Archive for February 28, 2014

Cereal Stumbling Blocks, and Recipes

Wow!  My little post on Thomas English Muffins struck several nerves – good!  It’s pretty eye opening when you realize that food you’ve put in your body for (decades?) years, and are now feeding your kids, is toxic sludge that’s setting you up for disease.  And weight gain.  And depression.

Let’s look at a few more products that are pretty embedded as healthy breakfast options, and examine their ingredients.

Total-Blueberry-Pomegranate-750General Mills Total Blueberry Pomegranate 100% Nutrition Cereal

Oh good grief. 100% Nutrition? Are you kidding?  By the way, 3/4 cup of this stuff is 100 calories, and 0 fat – it’s a Dieter’s Dream! Plus look: it’s healthy!  There’s Blueberry and Pomegranate, which we all know from Dr. Oz are really good for us, and it’s America’s #1 Source of Whole Grain.

Just kidding, there’s no actual fruit, they just concoct a smell and taste effect fromwheat chemicals, and there’s no actual “Whole Grain”.  Here’s what a whole grain of wheat looks like:

See the first 7 ingredients listed?  Ingredients are listed in the order of their predominance; this means that the first 7 ingredients in this cereal are SIMPLE SUGARS.  There’s no complex carbs here that might take a while to break down and slowly seep from your small intestine to your blood stream.  There’s a bunch of Simple Sugars that your body (or your child’s) will have no problem quickly breaking down to glucose (bc it’s so highly processed), shooting through the intestine wall, into your blood steam, creating high blood sugar, the resultant insulin reaction, and then inflammation, glycation, brain fog, and finally, low blood sugar fatigue and hunger.

All the chemicals, many of which are linked to cancer and behavior problems, will go to your liver, as that’s one of it’s jobs: break down chemicals and dispose of them.  Your liver has around 500 jobs.  It’s actually the BIGGEST PIECE OF OUR DAILY METABOLISM, around 50/60% of our total daily calorie burn.  What do you think happens to your liver, or your child’s, when it’s hampered from it’s duties because it’s trying to breakdown and dispose of Red dye 40, Blue dye 2, “and other color”?

Notice there’s also Sucralose.  Ugh.  Remember that from the Thomas English Muffins?  It kills beneficial gut bacteria, it causes migraines and headaches, it raises blood sugar, it’s highly linked to cancer.

All those vitamins and minerals on the list:  They’re Added in, let’s be very clear that they’re in NO WAY a natural part of this cereal.  Anything of nutritional value was destroyed in processing the wheat, the barley, the sugars, the rice, and the corn.  Destroyed.  Those synthetic vitamins and minerals you see listed were manufactured in China (that’s where most cheap vitamins and minerals come from now) and added to the cereal.  Trust me, those are rarely EVER the body’s preferred forms of those vitamins and minerals. Ever.

Now I’m going to expose a Dieter’s Dirty Little Secret.  Cereal like this isn’t just for kids; adults eat it too, often times for dinner, or after dinner snacks.  HELLO STOMACH BLOAT:)  Wheat/carb products like this are incredibly addictive.  Remember the link to Dr. Davis’s site, Wheatbellyblog, he does a great job of breaking down the science of gliadian proteins, their opiate effects, and the resultant appetite stimulate they cause.

What are some good alternatives to Cereal?  There’s plenty, and I’ll list them below, but a few more words about Cereal and how it’s a very common “stumbling block” food.

I get questions all the time asking me how to lose weight.  Many of the people who ask this are highly, highly addicted to both whole grains and simple sugars, and when it comes down to it, they have a really hard time thinking of giving them up.  So don’t focus on that.  Don’t focus on what you can’t have and how sad it makes you feel.  Focus instead on the nutrients in your food, what exactly those nutrients OR ANTI NUTRIENTS are doing in your body, and ASK YOURSELF THIS:  If I eat this, how will I feel in ONE hour:  Not even thinking about food?  Stuffed?  Depressed? Hating myself? Bloated? On to the next project? Level? In a Tailspin?  HINT:  An hour after you eat, you shouldn’t even be thinking about your meal; that would mean you ate healthy food that satiated you, and your digestion worked perfectly.  You can MOVE ON.

If that’s not your reality, try to not be so mindless about eating, which is hard if you’ve got an addiction.  Addictions highjack your brain neurons, make them throb and pulse and send signals that compel you to dig in.  If you’re addicted, make a promise to yourself that at least you won’t keep cereal, crackers, pretzels, chips, bagged cookies, and other hand-to-mouth munchie/easy/brainless foods in your house.  Start there.  What about the kids and their need for snacks?  THEY DON’T NEED THIS POISON, AND THEY DON’T NEED TO FIRMLY ESTABLISH MINDLESS MUNCHING IN THE LITTLE BRAINS. Why set them up for a life time of struggle? They’ll not only live if you get that stuff out of your house, they’ll actually thrive.  So will you.  You can do this!  Pledge today that you’re on your way to being a Real Whole Foodie.  Now for the Breakfast Ideas:

1. meat and cheese roll ups

2. eggs scrambled in butter/coconut oil, veggies added or not

3. nitrate free sausages and bacon

4. assorted smoothies:

Wheat Withdrawl Zinger, Dr. Davis;  Elana’s Pantry Smoothie list

5. paleo pancakes ( make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for another morning)

6. apricot power bars  ( love Elana’s Pantry!!!)

7. egg cups  ( super fast to reheat; great for “on the road”)


Looks Heathy But Isn’t; Two Good Bread Recipes

I get to do a “Looks Healthy But Isn’t”! So excited! Got a great email asking my opinion on breads; as in, if I HAD to feed one to my kids, wouldn’t whole wheat at least be best?  (I don’t think she’s read my blog – but I hope she starts!)  I’ve got to answer here, because I know this will interest other people, especially busy people who turn to processed food for convenience, and people who are completely convinced that bread is a biblically mandated food item.  It’s not.  If you’re feeding your kids most of the breads on the market, you’re honestly feeding them a crappy, chemical, sugar concoction that contains indigestible proteins that will affect their behavior negatively, their gut negatively, their weight, their hormones, their skin, and I could go on and on and on.

Here’s an ingredient list of Thomas Whole Wheat English Muffins:

english muffins










Whole wheat bread has this weird halo above it, as if we’ll all be thin and healthy if we eat it.  Look at these ingredients.  Do you honestly think there won’t be repercussions from that stuff? Here’s a few ingredient breakdowns:  azodicarbonamide:   Azodicarbonamide is manufactured by the reaction of dihydrazine sulfate and urea under high temperature and pressure. The product of this reaction is then oxidized using sodium chlorate and centrifuged to yield a slurry containing azodicarbonamide. The slurry is washed to remove impurities and dried to obtain the azodicarbonamide powder. This is then micronized to a fine powder before packaging. This product is banned in Europe and Australia because:  it’s killed dogs in experiments, many links to asthma and skin problems, and is found to be a mutagen to bacteria,    Sucralose:  kills beneficial gut bacteria, highly linked with migraines and headaches, causes cramping and intestinal discomfort, raises blood and has many links to cancer. Carmel Coloring:  caramel coloring is created by heating ammonia and is considered a carcinogen when created this way. Calcium Propinate linked to irritability, restlessness, inattention, and sleep disturbance in children. The Ecologist Online claims that it is linked to allergic reactions in bakery workers.

That’s gross.  These are NORMAL ingredients in Normal (processed) foods.  If you eat these, or feed these to your children, you’re creating a disease state in the body.  I really believe that.  Our body uses the food we eat to make ALL OF OUR CELLS.  We are what we eat. The average disease takes about 20 years to manifest. This stuff is poison.

What about the effects of blood sugar with an english muffin? It would be different for everyone, depending on the shape of their pancreas and liver, and how readily their muscle cells uptake glucose, but even if everything’s working well, this is a big hit. Dieters love english muffins because they’re low cal/low fat. ( 120 calories, 1 gram of fat).  Big deal.  There’s 23 grams of sugar in them.  The label says “sugar – 2 g.”,  that’s ADDED sugar.  LOOK AT THE TOTAL CARB COUNT BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THAT COUNTS.  ALL CARBS BREAK DOWN TO EITHER GLUCOSE OR FRUCTOSE.  ALL OF THEM.  That’s the job of our digestive system: break all carbs down to single molecule sugars, and there’s only two, glucose or fructose.  They both wreck havoc on our body.   Ignore everything you’ve ever heard about Whole Wheat being good for you.  The glycemic index of Whole Wheat is actually WORSE than white flour! Honest!  This means that the speed with which it can go from mouth, to stomach, to small intestine to blood stream ( causing a big blood sugar rise), is super quick.  That’s NEVER good.  Hormonal disaster.  Avoid it.

Next, let’s talk about the ANTI-NUTRIENTS in wheat, and I’m going to quote from the Wheat Belly blog (you should check it out!) :

“–Gliadin–While some gliadin is degraded to small peptides that act as opiates on the human brain, a substantial proportion of gliadin remains undigested. The intact, undigested form is the form that initiates the zonulin mechanism that increases intestinal permeability, the first step in generating the diseases of autoimmunity.
–Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)–The complex, 4-part protein present in wheat, rye, barley, and rice is completely indigestible. WGA that enters the mouth comes out the back end–except for the small quantity that penetrates intestinal barriers, causing direct intestinal toxicity and entering the bloodstream to activate antibodies, mimic insulin, and block leptin (the hormone of satiety).
–Trypsin inhibitors–Trypsin inhibitors block–no surprise–trypsin, a protein required for protein digestion. This further reduces the digestibility of grain proteins, a fact that organizations, such as the World Health Organization, grapples with when starving nations are fed grains but then struggle with malnutrition despite the calories.

There is a digestible component of wheat and the seeds of other grasses: the amylopectin A carbohydrate, highly susceptible to digestion by the amylase enzyme of saliva and stomach. This explains why two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar. ”

Really, between the chemical ingredients and the simple sugars and the toxic proteins and the opiate/addictive properties of wheat, why would you feed this to your kids or eat it yourself?  And before you write me off as an extremist, ask yourself, what is making cancer rates rise every year, what’s making heart disease rates rise every year, what’s making autism rates rise every year, what’s making asthma rise every year, what’s making weight, auto-immune disease, diabetes, lyme, neurological disorders, rise every year?  It’s the NORMAL every day foods that pervade our lives.  Read the ingredient list again, please, wrap your mind around the fact that our government is in bed with big business and neither cares one bit about our health and well-being.  This is all about money.  Thomas English Muffins racks up 500 MILLION ANNUALLY in sales.   That’s a lot of money!  Please don’t think they’re the only bad bread;  these are very common ingredients in a whole bunch of different processed foods.  These chemicals and this level of simple carb is NORMAL.

Back to the question, what breads do I feed my kids?  Grain free breads, I’ve become pretty good at them (that’s what practice does – makes you good at things).  Here’s two recipes that are big hits at our house:

Coconut Flour Biscuits
3/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 stick Butter, softened but not melted
4 eggs
1/2 -1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Put all ingredients into medium sized bowl and mix well with immersion blender or hand mixer until well incorporated
Using your hands, carefully form into nine small balls and mash each one down with a spoon to make it about ½ inch thick.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until just starting to brown.

We also make this: Coconut Flour Bread

¼ cup flax meal
½ cup filtered water
¾ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
½ cup coconut oil ( I always use butter – I like the taste better in baked goods)
1 Tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
In a food processor, combine the coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, coconut oil, honey, flax mixture and vinegar.
Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about an hour before slicing.

Inspiring Success Story; and How To Be a Real Whole Foodie

lunch on beachOh gosh, I love reading my email!  Here’s another great Success Story that will absolutely inspire you:)  I know this woman and she is fit and healthy and looks fantastic.  How eye-opening that even young, beautiful women who honestly don’t need to lose a pound, stress over their weight.  That’s because we’ve been conditioned since birth that a normal standard of beauty is a Victoria Secret model.  Or, if you’re in the fitness world, a Victoria Secret model with great muscle definition and a few slight veins showing through the abs.  It’s awful. It’s unattainable for most, or if it is attained, it’s impossible to stay there for very long.  And…it fills your headspace with worthless thoughts about food and calories and weight and data that are so completely, totally un-important.  That’s what Dieting and Calorie Counting do though.  They mess up your brain and actually interfere with Real Life.

Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let Dieting sabotage your brain and your energy and your focus when there’s so many other worthwhile things you could be doing.

How do you start?  Differentiate dieting from health; then realize that dieting never works (more than 95% of the time). Acknowledge that Dieting is an Industry, a Business, and it’s business agenda is to make money by promising you the secret to weight loss. ( Can you think of any other business in the world that continues to fail over and over and over and yet makes more money every year? )

I’ll tell you the secret:  Eat for health, and weight loss will be a side effect.  Look at food for it’s nutrient value, become a nutrient seeker.  Learn to cook if you don’t know how already.  Get out a notebook and plan, then shop, chop, cook and pack.  That’s it.  That’s the trick.  You are what you eat.  If you eat crap, you’re going to feel and look like it.  Eat good meats and proteins, tons of vegetables and fruits, lots of healthy fats, some dairy if you can tolerate it, and you’ll exude health.  If you need help with this and want to work with me, get in touch.  It’s not that hard to shift your brain patterns with a little guidance.

(Oh, about the Victoria Secrets mags:  I have 4 daughters.  I don’t let those magazines, or any woman’s magazine, be in our house.  They tick me off and I didn’t want my girls comparing themselves to the airbrushed, starving women in them.  It’s worked.  My girls are ardently opposed to women’s magazines and love to talk about how demeaning they are!  See Moms, we do have influence!)

Now you have to read Mandy’s story, she’s a hoot!

“All the eye opening knowledge I’ve gained from you and your website has TRULY changed my jaded outlook on food…you have no idea how much better I feel not constantly trying to figure out what “diet plan” I’m going to try next. I eat ONLY whole foods when I’m hungry, no measuring, NO CALORIE COUNTING…It’s like I’ve been released from diet prison.  Being in the intense martial arts training I had with a traditional Korean instructor, I was forced to get my body down to certain weights for certain fights and the constant reminder of “lose weight; train harder; eat less” gave me a HUGE complex. I’ve struggled with body image and eating disorders practically my whole life and you have definitely played a big role in healing my mind from that.

I’m by no means a picture of perfection haha but I have definitely come leaps and bounds from the jaded health (aka dieting) I used to obsess over.  It’s all about the REAL health now…I could kick myself repeatedly for the horrible things I’ve done to my body in the past, but I praise God that the veil has been lifted from my eyes at a young age. I hate that we live in a world where no one can see what real health is….It’s just not fair.  Having worked as a bartender/food industry for 10 years I’ve seen it all….low carb menus…Skinny cocktails…fat free dressing….diet coke with rum to watch your calories….HOLY COW…I struggle to keep my mouth shut, so I don’t sound like a know it all, cause I’m definitely not. The way I NOW see it is… “low carb” cheesecake=pancreatic cancer….preparatory binge cocktails..”fat free” but God bless your liver to process it…..and I don’t honestly know what’s worse rum or diet coke…. probably diet coke…If I was stranded on a desert island I would drink the rum not the diet coke.” 

Well, you could use the rum to kill bacteria if you were stranded on an island – I know that from watching Reality TV.  And Jesus drank wine but He never drank diet soda, so the rum over soda is probably a solid choice:)

Seriously though, Mandy puts forth a brilliant statement:  “We live in a world where no one can see what real health is..”   YES!!  That’s my message!! Dieting doesn’t give anyone “health”, but we’ve been conditioned to think of “skinny” as healthy.  It’s not. Healthy means that you have great energy, your immune system can fight off invaders, your arteries are clear, your digestion rocks and you poop every day, your skin glows, your joints move well, you can handle stress, your blood sugar stays normal, you think clearly.  That’s real health.  That’s Real Health.   Eat to support all that, and your weight will be perfect.  Be a Real Whole Foodie.

“I’m sad because I can’t eat like Normal people eat.” Hmmm. Let’s look at that:

cereal:time to makeOh boy have I heard my title statement a million times, several of those times in my own head, and in the past few weeks from both clients and friends who are trying hard to eat well. Please don’t feel sad because you think you’re not eating Normal foods like a Normal person; let me show you why.

What’s Normal in 2014?  Normal people go on a diet to lose weight and make an effort to quit eating processed food, fast food, and junk food (or at least eat smaller amounts or diet versions).  Foods that have become so NORMAL that Real Whole Food often seems “not normal”.  Eating Real Whole Food can feel so full of effort, so out of the NORM, that it actually creates stress, or a feeling of virtue for sticking to the plan, or feelings of sadness over missing your old foods.

What does the Normal Person in America look like today?  Well, about 70% of the U.S. is overweight, and over 30% are obese.  About 70% of all Americans are on at least 1 prescription drug.  The average amount of meals eaten outside of the home is a solid 50%. One in five breakfasts is from McDonalds.  The top 10 products sold in US grocery stores: (10) Soda (9) Cereal (8) Frozen Dinners (7) Salty Snacks (6) Milk (5) laundry detergent (4) eggs (3) PB and Jelly (2) packaged meats and (1) Bread.  Those are Normal foods.

The average sales growth for Bread is increasing about 4.3 Million a year, for average total sales of 10 BILLION a YEAR.  44% of Americans in the top income level  eat less than one serving of fruit/veg a day.  41% of Americans in the lowest income level eat less than one serving of fruit/veg a day. It’s pretty Normal not to eat fruits and vegetables.  Top income earners eat fast food more often than the lowest income earners; 50 MILLION Americans buy fast food each WEEK, with only 28% of Americans saying they eat No fast food.  (Fast Food is definitely “Normal”.)

In just a few more years, 2020, the CDC says that about 50% of the US population will have Diabetes.  Cancer hits 1 out of 3 people, but the CDC predicts increases EVERY YEAR FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.  Same with Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s.  So we can say that Normal People are really, really, sick.  Our poor kids are in real trouble, because for the last few years every health agency out there is predicting – for the first time in our history – a SHORTER lifespan for our children.

If we use statistics and averages to define Normal, Normal doesn’t look so good.  Oh!  What about the Normal, Average dieter?  Around 95% of EVERYONE who loses weight on a diet, gains it back; about 50% of those people gain back a little extra.  That’s another Norm.

Let me be really clear:  today’s Normal food has created today’s Normal person.

Why would we want to be Normal?  It sounds horrible!

I still relate to that statement though, because like I said, I’ve thought it myself.  My jump off the Diet Roller Coaster was only a few years ago.  I had decades of starving myself, consuming tons of gut-wrenching diet foods, and giving into the inevitable binges.  That’s when Calories In Calories Out ruled my life.  Thank you God that it doesn’t anymore.  Being a slave to fake food, processed food, fast food, junk food, excuse my language, but it just sucks.  Really.  It feels so good for the few minutes you’re doing it, and then immediately afterwards, the guilt, the pain, the depression. That’s definitely not true happiness….know what I’m talking about?

You don’t have to be normal!  We can be like our Grandparents, or maybe Great Grand Parents, and just eat real food when it’s a meal time, and then go about our life when it’s not meal time.  Simple. Except for when it’s not:  you’re busy and it would be just so much easier to go buy dinner for you and the kids at a KFC or Subway.  You’re busy and tired and going out just sounds better.  You’re busy and that commercial for Marie Calendars says her lasagna makes families happy and close, just like real food. You’re busy and that darn co-worker brought in cookies.  Oh oh oh!  You’re busy and watching the Olympics and all the Olympians – who have smokin fit and hot bodies – are promoting McDonalds nuggets or the new Frito Sub at Subway and you think – Why Not?  It’s works for them!

Listen:  planning, shopping, chopping, cooking, and packing is only an effort for a little while. Thinking of food as nutrients that make your body and mind is an effort for a little while.  Everything new, every new effort, takes some mental strength and fortitude.  When it comes to food and cooking, we also have to undo decades of Brain Washing by Big Food that their crap is just as good for us as Real Food. It’s not just as good for us, and our new definition of Normal has made us overweight, very sick, depressed, and low in energy.

We can change all this by what we put on the end of our fork.  Honest. Energy, health, clear-headedness, and genuine excitement for the gift of our days here on earth can be yours.  Pledge today that you’re going to take control of your life, control of your thoughts, control of your schedule, and become a Real Whole Foodie.

How to Cruise Without Gaining Weight; 411 on Canola Oil

us off shipOla!  My husband and I just got back from the Love It Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise; it’s our third one and I highly recommend this for any and all marriages, it’s honestly fantastic.  This is our 5th time for cruising, loveitlikeyouand I thought you might be interested in how to do a cruise without gaining 10 pounds, because that would be reeaalll easy.

First of all, as with any and all vacations, or special occasions, don’t make the journey all about the food.  That’s a big mistake.  Anytime you anticipate food, or a food occasion, the compulsive-excited part of the brain takes over and before you know it, you’ve eaten multiple servings of really, really, unhealthy food.  That leads to all sorts of negative feelings and self-promises to starve/cleanse/detox/whatever it takes to get off the weight, which of course, always leads to “rebound gluttony”.  That’s the Diet Roller Coaster I talk about – you don’t want that!

The problem on a cruise, as opposed to a regular vacation, is that the food is so omni-present; it’s an assumed part of the cruise culture that you’re going to go on the ship and just eat and eat and eat.  With food not just highly available, but visually enticing you everywhere you go, it’s important to go mentally prepared.

What did I do?  Several things: I brought my own lunch food, (bison, beef, and turkey jerky), to eat at lunch time (yep, that’s all I ate at lunch, in my room).  I ordered omelet’s for breakfast with a ton of vegetables, cheese, and some bacon.  Every night, I chowed down on as many vegetables and as much fish and chicken as I wanted, and then I ate a big piece of dark chocolate (that I’d brought) after dinner, back in our room.  I knew from experience that if I let myself indulge in the dessert bar, my sugar switch would be tripped and I’d be in big trouble.  Plus, I’ve learned so much about gluten that I’m scared of flour desserts at this point.  Do I always shun desserts?  No.  But “dessert bars”, where there are literally (honestly) hundreds and hundreds of desserts to choose from, are dangerous.  I like feeling good, and I like not being “food-hungover”.  If you go on a cruise, don’t even look at the dessert bar; it has magical properties that will draw you over and suck you in before you know what hit you.  Seriously.  Don’t even look.

supps on shipI also brought my own Apple Cider Vinegar (it’s really important to keep the stomach super acidic because acid kills pathogens!), stevia packets, and tea.  And just like when we traveled all the way to Culebra, Puerto Rico, Mark brought his raw milk – so I stole some of the cream for the coffee we bought each morning:)  I also brought all my supplements, and some anti-viral/anti-bacterial essential oils that I used each day;  you can never be too careful on a cruise ship!

FYI: we were spending money on bottled and canned waters, thinking they were healthier than the ships water.  We were wrong (thank goodness, because they were expensive).  We took a “behind the scenes” tour and it’s a long explanation, but the water is desalinated and distilled with just steam and no chemicals – so it’s great!!!

All ships also have great gyms, with big weight rooms, plenty of cardio equipment, spin rooms, and yoga rooms; plus there’s always a big track on the top deck. Working out is a must for both of us; we don’t feel relaxed if we skip a workout.  Mark just lifted, but I did circuits every day alternating the elliptical and bike with leg presses, push ups, shoulder presses and triceps work.  Simple, but hard.

That’s enough about the cruise, but if you have any questions about the Love It Like You Mean It cruise, ask me.  It’s an awesome cruise with an awesome agenda.

How bout a little science?  I was asked if Canola oil is a good choice for cooking and salads.  My answer: No.  Canola oil, which is from the Rapeseed plant, can’t be safely extracted from the seeds, and that matters.  Here’s some details from one of my favorite sites:

“But here’s the main problem with canola oil, and why you should think twice before using it – canola oil is highly refined. The oil is removed by a combination of high temperature mechanical pressing and solvent extraction. Traces of the solvent (usually hexane) remain in the oil, even after considerable refining. Canola oil goes through the process of caustic refining, bleaching and degumming – all of which involve high temperatures or chemicals of questionable safety. And because it’s high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, (11% and 21% respectively) which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures, it must be deodorized. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. The Canadian government lists the trans content of canola at a minimal 0.2 percent, but it is speculated that they are actually much higher due to the processing. This processing is much different from that of olive oil, which most often is first cold pressed to reduce the oxidation of the oil. Harmful chemicals and fatty acid-altering processing means do not occur with olive oil as they do with canola oil.”

From me:  the condition of the fats we eat really, really, matters. Fat and cholesterol make up about 60% of our brain matter.  Fatty acids and cholesterol comprise the exterior portions of ALL OUR CELLS.  Nutrients need to be able to properly enter cells, and wastes need to be able to properly exit cells.  Bad, damaged fats completely screw up this in-and-out process, and when that happens, all sorts of damage follows.  Canola oil is ALWAYS DAMAGED, always; the heat extraction and toxic chemicals used to produce it make that a sure thing.  There is no other method for extracting the oil at this point.                 elephant

Use good fats for cooking and eating:  butter from grass fed cows, cold pressed olive oil, and coconut oil are three sure bets.  Oh, one more picture from the cruise:  a fun towel animal that the cabin stewards make every night – I love the towel animals!

Success Story – See if you can’t relate!

Who doesn’t love Success Stories?  Mary writes about stomach pain, fatigue, bloat, belching, back pain, weight loss and food sensitivities.  Sound familiar?  She’s resolved all of it with smart nutrition:  Real Whole Food, avoiding foods that irritate her gut, supplementing her digestion, and focusing on what makes her feel good and what makes her feel bad.  Here’s her story:

For years, I ignored the signs.  It was always there, waiting to be discovered, but I never put much thought into it.  Eventually I started to piece it together, but even then I was missing the motivation to do anything about it.  It was much easier to dismiss everything and proceed as usual.  If I go back into my history far enough, I would say it began with a doctor’s appointment when I was still in my 20’s.  I was on the table being examined for a run-of-the-mill physical or chest cold.  The physician was checking my heart and we both noticed my middle abdomen thumping to the beat of my heart.  It was so weird, you could see it plainly.  He put his hand on me and it was moving, bumping up and down.  It looked as if my heart was in my belly.

A few years later, I was in with my chiropractor, who is an astute healer.  He too, noticed my hard stomach and obvious discomfort.  It was easy to dismiss with the recollection that I had eaten half a box of Kraft Macaroni late the night before and had skipped breakfast aside from my morning cup of joe (extra half/half.)  Nonetheless, he encouraged me to consider that I may have food allergies…dairy in particular.  He asked me to do two things, reduce my sugar intake because he detected I had an abundance of yeast, and to eliminate dairy from my diet.

I was open to the first, for sure, but give up dairy? Entirely?  I had already reduced it in a lot of ways.  I never drank much milk, and I knew ice cream sometimes turned my stomach.  But his timing was really bad, because I had just purchased a huge load of groceries, with gourmet cheeses, and heavy cream and sandwich Havarti.  This idea of going dairy free was going to have to wait a month because I was not throwing out $50 worth of dairy.  No way.

I also developed eczema sometime during college.  Looking back, it all started back then.  I went to the Doc and received a hydrocortisone Rx and it was on again, off again for years.  When I finally quit drinking coffee and changed my soaps it went away for a number of years.  I went back to the dermatologist two or three years ago for a horrible rash on my fingers and got a tube of steroid cream.  I pressed him for insight on what could be causing this outbreak and he just dismissed it too.  Use the meds.  They worked.

The next sign was much harder to dismiss.  Back Pain.  I noticed it the most during my yoga workouts.  Pain in my low back, hip, tailbone, sometimes down in my leg.  It was almost always exacerbated by exercise.  I attributed it to my hips being out-of-whack due to pregnancy and child birth and figured that eventually, it would go away.  But it did not go away.  So then I attributed it to carrying my baby on the same hip all the time.

I spent the entire month of December going to the Chiropractor three times a week, usually right after my Yoga class, for regular adjustments.  It was time to put everything back into place and if that didn’t work, then I’ll try massage. I was committed to getting myself put back together so I could get back into working out to my full ability.  It didn’t work.  Neither methodology worked.  One of my massage therapists pointed to my sciatica.  I’m 35 years old.  My SCIATICA? Are you serious?  Those stretches never worked.  I was resigned to feeling this way, defeated by my own age and body.

Thankfully the timing was right for me to meet with Debbie Abbott, Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

But first let me back up one more time.  I have known Debbie for years.  She was my instructor the very first week I joined Old Town Athletic Club and started taking “yoga-ilates” style classes.  My motivation was, not surprisingly, a New Year’s Resolution to “start stretching regularly.”  I am not a big fitness person.  I like to swim, but at the time, there was no gym available with an indoor pool, so I toured the Club and joined.  From then until now my routine remains the same.  I take Centergy (Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates) three days per week.  That is all I ever do.

This journey is and was never about weight loss for me.  Thankfully, I don’t agonize over weight and battle with food.  I just like to better myself and I like to feel good.  I notice that when I am working out, I tend to eat better and sleep better and for me, that is why I do it.  I lost a little weight when I first joined, and then all bets were off when I had my two children.  I pretty much weighed the same prior to my children as I did after.  I am lucky my tall frame stretches everything over pretty well.  And the low intensity yoga workouts were a welcome part of my weekly routine and have helped me maintain my weight.

So Debbie and I see each other once, sometimes twice a week on a regular basis.  And may I just interject here and say that Debbie is easily one of the MOST cheerful, happy people I have ever met.  She is so positive and she seems to really care, sincerely.  She often begins or ends her class with a little tidbit, a golden kernel of knowledge or wisdom she’d picked up from somewhere that week.  She is and was a teacher and healer even way back when.

She used to dispense what I would describe as our little ‘minute-clinics’ before or after class.  I would complain about this or that and she would offer insight on what to do or try.  I remember mentioning to her that I always fasted before class, because I felt my performance and ability was greater when I had not eaten anything beforehand.

Another time, I complained about ‘my sciatica’ and how it was preventing me from certain poses, and taking on more vigorous work outs and that I was discouraged that I had not the same ability before my pregnancies as I was experiencing after them.  I just could not get over the hump, despite my weight/body rebounding in due time.

Thankfully, one day, she pulled me aside and asked that we meet for nutrition counseling.  I was complaining that my belly was always hard when I was in a prone position (face down on the mat) during the Pilates back exercises.  Sometimes, so much so, that I would not participate in the exercise at all.  She brought up food allergies and also mentioned the words “leaky gut” which I promptly googled.

We set up a time and she sent me a link to a questionnaire that covered all topics from diet, to sleep, to moods, to sex, to digestion.  She compiled the insight and I came to the consult armed with a recent blood test, a bag full of supplements, a blank notebook and about two pages of questions for her.

For all reading this, I recommend that you absolutely take my advice and do the same for yourself.  I cannot begin to tell you how important this meeting was for me and how long overdue it was.  Nutritional Therapy changed my life.

I met one-on-one with Debbie for just under two hours.  It was jam packed with all her ‘golden kernels’ of insight.  She ought take the surname Redenbacher for the quality and density of what she puts into her consultations and wellness classes, but I digress.  She sat me down and told me that almost all the red flags in my answers on the survey pointed to ‘problems in my upper-digestion.’  She took a pen and paper and showed me what was supposed to happen, what wasn’t happening, and began to crack the seal on what I could do to make it better.  We also talked a lot about glucose, blood sugar, and how it works through the human body.  It is worth mentioning now that I had a very healthy diet to begin with, my weight was good and my blood work was all excellent.  Our pursuit was not improvement in these areas, but more about feeling better, stronger, and free of the chronic discomfort I was experiencing.  I asked her point blank what I could and should do and she outlined about four or five things to try straight away.

One was to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Though I did not have leaky gut nor did I have Celiac’s or a serious allergy to gluten, she thought there was definitely enough of a sensitivity that it was not good for me.  (In hindsight, I feel as though I was slowly poisoning my body with wheat and other grains, and it would not have been long before I DID have leaky gut or worse.)

The second was to remove all dairy from my diet…everything…for a temporary amount of time.  She encouraged me to let my body ‘heal’ and reset and that perhaps in a few months’ time, I could try to re-introduce dairy and its many benefits back into my regular diet.

She prescribed me to take 4 new Natural supplements.  She told me what to get and where to get them.  This is when I pulled my bag of nutrition supplements up on the table and started showing her all the different things my Doctor, Gynecologist, Chiropractor etc. had persuaded me to take over the years.  It was 8 or 10 different things.  She looked at me and said not to take any of it.

“Are you sure?  Not even a multivitamin?  Seriously?”  And her reply was, “don’t take anything for a month and see how you feel.  Take the stuff I recommend, and cut out the foods we talked about and see how it goes for a month.”  I felt liberated. Hell yeah, I don’t have to sit down at a table and take 15 horse pills every morning.  Yeehaw!  She was so right.  Boy was she right.  With these new supplements, I could get all the goodness out the foods I was already eating.  It made a huge difference in a lot of ways.

Here’s what did, and in some cases, didn’t happen to me in one month:

I started feeling GREAT.  I mean great.  Call it placebo effect if you want, but I went into my yoga classes feeling typically the same and leaving feeling like The Hulk.  All of the sudden I was able to do those extremely hard balance poses, and I was able to rock out a Pilates Core workout with sweat dripping off my forehead only ramping up the energy and stamina with each new attempt.  I felt like I had a new body!

My back pain withered away to completely unnoticeable.  That helped me to grow stronger…to get back into those core strength poses I had been missing for years.

I stopped needing a nap.  I mean stopped.  I used to take a 2-3 hour nap a couple times a week when my kids were down or when my husband was home to watch them.  Especially after a big deli sandwich with baguette and cheese.  One of those knocked me down like clockwork for a long midday slumber.  Now, I have so much energy,  I cannot fall asleep if I try.

Cravings were gone.  When I gave up gluten, I started eating more meat and veggies.  One of the supplements she turned me on to was instrumental in allowing me to process red meat and hard to digest proteins.  It was amazing.  I could eat this huge steak and pig out on veggies!  I started eating all these foods I had previously denied myself.  I almost never got hungry between meals.  My blood sugar cozied on down to the perfect level where I felt fine all day. No spikes and crashes.  If I was busy and couldn’t stop to eat a meal, a tiny snack was enough to tide me over. Before I would have grabbed any carbo in sight and mashed it in my face to stave off my hunger pangs and jitters.

A smoothie actually became enough to comprise an entire meal.  Before, I would not have been sated.  Not without a half sandwich or some chicken salad with it or something else.  My body was somehow reconditioned to require less food at any given meal provided that my other meals were nutrient rich and substantial enough to satiate my appetite.  I didn’t want those salty crunchy starchy foods anymore.  The impulse just went away after a few months’ time.   My brain finally stopped giving me that impulse to go grab a bag of pita chips at 9pm.

Another unexpected perk was the complete absence of belching and indigestion.  My husband would always complain about me burping during meals, but I honestly couldn’t help it.  I mean, how do you keep in a burp without making your stomach even more upset?  On my new plan, burping was a thing of the past…instantly!  By the way, if you burp during meals, YOU HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES!!

Something I didn’t expect was the overall improvement of my immune system.  I used to get sick all the time. I would have sinusitis multiple times every winter.  I would get chest colds, and I always suffered through whatever my kids brought home with them from school.  Amazingly, I get sick a lot less.  When I do get sick, it is for only a week instead of three or more.

Top to bottom my body is performing so much better in every possible way.  I feel better, I look better.  My body is getting the fuel it needs with better choices and improved digestion.  I am more productive. I am stronger physically.  This is not a fitness thing. This is just from better nutrition.  Young and old, overweight or trim, we all need this.

A year and a half later I still feel great.  I am stronger than ever.  And the bonus everyone envies… I lost 20 lbs.  I actually weigh less than I did when I was in high school on the volleyball team.  I believe that I currently weigh what I SHOULD weigh.  The perfect, fit and healthy weight for Mary.  I am minus the birth control weight, the college beer and munchies weight, the pregnancy boob gain.  I lost the chin and the midsection ‘cottage cheese’ and my husband can’t take his hands off of me.

I went to the clinic for my physical a year after starting my new regimen.  My blood work was practically identical despite the fact that I eat eggs every other morning, and steaks and that I dump butter and coconut oil into and on everything I cook, eat or drink.  Triglycerides were about the same.  I had the same overall cholesterol count but I switched 8 points from Sith (LDL) to Jedi (HDL).  Not that I care about cholesterol anymore.  Through her blogs and classes I have come to view cholesterol in a whole new light.  The best thing Debbie taught me on this subject was something she learned from another health professional.  “Blaming high cholesterol for death due to heart disease is like blaming the fire fighters for the fire.”  If you are confused about this, then you need to take one of her classes.

As far as weight loss, after one year my doc recorded I had lost 17 lbs, weigh in to weigh in.  I’ve since dropped three more.  I am not obsessive about weight but I think it demonstrates the transformation in a relatable way.  I never liked scales before.  I didn’t trust them, because I would get on it one day and it would say 168 and then the next day it would say 162.  I hated that. I felt like I didn’t even have a TRUE weight because it fluctuated so much day to day. I put no stock in it at all.  We bought a scale for shipping and now when I get on it, it seems to be more convincing.  I can stand on it when I am feeling super fat (yeah, as a woman I still have those days) and again when I am feeling super slim and it always reads the same.  What happened to all that water weight, well I guess it went wherever the gluten went to die.  I’ll take that 148!  I even let it blink five times and then go solid just to enjoy the moment.

I’ve given up a lot of things I love to get to this point.  (read BEER) And I would say that I have excellent discipline, but I could not have gotten to this point without Debbie Abbott as my guide and motivator.  Her blog is not to be missed.  Not only does she help me to understand all the confusion and misinformation about diet and nutrition, but she is really funny.  One of my favorites is about the origins of Crisco and the advent of margarine.  It had me practically cheering after I read it, “Stick it to em’ Debbie!”  Her series “Looks Healthy But It Isn’t” is so insightful.  She shares her struggles too, which is such a great way to relate to people and encourage them.

Nutrition counseling was such a wakeup call.  I am so grateful for Debbie’s direction and insight.  She has done so much to change the way I feel about food, how I cook, how I plan meals, how I snack or space out my meals.  I read her blog and I continue to learn so much.  She always preaches about how you can’t view your diet and nutrition in terms of calories in and calories expended.  She taught me that you can’t ‘burn fat’ and that dieting, in all its forms and variations, is so temporary.  Rather, the ideology is to CHANGE YOUR BRAIN about food.

If you want to learn more you have to educate yourself on whole foods.  Lean toward Paleo, but don’t go all the way lest you become frustrated.  Identify any allergies you may have.  You have to educate yourself on fats, and blood sugar, and GMO, and gluten, and soy.  We all know that processed food is bad for us.  But perhaps the difference between me and you, is that I have decided that, as much as I would like the taste of that Banquet Pot Pie on my tongue, the winning argument for me is how disgusting that food really is with its chemicals and its sodium and sickening processed chicken.  For me, it is not about will power anymore–Standing up to the foods or whatever.   It is more a change in my view of said foods.  Ignorance IS bliss.  And you can decide to stay right where you are.  But the more I learn, the more I run far far away from things that are bad for me.

This is my body. It is perfect.  It takes care of me.  And yet, for years I did not respect it.  I abused it with spikes and crashes in my blood sugar, with caffeine and alcohol.  I slowly poisoned and ruined my digestive tract with inflammatory foods.  I put it off.  I dismissed it.  I excused it.  I didn’t really care until I finally got to the point where enough is enough.  Lucky for me, I was only 35 years old.  Move on from there and you might not be able to undo all of the damage.  Debbie taught me all of this.  She put me on the path of discovery and RECOVERY.  That is when and where real change can occur.

She was like this ‘Nutrition Tarot Card Reader.’  I came to her, and we put all the cards on the table.  We talked about each card. She took some away, she put some new ones on the table.  In the process, she eliminated a lot of the confusion I had and buttressed what I was doing right with a few essential cards I had been missing and it all clicked in to place, Finally! It was like she knew all along but she recognized I had to process my ‘reading’ for myself for it to really make sense and carry me forward.

It is so easy.  It requires some effort in the beginning, and self-control.  It requires you to reformat a lot of your processes when it comes to shopping, dining out, cooking and putting meals together.  But I can honestly say that I eat like a HOG.  I mean, I am seriously not on a diet here.  And we’ve arrived at the dreaded words where everyone stops reading….I Eat Whatever I Want.

Can this be true?  Hell Yeah.  Because you know what?  I respect my body now.  I will not puncture the lining of my gut or overrun my bloodstream with damaging insulin.  I have no desire to eat a frozen pot pie.  Lasagna for dinner at a friend house?  Hopefully there is a salad, or if not, I have an apple and some nuts in the car.  Sure, I miss Coronas and Mojitos, but I finally figured out that I get that horrible rash on my fingers from squeezing the limes.  What do you think it is doing to my insides?  Those days are over for me.  The cleaner I eat, the more easily I now read the signs.  I have an allergy to citrus.  Yeah, it is a bummer.  But I am done ignoring it.  This is my one perfect body.  I am not about to make it suffer.

When you change your mind this way, it becomes so liberating in other ways.  Yeah, so I can’t have citrus, but now I can experiment with pineapple or cranberry in my cocktails.  I can’t have mac n cheese.  Well, when I am desperate, I can find a gluten free version and the realm is once again at peace.  Dinner?  I will grill a fat ribeye and not feel a bit bad about it, and it won’t keep me up all night with indigestion.  No cheese on that broccoli, how ‘bout a tablespoon of Kerry Gold BUTTER?  Oh yeah.

The box is all in how you look at it.  In my case, I win some, I lose some but either way I am doing what is best for me and my perfect body…my perfectly designed body.  My miracle of a body, given to me by God.  I will take care of it.  I will not ignore it anymore.  I will work to improve it in every way that I can.  I will teach my children the same.  I am grateful to Debbie for helping me tip the scales and for guiding me to find a way to make it work for me.  I’m certainly not perfect.  I cheat on some things (dairy) and I stand firm on others (beer) but in the end, it has worked for me.  I found a way for it to work.  Swapping one thing for another, or selecting the lesser of two evils.

I am a shining example of what can be done, and conversely what can be undone.  I have more to do and much to aspire for with Debbie Abbott as my example.  I don’t see myself undertaking as many things as she does to stay healthy, but I know where to turn when I am ready to step it up in my own journey.  Her knowledge and enthusiasm are always available to me.  I think that, as a Nutritionist, because she began as a fitness instructor/trainer, she has this very welcoming means of getting you on board.  She truly wants to build a better you.  Because of your trust in her, she is invested in it…in the overall improvement of YOU.  She wants you to make small changes and realize your goals in a manageable way and once you get there, you can decide to step it up a little more.  Like adding more weight, or increasing your stamina bit by bit until you feel Supremely Awesome, like I do now, thanks to her.

Meal Ideas, Food Pics, and Butter Facts

How bout some Fun Facts about Butter before I show more Food Pictures?  Good butter is definitely a “Real Whole Food”, one that’s been used by traditional, healthy cultures for thousands of years.  Between 1920 and 1960, heart disease skyrocketed to the number one cause of death in the U.S.  Butter consumption, between 1920 and 1960, plummeted from 18 lbs per person, per year, to 4 lbs per person, per year.  Look at those numbers again and ask yourself where our Health Gurus got the idea that Butter is Bad, and a cause of heart disease.

Butter is loaded with the fat-soluble vitamins, A,D, E, and K, in their most usable and absorbable forms.  These vitamins support the Thyroid gland, the Heart, the Immune System, and several other places in our body.  Vitamin A and D are critical for the absorption of calcium, and vitamin K2 (which the cows make in their stomachs from the K1 in grass) is critical for making sure the calcium goes into the bones and teeth, where it belongs, and not in the arteries, the eyes, the joints, etc, where calcium doesn’t belong.  Butter’s a good source of iodine; it also contains short and medium chain fatty acids that have strong anti-bacterial/anti-viral properties.

Butter from cows raised on grass is much more nutrient dense than butter from grain fed cows.  Interestingly, the vitamin D levels in the butterfat are actually reflective of how much sunlight the cows get, just like us!

And finally, butter doesn’t make you gain weight.  Your body uses and utilizes the nutrients (all the fats and vitamins) butter provides.  Any spare tires around your middle are usually the result of grains, hydrogenated oils, excess sugar, and chemicals masquerading as food products.   Your body USES the nutrients from Real Whole Food to build and to repair.

That said, we eat a lot of butter in this house, mostly Kerry Gold, and sometimes I make it from cream I get at my dairy.  Want to make vegetables taste great?  Add butter.  Even the pickiest eater will cave.

Ready to switch gears to Food Ideas:  here’s some meals from the past couple of days:

smoothie ingredTo the left: ingredients that went into a morning smoothie:  whole, raw milk; egg yolks and an egg, frozen spinach, frozen bananas, frozen cranberries, chia seeds, clove oil, cinnamon and nutmeg, frozen avocado chunks, frozen shredded ginger, cocoa powder, and stevia (which I forgot to put in the picture).frozen fruit

I always use frozen fruit and frozen greens instead of ice.  Here’s a pic: frozen oranges, bananas, blueberries, and cranberries.

chicken lunchOver to the left is one of my lunches:  left over chicken, carrots, brussels, onions, with sea kelp flakes and a plop of fermented beets that I got at Wegmans in the “healthy aisle”.  Got to get in your bacteria!

Here’s some peanut butter/almond butter cookies, the basic pb cookiesrecipe is from Elana’s Pantry, but I’ve messed with it.  I only use butter in cookies, even when it calls for coconut oil, bc I like the taste better.  I doubled the recipe, and used half chunky peanut butter and half chunky almond butter. And where she uses honey, I use Swerve – I LOVE that stuff!

Okay, I’m going to throw out something some of you may think is weird, and I’ve debated about disclosing this, but the last picture is my crock of Kombucha.  If you’re not already drinking it, surely you’ve seen bottles of Kombucha in the store?  It’s fermented tea, and to ferment, it needs bacteria, actually, it needs kombuchaa SCOBY which means Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  That’s what the yucky thing on top it.  Before you think that’s going to far, know this, we have over 100 TRILLION bacteria cells in our body. We’re supposed to have 3-5 POUNDS of bacteria just in our colon alone (party trivia fact)!  Current science has shown that we’ve really done an awful job maintaining and nurturing our bacterial “Micro-biome”, and we’re paying for in weak immune systems, mental problems, heart disease, skin issues, and I could go on and on.  Know this:  we need as much good bacteria as we can get, and homemade Kombucha is a traditional food/drink that’s been used since 212BC to do just that.

That’s it for now.  You can see why I don’t get hungry between meals, I eat too much fat and too many nutrients for that to happen.  Eating Real Whole Food everyday can be challenging at first if you’ve had years of fast, easy, thoughtless Processed Food.  Honestly though, a few weeks of effort in planning, shopping, cooking and packing, and it’s not an effort anymore, it’s a habit.  You’ll think differently, and what starts as hard becomes easy and normal.  I promise.  Nurture your body, give it what it needs to be healthy, to feel energetic, to stay well.  Your weight will normalize, your moods will stabilize, you’ll be stronger, less prone to illness, and if you start cooking for your family, your children will reap those same benefits.  Our body is made from trillions of cells that get made out of the foods we eat.  It matters what those foods are.  Be a Real Whole Foodie.

Food Wisdom and Pictures!

Ready for a little piece of Food Wisdom and some more pictures this week?  Here’s the wisdom:  Real Food is so good, that you don’t even need recipes.  You can just throw a bunch of your favorite foods together in a pan or a pot, and end up with something delicious.  It’s honestly not hard.

I’ve said before that the Food Channel, the cooking shows, the food magazines, and the food blogs – as much as I love them – give the FALSE impression that making meals must be complicated;  something to be undertaken only if you’ve got formal training or years of experience. Not True. Not True!

Think I’m wrong because you feel uncomfortable in the kitchen?  That’s just mental.  Your kids feel uncomfortable when they first start learning math, or how to read, but anything done daily becomes very normal.  You should be cooking daily if you want to see improvements to your health, your weight, and your moods ( and your kids health, weight, and mood).  Real Whole Food has the power to change you for the better; crappy processed food does not.  Think you’re too busy to cook daily?  Then plan your schedule (write it down) to accommodate a few hours of Power Cooking when you do have time.  Let there be a flow to the process:  slow cook a roast and a bunch of chicken over night on 200, or the crock pot, shred, mix with broth and vegetables, cool, then freeze it.  Chop and roast a bunch of sweet or white potatoes, then freeze them.  Make sure you have plenty of good frozen vegetables in your fridge, they’re often much more nutrient dense than fresh since they get flash frozen in the fields now.   Make sure you always make extra so you have enough for lunches;  baggie-up appropriately!  Listen to a great podcast or bring a TV into the kitchen and watch a series.  Over Christmas vacation we had some big, group Power Cooking sessions where we binge watched Walking Dead – it was Heaven!

brussels, carrotsHere’s a recent dinner:  broth, sausage, brussels, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, bunch of spices and herbs.


eggs brusselsAnd here’s what I did the next with it for lunch:  added a hard boiled egg ( heavy lifting day plus I taught classes and worked out with a couple clients – I knew I’d be starving)


And last, that potato thing:  I put a big glass pan in the hot roasted potatoesoven with a few tablespoons of kerry gold butter (in it) for a few minutes til the butter melts.  Then I chop a BUNCH of potatoes, put them in the butter, add salt and herbs (sometimes rosemary, sometimes italian), toss,  and roast at 425 for 45 to an hour.  I let them cool, then put them in a giant ziploc, and then freeze them as “flat” as possible.  There’s a few servings in the bag and I want to be able to “crack” off a chunk, then I reheat them in the oven for a few minutes ( after they’ve thawed).

Honestly, you don’t have to serve pasta and bread every night to make your meals.  There are other foods out there ( I often get asked, “what else do you feed your kids?”).  Fats, like good butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, make food delicious.  Salt, pepper, spices and herbs, make food delicious.  Hard cheeses grated over vegetables, make food delicious.  These things are loaded with nutrients that both add to and enhance the nutrients you’d already be serving when you serve Real Whole Food.  Be determined to become a Real Whole Foodie!

Success Story!! and What I’m Eating: Real Whole Food Ideas

I’ve got a Happy Success Story for you today, meal ideas, and Sad Stats on our Kids.  The sad stuff first, so we can get that out of the way:

All chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and weight issues are on the rise, with no end insight (according to CDC predictions).  That means our children, who right now might be thin and active, will eventually become even heavier and more unhealthy than we are.  Studies show they’ll live shorter lives too.  Did you know that Fast Food companies are spending 5 Million dollars A DAY to advertise to our kids?  That the food and beverage industry spends more than 2 BILLION a year marketing TO OUR CHILDREN?  That the average American kid sees more than 4,000 food commercials a year?  That the average American kid doesn’t eat any vegetables outside of ketchup and french fries?

Some advertising is blatant, and some is very subtle, like when professional athletes promote crappy food to our kids, a la Subway’s SuperBowl commercial last night:  Michael Phelps, Apollo Ohno, and more Olympians promoting the new Frito’s Chicken Enchilada Melt. OMGosh.  Frito’s smushed in a sandwich! Subway’s done a good job of insinuating that they’re a fairly healthy choice (eat fresh, Jared, blah blah blah).  It’s not. It’s a giant bunch of chemicals put together to look like Real Food.  It’s not even close.  Please, please, look at the ingredient lists I just highlighted.

I often get asked questions like: what is Real Whole Food, and what else is there besides pasta/bread/cereal for kids.  I’m going to post some picture ideas this week of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, including dinner this past Saturday in a hotel (again), that we shared with our daughter Macy.

Keep reading, because after the pictures is the “good” news – another Success Story!

breakfast This is Shelby’s breakfast most mornings lately ( she’s my last one still at home, 11th grade).  Turkey bacon, one egg plus egg yolk ( I always have extra yolks because I make a lot of macaroons).


To the right is a typical lunch for her:  turkey/cheese roll-up in the aluminum foil, 2 clemmies, a big bag of nuts/dark shelby lunchchocolate/seeds/dried cranberries, and a macaroon.

sardinesBack to the left here is one of my lunches, a tin of sardines, parsley, salt/pepper, and sea kelp flakes ( iodine!), a macaroon, 2 carrots, and some pumpkin seeds.

Nothing tricky.  And last, over to the right, is our latest hotel dinner:  tomatoes, broth, brussels, carrots, cauliflower, onion, and fish – Oh my gosh was it good. dinner:hotel

Now for the Success Story, and when you read it, look at it from the angle that food makes or breaks us.  It matters what we put in our mouth. Feeling tired, feeling depressed, feeling bloated and bad, it’s not normal.  Food and lifestyle changes can fix these issues!

For the past 15 years, I would have considered myself a healthy eater. I’ve always been very ‘food’ conscious…and weight conscious. However I also have felt there was something missing in my ‘healthy’ diet. It left me never feeling quiet full and satisfied. As I got older, I was often drained and run down. I also have always experienced huge fluctuations in my blood sugar level-which often left me in a not so chipper mood! In May 2013, Debbie put forth a challenge of eating better, cleaner and less processed. I had to completely change the way I thought about fats and grains. I had to stop the mentality that I needed carbs (bread, grains, rice, etc.) for running and working out. What seemed difficult (even impossible) at first, has now become a way of life. A way of life I do not see myself ever changing. Within 2 weeks of the challenge I felt like a different person. I had so much more energy and a new zest for life. The addition of healthy fats has made brain function much more efficient. I was so excited about this new way of eating, I wanted to learn more about what was making me feel so nourished and ‘normal’. I took several classes from Debbie on digestion and read everything I could about eating grain and processed free food. It is truly amazing to see the difference in my life. Everyone in my family has noticed this change (and are joining in to the life of cleaner eating). I now eat primarily whole foods and have a new love of cooking. I’m excited to cook b/c I know what I prepare is going to make my family and myself feel good and nourished. I can easily run and exercise after a carbohydrate free breakfast. I NEVER crave bread, chips or crackers. It just doesn’t taste good to me anymore. My body now craves the food that makes me feel good…whole real foods!


Thyroid Questions, Cholesterol Questions, and Superbowl Binges

debbieI’ve had good questions and good meetings this week that centered on topics that apply to many people, so here goes a diverse post.

Two people asked me questions about Thyroid numbers on their tests.  One person had a high TSH, the other a high T3.  I only have INFORMATION for them to bring to their doctors, not a diagnosis, but it’s important information.  Often when doctors see these numbers, they throw “typical” pharmaceuticals at it; but there’s a much bigger picture to these numbers.  The thyroid doesn’t “stand alone”;  nothing in our body works in isolation, everything works ( or doesn’t work), in tandem with the rest of our body.  Modern medicine/pharmaceuticals treats problems in very isolated ways which explains why so often, health issues aren’t resolved by band-aiding symptoms.

Thyroid Facts:  the Pituitary gland makes TSH, the Thyroid gland does not.  A low or high TSH is something the Pituitary is doing, not the thyroid.  The pituitary is taking a measure of the level of T3 and T4 (the hormones the thyroid DOES make), and then sending out the TSH accordingly.  Here’s the problems:  the pituitary is looking at the amount of T3 and T4 in the blood.  There’s so many reasons for a “mis-reading”:  you don’t have enough Iodine in your diet ( that’s a common deficiency) to knock a T4 down to a T3;  you don’t have enough selenium which keeps T4 low in the blood and reduces reverse T3 ( RT3).  Maybe you don’t get enough zinc and copper – which have vital thyroid functions, or maybe you get these nutrients, but don’t absorb them well because  your stomach acid is too low?  How’s your Vitamin D status, studies show it’s EPIDEMICALLY low, and vitamin D has a HUGE role to play in thyroid function, and auto-immune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s).  What if you don’t have the enzymes that help knock that 4th T (tyrosine – which is an animo-acid from protein – do you get enough protein?), down to T3, which is the thyroid hormone that actually is USED by our cells, unlike T4, which is basically just a pre-cursor to T3.  What if everything works up to the point of your cells using the T3, but most of your T3 is bound by “globulins” – which makes it Reverse T3 (RT3) and UNUSABLE.

Are you getting my point?  There’s many reasons for your “off” thyroid numbers, and throwing the typical meds (synthroid or armor) at it may not even come close to solving your problem.

Oh!  Stress/Cortisol has HORRIBLE effects on the whole chain of thyroid function – how’s your stress hormones?  Because if they’re shooting off like rockets, no thyroid drug in the world is going to fix that.

I bet I’ve confused you more – Good.  Get unconfused!  Here’s some great resources to read before you let anyone determine a course of action for you.  Dr. Brownstein is a renowned authority on thyroid, he has a great blog and books.  Dr. Izabelle is an expert – and she deals with it herself.    And then there’s the famous site: Stop The Thyroid Madness.

Next, I had a chance to review 2 blood work panels this week.  Interestingly, each of these people had very similar results:  slightly high total cholesterol, great/high HDL, “high” LDL, low triglycerides, and low VLDL.   Each was slightly worried about the TC/total cholesterol number.  I wouldn’t worry about either, and here’s why:  We now know CONCLUSIVELY that TC is a pretty useless, meaningless number when it comes to heart disease.  Even high LDL isn’t a sure thing, there’s 5 kinds of LDL and some are necessary and good.   Our body makes cholesterol in EVERY SINGLE CELL because it’s vitally important to life, health, and well-being.  We’d die without cholesterol, and low cholesterol is NOT linked to health and vitality, but to illness, shortened lifespan, and mental disorders.  Honestly.  Read This for an Expert Researchers/Scientist explanation of why we need cholesterol.

If you’re worried about risk factors for heart disease, look at your Triglycerides, your VLDL, your HDL to TC ratio, and your Triglyceride to HDL ratio.  Look here for the facts and equations. Read Cholesterol Clarity if you want to hear what 28 serious experts make of the latest cholesterol and heart disease information.

What I love seeing?   That 2 different doctors ran the VLDL numbers.  Very Low Density Lipoproteins are indicators of heart disease risk.  VLDL is small and dense, the “bad kind of cholesterol”.  It’s prone to oxidation and causes much artery damage.  Here’s the “good” thing:  our body only makes VLDL when we eat too many CARBS-SUGAR-GLUCOSE and has to convert the excess to TRIGLYCERIDES.  VLDL is made by the liver to carry these triglycerides through the blood to their designated destination ( usually, your abdominal area).  Want lower VLDL?? Eat less crappy carbs and watch your blood sugars.  It’s simple.

Thyroid and Cholesterol, two seemingly different subjects, but one single point:  quit trusting your Doctor to automatically determine the best course of action for you.  Read, learn, educate yourself about YOUR BODY.  We shouldn’t let the pharmaceutical industry (which is where doctors get their continuing ed from)  be our guiding light – they’re a BUSINESS who NEED TO SELL US DRUGS TO SUCCEED.

Drugs have serious consequences and side-effects.  Put some effort into figuring this stuff out before you travel down the path of taking pharmaceuticals, and then adding more pharmaceuticals to counter the side-effects of those pharmaceuticals.

Next:  I got asked what I’m eating for the Super Bowl.  Hmm.  That would just be my dinner around 6pm or so, and it’ll consist of meat and a pile of vegetables, maybe cheese.   I’m not dreaming of a binge, or planning one, or subjecting myself to feeling stuffed, bad, and then hungover.  Why would I do that to myself?

Last, I have to leave you with a few more facts, these are inspired from I don’t remember who in the Future of Nutrition conference:  Inflammation, and the conditions for Disease (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, thyroid…) are developing YEARS, even DECADES, before the manifestation of symptoms.  Actually, studies show that we build and nurture our diseases for an average of 20 years before they actually disrupt our lives.  Even pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s, which seem to “suddenly-onset” and progress rapidly – studies show they’ve been brewing for an average of 20 years before the symptoms.  Take control of your life, your health, your eating, and your thoughts.  You really, really do have power over these things.

Make the connection between your foods, your eating habits, how you handle stress, how much you sleep, and how much you move, to YOU.  Your energy, your health, your general mood, your creativity, your vitality:  You.  What you do – every day, consistently, mostly, habitually – really, really matters.  Become a Real Whole Foodie:)