I always have some sort of real food book hanging out by my bed stand, in my oversized purse (found a boot in there last week..!!), or on the passenger seat in my car (you know, for educational red lights).
My reads this week:
Diet Recovery by Matt Stone: Interesting view on why following a perfect diet, if it stresses you out, is not necessarily the healthful way to go. He talks about how to raise metabolism and get over strict guidelines.
Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser: It is a big one! (394 pages!). With 21 chapters, Kresser writes about everything from how to reset your body, clean up your gut, and when/how to introduce potentially problematic foods.
Wise Traditions by the Weston A. Price Foundation: This quarterly publication rocks! I have been a member for 4 years and still can not wait to get this in the mail! Part nerdy science part traditional food/farm celebration, it is a must for keeping up with the newest info on the oldest practices. Also, check out Nourishing Traditions, if you don’t own it!
What are you reading? Share it on here in the comments or on facebook!
Supplements are often a subject of confusion for many folks. It can seem difficult to trust that a bottle sitting at the health-food store will hold up to its claims or be the right fit for a specific need or ailment. I often look to what I call Real Food Supplements to boost my health or support my body in times of need. Bone broth is a common example that I use for added minerals, gut healing, or overall immune health (find my blog post here).
Another Real Food supplement I use and recommend is Fermented Cod Liver Oil & Butter blend made by Green Pasture. As researched by Dr. Weston A. Price, this food item was commonly used by traditional cultures to maintain and support health.
Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil/ Butter Blend:
- Fat Soluble Vitamins A & D
- EPA and DHA in whole food, not concentrated form
- Blend of grass-fed butter increases vitamin K2 content
- Vitamin E
- Unlike most fish oils, Fermented Cod Liver Oil is not heat processed. This is key! By using cold-pressed and fermenting techniques, the delicate nutrients are kept intact.
- Immune Support
- Skin Health
- General Tonic
- Men and Women: 1 tsp. per day
I recently started using the Cinnamon Tingle flavor and have not had any issues with the taste. If you are extremely sensitive to fishy flavors, you can mask it in a smoothie, applesauce, or other appropriate food item.
As with any supplement or diet plan, monitor results and track progress. I recommend using this in addition to a foundation of whole and nutrient-dense foods.
People often ask me how I got interested in cooking, farming, and natural health.
My answer is usually:
well… I spent a lot of time sewing and listening to (pop) punk music growing up.
For me, it seemed obvious to transfer my enjoyment of the DIY culture from a hobby to a passion and lifestyle plan. I wasn’t going to let someone else tell me how to keep my body healthy or where I should buy my food.
My new punk rock hero became: a farmer.
In my quest to feel good and increase my food knowledge, I turned my kitchen into a laboratory, worked on some kick-ass organic farms, and mimicked those whose food and farming skills I admired. And guess what? The more I learned, the more I found out I didn’t know! Beautiful how that works out.
Interested in getting into the DIY food scene? Follow these simple steps:
- Make as much from scratch as possible. Concentrate on a certain food area or scatter yourself everywhere.
- Talk to old people. The older the better. They were around when processed foods rarely existed and it was a necessity, not a trend, to be a homesteader.
- Go to the library and check out every related book. Read most, browse the others.
- Hang out with other DIY folks that inspired you.
- Work at a farm or plant a garden.
- Never expect perfection. You will probably mess things up a lot. And learn from it.
- Support businesses and products you trust and believe in.
- Ask for help.
- Have fun.
- Make up your own steps.
Questions or comments? Post ‘em here or on my Facebook page.
Yeast overgrowth is often over-looked as a cause of many health ailments. While we need and will always have a collection of yeast and bacteria throughout our bodies and gut, an abundance of the bad can leave you with a myriad of symptoms.
Common signs of yeast overgrowth:
- constipation, bloating, or gas
- depression and anxiety
- brain fog
- white coating on the tongue
- intense sugar cravings
- chronic sinus infections/ mucous
- nail fungus
- food or environmental allergies
What I have found best for dealing with yeast is:
- Eliminate all sugar (this includes fruit, honey, and sweeteners), vinegars, and yeast containing products from the diet. Drastically reduce grain consumption- stick to gluten-free grains only.
- Introduce healthy bacteria through a high-potent probiotic
- Consume garlic and anti-fungal herbal supplements including grapefruit seed extract, Pau D’arco, oregano oil, and olive leaf extract in rotation.
- Focus on quality vegetables, meats, and fats.
- Listen to your body and support the systems.
Try these tips for 6-8 weeks and note any changes in your body. If yeast is the issue, you will definitely notice a difference. It is important to take time to relax, surround yourself with healthy food options, and be aware that a healing or detox reaction may occur. This usually results in increased symptoms that subside after a few days.
I am currently starting a yeast cleanse and will update with any changes, suggestions, or issues I hit along the way. Feel free to contact me with any questions and good luck!
Being a server is a job many have had as a temporary position, for additional income, or for a long-term occupation. As with any profession, there are difficulties and enjoyment that come with working at a restaurant.
Over the years, I have had different service sector gigs ranging from bartending to waitressing to food demo-ing. In all these positions, I personally struggled with the lack of breaks for meals and a hectic and unpredictable workday. Being a health conscious and food-sensitive individual, I developed these tips to help any server get through their day.
- Start HERE!: Give yourself enough time in the morning to wake up and prepare a protein and (healthy) fat rich breakfast. By concentrating on fat and protein, as opposed to simply carbohydrates, you will feel full and energized longer.
- Avoid sugar at all cost. It will give you a quick burst of energy then leave you on the floor.
- Avoid all the “free perks” of working at restaurant such as unlimited soda, excessive amounts of coffee, and junk food temptations.
- Stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle and count how many times you fill it up.
- Bring healthy snacks: quality jerky, nuts and seeds, green smoothie, fruit, or grain-free granola bars.
- When you do get a chance to eat, do NOT scarf your food down. It may be tempting, but take the time to chew. Otherwise you will be left with a lump in your belly.
- Run outside and see/feel the sun. This will do wonders for your health and mental state.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a break. Plenty of servers take smoke breaks; a snack or fresh air break should be considered a priority.
- Breathe; seriously! When situations get hectic, fresh oxygen will clear your mind.
- Don’t take critiques too hard. Try your best; if a table is rude or unkind it probably doesn’t have that much to do with you personally.
- Stretch when you get a free minute! Avoid being too tense and stressing out your muscles.
- Drink calming tea or magnesium for stress-reduction.
- Support your coworkers and ask for help when necessary.
- Go to the bathroom when you need to! Check your tables, find the right time, and allow 60 seconds to excrete!
- Stay organized. Keep your order book together, neat, and legible.
- Smile, have fun, and enjoy the restaurant lifestyle.
Using these tips during a serving shift will ensure that you feel healthy, well nourished, and energized.
As scary and freaky as this may sound, it is true: I eat bones….or at least chew on them. According to The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach by Annemarie Colbin, the chewing on and consuming of bones is a traditional practice.
Why I Eat Bones:
- High in calcium and other minerals
- Easy to assimilate
- Available in my kitchen when preparing most meats
- Natural form, unlike many supplements on the market
Ways to Utilize Bones:
- Chew on the ends of tender bones from a roasted chicken
- Purchase canned salmon “bones-in” style
- Consume bones and flesh from small fish such as sardines, smelt, and whitebait
- Turn into Broths and stocks explained HERE
- Cook meat cuts with the bone in, allowing some minerals to transfer to the meat
Vegetarian sources of Minerals:
- Sea vegetables
- Sea Salt
- Vegetables grown in nutrient-rich soil
Just in time for Halloween, freak out your friends and nourish your body.
I spent a lot of energy HATING the industrialized meat system.
I HATED it so much that I refused to eat any meat or meat products at all.
I HATED it so much that I criticized others who ate meat and disregarded my own nutritional needs.
So I protested! With a lot of processed granola! And Soy milk! And a big BLOATED belly! (Need digestive help? Click here!)
Until one day, I felt ill enough to think outside the CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) and searched for a better option.
And what I found was a world of compassionate farmers creating a better food system. Welcome to the world of local, organic animal farms!
For me, it all started to make sense. After much thought, I decided I wasn’t personally against the act of eating animal flesh and products, but I was against the horrible system that is common in our society. As I began to consume more local and organic meat products, I felt more connected to the animal, respected its life and wanted to make the most out of the offering. This inspired me to make bone broth, cook organs meats, and waste nothing.
At this time, I started to build my body back up and began the beautiful adventure of working on organic farms across the country including Breakneck Acres, Rootstown Organic Farm, Homeadow Song Farm, and Sleeping Frog Farms. Not only did I get to work with the animals, I began to understand their great importance on a diverse, organic farm.
I never took that much time to think about the factory my processed faux meat patty had come from and exactly how it was transported to my dinner plate.
I commonly get asked what the best way to source meat is. Below are some tips that I use to find healthy, humane sources wherever I am.
How to Choose Humane Meat, Beginners Tips:
- Go to the farmer’s market and talk directly with the farmer. Be a judge of character and ask about the treatment and conditions that they use. Talk to the market manager if you are unsure. She should be knowledgable about each grower.
- Head to your local food coop or health food store. At the Kent Natural Food Coop in Kent, Ohio, they visit and research the farm before considering to feature their products.
- Ask around. Talk to your health-conscious and local food-supporting friends, they may have connections.
- Look for a Weston A Price chapter in your area. You can search here under your state.
- Check on Local Harvest for farms in your region.
- Head to a quality grocery store and buy Certified Organic meats, eggs, and cheeses.
In a perfect world, we would all have chickens scratching through our backyards supplying endless omelettes, a neighborhood dairy cow for all the raw cream we need, and a few pigs to help with our food scraps and provide holiday ham. At least that is my farm-y tale. Until then, support local, grow what you can, and eat with gratitude.
- Need to add more minerals into your diet?
- Want to soothe your gut inflammation?
- Craving a nutrient-dense alternative hot beverage for these colder months?
Bone broth is a great traditional food that can provide these (and many more) benefits. I started making broth a few years ago with help from my dear friends at Homeadow Song Farm and the need to heal through the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) protocol.
I love the process of simmering bones and vegetables on the stove top for hours. It gives the home a rich smell and something to look forward to hours to come.
However, keeping a gas or electric stove on unattended for hours does not always sit right with most people. I am a risk taker in the kitchen on multiple levels and I have even been concerned with the potential hazards.
Luckily, with help from my trusty crock pot, it is simple, safe, and satisfying to make nutrient-rich broth at home.
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 heads of garlic, smashed
- 3.5 lb of local/organic beef bones (you can also use left over chicken, lamb or bison bones)
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (helps bring out minerals)
- filtered water
Place all ingredients in the crock pot and cover with filtered water. Put crock pot on low for 8-12 hours. When finished, strain out veggies and bones. Store liquid mason jars in the fridge for up to 5 days, make into soup, sip on as a beverage, or freeze. If excesses fat appears on top when chilled, you can discard or use depending on your fat intake needs.
Why bone broth RULES:
- It is delicious, healing, and nourishing
- Bones are often overlooked in our county therefore very inexpensive or sometimes free
- Contains minerals in a natural and easy to assimilate source
- A great way to make any dish more nutrient-dense. Use in place of water when cooking grains or beans
- Allows us to appreciate and utilize more of the animal
- Can be a great way to “reuse” bones from meat dishes and roasts
For more tips on real food living, check out my facebook page.
Think antacids are the cure all for your digestive and acid reflux woes? This may not be the case! In fact, 90% of heartburn is due to too little stomach acid!
Anatomy of Digestion 101
In the stomach, food is broken down with help from hydrochloric acid. It then turns into a substance known as chyme. Chyme exits the stomach into the small intestine for nutrient absorption. Here the gallbladder releases bile for fat emulsification and the pancreas releases digestive enzymes. However, in order for this to occur, these organs MUST be triggered by the proper acidity of the chyme. If not, the body does not perform these actions and malabsorption may occur!
Hypochrolidria or low stomach acid
Some individuals have chronic low stomach acid or Hypochrloidria. If the pH of the stomach is not acidic enough, food will not be broken down properly. This can lead to digestive woes, bacteria overgrowth, and malabsorption!
Have difficulty digesting protein rich foods? This may be a sign of an inadequate supply of hydrochloric acid!
Spending the extra-dollar for nutrient-dense grass-fed beef, free range eggs, and wild fish? It is vital to properly breakdown your food in order for proper assimilation. In addition, the gallbladder must be effectively working to release bile to digest your healthful fats and oils.
The Low-acid/Heartburn Connection
If the body is not producing enough stomach acid, it is not releasing the proper enzymes to break down the food. In turn, bacteria is munching on your food (since your stomach acid isn’t) which leads to bloating and pressure to the esophagus valve! Food may be forced up into the esophagus causing damage to its more delicate tissues and cause the sensation of heart burn.
- Betaine HCl is one option. I use Biotics Research Hcl
- Stimulate your system through bitters, apple cider vinegar, probiotic-rich fermented foods
- Relax! Digestion begins in your brain, if you are stressed or on the go, your body is not concerned with breaking down the food.
Check out my other posts for more digestion tips: