Greetings, welcome to Peel with Zeal! My name is Jen and I am the recipe developer, writer, and photographer around here. My husband, Mr. Peel, and I are learning to heal our bodies through food. The only challenge is… we love food. Like, really love food. We love to cook, dine out, and try strange things like tree ants (PSA: crunchy goodness). We like it all, from taco trucks to fine dining. But things are changing around our kitchen, and our collection of recipes is just one of those things. We live in Columbus, Ohio (Go Bucks!), but we love to travel and stir up new adventures. Get it? Nerdy cooking puns are my jam. Get it? Another one… I’m on a roll. Ah! I can’t help myself!!!
In 2011, Mr. Peel had a “stroke”. Or at least we thought so, until… oops, nope that wasn’t it. Maybe it was this… or that. Six months later, he was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The only thing worse than finding out was the limbo of not knowing what was wrong. And like all good doctors, Mr. Peel’s doc prescribed him the traditional interferon to slow the progress. Ok, crisis averted… for now. We think?
At the same time, I wasn’t feeling my best. I was exhausted, my stomach always hurt, and I was experiencing mood swings that had me half-Cruella Deville and half-Wicked Witch of the West. I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and Celiac disease. We embraced the gluten-free lifestyle and within weeks, I felt like a different person.
So, all was going well but we never felt like we were doing enough for Mr. Peel’s MS. Sitting and waiting around is sooo not my thing. Through the Institute of Functional Medicine, we stumbled on the Wahls Protocol, a nutritional approach to treating MS and other autoimmune diseases. The Wahls Protocol was developed by Dr. Terry Wahls in response to her own experience with MS.
Now, in addition to being gluten-free, we avoid all dairy, usually avoid eggs, consume very few carbs, and save refined sugar for very special occasions. We’re also eating 9 servings of veggies a day. We can’t control the MS, but we can control what we eat and so can you! That is where the name Peel with Zeal comes from. Nine servings of veggies entails a lot of peeling, but we are attacking Multiple Sclerosis with gusto!
Some of my favorite things outside the kitchen are rescue dogs, hiking, traveling (my favorite vacation to date was Patagonia!), college football, and high heels with fancy dresses. But honestly, our at-home “restaurant” date nights are truly when I’m at my happiest (and yes, wearing heels and a fancy dress!).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
MS is a disease that causes the immune system to eat away at the protective covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. There is no official cure and the only hope is to delay the progression. Well, that was super uplifting.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people and it’s genetic. An estimated 6-10% of the population is gluten intolerant.
What is the Wahls Protocol? What level of the Wahls Protocol do you follow?
The Wahls Protocol was developed by Dr. Terry Wahls as a response to interferons not working for her own MS. She covers a lot of detail in her books and I won’t get into it here. We are currently at the 1st level and are seeing great results. We both feel better than we ever have. Here is a basic overview:
- Follows many concepts of the Paleo diet – eat more plants and avoid gluten, dairy, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and vegetable oils
- Eat 9 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, including 3-6 leafy greens, 3 brightly colored, and 3 high in sulphur
- Eat eggs after a successful elimination and reintroduction period, but most of our recipes are egg-free
- Consume only high-quality organic meats, wild when possible, including offal
- No more than 1 serving of gluten-free grains per day
- Eat fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut
- Reduce toxins in your environment and your body
- Exercise, move, shake it, do what you must to stay active
Is Mr. Peel still taking an interferon?
For now, he is. Mr. Peel is monitoring his progress with his doctor and we will see what happens. At $60,000 per year, we are hoping to manage it via Wahls alone at some point. But, at the end of the day, we want to use every weapon in the arsenal.
What is your food philosophy?
Food sustains life, and should provide you with optimal health – not just good health! Cooking is a family activity, not someone’s “job”. Try new things and forgive yourself when you burn the sweet potatoes. Be brave and be bold, but realize some things are an acquired taste
Do you have any children?
Yes! Well, sort of… We have a four-legged fur-baby named Fritz. He likes kisses and snuggling under the covers. Fritz is terrible at cleaning up cooking spills, but he sure is welcoming to our frequent foster pups. We regularly foster dogs for RESCUEDOhio. You can get a glimpse of our furry visitors on Instagram, so be sure to follow along for maximum cuteness.
Can I use your recipes or photos on my own site?
At this time Peel with Zeal does not allow republication of post or recipe text without prior consent. Photos without the recipe can be shared provided the user credits the photo with two links, one back to the original post and one back to peelwithzeal.com. Please read our site policies page for more information.