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Have you heard of The Carnivore Diet? If you haven’t, you will. It’s the new kid on the dietary block and it’s just like it sounds: an all-meat diet. That’s right, no vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, legumes, starches, nuts, or seeds. It’s often referred to as the Zero Carb diet which means no plant foods. It’s all protein and fat from animal sources.

Sounds kind of crazy, right? How could eating ALL meat and no vegetables be good for you? Why would anyone even want to do that? 

The Carnivore Diet has been gaining traction over the last few years. Followers are reporting improvement in some or all of the following areas: weight loss, digestion, cardiovascular health, curing or reversing disease, inflammation, mood, mental clarity, testosterone levels, and energy levels. Sounds amazing, right? But how could anyone get results like that without plant foods?

Believe it or not, some people cannot tolerate plant foods. Vegetables, fruits and grains are packaged with anti-nutrients like lectins and phytic acid that can block your body from absorbing vitamins and minerals and also be very hard to digest. This is by design. If we think of the plant and animal kingdom, we obviously know that animals have a built in defense system like teeth and claws and stingers and venom. But plants have their own defense system too, with these compounds that can wreak havoc on the body. 

People with compromised digestive systems, existing health issues, and autoimmune conditions are often more sensitive to these plant compounds. Also potentially problematic for people is the fiber found in plant foods. By removing the fiber and anti-nutrients, some people are finding relief for the first time in years. But is it safe and effective in the long-term?

     

Caitlin Weeks, known as GrassFed Girl on Instagram, is a popular Paleo and Keto influencer who has reported huge improvements by eating a Carnivore Diet, including relief for her Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid condition. What does a typical day of eating look like for her?

Meal 1: ground beef patties with butter

Meal 2: ribeye or NY strip 

She may also add in eggs, pork rinds or no-sugar jerky for a snack, plus other animal-based foods like salmon, pork or full fat dairy to get a little variety. But, mostly, it’s red meat. 

     

Now I am all for a juicy hamburger or delicious ribeye. I mean, I AM married to a cattle rancher who raises grass-fed beef. But every day, day in and day out? 

To me, The Carnivore Diet is another example of aggrandizing extreme macronutrient manipulation. If we look back over the last 40 years, we see the trend of singling out a major macronutrient as the “savior” for all of our health problems. 

Remember when carbs were king back in the food pyramid days? The government told us to eat loads of pasta, bread and cereal but to stay away from fat. That’s exactly why we have more diabetes and obesity than ever. Thanks, government.

Then we saw protein become the star of the show when the Atkins diet was all the hype. 

More recently, fat has been the ultimate comeback kid, enjoying an incredible renaissance with the popularity of the ketogenic diet.

And, now, we have The Carnivore Diet - all meat (protein and fat).

The truth is, sometimes these extreme diets can be helpful and necessary as a THERAPEUTIC SOLUTION for people experiencing certain conditions. As a Nutritional Therapist, this is my wheelhouse, this is exactly what I do, assessing people’s nutritional needs to best support their body. But, y’all, these extreme diets aren’t a blanket solution for the masses. You don’t want to be swinging from one macronutrient extreme to the other because it can really mess you up. 

 

What most people need is a consistent balance of the macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs). God gave us plant foods (Genesis 1:29) AND animal foods (Genesis 9:3).

He created our bodies and the perfect food FOR our bodies. Each macronutrient offers something important to our health and we do best with a variety of foods.

If people would quit wasting time chasing the next big diet and settle into a consistent lifestyle of Real Food, the way God made it, better health would fall into place naturally. But jumping from one new plan to the other is straight-up yo-yo dieting and that will always come back to bite you in the butt in the long-term. 

Here’s my recommendation as your Christian Nutritionist:

  1. Make Real Food your diet. It doesn’t have to be perfect (I love me some crackers, cookies and wine!) but it does need to be consistent. It’s not always the fastest solution, but it’s the most effective and the most sustainable. If you need help, guidance and accountability in doing this, join us in the next round of Feast 2 Fast. Let me teach you, pray for you and set you up with an awesome way of life.

  2. If you’ve been consistent in a Real Foods diet but are still experiencing health or weight problems, it’s time to dig deeper. Let’s see what’s going on and where your body may need extra support. You can do that by scheduling a 1:1 consultation with me here. If you need a more extreme therapeutic plan or food sensitivity testing, I’ll tell ya. 


I hope you found this post helpful. It is always my goal to shoot you straight and remind you to keep God as your compass, including in the way that you eat. 

xoxo,Chelsea



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Hi everyone! Chelsea invited me to write this guest post after my appearance on Episode 18 of the Christian Health Club podcast: Why Hidden Mold Is Wrecking Your Health. I know mold can seem like a lot of doom and gloom, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s empower ourselves with .knowledge so we can treat problems and prevent them well.

One caveat- the tips I am about to share will NOT be effective in a space that is already moldy. Your home must get a “clean bill of health” from a mold inspector who does testing OR undergo a full remediation protocol as outlined by them. However, these tips are worth their weight in gold. Preventing a mold problem is much, much easier than treating one. 

Without further ado, these are the strategies that I use as mold prevention in my home! 

1.  Use HomeBiotic by Dave Asprey. This is a probiotic spray that helps keep the small amount of mold spores that naturally settle on surfaces in check. I spray this in my car, especially the air vents, and on fabric/porous surfaces throughout my home. 

2. Air purifier- I have an Austin Air (HEPA filter) but after researching the topic more, I think that there are 2 options that work better as they destroy the particles rather than just filtering them out. With a HEPA filter, the potential that you can cross contaminate a clean space with trapped mold spores and mycotoxins is higher. I’ve heard good things about both these brands but haven’t tried either. 

3. Use MERV-11 (commercial grade) air filters instead of other filters to trap particles and change them out whenever visibly dirty (more often than recommended- usually every 2 months in my house). 

4. Use a dehumidifier. You want to try to keep house humidity at 45% or below- which can be a real challenge in the summer. I use a Haier brand dehumidifier that I purchased at Lowe’s several years ago- works like a charm.

5. Keep a cheap plastic bin under the pipes of your sink. Then if you see water, you can take action and fix the leak before it damages. You won’t get water on all your stuff and potentially damage the floor. Win-win!

6. Dust surfaces frequently with a grippy option, such as a Swiffer cloth. Mold spores settle into dust more easily so removing dust as much as possible is very important.

7. Put the exhaust fan on in your bathroom before you use the shower or bathtub and keep it on for at least 1 hour post. I usually leave mine on for several hours if not overnight.

They now sell exhaust fans that are automated and turn off when the humidity in the bathroom drops to an acceptable level. I would go this route if you are building a house or doing a bathroom remodel!

8. Treat any water leak within 24 hours of initiation- call a plumber ASAP and get a professional drying machine to dry it out. Personally, I would also call a mold inspector to take a look and ensure you’re doing everything you can to prevent a mold problem. After 24 hours + mold begins to grow and then it could require remediation.

9. See something, say something- if you find an issue (water stain on the ceiling, cracked baseboard, etc.), it’s better to treat it now than later. The problem will not resolve itself if you ignore it. 

10. Front-loading washers are notorious for mold growth on the rubber gasket inside the washer.

  • If you have an option (i.e. building a house or replacing), get a top-loading washer.

  • If you already have a front loader and it has mildew in it, go ahead and get the inner ring replaced. Because this can be contaminating all your clothes. 

    • Then…

      • Keep the door open because mold actually grows best when the washer is airtight (door is closed)

      • Use an antimicrobial cleaner (I use EC3) to clean out the inner gasket after each load of laundry. This helps prevent soap scum and mildew buildup. I use a paper towel for this and gloves. 

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Craving Chinese food but wary of chemical additives and MSG? This is the recipe for you! This fresh, flavorful take on Orange Beef uses real, fresh ingredients to pack a flavor punch.

 INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup Water

  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)

  • 1 lb. Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin (sliced into thin strips)

  • 1 Navel Orange (juiced)

  • 2 tbsps Tamari OR Coconut Aminos (for soy-free)

  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

  • 1 Sweet Onion (diced)

  • 2 Garlic (cloves, minced)

  • 3 cups Snap Peas

  • 4 cups Broccoli (cut into florets)

  • 1 tbsp Ginger (grated)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Get your rice started by combining the rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

  2. Meanwhile, heat half of your olive oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Cook beef strips to desired doneness. Remove from heat and wrap in foil to keep warm.

  3. Combine orange juice, tamari OR coconut aminos, sesame oil and red pepper flakes together in a bowl. Add ¼ cup water and mix well.

  4. Pour juice out of wok and place back over medium heat with remaining olive oil. Add diced sweet onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent.

  5. Add in orange juice sauce, broccoli, and snap peas. Saute for another 8 to 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

  6. Add cooked beef back into wok. Add in grated ginger with 1 tbsp warm water. Saute for 1 minute and remove from heat.

  7. Serve stir fry over a bed of white rice (or cauliflower rice). Enjoy!

XOXO,Chelsea

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I’m always on the hunt for quick and easy breakfast ideas that my family will love! Enjoy this delicious recipe for Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies- sharing with your kids is optional 😉 Remember to pair with bacon or sausage for protein to keep you (and your kids!) full and focused throughout your day.

 INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the oats, mashed banana, peanut butter, and sea salt and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips and mix again until well combined.

  3. Using wet hands, roll the dough into even balls and flatten slightly with your hands. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Remove cookies and let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Let me know how you liked this recipe in a comment below!

XOXO,Chelsea
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If I hear one more commercial that says canola oil is heart-healthy, I’m gonna blow my lid. “Vegetable” oils like canola oil, corn, soybean, and cottonseed may sound like healthier options, but they’re not. If you only take one piece of my advice, make it this: Do not consume these inflammatory oils. Let me tell you why and which oils are the best choices to use instead!

OILS TO AVOID, NO MATTER WHAT

Avoid canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, grapeseed, and other “vegetable” oils like the plague.

These oils should never be used for multiple reasons. The first is the unnatural processing techniques used to extract them. If you think about it, corn and soybeans do not have high levels of oil/fat in them naturally. Just imagine how much effort it would take you to get some oil from a corncob or edamame. If that sounds crazy, it’s because it is! Manufacturers have to use chemicals and high heat to force oil out. This creates a product that is not good for you.

The second is that these oils have extremely unstable properties. You don’t need added instability in any area of your life, including food! These oils are very high in Omega-6, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are the most vulnerable to damage because of their multiple (2+) carbon-carbon bonds. This instability makes them easily damaged when exposed to light and heat which is exactly what they do when they sit in a clear, plastic bottle on the grocery store shelf or hit a hot pan. Those unstable molecules become oxidized which leads to inflammation in your body when you eat them. The worst thing you can do is to deep fry something in vegetable oil.

In addition, a 2017 study linked canola oil consumption to memory deterioration, degenerative learning ability, and weight gain (symptoms of memory deterioration and degenerative learning ability are associated with Alzheimer’s disease).

Eating these rancid oils is no bueno for your health. The fatty acids you eat literally contribute to the makeup of your cell membranes, which are super important for combating inflammation and making everything work properly.

❌ As I like to say… seed oils, we are never, ever, ever getting back together! ❌



OILS for dressings & salads

Other polyunsaturated fats that are processed naturally and not with tons of chemicals are OK to eat in moderation and if not heated. You’ll want to be aware of your sources on these and make sure you purchase them in dark-colored, glass bottles (glass preferable, but plastic is ok if you can’t find it). Keep these oils in a cool, dry place and never heat them!

*Of course, you can use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for dressings & salads as well, but it’s more stable than these other oils so not included here.

Some examples include…

    oils to cook withSaturated Fats

Saturated fats have been considered for years to be the most stable type of fat to cook with. They are stable up to very high levels of heat because they lack carbon-carbon double bonds.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are more stable than polyunsaturated, but not as stable as saturated fats. They have 1 carbon-carbon double bond. They can withstand low-medium high heat.

When you replace your damaged, processed oils for healthy fats, you’ll enjoy benefits including reduced inflammation, better brain health, and glowing skin. You are what you eat, especially when it comes to your choices of fats.

I hope this guide was helpful for you!! If you learned something new, I’d love to hear about it in a comment.

xoxo,Chelsea



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The Christian Nutritionist Blog by Chelsea Blackbird - 2M ago
   

This recipe is courtesy of my friend and fellow nutritional therapist, Leslie Bumpas of Redeeming Wellness. She loves using this detox lemonade every morning to giver her liver a healthy jumpstart. If you want to learn more from Leslie, check out her website here or our recent podcast episode, Brain Juice for Women, here.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 quart pure, filtered water (not distilled)

  • 1 organic lemon, washed and quartered

  • 4 TBSP organic extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 TBSP Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1-4 squirts of vanilla stevia , to taste (liquid, not powdered)

 instructions
  1. Using a VitaMix or Nutri-Bullet type of blender, add H20, quartered lemon, and EVOO.

  2. Blend on high until completely emulsified.

  3. Pour through strainer into a glass or steel pitcher.

  4. Dispose of the pulp.

  5. Now add the ACV and the stevia to taste. It should be tart, not overly sweet.

  6. Drink 3-4 oz. each morning upon rising, before breakfast or coffee.


You may also add a TBSP of MCT oil or liquid minerals at the end.

I am so excited for you to try out this detox drink. Let me know if you do in a comment below!

XOXO, Chelsea
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The summer season is upon on us and it’s time for some sunshine!

That means starting the family back on the astaxanthin and getting my sunscreen ready for trips to the river and beach this summer.

I love getting real sunshine on my skin: I love the healthy glow and it gives me happy endorphins. Our body does need some healthy doses of sun: it activates Vitamin D and helps set our circadian rhythms for better sleep and stress management. But too much can be aging on the inside and outside of the body, plus it increases the risk of skin cancer.

I battle this balance often but here’s what I’ve found to be most helpful for getting my glow on and avoiding sunburns.

NUTRITION BASICS

The first thing to remember is that the worse you eat, the easier you will burn. Processed and fast foods create inflammation inside  the body. When you have that inner fire meeting the big ball of outer fire - you guessed it - your skin will be on fiyah! So eating Real Food the Way God Made It is your first layer of protection from the inside out. Make sure to seek those protective healthy fats like real butter, olive oil and coconut oil. This will keep those cell membranes strong plus keep your skin soft and supple.

Also, studies have shown that polyphenols may be used for the prevention of sunburns because they help minimize the damaging effects of UVA and UVB radiation on the skin. Polyphenols are antioxidant molecules found in many foods such as green tea, chocolate, grape seeds, and wine that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So eat your chocolate and drink your wine!

Think about it, God’s people didn’t have supplements and sunscreen and they were constantly exposed to the hot sun. Yes, they covered up a lot, and that’s the best way to protect your skin, but they also didn’t have Big Macs and Hot Pockets constantly creating inflammation in their bodies making them more susceptible to sunburn. I’m sure they got their fair share of exposure and handled it much better than we do today. They filled their bodies with Real Food so they had protection from the inside out.


Now we have modern hacks that can also help us tolerate more sun exposure: supplements and sunscreen. This is my favorite combo and it served my family well when we took a mid-winter getaway trip to Belize. Our backsides hadn’t seen sunlight in many many months and considering how much we were in the sun, we fared pretty well.

  my Fave summer supplement: ASTAXANTHIN

The first thing I did was start giving my family astaxanthin about a month before the trip.

What’s interesting is that my daughter  - who did not take this because she can’t yet swallow capsules  - seemed to pinken up faster than the boys did. What I should have done is give her liquid Cod Liver Oil. That’s what I’ll do this time around.

Once we were in Belize, I did superspray the kids with sunscreen. I’m not usually too quick on the draw when it comes to slathering my kids down. Again, they need healthy sun exposure too and so sometimes I don’t even put sunscreen on them when we’re having a sun day.

But I knew this was going to be intense so I wanted the strong stuff - the physical blocker! If you’re used to using chemical sunscreens, I highly recommend you change.

 the skinny on SUNSCREEn: chemical vs. physical

There are two different ways that sunscreens can block the effect of the sun on your skin:  chemically or physically.

The most common sunscreens are the chemical kind. Flip over the back of your Coppertone or Aveeno sunscreen and you’ll likely a few of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These are chemical sunscreen agents which can act as endocrine disruptors (this means they mess with your metabolism and hormones!) and can even CONTRIBUTE to skin cancer due to their toxic ingredients. Plus, it’s been shown that chemical sunscreens can actually contribute to dark spots! (say what?). As someone who is prone to melasma, I don’t want any part of that.

In addition, the use of Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) in many conventional sunscreen brands may actually fuel the growth of cancerous cells through the formation of free radicals.

You do not want these chemical agents baking into your skin.

The most problematic is a sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that these chemical sunscreen ingredients be avoided at all costs, especially for pregnant women and children. The state of Hawaii has actually banned this particular chemical because it’s so bad for ocean wildlife! It’s not good for you either.

To learn more about the EWG’s research on the topic, click here.

I like mineral-based sunscreens that have the all-powerful ingredient of zinc. This is a physical blocking agent that’s really effective - and safe - at protecting from sunburn. I know a lot of people avoid zinc because it often goes on  white and chalky but I use Beautycounter and it doesn’t do that. Both the face stick and the spray rub in clear  - which is good because my kids won’t wear it otherwise. There are other brands I like - like Badger - but it goes on so white and my kids are like No way, Mom!!!!

The other awesome thing is that the Beautycounter spray bottle is NOT an aerosol can. It’s air-powered so it’s not harmful to the environment. It blocks UVA, UVB, and Blue Light.  So many wins here: no chemicals, no white-chalky mess, better for God’s Creation! I order several bottles at a time plus the face sticks. In fact, I just placed an order so that my kids are set for camp. Want to see? Click here.

I also love that Beautycounter sunscreen is made with California poppy extract and other anti-aging ingredients. Plus zinc is actually one of the best minerals for your skin. People have reported seeing their skin improve over the summer from the regular use of the face stick! Super cool.

Again, I recommend ordering several at a time to help save with shipping (unless you’re a Band of Beauty member, then shipping is free).

Ok, so to wrap up: Eat Real Food. Get your astaxanthin. Order your sunscreen.

You’ll be all set! Questions? Comments? Please tell me what you’ve found helpful for protecting your skin.


XOXO,

Chelsea
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The Christian Nutritionist Blog by Chelsea Blackbird - 2M ago

Summertime is fast approaching, and Memorial Day is this upcoming weekend, so let’s talk sunscreen!

As a Nutritional Therapist, I know that getting natural sunlight is so important for overall health. It helps to activate vitamin D (a critical nutrient for our immune system health!), improves our mood, and is a hormetic (positive) stressor in the right doses. The vast majority of the year, sunscreen may not be necessary because we get so little sun exposure and what we do get is critical to our health. But when summer comes around, we run the risk of getting a little too much sun.

That’s where sunscreen comes in. I look for sunscreens that are mineral-based, are free of chemical sunscreen agents, go on clear, and are air-propelled (NOT aerosol). Also, contrary to popular belief, SPFs over 50 don’t mean much- so there’s no need to opt for that SPF 100+ sunscreen.

Now, it’s time to get savvy with our sunscreen!

  1. CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN

There are two different ways that sunscreens can block the effect of the sun on your skin: chemically or physically. Chemical sunscreens are popular because they go on clear and are widely available. But that convenience comes at a price.

Flip over the back of your Coppertone or Aveeno sunscreen and you’ll likely a few of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These are chemical sunscreen agents which can act as endocrine disruptors (this means they mess with your metabolism and thyroid health!) and can even CONTRIBUTE to skin cancer due to their toxic ingredients. If that doesn’t motivate you, chemical sunscreens can actually contribute to dark spots! (say what?).

The most problematic is a sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that these chemical sunscreen ingredients be avoided at all costs, especially for pregnant women and children. To learn more about the EWG’s research on the topic, click here.

In addition, the use of Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) in many conventional sunscreen brands may actually fuel the growth of cancerous cells through the formation of free radicals.

2. Practicing safe sun exposure

The most important thing to do to reduce sunburn and skin damage is to practice safe sun exposure. Wear a cover-up when you can and avoid being out when the sun is at full strength (around 12-3 PM).

In addition, work your way up with sun exposure and stop when your skin turns the slightest shade of pink. If you haven’t been outside in months, start with 5 minutes of exposed skin, then 10 minutes the following day, then 15. If you overdo it, you risk skin damage. Your body will thank you for the slow-and-steady approach!

3. Eat Your Sunscreen

Here are some nutrition and supplement tweaks you can use to support your body’s response to the sun’s rays.

4. MY FAVE SUNSCREEN

Sometimes, you just need sunscreen, especially if you’re fair-skinned or are prone to burns.

The past two years, I’ve purchased this zinc spray from Beautycounter for my boys to take to camp. Two years ago, I sent the lotion which they “conveniently” lost and ended up using a friend’s Coppertone spray. So much for my goal to keep the chemicals off! Kids dig the spray better and I can’t blame them, I do too. The Beautycounter zinc mist blocks UVA, UVB, Blue Light and is also air-powered (not aerosol) because we love the Earth. You don’t want aerosol sunscreen because it damages the environment, while the Beautycounter spray sunscreen is air-propelled to protect God’s creation!

I also send the Beautycounter face sticks with my boys which they like because they’re super easy to swipe on. And even though the sunscreen is made with non-nano zinc oxide, the zinc particles are small enough to go on clear! Check out the mist here and the face sticks here.

There are other mineral-based sunscreens out there as well, but the Beautycounter is by far my favorite for ease of use and the fact that it doesn’t leave a white cast. It also contains California poppy extract and other anti-aging ingredients.

Do you use safer sunscreen? I want to hear about your picks below!

XOXO,Chelsea
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