As summer gets closer I feel like eating more salads. This is one of my favorites. Every time I make it, people say how delicious it is. I hope you enjoy it too! Serves 2 as a meal and 4-6 as a side dish For the dressing: 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar 1/2 Tbs dijon mustard 1 tsp orange zest 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced 2 pinches unrefined sea salt fresh ground black pepper to taste For the salad: 8 cups loosely packed baby spinach 1 large beet, roasted, peeled and cubed 1 navel orange, peeled, segmented and cut into bite size pieces 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled First roast the whole unpeeled beet in a covered dish in a 400 degree F oven for 1 hour or until done.
Let it cool while covered. This will make it easier to peel. Once cool, place under a small stream of cool water. The skin should peel off easily using the water and your hands. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar with lid. Whisk or shake until well mixed. Place spinach in a large bowl. Top with orange, pecans, onions and goat cheese. Just before serving, toss salad with dressing. Plate salad, top with beets and serve. Enjoy!
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Through being an NTP I’ve met so many people who’ve overcome and/or manage health challenges that most people (sadly, even their doctors) believe are incurable. When someone overcomes something like that and I see them with my own eyes and hear their stories it fills me with so much hope. Though the specific way they do it varies from person to person, there’s one thing they all have in common. They all eat whole foods and avoid refined foods and foods that they discovered were a problem for them personally. So simple, so beautiful. It sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not though. Amazing things happen when you remove heavily processed refined “foods” that don’t support your health (and actually rob you of health) and include the foods that provide the nutrition your body needs to function optimally, stay healthy, heal and thrive. Here’s a list of healing diets I love (in no particular order):The Paleo Diet is comprised of nutrient dense whole foods including meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. It excludes all grains, dairy and legumes.The Wahls Protocol is a modified paleo diet developed by Terry Wahls, M.D. when she was in a wheelchair and on her way to being bedridden with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. By following her protocol she reversed symptoms, is no longer in a wheelchair, rides a bike and has help thousands of people do the same.The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a modified paleo diet that excludes nightshades, eggs, nuts, seeds and alcohol. It was developed by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne Ph.D. to help the immune system regulate and give the body a chance to heal from autoimmune diseases and other chronic degenerative diseases.The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS) was developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition) to help her son who was diagnosed with autism. He no longer has that diagnosis. She has helped thousands of patients. The diet is a modified version of Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas M.D.’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The SCD diet became popular after Elaine Gottschall healed her child’s Ulcerative Colitis and became an advocate of the diet. The GAPS diet gives the digestive system a break and chance to heal through several stages. It starts off with broths and more whole foods are introduced over time depending on each person. Since most health problems have a digestive component, the GAPS diet can help with many health challenges.Low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These are carbohydrate components of foods that can cause digestive symptoms. This diet involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for a period of time while simultaneously working to improve digestive function.Traditional Foods Diet/Ancestral Eating includes all whole foods prepared in the ways our ancestors learned was best for health. Dairy is raw, nuts seeds and grains are soaked and/or sprouted. It’s based on the work of Dr. Weston A. Price DDS, a nutritional pioneer who traveled the world and studied traditional people’s robust health before they were ever exposed to modern refined and processed foods. He also studied the same groups when they first began eating refined and processed foods, saw and studied their subsequent decline in health. I hope this post is helpful and helps raise awareness of the encouraging things that are happening with whole food nutrition. If you’d like help transitioning to a whole food diet and discovering the way of eating that is best for you, I’d love to work with you!
I’ve been spending time in the early mornings weeding my garden. Weeding isn’t everyone's favorite, but I enjoy it now more than ever. My biggest reason, is that at one point, I couldn’t do it for more than 5 minutes without becoming miserable from seasonal allergies. Now my seasonal allergies are completely gone and I can garden all day if I want to. Just yesterday, I noticed a layer of bright green pollen coating my car and sidewalks. Previously that would have made me miserable. It didn’t. Not one bit. Towards the end of my experience with seasonal allergies, I began taking over the counter allergy medication. I didn’t look into alternatives, I just wanted relief. The thought that changing my diet could help didn’t cross my mind even though I had been interested in nutrition since I was a teenager. I didn’t discover it could, until putting to use what I was learning in my training to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP). Other things that went away when I improved my nutrition, digestion, and began eating in a way that didn’t cause stress to my body included: menstrual cramps, nighttime Charlie horses, afternoon energy dips, irritability before meals, and more. Honestly, almost every little thing that bothered me, things that most people (including me at the time) consider a “normal” part of life and aging, went away. Now I know that improving nutrition (and other foundations of optimal health) can go a long way towards improving health. Along the way, I’ve met people who’ve done things with nutrition that their Doctors consider unexplainable and miraculous. The thing is, it’s not only explainable, it’s scientific. There are many amazing things being done with nutrition today that more people need to know about. Here are three of my favorite examples:Dr. Terry Wahls was in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis and on her way to being bedridden. She took matters into her own hands and developed and followed the Wahls Protocol. Within a year she was walking and doing an 18 mile bike ride.Dr. Kelly Brogan is a psychiatrist who helped herself with nutrition when her own training couldn’t, and now helps others using nutrition instead of medications. Mickey Trescott & Angie Alt both improved their health with nutrition on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. They were involved in the first EVER medical study (1) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Autoimmune Protocol for people with Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Guess what? The results were very exciting! “Clinical remission was achieved by week 6 by 11/15 (73%) of study participants, and all 11 maintained clinical remission during the maintenance phase of the study. We did not hypothesize, a priori, that clinical remission would be achieved so early (week 6). Indeed, this proportion of participants with active IBD achieving clinical remission by week 6 rivals that of most drug therapies for IBD . . . (Konijeti, et al. 2017)” Um yeah, AMAZING!!!! So basically, my point is, if you have a health problem, there’s probably a lot you can do to help yourself with nutrition. Knowing there’s hope and possibility is the first step! If you'd like help on your way, I'd love to work with you!
Everyone in my family loves this salad, which is always a plus and often a challenge to find. Combining the ingredients while the lentils are hot is important for maximum flavor. It tastes best if the flavors marinate for a while before eating. Tastes great as leftovers for several days. Serves 4 as a meal 2 cups french green lentils (important because they hold their shape and don’t turn to mush) 6 cups water 1/2 cup olive oil 6 Tbs aged balsamic vinegar 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper 3/4 tsp unrefined sea salt 8 green onions, chopped 1 cup fresh dill (about 1.5oz), chopped 2 cups fresh basil (about 1.25 oz), chopped 15 oz artichoke hearts, chopped 8 oz feta cheese, cubed 1 bag pre-washed baby spinach In a medium size pot, add lentils and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 25-30 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, first make the dressing by combining vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl or jar with lid. Whisk or shake to mix thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine green onions, dill, basil, artichoke hearts and feta. When the lentils are cooked, drain the water. Add lentils and dressing to the large bowl and mix well while the lentils are hot. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Take care,
P.S. This recipe is part of an e-book of my family's favorite recipes that I'm working on. If you'd like to be notified when it's available, make sure to join my mailing list if you haven't already. When you join you'll receive a free digestive health quiz & guide for your next step to better digestion.
I’m with Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who said “All disease begins in the gut.” This is exactly what modern scientific research is confirming!
We know now that the gut of a healthy person has trillions of microbes (1). When your gut microbiome is healthy, the microbes contribute to your health in SO many ways. They make vitamins, essential amino acids, short chain fatty acids, improve immune function, reduce inflammation, protect you from pathogens and more. They create byproducts that help absorb minerals, regulate metabolism and provide energy.
My personal favorite is, their byproducts nourish and strengthen the cells that line the intestines. Why is this important? Because when the lining is damaged it can cause increased intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut, which can trigger the development of autoimmune diseases!(2).
The good news is that you can improve the health of your gut microbiome with what you eat and don’t eat.
What to eat for a healthy gut microbiome:
Fiber* Only plant foods contain fiber. Microbes ferment fiber which creates byproducts that benefit our health. There are many kinds of fiber, so eat a wide variety and lots of plant foods to make sure you’re getting all the kinds your microbes need.
Tea, grapes, cocoa, coffee and berries contain polyphenols that aren't completely digested by us. They're metabolized by microbes and can reduce pathogenic bacteria (3).
What to not eat for a healthy gut microbiome:
Refined sugars can feed pathogenic microbes. When the pathogenic ones flourish, the beneficial ones are outnumbered. Fruit sugars can also feed the pathogens so some people need to avoid sugars from fruit too, at least until they restore more of the beneficial microbes.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are often modified to tolerate herbicides so a crop can be sprayed with an herbicide to kill the weeds but not the crop.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Round Up, the world’s most widely used herbicide. Glyphosate disrupts the beneficial bacteria in our gut (4).
According to the National Institutes of Health Toxicology Data Network, glyphosate may be an endocrine disruptor, damages human DNA and there is evidence of being a carcinogen in experimental animals (5).
Corn, soybeans, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, squash, Arctic Apples, Innate Potatoes and Aquabounty Salmon are GMO foods. Corn, soy, canola and sugar beets make up a large percentage of the Standard American Diet. Many ingredients in processed foods are derived from them. If it’s organic, it’s non GMO. On non-organic food labels, look for a logo that says non-GMO.
Tap water that contains chlorine and/or fluoride. You can find out if they are in your water here.
*Some people who have impaired digestion, don’t digest plant foods properly. If this is true for you, there’s probably things you can do to help you digest them better. If you’re not digesting properly, the maldigested food can become foods for the pathogenic microorganisms. There are also specific health conditions where it’s actually beneficial and necessary to avoid fermentable fibers for a period of time. If you’d like help discovering what’s best for you, I’d love to work with you! You can see my in person and virtual services here.
I hope that this post is informative and helps you on your way to better digestive health!
1. Cresci, G. A., & Bawden, E. (2015). The Gut Microbiome: What we do and don’t know.Nutrition in Clinical Practice : Official Publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 30(6), 734–746. http://doi.org/10.1177/0884533615609899
If the idea of eating fermented foods freaks you out, start by thinking of these common foods made by the process of fermentation: vinegar, beer, wine, cider olives and cheese. Not so bad, right? Humans have been using the process of fermentation to preserve food since at least 7000 BC. Fermented foods are made with the help of microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that turn carbohydrates into alcohol, organic acids and carbon dioxide. The process can actually make the food more nutritious than it was originally. The truth is, that a healthy human digestive system contains about as many, if not more, microbial cells as human cells. There’s a whole eco-system in there! This eco-system is called your microbiome. We’re just beginning to discover the ways the health of our microbiome effects our overall health. It’s very promising for all areas of health, medicine and nutrition. One way to support the health of your microbiome is to eat fermented foods that contain probiotics, which are bacteria or yeasts that are beneficial to health. I think it's pretty cool that the word probiotic means "for life".
Here's a list of fermented foods that contain probiotics: 1. Cultured vegetables- includes sauerkraut, kimchi and some pickles. These come in a wide variety of flavors. They can be mild or spicy and have a sour taste. Use them as a condiment. 2. Kombucha- an effervescent drink made with tea and sugar. Tastes kind of like a sweet and fruity apple cider vinegar. 2. Yogurt- made from cow, goat, coconut or other milks. 3. Kefir- similar in taste to yogurt, but thinner in consistency.
4. Water Kefir- a non dairy beverage with a sweet taste. People who don't like the taste of kombucha may like this better. 5. Tempeh- a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans. 6. Raw Cheese- cheese that is made from unpasteurized milk. 7. Apple Cider Vinegar- vinegar made from apples. 8. Miso- a traditional Japanese salty seasoning paste made from soybeans, koji and sometimes rice, barley or other ingredients.
How to Shop for Fermented Foods..... The availability of fermented foods in grocery stores continues to increase. Look for them in the refrigerated section. Many big chain stores will carry them in the refrigerated area of the natural or organic section. The sauerkraut, kimchi, olives, pickles and other foods you find on the non refrigerated shelves aren’t the same. They're made with vinegar and don't contain probiotics. When choosing cultured vegetables, organic is best. If you’re on a budget, choosing one made with non-organic cabbage is ok because cabbage is one of the vegetables with the least pesticide residues. Look for few ingredients that are recognizeable, like vegetables, sea salt and water. Pickles or other vegetables made with vinegar don't contain probiotics, so avoid that when you are eating your fermented foods for the benifits of probiotics. When choosing kombucha, look for the grams of sugar on the label. Choose the one with the least grams of sugar. Also, pay attention to the number of servings. Some companies will increase the number of servings to make it look like it has less sugar, when the total per bottle is actually more. Look for words like raw, live and probiotics on the labels.Water Kefir isn’t as readily available as kombucha on store shelves (yet!). If you do find it, follow the same guidelines as kombucha. You may find other probiotic beverages near the kombucha, follow the same guidelines for choosing those too. When choosing tempeh, organic and GMO free is especially important. Non organic soy is usually GMO. In our guts, GMO crops (specifically the glyphosate) interfere with the microorganisms we are trying to increase. Tempeh comes in a block that can be sliced. Look for it near the tofu and vegetarian protein 'foods'.
When choosing miso, follow the same guidelines as tempeh. You'll probably find it near the cultured vegetables, but it may also be near the tempeh. It comes in a tub, like sour cream. When choosing cow milk yogurt, the best kind is made from full fat organic pasture raised or grass fed milk. Organic full fat milk is a next best choice. Watch out for the flavored ones, they can have SO much added sugar. Read the label. An average 6 oz flavored yogurt can have 20 grams (5 tsp.) of sugar. Also look out for additives. Ingredients should be simple like milk and strains of probiotics and maybe maple syrup or fruit.Yogurt is also available made from goat, coconut and other milks. Look for organic choices. Watch out for additives in all kinds, read labels. If you don’t know what it is, either don’t buy it or google it first. Find yogurts in the dairy section, if your store has a natural or organic section the best quality option will probably be there. When choosing Kefir look for the same things you would look for when choosing yogurt. When choosing raw cheese, as with other dairy products, cheeses made from organic milk from pasture raised animals is best. Look for ‘made from raw milk’ on the label. If it says pasteurized it’s not raw. In a larger grocery store, you're most likely to find it in the specialty cheese section.Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the few probiotic foods you'll find on the non refrigerated store shelves. Choose raw and organic. If it says pasteurized, it’s not raw.
If you can’t find fermented foods at your local store, or would like to save money, you can always make your own! I make my own kombucha, water kefir and sauerkraut. Here's more info on how to make kombucha, how to make water kefir and how to make sauerkraut.
I hope this post helps you choose delicious fermented foods that will support your health! If you'd like to receive more nutritional health info and recipes, make sure to join my e-mail list here.
Honestly, the first time I made sauerkraut I was a little scared. I knew all about the health benefits and wanted them, but the idea of something fermented by bacteria sounded gross and like it might give me food poisoning. What it took for me to get over that fear was the knowledge of how it worked, and then just going for it.
Cabbage, and many other foods, can be preserved and made more nutritious by the process of lacto-fermentation. A strain of bacteria, named Lactobacillus, lives on plants and in a healthy human digestive tract. During the lacto-fermentation process, Lactobacillus turn the carbohydrates in the food into lactic acid, a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Salt also preserves and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
Now that I make fermented foods regularly I'm not afraid anymore. I think it's an amazing process that preserves our food, is delicious AND benefits our health. It's a win, win, win.
Here are instructions for how to make sauerkraut:
(there are other ways and other equipment, but I like to keep it as simple as possible)
1. Using a knife or food processor, shred a medium head of cabbage and place in a large bowl.
2. Add two tablespoons of sea salt.
3. Using a wooden spoon, meat hammer or similar object (I used a cocktail muddler) pound the juices out of the cabbage for about 10 minutes. If 10 minutes seems like a long time, listen to music, dance in place, listen to a podcast, think of things you are grateful for, etc.
4. Put the mixture into a clean quart size jar. Make sure to leave at least an inch of space from the top. Make sure all the cabbage is submerged under the liquid. This is key to success and preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms.
5. Put a lid on, cover with a clean cloth to keep dark, and let sit at room temperature. After 3-5 days, transfer to the refrigerator. It can be eaten then, or allowed to age longer in the fridge. The flavor will continue to develop over time. It starts out more salty tasting and becomes more sour as it ages.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this post is helpful! If you'd like more recipes and nutritional health info from me in the future, make sure to join my e-mail list here.
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!