Call Today!

940-224-9833

come follow me:

Holistically Fed BLOG

Want to Sleep Better?

IMG_2351

While modern technology has it’s benefits, frequent and constant exposure to artificial light, specifically blue light at night time, comes with a cost, one being the quality of our sleep. We are exposed to artificial light from our cell phones, iPads, computers/laptops, tv’s, kindles and even the overhead lights in our home.

If you have trouble falling asleep, or wake up feeling tired and lethargic even after getting a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep, this may be your problem.

You see, our bodies were not designed to be exposed to as much light as they are these days, specifically at nighttime.

Before the invention of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of light with the exception of candles during the night hours. Other than that, people spent their evenings in relative darkness. Our circadian rhythm (our sleep and wake cycle/our biological clock), was naturally set by the rising and the setting of the sun. Nowadays our body has a hard time separating the evening from the day as our evening’s are illuminated.

It’s no wonder our body’s biological clock’s are thrown off.

Too much light at nighttime makes it much harder to go to sleep. causing us to toss and turn all night and ultimately wake up not feeling very rested despite our best efforts to get a good night’s sleep. Frustrating right?

So, why exactly does this happen?

There are tons of studies that now show that exposure to light at nighttime, specifically blue light, lowers the bodies natural production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us sleepy. Compound this information with other studies that show that exposure to bright light from the sun during the day boosts melatonin levels at night, and you can see why we have a problem here.

Our modern lifestyles are typically spent indoor a majority of the day under fluorescent lighting that is not bright enough to produce the same melatonin boosting effects as the sun, and then we spend our evenings staring at screens that emit damaging blue light into the wee hours of the night.

So, how do we fix this problem without just living by candle light and quitting our day jobs to be/work out in the sunshine all day?

Here are a few simple things that you can do:

  • Avoid screen time at least 2-3 hours before bed. Ideally, you would avoid it as early as when the sun goes down.

If avoiding screens before bedtime is not realistic for you, I would HIGHLY recommend investing in some good quality blue light blocking glasses like the THESE!

Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses improve the quality of your sleep by filtering out harmful artificial blue light from electronic devices that shuts down your body’s natural melatonin production and disrupts your sleep. Swannies also prevent eye damage from excessive screen use as well as symptoms of digital eye strain such as sore eyes, headaches and fatigue.

I personally have been using Swannie’s blue light blocking glasses consistently for awhile now and have noticed a definite improvement in the quality of my sleep. I just put them on and wear them from about 8 pm-10 pm when I aim to go to bed. I used to take a long time to fall asleep, frustratingly tossing and turning around while my husband lay their snoring after just 1 minute of his head hitting the pillow. After wearing these glasses, I have noticed I fall asleep what feels like, just as quickly. I also wake up feeling more rested. After experimenting for awhile with wearing these glasses, I one night forgot to wear them and did not sleep nearly as good that night.

If you won’t be purchasing blue light blocking glasses, there are apps on most devices now that will allow you to filter the blue/green wavelength at night as well. I would encourage you to download these apps on all of your devices if possible.

  • Expose yourself to natural bright light during the day as much as possible, ideally in the early morning and also when the sun is brightest around noon. Take a short walk outside first thing in the morning, eat your lunch outside if the sun is out, take a walk outside around your work building during breaks if you can, etc.

It is important that we aim to do BOTH of these things and not just one or the other. We need to limit blue light/artificial lights at night but ALSO get more natural sunlight during the day.

Here’s to hopefully more restful and deeper night sleeps!

 

Are You Really Hungry?

Are You Really Hungry, Or Something Else?

 

Do you find yourself feeling hungry all of the time even though you feel like you are eating plenty of food? Below I discuss a few common reasons you may be feeling hungry and what your body may need instead of more food.

You’re Dehydrated

Our hunger and thirst center are located right next to each other in the brain. The signals for hunger and thirst are also very similar (feelings of lightheadedness, tired, sluggish, unable to concentrate..), thus can easily be misinterpreted. In other words, often times when we think we are hungry, we really may just be thirsty.

If we are always misinterpreting these signals it could easily lead us to eat more than we need to and eventually lead to a slow gradual weight gain.

Tip: At the first signs of hunger, drink a glass of water or two. Wait 15-20 minutes or so. If you’re hunger dissipates and you are satisfied then you know you really were just thirsty. If you’re hunger is still there, then you will know you were truly hungry and to go ahead and eat something.

To avoid dehydration throughout the day, the standard recommendation is to drink 64 oz. of water a day. Ideally this should be spread evenly throughout the day, drinking 1 cup of water every hour. This will not only help keep you hydrated but will help boost your energy as well. Of course, if you are exercising or sweating more throughout the day you will need to up your intake of water throughout the day accordingly.

You Are Sleep Deprived

Did you know that sleep has a BIG impact on our appetite hormones?

Ghrelin: This is the hormone that triggers our appetite and lets us know that it is time to eat! Ghrelin sounds a little bit like growlin’ to me (like the hungry growl) which helps me to remember this hormone’s job. Research has shown that when people are sleep deprived, their bodies produce significantly more levels of ghrelin than usual. This results in more feelings of hunger throughout the day and the potential to overeat when you’re body really just wants more sleep!

Leptin: Opposite of ghrelin, this is the hormone that suppresses our appetite and lets us know we are full and don’t need to eat anymore. Ironically, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces LESS leptin. In other words, your body will not receive the appropriate signals to stop eating, thus also resulting in greater food consumption.

Cortisol: This is our body’s main stress hormone. It is released in the body when we are under any type of stress. Lack of sleep is considered a stressor on the body, thus cortisol levels will increase in the absence of an adequate amount of sleep. Increased levels of cortisol can also cause an increase in appetite.

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night, to ensure you are getting the rest that you need and to help keep your appetite hormones in balance.

You Are Stressed

Like I mentioned above, cortisol is released in the body when we are under ANY type of stress (physical, mental, emotional etc.). When cortisol is released, it signals the body to increase blood sugar. Why would it do that?

Well, in order to handle the stress at hand, our bodies cells need the sugar for energy. For example, if you were being chased by a bear or needing to escape from a burning building and suddenly need a rush of energy and strength to run fast, cortisol is your friend. This hormone is essential for survival. However, our fast paced, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’, lifestyles these days leave our bodies feeling as if they are ALWAYS running from bears. This results in us producing WAY too much cortisol. Over time, chronic levels of cortisol will lead to a host of negative health issues.

In regards to feeling hungry, when our body is constantly pumping out cortisol to keep up with the stress at hand, blood sugar levels will also rise. Well, as the saying goes, what comes up must ultimately come down. When blood sugar levels come crashing back down, symptoms of hunger may persist.

In other words, managing stress is extremely important when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and ultimately avoiding feeling hungry as a result of low blood sugar level crashes.

You Aren’t Eating Balanced Meals and Snacks

While you may feel like you are eating enough food, you may be eating meals and snacks that are not balanced with good quality fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

To avoid blood sugar crashes that ultimately lead to feeling hungry, light headed, dizzy and unable to concentrate, it is essential to make sure your meals and snacks are balanced. So what do I mean by that?

It will be important for you to avoid eating and drinking processed and refined carbohydrates and high sugar foods/beverages that will be digested extremely quickly by the body. When these foods and beverages are consumed, they will lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels only to be followed by a crash. Examples would include but are not limited to all white flour based food products, chips, crackers, candy, soda, pastries, ice cream, fruit juices, pizza etc.

A balanced meal or snack will include a good quality source of protein, fat and unprocessed carbohydrates.

I’ve provided a few examples below. This is not an exhaustive list.

Good quality sources of protein: grassfed beef, pastured poultry, wild caught fish, chia seeds

Good quality sources of fat: avocado’s, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, grassfed butter, ghee, coconut milk/cream, nut butters

Good quality sources of carbohydrates: vegetables and fruits, quinoa, buckwheat, gluten free oats

A few example’s of a balanced meal/snack may look like the following:

  • Breakfast: pastured eggs scrambled in good quality fat like coconut oil or grass fed butter paired with a side of sautéed veggie scramble and 1/2 cup of fresh berries. OR Soaked Oats with all the fixings
  • Snack: apple slices with unsweetened nut butter or raw veggies with guacamole
  • Smoothie: 1/2 cup milk of choice, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, 1/2 avocado (will add good quality fat to help balance out sugars from fruit and will add a nice creaminess to smoothie), large handful spinach or kale, dash of honey to desire of sweetness, 1 -2 T. chia seeds (good source of plant based protein)

For more healthy recipe idea’s you can browse my recipe page on my blog.

So, the next time you are feeling hungry, instead of going straight for the pantry, slow down and carefully consider what your body may really be trying to tell you.

 

 

 

Learn All About the Keto Diet!

Keto Edge Summit

 

Keto is one of the most searched words on the internet today, and potentially for good reason. Not only is it one of the most searched words on the internet today, it is also becoming the diet everyone seems to be talking about or experimenting with around town these days as well.

So what’s the big deal? Is there real benefit to the Keto diet, or is this just another fad that will come and go?

Rather than listen to me talk all about the Keto diet, there is an online summit that is being hosted for FREE from May 7-13 that may answer a lot of your questions! I personally am VERY excited to learn more myself. I plan to take notes and hopefully write up a blog post of some of the highlights I learn in the future in case you don’t get a chance to tune in.

You can register now, FOR FREE through this link

During the summit you will discover..

  • What is ketosis (and how does it work)
  • Myths and how to separate fact from fiction
  • How to overcome the challenges of being “kepo adapted”
  • Wether you should start a keto diet (or not)!
  • How to shop, live and eat on a ketogenic lifestyle
  • And more!

Here is a preview of some of the specific talks that will be offered:

  • Inflammation and the Ketogenic Diet
  • Adrenal Fatigue and Keto
  • Keto Hacks for Hypothyroidism
  • Keto for Brain Health
  • The Metabolic Approach to Cancer
  • Sugar Cancer Connection
  • Using Keto for Breast Cancer
  • Keto and the Microbiome
  • Keto for Chronic Infections
  • Using Keto for Menopause
  • How to Transition Into A Ketogenic Diet
  • Keto and Detoxification

These are just a few of them!! There are so many other wonderful topics that will be discussed.

Will you tune in and learn with me??

Register NOW for the Keto Edge Summit!

Once you register you will get instant access to these awesome FREE bonus gifts. So, even if you don’t have time to listen to the talks, it would be worth it just for the free gifts you will receive. The information on these free gifts listed below was pulled from the registration website link:

  • Keto Quickstart Program
    • People are using the ketogenic diet and lifestyle to lose weight, improve their energy and brain function and so much more! Imagine, finding a way to feel super energized, break through food cravings and addictions and improve your mental clarity!The keto diet and lifestyle holds the answer!! But….you HAVE to know how do it right! This QuickStart program will help you set the right foundation and start to your keto journey.
  • Curing Stage 4 Cancer Terminal Liver Disease Transcript 
    • Discover how to safely eliminate some of the deadliest cells in the body; low-cost treatment plans to reverse ‘terminal’ disease conditions plus, a shocking truth about how one medical doctor was told to STOP curing his patients.
  • Focus on: Ketogenic Diet Ebook
    • This eBook covers how to keep your body in ketosis, the benefits of a ketogenic diet, understanding why fats can be “healthy” and how using a ketogenic diet can treat epilepsy, ALS, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative conditions. It also includes video interviews with 3 leading experts in the keto space. Last but not least, Dr. Perlmutter’s Whole Life Plan turns this advice into action.
  • Keto Adapted: eGuide to Accelerated Weight Loss & Healthy Living
    • This guide is filled with impeccable nutrition information to fuel your cells! Maria’s passion goes beyond explaining the “why,” she is a master in the kitchen and loves food. Her keto-adapted recipes at the end of the book tie all the nutrition together so you can become keto-adapted faster than ever.
  • Delicious Keto Fat Bomb Recipes
    • From Layered Peppermint Patties to Coconut Pink Peppercorn Bars, Keto all-star Louise Hendon provides some super yummy (and super quick and easy to prepare!) treats for you to enjoy with these recipes!

Hope you’ll join me!

5 Healthy and Easy Breakfast Ideas

5 Healthy and Easy

 

Some people can eat the same thing every. single. morning for breakfast and never get tired of it.  I am not that person. I need variety to keep things interesting. This makes eating healthy a lot more appealing for the long run, keeping flavors exciting and  not so restrictive.

So, for those of you who can’t do scrambled eggs with kale and spinach every. single. morning., this post is for you! All of the recipes I will be sharing with you in this post are packed with good nutrition to get your day started off right and one’s that we personally rotate through regularly in our house. Most of these you can prep either the night before or at the beginning of the week to have available for an easy no fuss breakfast. As a mom to two kids (a 2 year old and a 6 month old), this is a must to make mornings much less stressful. Not to mention, my two year old likes variety too, so having a good rotation of healthy recipes keeps her interested in eating healthy just as much as it does me. She will gobble up her scrambled eggs for maybe two or three days but then around that third or fourth day she’s over it. So, if you’re having trouble keeping littles eating healthy, it may just mean you need to switch things up!

Outside of just keeping flavors interesting, there is also other health benefits to switching things up. By eating the same foods over and over without much variety, we may limit our bodies from a broad spectrum of micronutrients and other beneficial nutrients that other whole, properly prepared foods provide. On top of that, did you know that eating too much of the same food over and over is one of the major contributors to food intolerances developing? That’s another topic for another day.

For now, here are my top 5 favorite nutrient dense breakfast recipes!

Chia Pudding

Packed with tons of good quality fat from the coconut milk and loaded with plant based protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants and calcium from the chia seeds. Here are two recipes I go back and forth between.

I love to top mine with a variety of fresh fruit, just whatever I’m in the mood for.

So easy. Takes less than 5 minutes to put together. Just make sure to do it the night before or at the beginning of the week so you have it ready to go in the mornings. Would make a great afternoon snack too for kiddos coming home from school or for anyone for that matter!

Breakfast Sausage with Veggies and Fruit

I don’t recommend buying breakfast sausage from your local grocery store unless it is from a healthy grass fed or pastured animal. So, you have two options here. You can purchase some breakfast sausage from a local farmer like Slanker’s Grass Fed Meats (which is delicious by the way!), or you can just make your own using plain grass-fed ground meat and the homemade breakfast sausage seasoning recipe below.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage Seasoning:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Just mix this seasoning into 1 lb. of grass fed ground meat, form into small patties and cook evenly on both sides on a skillet. 1 lb. meat will make about 14-16 small patties.

Once these are made, just store in the fridge to easily pull out and reheat the next morning.

For your veggies:

Chop up a good amount of whatever veggies you like at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge to easily throw in the skillet and saute in some good quality fat like coconut oil. I personally love bell peppers, onions and some chopped kale or spinach. If your sausage is already made, this is the only thing you have to cook. Should take less than 5 minutes if your veggies are also already chopped.

Pair both of these with some fresh berries of choice! Easy peasy!

Sheet Pan Breakfast

Inspired by Renee Kohley of Raising Generation Nourished Blog for those busy mornings! This is basically the same type of breakfast as above, just a hands free version.

The options are endless here. The goal is to just chop up a bunch of your favorite veggies and maybe some potatoes (optional) and throw them on a pan and let them cook while you  go get ready or take care of things around the house before the day gets going.

Step 1: Chop your veggies and potatoes or winter squash and store in the fridge at the beginning of the week. Good options include chopped cabbage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, butternut squash  etc.

Step 2: Heat your oven to 400 when you wake up. Throw your veggies on a large sheet pan. Evenly toss with good quality fat like coconut oil or olive oil. Sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Go take a shower, throw some laundry in, get dressed, change diapers, etc. and let it cook all by itself!

Step 3: Serve with your choice of prepped protein. Good options might be some breakfast sausage or hard boiled eggs, or some bacon! Bacon is healthy for you?? What??? Depends on your source. I recommend bacon from healthy animals that have been pasture raised, like from these guys. The link takes you to the pork bacon, but they also sell beef and buffalo bacon too. Just know that the beef and buffalo bacon will taste a little more game-y if you decide to try it. You won’t find a good quality source of bacon at any of our local chain grocery stores. Just watch the timer and throw a few pieces of bacon in a skillet the last 5-10 minutes so its ready when your veggies come out hot!

Easy Breakfast Casserole

I love casseroles because you only have to cook once and then have breakfast made for at least half the week, depending on how many people you are feeding. If you don’t like eating the same thing multiple mornings in a row, just cook the casserole, let it cool, cut into individual serving squares, wrap them and store in freezer bags. This way you can pull out individual servings sizes to reheat on the mornings that you want it and not feel obligated to eat the whole casserole before it goes bad sitting in your fridge! My favorite healthy breakfast casserole we make regularly is linked below.

Easy Breakfast Casserole by PaleOMG

I made two of these casseroles and stored them in individual servings sizes in my freezer before baby number two came along and it was a life saver that first month after we brought baby home.

Soaked Oatmeal

Not everyone can tolerate grains, but if you can, this is a wonderful option to keep variety in your diet. Eggs and other good quality sources of meat are great in the mornings, but some mornings I just crave something warm and comforting like a bowl of oatmeal. This isn’t just any bowl of oatmeal though. Soaked oats are a traditional way of preparing this classic breakfast that increase not only its nutritional value but make it much more easy to digest. For the recipe and benefits of soaked oats as well as what I recommend topping your oatmeal with for added nutritional value, read my full post on that through the link below.

How and Why You Should Soak Your Oats

What Do I Drink In The Mornings?

Most mornings I pair my breakfast with a warm cup of herbal tea and a scoop of collagen for some added gut support. When I’m feeling extra fancy, I like to whip up this green tea matcha collagen latte.

For all the wonderful health benefits of collagen and why I choose to add it into my diet daily, you can read my full post on that here.

Hope this post gives you some new ideas to keep your healthy eating adventures interesting and not so boring, at least in the mornings!

 

 

 

Ground Beef Four Ways for Four Easy Week Night Meals

If you are wanting to make the swap to better quality meat, grass fed ground beef is one of the most budget friendly ways to do so.

If you are not familiar with the health benefits of grass fed and pasture raised meats compared to conventionally raised grain fed meats, please take the time to read more on this and educate yourself, especially if you consume meat regularly. Below are a few resources for you to read more about this.

Depending on where you shop, you can buy grass-fed ground beef on average for about $6/lb or sometimes less. This is much cheaper than other cuts of grass-fed beef (steaks, roasts, etc.), pasture raised chicken and certain brands of wild caught fish that can cost over $10 a pound. Good for you if you can afford to eat pasture raised chicken, wild caught fish and more expensive cuts of grass-fed beef all of the time, but for those of you on a tighter budget, you may be limited to eating lots of grass fed ground beef for dinner.

So, unless you have a good handful of recipes to rotate through that you love that use ground beef, you can get tired of it really quickly.

SO, I am sharing with you all today, four of our family favorite recipes using grass-fed ground beef that we rotate through regularly. Even my two year old gobbles all of these recipes up! Not only are they our favorites because they taste good, but because of how simple they are to make and how easy it is to double up on the recipes to make them last multiple meals, because who really has time to cook every single night? I know I don’t, nor do I want to.

Enjoy!

All ground beef in the recipes are linked to Slanker’s. While you can purchase grass fed ground beef now at most local grocery stores, I wanted to make known to those that don’t already know that we do have a local grass fed meat store located in Powderly Texas! They sell the largest variety of high quality meats around, including deli lunch and snack meats, bacon, organ meats, soup bones and so much more! If you have never ordered from them before, you can get $5 off your first order by calling in your order and telling them that Erin Finch referred you! Or, if you would rather order online, I do get a small commission for first time orders through any of my affiliate links in this post. I greatly appreciate your support. Thanks in advance.

Moo Shu Beef

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 fresh cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 16. oz bag classic coleslaw mix
  • 4 large carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup organic ketchup (look for one that is NOT sweetened with fructose corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative sold at the Wellness Center in Paris Texas or online)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Your choice of tortilla: We personally like to use large romaine leaves as a grain free tortilla option. My other healthy recommendations would be some sprouted grain tortillas like these (sold at Kroger), or another grain free and paleo tortilla option – siete cassava and coconut flour tortillas (not sold locally in Paris Texas, but most likely at large health food stores like Whole Foods or online).
  1. Cook your ground beef with your chopped garlic
  2. Once meat is cooked, add in your coleslaw and carrots and cook them down until soft
  3. Add in ketchup, coconut aminos, water, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine well.
  4. Serve moo she beef mixture in your choice of carrier and garnish with green onions.
  5. Enjoy!

*This meal is great to double the recipe and serve for 2 or three nights depending on how large your family is. With three of us eating (2 adults and a 2 year old that eats like an adult) this recipe doubled will last us 3, maybe four meals.

Grain Free Spaghetti

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • your choice of a spiralized vegetable as a healthier alternative to pasta (zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, etc.) – There are lots of frozen options of this in most grocery stores now. Kroger in Paris Texas sells both frozen packages of spiralized zucchini and butternut squash now making it much more convenient on those busy weeknight’s to throw this meal together! If you would rather have fresh vegetables, just go get yourself a vegetable spiralizer like this one that I have.They are not expensive.
  • olive or coconut oil
  • Marinara sauce. I just eyeball honestly how much sauce I want added to my meat and never have an exact amount I use. My favorite organic, sugar free, and junk ingredient free brand is Muir Glen, also available at Kroger in Paris Texas.
  • Italian seasoning (added to taste)
  • Garlic salt (added to taste)
  1. In one skillet brown/cook your meat through.
  2. In another skillet, cook your spiralized vegetables down in your choice of good quality oil.
  3. Once your meat is cooked through, pour your marinara sauce over and stir to combine.
  4. Sprinkle in your added seasonings to taste.
  5. Once your vegetables are cooked down, portion them out onto your individual plates and top with desired amount of meat mixture!
  6. Serve alongside a fresh mixed green salad and enjoy!

*This is another great meal to double up on the recipe to make last for multiple nights. I typically make a big batch of the meat mixture all at one time and only cook the desired amount of vegetable noodles I want for that night. So, when the next night roles around, all I have to do is cook the vegetables and warm the meat mixture back up to top it with!

Tacos

  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1-2 T. homemade taco seasoning (add just one T. first and then decide wether or not you want to add more seasoning. Save the remaining amount of this recipe for the next time you make tacos!)
    • 1 T. chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh avocado
  • salsa
  • other garnishes you like (cilantro, green onions etc.)
  • Your choice of tortilla. (see bottom of moo shu beef recipe above for my healthier recommendations/options for this)
  1. Brown your meat with your seasoning. Make sure to evenly mix the seasoning in well while you are cooking the meat in the pan.
  2. Once your meat is cooked, serve warm in your choice of tortillas and top with fresh avocado, salsa and other fixings you like!

*We love to serve these with a side of cooked cauliflower rice. Kroger in Paris Texas sells a frozen package of cauliflower rice now with no other ingredients other than cauliflower making it another great healthy and convenient option on those busy weeknights! Just throw it in the skillet to cook and toss with some coconut oil or grassfed butter and sprinkle to taste with some sea salt and pepper. You can always make this fresh too by just blending up a head of cauliflower into a rice consistency.

Zuppa Tuscana

  • 1-2 pounds grassfed ground beef
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red peppers
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 32 oz. or 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced or cut into large cubes (either works, just depends on the texture you would like in your soup.)
  • 1/2 bunch of organic kale, chopped (I typically just eyeball this and add a ton of kale. It most likely is way more than half a bunch by the end of me throwing it all in.)
  1. Saute beef with red pepper flakes over medium heat on the stove
  2. In a large pot, sauce the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant in some good quality fat (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
  3. Add in the broth to the large pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, add in your cubed or thinly sliced potatoes and bring down to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and fall apart with a fork
  5. Lastly add in your cooked beef, chopped kale and coconut milk. Stir until kale wilts some and all is mixed in well.

Hope these recipes make eating healthier a little bit easier and more delicious for you throughout the week!

 

How and Why You Should Soak Your Oats

IMG_2266

 

Do you regularly consume cereal grains like oatmeal for breakfast? If so, if I told you there was a simple way to improve not only the nutritional value of this warm classic breakfast but also its digestibility, would you do it?

While grains are not tolerated well by everyone, for those that can eat them, this one simple step that I want to talk to you about today, will help break down anti-nutrients and hard to digest components of the grain and at the same time, increase highly beneficial nutrients making it a much more nutrient dense food!

With a toddler in our home, oatmeal has become one of our favorite go-to breakfasts, so making it as nutrient dense as possible for her and I is very important to me since we consume it pretty regularly.

The way that you do this is by soaking the grains.

This process may sound intimidating at first if this is a new concept to you, but I promise you it is SO simple if you can just remember to plan ahead. Honestly that is the hardest part.

If you haven’t been able to tolerate grains before, you may experiment and find that you can add certain grains back in to your diet after adding in this one simple step of preparation. I will only be showing you how to properly prepare oats today, but if you want to learn more about how to properly prepare all grains, I recommend reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or reading more on this on the Weston A. Price Foundation site.

Why should I soak my grains?

All grains and legumes contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. The problem with phytic acid is that it binds important vitamins and minerals and prevents your body from fully absorbing them. If not careful, an overconsumption of foods that contain a high amount of phytic acid may result in mineral deficiencies, specifically zinc, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. They also contain enzyme inhibitors. Enzymes are what help our body to digest the foods that we eat. In other words, grains and legumes are resisting being digested.

But why??

By nature’s design, grains and legumes do NOT want to be digested! That’s right! Grains are one of the hardest foods to digest, it not properly prepared.

Why is that?

Well, grains are really just seeds. Seeds are designed to grow in to a plant, but will only do this under the perfect conditions (good soil, water, air and sunlight). Until it is under these perfect conditions, it will resist digestion in order to be passed out the other end after being consumed (think in nature when animals consume seeds) to then hopefully land on good soil and be watered and nurtured by fresh rain air and sunlight to grow into whatever plant it was destined to be!

Interestingly, traditional societies took great care to soak or ferment their grains before consuming them as porridges, breads and casseroles, something our modern culture has moved away from for the sake of convenience. This traditional practice essentially aims to mimmick the watering process of seeds in nature which neutralizes vitamin and mineral binding phytic acid as well as enzyme inhibitors. The end product being a much more easy to digest food that provides vitamins and minerals your body can actually absorb!

So How Do I Soak My Oats?

If you desire to up the nutrient density and digestibility of your classic oatmeal breakfast, here is how you do it! It really is so simple.

The key in releasing important nutrients from grains is to activate phytase. Phytase is a natural enzyme that is present in varying degrees within grains, seeds and nuts. When it is activated, it helps to break down phytic acid (what binds important vitamins and minerals and prevents them from being absorbed). Soaking grains in a warm acid medium like apple cider vinegar will activate phytase and help to greatly reduce the amount of phytic acid. Oats unfortunately have a very low amount of phytase  (the enzyme that helps break down the phytic acid), so, soaking in warm water with an acid medium will not be enough on its own to adequately reduce the amount of anti-nutrients that naturally occur.

Because of this, it will be important to add another grain that IS high in phytase to your oats before you soak them and let them soak for approximately 24 hours.

You can do this by following the following formula:

  • Set your alarm to do all of this the morning before you wish to eat it. Trust me, if you don’t do this, you will forget and keep putting off this simple step because you just simply forget to do it until its too late and you don’t have a long enough time to let it soak. Just mix it all together while your preparing breakfast for that morning or right after you get done cleaning up the dishes for that mornings breakfast.
  • For every 1 cup of oats (ideally certified gluten free), add enough warm water to cover the oats
  • Add two teaspoons of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of buckwheat groats (these are very high in phytase which is what will help break down the phytic acid in your oats)
  • Soak for 24 hours at room temperature. Just cover your with a towel and let it sit on your counter until the next morning.
  • Once soaking time is complete, drain oats in a fine mesh strainer and gently rinse
  • Transfer your soaked and rinsed oats to a pot on the stove and cook how you normally would and add your favorite toppings!

I recommend mixing in a good healthy source of fat like grass fed butter or coconut oil, some collagen for added protein and gut support, raw unfiltered honey and fresh berries with a dash of cinnamon! This is my personal favorite way to dress it up and add even more nutritional value.

Enjoy!

 

5 Books That Inspired My Healthy Lifestyle Change

IMG_2215

 

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I use this quote often when coaching my clients. If we are to see BIG change in our nations health (which is absolutely necessary, just look around), we HAVE to start thinking this way. As health practitioners, personal trainers, nutrition practitioners, etc.. we have to start coaching our clients with this in mind. At some point they need to feel confident and empowered that they can take control of their own health and not always feel like they have to rely on us to tell them what to do! Isn’t that the point?

One way we can empower them to do this is to continue to educate themselves.

I believe one of the best ways to do this is to read. While you may not always agree with ALL of the information in every book out there on nutrition and health, and the information provided may not even help every single person, there is something about exposing yourself to knew information that allows you to see something different than what you are familiar with. It challenges you to think about things differently than you may have always thought about them before. It provides options you may have not always known you even had!

In fact, my own personal journey towards better health started with reading and then experimenting on myself with the new information I was absorbing. Until I started reading more about nutrition and health, I just went with what I knew. I wasn’t challenged to think any differently about what I knew and believed to be healthy was my whole life. It opened up a whole new world to me and has changed my life forever in regards to how I take care of my body and the foods that I choose to put in it. Reading new books focussed on health and nutrition is what ultimately led me to eventually further my education in this area as I realized how passionate I was about this topic by simply opening up a book, that led to wanting to open up another book and then another..

So, with that being said, I wanted to share with you all a few books that have been extremely helpful and eye opening to me along my health journey. My hope is they will inspire you to make a complete lifestyle change like they have for me, or at least get you thinking differently than you did before, because sometimes, this is the first step.

What are some of your favorite health and nutrition books you would recommend for others looking to make a lifestyle change?

Green Tea Matcha Collagen Latte

In a previous post, I shared with you all my review on a new protein powder I recently tried, ‘Naked Whey’. The verdict was that I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality whey protein powder.  You can read the full post here on all of the reasons why I would recommend it including what to look for in a protein supplement so that you don’t waste your money!

While I love ‘Naked Whey’ for the creaminess and added protein boost that it gives my smoothies, it is not as versatile as one of my other absolute FAVORITE protein supplements, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of all of our connective tissues including our skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and even our bones. It also helps provide structure to our hair and nails.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is more of a daily supplement for me for all of the wonderful health benefits that it provides. What makes it so versatile is the fact that it dissolves in both cold AND hot liquids. This makes it super easy to add to your morning coffee or tea, which I personally do pretty much every morning! Whey protein will not dissolve into hot liquids due to its chemical structure making it a better option for a protein boost to smoothies or post workout drinks.

I wrote a whole post on the benefits of collagen here if you’re interested in learning more so I won’t go into all those details in this post.

I personally have used Vital Proteins unflavored collagen peptides for a couple of years now and LOVE it. However, they recently rolled out a new product that I am so excited to share with you all! They have combined the numerous health benefits of collagen with the antioxidant powerhouse, matcha green tea to make matcha collagen.

Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen 3

The matcha green tea used in this product is sourced from the Nishio, Aichi, Kyoto regions of Japan and is one of the highest quality food grade matcha’s available, making this a true superfood when combined with collagen.

You can read more on the health benefits of this superfood in a post on Vital Proteins site here.

If you’re a fan of green tea matcha latte’s like I am, I think you will enjoy my personal FAVORITE way to use matcha collagen below.

 

IMG_2144

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen
  • 1/4 cup filtered hot water
  • 1 cup choice of milk (I personally use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of grass-fed butter
  • 1-3 teaspoons 100% pure maple syrup depending on desired sweetness

Instructions:

  1. Boil filtered water in a tea pot over the stove, then pour 1/4 cup of the boiling water over 1 scoop of Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen in a cup. Stir to combine well with a fork.
  2. In a separate pot over the stove, warm the milk, butter and maple syrup over medium high heat until it starts to slightly boil.
  3. Pour the matcha mixture into the pot and stir to combine with the milk mixture.
  4. In order to froth your drink, you will now need to either pour everything into a blender and pulse for 10-20 seconds or, pour back into your coffee mug and use a frother until you see a nice foamy texture appear. This step is definitely necessary for a coffee shop worthy drink in the comfort of your own home!
  5. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naked Whey Protein Review

While I am a proponent of eating protein in whole food form over supplements, there is benefit to finding and having high quality protein powders to have on hand.

For me, in the busy season of life that I am in as a mom to a 2 year old and 5 month old, convenience is nice when it comes to getting in the nutrition that I need throughout the day. However, I never want quality to be compromised for the sake of convenience. So, when I am looking for a protein powder to have on hand to throw in a quick smoothie for an easy morning breakfast or lunch on those busy days, there are specific things that I am looking to avoid.

The same should apply for anyone. Quality matters when it comes to choosing a protein powder, no matter what your goals are. So, wether your goal is to have a quick convenient source of protein to have on hand as a busy mom, or to improve your performance in the gym, make sure to look for and avoid the following things. Otherwise, you are wasting your money.

Things I Recommend Avoiding in Protein Powders:

  • artificial sweeteners or colors
  • Gluten and Soy
  • GMO’s
  • Growth Hormones
  • Processed proteins that include isolates and hydrolyzed proteins
    • Certain isolates and hydrolyzed proteins contain denatured proteins. Denatured proteins are proteins that have been broken down. The original chemical structure of the protein is changed permanently and important immune enhancing factors are lost.

Other things I look for

  • If it is sourced from an animal..was it raised naturally without any added hormones and was it fed its natural diet?
    • Ex: if protein is sourced from a cow, was it 100% grassfed? Corn and soy are not the natural diet of a cow and the nutritional byproduct of a cow fed this diet vs. its natural diet will be COMPLETLY different!
  • How was the protein processed? I’m looking for it to be processed at low-temperature. This will most often be described as cold pressed and also undenatured.
    • High heat processing will destroy a majority of important immune enhancing factors like immunoglobulins and lactoferrin.

I was fortunate to have Naked Whey reach out to me to try their Whey Protein Powder and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint. The ingredients and way that this product was processed met all of my expectations listed above. What I love most about this product, on top of its high quality ingredients, is that it doesn’t have a flavor, which means I can add it to the base of any smoothie or cold beverage that I like for an added protein boost.

 

81Mix1Pm3OL._SY355_

 

Whey protein may not be appropriate for all people as it is a by product of dairy, but if you tolerate dairy well, there are wonderful health benefits in a high quality whey supplement.

Benefits That Stand Out, But are not Limited To:

  • Boost Glutathione: Glutathione is the master antioxidant that is found in every cell of your body. The way whey protein boosts glutathione is with its high levels of cysteine, an amino acid that is needed for the synthesis of glutathione in the body. Benefits of glutathione include scavenging for free radicals as well as reactivating other antioxidants, boosting the immune system, plays a role in DNA repair as well as the detoxification process that neutralizes drugs, chemicals, radiation, metabolic wastes and other toxins and carcinogens. Glutathione in supplement form is unfortunately poorly absorbed, so it is beneficial to find other ways to boost it in your body and including whey protein in your diet is one way to do that. (1, 2 )
  • Boots the Immune System:  Because whey protein increases glutathione in the body, it naturally will boost the immune system as well. While glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body, whey protein also boosts the efficacy of other important antioxidants in the body like vitamin C, CoQ10 and Vitamin E. L-Arginine and L-lysine are also important amino acids found in whey protein that are known to promote immune function. (1)
  • Helps Heal the Gut: Whey protein contains the amino acid L-glutamine, which helps heal the fast-growing epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract. This is especially important for anyone suffering from leaky gut. (Therapeutic Nutrition Part Two by Ed Bauman, .Ed., Ph.D. & Jodi Friedlander, N.C.)

Like I mentioned before, whey protein may not be appropriate for everyone, especially if you are intolerant to dairy products. If that is the case for you, opting for a goat whey protein may serve you better as it is much easier to digest and contains less lactose. If that’s the case, Naked Whey also makes a Goat Whey so you are in luck! I just have not tried it myself so I cannot vouch for the flavor, but the quality looks the same! They also sell a wide variety of other high quality plant based protein powders.

You can shop all of their protein products HERE! Enjoy!

 

My Tips on Raising Healthy Little Eaters

Untitled Design-2

I want to open this post up by first stating that, I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS! What has worked for me, may not work for your family. We by no means eat perfectly in our house but DO make it a priority to fuel our body with good nutrition as best and as often as we can. My little also definitely does not like eating all of the healthy things I make her.

In fact, I think I need to clarify that this picture is not the reality it may seem to be.. (happy toddler joyfully eating her whole bowl of salad)

Reality was, I gave her the bowl she asked for and then like many toddler’s, she had a moment of bio polar-ness and decided she didn’t want it anymore.

I wanted to write this post to simply share a few things that WE have done that I believe has helped my child want to eat (and even ask for) most of the healthy foods we offer in our home, most of the time. This is not an exhaustive list of all the things we have done, but I will highlight what I feel like has been the most beneficial.

I hope that it will help you encourage your kids to eat healthy too! It CAN happen!! It just may take some time, intentionality and lots of patience (especially if you didn’t start off when they were babies), but it is SO worth it for their health!!

#1: Be The Example

I cannot emphasize this one enough!! It MUST start here. Our kids are watching everything that we do, including what we are eating. How confusing would that be and unfair for us to be telling our kids to eat healthy foods when we are not even doing that ourselves. This should apply in all areas of our life, not just food. They learn by watching us. This will not only benefit the health of your child, but you as well. You will be a better parent for taking care of yourself in this way. You will have more energy, less illness, more stable moods and so much more.

#2: Ideally, Start With First Foods

Now of course some of you may have already missed that window of opportunity. That doesn’t mean you can’t still teach your kids to eat healthy, it may just take a little bit more effort, patience and intentionality. But, for those that are planning to have kids in the future or have little babies currently and wondering what to do for first foods, our family has leaned a lot on the wisdom of Sally Fallon in her book ‘The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare’. We used the advice from this book to decide which foods we would introduce first to our kids and how we would continue to feed them throughout the first few years of life. We don’t do everything in this book, but definitely agree with a lot of it!

If you aren’t already pregnant, she discusses a lot about nutrition for pre-pregnancy to prepare your body for that well, as well as pregnancy and nursing moms. All of these stages are equally important in supporting a baby that will grow to thrive.

#3: Involve Them In Cooking

Kids LOVE to help in the kitchen, at least mine do! Of course it can make for a messier experience that may take twice as long, but in my experience, when Harper is involved in the cooking, she is MUCH more likely to eat the meal we made. While we are preparing the meal together, she is getting to learn about all different kinds of foods and what they look like, what color they are, and even snack on some of the ingredients.

I pay close attention to what she likes to grab and snack on while we are cooking. Often times it is a raw vegetable I never would have thought she would even like and one I don’t offer her very often, and then to my surprise, she loves it! For example, I recently discovered she loves raw bell peppers. Who would have thought?? I never would have known this if she had not been a part of helping me making dinner one night because I never think to cut up raw bell peppers as a veggie for her. I usually go with something easier like carrots. Now bell peppers are regularly cut up for an easy veggie to go with lunch most days.

It will depend on the age of course in how involved they are in cooking, but there is always little ways each different age can help.

#4: Don’t Assume They Wont Like Things

I think it is so easy to fall into the idea that kids will not like certain foods. Our culture has led us to believe there is “kid food” and then there is “adult food”. Certainly kids would not want to eat salad! Even being in the mindset of wanting to feed my child nutrient dense foods from the beginning, I always assumed she would never want to eat salad for some reason. Well, I was wrong. This goes back to the ‘Be The Example’ tip that I gave you. I typically make a side salad most days to go with my lunch and/or dinner. One afternoon, Harper pointed at my salad and asked to eat some. I thought, really? Ok, you probably won’t like it, but sure! Turns out, she finished my whole salad before I even got hardly a bite then asked for more!! All this time I had been trying to hide her greens in smoothies. Turns out, she would have just eaten her greens straight up in a salad.

From that point on, I have tried to offer her a salad every time I make myself one. She doesn’t always want it, but most of the time she does.  This example leads right into my next tip.

#5: Make A Mental Note of the Healthy Foods They Do Like

Of course your kid won’t like every healthy food that you offer them, but if you find one they do, RUN WITH IT!!! If carrots are the only vegetable your kid likes at the time, let them eat them as much as possible. One vegetable is better than none. Keep introducing new healthy foods and reintroducing old ones they didn’t like before and they may come around. We have gone through so many stages with Harper of loving certain healthy foods to then wanting nothing to do with them for periods of time. They have a mind of their own just like we do and won’t always be in the mood for certain foods.

#6 Get Sneaky/Creative

While kids can no doubt be picky, I don’t believe this is an excuse to throw in the towel and give your kids junk food and chalk it up to them just being picky. There are plenty of healthy foods out there to rotate around and find ones that they will like. Or, you may just have to get a little creative/sneaky. This again will just take some patience and intentionality.

For example, Harper went through a phase where she didn’t want to drink smoothies. This was also a phase where she wasn’t eating much of ANY vegetable, and so smoothies were my insurance that she was getting lots of good nutrition in her each day because I could hide lots of things in it she wasn’t liking at the time. At this same time, one of Harpers FAVORITE foods was yogurt, so, instead of serving her smoothies out of a cup with a straw, I would serve it in a small bowl and tell her that it was yogurt. She would devour the whole bowl and have no idea she was eating a smoothie. To her it was just a new flavor of yogurt.

When I make smoothies for Harper I typically will add the following:

  • Avocado for a good source of fat, fiber and is also loaded with potassium. Will make the smoothie nice and creamy.
  • Small handful of kale or spinach
  • Teaspoon or two of chia or flax seeds for the omega 3’s they provide as well as some added protein and more fiber
  • Some milk (we like to use almond milk)
  • Maybe a dash of raw honey (only after she was 1. Raw honey is not to be consumed for children under the age of 1)
  • 1/4-1/2 a scoop of vital proteins collagen peptides
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of a blend of frozen fruit
  • 1/2 small banana

Sometimes they may just be at a stage where they want different textures.

For example, Harper LOVED mashed avocado at one point and then all of a sudden wanted nothing to do with it. It took me awhile to figure this out, but one day I tried offering it to her in slices because she could chew a little better at this point, and she devoured the whole avocado.

We also went through a phase of her loving plain scrambled eggs to all of a sudden not wanting to touch them. I learned that if I made casseroles or egg muffins with other flavors and ingredients in them however, she would eat them. She just needed a change up. I can totally relate. I don’t like having the same thing every morning either! Keep things interesting for your kids so they are excited to eat healthy foods!

There are lots of healthy muffin and breakfast cookie recipes available now too that you can sneak in lots of healthy ingredients.

Here are a few of our favorites:

#6: Control Snacking

This one took me awhile to figure out too, but when I started limiting Harper’s snacks, she started eating SO much more at meal times. Out of routine I used to offer her a snack mid morning and then right when she would wake up from her afternoon nap but I found that she wouldn’t eat much for lunch or dinner when I did this. I decided to stop offering it to her and just wait for her to tell me if she was hungry.

If she tells me she is hungry around 10:30 or 11, I go ahead and just do an early lunch so she gets in some more nutrient dense and filling foods. If she is still hungry after lunch, then I’ll offer some of our more snacks foods. I try to do the same for dinner.

You will have to use your judgment as a parent on the extra snacking outside of meal times. Harper has a tendency to tell me she is hungry if she is bored or wanting my attention. She will tell me she is hungry literally right after she had a HUGE breakfast. We as the parents do have to teach them self control also and can’t let them just eat all of the time. Know your kid to judge this one correctly. Sometimes they really are hungry as they are growing all of the time!

#7: Don’t Always Offer A Second Option

Kids are smart. If you always offer them a less healthy option after they refuse what you made for them to eat first, they will quickly learn that if they whine or complain about it then they will eventually get the foods they want. Again, you have to be the judge on this one as the parent what will be best for your child, but I believe if a kid is hungry enough, they will eat it.

Now that Harper is old enough to reason with, if she refuses to eat something I made her, I say “Ok, that’s fine, you can be done if you aren’t hungry, but if you are still hungry, I will leave this here for you to come eat when you are ready.” More often than not, the whole plate is empty an hour or so later. However, sometimes she just chooses not to eat it, but she doesn’t get anything else. Sometimes kids really aren’t hungry when we are all sitting down to eat. I don’t think we need to force them to eat if they aren’t hungry.

#8: Offer Foods In An Intentional Order

I don’t do this as much now as I did when we were first introducing foods to Harper, but I quickly learned that if I offered Harper fruit before her veggies or source of protein, nothing else would get eaten and she would only want more fruit.  So, in order to get a well balanced meal in for her, I would offer the less sweet foods first and then offer some fruit as a dessert.

#9: Relax

At the end of the day, if your kid doesn’t like their vegetables or anything healthy for that matter, this doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. However, don’t give up! Keep trying. It is so worth it to get your kids good nutrient dense meals and snacks throughout the day! I guarantee you will notice a huge difference in their behavior, potentially sleep patterns, their immune systems and so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holistically Fed © 2018 | Designed and Developed by CodeCreative.design