1. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
2. Silicon Mat
3. Immersion Blender
4. Food Processor/Blender combo
Products we use:
What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?
Products we use:
What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?
This family of vegetables is the Brassica family and has very potent health benefits and mustard has been one of favorites to focus on lately. I have been finding places to put ground mustard, mustard greens, and even yellow mustard on foods whenever I can. Let me tell you why!
Mustard greens appear in the top four vegetables that are especially high in phenols. Phenols are chemical compounds that have strong inhibitory effects against the mutation of cells and formation of cancer. Other cancer fighting compounds in mustard greens are antioxidants. These substances prevent cell damage that leads to mutations in DNA and can be very dangerous to the body.
Mustard greens also has benefits directly in your liver and your blood. They are potent detoxifiers and can cleanse the liver and the blood by pulling environmental toxins from the blood stream, neutralize heavy metals and help eliminate pesticides from your body.
NOTE: If you are taking a blood thinner (warfarin/coumadin) talk with your doctor before consuming foods high in vitamin K.
Mustard seed is used as whole seeds or ground up into a fine powder, which is what gives the mustard condiment its spicy taste.
Mustard seed, like other vegetables in the Brassica family, contain a phytonutrient called glucosinolates as well as an enzyme called myrosinase. When this phytonutrient and enzyme come together during the chopping, chewing, or grinding process they form another phytonutrient called isothiocyanates.
Eating high amounts of these phytonutrients have been shown in animal studies to inhibit the growth of cancer calls and protect against the formation of new cells.
This benefit only applies in the raw vegetable/spice. When heated, the myrosinase enzyme is denatured (killed off) and the vegetable does not have a chance to create isothiocyanates. For this reason, anytime I cook a vegetable in the Brassica family, I have been adding mustard powder after cooking. This readds the myrosinase enzyme back into the food so that it can work with the glucosinolates to create isothiocyanates.
Mustard seeds are also a great source of other nutrients:
Sprinkle mustard seed on your cooked Brassica vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale.
Add whole mustard seed to a coleslaw recipe.
Add some Dijon mustard to your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
Use Rachel Schultz’ recipe and mix Dijon mustard with maple syrup for a marinade on chicken
Marinade salmon fillets in Dijon mustard and white wine.
Eggs can be a delicious and nutritious part of a healthy diet. In fact, if your diet allows, I would argue that they should be a regular part of your healthy diet. In moderation, of course.
Let’s talk about eggs as a functional food. A functional food is a food that has positive effects on health beyond basic nutrition.
Eggs are in expensive and a moderate source of calories that provide significant nutrition. Here’s the breakdown for 1 large egg (or about 50g).
This nutrition label shows that eggs are a good source of protein and unsaturated fat and contain no carbohydrates. Despite this facts, eggs get a lot of grief for their high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. We used to think there was a link between egg consumption and increased risk of heart disease, now it appears that research is unclear but that eggs can be part of a healthy diet.
Now we know, for most of the population, dietary cholesterol, like in eggs, has very little effect on blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. When buying eggs, we now can buy omega-3 enriched eggs from chickens that have been fed a diet high in flax seed. One omega-3 enriched egg has the equivalent of about 400-450mg of omega-3 fats (a combination of DHA and EPA). The correct dose for you is dependent on your age, size, and health status but this is a good place to start.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids have great anti-inflammatory capabilities which is important because so many of today’s diseases are rooted in inflammation. Omega-3’s can reduce the risk and symptoms of diseases like heart attack, stroke, several forms of cancer and various autoimmune diseases.
Some of the important components found in eggs are zinc, biotin, carotenoids, lecithin and choline many of which are deficient in our SAD diet (standard American diet). Let’s break these down to understand their roles in preventing chronic and infectious diseases through their antimicrobial, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-hypertensive properties.
Lecithin is an important component of the cells in our body. It plays a direct role in antioxidant activity by decreasing damage to our cell membranes by reactive oxygen species, like free radicals, which are responsible for many diseases including cancer, inflammatory joint diseases (arthritis), diabetes, and most degenerative diseases.
Eggs are one of few food sources that contain high concentrations of choline. This vitamin-like nutrient is important for chemical messengers in our brain, called neurotransmitters, and plays an essential role in normal brain development. They are important for far more than just our brain. Choline also plays a role in fat metabolism could lead to fatty liver in someone who is choline deficient. The American Medical Association has recently voted to include choline in prenatal vitamins to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Carotenoids are pigments that give egg yolk its natural yellow color. Your body cannot make the carotenoids in eggs and relies on dietary intake. Other places to get carotenoids are vegetables. This makes egg consumption especially important for those people who consume low amounts of vegetables. Carotenoids help improve vision and reduce the risk of macular degeneration and age-related cataracts. I always remember my grandpa telling me to eat carrots if I wanted to keep my eye sight 😊. I guess I could have also eaten more eggs!
Over 300 different enzymes in the body rely on zinc to complete their chemical reactions. It is also very important in the structure of proteins and cell walls. If zinc is deficient, these processes can’t take place. It is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide have a milder zinc deficiency. This is also important because zinc interacts with many other nutrients like copper, calcium, folate and iron.
Don’t eat your eggs raw. Eggs are a great source of biotin – they provide approx. ¼ of the recommended intake for the day. There is an enzyme in egg whites, avidin, that binds to the biotin in eggs and does not allow your body to absorb it. Trust me, you want to reach your biotin intake because they play an important role in metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat. It also plays a major role in the health of our hair, skin and nails.
Now that its summer we all want ice cream, right?
I always thought I hated chocolate ice cream but one thing I love is fudgesicles in the summer time! Who am I kidding, how could I hate chocolate ice cream?
Brandon and I keep hearing the ice cream truck pass by our house but I swear it makes sure that we are not outside because we are usually outside most days of the week and he never drives by when we want him too!
This weekend I got creative and tailored a standard fudgesicle recipe to my food sensitivity results and then I got to thinking. How can I make this even more customize-able!? I want everyone to be able to eat fudgesicles if their heart desires.
But I guess, I do like other desserts too – like this sorbet 🙂
Milk: whole fat coconut milk or 2% or whole cow’s milk – you need some fat!
Granulated sweetener: cane sugar, blonde coconut sugar, beet sugar
Liquid sweetener: corn syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, cassava syrup, coconut nectar, homemade simple syrup – I use this recipe to make my simple syrup
Chocolate: you can also use carob powder for a caffeine free version!
Flavor Extract: vanilla, almond, mint would all be great flavors – I would use ½ tsp if you use mint because it is strong.
Go grab one of your tampons (trust me you won’t want to use them anymore after this). Unwrap it and place it in a glass of water. After it absorbs the water, remove it, and watch all the remaining fibers floating in the water. These toxin-laced fibers are hanging out in your uterus each time you use a tampon.
Bonus to buying organic tampons:The lowest risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome is with the use of all cotton tampons.
As of now the FDA does not require testing for toxic levels of chemicals in tampons and does not require package warnings.
I hope you leave here feeling like an educated consumer – click this referral link for $5 off a box of organic tampons by SHE, a company created by three sisters who saw a need for a product that is better for us and for our environment.
Most of us eat nuts and seeds on a daily basis – whether it is in the form of nut/seed butter, nut milk, or just plain old nuts and seeds. This tiny little nutrient packed superfood has found its way into many diets, however, to truly gain all of the benefits they require an extra step prior to your enjoyment!
Why not eat raw nuts and seeds?
Raw nuts (and seeds) contain phytic acid – the storage form of phosphorus in plant tissues. So why is this a problem? Phytates binds to minerals in your GI tract which can cause irritation and contribute to potential nutrient deficiencies. Of course you could take phytase in the form of a supplement – like Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzyme Ultra – every time that you eat nuts and seeds but I think there is a simpler (and cheaper) answer! Before we get to that there is one more big reason to soak and dehydrate your nuts and seeds. Raw nuts also contain enzyme inhibitors, which prevent the nut or seed from sprouting prematurely in nature. This is great for the nuts in nature but when they have been gathered for consumption something has to change. Eating too many raw nuts that still contain enzyme inhibitors can contribute to the binding of minerals and again lead to digestive strain.
How does soaking and dehydrating help?
Soaking raw nuts and seeds in salt water and then dehydrating at a low temperature (around 105-115F) tricks the phytates and enzyme inhibitors into a neutral state. The combination of minerals and low heat helps break down irritating compounds, while preserving beneficial fats and proteins. This process increases the bioavailability of important nutrients (notably the treasured B vitamins) and activates helpful digestive enzymes that increase nutrient absorption. If you do not want to complete this process yourself it is possible to purchase, however, the cost can be significant in comparison to purchasing raw nuts and soaking/dehydrating them yourself.
If you look to purchase these nuts, they are different from sprouted nuts as sprouting is a much lengthier process.
If you’re not sure if you need to soak/dehydrate your nuts, here are a few questions that might be able to help direct you:
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you will likely benefit from soaking and drying nuts prior to snacking on them.
Below is a great graphic that indicates the time that nuts/seeds should be soaked – and if you feel like going the extra mile you can try sprouting!
To prepare your nuts/seeds for soaking, first measure out 4 cups of raw nuts into a bowl. Cover with filtered water and mix in 1 TBSP of sea salt. After soaking, place nuts/seeds in your dehydrator at 105-115F for 12-24 hours. Throughout this process I find myself snacking! Turn off the dehydrator when your nuts/seeds have achieved a crunchy texture and no longer seem water-logged 🙂
Keeping the temperature under 118F maintains its “raw” status and does not comprising any of the nutrients. If you do not have a dehydrator you can dehydrate nuts in your oven at its lowest temperature – preferably at least close to 150F. Continue to watch your nuts as time will vary based on method of dehydrating.
Let us know which nuts/seeds you dehydrate!
Today I spent the day shopping and cooking. It was a wonderful day but now my feet hurt! I started the day making my enchilada sauce and mac and cheese (for Brandon) and then I had to go searching for our Halloween costumes. We’re going to a Halloween party on Friday night and yes, we have waited until now to decide on our costumes. We decided to be robbers… easy right? no! I would have never thought it would be so hard to find a long sleeve black and white striped shirt for a man.
Anyway, I have been doing a lot of reading/listening to webinars and research about the role of fat in our diet and how the current nutrition guidelines are essentially killing us. Ever since the 90’s when we went through the low-fat craze the rate of obesity has been increasing exponentially. Why? Because when the food industry removes fat from their foods it tastes like cardboard – so they add sugar in its place! Snackwells cookies anyone?
So here is a novel thought. We should be eliminating refined carbohydrates from our diet (i.e. sugar, white bread, etc) and adding more fat! I’m not talking about fat from fast food items, or processed goods but instead eating more avocados, eggs, nuts and healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil.
As I listen and read all of this research I have been tweaking my diet to include more nuts and not being afraid to eat more avocado. I think it is safe to say that I am consuming considerably more calories but I have already lost 2 pounds! I’m not starving myself or logging my calories but instead being conscious of my carbohydrate intake and choosing full fat options when I have them – like full fat cheeses and milks. I am trying to keep my carbohydrate intake to 60-100g per day but this is plenty if you are not eating bread, pasta, and other heavy carb meals.
A calorie is not a calorie! Food is information for your body and everything is interpreted differently.
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are needed for a traditional tzatziki. If you are sensitive to garlic, this could be omitted but understand the flavor will be different than traditional. The pepper can also be omitted without much change to the recipe.
Oil substitute – use any mild oil here – liquid coconut oil, olive oil, nut oils, etc.
What’s your favorite Greek food?
This morning I woke up and it was very overcast and cold outside. I made tea and sat at my kitchen table to study Chemisty – just like I do every weekend. This week I have been testing out a hydrolyzed beef protein powder from Designs for Health called PurePaleo meal – its a true paleo protein source. They offer whey protein, pea protein and their newest product is a hydrolyzed beef protein! I had to try it because most other most protein powders I can’t tolerate. I am lactose intolerant so whey protein is no good. I am sensitive to green peas, so I try to stay away from pea protein. I guess a soy isolate would work but beef protein was intriguing!
This product contains beef from animals raised in Sweden without hormones or antibiotics, and is free of any GMO grains, grasses, and/or ensilage. Besides the normal benefits of protein power this powder also has added collagen to help support muscles, cartilage and ligaments.
DISCLAIMER: I do not promote Paleo as a superior diet, however, I do believe that a low carbohydrate, clean diet can help kick start the weight loss process and help eliminate water weight up front to see quicker results and help motivate you to continue.
Anyway – I digress – I wanted to tell you about my Chicken Pot Pie. While trying this PurePaleo protein and I am trying to maintain a paleo diet but felt that the cold weather required some comfort food and thus paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free chicken pot pie was born.
About coconut oil
When shopping for coconut oil pay attention to the label. There is a definite difference between virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil.
Virgin Coconut Oil – made from fresh coconut meat which contributes a very pure coconut flavor. It has a lower smoke point and is best for baking when you want the coconut flavor.
Refined Coconut Oil – made from dried coconut meat and is great for sauteing, stir-frying and baking. It has a higher smoke point and a neutral flavor.
Use the leftover chicken from our crockpot chicken recipe to make chicken pot pie later in the week!
This recipe has so many possibilities for customization!
Thickening Agent: as listed in the recipe, corn starch and tapioca flour can both be used to thicken sauces. If you are not looking for a paleo or gluten-free recipe wheat flour can also be used!
Baking Powder: Store bought baking powder often contains corn starch. If sensitive to corn it is best to make your own in a 2:1 ratio (listed above) and keep this to use in place of store bought. Note: cream of tartar is a byproduct of wine making so only use it if you are not sensitive to grape.
Protein: any other leftover protein would work here! Beef (I would use a beef broth to make filling gravy), pork, turkey.
Vegetables: green beans, corn, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green peas. I used canned green beans and frozen corn because I had it on hand. This is your opportunity to make it your own! If using fresh vegetables, pre-cook them before adding to filling. Omit onions if you do not tolerate them.
Milk: any milk would work here!
There are so many possibilities that I’m sure I am missing some! Let me know if you try something different!
Let us know what you tried in your pot pie!
This week I wanted to take a break from the recipes and talk about the importance of knowledge.
Knowledge is power.
The more we know the better choices we can make. This is especially important when it comes to our health. Did you know that nearly 75% of all deaths in the US are attributed to just 10 causes. 10… I can count that on two hands (or feet). The top 3 are responsible for 50% of deaths. That’s a lot of death!
What kills me is that most of this boils down to HEALTH. The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure – just to name a few). I work in a hospital and it is almost surprising when a patient does not have one of these diagnoses. Everyday I talk to people about what foods contain carbohydrates, protein and fat (No… chicken is not a carbohydrate). Let me tell you – if you know the answer to this question you are ahead of most… sadly.
I understand that not everyone has a passion for nutrition like I do but don’t we all want to live a long life?! Maybe its just me…
I think the blame could go in a lot of directions – lack of education in school systems, processed food industry insisting that more chemicals are better (they’re not.), lack of curiosity on the part of every individual. Now a days we all have internet and we are all capable of a Google search.
Lets bring this down to a personal level.
There are many other common conditions out there that may not lead to death. I bet each and every one of you know someone who suffers from chronic headaches or migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis… the list goes on. Depending on the severity these conditions can be debilitating. They may prevent you from leaving your house or having the social life you deserve.
With all of the chemicals and mixed foods that we are eating, food sensitivities are a common culprit. I’m not naive to say that it will cure your MS or completely eliminate your arthritis, however, I am 100% confident in saying that eliminating the foods that are contributing to your problem will help you manage the arthritis pain, allow you to leave the house without worrying where the closest bathroom is, and live your life like its supposed to be lived.
This morning we woke up to a dark stormy sky to get ready to run the Terrain Race – a 5k or 10k race filled with 20+ obstacles. And today they were especially muddy obstacles! Brandon loves to run these races and is used to getting dirty but I don’t believe I have ever been so dirty in my life. Today was filled with several firsts for me.
First time running a 5k.
First time getting in a pool of water with all of my clothes on.
First time sliding down a mountain of mud into even muddier water.
Needless to say we were both pretty tired when we got home and the last thing we wanted to do was cook/clean up dinner but eating out was not an option either!
Tonight I decided to make Cajun shrimp foil packets with the corn and red potatoes I bought from a local farm stand and it was delicious. I normally make my own spice mixes but I have to admit that tonight I used a remade cajun spice mix for ease. We don’t make cajun food often so I didn’t have a mix made.
Most of the recipes that I have seen for foil packet dinners call for them to be cooked on a grill – I think they are meant for camping trips. In our case, a grill was not happening for two reasons. A) it was raining and B) we were lazy.
Cajun Seasoning Mix
1T smoked paprika
2t garlic powder
2t kosher salt
1t ground black pepper
1t onion powder
1/2t cayenne pepper
1 1/4t dried oregano
The sausage that I bought was Aidells All Natural Cajun Style Andouille Pork Sausage which I have found to be very clean ingredients.
Ingredients: pork, water, garlic, white pepper, red pepper, black pepper, sugar, paprika, celery powder and dehydrated onion.
There are always substitutions that you can make in order to still enjoy the foods that you love! Here are a few substitutions that you can make in this recipe.
Oil – choose a mild oil that you can tolerate that doesn’t contribute a strong flavor.
Examples: olive oil, unflavored coconut oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil
Seasonings – If you cannot tolerate seasonings in the cajun mix or do not have it salt and pepper always work!
Our cajun seasoning would be great on this One Dish Wonder chicken dinner!
Leave a comment below, we would love to know what you think!