Cooking with Superfoods!

I had an awesome group join me tonight to prepare, and enjoy a yummy dinner full of superfoods!  Great food and great company.

Here’s what we prepared:

Salmon:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground ginger (optional)
  • 4 5 ounce (150 g) skinless salmon fillets

Lemon Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 3 cups (750 mL) baby spinach
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) finely chopped red onion

Cooking Instructions

  1. Mix the soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and ginger (if using); set aside.
  2. Pour mixture over salmon, cover and bake at 350 for 20 min, or until it flakes with a fork.
  3. Mix together the Lemon Dressing ingredients; set aside.
  4. In a salad bowl toss together spinach, avocado and red onion. Break salmon into large chunks and gently mix into salad. Serve Lemon Dressing on the side.

Sweet Potato Fries

  1. one large sweet potato
  2. sea salt (coarse)
  3. freshly ground black pepper, chunky
  4. good quality olive oil
  5. a peeler
  6. a sharp chef’s knife
  7. a cutting board
  8. a large baking sheet

Slice sweet potatoes in rounds and coat with  EV olive oil, add a dash of salt and pepper, bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

If it hurts you, don’t eat it!

I ate quinoa last night and almost died, I was praying for death is a truer statement.  I have a well established sensitivity to grain, and quinoa is especially lethal.   So when a few hours after eating  this wonder grain, I’m laying on the floor with my intestines twisting and gargling with contractions comparable to a level 10 transition phase… almost.  How is it possible that  there is this part of me that can’t let go of the notion that quinoa is “good” for me, it’s the good grain, I WANT IT!  If it hurts you, don’t eat it!

Here’s what happens when you have a food sensitivity.  For whatever reason something in the food triggers an immune response in you, swelling, itching, vomiting, excess mucus production, joint pain, etc.  Your body is perceiving that food as a foreign invader, so it has all these inflammatory responses to give it the boot.  Prolonged exposure to “offending foods” will compromise the intestinal barrier.  Meaning…the small intestine is like a screen, so nutrient molecules are released into the bloodstream.  Chronic irritation of that screen males the holes big enough for entire food particles and other substances to leak out of the intestine into the BLOOD STREAM!  Leaky Gut Syndrome. This is an emergency.  Food does not belong in the blood.  So what does your body do, It attacks itself.  So you went from food sensitivity to an autoimmune disease.  GULP, done with the quinoa.

If you suspect you have a food sensitivity, take this test.

1. Take your pulse for one full minute. There can be variations throughout the 60 seconds, so don’t just take it for 10 seconds and multiply, we need a perfect reading.

2. Put the suspect food in your mouth, chew 10 seconds, hold in your mouth, Don’t swallow it.

3. Retake pulse for another full minute.

If pulse raises 10 pulses or more you are sensitive to this food and you should remove it permanently.

Food sensitivities are very common in children.  The main culprits are dairy, corn, wheat, eggs, soy.  A common sign of food sensitivities in kiddos is dark circles under their eyes and chronic stuffy, or runny noses.

These Are the Good Old Days…

Things have changed dramatically since my last post.  It’s no longer 90 degrees, but a nice crisp October 47; and, there’s a new baby in the house.

No, I did not suddenly change into an American opossum and kick out a baby in 13 days.  It’s a baby chihuahua, Andre.  While retrieving my 13 year old daughter from a summer visit with her father, I noticed something moving in her bag.  You would understand why that is especially concerning if you’d ever seen the inside of her bedroom. It really could have been anything!  She quickly explained that her dads neighbor was going back to college and could not bring the dog. She added in a tone that indicated that she had not taken a breath since she got in the car, that she would be absolutely, completely, totally RESPONSIBLE for his every need…PAHLEEEEZZZ mommy….  She knew this was bull, and would likely last a day, as well as I did.  Her explanation for not asking me if she could bring the dog home was,” I knew you would say no, but I knew if you saw him first you would love him and let him stay.” touché  As much as I did NOT want to reinforce such naughtiness, I relented…He is pretty cute.

2 months later…He is a pretty good dog.  He goes to the door when he needs to go out, most of the time. This is the definition of a good dog , right?  Here’s the part that is more toddler than dog… If I don’t look at him when he wants my attention he will sit at my feet and bark .  If this doesn’t work, he will paw, more like DIG a HOLE in my leg.  He follows me everywhere, including the bathroom, he sleeps most of the day (on my lap), he loves to go to the park, and he cries when I go to the store without him.

Then there is the naughty cat that chases him across the room to yell at him and give him a thwack, just for existing, and ruining what was once a perfect kitty cat life.  Last but not least, my lovely 13 year old daughter, beautiful, smart, compassionate, and thirteen.  Sometimes she is a bit like a toddler, requiring plenty of rest , cherrios in our pocket so she never gets hungry, and her “toys” ( cell phone, i-pod, computer) to entertain her.  Tell her no and she’ll stomp her foot WHYYYYYYY?

Couple all this with building a business on a very ambitious timeline, teaching, and practicing nutrition and life feels very chaotic.  Sometimes I notice myself not breathing, or eating my lunch quickly at the counter (bad for digestion), or not exercising so I can get some work done.

Tonight, as I tucked my sweet beautiful daughter in (And hour prior she was not so sweet and I told her to take a hike) I noticed her cute little belly button and I was reminded that we were once connected.  I grew that independent, free thinking young woman, in my own body.  She is my thoughts, my breath, my nutrition, personified.  Even in the moments that it feels like we speak different languages, we will always be connected.  Each day as she grows I realize what little time I have left to teach her and protect her before she leaves for college. These really are the good old days, with the chaos, the busy, the dog poo, the forgotten homework, the messy room, the teen tantrums, family dinners, Glee night, and games of uno.  This is her childhood, this is the time in which I am witnessing the unfolding, the blossoming, of who I am certain will be an amazing woman.  I get to hug her (whenever she’ll let me) and tell her I love her everyday.  I am grateful.

A Bakers Dozen

I am baking today.  Nothing about that sounds crazy, yet…  It’s 90 degrees outside, I don’t have AC, so it’s about 120 in the house. My body had a very busy week; tons of strength training, cycling, paddling, yoga etc.  So today is a rest day and cooking is my other passion.  I love preparing yummy, whole, healthy meals for my family.  It’s a way of nurturing that comes very naturally to me.  I think maybe I was a little old lady in another life.

BUT, There is another very primal reason I am compelled to bake yummy treats in 90 degree weather.  I am in day 18 of my cycle, which means I ovulated about 2 days ago.  There is an egg in the vault.  Post ovulation our temperature rises as a result of increased progesterone, this warm hospitable environment will help  to sustain our egg for several days. If conception occurs increased progesterone is necessary to retain the pregnancy.  We run a bit warmer when we are pregnant.   What’s progesterone’s connection to baking?  Progesterone makes us less sensitive to insulin, putting us in “storage” mode just in case we conceive and we need the extra fuel for later.  It also causes increased carbohydrate cravings, because our body’s innate intelligence knows that more carbohydrates equals more sugar in the bloodstream and with our cells less responsive to insulin, that sugar or glucose gets stored in the FAT cells for later.

Here are some tips for handling those cravings without the consequence of extra fat storage!

Ditch the Grain

All grains, whole or not raise blood sugar levels.  There aren’t any nutrients offered in grain that you can’t get from other foods. Ever heard of a grain deficiency?  Didn’t think so.  You can get the fiber from veggies.

Repeat after me,  Sugar is the Devil…

There is not a single artificial sweetener that hasn’t been implicated in cancer in animals. Avoid them like the plague that they are.

Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup have metabolic consequences similar to alcoholism, including scarring and fatty deposits in the liver…Yummy  Don’t be scammed by arguments that corn syrup is okay because it is sans fructose, It’s all garbage.  Here’s a major bummer, Agave, once thought to be the answer to our sugar prayers is now believed to be similar to HFCS.  www.mercola.com for more on Agave.

There are so many sweeteners to avoid, it’s easier to list the ones to embrace.

1. Stevia – a carbohydrate -free sweetener derived from a South American herb.  Not only does this not raise blood sugar levels, it helps stabilize them!  Stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar so it doesn’t take much.

2. Raw Coconut Nectar – Does not influence blood sugar levels, is an abundant source of minerals, contains 17 amino acids, vitamin C, and broad spectrum B vitamins.  With it’s neutral PH it won’t cause inflammation like sugar.

3.  Date Sugar, Maple Syrup (pure, not Mrs. Butters worth), Molasses , Dark Berries

Here’s what I baked today.

Paleo-Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1½ – Almond Flour
  • 3/4 cup – Canned Pumpkin (60cal)
  • 3lrg – Whole Eggs (215cal)
  • 1 tsp – Baking powder
  • 1 tsp – Baking soda
  • ½ tsp – Ground Cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (5cal)
  • 1/8 tsp – Salt
  • 1/4 cup – Raw Coconut Nectar
  • 10g (1/3 scoop) –Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

Mix all ingredients, bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Makes six muffins.

Raw Cheesecake

This delicious treat can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After a piece or three, you will feel satisfied and nourished without the guilt and the sore tummy. There is no gluten, sugar or impossible to digest dairy involved. And best of all, it’s all raw, which means it’s chock-a-block with enzymes and bacteria to heal your digestion.

  • 2 cups Almonds
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 4 cups cream cheese, softened
  • 4 organic or free range eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • pinch sea salt
  • selected tropical fruits

In a food processor, process dates and almonds until they form a sticky mass. Press into a buttered 9 inch by 13 inch pyrex pan to form a crust.

Put egg yolks and milk in a sauce pan, beat lightly, sprinkle with gelatin and warm slightly until gelatin is dissolved. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, coconut nectar and vanilla and process until smooth. Add yolk/milk mixture and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator while beating egg whites. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, fold into cream-cheese mixture and pour into crust. Chill several hours before serving. Selected fruits cut up and sprinkled with lemon juice to keep from browning, make a tasty topping which will entice squeals of delight from your family and friends. Enjoy.

This recipe can be found in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions


Too Much Weight For Mom During Pregnancy Raises Obesity Risk For Baby

by SCOTT HENSLEY

pregnant woman

iStockphoto.comMore weight for mom, means more weight for baby.

If there was any doubt left about the hazards of too much weight gain during pregnancy, an analysis of births in New Jersey and Michigan over more than a decade may settle things.

Women who put on a lot of weight while pregnant were much more likely to have heavier kids at birth than those whose weight gain was modest.

For women who added more than about 53 pounds, their babies were more than twice as likely to weigh more than 8.8 pounds as compared with women who put on around 18 to 22 pounds.

Now, you might be thinking that having a bigger infant is a good thing. And while it’s certainly the case that having a baby who weighs too little can lead to health problems, an overweight infant isn’t such a great idea either.

Way back in 1976, some other researchers found that being a very big baby is strongly associated with becoming an overweight adult.

So these latest findings, just published online by the Lancet, underscore the advice to women limit how much weight they put on during pregnancy, both for their own sake and for the future health of their children.

How much weight gain is OK? That depends on a woman’s body mass index, or BMI. For obese women (BMI greater than 30), a good weight-gain target is 11 to 20 pounds. Women in good health and with a normal BMI (that’s 18.5 to 24.9) should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should put on more weight — 28 to 40 pounds. And overweight women (BMI of 25 to 29.9) should keep the gain to 15 to 25 pounds.

For still more, check out the Institute of Medicine’s 2009 update to weight gain guidelines during pregnancy.

Gender-bender

This is from a great article written by Connie L. Agnew, M.D. for Parents magazine.  A friend of mine clipped it out and shared it with me.  She has had success with this method twice.  First she got her boy and now she is expecting a baby girl!

While some studies have shown a 70 to 75% success rate in using timed intercourse to determine gender, other research has shown no influence.

Here’s the theory behind timed intercourse: A child’s gender is determined by a pair of chromosomes: XX for female and XY for male. Since a women’s eggs contain only X and the man’s sperm contain X or Y, the sperm is the de facto decision maker regarding gender.

Studies indicate that sperm carrying the Y chromosome are faster swimmers, while those with the X chromosome seem to live longer in the woman’s reproductive tract.  Therefore, to conceive a boy, it is advised that sex take place close to ovulation- on days 12 to 14 of a 28 day cycle- to let those speedy swimmers reach the egg first.  If you are hoping for a girl, intercourse should occur well before ovulation- days 9 to 11 to allow the longer living X chromosome bearing sperm the necessary time to reach the egg. (sperm carrying the Y chromosome will have expired by the time the egg is released.

I love my Java, but does it love me?

I’ve managed to survive four days without the coveted cup of coffee.  Days 1 and 2 it felt a bit like I had a fish bowl over my head.  My hearing was dulled, my head felt like the end of each nerve ending was pulsing and throbbing, and I found myself slow to complete a thought or sentence.  Everything just felt a little dulled and disconnected.  The symptoms are tolerable, because I know they will soon pass…But my inner voice keeps screaming GO.GET.COFFEE!  I’m nearly obsessed, it’s ridiculous!  It’s not like I sit and brew pot after pot of coffee everyday, I drink 1 single cup of coffee, just 1!  Why is every coffee shop suddenly calling my name.  I’m in yoga connecting to something greater than myself, connecting to source, and I’m thinking; maybe I’ll slip out just before savasana and grab a mocha at Doppio.  I don’t drink mochas, never have! Why stop at coffee, throw some corn syrup in there too. Why the obsession?  Pure and simple…addiction.  Caffeine an I have been dancing this dance for a long time, I leave him, but I always come back.

What is Caffeine?
Though many of us don’t realize it, caffeine is actually a drug, much like nicotine and alcohol. It is also addictive, which is why so many people crave their coffee!   Caffeine, also known as guareine and mateine, is a naturally-occurring substance found in a number of plants, beans, and seeds. It acts as a stimulant on our central nervous system, and is absorbed into our bloodstream just 15 minutes after intake. When absorbed in large quantities, caffeine can cause a number of adverse physical reactions. Including, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased sweat production – Fun!  Caffeine also works as a diuretic, which means it is dehydrating and can leave you fatigued and mineral deficient.

Effects of Caffeine on Your Baby
Caffeine is thought to pose certain risks during pregnancy. Though researchers debate how much caffeine is acceptable during pregnancy, there is evidence to suggest than any amount will cause some physical effects on your little one. This is because caffeine passes through your placenta and is absorbed by your baby. Adults are able to break down caffeine fairly quickly, thanks to chemicals inside of our body. However, your developing baby can’t do this as efficiently. This means that caffeine will be stored inside of his blood for longer periods of time, and could reach dangerously high levels. Most of us are familiar with that “over-caffeinated” feeling, imagine what that feels like for a developing fetus, YIKES!

Caffeine also affects other aspects of your baby’s health. It is known to increase your baby’s heart rate and may affect how much he moves in utero. Because caffeine is a diuretic, it can also affect the nutrition your baby receives from you. Caffeine intake may cause you to absorb less iron and calcium from foods, a possible detriment to your baby’s overall fetal development.  There are also studies that link caffeine with an increased risk of miscarriage AND there appears to be an even higher risk with coffee, leading researchers to believe that the other chemicals in coffee pose an increased risk.

I worked in an OB/Gyn office for 13 years so I am no stranger to the opinion that the occasional cup of coffee is probably fine.  I have not been able to find the specific studies that prove that theory.  It’s hard for me to imagine anyone volunteering their growing child for that study.  What I do know, is that I have waited a long time for this experience and I won’t be volunteering mine.   Soldiering on…

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