Friday, March 28, 2014

Favorite Friend Friday: Mickey Trescott of Autoimmune Paleo

Mickey Trescott is a personal hero of mine. Having suffered from severe dermographism and urticaria (autoimmune reactions) for nearly 25 years, I started a blog called The Itch Factor, which was about my journey with discovering the connection between food, my gut and my skin allergies to health. Mickey happened to stumble upon The Itch Factor and offer her recipes to help in my journey! Because of business and time-related constraints, I retired that blog and focused on Mickey's blog and ebook: Autoimmune Paleo

Since starting the protocol, with Mickey's help, I have been able to reduce my medications from six allergy pills a day to ONE. Talk about a medical miracle, it honestly brings me to tears! And recently, Mickey released her brand, new hardcover cookbook, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and I could not be more excited. We're delighted to have her here, as our Favorite Friend:

 What exactly is the Autoimmune Protocol?
The Autoimmune Protocol is an elimination diet where a person removes certain foods for a specified time period (usually at least 30 days), in order to pinpoint which foods they are sensitive to in addition to heal the lining of the small intestine, which is usually compromised in those with autoimmune disease (this is called “leaky gut”). In addition to removing certain foods, equally as important is adding in nutrient-dense foods that help heal the gut as well as nourish the body of someone facing chronic illness. Over time, a person is able to reintroduce foods to determine what diet is best for their particular healing journey.

What is your story--how did you come into following the Autoimmune Protocol?
I discovered the Autoimmune Protocol after being diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases: Hashimoto’s and Celiac. I was told that if I just removed gluten from my diet and took some thyroid hormone I would be back on my feet again, but that was not the case. I had a downward spiral that left me without the ability to work any longer, and I was desperate to find a solution. While I had been a strict Vegan for 10 years, even going as far to try cleanses and raw food diets, this time nothing was working to help me regain my health. I decided to switch to the autoimmune protocol in a last-ditch effort. To my surprise I found out that the nutrient deficiencies that I had gathered during my time as a Vegan were really holding me back from healing (and yes I tried supplements—they did not work!). Nothing seemed to turn it around until I discovered the potential of real, nourishing foods.

The cookbook is absolutely gorgeous--and self published! What was the experience of writing/self-publishing like?
Thank you! Writing was what I thought it would be, self-publishing was a whole different experience. I had a hard time finding a publisher who believed in my vision for the book, and early on I decided to do it myself so that I could retain control over the process. I think the big difference between working with a publisher and self-publishing is that it takes a LOT of money up front, and you get that final call working with the contractors when usually the publisher would do that for you (I’m a little OCD, so I liked this, what can I say?). What I did to make the financial piece happen was start a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to help with production costs. In addition to that, my husband and I invested most of our savings in the first print run. Sometimes it was a little scary, but mostly it was really exciting. I was incredibly blessed to have worked with such amazing people who were experienced in how to put it all together and let me ask novice questions without making me feel ridiculous!

I see you recently became certified as an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner), has that always been a goal or did it come along with the creation of this cookbook?
When I came out of my illness and realized what an impact eating quality animal products was having on my health, I decided to pursue more education in the nutrition field just because I was still stuck in the Vegan mindset and didn’t understand how these foods could be good for me, so it was mostly personal. Then I thought it would be a good addition to my career as a personal chef, and decided I wanted to not just to cook for people, but learn why the foods I was cooking for them were able to nourish their bodies. Being an NTP has been a great foundation for all of the things I am doing now—writing, cooking, teaching, and consulting.

 Is this your only job--do you have a "day job" of sorts?
I quit my cooking gig last September to work on the book and blog full-time, so yes, this is my “day job!” I also have a lot of help—there is no way I could be running all of this alone at this point!

You seem to be bombarded with nutrition questions, especially on Facebook. Do you have any especially poignant stories of people who you've been able to help along the way?
Yes, my favorite story is about a dear friend’s mother. I had no idea she was suffering from autoimmunity, and one day I noticed her interacting with people on my Facebook page. I reached out to her to ask how she was doing and if she wanted any help, and she casually mentioned that she had lost nearly 50 pounds and was feeling amazing. Not only that, but she was really enjoying eating “real food” and thought her diet was really simple, colorful and fun. I had no idea she was even trying AIP, and It brought me to tears realizing that I had a role in helping my friend’s mom regain her health through the info and support I was providing. Pretty amazing!

What is your favorite recipe in the book?
The Orange-Rosemary Roasted Duck!

What is the one non-AIP food that you miss the most?
Cherry tomatoes fresh from my garden. I’m hoping I can bring them back someday!

What is your favorite restaurant in Seattle--and what do you order?
I don’t eat out much in Seattle since there aren’t a lot of places with gluten-free kitchens. When in Portland, I always visit the Cultured Caveman Food Cart, which is 100% gluten-free and Paleo. Since I tolerate eggs now I get the chicken tenders, but when I was on the elimination diet I got the mini “hidden liver” meat loves. Yum!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have much, but when I do I like to knit, shoot photos with my film camera, and make pottery.

If you could travel to any country, where would you go and why?
Argentina! I am hoping to do a big road trip down to Tierra Del Fuego and up through Patagonia. I grew up going there because my mom is from Buenos Aires. I think it would be a great place to visit since I have lots of family to catch up with, and there is a lot of great meat in Argentina!

Do you have future plans/goals for the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and site?
Now that the book is done I am working on building up the site as a better resource for those on the Autoimmune Protocol. I love providing my readers with free recipes and resources of how to get started. I’ll also be doing more speaking and teaching, to hopefully bring some face-to-face instruction to those who like learning that way instead of reading online!

Thank you so much, Mickey! Visit the Autoimmune Paleo website, or grab your copy of Mickey's new cookbook, here

Photos courtesy Autoimmune Paleo.

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