What’s the Deal with Gluten?

May 9th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

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Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, non-gluten free oats, and processed foods containing these ingredients (i.e. bread, cereal, pasta, pancakes, pizza, bakery and other packaged foods).

Gluten causes a whole spectrum of problems for many people, ranging from non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) to celiac disease— an autoimmune condition where ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine, creating iron deficiency anemia, joint pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and migraines.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, some people experience symptoms of celiac disease, such as foggy mind, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue, when they have gluten in their diet, but they do not test positive for celiac disease. NCGS is generally used to refer to this condition; removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms.

 

Why does it seem like gluten intolerance is more of a recent problem?

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as gluten sensitivity. Although it can seem like a fad, I can tell you it is indeed a real thing.

Due to hybridization of wheat grown in the United States, the quality and type of proteins and starches in wheat have changed, creating a higher gluten content than ever before. The result is an overwhelming increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Food allergies and sensitivities create an inflammatory state in the body, leading to weight gain and insulin resistance. So if you suspect you are intolerant of gluten, it would be wise to eliminate it for a six-week trial to see if your blood glucose numbers and weight improve. This also holds true for other common food allergies and sensitivities, like dairy, soy, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts.

 

Mel’s experience with gluten

Although I never officially set out to remove gluten from my diet, it turned out that most of the food I was eating just happened to be naturally gluten-free, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lentils, seafood, and natural, unprocessed meats.

After a while, I noticed a subtle, yet significant improvement in my digestion and also quite a bit less brain fog and joint pain. If a little gluten sneaks into my diet in the form of an occasional donut, brownie or cookie, it’s not like I suffer horrible side effects or anything like that, but I also don’t feel 100%. I simply choose not to make it a habit because it’s just not worth it to me.

Some of my favorite gluten-free alternatives include:

 

Recommended gluten-free grains

If you choose to eat grains, I recommend aiming for small amounts of what I call “upgraded” grains. These include whole, minimally processed, non-GMO, gluten-free grains such as:

  •    Brown rice
  •    Wild rice (which is actually a semi-aquatic grass)
  •    Quinoa (which is actually a seed)
  •    Amaranth
  •    Buckwheat
  •    Millet
  •    Sorghum
  •    Gluten-free steel-cut oats
  •    Teff

If you happened to eat a gluten-containing grain, opt for sprouted varieties. 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.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon

You preach about Earthfoods Melanie, and I fully respect that. But what about bacon? I’m not willing to give that up…no way, no how!

Listen, I get it. I’m not asking you to give it up for a couple of reasons: First, it’s not necessary because it can absolutely fit in small amounts on occasion. Second, thanks to companies like Applegate, you can now have your bacon and eat it too!

Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon is humanely raised, USDA organic, and free of: nitrites, nitrates, preservatives, hormones, GMOs, gluten, and antibiotics. Everything you should look for when purchasing bacon.

Check out this week’s recipe pick for Purely PMS Brownie Bites. These decadent little morsels are made without flour (so they are gluten-free), and are topped with drizzled dark chocolate, cacao nibs and bacon pieces.

You’re welcome! 🙂 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Purely PMS Brownie Bites

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Purely PMS Brownie Bites

These brownies are not “healthy” per se, but what I call an “upgrade”. Made with raw cacao powder, coconut sugar (which is still sugar, but a more natural, upgraded version), natural almond butter and zero flour, they are safe for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Oh and by the way…I topped them with raw cacao nibs and little pieces of cooked bacon from Applegate Organics, which is free of preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, nitrites, and nitrates.

If you are feeling a little hormonal and ready to bake up a batch of crappy boxed brownies, do yourself a favor and try this recipe. It covers all PMS-related cravings wrapped up into one: sweet, salty, chewy, and chocolaty.

Once cool, slice the brownies into 24 bite-size pieces and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. One little square, eaten in pure presence, is all it takes to satisfy even the bitchiest PMS craving.😈

Print Recipe
Purely PMS Brownie Bites
Feeling a little hormonal and ready to bake up a batch of crappy boxed brownies? Do yourself a favor and try this recipe. It covers all PMS-related cravings wrapped up into one: sweet, salty, chewy, and chocolaty. 0 Earthfoods per serving.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 slices Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder Navitas brand
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 large organic, free-range egg
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup organic, unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter the drippy kind; only ingredient should be almonds (salt is OK too)
  • 1 tsp. bacon fat from cooking bacon
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips Equal Exchange or Enjoy Life (dairy-free)
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped Endangered Species 88% Cacao bar
  • 3 tbsp. cacao nibs Navitas brand
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 slices Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder Navitas brand
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 large organic, free-range egg
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup organic, unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter the drippy kind; only ingredient should be almonds (salt is OK too)
  • 1 tsp. bacon fat from cooking bacon
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips Equal Exchange or Enjoy Life (dairy-free)
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped Endangered Species 88% Cacao bar
  • 3 tbsp. cacao nibs Navitas brand
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment and grease with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve one teaspoon of the bacon fat for the brownies. Set aside. Set the bacon on paper towels to drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cacao powder through salt until combined. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar until combined. Add the almond butter, bacon fat, coconut oil, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Add batter to pan and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Chop bacon into small pieces, sprinkle on top, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden.
  5. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted (about 60-90 seconds). Drizzle on brownies and top with cacao nibs. Set aside until completely cooled. Cut into 24 bite-size pieces and store in a covered container in refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 130Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Sodium: 40 mg; Potassium: 0 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Net Carbohydrates: 9 grams; Sugar: 8 g (7 grams added sugar); Protein: 3 g

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Praiseworthy Earthfoods (you should be eating daily)

May 1st, 2019 | no comments

Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

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Earthfoods are the foods your body was designed to eat and truly longs for. They are powerful beyond measure and can heal your body at a cellular level.

They include whole, plant-based, nutrient-rich foods from the earth, such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, legumes, herbs, spices, and more. (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

The payoff of eating an Earthfood-rich diet is a body that is satiated to the core.

 

These foods won’t cause you to raid the refrigerator looking for more an hour after you’ve eaten them (think potato chips and chocolate chip cookies).

 

Moreover, you aren’t likely to feel the need to overeat them because they are so nourishing. They give you energy, help your brain function at optimal levels, and provide a sense of clarity.

All Earthfoods are health-rocking, however there are a few categories that stand out as praiseworthy. Actually there are more than a few, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I will focus on the top three here: Greens, berries, and cruciferous vegetables.

 

Greens:

One of the most nutritious foods on the planet, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, these powerhouses (still sadly referred to as mere “diet food” by many) offer so many health benefits, you’d be foolish not to include them in at least one of your daily meals.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Healthy aging.
  • Helps fight inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Aids in blood sugar management.
  • Improves health of skin and protects against harmful UV rays.
  • Supports a healthy immune response.
  • Improves gut health.
  • Supports your body’s detoxification system. The chlorophyll in greens binds to heavy metals and other toxins and carries them safely out of your body.
  • Decreases rates of cognitive decline as you age.

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

 

Berries:

Ever hear of oxidative stress? It occurs when unstable byproducts of metabolism, called free radicals, build up in the body and cause cellular damage. Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer, heart disease, rapid aging, and diabetes are just a handful of conditions linked to oxidative stress.

Although a small amount of free radicals are essential to help us fight dangerous bacteria and viruses, we must take steps to neutralize excess production if we wish to enjoy good health. One way to do this is by eating antioxidant-rich Earthfoods. Berries top the list, alongside other powerful foods like herbs, spices, cacao, green tea, and brightly colored vegetables like sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, and kale.  

Berries include:

Acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, elderberries, goji berries, raspberries, and strawberries.

 

Cruciferous veggies:

These are the veggies I always turned my nose up as a kid, followed by a “yuck!”. But it turns out, my mom knew something I didn’t. This class of vegetables, belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is named after the “cross-bearing” (Cruciferae) shape of their flowers.

Cruciferous vegetables made the praiseworthy list because they are rich in free radical-neutralizing antioxidants and other cancer-fighting compounds (called glucosinolates). When eaten regularly as part of an Earthfood-rich diet, they can also help you: manage your weight, normalize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, support heart health, and balance estrogen levels.

Cruciferous veggies include:

Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, maca, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, turnip, watercress.

 

What are you waiting for?

I just handed you three keys to better health, so what are you waiting for? Eat them and do so every day…with relentless consistency! Try one of these previously featured recipe picks to get you started…

 

Mel’s weekly recipe picks: 

Strawberry Banana “Surprise” Shake

 

 

 

 

 

Nourishing White Bean Chard Soup

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

 

 

 

 

Caulimash

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

Turmeric Roasted Vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad with Pecan “Cheese”

 

 

 

 

 

Celery, Date & Almond Watercress Salad

 

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The Power of Relentless Consistency

April 25th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

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Do you realize how many times you’ve been so close to experiencing a real, tangible shift in your health, but you quit just before the bloom? Maybe you didn’t see the number on the scale move fast enough so you threw in the towel (one of the many reasons why I dislike scales).

You were so close it’s scary.

When you plant a tomato seed, it doesn’t sprout the next day does it? Mother Nature decides when, not you. Your job is to water it with consistency, and within five to six days…bingo! If you expected an edible tomato on day seven, grew impatient and yanked the sprout from the ground because it wasn’t “happening fast enough”, you’d never know what it’s like to experience the divine deliciousness of a fresh tomato. It takes time.

So why should it be any different for you?  

Ever hear the story told by Napoleon Hill, of the gold-digging man who grew impatient and stopped digging…only to discover later that he was just three feet from the rich stuff? If he only hung in there long enough.

Get the point?  

 

Chocolate chip cookies are not the problem

The problem I see is not one of eating poor quality food per se, but eating poor quality food with relentless consistency. That’s what gets us into trouble. A chocolate chip cookie here or there, even every day, is not enough to drive your blood sugar through the roof and cause diabetes. It’s the cookie, the footlong sub, handful of M&Ms, and bagel the size of a small country, eaten on a relentlessly consistent basis, that eventually invites high blood sugar.

Said another way, it’s the relentless inconsistency of nourishing foods, regular exercise, and general self-care, that contributes to diabetes and other diseases.

If you want to experience tangible results, you must reverse this order.

Practicing relentless consistency sounds sort of like health food boot camp doesn’t it? Like I’m telling you to drop and give me 20! Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that!

 

The formula for relentlessly consistency (you’re going to LOVE this)

First and foremost, we are not going to complicate things with special meal plans and a long list of rules (you’ve been down that road…it’s called a diet). Second, you don’t have to purchase special food, your local grocery store or farmer’s market has everything you need to be successful. Third, you will not be given any limits.

I have only one rule for you:

Challenge yourself to eat at least ten servings of Earthfoods every day and follow through like your life depends on it!  (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

 

The only actual planning you will do is to take an “Earthfood inventory” of your kitchen the night before and then write down the ten Earthfoods you will eat tomorrow. It’s really not even so much about planning as it is creativity! How will you creatively plug these foods into your meals tomorrow?

For example, it’s Tuesday evening and as I open my refrigerator and pantry to plan for the next day, I notice it’s pretty scarce. But there’s still enough to hit the ten Earthfood minimum, so I add the following to tomorrow’s plan:

  • Large apple
  • Large banana
  • Half of a small avocado
  • A couple of large carrots
  • Fresh ginger
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen cauliflower
  • Can of black beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cacao powder

Now of course I don’t just sit and eat black beans out of the can (that wouldn’t be very fun would it?). Instead, I find a way to plug it into a meal.

 

Here’s what this looks like in meal form…

Although it doesn’t sound like much, with a little creativity, here’s what the above inventory would look like in meal form:

Breakfast (6 Earthfood servings):

A Peace of Health Shake made with ½ cup of frozen blueberries, ½ large banana, 1 tbsp. Cacao powder, 1 tbsp. Chia seeds, 1 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 tbsp. Fresh ginger.

Lunch (4 Earthfood servings):

Egg salad made with: ½ of an avocado, mashed (used in place of mayonnaise), ½ apple, diced, ½ cup black beans; served with carrot strips.

Dinner (1 Earthfood serving):

Eat the roasted veggies as a side dish with whatever you are serving.

Snack (1 Earthfood serving):

Handful of pumpkin seeds.

Once eaten, I simply cross them off the list. I just love crossing things off of a list, don’t you? Such a feeling of accomplishment! 

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. I only listed Earthfoods in the sample meals above. Your breakfast shake would also contain a liquid base and lunch may include some sprouted chips on the side.
  2. Notice that I wound up eating 12 servings of Earthfood. Even though my kitchen wasn’t stocked full of food, I still went above and beyond!
  3. If they aren’t in your kitchen, you can’t eat them! Shopping on a weekly basis is important, and even then you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money. Notice all of the shelf-stable Earthfoods in my example above: black beans, cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Stock up while you’re there and figure out what to do with them later.
  4. Please, please, please don’t get hung up on portion sizes. I only offer them as a guide to help you meet the minimum number of recommended daily Earthfood servings, not to perpetuate a scarcity mindset. Once you understand what a portion looks like, you can eyeball it from there.

 

The magic of an abundance-mindset

There is a certain level of magic built into an abundance-mindset. Because you aren’t placing limits on how much you’re allowed to eat, you are in fact putting faith and trust in your body and can more easily tap into how much it’s truly asking for. This is why I use the language of minimums: eat at least ten Earthfood servings per day. Could you eat 15 or 20 Earthfood servings per day? Even better!

Now you tell me, after a day full of 20 Earthfoods, how much room would you have left in that beautiful stomach of yours for pizza, chocolate cake and potato chips? You aren’t forbidding them, not at all! You are crowding them out with Earthfoods…and your cravings will follow suit.

How cool is that?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Native Forest Jackfruit

Indigenous to India and Bangladesh, jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit (can reach 100+ pounds) with a thick green rind. It’s rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants.

When marinated, jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement. Once ripe, it is often used in sweet recipes such as smoothies, cakes and other desserts.

Recipes abound for jackfruit pulled “pork” and Philly “cheesesteak” sandwiches, however my favorite is jackfruit taco “meat”. Check out this week’s recipe pick for Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad.

Jackfruit can be purchased fresh, but it’s a pain in the rear to cut. Save yourself time and aggravation by picking up a can of Native Forest Jackfruit or a package of Upton’s Jackfruit.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad

No, this isn’t the type of fruit salad you think it is!

Jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit that’s rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. When marinated, it mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement.

Jackfruit can be purchased fresh, but it’s a pain in the rear to cut. Save yourself time and aggravation by picking up a can of Native Forest Jackfruit or a package of Upton’s Jackfruit.

By the way, don’t mistake those purple chunks in the photo for beets; they are actually Melissa’s purple potatoes! Like other blue/purple Earthfoods (i.e. beets, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage), purple potatoes are full of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that combats the effects of aging and oxidative stress in the body.

Note: This recipe was adapted from forksoverknives.com

Print Recipe
Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad
Jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit that's rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. When marinated, it mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement. 5 Earthfoods per serving ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups purple potatoes, diced with skin on
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14-oz. can water-packed jackfruit, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed I like Jackson's Honest or Way Better brands best
  • 8 cups leafy greens Romaine, spinach, arugula, baby kale...you pick!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups purple potatoes, diced with skin on
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14-oz. can water-packed jackfruit, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed I like Jackson's Honest or Way Better brands best
  • 8 cups leafy greens Romaine, spinach, arugula, baby kale...you pick!
Instructions
  1. Heat olive or avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the potatoes, onions, and garlic for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, jackfruit, taco seasoning, paprika, and chipotle in adobo sauce, and continue cooking for 10 minutes until the juice from the tomatoes is absorbed.
  3. Using the back of the spatula, break the jackfruit into smaller pieces. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice.
  4. Divide greens evenly between four plates and top with one cup of filling, 1/4 of the diced avocado, and 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 290Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 980 mg; Potassium: 1200 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 38 g; Dietary fiber: 13 g; Net Carbohydrates: 25 grams; Sugar: 6 g (0 grams added sugar);Protein: 8 g

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The #1 Secret of Successful Healthy Eaters

April 18th, 2019 | no comments

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There are only 5 seats left for: Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). The event will take place on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm. Click HERE to grab one of these seats before they are gone! 


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OK, I won’t beat around the bush. The number one secret of those “gifted” individuals who are able to begin and stick to a healthy lifestyle is this:

 

They focus on the how of eating before the what.

 

Most people shoot straight for the food rules: what should I eat? And after about a week, where do they wind up? Back at square one, a little more confused, and looking for yet another solution.

The how of eating must come before the what, otherwise the mere whiff of an airport Cinnabon will be enough to lure you away from your healthy intentions. I’ve seen it happen a million times.

Enough of this ridiculousness already!

Don’t get me wrong, the what is important, but it’s always trumped by the how. Besides, the how is a much more natural place to begin…it’s where we started out as infants.

 

The how of eating: Being with your food

In my book Missing Peace, the how of eating is answered by Missing Peace #5: Return to Your Roots. It involves being fully present with your food while you eat it, a prerequisite of what it means to be a mindful and connected eater. 

Mindful eating means:

  • Eating in pure enjoyment and gratitude.
  • Really tasting your food— appreciating the flavors, textures and aromas.
  • Feeling the sensation of your body as it gently moves from ‘hungry’ to ‘satisfied’. 
  • Eliminating distractions like phone, email, texting, television, and yes, even reading.

Sound familiar? It should. These are all natural behaviors witnessed by observing an infant as she receives a breast or bottle.

Only when you are fully present with your food are you able to uncover and tap into your innate, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and satiety (fullness). This ability is rooted deep within; you were born with this gift, and still harness it today.

 

Being with your food: Which TV are you watching?

When you eat, there are three possible “televisions” you can have before you.

The first plays movies of your past, the second shows scenes of the anticipated future, and the third looks like a television, but the screen is actually a mirror, reflecting back to you this very moment: you sitting down with your meal. Let’s call this one TV-Me.

 

Just like you can’t watch the movie ET without a box of tissues in hand (no you can’t!), TV-past and TV-future can spark certain emotions, causing you to ignore the yellow light of satiety, blow through the red one, and get a ticket…in the form of an over-satisfied belly.

Both can also evoke feelings of anxiety, depression, restlessness, anger, guilt, and resistance— all sensations we tend to soothe with comfort food (and I’m not talking chicken soup here!).

 

Understand, I am not suggesting you push your emotions away. In fact, being present with your food involves being with your emotions too: noting and feeling them, in the present moment. It’s part of the experience!

Remember, what you resist, persists. Nowhere is this more evident than with food. Burying your emotions will only strengthen their hold on you. Only when you shine the light of presence on them can darkness dissolve, and peace be found.  

And if you’re doing this right, you may even discover that it’s not physical hunger you are trying to feed, but emotional hunger (or what I call “head-hunger”). 

 

TV-Me: The only place to be

When you tune into TV-Me, you are choosing mindfulness over unconsciousness; peace over conflict. You observe only you, with your food, experiencing all that it has to offer with complete gratitude. You pay attention to your body as it receives the food and feel the reward of nourishment and satiety. 

Watching any television other than TV-Me will pull you away from Home, into a fog and disconnected from your roots. It’s impossible to be fully present with your food.

Yes, the temptation to glance at what’s playing on the left or right will always be there, but it’s up to you to grab the remote, turn them off, and deactivate their power. And if they happened to “magically” turn on, take a breath, note the scene, and then move on to enjoy the rest of your meal in peace and presence.

 

You have what it takes to be a “gifted” eater

You have everything it takes to be one of those “gifted” and successful healthy eaters. So when you eat, just be with your food, in this moment and nowhere else! Because in this moment, with this breath, you really have no problems.

If you are tempted to challenge this statement, I invite you to think of a problem and then ask yourself if it’s tied to something in the past or future. The answer will always be yes.

Do the work and focus on the how.

The what is a piece of cake 🍰 (figuratively speaking). 😉

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Riced Cauliflower

An amazing alternative that works beautifully in virtually all recipes calling for rice. 

Riced cauliflower is just what it sounds like, cauliflower that has been chopped into itty bitty pieces using either a box grater, food processor, or blender. You can certainly make it from scratch (try this recipe), or indulge in the convenience of fresh cauliflower rice in the produce department at your local grocery store. 

Fresh cauliflower rice can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a large skillet with a bit of olive or avocado oil and used in stir-fries or hot side dishes (see my recipe pick below for Cauliflower Fried “Rice”). 

Cauliflower (along with kale, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts) is a cruciferous vegetable—a super powerful class of veggies that aids in boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and balancing blood sugar. I make it a rule to eat at least one hefty dose of cruciferous vegetables every day. Cauliflower rice can help you do the same!

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

This fun side dish has flavors reminiscent of the traditional fried rice I used to enjoy from my favorite Chinese restaurant back in the day.

It uses fresh riced cauliflower (purchased from the produce department at Heinen’s grocery store) in place of rice. You can also buy frozen riced cauliflower, or save money and make your own using this recipe. It’s really easy!

Instead of traditional soy sauce, I used Bragg Liquid Aminos, a non-GMO Project Verified liquid protein concentrate derived from soybeans. It contains 16 naturally-occurring essential and non-essential amino acids. Oh, and it tastes just like soy sauce. 

 

Print Recipe
Fried Cauliflower "Rice"
Using fresh riced cauliflower in place of white rice and Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce, this fun side dish has flavors reminiscent of the traditional fried rice I used to enjoy from my favorite Chinese restaurant back in the day. 3 Earthfoods per serving ❤️❤️❤️
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 large organic free-range eggs
  • 11-12 ounces riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 large organic free-range eggs
  • 11-12 ounces riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
Instructions
  1. Add oil to large skillet and preheat on medium-high heat, swirling to coat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Push vegetables to the side and add eggs. Cook until scrambled, stirring constantly.
  3. Add cauliflower rice (if using frozen, don’t thaw), stir and cook until warmed through. Add honey and liquid aminos, stir well until combined.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 140Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 400 mg; Potassium: 150 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 10 g; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Net Carbohydrates: 7 grams; Sugar: 6 g (3 grams added sugar); Protein: 8 g

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How Often Should You Eat?

April 10th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips (grain and gluten-free)
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

IMPORTANT REMINDER!

I would  for you to be my guest on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm for: Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). Seating is limited for this complimentary event, so hurry up and register!


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

What you feed your body most, it will crave. I mentioned this in last week’s post, and the truth is, it applies to more than just what you eat.

Your body craves the consistency of a schedule too. But make no mistake, it absolutely will adapt to prefer round-the-clock snacking if that’s what you’ve trained it to do.

If you’re nibbling all day long (even if it’s on carrot sticks), chances are you are doing it in a mindless, disconnected, foggy state. And to top it off, you’re not allowing your body the opportunity to experience hunger.

And that’s not good!

Hunger (and satiety) are natural and, dare I say, Divine sensations. They serve as a barometer, a built-in coach, gently guiding you to eat when hunger arises and stop when you are satisfied. The sheer ability to experience them is a sign that you are tuned into your body at the most primordial level. 

 

How often should you eat? Ask a baby

We can learn a lot from babies in this department. They don’t snack mindlessly on breast milk; they eat at regular intervals (meals) in direct response to their body’s hunger cues.

You’ll also never catch them with a little baby notebook, meticulously counting their calories. Because they live in a constant state of presence, tuning into and listening to what their body is trying to tell them, is effortless. There’s no in between. It’s either:

  • “I’m hungry…feed me now!” , or
  • “I’m satisfied…now get your boob out of my face!”

Ask a baby how often they eat, and if they could talk, they’d tell you:  “when my body tells me it’s time to eat…duh!”  

 

Calories tell you nothing…so please stop tracking them! (Pretty please with a cherry on top🍒)

Calorie-counting is so 1980’s. It’s also a glaring sign that you do not trust your body. No calculation in the world can tell you how much your body needs; you must feel it.

Furthermore, calories tell you absolutely nothing, and focusing on them will only lead you down a foggy, confused, and disconnected dead end road.

 

Stay with me here…

 

First, the deep stuff: What you focus on expands.

 

When you focus on calories, calories, calories, your emotional desire for more calories will expand. You’ll always want more! This makes it impossible to tap into your deep-rooted, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and fullness.

When you focus instead on tapping into your body and listening to what it’s trying to tell you, your ability to sense hunger and fullness will expand and become super sensitive. Just like when you were a wee little baby. 

 

But wait…there’s more!

 

Did you know that your body is in search of nutrients from food, not calories? Yes, when you eat and digest food, your body begins the search for the nutrients that it knows will satisfy it. But when it can’t find those nutrients, it continues to eat more, still looking.

If you are totally obsessed with sticking to a prescribed calorie limit—choosing low-calorie, nutrient-poor foods like diet yogurt, pretzels, and God-awful Lean Cuisine frozen meals—don’t be surprised if you never feel full. 

And please don’t be surprised when you eat the entire bag of pretzels.  

On the other hand, when you eat a nutrient-rich meal (regardless of the calories) such as a big plate of salad greens mixed with a variety of raw veggies, along with a nice piece of wild salmon and good fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, you feel completely fulfilled. You aren’t likely stuffed, but what I like to call satisfied to the core. Your hunger switch turns off because your body extracted everything it needed from that meal.

The message is simple: If your goal is to go mad, keep counting calories. If not, stop!

 

So, how often should you eat?

Let your body guide you. If you are really present and connected, it will tell you when it needs to be fed.

But what if you’ve trained your body to eat all day long? How do you get out of this tangled web of mindless eating?

Start by eating three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The length of time between each meal will depend on what you ate (how nutritionally balanced your last meal was) and how connected you are to the sensations of hunger and satiety.

When you become still, tap into the present moment and access your full power, you are in sync with your body’s needs. You eat when hungry and stop when you’ve had enough. You’ll also find that your body takes to its own schedule, because it really does crave consistency.

Yes, sometimes you will eat more than your body is asking for, but you’ll be OK with your decision…because you were conscious when you made it.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips

Made from organic coconut flour, cassava (a root vegetable native to South America) starch, and coconut oil, The Real Coconut Tortilla Chips are a tasty, fiber-rich alternative to potato and corn-based chips. 

Available in Original, Himalayan Pink Salt, Beach Barbecue, and Sea Salt & Vinegar (my favorite!).

Serve alongside a nice big salad with a scoop of homemade guacamole for dipping, or pick up a container of Wholly Guacamole on your next shopping trip.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

A fun, healthy (but really doesn’t taste healthy) snack that requires virtually no prep work!

Crunchy Chickpea Snacks can be eaten straight from the bowl or sprinkled on a salad in place of croutons. You could also add them to your homemade trail mix!

I love the flavor of smoked paprika, which is why I chose it for this recipe. Omit if you aren’t a fan, or try one of these other delicious seasoning ideas:

 

  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
Print Recipe
Crunchy Chickpea Snacks
A fun, healthy (but really doesn't taste healthy) snack that requires virtually no prep work! Crunchy Chickpea Snacks can be eaten straight from the bowl or sprinkled on a salad in place of croutons. You could also add them to homemade trail mix! 1 Earthfood per serving ❤️
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted VERY dry For the crunchiest texture possible, you must make sure you remove as much moisture as possible.
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil I like La Tourangelle or Chosen Foods Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted VERY dry For the crunchiest texture possible, you must make sure you remove as much moisture as possible.
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil I like La Tourangelle or Chosen Foods Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, add chickpeas (remember to remove as much moisture as possible) and toss with avocado oil, sea salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  3. Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven and spread chickpeas out in a single layer. Place in oven for 25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking time.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 160Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 330 mg; Potassium: 180 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 23 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Net Carbohydrates: 18 grams; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 5 g

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When All You Want to Do Is Eat Cake…Surrender

April 3rd, 2019 | no comments

Plus:


IMPORTANT REMINDER!

I would  for you to be my guest on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm for: Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). Seating is limited for this complimentary event, so hurry up and register!


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Surrender.

Sounds like I’m giving you permission to throw in the towel and eat cake, doesn’t it?

Surrendering to food does not mean what you think. It doesn’t mean to give in; to fill your grocery cart with potato chips, ice cream, cupcakes and candy bars. Nor does it mean to give up on your health goals.

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle has this to say about the meaning of surrender:

Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity.

 

Activate your power of nonresistant choice

When faced with a menu of options, rather than fight and say “no” to those foods you believe are “bad” (which will only give them more power over your mind), invite them in as part of the present moment and allow them to be in the running.

This simple act is enough to end your inner battle with food.  Now the power of what I call nonresistant choice can flow to you, and with that, the freedom to eat the foods that will serve your highest good.

This is exactly what I do on my weekly grocery trip.

Strolling up and down the aisles housing my previously forbidden “kryptonite” foods (i.e. cookies, donuts, cake, etc.), I lovingly invite all of them to be in the running for what goes into my cart. Sometimes one of them actually makes it to the conveyor belt, but it’s not very often. And it’s all because I am allowed to have it.

This mental clearing opens up my power of nonresistant choice, and I am free to choose what my body really wants.

Giving yourself permission is one of the most freeing things you can do.

 

Restrictions: the killer of nonresistant choice

When you are locked in food prison, with a host of food rules, lists of dos and don’ts, and restrictive calorie limits, you are living in a highly resistant state and the power of nonresistant choice is cut off.

Sure you are making choices, but with much inner-conflict. You don’t realize it, but you are actually in a fog, under the spell of the forbidden food or calorie-limit, which is quietly lurking in the background of your mind, whispering “no”.

Under these conditions, I guarantee you will end up eating the forbidden food and breaking the calorie-limit.

You’ve been there before, haven’t you? Well, now that you know this…why the hell would you choose to go back there?

Surrender my friend. Activate your power of nonresistant choice. 

 

When is it really ok to eat cake?

But wait Mel! How do I know when eating a piece of chocolate cake is really the right choice? My fear is, with this newfound freedom of surrendering, I will easily convince myself that it’s OK to eat the cake…even when it’s not.

 

First, yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life means, it’s always OK to eat cake (and pizza, ice cream, kale, and sweet potatoes). You have unbounded freedom to eat it. The question becomes, how do you feel about eating the cake at this moment?

Do you feel free, light, untethered? Which are all feelings you experience when you are Home and connected to who you really are. READ THIS POST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HOME.

Or do you feel bound in chains, riddled with guilt, and stuck in a pool of resistance as thick as mud?

How do you know it’s the right choice? You will feel it. And your feelings never lie.

 

Second, you will never be able to escape the smell of airport Cinnabons. Cupcakes, donuts, pizza, potato chips, and apple pie will always be there. So your only hope for a way out of the madness you’ve created around food, is to commit to ending the war with it, once and for all.

Surrender my friend!

 

“But Mel, what if I CRAVE chocolate cake?”

Let me tell you something. I know it may not always feel like it, but your body really does know exactly what to do to take care of itself. It’s in direct partnership with the real you, and when you get still and listen, it will guide you to what it really needs to be in harmony (and on occasion, that may mean a small piece of chocolate cake is in order). 

In other words: the being part of you, housed in your human suit, will not call out for chocolate cake every night at 9:30. That’s your body talking. Nonetheless, it can be quite a convincing call can’t it? The feeling is super intense and you may even start salivating at the mere thought of chocolate cake.

So how do you even begin to rationalize with that human side?

Remember my famous words of wisdom: what you feed your body most, it will crave.

If you crave cake and other forms of sugar all day every day, that means you’ve trained your body to crave it. Same goes for roasted Brussels sprouts, kale smoothies, and water.

To learn how to transform those cravings into foods you actually want to crave, check out this post

 

Let me leave you with this…

You DO have control, so step out of the fog you’ve been living in! Take a long, slow, deep breath. Get intensely present, surrender to the moment, and tap into your power of untethered, nonresistant choice.

You can have whatever you want.

Now that you are truly free, what will you choose?  

 

PS: Yes, I really did eat that slice of chocolate cake last week (I begrudgingly shared it with Wayne and secretly wanted to stab his hand with my fork 😜). It was an untethered, nonresistant choice. I felt completely free with no guilt and ZERO regret.

Now that’s how you eat chocolate cake my friend. xo

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Parsley

Photo by Tomasz Olszewski on Unsplash

I was never a fan of parsley growing up. I think it was that one isolated incident at Mr. Steak, when I curiously nibbled on the wilted sprig of pitiful parsley carelessly thrown on top of my kiddie-size steak. It was supposed to be a garnish, but I tell you…it tasted like garbage!

Turns out parsley is oh so much more than a measly decoration. Yes, it doubles as a breath freshener and palate cleanser, but seriously…that’s small potatoes compared to its effects on a more cellular level.

Rich in plant compounds called flavonoids, parsley can potentially offer protection against diabetes and skin and breast cancer. Because it’s a phenomenal source of vitamin K, an important micronutrient for calcium absorption, parsley can support optimal bone health too.

Note: If you take a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin and Jantoven), you have to be careful not to drastically alter the amount of vitamin K in your diet. One of its main roles is blood clotting, and parsley contains over 500% of the Daily Value for vitamin K in just one half-cup.

It’s super easy to incorporate parsley into your favorite recipes:

  • Add it to soups and tomato sauces.
  • Chop into salads.
  • Make your own tabouli by mixing chopped parsley with olive oil, mint, quinoa and lemon. Here’s a gluten-free tabouli recipe you’ll really like!
  • Sprinkle on top of cooked vegetables and fish.
  • Blend into pesto sauce and toss with mung bean pasta. Check out this week’s recipe pick for Perfect Parsley Pesto (it’s gluten and dairy-free!).
Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Perfect Parsley Pesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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