Cauliflower Crust Pizza

So I got a little wicked crazy this weekend and decided to splurge on some pizza.  We do gluten-free carry out around here sometimes, but my future son-in-law inspired me to make my own cauliflower pizza crust. He made Read more

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Here's a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend.  This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day. Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe I can't wait Read more

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread So I have been struggling with gluten-free baking because honestly -- I've never been good at baking!!  Then when I try to modify recipes using flours I'm not familiar with, it just makes  a perfect storm of Read more

When Should I Take My Supplements?

If you are like me -- you are just starting to realize why it is important to add supplements to your diet.  Even if we are eating a clean, healthy and unprocessed diet;  the mineral content of the soil Read more

Magnesium-the unloved mineral

Do you remember watching Wild Kingdom as a kid?  Did you happen to notice that the animals attacking their prey would immediately eat the organ meats.  I never really thought about why until I listened to Morley Robbins explain the Read more

More Homemade Salad Dressings

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp local honey 1/3 cup blackberries   Process all the ingredients together in a blender and then season with ground pepper and sea salt The beauty of this recipe Read more

Healthy Mayo and Ranch Dressing

This stuff is a must -- If you read labels these days you will be hard pressed to find a mayonnaise or salad dressing that doesn't contain some type of vegetable oil.  Even the commercial mayos that advertise to Read more

Sherry's Story

Sherry has a great story.  She has been diabetic for years and she has made some massive changes!   "I have been on a lifestyle change. It has been a year following a ketogenic food plan.  When I started this journey Read more

Body

Aloe Vera Magic

If we put aloe vera on painful sunburns for its soothing effects;  why not drink it to soothe gut inflammation? After all, it’s just a plant. Here are some major advantages to drinking aloe vera gel or juice on a regular basis.

THE GUT:

A healthy digestive track plays a huge role in how we absorb nutrients from foods entering them into our bloodstream to fuel our cells. We have various yeast and bacteria in our gut that require a delicate balance.   Aloe vera helps as a natural balancer in that it regulates the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. This allows the bowel to absorb nutrients better, especially protein. The added benefit is that it helps transit of stool through the bowel which results in softer, bulkier stool.

THE SKIN:

Aloe vera helps feed basal skin cells keeping them healthy and functional. It stimulates fibroblast cells to reproduce faster and increase in number. Fibroblast’s job is to produce collagen and elastin which give skin its structure making it look more plump and elastic;  therefore, less wrinkles and you look younger!  These fibroblasts also form mesh networks over a wound which allows new skin cells to grow over and close wounds faster. Bonus!

VITAMINS:

Aloe vera contains calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, copper, zinc, vit B12, C, E, and floic acid. Many of these vitamins can’t be stored int the body so we need to constantly replenish them by ingesting them in foods. These plants tend to grow in areas where soils are rich in minerals and its roots absorb them well in these uncontaminated areas.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY:

Aloe contains salicylic acid and plant sterols which have a natural anti-inflammatory and pain killing effects. It tends to soothe muscles, maintain healthy joints along with mobility and flexibility. Patient’s with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome seem to claim benefits.

Superjuicer Michelle and I mix 2 oz of aloe vera juice or gel into our daily breakfast juice concoction and it has absolutely no taste. What have you got to lose to give it a try? GOT JUICE????

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Another Great Post from Kevin Deeth!

There are a few important things to consider in the pre-workout meal discussion. Timing, size, and content are the three key factors in choosing a great meal that will give you optimal performance levels.
Timing– Ideally, a meal should be eaten between 2 and 3 hours before a workout in order to give your body time to fully digest the protein, carbohydrates, and sugar that will be converted to fuel to power you through those grueling last few reps. For all you earlier birds, I don’t expect you to wake up at 3 Am to make an omelette. So your meal and portion size will be much different.
Size– Portion size is extremely important because you don’t want to feel bogged down or bloated during a workout. On that same token ensuring your muscles are properly fueled is vital to prevent muscle degredation. The preworkout meal and time before workout are directley correlated. The farther away you are from a workout (say 3 hours) the bigger your meal (probably full size). If you are grabbing something 15-20 minutes before it should be much smaller and generally in liquid form so it is easily digestable.
Content-An ideal pre-workout meal should consist of 20-30 grams of protein to keep your body in an anabolic state to prevent muscle breakdown during your workout. Along with the protein, 20-30 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates is also advisable.

A 2-3 hour prior example 

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A turkey/chicken breast, spinach & tomato omelette with a small serving of steel cut oats. Low glycemic carbohydrates such as spinach and steel cut oats will be converted to energy and used as fuel during your workout. Low glycemic carbohydrates will keep your insulin from spiking which can lead an energy crash mid-workout. This meal is also low in fat and fiber which will make it easy to digest.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole cage free eggs
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ½ turkey/chicken breast
  •  ¼ cup dice tomatoes
  •  ½ cup cooked steel cut oats with cinnamon and blueberries

Nutritional Facts

  • Calories-400
  • Protein-30 grams
  • Carbohydrates-30 grams
  • Fat-6 grams
  • Fiber-8 grams

I like to workout in the late mornings so the first thing I do when I wake up is start off with a great breakfast that has an adequate source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. The protein will ensure there is no muscle breakdown and give your body a steady stream of fuel and amino acids through your workout. The carbs will be converted to energy while the fiber and fat will keep you feeling full throughout the pre-workout/workout period. Adequate hydration is also vital to prepare you body for a successful workout. Ensuring your muscles are hydrated will prevent cramping and optimize performance.

Now, for the early birds. (15-45 minutes before workout)

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Home made protein shake

My protein shake is very generic but an effective, homemade recipe. I shoot for a 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio made with the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  •  1/2 serving plain unflavored greek yogurt
  •  1 tbsp chia seeds
  •  ¼ cup of blueberries
  •  ½ banana
  •   1 scoop of unflavored 100% whey isolate protein powder (20-30 grams)
  •  3 grams of glutamine
  •   Ice cubes

Nutritional facts

  • Calories-300
  • Protein-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates- 30 grams
  • Fiber- 12 grams

A 2:1 or 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal for refueling your muscles and replacing glycogen levels. Drink this shake within 30 minutes of your workout, or 30 minutes prior, to ensure your muscles receive healthy carbohydrates and protein from natural sources to rebuild muscle tissue that has been broken down during a workout. A liquid meal, such as a protein shake, is absorbed more quickly than solid food. The addition of fruit will help you restore your glycogen levels and transport protein to your muscles. Using natural foods such as fruit and unflavored yogurt will stabilize blood sugar levels and not cause a severe insulin spike that you get with most “store-bought” shakes due to the large amount of processed sugars and additives that are present.  The combination of chia seeds, fruit, yogurt, and almond milk provides an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. With such a wide array of products and additives that are present in many supplements and shakes, I always recommend people make their own, using unprocessed ingredients, to ensure your muscles receive the most bang for your buck. Here is a tip: Make your shake the night before and store it in the fridge to save yourself the hassle and cleanup in the morning.

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Generally a medium-sized meal is recommended 2 hours before your workout to give your body a chance to digest and convert the food before you lift. With that being said, every person is different. Finding out what works best for you in terms of energy levels, muscle growth, and recovery is the most important thing. Whatever you do make sure you have a steady stream of energy to you can power through a tough workout.

Sorry about the recent hiatus and thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Exercise, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Top 5 Reasons to Shop at Farmer’s Markets

1.  Great Produce and Freshness

Local foods arrive at the market within 24 hours of being harvested in season.  They don’t only taste delicious, they last longer as well.

2.  Great Taste-Less Waste

The quality of the food remains because the farmer will allow the food to ripen in the field and will harvest them at the peak of their flavor.  They are crisp with good texture.  The farmer’s also have tons of tips on growing and preparing the fresh fruits and veggies.

3.  Season and Community

There is nothing like strolling on a beautiful saturday morning with a fresh cup of coffee and the dog while listening to a local musician singing.  It’s just a good way to start the day!

4.  Variety

Each farmer will have his own variety of items and may introduce you to something you might not have considered trying.  Have you ever tried purple dragon carrots?  They just sound sexy!

5.  Helping Local Farmers

This is my number one reason for visiting the market.  For each dollar spent in conventional food markets, only 9 cents actually goes to the farmer.  The rest goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen and marketers.

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Nutrition, Organic, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Ranch Dressing

Nothing goes better with those raw veggies than ranch dressing!  I am personally addicted to ranch and would eat it with almost anything.  However, with my recent nutritional education journey-I have decided that it’s time to substitute my processed version of this sugar loaded dressing with something a little healthier–Here is what I tried–

Paleo Ranch Dressing

1 cup olive oil

1 cup coconut milk (use canned for thick texture)

1 Tbs dijon mustard

1 tbs onion powder

1 tbs garlic powder

2 tsp Dill

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1 tsp chives

4 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp parsley

Combine all the ingredients in the blender or the Ninja and Voila!  A healthy version of Ranch!

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Nutrition, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Essential Oils

 

Ever wonder why you immediately feel calm and relaxed when you walk into a spa for that much-anticipated massage after a long week?  The aroma of the spa is invigorating and uplifting.  Spas often use essential oils that have positive effects on the hypothalamus and limbic system in our brains.  Thus, they immediately relax us and detoxify our thoughts.  Our noses know exactly how to harness the healing power of plants which is why oils can be so effective in the healing process.  Essential oils have been used for centuries in traditional cultures for purification and medicinal purposes.  Essential oils can be inhaled as well as applied topically to penetrate cell membranes thus enhancing cellular function.

Beware–when buying essential oils, quality is key.  Synthetic oils found in most health food stores can be toxic.  They are created with solvents and high heat that damages the plants.  The companies that make them also often use chemicals to extend their shelf life.  You must get therapeutic grade oils that use steam distillation as a water extraction process and not chemicals

For more info on essential oils visit:

http://www.essentialthree.com

 http://www.youngliving.com

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Mind, Nutrition, Spirit Leave a comment

Olympic Superteens 2012

Thank you to Theresa Mazza for yet another inspiring post!

Theresa writes:

The London Olympic games have given the world an excuse to pay close attention to some very exceptional teens! As we cheer on our spectacular teen athletes, you can almost feel the hope and inspiration radiating from the television screen. It has been a refreshing pause reminding us of the potential that lies within every teen.

As I’ve watched the games and read the stories of these athletes, I can’t help but wonder, what is it about these particular teens that gives them the capability of competing and representing their country on the world’s biggest platform?

We might be tempted to answer with the obvious things – talent, opportunity, and discipline. But what if, what if the combination of things that make these teens exceptional is not only about what they have, but also what they lack…

__excessive social lives. “Missy [Franklin] will still have a curfew and still have to do her homework,” her mother reported. – The Boston Globe

__a me, me, me attitude. Gabby Douglas, who left her family in Virginia Beach when she was 14 to train in Iowa, said she wants to be a role model for minorities. – New York Times

__time to obsess about the opposite sex. Several proposals for dates have come in, but Douglas never has had a boyfriend and Hawkins wants to keep it that way for now. –New York Times

__unhealthy desire for attention. Newspapers report that when Gabby Douglas’s car was run down by a fan wanting her autograph, it took her by surprise. She didn’t know what was happening or why, then she thought, Oh that’s right, I’m a gold medalist. – New York Times

___entitlement.These hard working champions put their pants on one leg at a time, except once their pants are on, they win gold medals. 15 yr old gold medalist Katie Ledecky’s is quoted as saying, “I didn’t really expect gold, but I’ll take it” – Sports Illustrated

__uninvolved parents. Missy Franklin’s parents go everywhere with her. The clips of Missy as a young child that have been played during the broadcast of the Olympic games reveal very involved parenting. They were celebrating their daughter long before these Olympic games.

As people committed to loving teens, we may never play a part in training an Olympic gold medalist, but we certainly can help raise teens who lack in all the right places.

I’d love to read your comments and don’t forget to subscribe via RSS or email!

http://www.theresamazza.com
Posted on by Angela in Exercise, Nutrition Leave a comment

Conventional Diet Wisdom

 

Conventional diet wisdom is wrong!  Changes in our diets have occurred as a result of the agricultural revolution 7,000 years ago.  Unfortunately, the more recent industrial revolution has happened  so quickly that our genes haven’t had time to adapt.  Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes were virtually nonexistent before we rapidly changed our diets.  Our ancestors for more than 2 million years ate meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.  Grains like wheat and corn, soybeans, and sugar were not part of their diet.  The processed foods that we are consuming now only contain food like substances and not nutrients.  If you don’t believe me–go into Walmart and count how many healthy looking people over the age of 30 you see.  More food for thought—Watch this tidbit about the Paleo Diet.

Posted on by Angela in Body, Call to action, Diet, disease, Green Living, Nutrition, Organic, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Tea–by Kevin Deeth

Thanks Kevin for keeping us updated!

Based on last week’s blog on coffee I decided to discuss another great beverage. I get a lot of questions about what people should drink and the only options I ever recommend are the choices I adhere to myself in coffee, tea, water, unsweetened almond milk, and yes occasionally alcohol.  So lets talk about tea and all the great benefits that come along with it’s consumption.

Tea Statistics
Pounds of tea imported to the U.S. each year 519 million pounds
Total amount of tea consumed in the U.S. every day 1.42 million pounds
Number of men and women who drink tea every morning 2 billion
Total projected sales of tea for U.S. in 2012 $15 billion

Although not as popular as coffee in the US, tea is still widely consumed and is a staple for many americans. Lets look at some of the benefits.

1. Tea Is Loaded With Antioxidants

  • Tea is loaded with phytonutrients such as antioxidants.  Antioxidants in black and green tea, called flavonoids, may help to maintain healthy cells and tissues as well as contribute to healthy cardiovascular function. Antioxidants are natural plant based biochemicals that prevent oxidation or “rusting” of living tissues.
  • Tea can also help strengthen your immune system because its attack on bacteria, free radicals, viruses, and fungi.
  • A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School found that people who drank five cups of a tea were able to beat a cold five times faster than coffee drinkers were.

2. Tea Is Calorie-free And Helps Promote Fat Loss

  • So many people “watch what they eat” but ruin there otherwise healthy diets with sodas, loaded coffees, juices, shakes, smoothies, and energy drinks.
  • Tea is naturally calorie free and gives you your flavor fix while not costing empty calories found in most other beverages
  • Research indicates that substances found in green tea known as catechins and EGCG may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat.
  • Recent research in animals show that catechins and EGCG found in green tea may also affect body fat accumulation and cholesterol levels.

3. Tea Increases Your Metabolism.

  • Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours.
  • Research suggests that drinking two to four cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories than normal during moderately intense exercise for a short period of time.

4. Tea Reduces Risk of Stroke, Cancer, and Heart Disease

  • One study shows that Eight hundred elderly Dutch men consuming 3.4 cups of tea per day decreased their risk of death from coronary heart disease by 58 percent compared to those who consumed lesser amounts of flavonoid rich foods.
  • Flavonoids in tea may also decrease the tendency of platelets to stick together that cause heart disease and stroke.
  • Studies suggest that both black and green tea may help prevent or delay the formation of tumors-specifically in the skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, and colon.
  • Green tea, according to Harvard Health Publications, has cancer inhibiting components called catechins. Specifically, studies have shown it to reduce the risk of skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder cancer.

5. Each Variety Contains a Unique Blend Of Health/Nutritional Benefits.

  • Green tea’s role in lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia.
  • Black tea a potential heart tonic,cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighterand cholesterol detoxifier.
  • White tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels, protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.
  • Red tea contains magnesium, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system,  increases the absorption of iron in the body, contains potassium and copper minerals that are necessary for several metabolic functions, helps nervous tension and mild depression as it makes a relaxing sedative.

Conclusion

While I am a big proponent of caffeiene and specifically its impact on health and performance, tea offers a lower caffienated alternative to coffee with the typical cup containing about 10-60 mg of caffiene. Besides the obvious health benefits tea is versatile in that you can drink it both hot (winter) and cold (summer) and reap all its benefits. Like I stated earlier, anytime you can substitute a beverage that contains numerous health benefits for a sugar loaded juice, pop, or sports drink, is a no-brainer.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Exercise, Guest Blog, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Nut Butters- Get a little nutty!

Remember the MUFA’s?  These are the infamous plant-based oils that are packed with nutrients to keep your skin looking beautiful and youthful.  Remember that including them at every meal will help you lose that belly fat.  A wonderful way to help incorporate them is to make nut butters.  Buy unshelled nuts because they are fresher.  If you buy shelled for convenience, choose the natural, salt-free type.  Store them in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dark place.

Nut butters are easy to make and they are better than store-bought types and are totally free of preservatives, salt, and sugar.  Place shelled, roasted nuts in a food processor with a spoonful of olive oil.  It’s that simple!  Voila–you have a great spread–use them on gluten-free breads, in dessert making, to sauté veggies or anywhere you would use regular butter.  Store these in the refrigerator and they will last for about a month!  Don’t forget, you can always add a little flax-seed or vanilla for flavoring!

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Nutrition, Organic, vegan, Whole Food Leave a comment

Childhood Obesity

There is no controversy over the fact that childhood obesity is a huge problem in the United States.  More than enough data and research has been done to prove that 1 in 5 American children will be obese by 2020 if the current trends continue.  These are the facts, but what can we do to change things?  There are many possible actions but it all starts at the home level.  We can be more successful as parents by leading by example.  For instance, making my girls watch “Forks Over Knives” and “Hungry For Change” was a real battle;  they did however get some subliminal messages from watching those two documentaries.  I noticed they replaced the traditional peanut butter cracker after school snack with fruit.  They get more messages from me as they see me painfully wean my diet mtn dew consumption.  Changing a lifestyle and years of bad habits isn’t easy.  My theory is that if I change myself gradually, they will also.  Research shows that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages in schools could reduce obesity by 12 kcal/day, as long as children didn’t consume any extra sugary drinks outside of school.   So that is my call to action, I have to eliminate the sugar at home first.   There aren’t any distinct answers in how to change the diet of the country and healthcare on average.  But, it starts with us!  Let’s do this Marines.  Let’s work to educate ourselves on whole foods and nutrition.  Lead by example.

T. Colin Campbell does a nice 18min presentation that you can watch here:

Reference:  Wang YC, et al “Reaching the Healthy People goals for reducing childhood obesity:  closing the energy gap”  A, K Prev Med 2012

For more info on T. Colin Campbell and Forks Over Knives visit:  http://www.forksoverknives.com

Posted on by Angela in Body, Call to action, Diet, Exercise, Family, Nutrition, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food 1 Comment