Wholesome Healing

PALEO BEEF STEW

stew
INGREDIENTS:
(serves 4)
2.5 lbs cubed beef for stew
3 tbsp coconut oil or grass-fed butter
4 cups beef stock
1/2 large organic yellow onion, chopped
3 large organic carrots, chopped
4 small organic red potatoes, cubed
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp fresh rosmary, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil or butter. Stir in the onions, carrots, and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add in the beef, followed by the tomatoes, stock, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
3. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the lid, slightly increase the heat, and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes (or until desired thickness is reached).

PALEO STRAWBERRY APPLE CRISP

paleo crisp
Please note: This recipe was adapted from one by BIG EATS… tiny kitchen. Go here to see the original.

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups green apples, peeled and diced
3 cups fresh strawberries, quartered (with stems removed)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of arrowroot

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

1 cup of almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I used raw hazelnuts)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with nonstick spray or rub with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients. Place filling ingredients into 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, salt, baking powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup. Mix in walnuts and shredded unsweetened coconut. Mixture will look like wet badder.
  4. Sprinkle or crumble topping over fruit filling.
  5. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then dig in.

    Optional: top with fresh homemade whipped cream, or dairy-free homemade whipped cream using chilled cream from coconut milk. (See the Whipped Cream section on my List of Substitutions.)

 

EASY PALEO CHILI & PEPPADEW PEPPER ALMOND BREAD

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EASY PALEO CHILI

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons coconut oil or other high heat oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound ground meat (I use bison)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 jar (12 ounces) of roasted red peppers (no sugar added), drained and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
optional: chopped cilantro and/or sliced green onions

DIRECTIONS:
1. Over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add chopped onions and minced garlic to the oil and allow them to soften and become fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
2. Add the ground meat and cook thoroughly.
3. Once meat is cooked through, add chopped tomatoes, chopped red peppers, and chili powder. Mix until well combined.
4. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover the saucepan, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
5. Season with salt and pepper and, if desired, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and/or sliced green onions.

IMG_3658
PEPPADEW PEPPER ALMOND BREAD

INGREDIENTS:
4 large eggs
2/3 cup melted (but cooled) grass-fed butter or ghee
2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*1/4 cup minced Peppadew peppers (whole, sweet, HOT Piquante peppers)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

*Note: These do contain sugar.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together eggs and melted butter in a large bowl.
3. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until moistened.
4. Stir in minced Peppadew peppers.
5. Rub the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with melted oil and pour batter into dish.
6. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until the center is well set.
7. Serve with Easy Paleo Chili and top with grass-fed butter, if desired.

DIRECTIONS:

HOW TO NATURALLY BOOST IMMUNITY

Living in a house full of people, trust me… I know all about being sick. It’s amazing how quickly things fly around. 1 person gets sick and before you know it, all 7 of us are sick. I don’t know about anyone else, but I cannot afford to constantly be sick. So after many attempts at “dodging the bullet”, I think I’ve finally narrowed down the trick to avoiding the bug… or at least fighting it more quickly with a stronger immune system. Here are my favorite tips & tricks…

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FOUR SUPPLEMENTS I TAKE ON A REGULAR BASIS:

1. High quality, whole-food multi-vitamin
High quality brands include: Divine Health, Garden of Life, and Mega Food
2. Fermented Cod Liver Oil or high quality Fish Oil
I prefer Fermented Cod Liver Oil for the vitamin D boost, but fish oil is great too. Just look for a high quality one and supplement with extra vitamin D if needed.
3. High quality Vitamin C
Vitamin C is usually made from corn, most of which is GM. If you are trying to avoid GMOs, look for a high quality, whole food vitamin. Here is one made without corn.
Note: I supplement with vitamin C because I have thyroid issues but I also love it because it helps me to recover faster when I workout.
4. Magnesium
This is best taken not as a vitamin but as a mineral bath with magnesium flakes. (I’ll get into this more on another post).

supplements

FOUR SUPPLEMENTS I ADD TO BOOST IMMUNITY:

1. Double dose of Fermented Cod Liver Oil or high quality Fish Oil
I only double the dose for a few days, then go back to my normal dose.
2. Double dose of high quality Vitamin C
Same as above, I only double it for about 3 days, then go back to my normal daily dose.
3. Oil of Oregano 
A powerful antioxidant that only needs to be used for a short amount of time to boost immunity, depending on the supplement form. If it’s concentrated, you may only need to use if for a few days, and then stop.
4. Elderberry Syrup
An awesome anti-viral remedy that can be used as many days as you feel is necessary. Just mix it into a little water, add ice, and it tastes just like a berry tea!

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FOUR THINGS I TRY TO DO DIFFERENTLY TO BOOST IMMUNITY:

1. Get more sleep & take it easy.

Your body does it’s most important repairing work during times of sleep. It’s wise to increase your normal sleep time to allow your body to fight off any infection. Beyond more sleep, you should also try reducing unnecessary stresses. This can mean doing more walking instead of high intensity or long duration workouts or anything that causes you to feel over-stressed and fatigued. 
2. Avoid refined sugar like the plague. 
This was something I had heard before I really decided to try it. The fact is, sugar does cause inflammation in the body and makes it much more difficult to absorb vitamin C, so even if you are taking some vitamin C here and there, you may be sabotaging your immunity with all that extra sugar you’re indulging in to make yourself feel better. This really hit me when I got sick right before I started a sugar detox. At the end of day 1 of the detox, I felt 50% better. On day 2, I was 100% better. If you’ve already caught something and you’re battling a sore throat, ginger tea with raw honey is great, so is raw honey mixed with a little cinnamon. Yes, honey is sugar but if you buy raw then it’s not refined. 
3. Drink more water and less everything else.
Flush out the toxins with water. If you can, try to drink less caffeine, milk, sodas, juices, etc. Teas that don’t contain caffeine are completely acceptable. Certain varieties can actually help reduce inflammation (try rooibos or chamomile).
4. Eat real food.
If you don’t know what I mean by this, go over to my Real Food Challenge post to get the idea. Basically, you want to minimize overly-processed junk food as much as possible. Let real food be your medicine. Really, this is the most important step you can take to help your body overcome a virus. 

HOW TO BECOME A LABEL READER

Whole-Foods-Packaging

NUTRITION FACTS VERSES LIST OF INGREDIENTS

The nutritional information of a product is the part of the label that tells you how many calories the product consist of, as well as how many grams of fat, carbs, etc. While this information is definitely helpful for many people (especially those with blood sugar issues, etc.) it does not tell you everything about the product. Unfortunately, our culture has taught us that this is what matters most (low-fat, low-carb, low calorie, low-sugar) and so many people really only look at that section of the label, completely not realizing that what they are eating may actually be a far cry from real food.

So, if eating healthy, real food is your goal, then you need to start paying attention to the list of ingredients. The list of ingredients will tell you much more about what is actually in the product. You cannot simply trust the advertisement on the front label (advertising is so deceiving!) Think about it, their goal is to get you to want to buy the product. And who has time to read labels anyway? Something can be labeled “organic” and many people will buy it mainly for that reason, without ever checking the ingredient list. Advertisement is powerful.

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READING LABELS

A good rule of thumb for reading labels is the fewer ingredients listed, the better. For example, something that lists only chicken, water, and salt as the ingredients qualifies as a “real food” item. On the other hand, a different brand may advertise the same product but include 10 more ingredients, half of which you can’t even pronounce. This probably would not qualify as a “real food” item.

However, there is something to be said for the foods that ARE real that contain more than 5 or 6 ingredients. Many of the recipes on my blog contain more than 5 or 6 ingredients and they are considered “real food” recipes. So, technically, you could have a product with over 10 ingredients listed, but if they are all natural, real, unprocessed ingredients, it’s totally fine.

Another good rule of thumb to go by when reading labels is to consider each listed ingredient individually. Are they all items you would buy to cook with in your own kitchen at home? For example, if preservatives are listed in the ingredients, then it’s probably not something you want to buy.

Lastly, another  trick to reading labels is to really look at those first few ingredients and ask yourself if they represent what’s advertised. For example, if the second ingredient listed on a box of “Almond Granola” is sugar and the third is maple syrup then you know that instead of oats and almonds for breakfast, you’ll be eating primarily sugar covered in milk. Not good.

Nutrition-Facts-Panel-with-Ingredient-Statement-Allergan-Statement

INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

Although it’s nearly impossible to cover them all on this short post, I can give you a list of the most popular ones that you probably see everyday. These are ingredients that you most definitely want to avoid, when possible:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
HYDROGENATED AND PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS
Can also be listed as mono- and diglyceride, high-stearate, or stearic rich.
MSG (MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE)
Ingredients that always contain MSG: Glutamic acid, glutamate, monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, yeast extract, anything “hydrolyzed” and any “hydrolyzed protein”, autolyzed yeast, and gelatin.
Ingredients that usually contain MSG: flavors, flavorings, broth, stock, maltodextrin, protease, malt extract, soy sauce, and
seasonings.
PRESERVATIVES (TBHQ, BHT, OR BHA)
ARTIFICIAL COLORS
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS
SYNTHETIC SWEETENERS
Such as: Aspartame, Acesulfame-K (Acesulfame Potassium), Cyclamates, Saccharine, and Sucralose.
Brand names include: NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure, Sunette, Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin, Necta Sweet, Sweet Twin, and Splenda.

SOY (almost always genetically modified)
MANUFACTURED OILS
Such as: Canola oil, vegatable oil, or cottonseed oil
GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS
Most common GM foods: corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papayas, and some zucchini.
NITRATES AND NITRITES

 

*For a more extensive list with descriptions and very helpful information, go here.

 

7 DAY REAL FOOD CHALLENGE

real food

WHAT IS IT?

The 7 Day Real Food Challenge is an idea I came up with to help people who really want to eat healthier but don’t know where or how to start. I know that the idea of eating healthy can be very overwhelming, especially if you have other very important responsibilities on your plate (and who doesn’t?).

This idea really came to me when I first started to receive feedback from the 30 Day Sugar Detox. Those who completed it came back to me with amazing results including, weight loss, clearer skin, minimal cravings, and better digestion. Fantastic!

However, there were many others who expressed great interest in doing the detox, but it just seemed too overwhelming to commit to. Those are the ones I’m after this time around. You who have such a strong desire to be healthier but just can’t find the time or motivation to really get started. You who find yourself time after time eating the same stuff that you know is not good for you (because you don’t feel so good afterwards) but you don’t know how to say no because you’ve said yes for so long. I’m doing this challenge for you, because I know that getting started is the hardest part. But be encouraged, because once you feel the difference, it creates less of a desire to go back.

The key to success in eating well that I think so many miss is that at the root of it all, it’s really not about eating less calories or less fat or even less sugar (although one or more of these things can have there place for certain individuals, it still should not be the focus). It’s about eating more nutritionally dense foods that help keep you satisfied. I think so many people choose to focus on 1 or more of the aforementioned things and end up missing the point entirely. The problem is, our society has embraced this idea of “dieting” and “losing weight” so much that even our foods in the grocery store are marketed this way (“low-fat”, “sugar-free”, “fat-free”, etc.) and we buy into it, thinking these foods are gonna help us “get healthy”. These foods are not gonna help you get healthy. Sure you may see some weight loss for some time, but that is in no way an indication that you are healthy. There is so much wrong with this type of thinking, I really don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll leave that explanation for another time.

So, in essence, this challenge is a foundational way to jumpstart your healthy eating lifestyle and retrain your mind to stop the “diet thinking” and just nourish yourself. Hopefully this guide will provide helpful tips to get you excited about your new journey.

WHEN:

The 7 Day Real Food Challenge will begin next Monday, June 10th and will end on Sunday, June 16th (However, hopefully you will be inspired to continue eating this way, but that’s entirely up to you).

THE DETAILS:

Okay, so I bet you’re wondering how do-able this is. Well, lucky for you, I designed this to be a very short and easy (read: DO-ABLE) challenge. So if you aren’t joining in on the fun, you basically have zero excuses. ;) Once the challenge is completed, it is up to you to assess how you feel compared to how you normally feel and decide if you want to continue eating this way… or mostly this way (believe me, I know that eating 100% perfectly healthy all the time is just not realistic). For these 7 days, you’re gonna need to buckle down and be very strict though, to get accurate results. That means, for 7 days it is 100%, all in. If you choose to continue this journey beyond the 7 days, be realistic with yourself, give yourself some grace, but also HAVE GOALS to keep yourself in-line.

Okay, so…. here are the rules…

FOODS/DRINKS YOU CANNOT CONSUME FOR THE 7 DAYS:

1. Anything that contains an ingredient that you cannot pronounce or don’t know what it is. (Fair enough, right?)
2. Anything that contains refined grains, such as white flour, pasta or tortillas (corn or flour). (White rice in moderation, is okay.)
3. Anything that contains refined sweeteners, such as white sugar, corn syrup, or artificial stuff like Splenda.
4. All deep-fried foods (because they are often made using highly refined oils).
5. If it’s questionable, then it’s probably a no-go. Just put it down… walk away from the brownies, sir.
6. Anything that contains artificial colors, flavors, etc. (I mean, this is called a REAL food challenge, after all.)

WHAT YOU CAN HAVE DURING THE REAL FOOD CHALLENGE:

1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
2. Lots of fruits and vegetables.
3. Dairy products like whole milk, unsweetened plain yogurt, eggs, and cheese.
4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (sprouted grains are best, like Ezekiel bread, found in the freezer section of most grocery stores).
5. Seafood (wild caught is optimal).
6. Meats such as turkey, beef, and chicken.
7. Beverages limited to water, milk, kefir, all natural juices, & naturally sweetened coffee & tea.
8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and popcorn.
9. All natural sweeteners including local raw honey, 100% grade B maple syrup (or grade A with only “maple syrup” listed in the ingredients), organic cane sugar, and fruit juice concentrates are all acceptable in moderation.

HELPFUL TIPS:

1. If you’re going to consume dairy, it’s best to choose organic, whole, & unsweetened.
2. If you can afford it, choose organic with fruits and veggies as well. Check out this handy list for foods that need to be prioritized when buying organic.
3. Check out my post on Substitutions for replacements for refined grains, oils, dairy, etc. While you’re at it, check out some recipes too, to help you get started.
4. Purge your pantry. Even if it’s just temporarily, get a box and fill it with all the packaged crap you won’t be eating and put it somewhere out of sight or hard to get to (preferably in the trash can or donation center, but the basement is fine). If you really feel like you can’t live without these foods because they make you feel so great all the time, then you can put them back in your pantry after the challenge is done (it literally hurt me to type those words, I hope you know).

A QUICK WORD ABOUT REAL FOODS

Yes, they are more expensive than refined, packaged foods because they are worth more! Consider your priorities… do you really need another obnoxiously colored V-neck T-shirt? I didn’t think so.

Happy eating, folks. See ya on the other side. :)

GRAINLESS COCONUT GRANOLA

granola
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw honey or grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large frying pan, melt the coconut oil and then pour into a large bowl.
2. Add vanilla and honey to the melted oil in the bowl and mix well.
3. With a paper towel, dry the frying pan of any excess oil and return to medium-high heat.
4. In the frying pan, roast pumpkin seeds until they start popping (about 2-3 minutes).
5. Remove the pumpkin seeds from the pan and set them aside.
6. In the same pan, roast the almond slivers, coconut flakes, and shredded coconut until slightly brown  (about 2-3 minutes).
7. Add the pumpkin seeds, coconut mixture, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl of liquids and mix well.
8. Pour & store in an airtight container.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

IMG_3548
INGREDIENTS:
(serves 1)
1 cup of homemade organic coconut milk (or you can use canned full-fat organic coconut milk)
*1 – 1 & 1/2 scoops of chocolate protein powder (I use this one).
1 handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
5-6 ice cubes

*I use more or less powder, depending on how tough of a workout I had.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all ingredients into your blender and blend on high power until the ice has been completely blended.
2. Pour into a large glass and sprinkle with crushed coconut flakes. Enjoy!

HOMEMADE ORGANIC COCONUT MILK

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INGREDIENTS:
(serves 4-6)
4 cups hot filtered water
2 cups organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
optional: 2 teaspoons organic raw honey (does NOT make it sweet, just cuts out a little bitterness)

Note: You will need a mesh produce bag or nut milk bag for this recipe. I used this one, which you can find at Wholefoods. Or, you can also try using several pieces of cheesecloth.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Pour the hot water and shredded coconut into a good blender (like Vitamix) and blend on high power until thick and creamy.
2. Pour the milk into a mesh produce bag, keeping it over a large bowl (make sure to ring out every last drop). You may have to do this in a few batches.
3. Once all of the milk has been filtered, discard the coconut pieces left in the bag.
4. Rinse out and dry your blender, then pour the coconut milk back in. Add the vanilla and honey (if using). Blend on high for several seconds.
5. Pour the coconut milk into a glass container. Once it has cooled, you can store it in the fridge.

Use within 3-4 days for maximum flavor and texture.

Note: It is normal for the coconut milk to separate when stored in the fridge since it does not contain preservatives. Just make sure to shake it up or stir it before using.

Tragedy & Gratitude

Originally posted on CHASING CONFIDENCE:

Today in Boston, tragedy occurred. You may be wondering how I can even include the word “gratitude” in this title. How can anyone be grateful right now? While I do not understand why these situations occur, I do know that I don’t see all that God sees. I only have my perspective.

I’ve always been a runner. Even as a little girl, almost every day after school I would race other kids across the field to see who was fastest. I was usually 1st or 2nd place (not bragging… it was a very small private school, so there weren’t many kids to be faster than). As I grew older, it became not just a hobby but a passion. I LOVED to run. I still do. I love the fresh air hitting my face (warm or cold) and the scenery around me (leaves or snow). I love the freedom I feel as…

View original 1,043 more words

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