I’ve been on a fat bomb kick, as I explained in my last recipe/article on Fat Bomb Blondies. I had tried to make these, unsuccessfully in the past but now have figured out a secret: don’t melt the coconut oil. Place all the ingredients in the food processor at room temperature and let the processor do all the mixing. Super simple. This was the results: Salted Peppermint Fudge Fat Bombs.
You could totally sub the peppermint with orange, ginger or any edible essential oil that you think would taste good in this.. so before you get too excited about all the flavors, here is the recipe
1 cup coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 cup plain cocoa
2 drops essential oil of peppermint
1 literal pinch of himilayan sea salt (plus a sprinkle for the top)
1/5 tablespoons of maple syrup.
Blend the ingredients completely in a food processor until you have a frosting like texture and ingredients are fully blended. Poor batter into a small dish (does best if lined with parchment paper, but not necessary). Place in fridge and after about 30 minutes, pull them out and slice into servings. Place back in the fridge until they are fully firm.
Makes 6 generous squares.
This recipe could also be used to ice a cake if used immediately (before placing in fridge) or put in coffee or other hot blender drink to frappe into a “mocha” (think bulletproof mocha).
Every Winter, I do a form of Ketosis called MCT Keto. It differs from traditional keto, allowing more carbohydrates and therefore more nutrition (from Vegetables). One Version of MCT Keto is Wahls Paleo Plus, which can be easily blended with other protocols to receive the benefits of ketosis and not having to think about math, macros, and fat grams. I refer to Wahls level 3 (as this is sometimes called) as “the easy way” to do MCT Keto, which uses medium chain fatty acids (MCT’s) found in Coconut Fat to mimic what Indians used to call “the starving time”– a time in the winter season where food was scarce and all that was available was meat, fat, and a few greens.
Another way to do MCT Keto is to do the math, I call this the “flexible way” because essentially it allows you to have whatever you want, provided that you have enough MCT fat in proportion to your carbohydrates. The caveat- you have to do the math.
Through these keto journies, I have become a huge fan of “fat bombs” but sometimes tire of the repetition that can come from most fat bomb recipes. But one of my favorite recipes is from Grassfed Girl, or Caitlin Weeks. The recipe below was created in response to her fat bomb brownies (which are fabulous, by the way- especially cold) but after 3 weeks of eating chocolate flavored fat bomb variations, I was wanting something different, yet still enjoying these treats during my otherwise “starving times” (yes, that is me being dramatic).
So after tweaking her recipe a bit to exclude the cocoa and instead include vanilla, we have the results. and they were a success.
this was the result: Fat Bomb Blondies
Paleo Fat Bomb Coconut Blondies
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon Vanilla Bean Powder
2 eggs (organic and pastured is best). I used duck eggs, which are less allergenic than chicken eggs. Chia seeds or gelatin could be used, but I have not tried them yet.
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp stevia powder extract (for lower carb)
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
(always use organic ingredients when possible)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together and in another, combine the wet ingredients.
Mix the two bowls together and pour into a square baking dish, pie pan or parchment lined skillet (choose one that can be put in the oven)
Bake for 30 minutes and cool for 15 before serving. Store in the refridgerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 8 to 9 blondies (depending on how you cut them:)
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Sleep Hygiene… wait– what? Is that like washing your face before bed? Or brushing your teeth? And how would that make you sleep better?
Well, to answer the questions above– not exactly. Sleep hygiene, while including things that we do before bed like brush your teeth is much bigger than just practicing good hygiene. We think of “hygiene” as things we do to stay clean. But in fact, “hygiene” is any set of habits that promotes health or disease– not just cleanliness. And since promoting sleep promotes health and prevents disease– we have sleep hygiene.
But what is it? Well, think of when you have a baby you are trying to get to sleep. You give the baby a warm bath, with maybe some lavender scented bathwater to calm it. You are careful not to upset or stimulate the baby and get him or her excited. You establish a ritual that promotes relaxation and that prepares the baby for it’s good night sleep. When you do this with your little bundle of joy, you are practicing good sleep hygiene for the baby. But somewhere along the way, we stop practicing a relaxation ritual to help ourselves sleep.
So below I have some things to experiment with to see which ones you enjoy. I have also included some habits to avoid when trying to get to sleep. These things have been proven to interrupt sleep. When possible, I have given a short description of why these do or do not work. So try some out, and let me know what worked for you! If you like this content, be sure to sign up below for my newsletter- you will receive first notice of new blog posts, recipes, exclusive offers and much more! In the meantime, scroll down for do’s and dont’s for a good night’s sleep– and what to do if you still aren’t sleeping well:)
What to do:
Turn off all electronics at least two hours before bed. You can leave lights on, but make sure they are not LED. The blue light that comes from computer, phone, tv and LED tell the brain that the sun is still up and prevents your brain from producing the proper hormones and chemicals necessary to regulate your circadian rhythm. They also stimulate your adrenals, which means you will produce the chemicals that keep you awake. So bottom line: they prevent the natural “downers” and cause the natural “uppers” that our body is capable of producing during the day.
Wear blue blocking glasses or use a blue filter on all possible screens starting at sunset. This will help prevent the things I mentioned above and help regulate your circadian rhythms. So if you go to bed at 10 but the sun sets at 7, then you would use blue light filters or blue light blocking glasses until 8, when you turned off the blue lights completely. If you absolutely cannot turn off the screens, then these blue light filters and glasses are second best.
3. Avoid conflict, or adrenaline-inducing activity. While this includes family or relationship squabbles, it may also include exciting tv shows, murder mystery novels, going for a run or techno music. Some alternatives would be to read gentle stories, such as educational or self-help, doing yoga or listening to a noise machine or meditation music. I find this is a great time to practice self care such as dry brushing, detox baths and doing my nails. I top this self care off with a chapter in a book on my book list. You may choose something else instead.. after all, if it is something you don’t really want to be doing it will only increase anxiety and prevent you from relaxing. Experiment to see what works for you.
4. Take a warm bath, preferably a detox bath. A warm bath with epsom salts and baking soda is a great way to relax both muscles and mind. The warmth and the magnesium from the salts relaxes muscles while the detoxing effect of the salts and baking soda help our bodies rid of toxins that can lead to anxiety and joint pain. A hot bath also lowers blood pressure, which can have a sedating effect. If you have low blood pressure already, then use caution with the temperature of the water and opt for a luke-warm bath instead of hot. For a detox bath recipe try 1 part baking soda to 2 parts epsom salts with a few drops of your favorite calming essential oil.
5. Find things that relax you. Above, we talked about experimenting with things that you like to do with the extra time you created by turning off electronics. It may take some experimentation to find what you like to do with this time before bed. At first, I made the mistake of using this time to schedule something else for me to accomplish, like yoga. But I quickly discovered that didn’t work for me and why. You will very likely try some things that do not work for you.. and that is ok. You will find the things that do work for you. Some things to try would be reading, journaling, yoga, coloring, visiting with family members, playing a game with your kids, stretching, meditating, etc. If you are weird like me then you will use this time to clean the kitchen, lay out your clothes and bathe. Apparently, this is what I want to do.
6. Try some sleepy time tea. For those that get a burst of energy at night, you may try some natural relaxants. Sleepy time tea, chamomile tea, lavender tea, L-theanine, Valerian root and other natural herbs have been used by many to sleep better and deeper. It can help calm a busy mind and make going to bed easier.
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When I decided to start working out the idea seemed ridiculous. I could barely get to restroom without help. But I also knew that if I just laid there, that my muscle mass would follow and that my journey towards health would stall. I have to be honest and transparent though: I really wanted to be able to move. I really wanted to be able to exercise. I had always been able to go for a hike, a walk, a swim, or take an aerobics class without a single thought of “can I make it through this? Am I going to be able to make it back home or am I going to need to be carried?”
So if you are too sick and fatigued to work out– Keep reading. I promise to make this for you and others like you.
Too Sick and Weak to Work Out?
This is my favorite group of people because I have been there. I totally get it. And when you also “get it”, then you will be as excited to talk about how you got there as I am to share it with you.
First I am going to talk about how I got there and then I will use my story as a way to break down the steps for you, so that you can start this leg of your story– the exercise leg.
When I started working out, I could barely make it to the bathroom without holding onto the walls. I couldn’t stand for more than a minute and had to push myself to do that. I had good days and bad days. On Good days, I could sit up and touch my toes but on bad days, that felt like too much work. So I made a deal with myself. I rolled out my yoga mat, and I left it there. I made sure it was in a place i would use it (This would alternate in front of the tv or in my bedroom where there was more room) and I left it there. Secondly, I observed what time of day I felt most physically able. Maybe you are a morning person, or maybe you feel best in the evening. For me it was the mid afternoon. I designated a time to get on the mat. Third, I established a minimum I was willing to do each day. On a bad day, all I could agree to do was to meditate– lying down. Sometimes I fell asleep. And that was ok. On good days, I was able to do some sitting yoga stretches. On in between days I was able to do some laying down poses– ones where you pulled your knees into your chest or used a strap to stretch your legs.
After a while, I was able to have some days that were good enough to do some standing poses, intermingled with days that all I could do was meditate. Later, my “minimum” became meditation and journaling.
As I was able to do more standing poses, I was able to walk the dog around the building– albeit I would need to rest afterwards. And yes, there was some days I needed someone else to do it for me. And that was ok.
The next step was to get in the pool. I could walk to the pool since it was about 20 feet from my front door. The water was cool and the floating meant that swimming around with a kickboard would allow me to exercise more than I could when I was in the heat, or on land. And I could reward myself afterwards by laying in the sun for a few minutes afterwards to get some Vitamin D. There was one day the heat was too much for me walking back. I got weak from the heat and had to sit in the grass. My husband came out to carry me home. And from that, I learned not to do this during the heat of the day but rather in the morning– At least until I was stronger.
So let me break this down for you..
Establish a space and time that you can and want to do this. If you find you don’t really want to do this.. then start with the tips below under “If you do not really want to work out”. If you don’t have a space, then try a spot of grass, or even some stretches on your own bed or couch. Figure out where you are when you want to move. Pick that spot.
Pick a “minimum”: This should be something you are willing to do even on your worst day. It could be meditation, journaling, prayer, get some fresh air by sitting outside– something that is self care that doesn’t feel like ” too much”.
Let yourself have bad days. Healing journeys are full of good days and bad days. And that is ok. Those on a healing journey often experience ups and downs. And the joke goes “2 steps forward and one step backwards– think of it as a cha cha!”. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body and respond to what it is telling you. Bad days mean you need a something restorative: so try some restorative yoga or some deep breathing exercises. Good days mean you have energy to do more: so do more.
Take advantage of good days but don’t overdo it. This means to only go one step at a time. Don’t overdo it or you will create bad days. One way to know if you overdid it is to see how you feel the next day. Feel wiped the next day? Then it was too much. Feel good the next day? Then it was probably just right.
Take Baby Steps. This goes along with don’t overdo it. Break the steps of progresssion into as small of steps as you can. If you start off laying down, then the next step is to sit up. If you are at “walking to the mailbox and back” then the next step is to perhaps add something at the end like a yoga pose for balance or to simply take a few extra steps or maybe you just try to beat the time from the time before. Set yourself up for success, not failure.
Do this every day even if all you do is sit there and breathe. By creating the habit of taking time for yourself and for your body, you create time and space for self care. As you heal, this time and space will already be a habit and then this self care will evolve as your health does.
Noone is going to judge your progress ( or lack thereof). You will move forward at your own pace. If all you do is develop a meditation practice or a time for self care, then you have won.
JUST SHOW UP. This really is the only thing you need to remember. This is the only thing you are required to do in this journey toward fitness. Show up. Be present. And you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.. except find something you are willing to do when you get there. Even if it is just breathe. So when you are talking in your head and saying “but i don’t want to”. Answer back and tell yourself ” all you have to do is just show up. That’s it. Just SHOW UP”
Start with step one and take your time. When step one is done, move onto step two. Each step may take a little while to get right. If you struggle with a step, then go back to it. For example, it may take a while to figure out what your “minimum” is.. so give yourself time to experiment. You may have some bad days while you are figuring this out, and that is a good opportunity to practice accepting yourself for where you are, without comparing yourself to yesterday or tomorrow or anyone else’s today. Just give yourself permission to be you.
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I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about Chronic Illness, and the spiritual side of healing. I associate emotions a lot with spirituality not because spirituality is about emotions or emotionalism, but because when we suffer emotional trauma, it becomes a spiritual issue.
A few facts
Fact One: It has become accepted, even in the most conservative of circles, that emotions manifest into the body as physical symptoms. Dr. Daniel Amen, Neuro-Psychiatrist and author of such books as Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, says that each thought we have is a physical thing that changes our DNA and tells every cell in our body how to act.
Fact Two: In the Autoimmune Population, childhood trauma is very common, much more so than in the general population, increasing the likelihood of various auotimmune diseases by 70% to 100% depending on the type. (1)
Fact Three: For those with Neurological Disorders, including nerve pain, there is also a correlation of these childhood traumas (2) (3). It has also been said that the perspective when we treat our diseases, as looking at the body as the enemy, needs to re-evaluted. For if we see our body as the enemy, are we not telling our body to attack itself? (4) And while we are on this bandwagon, does this not include self-talk, self-hatred, and even our subconcious view of ourself? After all, these things tell every cell in our body how to act? And if our body is attacking itself, then what told it to do that?
Let me first take time to say that this is not something to explore instead of other modes of healing. This “spiritual” work is not to replace nutrition and lifestyle or medical attention in trying to address the root causes of your disease. However, in the interest of leaving no stone unturned, perhaps it should be addressed as a part of the functional and holistic medicine model? Perhaps it is a piece of the puzzle in these mosaic diseases? (mosaic disease: a disease that has no one cause but rather several root causes that all come together to create a picture of disease or health: a “perfect storm” of conditions that lead to one of many modern diseases)
So what does this have to do with your Root Chakra? And for that matter, what the hell is a Root Chakra?to answer this question, I first need to explain what a Chakra is and some theory that relates to it.
In the eastern religions, we are said to have multiple bodies: In Kundalini yoga, for example, there are ten bodies. In the Judeo-Christian world, we talk about this same phenomena in the terms of “selves”. Freud talks about the ego, id and the super-ego. Modern Psychologists use terms like “inner child” and most of us acknowledge a separation between the soul and the personality. Personality can be affected by health of the body (as in someone with Alzheimer’s Disease) but the soul is something quite different. In theory, these different selves are connected, affecting the health of each other. For example, the wounds of the inner child would affect our present physical body and perhaps the health of our soul as well. While I could write an entire thesis on this alone, I’m asking you to just stay with me as we move onto how this affects your chakra and your physical health.
So let’s say your inner child is affecting your present physical body (which apparently it is, according to the above statistics). Then it would also affect your other bodies– ten or however many you can identify– because they are all inter-connected. This inner child and your spiritual body are just as connected to each other as they each are to the physical body.
The physical body has energy points. These energy points are called chakras but you already know many of them (see below for details). The spiritual body and inner child (or whatever names you call them) also have energy points. It is for this reason that some people can see Auras, the energy coming off of these other bodies or selves. Others, not able to see Auras (most of us), can feel energy around you. Have you ever been around someone that made you feel uncomfortable? That is because you could feel their energy. You could feel the chakras in one of their “other” bodies. So you know that energy was a very real thing.
In the physical body, we can measure these energies from the chakras: with frequency (we are talking quantum physics here), heartbeats, electrical currents, heat, and more. It is not secret that we are energetic beings. We can feel and observe these energies when our heart beats, our sex organs become aroused, when our intestines move our food without being told, when our thyroid produces hormones, our brain sends messages, and when our hands produce heat as we rub them together. These energy points are also chakras. There are many chakras in the body but 7 “main” chakras.
The 7 main chakras: There are 7 main chakras and they are all one hand’s length (from tip of your thumb to tip of your pinky when the fingers are spread) apart from each other and the first is at your groin (the perineum to be exact) and the 7th is at the top of your head. (Go ahead, measure away.. you will see that I am correct about the math).
But today we are only going to talk about the bottom Chakra: The root chakra. Yes, the one at your perineum.
Remember how your spiritual and emotional body connect to your physical body? Well this physical body part has a connection to a specific part of your spiritual and emotional bodies. Although i cannot draw you a diagram, I can tell you about them so that you will know which parts of these ‘bodies’ I am talking about. Because you have already experienced their “energy” in your life.
It is no coincidence that the Energy point that is at the genitals, the literal point of our creation, is linked to our own creation. (This is the point of our spiritual body that connects here- the point of our own creation). It is also connected to our security, our groundedness, or “knowing who we are” (this is a part of our emotional body– it’s root chakra has this energy. if you haven’t felt grounded or secure then you at least know that this energy or feeling exists).
If you have every read about Chakras before you will have read that this Root Chakra, or energy point at our own physical “root” of our spine, is associated with the color “red” and with the essential oil “x”. This simply means that by enjoying these things, you can tap into activating this chakra. The color and oil will not do the work for you, but can aid in chakra work,: or activating the energetic connection between our various bodies, particularly points that are already connected- such as the root chakras of all 3 bodies.
About the Root Chakra. For our physical body, it is the seat of creation: literally. It is where we create a human. But for our spiritual body, this is a mirror of our creator. In the Christian Religion, we are told we are created in God’s Image. This is in other religions too (5) but not all and I am no expert in religion so I will not speak of what I do not know. This means that we “look” like our Father, so to speak. It is my personal belief that it is our spiritual body that “looks” like Him, but what do I know?
And while we are not perfect, we are designed perfectly. And that is the basic concept of the Root Chakra. This concept is at the core of our spiritual body’s root chakra. And this concept can communicate with our emotional body. And if they could all start communicating this together, then perhaps they can start to heal our root chakra. And by healing all these chakras, then perhaps our body will also be able to finish healing. This is particularly useful when we have done everything we can with medicine and food but are still not healed. But why wait until then? Why not start healing this part today?
So what are the practical applications in healing? Why would I want to do this? Well, I find that systemic diseases, like lupus, reynauds, myasthenia gravis, nervous system disorders: disease that have no one focal point– I often find hormonal imbalances. These hormonal imbalances started before the disease culminated and formed, but also helped form the disease. In the health history, the story seems to start here. Hormones are created by the root chakra. They affect everything. My patients with these systemic diseases often had bad periods, endometriosis, infertility, or other signs of hormonal disharmony. While it is possible to have disease start elsewhere, it is very common for systemic diseases (ones that are all over rather than in one location of the body) to start here.
According to Alissa Vitti, Author of WomanCode, hormones being “out of whack” can cause a series of events that eventually lead to autoimmunity and other disease.
To activate, heal, or open the root chakra, start here
I want to start by teaching you a powerful mantra. A mantra is just a positive or focused thought, saying or word. It may be an affirmation, or just an idea that you focus on. If you repeat any group of words, you are using a mantra. For this exercise we will use the Mantra “Ham Sa”. (pronounced “Homm Sah”)
Ham Sa, according to author Elizabeth Gilbert is a sanskrit word that means “I am that”. She says this is the first breath we take as we enter the world. You will see below that this is kind of a self announcement of our own arrival, but also an answer to our creator in response to our creation. In meditation, it can be used as both, even at the same time.
Side note for various religious beliefs:
If you are an atheist or of a non Judeo-Christian religion , you can still use this mantra, but you may have to spend some time translating it into your viewpoint or cultural “lingo” to understand it thoroughly. Because of my own cultural bias and belief in a Creator, I cannot translate for you if you do not have this belief simply because I do not know your language. I only know the language of my own culture. You see, my translation into the language of my culture is something that took time: it was the result of a focused journey. This journey was one where I actively sought answers and understanding of this information. I wanted to “get it”. To find your own translation, regardless of your religious beliefs, may take your own journey if you do not speak the religious language that I was raised to understand. But if you do, then please keep reading. If you find these “translations” then I beg of you to teach me so that I can include it in my teachings: Or perhaps that is a part of your mission?
So I want to take a moment to talk to all the Judeo-Christians reading this: First of all, thank you for making it this far. If you have been told or fear that this is not biblical- please keep reading. For this is very biblical. I wanted to talk to this group specifically because this is the culture I was raised in and feel a need to translate into a language that this culture can understand. These “chakras”, or rather their concepts, are reflected by truths in the bible (and other ancient religious texts, obviously). For example, the root chakra of our spiritual body is reflected in the bible verse Genesis 1:27, where God created man in his own image. And if you keep reading, then I will explain further.
In the above manta, or phrase “Ham Sa”, I explained that this translates into “I am that”. Perhaps you are wondering “what? what is ‘that’?”
So let me define what “that” is: You are that which is..
created in the image of god
while not perfect, you are perfectly created
you were created for the journey that you are on
you were created with purpose
your design gives you everything you need for this journey and everything you need to fulfill this purpose, except one thing
you were designed for relationship with the Creator
This intimate design is necessary to reach the potential of your purpose and of your design
Fulfilling this purpose leads to recognizing your own design- a mysterious and magical experience
Woah. Those are some profound truths. They are so simple but even those who agree with these truths, do not know them deep inside. I confess, that they are not something that has stayed in my focus and I can only keep these in focus with daily meditation and connection with the universe/god.
So how do we put all this information together?
Meditation. Sounds oversimplified? Well let me unsimplify this:
While sitting in “easy pose” (cross legged position), close your eyes or stare at a candle’s flame. Connect to your breath and relax. Make sure you are breathing in with “soft belly breath”. This means that as you breathe in, your belly rises and as you exhale it deflates. If this is difficult, then sit somewhere that your back is supported while you sit in easy pose, such as a couch or comfortable chair.
Connect to the breath. Breathe in and as you inhale, invite God (or the spirit of love) into your being. At the top of the breath, suspend the breath and just acknowledge and feel the spirit of God (or of love). Spend time with this presence and really experience it until your body tells you it needs to exhale. As you exhale, say your mantra “Ham Sa”. As you say it, think of and acknowledge all of what it means. All that you are, all that you are created to be. You are a reflection of god, a reflection of this love. A reflection of the presence you just held in your being. “Ham Sa” is your response to this presence.
Set a timer and start with five minutes. Practice this meditation daily and see what comes of it. While the root chakra is only the beginning, it is the root and base of all the chakras.
It is also the base or beginning of chronic illness. While this is not the full meditation, It is the first one. Stay tuned for the next one, coming soon.
If you would like to be trained in full on this meditation or all of them as a part of your healing journey, then be sure to contact me with the information here to schedule a free consultation to see if you qualify for one of our healing programs.
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If you are already a patient of mine, then you know that I am super snobby about vitamins and supplements. But if you are not (or haven’t figured that out…?) then I want to make sure that you know why I am so snobby about them…
You see.. there is a difference.
Let me explain.. First there are various “tiers” of quality when it comes to supplements.
1. Tier One: This is your lowest quality of vitamins and minerals. This type is inconsistent in strength and is always of questionable sourcing. It is filled with fillers, “inactive ingredients” and made without thought as to what shouldn’t go in the body. You pay the least for these when it comes to financial cost but they may cause an upset stomach, side affects or they may not work at all. They also may be filled with allergens, pesticides and sugar. This level of supplement is the types of things you find at your drug store next to the prescription pharmacy and your toilet paper.
2. Tier two: This is a step up and has some variance in this level. This type you find at a health food store and includes some “discount brands” next to some more expensive versions. While this tier is good for some things and includes some very good brands (I love garden of life, for example) and may even be next to some brands that are included in Tier Three, they are generally part of a sea of confusion. The risk in this group is that there is no standard of strength. For example, there is no guarantee that each bottle will contain the same strength of active ingredients- especially herbs. While some vitamins will be sourced from excellent sources, some will not. And unless you know a lot about the varying types of brands and the reputation of the companies, you are subject to the information from the person responsible for making sure they sell: the person that works there. Even if the brand is “ok” there is a question of strength. For example, I bought an herb from one of these “ok” brands. Even though the bottle said it had the same number of milligrams as my Tier three version of the same herb, I had to take 4 times as much to get the same results! This can be dangerous, because on many of these, there is a max dose of these herbs. And if one bottle has less of the active ingredient and the next has more, but they both say the same amount– then you could take enough that would harm you.. or not enough and think it doesn’t work. Some of this is quality control and some of this is ignorance. Did you know that the leaf and stem of the plant contain different “strengths”? But they may both weigh the same 20 mg.. or whatever weight is on the bottle. Bottom line: you are not getting consistent quality and may be wasting your money.
3.Tier three. This is the group of supplements sold by doctor’s offices. While you can find them in other places like Amazon, websites and sometimes in health stores (My health store sells 3), these supplements are the highest quality. The strength is always the same and allergen information is clearly marked and strictly controlled. In the industry, these are referred to as Nutriceuticals. They are the quality used by functional medicine doctors to treat disease. One benefit is that when you use one of these brands is that you do not have to use as much to get the same result, which actually ensures your safety and also that you get your money’s worth.
In addition to the three tiers of quality there is the question of synthetic versus whole foods.
For vitamins, this comes into question of which is best and the answer is… it depends. You see, generally speaking, whole food forms are best. When synthetic vitamins were introduced into our society, cancer rates actually rose! This is the opposite of what we expected. But think of it in these terms: Vitamin C is not just Ascorbic Acid- but a complex of various components that make up Vitamin C. The various components work together for the body to boost the immune system and help it do all it needs to do. When you isolate one part of a “team” of vitamins, you are left with only part of the equation.
Let me use another example. The coca leaf is what is used to make cocaine. For centuries, the people of south american countries have been consuming the coca leaf with no real problems. That is because it contains more than just cocaine. It contains other components that balance the part that is isolated to make cocaine. When we take the isolated part away from the other parts of the “team”, we create imbalance. Another word for imbalance in the body is… disease. In theory, this imbalance in the body’s input, can lead to imbalance in the body’s output. An orange will not cause cancer to rise because it is balanced with the rest of the fruit, but isolated it may cause imbalance.
However, there are some caveats.
It may be better to use a synthetic sometimes. For example if you cannot get a high enough dose in a whole food form, then a synthetic may be a better option. This would be necessary if you are looking for a therapeutic dose of either a specific nutrient or an isolated amino acid. This usually is used when you are trying to get a specific result from the vitamin, mineral or supplement. An example of this would be when you are using something like 5HTP, a type of tryptophan to manipulate the body into making more serotonin. Magnesium is another example of this as it is sometimes needed in high, therapeutic doses not able to be reached with whole food formulas. It may also be because you need a specific type of magnesium (or other type of vitamin or mineral) to increase absorption.
Also, some types of formulas are better absorbed. For example, liquids are more absorbable than capsules which are more absorbable than caplets or tablets, generally speaking. You also have things like “liposomal” which are usually liquids or gelcaps and are metabolized by the liver instead of the stomach. These are used when digestion may be compromised and affects the absorbability.
So as you see, there are a lot of factors that go into picking the right supplement for the right person and their situation. If you are trying to fill your medicine cabinet, then go over and check out my online store to see some of my favorites. You can also check out this article for some basics that you can keep in your cabinet and kitchen to help you and your family on a more regular basis. Of course, talk to your doctor before taking anything to make sure it is right for your body and your health.
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School is back and so are school lunches. We had a break and that was nice but one of two things (or both) may be happening.. and even if it isn’t happening to our little darlings.. it is probably happening to our own lunches also: You are either stuck in a rut from summer or don’t want to repeat the rut from last year’s lunches.
So I wanted to make sure you had some fun options and ways to make lunch easy, but more interesting. For your convenience, I have included some affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy please click here.
First let’s start with the container. Presentation goes a long way but if you are like me, you are not going to get up early to cut their fruit into little starts and arrange their berries into a flag. If you are, then you are definitely getting an A+– but with this container you can still get an “A” without all the extra time and creativity put into a morning craft project at 6 a.m. For examples of what a simple lunch can look like in the container, check out this instragram page full of examples of why this container is not your average lunchbox. While not all of these examples are free of processed foods, they can give you an idea of how simple foods, with little preparation can be presented in a manner that makes them fun! To know more about these lunchboxes and why you should make an investment in this one instead of “that” one.. click here. It goes into how it is safer, for you and the environment.
Now let’s move onto the content: We have lots of options for no or low processed and grain free wraps to choose from for our little ones. But incase you are unfamiliar with your options- here are a few of my favorites:
For “sandwiches”, I suggest either using a large lettuce, chard, collard leaf or nori sheet. You can also consider sweet potato toast- which is super good and can be topped with nutbutter and fruit, or with avocado and turkey. If none of these sound like a good option, then try this coconut wrap. You can fill it with lunchmeat and pickles or even with leftover tacos or a grassfed hotdog. I use these regularly at the office and they go great with ham and pickles or with fajitas, or even with sausage and kale:)
Salads. A serious standby where lunch and health collide- but let’s not give ourselves or others we love the same salad day in and day out. For a way to shake things up while still making it delicous- try my Build-A-Salad formula: Something crunchy, Something fatty, Something savory and something sweet and dont forget a protein. Althernatively, the best dishes in the world contain 5 flavors: salty, sweet, pungent, sour and nutty. An example of the first would be some cabbage or nuts for crunchy, some avocado or olive oil for fatty. You would then add some fresh herbs or cauliflower rice for savory and some berries or sweet potato for sweet and some chicken for protein (which could also be savory). To follow the second method, you may try sea salt, berries, balsamic vinaigrette, and avocado. (I counted the vinaigrette as sour and pungent). By having a formula but changing the ingredients, you can consistenly produce delicous and exciting salads that change with what is available to you at a given time.
leftovers. Let’s not forget leftovers. Some people do not like to eat the same thing 2 days in a row and you dont have to! you can simply freeze them after eating them the first time and wait until the idea seems new again. freeze them in individual portions and let them thaw between the school bus and lunchtime. If need be, they can be taken out the night before to make sure that they are thawed out.
Have a rotation of eating. Not buying the same ingredients every week ensures that you do not use the same ingredients every week. Sounds logical, right? Be sure to rotate them not just week to week but also from season to season. You should be eating differently in the fall than the winter or summer: What you eat prepares your body for the weather it takes to grow that food: This means that if you want to feel cooler, then eat tropical food. If you want to feel lighter, eat summer foods. Always cold? try some root vegetables and warming soups.
Resources. I wanted to put together some resources for some truly creative lunch ideas. So I put them together here. All together there are over 75 ideas all collected for you (and more!). So seriously, no excuses ya’ll!
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Summer is here and the fruits are starting to pour in! It is berry season and for those of us who love fresh, organic produce, this means we have some extra choices in our produce selection. Extra choices are not limited to berries, as your local farmers market will start pouring in various delicious treats from all over your region such as peaches, yellow squash, microgreens and much more! Summer is a feast of delicious colors on our plate and on our grill (yum!). With it being a “fruit season”, I wanted to offer some great summer treat ideas that can be thrown together. Now don’t live on fruit, (although it is tempting!) and be sure to get plenty of vegetables too.. but here are some easy ideas to use some of these seasonal favorites in compliant ways. I have included low sugar fruits (apples, berries and citrus) and also included some higher sugar fruits. Remember that the higher sugar fruits should be used “wisely” and in moderation. If you do not do well with more carbohydrates/fructose (fructose is usually limited on an AIP diet but not specified for the Wahl’s diet) then limit yours. For those who do well with a little more carbs in their diet, this is a great way to incorporate some of the nutrition that this season has to offer. To balance the sugar from the higher sugar fruits, make sure you combine them with sources of potassium (like coconut water), mineral salts (like greens or celery), some protein (like on the side of a main dish), and some healthy fats (like avocado) for best metabolism. You can also incorporate things like cinnamon and enzymes to aide in sugar metabolism (1, 2) For more information on how to balance macronutrients to control blood sugar, be sure to check out the sources at the bottom of the page. The links provided for your convenience may be affiliate links, for my full disclosure policy please click here. These are varying theories/sources on ways to impact sugar metabolism and may be helpful in your journey.
But in the meantime, let’s get “cookin”. Seeing as how most of these recipes are “no cook” that is purely a form of speech.
Moroccan Side Salad.
This salad was introduced to me by a Norwegian family. I found the unique flavors such an interesting mix of flavors. There were no measurements given but the mother of the family usually just made a small (meaning large cereal bowl) portion and we all took a scoop. She simply sliced the carrots, chopped the parsley into larger bite sized pieces and segmented the orange and served. I like to squeeze a bit of the juice over the parsley and I suppose you could massage the leaves to let the acid break down the greens but she never did and I never complained. It is really a quick delicious side dish and may be a great way to get kids to eat some veges (if you can get them to try something new!).
Berry Compote with Coconut Cream.
I love that this has such a fancy name but is so simple. This simply needs to
be heated but could also be served fresh. Let me explain: If you heat berries they call it a compote. If you leave them fresh it is still delicious. I once had a restaurant serve me a glass of fresh mixed berries in a large wine glass with homemade whipped cream on top. I loved it. So If you want to get fancy with a wine glass or even a martini glass, go for it! I serve this cold when its hot outside and warm when it is cold outside. I simply top it with Coconut Cream (look for no added ingredients) and if needed, add a bit of stevia extract or a teaspoon of honey to the cream. When in season, the berries should be sweet enough to not need a sweetener, in my humble opinion.
I make my own coconut yogurt. I simply blend a can of full fat coconut milk in the blender. I can add collagen protein to it to thicken or you could even add some arrowroot or tapioca starch to thicken if that is all you have. I then put it in the fridge and most brands will stay blended and have a yogurt-like consistency. I then take it out (usually the next morning or end of the night) and top it with things like sliced banana, fresh berrries, raisins, nuts (aip reintro), cacao nibs (aip reintro), carob chips, or anything else that may sound good. I treat it like icecream and make it into a “sundae”… its a great summer treat for kids.. or just the kid in you! You can add a little honey or stevia extract when you blend or when you top it out.. you can also add a probiotic for added good bacteria. There are several recipes on the web for how to ferment it if you choose to put more time and effort into it.. but I usually stop at adding a probiotic and some collagen. I like to Keep It Simple, Silly:)
This one was not my idea but i truly think it is brilliant. For the original idea from paleoeatsandtreats ciick here. But for the AIP version, you will simply slice apples and top with coconut butter or alternate puree (such as applesauce, pumpkin butter, tigernut butter, or even smashed bananas or date-caramel sauce). Then sprinkle with any dried fruit, carob chips, maybe some seasoning like cinnamon or vanilla, coconut flakes or anything you have around. In the summer, I would dry some berries or even tropical fruit in the summer and in the winter, i would use things like raisins. You could also switch out the coconut butter for some sweetened pumpkin puree for an Autumn Treat:) (yum!).
This nightshade free “salsa” doesn’t really need a recipe as you can’t really mess it up. You could also make this with mango if you wish. Simply chop up fresh pineapple and mix with red onion, lime juice, sea salt and some minced
radishes (optional- added spice!). I would also add some chopped cilantro and pulse in the food processor until it is able to be dipped with some plantain chips. This can be a fabulous snack alongside some AIP guacamole or topped on a taco salad or cauliflower-rice based taco bowl. If you really want to feel indulgent, try topping some AIP tacos using this wrap as your burrito.
This is always a good stand-by and you can never go wrong with fruit salad. You already know how to make this (chop a bunch of things and put them together in a bowl, remember?) but I wanted to include it because we tend to forget about the simple things we used to make that were healthy even though they were a part of an unhealthy leg of our life journey. Although in the past we may have added sugar or some other sweetener, I assure you that was unneccessary and it will taste wonderful with nothing added.
These recipes should keep you busy for at “least” a week.. I hope they help you celebrate the summer bounty in a healthy and fun way. If you like this post, feel free to sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page Please Share this recipe to any group or person you think may enjoy it. Sharing is Caring.
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Summer is usually a time where people take time off and get outside more. There is less on TV and longer days and much more to do. However, when you are suffering from a Chronic Illness such as an Autoimmune Disease, it can be tempting to stay indoors and avoid the heat and humidity. But this season is an important opportunity for our health. You may have seen that meme on Facebook or Instagram that says “Winter Microbiomes are Made in the Summer”. I gotta be honest, this one made me think. But it is true! Below I have made a top ten list of healing activities you can and should do before Summer is over to take advantage of the healing opportunities that this season has to offer you and your healing journey. Each section has a why, but there are more reasons than I was able to list- so make sure you look up more that seem approachable for you and find out more reasons that it may benefit you.
Eat dinner outside. This one is fun, especially on nights that are not blistering hot. Eating outside reduces stress, and exposes us to increased oxygen levels from surrounding plants. It also removes us from the daily toxin and fumes released by the furniture and building supplies surrounding us inside our homes and offices. Taking a break and breathing in some clean air instead of the formaldehyde, paint fumes and recycled air we breath every other moment of our days. Increased oxygen makes our brain and bodies healthier. It not only helps us detoxify, but feeds and supports healthy cells and helps defend against unhealthy cells. The de-stressing of sitting outside can also help your adrenals and immune system work better by placing your body in a parasympathetic (healing) state and turn off the sympathetic (fight or flight) state in which we often reside at the end of a work day.
Watch the sunset (as often as possible). Doing this regularly can reset the circadian rhythm, making it easier to go to sleep at night and also allow us to rest more deeply so that we wake up refreshed. Watching the sunset releases hormones in your brain, telling your body what time of day it is and preparing it for bedtime. Avoiding blue lights such as LED lamps, phones, computers and televisions will help this also.
Put your feet in the grass. Placing your bare feet in the grass, or Earthing as some call it is very healing to the body. The earth releases negative charges that help regulate our electrical systems in the body. This can help heal the body of a wide range of maladies, especially useful in neurological and cardiovascular disease due to the electrical quality of these systems.
Eat watermelon.. and other fruits. The abundance of both sunshine and fruits during this season is an opportunity to load up on nutrients and their benefits to our body. Potassium, Vitamin C and many others are in high supply during this time while they are in low supply during winter months. By loading up now, you can give your body an advantage during the months that these nutrients are not as available. These days, many fear fruit, even during the summer months. But we are designed to be able to handle more carbohydrates in the summer months than we are able to handle during winter months, when less carbohydrates are available. So having one to 3 servings a day should be fine and beneficial (check with your doctor for your individual recommendations). A rule of thumb is that you can have up to 1 fruit for every 2 servings of vegetables. By using this rule of thumb, you should have no problem enjoy the bounty while keeping things in a healthy range.
Go to the Beach (Or mountains). Let’s face it- these environments are healing. But the summer, best known for beach trips, is a great time to take advantage of the healing properties of the ocean. The salt, the sand and the sun all offer something to a healing journey. Many feel rejuvenated at the ocean and this is for good reasons. For more information on the healing benefits of the ocean click here and at the end of this article is 2 more articles on how the ocean heals you. Do you think this means we can write off our beach trips as a medical deduction? (just kidding.. sigh)
Get some Sunshine. Did you know that your body stores Vitamin D (and other fat soluable vitamins) to be used for a later time? This means that by storing up the sunshine we get in the summer, we can protect our immune system during the dark winter months. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is! While sun cancer is a scare, a moderate amount of 20 minutes, unprotected exposure a day is recommended for most, regardless of the season. This amount is great for most Caucasion skin tones, while those with darker skin tones will actually need more and very pale skin tones will need less.
Swim in a lake. If you have ever been in a “swimming hole” then you know that these are not the places to wear a bathing suit with white on it! That is because swimming in lakes and such is dirty. But a lot of fun! Not only do these places provide good fun but also expose us to the environment that builds a good microbiome and a strong immune system. Being exposed to dirt, mud and lake water increases our microbiome diversity and helps us body, mind and soul.
Eat fresh Seafood or Fish. I’m talking straight out of the water food. Whether you or your family fish or if you buy it straight off the pier from a local fisherman, this is a great time to get some wild-caught and delicious seafood or fish. While eating seafood, you have an opportunity to catch up on natural iodine and selenium (don’t worry, the selenium balances the iodine!) and lean protein. The fresh caught fish provides good lean protein and a lighter, easily digested meal.
Eat straight out of the garden. You may have seen the suggestions to “eat dirt” or have seen bottles with “soil based probiotics” listed on the ingredients. Fact is, that eating straight out of the garden exposes our GI tract to beneficial bacteria that help our bodies work better. This can help stomach issues, brain issues and the immune system all work better. While we don’t always know what else is in someone else’s garden and may want to be wary of things like chemicals, pesticides and improper fertilizers used elsewhere, growing something in a pot on our own porch or even in our own raised-bed garden is a great way to enjoy food “straight from the garden” and where we can feel comfortable eating a food that has not been washed. After all, we wouldn’t put anything on our greens, or onions or tomatoes that we wouldn’t eat- would you? If you are new to gardening, I can say that micro-greens, herbs, leafy greens, and spring onions are very easy to grow for first time gardeners. Try growing these and eating a sample as you pick them, before washing them. Your body will thank you.
Camping. Ok, this may be something you city gals and guys have to build up to doing. But let me assure you that there are places with showers, blow dryers and working real toilets. There are tents (and campers..if you must) with screened in porches. There are electrical plugs at campsites and you can bring a grill. But let me point out that if you do this activity, you can combine all of the first 9 on this list into one weekend. My family goes camping near the beach where we eat fresh seafood from a local fisherman and spend one of our days at the beach. By the time a long, 4 day weekend is over, we have reset our circadian rhythms, have more energy, are better rested, and have an energy boost that lasts all month. It is truly healing. While we do not go in the heat of summer, we do go at Easter and again at labor day weekend. In the heat of the summer, we would like to go into the mountains to escape the heat but still enjoy the fruits of summer (where it is about 20 degrees cooler).
So there it is: Your summer bucket list. There is still time to book your weekend for labor day and get it all done. Remember-life is for living. Summer included.
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So recently I did a community event where we handed out gut healing popsicles. They were a huge hit and those who loved them the most went on and on about how decadent and rich and delicious they were. Funny thing is that they were very low in sugar, high in healthy fats and anti-oxidants. So I wanted to share the recipe with everyone. You could absolutely replace the cocoa with vanilla or strawberry puree or even stick blueberrries or other fruit into the “batter”. I usually make them chocolate because it is super easy and a crowd pleaser. This same recipe can also be served heated in the winter for a delicous, decadent, brain healthy hot chocolate. For your convenience, I have included affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy click here.
you will need popsicle molds or you can use an ice tray with toothpicks. instructions here.
You will need popsicle molds. This recipe makes about 3.5 large popsicles. I used this size here.
Heat ingredients and stir with a whisk until smooth and warm. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. To make them come out easier, rinse warm water (not hot) over the mold before removing the popsicle. Serve as soon as you remove them from the mold.
The best part of this recipe is that it has protein that helps heal leaky gut and is good for you. The sugar content equals between 3/4 and 1 teaspoon per popsicle and the taste is rich and amazing. Also, if you are doing MCT Keto (such as wahl’s level 3) then the macros add up so as to not throw you out of ketosis (this doesn’t apply to traditional keto). The fat level is also great for slowing the sugar into your blood stream, preventing spikes in blood sugar. So make sure you get the full fat stuff! (its good for your brain, too!)