It’s not surprising that I love pumpkin, it seems like most people do. However, I’m not a fan of pumpkin flavoring. I’ll be honest, that stuff is crap, and I avoid crap like the plague. So that means no Pumpkin Spice Latte or any of the other pumpkin flavored BS out there in the stores. I know, some of you are probably hating me right now. You’re entitled to your love of whatever you want, but just be real with yourself as to what’s in it and what effect it has on your body.
I like pumpkin savory dishes as well as pumpkin sweet things. We had the MOST EPIC pumpkin and seafood soup on our Honeymoon in Puerto Rico. I have made a few attempts to recreate the soup, but haven’t been able to do so. I LOVE pumpkin curry from Jasmine Thai, our local joint. My favorite sweet pumpkin treat surprisingly isn’t pumpkin pie. I KNOW! I have a recipe for pumpkin cookies that is AMAZING! So bread-like and scrumdiddlyumptious. I’m in the process of trying to paleo-ify the recipe. STAY TUNED!
Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie with a ginger spiced crust, and roasted pumpkin seeds with two different flavor profiles. I should also say I’m a huge sucker for homemade pumpkin seeds. It’s like crack to me.
Member of the cucurbitaceae family.
Because of the thick skin, winter squashes, like pumpkin, can last in cold storage for up to six months.
The deep orange coloring is a sign that it contains high levels of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.
Of all the winter squashes, pumpkin contains the most beta-carotene.
Foods rich in carotenoids, like beta-carotene have been shown to be protective against many cancers, especially lung cancer.
Carotenoid rich food is also protective against heart disease and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Good source of fiber.
Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and C, and folic acid, niacin, potassium, and manganese.
Pumpkin has been shown to enhance immune activity in rodent studies.
Carrots are generally quite the crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike. Although I can imagine that it could be tricky to get kids to eat rainbow carrots. I have always liked carrots raw but only recently in the last few years have I really learned to love roasted carrots too. Jennifer Tyler Lee also recommends roasted carrots, but she also recommends a fresh carrot salad which also sounds delicious!
The ancestors of our modern carrots came from Afghanistan and were purple.
During the cultivation of carrots, two mutant varieties began appearing – white and yellow.
Orange carrots were not seen until 400 years ago when breeders crossed a red and yellow carrots.
Purple carrots contain nearly TWENTY times the amount of phytonutrients as orange carrots.
Baby carrots should be avoided whenever possible. They are not actually “baby carrots”, rather they are carrots that have been whittled down. The outer layers that have been peeled off contain the most nutrition
Carrots are sweetest and freshest when the green tops are still attached.
However, if you do not plan on using the carrots within a day or two of purchase, remove the tops, as the carrots will remain firm and fresh longer. They will also retain their moisture longer.
Frozen carrots are not as nutritious as fresh carrots.
Carrots are more nutritious when cooked!!
Sautéing or steaming carrots retains more nutrients than boiling carrots.
Whole cooked carrots contain more cancer-fighting compounds called falcarinol than carrots that have been cut before cooking.
Eat carrots with some fat! Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Carrots have a low respiration rate.
The anthocyanins in purple carrots have been shown to support a healthy liver in rodent studies.
Good source of fiber.
Good source of vitamins K, C, and B6, potassium, thiamine, and biotin.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.