Feeding Our Skinny Bacteria More Important Than “dieting” To Weight Loss

Do you know that we have trillions of bacteria in our gut that determine whether we’re lean or fat, and every day we feed and nurture them?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve pointed out several times that Calories in/Calories out as a weight loss strategy is false, it doesn’t work. Neither does dieting; that’s a statistic.   We’re not a Math Equation, we’re a Chemistry Set.  I’ve harped on the HORMONAL actions that happen when we eat grains, sugars, and processed foods:  fat storage, muscle breakdown, slow thyroid, etc, etc.

Science (the Human Microbiome Project) is showing that our BACTERIA are just as important as our Hormones when it comes to our weight.  We’re supposed to be filled, and covered, with bacteria; we actually have more bacteria than human cells.

To be healthy and lean, we need to have predominantly BENEFICIAL bacteria.  If we have an imbalance, and the pathogenic bacteria outnumber the beneficial bacteria, we’re in trouble.

What determines our bacterial well being?  A lot.  Antibiotics support pathogenic bacteria.  Most drugs ( OTC and prescription) change the pH of the stomach, which allows pathogenic bacteria to thrive.  Stress does the same thing.

A biggie:  our FOOD is our BACTERIA’s food, and what we put in our mouth determines who gets fed best, the Lean strains or the Fat strains.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) of 60% carbs (mostly from grains and sugar), not only initiates Fat Storage through high blood sugar and hormones, but it feeds PATHOGENIC strains, because they thrive on sugar.  Beneficial bacteria eat FIBER, from vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

So let’s feed our Skinny Bacteria! I’m including links to learn the nuts and bolts, but here’s a snippet:  Studies are showing that lean people have a bacterial population that includes more “bacteroidetes” bacteria. Bacteroidetes is an umbrella terms for several different species. Overweight people have more “firmicutes”, again, an umbrella terms for several species.

If you have more Firmicutes than Bacteroidetes, you’re going to have a hard time losing weight, no matter what you do. Firmicutes bacteria harvest more calories from our food, encourage more fat storage, and less fat burning. Who wants that? There’s also the brain signals I mentioned earlier: “slow down the thyroid, slow down the metabolism, she’s dieting again and I don’t want to starve to death!”  Our gut bacteria and our brain are intricately linked.

Here’s some tips on how to feed our Bacteroidetes, and not our Firmacuties.

Tip #1:  Eat 3 meals a day of Real Whole Food, with plenty of good fat, clean proteins, TONS of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and maybe some dairy if you tolerate it.  Fermented and cultured foods are a must.  DITCH THE GRAINS AND SUGARS.  ( Fat Bacteria THRIVE on grains and sugars) Our body was literally designed by God to run on Real Whole Foods. This means cooking.

Tip #2:  Have an Eating Plan that includes enough food at each of our 3 meals to genuinely Satisfy Our Hunger.  WE’RE NOT DESIGNED TO ENDURE HUNGER.  The brain just won’t allow it; it takes too many nutrients to do the constant upkeep and repair that happens all day and all night.   Again, our brains have an intricate and intimate relationship with our gut bacteria. Firmacutes bacteria – the sugar eaters – contribute to those annoying brain signals that conspire to make us search out more sugar ( who searches out more broccoli ?).  Bacteroidetes strains don’t do that!  Bacteroidetes thrive on Fiber and Resistant Starch in vegetables.

We have a lot of power when it comes to reducing our Firmicutes and increasing our Bacteroidetes.

A Real Whole Food Diet is so honestly and totally best for us.  We feed the good bacteria and signal hormones that trigger satiety in the brain.  The desire -or compulsion- to eat CRAP ( and feed the Firmicutes ) abates and abates every single day we eat like this.

Notice that feeding our skinny Bacteria is the same advice as building a strong immune system.

This whole Microbiome science is fascinating, and I encourage you to learn more about it – which is really learning about ourselves. The more we know, the easier it is to make good choices. Here’s some links:

Read:

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/ebola-enterovirus-and-our-immune-systems-better-get-strong-now/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/17/human-microbiome.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Belly-Fat-Effect-Intestinal-Bacteria/dp/0991070313

http://www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/natural-cures-theyre-real-learn-what-you-can-do-for-yourself-and-your-family/

Listen to:

http://undergroundwellness.com/podcasts/306-5-steps-to-permanent-gut-healing/

http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-876-brenda-watson-says-out-of-balance-gut-bacteria-at-the-heart-of-obesity/23639

Working “Man Parts”, Weight Loss, Youthful Skin, Joint Pain, What Do They Have In Common? They all benefit from Bone Broth and Gelatin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve done Posts on Bone Broth and Gelatin before, but I still get a lot of questions about it.  Here’s some facts, some recipes, and at the end several resources, that will inspire you to incorporate bone broth most days of the week. Remember:  Food is Medicine, or Food is Poison.  Bone broth and gelatin are Medicine.

First issue: “man parts”, you know what I’m talking about.  Men, those parts are full of arteries that should fill with blood, on demand.  If the endothelial cells that line those arteries are damaged ( from high blood sugar, insulin, chemicals, or hydrogenated fats) you’re not functioning like God intended.  Plaque and hardening of the arteries doesn’t just happen to the arteries near the heart….. If you have athlerosclerosis,  and/or high blood pressure, you’ve got endothelial dysfunction. If you have high blood sugar, you have endothelial dysfunction.  The gelatin in bone broth contains an enormous amount of collagen and other nutrients that HEAL THE ENDOTHELIUM.  ( check out link below for an interesting study )

Weight Loss; how does this tie in with bone broth or gelatin?  Easy.  Our liver – which is the MAIN SOURCE OF OUR DAILY CALORIE BURN, has hundreds of jobs to do every day.  A sluggish, toxic, clogged liver doesn’t burn as many calories as it could, nor does it adequately perform it’s jobs. The liver “detoxes”, or breaks down, old hormones, chemicals, alcohol, toxins, etc; it uses protein-based (amino acids) pathways to do that.  Bone broth and gelatin contain the amino acids that the liver wants and needs to do it’s many jobs.  If our liver’s happy, our daily metabolic rate increases.  If our liver is NOT happy, weight gain is more likely than weight loss.

Youthful Skin:  Again, easy.  It’s the collagen, along with the fatty acids and nutrients from bones/joints/hide/marrow etc, that supply the nutrients our skin needs to both regenerate and fight off assaults from the sun and (sugar)glycation.  Do you remember what glycation is?  It’s when our blood sugar stays high too long, and the sticky sugar molecules glycate, or attach themselves to protein molecules, basically destroying them.  Our skin ( just like our endothelium) is LOADED with protein molecules.  Age spots are glycated skin.  Wrinkles are glycated skin.  Saggy skin is glycated.  ******Our skin is made from NUTRIENTS, not the man-made chemicals ingredients in most skin care products.*****

Joint Pain, this is interesting.  I’m going to include links at the end to VERY NEW research(*) on connective tissue and rehab.  For all my friends and readers with shoulder/knee/hip etc problems, PURSUE THE LINK(*). It’s so new that your Ortho or PT might not of even heard of this.  Apparently, connective tissue isn’t the lost cause it’s been deemed all these years.

Tendons, ligaments, and the connective tissue that honeycombs throughout our muscle fibers, are made from ………..COLLAGEN.  To quote Professor of Sports Medicine Michael Kjaer, Ph.D., who’s using techniques and technology only recently available: “we always thought connective tissue was inert,”… but “Connective tissue is alive and has the ability to renew itself!”  There’s specific training protocols showing HUGE success with damaged tendons and ligaments, truly worth looking into. (*)

More relevant to this Post though, connective tissue is almost entirely collagen.  Molecular Biologist Keith Baar, Ph.D, says that after testing hundreds of damaged ACLs ( pieces of them actually) by soaking them in different solutions to see what compounds influence formation of new collagen:  “Gelatin is the big one.”    Nough said.

HOW DO I USE GELATIN OR BONE BROTH EVERYDAY?   Some people drink it straight up. I don’t. I treat it like water.  I cook my meat, fish, chicken and vegetables in it, and I make soup.  I even add it to my Low Carb Cheese Cake  Recipe!

How to make Broth:

Fill your Crock Pot or Stock Pot with water

-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar ( helps break down bone matrix – and we want all those bone building minerals!)
-chicken bones/fish bones/beef/lamb/venison bones
-OPTIONAL:  chicken feet – wow, does this contain a lot of gelatin, 
-Low and slow heat for 24 to 48 hours.

THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE I SWEAR.  I add herbs and spices later, to the individual dishes I make, not to my stock. That way I can go in any direction I choose.  People who drink it straight up tend to add (their favorite) veggies and herbs to the pot.   EITHER WAY WORKS.

I save my bones throughout the week in a big ziplock, and keep them in the freezer until I’m ready to make the broth.

Don’t want to make broth? A couple of options.

1) Buy Gelatin.  I use Great Lakes brand, because I think it’s the best.  Check out their site, or go straight to Amazon. Mark and I put gelatin in our morning smoothies, and this is what I add to my Low Carb Cheesecake recipe (to follow).

2) Buy already made REAL bone broth.  Broth is no one’s secret anymore.  A Broth Cafe has opened in NYC; if you google “buy bone broth”, you’ll see several good options; and if you live in my neck of the woods ( Fauquier Co, Va), we have 2 stores carrying fresh made:  IGA in Marshall, and The Whole Ox in The Plains.  (You can also buy bones at either of these stores, or your local butcher shop.)

Now for the Recipes!  Our dinner tonight:  Chicken and Vegetables with BROTH

20150117_174036

A 1 Pot Meal:

2 c broth

1 c slow roasted tomatoes
1 c shredded chicken
1/2 head of cauliflower
3 c collard greens
4 garlic cloves ( we LOVE garlic )
dried: oregano, sage salt, chives, salt & pepper

And Dessert:  Low Carb Cheese Cake with Gelatin – to die for!  This recipe actually makes 4 mini cheesecakes AND a regular size cheese cake.

20150114_162654

Crust:

1 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut oil or butter
1/2 c Swerve
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 egg

Blend and press into your spring foam pans. The crust will be on the thinner side.  If you like a thick crust, just make 1 big cheese cake.  Warning: this makes a LOT of crust.

Filling:

4 8-ounce packages Organic Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 -1 c Swerve
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs room temperature
1/2 c Great Lakes Gelatin

I always wrap my spring foam with aluminum foil ( if any drips out it’s a huge mess ).  Bake your smaller cheesecakes for 35-45 minutes, and a large cheese cake for 55 -to an hour.  When you insert a knife it should come out almost clean.  REFRIGERATE FOR AT LEAST 12 HOURS, 24 IS EVEN BETTER.

If you’re struggling with your weight or your health, focus on changing your mindset from Food is about Calories to Food is Medicine or Food is Poison.  The more you shun Poison Foods, and Adopt Medicine Foods, the leaner, healthier, and more energetic you’ll become, I promise.

Learn More:
*http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/harness-power-your-muscle-matrix*

http://paleogrubs.com/chicken-soup-recipes

http://www.judytsafrirmd.com/gelatin-for-anxiety-sleep-and-appetite-suppression

http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735  GREAT COOKBOOK!!

Struggling With Real Whole Food, No Grains or Sugars? Look At What I’m Eating, and A Candy Recipe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael Pollen has a line that goes something like this:  Real Food are foods your great-grandmother would recognize.  YES THAT’S A PARAPHRASE, but it’s close.

In reality, there’s big differences between our time and Grandma’s.  For one, the wheat is totally different.  Since the 1970s, we have Dwarf Wheat varieties that are NOTHING like previous varieties. Dwarf wheat is loaded with gluten proteins.

Gluten proteins cause more problems than I want to detail right now, but if you’re reading my blog, you already know this.

Next, we have access to fruits and vegetables year round.  This is good, and this is bad.  Bad because many of these are grown with chemicals that cause cancer and disease.  Good because if we eat the ones grown WITHOUT chemicals, we’re getting a load of nutrients that prevent cancer and disease.

Look at my What I Eat page for ideas.  Real Whole Food without Grains and Sugars is COMPLETELY DOABLE, even for a big family and working moms.  It takes thought, practice, planning, and the right attitude, but anyone – and I mean that – can do it.

Chocolate Coconut Candy:

1/2 cup Coconut Oil

1/4 cup Coconut Butter

2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder

EITHER: 1 – 2 tbsp powdered Swerve or Full Dropper of Liquid Stevia

DIY Lotion, Carrot Soup, Elderberry Syrup; Homemade is Worth the Effort, Here’s Why

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAttitude is everything, and my attitude is that I’m Smart, Organized, Energetic, and Able. Believing this about myself makes a busy day much easier mentally, because thoughts affect words and actions.

You are also Smart, Organized, Energetic, and Able.  God didn’t make duds.

In light of those statements, here’s a few recipes. Please don’t move on after reading the word “recipes”.  Homemade is so worth the time and effort, for many reasons; WEIGHT LOSS IS ONE OF THEM.

Our world is a Toxic World.  We literally breath in chemicals, sleep on chemicals, rub on chemicals, and ingest thousands of chemicals every single day.  84,000 chemicals are legal in the US; many are untested, many are unregulated, and many are deemed potentially or definitely dangerous and still allowed in our food, water, and body care products.

These chemicals, which make things smell good, taste good, look good, or feel good, have consequences.  Many of them are hormone/endocrine disruptors, mimicking estrogen.  This has led to men and women and children having higher estrogen levels than what’s healthy, resulting in a long list of problems, from low sperm counts to cancer. Other chemicals cause disease, behavior problems, headaches, and I could go on and on.  You get it.

Remember in my last post I said that Food is Medicine or Food is Poison, and EVERY SINGLE POST IS ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS?  The weight tie-in here is that estrogenic chemicals, along with the sheer volume of total chemicals we ingest/breath/absorb, stress our liver to the point where being a normal healthy weight, or weight loss, isn’t possible.

Our liver has to break down and get rid of every chemical that comes into our body, whether by mouth or skin.  Our liver is responsible for breaking down old hormones. Our liver metabolizes fats and proteins.  Our liver compromises the largest portion of our daily calorie burn ( the brain and heart come in next, and then our muscles ); if our liver is tired, toxic, and over-burdened, happy weight is practically impossible, so is good health.

Read the labels of EVERYTHING; look up some words you see on EWG.org, learn what these chemicals do and you’ll become increasingly motivated to Do It Yourself, I promise. 

I’ve got 3 recipes here that I promise are easy, and wonderful.  Compare the store bought ingredients with the DIY ingredients.

This is Elderberry Syrup, aka, Sambucal, it’s used as either a preventative tonic, or a cold medicine.  Here’s the ingredients:         20150109_060142⅔ cup black elderberries

3.5 cups of water
2 T fresh or dried ginger root
2 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cloves or clove powder
1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market)

Compare that to the ingredients in Tylenol Cold and Flu:

Acetaminiphen, Dextromethorphan HBr, Guaifenesin,Phenylephrine HCl, and finally,carnauba wax, croscarmellose sodium, D&C yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, flavor, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, pregelatinized starch, sucralose, titanium dioxide.  O.  M.   Gosh.  Why would we put this in our bodies, or our children’s bodies?

Here’s Carrot Soup,  DELICIOUS! (and easy)

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The ingredients were:                        20150108_165456

5 cups of homemade chicken broth
1 can of coconut milk
a Vitamix full of cooked carrots
1 cooked onion,4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP garam marsala; cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt&pepper

Compare that to Campbells Vegetable Soup Ingredients:

TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), POTATOES, CARROTS, WATER, PEAS, CORN, DICED TOMATOES IN TOMATO JUICE, GREEN BEANS, ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (WHEAT FLOUR, EGG WHITES, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SUGAR , CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, CELERY, ONIONS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SALT, FLAVORING, YEAST EXTRACT, LOWER SODIUM NATURAL SEA SALT, SPICE, ASCORBIC ACID, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, PAPRIKA EXTRACT.

Last, Homemade Lotion I made yesterday morning for Macy before she went back to school, it took 10 minutes:

The Ingredients are:                  20150109_055505

coconut oil
shea butter
cocoa butter
almond oil
Wild Orange essential oil

Compare that to Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer:

Water, Mineral Oil, Sesame Oil, Propylene Glycol, TEA Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Lanolin Alcohol, Petrolatum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #33.

The old advertisement:  Better Living Through Chemicals…… it’s not true.  We have way too many chemicals in our life; DIY ( unless you can hire someone to Do It For You ) is important!  Not convinced?  Learn more through the links below:

http://www.liverdoctor.com/liver/the-liver-and-detoxification/

http://foodbabe.com/2013/02/26/are-over-the-counter-medicines-making-you-sick/

https://ispub.com/IJU/2/1/7519

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726844/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/opinion/kristof-how-chemicals-change-us.html?_r=1

Recipe Makeovers: Cauliflower Pizza Crusts and Caesar Salad Dressing that make you Lean and Healthy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI received an email from a reader, asking if I could do another post on weight loss soon.

My response:  EVERY SINGLE POST IS ON WEIGHT.  Food is Medicine or Food is Poison, and our weight is a side effect of that fact.

If Weight Loss is our first priority when it comes to food, We’ll NEVER SUCCESSFULLY LOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF. Ever.  95 – 99% of everyone who loses weight on a Diet gains it back.

Low calorie foods, low fat plans, starving ourself, skipping meals, exercising a ton, and STRESSING ABOUT OUR WEIGHT are literally guaranteed to make us gain weight in the long run, because we’re eating toxic food and/or employing toxic behaviors.  Poison.

Weight Loss is never a priority for our body or brain.  For women particularly, losing weight is the last thing our body wants to do, even when we carry excess fat.  Fat’s crucial not just for building our Brain, Glands, Organs, Bones, and Immune System, but our body makes many of our Hormones from fatty acids.

Healthy fats, vegetables, herbs, spices, clean proteins, seasonal fruit, nuts, seeds…..Medicine.

My point?  To lose weight and keep it off, we HAVE to eat Medicine Foods.  Also, cut the Grains, Sugars, and Chemicals; those things ruin our liver, our brain, our arteries and destroy our hormones. Permanent weight loss is impossible as long as they’re a regular part of our diet.

Here’s some recipe makeovers that I promise are husband and kid approved. These recipes contain Nutrient Dense Real Whole Foods (Medicine) guaranteed to satisfy our body and brain, and help us lose weight.

WARNING/ADVICE:  Sometimes with picky kids and husbands, it’s best NOT to tell them what’s in the food.  Don’t set yourself up for snide (or worse) comments about the ingredients or your efforts to make you and your family healthier.  Just do it.  Stay strong and determined no matter what mud a teenager slings at you.  The great thing about Real Whole Food is that fat, herbs, and spices make EVERYTHING taste good.  Broccoli with butter, parm, and sea salt?  DELICIOUS.  Chicken with skin on/bone in?  Delicious.  Bacon, brussels, butter, sea salt and pepper?  Delicious.  Stay with the program, be persistent, and eventually,… you’ll win.

Here’s a picture of our dinner last night:  Cauliflower Pizza and Caesar Salads with homemade dressing.                                                      dinner 1:4

If you look online for Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipes, you’ll find 1.6 million; they’re nobody’s secret, and they’re all pretty similar.  (Helpful hints to follow) Here’s the recipe I use:

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

Full head of cauliflower, RICED ( in your food processor or Vitamix )

1 egg
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup of your favorite cheese.  You’ll see recipes that use goat, parm, mozzarella, and cheddar, just pick one.

Directions: Set oven to 450.  “Rice” the whole head of cauliflower, and then either steam it ( more dishes, but better ) or put it in a pot of 1″ water and cook it, just for a couple of minutes.

IMPORTANT:  YOU HAVE TO GET ALL THE WATER OUT OF THE CAULIFLOWER.  Don’t whine.  Think positive thoughts, like, you’re going to have pizza and you’re not going to feel stuffed/bloated/or regretful the next day, PLUS, you’re eating a sulfur containing cruciferous vegetable that prevents cancer and disease.  Good thoughts.

I put my cooked cauliflower in a fine mesh strainer and press with a big wooden spoon, then I put it in a dishtowel and twist and wring until even more water comes out.  Cauliflower contains a lot of water, and you need it fairly dry.

When you’re done, mix it in a bowl with all the other ingredients; if you used a big head, you have enough for 2 pizzas, or one very thick crust. You only need about 2.5 cups per thin crust. Thicker crusts may not act like “real” pizza, i.e, you’ll have to cut them with a fork instead of holding them.  MOMS:  if your kids are suspicious of your efforts, make the crusts thin so they’ll stay together when they’re held. I’ve been at this long enough that I can make a thick crust and we all use forks, but switching the family diet from Fake Foods (poison) to Real Foods  (medicine) needs to be done gently, and wisely.

Put a piece of parchment paper on your stone, and use your hands to form your crust, then bake it for anywhere from 10/12 minutes for a thin crust, to 25 minutes for a thick crust. (read my hints at end of post)

When it’s baked, load it with your favorite toppings.  Last night I used slow roasted tomatoes, sausage, onions, herbs, and cheese.

Back in the oven at 425, for 16 minutes, and you can make your salad and dressing.

Caesar Salad and Dressing:   Look at these ingredients! How did we ever start thinking that brain food like this could be bad for us???

3 eggs ( I use farm fresh eggs, but use pasteurized if you want )
1 can anchovies
1-2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp Red Wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c parm
1/2 tsp yellow mustard

1/2 cup of Extra Virgin olive oil

Directions for dressing:  put the first 8 ingredients into your BLENDER or VITAMIX, and blend for a minute.   Then sloooowly pour in the olive oil; you’re emulsifying it, that means you need to drizzle the olive oil into the mix for it to set up thickly.

Pour this over a bowl full of romaine, shredded parm, and bread crumbs made from COCONUT MILK bread croutons.  Or just make your favorite salad, and use this dressing because it’s absolutely delicious and your family will love it.

A few last words of advice:

1) I’ve heard juicing the cauliflower is the best way to go, no wringing, but I haven’t tried it.

2) If your cauliflower head is extra big, add an egg white.

3) Judge your crust by how it looks more than time; it should turn light brown and “crusty”.

4) If after all your efforts the “dough” is still pretty wet, add 1/2 to 1 tbsp of coconut flour.  Coconut flour absorbs liquid;  start with the 1/2 tbsp and go from there.

5) To make croutons with Coconut Milk Bread, cut off a slice, tear into pieces, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and bake for 10 minutes on 350.  Judge from there if they need a few more minutes.

 

Has the Flu, a Cold, Virus or Bacteria Invaded Your Home? Here’s What To Do Now:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and a BIG thank you so much for reading my Blog:)

Now on to the topic of about a dozen emails the past several days:  either you, or someone in your home, has the flu, or a bad cold.  It’s a pretty sick December, isn’t it?  Obviously, the first line of Defense is to PREVENT pathogenic virus or bacteria from setting up shop in the first place.  Read these posts on how to do that plus several suggestions for treating illness after it strikes:  (1), (2), and (3).   Then see what I’m doing right now, including a few recipes.

My daughter Shelby is on her 3rd day of illness.  I’m pretty sure it was or is the flu, and she definitely had/has Pink Eye.  I absolutely DON’T believe in the flu shot.  For one thing, it’s LOADED with Mercury and Aluminum, why would I inject that into myself or my kids?  I’d rather get the flu bugs than Toxic Heavy Metals.  And Two: the CDC admitted that this years shot isn’t even that effective for those who did get it.  (I have a beef with vaccines. My daughter Amanda’s first seizure was 30 minutes after her kindergarten shots.  )   I’m not saying that all vaccines are bad, but they’re not all good either.

I also don’t use standard Cold Remedies anymore.  That stuff’s poison, and they have ZERO effect on actually helping your body kill the pathogenic bacteria or virus – ZERO, or boosting your immune system.  Cough and Cold medicines ONLY suppress symptoms, and actually contain ingredients like acetaminophen ( horrible for the liver), food dyes ( cancer anyone? ), and other chemicals that come with a long list of undesirable side effects.  PLUS *** symptoms like fever, coughs, runny nose, and watery eyes, are all DEFENSE MECHANISMS OUR BODY USES TO GET RID OF BAD GERMS.  I don’t want to suppress those;  I want to help her body clear them.

Here’s what I’m doing in my house for my Sick Kid, and here’s her symptoms: low grade fever ( about 100 ), severe body aches, nausea, sore throat, pink eye.  Everything abated within 12 hours, now it’s mostly a cold and fatigue.

1) She’s on 2 homeopathic flu remedies,  Oscillococcimun, and Influenzium 30.  I got both from my local health food store a few weeks ago.  I stocked up because the Influenzium 30 is actually a good PREVENTATIVE.  The past 2 years we’ve done a “take 10 pills 1x a week” routine starting in January, which worked beautifully.  ( I didn’t plan on someone getting sick so early!  Now, it’s a treatment instead of a preventative. )

2) She’s drinking a TON of water, herbal teas, and my TONICS, recipes to follow.

3) I’m using the essential oil blends ( from DoTerra ), Breath, On Guard, and a personal mix from a friend of Lavender/Clary Sage/Myrrh/Frankincense, which I’m rubbing on her feet, and the skin on the outside of her throat.   I’m a BIG believer in Essential Oils; they’re very, very effective.

4) For the Pink Eye ( and it was wicked!), I made a mix of 1 cup water, 1tsp salt, and a tbsp of Manuka Honey.  We’re putting those drops in her eyes every couple of hours; it started working very quickly.  She went from swollen shut with lots of goobers to wide open and no discharge within an afternoon.

5) Hot baths with Magnesium Flakes and essential oils, the same ones listed above.

6) She’s eating eggs, homemade Coconut Milk Bread w/ butter and honey, bananas, chicken, homemade broth, and peas.  Easy foods to digest.

7) For sleeping:  Melatonin, and Herb Pharm Relaxing Sleep Tonic – this puts her out like a light; our body WANTS to sleep when we’re sick, that’s when it can heal best.

8) Lots of Positive Reinforcement and Hugs.

Here’s the Recipe for Elderberry Syrup from the Wellness Mama site:

⅔ cup black elderberries
3.5 cups of water
2 T fresh or dried ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cloves or clove powder
1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market)

Instructions
Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well. ( you don’t want to kill honey’s live nutrients )
When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Here’s The Vinegar of the 4 Thieves from the Wellness Mama Site, and yes, it needs to sit and develop.  If you make some this week, you’ll still have it for the last part of the winter.  I put a note on my calendar last year to make it in November this year.  I’m learning to plan ahead!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Ingredients:

2 TBSP Thyme (dried)
2 TBSP Rosemary (dried)
2 TBSP Sage (dried)
2 TBSP Lavender (dried)
2 TBSP Mint (dried)
4-8 cloves of minced garlic (optional)
One 32-ounce bottle of organic Apple Cider Vinegar with “the Mother”
[Note: Most herbs can be found locally, but are also available online at places like Mountain Rose Herbs]

How To Make the Vinegar of The Four Thieves:

Put all the dried herbs and garlic (if using) into a large glass jar (I used half gallon)
Pour the Vinegar over the herbs and garlic and seal tightly. The vinegar is strong enough to corrode some metal lids, so in this case, consider putting plastic wrap or a plastic bag on top and then putting the lid on.
Leave in a cool, dark, place for 6-8 weeks (for health tonic recipe) shaking daily if possible.
After 6-8 weeks, strain the herbs out using a small strainer and store tonic in smaller jars for easy use.
Uses for Four Thieves Herbal Vinegar:

As I mentioned before, this vinegar makes a very effective (though strong smelling!) insect repellent. If you make it to this strength, just put 1/4 cup of the vinegar in an 8-ounce spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray on skin, clothes, etc. when in heavily insect infested areas. We store in the fridge to minimize the vinegar smell and make more refreshing.
In cases of illness, the Vinegar of the Four Thieves is very helpful in quick recovery. Adults can take 1 TBSP several times a day (dilute in water!!) and kids can take 1 Tsp several times a day (well diluted in water/herbal tea).
When a family member is sick, diluting this with 1 part water and putting in a spray bottle will make a potent disinfectant that can be used on surfaces or sprayed in the air.
I’ve had some people report really good success using this vinegar as a soak or topical spray for foot or nail fungus.
Diluted and used on the scalp, this remedy is also said to be effective against dandruff.
This vinegar makes an effective natural disinfectant spray for use in house cleaning.

Want to Lose Weight, Reduce Inflammation, Gain Energy, and Look Younger?

me in kitchenJudging from my email, and comments at the gym, it’s been hard to stick to a healthy food plan over the holidays.  Long, busy days and less sleep derail even the best intentions.  Don’t stress about it; stress hormones just make everything worse.

We’re 2/3 of the way through December.  How about this January, you commit – in your mind starting today – to a cyclical Low Carb/High Fat Diet / Way of Eating?   Here’s what I mean:

Since I did the Keto Diet this summer, I’ve cycled my eating to be either Low Carb days that include a starchy vegetable or fruit, ( potatoes, bananas, plantains, or winter squash ), with days when I eat VERY High Fat/Low Carb and ONLY green or cruciferous vegetables.  I haven’t done this for my weight, as my weight never really changes ( IF YOU HAVE WEIGHT TO LOSE, YOU’LL LOSE IT EATING THIS WAY I SWEAR, IF YOU DON’T HAVE WEIGHT TO LOSE, THERE’S A MILLION BENEFITS TO THIS WAY OF EATING), but WOW, does it do a number on energy and inflammation.  It’s the High Fat component I’m sure, as I’ve been plain old Low Carb for years now. ( Yes, Low Carb has several health and weight loss benefits independent of High Fat!)

Here’s what I’ve experienced in the past 6 months:  My varicose veins, which I’ve had since my 2nd pregnancy 22 years ago, are GONE.  It’s weird.  Some age spots I had on my chest…. GONE.  My eyebrows, which had kind of disappeared on the outside ( a sign of poor thyroid function ), have grown back.  Inflammation and soreness after a I teach a hard class or have a heavy leg day… much less.  And I haven’t been this “regular” in 10 years.

I had to go off a strict Keto plan because my blood pressure went too low ( one night it was 60/40 ), but if you struggle with High Blood Pressure, or Diabetes, or Heart disease, or need to lose weight, then a Keto Diet would be great for you.  Interestingly, cycling my days between High Fat/low carb and plan old Low Carb, has allowed me to see low levels of Ketones on the sticks whenever I test.

However, most people I work with don’t want to do a Keto Diet every day; it sounds too hard, and I’ll admit, it takes a LOT of fat, and counting your carbs, to see ketones on the meter or the keto sticks.  If you read my summer Posts, you know there’s several advantages to having a low amount of Ketones in your blood, everything from cell repair to cancer cell inhibition. Several decades ago, it would have been normal for us to float in and out of mild ketosis as high fat /low carb/low sugar diets were the norm; NOT ANY MORE.

Now, studies show that burning predominately glucose ( sugar ) is our New Norm.  If you’re primarily a sugar burner, that means your body STORES FAT instead of burning fat, even during exercise.   Ketones are an excellent fuel source;  our muscles, heart, and brain LOVE to burn ketones and literally PREFER to burn ketones or fatty acids OVER glucose.

If you’ve been struggling with weight or health issues, you should do a Cyclic Keto Diet, at least for January.  Give it a try.  Start today focusing on not only ditching the grains and sugar, but upping your fats, greens, and cruciferous vegetables.  It’s NOT boring, and it’s not hard once you get into the swing of things.  Look at my What I Eat page for ideas.  In the meantime, don’t go hog wild thinking a big diet’s coming up so there’s no sense holding back.  That’s a ridiculous mindset that causes weight gain, hormonal havoc, and illness.  Stop it.

Instead, focus on LOOKING FORWARD to healthy proteins, healthy fats, and tons of vegetables. Take control of your thoughts and PLAN to succeed at this.  There’s even delicious Keto Desserts you can eat every day if you want.  I’ll post my meals throughout the month of January.  Don’t let this be just about your weight; read and learn about the benefits of Low Carb and Ketogenic eating, there’s so much science now and you need to get that science in your head if you want to make real changes.

Two of the best books out there are Keto Clarity, and The Art and Science of Low Carb Living. Order at least one of these and start reading today.

Hesitant?  Sound daunting?  Afraid to give up bread, pasta, pizza, and sweets?  You’re addicted.  Quit listening to that part of your brain.

Where were you a year ago in your weight and health?  Are you still there today?  Has anything changed for the better in the past year?  Stop the crazy train diet cycle.  You can be different, you can be better, you can be really, really, happy with yourself!  God didn’t make losers.  Manifest a positive, productive mindset.  Order the books, take control of your thoughts, and determine to be better every day in 2015. Next year, on December 21, 2015, you could be a whole different, better you!

6 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and a Paleo Cookie Recipe

debbieThree emails this weekend about Holiday Weight Gain are prompting a Post.  Don’t Diet In December; don’t despair if you’ve gained a few pounds since Halloween; don’t “throw in the towel and restart in January”; and don’t kill yourself with extra hard workouts.

All that stuff would be SHORT TERM THINKING, and short term thinking never produces good Long Term Results.

What should you do instead?  CHILL.  Honestly.  It’s the holidays and we’ve all got about 50 extra things on our to-do lists.  Stressing about it = CORTISOL, which = WEIGHT GAIN and ILLNESS ( come January or sooner).

In addition to all our “extras”, is the assumption we’ll eat more just because it’s the holidays; constant indulgence = CORTISOL + INSULIN, which = WEIGHT GAIN AND ILLNESS ( come January, or sooner).

Blood sugar becomes a complete mess, and the impulse to soothe stress with food or alcohol feels irresistible.  Here’s what to do instead-

1) SUPPLEMENTS and FOOD for Stress and Blood Sugar Control:  Fish oil/Omega 3s ( you don’t need the 6’s or 9’s, you already get enough); Cinnamon/Ginger/Turmeric ( blood sugar and inflammation from Cortisol);  B Vitamins and Magnesium  ( critical when stressed!!); Probiotics ( stress and sugar destroy the good bacteria in our gut).

2) When the going gets tough, strive to make the best choices possible.  Extra food, extra alcohol, or skipping too many workouts NEVER ever makes us feel better, ever.  There’s always mental and physical regret from that.   Going to a party? Bring a vegetable dish so you know there’s at least one item you can eat.  Limit your alcohol to just 1 drink, and don’t make it a sugary one ( alcohol = liquid doughnuts!).  Going out to a holiday dinner?  Set your mind ahead of time that you’re ordering Meat and Vegetables.  Look forward to it, think about how good you’ll feel the next morning.

3) If you’ve blown it several times since Halloween, GET OVER IT. Regret and worry keep us living in the past, doing the wrong things over and over.  Yesterday is gone, tomorrow’s not here, FOCUS ON TODAY.  Make healthy choices today.  The mindset of blowing-it/punishment diets MAKES US FAT AND SICK.

4) Exercise as often as possible, but be realistic this month.  Can’t make it to the gym for an hour long class or lift?  Do 100 push-ups at home.  Do wall squats.  Do Tabata’s - they’ll kick your butt in 4 minutes!  Walk at lunch for 15 minutes.  It’s important to move, but weight loss and weight control is really all about the food we put in our mouths and the hormone response that food causes.

5) Feel too busy to cook this month?  Think and plan ahead so that you’re not tempted by Fast Food. Buy frozen vegetables, they’re just as nutrient filled as fresh and sometimes MORE nutrient filled than fresh; or buy already cut-up veggies.   Throw burger patties, chicken breasts, or a roast in a crock pot with a little water.  Make sure you have plenty of butter/olive oil and shredded cheese in your house.  Buy the already prepared meatballs/kabobs/fish from the Butcher. Boil a dozen eggs to keep in the fridge.  Make sure you have string cheese, fresh fruit, and carrots and celery available.  Nut butters and nuts are also easy and quick.  Cook big batches of food on the weekends; and keep a running grocery list handy.

6) Read this Post on Diets and Mindset.

In other words, despite the Holiday Season’s extra demand’s, we don’t have to Gain Weight, Get Sick, or Go Crazy.  It’s all about planning and mindset.

Lastly, here’s a recipe from my Paleo Christmas Party that’s going to be a Holiday Tradition at our house:  Pecan Pie Cookies.   DELICIOUS!!  My picky/suspicious eater (Shelby) loved them, and so did everyone else.

 

Holiday Eating Gone Bad? 8 Facts To Scare You Straight.

me:girlsIt’s the holiday season, you’re busy, you’re struggling, you want motivation, so I’ll be fast and effective.

I’ve had several emails and comments in the past two weeks full of regret and remorse over Eating Gone Bad.  There’s definitely the sense of, ” I couldn’t help myself because…”

A client friend said to me yesterday, ” I want to become scared of flour and sugar, like you are.”  I want ALL OF YOU TO BECOME SCARED OF FLOUR AND SUGAR, like I am!  Let me scare you straight, quickly.

Simple carbs from Grains and Sugar cause high levels of sugar and insulin in your blood/arteries/veins. The negative health effects from this are PROFOUND:

1) Excess blood sugar ( from sugar and grains) is converted to Triglycerides and stored in our fat cells.

2) Excess blood sugar “GLYCATES” proteins and lipids in our blood and body.  EXAMPLES OF GLYCATION ARE WRINKLES, AGE SPOTS, AND IMPOTENCE.   Alzheimer’s is being called Diabetes Type 3 because of the plaques/glycation of the brain, which is composed of fats and proteins.

3) Alzheimer’s, Migraines, Dementia, and all sorts of Neurological Conditions, including ADD and Mood Disorders, are highly associated with high blood sugar and insulin.

4) Cancer cells are covered with Insulin Receptors.  Cancer cells eat SUGAR.  The insulin receptors that cover cancer cells make sure those cells get all the sugar they want and need to grow and thrive.   APPLY THAT THOUGHT TO YOUR KIDS THE NEXT TIME YOU FEED THEM MAC N CHEESE WITH A SIDE OF BREAD.  Seriously.  That stuff is poison!

5) Heart disease is caused by several conditions initiated by sugar and insulin:  excess sugar thickens the blood; excess sugar robs the heart of it’s favorite mineral – Magnesium, and it’s favorite vitamin – the Bs ( that’s because digesting/metabolizing sugar requires an enormous amount of Magnesium and B vitamins ); and excess sugar and insulin severely damage artery walls, in several ways.

6) Damage to the artery walls ( whether those arteries are near your heart, in your neck, or MEN:  IN YOUR FAVORITE ORGAN THAT FILLS WITH BLOOD!!) means they need to be “fixed”.  In an effort to mitigate the damage we do, the liver puts together PLAQUE patches, and sends them to the sites of the damage.  This keeps us alive for years, but eventually, the high blood pressure, the thick blood, the extra stress on the heart, comes back to Bite Us In The Butt.

7) Excess sugars can completely change the Bacterial Composition of your entire gut: from the stomach, which needs to have just a tiny bit of H-Pylori and a TON of acid to be optimal, to the small intestine, which should be intact but more often then not is “LEAKY” or plagued with SIBO ( small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.  If you bloat badly, ask me about this.),  to the large intestine, which should house at least a few POUNDS of beneficial bacteria that perform literally THOUSANDS of jobs for our bodies.  Constipation, Bloat, Reflux, Diarrhea: NOT NORMAL!  It means you’re not breaking down and absorbing your nutrients which sets the stage for all sorts of disease and dysfunctions.

8) Excess sugar and insulin suppress your immune system, IMMEDIATELY, for up to 24 hours.  This means if you let your kid eat a breakfast of pop tarts or crappy cereal, and then send them to school to sit by someone on the bus or in the classroom who’s coughing or sneezing, they’re an EASY TARGET for the germs to set up house and proliferate. Same for you: a quick muffin or sugar/chemical drink at Starbucks, then off to an office/gym filled with bad germs?  You’re a sitting duck!

I could go on and on, but say this to yourself:  Food Is Medicine, or Food Is Poison; for me, and for my kids.

Then, delete the ancient notion that eating well means Dieting; eating low fat/no fat chicken and steamed broccoli is a recipe for a Rebound Binge.

That’s why I love the Paleo Diet:  Real Whole Food with plenty of good FAT, good meats and proteins, TONS of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and GOOD dairy if you can tolerate it.  The Paleo Diet even includes Real Whole Food DESSERTS, what’s not to like?  ( Christmas Paleo Party at my house, 12/12/14, from 12 -2. Everyone’s invited, and you’ll get to see just how good Real Whole Food is!)

If Food Addiction is your struggle, then all the common sense/information in the world doesn’t help too much.  Read my last post.   If you have trouble staying away from grains and sugar, know that they contain compounds that trigger addiction centers in your brain, and your child’s brain.  That doesn’t happen with Real Whole Food. 

Finally, in this stressful, busy season of the year, acknowledge that “eating for stress relief” doesn’t actually Relieve Your Stress, it makes you MORE STRESSED afterwards.  Just the opposite of sitting down to a Real Whole Food meal, which actually satiates your mind and body.

Change today.  Don’t wait til the season is over.  We’re talking about your health, your mind, and the example you’re instilling in your kids.  The food you put in your mouth matters.  I’ll say it again:  Food is Medicine, or Food is Poison.

Hate Your Thighs, Stomach, and Butt? What’s Changed in 2014; Holiday Recipes

thanksgiving2014Last November (2013), I had a theme running called Change Your Brain, Change Your Body.  Here’s the premise:  our every word and action is precipitated by our thoughts, and our thoughts make habit patterns in our brain.  These “habits” are chemical and structural in nature; they’re as real and concrete as a tree or a rug or a skin cell.

If you have Bad Habits that have led to you being overweight or sick ( such as the habit of eating every time you’re lonely or stressed, eating sugar/grain flour, or binging on the weekend); then the simple desire to change, or the feeling of hating body parts, won’t make a dent in the brain patterns you’ve nurtured and developed.  Those things are like steel train tracks, and getting rid of them requires a solid plan that focuses on getting rid of destructive old thought patterns and replacing them with productive new thought patterns.

When I work with a client who needs to lose weight or change eating habits that have led to poor health, I have them work just as much – or more – on their Brain Plan as I do on their Food Plan.

Here’s a quote from a Nov. 2013 post:

It’s been over a week now that I’ve challenged you to Change your Thinking if you want to Change Your Body; and I’m specifically talking about those negative thought patterns that I’ve heard so many people express: I hate my thighs, if only they were thinner; I hate my stomach; I hate my butt; I want to lose weight; If only I could lose 10 pounds…. etc etc etc. Ask yourself how long you’ve been spinning on these exact same thoughts and how well they’ve allowed you to change. How long?

Change doesn’t happen when you keep doing the “same old same old”; negative thought patterns NEVER produce positive results.  Stop thinking about what you don’t like on your body, and start focusing on improving your mind. Focus on being kinder, more loving, more productive, healthier, more energetic – anything other than weight and calorie counts. Use Mantras, Meditation, and Prayer; write positive or meaningful quotes on 10 or 20 sticky’s and post them all over: your mirrors, wallet, fridge, doors, car. PRACTICE changing your thoughts. 

I asked some questions at the end of 2013, and I’ve been thinking about them for the past few weeks:

What did I manifest this year?  What did I change?  What’s stayed the same? What will I work on?

Don’t let 2015 be more of what bugs you about yourself, be different!  Get in touch with me and we’ll develop a plan to free you from destructive habits.    If those destructive habits include food addiction, it’s going to take awhile.  If it’s just a matter of information… not so long.

On to something more fun: Thanksgiving Recipes, and a Paleo Party Invite.

If you’re in my area ( Northern Virginia ), I’m hosting a Paleo Christmas Party on Friday, December 12, from 12-2.  Everyone is invited!  Bring – or don’t! – a Grain Free, Sugar Free, Real Whole Food appetizer, dessert, or main dish.  If you aren’t on the Evite list, send me your email so I can put you on it :)

Last, a few recipes we made for Thanksgiving:

Low Carb Green Bean Casserole - this was EXCELLENT!  A few changes:  1. I didn’t use Avocado oil, too expensive and I love the taste of butter.   2.  I added a quarter cup of raw yogurt, it acts like sour cream.  This dish is going to be a tradition at our house.

* My sister wrapped medium sized sweet potato chunks in bacon  and then roasted them- EXCELLENT!

*  Low Carb Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake – OMG Delicious:

CRUST:
1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 cup coconut oil or butter
3/4 cup Swerve (or erythritol and 2 tsp stevia glycerite)
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 egg

FILLING:
3 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup Swerve (or erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
CRUST: In a medium sized bowl combine all the ingredients. Press onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan.

FILLING: Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the Swerve and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Remove 1 cup plain batter; place in small bowl. Stir remaining 1/4 cup Swerve, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter. Spoon pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of reserved plain batter. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect.

If using a springform pan, wrap the outside of it with tin foil so any oils don’t leak out into oven. Bake 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 12 slices. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator. Serves 12