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!

Advertisements
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

 

In Season, in June

Well, this post is later than I had planned, but better late than never! Summer is in full swing here in Northern California and it has been quite warm. School is out, the days are long, sunny, and beautiful, and the bounty of produce options leaves me like that heart googly eyed emoji. IMG_5957

Now we have herbs like basil in season. And. Then. Blueberries. I literally can’t get enough of them. Next up is corn. I know most people LOVE corn, and I while I do like it, I almost never eat or buy it. If I do, it absolutely must be organic. Once we went paleo, it was one of those things that I just didn’t feel the urge to splurge. I am also very excited that it is now raspberry  and nectarine season. And that summer squash will be coming to a zoodler near you! Here is the Spiralizer that I use to turn my zucchini into “noodles”:  Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, Strongest-Heaviest, Best Veggie Pasta Spaghetti Maker for Low Carb/Paleo/Gluten-Free Meals.

Happy June! Enjoy the bounty from the farmer’s market!! Or join a CSA!

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

In Season, in May

May is the first sign of summer produce. It makes me extremely hIMG_5956appy so see summer produce. For me, it’s the berries that are the most exciting. I could eat a pint of strawberries every day. And actually, I pretty much do. ;-). My husband loves when cherries are in season and it is a pretty short season. I try to buy them for him often during May and June. I have never bought rhubarb, so it should go on my list of things to buy and cook with.

What are you most excited for?

 

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.