Do you get hangry? You know, when you’re hungry and become irritable, can’t think clearly, then you eat and you’re fine? That’s called being hangry. It used to happen to me ALL the time. I thought it was just what happened when humans become hungry! I did my best to prevent it by always packing snacks, but when it did happen it was bad. During my training to become an NTP, I learned about blood sugar regulation and discovered that what I thought was a very healthy way to eat (mainly vegetarian) was causing blood sugar imbalances that resulted in me being hangry if I was hungry.
Begin hangry is one sign of blood sugar dysregulation. Other signs to be aware of include: craving coffee or sugar in the afternoon, being sleepy in the afternoon, fatigue that’s relieved by eating, headaches if meals are skipped or delayed, and being shaky before meals. Chronic blood sugar dysregulation can lead to (among many other things!) metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers, which some are now calling type 3 diabetes. Benefits of keeping your blood sugar stable can include: sustained energy, better sleep, disease prevention, mood stability, weight loss, better fertility, and more. My personal favorite is being free from constantly packing snacks and thinking about your next meal to prevent a meltdown.Here are 3 things you can do to avoid getting hangry...Remember the saying “What goes up, must come down.” The best way to avoid getting hangry is to avoid foods that cause a large rise in blood sugar in the first place. The foods that cause a rise in blood sugar, which leads to a drop later, which makes you feel hangry, are the carbohydrate foods, especially the refined ones. Refined carbohydrates include: white bread, white tortillas, noodles, white rice, crackers, chips, pretzels, sugars, fruit juices, syrups, cakes, candies, cookies, soda, etc.
Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. Don’t skip meals or snacks if you feel hungry. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. When you eat, eat whole, nutrient dense foods.
Eat your whole carbohydrate foods with healthy fats and protein for balance.
Fats, protein and fiber slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Examples of whole carbohydrate foods are: vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and fruits.
The optimal balance of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat to keep your blood sugar stable varies from person to person and can change throughout your life and even day to day. Begin learning what works for you by paying attention to your moods and energy levels throughout the day. Check in with yourself after meals and see how you are feeling. Keeping a food/mood journal can help you make connections you may otherwise miss.
A good place to start is breakfast. Experiment to see if you can find a breakfast that keeps you full with stable energy until lunchtime, without the need for a snack. Then try with lunch, then dinner. Here are some examples of snacks and meals that are imbalanced and a more balanced choice: Imbalance- cereal with low fat milk Balance- scrambled eggs with spinach cooked in butter Imbalance- pretzels Balance- cheese and pear Imbalance- apple juice Balance- walnuts with an apple Imbalance- all veggie salad with low fat dressing and croutons Balance- veggie salad with chicken, egg, cheese, fish or beef and homemade full fat dressing Imbalance- raisins Balance- celery with almond butter Imbalance- pasta with vegetarian marinara sauce Balance- steak with butter and steamed broccoli Imbalance- air popped pop corn Balance- half an avocado Imbalance- doughnut
Balance- hard boiled egg and carrot sticks
Imbalance- high sugar/carbohydrate energy or granola bar
Balance- low sugar jerky
I hope this post is helpful! If you would like personalized help balancing your blood sugar, I would love to work with you. You can schedule online here, call (541)318-4757 or email BendNutritionalTherapy@gmail.com.
This delicious soup is one of my favorite winter time meals that everyone in my family enjoys. I hope you enjoy it too!
Serves 6-8 27 oz full fat coconut milk 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs 10 cups chicken bone broth or stock 6 Tbs coconut aminos 4 Tbs fish sauce juice from 2 limes zest from 1 lime 1 large yellow onion, chopped 4 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered or sliced 10 cloves garlic, minced or crushed 4 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced 1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt cilantro for garnish Add all ingredients to instant pot or slow cooker.
For instant pot, cook on soup setting. For slow cooker, cook on low for 5 hours. Remove chicken, use 2 forks to shred, return to instant pot or slow cooker and stir. Garnish with cilantro and your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!
You may have heard of milk kefir, but have you heard of water kefir? Water kefir is a lightly sweet, non dairy, gluten free beverage that contains beneficial probiotics. It’s made by soaking water kefir grains in sugar water, fruit juice or coconut water for 24-48 hours. The crystal like grains are composed of yeasts and bacteria that ferment the sugar and make it nutritious. To add more flavor, a second fermentation can be done by adding fresh or dried fruit, herbs and even vanilla or other extracts. Water kefir can also be used to make condiments, popsicles or other foods. It's an easy, cost effective and delicious way to get more beneficial probiotics into your diet and body. It’s not clear exactly where water kefir originated. Some sources say it comes from Mexico while others say the Caucasus Mountains of Tibet. Water kefir has been used around the world, probably for centuries. Other names include: tibicos, tibi, California bees, African bees, balm of Gilead, Japanese beer seeds and Jack’s magic beans.
Fermented foods have been used to preserve food and promote health throughout history. We are just beginning to scientifically study and understand the extent of their benefits. I don’t think our ancestors would be surprised. It’s beautiful that something can be delicious AND beneficial to health.
If I could have it my way, I would replace all soda, which has no nutritional value and contributes to a myriad of health problems, with nutritious fermented options like water and milk kefirs, and kombucha.
How to make water kefir You will need: water kefir grains (I used these ones that I purchased at Natural Grocers)
thermometer small mesh strainer small funnel large glass container, big enough to hold 8 cups liquid. I used a large jar. 8 cups water, without chlorine or fluoride 3/4 cup organic sugar
measuring cups and spoons coffee filter or clean breathable cloth to cover jar rubber band or string
flip top glass bottles or mason jars with lids
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
Water kefir grains need to be re-hydrated before you can use them. Once they are hydrated you can use them over and over. Hydrating them is easy. This is how you do it: 1. In your large glass container, dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. 2. Add 3 1/4 cups room temperature water (not colder than 68 degrees F) to the sugar water and stir. 3. Check the temperature of the water. You want it to be between 68 and 85 degrees F. If it is too hot, wait until it cools down. 4. When the water is the right temperature add your water kefir grains. 5. Cover jar opening with cloth or coffee filter and secure with rubber band or string. 6. Place in a warm spot that will stay between 68 and 85 degrees F for 4 days. I used the top of my refrigerator. 7. After 4 days the grains will be a little bigger and translucent. Strain out the kefir grains and discard the sugar water. Your kefir grains are ready to use!
This is what the hydrated kefir grains look like
Start your first batch: 1. In your glass container, dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. 2. Add 7 1/2 cups room temperature water, measure temperature and adjust as you did in step 3 above.
3. Add your kefir grains, cover and place in warm spot as before for 24-48 hours. I like to let mine culture for 48 hours. 4. After 24-48 hours, use your funnel and strainer to transfer the water kefir to mason jars with lids or flip top glass bottles. 5. Start a new batch of water kefir the same way.
To make lemon ginger flavored water kefir: 1. Once the kefir is in the bottles or jars, flavor it by dividing 2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2 inches of peeled and thinly sliced ginger root evenly among the bottles or jars.
2. Leave in a warm place for 24-72 hours. I like to let mine culture for 72 hours. 3. Transfer to fridge to cool, then enjoy! Open slowly as pressure and carbonation can build during the fermentation process. It will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Once you get your kefir grains going, you will have a steady supply of water kefir for a minimal cost. This is just one of many ways to flavor your water kefir. There are many more delicious possibilities to get more healthy probiotics into your diet!
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution only to get to the end of the year having not followed through despite your initial best intentions? Following through to create lasting change can take time and dedication. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it. Once you get going and gain some momentum it can get easier. Here are a few ideas to help you follow through with your resolutions and create lasting change..... 1. Start by deciding what it is that you would like to change. It has to come from within and you have to really want it. 2. Next, find your why. Take some time by yourself to think about why you really want to make this change. Be completely honest with yourself. This is just for you. Whatever your why is, remember it. Write it down if it’s helpful. Remind yourself of your why every single morning first thing when you wake up. After a while it will become a habit. 3. Make time. Time is actually one thing we all have an equal amount of. The difference is in how we choose to spend it. If you think you don’t have time to make changes, write down how you spend your time for 1-3 days. Then look at it and ask yourself if there is anything you are willing to spend less time doing to help you reach your goal. Is there something that isn’t as high of a priority that you could say no to? Saying no to one thing can make time to say yes to something that is a bigger priority. Even just a few minutes a day can give you enough time to get started towards you goal.
4. Just begin. Start where you are with what you have. There’s usually something you can do right now to move you closer to where you want to be. Take a moment to brainstorm things that you could do today to move you a little closer to your goal. Then choose one and do it. Tomorrow do one thing too, then the next day and the next. Put it on your calendar if it helps. Think about how much closer to your goal you will be in 30, 60...365 days.
5. Make reminders. Put a reminder of your goal on your calendar every month for the entire year. If life gets busy and you get distracted this can help you remember what you decided you wanted for yourself. Take a few minutes each month to think about how you're progressing towards your goal. What's working? What's not? What can you do differently starting now? 6. Keep going. Do your best and don’t be hard on yourself if you stumble. Keep moving in the direction of what you want. If you have setbacks, don’t use that as an excuse to quit. Remind yourself of your why and keep going. Listen to stories of the most successful people and you will learn that most failed over, and over before succeeding. 7. Draw on your own life experience. Think of a positive change that you have made before. How did you do it? How did you feel when you started? Was it easy? Did you do it anyway? How did you feel once you reached your goal? My guess is pretty good. Use that feeling for fuel. 8. Focus on what you want instead of what you don't. Instead of thinking about what you are giving up, think of all the things you can have or do.
One of the many beautiful things about life is that each day, each moment we’re alive, is a new chance to make different choices. You never know where one small change will lead. Little changes repeated often are how effortless habits are created. I hope this post is helpful. I wish you good health and success in any changes you decide to make for yourself in 2018! If you would like help reaching your health and nutrition related goals I would be happy to work with you. You can schedule today here.
This easy recipe makes a delicious side dish for your special holiday meal. It can be assembled ahead of time and baked at the last minute. Makes 4 servings (even though the picture only shows 3!)
1 lb asparagus, washed and the tough ends trimmed 4 oz full fat cream cheese, brought to room temperature (I used Organic Valley brand from pasture raised milk) 4 oz nitrate/nitrite free prosciutto (I used Applegate Naturals) 1 large clove garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and minced garlic. Carefully lay 2 slices of prosciutto on a cutting board, one on top of the other. Use a butter knife to spread 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture evenly across the prosciutto. Bundle 1/4 of the asparagus in your hands. Start at one end and roll the bundle to wrap in prosciutto. Place on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Drizzle the unwrapped ends with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!
A healthy immune system is amazing! It protects you from all sorts of pathogens, often without you even noticing. 70-80% of your immune system is located along your digestive tract, so supporting your digestive system supports your immune system.
Food can support your digestive and immune systems or depress them. Here are my favorite foods that I eat regularly to stay as healthy as possible during cold and flu season. 1. Soup, soup and more soup- made with homemade meat broth. Broth contains the nourishing healthy fat, protein and minerals your digestive and immune systems require. This is one of my favorite recipes that everyone in my family (even the pickiest teenager!) enjoys. 2. Raw lacto-fermented veggies like saurkraut and kimchee- these contain beneficial probiotic bacteria that crowd out pathogenic micro-organisms that can cause problems. They also contain immune boosting vitamin C. Find them in the refrigerator section. The jarred ones have been pasteurized which destroys the beneficial probiotic bacteria. 3. Garlic- has antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system. Fresh garlic sold as a bulb is best, not the peeled cloves or chopped garlic in jars. 4. Ginger root- is soothing to digestion, lowers your risk for infection and bacterial growth. The fresh root is best. 5. Kelp granules (I like the Maine Coast Brand)- provide iodine which is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Just a pinch a day, sprinkled on food, is usually enough.
Water-is also important for winter wellness. It keeps the protective mucosal lining of your lungs, sinuses and digestive tract moist, keeps lymph and blood flowing and enables your body’s natural healing abilities. In general, eating a diet that is rich in nutrient dense foods and low in refined/processed foods is the best way to support your body’s natural desire and ability to remain strong, healthy and balanced. Refined sugar suppresses white blood cell activity, and is especially important to avoid to stay well.
Soup is one of the many reasons I love fall and winter! It's one of my favorite foods foods and it's also extremely nourishing.
Using homemade chicken stock is the key to this soup. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in easy to digest forms. It also makes it delicious. This recipe makes a large batch that fed our family of four two dinners. Make a batch and freeze some to have if you feel like you're coming down with a cold or flu this winter. You'll be so happy you did!
Chicken Soup with Lemon & Herbs 2 small or medium onions, chopped 1 bulb/head garlic, minced 1 whole chicken 4 medium carrots, chopped 6 ribs celery, chopped zest from 1 lemon juice from 1 lemon 1 Tbs. butter 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. each dried basil, parsley, marjoram, summer savory, rosemary, thyme and oregano (feel free to omit or add herbs based on personal preference) 2 tsp sea salt pepper to taste First make the chicken stock. Put the chicken in a large soup pot and cover with water with 1 tsp sea salt. I used a 6 quart pot and filled it until it was 2/3 full. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or longer (until the chicken is cooked).
Remove the chicken from the stock. Let cool and and remove the chicken from the bones and cut into bite size pieces. You can save the bones to make nourishing bone broth later. Put the meat back into the soup pot with the stock. Next, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, herbs, pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbs of lemon juice and 1/2 of the lemon zest to the pot of broth and chicken meat. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the rest of the lemon zest and add lemon juice to your taste. Add more sea salt if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!
Now, it seems funny, that last night before I went to bed I chose a picture of a rodent to accompany this post. At 2 am, I was woken up by a tapping noise close to my head. It sounded like a tiny animal was in the wall. When I got up to check it out, I thought I saw something move near a suitcase on the floor, but thought it was my sleepy imagination. Then I remembered the snacks that were in the suitcase for an upcoming trip. There aren’t many things I am actually, physically afraid of, but mice are one of them (snakes and heights are the others). I know it’s irrational, but when I see one, or even think there is one around, I feel afraid and can’t help squealing, whimpering and/or jumping up on a chair, just like the stereotype. I flipped open the top of the suitcase and saw tiny yellow shreds from the package of an RX bar. It took me a few minutes of standing there staring at it before I could do anything. I squeamishly began taking everything out, hoping the mouse was not still in there. Once I put the snacks in a pillowcase on top of the medicine cabinet, and closed the bathroom door, I got back in bed with the lights on, totally freaked out, wondering if the mouse could somehow climb into my bed. Just when I was wondering if the mouse got into my room through the walls or by using the stairs, I SAW it scurry along the wall, out my door and into the hallway. This caused me to scream, jump up, and turn on the hall light. I didn’t see where it went, but it could have only gone into the bathroom or my messy teenage son’s room. I turned on his light, waking him up, and began collecting snacks, plates and anything else that might be attractive to a mouse. Next I went downstairs to make sure there wasn’t anything a mouse would like downstairs, and ended up in the pantry getting some food up off the floor and onto higher shelves. By then, I was wide awake and unable to get back to sleep for what seemed like hours. Now I’m sleepy and might need a nap today.
Sometimes one tiny, little thing can have a big impact. It’s like that with chewing. Chewing is an often overlooked yet crucial step of digestion. It sounds like such a simple, obvious thing, but many people don’t chew their food sufficiently and it can lead to many health problems. It’s free and relatively easy to do. When you chew well, you are helping your digestive system do it’s job. When you don’t, you are burdening your digestive system and possibly creating health problems. Digestion is such an amazing process that when functioning optimally, is almost automatic. There are many substances involved, often one is signaled by another. Any break in chain reactions can lead to problems. Chewing (and relaxing!) is the only part that requires your conscious effort. For example, when you chew, your saliva, which contains a digestive enzyme called salivary amylase, mixes with your food and the breakdown of the carbohydrate component begins. Without this crucial step carbohydrate digestion isn't complete and digestive dysfunction can result.Benefits of chewing better: 1. It will slow you down. You will receive the hormonal signal that you are full before you have overeaten. 2. Chewing may prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and yeasts that can thrive on inappropriately digested food particles. 3. It can prevent inappropriately sized food particles from damaging your GI lining, which can lead to food sensitivities and/or allergies. 4. About 80% of your immune system is along your GI tract, so preventing damage from inappropriately sized food particles can benefit your immune system. 5. Inappropriately digested carbohydrates can ferment, causing gas, heartburn and acid reflux.To get in the habit of chewing better, practice mindful eating: 1. Sit down at a table to eat. Don’t multitask. 2. Take a moment to relax and take a few breaths. Digestion begins in your brain with the sight and smell of food. Take a moment to look at your food, take in the smells, and get those digestive juices flowing. 3. Focus on chewing your food well, tasting, enjoying (isn’t that the point?!) and savoring the delicious flavors. 4. Put your fork down between bites. Don’t put another bite in your mouth before the first one is chewed well and swallowed. 5. Don’t eat on the run or in your car. As you work on slowing down and chewing better, you may begin to notice how fast the people around you are eating and how little they chew! You may also notice those same people have digestive problems.
Weather you are here in Central Oregon or far away, I would love to help you improve your digestion! I’m currently accepting new clients and scheduling appointments for late October/November. You can schedule online here, call (541)318-4757 or email BendNutritionalTherapy@gmail.com.
Here in Central Oregon it is like someone flipped a switch that turned off summer and turned on fall. The wild fire smoke has been especially bad this year. We had many smokey days and nights where the unhealthy or even hazardous air quality caused us to keep all the windows and doors closed despite temperatures in the 90s and lack of air conditioning. The last thing I wanted to do was make the house hotter by cooking, and filling the hot house with the smell of food, and not be able to open the windows. So, I got creative and made many meals that did not require cooking. This is one of the salads I made using cucumbers from our garden.
3 cucumbers, peeled if skin is thick, cut into chunks 8 oz. artichoke hearts 4 Tbs. red onion, minced 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped 4 oz. feta cheese, cubed 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
In a medium size bowl mix cucumber, artichoke hearts, red onion, olives and feta with dressing. Let marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour for best flavor. Enjoy!
A great salad dressing can make eating veggies more enjoyable. Having one or two ready in the fridge makes putting together a quick salad much easier.
Making your own is easy and takes less than 10 minutes. It's a great way to make sure you are eating good quality, real food ingredients. One problem with store bought dressings is that they are usually made from inexpensive, low quality oils that don't support your optimal health.
This recipe tastes great on a fresh green salad or drizzled on tomato, basil and mozzarella. Another idea is to toss veggies in it before roasting in the oven.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe:
3/4 cup + 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 TBS basil, finely minced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 TBS stone ground mustard
1/2 tsp honey
Put all ingredients in a jar (I used an 8oz mason jar), put the lid on and shake. Store in the refrigerator and use within a week or so. Remove and bring to room temperature before using because the olive oil will become thick in the refrigerator.
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