Nutrition

Happy, Healthy Cows (and the benefits of grass fed meat!)

Driving home on I-5 after enjoying Spring Break in Southern California sparked a great discussion in our car about happy, healthy grass-fed cows and those living on the “ranch” about halfway through our 6 hour drive. The hills were so green thanks to the immense amount of rain we’ve been having this year. The cows have room to roam and endless amounts of healthy grass, the food their bodies are intended to eat and digest, on which to graze. The other, let’s call them sad cows, were packed in on dirt (and other substances that are brown), eating side by side out of troughs. My guess is they were eating corn and soy based fed, and not the non-GMO organic type.

 

My 12 year old daughter decided to become a vegetarian after seeing how sad and unhealthy these cows appeared. I certainly support her not consuming meat from these cows, as their meat can be inflammatory, has more unhealthy Omega-6 fats and the fat is where the toxins from possible antibiotics, glyphosate and other chemicals from their food is stored. I tried to share with her, however, that the happy grass-fed cows are eating a diet they are intended to eat, grass, that is full of vitamins from the sun and minerals from the soil and as a result it contains more healthy Omega-3 fats as opposed to more Omega-6s (and all those vitamins and minerals!).

 


  • lower amounts of total fat
  • a healthier ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids
  • more minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc
  • increased levels of beta-carotene
  • increased amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and E
  • increased amounts of conjugated linoleic acid…a potential cancer fighter

 


 

When you think about it, it kind of sounds like they are what they eat?!? Hmmm…what an incredible concept! (sorry for the sarcasm…just had to do it)

I am saddened and frustrated when my clients have been told to eliminate beef from their diets for health reasons. Grass-fed beef can be part of a HIGHLY nutritious, balanced diet and beneficial for your overall health. If you are discouraged by the price just eat less of it and fill your plates with more nutrient dense veggies. You can also subscribe to an online delivery if you can’t find it locally, like @butcher_box or @primalpastures. We’re having grass-fed beef taco salad for dinner tomorrow (except, of course for my new vegetarian)…what’s your favorite way to enjoy grass-fed beef???

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

My kids had ice cream for breakfast this Valentine’s Day! This super easy, make in your blender “ice cream” has no gluten, can be dairy free, has no added sugar and is full of nutrient dense healthy fruit and Omega-3 rich seeds.

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Super easy, full of nutrient dense real foods and no added sugar. Flax, hemp and chia seeds are all great sources of soluble fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and a healthy source of Omega-6 fatty acids. This nutrient dense "ice cream" can be enjoyed as a dessert, a snack or even as a surprise breakfast. 
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas (remove peel before freezing)
  • 2 cups frozen organic strawberries
  • 1/2-1 cup milk of choice I used Organic Pastures Raw Whole Milk, but almond milk or coconut milk can work too. You can also just use water.
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid as needed, keeping it light on liquid to achieve the ice cream consistency vs.  smoothie consistency. 

5 Ways to Love Your Heart this Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day. I’ll take any excuse to tell those I care about how important they are to me. That includes telling you how much I care about you and your heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men. There are simple steps you can take, every day, to tell your HEART how much you care about it and how you want to help it keep beating happily for many, many years to come. While it sounds like a  Nutritional Therapy Practitioner would mostly care about nutrition, I focus on the individual as a whole and how both food and lifestyle can help support a well-balanced, healthy body with less chance of developing dis-ease.  Studies have shown that common atherosclerotic heart disease is not  genetic, but rather a result of both eating an unhealthy diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits.[1] 

You should feel empowered! You have a lot of control over the health of your heart!

 

Which of these nutritional and lifestyle recommendations can you incorporate in your daily life? Pick one to work on today and for the week ahead, then add another. Incorporating any of these, or even better, all five, into your life will make your heart-and the rest of your body-thank you! (I saved one of my favorites for last so be sure to get to number 5!)

 

1. Eat more colorful vegetables and fruits.

There’s a very good reason why eating more vegetables comes up all the time. The more colors on your plate, the more protective properties such as antioxidants, phytonutrients,  vitamins and minerals you are giving your body. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage done by free radicals which are unstable molecules that can harm cellular structure and eventually can led to disease. Free radicals are difficult to avoid and can be caused by both internal and external sources, such as environmental pollutants, radiation, pesticides, cigarette smoke, alcohol, bad oils, inflammation and even exercise. Troubles can start, however, “when the critical balance between free radical generation and antioxidant defenses is unfavorable”.[3]  This is when oxidative stress occurs, potentially leading to a variety of conditions including heart disease.

 

Some fruits and vegetables* with the most potent antioxidants include:
  • blueberries and other berries
  • dark colored grapes
  • artichokes
  • apples
  • dark green veggies
  • sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables
  • citrus fruit
  • Two other top sources of antioxidants include green tea and nuts, especially walnuts

*Organic fruits and vegetables are highly recommended, especially those whose skin you eat

 

2. Drink More Water

Our bodies are 55-60% water. The liquid portion of our blood, or blood plasma, is made up of 92% water.[4]  When you are dehydrated your blood volume decreases, requiring your body to retain more sodium in your blood, which then leads to high blood pressure. Thick, viscous blood is harder to circulate throughout your body, raising blood pressure even more. [5] Drink more water and help that blood flow freely!

Ways to Drink More Water
  • Drink a glass when you wake up, before doing anything else
  • Have a stainless steel or glass water bottle with you at all times; on your commute, at your desk, on errands and at kids’ events
  • Set a water timer on your phone for every 30-60 minutes and take a few sips of water
  • Aim to drink ½ your weight in ounces of clean, filtered or mineral water each day

 

 

3. Move Every Day

The best exercise for your heart is the one you will do every day! Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, states in Put Your Heart in Your Mouth that “moderate but consistent exercise is the best for your heart and your overall health.” You don’t have to run a marathon, just get out there and MOVE!

According to an analysis of 22 studies that included more than 320,000 adults, modest activity—even as little as one hour of walking or gardening per week—was linked to lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and death from all causes. One study found that people who did moderate exercise just 15 minutes a day tended to live an average of three years longer than their inactive peers. [6]

 

Ways to Move Daily
  • Don’t insist on the closest parking spot! Park farther away, walk a little more and/or take the stairs
  • Walk your kids to or from school
  • Make a date with a friend to go for a walk or hike
  • Explore new trails with your family on the weekends
  • In a pinch for time? Choose a 7 minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout on an app…everyone can make time for that!
  • Set a timer to get up and walk for 5 minutes if you are sitting for hours at a desk (and use the bathroom because you are drinking so much water!)

 

 

4. Prioritize Quality Sleep

Quality sleep and enough of it is essential for both heart health and overall health. A 2011 summary of findings from 15 studies found that people who slept fewer than 6 hours a night had a 50% higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease seven to 25 years later.[7]  They also found that taking a half hour or more to fall asleep makes you 52% more likely to have ischemic heart disease. Sleep deprivation has been linked to high blood pressure, increased calcium deposits and an increased chance of developing metabolic syndrome which further increases your chance of heart disease.  [8]  Love your heart and make getting 8 hours a night a priority!

 

How to Improve Your Sleep
  • Create a regular sleep routine, including turning off all electronics at least 30-60 minutes before sleep
  • Create an optimal sleep environment in your bedroom (window treatments to block all lights, cool temperature, cozy bed and linens)
  • Add calming essential oils, like lavender, to your routine in diffusers or on your pillow
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime
  • Keep your sleep schedule 7 days a week, but add some additional sleep on weekends if you need it
  • Take relaxing, meditative deep breaths as you prepare for sleep
  • Going to bed before 11:00 pm gives you more restorative sleep because you are sleeping with your natural circadian rhythm (even if you get the same amount of sleep going to bed after midnight!)

 

 

5. Connect with Others and LAUGH!

Isn’t that a great one?  Meaningful connections with other people, people you enjoy spending time with, has shown to reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart and overall health. If you felt like you needed an excuse to make fun plans with your family and friends, you now have it! Laughter can reduce your blood pressure, improve your heart health, relieve pain and reduce anxiety and stress. Do something every day that makes you happy and in doing so you will create positive, healing biochemistry in your body. [9]

 

Ways to Connect
  • Make dates with friends
  • Watch silly cat videos (or whatever makes you laugh!)
  • Find a funny show to watch together with your family (Ellen’s Game of Games is a good one!)
  • Have a family game night and play games that make you laugh, like Apples to Apples
  • What makes you laugh and smile?? Figure it out and do it!

 

I hope your day is full of reminders of how much you are loved and valued. Be sure those reminders come from you as well-love yourself and do something to show that love every day.  If you are interested in working with me one-on-one to develop a wellness plan for you based on your specific health goals, please schedule a complimentary discovery call on my services page. 

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in or through my Website is not to be perceived or relied upon in any way as medical advice or mental health advice, nor does it create a practitioner-patient relationship in any way. I am not providing health care, medical or nutritional therapy services or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure in any manner whatsoever any physical ailment, or any mental or emotional issue, disease or condition pertaining to any individual outside of an established patient relationship that I currently may have with that person. In addition, my Website, Programs and Services are not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your own Medical Provider (including advanced practice nurse, physician, physician’s assistant, or any other licensed health professional), Mental Health Provider (including psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker).  The information contained on this Website or provided through my Programs and Services has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

 

 

 

Sources

[1] The End of Heart Disease by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/

[4]

https://www.sharecare.com/health/blood-basics/what-is-blood-plasma

[5] https://www.livestrong.com/article/150464-the-effects-of-dehydration-on-the-cardiovascular-system/

[6] https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-much-exercise-is-optimal-for-heart-health

[7] https://www.tuck.com/heart-disease-and-sleep/

[8] https://www.tuck.com/heart-disease-and-sleep/

[9] Put Your Heart in Your Mouth by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are full of important macro and micronutrients. They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, are full of antioxidants, quality protein and fiber; making these little seeds an easy and valuable addition to your nutrient dense diet.

 

A great way to add chia seeds to your family’s menu is with chia pudding. When chia seeds are soaked in liquid they swell to a gel-like consistency, transforming the mixture into a pudding-like consistency. My family loves chia pudding as a breakfast and I tend to reserve Fridays for our “take a break from eggs”, “Yeah it’s Friday!” special breakfast. I created this recipe when I was teaching my first RESTART class in the fall. We are bombarded with pumpkin spice everything this time of year and it’s almost impossible to partake in this classic fall flavor without also bombarding your body with tons of unnecessary sugar. This Pumpkin Chia Pudding is full of antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C, all helping to strengthen your immune system and fight infections. The addition of cinnamon not only adds great flavor but it also helps to stabilize blood sugar and curb sugar cravings. Add a touch of natural sweetness by topping with chopped apples and coconut or any organic berries you love. I hope you and your family enjoy the ease, deliciousness and nutrient dense powerhouse that is chia pudding!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

My family loves chia pudding for breakfast and the fact that it takes about 5 minutes to assemble the night before and it's ready to dish up in the morning, well, there's no better way to kick off a Friday morning than that!
Prep Time5 mins
Inactive Time30 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: chia seeds, gluten free, pumpkin, whole30
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk I like Native Forrest Simple, no guar gum added
  • 1 can water
  • ½ can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 7-8 tbsp. chia seeds

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, in blender until well mixed. Pour into large glass jar or bowl.
  • Add chia seeds. Shake or stir to combine well. Let refrigerate at least ½ hour. I make mine the night before and it’s ready in the morning.
  • Top with granny smith apples and coconut flakes or topping of your choice.  (bananas, blueberries, etc.)