Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cucumbers

I have always loved cucumbers. I find their crunchy texture and mild and refreshing flavor irresistible. It always baffles me that there are people out there that don’t like them (ahem…you know who you are ;-). I’m a HUGE fan of pickles (I’ll thank my Essenmacher roots for that!) and I love cucumbers on salads (green salads, pasta salads, etc.). I’ve also had refreshing cucumber waters and cucumber cocktails. JeIMG_0531nnifer Tyler Lee also recommends Asian cucumber salad, minty cucumber salad, and cucumber tea sandwiches. All of which sound great!

Food Facts:

  • Seventy percent of the US pickle crop is made into pickles.
  • Cucumbers are composed mostly of water, making them a very refreshing option during summer.
  • The flesh contains vitamins A and C and folic acid, while the skin is rich in fiber and contains the minerals silica, potassium, magnesium, and molybdenum. [My thoughts on peeling vegetables: peeling them is just extra work AND it takes away vital nutrients, so no thanks.]
  • Good source of vitamin K and B5, phosphorous, copper, and manganese.
  •  Cucumbers belong to the same family as melons, summer squash, and winter squash.
  • Have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Are a good source of flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and whfoods.com.

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Basil

basil in bowl 1000pxWhile working at the Campbell Farmer’s Market, basil was always a top seller for Tomatero. Tomatoes, strawberries, and basil always brought folks to the booth. In fact, one of my coworkers would often wave some basil through the air to release the scent to help lure them in like Yogi Bear. I love basil. I like making traditional caprese salads, basil pesto, and my awesome sister-in-law Amy, makes a watermelon caprese salad (watermelon subs nicely for tomatoes for those avoiding nightshades). Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests trying a nut free pesto – using sunflower seeds or adding fresh peaches and basil to ice cream! YUMMMY! What’s your favorite use for basil?

Food Facts:

  • Sweet basil is the variety that we typically eat, however Holy basil or tulsi is a variety that is coveted for its medicinal purposes and is native to India.
  • Excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C and maganese.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids.
  • Basil’s essential oils are antifungal and antimicrobial and have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • It is also an anti-inflammatory and can be used to support conditions where inflammation is a factor.
  • Basil should be stored with stems in a glass of water on the counter. Putting basil in the fridge turns it black.
  • There are more than 60 varieties of basil.
  • It belongs to the mint family.
  • Some of the major medicinal uses include: digestive support, a mild sedative, headache relief, kidney support, poor circulation, and intestinal spasms.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Green Onions

Green onions probably aren’t anything new for many of us, but they are an essential ingredient in all types of cuisine. I don’t mind onions raw, I lovgreen onions matte 4-1000pxe them cooked, and I ADORE them caramelized. I realize that not everyone feels this way about onions, especially children. Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests including them in omelets or even making savory green onion pancakes. I like the idea of using them to make savory pancakes, but choosing a grain free flour for the pancakes, rather than whole wheat flour. (You probably know my stance on wheat, but if not, check out this post.)

Food Facts:

  • Onions are members of the allium family, like garlic and leeks.
  • Smaller onions have less water and a greater concentration of phytonutrients.
  • The sweeter the onion, the less phytonutrient activity.
  • The Western Yellow variety of onion has the most antioxidants
  • The papery skin layer of the onion has the most concentration of bionutrients. And while we don’t eat that part of the onion, it should be saved and added to homemade broth.
  • Onions are a rich source of the antioxidant quercetin. This phytonutrient is vital to support digestion and gut issues.
  • The antioxidant values in onions have been shown to prevent cancer
  • Onions have also been shown to fight against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  • Good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese.
  • Onions have been also been shown to support the respiratory system and fight coughs and congestion.
  • The sulfur in onions (and all alliums) is great for liver detoxification.

From: The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Salmon

Salmon is my most favorite fish. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. My uncle John would go out fishing and always bring home plenty of salmon to share. Often, he would smoke the salmon and this was my very favorite treat. It’s like I had arrived in healthy heaven. Today it is still my favorite, along with halibut.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests a sesame crusted salmon, which sounds delicious. She also suggests a recipe for crispy salmon chips (salmon skin) which intrigues me!

Planked Alaskan salmon and asparagus

Food Facts:

  • Always opt for wild salmon. Its nutrient values are far superior to that of farmed salmon. Wild salmon has 20% higher protein content and 20% lower fat content as compared to farmed salmon.
  • The chinook and sockeye varieties of salmon are fattier than ono, pink, and chum.
  • Salmon is a great source of potassium, selenium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and magnesium, and vitamins B5, B6, B12, C, and E.
  • Great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Wild salmon has a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats.
  • Cold-water fish, like salmon, have been shown to protect against heart disease, alzheimer’s disease, and many types of cancer.
  • Salmon is good for combatting inflammation.
  • It has also been shown to help prevent against depression.
  • It is a great protein source for detoxification of the liver. [aka Love your liver with salmon.]

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Sunflower Butter

Sunflower butter or sunbutter is a great option for those that are allergic to nuts but can tolerate seeds. It has a great peanut-y flavor. As with all nuts and seeds, I recommend opting for organic because fat is where the toxins (herbicides) are stored. I also generally recommend raw nuts and seeds because roasting can damage the fragile fats and is often used to hide the rancidity of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds have a season when they are fresh, just like all fruits and veggies. Choosing raw allows you to know that the nuts and seeds are still fresh. Although, raw and organic nut butters are CRAZY expensive (like $12-$25 for a fairly small jar). You can certainly make your own. Add the nuts or seeds to a food processor and turn it on. Once they become the right consistency, turn off and store in a jar (in the fridge to slow the oxidation process). Some people add salt, sugar, or oil to it. Feel free to experiment away!

Jennifer Tyler Lee, like many parents, was looking for a nut-free alternative for her children while at school. She suggests using it as you would peanut butter…ants on a log and apple slices dipped in sunbutter. She also suggests a no bake snack called Bitty Bites. I would obviously sub out the whole wheat flour for a grain-free option like cassava flour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFood Facts:

  • Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and E, folate, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and protein.
  • Sunflower seeds contain phytochemicals, especially phytosterols, which can help to lower blood cholesterol.
  • They are a great source of monounsaturated fats (24 grams per 1/3 cup serving).
  • Sunflower seeds also contain arginine an essential amino acid that is important during periods of growth.
  • Contain heart healthy compounds.
  • Have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiallergenic.

 

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

 

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Rhubarb

My mom talks about growing up in Michigan and picking rhubarb from their backyard garden, sprinkling it with salt, and munching on it. I believe there was also a backyard swing involved in that story, although I could be merging two stories together. The first time that I tried rhubarb, the taste reminded me of picking sour grass with my grandma as a child. Like many people, I have also tried it in strawberry rhubarb pie. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends a strawberry rhubarb crisp or rhubarb ice pops (YUM!). Additional ideas for use include in sweet fruit breads, rhubarb syrup, and rhubarb mojitos (!!!!!). I like sour things, so I imagine that I would like it chopped in a salad with other raw veggies. How do you use rhubarb?

Food Facts:

  • rhubarbThe leaves of the plant are poisonous. The stalks are the edible part of the plant.
  • It can be used to help constipation.
  • It has been shown to have anticancer effects in lab studies.
  • It is rich in lycopene and can be supportive in preventing heart disease.
  • It has vitamins K and C and calcium, potassium, and manganese.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • It is an early spring plant – one of the first to grow, especially in colder regions.
  • Choose firm stalks when harvesting or purchasing.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Wikipedia, and The Pioneer Woman.

 

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cherries

Well this post will be up just in time for cherry season to be over :(. Cherry season typically starts near the end of May and goes through late June/early July.  But better late than never! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that folks dehydrate them, making “Sour Cherry Blasters” or make them into a cherry compote to accompany vanilla ice cream. Cherries are not one of my favorite fruits, but I will enjoy them raw. While I do think they are tasty, I just like other stone fruit better.

Food Facts:

  • Sour (tart) cherry juice can be used to help improve sleep and has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease and and diabetes.
  • Cherries are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, copper, and manganese.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Both sour and sweet cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation.cherries
  • Cherries have also been reported to reduce Gout attacks.
  • Sour cherries are lower in calories than sweet cherries.
  • They are a rich source of flavonoids, especially anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins.
  • Cherries were one of the first fruits to be brought to the “new world”.
  • One study found that runners that drank Montmorency cherry juice (one glass before the race and one glass during the race) were less sore afterwards because of the ability of the cherries to help with muscle recovery.
  • Fresh cherries are firm, shiny, and lack dents, pits, or bruises. They also have bright green stems. The fresher the cherry, the more nutrients!
  • Store cherries in the fridge and eat them quickly!

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murry, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.

Featured

In Season, in July

July is here! I love July because it truly symbolizes summer for me. Although, this July I do have to work for a couple of weeks, generally, for teachers, July is the only month of year where there is actually no school. The other reason I love July is because all the wonderful fruit and vegetable options available in July.

Figs are top of my list of IMG_5958exciting fruits this month! And everyone loves when toma
to season is here! I’m looking forward to caprese salads this summer – it brings me back to Italy! Yum! What are you looking forward to this July?

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

Featured

YL Essential Oils + After Sun Care

Hey Oily friends!

While on vacation in Cabo San Lucas a few months back, I got a bit too much sun. Uh-oh!

While my goals are always to get a healthy amount of safe sun exposure so that I can make vitamin D, I also try to avoid getting too much sun. I usually try to stay in shaded areas as much as possible and then apply sunscreen when I can’t avoid the sun. Everyone has a system that works for them, and this works for me. Well most of the time. [Insert guilty face here ;-).]

I researched oils to help with my sunburn and luckily enough I had brought some oil blends with me on vacation that would help with After Sun Care. In my daily moisturizer I had frankincense, lavender, geranium, and tea tree. And in my radiation blend were oils, that, Duh!, help with burns. (I rub this blend on my skin that has gone through radiation treatment and after all, radiation is essentially a sunburn to the deeper tissues.) My radiation blend has: melaleuca quinquenervia, melrose, German chamomile, lavender, and coconut oil (and it would have Roman chamomile if it was ever it stock!). I applied the lotion and the radiation blend to the sunburned areas and within a day, I was back on track. The skin wasn’t red or irritated and it healed really well. And an obvious bonus here: there wasn’t any “junk” in my after sun care!

Fast forward to present day. This past weekend, while training for my Avon 39 Mile walk, I thought I put on enough sunscreen, but there was one part of my shoulder that still got sunburned. Since I am home and have access to all my oils, I didn’t have to improvise. I made an After Sun Care Rollerball and my sunburn is loving it!

I added about 10 drops of lavender, tea tree, and helichrysum and then about 7-8 drops of peppermint and frankincense. I filled the rest of the rollerball up with coconut oil.

I have been applying the blend at least twice per day. The sunburn is fading and the skin is feeling much less irritated.

 

As always, be sure to test these oils before using them on a sunburn.

Have you used any oils for After Sun Care? What are your successes?

Happy SUMMER!

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Featured

June 2016 Book of the Month – Eat Dirt

I just finished Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. This was a fascinating read for nutrition neIMG_0035rds like myself, but also for anyone that would like to improve their digestive function. Axe takes an in depth look into the factors in modern life that have caused the perfect conditions for leaky gut syndrome to proliferate.

“Leaky gut is at ground zero of many of this country’s most confounding health crises” (Axe, 2016, p.10). Axe argues that leaky gut leads to systemic inflammation and inflammation is at the root of all of our Western diseases.

Eat Dirt is filled with a mixture interesting anecdotal testimonials and cutting edge science. Axe goes over the various types of gut issues and explores the options for how to heal the gut. A comprehensive discussion of the various types of probiotic strains and how ensure that you’re getting enough probiotics to sustain a thriving colony in your gut. Axe includes dietary and lifestyle factors that help to bring the body back into balance. Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PM

This book gets 5 out of 5 strawberries! A must read!

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Plums

I have very fond childhood memories of eating all the fruit growing up. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Lake Huron, MI. When the Essenmacher clan moved to California, he set up a bountiful backyard garden. Among the many things that he grew were plums. The plum tree was nestled next to my childhood swing set. I still love plums to this day and I’ll give my grandparents all the credit for my fruit addiction. IMG_0281

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that readers roast plums with pistachios or try making an Asian plum sauce. While I can easily eat about a half dozen fresh farmer’s market or backyard plums, I do like the idea of cooking the fruit. I’m particularly fond of grilled stone fruit served over some vanilla ice cream.

Food Facts:

  • Wild varieties pack the most nutrients. Look for red, purple, black, or blue plums because they will have more phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins.
  • Plums should be ripened on the the tree and can be susceptible to chilling injury.
  • Plums are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, fiber, potassium, and copper.
  • Plums and prunes (or dried plums as they are now being referred to in order to boost their popularity) are known for their laxative effects.
  • Their content of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids [phenols] has been documented to have antioxidant and anticancer properties.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Laura Pizzorno, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.

 

Featured

YL Essential Oils + Body Wash

After deciding to add essential oils to my unscented body lotion [recipe located here], the next step to upping my skincare routine was reevaluating my body wash, hand soap, and shave cream (and dishsoap too!).

Again, part of the reason why I’m using essential oils is to limit the amount of toxins that I’m exposed to everyday by choosing more natural alternatives to support my health. There are things out of my control (like the air I breathe), but there are things within my control that I can improve (like the foods I eat and what I put on my body). Because your skin is your largest organ and because it absorbs what we put on it, I needed to change the products that I use in my skincare routine each and every day. Artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. In addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body wash, hand soap, and shave cream. Other “oily folks” prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Dr. Bronner’s seemed like a great place to start. I’ve seen this this very wordy bottle of soap in health food stores for years and just never tried it out. A friend finally convinced me. 🙂

Here are the main reasons I like it: 1) It’s been made in the good ol’ USA since 1948 by a family of soapmakers that has been making soap since 1858. 2) There are 9 ingredients and they are regular old ingredients (hemp oil, jojoba oil, water, etc.). 3) They use organic and fair trade ingredients (although not all of the ingredients are both organic and fair trade). 4) It’s economical. 5) It’s multi-use. They claim 18 uses; I’m currently using it for 4 things.

Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

  1. IMG_0240For a full bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, tea tree, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!
  2.  The options for fragrance combinations are endless. I choose oils that are good for skin and antimicrobial/antibacteria. Some other options would be lemon/citrus*, purification, thyme, thieves, melissa, and cinnamon bark.

* Citrus oils can begin to deteriorate plastics, so if using lemon or citrus oils, be sure that the soap is not being stored in a plastic container.

I would recommend testing oils and the soap first before using this all over.

Let me know if you try adding essential oils to your bodywash and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Featured

Mexican Style Coleslaw [GF, Paleo, Primal, Vegetarian]

Weekly shopping trips to the farmer’s market are my inspiration for the week’s menu. Some people plan their meals around what’s on their shopping list, but I go to the farmer’s market to see what produce is in season and let that guide my weekly meal planning. Then I head to grocery store to pick up whatever else I need for the week’s meals. I realize this may seem backwards to many, but eating seasonally is my thing, so you’re probably not too surprised! 😉

This past week, there were the cutest little heads of cabbage for one dollar each. I decided coleslaw would make a great accompaniment to the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs from The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally.

I always make my own paleo mayonnaise, but I remembered that I recently got a free jar of Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Avocado Mayo from Thrive Market. I was feeling a bit lazy and not wanting to make my own mayo, especially when I had a perfectly good paleo mayo on hand. I decided I would “make it work”.  Then I had a lightbulb moment: what if I made a coleslaw that had a Mexican flare to it? And thus Mexican style coleslaw was born. This coleslaw was much, much better than simply “making it work”. I have made this huge batch of coleslaw 3 times in the span of one week. My husband looks at me with a big goofy grin when he eats it, because it is just that good. It was also a HUGE hit at our Father’s Day picnic at the winery. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Recipe:

FullSizeRender1 small head of purple cabbage, sliced

1 small head of green cabbage, sliced

6 stalks of celery, grated

6 medium carrots, grated

1 small jicama, grated

1 medium yellow onion, grated

1 cup Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup raw local honey

1 t cumin

1 t chili powder

1 t cayenne pepper

2 t garlic sea salt

1 lemon, juiced

freshly cracked pepper

the zest of one lemon

minced chives, for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. I prefer using a food processor to grate and slice my veggies. It makes making a big batch of coleslaw that much easier. But feel free to slice and grate your veggies however you like. 🙂
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the veggie ingredients. (Reserve the chives and lemon zest.)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk mayo, vinegar, mustard, honey, and herbs and spices. Add the lemon zest.
  4. Stir the dressing onto the coleslaw and top with chives.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

Serves 12-16

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

Featured

Peach Pie [Paleo, Primal, Vegetarian]

It’s summer and that means that peak PEACH SEASON is nearly here. While we don’t eat much sugar or sweet treats, this new Peach Pie recipe is seriously MY JAM. It’s crazy easy too. You will not regret making this. TRUST ME.

I am all about eating seasonally. It’s my passion. But I did use frozen organic peaches in this recipe. [Gasp!] A couple of reasons: 1) they’re more affordable 2) they’re already cut up! 3) I prefer to eat my local organic produce fresh. It almost seems wasteful to put them in a smoothie or a pie. I realize others may disagree. That’s okay.

Without a pastry crust, I realize that this may not technically qualify as a pie. If you went to culinary school, I’m sorry if this offends you. Around my house, we call it pie, so that’s what I’m sticking with.

Recipe:

IMG_01942 10-ounce bags of frozen organic peaches

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t sea salt

1/2 cup grass-fed butter, softened

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the peaches in a pie pan. They should cover the surface completely.
  3. Add the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Add slices of butter to the bowl. Use a dough blender to cream the dry ingredients and the butter. It should be the consistency of a crumble.
  4. Spread the crumble topping over the peaches.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the peaches in the center.
  6. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

6 servings

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

Featured

YL Essential Oils + Body Lotion

Hey Oily friends!

If you’re like me, one of the reasons why you decided to try Young Living essential oils was to reduce the toxins that you are exposed to in your everyday life. For me, that means reevaluating the products I use in my skincare routine each and every day. And artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. In addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body lotions. Others prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

  1. IMG_7656For a full bottle of lotion, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!

 

 

 

 

IMG_76552) Here’s a new recipe I’m trying: For a full bottle of lotion: 10-15 drops of lavender, geranium, and frankincense, and then 5-10 drops of peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary. Again, shake like crazy to mix! 🙂

 

 

 

I like this lotion because it’s fair trade, lightweight, and paraben free, but I’m sure you could add these oils to other lotions that work well for you. I would recommend only using oils that agree with you before you lather it on. 🙂

Let me know if you try an essential oil blend in your lotion and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Strawberries

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Strawberries

This is the most exciting of all the foods and it’s likely not new for most people. There is just something about strawberries that I just can’t get enough of. For me, berries also mean summer. Ahhhhhhh. I’m pretty much a snob about my berries though…I only eat fresh berries when they are in season and I only buy them from Tomatero Organic Farm in Watsonville, CA. I choose Tomatero for three reasons: 1) They are local and organic. Organic is a big deal with strawberries as they absorb many of the pesticides that are sprayed on them and they are consistently on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen. 2) They grow several varieties of strawberries, all of them great, but this season I have been loving the Sweet Anne. 3) Also, I used to slang berries for them at local farmer’s markets for four years. You know, the whole “know the farmer” idea. 4) They are the best!!!! (I know, I said three reasons 😉

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests serving strawberry sauce on pancakes instead of syrup. I LOVE that idea. I also had sliced strawberries in a turkey sandwich with arugula (think: turkey and cranberry sauce) at an amazing place called Centrally Grown in Cambria, CA.

Food Facts:

  • Wild berries and heirloom varieties have more nutritional value and more phytonutrients.
  • Strawberries do not continue to ripen after they have been harvested, so should be strawberries cut 1000pxpicked ripe. This also means that if your strawberry has traveled some distance to arrive to you, they are being picked when only three-quarters ripe.
  • Underripe strawberries are less nutritious than fully ripe berries. (Maybe we should all just grow our own, huh?)
  • Most supermarket berries are large, firm, white-fleshed, and hollow. This variety has been chosen because of their ability to travel well and last longer. There are many other varieties with other flavor profiles, softer textures, pink flesh, and juicy. I HIGHLY encourage you to go the farmers market and taste them all.
  • Jo Robinson, of Eating on the Wild Side, suggests that consumers up their standards for produce, especially for berries, so that the stores will have to supply higher quality produce (ripe, not moldy, flavorful, etc.).
  • Organic berries offer more of an anti-cancer effect than conventional berries.
  • The antioxidant activity of berries increases when left out at room temperature. The antioxidants contained in strawberries include: ellagic acid, anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol.
  • They help to fight against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese. They are also rich in vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Good source of fiber.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Featured

What will be Your Catalyst for Change?

Many of us want to make a change in our diet, lifestyle habits, or routines, but something holds us back. Maybe because it pushes us out of our comfort zone? Maybe because it takes work to change our habits? Maybe it is hard to fit in the budget? Whatever your barrier is, it is holding you back.

Health complications that typically develop later in life are a result of diet and lifestyle factors that have been accumulating over many years. Think of when a smoker develops lung cancer. When that person develops lung cancer, it’s highly likely that they wish they would have quit smoking earlier or never started smoking in the first place. I would venture to say that the same is true for most major health problems. Whether it is an Autoimmune condition, Cancer, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, Fibromyalgia, or even Leaky Gut, most people’s first reactions include wishing they had made different choices in the past. The problem with this approach to change is that it is reactionary. It’s filled with wouldas, couldas, and shouldas. It’s also filled with a lot of self-blame and self-hate.

There were three words that left me speechless and petrified. “Katie, I’m sorry to have to IMG_0521tell you this, but it’s cancer.” In the days, weeks, and months following my diagnosis, I asked myself what I could have, should have, and would have done differently. The list was endless: I would have been very strict about my monthly self-exams, I wouldn’t have taken the HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to help combat my cycle-driven migraines, I would have pushed my doctors to get that mammogram at age 30 that I had told myself I would get because I have a strong family history of breast cancer, I would not have taken countless rounds of antibiotics for acne as well as for sinus infections, I would have found ways to manage my stress levels more appropriately, and I would not have taken bottles and bottles of NSAIDs to deal with my headaches. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. (I’m definitely not encouraging people to blame themselves, but to wonder what we could have done differently is only natural.)

The problem with this reactionary approach is that while we can make changes going forward, often times, the damage has been done. However, the bigger problem to this approach is that there are usually warning signs that something is “off” and we ignore those signs. Acid reflux/ heartburn, also called GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is common and is therefore thought of as “normal”. It is not normal. It is a sign of a bigger issue. Most people just pop a few antacids (a Band-Aid) and continue on with their lives, never stopping to get to the root of the problem. It starts to become “your new normal” and then just normal. And since so many people have it, the root cause is rarely questioned. The same could be said for headaches, stomach-aches (actually, they usually are pains in the small intestine or large intestine, so the term gutache would be more accurate), skin rashes, acne, and other so-called normal problems. These are warming signs that our diets and lifestyles need an overhaul.

Allow me to digress. While reading, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber I came across the section about sustainable organic farming practices. The farmer that Barber interviews discusses his approach to weed management. Soil is living and filled with microorganisms. Good farming practices ensure the health and fertility of the soil. Soil is also full of micronutrients, when it has the appropriate micronutrient levels, there are no weeds. However, when there are micronutrients missing, weeds begin to appear. Each weed indicates a specific deficiency and when that deficiency is addressed, that type of weed disappears. The overarching idea is that these weeds are indicators of larger systemic problem that can be addressed by adding back the missing micronutrients. Now I realize we aren’t the soil, but let me continue to digress just a bit more. If you extrapolate that idea to humans, it might play out like this: minor health problems (the weeds) are a sign of a systemic problem (nutrient deficiency, lifestyle factors, environmental factors, gut issues, etc.), so to address the minor health problems you need to address the systemic problem and circumvent any larger health problems down the road (a garden overtaken by weeds). Thanks for allowing me to digress. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 11.29.07 AM

You can stop this cycle. You don’t have to have a frightening diagnosis. You can return to health. I bet you have even identified the “normal problem” that you’ve been mostly ignoring.

Start with that nagging problem. Start a journal to find patterns and trends. See if you can tie your headaches/heartburn/breakout/etc. to a food, habit, or environmental factor (like cleaners and body products). A basic daily journal would include the following:

Breakfast – foods and liquids: _________________________

Snack – foods and liquids: ____________________________

Lunch – foods and liquids: ____________________________

Dinner – foods and liquids: ___________________________

Additional liquids: _________________________________

Supplements (dose and time):_________________________

Medication(dose and time):___________________________

Exercise: _________________________________________

Sleep: ___________________________________________

Relaxation: _______________________________________

Mood/Emotions: ___________________________________

Nagging Problem? Time? Duration? ______________________

After a 3-4 weeks, it’s likely that you’ll see a trend, which can then lead you to a hypothesis. With the hypothesis, you can then seek additional help from Dr. Google, books, your doctor, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, a Nutrition Consultant (ME!), or a naturopath. By choosing to gain control of the nagging issue, you can remove yourself from the path to the bigger and scarier health concern that was down the road.

Obviously I cannot guarantee that because you have a minor common health problem that you are going to get a larger, scarier health concern. No one knows that. But what I can say is that even the minor health concern is negatively impacting your life. Why not make a change and a commitment to feel the best that you possibly can.

What will be your catalyst for change? What are you waiting for? Will you wait for things to get worse? Or will you heed the warning signs that your body is giving you?

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

DISCLAIMER 

 

References:

Barber, D. (2015). The Third Plate: Field Notes from the Future of Food. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

 

Featured

What is The 21-Day Sugar Detox?

16472141530_97671d731f_o

Many people stumble across The 21-Day Sugar Detox posts or books and wonder, “What is The 21 Day Sugar Detox?” and “How can it help me?”. In this post, I’ll explain exactly what the 21DSD is all about.

Q: What is The 21-Day Sugar Detox?

A: This is a 21 day plan to help you bust sugar cravings naturally. The goal of the 21 DSD is to eliminate sugars from your diet and change your taste buds to crave less sugar.  “Sweets” are eliminated for the 21 days as well as so called “health foods” like sugary cereals, breads, meal replacement bars (aka sugar bars), and other foods that contain added sugars. When you eat less sugar, you crave less sugar. Simple as that. Sugar alternatives are out as well. Check out the book, The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally, for more on the “Yes” foods, the “No” foods, and the “Limit” foods.

 

Q: How can it help me?

A: Everyone experiences different results while on the 21 DSD. Some of the results from past participants include: increased energy, better sleep, moods stabilized, clearer skin, being in control of food cravings (rather than the other way around), weight loss, mental clarity, less bloating, regular & healthy bowel movements, reduced headaches, improved blood tests, reduced anxiety, and stable blood sugar. Your results will vary.

icecream-calling-your-name-shareable-coaches_19878599452_o

 

Q: Do I have to buy a bunch of stuff (supplements, meal replacement shakes or bars, etc.)?

A: No, this is a real food plan. No junkie meal replacement foods are allowed. The goal is to eliminate processed foods that are nearly always laden with sugars and other highly processed and unnatural ingredients.

 

Q: What do I need to buy?

A: Besides the guidebook/online membership and my coaching fee, you don’t need to buy anything. This is not so much a product, but a shift in mindset and behaviors in regards to food. See this post for an additional Q&A and for instructions on how to join the next detox.

 

Q: What is included?

A: In the guidebook/online membership site you have recipes, meal plans, yes/no/limit food lists, guides for dining out, modification guides for pescatarians, athletes, nursing moms, and those with autoimmune conditions. But most importantly, you have information about the negative effects of sugar in the body. Included in my coaching fee, is access to our Private Facebook Group, access to my expertise as a Nutrition Consultant, motivation, accountability, detox emails, three conference calls, a participant workbook, and suggestions and tips for a successful detox.

 

Now some questions for you…

What goals do you have?

How might your current diet be a barrier for those goals?

What are you waiting for?

What will it take for you to make a change?

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Blueberries

This is probably the most exciting time of year for someone that LOVES fruit and that tries to eat by the seasons. Plus, I have two blueberry bushes and they are exploding with blueberries right now. Since I live in California, my blueberry bushes last year weren’t very prolific. The rain this season has been significantly better but we also started collecting the water from when we’re letting it warm up to take showers. Moral of the story: lots and lots of blueberries, which equals a super happy Katie.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that blueberries are a gateway food for kids because they are willing to try blueberries and therefore step outside their food comfort zone. She has recipe for a Cinnamon-Blueberry Sauce that would be great on ice cream, pancakes or waffles, or CREPES!!!! Yum!

Food Facts:

  • blueberries cropped 1 1000pxBlueberries have a shelf life of about two weeks – freeze whatever you can’t eat. Frozen berries are almost as nutritious as fresh berries. Ideally they are “flash frozen”.
  • Great source of vitamin C, K, manganese, and fiber.
  • Contain flavonoid antioxidants such as: anthocyanins, kaempferol, and stilbenes.
  • The antioxidant content of blueberries helps to counterbalance free radical damage and the inflammatory response.
  • High intake has been associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer, lung cancer risk in smokers, reduced anxiety, depression, and inflammation.
  • Risk of dementia decreased with an increased weekly consumption of blueberries and strawberries.
  • Aronia berries, a relative of modern blueberries, have nearly 5 times the antioxidant value of our most nutritious modern blueberry.
  • Blueberries are also known for their ability to lower blood pressure, reduce arterial plaque, and prevented obesity in rat studies.
  • Cooked blueberries are actually more nutritious than raw berries because the cooking process makes the antioxidants more bioavailable (easier for your body to use).
  • Dried blueberries are less nutritious than fresh berries.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
by Jo Robinson.

 

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Peas

This week’s new food from Jennifer Tyler Lee is Peas. These are usually a crowd pleaser with kids and even most adults will eat peas. They are a sweeter and starchier veggie, which is probably why kids and picky adults like them. I like peas just fine, but I almost never make them. They’re a little too “basic” for me, after all, I really like lavender shortbread [inside joke for my Cookie Bake-Off Ladies]. Jennifer Tyler Lee shares her experience with kids really enjoying to help with the shelling of fresh peas. She also suggests making pea soup in shooters to make eating more fun for kiddos.

Food Facts:

  • peas-331280422124r5OkFrozen peas are 25% less nutritious than fresh peas and canned peas are 50% less nutritious than fresh peas. Opt for fresh or growing them yourself.
  • Pea sprouts are a great option in the winter months to get some fresh greens in your diet (especially if you grown them yourself!)
  • Good source of vegetable protein, B vitamins, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
  • Green peas are less nutritious than other colored heirloom pea varieties. The other colors have more phytonutrients.
  • Unfortunately peas are low in nutrition compared to most other common vegetables.
  • Choosing relatives of peas with edible pods, snow peas, sugar snap peas, etc., increases the nutritional value.

From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard

Featured

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Portobello Mushrooms

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Portobello Mushrooms

Another confession: I don’t like mushrooms. This is another texture thing for me. But I’ve founds that the more I eat a food that I’m not fond of, often I learn to like them. Hence my 52 new foods challenge. Mushrooms are my current project. It’s slow going, but I think I will like mushroom eventually. Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making them in cheese quesadillas, which seems like a great gateway to me! I have found that if I cut them up pretty small and put them in things (soups, sautes, cauliflower rice, etc.) I can tolerate them. 

Food Facts:

  • portobello-mushroomsGood source of minerals including selenium, zinc, potassium, and copper and also the B vitamins, especially vitamins B6 and B12
  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Mushrooms have been studied for their Anticancer benefits and antiviral benefits as well

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
by Tonia Reinhard

Featured

21-Day Sugar Detox Testimonials

Here are a few testimonials from the January 2016 Detox group:iheart21dsd-heart_15974652246_o

From Alison A.

“Katie has great knowledge when it comes to nutrition and the 21dsd. She was always available for questions and if see didn’t know the answer she went out an found it quickly. Her positivity and encouragement really helped motivate me to keep going. On the 21dsd I was able to stop my cravings, be in a better mood, and improve my workouts. I feel like I made more gains in the 21 days than I have at 6 months at the gym. The 21dsd has really set me up to continue to make better choices when it comes to food and Katie was an amazing coach!”

From Kevin P.

“The 21DSD was a great challenge. I was amazed by the immediate changes that occurred in my body weight and also the amount of junk I was unnecessarily consuming. I felt the program that Katie led was very helpful for me to make mindful food choices and to be smarter in my diet. Katie is an awesome coach and mentor and I would do her program again in a heartbeat. She was very encouraging and really interactive with the group. She also provided a frame work and special guidance for some of the challenges I faced like traveling, dietary restrictions, and meal planning for my wife whom broke her wrist 2 weeks into the program. Katie is recommended and awesome!”

From Roger L.

“Katie was a very helpful, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic coach! I appreciate the ease of accessibility she gave to the group both in person and via Facebook. The information she gave us was helpful and the energy she has was infectious!”

From Denise H.

“I learned more useful information in the 21DSD than I did in Nutrition 101 in college! A healthy mindset + a great goal = a healthier you! Decide what you eat, not what the food industry has boxed for us for pocketed in big $$ profits. It was a really great experience!!”

From Carole F.

“My husband and I found the 21 Day Sugar Detox program immensely valuable and, I would even say, life changing. We went from unhealthy, highly-processed eating habits to learning how to prepare home-cooked, healthy meals everyday. My most noticeable improvement during the program was highly elevated energy levels and improved mental clarity. The best part, however, was my husband’s glucose levels going from 100 mg/dL (pre-diabetes) down to 87. This was such a big deal for us since his levels had been lingering around 100 mg/dL for years and diabetes runs rampant in his family.”

From Sarah P.

“This program is very doable and is a great way to put your sugar in check. I lost about 8 pounds in 21 days. My skin became clearer too. Having Katie as a coach was really helpful- a little bit of peer pressure goes a long way.”

 

Interested in trying it out for yourself? Click on the link here to learn how to join us in our next Detox!

 

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

July 2014 Book of the Month – AntiCancer

July’s Clean Eating book of the the month: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD. In the wake of my Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2014, I read as many books on cancer as I could get my hands on. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Anticancer was by far my favorite.  In this *five strawberry* book, Servan-SchreibScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PMer tells readers what they can do to help keep cancer at bay, keep it from coming back, or to surpass a not-so-optimistic prognosis.

Dr. Servan-Schreiber helps to bridge the gap between what the oncologists are telling patients and what they aren’t telling patients – like what cancer patients can do to help themselves. This is what people diagnosed with a disease want desperately to hear – give them some control and power when they feel like they have no control and no power over this situation. He is an MD and a PHD and a two-time brain cancer survivor- so this isn’t quackery here!

In Anticancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber details his cancer story (or stories, I should say), studies about patients, and several main recommendations. Those recommendations are: 1) eat a diet that includes lots of plants, high-quality meats, low in sugar, low in refined carbs, and low in poor-quality fats, 2) supporting a healthy state of mind through meditation, 3) avoiding the fear hamster wheel by attending support groups, and lastly 4) getting enough exercise.

FullSizeRender-1Servan-Schreiber tells readers that “[c]ancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check.” This quote instills a bit a fear in me, knowing that cancer can be happening to all of us, all the time, BUT it also inspires hope because it empowers each of us to know that we have the power to make changes in our bodies and our futures.

A great read for anyone working to avoid cancer in their lifetime, anyone with cancer, cancer survivors, or caregivers. Anticancer gives readers the feeling of some control and power in battling this disease. Highly recommended for everyone!

 

March 2014 Book of the Month – Cooked

The March Clean Eating book of the month is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. I give this book 5 out of 5 Strawberries!Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PM
It’s no secret that I have a food crush on Michael Pollan. I often call him my food guru. I write about how he convinced me to try eating meat again in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals in this post. I realize that it’s not much of a surprise that I liked his most recent book, as I have liked all of his books. Although the picture of pasta on the cover did make me question whether or not this would be the first of Pollan’s books that I would not like ;-).  Allow me to share the reasons why I really liked Cooked.
The goal of this book is to help you see the value of cooking food for yourself in a world of short cuts, fast food restaurants, and microwaves. The book is organized into four parts: Fire, Water, Air, Earth. Part of what I love about Cooked is that Pollan takes a historical and cultural look into how humans have fed themselves since the beginning. Additionally he takes what he has learned and then tries it out for himself in his own kitchen. You gotta love a guinea pig!

The section on Air is really a section on fermentation and bacteria. He discusses the work of Sandor Katz [pretty much the godfather of fermentation, his bible is The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World] and he discusses the work of Sister Noella Marcellino, a raw cheesemaker and holds a Ph.D. in microbiology. perhaps I found this section the most fascinating because of my studies and work as a nutrition consultant. Here is quote showing the immense importance and need for probiotics in our diet: “Probiotics-beneficial bacteria ingesIMG_0421ted either in fermented foods or in supplements- have been shown to: calm the immune system and reduce inflammation; shorten the duration and severity of colds in children; relieve diarrhea and irritable bowl syndrome; reduce allergic responses, including asthma; stimulate the immune response; possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers; reduce anxiety; prevent yeast infections; diminish levels of E. coli 0157:H7 in cattle and salmonella in chickens; and improve the health and function of the gut epithelium. (Pollan, 2013, p.335)”.

I hope you’ll check out this book and the Cooked four part series on Netflix.