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Archive for March, 2013

Looking for a delicious treat for your Easter weekend? Look no further; we are taking a page from Diane Sanfilippo‘s recipe book Practical Paleo. Diane is a Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Paleo nutrition, blood sugar regulation, food allergies/intolerances and digestive health. Her book is full of great recipes, tear out guides, and 30 day meal plans. If you haven’t given it a look through yet, take the time to do so.

Today’s recipe is easy, no bake, and could be shaped to look like eggs! Without further ado:

PRACTICAL PALEO: Chocolate Orange & Mint Truffles

Base for one flavor:

2 Tbs coconut oil

3 Tbs coconut butter

2 Tbs almond butter

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

Mint chip flavor:

2 tsp mint extract

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

1 Tbs cacao nibs

2 Tbs unsweetned cacao for coating

Chocolate Orange Flavor:

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (or carob)

2 tsp pure maple syrup

Zest of one orange

1. Melt together the 2 Tbs coconut oil and 3 Tbs coconut butter. Mix in 2 Tbs almond butter and ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract. Batter will be soft, stick in the freezer for about 10 minutes to help solidify. This will be the base for one flavor.

2. While your base is cooling/hardening, mix together the ingredients for each flavor.

3. Roll base into 1 inch balls, and then roll balls into flavor mix of choice.

4. Once all the balls are coated refrigerate or freeze and enjoy!

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protect body with glutathione

Modern life inflicts constant assaults on our bodies in the way of industrialized foods, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and even electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones and computers. Our best defense to protect health is to shore up glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.

Although the body naturally makes and recycles glutathione, modern life can overwhelm this system, depleting us of this vital compound. When glutathione is low the body is more vulnerable to disease and damage, and your risk for disease rises.

Glutathione as a supplement is not well absorbed by the digestive tract. Fortunately, many nutritional compounds act as building blocks to glutathione, and can help raise and maintain its levels inside and outside of cells. You can also obtain glutathione intravenously.

Below are some of many nutritional compounds that have been shown to boost glutathione levels.

  • N-acetyl-cysteine is a very bioavailable building block to glutathione.
     
  • Alpha lipoic acid helps recycle glutathione already in the cells.
     
  • Milk thistle boosts glutathione.
     
  • Methylation nutrients–methyl folate (5-MTHF), methyl B6 (P5P) and methyl B12 (methylcobalmin)–are methyl forms of B vitamins can help boost glutathione production and recycling.
     
  • Selenium helps the body produce and recycle glutathione.
     
  • Vitamin C help increase glutathione levels.

Diet and lifestyle factors can also affect your glutathione levels. Sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress can help boost glutathione. If you can tolerate dairy, whey protein has been shown to increase glutathione (choose bioactive, non-denatured, non-pasteurized, and non-industrially produced whey). Exercise also boosts glutathione; get aerobic exercise daily (such as walking) and strength train two to three times a week.

Preserve glutathione to prevent disease

One of the most important ways to maintain your glutathione levels is to reduce stress on your body. Glutathione’s job is to protect the cells, whether it’s from an autoimmune disease, sleep deprivation, or the toxic ingredients in scented detergents and fabric softeners. Healthy glutathione levels reduce your risk of developing chronic and autoimmune disease as well as food and chemical sensitivities. It is also an excellent anti-aging compound.

Following are some strategies to prevent depletion of glutathione.

  • Find out what your food intolerances are and remove those foods from your diet. Many people are not aware that they are intolerant to common foods, such as bread or cheese. An elimination diet or a lab test can help you determine which foods are stressing your immune system and taxing glutathione reserves.
     
  • Eat an all-natural, whole foods diet. Processed foods and fast foods contain chemical additives, genetically altered foods, antibiotics, hormones, excess sugar, and other ingredients that are stressful to the body and deplete glutathione.
     
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is very stressful. If you have issues sleeping, it is often secondary to something else. Contact my office for help.
     
  • Manage your autoimmune disease. An autoimmune or chronic disease, such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes keeps the immune system on overdrive and damages tissue, depleting glutathione. Ask my office how we can help you manage your autoimmunity.
     
  • Reduce your exposure to toxins and pollutants. Many common environmental chemicals are toxic to the body. They are found in shampoos, body products, household cleaners, lawn care products, and so on. We have enough to deal with in terms of pollutants in air and water, minimize your exposure to them in the home.
     
  • EMFs are a source of “electrical pollution.” Cell phones, computers, WiFi, and other electronics are stressful to the body and exposure should be minimized.

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Do you have a hard time getting your kids away from a breakfast full of gluten? We’ve got a a GREAT waffle recipe, gluten free, from the Paleo Parents. You’ll be amazed that you can turn an apple and banana (with some other ingredients) into a very tasty waffle.

First let’s get to know a little bit about the Paleo ParentsStacy and Matthew. These two authors of “Beyond Bacon, Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog” and “Eat Like a Dinosaur, recipe and guidebook for gluten-free kids”, are parents to 3 adorable boys: Cole, Finian, and Wesley. Together they made a decision as a family to eat paleo, all because mom Stacy made the first move.

Stacy, who had been obese for most of her life, felt miserable, exhausted and defeated, decided enough was enough. She found the “Paleo Diet” and committed to it. Matthew, along with all their friends and family, began to see the physical, mental, and emotional changes in Stacy, so Matthew jumped on board. After both parents saw and felt the changes in their self, they thought “Well, if it’s good for us…”, and so the Paleo Parents came to be.

Now that you know a little bit about where today’s recipe is coming from, let’s get to it:

Paleo Parents Waffles (Frozen Waffles)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 C smooth almond butter (or a grainy-brand of sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • oil for greasing waffle iron (melted coconut oil with a silicon pastry brush works best)

Instructions

  1. Puree apple and banana in a food processor.
  2. Use the whisk attachment on your electric mixer and whip almond butter on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffed.
  3. Add puree and remaining ingredients to whipped almond butter and continue to whip until combined.
  4. Grease your hot waffle maker (for each waffle you make).
  5. Use about 1 ladle of batter per 8-by-4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron for 3-5 minutes until browned. Do not fill up entire waffle maker, leave about 40% unfilled so that the batter can spread. If your waffle is soft or floppy,  it’s not ready yet – keep cooking for another minute or two!
  6. Eat immediately or store flat in freezer and make your own breakfast by reheating in toaster – the waffles will be firm enough!

For toppings I recommend: butter, warm blueberries (or any berry); coconut milk (from a can, because of it’s fat content). No maple syrup necessary.

Want to see how easy these tasty waffles are to make? Watch this video of Nom Nom Paleo in action making these tasty breakfast treats! 

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still have thyroid symptoms

Do you take thyroid hormone medication but still suffer fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, constipation, depression, cold hands and feet, or other thyroid symptoms? Have you been told there is nothing more that can be done for your thyroid symptoms because your lab tests are normal?

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, affects millions of Americans. Many people continue to suffer from hypothyroid symptoms and a worsening of their thyroid condition despite taking thyroid hormones. This is because 90 percent of hypothyroid cases in the United States are due to Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Although thyroid medications may be necessary to maintain thyroid function, they do not address the immune system’s relentless attack against the thyroid gland.

To identify Hashimoto’s, it’s important to screen for TPO and TGB antibodies on a blood test. If either of these is positive it indicates the immune system is attacking and destroying the thyroid gland, causing symptoms. In this case, the main strategy is not necessarily to treat the thyroid gland (although thyroid hormone medication may be necessary), but to balance the immune system in order to tame autoimmune attacks against the thyroid.

As outlined in the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian, this is a multi-faceted approach that includes:

  • Going on a strict gluten-free diet. Numerous studies from several different countries show a strong link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and other wheat-like grains. Interestingly, studies show those with a gluten intolerance are genetically more prone to Hashimoto’s disease. Gluten also promotes inflammation and leaky gut, which exacerbate autoimmune disease.
     
  • Adopting an autoimmune diet. For some people, going gluten-free is not enough to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and they need to follow an autoimmune diet that eliminates common inflammatory foods, such as dairy, eggs, or other grains. A whole-foods diet that emphasizes plenty of produce and eliminates processed foods is important to manage an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
     
  • Repairing a leaky gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, often plays a role in autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed, damaged, and porous, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, fungus, and other foreign invaders into the sterile environment of the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream these foreign invaders trigger inflammation and autoimmunity.
     
  • Stabilize blood sugar. Stabilizing blood sugar is vital to managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. A diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates (such as breads, pastas, pastries, and desserts) creates inflammation and hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to tame an autoimmune condition. Energy crashes, fatigue after meals, excess belly fat, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, and sleep issues are all signs you may have a blood sugar handling disorder, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or insulin resistance (high blood sugar).

These are just a few of the basics of autoimmune management for conditions such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. It’s important to manage your autoimmune condition to lower your risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, or Type I diabetes.

To learn more about Hashimoto’s and other factors that can cause hypothyroidism, read the book 
Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MNeuroSci.

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blood sugar and chronic disease

Heart diseasestroke, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s — chronic diseases are the most common and costly health problems in the United States. What’s worse is they are largely lifestyle diseases, meaning they often can be prevented through changes to the diet.

Many Americans today eat diets that throw their blood sugar out of balance and cause inflammation. Along with lack of exercise, these diets underpin the development of many chronic diseases today.

The body has several ways to keep blood sugar within a narrow range so it doesn’t go too high or too low. For the average American, unfortunately, the body must constantly struggle to manage overly high blood sugar.

This is because people consume diets high in sugars, sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates—pasta, white rice, breads, pastries, soda—that quickly spike blood sugar.

Insulin resistance stepping-stone to diabetes and other chronic diseases

When a person eats too many sugary and refined foods on a regular basis, the body overproduces insulin.

Eventually the constant surges of insulin exhaust the body’s cells and they refuse entry to the insulin, which is called insulin resistance. Now insulin can’t escort glucose into the cells to make energy. As a result you feel sleepy after eating. 

Also, because glucose can’t get into cells, blood sugar climbs too high. The body lowers it to safer levels by converting excess glucose into fat for storage. This is a demanding process that also leads to fatigue after meals. The excess sugar in the bloodstream also damages blood vessels and the brain.

Insulin resistance is a stepping stone to Type 2 diabetes, a breakdown in the body’s blood-sugar handling system. Studies show links between insulin resistance and many chronic diseases, including heart diseasestrokecancer, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

Reduced uptake of glucose by cells, high triglycerides, and high circulating amounts of sugar in the bloodstream all promote the inflammation and damage that leads to chronic disease. To add insult to injury, people with insulin resistance often feel too tired to exercise, are prone to overeating, and have intense sugar cravings.

Symptoms of insulin resistance

Symptoms of insulin resistance include:

  • Fatigue after meals
  • General fatigue
  • Constant hunger
  • Constant craving for sweets
  • Strong desire for sweets after meals
  • Waist girth equal to or larger than hip girth
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Migrating aches and pains

One of the best ways to prevent or manage chronic disease is to eat a diet that stabilizes your blood sugar and reverses insulin resistance. This includes a whole-foods diet free of added sugars and refined carbohydrates, plenty of fiber, and healthy proteins and fats. Regular exercise is important to increase insulin sensitivity. Certain nutritional and botanical compounds have also been shown to help improve blood sugar handling and manage insulin resistance.

For support in preventing chronic disease and managing insulin resistance, please contact my office.

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SONY DSCThis recipe is brought to us by Megan of The Detoxinista. Megan is an illustrator and Holistic Health Counselor living in Los Angeles, on a mission to prove that healthy living can be fun and indulgent. Her blog is full of delicious recipes that vary from Paleo friendly, Gluten Free, and Vegan. This recipe was chosen to be paired with our How To Make Almond Milk recipe, because what really goes better with milk than cookies! Even better, this cookie recipe calls for the use of the usually discarded almond pulp from making your own almond milk; so these cookies and milk really do go together!

Raw Cookie Dough Bites (Vegan)

Ingredients:

1 cup dried almond pulp flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or less
6 tablespoons raw almond butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
dark chocolate chips, as needed

Directions:

– The key to working with almond pulp is drying it first, so don’t be tempted to skip this crucial step. Trust me, I’ve tried! Once the pulp is dry, you simply pulse it in a food processor to break up any clumps and create a flour-like texture. Any leftover almond pulp “flour” can be stored as you would traditional almond flour, in a sealed container in the pantry, or in the fridge for longer shelf life.

– Measure out one cup of the almond pulp flour and combine with the coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until a sticky, uniform batter is formed. Adjust the flavor to taste, if necessary.

– Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into bite-sized balls, then roll the batter between your hands to form a smooth shape. The batter may feel slightly greasy, thanks to the coconut oil melting with the warmth of the food processor, but rest assured that they will lose that greasy texture once they have set in the fridge.

– Arrange the bite sized balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the dark chocolate chips into each ball, before placing in the fridge or freezer to set.

*I placed mine in the freezer, because I’m impatient, and I found that these were set “enough” after 10 minutes.  I actually recommend storing and serving these bites directly the freezer for best texture!

Note: As an added bonus, these little cookie dough bites can also be baked for a delicious treat! They don’t spread like a traditional cookie, but they do get crispy on the outside and stay soft and tender on the inside. If you keep a stash of these bites in your freezer, you will only be 10 minutes away from a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie anytime you like! To bake, preheat your oven to 350° F and arrange the frozen cookie dough bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookie bottoms are golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes– they will firm up a bit– then devour!

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Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds, SOAKED OVER NIGHT in water and rinsed well

4 cups of coconut water or purified water

Pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

(Optional: pinch of cinnamon or vanilla bean seeds)

*If you’re curious why the need to soak and rinse the almonds ahead of time, Megan from Detoxinista shares why: soaking the almonds beforehand removes the enzyme inhibitors naturally contained in their skins. These enzyme inhibitors may cause digestive discomfort if consumed, which is why I recommend soaking the almonds first, then draining and rinsing well. You don’t want to use the soaking water in this recipe, as it will contain those toxins you just removed!

Directions:

-Place the raw, soaked and rinsed almonds in a blender with coconut water or purified water.

-Blend until smooth; strain through a fine sieve, cheese cloth or nut milk bags work great! If you are using cheese cloth or a bag, squeeze out every last drop and don’t throw away that almond pulp! Once you have removed all the milk from the almonds, set the pulp aside (for a delicious cookie recipe).

-Rinse the blender; pour milk back into blender with a pinch of salt and your choice of the cinnamon or vanilla and blend until all are incorporated.

*The milk will keep for 2 days

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