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Archive for June, 2013

The celebration of our country’s independence is like the unofficial start of summer here in the northwest. What’s a better way to start out summer than with a holiday good for getting together both friends and family to barbecue,  picnic, go swimming, play outside, and party on into the night?  Whether you are planning your own party for the 4th, or if are planning on attending someone else’s, you can be ready with the fabulous recipes we found, perfect for this Independence Day.

On the menu we have burgers from Mamma Eats Clean, grilled chicken found on Whole 9 (contributed by the fantastic Michelle Tam, bloggess at Nom Nom Paleo), faux “potato” salad from Elena’s Pantry, cucumber watermelon salad also from Whole 9 (Contributed by Julie and Charles Mayfield, authors of and bloggers at Paleo Comfort Foods), and from Juli Bauer of PaleOMG a classic summer dessert, FUDGESICLES! If you are looking for a WOW dessert to bring to a party, check out our last recipe for Watermelon Cake from Paleo Cupboard, it’s pretty simple, delicious, refreshing, and looks AMAZING!

Alright, enough talk, let’s get cooking!

Beef and Pork Grilled Paleo Burgers – The Perfect Patty

by MamaChanty, of Mama Eats Clean

Ingredients

– 1 lb lean ground beef
– 1 lb lean ground pork
– 1 lb lean ground pork
– 2 small cloves garlic, minced
– 1/3 cup onion, finely minced
– 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
– A few dashes of black pepper
– 1 egg
– 1/4 cup ground golden flax

Directions:

1. Preheat the grill – medium/high heat.
2. Throw all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently combine all the ingredients until JUST combined.
3. Form into about 10 to 11 patties.
4. About 1/3 cup of mixture for each patty. Press a couple thumbprints into each patty.
5. With grill at about 375 degrees cook them for about 10 minutes per side. Remove from grill and serve with toppings of your choice.
 

*DO NOT OVERMIX. Just mix the ingredients together as gently as you can until just combined and then stop. 

*Make a couple of finger imprints in the middle of the burger once you form them into patties. When the burger inevitably shrinks this keeps it from turning into a ball.

*Look for meat as lean as you can find for a good price.

*Only turn the patties once on the bbq. 

Fiona’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

by Michelle Tam of Nom nom Paleo

Ingredients:

– 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
– 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
– 1 1/4 cups packed basil leaves
– 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
– 4 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
– 3 peeled garlic cloves
– Zest from 1 medium lime
– Ground black pepper
– 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
– 2 tablespoons apple juice
– Kosher salt
– 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs
– 2 medium limes, cut into 8 wedges
 

Directions:

1. Combine the first 10 ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Sample the marinade for seasoning and add salt to taste.
3. Place the chicken in a gallon-size plastic bag and pour the marinade on top. Make sure the air is squeezed out before sealing the bag. Place the bag of chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for at least one hour and up to a day.
4. Take the chicken out of the fridge at least an hour before you roast it off so it can come to room temperature.
5. Throw the marinated chicken on a medium-hot grill for about 25 minutes, turning every 5 to 7 minutes. The chicken is finished cooking when the internal temperature is 170 F or when the juices run clear.
6. Serve the roasted chicken thighs/drumsticks with lime wedges.
 

No Potato Salad

by Elana, of Elana’s Pantry

Ingredients:

– 1 head cauliflower
– 2 stalks celery, diced
– 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 3-4 tablespoons)
– 1 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
– 2 eggs, hard boiled and diced
– 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil vegenaise
– 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
– ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions:

1. Chop cauliflower into small florets (½ inch)
2. Steam cauliflower on the stove until fork-tender, not more or a stronger “cauliflower” smell develops
3. Allow cauliflower to cool then place in a large bowl
4. Add celery, onion, parsley and egg
5. Stir in Vegenaise, mustard and salt
6. Serve
 

Cucumber & Watermelon Salad

by  Julie and Charles Mayfield, of Paleo Comfort Foods

Ingredients:

– 4 cups watermelon, deseeded and either cubed or shaped into balls using a melon baller
– 2 cups English cucumber, sliced
– 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
– ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
– 1–2 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar (optional)

 

Directions: 

1. Take watermelon, cucumber, mint, and lime juice, and mix in a bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
*Do Ahead—You can prep the watermelon, cucumber and mint ahead of time, but don’t add the lime juice or any salt until it is close to time to serve.
 
 

And FINALLY dessert:

4th of July Fudgesicles

by Juli of PaleOMG

Ingredients:

– 2 bananas, peeled
– ½ cup canned coconut milk
– 2 dates, pitted
– 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons raw honey
– 1 heaping tablespoon Sunbutter (or nut butter of choice)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– pinch of salt
– ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
 

Directions:

1. Use food processor to puree banana and dates together
2. Add coconut milk, cocoa powder, honey, sunbutter, vanilla extract, salt and puree.
3. Pour ⅛ cup of dark chocolate chips into 2 paper cups (⅛ cup between the two paper cups).
4. Pour fudgesicle liquid into the two paper cups on top of the chocolate chips.
5. Place a craft stick (popsicle stick) in the middle.
6. Place cups in freezer and let freeze overnight.
7. Use scissors to cut the cup and ENJOY!
 

And that’s it! We hope you have a SAFE and AMAZING holiday. Eat well, eat clean, and be HAPPY!

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3 08 got hemorrhoids

Even though they can ruin your life, nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids, or “piles,” a condition in which the veins in the anus and rectum become swollen and inflamed. Although the internet is full of miracle hemorrhoid remedies, it’s best to address the underlying cause to keep them away for good.

Hemorrhoids can occur inside or outside the anal cavity. Symptoms include bleeding, feeling the urge for a bowel movement, and acute pain, itching, and irritation around the anus. Although hemorrhoids during pregnancy are normal for many women, in other cases they can indicate problems with your gut health, your diet, or even your brain function.

Constipation and hemorrhoids

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation due to a diet low in fiber; the average American eats less than half the recommended dietary intake. If this is the cause, it’s an easy fix that requires eating ample amounts of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. Get used to including vegetables in most every meal—think veggie omelets for breakfast, salads with lunch, sautéed vegetables for dinner, and raw carrots and celery with snacks. When you increase your fiber intake, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water. Regular exercise also helps keep things moving along to prevent constipation.

Benefits of increasing your dietary fiber intake go well beyond preventing hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and some gut disorders.

Constipation is also a common symptom of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and managing your thyroid condition may help relieve constipation. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition and proper management requires managing the immune system. For more information read the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian. 

Could your brain be causing your constipation and hemorrhoids?

Sometimes constipation is not just diet related and hemorrhoids persist. Constipation may be caused by poor brain function, which Dr. Kharrazian discusses in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? A large nerve called the vagus nerve runs between the brain and the gut. If brain health is suboptimal, the brain will not adequately fire into the vagus nerve. Due to diminished communication from the brain, gut function declines and can cause symptoms that include constipation and hemorrhoids. This helps explain why gut function suffers after head injuries, with dementia, or in children with autism.

Fortunately, it is often possible to improve function of the vagus nerve with exercises such as gargling vigorously and frequently, singing loudly, or stimulating the gag reflex. For more information, contact my office or read Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

Take care of gut health to prevent hemorrhoids

The anus and rectum are part of the digestive tract and hemorrhoids can be a sign digestive tract health is compromised. Common disorders of the digestive tract include inflammation, overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, and leaky gut, a condition in which the intestinal walls become overly porous and allow undigested foods and bacteria into the bloodstream. It’s important to address overall gut health if you have hemorrhoids.

There can be several ways of approaching this. One is to reduce inflammation of the gut by eliminating sugars, junk foods, and foods to which you are intolerant, such as gluten or dairy. For instance, many people have found relief from hemorrhoids by following a gluten-free diet.

Addressing yeast and bacteria overgrowth and following a leaky gut diet can further improve gut health and potentially relieve hemorrhoids. You can further support gut health with specific nutritional compounds—ask my office for advice.

A variety of factors can cause hemorrhoids, however it’s always important to address diet and the health of the digestive tract when looking to manage the underlying cause.

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3 05 dementia doubling lower risk

The numbers of people with dementia are expected to more than double in 30 years and outpace both heart disease and cancer in terms of cost. Because dementia can take root in the brain years or decades before symptoms appear, you can take action now to avoid becoming part of this skyrocketing statistic.

Today, nearly 15 percent of people aged 71 or older have dementia—almost 4 million people. Experts predict that number will more than double to 9 million people by 2040, costing the country more than $500 billion.

What’s worse is these statistics do not include mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or “pre-dementia,” which accounts for another 22 percent of people over 71.

How to lower your risk of dementia

Some experts say there is no way to prevent dementia, but studies show diet and lifestyle influence brain health. We can use that knowledge to lower the risk for dementia.

For instance, poor diet and lifestyle choices can cause inflammation throughout the body, which ultimately inflames the brain and accelerates the degeneration of brain tissue. It may cause symptoms such as brain fog or a gradual decline in cognition, but the average person will not connect this with an increased risk of dementia later in life.

The good news is you can slow the rate of brain degeneration and lower your risk of dementia with the following tips:

  • Ditch the sugar, processed starchy foods, and junk foods. These foods lead to insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and Type 2 diabetes. The link between a sugar-laden diet and brain degeneration is so strong some researchers call Alzheimer’s “Type 3 diabetes,” a totally diet and lifestyle driven disease. Sugars and processed starches and the insulin surges they create are devastating to brain health.
     
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in processed foods, pastries, and many restaurant fried foods. The brain is mostly fat and the fats you eat play a role in its health. Hydrogenated fats are more like plastic than food and research shows eating hydrogenated fats leads to loss of cognitive function and smaller brain volume, evidence of degeneration. Eat healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and seafood, and get plenty of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Ask my office how you can do this to lower your risk of dementia.
     
  • Go gluten-free and ditch other food intolerances. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have been found to damage neurological tissue more than any other tissue in the body. Gluten causes brain inflammation in many people, which accelerates brain degeneration, increasing the risk of dementia. Find out through testing or an elimination diet whether you have intolerances to foods that could be triggering brain inflammation and degeneration.
     
  • Exercise your body and your brain. Exercise has been well documented as a way to boost brain health and lower your risk of dementia. You should engage in both aerobic exercise and weight training for ultimate dementia prevention. You should also exercise your brain with mentally stimulating activities, such as learning new things, reading, writing, playing chess, etc.

You need to be both a scholar and an athlete to prevent dementia

As Dr. Kharrazian says in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, if you want to lower your risk of dementia and enjoy optimal brain health, you need to be both a scholar and an athlete. Ask my office for more ideas on how to boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia.

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One of the VERY best things about summer, all the delicious fresh fruit! Rainier cherries, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and of course, quite possibly the king of all summer fruit, the mighty watermelon. Today’s Recipe focuses primarily on watermelon, it’s really the star of the show, with your favorite summer seasonal buddies lending a hand. If you were debating on something special to make this weekend for Father’s day, this would be a great recipe to try!

Curious what the recipe is? Okay, I’ll tell you, Paleo Watermelon Cake! This no bake recipe is perfect to whip up in warm weather, without heating up the house, and will cool you down while you eat it! We found this recipe on Amy‘s recipe blog: Paleo Cupboard.  Amy is a wife,  mother of two, and a full time business woman. Where she finds the time to come up with and share her tasty recipes, I have no clue, but we couldn’t help sharing her Grandmother’s perfect summer recipe when we saw just how good and refreshing it looked.

 

YUM! Right?! I don’t know about you, but I can’t WAIT to try this recipe, so let’s get to it:

Paleo Watermelon Cake

Ingredients: 

– 1 large seedless watermelon
– 2 cans full fat coconut milk (left in fridge for 6 hours or more)
– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 Tbsp. raw honey
– 1 cup sliced raw almonds
– Seasonal fresh fruit (for topping)

Directions

TO MAKE THE COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM:

1. Make sure to place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or overnight). This will cause the cream to separate from the milk. The cream will be at the top of the can.

2. Open the can of coconut milk and scrape out the cream into a medium sized bowl. Hint: I always open the can from the bottom and pour the milk out into a separate container before scraping out the cream. You can use the saved milk for smoothies and other recipes.

3. Add the vanilla and raw honey to the mixture. Whip the cream with a hand mixer on medium speed and work your way up to high speed until the cream is fluffy. Place the bowl of whipped cream in the fridge until ready to use.

TO MAKE THE TOASTED ALMONDS:

1. Place a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat and allow the pan to get hot. 

2. Add the sliced almonds and toss in the pan until they are toasted and turn a light brown color. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. 

TO ASSEMBLE:

1. Remove the top and bottom from the watermelon and remove the rind from the middle section. You should be left with a cake-shaped piece of watermelon. Cut the watermelon “cake” into the number of wedges/slices you want. I recommend 6-8 slices depending on the size of the watermelon. 

2. Pat the outside of the watermelon dry with paper towels (this is important because it will help the coconut whipped cream adhere better).

3. Dip the outside edge of each slice into the coconut whipped cream and then into the toasted almonds, and reassemble the wedges into the cake shape on a serving platter. Top with more whipped coconut cream and your favorite fresh fruit (I used blackberries, strawberries and kiwi). Serve or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

 

*This is best when served within a few hours of assembly, but I have left this in the fridge overnight and nothing budged, so you can prepare it ahead of time if you need to. The watermelon I used had just turned ripe, but an overly ripe watermelon will probably release more liquid and will not last as long. Don’t forget to pat the watermelon dry with the paper towels before adding the coconut whipped cream to help it adhere. Enjoy!

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3 08 slow aging less than 5 minutes a day

Americans spend billions of dollars every year on supplements, therapies, and procedures in an attempt to slow the aging process. But did you know you can stay younger longer in just a few minutes a day?

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, reaching maximum heart rate for just a few minutes a day can release several anti-aging chemicals in your body, including human growth hormone (HGH).

HGH enhances vitality, healing and recovery, optimal hormone levels, bone strength, fat burning, brain function, cardiac health, and blood sugar levels. It’s no wonder Baby Boomers are enticed by the promises of HGH treatments—our levels of HGH decline as we age. However, HGH treatments are expensive and may be risky.

Instead, you can raise your HGH levels naturally by reaching your maximum heart rate for just a few minutes a day. Studies show spending time in your maximum heart rate releases a cascade of natural feel-good chemicals, including HGH.

These bursts of intense exercise trigger the release of not only HGH but also opioids, chemicals that produce that “exercise high.” High intensity exercise also triggers the release of chemicals that improve blood flow, dampen inflammation, and support healthy brain function—all great anti-aging benefits.

How to exercise to release anti-aging chemicals

You do not have to exercise long at high intensity. Just a few minutes a day at maximum heart rate can trigger the release of these chemicals. In fact, overtraining will work against you by increasing inflammation, exceeding your body’s antioxidant capacities, and taxing your adrenal glands.

First, determine your maximum heart rate. To do this, simply subtract your age from 220. For instance, a person who is 46 years old will have a maximum heart rate of 174. This is the zone you want to try to stay in for at least two to five minutes once a day to release your body’s feel-good, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Examples of how to boost your heart rate include doing squats to fatigue, push ups to fatigue, jumping jacks, jump roping, sprinting, jumping on a trampoline, jump squats, jumping or stepping onto a platform, burpees, and more. Many find doing this within the first half hour of waking can help them become a “morning person.”

Although just a few minutes a day can go a long way to release anti-aging chemicals in your body, don’t confuse this protocol with an actual exercise regimen of longer duration. If you’re able, you should still add in longer sessions of strength and aerobic training throughout the week without overdoing it.

Be cautious and smart by not overdoing it

Not everyone will be able to do the few minutes of maximum heart rate exercise. Some people are simply too sick and too fragile. Others may need to work up to it over time. Be smart and listen to your body as over exercising can inflame and deplete your body, causing setbacks in your health recovery. According to Dr. Kharrazian, you know you’re doing it right if it makes you feel good and gives you more energy. You know you’re overdoing it if you “crash,” and it takes you a while to recover.

You can also support your body’s release of anti-aging chemicals by adding in specific nutritional compounds before and after your morning exercise to improve blood flow, maintain electrolyte balance, and dampen inflammation. Ask my office for advice.

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3 06 seven things cause adrenal fatigue

Feel tired all the time? You may suffer from adrenal fatigue, a condition in which the body has difficulty meeting the demands of everyday stress. Adrenal fatigue is often associated with too much stress from a busy lifestyle and lack of sleep, however other factors may lead to adrenal fatigue.

Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches with stress or in the afternoon
  • Frequent colds and flus; weak immune system
  • Allergies
  • Slow to get going in the morning
  • Craving sweets and stimulants
  • Feeling lightheaded, shaky, or irritable between meals
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping; wake up at 3 or 4 a.m.
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing
  • Low blood pressure
     

7 things that cause adrenal fatigue

Below are factors besides chronic stress and lack of sleep that can lead to adrenal fatigue.

1. Eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates. When you eat something sweet or very starchy it causes your blood sugar to spike and then plummet. Your adrenal glands must then release stress hormone to raise it. When blood sugar swings up and down repeatedly it may fatigue the adrenals. Once people have adrenal fatigue they often suffer from low blood sugar, or reactive hypoglycemia, as well. Aim for a lower glycemic, whole foods diet that does not spike your blood sugar, as well as healthy fats, protein, and plenty of fiber.

2. Using caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, energy drinks, cigarettes, diet pills, and other stimulants cause extra release of stress hormones and can fatigue the adrenal system.

3. Overtraining. Exercise is vital to good health, but over-exercising can inflame and deplete the body, taxing the adrenal glands. If your performance during workouts is suffering and you feel tired, you may be overdoing it and fatiguing your adrenal glands.

4. Food intolerances. Eating foods that trigger an immune reaction can tax adrenal function. One of the more common food intolerances is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats (unless they are gluten-free oats). Dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and yeast are other foods that can cause inflammation and fatigue the adrenal glands. You can do an elimination/provocation diet or a lab test to find out which foods you are sensitive to.

5. Gut infections. Many people have overgrowths of yeast, fungus, and bacteria due to poor diets. These infections lead to chronic inflammation both in the gut and throughout the body, which can contribute to adrenal fatigue.

6. Unmanaged autoimmune disease. More people have autoimmune disease than cancer and heart disease combined. Autoimmunity is when the immune system attacks and destroys a part of the body, such as the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism), the pancreas (Type I diabetes), or the nervous system (multiple sclerosis). You can have an autoimmune reaction causing symptoms that has not yet been identified as a disease because not enough tissue has been destroyed. Unmanaged autoimmunity keeps the immune system on red alert, which can fatigue the adrenals over time. You can use lab testing to screen for autoimmune reactions.

7. Brain inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body from poor diet, chronic stress, autoimmunity, and other problems can inflame the brain. Common symptoms of brain inflammation include brain fog, low brain endurance and slow mental speed. Ask my office about nutritional compounds and strategies that can calm brain inflammation.

As you can see, managing adrenal fatigue is about more than just taking adrenal supplements, although that may be helpful. Adrenal fatigue is always secondary to something else. True management of adrenal fatigue requires addressing what caused it in the first place.

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