In Season, in October

October is finally here! I love PUMPKINS more than just about anything, so I am a excited that October is upon us. I’m not a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) girl, actually I don’t even drink coffee. I don’t like artificially flavored things, so even if I drank coffee, you couldn’t get me near it (no judgements if you are a PSL person)! With that said I do love to bake and cook with pumpkin puree. My other favorite on this list is butternut squash. I’ll be posting my favorite butternut squash soup recipe soon. Keep your eyes peeled! What’s your favorite thing on the list?

Hugs & Health (and Pumpkins too!) <3

Katie

This image comes from a poster made in San Fransisco by an artist collective called This is YA.

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The 52 New Foods Challenge – Lavender

This week’s food is LAVENDER! While I really do love lavender (Just ask my husband, Jim) I don’t eat it very often.  Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making lavender infused drinks – which sound absolutely divine! I have become quite famous on our Annual Cookie Bake Off for making lavender shortbread, which is quite spectacular. Have you tried cooking with lavender?

Facts

  • Lavender is very relaxing – it can help with sleep and it can relieve headaches
  • Lavender oil can be used to treat burns, heal rashes, and as a natural insect repellant
  • It is anti-bacterial
  • Bees love lavender! This is great because we need more honeybees (they are an at-risk species).

Lavender

From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee

In Season, in Novemeber

A new month is here and with it comes new fruits and veggies.  My favorite item on this list is Brussels sprouts. I could eat them nearly everyday. My other favorites on this list are Pears, Winter Squash, and Radishes. I love roasting radishes with butter – they taste just like roasted new potatoes (a great alternative for those avoiding nightshades!).  What’s your favorite thing on the list?

Hugs & Health <3

Katie

This image comes from a poster made in San Fransisco by an artist collective called This is YA.

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Eleven Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

I originally wrote this as a handout for my Nutrition Classes. I wrote up a Condition and Nutrient Report for Anxiety Disorder Management and decided to focus on Sleep for my Educational Handout. Since SLEEP is elusive for many of us AND since almost any health concern can be helped with a better night’s sleep, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. What tips help you to get a good night’s sleep?

Here it is!

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is good for you. It is your body’s time to repair and regenerate. But not only is sleep good for you, but it can also help with managing Anxiety Disorders.

Eleven Steps to Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep:

  1. Humans thrive osleepingdogn routine and having a nighttime routine can help to get your body and your brain ready to power down for uninterrupted sleep (Ramos, 2015).
  2. Reserve your bed for sleeping and making love. Avoid watching TV or working in bed because the brain will associate those things with the bed and have trouble powering down (Scott, 2010).
  3. Sleep in a room that is as dark as a cave by getting rid of lights from alarm clocks and other devices. In order to produce enough melatonin (and therefore serotonin), your body needs it to be dark. If you can’t get your bedroom pitch black, try an eye mask (Scott, 2010).
  4. Shower or take an Epsom salt bath before bed because it raises your body temperature. After, there is a slight drop in body temperature that signals your brain that it’s time for sleep (Breus, 2006). The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is also relaxing.
  5. Noise can make falling asleep challenging. Being awoken in the middle of the night also makes it challenging to fall back to sleep. Try earplugs, a noise machine, SleepPhones with music or meditation music to help fall asleep or to fall back asleep when woken up in the middle of the night (Scott, 2010).
  6. Meditate for at least five or more minutes before bed to create a relaxed state of mind (Bauman, 2015).
  7. Keep your bedroom cool (Scott, 2010).
  8. Avoid technology (especially tablets and smart phones) for about an hour before bed. The lights emitted really disturb sleep patterns (Breus, 2006).
  9. Keep a consistent bedtime, preferably around 10pm (Scott, 2010).
  10. Try diffusing essential oils for relaxation. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Valerian can support relaxation and sleep (Higley, C. & Higley, A., 2013).
  11. Count backwards by threes (400, 397, 394, etc.). Dr. Breus (2006) suggests that this is challenging enough to keep your interest but boring enough to put you to sleep. I have also tried an “appreciation body scan” where I start at my feet and legs, thanking them for their hard work for the day and work my way up. I almost always fall asleep before I get to thanking my head.

Things to Avoid:

  1. Caffeine is a common sleep disruptor. Depending on the person, even caffeine consumed early in the day can disrupt sleep. It is stimulating to the body by raising cortisol and adrenaline levels and it depletes serotonin and melatonin (Scott, 2010).
  2. Alcohol often causes people to have disrupted sleep. It is best to minimize alcohol intake to improve sleep (Bauman, 2015).

Supplements to Try:

  1. Try drinking Calm – a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is a natural relaxer and is stress reducing (Bauman, 2015).
  2. Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, which supports sleep (Breus, 2006).
  3. Melatonin is the precursor to serotonin, so supplementing with melatonin can help support a restful night’s sleep and less anxiety (Bauman, 2015).
  4. Vitamin B6 supplement can help to improve the quality of your sleep (Scott, 2010).

References:

Bauman, E. (6/20/15-9/30/15). Personal Communication

Breus, M. (2006). Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.

Higley, C. & Higley, A. (2013). Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health.

Jacobs, A. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Scott, T. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Ramos, M. (2015, September). Sex Food Therapy retrieved from: http://www.sexyfoodtherapy.com/

Asian Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Asian Style Turkey Lettuce Wraps [Paleo, Primal, GF]

Ever since going paleo a few years ago, we’ve been trying to expand our repertoire of recipes. A colleague suggested lettuce wraps and boom this recipe was born. It’s been tweaked over the years, but here it is in its latest form.

Recipe:

1 lb. ground turkey (I prefer the higher fat content over the lean version)

5 medium carrots, tops trimmed

4 stalks of celery, tops and ends trimmed

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered

10-12 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and trimmed

2 T Rendered Duck Fat or Ghee

2 T Coconut Aminos or Gluten Free Tamari (if you can have soy)

2 T Coconut Vinegar or rice vinegar (if you can have rice, I prefer this one)

1 T fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T sesame seeds

1 T sesame oil

Directions:

1.) Melt the duck fat or ghee in a skillet over medium heat. 2.) Brown the ground turkey. 3.) While the turkey is browning in the pan, grate the onion, celery, and carrots in a food processor, using the grater blade. 4.) Once turkey is nearly all browned, add the coconut aminos, vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and oil. Mix to combine. 5.) Add the grated vegetables and bring to a simmer until veggies are cooked. 6.) Place ground turkey mixture on the romaine lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

Onions are a good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese. They are also rich in antioxidants, particularly quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, which all play a role in cancer prevention. Onions also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Quercetin plays a large role in healing the gut.

Carrots are good sources of vitamins A, C, B6 & K, biotin, potassium, thiamine (B1), and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants and good source of starchy carbohydrates.

Turkey is rich in glutamine, which is an important amino acid for healing the small intestines of those with leaky gut. It is also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, protein, niacin, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Ginger has long been used for gastrointestinal problems, making this an ideal food for those with leaky gut and other GI troubles. It relaxes and soothes the intestines and promotes the elimination of gas. It is also anti-inflammatory. Always choose fresh over dried, as it has higher levels of ginger’s active protease.

Nutrition Facts for one serving (this recipe yields about 4 servings)

asianstyleturkeylettucewrapslabel

Sources:

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Reinhard, T. (2014). Super Foods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books.

Robinson, J. (2013). Eating On the Wild Side. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding [Paleo, GF, Primal, Vegetarian]

Recipe:
1 can full-fat coconut milk

2-4 tbsp. chia seeds (2 for a thinner pudding and 4 for a thicker pudding)

10-15 organic strawberries, rinsed and trimmed

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. raw honey

Directions:

  1. Place coconut milk, chia seeds, and strawberries in food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the vanilla and honey. Pulse until just incorporated.
  3. Place into small jars and store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. Chia seeds become gelatinous and will thicken the pudding as it sits. It can also be eaten right away.

Modifications:

There are many other options for chia seed pudding. Try experimenting with other seasonal fruits like peaches, raspberries, pears, blueberries, and even pumpkin. Also consider adding nuts, other seeds, and spices. The possibilities are endless!

Coconut Milk comes from the coconut and is found in tropical regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Coconuts contain healthful medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid, which are antiviral and antibacterial. These medium chain fatty acids are easily absorbed by the body and help to increase the metabolism. They also protect against heart disease and promote weight loss. In addition to fatty acids, coconuts also contain healthy carbohydrates and some protein. Coconuts are a good source of manganese, molybdenum, copper, zinc, and selenium. When choosing a coconut milk, avoid the low fat options because the beneficial medium chain fatty acids have been removed.

Chia seeds are those same seeds that are used in the popular Chia pets. They come from the plant Salvia Hispanica that grows in the deserts of Mexico. They help to reduce food cravings, reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar, and they are easier to digest than flax. Chia seeds should be soaked in water before using, creating a chia gel, which helps to hydrate the body. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and they have some protein too!

Strawberries are the most popular berries in the world and are native to many parts of the world. Strawberries are rich sources of vitamins C, K, B6, and B1, silicon, fiber, flavonoids, manganese, pantothenic acid, iodine, folic acid, and biotin. Their flavonoid content helps to protect against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. When storing berries, do not wash them until you plan on eating them because berries start to breakdown when they are moist. Strawberries are consistently on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so it is very important to buy organic strawberries.

Honey is one of the four items that bees produce. Honey is rich in riboflavin, iron, manganese, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in antioxidants and it is an antiseptic. Local honeys are also said to help with seasonal allergies.

Nutrition Facts for one 1/2 cup serving

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Label

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Sources:

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Environmental Working Group (EWG). (2014, April). EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Nuts.com (2014, April). 7 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds. Retrieved from http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/chia-seeds/premium.html

WebMD. (2014, April). The Truth About Chia. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia

In Season, in September

 

In September, I feel like summer foods are starting to “die down”, so in my mind, this is the one last month to get the summer foods in before they start disappearing for the season. I’m always excited to see apples appear back on the seasonal lists because I usually start boycotting apples in January/February. (They are about 3-6 months old by that point and to me, they begin to get that mealy texture around then.)

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

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The 52 New Foods Challenge – Watermelon

This week’s food is WATERMELON! I LOVE watermelon – this is quite exciting! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making watermelon ice pops, watermelon smoothies, or [GET THIS] watermelon gazpacho – that sounds very exciting!! I love unique foods and unique food pairings and combinations. Some of my other favorite watermelon recipes include watermelon caprese salad, watermelon feta appetizers, and pickled watermelon rinds! What unique recipes have you tried with watermelon?

Food Facts

  • Watermelon is rich in lycopene – 40 percent more lycopene per ounce than ripe tomatoes and small watermelons have more lycopene than large watermelon
  • It also contains other antioxidants including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and phenols
  • To choose the ripest melon: look for a melon that is beginning to lose the gloss and the “ground spot” should be yellow, not green or white
  • Antioxidant values  continue increasing after the fruit has been picked – as long as they’ve stayed out of the fridge
  • It is in the Cucurbitaceae family and is closely related to squash, cantaloupe, and pumpkin
  • They are a good source of vitamins A, C, B5, and B6, biotin, thiamine, magnesium, potassium, and copper
  • High in fiber
  • Hydrating due to its high water content and is a diuretic
  • Lycopene has been shown to be protective against colon cancer and people with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood had a lower risk of stroke


From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, and Super Foods by Tonia Reinhard

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

10 Free Things to Improve Your Health

Ten Free Things to Improve Your Health

  1. Chew Well! – This is like pre-digestion. Your digestive system will be able to absorb more nutrients and work more efficiently with well-chewed food.
  2. Sit & Relax During Meals – When you are eating while standing, driving, sitting at your desk, or eating while stressed, your brain is in “fight or flight” mode and that’s all your body can do. When you eat, in order to truly digest food and absorb nutrients, your brain and your body need to be in “rest, digest, feed, and breed” mode. Take the extra time during each meal to sit, relax, and enjoy your food.
  3. Meal Planning – Planning your weekly meals at the beginning of the week and before heading to the store can help lower your grocery bill and help you stick to your eating plan.
  4. Drink more Water – Are you drinking 64 oz. of water each day? Try keeping track of your fluid intake to see how much water you drink.
  5. Exercise Each Day – Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Nearly every health condition can be helped with physical activity.
  6. Sleep – Try making your bedroom as dark as a cave. Using technology (especially tablets and smartphones) before bed is not recommended. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended. Your organs repair and regenerate while you sleep, not enough sleep means much more than just feeling tired.
  7. Elimination – How often are you having a bowel movement? What is the consistency like? Everyone is different, but adults should be having at least one to two bowel movements each day (should be semi-firm).
  8. Relaxation – Find some way to relieve stress and relax each day. Exercise and/or prayer/meditation are good ways to relieve stress.working in my garden
  9. Socialization/Connectedness – This is another way to help relieve stress. Humans are naturally social beings and today we are often very isolated from others. Joining a club or organization is a great way to get connected.
  10. Go Outside! – Get some sunlight and vitamin D and connect with nature. Try “Earthing” by walking barefoot and absorbing the Earth’s energy and negative ions.

Health & Hugs <3

Katie

Ditch the Diet (And Other Sodas too)!

Why You Should Ditch the Diet Sodadiet soda

  • Diet sodas usually contain aspartame, which is a potential neurotoxin (Bauman, 2014) meaning it can change the chemicals in the brain
  • Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar
  • It can be addictive
  • Can contribute to the decline in kidney function
  • Can contribute to weight gain – the body is unable to recognize the difference between real and artificial sweeteners
  • Excess body aches and pains have been tied to aspartame in the diet
  • Monsanto (large pesticide and GMO conglomerate) owns aspartame
  • Aspartame was discovered when Monsanto was investigating new pesticides (NutraSweet)
  • Can possibly turn into methanol in the digestive tract
  • Aspartame is linked to brain tumors, headaches/migraines, seizures/epilepsy, autoimmune conditions, and depression
  • Diet Pepsi also contains Acesulfame Potassium which is 200 times sweeter than sugar

Soda’s Hidden Dangers

  • Hi-Fructose Corn Syrup is damaging to the liver and causes huge spikes in the blood sugar
  • Sugars are more addictive than cocaine
  • To process sugars, vitamins and minerals must be taken from the tissues, therefore repeated exposure can lead to nutrient deficiencies
  • Can contribute to candida (yeast) overgrowth
  • High blood sugar, as a result of sugar ingestion, is linked to an increased risk of cancer
  • Soda leaves an acidic residue in the body – an acidic environment is a contributing factor in many health problems
  • Splenda isn’t any better – a chlorine molecule is added when they make this low calorie sweetener
  • Sugary drinks actually change the taste buds to crave more sugar (Axe, 2015)

    Soda Alternatives

    • Teas – iced or hot, herbal, green, black, or white, sweetened with a little honey (if needed)
    • Coconut water – look for raw coconut water (processed without heat)
    • Water – sparkling or still – try adding fresh fruit, lemon juice, or cucumber and mint to water or try Stevia Drops to add a little flavor and sweetness
    • Fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices
    • Chia seed drinks
    • Nut milks (almond, coconut, hemp, etc.)

Health & Hugs <3

Katie

References:

Axe, J. (2015). Step away from the diet coke. Retrieved from http://draxe.com/step-away-from-the-diet-coke/

Bauman, E. (2014) Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman Press.