“Wholesome” is the New Healthy

October 9th, 2019 | no comments

 

Does the word “healthy” turn you off?  

It’s OK if you said yes, it’s sort of a loaded word after all. Be honest, when you think of a food being “healthy”, tell me you don’t picture twigs, tree bark and grass…tasteless food with enough roughage to sink a luxury cruise-liner.

Lately, I’ve been loving the word wholesome. It says so much, without making you feel like you’re signing on for a life of green juice and kale chips.

 

Wholesome defined…

Wholesome is defined as: promoting health or well-being of body, mind or spirit.

The meals my mom served growing up were wholesome…and comforting; nourishing, without being categorized as “healthy”. They were healthy, but we didn’t know it.

I can still remember the first intoxicating whiff of her homemade spaghetti sauce upon walking in the door after a long, hard day at John Glenn Elementary School 😉. There it sat, simmering all day in the giant stock pot, waiting to be savored. It was the scent of… home.  

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of carbs, sugar, and fat– not to mention the added stress of a health diagnosis–that we forget one universal important fact: food is meant to be savored and enjoyed.

 

Two characteristics of a wholesome meal

 

In my eyes, a wholesome meal must take into account two elements: taste and quality. 

Taste without quality is called a Big Mac. 

Taste with quality is a grass-fed beef burger, served with mashed avocado, on a bed of greens, adorned with crumbled goat cheese, caramelized Brussels sprouts, roasted pecans and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, and a few cranks of pink Himalayan sea salt (don’t forget to toss in a few fresh berries). 

 

Another example of a flavorful meal lacking in quality is a plate of pasta drenched in sugar-laced Ragu meat sauce with a side of cheesy garlic bread. 

A delicious meal with quality is a simple homemade meat sauce made with organic pork and organic grass-fed beef (cooked in the crock-pot while you’re away at work), served over butternut squash “noodles” and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Oh…and a side of roasted garlicky broccoli!

 

Is your mouth watering yet? Try this wholesome meal idea

 

By the way, I made the above amazing meal over the weekend and my house smelled just like…home. It took me 10 minutes to brown the meat before work and 20 minutes to roast the broccoli and heat the “noodles” when I got home. To make this wholesomely delicious meal for your family, click HERE for the recipe .

Keep in mind, I made the following alterations:

  • True Story Organic Ground Pork (in place of loose pork sausage). If you can’t find True Story pork, any organic ground pork will do, or at the very least, a pork with no antibiotics or added hormones. 
  • Grass-fed organic beef (in place of ground beef). As above, if you can’t find organic grass-fed beef, choose grass-fed beef without antibiotics or added hormones. 
  • Ready-made butternut squash noodles (in place of making my own). Many grocery stores offer the convenience of fresh “noodled” vegetables in the produce department, or you can find them in the frozen food section too! 
  • Rather than the oven, I sautéed the butternut squash noodles stove-top in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.   

To make the garlicky roasted broccoli, use this recipe.

Rather than consume yourself with calories, carbs, and fat, think wholesome. Ask yourself: is it both tasty AND of a quality worthy of grandma’s stamp of approval?

If yes, you’re golden! 

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4 Factors Affecting Your Food Cravings

September 25th, 2019 | no comments

 

Struggling with your food cravings and eating habits? There’s hope my friend. Check out my 30-Day Whole Body Health Program– it begins October 16th and is completely online! Learn a little more about it in this short but sweet video, including the 4 Factors Affecting Your Food Cravings.

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When You Have a Sweet Craving (and grapes won’t cut it)

September 24th, 2019 | no comments

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Watch my latest TV appearance on Cleveland’s Live on Lakeside: Why Bacteria is Good for Your Health, or …. scroll past the video to continue on to this week’s post!

 

I always cringe just a bit whenever I overhear a well-meaning health professional/coach suggest we “eat a cluster of grapes” to curb our pressing sweet tooth. 

I cringe because I used to offer the same suggestion (eek!).

So what’s wrong with this advice? I mean, it sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?

It’s reasonable…until you try it. 

When I attempted to follow my own recommendation and chomp on a handful of red grapes, when what I was really craving was an ooey-gooey vanilla hot fudge sundae with salted nuts and whipped cream, I would eat the grapes…and then the sundae (and often a cookie too, because after all I just blew it…or so I told myself).

How could I continue dispensing this advice when I couldn’t follow it myself? I couldn’t.

 

Sometimes you don’t want flippin’ grapes!

Here’s the thing– sometimes you don’t want grapes! Sometimes you want ooey-gooey, covered in caramel and chocolate sauce! And dammit, sometimes you just want to feel human and not like a robotic, grape-eating student of perfect nutrition.

The truth is, we all like a little ooey-gooey (or crispy, salty, not-kale) once in a while. These “imperfections” are actually part of the perfection of this Universe, and honoring them is one of the most honorable things you can do…provided you aren’t doing it every single day (and if that’s the case, we need to talk😀). 

So is there a way to have your ooey-gooey and eat it too?

Yes! And in this short post I will offer you three effective strategies depending on the depth and nature of your craving.

 

3 Ways to settle your sweet tooth

To choose the strategy that is right for you in the moment, begin by asking yourself “what am I craving?” If your answer is very generic, such as sweet, salty, or crunchy, you will find the first strategy to be very effective. The second and third strategies are for more specific cravings. 

Strategy #1: Craving something sweet but NOT specific

If you simply have a taste for something sweet, without a particular attribute like “ooey-gooey” or “sweet and crunchy”, here’s where a cluster of grapes, a sweet Fuji apple, or small bowl of fresh berries can work beautifully.

Give it a try and see what happens, but don’t judge it as a failure if you’re still craving sweet afterwards. This just means your craving was probably more specific than you realized. Ask yourself “what specifically am I craving?” and move on to strategy two.

Strategy #2: Craving something sweet AND specific

If you can describe your craving (assuming it’s not for grapes😉), consider what I call an “upgraded’ version of the original. Notice I didn’t say “healthy”; there’s a big difference. While the upgrade may wind up being healthy, I find it best to avoid trying to turn a traditional favorite into something totally unrecognizable by your taste buds. It takes away all the fun…and will probably leave your craving unfulfilled.  

For example, I rarely crave ice cream, but when I do I can’t get it out of my mind. Last week was one of those occasions.

Now, I could’ve gone to the grocery store and picked up a container of plain Greek yogurt and mixed it with berries, nuts and honey– an example of a “healthified” version of ice cream. But dammit, I wanted ice cream! Frozen, ooey-gooey, whipped cream…you know what I’m talkin’ about!

So here’s what I did.

After dinner, Wayne and I made a special trip to Mitchell’s ice cream shop in Ohio City and treated ourselves to real ice cream.

I chose a Pumpkin Patch Sundae, with pumpkin spice ice cream made with roasted pumpkin and the milk of local grass-fed cows, homemade whipped cream, salted pecans, and caramel sauce without any artificial ingredients. 

Was it healthy? Hell no! But I wasn’t after health. I eat ice cream maybe twice a year, and dammit…I wanted ice cream. Not low-sugar frozen yogurt with berries. Screw berries- I wanted whipped cream! 

The key to this second strategy is exercising thoughtful intention. To do this, ask yourself: how can I make this choice a little better without robbing it of the flavors and attributes I am after?

Notice how I exercised thoughtful intention with my choice: a company who makes their own ice cream from scratch using locally sourced, fair trade ingredients. By the way, I couldn’t even finish it because it was way too sweet for my buds. Next time I’ll order it with just a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

Strategy #3: Craving something sweet and SUPER specific

If your sweet craving is so specific and can’t possibly be upgraded– which by the way is rarely the case if you really examine it–then just go for it my friend. 

For example, when I’m craving a maple cream Jack Frost donut, there’s not one impostor out there that can even come close to comparing with the real thing. And once I year…I absolutely go for it on my birthday.

Here’s the thing, if you decide to implement this strategy you must be willing to do four things:

  1. Enjoy it immensely.
  2. Eat it slowly and savor all of the flavors of this divine treat before you.
  3. Pay attention to how your body is receiving the food. Ask yourself: Is my craving satisfied yet? Even though you may have only eaten seven spoonfuls of ice cream, your craving may in fact be satisfied, and eating any more may actually make you sick!
  4. Eat it without guilt and don’t reprimand yourself for a week afterwards. If you plan on doing this, don’t even bother eating it in the first place!

In other words, don’t eat it with wild abandon like a dog who just discovered a half-eaten pot roast within paw’s reach.

Be intentional.

Plan when you’ll eat it, and then…enjoy it! 

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Pure Maple Syrup

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

No, it’s not a health food. Pure maple syrup is still 100% sugar and will raise your blood sugar, but it’s one of those “upgraded” ingredients I mentioned in the above post.

It does have a slightly lower glycemic response compared to regular old table sugar, but that’s not why I consider it an upgrade.

Unlike Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, or any other commercial pancake syrup, pure maple syrup is a product of Mother Nature and has literally one ingredient: PURE MAPLE SYRUP.

By contrast, check out the ingredient list of Aunt Jemima’s Original Syrup:

CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE

Come on! Your body deserves better than this garbage disguised as maple syrup. By the way, Aunt Jemima’s Butter Rich Syrup contains NO butter (it says so right on the front!). What you’re really tasting is artificial flavors and chemicals.  

Pure maple syrup produced earlier in the season– called Grade A Golden Color Delicate Taste or Grade A Amber Color Rich Taste– tends to be lighter in color and more subtle in flavor. Dark robust syrup is produced later in the season and is labeled as either Grade A Dark Color Robust Taste or Grade A Very Dark Color Strong Taste.

Nutritionally,  pure maple syrup offers approximately 24 different antioxidants and a handful of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, manganese, potassium, calcium, and riboflavin. Some research shows that darker syrups tend to be richer in antioxidants than lighter varieties.

Check out this week’s recipe pick for Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle, it uses a touch of pure maple syrup as the sweetener! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle

I’ve always loved the crunch and sweetness of peanut brittle, but the store-bought kind is often made with GMO-filled sugar and corn syrup.

I’m not partial to peanuts per se, and actually found that by swapping peanuts with pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and sugar with pure maple syrup, not only is this recipe a peanut brittle upgrade…it’s even better than the original (and you won’t crack any teeth!). 

The original recipe comes from www.feedingbig.com. Thank you Cynthia, for a wonderful recipe!

Print Recipe
Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle
By swapping peanuts with pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and sugar with pure maple syrup, not only is this recipe a peanut brittle upgrade...it's even better than the original (and you won't crack any teeth!). 1 Earthfood per serving: 💚
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds through salt, then add maple syrup and vanilla, mixing until well coated.
  2. Place mixture on baking sheet and press into an even layer about ⅛-inch thick. Use a piece of parchment paper to flatten the seeds, pressing out the middle so it’s slightly thinner than the edges. This will help prevent burning.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely so that it becomes crispy. Once crispy, break into bark-shaped pieces and store in airtight container.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 150Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 120 mg; Potassium: 205 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Net Carbohydrates: 12 grams;Sugar: 7 g (6 grams added sugar from maple syrup);Protein: 4 g

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Avoid These Ingredients in Deli Meat

September 12th, 2019 | no comments

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In a perfect world (assuming you’re a carnivore) you would be eating only fresh meat and seafood, preparing it from scratch with tender loving care.

But let’s be honest, most of us work full-time jobs and can’t afford the luxury of preparing all of our meals from scratch. Although, I must give props to crockpot cooking, as it’s a phenomenal way to support more wholesome meals for you and your family. That’s another post altogether…but be sure to check out this week’s recipe pick below for a sinfully delicious recipe for Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Sometimes deli meats make their way into our lunch box because, well, it’s easy. My goal is to ease your worries with this post because as it turns out, they aren’t so bad after all– but only if you follow a few simple guidelines.  

 

Avoid deli meats with the following ingredients…
  • Sodium nitrite (a preservative used to cure meats) and sodium nitrate (a preservative): both can raise the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes
  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): preservatives with potential carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties
  • MSG: additive that can cause various adverse reactions—from headaches and migraines to endocrine disruption
  • Added hormones
  • Antibiotics 
  • Sugar in any form (cane sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, etc.)
  • Smoked/naturally smoked/smoke flavor– may contain toxic chemicals

So in a nutshell, when you look at the ingredient list on deli meat, it should only contain the meat (i.e. turkey, beef, chicken, ham, etc.), salt, and possibly herbs  or spices. Deli departments often carry whole meat that is sliced right off the bone, without any additional ingredients. Of course this would be your best bet.

 

Enjoy deli meat a maximum of 1-2 times per week (a few slices…not a half-pound!)

Yes, taking care to avoid the above ingredients is a sure step in the right direction, but understand that even though a deli meat may not have added sodium nitrites and nitrates, they still most likely contain celery juice or celery powder, which act as naturally-occurring nitrates/nitrates and likely behave similarly in the body.

 

Eat it without bread (don’t hate me until you give it a try!) 

No, I’m not calling bread evil. But the fact of the matter is, we eat too much of the starchy stuff and then sit wondering why we can’t lower our blood sugar and cholesterol numbers (not to mention that extra stubborn “roll” around the midsection that won’t budge). You can turn this around if you open your mind to new ideas. For the record, wraps are no better and actually may be worse due to the presence of trans fats.

Try one of these ideas on for size:

  • Roll a couple pieces of deli meat (see below for my favorite brands and varieties) and slice into chunks. Serve on top of a leafy green salad, or with a side of raw veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole.
  • Serve it in a lettuce wrap! Bibb/butter, Boston, and green leaf lettuce are the best for lettuce wraps. FYI…butter lettuce does NOT taste like butter. Life is so unfair! 😜
  • Make your own wheat-free wrap using this easy recipe for 5-Minute Flax Wrap!
  • Dice it up and fold into omelets (there’s no rule against packing an omelet for lunch you know!)
  • Eat it with crackers and a little natural cheese (see below for the best cracker brands out there).
  • Chop into small pieces and mix with avocado oil mayonnaise, pumpkin seeds, chopped peppers, onions and carrots, and stuff inside of a pitted avocado! 

If you love bread and aren’t willing to entertain this idea, at least cut the amount in half and switch to sprouted bread, such as Angelic Bakehouse, Alvarado Street, or (my personal favorite) Ezekiel.

Sprouting— which involves soaking grains, seeds, beans, legumes or nuts in water until a sprout forms— can reduce the gluten content by almost 50%. Studies also show that sprouted grains become easier to digest and breakdown for those with diabetes because of changes in the amount of enzymes available, which is needed to properly digest glucose.

 

Try one of these deli meat-alternatives for lunch
  • Tuna salad or egg salad made with avocado oil mayonnaise or mashed avocado and served over a beautiful leafy green salad.
  • Roasted chicken or pulled rotisserie chicken rolled up in a 5-Minute Flax Wrap. Most grocery stores sell whole roasted rotisserie chicken that you can purchase and deconstruct yourself! 
  • Natural nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, walnut, peanut, sunflower seed) with the only ingredient being the nut or seed and maybe salt, spread on gluten-free crackers such as Jilz, Flackers, or Hu brands. Top each cracker with a sliced banana “coin” for a real treat.
  • Veggie wrap: sprouts, raw veggies, avocados, sunflower seeds and greens wrapped in a hummus-spread 5-Minute Flax Wrap.
  • Leftover soup or chili. Try my Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili. 

 

There are two brands of deli meat that I feel comfortable recommending– the first is Two Brothers, which is sold in a Northeast Ohio grocery store chain called Heinen’s. My favorites in this line are:

  1. Two Brothers No Salt Turkey Breast. It has one single ingredient: turkey. Any questions?
  2. Two Brothers Organic Oven Roasted Turkey Breast: organic turkey, water, salt
  3. Two Brothers Organic Roast Beef: organic beef, sea salt, pepper

The second brand is True Story, featured in this week’s food pick below.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
True Story Deli Meat

True Story is a third generation company based in Northern California. They practice fair trade with farmers, ensuring animals are raised humanely and without antibiotics or hormones. In fact, 100% of their animals are third party certified for animal welfare.

True Story’s ingredients are organic, non-GMO, and free of: nitrites/nitrates; MSG; hormones; fillers; artificial colors, flavors and preservatives; gluten; and carrageenan (a thickener that can cause digestive destruction and inflammation).

Three of their best products are:

  • Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Smoked Turkey Breast
  • Thick Cut Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

True Story also makes a line of chicken sausage with a pretty darn clean list of ingredients.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Fall is almost here, which means it’s time for all things pumpkin…and chili. 

I usually kick off the season with turkey or vegetarian chili, however this year I was in the mood for something different. Creamy and decadent is what I was aiming for, with some bean and more meat. 

The original recipe is courtesy of www.thechunkychef.com. I changed a few of ingredients and the end result was nothing short of: creamy and decadent…with some bean and more meat 😀. This chili recipe is proof that nourishing food doesn’t have to taste blah!

What makes it so creamy is the addition of a small amount of cream cheese and cream (dairy-free options offered in the recipe). I have to tell you, the difference between Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili and traditional “red” varieties is, one bowl and you are seriously satisfied to the core. That’s the beauty of fat in a meal…it turns on the satiety (fullness) switch and keeps it lit for many hours. 

Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili, along with a shredded kale salad sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds, chopped dates, fresh basil, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, and diced avocado (and a glass of wine), makes for the perfect dinner to enjoy by a crisp autumn evening fire. And the best part—it’s SO easy. Place the ingredients in your crockpot, set it on low, and when you get home add the cream and cheese…dinner is served!

Print Recipe
Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili
This chili recipe is proof that nourishing food doesn’t have to taste blah! What makes it so creamy is the addition of a small amount of cream cheese and cream. The difference between this chili and traditional "red" varieties is, one bowl and you are seriously satisfied to the core...for many hours. 1 Earthfood per serving: 💚
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound free-range chicken breasts Smart Chicken or Gerber Amish Farm
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 24 oz. Organic chicken broth
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, softened for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of Kite Hill Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of full-fat canned coconut milk
Optional toppings:
  • sliced jalapenos
  • sliced avocados
  • dollop of sour cream
  • minced fresh cilantro
  • sprouted tortilla chips, crushed
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound free-range chicken breasts Smart Chicken or Gerber Amish Farm
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 24 oz. Organic chicken broth
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, softened for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of Kite Hill Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of full-fat canned coconut milk
Optional toppings:
  • sliced jalapenos
  • sliced avocados
  • dollop of sour cream
  • minced fresh cilantro
  • sprouted tortilla chips, crushed
Instructions
  1. Add chicken breasts to bottom of slow cooker, top with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Top with diced onion, minced garlic, great Northern beans, green chiles, chicken broth and cilantro. Stir, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken to large mixing bowl, shred, then return to slow cooker. Add cream cheese and half and half, stir, then cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, or until chili is creamy and slightly thickened.
  4. Stir well and serve with desired toppings.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 220Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Sodium: 850 mg; Potassium: 400 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 17 g; Dietary fiber: 6 g; Net Carbohydrates: 11 grams;Sugar: 3 g (0 grams added sugar);Protein: 21 g

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A 30-Second Habit to Elevate Your Health

September 5th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Slejven Djurakovic on Unsplash

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“Move in with me Mel, so you can show me exactly what to eat”

 

This is a statement I hear quite often. The only problem is, it won’t work. 

 

First of all, I would probably get on your last nerve and you’d be forced to evict me… so I don’t think that’s a good idea. 😉

Second, you don’t need me to smack that cookie out of your hand (PS: I wouldn’t do that anyway). You need to learn how to trust your body to tell you what it really needs. For the record- it doesn’t need chocolate chip cookies every night at 9:30 while watching Netflix. 

Third, it’s only when you train your taste buds to prefer wholesome foods, that you will be physically equipped to continue on the path to more wholesome food choices. 

Finally, we are not the same. And if I told you what to eat from where your taste buds are currently positioned, you’d eventually rebel. And it’s not because you lack willpower, but rather you aren’t accustomed to that way of eating. It’s actually your taste buds that will rebel. This is a recipe for failure.

 

A 30-second habit to elevate your health

I am 100% confident in the power and contagiousness of one simple habit. Here’s one you can begin today that will put you on the road to better health. It’s what I’ve been doing every single day for years, and in fact, would be the very first thing I would have you do if I moved in. Here’s the 30-second habit:

 

Fill a Mason jar (or other container) with two cups of raw veggies and eat it every day. 

 

You can fill it with a combination of any of the following vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Jicama slices 
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Snap peas
  • String beans
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini

That’s it. That’s all I’m asking you to do. Don’t change anything else about the way you eat, unless you really feel motivated to do so.

To help you stay on track, fill seven jars on a Sunday so that you’ll have them for the week! Don’t have time for cleaning and chopping? Use the salad bar at your local grocery store (Heinen’s has the BEST!) to fill up several containers full of your favorites. It’s perfectly legal (I think 😝).

 

To dip or not to dip?

This one’s totally up to you. I am partial to naked veggies myself…but only because I trained my taste buds to appreciate them that way. I used to drown them in ranch dressing back in the day. 

Hummus and guacamole both make beautiful dips for veggies (try this week’s recipe for Guacamole with a Kick!).

I won’t slap the bottle of ranch out of your hand, don’t worry. I’m more interested in you eating the damn veggies…so ranch yourself silly if you must. Here are three upgraded brands of ranch dressing if you’re interested:

Stand in your power

Watch what happens when you stand in your power by repeating this 30-second habit day after day. I promise, after one week, something’s going to shift. It may be:

Your morning bowel movement slides out with more ease and is more “impressive” than ever, or

You have a little more energy (after all, there’s a ton of energy-generating vitamins and minerals packed in those veggies!), or

You notice that your subsequent food choices are a little more wholesome (one single habit can turn viral…in either direction. So why not make it a good one?).

 

And I’ll just bet you begin to crave raw veggies… dip or no dip! 

 

Need more help? Check out my brand new 30-Day Whole Body Health group program! In this program, I hand you a map to guide you every step of the way, from sunup till sundown. This includes telling you exactly what to do, which foods to purchase, and offering tools to help you develop your mindset to ensure success and put an end to your personal food war once and for all.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Flackers Crackers

I know I’ve mentioned these crackers multiple times in previous posts, but it’s high time they receive their day in the spotlight. They can also be incorporated into your new 30-second habit! 

Flackers were co-founded by Dr. Alison Levitt M.D., a.k.a. The Dr. in the Kitchen. After years of preaching about the powerhouse benefits of flaxseed in a balanced diet, she decided to make a batch of crackers to hand out in her office. Her patients soon became obsessed with the nutrient-rich, crunchy treats—and so did their friends and family.

Flackers crackers are made with just a few simple ingredients: organic flaxseeds, organic apple cider vinegar, and a variety of herbs and spices (depending on the flavor). The flaxseeds are sprouted, making them easier to digest and absorb. And because these crackers are made from seeds versus grains, they are extremely safe for those watching their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In fact, a serving contains an impressive 8 grams of fiber and a mere 3 grams of net carbohydrates. Compare that to 19 grams of carbs in a serving of Wheat Thins- of which three of the ingredients are soybean oil, sugar, and the preservative BHT. Excuse me, but these aren’t even food!

Flackers are dense, super crunchy and will NOT melt in your mouth like a Ritz… and that’s a good thing because it means you won’t gorge on a dozen of them in one sitting. Think about your last Ritz cracker experience and tell me you stuck to the 5-cracker serving size…yeah, that’s what I thought! BTW, you can thank the sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat for this insatiable side effect. Ritz crackers aren’t food; they are as close to garbage as it gets. 

My favorite way to enjoy Flackers is alongside an assortment of raw veggies, with hummus or guacamole for dipping. This could seriously be your next lunch. Check out this week’s recipe pick below for Guacamole with a Kick for a whole new take on guac!

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Guacamole with a Kick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guacamole with a Kick!

Guacamole is so versatile. You can use it as a topping for salads, folded in tacos, on top of your burrito bowl, or as a dip for veggies or seed crackers! It’s a wonderful way to help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins naturally present in vegetables… one reason why I NEVER recommend fat-free dressing (blech!🤢).

Guacamole with a Kick is a basic guac recipe with the addition of…fermented vegetables! Whenever possible I try to sneak a health-boosting food or two into ordinary recipes. Why not? And because guacamole is already a nutritional powerhouse, this addition makes it extra good for you! 

Fermented vegetables are an amazing source of good bacteria known as probiotics, which is an essential “ingredient” for overall well-being. These special veggies can be found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store, often near the deli department. Quality brands include: Wake Robin, Farmhouse Culture, and Cleveland Kraut. They include everything from raw sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, and green beans, to cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, and carrots. 

NOTE: Don’t heat your fermented vegetables above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise you’ll kill the beneficial bacteria.

Print Recipe
Guacamole with a Kick!
A basic guac recipe with the addition of fermented vegetables! Whenever possible I try to sneak a health-boosting food or two into ordinary recipes. Why not? Fermented vegetables are an amazing source of good bacteria known as probiotics, which is an essential "ingredient" for overall well-being. 2 Earthfoods per serving: ❤️ ❤️
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, chopped Wake Robin, Cleveland Kraut, or Farmhouse Culture are all good choices
  • 1 small tomato, diced
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, chopped Wake Robin, Cleveland Kraut, or Farmhouse Culture are all good choices
  • 1 small tomato, diced
Instructions
  1. Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt in a small mixing bowl. Mash until smooth with a fork or potato masher. Mix in the sauerkraut and tomato. Serve with seed crackers, raw vegetables... or both!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 80Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 200 mg; Potassium: 300 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 6 g; Dietary fiber: 4 g; Net Carbohydrates: 2 grams; Sugar: 1 g (no added sugar); Protein: 2 g

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Please Excuse My Passion for You

August 30th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

I took a break from my weekly Food for Thought for the first time in two years. You see, lately I’ve been experiencing a low-grade numbness. I found myself merely “going through the motions” in an attempt to create interesting, juicy, eye-catching content to share with you, and if I’m being honest, this weekly anticlimactic ritual became somewhat of a chore. I felt, uninspired. 

Consider the meaning of the word inspire:

inspire

v: to inflame or to blow in to

When you are feeling inspired by something or someone, it is as if an internal, low flame inside of you is being infused with air to make it grow.

And if I’m lacking this infusion, how in the world can I be the catalyst to evoke it for you? One thing I know for sure is, you are worth more than this uninspired “shell of a Mel” I was offering. 

This break all came in good timing, as late August always seems to summon the deepest part of me– when my inspiration reignites and I feel a seamless connection to who I really am and the purpose behind my incarnation on this amazing earth plane. Why late August? Because the 30th (TODAY!) happens to be my birthday!

 

On my birthday, I feel it necessary to apologize to you (but not really)

I know sometimes I can come across a bit overzealous, eager, and annoyingly passionate; I’m sorry about that (not really), it’s just that I really, really care about you. If you could just step into my world and come along on this journey with me for the next few minutes, I think it will make perfect sense.

 

I see you

No, I mean, I really see you. 

Maybe you were in the audience and heard one of my presentations, or perhaps you read my weekly Food for Thought post. We may have met, or maybe not. It could be we’ve simply exchanged glances or smiles for a split second. Or maybe you did me the honor of trusting me as your coach. Whatever our connection, I want you to know that I see you. 

 

What exactly do I see?

I sense, at a very deep level, the potential in you for well-being. This seed is something that most don’t see in themselves, as they are too busy rehashing the mental list of aches, pains, and extra pounds they wish would disappear.

This potential is like a bubbling energy, just waiting to be expressed; a caged bird, if you will, yearning to spread its wings so that it can live life to the fullest and sing the song it was born to sing. The truth is, when you are unwell, your wingspan is stunted and you aren’t able to fully share your gifts with the world. 

 

A passion-driven restlessness

Most days I literally cannot rest. 

My passion for your bubbling, yet imprisoned well-being is itself, creating tsunami-like waves in my mind. I am simply dying to reach my little hand over and unlock your cage door; to introduce you to the reflection in my mirror, rather than the foggy fun house mirror you’ve been consulting with all these years.  

My friend, I need you to understand that well-being awaits you. Yes, it’s there, ready for activation. I can see it.

If your current outward reality doesn’t match this true inner reality, you simply aren’t allowing it. Maybe you don’t know how.

But I do, and this is why I am so damn restless, like a third-grader sitting in class next to poor, pig-tailed Sally Jones. There she sits, feeling hopelessly embarrassed, as Miss Crabtree awaits her reply to a question she’s clearly not able to answer. You watch her squirm in her seat and turn all shades of red, and are just dying to give her the answer to put an end to her misery, only Miss Crabtree forbids it… Sally must figure this one out on her own. 

 

Do you feel like Sally?

 

Guess what? There is no Miss Crabtree…you don’t have to figure this out on your own! I know, it’s your life and your choices are totally up to you, but sometimes you need someone to point out what you cannot see, after all, funhouse mirrors can be quite deceiving, even believable…can’t they? 

 

Are you trapped, frustrated and confused?

I know you want so badly to be well, and free…but the “how” can be confusing, can’t it? 

  • What should you eat? 
  • Are there any foods you should avoid?
  • Eggs: are they good or bad this month? 
  • How about meat: yes or no?
  • Can I ever go out for ice cream again, if so should I just stick with frozen yogurt instead? (PS: the answer is yes to the ice cream and a big fat HELL NO to the frozen yogurt…unless you actually prefer the taste or are lactose intolerant of course 🙂 ).

It can be frustrating too! 

  • Counting points
  • Eating less while exercising more
  • Feeling deprived and thinking about Doritos day and night
  • Gnawing, low-grade hunger with a 24-7 urge to stuff your face

All of this for what? To lose ten pounds this week only to regain it (plus five more) in a month? I’m sorry/not sorry, but this is bullshit (it’s my birthday, so I get a potty mouth pass 🙂 ).

All of the conflicting information out there sadly creates what’s known as learned helplessness. Learned helplessness occurs when we give up in the face of adversity because we don’t believe that our efforts make a difference when, in fact, they still can.

The only problem is, we are expending precious energy wasting our efforts on “solutions” that are downright incompatible with our biology and human nature. For example, some foods that nutritionists say are good for us (i.e. whole wheat) can cause a rush in blood sugar and actually promote fat storage and hunger, while those they tell us to limit or avoid all together (i.e. eggs, coconut oil, beef, etc.), actually calm blood sugar and satisfy hunger. It’s no wonder you are trapped, frustrated, and confused! 

 

First, the (threefold) problem

The problem isn’t a lack of desire for well-being. I don’t believe for one hot minute that a single person out there wants to be overweight, drained of energy, achy, or diseased. 

The problem, as I see it, is threefold:

  1. You are confused and don’t know how or where to start.
  2. You finally make the decision to start and even have a map (called Weight Watchers, keto, paleo, etc.), only you lose momentum and slide back into old, comfortable habits. 
  3. Your map was incomplete, lacking a fundamental set of instructions: how to unlock your cage so that you can actually spread your wings and fly. This problem goes unrecognized however, and instead you blame yourself for sucking big time and lacking willpower. 

Don’t you see? That “golden” map landed you right in the middle of your very own cage, only now you’re swimming in a pool of food obsession, constant hunger, and weight gain. 

Look, you can have the most highly-acclaimed, expensive, individualized program in the world at your disposal and ready to activate, but when you are locked in a cage staring at a funhouse mirror, unable to see the light that I see, that map is absolutely useless. In fact, you may as well use it to line the bottom of your cage!

 

My threefold inspired purpose (and gift to you)

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, that on the 30th day of August in 1975, I was brought into this world with a threefold purpose, and that is to:

  1. Help you get started on the road to well-being.
  2. Hand you the complete map, along with gentle, loving guidance.
  3. Inspire the shit out of you (potty mouth birthday pass #2 🙂 ) so that you may challenge that funhouse mirror and find a way to unlock your cage. Then spread your wings, fly to my mirror and… see what I see. 

How can I be so sure of my purpose? Because whenever I am fully engaged in any one of these three behaviors, I become positively high and must take inspired action. 

 

I know what it’s like to be at war with food

I refuse to believe that my three-year journey with binge eating disorder was travelled in vain- it was confirmation of the work that I was put here to do. My pain must have served a purpose. 

To not be able to trust myself alone with a plate of cookies; suffering from perpetual food preoccupation (I’m talking day, night, and in my dreams); waking up terrified, not knowing how far I will take my secret binge in the late evening hours: will I eat the entire cake this time, or just skim the frosting in my usual fashion so that no one discovers what I’m really up to– this was my reality.  

To read more about my journey, click HERE or check out my latest book Missing Peace: Eleven Secrets to Restore Inner Harmony with Your Food, Body, and Health.

 

I know what it’s like to feel as free as a blue bird too!

To walk past a case of donuts, take a whiff, salivate, and…walk away without a trace of unfulfilled desire– that’s what it means to be truly free from the bonds of food. This is the reality I enjoy these days, but only because I went through that hellish three-year food battle, pulled myself out, and learned what not to do. Had I not gone through it, who knows what sort of message I would be spreading out there (probably to avoid beef, eggs, and coconut oil, while eating all the “healthy” whole wheat you desire! 🙂 ). 

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat donuts (and ice cream and cake), but it’s a planned indulgence– a far cry from the recklessly impulsive guilt-ridden binges of yesteryear. There’s a difference: I am living from and honoring my light, the same light that is in you.

 

The willpower excuse

Think this reality is only reserved for the strong-willed? You are dead wrong. 

Nothing frosts my cookies more than when a well-meaning person comes at me with comments like: 

You have incredible willpower girl! 

You must be genetically blessed.

Sure, YOU can do this, but I certainly can’t.

Are you flippin’ kidding me? We are all made up of the same “stuff”, the only difference is, today, I live as if I’m already healthy and well. I don’t chase after it like I used to (and like most people do).

 

The truth is, these well-meaning folks are already well, but have convinced themselves they need fixing and are thus making choices from a state of lack and dis-ease. This is what keeps them stuck in the body they so desperately want to change.

 

Stop with the lack-of-willpower excuse already. If I can break free from a three-year food addiction and come out healthier at age 44 than I was at 24, you my love, can too! It has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with shifting your perception. 

 

You must be what you can be

If you are still reading this post, I’m pretty sure you’re sensing a deep-rooted desire (even if just a flicker) to treat your body better. Yes? Well I am going to be bold here, so brace yourself: that desire is a whisper from your higher self, just begging to be released. It is your duty to answer it…before the whisper turns into a scream. In other words:

 

You must be what you can be. 

 

Indeed, it is your personal responsibility to carve out the masterpiece hidden inside. As Michelangelo, the famous Italian sculptor and painter of the High Renaissance said:

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

I can promise you one thing: if you fail to unleash this yearning potential well-being inside of you, the desire won’t go away. In fact, it may very well present itself as a nagging dissatisfaction with life, because secretly you know you deserve better. 

No one can answer the whisper but you.

 

Start somewhere, anywhere…just start damn it!

And don’t quit because you aren’t doing it perfectly or 100%! One thing I know for sure is that when repeated daily, one small healthy habit has the power to go viral. You’ll find that you naturally add more of them because you feel so good. When you feel good, you simply don’t want it to end!   

Some examples of small habits include:

  • Back off of the artificially sweetened beverages and drink lemon water instead, or
  • Eat carrots dipped in hummus with lunch instead of chips, or
  • Make dinner your final eating occasion of the day and allow your body to fast for twelve hours (it’s really not hard and can help manage rising blood sugar levels), or
  • Take five minutes each morning to sit quietly, breathe, and go within.

My sweet friend, I really do love and care about you (more than you will ever fully realize), so please don’t wait for that whisper/gentle nudge of your higher self to turn into a baseball bat upside the head (in the form of a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, foot amputation, etc.). Start somewhere, anywhere! 

 

I’m not sorry that I am so flippin’ passionate about YOU

Can you now understand the reason for my passion? I see that bubbling energy in you; the seed waiting to sprout. I see the light in you. 

Take that first step, get to work on building just one teeny weeny healthy habit today…not tomorrow, TODAY! 

Well-being awaits you my friend, so…shit, or get off the pot (potty mouth birthday pass #3 🙂 ). xoxo

 

Looking for a map? I may have one for you

I’m constantly being asked to: “tell me what you do and I’ll do it!” or “write down what you eat in a day and I’ll follow it!”

 

Although it’s taken me nearly 19 years of trial and error, I finally mapped out a route to unleash the well-being inside of ME and now I want to share it with you. And because we both come from the same stuff and share the same light, this map will enable you to unlock your cage and fly free, to enjoy good health and feel fantastic for years to come.

 

I’m asking you to trust me here. Trust me when I say you absolutely can get to a place in your life where the call of donuts, Doritos, and ice cream is silenced and your:

  • Body craves wholesome foods like greens, Brussels sprouts, and avocados (really!).
  • Blood sugar is managed through the foods you eat.
  • Cholesterol moves to a desirable range.
  • Appetite is calm and you aren’t preoccupied with food.
  • Body begins to mirror that which you hold in your mind’s eye.
  • Energy is lifted and your mind, more clear.

The map I am offering here is not some one-size-fits-all program in a box, but rather a life plan– one that will change with you, as you grow and change. It’s not for those looking for a quick fix either. If all you want is a meal plan with calories meticulously displayed, this isn’t for you. 

With this map, comes a small group of like-minded individuals with similar goals, and my gentle guidance over a 30-day period. 

 

Does this sound interesting to you?

Well then keep your eyes peeled because I will be announcing this brand new program (along with oodles of details on what’s involved) on Tuesday, September 3rd at 5:00 am EST. 

I am limiting enrollment to a small group of individuals, so you will definitely want to be on alert for Tuesday’s email. Also, to be sure this is a good fit for you, you will be asked to complete a program application. The last thing I want you to do is invest your hard-earned money into something that’s not right for you.

I am beyond excited to share this with you my friend…stay tuned!

 

On my 44th birthday, thank you for allowing me to be so damn passionate about YOU!

 

I love you my friend,

xoxo

Mel

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Foods That Act Like Sugar (but aren’t sweet)

August 7th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Pierre Gui on Unsplash

Plus:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

We all know that sweet-tasting foods contain sugar, and when we eat too many of them, something eventually suffers in our body. 

Perhaps you’ve experienced one of the following warning signs:

  • A few pounds “magically” appear overnight.
  • Your annual blood glucose reading is a few points higher than last year, qualifying you as a new member of the pre-diabetic club.
  • Your skin appears less supple and youthful.
  • Cholesterol numbers creep up near dangerous levels.

Typically what happens next is, you cut back on sugar and the pounds melt away. 

But why do those last 5, 10, 20, or 50 pounds still hang on for dear life like that mass of tangled necklaces in your jewelry box? Why did your blood sugar or cholesterol numbers come down some, but not enough to be out of the woods? 

Ah…that’s where those not-sweet-tasting foods that act like sugar, come into play.

These include:

  • Frozen meals
  • Snack mixes
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Gatorade
  • Pizza crust
  • Pasta sauce
  • Condiments like barbecue sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, salsas, etc.
  • Bread (no matter how cleverly it’s marketed to appear “healthy”): includes pita, bagels, buns, wraps, etc.
  • Any food made with wheat. Understand that all-purpose flour is made from 100% wheat and is therefore 100% wheat. You don’t have to look far to find one of the many gazillion foods made with wheat flour– just stroll up and down the aisles of your local grocery store.

Notice how the above are, for the most part, all processed food. Now add to this list, any and all foods that actually taste sweet. 

 

What you need to understand about blood sugar, body fat, and appetite

You may think you’re doing a good thing by chowing down on that innocent 100-calorie snack-size bag of fat-free pretzels, but your blood is telling an entirely different story.

Foods such as those mentioned in the above list have one thing in common: they are all loaded with simple carbohydrates that your body breaks down into sugar, also called glucose. So yes, while they are not sweet to the taste buds, they act exactly like sugar beneath the skin. 

 

So why is this a concern?

 

Processed carbohydrate foods devoid of natural fibers– such as the fiber nicely packaged in Earthfoods like broccoli, kidney beans, lentils, nuts, and raspberries– stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin, a fat-storage hormone. Insulin’s job is to shuttle glucose out of your blood and into your cells for energy and storage. 

In addition to sugar, meals and snacks made up of highly refined and processed foods, like pizza (i.e. wheat), sub sandwiches (i.e. wheat), frozen meals (likely containing wheat), and pasta (i.e. wheat), stimulate a constant production of insulin. Over time this can cause insulin resistance, resulting in increased hunger, cravings, and weight gain. So you see, even though your calorie-intake may be low, your body is resisting weight loss like a stubborn mule. This is why calories mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G to me…and why I secretly cringe when I hear a well-meaning person talk about them as if they are the Holy Grail. 

 

So why do I focus so heavily on blood sugar?

What about cholesterol and other measures of heart health? Don’t these blood markers matter just as much as blood sugar? 

Of course they do! I focus on blood sugar because when that gets out of control, it can trigger a cascade of consequences in your body– from diabetes, stroke, nerve damage, and kidney disease, just to name a few. And furthermore, the foods that tend to raise blood sugar also cause an imbalance in cholesterol, particularly elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol (that’s the one you want to be higher). When it comes down to it, you are one big system, therefore eating for one covers all bases. 

 

Wait! I thought wheat was good for you?

I’m reading a quite profound book called Wheat Belly. While the name itself is telling, author and cardiologist Dr. William Davis lifts the veil on a likely key player in many conditions plaguing the western world today, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and dementia. 

Yep, you guessed it, according to Dr. Davis, wheat (along with all products containing wheat) is one of the main dietary-offenders. Although he doesn’t let sugar and other highly refined foods off the hook, he does shed light on exactly why wheat in particular is so concerning, especially since it’s found in millions of processed foods. 

One of the main reasons wheat is causing such a ruckus is due to its dramatic change over the past fifty years. Modern wheat (called “dwarf” and “semi-dwarf” wheat) bears little resemblance to the “amber waves of grain” wheat our grandparents grew up on. The product of breeding to generate greater yield and characteristics such as drought and heat resistance, today’s wheat has exploded to more than 25,000 varieties, virtually all of them the result of human intervention. And we all know what happens when we pesky humans mess with Mother Nature. 

As a result, small changes in wheat protein structure are thought to be responsible for the classic immune responses displayed in conditions such as celiac disease, as well as intestinal inflammation, diabetes, and cholesterol abnormalities. 

If you think wheat could be part of your problem (or if you’re a nerd like me and this sort of thing fascinates the pants off of you), I highly recommend you check out Wheat Belly

 

Don’t you dare think of taking away my bread Mel! 

Are you freaking out right about now? Loosen your grip, I’m not going to show up at your front door and snatch away your beloved loaf of pillow-soft white bread. Nor am I even calling the above foods “bad”, because that will only make you feel bad about eating them. I’m not even telling you not to eat them…because if I do, how much do you want to make a bet that you’ll deliberately, unconsciously, or habitually eat them before the week is up? 

The truth of the matter is, when eaten on a regular basis, these foods are point-blank unsupportive for the majority of the population. And even when you do see that freakishly-fit person chowing down on a double pepperoni pizza or eating a sub sandwich every day for lunch, there’s no telling what’s going on beneath their skin. 

I know because that used to be me!

 

What the heck is TOFI?

There was a time in my life when I was classified as “TOFI” (thin-outside-fat-inside). I don’t know what it’s like to be physically overweight, however I’m quite familiar with what it feels like to be of “normal” weight, but with high triglycerides (fat in the blood), high LDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and pre-diabetic. Yes, there I was, a 110-pound seemingly “healthy” woman…who was a total and complete metabolic mess on the inside.

What people didn’t know, was that every evening behind closed doors, I was like an addict getting her “fix”. Processed foods were my drug of choice– and I wasn’t picky either, sweet, salty, fatty…if it came in a box, tube, can or carton, I was game.

It wasn’t until I shifted my mindset and then my food choices, that I healed my body. And it didn’t happen overnight either; far from it.  

In order for this to work for me I knew I’d have to do it slowly, otherwise I’d give up and jump feet first into my familiar oasis of donuts, cookies, mac-n-cheese, and Jif on Wonder Bread. I started by simply eating more vegetables– about three cups each day. When my body got used to that and began to crave it, I traded my diet sodas for water. And on and on I went, down the yellow brick road to a healthier me.

Yes, it was a very slow process, but the changes I made were both doable and long-lasting. 

 

What the hell is there left for me to eat Mel? 

Oh my goodness– if you only knew how many amazing foods are out there just waiting to be discovered, you’d be blown away! 

First things first: I wouldn’t recommend cleaning out your entire kitchen and starting from scratch. You might go into shock and feel deprived, which will only result in sinking back into old behaviors. Instead, do what I did and take it slow. Here are some simple swap ideas to get you started:

Next, make a conscious decision to eat REAL food every day. Real food is food without labels– whole, single-ingredient foods like Earthfoods (click HERE for a list). Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to give up meat– just downsize your portions and make wiser choices, such as organic free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, wild fish, and free-range eggs. 

 

What Mel eats…

To give you an idea, a typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast: sunny-side up egg cooked in coconut oil with avocado slices and berries or a Peace of Health Shake

Lunch: often a high-quality nutrition bar with a 3-cup container of raw veggies and a piece of fruit. 

Dinner: typically a BIG leafy green salad with sprouts, salmon, roasted veggies, toasted almonds, a handful of berries, sprinkle of raw goat cheese, and assorted raw chopped veggies– all tossed with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. 

Need some ideas? You’ll find loads of upgraded, better-for-you, delicious-tasting recipes on my recipe page

 

You have a choice!

I want you to understand that all of this is about freedom of choice, coupled with how strongly you desire to make a change in your health. 

Let me tell you something, if you want it bad enough, you will find a way to improve your health. And if not, you’ll find every excuse in the book not to change.  Yes, sometimes we need to be struck by a bolt of lightning in order for this to happen, like being told you have alarmingly high triglycerides and your doctor is inches away from prescribing a cholesterol-lowering drug. 

It is my hope that you don’t wait that long. And if this does happen to be your current reality…you have the power to change it.

Make a move.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Birch Benders Paleo Pancake Mix

 

Every once in a while I have a taste for pancakes. To keep them grain and gluten-free, I typically make a small batch using coconut or almond flour and serve them with a side of nut butter mixed with just a touch of raw honey or pure maple syrup for flavor (see this recipe for Fiber-Rich Pumpkin Coconut Pancakes). 

When short on time, I use Birch Benders Paleo Pancake Mix— a grain-free pancake mix that’s much better for you than traditional wheat-based mixes (i.e. Aunt Jemima, Bisquick, etc.). It’s made with cassava starch, coconut flour, and almond flour. Cassava is a nutty-flavored, starchy root vegetable native to South America, which has a lower glycemic response compared to grain-based flours. 

All you have to do is add water– can’t get much simpler than that! 

For a quick breakfast on the run, I like to bake the pancake mix in a mini muffin pan, and enjoy a few with a smear or three of nut butter and a hard-boiled egg. To try it for yourself, check out this week’s recipe pick for Strawberry Pancake Mini Muffins. Birch Bender’s website has lots of fun recipes using their mixes too. 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Strawberry Pancake Mini Muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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