potato hash paired with fresh eggs. I developed this particular recipe to hopefully share inspiration for a breakfast that will provide the power to get through the day while keeping blood sugars stable.

This sweet potato and broccoli hash is gluten-free, dairy-free, and is highly customizable. If broccoli isn’t preferred, it can easily be swapped out for other seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant. The hash can conveniently be made ahead of time and the eggs can instead be added just before serving, or omitted entirely depending on preference. I made this particular recipe on Sunday morning for our family and then enjoyed the leftovers during the week. It was tasty and it helped set a good foundation for getting myself through the workday and wrangling two young children.

If you are looking for new meal ideas to start your mornings on the bright side, I suggest you give this sweet potato and broccoli hash a try. I hope you can enjoy it as much as our family did.

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Sweet Potato and Broccoli Breakfast Hash
This sweet potato hash is a nourishing and hearty dish that is great for any meal of the day. It is highly customizable and can be made ahead of time by simply making the hash and waiting to add the eggs.  Author: Laurel Miller of Hickory Creek Lane
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo (Whole30)
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Paleo (Whole30)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large braiser or skillet (you will need a lot of room for all the vegetables), cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. Remove the sausage from the pan and place into a separate bowl. Pour off the excess grease (don’t bother cleaning it as this will help flavor the hash).
  2. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil to the same pan over medium heat. Add in the sweet potato cubes and onion slices. Stir to coat the vegetables in oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook for 5 minutes so the potatoes and onions just start to soften, stirring occasionally. Next, carefully stir in the broccoli and minced garlic. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the cooked sausage, stirring one more time to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  3. Turn off the heat on the stove and transfer the hash to the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spoon to make four small “pockets” in the hash. Carefully crack eggs into each pocket. Sprinkle each egg with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and return to the 400 degree oven. Bake for an additional 8-9 minutes, or until eggs are just set.***
Recipe Notes

*I used a gluten-free Italian sausage when I made this hash, but you can use whatever variety you prefer.

**Kosher salt is coarser than standard table salt. If you are using a finer salt, be sure to reduce the amount slightly. I also season the vegetables with salt throughout the cooking process as I have found this creates a greater depth of flavor.

***Eggs baked in the oven seem to look more under-cooked than they actually are. In the past, I have been tempted to leave them in longer based on how they looked and I ended up with overdone egg yolks.


Per Serving

Calories: 301kcal Fat: 16.7g Protein: 13.7g Carbs: 24.6g

Cholesterol: 186mg Fiber: 4.2g Sugars: 8.3g

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Final Week of Whole30 & Essential Oils

August is flying by only about a week and a half left of Whole30! The summer is also winding down as well many kids headed back to school this week around us.  This week it has seemed more challenging to keep strict Whole30. We had 2 cookouts (1 we ate before we went) and this morning we ate out with good friends at Table33..the Sweet Potato Hash with Chorizo was wonderful. My husband highly recommends the Gluten Free Chicken and Waffles when your Whole30 is complete! Overall I’m still doing pretty well.  This week might prove to be even more challenging but with a plan and preparing food ahead it’s a lot easier to make it work!

Since the last week is just a half week I’m going to include my meal plan for the rest of the time! Again, I hope something here inspires you to make healthy choices for your meals regardless of if you are on the Whole30 team this month! Read all the way to the bottom for some exciting news!

We left off with Monday the 21st on last week’s plan.

Tuesday August 22nd: White Chicken Chili  If you have leftover chicken from slow cooking a whole chicken you can use that or you can throw in some chicken thighs. If you don’t have an instant, a slow cooker can do just as well.

Wednesday August 23rd: Stuffed Acorn Squash Can you tell I’m ready for fall?  We have about 5 pumpkins from our garden that need cooked tomorrow. So why not acorn squash for dinner?

Thursday August 24th: Chili-roasted Cod  Pair this with any veggie you like including some carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or roasted red potatoes! My goal on Thursday is to check out our local farmer’s market that is in down for a couple hours in the late afternoon.

Friday August 25th: Meat Loaf Muffins If you are a parent trying to get your kids to eat some veggies, this is a great recipe! Diced mushrooms and peppers inside make it a super healthy option! If you are an adult who loves comfort food, this is also a winner at the table.

Saturday August 26th: Cinnamon Steak Skewers With fresh salad and again roast your favorite veggie.

Sunday August 27th: Smoky Bison Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Most weeks our daughter loves spaghetti squash, especially with butter and parmesan cheese. But for a paleo option try this! If you don’t want bison or don’t have access to it, just use ground beef.

Monday August 28th: Slower Cooker Butter Chicken Despite butter in the name, no butter in the dish. 🙂

Tuesday August 29th: Snapper Baked in Parchment with Spring Vegetables This recipe is easy to do with any kind of fish! Use ghee instead of butter.

Wednesday August 30th: Stuffed Bell Peppers Hopefully we will have some peppers in our garden ready by this point, but if not thankfully this time of year they are easy to come by. PS it’s your last day of Whole30! Congrats!

Thursday August 31st: Pick your favorite recipe from this past month and have it again! Or take your favorite recipe and convert it to a Whole30 or Paleo option.  I know technically Whole30 is over, but the program recommends reintroducing things slowly to see how you feel. Just like feeding a baby solids for the first time introduce foods 1 at a time and over a period of 3-7 days to see if it makes a difference, especially if you did the program to alleviate any problems you were having.

If you are looking at the Sunbasket meal options for the week of August 28th the Thai-style salmon with peach-cabbage slaw, Italian sausages with warm cauliflower-frisée salad and artichoke romesco, and Lettuce-wrapped turkey burgers with avocado and sambal mayo are all good options!

Ok here is my big announcement! This month I was inspired by The Farmacist Alabama a friend of mine to join her in her mission to educate on safe use of essential oils, particularly in the Young Living community.  Dr. Elmore and I connected quickly when working on a committee several years ago with our similar views on natural approaches to managing chronic disease.  I have been using essential oils for the last several years but more recently have been diving into the evidence behind their use and effectiveness. I will be teaching with her in an upcoming master class on Gut Health on Tuesday August 29th at 8pm EST. You can register at this link if you are interested in joing us! Also I have a vision for developing a team of people that are also passionate about natural approaches to health and safety! Let me know if you are interested in learning more about how we could partner. Stay tuned for a giveaway soon involving free essential oils!

Dr. Hartzler

*this post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. Thanks for supporting the blog, remember 10% goes to support various ministries! Help me increase that percentage by shopping on my favorite things page!

1 Whole 30 Week #3

The halfway point! I certainly had moments this week where I so wanted something not on the plan like plantain chips or some sourdough bread. But I held strong! I do feel like I’m eating more nuts than I probably should, but I will try to decrease that this week. We visited the chiropractor today and I’m still intolerant to eggs…which is such a bummer especially during this Whole30 journey. Baby boy is too, so we will probably wait to introduce eggs until later and probably introduce them first in non-pure forms and then yolks, before the whole egg. Big sister had an egg allergy for the first 2 years of life. Thankfully with probiotics, clean diet, and vitamin D, and giving her non-pure egg sources we overcame that!

This weekend we are hanging out with Dustin’s family. Yesterday one of his cousins brought her girls over to swim and play with K, they had a blast. Today we are hosting another cousin and two of Dustin’s friends from high school and their families. There are three 3 y/o girls in the group that are all within a couple months of each other.. so that should be entertaining! 8 adults, 8 kids (3 babies under 5 months) and a pool party!

Last week’s menu left off on Monday for Week #2  so below you’ll find the plan for week #3 starting on Tuesday. If you did sign up for Sunbasket…feel free to use those meals in substitution for anything below. Or use this to inspire your meal plan this week even if you aren’t doing Whole30!

Tuesday August 15th: Slower Cooker Meatballs with either spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or any veggie noodle! We will probably go with spaghetti squash or carrots noodles (from Trader Joe’s in the freezer section!) just because our daughter isn’t into zucchini noodles for some reason, but we might try again because red sauce is her favorite!

Wednesday August 16th: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes tonight because we have our monthly meal with our house church (small group) from church. It’s typically pot-luck so we are going with potato bar and we will provide some of the items from the above recipe so Whole30 options are available.

Thursday August 17th:  Chunky Veggie Soup. Clean and simple recipe…could add chicken or fish for protein! Or just a big salad!

Friday August 18th: Tuna Zoodle Casserole this one is a favorite of mine. I have loved tuna since I was a kid. Tuna does need eaten in moderation due to the mercury content. I love getting the Safe Catch brand on Thrive market. If you haven’t tried this site, use the link to sign up and you get 25% off your first order.

Saturday August 19th: Lettuce Wrapped Burgers and Mango Salad with carrot ginger dressing. We have served this salad a lot this summer and EVERYONE loves it!  We have a good amount of meat in our freezer so we will probably grill some burgers to top the salad or eat on the side. Add some sweet potatoes or potatoes in the oven for carbs.

Sunday August 20th: Garbage Stir-Fry with Curried Cabbage Nom Nom Paleo’s blog is a great source of recipes. I love that she is also a pharmacist teaching people about real food!  This is a quick and easy dinner to make. Easy to make extra servings too for packing lunches for the week.

Monday August 21st: Slow Cook a Whole Chicken Throw a chicken in the crockpot or if you need a “fast food” option for the busy week stop by a local grocery store that has already cooked rotisserie chickens. Our Whole Foods has them daily with clean ingredients.  Add whatever veggies you would like to the slow cooker or grill them on the side.

If you would like to try out SunBasket for the following week.. August 21st.. great options for the week on that menu include: Salmon and cherry tomatoes with red chermoula and seared endive, Pork chops with kimchi chimichurri and sweet potato, and the Sicilian chicken breasts with salmoriglio sauce and baby broccoli.

Good luck with with sticking to clean eating this week!

Dr. Hartzler

*this post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. Thanks for supporting the blog, remember 10% goes to support various ministries! Check out My Favorite Things for more details.

1 Whole 30 Week #2

Hi Everyone-

I hope those that are doing the Whole30 program with me this month are doing well! So far so good here…my main issue this week was #1 forgetting my homemade salad dressing one day and #2 I haven’t been exactly making sure that the bacon I eat isn’t cured with sugar. We know bacon doesn’t have any after the cooking process for the most part but sometimes remains a bit sweet. I feel like for a busy working mom who was on the road this weekend, I succeeded!

My conference has been fun. I have enjoyed chatting with other practitioners and dietitians about functional medicine approaches to prediabetes and diabetes. I’ll be speaking at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting about this too with two other pharmacists. Blog posts on diabetes are coming soon!

Seriously if you have a family and haven’t stayed at a Residence’s Inn by Marriott…you are missing out. Full kitchen = better food choices and most of the time the same price or cheaper than area hotels. We packed leftovers, so I was able to eat a yummy butternut squash hash yesterday morning and today a sweet potato with some shredded pork. The one where we are staying at in Indianapolis is just down the street from the convention center and near this awesome cafe called Patachou where I got a whole30 compliant salad yesterday! I just got oil/vinegar instead of green goddess dressing. Another great Indy breakfast find was LePeep. The hash dishes are Whole30 if you say no cheese. If we were staying longer, I certainly would have just headed to the grocery store and cooked here!

We also visited some friends from college last night at their home just north of town. Their kiddos are just a bit younger than ours. They were so sweet and made a wonderful dinner with grilled chicken and farmer’s market veggies. It was delicious! I couldn’t get over how sweet the cherry tomatoes were. Goal this week is to try to find some Farmer’s Market veggies. I think the 2nd street market in Dayton is open on Sundays now, might have to check it out on our way home or find a local one here on our way out. Their little boy and Princess K played together well and even took a dip in the neighbor’s hot tub!

Whole 30 Week #2 Menu

Last week I left off after Monday’s dinner. So here is this week’s meal plan for your enjoyment! If you did cook a whole chicken on Sunday..leftovers are perfect for breakfast or lunch this week!

Tuesday August 8th: Sheet Pan Roast Chicken Dinner Tuesday’s are busy for us with me working the bulk of my clinic time between Monday and Tuesday so we need something simple and easy to do! You can pretty much roast any veggie and chicken thighs (and we like boneless ones for easier eating) this way and it’s amazing. Toddler approved too! I don’t often find parsnips so ours ends up being sweet potatoes and carrots.

Wednesday August 10th: Chive Pesto Shrimp (or chicken) with Zoodles We have lots of yummy chives growing in our garden along with zucchini. This dish is super light and tasty. Feel free to do any protein with it. Chicken, turkey, or pork, with or without the shrimp might have more staying power! Nutritional yeast will have to be used instead of parmesan or omitted.

Thursday August 11th: Salmon and Roasted Veggies. Cook this however you like, we have found grilling on a cedar plank is delicious. We often end up doing this recipe and broiling because it’s yummy and quick. Roast some potatoes, broccoli, or brussel sprouts; really any veggie you like for the side!

Friday August 12th: Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Salsa Chicken Tonight we will be at my in-laws and want to share this dish with them. We made it during the last week of July and loved it. Honestly I haven’t tried anything from this blog that I haven’t liked!

Saturday August 13th: Slow Cooker Al Pastor Loaded Taco Salad. We are having a Pool Party with Dustin’s cousin’s family as well as two of their good friends from high school. We are excited for all the kids to play together. We are getting shredded pork for salads for us and sandwiches for others. If you are at home this weekend, definitely try this recipe. So yummy and no need for the tortilla just put it over a baked potato, sweet potato, or salad!

Sunday August 14th: Lettuce Wrapped Hamburgers with Roasted Veggies (leave out the honey). Again I hope this is inspiration…you can roast whatever veggies you would like!

Monday August 15th: Slow Cooker Spicy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole  Again starting the week is often busy for us and I’m sure many of you, so find those go-to slow cooker recipes that you can even prep on Sunday night!

If you haven’t been using ghee on your Whole30 plan you are missing out. My favorite is this brown butter ghee. Other yummy options are over at Thrive Market. If you haven’t signed up check it out and you can get free coconut aminos with your first order! We have saved a lot of money on paleo pantry staples here.

I hope something here inspires your week of clean eating.  If you are interested in checking out SunBasket next week. For the week of August 14th, the Turkish lamb köfte with tahini sauce and smashed cucumber salad, Southeast Asian chicken salad with sesame-lime dressing, and Chinese five-spice steak stir-fry with cauliflower “rice” are all good options to put on your order and Whole30 compliant!

How is your Whole30 or cleaning eating going this week? What have been your go-to meals?

2 Whole 30 Week #1

Hi Everyone-

If you have been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you have seen that in August I will be doing Whole30. This is essentially a reset plan, despite the fact that I should have been watching what I eat more while growing a little human being, somehow it got me off track. And the the ravenous hunger while nourishing my “little” baby (he’s 18 lbs at 4 months!) during the first few months also led to eating some things that weren’t as nourishing. So in an effort to get back on track, I’m heading into 30 days of whole real food!

You can find the “rules” here. Essentially it’s similar to a paleo plan; no grains, no dairy, no added sugar, no alcohol, no legumes, or processed additives. The main difference between this and paleo is not trying to recreate baked goods, or treats with approved ingredients. The goal is to change the way you view and consume food. Also the plan includes not stepping on the scale for 30 days!

I love the tough love found on their site. My favorite is “This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.”  Amen to that!

The biggest thing is planning ahead which is why I’m staying up late to get my  dinner meal plan in your hands in prep for next week if you are joining me in this adventure. For me, breakfast will likely be leftovers from dinner because I don’t tolerate eggs very well. If you tolerate eggs, scramble them, make breakfast hash with whatever veggies you have, make omelets, frittatas, the options are endless. For lunch will likely be salad with some protein (beef/chicken/tuna) and homemade dressing. Lately I’ve just been mixing Apple Cider Vinegar with Olive Oil and Italian Seasoning. I’m going to have to bake lots of sweet potatoes and yams to get some carbs for nourishing little man. Whole 30 is not necessarily a low carb plan, but you can easily make it low-carb if you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Whole 30 Week 1 Dinner Menu

  • Tuesday August 1st: Taco Salads
    • You could do this a variety of ways, shredded pork like fajitas or just taco meat which your own seasoning overtop your favorite lettuce blend with lots of veggies (avocado, tomato, peppers, onions, etc!) Homemade Salsa and Guac for bonus!
    • We have a garden producing a TON of zucchini so likely we’ll have grilled zucchini or roasted zucchini with some olive oil/salt as well. Zucchini + Olive Oil + Trader Joes Everything Bagel Seasoning is really good!
    • Add roasted potatoes if you need more carbs! If you have diabetes, leave them alone.
  • Wednesday August 2nd: Moroccan lamb merguez patties with warm carrot salad.
    • We are trying another round of SunBasket this week. I’m so excited to try this again, for a full review check out this page. Note: if you place your order by tomorrow (7-27) at 3pm EST you can still have SunBasket do your shopping and prep for you. If not you an purchase the ingredients on your own and follow the recipe!
  • Thursday August 3rd: Chicken and new potato lettuce cups with tarragon-mustard dressing
    • This is also a SunBasket meal. Again if you know your planning time will be limited to start sign up and try it out or add the ingredients to your shopping list!
  • Friday August 4th: Vietnamese shaking beef with lime-pepper dipping sauce 
    • This is the last Sunbasket meal of the week. I decided to cook them all in a row so nothing goes bad!
  • Saturday August 5th: Strawberry Turkey Burgers and your choice of veggies/salad.
  • Sunday August 6th: Roast a Whole Chicken.
    • Here are a few options. Lemon Dill or this is pretty simple just use Ghee instead of butter for Whole30. Add carrots and veggies!
  • Monday August 7th: Balsamic Beef Roast and Veggies
    • Mondays are busy in our house so I typically try to at least prep our dinner Sunday night but crockpot meals are always a go to at the begining of the week for us because I’m at the office 7-5 both Monday and Tuesday. Always plan ahead for those busy days to make sure you stay on track!

I am actually traveling on the weekend, I’m headed to the American Association of Diabetes Educators Conference (AADE) but I added some ideas if you are cooking at home. I will likely be packing some sweet potatoes, ghee, (follow the link for the best ghee ever!) grilled chicken, and some hamburgers to heat up at our Residence Inn. It’s not too hard to eat Whole 30 eating out if you pick somewhere you can get grilled chicken/fish/steak with veggies and a starch.

For snacks have some nuts or nut butter (ingredients nuts +salt) on hand or raw veggies/fruit.  You can get great deals on nuts at Nuts.com or Thrive Market!

*this post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. Thanks for supporting the blog, remember 10% goes to support various ministries! Check out My Favorite Things for more details.