What do you think of when you think of a sweet potato? Do you see a bright orange casserole covered in marshmallows occupying the corner of a Thanksgiving table or do you see a tasty, brown, earth covered, misshaped, root?

 10683670_10205369084087366_2849092444903689168_oIt’s a silly question on the surface. Who thinks of sweet potatoes? But the visions of sweet potatoes dancing in your head illustrate something much greater; your image of the world, your ideas about health, and the effect you have on the environment around you.

My name is Samantha, I’m a twenty-something wife and mom living in the southern part of the United States.

I am not an expert on the environment, I am not a professional cook, I am not a professional writer, nor a professional social advocate. I am, however, an amateur jack of all of these trades and, to my credit, a professional photographer, childbirth doula, nanny and pastor’s wife.

A few years ago I began this site as a way to talk about the things in my life that always caused people to ask the most questions… What is ulcerative colitis? What is the paleo diet? What is the recipe for that? How do you garden when you live in a small space? What should I do if (fill in the blank)?

I didn’t have a lot of expectations or direction all I knew was that it sounded like a fun past time. Little did I know, that little fun past time would turn into a great adventure. Over the years since this site started I have seen many ups and downs in my personal journey with autoimmune disease. That journey led me to following the autoimmune protocol (AIP). Through that process I learned so much about managing my autoimmune disease and how diet and lifestyle impact overall health, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet hundreds and hundreds of people who are on the same road and who have shared their experiences with me.

This blog began as a directionless adventure but it now has a very clear goal. To help empower others to find health, wellness and community. Here you will find information, you will find stories and you will find recipes  that comply with either the paleo or autoimmune protocol diets. It is my hope that the content shared here will help lift you up on those frustrating days, help keep you going when you need motivation, and help you celebrate the victories that are in front of you. Welcome to Sweet Potatoes and Social Change, I’m glad you’re here.




  • Thank you for stopping by my new blog! I’m glad you did because I’m now excited to follow you back. My chiro has been suggesting I go paleo, and while I’m not ready yet (and don’t NEED to), I’m intrigued by it. I’m excited to catch up on your posts and start to learn more. Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Meg! If you have any questions about the paleo diet please feel free to ask. Its really not as limiting and scary as many people assume it to be!

  • I love your blog and would love to follow you on a regular basis!!! I’m the worst at remembering to check in. Do you have a facebook or pintrest? Those little reminders via posting and sharing really help!

    • Thank you Jennifer! I just recently started a Sweet Potatoes and Social Change Facebook page it is at this link: https://www.facebook.com/SweetPotatoesAndSocialChange?ref=hl Also, feel free to subscribe to the blog via either email, rss feed, or WordPress reader. The Follow links are to the right of the main page. Thank you for stopping by! We’ve been on a slight hiatus over the summer but I am planning to get back to posting about 3-5 times a week in the next few weeks.

    • Wow, thank you I am very honored! I will be sure to write up a post about this very soon! Thank you so much for following and supporting my little adventure here on the blog πŸ™‚

  • ‘Tomato-canning feminist’ made me smile really big (I am a femist who canned tomatoes from my garden last summer and was too afraid to ever eat them, lol)! I have recently started blogging, as well. While so many on the natural path seem to be ‘older’ and have kids, it’s nice to find another twenty-something giving it a try : )

    • I know what you mean! At first it seems like there are hardly any younger people living natural lifestyles, but the further you dig you will find people who will connect you with others. There is a pretty big community of us out there πŸ™‚

  • so i am new to your blog but love it…i felt the same way you did, i am very emotionally challenged and struggled with starting a blog…at my wife’s urging i did and it has been so therapeutic i have found! I’m glad i found your blog!

  • Hello! I just found your website and I mirror your issues with health. I am starting my journey with AIP. Your story is encouragement for others! Stay strong, be blessed, & please keep blogging (gives strength for the rest of us)! ;o)

  • Hi Samantha! i found your blog via your guest post on Mickey Trescott’s. Since I’m also in Raleigh ( but in a very different phase of life), I thought I’d let you know two places I’ve found to eat out recently: Driftwood Kitchen in Lafayette Village, and Primal in Durham near Southpoint. I emailed Driftwood before going there, and the chef/owner, Nunzio, was very interested in providing a delicious meal within my guidelines. I have reintroduced quite a bit since being full on AIP, so it wasn’t as challenging as it might be for 100% AIP. If you were to email and run down the protocol he’d probably jump at the chance to create something for you. The restaurant is light, spacious and inviting, and the wait staff are great.
    Primal is in the same strip mall as my running shoe store, Bull City Running. Primal is 100% gluten free in the kitchen, and even the glassware they serve beer in is washed in the bar area. It’s Mark Sisson style Primal, with dairy, etc, but I’m sure they would also be very accomodating to the AIP. It’s only been open a month but was totally packed when we went, which made it loud (but cheerful!)
    Nancy Mize

    • Hi Nancy Thank you! I have been to Primal and it is amazing! Certainly one of my new favorites!I will have to try Driftwood Kitchen, thank you for the recommendation!

  • Well I feel bummed that I just came across you, I just moved from Raleigh to Vermont this fall! I do not run a blog, but I have an IG account under “Paleohhhsogood” – we could have had some fun in the kitchen!! πŸ™‚

  • Hi Samantha: I love your blog… It is so much more than about recipes- they are great, too- but your blog really gets a person thinking about so much more, thank you!

    • Aw Thank you so much April, I really appreciate your kind words.

  • Hey Samantha, I just found your blog on empowered sustenance! Love it…I’ve been doing AIP for less than a year trying to heal my autoimmune disease, thyroid, and adrenals. I was really excited to find that you live in Raleigh, NC. Not too far from me. Anyways, I’d love to email with you and know more about your life (pastors wife, dula, nanny…sounds super interesting). Thanks for putting yourself out there. Every little bit I can find to help me on this journey is needed and much appreciated.

  • I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I’m so glad I did! I’m also a twenty-something, would-be-“tomato-canning feminist” if I could eat tomatoes with an autoimmune disease. I started paleo less than six months ago but have now started AIP, and I am SO SO grateful to all those bloggers like yourself who have posted such delicious AIP recipes – you guys make the transition so much easier (and more delicious!). And if the similarities weren’t already enough, I’m working on my Birth Doula certification!

    I look forward to perusing the rest of your blog. πŸ™‚

    • Hello Noel, Thank you so much for checking out my site. Tat is so great that you are working on your birth doula certification, I sent my packet in about a month ago so I’m keeping my fingers crossed πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy the recipes here and good luck with your journey on the autoimmune protocol it can be challenging but it is well worth it!

      • Thank you! And good luck to you with the packet certification! AIP does seem challenging but as long as the food is yummy… totally doable. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Samantha,
    I just found your site and wanted to let you know it looks fantastic. I’ve been AIP for a year now, and am always looking for great recipes. Your pulled pork buns are going to be on the menu next week!!
    Keep up the great work.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you stopped by and checked out the site. Let me know how you like the pork buns πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for this site! After a 4 day stay in the hospital for dehydration, I was just told I have ulcerative colitis. I am NOT in remission at all and having a terrible time figuring out what to eat right now. I have read most of your recipes and comments on the diet you chose and it certainly makes more sense than anything else I have seen. I plan to study your site as well as the links you so kindly provided.

    It does seem that your recipes may be more for remission times and would really appreciate any tips on surviving this flare. I will be searching your posts also in case I just haven’t found this yet.

    Again, Thank you so much!

  • Your blog is refreshing. Thank you for putting the time and effort that you do into it!

  • Hi Samantha! Thank you for such refreshing & personal blog! I too, have been AIP for two years now, but like you..could never jump thru the GI issues. V.E.R.Y. discouraging! However, I just found a functional medicine Dr, who also is thinking I have infections, bugs, etc. Would you be able to share what tests your Dr ordered to unveil this problem? Thank you so much! God bless you!

    • I did a comprehensive stool test and and a parasite stool test through a functional medicine practitioner

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