Sugar Fasting

I just finished 40 days of fasting sugar and for me that meant cutting out all forms of processed and “healthy” sugar options and sticking with only fresh, frozen and dried fruit. It wasn’t like I had candy hiding around the house, but I would add honey or maple syrup to my coffee, tea and oats, snack on granola, chips or a square of dark chocolate and then more dark chocolate after dinner. (Maybe there was chocolate hiding, but I hadn’t labeled it “candy” because dark chocolate is good for you, right?) But what made me decide to do this was to become more aware of habitual eating I may not have paid much attention to, and to intentionally let go of a substance that doesn’t offer much in return.

It started when I saw this opportunity to join an online group for the 40 day fast with daily encouragement and accountability. Guess what? My husband decided to join me, and he’s used to having a soda and several sweetened teas at work and then an afternoon trip to the candy bowl and joins me for a square of chocolate after dinner. With a little creativity on my part, we both made it through without too much fuss. It is interesting what we learned and how we’re feeling now.

To begin, we committed to drinking more water whenever we had an urge for something sweet, and then to having a piece of fresh fruit. Apples, oranges, kiwi. pineapple and berries filled our fruit drawer. My husband, Barry, would take fruit to work and make his own unsweetened tea. I drastically reduced my coffee, because I don’t like bitter coffee and drank more herbal and green teas which tend not to need sweetener. The first couple days I used a few stevia drops in coffee, but I really preferred plain tea to the coffee with stevia . For my typical winter breakfast of oats, instead of adding the honey or maple syrup, I just loaded it with a chopped orange and some raspberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Delicious!

I did need to find a way to only use fruit in the granola I make, which is what Barry takes for breakfast. So instead of melting coconut oil and mixing it with maple syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla to pour over the oat, nut and seed mixture, I blended a half banana, two apples, a couple dates and cinnamon with a little water and poured that mixture over the oat, nut, seed mix and then baked. It was a little less sweet than my original. but nicely flavored.

I also kept a small jar of dates soaking in water in the fridge. I would use the water to sweeten some things (coffee, if I really wanted it) and the soft dates in a recipe I was making if it needed a sweetener. But for the most part, I cooked simply, enjoyed a little more fruit than I usually eat and did not bake, except for a date sweetened chocolate birthday cake for Barry, (It was good!).

When I wanted a crunchy snack, I had mixed raw nuts and seeds on hand, as I always do, and I made some kale chips a couple times. But I really missed the after dinner chocolate square. So as a fruit based replacement, I pitted 6 dates and put a small scoop of almond butter in the center of each and kept those in the freezer. Oh my! They have taken the place of the chocolate, at least for now.

I think doing the fast helped both of us think and be more mindful of what we were eating and at the same time, reflect on why we were inclined toward sugar. Reasons like boredom, avoidance, sheer habit and feeling down surfaced. Also sharing a little more sweetness and more hugs with each other helped too! We both benefited by feeling less achy and slept better and Barry lost a couple pounds and saw improved focus at work.

We haven’t returned to our pre-fast behavior and plan to keep a better balance on the use of sweeteners. Whole fruits really can be used in place of sugar and sweeteners in most recipes and I’ll be putting some sugar free recipes together if you need some inspiration. But if this is something you’re interested in doing, I encourage you to go for it.

It’s More than Food

When we talk about getting healthy, the first thing that comes into the conversation focuses around eating the ‘right’ foods, or the excuse that healthy foods don’t taste good. Well, I have my opinion on both of those issues, but Health has more to do than with food. (I like talking and eating food, but there’s more) It can seem complicated, thinking about everything that affects us, but if you can think about it in categories, I think that simplifies things a bit.

Take a look at the categories that make up YOU. For example, there are relational, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, environmental, and intellectual  components of your life. To be ‘healthy’ I believe you need to have balance in each component and should be working at improving or nourishing each area. But there is only one person that needs to decide what should be done, that’s you.

It’s a good exercise to divide a piece of paper into squares and right these categories at the top of each square. Then rank your satisfaction of that area of your life with a number from 1-10 in the upper corner of each box. Write down a few things you do already to address each category.  Once you’ve thought about that, notice the box with the lowest ranking number(s). Ask yourself, ‘What’s going on? Whats missing? What is one thing you can add or subtract that would make a small difference and improve how you feel in that category?”

I’ll share ways I’ve nourished each area of my life. For my relational category, I try to connect with a far away friend twice a month and meet up with local friends to catch up on life. I also try to have meaningful conversations with my husband and friends. My emotional component is nourished by talking out concerns or fears with a trusted friend or my husband and knowing absolutely that God is in control and has my back, so I can trust that the things happening that affect my emotional state may be hard, but they will turn out to be good.  Physically, I try to get in veggies of some kind at each meal and do some intentional movement and activity everyday it may be following an online exercise class, walking around the lake, or quick burst exercises. In the Spiritual category, I’ve been able to incorporate an online morning devotional that gives me a way to delve into the Bible while I have golden milk, tea or coffee in the morning before getting into the action of my day (I use the First 5 app). My financial component is my weakest cog, I want to make a difference and help others with the knowledge I have, but finding the best ways of doing that and making money has been a challenge. So I’m expanding into some new territory that aligns with my passion for helping others overcome the stress around food and gain more health.  I think the issue in this category is feeling like you’re living out your purpose. Environmentally I’ve changed things over several years. I made a switch to eliminate toxins in my cleaning solutions, soaps, shampoos, laundry supplies and skin care. I do have an EMF protector on my cell phone, but I think there is a need to take a break and unplug from social media and the constant demands that we feel from always being ‘connected’; If we are not careful, we will be living in response to everybody else’s desires put upon us rather than living proactively. And lastly, in the intellectual category, I try to make it a priority to read for enjoyment and to learn more.

I encourage you to take a little time to evaluate your Health in all areas of your life and see if there is room to grow or balance some things out. Reply if this has been helpful. Thanks again for being in my community of friends

Tools and Equipment for Kitchen Adventures

I am often asked what tools I use or where to get the items that I use during cooking demonstrations. So I have compiled a list of tools and equipment that I personally use and enjoy using along with a short description of why I like it. (If you decide to purchase through any of these links, I will receive a small affiliate fee for sharing. Thank you.)

This Spiralizer I use to make three thicknesses of fruit and vegetable noodles. It makes great apple noodles for adding to breakfast puddings or salads, along with colorful beet, sweet potato, squash, turnip, carrot and zucchini noodles to make interesting pasta, noodly salads and stir fry recipes.

This Handheld Mandolin  is one that I grab for quick slicing. It has three settings for different thicknesses. works great getting thin sliced potatoes, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, parsnips, beets, onion and lots more.

This  Julienne Peeler makes quick Julienne slices that when used on long vegetables mimic the spiralizer making thin noodles. The head is double sided with a straight peeler and works great on thick skinned vegetables like kolrabi and squash, as well as carrots and potatoes.

This Dehydrator does a great job making kale chips, flax crackers, fruit leathers, dehydrated cookies and bread, wraps and preserved vegetables. The timer makes it nice because it will shut off even if you’re not there. You can use the timer for marinating vegetables and to time items you don’t want to get crispy.

Vita Mix This blender is professional high speed and has the shorter container that fits under cabinets and because its wider at the base, it’s easier to get everything out of the bottom of the container. This blender makes super smooth nut creams, milks, frozen fruit ice creams, smoothies, soups, dips and so much more.

I use this Springform pan for making all of my large raw cakes and individual tarts pans for individualized treats  Its is heavy weight and has a nonstick surface that releases easily.

This  Kyocera Ceramic Knife is lightweight, easy to hold and will not cause brown oxidation on cut surfaces of fruits, greens and vegetables.

Wusthof Sharpener is for steel knives with coarse and fine making for a nice sharp edge and precision cuts. A sharp knife is safer and makes food prep quicker.

Wusthof Chef Knife is a nice quality steel knife for the professional and home cook.  the handle is easy to hold and molded to fit nicely in the hand. I like this style for ease of cutting and chopping large quantities of veggies. You can do almost all food prep with a good chef’s knife. (But some gadgets make better time)

Slow Juicer  will make high quality cold pressed juice that will last with active enzymes for up to three days.  I like this style for the ease of adding vegetables at the top and being able to regulate the amount of pulp in the juice.  I think its easy to take apart, clean and put back together.

The 5 Blade Mandolin will make all your slicing, dicing and Julienne cutting easy with one tool. Easy to clean and folds to  store when not in use.

A large Bamboo Cutting Board makes for a great surface for cutting fruits and vegetables. this one has a drip groove around the perimeter to catch any drips from juicy fruits.

Please let me know if you’d like me to review or suggest any other tools or equipment you might have questions about. I hope you have some wonderful kitchen adventures!

Lunchables for Adults and Kids

Need some variety and easy healthy choices for packing lunches for work and school? Hopefully you’ll find some ideas below that will ensure your kids won’t want to trade their lunches, but all their friends will want to have what they’ve got. If you don’t have kids, these also make great brown bag lunches or snacks for you.

Salads in a jar or in a wrap-layering a salad  in a jar is best done backwards from how you would typically layer it in a bowl. doing this keeps the greens from getting soggy. So in this order add dressing, chopped peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots, chick peas or chicken, seeds, mixed greens, spinach or romaine. When ready to eat, shake the jar or pour into a bowl.  For a wrap, place salad fixings in a tortilla and roll. Wrap in cling wrap until ready t eat.

Hummus and veggies- Make hummus by blending 1 cup of cooked beans and 1 cup of spinach, broccoli, squash or sweet potato with a spoonful of tahini, a clove of garlic, one tablespoon of lemon juice and olive oil.  Add herbs and salt to taste. Eat as a dip for veggie sticks or gluten free crackers or rolled into lettuce or collard leaves.

Mashed pea puree- Make a pea puree by mixing 1 cup of peas and 1/2 an avocado with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a few leaves of fresh mint chopped or add cumin instead.  This can be stuffed into cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers or bell pepper halves. Also used as a spread in a tortilla with chopped vegetables or chicken.

Zucchini, apple and root noodles- Use a spiral slicer or a julienne slicer or a peeler to make zucchini, apple and /or root vegetable noodles. Beets, jicama, turnips, and carrots make good noodles. Toss noodles with any salad dressing, pizza or spaghetti sauce, or an Asian sauce made with tahini or nut butter, lemon juice, garlic, tamari, garlic and water. Or try blending an avocado with a handful of spinach and a kiwi to make a sauce (add a little water if needed) and toss with apple or zucchini noodles.

Banana roll-ups- There are several variations with this sweeter treat, but a basic recipe would be a seed or nut butter spread on a tortilla topped with a banana and then rolled. Try replacing seed butter with chocolate avocado pudding, or adding granola, or sliced berries in addition to the banana or adding a berry chia jam, made by blending 1 cup of berries with 1/3 cup of chia seeds and allowing it to jell. Use as a topping, dip or spread. For tortillas try Teff tortillas, or dehydrated vegetable or coconut tortillas.

Chia seed puddings- Chia puddings can be made with pretty much any liquid or fruit puree.  For a vanilla pudding use 1 cup of almond or coconut milk with 1/3 cup chia seeds and 1 tsp of vanilla. To this you can add a scoop of protein powder and/ or 1/4 cup of oats for optional nutrient boost. For a chocolate pudding add 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder and 1 tablespoon of honey or coconut sugar.  Shake or mix thoroughly to prevent chia seeds from clumping.  Let set up for 10 to 30 minutes.   Once you have a pudding texture, transfer to a container and layer with nuts, seeds, dried and/or fresh fruit or berries.

Zucchini pizza boats or minis- For boats, cut zucchini lengthwise and spoon out some of the seeds center to make a trough. fill with some dairy free cheese, chopped veggies and pizza sauce. Or slice zucchini widthwise and make mini pizza bites. These can be baked for a few minutes to melt the cheese, but then wrapped and eaten at room temp.

Asian rolls- Spread almond or sunflower seed butter on a lettuce leaf and place on a sheet of nori. Place chopped peppers or cucumber and two cut cherry tomatoes down center. Roll nori around lettuce and vegetables and wrap in plastic until ready to eat.

Apple stacks – These are a great crispy snack or light lunch. Core an apple and then slice it into 1/4 inch rounds that look like apple doughnuts.  Mix nut-cheese or nut- butter with a tablespoon of ground flax seed and spread over one apple slice and top with another slice to make a sandwich. Try spicing up the nut butter with some curry or cinnamon.  You should be able to get 3 to 4 apple sandwiches from a medium to large apple.

Fruit or veggie crepes – Make vegan crepes by mixing 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/2 cup chickpea flour with 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Allow batter to sit for 10 minutes or refrigerate overnight. Place 1/3 cup batter in a hot non stick pan and spread thin. Cook over medium heat, flip when bubbles appear or cover until set. These are essentially very thin pancakes that can be filled with a sweet or savory filling and either rolled like a tortilla or folded into a triangle. Allow crepes to cool, store in a sealed container layered with wax paper. When ready to eat, fill with nut cheese and fruit, roasted squash or sweet potatoes, nut butters or sautéed vegetables. Or fill with desired filling and pack in a container for lunchbox.

Smoothies or blended soups- These make great take along eats. You can pack a lot of nutrition into an easily blended smoothie or soup.  For a power smoothie: choose an orange, banana or cup of berries, then add a large handful of spinach or kale, and 1/2 cup of nutmilk or coconut water. Blend. Add in any superfood powders: hemp protein, greens, maca, lacuma, tocotrenols, ashwaganda, acai, flax, etc. Spice it up with a little cinnamon and ginger.  For a Soup: Add 2 cups of spinach, 1 zucchini, 1/2 red or yellow pepper, any fresh herb you might have, 1 cup water and 1/2 avocado. Blend. Taste and add salt and pepper. If you want more savoriness add 1/2 garlic clove or powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin or curry powder. Pack these is a jar and carry along for a power snack or lunch.

Try these ideas and recipes for on the go lunches and snacks and let me know how you like them.

 

 

 

 

Class Reruns

I’ve been teaching classes for about five years. So I’ve decided to go through all of my past classes and offer them as reruns. I know there will be information for everyone, and I’ll be able to add new things I’ve learned since teaching them the first or third time. I would like some feedback as to the interests that are out there for classes, so If you see some in the following list that you are especially interested in attending, please let me know by commenting below or emailing me. I will see where the greatest interests are and put together a schedule.  I will only offer some of the classes this year, with a preregistration deadline.  I know everyone is busy, just like I am, and we have to pick and choose what we spend our time on and when to take time away from family.  If healthy eating is important to you and something you need help learning or being inspired to do, these classes are a great way to accomplish that goal while learning and having some fun and uplifting conversation with others. It can be considered “ME” time that will ultimately benefit you and your loved ones.  We have a good time coming together and sharing information and food.

Please take a look at the list of classes below and if one (or two or three) peaks your interest please comment in the box below. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Food as Medicine or Poison

Foods that Feed Your Thyroid

Break Up with Sugar

Foods to Calm Inflammation

Inflammation is at the root of many discomforts and diseases we experience. This class will look at some of the dietary causes of inflammation and give you alternatives to incorporate into your diet that will help reduce the inflammatory response.  We will cover gluten free, dairy free, low carbohydrate and alkalizing foods that can help bring relief.  This is primarily an educational class with a lot of printed info with some food samples and recipes that are anti-inflammatory.

Plant-based World Tour – Cuisinr from Spain, Africa, Greece and India

Easy Raw for Everyday

This class will delve into the importance of raw, uncooked foods for those interested in incorporating foods that are alive with nutrition and life giving energy.  Chef Kim will demonstrate how to make easy and delicious raw dishes for each meal of the day.  You will sample the food as a “Living Lunch”

All American Favorites with a Twist:          

Chef Kim will demo the recipes while you enjoy tasting them.  The menu includes: No-Meat Burgers, Good4U Onion rings, Wholesome Ketchup, Mustard and Mayo, Wonderful Waldorf Salad, and Rawsome Apple crisp!

 Dehydrating 101  and 201    

101-Come find out how dehydrating can prolong the life of your foods, cut down on waste, and provide delicious snack and travel foods

201- This class will expand upon the Dehydrating 101 class as Chef Kim shares more advanced recipes and techniques for dehydrating and preserving foods. We will cover how to make granola, crackers, wraps, cookies, and more

Raw Italian Cuisine 1 and 2

Raw foods the delicious way…full of Italian flavor!  Menu 1: Living Lasagna, Italian Kale salad, Garden Pizza, and OMG bars

Menu 2: Pesto Rawvioli,  Caesar Salad, and Sweet Cannoli. Come hungry, as we will share a buffet lunch

 Nut Milks and the Multipurpose Nut-Milk Bag:

Come see the many ways you can use a nut-milk bag while you learn how to make your own dairy free ‘milks’ and nut milk recipes.  You will taste almond milk, cashew hemp milk, oat milk and rice milk and recipes using each milk.

 Gluten-Free and Easy (Not a raw Class)                                               

This class will touch on how gluten affects the body and some easy ways of eating gluten free.  From lunchbox foods to desserts, this class will give you ideas and recipes for avoiding gluten and choosing healthful alternatives.

Raw Asian Fusion:

You will enjoy demos and tasting of  Coconut Soup, Vegetable Pad Thai, Nori rolls and Cardamom Fruit Tarts.

Dairy-Free and Delicious                                       

Join in this class for ideas and recipes that are great tasting without dairy.  Chef Kim will demo how to make dairy free alternatives to cheese spreads, cream sauces, ice cream and more. There will be samples.

 Super Nutritious & Delicious Greens: 

Come find out the importance of including greens in your diet.  Come taste some amazingly delicious green recipes. We will cover the use of kale, chard, spinach, romaine, bok choy, collards, beet greens, cabbage, and green herbs.

Dips and Treats 

Do you need some healthy recipes for appetizers or starters for when family and friends gather together?  In this class you will learn recipes and techniques for making creamy dips, tapenade, pesto, and hummus along with crackers, breadsticks and veggies that can be used in a variety of ways to make appealing and delicious starters for any gathering or as a yummy snack for yourself.  Samples will be served.

Divine Desserts 

Come enjoy raw desserts that are sure to please.   You will learn through recipe demos, taste all the desserts and take the recipes home to wow your family and friends.

Health Promoting Raw Snacks

We all need a snack every now and then, and this class will give you an arsenal of recipes for snacks that will increase your energy and curb your appetite without caffeine and refined sugar.  Great snacks for kids too.   You’ll be sure to leave energized and empowered to make your own healthful superfood snacks.

Raw Mexican Cuisine

If you enjoy Mexican food but would like an alternative to the meat and cheese found in most Mexican recipes, come enjoy a Raw Mexican class where you will watch the recipe demonstrations and then feast on a delicious three-course meal, including: soup, piled high tacos and a dessert.

Breakfast and Brunch–  Healthy breakfast choices: Juices, smoothies, easy granola with almond milk, raw oatmeal, crepes and raw cinnamon rolls. Get your morning kick start without the sugar and caffeine found in most morning choices.

Organic on a Budget – It is Possible and Important! 

What do the labels mean – “Natural vs. Organic”. GMO foods to watch out for. How eating organic is possible even when you are pinching pennies.  Come gain some tools on how to budget and eat organic for your health

Raw Energy Soups, Mineral Boosting Greens and Dressings 

Chef Kim will teach you the template to follow to make your own healthy and tasty soups, full of life energy. Then you will learn the benefits of incorporating leafy greens and sprouts into your daily menu and how to make delicious salads and dressings.

Kraut Power – Feed your Gut and Boost your Brain

The importance of the gut flora is often overlooked in how it affects every facet of our health. This class will inform and teach you how to make your own highly effective and potent living probiotic food to enhance your overall health. You will prepare your own pint of kraut to take home, ferment and enjoy!  You will taste a variety of fermented foods.

Raw Nut Cheez & Sprouted Breads (and Organic Wine)

Come learn the art of raw cheez and bread making, without the dairy and gluten.  You will taste how fermenting changes the flavor of the cheez and how adding herbs and spices can bring a new dimension to your palate. Smooth cheez spreads and firm cheez forms will be covered. Raw breads are healthy and fun to learn how to make, but do require a dehydrator. You will taste a variety of breads and cheez, accompanied by a glass of organic wine (optional).

Get Cultured!

Come learn the importance of adding cultured foods to your diet and how they can improve your health. You will learn how to culture your own coconut yogurt, kefir, raw nut cheese, and veggie kraut. We will cover different options for ‘starters’ and part of the class will be hands on as you make your own Kraut to take home with you.

Come Clean- Cleanse Workshop

Come find out what Cleansing and Detoxing is all about and how implementing this practice can bring your body greater health. Your questions about different cleanse techniques will be answered along with the reasons for cleansing and how to formulate your own cleanse the smart way.  There are different reasons for using different detox approaches, and there are certain things to consider and be aware of when doing a Cleanse.  If you want to learn how to help your body release unwanted, toxins and weight that are causing ill health, join in for this information packed night.

Healthy Food on the Go- Go 

 

This class will show you how to stay healthy on the go.  Whether you are on the sidelines, picnicking, camping, jetting off somewhere or just need ideas for a bagged lunch, this class will help with ideas and give you some recipes to get you started.

Healthy Traveling Tips

Love to travel, but not sure how to eat in airports, on the plane or while running from one gate to the next? Airports are notorious for unhealthy food choices, but in the last couple of years there have been some attempts to bring in some healthy options. To stay on top of your health, you have to have time to look for them or pack your own, so your not consuming coffee, sugar, and fat while compromising your health. You want to arrive feeling your best, so you can enjoy time exploring and enjoying your designation. I’ll share a couple tips for traveling healthy from my own experience.
Fist, staying hydrated is so important, so drink 20 oz. of clean water before leaving home, and take an empty water bottle with you. A bottle with a filter is ideal, because you can fill it with tap water once you get through security and save $5 you’d sped on a bottle. If you plan to dine in one of the many airport restaurants, ask for water wth lemon. Water helps everything in the body work better, it even relieves pain. Carrying chia seeds to add to the water can provide a boost of protein, omega 3 fat, fiber and they help the body to absorb the water better and fill you up between meals.
Packing or purchasing fresh fruit and veggies gives you the highest amount of nutrients per calorie. Fruits are the highest food source of vitamins and vegetables are the highest food source of minerals and fiber. Fruits that travel well include, apples, citrus, bananas, and cutting up pineapple ,grapes and kiwi into a disposable cup makes a great meal on the go. Vegetable sticks with hummus or nut pates or spreads are stable unrefrigerated for several hours and travel well. Many airport restaurants offer fresh fruit and salads, and it is possible to find juice and smoothie bars.
If you plan ahead a bit, you can make some great travel snacks. If you have a dehydrator, flax crackers and dried fruit are quick and easy to put on trays and then you take them out when dry. Making power balls are an easy stir together snack that packs a good protein boost. Place a half cup of nut or seed butter into a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of honey or coconut nectar and a pinch of salt. If you like add a scoop of protein powder and some superfood powder, I like maca. Then add seeds, dried berries, chopped figs, apricots or raisins. You can add soaked chopped nuts or crunchy brown rice cereal if that appeals to you. You will stir to coat everything and decide if it will stick together in a ball. If not add a little more nut butter or honey, if it’s too loose add more powder or seeds. Roll into balls and roll in shredded coconut and refrigerate. Place in a Baggie to travel. If there is no time to make your own, shop for organic fresh and dried fruit, trail mixes, protein or nut bars and individual packets of protein and/or greens powder.

I’m traveling to Rome as I write this and I have  a full day of flights and layovers, and I want to share with you what I’ve packed for snacks and found in airport venues. On the way to the airport, I drank a mixture of barley grass juice, protein powder, chia seeds and water. In my carry on, I brought dried cherries and dragon fruit, flax crackers, kale chips and dark chocolate covered almonds. In Detroit my husband and I dined at a Mediterranean restaurant and I had lemon water, chick pea hummus, tabouli and side salad. At JFK, I found a Jamba Juice and ordered the whole super greens juice, which is blended apple,carrot, spinach and kale with a bit of water. On the airplane, it is possible to request a special meal when booking, but the vegetarian meals are usually high in cheese and milk components. I did not order a special meal, but one of the options onboard was a salad topped with asparagus, squash, peppers,onion and a couple shrimp with a side of fruit. It is becoming much easier to travel and stay plant-based with tasty options along the way, but I try to be prepared in case I can’t find anything that fits into my criteria for staying healthy wile traveling. Now, I am much more careful about my choices while traveling to and from my destination because for me it is a stress on my system with the rushing, anxiousness, eating at off hours and the immune attack that is encountered along the way. Once I arrive, I love experiencing the food and culture of a new place – they both go hand in hand most of the time. But I continue to eat a majority of plant based options because they are available and delicious. Other countries are also making allowances for people with compromised systems, such as celiac disease.  I hope these simple ideas I’ve shared will benefit you in your travels.  I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

You Are What You Eat…Not!

I have been all about the food I put in my own mouth and recommend to others, because I’ve always believed getting the food part “right” would make a huge difference in reaching health goals. Yes, the emotional and spiritual aspects are definitely involved in health and healing, but the physical is also more than exercise and the right food – it actually relies on how my body and yours absorbs the food we choose to eat.  Let me say that another way…You are what you absorb.

So, let me mention a couple things that will help ensure better breakdown and absorption. If the food isn’t broken down properly, it will not get properly absorbed. First, the food starts in the mouth, where saliva is critical to begin the breakdown of carbs and fats. And chewing starts the process. Did you know that chewing for at least 35 times can increase nutrient absorption and even help with weight loss? Count how many times you typically chew a bite of food and then take another bite and count to 35 before you swallow. And swish drinks and smoothies around your mouth to blend it with saliva before swallowing.  Try to make this a habit. The second thing that can help improve absorption is making sure you have a good supply of stomach acid. How do you do that? Well, one way to tell if you need to support your stomach acid is if you have reflux, bloating, burping, or bad breath. One way to support your stomach acid is to take about a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a cup of water before you eat. Doing this will help the natural production of stomach acid. The hydrochloric acid and pepsin produced in the stomach is paramount to the breakdown of proteins. Proteins break down into amino acids and they form the building blocks of every tissue and enzyme needed for the functioning of the body. Sometimes, enzyme supplements and raw foods are also recommended to increase the enzyme activity in the stomach to ensure proper digestion. (When food does not digest properly and completely break down into absorbable compounds, nutritional deficiencies and disorders occur.) And finally, supporting the micro-biome or “good bacteria” in the intestines is essential to absorbing nutrients and getting the most out of the food we eat. You can support this area of the body by incorporating cultured and fermented foods into the diet, which would include raw cultured vegetables, fruits and krauts, kimchi, miso, kefir, rejuvelac, kombucha, cultured nut cheeses, and the like. You can also take a probiotic supplement to build up the good bacteria colonies.  Here’s an interesting and eerie fact: there are tens of thousands more bacteria residing in our bodies than the number of cells that make up our body and there is more bacterial DNA than human DNA in US. But these bacteria are vital to our survival because of the influence they have on our nutrient absorption, immune activity and brain function.  So, chewing, drinking a little lemon juice or ACV before meals and incorporating foods high in probiotics can make a significant impact on our body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. And if you are eating real whole foods, another name for food without a box or label, then you will get a bigger bang for your buck if you digest those foods more completely. (And if you’re eating food from boxes and packages, you wont get anything more, because they are primarily devoid of nutrients in the first place) So, choose foods that are nutrient dense and make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your digestion so that you absorb as much as possible. Remember, the body counts nutrients, not calories.

I know there may be other things that need to be addressed to heal the digestive tract for some people, but for many people these three steps can be a great starting point to bring about greater health. Contact me if I can support you in reaching your health goals.

 

Spring into Health

Well, I wish it was as easy as it sounds.  Springing into health is more of a journey that takes patience and persistence  before we see results that stick around and habits change. It kind of reminds me of our Wisconsin ‘Spring”, we have to wait through the cold and still sometimes freezing temps until it really feels like Spring.  Even though the temps are still cold, the longer days and more sunshine, give us incentive to come out of hibernation and get ready to be more active and focus on healthy lifestyle choices, whether that includes walking or running around the lake more frequently, hiking, riding the bike paths, getting out on the water in some form or another, participating in team sports and daily choosing healthy foods for meals and snacks.  For me, being active and eating the healthiest foods comes easiest when it is warm outside. [ I did take a vacation to Florida in March and was so thankful for the sunshine on my skin, walking miles on the beach morning and night, and for all the fresh fruit and vegetables that were in season at the you-pick farms.]  I am so ready for spring. So as we stat to warm up here in Wisconsin, I want to encourage you to make a plan…  Take a quick evaluation of how you want to feel better, sleep better, eat better, have fun better. If you write that list down, you are more likely to do something about it. Then make a plan to incorporate one activity of movement a day, that will raise your heart rate for a few minutes. More and more studies are coming out that debunk the “rule” of having to do an hour of aerobic exercise for it to be of any benefit. Instead small bursts of exercise that raise heart rate are very beneficial and do not take hours of your time. Next add more green leafy vegetables to your daily meals or snacks, try them in a green smoothie, as a wrap instead of bread for sandwich filling, blended with an avocado and lemon juice for a dip for other vegetables, sauteed with coconut oil and garlic, chopped and mixed in with some raw kraut, wrapped around a banana or spread with almond butter or hummus and rolled. By adding in high nutrient-dense snacks and foods, your body will thank you with more energy, better focus, better sleep, better weight and overall wellbeing.  With small steps toward replacing empty calorie foods, processed and full of additives, with more nutrient rich whole foods, you will spring into greater health!

A person with health has many dreams, a person without health has but one dream.

Gear Up for Healthy Holidays!

It’s officially the time of year when we are surrounded with cookies, baked treats, candies and rich foods at celebrations and family gatherings.  Can we partake, enjoy and still stay healthy? My first answer is yes, in moderation, because stressing over food is often more harmful than a few “treats” you choose to eat. But in saying that, for me, I have to decide that I will only partake of so many and no more, just so I can enjoy the tradition and childhood memories that come along with having these special holiday goodies. On the other hand, if I know I have a problem controlling how many I will eat or I get unhealthy reactions, then abstaining or finding a healthy alternative may be the best choice.  The other factor to consider is knowing how these goodies will affect how you feel after eating them. If you are sensitive to the cream and gluten in the cookies and pudding, and you know that your stomach will be cramped and you get migraines after eating sugar, you need to decide if you want to feel that way in order to taste and partake of the goodies.  Ultimately the risk is up to you. There are also more serious risks that need to be considered if there are blood sugar issues, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These risks need to be evaluated in order for us to become more aware of our state of health and take personal responsibility for our health.

So, the first thing I want to propose is a change in the way you think about these special celebration foods. Knowing that they do not bring greater health when eaten, we should not call them “treats” or “goodies” because we do not want to treat ourselves to poor health. It would be a bit harsh to think of them as poison, but in effect they are to some extent, depending on how your body tolerates them. When you choose to partake, take a small amount, savor the flavor, and enjoy. Then find something healthy to enjoy so you don’t continue to eat foods that will bring unhealthy results. In many instances, this may require you to bring along something that is more appropriate for your food choice and for your health.

The other thought pattern I want to address is how we can stress out over food, worrying about every ingredient or how it was prepared or cooked. If we are eating whole foods most of the time, 80% of the time, and we decide to have a piece of traditional pie or a few cookies made with ingredients we no longer include in our diet, I think our bodies will be able to handle it without much trouble. ( If there is an allergy or other serious health consideration, then I do not recommend even a small amount) But if we are worried and stressed about eating those things, I believe stress can do more harm than the actual “bad” ingredients, because our bodies are miraculous in the way they were created to deal with eliminating toxins from our system. (That is dependent upon how well your body can detoxify itself and how much toxic load you are exposed to. Which includes all toxic exposure from food, water, air, drugs, amalgam, product off gassing, radiation, etc. – this is another topic all together)

Now, I propose that you have on hand some remedies and tips to help you stay healthy through the holiday season. First, sugar intake decreases proper immune function and increases inflammation in the body. Some tips to keep in mind when eating sugar include: eat some fibrous veggies and good fats at the same meal, which will slow down the sugar absorption and will cut down on sugar spikes; eating raw fermented foods will increase probiotics in gut and increase immune response – these foods, kefir, krauts and kombucha, also cut sugar cravings; and finally, including garlic, turmeric and cider vinegar in teas and recipes will have anti-inflammatory actions in the body.

Having a couple of recipes that are healthy alternatives to conventional foods that you can bring to a party are important to have on hand and have practiced so they become easy for you to whip up.  I hope I can help you find some recipes you enjoy, that are easy to put together and you will want to share. See Recipes section.

 

 

Juice Feasting?

Summer is the perfect time to take a couple days to lighten up and supercharge your cells with nutrition. This can be accomplished by a short juice feast, even if it’s just for one day. Giving your body a break from having to digest heavy foods can allow more time for your body to heal, clean out toxins and repair or bring systems back into balance. A juice feast is something you can do that will provide essential nutrients while allowing the body to focus its energy on important cellular function and repair. Typically you do not need to be supervised by a healthcare practitioner for a short juice feast, but if you are concerned about specific health issues, it is recommended you check with your physician or know that you can stop and resume eating whole foods at any time if you wish. Short juicing periods can make a noticeable impact on your energy, skin, weight loss, colon health, mental clarity and overall vibrancy of life.

Over a weekend or for a week, consider only drinking fresh juiced fruits and vegetables. The juice, or life blood of plants, is super dense in vitamins, mineral and phytonutrients that can provide essential nutrients for proper cellular function, repair and regeneration. Most of us are deficient in the amount of vitamins and minerals we consume because most of us are not eating enough plant food which has the highest concentration of these necessary nutrients.  And most of us do not assimilate and absorb efficiently, so we are lacking in the nutrients we need to manufacture healthy cells. Juice can help. But, NOT the juice on the grocery store shelves. That juice is low in quality nutrition because of the processes and treatments it has to go through for sustaining shelf life. Fresh juiced fruits and veggies are best! If you do not have a juicer, I’m here to help. I can supply you with juice for the number of days you would like to feast: one, three or five days. I will supply you with five juices a day and you will drink water or herbal teas between juices.  If you don’t think you can make it on liquids alone, I recommended that you supplement with raw whole foods: fruits, vegetables, and small servings of seeds and nuts during the time you are setting aside to do this for your health.

The cost for me to provide you with juices for a Juice Feast is $30 a day for 5 juices. I do suggest a day or two before you decide to embark on a Juice Feast, to start eating lighter and more salads or steamed vegetables and eliminating coffee, sodas, dairy and meat. Ideally, the summer months are best for this because the weather is warmer and our body’s are more inclined to lighter meals, and cool foods and drinks. So, this is something I am offering trough August, however there is a week mid August I will not be available. If you are interested in doing this please contact me. I am happy to work with your schedule.