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Our relationship with food. Is it a healthy one? Do we feel vibrant and energized on a regular basis?  Or, is it more likely that we feel blah, sluggish, and/or bloated? Even worse, are we in pain most of the time? And I mean REAL pain. Crippling pain. Debilitating pain.

Most of us know that what we eat impacts how we feel.

Yet, for many, feeling ‘bad’ isn’t enough of a reason to make nutritional changes. Why is that? Why are some people willing to remain in an unhealthy relationship, one they know is no good for them. While others decide to leave an unhealthy relationship in return for regained freedom and vitality?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could change our perception of food and choose to ‘love food that loves us back’?

For some, eating donuts and pastries can be a real challenge. For others, it might be pizza and/or pasta. Oooooh, it tastes so good, going in. All of the pleasure centers in our brain are lighting up and we seem so happy…for now. In two hours, or so, the story is quite different, isn’t it? If these foods were a boyfriend or a girlfriend, we would’ve broken up with them a long time ago, right? I mean, most people won’t date someone for years on end, if after every encounter with that person they start to feel bad...real bad!

Yet people do it with their food, and they do it every single day. Oh, they tell themselves they’ll change…tomorrow, next Monday, January 1st, etc. Unfortunately, the changes never come…or if they do come...and they don’t stick.

How can we make lasting changes with our psyche? How can we tell our brains that we mean business…..that we’re only going to love the foods that love us back?

Initially, kale and cauliflower might not seem so sexy and they certainly won’t get you as excited as an incredible croissant or loaded Chicago-style pizza. But, how awesome would it be if, 2 hours after eating food that loved you back, you felt energized, clear-headed, and you could sleep deeply all night long. Wouldn’t those physical changes excite you enough to continue on with your journey? And, if after 30, 60 or 90 days, the pain that prevented you from fully enjoying your life had diminished greatly, wouldn’t that excite you enough to continue on with your journey?

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make you ‘want’ to be healthy. Unfortunately, I don’t have that wand. But, the great news is that you do have that wand, AND you can choose, today, to love the foods that love you back.

You can finally choose to break-up with those mean foods that you thought were your ‘friends’. You know, those foods that gave you type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, obesity.  If, early on in the break-up process, you feel like you need help and guidance to keep you on your journey to renewed health and vitality, please reach out to www.ntischool.com. They will be happy to connect you with a nutrition professional in your area. There are so many strategies that you can use and many are much easier than you could’ve imagined.

Don’t spend another year, month, week, day, or moment in a bad relationship with food that doesn’t love you back. Make the decision now to regain your health. The only thing you have to lose is pain, unwanted pounds, bloat, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.

Here are 2 yummy, comforting recipes to get you started:

Spicy Pumpkin and Peanut Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2  tablespoons olive oil

  • medium onion, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 4  garlic cloves, smashed

  • (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped

  • ½  habanero pepper (or any pepper you prefer)

  • (14-ounce) can pumpkin purée

  • cups water or chicken or vegetable stock

  • (13-ounce) can coconut milk

  • tablespoon honey (optional)

  • ¼  cup unsweetened natural peanut butter

  • Salt to taste

  • tablespoons sliced fresh chives

  • ¼  cup crème fraîche or greek yogurt (optional)

PREPARATION

  • In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.

  • Add onion, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently until softened and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 4 minutes.

  • Stir in the pepper and pumpkin purée and whisk in the water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer on low, giving an occasional stir, for 20 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove the pepper after the soup simmers if you don’t care for much spice.

  • Add coconut milk and honey (if using), and peanut butter to the pot.

  • Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a standing blender, purée the soup until smooth.

  • Season with salt and keep warm over low heat. Do not bring soup up to a simmer or boil at this point. (This reduces the risk of the oils in the peanut butter separating and breaking the soup's smooth texture.)

  • Divide soup between bowls, sprinkle with the chives and a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt.

Thank you, Yewande Komolafe, for sharing this recipe. It is so delicious….and even better…..easy to make.

If you want a bit of a sweet treat check this out! (Heck, you’ve got the peanut butter out anyway!)

 

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Growing up in the Midwest, my grandmother would often tell me she’d never met a potato she didn’t like.  We’d laugh when she said this, but I certainly couldn’t argue with her. Mashed, roasted, baked, fried, or au gratin… potatoes were always good.  Grandma would even eat them raw, with a dash of salt for good measure.  From time to time I’ve caught my own father enjoying a salted raw potato, but I suspect the tradition will stop with me.  Why waste a perfectly good potato when you could easily whip it up as a beautiful white fluff of comfort?

Now I can’t say for sure, but I don’t remember my grandmother ever “meeting” a sweet potato. To be honest, I’m not sure I even knew what a sweet potato was until college.  I had to dive deep into their nutritional profile before admitting they just might be superior to the beloved white potato of my childhood. Much like their counterpart, they can be boiled, pureed, or made into crave-worthy fries.  You may enjoy a baked sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon and honey. You may even put them in your smoothies or roasted atop a savory winter salad. One thing I highly suggest you do is try them mashed - with miso, coconut butter, and wasabi.  That’s right, wasabi!

The sweetness of potato paired with decadently smooth coconut butter and a hidden snap of heated wasabi is slightly confusing but altogether wonderful to your taste buds. Add some mildly sweet and salty white miso for the perfect combination of flavors you’d never expect to be the most delicious potato you’ve ever eaten. This recipe, comprised of simple, yet distinct flavors comes together effortlessly and is sure to be a new favorite!

Why we love it:

  • Coconut Butter is a medium-chain fatty acid (about 60 percent fat) that aids in weight loss, boosting immunity, warding off viruses, helping prevent disease, providing a performance boost for athletes, containing beneficial fiber, giving hair a shine and providing iron.

  • Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of fiber as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals. They are especially high in beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help promote healthy vision, improve respiratory health and even protect your skin. This vitamin is especially important in terms of immunity, it helps stimulate the production of immune cells that fight off disease and infection.

  • Wasabi, known by some as “Japanese horseradish”, contains high levels of isothiocyanates.  These antioxidants help fight and prevent disease by reducing inflammation and eliminating free radicals and harmful bacteria.  Regular consumption of wasabi has been shown to benefit heart health, prevent cancer, and treat respiratory conditions and arthritis.

  • Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds including shogaols, gingerols, and 6-dehydrogingerdione (DGE).  It has been used throughout history to treat an array of illnesses and is especially known for its ability to fight nausea, the common cold, and pain from from arthritis to headaches to menstrual cramps. (Reinhard, Tonia, MS, RD. (2014). Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet, 2nd Edition.)

  • Like other fermented products, miso contains beneficial bacteria, enzymes, yeasts, and other microorganisms that promote health.  The Japanese are devout in their consumption of miso for its nutritional values, such as rebuilding healthy intestinal flora and promoting toxic elimination. (D’Amico, Serge. Fortin, Francois. (1996). The Visual Food Encyclopedia.)

Wasabi Miso Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced, or whole if baking

  • Sea salt

  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons wasabi powder

  • 3 – 6 Tablespoons filtered water

  • 2 Tablespoons ginger – finely grated

  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut butter

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee, or olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons white miso

 

Directions:

  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a saucepan.  Cover with filtered water by 2” and add a teaspoon of sea salt.  

  2. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain. (Alternative - roast whole until tender, 45-55 minutes.)

  3. Mix the wasabi powder and water to form a paste.  Let stand 5 minutes. Mix with the ginger, coconut butter, butter and miso.

  4. Mash the sweet potatoes, or use a food processor, and mix in the wasabi-miso mixture.

  5. Season to taste.

(Recipe adapted from the Balanced Plate)

Chef Kylee Snyder is a recent graduate of NTI’s Natural Food Chef Program. She currently leads nutritional cooking classes and provides holistic health coaching that has been known to cause deep affection towards vegetables. Find her on Instagram @rendezfoodhhc.

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As we entered in to the new year, many people made resolutions to improve their overall health. Sometimes those resolutions seem to fall by the wayside within 30 days. Here might be just the reason why you will want to cut back on junk food….and stick with it.

It seems that a certain type of Alzheimer’s disease is related to Diabetes. That’s bad news for those following the Standard American Diet. However, the good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries can allow you to maintain optimal brain health all through your life.

In the past, Diabetes was thought of in two ways:

1)Type 1 Diabetes – aka Juvenile Diabetes – a disorder one is born with.

2)Type 2 Diabetes – aka Adult Onset Diabetes – a disorder that occurs due to a highly processed diet. Though it used to be that most people who got Type 2 Diabetes were over 50, we are now seeing this disease in people as young as 12 years old.

The medical community coined the term ‘Type 3 Diabetes’ in 2005, understanding that some forms of Alzheimer ’s disease are a result of blood sugar imbalance impacting the brain.

A cover story in Holistic Primary Care, ‘To Reverse Alzheimer’s, Seek Its Triggers, An Interview with Dr Dale Bredesen’ sheds light on this phenomena.  https://holisticprimarycare.net/latest-articles/1956-primary-care-holds-the-keys-to-unlock-alzheimer-s-disease.html

The studies are increasingly persuasive and unsurprising when you understand the role of insulin in the body. So, a brief lesson….

  • We all need insulin: in non-diabetics, it’s released to help cells take in the blood sugar (glucose) the body needs for energy. But the cells can hold only so much; excess sugar is first stored as fat. (Blood sugar doesn’t come only from sugar, but from carbohydrates of all kinds; like bread, pasta, crackers, even organic whole wheat grains convert to sugar .) Insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain’s neurons to absorb glucose, and allows those neurons to change and become stronger.

  • Put as simply as possible, insulin “calls” your cells, asking them to take glucose from the bloodstream: “Yoo-hoo. Pick this stuff up!”.  When the insulin calls too often, which will happen with a consistent dose of the Standard American Diet, the cells are overwhelmed, and say, “Leave me alone.” They become resistant. This makes the insulin even more insistent and, to make matters worse, all those elevated insulin levels are bad for your blood vessels, too.

  • When the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality. In short, it appears, you develop a certain type of Alzheimer’s.

A neuropathologist named Aloysius (Alois) Alzheimer noticed, over a century ago, that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells. How those beta amyloid plaques (as they’re called) get there has been a mystery. What’s becoming clear, however, is that a lack of insulin — or insulin resistance — not only impairs cognition but seems to be implicated in the formation of those plaques.

Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University, has also been working on these phenomena in humans and rats. When she blocked the path of insulin to rats’ brains, their neurons deteriorated, they became physically disoriented and their brains showed all the signs of Alzheimer’s. The fact that Alzheimer’s can be associated with low levels of insulin in the brain is the reason why increasing numbers of researchers have taken to calling it Type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/02/alzheimers.aspx

Let’s connect the dots:

  1. We know that the Standard American Diet will not only lead us to obesity, but to Type 2 diabetes and other preventable, non-communicable diseases, which now account for more deaths worldwide than all other causes combined.

  2. We also already know that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired brain function.

  3. What’s new is the thought that while diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s, these diseases have the same root: an over consumption of processed foods that causes dysfunction with insulin’s many roles. (Genetics have an effect on susceptibility, as they appear to with all environmental diseases.) “Sugar is clearly implicated,” says Dr. de la Monte, “but there could be other factors as well.”

  4. If the rate of Alzheimer’s rises at the same rate as Type 2 diabetes, which has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 40 years, we will shortly see a devastatingly high percentage of our population with not only failing bodies but brains. It’s important to know that the number one cause of death in women over 60 years old in England is Alzheimer’s Disease.

The link between diet and dementia negates our notion of Alzheimer’s as a condition that befalls us by chance. Adopting a sensible, whole-food diet, a diet contrary to the Standard American Diet (which I like to refer to as SAD), would appear to give you a far better shot at avoiding diabetes in all of its forms, along with its dreaded complications.

Detox your brain with a little gift From NATURE (and it’s one of my FAVORITE fruits)!

The brain has its own house cleaning process. Certain cells, called microglia, remove and detoxify toxic proteins that interfere with brain function. These toxic proteins can make the amyloid plaque we discussed earlier. We want to make sure these good cells found in the brain eat the bad toxic cells. As we age, the microglia cells fail to do their work and toxins build up in the brain.

Dr. Shibu Proulose, PhD of the US Department of Agriculture, studied the effects of blueberry and strawberry extracts on mouse cells. He found that these berries strongly support autophagy, or natural brain detox. The berry extracts worked by inhibiting a certain protein that blocks the natural brain detox process.

Berries are well-known antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and we read much in the news related to the benefits of berries.

This research suggests that the benefits of berries go far beyond free radical damage and anti-inflammatory support. Berries, with their most prolific harvest in the spring and fall, offer much in the way of natural detoxification just when nature delivers them.

Ayurveda has always looked at berries as natural lymph movers, supporting the body’s detox pathways. Now we have evidence that these berries also support a natural brain detox, which is much needed in the toxic world we live in.

Below is one of my favorite BLUEBERRY recipes.

Thank you, Jennifer Cornbleet, for publishing Raw Food Made Easy. You make it easy for all of us to feel like gourmet chefs.

Blueberry Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 4 C fresh or frozen blueberries (thaw and drain well, if frozen)

  • ¾ C pitted dates, soaked, for berry filling  (in a pinch I used an over-ripe banana instead. It worked just as well)

  • ½ C pitted dates, unsoaked, for pie crust

  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice

 Ingredients for Crust:

  • 2 C raw walnuts, unsoaked

  • 1 C unsweetened shredded dried coconut

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ½ C pitted dates, unsoaked

Directions for Crust:

  • Place walnuts, coconut and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until coarsely ground. Add dates and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and begins to stick together. Don’t over-process.

  • To make crust, place mixture in pie plate. Distribute crumbs along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. After the crumbs are evenly distributed, press the crust down on the bottom of the pan using your fingers. Be sure to press especially firmly where the bottom of the pan joins the sides. Then, press the crust against the pan’s sides, shaping it so that its’ edges are flush with the rim. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Directions for Filling:

  • Place 1 ½ C blueberries, soaked dates and lemon juice in blender. Process until smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl and add remaining blueberries.

  • Remove crust from freezer and pour blueberry filling into crust.

  • Place in refrigerator, ideally 60 minutes, until ready to serve.

 Oh so easy to make….and delicious, too. Your family and friends will be impressed.

If you need help on your journey to implement a healthier eating protocol, I would strongly encourage you to visit www.NTISchool.com. You’ll have an opportunity to locate a nutrition therapist in your area that would be honored to help you on your journey.

Dr Rebecca Spacke, Certifications in Functional Endocrinology {University of Bridgepor}), Lifestyle Medicine {Harvard Medical School}, Reversing Cognitive Decline (ReCODE Protocol) [Institute for Functional Medicine} and Course Instructor at Nutrition Therapy Institute    

 

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Most holidays give us a reason to celebrate food, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. Some of us get into the spirit on March 17th by turning all of our foods green: green smoothies, green muffins, green eggs, and even green pancakes. Most of these foods are simple enough to make—as long as you have a blender and a bunch of kale.

Trying out traditional Irish foods is another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, the Irish are known for their stouts, ales, soda bread, and corned beef hash. But the traditional Irish diet also includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods—like lamb, seafood, kale, cabbage, and leeks.

If you are looking for some fresh ideas to serve up this St. Patrick’s Day, consider some of these delicious and healthy Irish recipes:

 

Irish Stew

Stew is a simple, one-pot meal. Traditional Irish stew was made with mutton, which is meat that comes from adult sheep (compared with lamb, which comes from younger sheep). The potatoes, carrots, and onions in the stew provide vitamins complex carbohydrates.   

Lamb and mutton are rich sources of high-quality protein as well as many vitamins and minerals (iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12, to name a few). Lamb contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than other meats—a fatty acid that has been linked with many health benefits, including weight management.  

Try this recipe: Paleo Slow Cooker Irish Stew

 

Irish Seafood Chowder

Seafood chowder is another one-pot meal, combining seafood with potatoes and vegetables. You can make this dish with any variety of fish and shellfish. The Irish traditionally combine salmon with white fish and a mixture of shrimp, crab, or mussels.

Seafood is one of nature’s best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Irish seafood chowder also includes onions and potatoes and is garnished with parsley—an herb that provides antioxidant compounds and can freshen your breath.

Try this recipe: Irish Seafood Chowder

 

Shephard’s Pie

Meat and potatoes are a theme in Irish cooking, and Shephard’s pie is a classic. It’s traditionally made with lamb, but ground beef can be substituted (some say it should be called “cottage pie” if it’s made with beef). You can mix nearly any vegetable into the meat for Shephard’s pie—like peas, onions, carrots, or kale.

Like stew and seafood chowder, Shephard’s pie provides high-quality protein with vegetables and complex carbohydrates. You can boost the nutritional value of the pie by mixing in a green leafy vegetable, like spinach or kale.     

Try this recipe: Paleo Shephard’s Pie

 

Vegetarian Irish Lager Stew

You’ll find that many Irish recipes include lamb, beef, bacon, or seafood. Finding a vegetarian option might be tricky. Vegetarian Irish lager stew is made with a wide variety of vegetables and button or shitake mushrooms.

Mushrooms are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. Mushrooms contain a variety of compounds that are known to support immune function. Their many health benefits include the ability to support healthy digestion and weight management.  

Try this recipe: Vegetarian Irish Lager Stew

 

Buttered Cabbage

Cabbage is an essential vegetable in the Irish diet, and you’ll see it in many traditional dishes. Buttered cabbage is one of the most basic dishes, made by just boiling the cabbage in a pot with butter.

Cabbage is in the Brassica family of vegetables, along with broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. These vegetables contain glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, and other health-promoting compounds. Many nutritionists recommend eating foods from this family of vegetables every day.

Try this recipe: Buttered Cabbage

 

Garlic-Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Roasting cabbage with garlic is another way to enjoy this traditional Irish food. Simply slice the cabbage into wedges and roast them in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and seasonings.

This recipe offers all the health benefits of cabbage along with the added benefits of garlic. Garlic is well known for its ability to support the immune system and heart health.

Try this recipe: Garlic-Roasted Cabbage Wedges

 

Irish Potato Leek Stew

Irish potato leek stew is a warming meal that is made from potatoes, leeks, broth, salt, and pepper. It’s an Irish classic and can be made quickly with an immersion blender or another type of blender.

Leeks are part of the Allium plant family, along with garlic, onions, and shallots. Leeks are a rich source of sulfur-containing compounds and other antioxidants. They also contain compounds that have anti-microbial effects and benefit liver and heart health.    

Try this Recipe: Irish Potato Leek Stew

 

Kale Colcannon

Colcannon is another traditional Irish dish that is made with potatoes and either cabbage or kale. It’s made by steaming the potatoes and greens and then mashing them with cream, butter, salt, and pepper.

Although some people shy away from eating white potatoes because of their starch content, potatoes are a nutritious whole food. In this recipe, the cream and the butter balance out some of the starch, and the kale provides loads of nutrients.

Try this recipe: Kale Colcannon

 

Boxty

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. It is made with a mixture of mashed and raw (grated) potatoes that are combined with buttermilk and seasonings. Boxty can be served with eggs for breakfast or with a salad for lunch.

Although most traditional boxty recipes use flour as a thickener, you can substitute a mixture of brown rice flour and tapioca starch to make a gluten-free version.  

Try this recipe: Traditional Irish Boxty

I hope you enjoy this festive Irish holiday. You might even learn a new recipe that will become a healthy staple in your diet!
 

Sarah Cook, ND

Instructor at Nutrition Therapy Institute

 

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Dopamine is a pleasure chemical. In a recent article on how to feel more in love, we described how dopamine is activated when you feel attracted to someone. Dopamine gives us a natural sense of high—feelings of bliss, reward, and ecstasy.

But we need to be cautious. Dopamine might feel like sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies, but pushing dopamine production for the wrong reasons can get us into lots of trouble. Cocaine, nicotine, heroin, and other addictive substances activate dopamine pathways—leading to devastating consequences.

Dopamine is not only a bliss molecule but also assists with focus, attention, and movement. Low dopamine is associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),  restless leg syndrome (RLS), and Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, too much dopamine has been implicated in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Balance is the key to being able to enjoy the happiness that dopamine can deliver. Rather than boosting dopamine for mere instant gratification, a healthier approach is to support the body’s ability to produce dopamine in appropriate amounts and at appropriate times. One of the best ways to do that is through nutrition. Read on to learn how dopamine is made and how nutrition can support healthy dopamine production.

Dopamine Production

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in the nervous system. Along with norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine is in the family of neurotransmitters called catecholamines.

Dopamine is synthesized in two main areas of the body: the brain and the adrenal glands. It is made from the amino acid l-tyrosine, which is supplied by dietary protein. The pathway of dopamine production follows:

L-tyrosine → L-DOPA → Dopamine

Enzymes catalyze the steps in this process, and vitamins and minerals act as cofactors for the enzymes. The conversion of l-tyrosine to L-DOPA relies on an adequate supply of iron, and the conversion of L-DOPA to dopamine relies on the presence of vitamin B6.

Foods to Support Dopamine Production

1. Meat

Meats—including beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey—supply three important compounds for dopamine production: protein, iron, and vitamin B6. Protein-rich foods supply l-tyrosine, which serves as the building block from which dopamine is made. Fish, eggs, and dairy are other good sources of these nutrients.  

2. Beans

Beans deliver many of the same nutrients as meats, including protein, iron, and B vitamins. Broad beans (also called Velvet Beans) are a specific type of bean that has been found to be high in L-DOPA and support dopamine production.  

3. Yogurt

Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods are rich in health-promoting bacteria called probiotics. These probiotics inhabit the human intestines, where they support healthy digestion and immune function. Some probiotics have earned the name “psychobiotics” because they release dopamine and other neurotransmitters.

4. Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is a source of naturally occurring vitamin D.  Omega-3 fatty acids form the membranes of all nerve cells in the brain, and studies suggest that vitamin D may help to regulate catecholamine levels. One study found that people who are exposed to the most sunlight (a primary stimulus for vitamin D production in the body) have the highest density of dopamine receptors in their brains.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower, are rich in nutrients that support detoxification pathways—including glutathione production in the liver. This is important for dopamine production because studies show that glutathione supports the survival of dopaminergic nerve cells in the brain.

Dietary Supplements

It might be tempting to take a supplement with some of the nutrients discussed here. For example, l-tyrosine, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D are all available as dietary supplements. But our bodies have become accustomed to receiving nutrition from foods over thousands of years. Some supplements deliver isolated nutrients in quantities that dramatically exceed the amount in foods.

Iron is a supplement to be particularly cautious about. The interplay between iron and dopamine is complex. Iron is a required cofactor for dopamine production, but excess iron can lead to oxidative damage if it reacts with dopamine metabolites. Eating iron-rich foods is often preferable to taking a supplement because there is a lower risk of unsafe iron accumulating in the body. If you are considering supplementation to support healthy dopamine production, please first consult with a qualified nutrition therapist and your healthcare provider.

Healthy Boosts of Dopamine

Lab rats who are given access to a lever that activates dopamine centers in their brain will push that lever up to 2000 times an hour for 24 hours a day. They choose that lever at the expense of starvation, dehydration, and abandoning their newborn babies. This can happen to you if you choose the wrong ways to activate dopamine pathways. Cocaine, gambling, and other addictive activities can destroy your life.

A dramatically better way to enjoy the occasional rush of dopamine is to support your physiology from the ground up. Nutrition provides the building blocks and cofactors for healthy dopamine production When the foundation of nutrition is in place, you can more readily enjoy the burst of dopamine you feel when engaging in exercise, meditation, wild adventures, and other life-giving activities. In the words of Joseph Campbell, you will be able to “follow your bliss.”

Sarah Cook, ND

Instructor, Nutrition Therapy Institute

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Love’s like an addiction. That is to say—at first. New love can feel like a giddy and blissful infatuation. The birds sing louder, the sun shines brighter, and all is right in the world. But the passion of a new romance inevitably dissipates over time. As a relationship progresses, the exhilaration of falling in love is gradually replaced by a sense of content commitment.

Scientists describe the process of falling in love in three stages: it begins with lust, becomes an attraction, and progresses to an attachment. I’ve heard the process described as if it has a beginning and an end, but I would hope that we cycle through all of these stages—again and again—with our partner over time.

Valentine’s Day showcases romance and compels us to assess the relationships in our lives. Are we happy? Fulfilled? Stuck? Complacent? Have we been spending too much time in one of the three stages of love and not investing enough energy into the others? We might be silently asking ourselves—how can we reignite the euphoria that we felt when we first fell in love?

I’m no marriage counselor, relationship coach, or psychotherapist. I only say that love progresses through three distinct stages because anthropologists and scientists have said so. I’m most intrigued that each stage is marked by characteristic feelings and neurochemicals.

The rest of this article dives into the neurochemistry of love. We’ll look at the chemicals at play during each of the stages of falling in love and explore science-backed ways to cultivate more lust, attraction, and attachment—in our relationships and life.

Stage 1: Lust

Lust is a craving for sexual satisfaction. There is a desire to seduce or to be seduced. In this stage, the connection is less about emotions and more about physical attraction. Although lust is typically described as the first stage of falling in love, anthropologist Helen Fisher maintains that love can begin at any stage.  

The hormones that predominate during lust are estrogen and testosterone. Also, pheromones are released from the pores, sending subtle signals to the other person.

Cultivating more lust in a relationship is complicated. This is the most primal of the stages, and its biological underpinnings are similar to other species in nature. Because of the roles of testosterone and estrogen, you might consider checking with a doctor to be sure you have healthy hormonal balance. Scientists have also found that you can inspire a more physical connection with your partner if you flirt, gaze into each other’s eyes, and move your bodies in sync to stand face-to-face.

Science-Backed Ways to Feel More Lust

  1. Flirt

  2. Gaze into your partner’s eyes

  3. Stand face-to-face

 

Stage 2: Attraction

The phase of attraction is similar to what I described at the beginning of this article. There is a sense of euphoria, bliss, and infatuation. You might have a burst of energy, be more productive than usual, and be sleepless from excitement. Sometimes this is called the “honeymoon” phase.

The neurochemicals that predominate during attraction are adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine. Adrenaline is a stress chemical that makes your heart race and your face flush. Noradrenaline promotes focus and alertness. Dopamine is a pleasure chemical that is associated with happiness and addiction. This perfect storm of neurochemicals explains why people crave the “high” of falling in love.

There are dozens of ways to promote the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine—some healthy and others unhealthy. Cocaine, gambling, and sugar (to name a few unhealthy examples) are notorious for boosting dopamine. Healthier ways to boost dopamine include meditating, exercising, listening to music, and doing something thrilling (try riding a roller coaster without getting a natural high). Even if the phase of attraction in a relationship is fleeting, you can always cultivate that sense of euphoria by participating in healthy, dopamine-boosting activities as a couple.     

Science-Backed Ways to Feel More Attraction

  1. Exercise

  2. Meditate

  3. Listen to music

  4. Take a thrill ride

 

Stage 3: Attachment

Attachment brings a sense of emotional bonding, security, and comfort. Attachment can develop in a romantic relationship as well as with other family members and friends. With attachment, you know that your partner will be there by your side through thick and thin.

The hormone that predominates with the feeling of attachment is oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone” because it promotes this sense of a bonded connection with others. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, when having sex, and when hugging.

An ability to produce healthy oxytocin levels relies on good nutrition. Petting an animal or getting a massage will boost oxytocin, as will any form of touch. Thanks to oxytocin, the simple act of making physical contact with your partner can promote a sense of attachment.

Science-Backed Ways to Feel More Attachment

  1. Eat healthy foods

  2. Get a massage

  3. Touch your partner

 

10 Science-Backed Ways to Feel More in Love

Science tells us that specific neurochemicals accompany each of the stages of love. We can feel more lust if we flirt, gaze into our partner’s eyes, or stand face-to-face. We can feel more sense of a natural high and attraction if we exercise, meditate, listen to music, or go on a thrill ride. We can trigger the release of oxytocin and feel more bonded to our partner if we eat healthy foods, get a massage, or touch our partner.

10 Science-Backed Ways to Feel More In Love

  1. Flirt

  2. Gaze into your partner’s eyes

  3. Stand face-to-face

  4. Exercise

  5. Meditate

  6. Listen to music

  7. Take a thrill ride

  8. Eat healthy foods

  9. Get a massage

  10. Touch your partner

None of these science-backed ways to feel more in love are miracle cures. If your relationship is suffering, you may need to take more proactive measures. Relationships are messy, complicated, and vulnerable. As I said in the beginning, I’m no psychotherapist—just a medical writer having some fun with neuroscience.

Writing this article pushed me beyond my comfort zone of nutrition, physiology, and research. But that’s okay. Health is more than the food we put in our mouths and the exercises we perform with our bodies. It is a balance of body, mind, emotions, and our relationships with the world around us. I wish you, my readers, a lifetime of love—including all of its miraculous stages and phases.

Sarah Cook, ND

Instructor at Nutrition Therapy Institute
 

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Photo by Miroslava on Unsplash

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In April, 2017, the streaming network HULU launched a series based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood.

I had not heard of the series A Handmaid’s Tale, but a couple of my students in the ‘Nutrition for Endocrine and Reproductive Health’ class commented that the topics we were covering in this class were being played out on this ‘fictional’ series.

For those of you who have not seen A Handmaid’s Tale, it is a futuristic show about a fertility crisis around the world.

So, what’s really happening with fertility rates in the US and throughout the world?

Well, to sum it up….sperm rates are tanking….and rather rapidly….in some parts of the world. (The USA is included in the countries with rapidly declining sperm rates.)

There has been a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011, based on a report, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update.  These included 42,935 male participants who provided semen samples between 1973 and 2011.

In part, we are eating our way to extinction and no one seems to be sounding the alarm.

At our current trajectory, we will begin feeling the decline of population within the next generation.

There are certainly some who believe we need to strongly curtail our human population to protect precious resources. And, while that may have some merit, each of us should have the ability to make the decision on whether or not we want to start a family.  However, most people have no idea that sperm rates are plummeting. And more so, have no idea what to do about it.

There are many suspected reasons for these declines:

  • Prenatal chemical exposure

  • Pesticide, herbicide exposure

  • Phthalate and paraben exposure

  • Environmental toxin exposure

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • And more….

If there is good news, it’s that virtually all of these risk factors are modifiable….meaning you have the power to minimize these risks.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Minimize or eliminate exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Theses are known ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS. (This means they wreak havoc on proper hormone signaling.)

Your pro-active action step:  Eat Organic vegetables and fruits.
  1. Know what’s in your body-care products (soap, shampoo, body spray, make up, etc).  Ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate (aka SLS) are also ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS and are especially problematic because they are absorbed through the skin. Additionally, phthalates are also found in plastic products (like the packaging for soaps, shampoos, make up, etc). Phthalates have been linked to reproductive disruption in both men and women. Your pro-active step: Choose body care products free of parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).                            

  2. Minimize or eliminate your exposure to canned foods, plastic storage containers, plastic wrap, cash register receipts and anything else with bisphenol-A (BPA). This stuff is bad news.              The attendants of a 2016 meeting called the "Triennial Reproduction Symposium" used the results of animal and human studies to note that even low levels of BPA can permanently damage human reproductive organs. Studies show that BPA acts by causing an increase in circulating estrogen. In men, this effect decreases testosterone levels and sperm count.         Your pro-active step:  Swap out your plastic storage containers with glassware. Purchase un-lined canned foods. (The can will tell you if it’s un-lined)  Pass on taking your cash register receipt.

In addition to avoiding chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, you can also add foods to your diet that will optimize hormone production.

Foods that support optimal sperm production include:
  • Oysters (high in zinc – a crucial nutrient for sperm production)

  • Eggs (high in Vitamin E – helps create strong sperm)

  • Spinach (great source of folic acid – deficiency of folate causes sperm deformities)

  • Garlic (contains allicin – which helps improve sperm production and semen volume)

  • Carrots (high in Vitamin A – important for sperm production and motility)

  • Asparagus (high in Vitamin C – key for increasing sperm volume)

I’m offering  three recipes to accompany this blog that are perfect for winter days…making sure to include the foods that will support optimal sperm production.  Enjoy!
 

Grain-free, Gluten-free Oyster Stuffing  

(Thank you, Haley, at Health Starts in the Kitchen, for this yummy recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 8x8 Square Grain Free Cornbread -cubed (recipe for this is listed below)

  • ¼ cup butter (pasture raised, grass fed)

  • 1 large onion chopped

  • 3 stalks celery chopped

  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced

  • 8 ounces mushroom chopped

  • 2 8-ounce containers of standard Oysters chopped

  • 1+ teaspoon organic dried sage

  • 2 teaspoons organic dried parsley

  • 2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 4 large eggs (organic, pasture raised)

  • ¾ cup milk

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 8x8 or similar sized casserole dish.

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook vegetables in butter until soft. Add oysters and liquid, cook until oysters curl. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

  • Combine eggs, milk and seasonings.

  • In a large bowl, lightly toss bread cubes with cooled vegetables. Add liquids and fold to combine. Be careful not to over mix and/or break apart the bread cubes too much.

  • Transfer to your prepared casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, uncovered or until cooked through and brown on top.

 

Grain-free, Gluten-free Cornbread Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup almond flour

  • 2/3 cup arrowroot starch

  • 2/3 cup organic tapioca starch

  • 3 large eggs (organic, pasture raised)

  • ¼ cup butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon  organic raw apple cider vinegar (with mother)

  • 1/4teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 8x8 square baking pan

  • Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend until smooth. Spread evenly into your prepared pan.

  • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before eating.  

Sauteed Asparagus and Spinach

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and cut into 2 inch pieces

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 3 cups packed spinach

  • ⅛ tsp marjoram

  • ⅛ tsp thyme

  • ¼ of a lemon, juiced

  • Salt

  • Pepper

Instructions

  • In a medium skilled over medium heat, add olive oil.

  • Add asparagus and top with a little salt. Mix well to evenly coat asparagus with oil.

  • Add water, spinach, and remaining ingredients, mix well.

  • Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes.

  • Remove lid, mix and re-cover.

  • Cook the sautéed asparagus with spinach another 3-5 minutes, or until asparagus is to your liking (firm or soft).

  • Once done, remove from heat, plate and serve the sautéed asparagus with spinach hot.

If you, or a loved one, is struggling with fertility issues, look around your house and your fridge to determine where endocrine disruptors might be lurking. Swap them out for safer alternatives. And, if you want or need more guidance, any of our alumni (certified nutrition therapy practitioner or master nutrition therapist) would be honored to guide you on your road to better health.

Dr Rebecca Spacke, Certifications in Functional Endocrinology (University of Bridgeport), Lifestyle Medicine (Harvard Medical School), and Course Instructor at Nutrition Therapy Institute    

 
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NTI blogs by Ntischool - 2M ago

 
In the midst of winter, immune-boosting foods can really make a difference in the strength of our overall defense system. Bolstering our immunity is critical as we take steps toward optimal wellness. Though it’s important to have a strong immune system any time of the year, it is especially so when the weather is cold and defenses are under siege. A good vegetable broth like this one is a nutritional powerhouse; each ingredient offers benefits.

Why we love this recipe:

  • We love fenugreek for its nutty, slightly bitter flavor. Fenugreek has been shown to improve the absorption of curcumin, turmeric’s primary active component by 15.8 times. Independently, curcumin is not readily bioavailable, and researchers are constantly working to improve its intestinal absorption by combining curcumin with other agents (black pepper and turmeric is another winning combination).

  • Extra virgin olive oil is rich in oleocanthal, a potent anti-inflammatory polyphenol that stimulates the body’s innate repair process. A stream of strong and fruity olive oil does wonders to finish off a simple, straightforward soup like this.

  • Quercetin exists aplenty in red onions and broccoli. It scavenges for free radicals and naturally stabilizes mast cell activity, which can protect the immune system from over-activating.

  • In one study, eating shiitake mushrooms proved to increase sIgA (indicating improved intestinal immunity) and decrease levels of CRP (an inflammatory marker produced by the liver that can indicate infection, atherosclerosis, or autoimmunity.) The implication is that shiitake mushrooms work to calm inflammation and thus positively affect inflammatory blood markers.

  • The recipe is endlessly adaptable. For a low-histamine version of this broth, omit the fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, and mushrooms. Substitute baby bok choy for mushrooms. People who are highly sensitive to histamine may react to onions; omit them if this is you. Eat broth within 1 day (make a smaller batch if necessary). Leftover foods form histamine the longer they sit.   

Immunity Broth

Ingredients
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 red onion
2 T extra virgin olive oil + more for finishing
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
½ lb shiitake mushrooms
5 cups water or more as needed  
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground turmeric or 1 T fresh grated turmeric
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped lacinato kale (from about 3-4 leaves)
Sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Mince all of the garlic, and let it rest for 10 minutes or more. We rest garlic before cooking it so that it has time to form the antifungal, antibacterial compound called allicin.  

  2. Toast the fenugreek seeds in a dry skillet over low heat. This takes about 2 minutes. Then use a coffee grinder to blend seeds to a powder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, buy fenugreek powder (fenugreek powder is a little harder to find than whole fenugreek seeds). See our notes below for reasons to seek out fenugreek rather than skip it altogether! If you can’t find it, use 1 tsp black pepper instead to enhance the absorption of curcumin in turmeric.

  3. While fenugreek seeds are toasting, peel and chop the onion.

  4. Add 2 T olive oil to a soup pot.

  5. Add chopped onions to the soup pot and sauté over low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent. This takes about 5 minutes.

  6. As onions are cooking, slice carrots and celery.

  7. Prep the mushrooms: Give them a good rinse, then slice off and discard the bottom tips of the stems. Separate the caps from the stems and slice both. The stems are full of nutrition, too.

  8. Add the sliced carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the onions.

  9. Add the water, grated ginger, turmeric, and ground fenugreek to the vegetables.

  10. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add more water as needed.

  11. Meanwhile, chop broccoli florets into very small pieces and slice the kale leaves.

  12. After about 40 minutes, vegetables should be very soft. Add the broccoli and kale and cook for another minute or two.

  13. Season with sea salt.

  14. Drizzle with olive oil just before eating. Broth will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Jacqui Gabel is from Minneapolis and moved to Denver two years ago to attend NTI’s Natural Food Chef Program. Like many, she fell in love with Colorado and chose to stay. She’s currently working on completing her MNT certification and working as a private chef. Find her online at realfooddesire.com.

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How often do you feel a rumbling in your stomach or get an urge to raid the fridge before bed? It used to be common for nutritionists to recommend a bowl of cottage cheese and a slice of toast to promote better sleep. But now, many experts advise against eating snacks late at night. Some even recommend prolonging the time between dinner and breakfast to as long as 16 hours.

To complicate matters, many people make their unhealthiest food choices late at night—pulling out the tub of ice cream or the bag of chips after the kids are tucked in. Others eat at night because of boredom or habit rather than real hunger.

The decision of whether or not to return to the kitchen after hours should not be taken lightly. Our actions become our habits, and our habits become our health. In this article, we look at whether eating before bed is good or bad, how many hours we need to fast each night, and what happens inside our bodies during the overnight fast.

Is Eating Before Bed Good or Bad?

The journal Nutrients published a complete review of the science on nighttime eating in 2015. The biggest takeaway from this article was that nighttime eating is good for some people and bad for others.

Nighttime eating was found to be a good thing for people who were particularly active or exercised in the evening. Also, bedtime snacks that were nutritious and small (about 150 calories) were found to support muscle protein synthesis overnight. The article also mentioned that people with type I diabetes or other health conditions might require a bedtime snack.  

On the other hand, eating before bed might have harmful effects in people who are sedentary, overweight, or obese. In these people, a late-night snack might worsen insulin resistance, glucose regulation, or other aspects of metabolism.

How Many Hours Do I Need to Fast Overnight?

Since the time that the article was published in Nutrients, more research has emerged on the benefits of an extended overnight fast. In August of 2016, JAMA Oncology published a study of overnight fasting in women with early-stage breast cancer.

After following 2413 women for more than seven years, researchers found that a 13-hour overnight fast was the magic number. Women who fasted less than 13 hours overnight had a 36% higher risk of breast cancer recurrence than women who fasted 13 hours or more each night.

Because of the results of this study, many nutritionists recommend that people aim for a minimum of 13 hours between the time they eat at night and the time they eat the next morning.

What Happens During the Overnight Fast?

Fasting no doubt influences cellular and metabolic function. Animal studies have taught us most of what we know about the body’s response to fasting, but human studies are beginning to confirm these mechanisms. Studies suggest that fasting supports healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, body fat, lipid levels, and inflammation. Some go a step further to say that it also supports healthy aging.

The overnight fast also gives the digestive system a rest. It allows the migrating motor complex (MMC) to cleanse the bowels. This period of rest from eating is helpful for everyone, but especially for those who need additional digestive support.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Fasting has been practiced in a variety of ways for thousands of years. Recent studies suggest that you might attain some of the benefits of fasting by the simple act of extending the overnight fast to 13 hours or longer. This can easily be achieved by finishing dinner by 6 pm and eating breakfast after 7 am.  

Most people don’t need to eat a snack before bed, but every person is unique. The answer to whether or not you should eat a bedtime snack depends on your metabolism and lifestyle. Listen to your body and its needs. And if you want a bite to eat before bed, keep it light and keep it healthy.

Sarah Cook, ND

Instructor, Nutrition Therapy Institute

 

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What I love about soup is that you can make it out of just about anything you’ve already got on hand. Leftover roasted vegetables can be pureed with broth or water. A can of fire-roasted tomatoes can be blended with coconut milk. Soup is soothing, eternally adjustable, and it can be cooked off the cuff in 15 minutes (or slowly over the course of a few days, if you want to have bone broth). If you’re looking for inspiration, pick a place you’ve always wanted to travel to, and research traditional soup recipes from that region. Make a big pot to last you through the week, and try some of these suggestions for brightening up your bowl.  

#1: Add Fresh Herbs

I try to make it a rule to always have at least one variety of fresh herbs on hand. Herbs add a bright pop of flavor, color, and nutrition whenever they are added. Have you ever bought a bunch of parsley for a single recipe, used a teaspoon, and then thrown away the rest after it wilted in the back of your produce drawer? Me, too, until I started adding fresh herbs to my dishes. A plate or a bowl of food looks prettier and tastier after it’s been garnished with parsley, chives, cilantro, basil, mint, or lemon thyme. And here’s a tip for keeping your herbs fresher, longer: snip the ends of the stems like you would a bouquet of flowers. Place the stems in a jar of water, then wrap the leaves with a plastic bag and tie the bag loosely with a rubber band around the jar. Store the jar of herbs in the fridge, and change out the water every day.

#2: Add a Drizzle of Really Good Olive Oil

My roommate is from Greece, and she’s a fantastic cook. Her food is direct, unfussy and simple. She makes the most incredible lentil soup with lentils, garlic, water and tomatoes, and she serves it with a bottle of strong extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over the top. Her soup doesn’t need the extra oomph, but now that I know how she and her siblings grew up eating it, with a big bottle of olive oil always at the table, I don’t want it any other way either.

#3: Add a Touch of Acid

A squeeze of lemon, lime, orange or drip of vinegar will easily amp up the flavor of a bland bowl of soup. I add lemon juice to everything – even scrambled eggs. Champagne, apple cider, balsamic and red wine vinegar are some of my favorites, but there are endless varieties of vinegars at specialty stores. A bit of fermented juice from your jar of kimchi or sauerkraut is also a great addition. Watch labels of flavored vinegars for added sugars.  

#4 Add Roasted Kale Shreds

The idea is that you roast thin ribbons of kale with olive oil and salt until they get crispy, like chips. Kale chips. Then you top your bowl of soup with a handful of them. Delicious. Here’s how: preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Wash 5 leaves of lacinato kale and spin-dry to get rid of as much water as possible. Then slice into ribbons about 1/4-inch wide. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 25 minutes until kale shreds are crispy.

#5 Add Toasted Nuts or Seeds….or Popcorn!

A little bit of crunch is especially nice on top of a silky-smooth soup. You can roast a bigger batch at once so that you have a supply on-hand for adding to re-heated soups or quick salads. Toasted seeds (like sunflower or pumpkin) and nuts (try hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamias, or pecans) are great in yogurt, too. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread whole nuts or seeds on a rimmed baking sheet (keep each variety of nut or seed on separate trays – they likely have different roasting times) and roast for 5-10 minutes. Nuts burn easily, so watch them closely. Test them after 5 minutes by taste and smell. And take them out about a minute before you think they’re done, as they’ll continue to cook once removed from the oven. Whole nuts can be chopped just before serving. Seeds can be kept whole. Popcorn adds a fun crunch, too. Kids love it.

Jacqui Gabel is from Minneapolis and moved to Denver two years ago to attend NTI’s Natural Food Chef Program. Like many, she fell in love with Colorado and chose to stay. She’s currently working on completing her MNT certification and working as a private chef. Find her online at realfooddesire.com.

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