Thursday, August 28, 2014

Beautiful Babies

It's no secret.  I CAN.NOT. wait to have a baby!  I think about it often.  Having had anorexia and missed menstrual cycles most of my life, it was something I had always worried about. BUT it was also something God confirmed to me would happen.

At the right time.  That time is not now, and so... I can wait.  And whether you have a baby, are pregnant, or are in that waiting time, it is not wasted time.  I'm learning to embrace this time as a time I can choose to heal my body, bringing restoration to each cell and fiber of my being, and then start that next chapter.

That brings me to Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis (author of the Food Renegade blog).  When a friend told me about this book I was enthralled.  All my life I had heard of pregnancy myths, pregnancy diets, and what you can and cannot do.  Never had anybody introduced or taught me the concept of preparing your body for pregnancy.

What a foreign concept.  Did you know that our culture is really against the norm?  In traditional cultures around the world, women prepare for pregnancy 6 months prior to getting pregnant with 3 months of detoxing their body and then 3 months of absorbing all those awesome nutrients.  Why?  Because modern science has shown that it takes nearly a 100 days for a woman's egg to mature before it is ovulated and seventy-two days for a man's sperm to form.  So a three month period of optimal nutrition for a couple will produce the healthiest possible egg and sperm.

 While the cultures and diets vary widely, there are certain things in common:

Homemade bone broths
Fermented foods
Traditional fats and oils

Not very popular in the American diet. And yet crucial for healing.

With 15% of all American couples today being infertile, diet is a likely suspect.  In fact, a low fat diet can increase your likelihood of infertility up to 85%!  And it's not just infertility rates on the rise.  A 2003 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that two out of every five girls will contract diabetes.  41% of all children born in 2012 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

This is not said to scare you but it is said to scare you.  What you put in your mouth- pregnant or not- matters.  What you feed your newborn baby matters.

Take the time to understand food labels.  If you can't read it, NIX it!  Know the other names for MSG, corn, soy, GMOS, and artificial dyes and sweeteners.  Personally, I'm anti-gluten but that will be another blog entry :o)

It may take more time and be more expensive at times. Prioritize.  In Beautiful Babies, Michaelis recommends prioritizing getting high quality fats and oils, then buying raw or fermented dairy from grass-fed animals, then getting high-quality meats and fish and eggs (pastured, humanely raised and wild caught), and then buying organic fruits and veggies.  This comes from her research that organic fruits and vegetables will have the smallest effect on your fertility, health and nutritional well-being.

It's an investment. For your children.  For your children's children.

Pay it forward.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rest, relax, and take a DETOX bath!

I have always been a bath person.  Not just for hygiene's sake.  I genuinely have always loved them- bubble baths especially.  I can hear my parents now- "You will ruin the drain in the tub!" Pshhh.  I used to be memorized when I would look in people's bathrooms and find huge whirlpool tubs.  And jets?? Ok, mesmorized and drooling.

Weird fetish?  I don't think so.  Taking baths and soaks are one the most healthy things you can do for your body!

The earliest baths date back to ancient Greece in the mid-2nd millenium BC.  Baths were sought out for hygiene, religious, and traditional rituals.   Mud and clay baths, and baths using aromatherapy oils and herbs have been used for thousands of years to help assist the body's natural detoxification abilities.

What does a detox bath do? For starters, it helps remove toxins, chemicals and pollutants from your body.  A nice hot bath opens up your body's pores, causing your body to sweat out all those toxins that build up in day-to-day life.  Your skin is your body's largest organ, and through it you can remove at least 60% of toxins!  Due to this permeability, it is easy to see how the skin easily can absorb toxins as well.  All the more reason to choose for it to absorb nutrients and release toxins!

So how do you get started? Easy! Here's a simple "how to" list to get you started:

1) Fill your tub with as hot water as you can tolerate. Pick a time of the day when you won't be bothered or when you will have the last amount of distractions

2) Have a cup of water poolside.  This is just like a massage folks.  You need to drink lots of water-before, after, and during- because you will be sweating out toxins

3) Use 2 cups of epsom salts, 1 cup baking soda (unless your bath water is filtered), 1/2 cup bentonite clay, and/or a couple drops of your favorite oils.  I can't stress enough to make sure whatever you put in your detox bath is CHEMICALLY FREE (look on those labels for parabins, sulfites and aluminum and anything else with a funky name and NIX it).  Once you get more comfortable with the baths and ready to try other ingredients, you can explore using colloidal oatmeal, Himilayan salt, magnesium flakes (helps your muscles!), and honey.

4) Plan to soak for at least 20 minutes.  Ideally 30.  This amount of time is necessary to get the full results of your detox bath plus absorb the minerals in the water.  I like to put on some music and just chillax.  This is one of the few chances I get to be still, relaxed, and get to take care of me.  Remember, to take care of others you have to make sure you take some time to take care of your own mind, body and spirit.

5) Carefully get out of the bath tub.  Notice the emphasis on the carefully.  You just lost some fluids so your likely to be lightheaded or feel a bit woozy just getting out of the bath tub.  I would equate to orthostatic hypotension symptoms for those who are familiar.  Just move nice and slow

6) I like to then hop right into the shower (I use mildly warm water), take a washcloth, and just scrub my body real quick to get my lymphatic system going. What does that mean? It mean reducing muscle tension, relaxing the nervous system, strengthening the immune system, promotes circulation, calms the mind, and decreases fat deposits and toxins from getting deeper in skin. AKA girls- helps decrease cellulite!

My experience is that I'm usually a little tired after my bath- just like a deep tissue massage! You might even feel some minor achiness or headache.  This is normal when your body detoxes.  So my advice would be to not plan any activities right after your detox bath.  This is great before bedtime or during a more slow-paced day.

How often should you do a detox bath?  Whenever you can!!  I am actively trying to detox, so I am to do 2 baths a week.  Ideally, if you can do one every 1-2 weeks, you are helping your body.  Each time counts in helping your body heal.  Jump on in!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kale for Beginners

I don't know about you, but I love kale.  Whether its kale chips, in smoothies, in salad, its one of my faves.

Kale is definitely a superfood.  Not only is it a powerful detox agent, it has risk-lowering benefits for cancer, can help lower cholesterol, and has special antiinflammatory and antioxidative effects.  Talk about being a mean green!

Kale is rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, copper, and manganese- just to name a few.  These items help support the endocrine, immune, nervous, musculoskeletal, integumentary, and reproductive systems.  OK so kale pretty much is a Win-Win for the whole body!!

So how do you find ways to get kale more in your diet?  First of all, remember from one of my previous post on the dirty dozen that this food is on the extended list.  So make sure you only buy it organic. Second of all, try to start out slow with it, and figure out how you like it best!!

Kale chips are easy to prepare and can ease any snack craving.  Simply place pieces of kale (I rip off pieces of the leaves) and place on pyrex casserole dish.  I drizzle extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil and some himilayan sea salt on mine. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. It's a tasty treat everybody loves!!

Or you can try Whole Food salad bar favorite- Garlicky Kale Salad!!  It might do a number on your breath, but it is so worth it.  I was determined to recreate this recipe when I found that I was getting it literally EVERY time I went to Whole Foods.  I thought, how hard can this be to make right? I was pleased to find it is so easy!

 You can buy red leaf or green leaf kale for this recipe- whichever you prefer! I love both!

 Grab lemon, garlic (minced is preferred), organic tahini, apple cider vinegar and liquid aminos (Braggs is best).  You will need:

2 tablespoons organic tahini
2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice or just squeeze a real lemon like me!
2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
2 teaspoons garlic powder or mixed garlic
sesame seeds, to taste (optional and I omitted)

Mix together in a blender or food processor.  Pour over kale salad and massage into the kale with your hands so all pieces are covered.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top as desired. Eat then or refrigerate for later :o)

Friday, August 15, 2014

You Gotta Have Faith!

This past week I have done a lot of reflecting.  A lot of soul searching.  A lot of seeking out what God's plan is.

My faith has been very important to me since I became a Christian and truly found my faith when I was 16.  Prior to that point I was very lost.  I believed there was a God but that was the extent of it, and he could care less about me.  Boy, was I wrong.

My God is a very personal God. My God gives me visions, dreams and purpose in every walk of my life.  My God has seen me through the scariest, roughest, and most frightening obstacles of my life and continues to do so.  Jehovah Shammah. God is ALWAYS with me.

See, I believe you can not be whole and healthy without faith.  Without a hope in someone beyond yourself.  So much of medicine and healthcare has turned its back on the spiritual component.  The uncurable remains uncurable, the hopeless remains hopeless, the broken stay broken.

But faith heals.  Mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  Having hope in tomorrow, and what the future can bring...that heals.  I call upon on the name of Lord, and know He will heal.  Jehovah Rapha. He is Healer.

It's hard to remember this sometimes.  When we are really sick or have a family member who is really sick, faith may seem a distant idiosyncrasy.  A unnecessary attribute that only very "spiritual" and "holy" people have.  But really, faith is not so far away. It is within reach and all you need to do is to believe.  Believe that the Lord will be with you, meet you where you at, endure this trial with you, and will provide a way out.  Jehovah Jireh.  He is my Provider.

This has not been my favorite season of life.  There is stuff I would change, and stuff I would not change.  There are things I don't understand, parts of the journey that don't seem clear, and areas of the future that seem very uncertain.  It can be overwhelming.  And certainly Satan would want it to be that way.  "The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." John 10:10. Jesus wants to replace beauty for ashes, rest for the weary and peace through the trials.  Jehovah Shalom. He is Perfect Peace.

Jesus has many names.  But he is always the same. Never changing. Always keeps his promises. Always loves and cares for me and you.  Is always a God of health, and healing and making us whole. "For great is His love towards us, and the faitfulness of the Lord endures forever." Psalm 117:2

Recently, I saw the most beautiful rainbow.  I was overcome by the peace of Jesus and reminded of his promise. His promises to me.  The dreams he has given me.  The hopes and desires he has placed in my heart.  He is so faithful.  When this journey can be uncertain, God gives you gentle reminders that everything will be okay.

You just got to have faith.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Survived Liver: A Delicious Pate Recipe

Dude.  Two months ago I was a vegetarian and hadn't eaten red meat since I was 13 (I'm the ripe age of 27 now).  Fast forward and here I am eating organ meat.  Crazy times.

But seriously.  Did you know liver is a super food?!  Rich in vitamins and nutrients, I started reading about this powerhouse two years ago when a friend had told me about the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book by Natasha McBride.  This book got my brain working and thinking- it specifically talks about and addresses gut issues at their root.  Having had an eating disorder most of middle school and high school life, my gut had been at rock bottom.  Indigestion and bloating were daily issues, as well as lactose intolerance.

So yeah, I read the book.  And thought how can I possibly eat this kind of diet!!! I was not a meat person, and I am a stubborn frugal Italian stuck in my ways.  I wasn't buying this organ meat business.

And then I got very sick following a vaccine administration back in June.  Now don't confuse me.  This is not an anti-vaccine rampage.  Merely, I believe that the vaccine was a catalyst for the crazy symptoms I would experience in the next few months.  My gut was in bad shape, and guess what?  That's where at least 80% of your immune system is!!

Needless to say, through research and reading I realized my specific nutritional needs necessitated a paleo/GAPs diet.  Meat started to get back on the menu.  My taste buds are still catching up.

The big hurdle to overcome was liver.  I attempted to eat this meat a month and a half ago, and I literally gagged.  Call me a food baby, but I could just not stomach it.  Fortunately, my puppy was close by and benefitted from my misfortune.

I have been taking supplements for the past month and a half with liver components, but I was determined to conquer liver.  Then my friend Patti introduced me to liver pate.  I was skeptical.  How can liver actually taste good??? 

Oh trust me. It can.  I tweeked the recipe I received a little bit to exclude red wine, as I am on a heavy detox.  I prepared a liver pate served with veggie chips, and I was beyond surprised.  I had to share this awesome recipe.  What an easy way to get your organ meat, veggies and healthy fat!  

I. survived. liver.  

Lindsay's Liver Pate (with inspiration from my friend Patti!)

1/2 pound chicken livers, cut into small pieces (please only consume organic, grass-fed liver to minimize risk of exposure to harmful compounds and maximize nutrient intake; I found mine at Whole Foods)
2 tbsp butter (I used kerrygold brand) 
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken bone broth (leftover from my own homemade stock)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tspn rosemary
1 tspn herbs de provence 
1 tbsp tarragon
3 oz butter 
salt/pepper to taste


1) Sautee the liver and onions in the butter until livers browned and onions are softened
2) Add red wine vinegar, bone broth, herbs and cook until excess liquid has evaporated and liver is dry consistency. Turn heat off and let cool
3) Blend in food processor with remaining butter until smooth and creamy.
4) May eat then or put in fridge to cool and harden

I then prepared veggie chips: sweet potato, beets and zucchini to serve as chips to have with the pate.  Enjoy!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pizza Night! Three new super easy and super healthy pizza ideas!

 I was the worse Italian growing up.  Like my father should have disowned me.  I was on a diet since the age of 9 so I never ate any carbs, pasta, or any meat that might find its way into a pasta dish.  My anti-carb outrage continued really until I went to Germany in 2007.  That is where I discovered...bread.

The rest is history.  Ha! At least for the diet.  But I finally became interested in bread and whole grains. Suddenly semolina, whole wheat, millet, rye, and focaccia were a part of my vocab.  And then I met my husband.

Ray is a pizza connoisseur, and I mean that in the most brilliant way.  The kid eats pizza like its a main meal for every meal of the day.  I love him for it.  My first experience making and eating pizza really only started a couple years ago, when I found whole wheat pizza dough at my local Whole Foods.  Then I finally understood the craze...the addiction.  Pizza is delicious!!

In the past year, I ditched the whole wheat crust. I started becoming more health conscious about wheat and probably had watched one too many netflix food documentaries (and I agree with them!).  So I started using cauliflower as the new base for my pizza crust.  The hubby approved!  

Since becoming paleo and dairy free the end of June, I was determined to come up with some other alternative pizza crusts.  Fortunately, with company coming tonight, I had the reason to carve out some new recipes.  Each pizza turned out a success and was delicious!!  So awesome to know you are eating REAL WHOLE food...the stuff are bodies were made to eat. 

Watch out Papa Johns.

Here are the 3 crusts I used, and I will give you some ideas on how to do toppings:

Plantain Pizza (gluten, soy and dairy free):

3 green plantains
2 organic eggs
pinch of salt

 Mash 3 green plantains. Mix with 2 eggs. Add a pinch of sea salt and baking powder.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until a crust forms that you desire.

On the left side of this pizza I added a sweet potato mash and on the right side is a cauliflower hummus.  Though you could use any hummus! I then added sauteed spinach with garlic and chicken. Delish!

Broccoli Pizza (gluten, soy, and dairy free version)

Organic frozen broccoli
Organic eggs
Organic Valley Mozarella Shredded Cheese (optional)
1 tbsp Garlic
Pinch of salt

Brown Rice Flour Pizza (gluten, dairy and soy free):

2 cups Organic Brown Rice flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1 cup water
1/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
pinch of salt
italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic
2 organic eggs

Mix flour, olive oil, water, eggs, garlic, seasoning, and salt in a bowl. Stir so becomes doughy and can roll in a ball. Place on pizza stone that has already been prepared with cornstarch. I added my favorite sauteed veggies right now: zucchini, carrot, onion, and mushroom (my hubby's favorite). Drizzle top of pizza with olive oil.  Bake at 375 degrees. for 20 minutes or until crust forms that you desire. 


Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen: Pointers for the Average Joe Schmo

I don't think I know anybody who isn't busy.  The word is just thrown out there nonchalantly...just an acceptable part of everyday life and society.  That's usually the word I hear from patients and friends when it comes to meal prep.  So busy, so little time to make healthy food choices.

I totally get it! Been there, done that. Not perfect AT ALL. But I do know that when I plan my meals and snacks ahead of time I get all the nutrition I am suppose to, and I feel great. #Winning

We have been eating only organic, grass-fed, and wild caught without really spending much more weekly on groceries.  Maybe $10 tops.  A big help and a great reference to know what you should buy organic and what you shouldn't is the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen List.  I HIGHLY recommend adhering to it.  Not because you will get an incurable disease if you don't, but our bodies are already exposed to tons of chemicals, toxins, and free radicals, and when these accumulate they cause damage to the cells over time.  I truly believe, and based on the research I have done, that this is the biggest contributor to allergies, autoimmune diseases, and many other new and increasing diseases of our time.


Of course this is not all the vegetables and fruits on the planet!  For the fruits and veggies not listed here, I try to still shop local and only buy organic.  My husband and I started a vegetable garden in my backyard last year that we have been able to get some veggies from too.  Places like Costco, BJs and Sams, often have organic produce for cheaper prices.  You can also utilize and support local farmers markets, Whole Foods often has great sales on their organic.  Get to know your local farmers markets and look to see where your food comes from.  Feed your body, mind and soul.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Time for Change

Two months ago I was on top of the world. Mid twenties, a cardiac nurse, I was boxing and training for my next competitive race.  I had just gone part time where I work, I was thriving in my full time nurse practitioner program and was getting ready for a summer trip to Maine, Ohio and Boston.  Everything was peachy.

Then one day in June I woke up with pain to my right calf.  Then for following month I experienced flu-like symptoms, heart palpitations, pain all over my body (even my cheeks!), weakness, and insomnia.  I had no idea what was going on with body. And neither did any doctor.

The wisest choice I made was to change my diet and detox as soon as the pain started.  I immediately cut out caffeine, sugar, wheat and gluten, and all the sugar free products and alcohols I was consuming and had been addicted to for years.  A couple weeks after that I eliminated legumes and soy in my diet.

Bare with me...there is definitely a back story. I made some alarming choices and lived a stressful lifestyle for several years that I had no idea was impeding on my health. A silent killer.

I started working with a holistic doctor in the beginning of July and following a GAPs, paleo/dairy free, and DHwRF diet (at least best I could). Bone broth became my best friend.  And so began the journey of healing.  Mid August I feel like I have done a 180.  I'm not 100% yet and it will take some time.  But  I am on the journey, accepting it and loving growing in this season.

This blog is been on my heart for years.  I have a passion for holistic and integrative health, as well as nutrition and exercise.  I sincerely love to see people not only achieve physical health, but emotional, mental and spiritual as well. Our body is a temple- it needs love and nurturing.  I pray that as I share recipes, insight, suggestions, advice, and my story, that others may start their journey of healing and/or find the encouragement to continue on it.

It's not too late.  There is always time for change.