The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies. This is another childhood favorite. My mom steamed it with butter and if you put butter on veggies, I’ll eat it. Now I love cauliflower roasted in butter. It’s simple and delicious. I also love cauli mash (instead of potatoes), cauli rice (here’s one of my favorite recipes), and cauli alfredo. It’s such a versatile veggie AND it’s good for you!!!

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that folks try roasted caulitflower – especially the purple variety or use a yogurt dip for raw cauliflower.

Food Facts:

  • Member of the Brassica/Cruciferous family.
  • White cauliflower is rich in glucosinolates, an important antioxidant.
  • Colorful varieties contain even more antioxidants than white cauliflower. For example, purple cauliflower, the graffiti variety, has two and a half more times the antioxidants than white cauliflower. 
  • It is believed that the white variety is actually an albino mutant from the more colorful varieties.
  • For fresh cauliflower, look for:
    • bright green leaves
    • no spots, speckles, or bruises
    • no traces of grey mold
  • It can be stored for about week in the fridge without compromising the nutrient value.
  • Steaming or sautéing the cauliflower will retain the most nutrients. Avoid boiling cauliflower.
  • Opt for fresh over frozen for the most nutrition.
  • Good source of vitamins B6, C, and K, folate, potassium, maganese, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Due to its sulforaphane content, it is veggie that is great for the liver.
  • Contains many anticancer properties.

Sources:

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

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Brussels Sprouts

B R U S S E L S  S P R O U T S ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Hopefully that conveys my excitement for this fall and winter veggie. I could seriously have them nearly every day and still love them. But it wasn’t always that way. The first time I had Brussels sprouts was at my step sister’s wedding in 2009. I had avoided them for all of my childhood and well into my twenties. At the wedding, they were pretty boring, so I didn’t add them to my list of new favorites just yet. Then in 2010 I began working for Tomatero Organic Farm and in the fall we had Brussels. So I bought some and found a recipe in a cookbook for how to prepare them (roasted in butter and topped with bacon). And you know what? I LOVED them. From there on out, I was hooked!

Brussels Sprouts Vegetables Food Brussel Sprouts

Danielle Walker of Against All Grain has a great recipe and I have created my own favorite recipe too. Look for it soon! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests Brussels Sprouts Chips, which surprisingly, I have yet to try! She also suggests roasting them with bacon [this is a very common way they are prepared] and also sautéed with lemon and walnuts.

VEGGIE TIP: If you aren’t on the Brussels bandwagon yet, it’s probably because these are DENSE little veggies and if not cooked through to the center, they aren’t very tasty. Using a food processor, try grating them or slicing them (my favorite). Now they will be cooked through and it won’t take an hour to chew them.

Food Facts:

  • Member of the brassica/cruciferous family.
  • Sinigrin and progoitrin and the bitter chemicals that are responsible for some folks distaste of Brussels sprouts.
  • Brussels kill more human cancer cells than any other member of the cruciferous family.
  • When shopping for brussels:
    • It’s important to buy them in season for less of a bitter flavor.
    • Brussels should be bright green with densely packed leaves.
  • Frozen Brussels have only 20% of the caner-fighting compounds as fresh Brussels.
  • Like broccoli and artichokes, Brussels respire rapidly, so refrigerate immediately and eat as soon as possible.
  • Steaming Brussels for 6-8 minutes will help them to retain the most nutrients (although that’s not how I like to cook them).
  • Great source of vitamin B6, C, and K, folic acid, beta-carotene,  thiamine, and potassium.
  • Rich in fiber.
  • Contain the antioxidant, glucosinolates, that help to fight cancer.

Sources:

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

 

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Artichokes

Boy! It has been waaayyyy too long since I blogged last! But I am nearly done with blogging about The 52 New Foods Challenge, so even though it’s Winter now and these foods are from the Fall portion of the book, I’m just going to finish up! PLUS, here in Northern California (where the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World is located) artichokes are in season in March, April, and May, so I feel like it’s okay that we’re talking artichokes in February.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests grilling artichokes or steaming them with lemon butter. Honestly, I don’t really get artichokes. I’d like to get them, but I don’t. As a kid, I thought they were weird and avoided them like the plague. As a grown up, I’ve only had them a handful of times because I’m really sure that I’m doing it wrong. Am I supposed to be getting some meat off of these leaves?!?!? I think they taste fine, so I’m willing to keep trying them, but I’m still baffled.

Food Facts:

  • Native to Northern Africa.
  • We eat “… the leaflike bracts of the unopened flower” (Robinson, p.196, 2013).
  • Artichokes have been used historically for their liver protective properties. Recent studies have found that artichokes contain silymarin and cynarin, both liver protective compounds.
  • Artichokes have a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – a measure of antioxidant capacity) value than any other modern fruit and vegetable.
  • A rich source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps to feed the probiotic colony in the gut.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • The Globe/French artichoke is the most nutrient dense variety.
  • In order to get the maximum nutrition from artichokes, they should be eaten as closet to harvesting as possible due to their high respiration rate.
  • To pick a fresh artichoke
    • Rub two together and they should squeak.
    • It should feel firm when you squeeze it.
  • Boiling artichokes is a great way to prepare them because it increases their antioxidant levels.
  • Steaming artichokes is the BEST way to prepare them – you get three times the antioxidant levels of boiled artichokes.
  • Good source of vitamins K and C, folate, potassium, lutein, niacin, riboflavin, and iron.

Sources:

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

 

Feb. 2017 – Book of the Month – The Hormone Cure

I first heard of Dr. Sarah Gottfried from Abel James’ podcast, The Fat-Burning Man. My husband is a HUGE fan (and, well, honestly, he’s pretty easy on the eyes AND he knows nutrition!). Then she was a guest on The Balanced Bites Podcast. After listening to both episodes, I knew I had to check out her book.

The book is focused on women’s health, but many of her dietary and lifestyle recommendations apply to both men and women. I also appreciate how much she loves yoga – she’s a woman after my own heart.

Are you dealing with cortisol problems? Low Progesterone? High Estrogen? Or maybe it’s low estrogen that troubles you? What about your androgen levels? Under active Thyroid?  Regardless of your specific hormone challenges, Dr. Gottfried’s book can help you. One of the great things about this book is that it is not necessarily meant to be read cover-to-cover. After rea
ding the introduction and taking the quiz, the reader can jump to the chapter that addresses their specific challenges. She includes anecdotal stories from patients that have used The Hormone Cure to address their hormone imbalances naturally.

For each hormonal imbalance issue, Dr. Gottfried details the science about the hormone, what happens when it is high/low, which testing to seek out (if applicable), and a multi-step protocol for improving the hormone levels, which includes, lifestyle changes and nutraceutical supplement recommendations, herbal supplement recommendations, and bioidentical hormones.

If you or a loved one is dealing with hormonal imbalances, you can take back your life and find balance. This book is a great guide to get back to equilibrium.

Jan. 2017 – Book of the Month – The Great Cholesterol Myth

I first heard of The Great Cholesterol Myth when I was attending Bauman College. A fellow student had read the book when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol in her mid-20’s. She wasn’t satisfied with the idea of being on statins for the rest of her life. This peaked my interest and so when it was time to do research on a topic relating to heart health, I read the book. Several months after reading the book, I went to the Paleo F(x) conference and saw Jonny Bowden speak.

If you’ve ever been concerned about your cholesterol levels or if high cholesterol runs in your family, this is a must read. It was a fascinating read and paradigm-shifting book. And yet, the authors are able to break down this very complicated topic so that even the non-health nut, non-science-y folks can learn a great deal.

SPOILER ALERT: Rather than animal foods that are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, the authors build a very strong case that processed foods, sugar, soda, trans fats, and vegetable oils are the main culprits in our SAD diet (Standard American Diet). They also suggest that lifestyle factors, like STRESS, need to be dealt with in order to keep cholesterol levels in healthy ranges. Another SPOILER ALERT: Bowden and Sinatra demonstrate what the pharmaceutical companies don’t want us to know: “…[c]holesterol is a relatively minor player in heart disease and a poor predictor of heart attacks” (p.31, Bowden & Sinatra, 2012).

I’ll leave you with these facts about cholesterol:

  • Cholesterol is a waxy steroid that is found in every cell membrane in your body.
  • Without sufficient levels of cholesterol in your diet, your body will make it (in the liver) because it is essential.
  • It is a building block for important structures such as sex hormones, bile, vitamin D, and it supports brain function, serotonin production, and it acts as an antioxidant.
  • It also helps to digest fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), insulates the nerves, and aids in fighting infection.

In the wise words of LeVar Burton, “of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”

Dec. 2016 Book of the Month – GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome

I first heard the term GAPS on Pinterest about five years ago when I started finding and pinning healthy recipes. I continued moving forward on my path toward healthy eating and becoming a Nutrition Consultant and I kept hearing about GAPS all along the way. I bought the book well over a year ago and it’s been on my list of books to read for quite some time. I finally picked it up a few months ago and got to reading it.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome was written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She wrote this book as a practical guide for those suffering from all host of mental illness issues including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD,  as well as asthma, eczema, and allergies. I hate to be redundant here but “All disease begins in the gut” and so this too is a book about healing the gut in order to heal the domino of other issues that cascade after an inflamed and irritated gut.

Campbell-McBride draws upon her experience as neurologist, as well as her experience as a mother of an autistic child to detail the inner workings (pun intended) of the digestive system, the gut flora, the immune system, and how the gut and brain are connected. Later, she details how to treat the problems, with food and supplementation.

I’ll leave you with a quote: “In GAPS people, due to the abnormalities in their gut flora, viruses from vaccines or the environment have a good chance to survive and persist” (p.29). Some folks will tell you that it’s all in your head, but I’m starting to think that it’s all in your gut.

If you’re interested in learning more about the gut and how to improve your own health, GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome is an amazing resource.

Five Things You Can do for Someone with Cancer

So someone you care about just got diagnosed with Cancer. There are a LOT of emotions going on, most of them shitty ones. It’s a rough time. Really effing rough. Some people don’t know what to say or do, so they don’t do anything. Other folks, are there in an instant, offering ALL THE HELP. Others want to help, but just don’t know what to do. There is no “right” way to react. But you can be assured that if you act from the heart and it will mean something to your loved one.

  1. If they ask for help of some kind and you can be of assistance, do it. Folks going through Cancer treatment need rides, company, meals, distractions, and hope. Shortly after my diagnosis and meeting with my surgeon, my friend Kevin said, “What do you need from us?” My answer was that I didn’t want to feel alone. Cancer treatment is a very lonely thing because ultimately you have to endure this all by yourself. I wanted to avoid that feeling as much as possible, so I asked for walking buddies, visitors, and distractions. TeamKLB came through for me in a MILLION different ways.
  2. Calls, texts, cards, flowers, emails. The amount of people that were checking in on me really helped to pull me through emotionally. “Grief shared is halfed. Joy shared is doubled.” There is no truer quote for me. Because I shared my story so openly, a weight was lifted off of me. Check in on your loved one and allow them to share their feelings with you. This is not about how uncomfortable this may feel for you, this is about being there for your loved one.
  3. If your love language is Acts of Service (as mine is), here were my favorite acts of service: homemade healthy meals, helping me put Christmas away, cleaning my house, delivering food (usually Jamba Juice), and being a walking buddy.
  4. If your love language is Gifts, here are my favorite gifts: Whole Foods gift cards,  Nordstrom square silk scarves (for those that lose their hair), a lightweight sleeping cap (again for those that lose their hair), cozy blankets/socks/sweaters, breast cancer jewelry, book gift cards, iTunes gift cards, and boredom boxes with puzzles and the like. I got quite a few handmade gifts, which to me, fall under both Gifts and Acts of Service, and these were my most favorite: a watercolor of me, a cross stitch saying TeamKLB, and a hand carved wooden ribbon.
  5. Help your loved one get in contact with a Cancer support center. For me, Bay Area Cancer Connections was an integral component of my healing. They had tons of resources, as I’m sure other Cancer support centers do as well.

It saddens me that I need a post like this on my blog. My journey began in 2014 and I have been asked this question too many times already. I wish you the best, I wish your loved one the best, and I wish for a world without Cancer.

I’ll leave you with a quote.

“Having a complete meltdown IS handling your grief. Keeping it bottled up and deep inside you and not going into it is called avoiding your grief. It’s like standing in waves at the sea shore. In the beginning there are lots of rollers, they come very fast, they knock you all over the place. Down the road they come more slowly, but they never stop coming completely. And every so often there is just a killer wave that knocks you down, takes you under, flips you down and up and down, until all you can do is hope that very soon you will pop into the air and be able to catch a breath. YOU don’t handle the waves, the WAVES handle you. Give yourself as much time and space as you need. The less you fight the waves, the sooner you pop up into the air again.”

Hugs and Health <3,

Katie

Hearty Turkey, Vegetable, and Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup with Turkey & Veggies

This soup was created with liver health in mind. Midway through my chemotherapy treatment for Breast Cancer, my liver enzymes were too elevated to continue treatment. We had to postpone treatment for at least one week to make sure that my liver was healthy enough to process the chemotherapy. At that time I was in school to become a Nutrition Consultant and I knew there were things that I could do to “Love my Liver”, so I went home and made some BIG changes to my diet for that week and well, IT WORKED! I went back the next week and my enzyme levels were low enough to continue with chemotherapy. Here is one of the recipes that I made for the “Love my Liver” week.

 

Recipe:

1 1/2 C green lentils (soaked overnight)

1 jar diced tomatoes

24 oz. homemade bone broth (chicken or turkey)

2 T butter

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

4 small summer squash, sliced

3 small bell peppers, diced

6 carrots, sliced

6 stalks of kale, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. ground turkey

Herbs:

Bay leaf, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano

Sea salt & Pepper

Rinse lentils and let soak overnight. Next day: in a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in butter. Add broth, tomatoes, lentils, and veggies. Add ground turkey. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Continue simmering for 30-45 min.

Enjoy!

2017 Goals

We have survived another trip around the sun and so begins 2017.

I always love a fresh start and as a teacher, it’s nice to have two fresh starts each year. As I look forward into this new year, I like to make goals for myself. I’m not a big fan of the word resolutions, but I believe it’s important to set intentions for positive growth in our lives. It recently dawned on me that not everyone continually makes personal and professional goals for improvement (sidenote: this boggles my mind!). In my adult life, I have always been focused on self-improvement, I therefore view making new goals or resolutions as a positive thing. I realize that not everyone agrees and that’s okay. I look back at my previous resolutions, and see that I have not met them all, and again, for me that’s okay. For example, in 2016 meditation was a daily goal for me. I didn’t meditate everyday, but I probably meditated about 1/3 of time. While that is less than ideal, it’s still more meditation than I have done in the past, so I view it as progress toward my goal of daily meditation. Which is why I see the new year as a time to reflect and recommit to myself.

It’s also great to have a written record of my past goals so that I can what was important to me, what I was successful with, and what was challenging for me.

2013 Goals:

  • stretch daily ✅
  • have more patience and kindness ✅
  • exercise regularly
  • work from 7:00-4:30 ✅
  • go to bed on time
  • limit social media use

2014 Goals:

  • work from 7:30 – 3:30 ✅
  • exercise regularly
  • stretch every morning and every night ✅
  • limit social media use
  • drink water throughout the day ✅

2015 Goals:

  • stretch first thing in the morning and before bed ✅
    oil pull each morning ✅
    listen to music in the morning to start off my day with a smile ✅

2016 Goals:

  • meditate daily
  • get enough sleep
  • read before bed
    hike weekly 
  • swim weekly

In looking at goals from years past,  I can see where I had success and where I had challenges. The ✅ indicate goals that I feel I accomplished. My goals have been similar and will be similar again this year. However, I’m going to put them in order of importance this year.

Along with the same idea of goals and resolutions, Gretchen Rubin (of the Happier podcast, The Happiness Project , and Better Than Before) asked “what’s your one word theme for the new year?” My answer is health. It’s a big word, I know, but I would like health to be the reason for everything I do this year. Move more, move better, eat well, drink well, meditate more, think well, act with intention, care more, and love more. Also the growing trend of “more social, less media” is included in my goal of overall health. Gretchen’s work has inspired me since 2013 when I was motivated by The Happiness Project. Check it out. Period.

 

One last thing to note here. You may have noticed the last and tiny goal on my list: Walk 2017 miles in 2017. In 2016, I was introduced to Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement and I began listening to Katy and Dani Hemmat’s podcast, Katy Says. One of the episodes, The Ben Show, is about a gentleman, Ben Pobjoy, who, inspired by Katy’s work, set out to walk 2015 kilometers in 2015. He completed his goal, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.That commitment to walk 2015 kilometers literally changed his life. It’s a must listen episode. Inspired by Ben, Dani has decided to walk 2017 miles in 2017 and I’m going join her! It works out to an average of 5.53 miles each day. For me, my 5.53 miles have to come from going for a walk, hike or run, not just from my steps around the house/office/grocery store etc. I already get 3-6 miles worth of steps in my average day, so I feel like that wouldn’t have been much of a goal or challenge for me.

Do you make resolutions or goals? What are your 2017 resolutions or goals? Happy New Year!

Hugs and Health <3,

Katie

 

 

To snack or not to snack?

I get a lot of questions from folks wondering what they can eat for snacks when they switch their diet from a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) to a whole foods/ real food/ paleo type diet. Before I give a green light on what to snack on,  let’s rethink the idea of snacking altogether.

The idea of six small meals or three bigger meals with a morning and an afternoon snack is really a new idea. This is certainly not how we evolved. Let’s take a moment and think about blood sugar. In general, when you eat, your blood sugar rises. In order to deal with the rise in blood sugar, the pancreas secretes insulin which allows the glucose (blood sugar) into the cells where they are put to work. When you are always eating (as with six small meals or chronic snacking) your body is always 1) working to produce enough insulin (which prioritizes the production of the hormone insulin over other hormones), 2) dealing with elevated blood sugar, and 3) digesting food, which does not allow for your digestive system to have breaks throughout the day.

Here is the other “issue” I have with snacking. When we are taught to eat small meals, we are essentially setting ourselves up for snacking. You’re simply NOT going to be satisfied with the small meals and you’re going to have to snack. Simple as that. What I propose instead are three larger meals. Crazy, right? Three larger meals, with breakfast being your largest and dinner being your smallest. I’m also going to suggest that you increase your fat intake and possibly your starchy carbohydrate intake. Fat provides the most calories per gram (9, as compared to 4 from both protein and carbohydrates) making it more satiating. Fat keeps you fuller longer. And let’s remember that fat doesn’t make you fat. That is false.

With all that said, sometimes I do snack. So I do have some healthier recommendations for snacking.

    1. Beef Jerky or Turkey Jerky. We found Clean-n-Jerky during our trip to Colorado last spring and we love it. Small business, check. Woman owned and operated, check. Simple, real, and easy to pronounce ingredients, check. Well-sourced ingredients, check. Bonus: it’s also 21DSD compliant.
    2. Dip and veggies. I’m mainly referring to homemade dips because it is amazing what they manage to add to store-bought dips! I always think, I don’t put that into my dip when I make it at home, what could it possibly be used for? Anyways…guacamole and veggies, hummus and veggies, avocado-hummus and veggies, tzatziki and veggies, etc. Make some dip and cut up some veggies and enjoy! While veggies are not the same as chips in terms of flavor and texture, when your dip is delicious, the chips are really just a vehicle for the dip, so why not swap them out for a healthier vehicle or even just a spoon!
    3. Avocados make great snacks. I like to slice up half an avocado (or sometimes the whole thing!) and add a bit of sea salt and lemon and I’m all set! My husband loves avocado with hot sauce, which is also pretty great too.
    4. Fruit is also a great snack. Obviously I’m going to suggest eating whichever fruits are in season.
    5. Nuts or Nut Butters. A handful of nuts is a great option and so is a spoonful of nut butter. Sometimes I like nut butter on a apple or banana too.
    6. Deli meats and cheese. Avoid those conventional crackers because they are crap. No really, they are total crap. Also choose your cheese and deli meat wisely. I look for organic at a bare minimum, but ideally they are from pasture raised animals. Here are a few brands that I like.

      Hopefully some of these suggestions will be helpful to guide your snacking options. You’ll probably notice that most of my suggestions have some fat or some protein – this is intentional. If you just eat a simple carbohydrate, your blood sugar will quickly spike and then quickly fall, which is something to be avoided as much as possible.

      I leave you with two tips: 1) The less processed the better. When you are left with a challenging choice to make, go for as little processing as possible. 2) No naked carbs. In nutrition school, this was one of the first tips we learned – be sure to include some fat or some protein with your carbohydrates for healthy blood sugar management.

Hugs and Health,

Katie