What is your goal for the holidays? Watch the video, take a moment to think about it and SHARE BELOW! When we share, it makes it over 90% more likely that we stick to it. Then we can use it as a guide for where to spend our energy. So don't be shy! Say it loud and proud!
Welcome to Simply Wellness Kitchen!
For this episode, I wanted to share one of our family favorites. It's what turned my kids onto salmon, and everyone gobbles it all up.
This is a great dinner for one of those nights when time is short, but you want something light, nutritious and filling! The salmon dish is so versatile too... enjoy it with any number of your favorite veggies and sides.
As always, have fun with it! Throw in your own ideas, tweak it to fit your needs. And let me know how it turns out!
And don't forget, plug in your name and email below the video to get the recipe for yourself. Happy Cooking!
Welcome to Simply Wellness Kitchen
Today I made up a new recipe with some lamb chops from our local Double Gum Tree Farm. They turned out amazing! And with kale, onion, garlic, potatoes and sweet potatoes from our local organic farms courtesy of Sage Roots, this qualifys as simple local healthy eating!
My kind of cooking does not need to be followed exactly. Add in your own ideas or use some of these ideas but for a different recipe... just have some fun! I hope you find it useful. And please... watch and let me know your thoughts.
If you'd like a copy of the recipe, take a look below the video. Enter your name and email and viola!
Happy cooking everyone!
Starting in the 70s and then really taking off in the 80s it was decided that fat was the ultimate culprit for bad health. Sadly, this was a misnomer and led not only to the increase in sugar intake for most Americans, but also a switch away from good fats to really horrible ones. So lets cover what are good fats and why do we need them?
First we’ll talk about why we need fat in our diets:
There are 3 major reasons that I like to talk about, and really I think it’s all the convincing that anyone should need!
(1) Some very important vitamins that our bodies need to thrive are fat soluble. What exactly does that mean?
Definition: A vitamin that is soluble in fat solvents and oils (lipo-soluble). They are absorbed with ingested dietary fat, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in moderate amounts from the gastrointestinal tract. Present in minute amounts in various foods, these vitamins are essential to maintaining normal metabolism and biochemical functions; fat malabsorption may result in fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, K, F.
In a nut shell, it means your body can’t make use of that particular vitamin unless it’s coming in with fat. If there’s no fat, then the nutrient will pass right on through and you’ll never gain any benefit from it. A good example of this is vitamin D in dairy products. If you eat non-fat yogurt, all that lovely vitamin D in the dairy is unusable for your body. Even if they fortify your milk or yogurt, unless there’s fat there, it won’t matter.
(2) The correct combination of fats can help reduce your body’s inflammatory response; thereby helping to reduce your risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
(3) And most importantly, your brain is about 60 percent fat, and without healthy fat in your diet it won’t have the necessary fatty acids it needs to function and thrive. Pretty simple right?
Which fats do we need to consume and which should we avoid?
1. Saturated Fats
Saturated Fats were one of those that got a bad name for itself back when the low-fat diets took hold. Sadly, this misconception is still going strong today even though research has shown time and again that saturated fats, when consumed from healthy sources, are not bad for you.
There are more than a dozen different types of saturated fat, but you predominantly consume only three: stearic acid, palmitic acid and lauric acid. It's now well established that stearic acid (found in cocoa and animal fat) has no adverse effects on your cholesterol levels, and actually gets converted in your liver into the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. The other two, palmitic and lauric acid, do raise total cholesterol. However, since they raise "good" cholesterol as much or more than "bad" cholesterol, you're still actually lowering your risk of heart disease.
The key with saturated fats is to find the right source. Sources of healthy saturated fats include:
2. Monounsaturated Fats
Olive Oil and Canola Oil are your two most common in this category. Olive Oil can be very good for you, but many experts (including me) now advise you to stay away from Canola Oil (which turns out to be a modified and highly processed version of rapeseed oil – you’ll hear more about that below).
Two things to keep in mind when consuming olive oil: (1) cold-pressed extra virgin is the best; and (2) it damages at a relatively low heat. This means it's amazing in things like salad dressing, but that when cooking with it, use only at lower temperatures. If you’re looking for a good higher heat cooking oil, try coconut or avocado oils, grass fed butter, lard or ghee instead.
3. Trans Fatty Acids
This is a fat that is artificially made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them more solid (Partially Hydrogenated Oil), making trans fats your main fat culprit for bad health. Many studies have linked trans fats to an increased risk of heart disease. They also work on clogging your arteries and increase your chances of diabetes…among other health risks.
You will mainly find trans fats in processed foods and restaurants – particularly deep fried food. So look at your ingredients list or ask your restaurant what they use. Companies like them because they have a long shelf life, can be used more than once in a deep fryer and add a flavor that is appealing to most people.
There are also naturally occurring trans fats found in very small amounts in animal products. The research hasn’t come in yet on the effects of these trans fats. But since they’re in such small quantities, are naturally occuring and unprocessed, and nobody advocates going and eating a whole cow every week, they’re not typically thought of as a concern.
4. Omega 3 & Omega 6 (which fall under the category of polyunsaturated fats)
Most of you have probably heard of the importance of consuming your Omega’s, but this really is specific to Omega 3. There are actually 3 main types of omega fats in our diet: Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. In this article, I'm going to focus on Omega 3 & 6 (Omega 9 we can make ourselves and comes out as a wash in terms of consuming it in our diet - so we'll just leave it there). However, a serious health problem for most Americans is the skewed ratio in their diet of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Ideally, the ratio would be 1:1, but unfortunately, the average American consumes somewhere between 1:15 and 1:20. What’s the difference between the two?
Omega 3: There are both plant (ALA) and animal – mostly fish (DHA & EPA) sources of omega 3. It turns out that we don’t need a lot of ALA unless it’s converted to DHA, and our bodies aren’t very good at doing that. Therefore, animal sources are those that hold the most powerful health benefits.
Omega 6: The bulk of Omega 6 in our diets comes from vegetable oils (Palm, Soybean, Rapeseed & Sunflower). While it’s found in a whole host of other food too (some nuts, seeds, fruit and meat), these sources offer Omega 3 as well in a healthy ratio with Omega 6 thereby negating the negative effects. In fact, Omega 3 & Omega 6 interact with each other in our bodies, providing competition in a sense. So when our ratio is healthy, then we actually get the benefits of Omega 3. When the ratio is out of whack, we lose.
What does Omega 6 do?
Recap: Fats to consume, fats to avoid
***You’ll notice that all the animal based fats are from sustainable and range/pasture sources. That’s because what an animal eats makes a substantial difference in the makeup of the meat they become. Eating conventionally raised animals doesn’t provide the same good fats. ***
Find other resources and research here:
It's no secret that most of us eat a too many treats, drink a little more than normal, and generally are fairly merry and bright with our food during November and December (seriously... we can't just pretend it's only on the holidays can we?). And most of this overindulgence comes down to 1 thing: a lot more sugar in our lives. Even if it's in the form of breads, pastas, crackers, etc., our body reacts to it in just the same way as those of us who reach for the chocolate, cookies and pies. And it's addictive! It can be hard to break the cycle of eating the extras and we find ourselves snacking more, always feeling munchy, or wondering what we can go grab to eat next.
You might also find yourself not sleeping as well, dragging your feet in the morning when the alarm goes off, feeling more moody or irritable, having a hard time around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and wondering how in the world you'll make it to the end of the day, or like your brain is moving in slow motion. If any of these symptoms ring true for you, the likely culprit might not be what you think... it might just be all that extra sugar carbs!
When I detox every January, I'm always so thrilled with how I feel even just a few days into the process. It is truly impressive how quickly your body will recover from sugar overload and what those changes look like. Sure, you might loose a few pounds in the process (even as many as 7 or 8 in 2 weeks!), but other changes might be more unexpected: improved sleep, better moods, no afternoon lull, reduced cravings, eliminated snacking, improved brain function and alertness, and waking feeling refreshed and ready to go.
You might be thinking, Kia, seriously? How can eating some extra pie and ‘stuff’ really do all that? You’re crazy! Well, for better or worse, I’m not crazy (at least not in that way), and there’s now plenty of research linking sugar/starchy/processed carbohydrate intake to all of these symptoms and more. Here are just a few of the ways sugar messes with us on a daily basis:
(2) Sugar can drive our serotonin (your happiness hormone) out of whack.
How? When we eat sugar, it drives up serotonin levels and then depletes the hormone leading us to feeling low, sad, sluggish, tired and depressed. So what do people often do? Eat more sugar to increase serotonin levels again leading to a vicious cycle. And in the end, our bodies will often just give up and not make the hormone in the quantities that we need, thereby leading people to eat even more sugar/starch in attempts to make more serotonin.
(3) Increase Risk of Heart Disease.
A 2014 study found that just one 12-ounce can of soda a day (or equivalent) added enough sugar to a person's diet to boost their odds of developing heart disease by a third. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573)
(4) Overconsumption of Food or Leptin Resistance.
Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’re full/had enough to eat. People who consume too much Fructose fail to get this signal and in turn, tend to overeat. http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/295/5/R1370
When we eat sugar, our insulin spikes. When it falls again it leaves us feeling like we need to eat more, even though our body doesn’t actually need any more calories. When people switch out high sugar foods for nutrient dense foods, they often find themselves eating less overall, simply because the food you’re eating is fulfilling your body’s needs.
(5) Increased Body Fat.
A 2010 study in children showed that too much fructose cause visceral fat cells to mature (aka, belly fat) (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/tes-fsm062010.php)
Relating to the overconsumption of food that comes with eating too much sugar, you can ask yourself, what happens to this extra food? Well, calories that are not utilized for energy are stored as fat for future use. So all that extra eating, even if it’s a non-fat diet, will be stored by your body as fat.
(6) An Increase in Your Body’s Inflammatory Response.
The details can get complicated quickly, but in a nut shell the consumption of sugar can lead to improperly digested food which then leads your body to react to that food as an imposter, triggering your bodies natural inflammation response. Depending on where this occurs in your body, it leads to a whole host of inflammatory diseases: Arthritis, Leaky gut syndrome, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Eczema, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac, Asthma, Allergies, just to name a few…
(7) Toxic Effects on Your Liver
Similar to excessive alcohol consumption, regardless of physique. Even those who didn’t consume too many calories and were trim still showed the same negative effects on their liver. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/2/349
(8) Increase in susceptibility of cancer
There is a strong connection between insulin resistance and cancer; specifically recent studies suggest that insulin resistance is connected to a cells increased susceptibility to cancer formation.
There’s been a few studies showing that breast and colon cancer patients who consumed larger amounts of starch and sugar had worse outcomes with regard to their cancer. The theory being that at least some types of cancer cells feed off of the sugar (and starch) that we consume. http://ict.sagepub.com/content/4/1/25
(9) Cognitive Decline and even Dementia
More research is coming out showing the relationship between sugar consumption and the aging of our cells, and has more recently been linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive decline.
Research is also showing the correlation between Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer's. Both diseases stemming from insulin resistance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191295/
(10) Premature Aging
Ground breaking research has discovered that non-vegetable carbohydrates directly affect specific genes that govern youthfulness and longevity. The original study looked at roundworms (they lived 6x longer than normal when they cut out all non-veggie carbs, and kept their youthful vigor until the end). This work has now been repeated around the world with other animals (rats, mice and monkeys). We also carry these same genes, which lead us to believe that the results would hold true for us as well.
And the list goes on...
The bottom line is, that this is true for EVERYONE who over indulges in sugar, no matter your overall health or your body physique. So don’t be fooled into thinking that sugar doesn’t affect you. It does. And at some point in time it will catch up to you and show you just what it’s doing.
So why not join me! No matter who you are, or your life circumstances, swearing off sugar and starchy carbohydrates for a couple of weeks will benefit your health. It’s a certainty! How much, and in what ways will depend on you. Come check it out here, and find out just how freeing it can be to not be dependent on sugar anymore. Your future self says ‘Thank You’! And who knows, it might just be the game changer you’ve been waiting for.
I have to confess, I love winter! If I lived somewhere where it was regularly below zero and I had to deal with shoveling snow all the time then I might rethink that statement. But I live where it’s regularly over 100 degrees in the summer (5 looooong months to be exact!), so anytime the thermostat registers something in the 30s I’m ecstatic! The only bummer about winter has been that I miss my smoothies. I can’t ever quite get myself excited about starting the day, with frost outside, by drinking an ice-cold beverage (I just sent shivers down my spine thinking about it!). But smoothies can be both light, and nutrient and vitamin packed, making it hard to find a good replacement when that’s what we’re craving. Then the other day, I got to thinking why can’t we have hot smoothies in the winter… seriously, this just dawned on me recently. Well, searching the web will let you know that I’m far from the first person to entertain this idea. There is an abundance of ideas out there! Some definite differences between summer and winter smoothies are that the winter counterpart tends to be not as sweet and fruity, and instead have more spice. But I’m sold. If I can get some good energy boosting, cleansing and high fiber goodness in a warm and cozy beverage, I’m all over it.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I also happen to love green tea: plain, in latte form, matcha variety, all of the above. So I thought to myself, how amazing would it be to have a green tea latte smoothie? Turns out, it’s really really amazing.
Green Tea itself is also pretty amazing. Some of my favorite reasons for liking green tea are: (1) It’s high in antioxidants, specifically bioactive compounds that help protect your cells from damage; which offers both anti-aging and disease prevention properties. (2) These same bioactive compounds also mean that green tea can have a protective effect against cancer. (3) It contains quite a lot of the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to improve brain function. It also works synergistically with the caffeine in green tea for an even more positive effect. (4) The catechin compounds in green tea have protective effects on our neurons; this means that green tea may have the potential of lowering risk of neurodegenerative diseases. (5) Research also shows that these same catechin compounds inhibit viruses (like the flu!), and kill harmful bacteria (including those in your mouth, providing for improved dental health). (6) There is also research showing correlations between drinking green tea and lowered levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol; increased insulin sensitivity and decreased blood sugar levels; and increased ability to loose weight plus decreased body fat.
All in all, I’d say that’s a pretty good track record!
So let’s talk smoothies!
Now when I create a smoothie recipe, there are a few things that are must haves.
(1) Seeds. Seriously. I don’t know why anyone would create a smoothie without them. They don’t add much flavor (or at least not if you have a flavorful smoothie to begin with). They blend up well (assuming you have a good blender – more on that later) and they add so much nutrition… they can’t be beat! 4 tablespoons in all, every time. I usually use 2 T chia seeds soaked, 1 T hemp seeds and 1 T ground flax seeds. However, if I’m missing one, then I just boost the quantity of the others.
(2) I make very few smoothies that don’t have something green in them. If I’m going leafy green, kale is my favorite. Subtle flavor, blends well, and isn’t as high in oxalic acid as spinach. But more often than not, I just use a green leaf powder. Moringa Leaf is my favorite; also a subtle flavor, not grainy at all, and packed with nutrition. In this case, I'm using matcha green tea powder.
(3) Unless I’ve got a significant protein source somewhere else in the recipe, I always throw in a scoop of protein powder. This is crucial if you want your smoothie to be satisfying enough to get you through until the next meal. Protein is what keeps our blood sugar stable, and gives us longer lasting satiation than if we don’t have enough during a meal.
(4) A good blender can make all the difference. Have you ever had a smoothie that’s not well blended? Grainy, floating bits everywhere, and not only is it not smooth in texture, but the flavor isn’t smooth either. I happen to love my Vitamix, but they are expensive (unless you can find them on supper sale) and not everyone is willing to fork over that much for a blender. I recently found a great review on blenders that covers the all bases… so if you’re in need of an upgrade, take a look: https://www.reviews.com/blender/
Ok, without further ado, here are my two favorite warm matcha green tea smoothie recipes. Take a look, try them out and enjoy! Then pop back on here and tell me what you think. And don’t forget that hat and scarf when you leave the house! It’s cold out there!!
Green Tea Latte Smoothie
Add all ingredients into your blender according to manufacturers instructions & blend until very smooth.
Green Tea Spiced Smoothie
Add all ingredients into your blender according to manufacturers instructions & blend until very smooth.
Continuing from my last post (http://www.simplelocalhealthyliving.com/blog/kias-complete-breakfast-smoothie) and my goal of overhauling american breakfasts, here's option #2! Chia Seed Pudding might sound weird to you, but really it's an amazing little dish. So don't turn your back on me yet! This breakfast pudding is a power house and has a beautiful consistency, just give yourself a few days to try it. With new textures, most of us need more than one attempt to see it's true value. Seriously.
Where I live, it's hotter during the summer than any human should have to put up with on a regular basis, so my go to is one of my smoothies. However, in the winter, I can't quite bring myself to blend up a smoothie when there's ice on the ground outside. This pudding? It's a winner every time. You can keep it cool if you like, or easily gently warm it up with hot water, or even a little heat on the stove/microwave (before you add the cream/yogurt). It will replace your oatmeal in a heartbeat as a high fiber, low sugar breakfast.
Give it a try! And let me know what you think. Did it take you a few days? Love it right away? Modification that made it even better? I'd love to hear. And stay tuned for more! Next quick and easy breakfast? Nut, Seed and Fruit muesli!
1. Soak chia seeds in water for at least 30 minutes to overnight
2. Mix soaked chia, flax, hemp seeds and veggie powder (if using) with yogurt and vanilla.
3. Top with berries, nuts and/or honey if desired.
I personally would love to rid the world of breakfast cereal. It's really one of most atrocious things you can buy and eat... not to mention first thing in the morning! It's really just sugar, sugar, and oh yes, more sugar. Think about it. All cereal is, is refined flours (which by the way break down as sugar in your body) flavored with sweeteners. Even the "healthy" ones. Seriously.
And think about when you eat them! After you've allowed your body to rest from food for (hopefully) about 12 hours. The very first food you're body gets in the morning! And we wonder why we have so many health problems steaming from over consumption? It's really not rocket science.
What to eat instead? Over the next few weeks I will be posting a multitude of alternatives that will all start your day off the right way. To start, here's one option. It's focuses on good vitamins and minerals, and lots of fiber. Believe it or not, give yourself a week of having breakfasts like this and you will no longer crash mid-morning (requiring a sugar snack refill), or need that 3rd cup of coffee.
Do you like the idea of eating sustainably? Most health professionals believe, and the research is starting to pile up showing, that it's healthier for us and the earth, but depending on where you live it can be a challenge to find good sources of sustainable food.
I'd like to learn more about what the challenges are for you!