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Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #3

Lactose free and gluten free

Ready for the third sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut? I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

Happy Friday!

From Chapter Four (Inflammation Nation):

“Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t live with some sort of food sensitivity. I say ‘nowadays’ because I, along with many others, genuinely believe that this problem was not as prevalent in the past as it is today.[i] With the way we currently process food, and routinely add chemical cocktails to enhance it for the ultimate purpose of generating more money, food sensitivities are now inevitable. I almost guarantee that you have heard someone from the baby-boomer generation comment that “no one was allergic to peanuts in my day.” I’m not saying that nut allergies are new, but they are definitely more mainstream. So are wheat, gluten, dairy, seafood, corn, and soy. And egg. And food coloring. And…

Let me explain. Because of the western world’s incredible obsession with convenience, we have inevitably begun to eat some of the same foods several times a day in ways we are often unaware of. We are constantly inundated with wheat, corn, soy, sugar, salt, and casein products, as well as a wide variety of chemicals such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), food coloring, and artificial flavoring. These ingredients are present in almost everything processed, and because we consume so much of them, and they come to us in such overly processed forms, our digestive system eventually decides that it has had enough, and so challenges our immune system to a duel. En garde!

This is especially true for those of us who already have a slight sensitivity to one or more of these ingredients. We can only expect our digestive systems to take on so much, and after that, we feel the refusal. For example, I can abstain from cheese for a month and feel great, and I can eat a little bit here and there without feeling the negative effects, but if I decide one night to chow down on an entire wheel of brie with my beloved olives (something that I have unfortunately done several times), I always pay for it. It’s like my body grudgingly will process bit by bit until I overdo it, and then it shuts down and becomes terribly inflamed. I always regret it.

Cheese is my boyfriend that I know is bad for me in every single way, but I keep coming back for more despite the very predictable consequences. If I had a cheese therapist, she would tell me to break the cycle. You break it, too!”

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #2

Love Your Gut

Ready for the second sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut? I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

From Chapter One (To Tame a Tummy):

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, which doctors like to give to people when they can’t figure out why their digestive tracts aren’t working properly. Approximately seventy million Americans suffer from digestive disorders like IBS[i], with almost twenty percent of the U.S. population exhibiting IBS-like symptoms.[ii] Canada’s number? 20 million.[iii] That’s pretty prevalent! Basically, we are told that there is always medication and steroids to help with the pain and symptoms if they get out of control. I’m very certain that this sounds familiar to many of you. When you consider that there are currently about 315 million people living in the United States, [iv] then that means that one out of four and a half people suffer from a debilitating disease that I now know is completely repairable and reversible.

I thought nothing of my diagnosis at the time. I was young and relieved that the exploratory procedure portion of my early twenties was finally over.  It didn’t occur to me to persistently ask any of the doctors I had seen any questions about IBS, or what it meant for my future, and they didn’t offer up very much information. The name sounded innocent enough: irritable bowel syndrome. Like my stomach was cranky, but similar to anyone who is going through a particularly moody or self-proclaimed depressed period in their life, my abdomen would eventually get over it and carry on as if nothing happened. You know, like immature teenage angst.”


[i] “Digestive Disorders.” John Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts. Feb. 2013. Web. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts_index/digestive_health/19-1.html

[iii] “Statistics.” Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. 2013. Web. http://www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml

[iv] “U.S. and World Population Clocks.” United States Census Bureau. Feb. 2013. Web.  http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #1

As promised, here is the first sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut. I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

Good Food

From the introduction:

“We need to take it upon ourselves to start thinking ‘food-forward’—to critically recognize whether or not any given food will contribute to our overall growth and escalating health, or if it will simply satisfy our immediate caloric needs, and promote disease and digestive malfunction.

This book is the compilation all of the knowledge I have accumulated, and encompasses absolutely everything I have found personally constructive and useful in my journey to good digestive health. It is about aiding you to find out why the food you are choosing to consume may be the root cause of the digestive discomfort and other health issues that you may be enduring and how, by taking the proverbial bull by its horns, you can take huge steps towards improving your own digestive health without the need for medications and surgeries, while simultaneously bypassing general affliction and impairment. A whole food, plant-based plan can change your entire life. If you feel that your time for a tune up has come, whether for better health, a clearer mind, or in order to take responsibility for today’s heady ethical or environmental issues, then you’ve come to the right place.

I hope your journey is enlightening, positive and, with little effort, pain free. Let me show you how to get your life back quickly, because you’ve already spent too much time feeling like crap.

Let your journey to great digestive health begin…”

Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free Fruit & Nut Balls

Fruit & Nut Balls

These amazing little suckers are jam-packed full of protein, are sugar-free, and lend you crazy energy. Try them out! They take about 15 minutes from beginning to end, including clean-up.

Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free Fruit & Nut Balls- makes approximately 36
Ingredients:
2 cups pitted dates
½ cup warm water
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup salted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup cranberries
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Method:
Mix first 8 ingredients together in food processor, and then form into balls. Roll in coconut, and place on parchment paper. Transfer to mini-muffin cups, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. DELISH!

Advanced Reading Copies of Happy Healthy Gut!

Advanced Reading Copy

I just opened my mailbox to find these suckers! So exciting!

Pre-Order your hardcover copy HERE!

Have a happy Thursday– mine just got so much better!

 

5 Signs that You Need a Digestive Tune-Up

Love Your Gut

Many of us wade through life without giving our digestive system much thought. You know it’s there, but you can’t see it, and unless reminded of it on a regular basis, you forget how important it is.

Right?

Your digestive tract is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL for good health. How well it performs its daily duties can determine many things regarding your wellness situation. The following are 5 signs that you need a digestive tune-up, pronto:

1-      You have no energy. One of the top reasons people experience low energy is a poorly functioning bowel. If your tummy is consistently bogged down with trying to digest shitty food (pardon the pun), it’s borrowing a lot of energy to complete its work. By eating healthy, easy-to-digest foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, you can save your gut a lot of energy, and divert it back to other things, such as functioning like a normal human being.

2-      Your bowel movements suck. If you’re not experiencing at least one great bowel movement a day, then you’re constipated. Don’t let the whole “people-are-different-and-everyone-goes-differently” theory fool you. We’re not different. We’re all the same. Our digestive systems should ideally be functioning similarly if we all ate a great diet. The problem is not that your gut isn’t doing its job—it’s that the food you’re feeding it sucks. Stop eating crappy food and you’ll be amazed. By the way, the average North American holds about 5-10 pounds of waste in their constipated colons.[1] Wanna lose a fast five? Start having great bowel movements.

3-      Your skin looks bad. The skin is your body’s largest organ, and is constantly detoxing for you. If you have a lot of acne, rashes, or even just dull skin, then that could mean that it’s trying harder than it should to detox. Much of the toxins on our bodies lurk in our digestive tracts. If you ate cleaner (whole and unprocessed) food, consumed more vegetables (particularly leafy greens), and drank WAY more water, I guarantee that your skin would begin to clear up and begin to glow. How much it changes depends on you. Now if you’re thinking “hold up—bad skin can reflect things like hormone imbalances!” you’re right. But guess what can fix hormone imbalances? Good food.[2]

4-      You experience symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Are you prone to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea? Those things are not normal, and they are repairable! Those symptoms mean that your gut is SCREAMING for an overhaul. You don’t have to live with such horrible symptoms. I have first-hand experience with ditching IBS for good after making a hard-core lifestyle change. You can do it, too. It’s definitely worth it.

5-      You’re depressed. Depression is actually another symptom of IBS, but often presents on its own. While the obvious reason for depression in someone that is experiencing digestive malfunction is attributable to all of the above reasons (daily pain, bad skin, constipation, and no energy—those things would ALL bum me out), there is also another reason. Serotonin is a “happy hormone” that is necessary for feelings of contentment. The vitamin D that we absorb from the sun helps to regulate it. If you are living somewhere that does not get sun on a consistent basis (like me), then you can also obtain in by taking supplements. But guess where serotonin is made? I used to assume it was the brain, but the answer is that most of it is produced in the gut![3] So if you’re feeling less than stoked on a regular basis, you can consider your stressed-out digestive system to be a reason for your lack of happy hormones.

Here are some recommendations to get you started on your tune-up, and remember that this way of eating doesn’t have to be forever. (But after experiencing the effects, you might want to keep it up!) The idea is to clean you up and get you thinking differently about your health:

1-      Cut out animal products and gluten. These are proven triggers for digestive angst.

2-      Stop eating processed foods. They are loaded with chemicals that your body has to fight to expel. This takes ENERGY.

3-      Cut way back on sugar. Again, this will help the energy issue, as well as make your skin happy.

4-      Swap all your bevies for water. Water helps to remove toxins, and it also loosens up old stool for better elimination.

5-      Incorporate WAY more veggies and whole grains into your daily meal plans. These foods are essential for sweeping debris out of the colon and infusing your gut with the nutrients it craves. It will also help with increased energy.

If you’re interested in WAY more information, tips, and recipes that help to naturally tune-up your digestive system, click HERE to pre-order Happy Healthy Gut!

Happy Healthy Gut Cover Design

Happy Friday!


Do YOU Eat These 5 Winter Vegetables? You should.

Despite our best intentions to eat a wide variety of vegetables for both our health and enjoyment, many of us are wary about preparing and consuming vegetables that we aren’t familiar with. While spring and summer bring loads of fresh, local, and familiar fare such as cucumbers, peas, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, and bell peppers; the fall and winter seasons boast much different mainstays. Kale, squash, parsnips, rutabagas, and cabbage are a few veggies that tend to be ignored, even if they are fresh, local, and intensely flavourful!

Kale

kale

Kale has been grown for over 2000 years, and has always been noted for its ability to grow well even in frosty, frigid temperatures. Its peak season is December through to February[1], so it’s an ideal veggie to plant in October or November.

It’s also fairly versatile.

While kale chips are the new kid on the block of late. It’s also great for in smoothies, soups and salads. I use it in quesadillas, too.  Its flavour is mild, but nutritional content is SUPER high.

At just 36 calories per cooked cup and rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese, Kale rocks. It’s also a great source of B vitamins, as well as being high in calcium, copper, iron, lutein and zeaxanthin.”[2]

There are also different varieties, each with a subtly different look and taste. Aside from the frilly (curly) green kale that most of us are picturing in our heads right now, there is also flat-leaf black kale, red-Russian kale, baby kale, and more.

For a kale recipe, click HERE.

Butternut Squash

butternut squash

“Squash” can refer to anything from pumpkin to zucchini to spaghetti squash. There are a ZILLION varieties. Ok, maybe not that many, but its close. Because of this, different types of squash have different peak seasons. That being said, most of them are the best to harvest in autumn. (October to December.)

When most people think of squash, they think of pumpkins. But pumpkins are not eaten nearly as much as butternut squash. Butternut squash makes a great filling for pasta, and is fantastic in soups.

So let’s just focus on that.

Butternut squash has an impressive nutritional profile. Just one cup of baked butternut squash has almost 500% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A. Holy crap, right? It also has 52% of your vitamin C, and is relatively low in calories. (Just 82 per one cooked cup!)[3]

For a butternut squash recipe, click HERE.

Parsnip

parsnips

Most people I talk to have no idea what a parsnip or what a rutabaga (the next veggie) looks like. Let’s change that! Parsnips look like ivory-coloured carrots. Actually, they look almost exactly like mini daikon, but that veggie is not on our list. Parsnips grow best in fall and winter, and like kale, can withstand freezing temperatures and frosty soil.[4] They take a long time to mature, so I recommend planting in September if you want them for January.

I am literally eating parsnips as I write this. (In homemade soup.) They have a nutty flavour, and I like them best in soups and stews.

Nutritionally speaking, they are pretty good, but not as crazy awesome as kale. Or Butternut squash. One cooked parsnip has about 110 calories in it, and 6 grams of fibre. It also has 35% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and is a good source of folate and manganese.

For a parsnip recipe, click HERE.

Rutabagas

Rutabaga

“A rutawhata?” (My husband’s response to me asking him what he thinks a rutabaga is.) These funny looking veggies are round and white and pink/purple. They are a cross between cabbage and a turnip, and their peak season runs from October to February.

Honestly, the only thing I put a rutabaga in is soup. But you can cook and mash them like potatoes, grill them and add to salads, and more. I need to be a little more experimental myself, when it comes to these.

As far as their nutritional profile goes? Not unlike a carrot, a good portion of its caloric content comes from sugar. But it’s still a vegetable—naturally occurring sugars are okay in my books. One cup of cooked rutabaga contains over half your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 3 grams of fibre, and 2 grams of protein. It is also a great source of thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.[5]

For a rutabaga recipe, click HERE.

Cabbage

cabbage

I freaking love cabbage. And it loves me. (Mostly.) The peak season for cabbage is autumn. Interesting little fact: cooking cabbage in an aluminum pot causes discoloration and taste alterations. So don’t do that! 😉

There are four main varieties that you see at the supermarket, though there are probably more. Mainly, there’s green cabbage, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and savoy cabbage. They are all great for different dishes.

I actually use cabbage a lot. I make a fast and easy vegan cabbage roll casserole, I use it for vegan tacos, I put red cabbage in my veggie lasagne sometimes, and I use it for a cabbage/kale salad that I love to make. My fridge usually has some cabbage in there somewhere.

Nutritionally speaking, cabbage is super low in calories, and high in vitamin C. It’s also high in thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, and an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.[6] Cabbage has a bad rap for causing gas, but I find that the more you eat it, the better your system can get used to it and that whole gas bit goes away. It’s a crazy healthy veggie, and should not be shunned!

For a great cabbage recipe, click HERE

And that’s it, folks! There are SO many winter vegetables that most of us overlook, even when they’re readily available at your local grocery store and/or farmer’s markets. It’s a shame to pass them by! The more variety of veggies that you incorporate into your diet, the better your body can extract and use the various nutrients made available to it. So go buy something new and try a new recipe, too.

TGIF!


Does GMO Equal IBS?

Photo courtesy of www.nakedfoodmagazine.com

Photo courtesy of www.nakedfoodmagazine.com

Check out the latest edition of Naked Food Magazine HERE. Page 18 is where you’ll find the answer to the title of this post. 🙂

What Exactly is an Antioxidant? (Still unsure?)

bigstock-Beautiful-woman-s-face-with-ju-13201610

Still unsure about what an antioxidant is? It’s not a supplement, and it’s not a health food. Antioxidants are produced in plants to help them combat potential free-radical damage that occurs while they’re growing. All plants naturally contain antioxidants as a defense mechanism against cellular damage and disease. So, when we eat plants, we naturally infuse ourselves with free-radical fighting, anti-cancer components. You don’t have to be concerned about how many you’re getting, which plants have most, or what kind they are. (Although eating a varied diet of many different types of plant-foods is definitely recommended.)

Why can’t you just take a supplement? Because reductionism (the practice of isolating a nutrient and marketing it as such) does not account for the whole picture. The whole food is better than the sum of its parts. There is no proof that by taking a nutrient away from its source and consuming it on its own, that you will reap the same benefits that you would if you just ate the whole food.

Just eat plants. Plants are the original convenience food. Directions: pluck and eat. It’s that easy. Happy Wednesday to my plant-strong friends! Stay strong! xo