Sunday, November 19, 2017

Paleo + Vegan Thanksgiving.... YEP, we're Doing Pegan! Recipes to Inspire!

I am grateful for...
  • All the amazing cooks who have teetered and perfected these recipes 
  • Food pictures to inspire me and for the internet to share the love and connect us
  • My ability to smell and taste and cook these foods
  • My warm, safe, comfortable home to welcome family
  • My kitchen which is fully stocked and designed perfectly for cooking
  • The grocery stores which supply me with food to try all these new recipes
    (and to Amazon 2-day shipping when they can't)
  • Having loving people in my life who want to spend time with me on this special day!

For the first time ever, we're going sans-turkey on thanksgiving. And I'm tickled pink because no meat means more veggies. I am so thrilled in fact, that I decided to host. This means, I can have people over for yummy food and I don't have to properly cook, prepare, cut and serve a giant hunk of poultry. BOOM. Can't life get any better than that.

Here are some of the recipes that we will be using for the feast. Feel free to become hypnotized by the recipes below, as I was...

Tortilla Soup

Cranberry Orange Muffins
(sub the flour for Gluten Free flour and the sugar sub with coconut sugar)

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Ice Cream Sandwiches - Egg free, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

Pumpkin Pie
Winter Salad

Friday, November 10, 2017

From Unhappy To Bliss, The Bliss Game

Feeling unhappy with your current condition feels like you're terminally drowning in your own personal yuck, coming up for air every once in a while only to be shoved back down without notice. I know what it feels like. I know the pit. I know the misery. I know the cycle of misery. I know its coming on feircly so it can get your attention.

I also KNOW it is darkest before the dawn. I know for as much misery as you suffer, there is that much light coming your way. I know that we are beautiful, loving people who don't deserve to feel anything less than happy. I know that when we experience emotional pain, it means we are asking more from life. AND I know from the depth of my soul, that we will get everything we ask for. I also know things can change on a dime, so don't settle in just yet. The energy of the world moves very quickly now, so don't let yourself get stuck thinking anything is permanent.

Negative thoughts can originate one of two ways:
1. Warranted (such as, "my life is a shit-show, no wonder I'm messed up mentally") OR
2. Completely unjustified (such as "I have everything I ever wanted - so why can't I just be happy?" or "this feeling just came from out of the blue") But notice they come from a place of expectation. They come from thoughts of, "I have (blank), so I should feel (blank). Or I don't have (blank), therefore I'm suppose to feel this way."  That's the problem with expectations! It also pulls you away from the ability to feel satisfied with what is. You might even think your happiness is not deserved as you are right now. You might think you are broken. But you are not, I promise. You are just needing to be understood and to change some thought patterns. This is actually very easy,  and I am here to help!

Your Negative Thoughts are just a place you've traveled to- It's NOT who You are!

 If a thought hurts your feelings, it's just not true. So first, you must recognize the untruth and then you back away from it. How do you release negative thought patterns? Just like you do if you are hiking in the wilderness and you encounter a huge bear eating berries. You back away very slowly. What does it look like mentally?
Generalize your thoughts about the subject you can't seem to find joy about. That's it. You see the bear (the negative thoughts) and you back away (go general) from it. You make general statements like, "I'm doing my best", "Oh that is just not true" or "It felt right at the time" or "I'm sure others have done the same thing and came out just fine. " Or "it's not forever." This way, instead of digging into a topic, you release it. Boom.

You see, the more you focus on a subject, the more real and heavier it becomes. Have you ever had a mild headache and told someone about it? Then all of a sudden, your headache intensifies 10X and you can think of nothing else but your throbbing migraine. Have you ever told someone that you gained weight? Then, after that, your sugar monster became unstoppable and you're eat more and more of what fattens you. It's as though you released the beast and now your conscious wants to make you right. Is it more important to be right or to be happy?

Don't do that to yourself. Instead, try to talk more about what you want and stop talking (and thinking) about what you don't want. 

You aren't going to tackle negative thoughts into the ground by analyzing them over and over AND over. Just like you aren't going to tackle the grizzly bear. But you can quietly sneak away and enter  safety. Want to know more? Want my tried and true methods? I'm so glad you asked.

To ease negative self-depreciating thoughts, I play The Bliss Game with my daughter. It requires no equipment. It requires only a desire to shift out of the uncomfortable mental place you are in.

Players: You can play with one person or many (not everyone even has to know they are playing!)
Rules: Player #1- (me) Says something they like out loud, then it's player #2's turn
Player #2 (super optimistic 4 year old) says what she likes, or copies what player #1 says to reinforce  Then its player #1's turn again. It goes over and over. It starts out rusty sometimes but then it gets really fun and juicy!
There are no other rules, the sky's the limit, have fun.

Example...Here are some of mine to offer inspiration, but definitely do your own, too!
I like warm baths
I like driving with no traffic
I like partially cloudy days
I like having a lot of money
I like having my hair look pretty
I like watching people hug
I like nice people
I like flowing yoga poses
I like having a clean house
I like having my PJ's on
I like laughing really hard
I like laying on my bed
I like super moons
I like braiding my daughters hair
I like eating food I don't feel guilty about
I like writing with blue pens
I like petting soft dogs
Boom. If you go down a positive rampage like that, there's no way you can go wrong.

What thoughts bliss you out? Post below!

Getting from Feeling Bad to Feeling Bliss in 3 Steps

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Becoming Opaque: Our Transparency

The energy of the world is changing. Hold ONTO your boot straps people!

The World is Becoming Transparent, Along With Everything In It! The transparency of the world is known through all the truths coming out. Our political system is a giant fraud, it has been for decades and now we can fully see the joke of the matter. Celebrities are pointing fingers, accusing Weinstein and others of things priests were known for. Volks Wagen has produced a fraudulent product for years in front of our own noses and now the truth is out. 

People can no longer fool you, companies can no longer swindle the masses, you can no longer hide behind a mask. So if you're someone (like me) who has always felt "not good enough" and has put that belief into every cell of your body, then we've got some serious soothing to do. No longer can one hate one's body and still try to convince it to look pretty. Our bodies were made from love, therefore our bodies respond to loving words and actions. Our bodies do not respond to "I hate you, now change!" 

We can't hide behind a pretty front anymore. And we definitely can't hide from our thoughts, as our bodies will no longer play in the deception. In essence, we've lost our compliant wing man to truth serum.  So the new rule is that NO ONE escapes the rule of truth, including our own consciousness. This is great news for a truth seeker, like myself!

What Does It Mean To ME?
What does this mean? It means self-loathing will no longer get you the results you want. It means transparency is letting us see what we really have been telling ourselves. It means we are seeing others for what they are. It also means systems will all crash. The religious system, the scientific system, the medical system (including big Pharma! - hallelujah!), the banking system. They are all getting wake up calls, their truth is coming to light.
It means it's time to pick your tribe. It's time to pay attention to how people make you feel, rather than keeping them around for the sake of it. It means we get to accept what we are and how we got here instead of running from it. 

What's Next?
It means change is here. It means things come up to the surface and then they are dealt with and then something new and better is created. Hang in there. We're in for a wild ride!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Treat Constipation, IMMEDIATELY

So...I once went on a trip to Mexico and realized when I was there, that I hadn't gone to the bathroom for 5 straight days. That's no pooping for 5 days. I had no idea the damage constipation can cause, I thought it was just inconvenient. 

Oh the things I have learned since starting to study nutrition.

First thing, aim to NEVER get constipated, EVER. When you are not regularly going to the bathroom, it means your body is NOT detoxifying properly. You have toxins that can keep recycling through your blood stream without proper elimination. You must poop daily. You must. You must. Some people can even poop 3 times a day, but that's not a requirement for everyone. Let's just say if you're eating, you should be pooping. It's not just about pooping, the pooping process effects the entire body. Elimination is everything, and when it's not working, we get sick, we develop food allergies, we forget things easily, we can't stay motivated and we are prone to anger, anxiety and depression. And more serious than that, we get bloated after we eat. (just kidding, it's just annoying!)

Bloating When Constipated, Guilty By Association
Bloating is common with constipation because you are having mal-absorption of your food and your intestines are irritated and inflamed by the assault. You know how you feel when you eat a fatty meal bloated and undigested? You can even get heartburn. Or when you look so cute in the morning with an empty stomach but you need maternity clothes by the evening. This is because the liver gets burdened with improperly digested food, then you get toxins roaming through your blood stream making you feel like a piece of poop that's been pooped on. This makes your lymph system congested which makes you swollen, lumpy, stiff and miserable. How appropriate.  And yet even with all that, you're still hungry for the foods that made you feel yuck to begin with. Meh.

Toxins are kept from harming you by either being wrapped in fat cells or water to protect you? That's why when we drink a lot of water, we can flush out water weight. Even if it's just water weight, it feels damn good to get rid of it.  I'll say it again, toxins are prevented from harming you with water or fat cells.  So.... if you eliminate toxicity in the body the proper way, you allow those harmful substances to release along with fat and water weight. BOOM.
More on bloating here. 

A trusted digestive enzyme 
For help with that food-baby look after you eat, I highly recommend using digestive enzymes while your gut is healing. It's definitely a band-aid because it's not a forever, long term solution, I don't want to ever take a pill forever. But digestive enzymes are naturally found in the body, more so as you are a kid which is part of why kids can eat anything without complaining of heartburn or indigestion. Digestive enzymes are necessary to help your body assimilate nutrients from what you eat) and to digest hard to digest foods like meat, dairy and nuts.

What makes you constipated? 
Toxic foods and emotions can clog your detoxification pathways. As can toxic body care products, dehydration and food allergies.

We're all different, we can all digest different foods at different rates. But foods most common to clog you up are dairy (this includes cheese, people!) gluten, soy, and peanuts/nuts. Of course, any processed foods or fast foods are dead so they offer no benefit to keeping you regular whatsoever. So when things get slowed down in the colon, the food and its metabolic bi-products, get stuck in the large intestine.  And all of these broken down compounds get pushed into the bloodstream and repeat the toxic effects over and over like a dirty dog sprayed with water and no soap. You know that smell of a wet dog, yuck. You don't want your body smelling like that, so eat your greens!!!

Perpetual Motion- Eating foods that Make You Constipated
Just remember, you crave what you eat. Your microbiome can change within one meal, this can harm or help you. So if you eat a piece of cake, a bag of M and M's and a muffin, then you're body isn't going to magically think that some roasted carrots and steamed cauliflower sound good. You have to start the motion of good eating and then let the motion carry you downstream. It's all about perpetual motion, feeding the good bugs in your gut and starving the bad ones. And when you feed the good ones, they will reward you with hardy digestion. In fact, the master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Budgeon says that our digestive system has the potential to digest rocks. But we can easily destroy that capability by eating processed foods and avoiding veggies.

Dry Foods cause constipation. Think of chips, popcorn, nuts, granola and cereal, bagels, and bread. All these foods will create a dryness in the organs, including the colon which lead to constipation. Not only do they dry out your insides, but they dry out your skin and that means wrinkles eventually inflammation. Instead, aim for hydrating foods and healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and warm broths. 

 You know that feeling when you feel hung over in the morning, and you didn't drink the night before? The burning eyes, the mental fog, the achy joints, swollen fingers, then bloated bellies and lack of motivation to move. Ya, these are signs that you're toxic and your body is not working at full capacity OR you are sick. Over the long term, you'll suffer with poor vitamin absorption, low energy, cellulite, swollen eyes, bloating, indigestion and did I say bloating? Bloating is high enough on the list for me. Nothing fabulous or pretty comes from constipation or digestive issues. Here's you emergency plan. 

Here's your constipation 911 plan. Pick one that speaks to you!

1. Enemas - Oh dear. Straight to the real deal. I was scared when I first did this too, but don't worry, you'll come to love them. These are fabulous for anxiety and dryness of the body which come with constipation and toxicity of the body which spreads to the mind. They will hydrate the colon and make you feel pretty fabulous when you're done. You can buy disposable enema bottles at Walgreens. I recommend you don't use the saline chemicals inside the bottle and instead dump the contents then refill the bottle with warm, distilled water. Do one of these on an empty stomach, maybe at night time. You want to try to hold the water in your butt for as long as you can, likely you will hold it for about 5-10 minutes at first. When you get more experienced with these you can do enemas with sesame seed oil, acidophillus or even coffee. Coffee enemas are used in Gerson therapy for cancer cures in order to activate glutathione production which helps with rapid detoxification using phase 2 detox

2. Magnesium (Epsom salt baths & supplements) Magnesium is given to women in order to stop contractions during labor. It helps the body to release instead of hold on, because it relaxes you. You can take an Epsom salt bath or take a magnesium supplement like Calm to get magnesium. The supplement is taken before sleep and will also help you sleep well. It also helps with depression and stress. 

3. Triphala supplement - These are Ayurvedic herbs that work as a very gentle laxative. They are not only helping you to poop, but also to clean out the intestines from old toxins and mucous stuck on the intestinal walls. These are safe to take during the day, as they will not cause any level of urgency. The ingredients are very safe, though they are herbs you've probably never heard of. The supplement is very well known in India and Ayurvedic medicine. You can take them after each meal if you want. Most people that use these report weight loss, because - ta-da, you aren't fat, you're toxic. Remove the toxins, you can release fat. Of all the supplements I've ever taken, Triphala is at the top of my best supplements ever list, hands down. There was a Doctor who said he ran into a patient two years after he treated her. She was noticeably thinner, like 25 pounds thinner. She thanked him and said the only thing she changed in her life was taking Triphala after meals.  You can buy these at health food stores, I buy it at Sprouts or online. Just make sure the ingredients are trustworthy, I've tried to go cheap here and I didn't get the same results.
A short video here.

4. Butt loads of water - If your colon is dry, you're not getting anything out. You must be hydrated! Drinking 3 big glasses of water will usually get things moving, but then make sure you keep the hydration going. I would advise too, if you want to get the full detoxing effect, drink alkaline water. Just like cancer patients are advised to eat a high alkaline diet, you want to be in a high alkaline state in order to prevent and treat cancer. But of course, any old water will help you poop. Hydration is key to pooping. That's why you get constipated after you've had diarrhea is because your colon is dry. 

5. Aloe Vera gel/juice- Buy this at Sprouts. They come in glass bottles and you need to buy the one
without preservatives. Drink 1/4 cup of this twice/day. Aloe plants regrow themselves when you cut their leaves, and it does the same for our intestines, it heals them. Take this on an empty stomach for the most healing power. There isn't enough that can be said about this. It helps with diabetes to control blood sugar, it detoxes and repairs cells, it helps with PMS and menstrual irregularities. Buy this stuff and drink it like you mean it. 

6. Bentonite Clay. I use hydrated bentonite clay when I feel toxic. I drink it (it's gross people, but it works!) when I need a boost to help me clear out yuck from my body. People use it for removing mercury after it's consumed from fish, or from having a bad flare up of IBS. It works like a charm. Make sure you drink tons of water when you take this because otherwise it can dry you out. I like to take hydrated bentonite clay in a liquid form and I take it if I get an upset stomach too. 

Post Emergency Plan-Maintenance Plan

  1. Start adding in naturally high in fiber foods like soaked chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and psyllium husk.  You'll notice an effect from these the day after you eat them. 
  2. Add in more veggies - like roasted potatoes and onions 
  3.  Put on your brave hat and consider colonics, which I have a love-hate relationship with. A Denver local colon hydrotherapist is here. 
  4. Eat at regular times, to get regular elimination. Eat meals at the same time everyday to set a rhythm of predictability 
  5. Consider the Triphala, aloe vera and constant hydration- for upkeep until you feel regular

A Note on Constipation. 
For every action, there is a reaction. Things in our body can be expanding (diarrhea) or contracting (constipation.) What we're looking for is balance of both, not too fast or too slow but just right. Because constipation is a contraction state, you're holding onto things. When your colon is dry (constipation), you feel anxiety and depression, you feel yuck. You're holding onto old emotions, thoughts, ideas or beliefs and the toxicity of physical things. You want to release that, but not too fast. (see below)

If you have diarrhea: Having diarrhea is one sure fire way to cause constipation because all the water in your colon gets released as does the good bacteria in there. When you have diarrhea you feel "off" mentally and physically. You tend to feel sluggish and antisocial. Make sure if you do have diarrhea you also get electrolytes from coconut water or make your own. Once you're holding food down again, make sure you consume probiotic-rich food like living sauerkraut. Skip yogurt since a lot of people have problems digesting dairy and it is mucous producing. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kiddos, My Toughest Clients To Feed

As I am preparing to start my new career in nutrition, I began a mental list of possible setbacks from clients.. The things that people see as obstacles from keeping them from their ideal weight. In one week alone, talking to people made me see that getting their kids to eat well (and thus, getting the whole family to) is high on the list.

No doubt, I struggle feeding my kids food that I don't feel guiltily about. Every parent I know of, does too.

From the beginning
When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I ate whatever I wanted. This included Arby's and ice cream regularly, gluten, dairy, sugar and kids cereal. I had no shame and I also had NO idea what good eating looked liked. Surprisingly, I was the most happy I've ever been in my life-when I was fat and pregnant. I was seriously on cloud 9 for nine months, until the first contraction began. That's no joke. Being pregnant was a genuine joy to me!

During this blissful time, I allowed myself free reign of food. I ate in joy and celebration. And I put on almost 60 pounds. But the weight didn't bother me, and it actually came off quickly after she was born, no biggie. Post birth, once I started eating paleo, my body knew right away what to do to get me back on track.

What did bother me, only later, was realizing the long term impact of my eating on my daughter's health. I've read from multiple books now that my genetic expression and her's, stems from the food we eat, even when they are in the womb. I would add our DNA expression also comes out from the thoughts we think, but that's another post entirely. I reference a book for this, used in my nutritional schooling that I highly recommend. This book will help you, if you're interested in making life changes or changing your view of health in a radical way. Deep Nutrition

Thus, it is my goal to inspire and support rightful eating that helps maintain good health. It starts with the youngsters that we love so much. No longer can we close our eyes to the damaging effects of processed foods. No longer can we shrug our shoulders to the industrial industry that manipulates food with petrochemicals and tries to morph it into something that they call food. No longer can we trust the FDA to protect us from the toxicity that they approve for sale and consumption. The change has to start from us, from our access to information and our physical reactions to these substances.

Don't get me wrong, I still feed my kiddos the dreaded boxed mac and cheese that they LOVE so much. But I do make it green mac n cheese when I can, where I use pureed broccoli instead of milk and add it into their final product. They don't taste the difference and I know they are just happy to have mac and cheese. (recipe below) And I don't do it every time. We all just do our best. Don't judge! Here are my suggestions of current, here to help you and your little ones.

How to help your kids eat for Vitality!
1. Small bites. I was taught this from a guy who took me for my first sushi date. He said you don't want a big bite of fish in your mouth your first time, instead, to cut it into small pieces. And kids like this too.  I still like sushi in small bites to this day, it's non committal.

Pasture-raised butter
2. Steamed veggies covered in butter and salt. Butter and salt make everything taste good. You could probably cover cockroaches in butter and salt and make them taste good. Use this as your advantage. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are the ones we cook most days. It takes 17 times of eating something before your pallet adjusts and accepts the taste. So use whatever you have up your sleeve to get it in their mouth and then start experimenting with other things to cover your veggies in- such as coconut oil or olive oil with lemon juice. I'm not a butter-shamer, though I don't think you should indulge daily. But when you need the big guns, butter is your best ally. Use pasture-raised butter for your best choice.

3. Sit down with your kiddos. Make eating a social, fun experience. Don't just shove a plate of food at them and walk away. Make it pleasurable. Make it enjoyable. Kids want nothing more than to be with you, to bond with you. Begin fun conversations about funny things, about what you love about them, anything to invoke conversations that bring joy.

Help with fishy fish
4. Begin a fancy dinner once/week. Have a conversation about changes in the house, talk with them to get them excited for the idea. For the Kinzer house, this is usually salmon. Oh man, I did not grow up eating fish and to this day I do not LOVE fish, but I have accepted my fate and I no longer HATE it. When I eat salmon, my body feels so good the next day, so I look forward to the consumption
because I know my cells sing in delight when I eat it. The key here is to marinate fish for at least 4 hours in lemon juice and coconut aminos to reduce the fishy taste. And again, cut up small bites here.

5. Prepare your veggies! Have cut up veggies ready for them after school or during the day. Keep them cut up and put them on a silly plate, maybe with some guacamole or hummus dip. When veggies are prepped, they will get eaten. Prepare bell peppers, radishes, sugar snap peas, celery with almond butter, or cucumbers with salt. Roast some carrots or steam some asparagus - cooked veggies activate different nutrients and are easier to digest.

6. Have conversations with them about the importance of vitamins. Tell them that bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C. Tell them their body needs vitamins to be happy and to grow. Tell them carrots help with their eye site so they can see like Superman. Show them you like nutritious food too, lead by example.

7. Let your kids surprise you. I am still shocked, but my daughter loves mushrooms, olives, pickles, and tuna fish. Things I've never really cared for, but I let her love them enough for the both of us. Even if you don't love them, realize they might. I remember my daughter telling me she loves green beans that they served her at preschool. Being mostly paleo, I had never made green beans in my life but I was thrilled to serve them on the dinner table.  Nothing makes me more happy than seeing my kids eat green things. I also believe our bodies will lead us to the vitamins it needs if we just give them the opportunity and stay open minded.

8. Teach them the adventures of changing their pee and poop! Asparagus and beets, even sesame seeds. How fun for kids to realize what they eat has a side effect on their excretions. I remember the day I feared I had blood in my urine from eating beets, haha. Have fun with this, unless you're too grossed out!

9. Involve the kids. Yes this takes more time, but this becomes an experience for you both to remember. Time flies by because we're trying to save it all the time. Instead, show time you have plenty by using it wisely. Let the kids come grocery shopping with you and pick out what veggies they want. Let the kids help you prepare the meals. When they are involved in the food, they will ingest the food.

10. Pull out the crock pot. Never before can you have someone cook for you while you're at work, unless you have a personal chef. The crock pot is the closest some of us will get!

*Healthy is a subjective term. Some people think organic cereal is healthy. Some people think the drive-through line at Wendy's is healthy. There is a game I like to call "good, better, best" with food. Use your own discernment. Of all the foods I have listed, you can find something wrong with each, but I ask you to look at the positive side of it all. More veggies is always beneficial, that's my goal. 

Family Meals and veggie ideas for Healthy* Eating:
1. Steamed or roasted Beets
2. Spaghetti squash pasta - no pasta needed!
  • Use spaghetti squash for noodles - no excuses here. You can even microwave a spaghetti squash in the same amount of time it takes to cook wheat noodles, using a microwave. When my kids were really young, I used to make this every week because it's fast and easy. Three ingredient pasta with Italian sausage, spaghetti squash and marinara. Wa-la, dinner in 20 minutes. Substitute chicken if you're not into processed meat
3. Green Mac N Cheese - or see above for using boxed
4. Easy guacamole
5. Salmon for the non-fish lover
6. Fruit/veggie smoothies -

  • Fruit can cover up the taste of most veggies. Use these during warm months, since they are raw and require a lot to digest. No one wants a cold smoothie in the winter, it goes against nature. Make them yourself because the store bought ones have already lost most their nutrients. You want fresh smoothies to get the nutritional punch.

7. Primal pancakes - 3 ingredients!
8. Easy taco meat - you can even make the seasoning ahead of time and add into ground beef
9. Roasted carrots
10. Sweet potato fries
11. Chicken nuggets
12. Chicken in crock pot
13. Tuna salad- add celery for crunch!
14. Chicken broth. I can never have enough broth around the house. As soon as I have roasted a whole chicken, I get excited to use the bones in the crock pot with some water, veggies and apple cider vinegar to sit overnight. We wake up to the smells of broth that is knock your socks off delicious. And it makes a great add on for her lunches at school when I throw some in her Thermos. Now, we go through it so fast, I have to order chicken bones (and feet!) to make collagen-rich broth for all of us. I order pasture raised bones from here
15. Spinach ice cream! Recipe below
  • I don't know how this is possible but you can make mint chocolate chip ice cream that is loaded with spinach and tastes like heaven. I don't bother using the bananas it calls for and it's knock your socks off good. 
    Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
    Recipe type: Ice Cream
    Serves: 2
    • 1-2 ounces coconut milk or other milk substitute
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup*
    • 1 cup baby spinach
    • 3 to 5 drops of food grade peppermint oil or mint extract
    • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
    • 3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips

  • Pureed Broccoli for Green Mac N Cheese:
    - Steam a cup or two of broccoli -in a steamer for about 10-12 minutes
    - Put broccoli a food processor or blender with a little bit of water and blend
    - Substitute the puree for milk called for in the boxed mac n cheese recipe
       (but still add the butter/coconut oil)
    - Freeze what you don't use in ice cube trays for easy access for next time!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Letting Go, Metaphor and Motivation

Last night I replaced my Mom hat for my Doctor hat to remove my daughter's two stitches. Her little sister held a reading lamp over the cut and sang songs to comfort her big sister. It was a group effort as we opened up the Kinzer Stitch Removal Services, and she was my brave little daughter, trusting me to dig into her wound. My daughter was told the removal of her stitches wouldn't hurt but as it turns out, it can hurt if the stitches have to be dug into. This was our second removal attempt, and the first try ended unsuccessfully with two stitches still in and a traumatized little six-year old.

So there I am with sterilized metal equipment and telling her to stay still as I try to clip the medical thread that held together her cut for the last two weeks. She cried out, "Get me a doctor, just take me to the doctor!" Her pleading was almost enough to make me change my mind, but I knew what had to be done. The song, "I need a Doctor" repeated in my head.

No one wants their child to hurt, let alone to be the one doing it. But they were non-dissoluble stitches, and we knew they had to come out. And it seemed they were getting more difficult to remove each day. As outsiders, we know the big picture with stitches. We know it is necessary.

What needs to be removed from your life to get you to the next level? What is going to hurt? What is uncomfortable but necessary? What keeps hurting you? What do you do that is not in the big picture of your future life? What can you let go of? 

The metaphor is huge. Transformation can be painful. Removing things is painful, even if it's hurting you. Change is hard. But sometimes things, habits, people MUST come out of your life. We have to get through the pain in order to properly heal, we have to get rid of things in order to fly.

Just like a mother bird must watch her little baby bird fly from the nest for the first time. Just like you must separate from your little child on their first day of school. We watch our loved ones, just as the universe watches our painful transformations. Fear can stop us dead in our tracks, but looking at the big picture is necessary for our transformation. I saw the big picture (removing the stitches) but my poor little daughter was just thinking of the fear. Can you see from the observer's eyes, the big picture?

Just like you clean out your closet and wa-la, you make room for new clothes. Just like you let go of things you don't need when you move into a new house. When you let go of the non-serving things in your life, you make room for the new, the better, the improved. Consider if the caterpillar refused his transformation, we wouldn't have butterflies.

It might hurt. It might be scary. It might leave us frightened of the future, of our finances, of our mental stability, of our material hooks. But just remember, there will always be rewards, there will always be risks, there will always be mountains made of molehills and there will always be discomfort in change. Even there can be discomfort in holding on. But just remember, there's liberation on the other side of change.

My message today is short, let go of what does not serve your greatest happiness. We are creatures of joy. Seek out your joy. Seek out your bliss. You are innately happy. What are you doing that blocks your sensation of joy?

Breath deep and let it go. Decide what the thing is, and hit the Delete button.

Much love!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Wanted: Rest and Digest Mode, um...NOW!!!!

Time moves at super warp speed. And because time moves so fast, our thoughts and decisions move fast.One Facebook posts sends us unfriending in anger, one thought can make us want to cry in our bed, one comment can crush our esteem. Don't let that happen to you.  This fast moving energy can be for your benefit or your detriment. It's sink or swim time, baby! This means you must keep yourself up, mentally and physically, so you don't get trampled in the downward spiral of the drama of a stress-induced life. Your solution: The nemesis of an over-worked mind and body: Welcome Rest and Digest Mode.

Rest and Digest mode is where rejuvenation of the human body occurs. It's where the "bad" cells are kicked to the curb. Rest and digest is the opposite of fight or flight mode. Rest and Digest is where magic fairy dust is sprinkled upon your organs and tissues, it's where health happens. Rest and digest, or parasympathetic mode, is where your body feels "at the beach" like everything is OK and there is nothing to fear. It's where you see your life as an observer and you can decide what you behaviors you want to change.  Your goal is to find this feeling place everyday, more moments than not. Your job is to sooth your body into that place.

How to Release the Stress and Get On with Living
There are millions of ways to reduce stress, but these are tried and tested by me like a charm. Thus, my immune system is stronger, my actions are intentional instead of reactive, and my direction is life is forward instead of sporadic and circular. Physically, it means my digestion is more on point, my body is not holding onto toxins and I can think with a rational head. Awe. Life is so much better on the other side of stress.

  • Soothe your thoughts like you would to a little child. I think the most powerful way we avoid stress is with controlling our thoughts. Notice when you think something that doesn't feel good, you know it because your emotions change. Then switch the negative thought to something that feels better. Make excuses for yourself, soften the blows of anger you send to yourself. Every one of your cells responds to each thought you think, it creates biological chemicals based on what you're thinking. So be kind. Create a mantra that sends the message to your body that "everything is OK." Don't think for a second that high-level CEO's and professional athletes are wasting their time thinking negative thoughts about themselves. If they were, they wouldn't have succeeded. Think Responsibly. The article, How Your Thoughts Program Your Cells, explains it this way:
    There are thousands upon thousands of receptors on each cell in our body. Each receptor is specific to one peptide, or protein. When we have feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, excitement, happiness or nervousness, each separate emotion releases its own flurry of neuropeptides. Those peptides surge through the body and connect with those receptors which change the structure of each cell as a whole. Where this gets interesting is when the cells actually divide. If a cell has been exposed to a certain peptide more than others, the new cell that is produced through its division will have more of the receptor that matches with that specific peptide. Likewise, the cell will also have less receptors for peptides that its mother/sister cell was not exposed to as often.
  • Move. Anytime we can be inside our body, through exercise and movement, we can reaffirm to our body that we don't want to hold onto negative emotions. So move your body - walk, do yoga, throw a one-man dance party, try a handstand or drop and do ten push ups. So, take up Tai Chi or kickboxing, or my favorite - get in the box and do some Crossfit. If you like being alone, find an activity you can do solo. Hiking is an activity where I can be alone but I don't feel lonely. This physical movement moves negative energy OUT while welcoming in endorphins and positive thoughts.
  • Breathe and sigh. Your breath is your connection (internal world) to the
    environment (eternal world.) If your external world is stressful, how does your body pick up on that? The majority of it is through your breathing. Remember to sigh it out or focus on your breath for a few seconds. Work on making your exhales twice as long as your inhales, while you pull in your gut to get it all out. Release the carbon dioxide and toxins through long, meaningful exhales. Give your body oxygen and it will reward you by keeping your spirts up and your digestion flowing. Try taking three deep breaths before, during and after your meals. This way you can get full on life and then you can relax your intestinal nervous system to avoid an upset stomach and poorly assimilated nutrients.
  • Count Your Blessings. We're beyond-privileged in the Western world. Two cars per household, clean running water, a refrigerator and freezer (sometimes two!) a cozy, safe home, clean air to breath, the ability to think your own thoughts, satin sheets to mold to our bodies, police and ambulances one three digit dial away, unlimited possibilities at our fingertips to create businesses, free will to write blogs and books on any topic. Airplanes to fly us across the world, Amazon to ship a product in two days.Holy crap! Can you recognize that? Gratitude brings about a hormonal cascade of dopamine and serotonin to soothe you. Start waking up thinking of 5 things you're grateful for, right away in the morning. Gratitude can create a bliss state because it points your focus in the direction of appreciation which brings you to joy. And where your attention goes, things grow.
  • Put your legs up the wall, damit. This is one thing I find so much peace through. Because life does not give us the ability to go to yoga class or walk away from my screaming kids in order to change our mood. You can't rely on your circumstances to change your mood, that only works a portion of the time. All you need is a wall or just the floor. But get your legs up above your heart and just breathe. You want to get the blood flowing to your brain and heart again, and this sends fresh blood to those areas. I sometimes do this before bed for restful sleep or when I need to read a book for school. Putting your legs up the wall activates rest and digest mode within 5 minutes and you'll feel it. I pinky swear. 
Last Thoughts
Have you ever heard of muscle testing? Known also as Applied Kinesiology, during muscle testing, when you say a sentence, or have a patient hold a product, the body responds physically by becoming weaker or stronger? There's a measurable response, and the client doesn't even have to know what product or sentence is being tested. I've seen this with my kids. When they get angry and irrational, they get clumsy, often tripping over their own feet. They've weakened their senses with negative emotions. So realize that with every thought you have the opportunity to become stronger or to weaken you systemically.

Just to finalize: get better digestion, a happy body and a clear mind with happy thoughts, moving your body, breathing deeply and minding your mind. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Physiology of Stress

This is part 2 of the stress blog I wrote, referenced here
When a gazelle is being chased in the African safari by a cheetah, there are 3 topics that come to mind in order to save it's life.

1) The body  
2) The environment 
3) Time 

The Physiology of Stress
As humans, we can relate to these animal instincts. We obsess over the same things during times of stress. Our body (why is my hair falling out, our reflection in the mirror). Our environment (what are the people doing around me, am I going to be harmed, can I get away). And time (when do I need to leave, when will this be over, how long until the big day.)

The big difference is that as humans, we live inside the illusion of this constant stress-state. The gazelle will relax and begin grazing in the grass after he escaped death, and return to his relaxed, parasympathetic mode within fifteen minutes. As humans, we wake up to an alarm and we're out the door returning to all things unnerving, subject to everyday noises of sirens, cell phone notifications, the demands of life. As over-worked Americans, we have deadlines, job transitions, heartburn and coffee spills on our shirts. We reach a breaking point several times during the day. Then we disconnect from life by turning on The Walking Dead and shows that invoke a stress response just from the visual assault. Even trivial, normal life experiences like not getting a close parking spot, like the wind blowing, the new coworker who's stole your thunder- they all keep us up-regulated in our stress response and getting us closer to fight or flight mode.

We are told all day long by commercials and media that we are stressed for time and need to pay for house cleaning and lawn and tax services. We freak out when there is a car accident, instead of feeling the emotions of empathy for the people involved and gratitude for the fire trucks, police and ambulance for helping. Our heads are so screwed into stress mode that radical experiences don't effect us like they should. Stress causes us to become self-centered because we are after-all, in survival mode - where our body thinks its on the brink of death. Stress is a self-serving mechanism, it shuts off long-term thoughts and it has no care for the emotions of other people. 

The Physical
Doctors confirm 70-95% of all illness and disease is caused by stress. So consider the underlying reason you are calling to schedule your doctors visit. Yes, even that seemingly obnoxious cold you caught, or the seasonal allergies you suffer from are from a burdened immune system. When your immune system is up-regulated,  from the hormones of stress running a muck in your bloodstream, your body is out of homeostasis and you get knocked onto your sick bed.

Physical processes that get out of wack under stress:
  • Decreased sex hormones
  • Decreased nutrient absorption due to nutrients being excreted out before they get into the cell
  • Increased oxidative stress (advanced aging)
  • Increased insulin resistance 
  • Increased inflammation
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Increased blood cholesterol
  • Increased salt retention
  • Increased cortisol
  • Decreased gut flora (good bye digestion)
  • Decreased oxygen supply
  • Decreased thermic effeciency
  • Decreased hydrochloric acid (stomach acid)
  • Decreased growth hormone
  • Decreased T4/T3 (thyroid hormone)
  • Slowed gastric emptying
  • Increased food sensitivity/allergies

How could we NOT get sick with all these human systems going haywire.

After the stress response is activated, reactions to life become unstable based on your perceived focus. When you're stressed, you stop being living in the present moment, you say things you don't mean AND you are a total space cadet.  Under stress, people have conversations with you that you aren't fully vested in and you miss most of what they say. Mental disconnect is a bi-product of the stress induced trance we live inside. You're thinking of your upset client and how someone else eff-ed up the deal and you have to fix it. You're thinking about the ding on your credit and wondering if it means you won't get approved for a loan. You're thinking about this big stuff and your kids are asking for hugs and play time. The whole while, you miss the point completely- you're disconnected and your kids want you. You're missing out on the joy of life, and even your kids are trying to give it to you. In the confines of stress, it seems like there' no way out, that  no one else's problem is as big as yours and there's nothing anyone can do to help. It keeps you trapped there, living joy-lessly. It hurts. It hurts your emotional self, your health and the people you come into contact with.

Chronic Stress
Stress is Automatic. We don't push a stress button to invoke it. We don't have a pill to bring on our stress. Instead, without effort, our body initiates "go-for-launch" mode as fast as you think one thought. That one thought propels you into the sprint of fight or flight mode, using just your imaginative mind. There are major things, like getting called in your boss' office during rumors of lay offs. Realizing you left the rice cooking on the stove and you're half an hour away from home. Realizing someone your husband works with is trying to sleep with your husband. Then there are thoughts of unworthiness, or thinking of how someone hurt you days ago. The perceived ideas of the mind, or the everyday stresses, both cause a chemical reaction in your body, not much different than eating toxic food, binge drinking or taking drugs. Your cells respond negatively to mental assaults, just as painfully as the physical ones.

Super Stress: Fight or Flight
Fight or Flight mode gets turned on without deliberate intent. Fight or Flight is what happens when stress is taken to the extreme, its like a black hole you can't think your way out of. But, good news here, fight or flight gets activated automatically. We don't have to put on our workout pants or draw out detailed escape plans; instead our body responds on a dime to release our super human traits. But over time and repeated activation, this response system gets worn down. You become used to the car alarm and the heavy caseload at work and you daily life becomes unknowingly-dedicated to the constant stimulus. If you stay in fight or flight mode too long, your system adapts to the high levels of cortisol, resistant to it and subservient to its damaging effects. Hello adrenal fatigue. Not only can people not lose weight in chronic stress mode, but they gain fat despite a clean diet and healthy eating because the body is not thriving, it's running the hamster wheel at super warp speed. When cortisol is in your system long term, you're bordering on insulin resistance. On top of that, high levels of stress cause some of us (guilty!) to overeat in order to get comfort, to release the stress. Never helpful for weight loss efforts. 

Stress and Body Fat
Fight or flight mode helps us survive by sending extra blood to our limbs so we can run, stopping digestion so we don't waste energy on needless places, it heightens our senses so we can see further and run faster. Yes, the fight or flight mode makes us ALL super human despite how long its been since we worked out. Women have been known to lift entire cars off their children to save their life. Survival mode helps save us and our loved ones, but modern times keep us in a hold under the drowning waters of stress. Stress pulls all available glucose (blood sugar) into the bloodstream to make sure you're ready to outrun danger. But when you're stressed out of your mind, and sitting watching The Walking Dead or stressing about a friendship you screwed up, all that sugar gets pumped into your body, inviting diabetes and blood sugar imbalances. Then gets dumped into your fat cells. And your liver is not going to be burning up fat, i.e. you're not going to be loosing weight when you're stressed out because your body is worried about keeping you alive. To your body, it's about the BIG picture.

Reacting Drunk
Think of drunk people, hyper-reactive to everything. Then the next morning, the now hung over person wakes up confused, not sure what logic they used when they said dumb things and acted out of character. Their body and mind were hijacked. Stress does the same thing - it seizes your body and makes your reactions automatic and selfish, instead of intentional. Don't let stress hijack your thoughts and behavior. When you're stressed out, you are not thinking with logic and reason, you're thinking within the  confines of survival mode. Manage your stress so you can stay inside your body and aware of everything going on. When you are aware, you are in control of your life. Lucky for you: you decide how you feel and react to any situation. Bad situations will always come your way, people will unfriend you on Facebook, traffic is inevitable, those things are unavoidable. Accept that it's not the situations that need to change, but instead YOUR REACTIONS to them.

Solution Time:
Weight loss happens in Rest and Digest Mode. Anytime you sleep, you relax, you are taking deep breaths- you're letting your body know it's OK to repair the system and release extra weight. You're letting your body know that the world is a safe place and there's nothing chasing you.  So don't feel lazy for spending 30 minutes reading a book or sleeping in. Feel confident that relaxation is you in fat burning mode. Stay tuned for my next blog on How to Reach Rest and Digest Mode.

Just know this.  YOU are unique and needed in the world. You are needed to be your best self, and your best self is present and caring toward others. Your best self is not the one worried, angry, unworthy, revengeful, or dishonest. Those are the emotions of stress and they aren't serving you. Not now, not later. They are keeping you in a holding pattern, so nip 'em in the bud.

Want more on Stress, my older post:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's Not Your Willpower, It's Your Microbiome

Lately I've heard from a lot of disappointed fitness people lately. Everyone seems to know what they want - they want to workout +eat well + feel (and look) GOOD. But it seems when they start an eating plan or declare to remove sugar (or beer) from their life, they falter and blame themselves for surrendering to the temptations. Damn french fries and football.

First off. Don't beat up on yourself or blame the Broncos. Second off, relax a bit; it's winter, it's time for chubbing up a little and doing less stuff. Winter is good for reading my blogs and fantasizing on your vision for what is to come. When you beat up on yourself for behaviors you don't like, you only perpetuate the cycle. Drop the negative self talk about it. Relax in knowing there are biological processing happening in your body that should be respected, understood and obeyed. And just love the process, if you had a perfect life all the time, life wouldn't be as interesting.

I'm here to offer some reassurance that it's going to be OK (it is OK my friends!) and some explanation as to WHY things are playing out this way.

Do you believe that food can change our emotions? Do you believe food can change our thoughts? I believe it can. Have you ever watched the toddler mayhem after kids eat cake and ice cream during a birthday party? Have you ever felt peaceful and serene after you ate a dessert? Food can change our emotions, and our emotions are determined ONLY by our thoughts. Thus, food can change our thoughts. This means watch what you eat, because the food can alter you emotionally and physically.

It begins with our GUT
We have 40 trillion microbes and 30 trillion cells in the human body (mostly in the gut). FACT: We are more bacteria than we are human. Sorry to all the germa-phobes out there. There is bacteria - called your microbiome which lives in your intestines and on your skin, it's everywhere. These bacteria are the first line of immunity, which works to keep you from getting sick. We're also loaded with nerve cells in our gut which are in communication with the brain via the vagus nerve. They are also communicating with our internal and external environment, so the gut bacteria play a part of what give you the gut instinct and what give you butterflies in your stomach when you get nervous.  The vagus nerve is in communication with the gut microbiome, so our emotions can be hijacked by our gut bacteria. So, this proves my theory that food can change our thoughts. Boom.

You could be feeling impulsive and unmotivated because of what you're eating.  And you are very likely feeling depression and anxiety because of what you're eating and definitely because of what you're thinking. And if food can control your thoughts, then let your food be your medicine. We tend toward anxiety when we consume too much sugar, and it's because you've fed the "sugar bugs" so to speak which create inflammation. We all know too well, after you eat sugar, you crave more sugar, not only because the sugar is HIGHLY addictive (more so than cocaine), but also because the sugar bugs want more food! You are what you eat, and you crave what you eat. 

Do you know that your happy hormone - serotonin-  is created in your gut by your microbiome, like 60-90% of it. There are EC cells that produce the serotonin and this is something we studied in depth in nutrition school. What does serotonin do for you? When you are loaded up on serotonin, you feel "all is well" and you have willpower instead of impulsively tossing a cookie in your mouth. When serotonin is low you feel anxiety or depression and you are sometimes too debilitated to act on it.

When your digestion is off, so is your detoxification pathway. Your detox and digestion pathway is the same. That's why you feel lousy when your stomach is upset, because you neurotransmitters are imbalanced, you're not detoxing all the crap that you're exposed to, and your brain is getting confused.  All of this makes you a complete emotional wreck. Food that's "good" for you could be harmful, if you're not digesting properly. If you have an imbalance of your gut bacteria then your body is not absorbing nutrients and you are doing more harm than good by eating.Your gut and nervous system are like peas and carrots.  And if you're eating when you're under stress, your nervous system is freaking out and you're just adding lighter fluid to the fire.You won't digest what you eat and you'll usually end up with a belly ache. That's a fabulous trick to follow, don't eat under stress. This makes me SEEK OUT HAPPINESS, so I can eat more.

So...Do I have exciting news to share. Over the last year, I have had epiphany after epiphany regarding nutrition. Things that have had my wheels churning in a completely different direction than what I have been taught of what is healthy and what is not.

Did you ever see the movie "I Am"? In it they did a study where they hooked up yogurt to an magnetometer which measures energy. When a person would change their thoughts or mood, the yogurt would have a response to it. Stay with me here. This has happened before, remember when they did the studies on plants and found that plants thrive when they are placed near a TV or the plant was spoken to lovingly by you? The microbiome of the plant soil responds to our thoughts and words. There's living bacteria in there.

The consensus is that the microbes (bacteria) have a physical response to their environment. Soo... if it happens with plants, it also happens with us. Again, we are more bacteria than we are cells. So my point is that we should respect our microbiome, even if we don't completely understand it yet.

"Respect My Authority" Says your microbiome
1) Start eating with the seasons. This means eating foods that are harvested per the season you are in. This means a year-round diet will not do. This also gives you freedom from eating the same way day after day which bores me to no end. Maybe you once tried a diet that worked very well for you and now you can't seem to get back on board. Maybe that diet was perfect for a season, and as time went on, the seasons changed and your body's needs changed - and things stopped going so well. STOP beating up on yourself, blaming your willpower or your lack of motivation for the gym. You are perfectly normal for being unable to comply with your "diet"so just relax. Besides, no one is meant to stay on a diet. No one ever feels they can diet forever. So don't diet, just tweak the foods you eat.

The bacteria in the soil will benefit your gut bacteria if eaten during the proper season. This is because our bodies were designed to follow the circadian rhythm of the earth. We can follow it by giving our body the veggies pulled from the ground, during the proper season. There are only three harvesting seasons that you eat by, so your diet should shift three times a year. This releases the boredom of trying to eat the same foods your whole life, HOWL-A-LU-LA! In the winter, soups with cooked veggies makes sense and cold, raw salads, don't. In the spring, raw veggies and smoothies are excellent.  In the summer time, add in a butt-load of fresh veggies and fruits, foods that cool your body down during the heat of long days.

2) Say NO to processed foods (year round!) Fake food like chips, candy, french fries and food in a box are all dead foods. There are no microbes in them that can benefit your gut. These junk foods,
rather than nourishing you, kill the good bacteria and create a traffic jam, clogging up your lymph and blood systems with toxicity. And since you're not digesting or detoxing well, then you're body will store the toxins inside your liver and fat cells to protect you. With this, your liver becomes burdened and you become puffy, you get brain fog, headaches, rashes, depression and even anxiety. Your body is protecting you, it would rather keep you alive than let you fit into size 6 jeans only to have you kill over the next day. Otherwise we'd all be skinny inside coffins, dead from toxicity.  Stop eating dead food, it hurts you.

Just follow mama nature, she knows best.

Fermented Food Craze
A quick rant on fermented foods. Eating probiotic rich foods like cultured veggies is all the rage right now. I've even jumped on the train myself, or at least I tried. But honestly, I'm not fully convinced that it is for me. So my advise there is to just pay attention to YOUR body. And that goes for everything I ever post. Your body is yours and NO ONE knows it better than you. It's funny when people tell me to eat something because it's healthy. Healthy for who? The scientific studies they do on foods show the potential that food has, not what it does inside each person. Fermented foods might only be OK in very small doses. Or you body might not like them at all. Just because something is "healthy" now, doesn't mean it is what will help your body thrive. That's why we listen to our body cues, right?

So I learned most of what I learned about seasonal eating from an Ayurvedic-doctor in Boulder, Colorado. He designed what's called the 3-season diet and I am just pimping out his research as I devour it. You can get more info on him here. Everything I've read from him resonates with my whole being, you can trust his research to lead you to some peace with your "willpower" as it did for me.

Need help knowing what to eat that's in season: grocery lists for November through February