Empowered Sustenance http://empoweredsustenance.com Eat well and heal!™ Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:22:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Paleo Honey Sesame Chicken http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-honey-sesame-chicken/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-honey-sesame-chicken/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:00:51 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9070 I remember enjoying takeout only a few times in my life. I grew up in a rural area, where restaurant delivery was out of the question. And when I moved to an area of reasonable proximity to takeout options, I was following a restricted anti-inflammatory diet. So, I had basically given up hope of ever stuffing my […]

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paleo honey sesame chicken recipe - quick, easy, kid-friendly, and healthy meal!

I remember enjoying takeout only a few times in my life. I grew up in a rural area, where restaurant delivery was out of the question. And when I moved to an area of reasonable proximity to takeout options, I was following a restricted anti-inflammatory diet.

So, I had basically given up hope of ever stuffing my face with takeout classics like pad thai, moo goo gai pan, orange chicken, or fried rice. Until this week.

Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall

This week, I got my hands on a book that will make up for my lifetime of takeout deprivation: Paleo Takeout, by my friend Russ Crandall. You likely know Russ from his recipe-packed blog, The Domestic Man

paleo honey sesame chicken recipe - quick, easy, kid-friendly, and healthy meal!

I receive many cookbooks to consider sharing with you, and Paleo Takeout immediately made the cut. For me, these are the highlights of the book:

  • ptocoverPaleo-friendly versions of ethnic recipes from around the world. Russ will take you to Thailand with Thai Red Curry, then Japan with Tempura, then China with Sweet and Sour Chicken, and then America with a classic breaded chicken sandwich.
  • Simple, practical preparation techniques. These recipes are for real people who have real time constraints. To sum up the theme of the recipes: family-friendly weeknight meals. 
  • Even the Asian recipes use accessible ingredients found at well-stocked health food markets. The more unusual ingredients are toasted sesame oil and fish sauce, which you can find at any large grocery store.
  • Gorgeous photos for each recipe that immediately put my salivary glands on overdrive
  • A complete picture recipe index

I hope you enjoy this recipe that Russ agreed to share from his book. Don’t forget to check out  Paleo Takeout cookbook here

Paleo Honey Sesame Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Paleo Honey Sesame Chicken

Looking for an easy, kid-friendly dinner idea? Here you go! This recipe is shared with permission from Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall.

Ingredients

    Sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, available at well-stocked grocery stores in the Asian isle, or mirin
  • 1 tsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce. Substitute coconut aminos for a soy-free option)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper dash of black pepper
  • Chicken Meatballs
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch, available here
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, available here
  • 1 tsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce. Substitute coconut aminos for a soy-free option)
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar, available here
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Slurry
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch, available here
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • Garnish
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds, divided

Instructions

  1. 1. In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently to allow the flavors to marry while you prepare the chicken.
  2. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken meatball ingredients with your hands, then transfer to a food processor and pulse until the mixture turns into a tacky paste. With wet hands, form 40 balls.
  3. 3. You can either pan-fry the chicken meatballs in batches over medium heat or grill them over direct medium-high heat. If pan- frying, put the cooked chicken in a warm (200°F) oven while you make the other batches.
  4. 4. Once the chicken meatballs are cooked, stir together the arrow- root starch and cold water to create a slurry, then stir half of the slurry into the sauce. Increase the heat to medium, bring to a sim- mer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes, adding more slurry if needed. Taste and add salt if needed, then stir in half of the ses- ame seeds.
  5. 5. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken meatballs with the sauce, then transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over the chicken and serve.

Notes

This recipe can also be made with egg-battered chicken breast pieces. Follow the instructions in my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe (page 64 of The Paleo Takeout Cookbook), but use this sauce. Or you can use velveted chicken breasts (see page 44 of The Paleo Takeout Cookbook). Finally, consider pan-frying some cut-up chicken thighs and tossing them in the sauce. Easy!

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Two Ingredient Paleo Truffles http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-truffles/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-truffles/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:12:23 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9010 Adjectives fail me… I wish I could describe these truffles with the extravagant adjectives in perfume or wine descriptions. These little bites of bliss deserve more than the introduction of downright delicious. I’ll give it a try: Intensely silky, the deep chocolate base boasts undertones of caramel and vanilla, highlighted by the crisp and fruity character of pomegranate. That […]

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paleo truffles 3

Adjectives fail me…

I wish I could describe these truffles with the extravagant adjectives in perfume or wine descriptions. These little bites of bliss deserve more than the introduction of downright delicious.

I’ll give it a try:

Intensely silky, the deep chocolate base boasts undertones of caramel and vanilla, highlighted by the crisp and fruity character of pomegranate.

That sounds pretty good, right?

Paleo truffles, with just two ingredients!

paleo truffles 4

Warning: you may be sorry after I introduce you to the following ingredients. Because once you invite them into your life, you will find it extraordinarily difficult to uninvite them.

paleo truffles 2

Love Bean Fudge is dark chocolate fudge in a jar. A silky, profoundly intense chocolate experience. Even better, it boasts the benefits of coconut oil! Paleo-friendly, it’s sweetened with mineral-rich coconut nectar (think maple syrup from a coconut tree).

Love Bean Fudge offers different varieties, and I used the Essentially Raw version for this recipe. The ingredients include: Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Ecuadorian Cacao Powder, Organic Vanilla Bean Powder.

You can add Love Bean fudge to smoothies, put it on ice cream, melt it and drizzle it over fruit, use it as a crappy-ingredient-free Nutella substitute, or use it for frosting.

Love Bean Fudge – Essentially Raw is available here.

Organic Pomegranate Powder is exactly that – powdered pomegranate seeds! Divinely sweet and tart, it boasts a range of concentrated phytonutrients including folate, vitamin C and potassium.

See my post 10 Ways to Use Pomegranate Powder for more inspiration utilizing this superfood.

Nativas Organic Freeze-Dried Pomegranate Powder is available here at Thrive Market (which is like a synthesis of a health food Costco/Amazon Prime) or Amazon here. I recommend registering for Thrive because they have the best prices.

Two Ingredient Paleo Truffles

10 minutes

Yield: 12 small truffles

Two Ingredient Paleo Truffles

These melt-in-your-mouth truffles meld decadent dark chocolate with a hint of sweet-tart pomegranate powder. The color combination of the deep chocolate with the pink pomegranate powder is simply striking. One taste and you'll be hooked.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. The fudge should have a thick, malleable consistency. If it is a hot day, you may need to place the jar in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm. It's easy to work with, just experiment until the consistency is optimal.
  2. Pour a small amount (a few tablespoons) of pomegranate powder into a small bowl. Use a teaspoon measure to scoop out a teaspoon of fudge, then roll it into a ball with your hands. Place the ball into the pomegranate powder, roll around, and then place the truffle on a plate.
  3. You can make as many as you like - 1/4 cup of the fudge will yield 12 small truffles. Of course, you can make the truffles larger if desired.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Let soften slightly at room temperature before serving.
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20 Things You May Not Know About Me http://empoweredsustenance.com/20-things-about-me/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/20-things-about-me/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:43:09 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8969 Recently, my friend George Bryant (whom you know as The Civilized Caveman) wrote a profoundly vulnerable post called 26 Things You May Not Know About Me. I admired him deeply for writing it and showing his strong soul. Inspired by George, I want to share some things with you. 1. I’m 22.  2. I was a really healthy […]

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20 things about me

Recently, my friend George Bryant (whom you know as The Civilized Caveman) wrote a profoundly vulnerable post called 26 Things You May Not Know About Me. I admired him deeply for writing it and showing his strong soul. Inspired by George, I want to share some things with you.

1. I’m 22. 

2. I was a really healthy kid until a period of trauma at age 11. Up to that point, I didn’t expect chronic health challenges to be a part of my future. 

3. I never expected a blog to be in my future, but – since middle school – I dreamt of being a writer.

4. Growing up, I continually received the message – both verbally and non-verbally – to be less sensitive. As I child, I thought something was wrong with me due to my heightened sensitivity to everything and everyone around me.

5. I learned about the term empath when I was 18. It refers to a person who physically and/or energetically experiences other people’s emotions. Suddenly, I had an explanation for otherwise unexplainable experiences in my life.

6. Both reading and writing stories and poems has gotten me through the most difficult and most joyful periods in my life. The artistry of words on paper allows me to process experiences and emotions.

journal

7. I know my emotional and environmental sensitivity predisposed me to health challenges, but I believe it also led me to explore writing – including writing Empowered Sustenance – as a processing and coping mechanism.

8. I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum of restrictive eating. At one end, it led me into a spiral of toxic control when I struggled with anorexia at a young age. At the other end, it saved me from an impending surgery and a lifetime of medication.

9. I call myself a recovering health perfectionist. I have learned that it is not healthy for me to live with a linear image in my mind of a straight path that takes me from point A (unhealthy) – to point B (healthy).

10. At 14, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. After a week of passing bloody stools up to 20 times a day, I was hospitalized for two weeks. I didn’t fully process the diagnosis for months after, and I didn’t consider what it would mean to my future.

11. During one of my worst flare-ups, I spent a month nearly bed-ridden and wasn’t able to leave the house for about a month and a half. This was the summer before I was headed to college.

12. When I was 16, I wrote a gluten free cookbook for kids, got my hands on a current edition of The Writers Market, and sent query letters to 10 publishers. I was declined, but believed book writing would somehow be in my future.

13. I began at what I thought was my dream college while on steroids for the colitis, which made the transition even more difficult due to the emotionality, mood swings, and embarrassing physical side effects of the steroids (such as a swollen face).

14. I stayed at this college for one semester. I tried desperately to hide my health challenges. No one knew that my periods had stopped and I had blood in my stool daily.

15. Too weak to continue school, I returned home. A physician once again put me on the dreaded steroids and told me that the next step would likely be a surgery to remove part of my colon.

16. I religiously followed a gluten free diet for years, at the recommendation of a naturopath. Because that didn’t improve my colitis, I nearly gave up hope on addressing my health through nutrition. I came across a copy of Breaking The Vicious Cycle  three years ago and began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, feeling apathetic about it. My acute symptoms disappeared within three days and, within 6 months, I decided to quit my meds and use nutrition to manage the colitis.

17. I began blogging because I was still gaining strength after my most recent colitis flare, and was unable to resume school or activities outside of my home. I felt isolated in my experience and wanted to connect with people facing similar health challenges. Blogging provided a platform for this connection. 

small quit pms   small quit acne   Indulge and Heal digital cover new

18. By 21, I had self-published three books and received contract offers from various publishers.

19. I just finished my Junior year at the holistic college Bastyr University studying Health Psychology. In April of this year, I suddenly realized that I am compelled to change my education path. I am grateful for every minute I’ve spent on the Bastyr campus and for the incredible friends and mentors I’ve met here, but I do not have a passion to learn psychology.

bastyr 2

20. This year, I learned that I am not able to be a full-time student and manage Empowered Sustenance. I have a history of blinding myself to the health consequences of chronic stress with chronic stress, and I made that mistake again this year. Blogging and being a full-time student was too much for me and did impede my healing, so I’ve lightened my school load (taking less credits at a time, over a longer period of time).

I have new learning adventures in store and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you. This year, I’m planning to train in herbalism, train in kinesiology, and pursue my passion for creative writing through writer’s workshops. 

Thank you for being a part of my journey, and thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you!

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Turmeric Bombs: DIY Turmeric Supplement http://empoweredsustenance.com/turmeric-supplement-diy/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/turmeric-supplement-diy/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:25:40 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8993 Did you know there are over 7,000 studies researching the efficacy of turmeric and it’s active component curcumin? You’ve certainly heard the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric touted by practitioners, blogs, and wellness publications. I believe this highly-pigmented herb belongs in everyone’s wellness arsenal, both as long-term maintenance and acute inflammation relief. Here’s a simple way to get […]

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Turmeric bombs: an anti-inflammatory turmeric supplement

Did you know there are over 7,000 studies researching the efficacy of turmeric and it’s active component curcumin?

You’ve certainly heard the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric touted by practitioners, blogs, and wellness publications. I believe this highly-pigmented herb belongs in everyone’s wellness arsenal, both as long-term maintenance and acute inflammation relief. Here’s a simple way to get turmeric into your day!

DIY Turmeric Supplement

I add turmeric to curries and vegetable soups on a regular basis, but, while this is certainly providing some benefit, it is not a highly concentrated dose of the herb. When I was in need of acute inflammation help, I added a couple tablespoons of turmeric in half a cup of water and gulped (or rather gagged) it down. If you’ve ever eaten straight turmeric, you know how bitter it can taste.

Now, when I feel the need for a turmeric hit, I’ll reach for these turmeric bombs. They are an easy way to get the benefits of turmeric without the bitter flavor. Even better, they contain a couple special ingredients to work synergistically with the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.

This concept of turmeric-honey pills was recently told to me by my friend Anna Matriotti, an experienced herbalist, nutritional therapist and president of the Washington chapter of the American Herbalist Guild. She shared this tip in her presentation at the 2015 Green Gathering, an herb/wildcrafting workshop.

How to increase the efficacy of turmeric

Did you know that certain ingredients can increase the bioavailability of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric? I’ve incorporated the following ingredients into the Turmeric Bombs to up-the-turmeric-ante:

  • Quercetin, a bioflavenoid, inhibits an enzyme that decreases the activity of curcumin.
  • Black pepper contains the potent alkaloid piperine, which has been shown to increase the bio-availability of curcumin up to 150%.
  • Fatty acids have been shown to increase the bioavailability of turmeric (source).

Turmeric bombs: an anti-inflammatory turmeric supplement

Two variations for Turmeric Bombs

I’ve included two variations for turmeric bombs: one made with honey and one made with coconut oil or ghee.

Turmeric bombs: an anti-inflammatory turmeric supplement

The honey variation is easier to swallow, so it is better suited to children. The honey also masks the bitter taste of the turmeric when the pill is swallowed. I would recommend starting with this option.

The coconut oil/ghee option has the benefit of being sugar free and also includes the fatty acids that improve the absorption of curcumin. However, the pills flatten slightly on the baking sheet into rougher shapes, which may be more difficult to swallow. They also have a slight flavor when swallowed.

Turmeric Bombs: DIY Turmeric Supplement

Yield: A lot... I think it made around 50, but I didn't count each one.

Turmeric Bombs: DIY Turmeric Supplement

The active compound curcumin, found in turmeric, has been widely studied for its potent anti-inflammatory effects. These DIY Turmeric supplements contain quercetin and black pepper, two ingredients shown to improve the bioavailability of curcumin.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with the unbleached parchment paper. Make room in your freezer to put the cookie sheet for a few hours when the Turmeric Bombs need to set.
  2. If you are like me and have a tendency to spill things, wear an apron! Turmeric powder stains clothing, and the powder can get on your clothes if you stir the mixture too vigorously.
  3. Select one of the binding agents. You will need approximately 3 tablespoons. If you choose raw honey and it is thick, melt it in a saucepan over very low heat until it is pourable. Do the same with the coconut oil or ghee so it is liquid, but not hot.
  4. In a bowl, stir together the turmeric, quercetin, pepper, and binding agent. If using honey, you should have a thick and pliable mixture. If using oil, you should have a thick mixture with which you can form pills.
  5. For the honey variation, pinch of small amounts of the "dough," roll between your palms, and place on the baking sheet. For the oil variation, use a spoon to scoop small pill shapes onto the baking sheet.
  6. Freeze until firm, then transfer to a storage container and keep in the freezer.
  7. Take the turmeric bombs as needed. You can't overdose on them. However, if you take a lot of the oil-based ones, the fat content may upset your stomach. It using the honey version, keep in mind that it does contain sugar (albeit unrefined and enzyme-rich sugar).
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Turmeric bombs: an anti-inflammatory turmeric supplement

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10 Uses for Pomegranate Powder (Superfood Alert!) http://empoweredsustenance.com/pomegranate-powder-uses/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/pomegranate-powder-uses/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 00:46:47 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9033 Quinoa, kale and… pomegranate powder! You are likely well-versed in many of the “in” superfoods. You know how to properly pronounce “quinoa” and have a comprehensive repertoire of kale recipes. I would like to introduce you to a lesser-known superfood which I recently began incorporating into my life: pomegranate powder. Pomegranate powder is dried and ground […]

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pomegranate powder uses 3

Quinoa, kale and… pomegranate powder!

You are likely well-versed in many of the “in” superfoods. You know how to properly pronounce “quinoa” and have a comprehensive repertoire of kale recipes. I would like to introduce you to a lesser-known superfood which I recently began incorporating into my life: pomegranate powder.

Pomegranate powder is dried and ground pomegranate seeds. Because it is freeze-dried, it is raw, preserving nutrients and enzymes.

Pomegranate powder spikes both sweet and savory dishes with the distinct sweet-tart flavor of pomegranate along with the nutrients found in this gorgeous fruit.

Pomegranate powder boasts high levels of phytonutrients including:

  • vitamin C
  • antioxidants
  • potassium
  • folate

Where to find pomegranate powder

The only pomegranate powder I’ve used is Nativas Organic Freeze Dried Pomegranate Powder. I recommend the following two sources for it:

1. Thrive Market has it here, for the best price. I’ve discussed Thrive before, it’s a combo of Costco/health food store/Amazon prime. Currently, if you register for Thrive here, you’ll get 25% off your first order and a free paleo cookbook.

2. Amazon carries it here.

pomegranate powder uses

10 Uses for Pomegranate Powder

1. Superfood smoothies. This is a no-brainer… add a spoonful of pomegranate powder to your smoothies before blending. It ups the nutrient content and adds beautiful flavor. My favorite fruit pairings with pomegranate powder include blueberries, bananas or mangoes.

2. Spiked salad dressing. I’ve found pomegranate powder plays beautifully with balsamic or dijon vinaigrettes. When making your vinaigrette, whisk a spoonful (to taste) of pomegranate powder into the vinegar or mustard base until it dissolves. Then whisk in the oil, as usual.

3. Powder sugar substitute. Use a sifter or mesh strainer to dust pomegranate powder over cakes, pancakes or waffles for a beautiful and comment-provoking presentation. It’s a refined-sugar alternative to dusting powdered sugar.

pomegranate powder uses 44. Natural food coloring. Pomegranate powder lends a beautiful pink shade without the artificial coloring agents found in conventional food coloring. I’ve added pomegranate powder to frosting to create a gorgeous pink result. You could also try experimenting and add pomegranate powder to cake batter (I haven’t tried this yet, so I don’t know if the color changes when it is baked, but it sounds promising).

5. Ice Cream. Whisk pomegranate powder, to taste, into the base of ice cream before processing in an ice cream maker. Alternatively, add it to the blender if you are making frozen fruit based ice cream, such as my Banana Chai Ice Cream or Mango Soft Serve.

6. Hot Tea. Stir pomegranate powder, to taste, into hot tea until dissolved. Add milk and sweetener if desired, but the pomegranate powder lends a lovely sweetness. I love it paired with black tea, green tea, ginger, and rooibos.

7. Pomegranate Buttermints. Create a spin on my Sugar-Craving-Busting Buttermints, which is one of the most popular recipes on Empowered Sustenance. Instead of the peppermint extract, add a spoonful (to taste) of pomegranate powder to the base before piping the buttermints. They will turn a beautiful pink shade.

8. Pomegranate honey. Stir pomegranate powder into raw honey for an instant fruit-infused honey.

9. Flavor porridge and oatmeal. Add to your hot bowl of breakfast porridge or oatmeal. No oats for you? Try my coconut-based Paleo “Oatmeal.”

10. Curries, stews, and crockpot meals. To add nutrients and a sweet-tart flavor, finish curries or stews with a hit of pomegranate powder before serving.

Have you tried pomegranate powder before? Any other serving suggestions? 

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My Eating Disorder Recovery http://empoweredsustenance.com/eating-disorder-recovery/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/eating-disorder-recovery/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 23:59:49 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8169   Food and I. It’s been a crazy journey. When I was 14, I developed ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease. As it progressed severely over the years, medicines stopped working. When I was told my only option was the removal of my colon, my body viscerally refused. I threw myself into researching nutrition and mind-body […]

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 eating disorder recovery 2

Food and I. It’s been a crazy journey.

When I was 14, I developed ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease. As it progressed severely over the years, medicines stopped working. When I was told my only option was the removal of my colon, my body viscerally refused. I threw myself into researching nutrition and mind-body medicine.

Long story short, I healed my intestines through some drastic dietary changes, avoided surgery, felt empowered, and began to share my journey on Empowered Sustenance.

That is my part of my journey with food. But there is another part of the story that has also shaped who I am and how I see food. It’s a story of disordered eating.

For a short period of time when I was around 12, I used anorexia as a coping mechanism. It gave me an illusion of control in my life when every other aspect of my life felt terrifyingly unpredictable.

It’s hard to think about that time and even harder to discuss. Thankfully, within a year, I recovered fully after the upheaval in my life settled and I received help from professionals. But that period changed my life forever.

Recently, one of my friends came to terms with an eating disorder. I was able to offer words of consolation  as someone who has been there, done that.

These are the suggestions I offered to her based my exploration of my own eating disorder recovery. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, my heart goes out to you and I hope that just a few of the sentences in this post will resonate with you.

1. Say it to yourself first

Years ago when someone told me I had an eating disorder, even though I knew it deep down, I became more resistant to the idea. I had acknowledge the problem myself before I could change.

If you have an eating disorder, you can frequently hide it from family and friends, but you can rarely hide it from someone who has experienced disordered eating. My soul ached to see my friend following the same patterns that I recognized from my past. I tried to gauge the situation and felt like it wouldn’t be helpful for me to give her a “diagnosis.”

Last week, my friend and I had an emotional conversation when she had that lightbulb moment: “I have an eating disorder,” she said under her breath, more to herself than to me.

Naming the problem is the first step toward reaching a solution.

2. Start feeding your brain

The piece key piece of information that I wish I knew when I was in the midst of recovery? I wish someone had told me your brain is starving.

The brain of someone with an eating disorder is at an extreme nutrient deficiency, which I believe impairs one’s ability to think objectively about one’s situation (to see “outside” of yourself).

Often, the body has been deprived of fat-soluble vitamins, cofactors required for mineral absorption, and complete protein. These are all required for the synthesis of adequate neurotransmitters, such as the “happy neurotransmitter” dopamine. This deficiency also makes it more difficult to make habit-changing decisions.

When habits seem impossible to change, know that it’s not solely due to lack of willpower… your brain is literally sick. Your soul will say one thing, but your brain will say another. I believe this is one of the factors behind body dysmorphia (seeing oneself as heavy when one is underweight), a hallmark symptom of anorexia. The good news is that you can heal your brain with food! Start focusing on the following “brain-healing” ingredients:

  • Wild salmon – Wild salmon is rich in the anti-inflammatory omega-3s called EPA and DHA, which nourish the brain. It also provides protein, which is the precursor to synthesizing neurotransmitters.
  • Fish oil – I recommend cod liver oil (liquid or capsules) which provides bioavailable (meaning your body can absorb it) forms of vitamin A, vitamin D and omega-3s.
  • Eggs from pastured hens – Besides providing complete protein, the egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens are an exceptional source of brain-boosting components including fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. 
  • Homemade bone broth – Folklore says that a good bone broth can raise the dead. Simmering bones creates a nutrient-rich infusion of minerals vital for cognitive function. Because bone broth has very few calories, many people with an eating disorder will readily consume it.

3. Tell your practitioners 

When you speak about it, your eating disorder becomes a concrete problem that is easier to solve. Say, “I am struggling with an eating disorder. I feel like food has control of my life. I want to recover.”

It sounds simple, but – at least for me – it provided a profound step towards recovery. You can speak with your doctor, a therapist, your acupuncturist… tell all the health practitioners in your life. These professionals will (or should) understand without judgement, and will be able to help you. You can also call the Eating Disorder Helpline to talk with a volunteer.

4. Break the first small habit

Habitual thinking patterns are the root of disordered eating and lead to food compulsion. While the entrenched thinking patterns take time to heal, you can start breaking habitual actions today.

Is there a food or meal that you eat daily and can’t imagine going without? For me, during my disordered eating, it was diet coke and a specific cereal. For someone else, it might be a meal replacement bar. Take that food out of your house and tomorrow start a fresh day without that food. 

It’s not so much about avoiding the specific food, but making the psychological shift to break the habit and emotional bond.

Another concrete habit I stopped in my eating disorder recovery was my extreme exercise routines. For example, I used to run on the tredmill every morning. One morning, the desire to reach a balanced life overrode the compulsion of that habit. In one day, I made a huge mental shift towards wellness by breaking that habit. It’s impossible to explain the difficulty behind “just stopping” a habit like that to someone who hasn’t experienced disordered eating. It’s a big step, and requires courage and mental/emotional stamina. 

5. Create more distance from food

When I was in the grasp of my disordered eating, my world revolved around food. When I wasn’t planning or cooking or calorie counting my meals, I thumbed through cookbooks and feasted on The Food Network. Like so many people struggling with an eating disorder, I sought solace in virtual meals.

A transformational aspect of my recovery included distancing myself from cookbooks, food websites, and cooking shows. This period allowed me to distract myself with soothing and restorative habits.

For example, when I felt tempted to seek the familiar comfort in planning my meals, I turned on an audiobook and began crocheting or drawing. This distraction provided a positive sense of accomplishment, as well, when I stood back and admired my handiwork. 

6. Recognize health perfectionism 

Years ago, disordered eating appealed to me because it gave me a perfectionist high. It lured me with the security of rules, regulations, order and routine. I believe nature and nurture factors gave me Type-A tendencies, and this personality aspect made me more vulnerable to disordered eating.

Stepping out of my perfectionistic approach in my eating habits was just part of my recovery. I believe an essential aspect included committed myself to perfectionism recovery in the other aspects of my life (such as school, sports, and hobbies ).

I encourage you to analyze your life through the lens of what I call health perfectionism, which I elaborate in my post Confessions of a Recovering Health Perfectionist.

I want to leave you with the same thoughts with which I concluded that post:

Healing is not about reaching perfection. It’s about constant adjusting and reorienting oneself in order to maintain balance.

The goal of perfect health is completely incompatible with mental and physical wellbeing. Approaching health challenges as a growth opportunity and balancing act is deeply empowering.

You can ALWAYS redeem your struggle

When I was talking to my friend the other night, I felt all the right words come to my mouth. I believe I was with her at that moment to listen and share my own experience. Suddenly my own past struggle with disordered eating felt redeemed.

If you are facing a pattern of disordered eating, know without a doubt that one day you can say to yourself, I faced that struggle for a reason, and I am stronger and happier because of it.

If these words resonated with you, please pass on this post so that it might encourage and empower a loved one. 

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Empower Your Hair Re-Run! http://empoweredsustenance.com/empower-your-hair-re-run/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/empower-your-hair-re-run/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 20:13:28 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8982 I’m excited to offer a re-run of the exclusive Empower Your Hair package for 2 weeks, June 4th – 18th. When it was available shortly in December, it flew off the shelves. I was honored to create this package specifically for you with Anthony Morrocco, the founder of Morrocco Method. Morrocco Method is the 100% raw […]

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empower your hair main

I’m excited to offer a re-run of the exclusive Empower Your Hair package for 2 weeks, June 4th – 18th. When it was available shortly in December, it flew off the shelves.

I was honored to create this package specifically for you with Anthony Morrocco, the founder of Morrocco Method. Morrocco Method is the 100% raw hair care that completely changed the health of my hair and scalp.

Together, these products would be $69 but I worked with Anthony to get this package down to $49… that’s 30% off my favorite MM products!

What you’ll get in the Empower Your Hair Package:

  • 5 trial-size (2 oz each) raw shampoos with carrying case
  • Full size Zen Detox, for scalp purification and detoxification
  • Diamond Crystal Mist (2 oz)
  •  Large scalp massager, to support blood flow and circulation for hair growth

My experience and posts about the products in this package:

Click here to get the Empower Your Hair Package.

Because this is an exclusive deal specifically for my readers, it’s not listed on the Morrocco Method website – you have to click through that link. No coupon is required to purchase the package, but just make sure you click through that link to get access to it. This package cannot be combined with coupon codes.

holistic hair webinar with morrocco method

And check out my Holistic Hair Webinar here with Anthony Morrocco. You’ll learn everything you need to know about getting started with truly natural hair care. We also explain how and why to use each of the products in this package.

The Empower Your Hair Package is only available through June 18th!

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Magically Double the Antioxidants in Your Salad! http://empoweredsustenance.com/how-to-store-lettuce/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/how-to-store-lettuce/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 01:25:56 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8450 I recently picked up Jo Robinson’s bestselling book Eating on the Wild Side. It’s a accessible but jam-packed read discussing the nutrient content of produce. It offers practical and often non-intuitive tips for picking the most bang for your buck, nutrient-wise, in the grocery store. One of the most interesting tips that stood out to […]

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how to store lettuce

eating on the wild sideI recently picked up Jo Robinson’s bestselling book Eating on the Wild Side. It’s a accessible but jam-packed read discussing the nutrient content of produce. It offers practical and often non-intuitive tips for picking the most bang for your buck, nutrient-wise, in the grocery store.

One of the most interesting tips that stood out to me was how to store lettuce in a way that makes it last longer and can double the antioxidant levels.

How to Store Lettuce, according to Jo:

1. After purchasing, soak your lettuce in cold water for 10 minutes then spin dry in a salad spinner. This slows the aging process and makes the lettuce last longer.

2. Now comes the interesting part: a day or two before serving, tear your lettuce into bite-sized pieces. This can double the antioxidant levels! The lettuce produces more antioxidants as a protective measure against the damage. However, it makes the lettuce wilt more quickly, which is why you should do this only a day or so before serving.

3. Next, create a “microperforated bag” to prolong the life of the lettuce. Put your lettuce – torn or not torn, depending on when you will eat it – in a zip-top bag, press out the air and seal the top. Next, use a pin to make 10-20 evenly spaced holes. Store this on a shelf in the fridge, not in the crisper drawer.

Why? According to Jo, this creates the perfect humidity and allows the optimal exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. If the lettuce is stored in a bag without the holes, it produces too much CO2 and wilts. If it’s stored open to the air in the fridge, the excess oxygen causes wilting. The tiny pin pricks allow the optimal exchange of O2 and C02.

If you avoid using plastic bags, you might try these Reusable Produce Bags. They’re designed to maintain the correct humidity in the fridge like the homemade bag option. As of writing this post, I’ve ordered them but I haven’t tried them yet.

Other tips for increasing the nutrient value of your salad from Jo’s section on lettuces in her book:

  • Purchase fresh heads of spinach, rather than bags of spinach, and eat it soon after purchasing. Spinach stored for a week has half the antioxidant value of freshly picked ones.
  • Larger heads of spinach have more antioxidants than baby spinach leaves.
  • Radicchio has four times the antioxidant value of romaine. Toss some shredded radicchio into your salad for a burst of color and nutrients!
  •  Enjoy your salad with a homemade dressing based with a healthy fat, such as olive oil or pastured egg yolks. The fatty acids are co-factors for the minerals and vitamins in the lettuce, meaning they work synergistically and allow your body to absorb these nutrients. A 2012 Purdue Study discussed in Jo’s book found that olive oil is seven times more powerful than soybean oil in making the lettuce nutrients available. (Regular salad dressings are usually made with inflammatory oils such as canola oil, safflower oil or soybean oil).

Have you ever tried this method of storing lettuce? 

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A Week of Easy Paleo Meal Ideas (i.e. what do I eat?) http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-meal-ideas/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-meal-ideas/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8859 What do I eat? I recently began regularly sharing my dinners on Instagram, and have received encouraging and positive feedback. I wanted to share my easy paleo meal ideas on the blog. I don’t cook gourmet feasts every night, but I do enjoy cooking and eating! I use simple ingredients and jazz them up with my 25 […]

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a week of easy paleo meal ideas

What do I eat?

I recently began regularly sharing my dinners on Instagram, and have received encouraging and positive feedback. I wanted to share my easy paleo meal ideas on the blog.

I don’t cook gourmet feasts every night, but I do enjoy cooking and eating! I use simple ingredients and jazz them up with my 25 paleo flavor hacks.

I’m also a fan of batch cooking, although I’ve been doing less of it recently. Here is my Week of Batch Cooking + Recipes post.

 My meal principles

Here are the general principles I follow – it’s what works for my body!

 I follow a modified Autoimmune Paleo Diet. I avoid the foods that my body doesn’t tolerate: grains, dairy (with the exception of ghee), nightshades, chicken eggs, refined sugar, and concentrated sweeteners. I enjoy vegetables, some fruit, high quality protein, and healthy fats. I was able to recently introduce duck eggs and macadamia nuts, too!

– Cook once, eat twice. I usually make double portions so I can enjoy the same meal for breakfast or dinner the next day.

– Veggies take center stage. Liberal servings of (preferably seasonal) vegetables feel substantial and keep my digestive tract happy.

Dark leafy greens at least once – usually twice – a day. I prefer buying bunches of kale, chard, and spinach. However, when I’m in a pinch for time, I will reach for a container of pre-washed organic baby kale or baby spinach.

Rotate high-quality proteins. Those with autoimmunity should give extra attention to rotating foods, since they are suceptible to developing food sensitivities. I try to rotate my proteins frequently. For example, I don’t want to eat beef every day of the week. I do a combination of wild seafood and pasture-raised meats.

Finding a balance with carbohydrates. I believe everyone needs to tweak their carb intake to suit their body type and health concerns. One of my ongoing and puzzling health challenges is insulin resistance, but I don’t want to do a very low-carb or ketogenic diet. I usually eat 2-3 servings of carbohydrate per day, and a “serving” would be something like an apple or small sweet potato.

 – Often 2 large meals per day. To support my digestion and blood sugar, I tend to eat two large meals rather than three smaller meals – I have a later breakfast and an earlier dinner. This also saves me the time of preparing lunch, and I can spend more time preparing these two meals. I don’t snack, but if I get hungry between meals I’ll reach for an Epic bar or olives or something like that.

Paleo Meal Ideas

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Soup made with blended zucchini, broccoli, and chicken broth, topped with shredded chicken (this crockpot chicken recipe) + raspberries with coconut whipped cream + sauteed baby kale

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Over-easy duck egg with smoked sea salt, sauteéd spinach, fresh crab meat (a splurge, but so worth it)

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Burger made with beef and a dried herb blend + mashed cauliflower + sauteéd chard + baked Japanese sweet potato

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Wild king salmon with crispy skin + sundried olives (available here – they are out of this world!) + cauliflower mash + (not pictured) green apple slices with cinnamon

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Halibut baked with dijon mustard + crispy kale + roasted parsnips

a week of easy paleo meal ideas

Smoked salmon + steamed asparagus + sauteed chard + Steve’s Paleo Goods ginger dressing + (pictured below) apple with coconut butter

paleo meal ideas 8

paleo meal ideas 11

Sardine salad with canned wild anchovies + Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise (it’s made with avocado oil and is available at Thrive for the best price) + truffle salt. I don’t remember what I had for the rest of this meal.

Other meals I recently ate but didn’t photograph (this post is now more than a week’s worth of meals):

Ground lamb burger + sauteéd shitake mushrooms + roasted green beans + sweet potato

Cream soup made with carrots, fennel and coconut milk + leftover lamb burger + frozen blueberries

Butter lettuce salad with vinagrette + Bison Epic Bar (best price available at Thrive Market) + tangerine (I only had a few minutes to make it)

Scrambled duck eggs + roasted parsnips + sauteéd spinach

Applegate Organic Chicken Apple Sausage + baked kabocha squash with ghee

It doesn’t have to be complicated!

I wanted to show you that nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory meals can be varied and tasty, but still  simple to prepare. Hopefully this inspires you in the kitchen. Eat well and heal™!

paleo meal ideas 8

Follow me on Instagram to see more of my meals!

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How I Hacked My Brain Rhythms for Better Sleep http://empoweredsustenance.com/sleep-genius/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/sleep-genius/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 13:00:40 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8952 Confessions of a High Maintenance Sleeper Friends and family call me a “high maintenance sleeper” and, I must admit, it’s an accurate label. I was never the one who could instantly fall asleep on a friend’s couch. I was the ultra-light sleeper who never traveled without earplugs and a white noise machine. That is, until I tried […]

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sleep genius

Confessions of a High Maintenance Sleeper

Friends and family call me a “high maintenance sleeper” and, I must admit, it’s an accurate label. I was never the one who could instantly fall asleep on a friend’s couch. I was the ultra-light sleeper who never traveled without earplugs and a white noise machine.

That is, until I tried the Sleep Genius system. Now I travel with a compact speaker and play brain-rhythm altering music when I go to bed. 

High maintenance? Maybe. But I’m not sleeping without my Sleep Genius… I’d rather be called names and get a good nights sleep, both at home and while traveling!

What is Sleep Genius? 

In a sentence, Sleep Genius is the most scientifically advanced sleep program in the world, and was developed following our research helping NASA get astronauts to sleep in space.

I call it a brain-rhythm-altering portal into deeper, more restful sleep.

A team of sleep, brain and technology experts came together to create Sleep Genius. Among the developers are Dr. Seth Horowitz, an auditory neuroscientist who worked with NASA, and Alex Doman, author of Healing at the Speed of Sound.

Sleep Genius sounds like relaxing music but it is much more than that: it uses four techniques help transition your brain into natural sleep rhythms. 

  1. Neurosensory algorithms are low frequency sounds that create a motion-induced sensation in your brain, similar to a baby being rocked to sleep. I actually feel it in my body when I turn on my Sleep Genius. For me, it is an almost hypnotic relaxation – very powerful!
  2. Pink noise is similar to white noise, but it also has the benefit of triggering the relaxation response. This slows your heart rate and breath rate so you can drift asleep.
  3. Multiband binural beats are high tech. Let me give you the definition from the Sleep Genius website: “Binaural beats are scientifically designed stereo sounds that can induce synchronization from the brain stem to the frontal lobe.”
  4. Psychoacoustic music is scientifically-composed low-frequency harmonies. To me, Sleep Genius doesn’t really register as music, but more of a relaxing tone experience.

The combination of these four components makes Sleep Genius a powerful tool for deep sleep.

The first night I used it, I felt my body immediately shift into a deep state of relaxation. I also fell asleep faster. I’ve used it religiously ever since.

What you’ll get in the Sleep Genius package

Before I tell you how to get a FREE Sleep Genius set, let me tell you what is included:

  • A nifty travel case with compartments to fit everything snugly and safely
  • A Beacon speaker
  • An iPod shuffle already loaded with the Sleep Genius program
  • Charging cord for the speaker and iPod Shuffle
  • Cord to connect the iPod Shuffle to the speaker

sleep genius

The system is so compact, especially when you have the speaker running on battery. This is what it looks like:

sleep genius

Setting up your Sleep Genius

For a blogger, I’m ironically tech-phobic. I like to keep my technology tools as simple as possible, and I do not enjoy the initial setup of devices. It would be a vast understatement to say I was amazed by the simplicity of setting up Sleep Genius… it went from boxed to playing in 45 seconds.

  1. Plug the speaker into a socket using the USB cord. Keep it plugged in during use, or charge it prior to use (once charged, it will last for 15 hours)
  2. Connect the iPod (it’s partially pre-charged) to the speaker using the “In” port and the included cord.
  3. Turn the speaker on and turn the iPod on. Voilá! Sleep Genius is now playing.

It’s wired, so very low EMFs!

One of my major concerns with sleep technology is the EMFs (electromagnetic fields). I avoid sleep apps on my phone, since I turn my phone off during the night. I certainly don’t want my phone on, next to my body, when I’m sleeping. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the body is most vulnerable to EMFs and toxins when asleep, since it is in full parasympathetic mode.

That is the reason why I also avoid Fitbits and other sleep-monitoring devices worn on the body.

The Sleep Genius uses a completely wired connection (not a Bluetooth connection) so the EMFs are minimal. That makes me so happy!

Get a FREE Sleep Genius Set – a $300 value!

My favorite non-toxic mattress company, intelliBED, stays on top of the latest research about how to support safe, healthy sleep. They were the ones who got me hooked on Sleep Genius. 

Through the end of May, I’m working with IntelliBED to offer you an incredible gift: a FREE Sleep Genius System, a $300 value, when you purchase an IntelliBED mattress. You will also get 10% off the mattress!

How to get Sleep Genius without a mattress 

You can buy the Sleep Genius set at intelliBED. Click through my referral link here are you will automatically get 10% off the Sleep Genius system, even if you don’t buy a mattress. Use the search bar at the top of the page to search for “sleep genius.”

Why intelliBED? 

I’ve written numerous posts, recorded a webinar, and done a video about finding a non-toxic mattress that supports restorative sleep. In a nutshell, intelliBED is my favorite mattress because: 

  • It is made with non-offgassing materials and a non-toxic mineral fire retardant (compared to traditional mattresses coated in potentially carcinogenic fire retardants) 
  • It is one of the longest-lasting mattresses, with a 30 year warranty
  • It features a unique construction to provide optimal alignment and help you get – and stay – in the deepest stages of sleep

You can learn more about my experience with intelliBED here

sleep genius promo

How to get a free Sleep Genius sound system

*This limited-time gift is only available until May 31st*

  1. Take advantage of this gift before it expires on May 31st.
  2.  Call intelliBED to place your order for a mattress and be sure to tell them Lauren sent you. That way, you’ll get the 10% off and the Sleep Genius gift. Why call them? They have amazing customer service reps who will make sure you get the right bed for your needs.

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