Empowered Sustenance http://empoweredsustenance.com Eat well and heal!™ Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:49:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Cinnamon and Sugar Coconut Chips Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/coconut-chips-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/coconut-chips-recipe/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:49:33 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8048  Coconut chips – a quick and easy snack! Struck with a craving for something salty, sweet and crunchy? Try these superbly healthy and easy coconut chips! I don’t usually buy packaged snack foods, even paleo-friendly options due to my limited budget and even more limited diet. However, I recently bought a bag of Dang Caramel Coconut […]

The post Cinnamon and Sugar Coconut Chips Recipe appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
Cinnamon and sugar coconut chips recipe - easy and healthy!

 Coconut chips – a quick and easy snack!

Struck with a craving for something salty, sweet and crunchy? Try these superbly healthy and easy coconut chips!

I don’t usually buy packaged snack foods, even paleo-friendly options due to my limited budget and even more limited diet. However, I recently bought a bag of Dang Caramel Coconut Chips on a whim while at Whole Foods. The ingredients were totally acceptable: coconut flakes, coconut sugar and sea salt. But the price tag was not something I could justify on a routine basis- $5 for 3 ounces.

Making coconut chips at home couldn’t be easier, and it is much more affordable than the store bought version. Also, making it from scratch allows you to tweak the ingredients. If you don’t want the sweetener, you can leave it out and the natural sweetness of the coconut will shine through.

About the Ingredients

Unsweetened flaked coconut – Packed with beneficial medium chain fatty acids, flaked coconut is a nourishing and satiating snack. Not to be confused with shredded coconut, flaked coconut are larger pieces of coconut meat that become divinely golden and crunchy when baked.

These chips are substantial and nutrient-dense. Don’t go crazy eating these, because the high fiber content may cause some digestive distress.

To make this Coconut Chips recipe, you will need large flakes of unsweetened coconut. You can find this at your health food store or online here.

Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar is a mineral-rich, paleo-friendly unrefined sweetener. You can find it in most health food stores in the baking isle and sometimes in the bulk bin section. You can also get it online here.

I don’t frequently use granular sweeteners in my recipes, relying instead on fruit or raw honey. In this recipe, coconut sugar adds a slight molasses flavor to compliment the cinnamon and coconut flavor. It also adds sweetness while allowing the coconut to become toasted (which is why a liquid sweetener will not work in this recipe).

If desired, you can completely omit the coconut sugar. The result won’t be sweet, but the combination of coconut and cinnamon is still tasty.

Cinnamon – Cinnamon adds a pretty golden color and a warm, fragrant spice. I highly recommend sourcing organic spices including cinnamon, since conventional spices are frequently irradiated. I just don’t like the idea of my food being zapped.

Cinnamon and sugar coconut chips recipe - easy and healthy!

Cinnamon and Sugar Coconut Chips

Yield: Makes about 4 cups

Cinnamon and Sugar Coconut Chips

Lightly spiced with cinnamon and sweetened naturally with mineral-rich coconut sugar, these coconut chips satisfy your sweet tooth with healthy ingredients. Make sure you cool them completely before enjoying, which allows the texture to become crispy.

Ingredients

  • 4 heaping cups unsweetened flaked coconut, available here
  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 2 heaping Tbs. coconut sugar available here
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of unrefined salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Melt the coconut oil and stir in the coconut sugar. Pour onto the lined baking sheet. Add the coconut flakes, add a pinch of salt, and toss with your hands to gently combine. Work gently to avoid breaking the coconut flakes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, then stir. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. The coconut chips are done baking when they are golden brown and smell toasty. The baking time varies depending on oven temperature fluctuations and the position of the baking sheet in the oven, so keep a close eye on it to prevent burning. They turn from golden to burned quickly.
  4. Cool completely before eating - this allows the chips to become crispy. Enjoy!
  5. Although these are best the day they are made, they store in an airtight container for a few days.

Notes

There is no need to be precise with the ingredient measurements, this is one of those easy "eyeball it" recipes. You can always add another pinch of salt or sprinkle of cinnamon after the chips have baked.

http://empoweredsustenance.com/coconut-chips-recipe/

Have you made coconut chips before? 

The post Cinnamon and Sugar Coconut Chips Recipe appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/coconut-chips-recipe/feed/ 5
Why I Use an EMF Bed Canopy http://empoweredsustenance.com/emf-bed-canopy/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/emf-bed-canopy/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 01:06:27 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8189 As I’ve discussed, I recently transferred to a natropathic/holistic health college called Bastyr University and I’m currently living in their on-campus housing. Two weeks ago, in this post, I shared a campus and dorm tour, and showed you how I outfitted my “holistic dorm room.” One of the most unique features in my room is […]

The post Why I Use an EMF Bed Canopy appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
benefits of an EMF bed canopy

As I’ve discussed, I recently transferred to a natropathic/holistic health college called Bastyr University and I’m currently living in their on-campus housing. Two weeks ago, in this post, I shared a campus and dorm tour, and showed you how I outfitted my “holistic dorm room.”

One of the most unique features in my room is an EMF sheilding bed canopy. I promised a post discussing this unusual product and here it is!

What is an EMF bed canopy?

An EMF bed canopy is made with a special fabric that blocks virtually all electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs, for short). EMFs and electropollution is a topic which I’ve researched passionately for the last year. I believe understanding the dangers of EMFs plays a crucial part in 21st century health.

Since I’ve discussed the science behind EMFs and health problems in my previous posts, I will not go into details here. Instead, I will point you to the following resources where you can learn more about the effects EMFs if you are interested:

  •  What is Electropollution? I wrote this post to discuss sources of electropollution, how it affects you health, and simple steps to reduce your EMF exposure.
  • 5 Ways to Reduce Cell Phone Radiation Exposure. I know you don’t want to live without your cell phone, so I shared steps to use it more safely.
  • Full Signal Documentary. Everyone should watch this documentary! It’s a thoughtful discussion about EMFs and the corrupt politics involved. You can stream it on Amazon here for just a few dollars.
  • The 2012 Bioinitiative Report. This references 1,800 new studies showing that EMFs cause biological damage at varying levels of exposure.

Things I considered when getting my canopy

In a dorm room, I can’t take the EMF-reducing steps that I practiced at home. For example, in my house we use corded phones instead of high EMF cordless phones. We also turn off our cell phones and the internet router at night. These small steps significantly reduce the EMF burden.

Bastyr has a cell phone tower on campus… yikes! I’m not against cell towers per say, but I don’t think they should be in such close proximity to where people are living and sleeping. Cell towers emit pulsed radio frequency radiation, which has been shown in thousands of studies to cause damage to cell functions. (Check out the links above for more info.) If I didn’t have the option of an EMF canopy, I would have seriously reconsidered my plan to live on the campus.

The body is most vulnerable to the damaging effects of EMFs while sleeping. When we are sleeping, the body is in parasympathetic nervous system mode. This means the defense mechanisms of the body down while the repair processes are going full-throttle. It’s more important to protect your sleeping environment from EMFs rather than your daily living environment.

I don’t think an EMF bed canopy is a priority for everyone. Is reducing EMF exposure beneficial for everyone? Absolutely. But I don’t think everyone needs to start saving for an EMF bed canopy, especially if one practices stress management and excellent nutrition. These aspects help bolster the body against EMF damage.

My health is profoundly sensitive and is my top priority. I’m on the recovery path from a very severe autoimmune disease (ulcerative colitis), and I’m also trying to address another autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s) and other health issues at the same time. My health challenges, at various points in my life, have left me bedridden for months and in the hospital for weeks. Through the healing power of food and mind-body medicine, I’m healing my body… even though doctors said it wouldn’t be possible! My point here is that supporting my health is my most vital priority and I’m eager to do whatever it takes to continue on my journey to wellness.

I’m hypersensitive to just about everything. My poor parents… I was one sensitive baby. And one sensitive kid. And now I’m one sensitive adult. Sound, flavors, light, food, clothing, temperature, environment, emotions, energy… I’ve always been super sensitive to everything. I believe this is partly a personality/genetic trait. Sure, it’s presented challenges, but it also makes me who I am. I do not consider myself an electro-hypersensitive person, since I don’t have chronic symptoms such as tinnitus when I’m around computers. However, I think that the combination of my sensitive personality and sensitive health issues makes it prudent for me to be cautious with EMF exposure.

This is a lifetime investment, and there is no better investment than supporting my health. I got a Queen size canopy to fit my XL twin dorm bed, so I can use this canopy to fit a larger bed when I move out of a dorm. When I have a family, I can use this EMF canopy around my kids’ crib/bed. Children are most susceptible to the damage of EMFs because their brains are developing.

How I set up my EMF Bed Canopy

Note about the cost: An EMF bed canopy is a big investment and not something everyone can – or needs to – consider. I saved for this purchase for a very long time and made significant sacrifices elsewhere in my budget.

1. First, I ordered the canopy. My EMF consultant Scot Appert recommends getting a canopy from Safe Living Technologies. It comes in Twin, Queen and King sizes. Like nearly all dorm beds, mine is an Extra Long Twin, so I needed to get the Queen Size canopy to have enough length.

There are two fabric options for the canopy: Daylite and Naturell. Both are made with actual silver thread, which is what blocks the EMFs. (It’s also the reason for the price tag.) The Daylite is polyester/silver and the the Naturell is cotton/silver. I choose the Naturell option because I’m sensitive to polyester in clothing and I believe it could potentially offgass chemicals.

If you have living space beneath your bedroom, you will also need a floor mat of the same fabric to block EMFs from the room below you. I got the Queen size to fit under my XL twin bed.

2. The canopy is designed to be hung from the ceiling with some hooks and wooden dowels you can purchase at any hardware store. However, since I’m in a dorm room, I cannot screw anything into the walls. So, I needed to create a frame over which I could drape the canopy.

I called Scot Appert at Bio Health Homes to help me set up the canopy and take some EMF measurements in my room. Scot is based in Seattle (and he was already familiar with the Bastyr campus) and he specializes in EMF mitigation as well improving water and air quality in homes.

I wanted the frame to be made of non-offgassing, natural materials so Scot brought in some pre-cut cedar 2x2s and build the frame around my bed. When I am ready to dismantle the frame and move out, I just need to remove some screws and take out the cedar beams.

Scot is a wealth of knowledge and it was a privilege to work with him. He does work around the Seattle area but he has also traveled across the world to help people create safe and healthy living spaces. You can contact him here.

3. It’s recommended to take measurements inside the canopy, to make sure it is properly set up. Scot took the measurements for me and the results were incredible to see on his meter. In the room, the reading was about 400 microWatts per square meter (µW/m2). That’s not considered dangerously high by “normal” standards, but it would be problematic for electrosensitive individuals. Inside the closed canopy, the meter read 5 microWatts… that’s considered a virtually negligible level of EMF!

canopy frame

scot appert

Do I notice a difference with my EMF bed canopy?

Regardless of whether I feel a difference, I know that at my bed canopy is protecting my health at a cellular level. I’m sleeping in a virtually zero EMF environment, which allows my cells to repair and regenerate without the interrupting buzz of electropollution.

Interestingly enough, however, I do feel like I am experiencing unusually deep sleep. This surprises me, because 1) I struggle with insomnia, especially when I’m stressed 2) I’ve just made a huge transition and have a ton of new things on my plate and 3) My dorm and the campus is pretty quiet, but still louder than my old home.

Can I credit my EMF-free sleeping environment to improved sleep? It seems to me like reasonable part of the picture! Of course, there are also other variables to consider. Perhaps I’m just super exhausted with my new schedule. Also, I have an IntelliBED non-toxic mattress topper which has also greatly improved my sleep. Whatever the case, I’m happy to be sleeping so well and I’m happy with my bed canopy.

Also, I forgot to mention… the canopy makes my room look bohemian and beautiful! I get compliments on it from everyone who sees my room.

Would you be interested in trying an EMF bed canopy? Do you take steps to reduce your EMF exposure? 

The post Why I Use an EMF Bed Canopy appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/emf-bed-canopy/feed/ 18
10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-vegan-healthy/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-vegan-healthy/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:05:29 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8140 Is vegan healthy? Recently, I’ve received a few emails from readers who’ve asked me, “I’m so confused about a healthy diet! Is vegan healthy? I’ve read/seen [enter vegan book or documentary here] promoting a vegan lifestyle, but I know that you eat many animal products.” Food is complicated, but let’s start with the many aspects […]

The post 10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
Is veganism healthy? Here are 10 reasons why this nutritional therapist will never be vegan.

Is vegan healthy?

Recently, I’ve received a few emails from readers who’ve asked me, “I’m so confused about a healthy diet! Is vegan healthy? I’ve read/seen [enter vegan book or documentary here] promoting a vegan lifestyle, but I know that you eat many animal products.”

Food is complicated, but let’s start with the many aspects of a balanced diet on which everyone agrees – even the vegans and paleos! This includes:

  • Enjoy an abundance of freshly prepared vegetables
  • Minimized processed foods and instead cook meals from scratch
  • Eat mindfully and slowly
  • Source local, organic foods and support small farms

But what about the question of eating animals products? I firmly believe that properly-sourced animal products are essential to both the health of the human race and the health of the planet. Here are 10 reasons why I will never be a vegan.

1. A vegan diet never sustained any traditional culture

Dr. Weston Price, a dentist with a passion for nutrition, traveled the globe to discover the secrets of healthy, happy people. He recorded his findings in the 30’s in the landmark book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. From the Inuit in Alaska to the Maori in New Zealand, Dr. Price revealed that the diets traditional to each culture, although dependent on geography, followed a strict set of dietary laws.

Perhaps the most striking commonality is an unerring reverence for animal foods. No traditional culture subsisted on a vegan diet, a fact that Dr. Price found particularly interesting.

Some cultures, such as the Masai tribe in Africa, consumed almost exclusively animal products. The Masai ate meat, milk and blood from their cattle, experiencing profound health and incredible bone structure (which is an indicator of generational health). Cultures – such as the Inuit – that didn’t practice animal husbandry caught wild meat or fish. Groups who had the least access to animal products would forage for grubs and bugs.

The China Study (which is a book title, not a study) has been used to promote the idea that primarily vegan cultures experience better health than omnivorous cultures. T. Campbell, the author, notoriously cherry-picked data to arrive at a specific conclusion. Denise Minger, author of Death by Food Pyramid, published a scathing critique of Cambell’s work in her article, The China Study: Fact or Fiction.

Read more and sources: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Nourishing Traditions, The China Study: Fact or Fiction

2. Vegan diets do not provide fat-soluble vitamins A and D

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get vitamin A from carrots. Vegetables provide carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, while animal sources such as liver and pastured egg yolks provide true vitamin A. Many people believe that carotene can be converted into vitamin A, but this conversion is usually insignificant. First, it takes a huge amount of carotene to convert to a moderate amount of vitamin A. Second, when there is poor thyroid function, impaired digestion or a a lack of healthy fats in the diet, this conversion won’t happen.

In the same way, useable vitamin D (natural vitamin D3) is only found in animal products such as pastured egg yolks, cod liver oil and dairy products from grass-grazing animals. Traditionally, ancient cultures that lived in darker environments relied heavily on these vitamin-D rich foods (for example, Scandinavians ate copious amounts of salmon and grassfed butter). The myth that we can obtain vitamin D from mushrooms is false… mushrooms contain vitamin D2, which is extremely poorly absorbed.

Vitamin A and Vitamin D are particularly essential for immune regulation, digestion, fertility and hormone balance.

Read more and sources: True Vitamin A Foods, The Vitamin A SagaVitamin D in Mushrooms?

3. Vegan diets often rely heavily on soy

Soy, soy, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more… your hormones go berserk!

10 years ago, a vegan diet equated to vegetables interspersed with soy milk, soy cheese, soy bacon, soy protein, soy cereal, tofu, and tempeh. Now, the health problems with chronic soy consumption are becoming more mainstream anedemame 2d many vegans have reduced their soy consumption. Even so, a vegan diet often relies on a moderate amount of soy products  – especially soy protein powders and soy protein bars.

The primary concern with consuming soy in any form is the phytoestrogen content. Phytoestrogens can mimic estrogen in the body, causing a chain reaction of hormone imbalances. Although studies showing the hormonal effects of consuming soy are controversial, I believe the research indicates that we should play it safe rather than sorry. For example, one study showed that infants consuming soy formula had concentrations of blood estrogen levels 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than normal estrogen levels!

Read more, studies and sources: Exposure of infants to phyto-oestrogens from soy-based infant formulaStudies showing the adverse affects of dietary soyIs Soy Bad for You or Good For You?  (a great summary of research on soy and why it may be biased)

4. Vegan diets do not provide vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is the shuttle than transports calcium into your bones. You can eat as much calcium as you want but it won’t strengthen your bones unless it is accompanied by vitamin K2. This is one reason why calcium supplementation has beencheese slice shown to increase the risk of plaque formation – the body can’t use the calcium for building bones so it stores it in the arteries.

Unlike vitamin K1, plants do not provide vitamin K2. (The one and only exception to this rule is natto, a fermented soybean product. One problem, however, is that natto is, for the majority of humans and animals, repulsive to eat). Like other fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin K2 is found fatty sources – Mother Nature packages the vitamin with the cofactors required to absorb it. You’ll get vitamin K2 in pastured egg yolks, milk and cheese from grassfed animals, liver, beef, and chicken.

Read more and sources: Vitamin K2 and The Calcium Paradox

5. Ethical omnivorism supports a healthy planet

What is ethical omnivorism? I define it as choosing sustainably-raised animal products from small, local producers. With a little planning and careful selection, can be relatively budget-friendly. I think people should eat less meat, but a much higher quality to support the demand for pasture-raised meats. $1 hamburgers have no place in an ethical omnivore world. 

Our ecosystem relies on a self-regulating balance of  predators and prey. This system worked well with humans and their prey until we began inhumane farming practices that compromise the wellbeing of animals, the health of humans, and the health of the planet.

But just like Confined Feeding Animal Operations aren’t the answer to a healthy planet, neither is veganism. Vegan diets ten to demand a higher quantity of cereal grains and soy, crops which wreak havoc on our ecosystem due to mass farming techniques. On the other hand, grass-grazing animals can nourish stripped soil and even reverse desertification!

Read more and sources: Joel Salatin on Grassfed Beef (video), Reversing Desertification with Grassfed CowsEat the Yolks.

6.  Real Food > Fake Food

How do you create cheese, milk and meat without cheese, milk and meat? With a slew of non-foods including stabilizers, gums, thickeners and highly processed protein extracts. Yummy.

Let’s consider the example of Earth Balance, a non-dairy butter often used in vegan diets.

  • Ingredients in a Earth Balance: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color.
  • Ingredients in butter: butter.

vertical butterHumans have been eating butter for thousands of years. We only started producing canola oil in the last century. Butter is real food, but canola oil is a freak of nature. Similarly, pea protein and natural flavors are highly processed non-foods.

Fortunately, more and more people are becoming aware that processed vegan products are just that – highly processed. Still, many vegans reach for these options on a regular basis.

Read more: 7 reasons to never use canola oil6 reasons to avoid non dairy milks.

7.  Vegan isn’t the answer to autoimmune disease

Autoimmunity is a 21st century epidemic, with 50 million people suffering with an autoimmune disease in America (according to AARDA) But did you know that you can address autoimmunity with diet? I’m living proof that it works! Three years ago, my ulcerative colitis was so advanced that my doctors wanted to remove my colon. Instead, I decided to do whatever it took to heal myself naturally. Now, I’m completely symptom free (and colon intact!) thanks to my dietary changes.

All disease begins in the gut, and all disease must be addressed by improving gut health. In the case of autoimmunity, the intestines are permeable to bacterial toxins and undigested proteins (leaky gut), which cause an problematic immune response.

To heal leaky gut, specific foods must be removed from the diet and nutrient-dense foods should be emphasized. The two leaders in leaky gut dietary treatment – Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and Sarah Ballantyne - both agree that animal products are a nonnegotiable, essential part of healing leaky gut to address autoimmunity.

Read more and sources: The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, The Paleo Approach, Breaking the Vicious Cycle.

8.  You must take life to have life

Many people choose veganism because they think it cruel to take a life, but something dies no matter what you eat. For example, field mice were demolished in order to grow the corn for a box of vegan cereal.

Further, plants are living beings, capable of communicating with each other and the world around them. Controversial but intriguing research, discussed in this documentary, indicates that plants can even sense and respond to human emotions!

Nutritional Therapist Liz Wolf sums it up perfectly in her book Eat the Yolks:

If we truly believe that no living thing should have to die for our dinner, we shouldn’t eat at all. If we truly believe that all life deserves equal respect, why not equalize ourselves by embracing the elegant fact that we are all, as Nelson writes, “driven by the same hungers that motivate any other creature— the squirrel in the forest, the vole in the meadow, the bear on the mountainside, the deer in the valley”?

Read more and sources: The Secret Life of Plants (free documentary on Youtube), Eat the Yolks, The Intelligent Plant.

9. Vegan diets are deficient in vitamin B12 and iron

Like vitamin A, D and K2, the readily-absorbed form of vitamin B12 and iron is found only in animal sources (are you seeing a pattern here?). Testing with the most up-to-date methods show that 83% of vegans are B12 deficient, compared to 5% of omnivores.

What about spirulina and brewer’s yeast as a source of B12? Chris Kresser has an excellent post on vegan diets and vitamin deficiencies in which he addresses this question:

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block the intake of, and increase the need for, true B12. (4)

Chris also discusses iron in his post. While plants such as lentils and leafy greens do provide some iron, it is not as well-absorbed as animal-based iron. He explains,

Vegetarians and vegans have lower iron stores than omnivores, and [...] vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce non-heme iron absorption by 70% and total iron absorption by 85%. (6, 7)

Read more and sources: Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets, Eat the Yolks

10. Animal fats offer unique nutrients

Have you heard that flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds are all excellent sources of omega-3? That may be true, but these plant sources provide a form of omega-3 that is not well absorbed by the body.

Is veganism healthy? Here are 10 reasons why this nutritional therapist will never be vegan.The omega-3 in plant sources, such as flaxseed and walnuts, is ALA. ALA must be converted to EPA or DHA in the body to be useable. Unfortunately, the conversion between ALA and EPA/ DHA is extremely low. One study showed that women convert about 21% of ALA to EPA and 9% to DHA. The conversion rates for men are even lower.

Further, as Chris Kresser points out in his article on vegan nutrient deficiencies, “the conversion of ALA to DHA depends on zinc, iron and pyridoxine—nutrients which vegetarians and vegans are less likely than omnivores to get enough of.”

Fats from sustainably-raised animals provide unique health benefits not found in plant sources:

  • EPA and DHA, the active forms of omega-3 vital for cognitive function, are found only in animal sources such as fatty fish.
  • Fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2 are found in fatty animal products (discussed above).
  • Cholesterol, a vital ingredient for healthy hormones, can be dietarily obtained only through animal sources. Yes, the body can produce cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol is a key part of wellness including memory, liver health, and digestion.

But don’t cholesterol-rich saturated fats cause heart disease? Nope! Saturated fats were wrongly blamed for heart disease with the help of poor research and sleazy food politics. Now, even mainstream sources are aknowledging the science.  For example, the 2014 June cover of Time Magazine announced, “Eat butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.”

Read more, studies and sources: 5 Reasons Why Butter is a Superfood, Cholesterol and Heart Disease2010 meta-analysis on saturated fat consumption, 2014 meta-analysis on saturated fat consumption, study on ALA conversion, Nourishing Traditions, Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.

Has your food journey included veganism? I welcome your experiences and thoughts in the comments but please keep it respectful since this can be a heated topic… It’s just food, not religion or politics :) 

The post 10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-vegan-healthy/feed/ 99
Paleo Batch Cooking {Freezer Edition} – make 12+ meals in 2 hours! http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-batch-cooking-freezer/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-batch-cooking-freezer/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:41:54 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8108 Paleo Batch Cooking…Freezer Edition! My first Paleo Batch Cooking game plan met with enthusiastic response, and I’m so happy it was helpful for many of you. My goal is to show that healthy, grain-free cooking doesn’t need to be fancy or time-consuming. I use unprocessed, quality ingredients and simple preparation methods to create tasty and easy […]

The post Paleo Batch Cooking {Freezer Edition} – make 12+ meals in 2 hours! appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
Paleo Batch Freezer Cooking

Paleo Batch Cooking…Freezer Edition!

My first Paleo Batch Cooking game plan met with enthusiastic response, and I’m so happy it was helpful for many of you. My goal is to show that healthy, grain-free cooking doesn’t need to be fancy or time-consuming. I use unprocessed, quality ingredients and simple preparation methods to create tasty and easy meals. These recipes won’t break your budget either, since they rely on economical items like wild shrimp, carrots and squash.

In this Batch Cooking Routine, I focus on one-pot meals that freeze very well. I’ve found that having homemade meals in the freezer helps me stay on track when I’m too tired to cook. You only have to plan a day ahead and move the dishes from the freezer to the fridge to thaw.

Healthy dorm cooking

paleo batch freezer cooking recipesAs I’ve discussed, I recently moved to a naturopathic/holistic health college called Bastyr University to continue my education. I’m currently living on campus in the student housing, which provides a full-sized kitchen in each student building. Since I must cook 100% of my food to naturally address my autoimmune disease, I’m learning to juggle college life with meal preparation.

I’ve been promising to share recipes of my dorm-friendly freezer meals and in this post I share a couple of recipes along with an outline to create 12+ meals in just two hours. If you like this routine and want some more options, don’t forget to read my first Paleo Batch Cooking post here!

The Ingredients and Game Plan

What you’ll get out of this batch cooking session:

  • 1 Shrimp Casserole, for at least 6 servings
  • 1 Chicken and Vegetable Stew, for 8 servings
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, for 5-6 servings (as a side dish or dessert)

The ingredients:

  • 1 large winter squashes, either butternut or kabocha
  • 1-2 packages frozen butternut squash or another fresh butternut squash
  • 4 sweet potatoes (I love the white or purple-fleshed varieties!)
  • 1 1/2 lb. of cooked wild shrimp
  • 2 packages boneless, skinless chicken breasts (highest quality possible, preferably pasture-raised)
  • 1 lb. package carrots
  • 1 package of frozen beets or 2-3 large fresh beets
  • Seasonings, apple cider vinegar, and spices

The Game Plan:

1. As always, I begin a batch cooking session when I’m feeling well-rested and fed. You don’t want to start cooking when you are starving or frustrated.

2. First, I preheat the oven to 450. Place the sweet potatoes and 1 squash in baking dishes and cook, whole, for 80-90 minutes until very tender. This doesn’t count in the 2-hour time frame because it requires no hands-on time.

3. Let the squash and sweet potatoes cool slightly. Split the squash open and remove the seeds, then separate the skin from the flesh. You will use this for the Shrimp Casserole. Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and transfer the potatoes to a container in the fridge or freeze. You can serve the sweet potatoes as a side dish or dessert – I like sweet potatoes served warm with applesauce and sprinkled with cinnamon! It makes a warming fall breakfast alongside some protein.

4. Use the following two recipes to prepare Shrimp and Green Bean Casserole and Autoimmune Paleo Chicken and Vegetable Stew. These are two recipes I created because they are one-pot meals yielding at least 6 servings, plus they are very simple to prepare.

5. I leave a few servings of each casserole in the fridge and then portion the rest into individual serving glass storage containers. Then, I pop these into the freezer so I have some ready-to-thaw meals.

Paleo batch cooking recipes

Paleo batch cooking recipes

Shrimp (or Chicken) Green Bean Casserole Recipe

  • 1 1/2 lb. cooked wild shrimp (alternatively, use the meat from a rotisserie chicken. In the image above, I used chicken)
  • 1 large butternut or kabocha squash, roasted and seeds/skin removed and mashed
  • 2 packages frozen green bean
  • Knob of ghee or butter
  • 4 egg yolks or whole eggs (I used just the yolks because I don’t do so well with the whites)
  • Salt, pepper, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and other herbs or seasonings if desired
  1. Steam the frozen green beans until just tender and drain.
  2. Remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken and shred. In a casserole dish, combine all ingredients including the cooked green beans.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  4. If desired, portion into individual serving sizes and freeze in individual glass containers.

Paleo batch cooking recipes

{Autoimmune Paleo} Chicken and Vegetable Stew Recipe

  • 1 lb. carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 packages of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced (or 1 or two packages of frozen butternut squash, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 1 package frozen beets or 2-3 large fresh beets, peeled and sliced
  • Salt, pepper, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and other desired seasonings
  1. In a CrockPot, layer the ingredients in the order listed.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.
  3. If desired, portion into individual serving sizes and freeze.

Do you have a batch cooking routine? Are you doing dorm cooking, too? And please share this post if you enjoy the recipes!

The post Paleo Batch Cooking {Freezer Edition} – make 12+ meals in 2 hours! appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-batch-cooking-freezer/feed/ 5
15 Ways to Balance Hormones Right Now http://empoweredsustenance.com/balance-hormones/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/balance-hormones/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:38:00 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=6278 What’s better than a good hair day? You know that Good Hair Day feeling? You strut out of the house with confidence, knowing you can take on anything that the world throws at you. You are subtly elated for the whole day, knowing that your hair is on your side. Now imagine your Good Hair Day on […]

The post 15 Ways to Balance Hormones Right Now appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
15 tips to balance hormones naturally

What’s better than a good hair day?

You know that Good Hair Day feeling? You strut out of the house with confidence, knowing you can take on anything that the world throws at you. You are subtly elated for the whole day, knowing that your hair is on your side.

Now imagine your Good Hair Day on steroids… and that’s what it’s like to experience a Balanced Hormone Day! When your hormones are in equilibrium, you experience improved moods, better energy and glowing skin. You’ll also experience more Good Hair Days because balanced hormones support healthy, shiny hair.

Here are 15 tips you can implement to right now to balance hormones naturally!

1. Balance hormones with a carrot a day

Raw carrots contain a unique fiber that helps detox excess estrogen from the body. Both men and women of all ages (from puberty and older) benefit from this practice, since estrogen dominance – or too much estrogen in the body – is nearly always a component of hormonal imbalances in both sexes. Dr. Ray Peat created this “Carrot a Day” practice to help naturally balance hormones for women who were suffering from PMS:

Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms. (1)

The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis. (2)

Just be sure to follow these few important guidelines for using carrots to balance hormones. (Hint: no baby carrots or cooked carrots.) Also, if you are struggling with severe PMS, this daily carrot is very helpful but I would also recommend the entire protocol outlined in my book Quit PMS here.

2. Want balanced hormones? Throw out your vegetable oils

small butterVegetable oils spell bad news if you want to balance hormones. We’ve been told that replacing “old-fashioned, artery-clogging fats” like butter with cholesterol-reducing oils improves health. Wrong.

Rates of heart disease and obesity skyrocketed after we replaced animal fats with margarine and plant oils. Additionally, studies show that a low fat diet increases triglycerides and lowers HDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.

Vegetable oils are extremely high in omega-6, an inflammatory fatty acid. While a little omega-6 in our diet is necessary, too much wreaks havoc on hormone balance by creating widespread inflammation. According to Paleo nutrition expert Chris Kresser, in general we need to reduce the omega-6 in our diet and increase the omega-3:

[…] The more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation. (Read more)

Ideally, we should be consuming a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3… but most Americans are consuming an average of 10:1 to 20:1! Balance your hormones by paying careful attention to the types of fats you consume. Ditch the vegetable oils and instead enjoy old-fashioned animal fats from pastured/grassfed animals, which provide omega-3s and minimal omega-6.

 3. Balance hormones with the moon: Lunaception

This tip is for girls only. Women’s menstrual cycles are wired to be in sync with the moon. In all early societies, before industrialism and processed foods disrupted traditional cultures, women ovulated at the full moon and menstruated at the new moon. This is our default setting, but factors including hormonal birth control, hormonal imbalances, and poot diet disrupt this pattern.

Fortunately, because the female reproductive hormones are so sensitive to light, we can naturally re-train and regulate our menstrual cycle and sex hormones with a simple night lighting technique that mimics the pattern of the moon. I avidly practice this simple routine, called Lunaception, and I explain how to do it here.

4. Eat some blood-sugar-balancing Buttermints!

My Healthy Buttermints recipe provides a dose of nourishing fatty acids to nip sugar cravings in the bud within 5-10 minutes of eating them.  This accomplishes two important factors to help balance hormones naturally:

How to make buttermints, a healthy way to stop sugar cravings!1. These buttermints stabilize your blood sugar due to the healthy fats are accompanied by only a small amount of sugar from raw honey. Instead of eating an inflammation-promoting refined carbohydrate, reach for a few buttermints when a carb craving hits.

2. These buttermints provide fatty acids absolutely essential for hormone balance. The cholesterol, true vitamin A and vitamin K2 found in butter from grass-grazing cows play important roles in hormone synthesis and toxin detox. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil support thyroid health and metabolism. The good fats found in these buttermints does not make you fat. Calorie-for-calorie, these fats provide profound satiation while promoting hormone balance and weight management.

5. Liver: The #1 Superfood to Balance Hormones

Gram for gram, liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Due to its unique nutritional profile, liver easily deserves the title, “Ideal Superfood to Balance Hormones.”

Most importantly, liver provides the highest source of vitamin A, one of the most valuable vitamins to balance hormones. Vitamin A not only improves thyroid function, it improves liver health so we can synthesize and detox hormones well.

Contrary to popular belief, we cannot obtain vitamin A from vegetables (here are the details), including carrots and sweet potatoes. The beta carotene in veggies must first be converted to vitamin A in the body and this conversion is so poor it is virtually insignificant. Hormonal imbalance further compromises your ability to convert the carotene into useable vitamin A.

Optimally, enjoy 2-4 servings of pastured liver each week. If you abhor the taste of liver, I recommend taking these grassfed desiccated liver capsules daily. 2-6 capsules per day is recommended.

6. Walk in nature

To balance your hormones, you must address your exercise habits. Chronic cardio – jogging, running, spinning classes and even Cross Fit – places undue stress on your body. Prolonged periods of cardio creates free radical damage and spikes stress hormones. Chronic cardio so impairs balanced hormones that those with adrenal fatigue should avoid cardio for a full month.

Walking in nature, on the other hand, provides a restorative yet invigorating exercise ideal for balancing hormones. As a matter of fact, walking in nature has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and boost the immune system (3). High cortisol levels create inflammation and perpetuate hormonal imbalance, so reducing cortisol is good news!

Walking also stimulates the lymphatic system to help flush toxins from the body and works a wide range of muscles without undue stress on the body.

7. Be kind to your adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are responsible for the release of numerous hormones, including cortisol. When dietary and lifestyle choices overwork the adrenal glands, they cannot keep up with their hormone production. This is frequently called adrenal fatigue.

While all hormones are interconnected, thyroid hormones have a particularly close-knit relationship with the adrenals. If your adrenals are stressed, your thyroid won’t work like it should. Further, PMS is a frequent symptom of adrenal fatigue.

The tips outlined in this article will all support adrenal health. For more ways to keep your adrenals healthy, read my post Adrenal Fatigue Recovery.

8. Support hormone balance with metabolic hydration

Did you know that Dr. Howard Murad, the skincare expert and creator of Murad skincare, does not recommend drinking 8 glasses of water per day? Instead, he suggests “eating your water” – obtaining nutrient-rich water from fresh fruits and vegetables.

Although we’re told from every corner of the internet to consume 8 glasses of water per day, there is actually no evidence that drinking this much water is beneficial. As Dr. Murad acknowledges, drinking this much water can actually deplete electrolytes and therefore cause dehydration and premature aging of the skin. 

I practice metabolic hydration, which I explain here, a very simple and intuitive method of hydration to optimize cellular hydration. Metabolic hydration is an important step for many individuals to help balance hormones naturally, because it supports the thyroid and adrenal glands.

9. Use gelatin to improve hormone balance

Gelatin (I recommend this one) and its sister collagen hydrolysate (this one) contain a unique profile of healthful amino acids that help balance hormones by complimenting the amino acids we obtain from meat. I’ve discussed the health benefits of gelatin in-depth here, but here’s a quick overview.

Dr. Ray Peat, a hormonal researcher in the field of nutrition and metabolism, describes why muscle meats when consumed without gelatin throw the metabolism out of balance:

When only the muscle meats are eaten, the amino acid balance entering our blood stream is the same as that produced by extreme stress, when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken down to provide energy and material for repair. The formation of serotonin is increased by the excess tryptophan in muscle, and serotonin stimulates the formation of more cortisol, while the tryptophan itself, along with the excess muscle-derived cysteine, suppresses the thyroid function.

[…]If a person eats a large serving of meat, it’s probably helpful to have 5 or 10 grams of gelatin at approximately the same time, so that the amino acids enter the blood stream in balance. (4)

By helping to balance the tryptophan, gelatin supports healthy thyroid function and adequate thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones work synergistically with all other hormones in the body – by supporting our thyroid, we support balanced hormones in general.

10. Practice this detox yoga position

While a regular yoga practice – going to a class or simply stretching at home – can improve numerous aspects of health, there is one particular yoga pose that I believe offers a profound ability to balance hormones naturally. It’s called Legs Up The Wall, which describes it pretty accurately! Here’s a picture to show you what the pose looks like – it is suitable for every body type and fitness level.

In this pose, lymphatic circulation in the lower body is maximized. As the “garbage disposal” of the body, the lymphatic system collects and carries lymphatic fluid so the toxins in this fluid can be eliminated from the body. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and relies on our movements and gravity to circulate lymph fluid.

When we sit all day, the lymph fluid becomes stagnant and toxins collect. To balance hormones naturally, we need to eliminate these from the body and keep the lymph flowing. By reversing the flow of gravity in your legs, you circulate the lymphatic fluid and encourage the elimination of toxins.

11. Stop taking hormonal birth control

The hormone-disrupting affects of hormonal birth control may be the reason some of you are reading this post. The Pill and all other forms of hormonal birth control create a cascade of hormonal imbalance in your body by creating nutritional deficiencies and disrupting gut bacteria.

Are you ready to balance hormones and ditch The Pill? Then apply the tips I’ve discussed here to balance hormones and also read these 4 ways to balance hormones post-Pill.

12. Eat egg yolks to balance hormones

We’ve been throwing egg yolks down the drain due to cholesterol-paranoia, but it turns out that the yolk provides the most valuable nutrition.

Here are just a few of the nutrition highlights that allow egg yolks help balance hormones:

  • Vitamin A – Like we discussed, we need vitamin A to balance hormones and we can’t get it from vegetables. Egg yolks provides REAL vitamin A!
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D actually works more like a steroid hormone in the body, so it is vital to balanced hormones to receive enough of this fat-soluble vitamin.
  • Selenium – Selenium is necessary for the conversion of thyroid hormones from the inactive form to the active form. Egg yolks are nature’s thyroid support supplement, due to the selenium content, vitamin content and healthful fats. (About 40% of the selenium is found in the white and 60% is in the yolk.)
  • Cholesterol – Did you know that studies show that low cholesterol shares an extremely strong correlation to depression, suicide and acts of violence? The cholesterol in egg yolks helps balance hormones by providing a mandatory component of sex hormones.

15 tips to balance hormones naturally13. Make some magnesium oil to help balance hormones

Magnesium is better absorbed through the skin than the digestive tract, so that’s why magnesium oil is the magnesium supplement of choice recommended by many natural healthcare practitioners. It’s actually a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes (this stuff) dissolved in water.

Dr. Sircus, a leading magnesium researcher and author of Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, says

After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies, vitally important yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it. (Read more in his article on magnesium deficiency.)

Mineral balance goes hand-and-hand with hormone balance. Want to balance hormones naturally? Make sure you are obtaining and absorbing adequate magnesium! Here’s my guide to making and using magnesium oil. There are a couple application tips that you don’t want to miss in there. For example, applying magnesium oil to your legs after shaving is not a good idea!

14. Boycott soy for hormone balance

Did you know that soy:

  • Disrupts hormones by looking like estrogen to the body
  •  May cause inflammation and leaky gut by inhibiting trypsin, a protein-digesting enzyme
  •  Is most likely genetically modified (GMO)

Soy milk, soy meat, soy protein, soy-based cereal… all these foods touted as healthy wreak havoc on the body. The Weston A. Price foundation has also collected and summarized a list of studies showing the toxic effects of soy consumption on hormone balance and general health.

Fermented soy, such as miso and tempeh, have the detrimental effects reduced, but I believe these should be only eaten in strict moderation. If you are currently trying to balance hormones, I strongly recommend avoiding even fermented soy.

15. Improve hormones with a hug!

Last but not least, the simplest method of all to help balance hormones naturally: give your significant other a long hug! According to neuroeconomist Paul Zak in his 2011 TedTalk, a 20 second hug with a romantic partner has been shown to spike oxytoxcin, the “Happiness Hormone.” 

Are you struggling with hormone balance? Have you used any of these tips? 

The post 15 Ways to Balance Hormones Right Now appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/balance-hormones/feed/ 25
Flourless Chocolate Dessert Pizza http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-dessert-pizza/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-dessert-pizza/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 00:38:40 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8060 From Lauren: I recently moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Alison at Health Nut Nation. Coincidentally, Alison lives near Bastyr and I’m looking forward to meeting her in person very soon! When I was younger, I worked […]

The post Flourless Chocolate Dessert Pizza appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
Flourless chocolate dessert pizza

From Lauren: I recently moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Alison at Health Nut Nation. Coincidentally, Alison lives near Bastyr and I’m looking forward to meeting her in person very soon!

When I was younger, I worked in a cozy, yet upscale, eatery that seemed somewhat out of place in a small town consisting mostly of pizza joints and fast food.  That is where I had the opportunity to work side by side with some incredibly talented master cooks.  It was during those formative years of professional cooking that I learned how to make so many wonderful desserts. Flourless Chocolate Cake topped with tiny wild raspberries, made with only 3 ingredients was one of them and probably my favorite.  That particular recipe was the inspiration for my Decadent Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Pizza.

Paleo chocolate dessert pizza

We all need a little bit of sweetness now and then, but when you’ve been off of refined sugar for awhile, desserts can sometimes seem way too sweet. Just like tart raspberries keep a flourless chocolate cake in balance, my dessert pizza recipe takes the sweetness of the “crust” and melds it beautifully with the fruit and coconut butter topping to create just the right amount of sweetness for the Paleo palate.

And if you’re not a fan of coconut or raspberries, just let your imagination run wild. Other combinations that I have experimented with include: topping with sliced kiwis and strawberries topped with a little bit of kiwi-strawberry juice that has been reduced down to a syrup.  Or, top with toasted almonds and drizzle with luscious, rich Paleo caramel sauce (you can find that recipe as well in my Paleo dessert recipe ebook, The Paleo Sweet Tooth). The options are endless, and, as with all of my recipes, I encourage you to use this as a canvas for your creative genius!

Paleo chocolate dessert pizza

Flourless Chocolate Dessert Pizza

Flourless Chocolate Dessert Pizza

The decadent and flourless crust for this dessert pizza uses only three ingredients. Feel free to use your imagination for the toppings and experiment with different berries, fruits, nuts, nut butters or sauces!

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate (higher than 52% will lead to a less desirable outcome)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • For the topping
  • Raspberries, fresh mint leaves, flaked coconut, or whatever you have on hand
  • Chocolate sauce or melted chocolate chips (learn how to make homemade chocolate perfect for drizzling in my ecookbook, The Paleo Sweet Tooth)
  • Coconut butter - not to be confused with coconut oil (it's available here or save money and learn to make it at home in this video)

Instructions

  1. Line a 12? round rimmed pizza pan with parchment paper. Butter with coconut oil or butter around the edges of the pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a stainless steel pan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, beat eggs on high for 6 minutes. They will be quite frothy in appearance.
  5. Fold the chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly onto the parchment paper lined pizza pan.
  7. Bake at 400 F for 6 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely
  9. Top with coconut butter, raspberries, mint leaves, coconut flakes and whatever else you desire! Drizzle with melted chocolate and/or a little homemade raspberry jam and serve immediately.
http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-dessert-pizza/

allisonAbout Alison at Health Nut Nation

Alison Russo is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and the author of The Paleo Sweet Tooth.  Her focus is cooking healthy meals using whole food ingredients. You’ll find a complete list of Alison’s most delicious recipes at Healthnutnation.com where she courageously champions butter, pastured bacon and other such foods as being necessary to a proper diet.

The post Flourless Chocolate Dessert Pizza appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-dessert-pizza/feed/ 6
Fig and Coconut Dessert Sushi (Autoimmune Paleo) http://empoweredsustenance.com/dessert-sushi-paleo/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/dessert-sushi-paleo/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:10:25 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7975 From Lauren: Last week, I moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Angela at Paleo Kitchen Lab. This recipe uses Pure Wraps, which are made from only dehydrated coconut and water. You can purchase them here […]

The post Fig and Coconut Dessert Sushi (Autoimmune Paleo) appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
dessert sushi

From Lauren: Last week, I moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Angela at Paleo Kitchen Lab. This recipe uses Pure Wraps, which are made from only dehydrated coconut and water. You can purchase them here on Amazon

Paleo Coconut Dessert Sushi

I owe my health for the past decade to the Paleo diet. After struggling to heal IBS for 6 years with no luck, I tried a sweetener-free, nut-free version of the Paleo diet.  After a year, of no cheating, my diet healed my body and brought me back to balance. Even my food allergies went away, I can even eat nuts now.

I love cooking Paleo-style because it brings out my creativity. I learned to cook while following the Paleo diet and now spend my free time in my kitchen and sharing recipes on my blog.

Sushi is my favorite food and while visiting Japan, I ate a ton of sushi rice. It’s supposed to be a safe starch, but that sweetened, sticky rice brought back old symptoms of constipation.

When I returned home, I attempted home made Paleo sushi, using cauliflower rice, and it was just as good.

Then I got crazy and experimented with a sushi dessert roll.  I had so much fun riffing on a sweet version of my favorite savory dish.

Once you have all the supplies, this recipe is so easy. And don’t worry, I used raw figs to mimic the raw fish!

A note on ingredients: To make this recipe you need Pure Wraps . These crepe-like wraps are made of dehydrated coconut meat and coconut water. And they’re great to have on hand for quick sandwich wraps.

I used other optional ingredient to make this roll because I wanted to get fancy. Finger limes are teeny limes that produce tiny caviar-like lime balls when cut.  Pretty cool.  They nicely imitated Japanese fish eggs that decorate some sushi rolls but you can totally leave this hard to find ingredient out.

If you’re a sushi fan, I suggest buying a sushi mat for easy rolling. They’re cheap, small and can be found in most grocery stores. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also buy one online here. You can make this dessert with out a sushi mat, just follow the instructions and check out the photos below.

dessert sushi 2

Fig and Coconut Dessert Sushi (Autoimmune Paleo)

Fig and Coconut Dessert Sushi (Autoimmune Paleo)

Enjoy this sweet play on sushi with the apple "ginger" slices and even a tasty fig substitute for the wasabi! Substitute bananas, raspberries or blueberries for figs to make this recipe low FODMAP.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup of coconut cream (put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and scrape out the solid cream when you open it)
  • 1 large brown or black fig, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon of high quality salt (I used Himalayan)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • optional: ½ teaspoon of cardamom (I love the taste of cardamom but if you don’t have any, leave it out)
  • 1 Pure wrap - a thin wrap made with only coconut - available here
  • Sweet “wasabi”
  • 2 small green figs or one large green fig, chopped in a food processor or by hand
  • Apple “ginger” slices
  • ½ a peeled apple, sliced extremely thin (I used the thinnest setting on my mandolin)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Lime finger “fish eggs”, optional
  • 1 finger lime

Instructions

  1. Lay out a sushi mat, parchment paper or plastic wrap for easier rolling. Place a pure wrap on top of it.
  2. In a bowl, mix coconut cream and shredded coconut together. Add vanilla, salt, optional cardamom and honey or maple syrup. Mix ingredients with a fork.
  3. Spread coconut mixture in a square shape on the Paleo wrap, leaving once inch of space around the edges. Spread the mixture out thinly and evenly and mashed it down with a fork.
  4. Slice your fig into small strips or pieces and lay them on the top half of the wrap.
  5. Starting with the edge that has the figs on it, roll the sushi roll as if you were rolling closed a tiny carpet.
  6. When it’s rolled up, take a very sharp knife and slice into small rounds. I sliced my roll into 8 pieces.
  7. For the apple "ginger" slices Peel half an apple and slice it extremely thinly. You can do this by hand, but it’s much easier to slice on the thinnest setting of a mandolin slicer. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the apple slices so they don’t brown and arrange them next to the sushi roll.
  8. For the sweet "wasabi" Process 1 or 2 green figs in a food processor to make a sweet version of “wasabi”. Arrange it on the plate next to the sushi.
  9. If you have a finger lime, cut it in half and squeeze out the flesh. Top each sushi piece with a bit of lime “caviar”. You’re ready to serve your masterpiece and impress sushi loving friends as well as your own taste buds!
http://empoweredsustenance.com/dessert-sushi-paleo/

angelaAbout Angela at Paleo Kitchen Lab

When Angela Privin is not creating Paleo recipes in her Paleo Kitchen Lab, she loves watching movies with her family, hiking with her small dog and practicing chi gong.  Angela became a digestive health coach after winning her multiyear battle with IBS 10 years ago. Her digestive health blog can be found at www.diyhealthblog.com

The post Fig and Coconut Dessert Sushi (Autoimmune Paleo) appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/dessert-sushi-paleo/feed/ 3
Tour My Holistic Dorm Room http://empoweredsustenance.com/holistic-dorm-room/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/holistic-dorm-room/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:26:17 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8019 Last week I transferred to a unique naturopathic/holistic health college called Bastyr University in the Seattle area. It’s a school dedicated to naturopathy, acupuncture, midwifery, nutrition, psychology and other health sciences. I decided to live on campus, at least for the first year. I’m excited to share some healthy living posts and recipes that reflect my new […]

The post Tour My Holistic Dorm Room appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
holistic dorm 1

Last week I transferred to a unique naturopathic/holistic health college called Bastyr University in the Seattle area. It’s a school dedicated to naturopathy, acupuncture, midwifery, nutrition, psychology and other health sciences. I decided to live on campus, at least for the first year. I’m excited to share some healthy living posts and recipes that reflect my new college lifestyle in the upcoming weeks.

What’s in a health nut’s dorm room?

The only reality show that I watch is House Hunters, where buyers explore three potential houses before making their decision. The nosy part of me is entertained by peaking into people’s living quarters.

Here’s my version of House Hunters – I’m going to give you a tour of my “holistic dorm room.”

My dorm isn’t the average dorm. You won’t find a stash of Top Ramen or a Febreeze plug-in in here! That’s because a few years ago when my health hit rock bottom, I decided to take a holistic approach to healing my chronic health conditions. As a result, I need to stick to a specific dietary protocol and chemical-free lifestyle. It’s a challenge with a college lifestyle, but everyone at Bastyr is so understanding and supportive of natural health… so I’m at the right place!

The Beautiful Bastyr Campus

bastyr 2

The Student Housing Village on Bastyr is a recent addition to the college and I’m so grateful to be part of the community of residents here. Each student building has 12 individual rooms (with individual bathrooms!) and a shared kitchen/lounge area. The kitchens were built to accomodate people who love cooking good food – as everyone at Bastyr does! They have two fridges, a freezer, two ovens, and a huge island.

In addition to the student housing, I’ve enjoyed the beautiful campus. It’s serene and gorgeous even when it is drizzling and grey (which is often, since this is the Seattle area).

One unique feature is the Culinary and Herb Garden. Organic foods and herbs grown on campus are used for the cooking classes, herb classes and donated to the local food bank.

bastyr 1

bastyr 7

bastyr 8

bastyr 3

There is another fun feature in the garden: a Reflexology Foot Path! You walk on it barefoot and the stones stimulate the acupressure points on your feet.

bastyr 9

The Bastyr Student Housing

There multiple student housing buildings on the campus, and they are all beautifully designed. Because the college caters to students of all ages, they created individual rooms with private bathrooms (!!!) instead of double rooms and communal bathrooms.

There are 12 individual units per building and each building shares a large kitchen and a study room. Here’s a peek at the kitchen:

IMG_20140925_125102-2

What I could and couldn’t bring

Although I grew up in a couple hours north of Seattle, I had been living in Virginia for the past few years. So I was challenged to pack light (probably a good thing) as I moved my living necessities across the country.

I also relied on good ol’ Amazon, Target and Costco for some kitchen and bedroom necessities. Other things that I ordered are discussed below.

The hardest things I had to leave behind? My wellness books. My stash health-related books and paleo cookbooks all had to stay behind although we will be eventually reunited. I’ve already started an addition to my book collection after a few trips to the amazing campus bookstore here! As soon as I saw that the bookstore carried Nourishing Traditions and Rescue Remedy, I knew the bookstore would be perilous for my wallet.

What’s in my natural dorm room

dorm room 10

The first thing you’ll notice is my bed canopy. This is an EMF Bed Canopy made from a special fabric that prevents any EMFs (harmful electromagnetic frequencies, which I discuss here) from entering when the canopy is closed. The same fabric goes under the bed to prevent EMF exposure from the lower floors.

Again, this was a significant investment, but it will last a lifetime EMFs, this is very important to me. Bastyr unfortunately has a cell tower on campus, plus WiFi and cell phones everywhere. Steps I took at my parents house to reduce EMF exposure would not be feasible at a dorm, so this was the best option.

Scot from Bio Healthy Homes, who specializes in EMF mitigation in Seattle, made a stand for it with cedar 2x2s and did the set-up for me (the canopy is manufactured to be hung from the ceiling, but I can’t hang stuff from the dorm ceiling).

I will share links and details in my upcoming post dedicated to my EMF canopy – if you are interested in learning more, please stay tuned :)

canopy closed

Here are the other noteworthy items in my dorm room: 

Bedding – I got this beautiful fair trade cotton bedding set (queen size to fit the XL twin bed) from Viva Terra. (I got it when it was hugely discounted but unfortunately the sale is over).

Beautiful hamper – I got a hammered metal hamper from Viva Terra (also purchased when it was on sale but it’s no longer available). I use it as storage and a bedside table.

IntelliBED mattress topper – Dorm mattresses are notoriously uncomfortable. I had an IntelliBED mattress topper delivered the week that I moved in. IntelliBED is the non-toxic mattress that I recommend after my research into safe and natural bedding. You read about my experience with IntelliBED here.

Organic wool rug – I got a beautiful organic wool rug ordered from Gaiam while it was on sale. (I think it’s still on sale if they have inventory).

dorm room 3

Salt lamp – Of course I needed a salt lamp in my room! Salt lamps help purify the air and I love the ambient glow. You can read more in my post here.

Air purifying bag – To help improve the air quality (especially with some new things that may off gass, even though I tried to avoid off gassing items) I put a cheap Moso Bamboo Air Purifying Bag in my room.

Supplements basket – I keep my supplements in my room.

Essential oils in a travel/storage case – If you are looking for a way to store your essential oils and travel with them, this travel case is amazing! I have primarily Vibrant Blue Oils in my case.

LED Floor Lamp – The lighting isn’t great in my room, so I got this LED Floor Lamp. LED is a much safer and healthier option than fluorescent light bulbs.

Essential Oil Diffuser – I ordered this one, which I’m loving. I don’t diffuse oils on a regular basis because it can be wasteful. However, a short diffusing can really improve air quality and fragrance naturally. It’s a fabulous alternative if you frequently use toxic aerosol or chemical air fresheners.

dorm room 2

(Can you spy all my tinctures, hydrosols, oils, and essential oils? I’m an essential oil junkie, as you can tell…)

Shower filter – (I got this one.) I screwed an affordable chlorine shower filter onto my shower head, since a large amount of chlorine can be inhaled when showering.

Morrocco Method products – I love my Morrocco Method hair care! The shampoos and conditioners are the only products I use in the shower, since they both double as shaving cream or body wash.

dorm room 6

 Posters – I love art nouveau, so of course I had to put a couple of posters on my wall! Pictured are this one and this one.

Standing desk – At home, I had used cardboard boxes stacked on my desk to create a standing desk (I described the set-up here). However, I decided to invest in a standing desk that looks presentable and will last me a lifetime. This is the one I decided on. I like how it goes on top of the built-in desk and has a separate level for the keyboard (this supports proper posture). If you haven’t heard of “Sitting Disease” read this and you will want a standing desk, too!

How to create a natural dorm room!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my Holistic Dorm Room! I’ll be sharing some of my dorm-friendly meals and a discussion on my EMF canopy in future posts. 

The post Tour My Holistic Dorm Room appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/holistic-dorm-room/feed/ 30
Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad http://empoweredsustenance.com/beet-kohlrabi-watercress-salad/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/beet-kohlrabi-watercress-salad/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:26:55 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8072    From Lauren: I recently moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Arsy at Rubies and Radishes. Arsy is the author of two amazing paleo cookbooks, The Paleo Slow Cooker and The Paleo Foodie. I will be […]

The post Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
 Warm beet salad

 From Lauren: I recently moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Arsy at Rubies and Radishes. Arsy is the author of two amazing paleo cookbooks, The Paleo Slow Cooker and The Paleo Foodie. I will be relying heavily on her slow cooker recipes in my new dorm living situation! I also love following her on Instagram

Hi Everyone! I am Arsy from Rubies & Radishes. I am so thrilled to be here sharing a recipe with the Empowered Sustenance readers. I am a long time reader of Lauren’s blog myself and I have learned so much from the brilliant work that she does.

This Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad offers a delightful combination of slightly sweet flavors from the beets and kohlrabi contrasted with the bracing peppery bite of the watercress. 

For those of you that are not familiar with kohlrabi, it looks similar to a root vegetable, but it is actually a member of the cabbage family. The word “kohlrabi” is German for cabbage turnip. It can be eaten raw of cooked. It is quite tasty.

Beet noodles are one of my favorite ways to enjoy beets. They are fun to eat and quick to make! You will need a spiralzier for this recipe.

Warm beet salad

Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad

Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad

A spiralizer, available here, turns veggies into spiralized vegetable noodles. It's excellent for making grain-free pasta alternatives with zucchini, but it also comes in handy for making beautiful salads.

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 3 large kohlrabi, both ends trimmed, peeled and spiralized
  • 3 medium beets, both ends trimmed, peeled and spiralized
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, melted (or cooking fat of choice) leaves from one bunch watercress
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ?¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ?¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Spiralize your kohlrabi and beets using a vegetable spiralizer.
  3. Lay them on two baking sheets. Drizzle each of the baking sheets with 2 tablespoons of ghee and use your hands to toss them so they are well coated.
  4. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the beets and kohlrabi have softened. Keep a close eye to keep them from burning.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, make your vinaigrette. Whisk together all of the ingredients, except the olive oil. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while you continue to whisk. This will help your dressing emulsify.
  6. Immediately move them to a large bowl and add the watercress. Mix them together, so the heat from the beets and kohlrabi will wilt the watercress.
  7. Toss the salad with your vinaigrette and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can allow it to chill and serve it cold.
  8. Enjoy!
http://empoweredsustenance.com/beet-kohlrabi-watercress-salad/

About Arsy at Rubies and Radishes

Arsy-278x300Arsy Vartanian is the author & chef of the paleo recipe & lifestyle blog, rubiesandradishes.com. She is the author of  The Paleo Slow Cooker and The Paleo Foodie. In an effort to achieve optimal health & wellness, she discovered Crossfit & the paleo diet in 2008. Arsy started feeling better than ever and was eventually able to recover from health issues that she had struggled with for almost a decade. Equipped with this energy and knowledge, Rubies & Radishes was born.

When Arsy is not busy at work or being a mom to her new baby, you can find her in her kitchen developing healthy recipes for her family and her blog readers. Connect with Arsy on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

The post Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/beet-kohlrabi-watercress-salad/feed/ 4
Paleo Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-orange-ice-cream/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-orange-ice-cream/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:27:34 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=8021 From Lauren: Last week, I moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Erin at Pure and Simple Nourishment. Erin is an MD who believes in the healing power of food and is helping spread her knowledge in […]

The post Paleo Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
dark chocolate orange ice cream (paleo and no sweetener except fruit!)

From Lauren: Last week, I moved to Seattle and transferred to Bastyr University. While I’m busy settling into my new schedule, I’m excited to host some special guest posts. Today’s post comes from Erin at Pure and Simple Nourishment. Erin is an MD who believes in the healing power of food and is helping spread her knowledge in the medical community!

Hi Empowered Sustenance readers! My name is Erin (Dr. Carter to my patients) and I run the blog Pure and Simple Nourishment. I am thrilled to be posting here today for Lauren. I have been a fan of her blog for years now so you can only imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to share a recipe with you all.

I started eating a whole foods diet a few years ago after struggling for years with diarrhea prone IBS. I tried many different treatments, both from conventional and alternative medicine practices, none of which helped.  Through my own research and a lot of trial and error, I have learned how to treat my condition with nutrition.

I recently finished my internal medicine residency and am currently completing my training in rheumatology. I have seen dietary changes make huge differences for the patients I treat, and I firmly believe that nutrition should play a central role in the treatment of any chronic condition. Lauren is an amazing example of how using food can help your body heal. Unfortunately, most physicians still do not realize the impact that nutrition can have as a treatment strategy, and I am hoping that through my blog I can slowly help spread this knowledge throughout the medical community.

Pure and Simple Nourishment is a place where I explore areas related to health and wellness, with a main focus on recipes that follow paleo, SCD and GAPS guidelines. It is my mission to show you that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring! You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Today I am sharing one of my favorite ice cream recipes with you. I have always loved the flavor combination of orange and chocolate so I decided to create my own ice cream version. This Dark Orange Chocolate Ice Cream is dairy free and safe for the paleo and GAPS diets. It also doesn’t require an ice cream maker so all of you should be able to make it with the kitchen tools you already have at home.

I know that many of you (me included) try to avoid added sweeteners when it comes to recipes, so good news for you, this recipe requires no added sweetener. It is made sweet by the fruits and coconut butter that are in it. I have added the option to include a couple tablespoons of honey if you want this to be slightly sweeter, but I rarely ever include that myself.

Now I realize that winter is just around the corner, so I hope you have time to make this one before it gets too cold for ice cream (although I personally don’t think it is ever too cold for ice cream). I would love to hear what you think of this one. Enjoy, and happy eating everyone!

dark chocolate orange ice cream (paleo and no sweetener except fruit!)

Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream - Paleo

Yield: Makes 3-6 servings

Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream - Paleo

This creamy, flavorful ice cream uses bananas for natural sweetness. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add the 1-2 tablespoons of honey. When made with carob powder, which tastes similar to chocolate, this ice cream is suitable for Autoimmune Paleo diets.

Ingredients

  • 2 large, ripe bananas 
  • Zest from one orange
  • Juice from one orange (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (available here)
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp organic orange flavor (available here)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 TBSP organic carob powder (for autoimmune option) OR cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP grassfed gelatin (available here)
  • Optional: 1-2 TBSP honey

Instructions

  1. Place a medium sized pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium heat
  2. Place all the ingredients except the cocoa powder and gelatin into the pot and allow to melt, stirring occasionally
  3. Once the ingredients are melted together and smooth add the cocoa powder and mix well
  4. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin, stirring well until it dissolves
  5. Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof bowl
  6. Place the bowl in the freezer and freeze for 60-90 minutes, stirring every 20-30 minutes until it has the texture you desire
  7. Remove from freezer, serve and enjoy!

Notes

If you don't eat this all right away it keeps well in the freezer for up to 5 days  

http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-orange-ice-cream/

P1020295About Erin Carter

 I’m Erin: MD by day and paleo blogger by night. Through my own health struggles I have come to realize the healing power of real food. Pure and Simple Nourishment is a place where I share recipes and health information, and hopefully I can show you that healthy doesn’t have to be boring! You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

The post Paleo Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream appeared first on Empowered Sustenance.

]]>
http://empoweredsustenance.com/chocolate-orange-ice-cream/feed/ 13