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This recipe is my new favourite.

It doesn't take long to make & it's fancy. Fancy in a rustic-tapas Greek-taverna kind of way.

Matthew & I got the idea while flipping through magazines in a doctor's waiting room one day last summer.

For me, one of the fun intellectual exercises on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has been figuring out how to turn SAD foods into AIP-friendly recipes, like Hawai'ian Pizza, Pot Pie & Ice Cream Sandwiches.

But that kind of thinking was outside of Matthew's ken until recently.

Brain Fog

Immune-Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction (colloquially known as 'Brain Fog') is a common symptom of autoimmune conditions. It affects a person's capacity for executive processing, including retrieval of stored information, working memory and the the ability to pay attention.

Turns out, the ability to recreate a recipe for the AIP requires all of these:

  1. Retrieval: Remembering which foods are (& are not) AIP-legal;
  2. Working Memory: Keeping in mind the original recipe & mentally manipulating it's components in various ways until it is AIP-compliant;
  3. Sustained attention: Maintaining focus while thinking it through, trying it out, evaluating the results, adjusting & trying again.

Given that he could barely executive process his way in & out of a grocery store a year ago, it's significant that 7 months into the AIP, Matthew was able to actively re-create this recipe with me. The fact that we can puzzle out recipes together is an indication that his Immune-Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction is lifting.

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(Just for reference, when he's not captive by Brain Fog, he's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met).

Since we came up with this recipe, we've collaborated on others, like Pontefract Cakes, Raspberry-Rosehip Gummies & Spanokapita Pie.

Seeing his capacities increase every month on the AIP reminds me how difficult it is for people who are severely disabled by autoimmune conditions to start and maintain a dietary protocol like this. 9 months in, Matthew is just now at the point where he could maintain the AIP on his own.

One of the things he wants to do with his slowly growing capacity is support people who face significant challenges, including wicked Brain Fog, to  initiate & maintain their own nutritional & lifestyle experiments.

The Recipe

If you're avoiding FODMAPs (as Matthew does) check out the low-FODMAP variation of the Tzatziki.

This recipe is perfect for the Wahls Paleo Plus or any other ketogenic version of the AIP. Especially if you turn up the fat with sliced avocado, olives & a side of berry fudge.

I've included the recipes three ways. The separate Tzatziki & Greek Meatballs recipes that follow are exactly the same as the first version. I just added them in case you want to print/make them separately.

Gyros: Greek Meatballs & Tzatziki Lettuce Wraps (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Servings: 10-12

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Time: 75

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 1 batch Tzatziki (see below)
  • 90 Greek Meatballs (see below)

Method:

Serve with lettuce leaves & AIP-friendly Tzatziki. Everybody build your own: Tapas-style.

If you’re on the WahlsPaleo+ (or another ketogenic protocol), 11 of these cuties=4 ounces of lamb.

Tzatziki

Servings: 1 batch

print

Time: 20

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin (chilled) full-fat no-additive coconut milk
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

Method:

Ensure the tin of coconut milk is chilled: refrigerate overnight or for a few hours (I just leave mine in the fridge).

Grate the cucumber into a bowl.

With your impeccably clean hands, squeeze the liquid out the grated cucumber and transfer into a second bowl. Pour the cucumber juice into a glass or a mason jar.

Repeat, squeezing the liquid again & transferring the cucumber back to the first bowl. Pour the liquid in the jar. If it’s a juicy cucumber, repeat the squeezing, transferring & pouring a third time.

Drink the cucumber water. Yum.

Whip the coconut cream: Open the chilled tin of full-fat coconut milk. Scoop the solid cream off the top & put it in a bowl with high sides. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Use the remaining coconut water in a smoothie or put it in your stock pot.

Add the whipped cream and remaining ingredients to the cucumber and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Put it in the fridge until the meatballs are ready.

You can make the Tzatziki a day ahead, just pour the coconut-laced liquid off before serving (Yes, I drink that, too).

Low-FODMAP variation

Coconut is low FODMAP in small quantities, but becomes higher at higher doses. Rather than skimp on Tzatziki, just shift the ratio. Grate an addition cucumber and double the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. It’ll be more cucumber-iffic than a traditional Tzatziki, but you’ll be able to slather it on more lavishly.

Greek Meatballs

Servings: 80-90 mini meatballs

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons lard, tallow or coconut oil

Method:

Mix all the ingredients (except the fat) together with your hands.

Form into about 90 mini meatballs.

They’re mini because they cook through more readily. And you get to eat more wraps!

Melt the fat in a frying pan on medium heat & fry the meat balls, turning as each side browns, in batches.

Put each batch in a low oven to keep warm, if you are serving them right away.

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