Tag Archives: healthy eating

Detox For The Holidays Made Safe and Simple

1369381414_83633With the holiday season right around the corner, there is no better time than the present to fortify our diet and cement healthy eating.  Ironically, while healthy eating is our birthright, for many of us it seems like taking the plunge into eating a whole foods-based diet is the equivalent to traveling to some distant land.  But it doesn’t have to be such a scary or foreign experience.

In my work as a functional medicine doctor, my priority is to guide each patient through a safe, simple, realistic, and  pleasurable transition into healthy eating. Because whole foods-based diets remove all the sugary, fatty, chemical-laden, artificial stuff from the diet, they sometimes get called a detox or a cleanse.

Why is detoxification important?

When our bodies become toxic it means that our natural method of ushering out metabolic waste from normal human metabolism, environmental pollution, and what has become known as the Standard American Diet (or SAD) has exceeded the threshold for what the body’s innate detoxification system can tolerate.  With this toxic load, every system in the human body can become affected.  From our head to our toes and everything in between, toxicity makes us sick!

How do you know if you are toxic and need to properly cleanse?

Usually a constellation of complaints help to determine whether or not you are toxic and to what extent you need to cleanse.  Some examples of what might indicate a toxic system are:

  • constipation
  • persistent headaches, muscle aches, and muscle fatigue
  • inclusion of large amounts of swordfish, tuna, shark, etc. into diet
  • mercury fillings and dental amalgams
  • food allergies
  • stubborn weight loss
  • hormonal imbalances and consistent use of hormone replacement such as “the pill” or progesterone cream
  • consistent use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • skin abnormalities such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
  • a lifetime of consuming the SAD diet

To find out if you are toxic, take a look at The UltraSimple Diet.

How long should you stay on a cleanse? 

Typical cleanses that harness our body’s natural processes for filtering and removing waste tend to be gentle and can therefore  be tolerated for longer periods of time than more extreme protocols.  A safe cleanse is one which doesn’t make you starve yourself or take fancy pills, potions, or expensive drinks.

Safety means allowing the body to do what it wants to do naturally, with a little assistance from some guided healthy eating, appropriate supplements, and relevant lifestyle modifications.  I usually have my patients do a cleanse for 7 days to 6 weeks, or even longer, depending on their particular needs.  Work with a trained medical provider to help determine what length of time is right for you.

How to prepare for a cleanse?

Like we would plan for any big trip to a new destination, we need to prepare, plan, and set out some main goals for our journey.  And by the way, as in all travels, it’s always a good idea to leave some room for the serendipitous excursions to occur.  When handled properly, they can be the best part of a trip!  So how can we plan for a safe and simple detoxification protocol?

  1. Take some basic measurements before you begin to track your progress as you go through your program.  For example, if weight loss is your goal, measure your waist, hips, and record your weight.  If, migraines are an issue, determine the duration, intensity and frequency.  Keep a journal; this will help you in more ways than one!
  2. Make lists!  Organize your pantry, toss out the junk, gather recipes, sketch out weekly menus, make shopping lists for healthy foods you will be eating and formulate a cooking schedule to ensure you allot time to prepare food for the week.
  3. Use journaling as a way to “cleanse” your inner world and relieve yourself of mental and emotional stress.
  4. Gather any supplements you need to take that have been advised for you by your medical provider.
  5. Think about the kind of exercise that will best complement your end goal and plan for it in your schedule.
  6. Detoxification requires you to slow down.  Make sure you fit time for deep relaxation into your plan.
  7. Often, unsavory side effects appear in the initial phase of a cleanse.  Two side effects to look for and keep track of in your journal are:
  • Constipation.  Move those bowels!  Drink plenty of purified water.  Try warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.  Often, taking 300 mg of magnesium citrate is helpful or try an Epsom salt bath.
  • Food allergies or sensitivities.  These can be obvious or obscure.  But chances are, as your body lets go of toxic waste, it will be easier to recognize a hidden reaction to gluten, dairy, soy or any of the other common food allergies.

Common symptoms the first few days of withdrawal from a toxic lifestyle and the SAD (Standard American Diet)

The following symptoms are very common at the beginning of the program and should dissipate within the first few days. Don’t worry, these symptoms are indicative that your body is eliminating toxins and are a good sign!

  • bad breath
  • constipation
  • achy, flu-like feeling
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • hunger
  • irritability
  • itchy skin
  • nausea
  • offensive body odor
  • sleep difficulties (too much or too little)

These symptoms can occur for a number of reasons. First, eliminating food allergies and un-junking the diet causes reactions similar to withdrawal from other addictive substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or heroin. Note: We are often most addicted to the foods we are allergic to! Getting off those allergens can cause a brief, flu-like achy syndrome that may last one to three days. Second, toxins in our digestive tract may make us feel ill if we don’t eliminate them. The best way to get relief from these symptoms is to follow the recommendations below.

How to avoid withdrawal symptoms

Initially, those who consume the most caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, and those who have the most food allergies, will have the most difficulty. Symptoms usually disappear after three to four days. It is best to slowly reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, white flour, and over-the-counter medications (except as directed by your physician) a week or two before you start your program.

  1. Drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water daily.  Stay away from plastic bottles; glass bottles are okay.
  2. To prevent headaches, make sure your bowels are clean.
  3. Fatigue is normal during a cleanse so allow more time for rest and sleep. To boost energy, exercise for 30 minutes a day.  Walking outside in fresh air is best.  Roll up those sleeves and let the sun hit you with some vitamin D!
  4. Take 1,000 mg buffered vitamin C with breakfast and dinner.  Take 300 mg magnesium citrate at dinner.
  5. Don’t wait until you are starving to eat!  Balance your blood sugar by eating protein-based meals and snacks every three to four hours.  Excellent sources of protein are baked or broiled fish, lean poultry, and legumes such as edamame or black beans.
  6. Heat is a great resource while cleansing as it helps draw out toxins from within.  Try a sauna or a warm bath with Epsom salts for 20 minutes a few times per week.
  7. While safe, these types of cleanses can still be stressful on the body and mind so remember to relax.  Actively engaging your parasympathetic nervous system helps restore your energy which your body needs to replenish itself.  Meditation, deep breathing, or any calming activity is good.
  8. Eliminate all refined sugars, flours, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, or addictive substances.  By allowing certain triggers to stay in the diet the body stays on the vicious cycle of cravings and addictive behavior.  Reset your biology to eliminate all triggers.
  9. Keep a journal and track your symptoms.  You should feel better in three to seven days.  If you do not feel well at this point, please exercise caution and check in with your doctor.
  10. Tune in to your body and listen to the cues it provides.  A cleanse is a great journey to learn more about understanding how to operate your very own owner’s manual!

Originally posted on my site, DrHyman.com

Welcome Fall! 3 Delicious Recipes for Apple Season

red-applesThis past weekend was the autumn equinox, which means we are officially moving into fall! This is the perfect time for all things involving pumpkins, squash, cranberries, and…apples! This delicious fall fruit is packed with natural sugars, carbohydrates, and fiber – the perfect snack on its own, but also a delicious ingredient for all kinds of recipes.

Here are 3 of my favorite apple recipes for you to enjoy this autumn!

1. Apple Ginger Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • apple – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 piece, about 1/2 inch cube
  • honey – 1 tbsp
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250

Steam the apples and the ginger for about 5 minutes. I recommend steaming over boiling because you don’t want to apples to be soggy. Remember, we are taking the moisture out.

Puree the apples, ginger, and honey.

Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper. The pan I use is 9X12. Smooth the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula. Make sure that it is distributed evenly. The leather won’t cook evenly if there are thick parts and thin parts.

Bake at 250 for about 3 hours. Check it every 1/2 hour or so. When the leather is no longer mushy to the touch it is time to take it out.

The leather will be a little hard at this time. It needs to be left out for a few hours in order to soften up. When the leather has some give, cut it into strips and enjoy. It can be left out on the counter in an airtight container for weeks but, believe me, it won’t last that long.

2. Apple Lemonade

I love lemonade. The problem is that it takes a ton of sugar to keep you from puckering up when you drink it. This juice tastes just like sweetened lemonade. The joy is that it is sweetened only with apples. Sounds like a win to me.

Needless to say, this is my kids favorite juice. My younger son says that wants me to “make this all day, and all night, every day.” I don’t think I will be doing that, but it makes me feel much better giving them this juice instead of the hyper-sweetened variety.

The key is to add 1/2 a lemon to every apple you juice.

Ingredients:

  • apple – 1, cored – preferably organic
  • lemon – 1/2 – preferably organic

Instructions:

Put the ingredients through the juicer.

The reason I say to use an organic lemon is that I use the whole thing, peel and all. You don’t want the pesticides and waxy residue in your juice glass, so buy organic. (You should still rinse the lemon thoroughly before use.)

You should core your apple before juicing it. Apple seeds contain cyanide which you most definitely don’t want in your kids drink!

3. Gluten-free Vegan Apple Crumble

I love apple crumb pie. The best part of this pie is that it is so packed with good stuff that you can eat it for breakfast and not feel guilty!

Ingredients:

Crust (and 1/2 the crumble)

  • garbanzo bean flour – 3/4 cup
  • almonds – 1 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • gluten-free oats – 3/4 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • hemp seeds – 1/2 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • chia powder – 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil – 1/2 cup
  • Xantham gum – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – dash

Crumble

  • Half the crust ingredients
  • gluten-free oats – 1/2 cup
  • coconut butter (or oil) – 3 tbsp
  • crushed walnuts – handful

Pie Filling

  • apple – 2 cups, thin sliced
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
  • maple syrup – 1 tbsp
  • apple juice – 1 tbsp
  • grated ginger – 1/2 tsp

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

To make the pie crust mix all of the crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It should have the consistency of dough.

Take out 1/2 of the mixture and press it into a pie tin. You want to make sure it is thin and consistent.

The other 1/2 of the mixture will be used for the crumble mixture so set it aside for right now.

For the pie filling take the sliced apples, lemon juice, ginger, maple syrup, and apple juice and cinnamon and mix together in a bowl (I actually used my juicer and juiced 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 and apple and a piece of ginger and poured that mixture over the apples with the cinnamon and maple syrup)

We ran out of ground cinnamon so my son grated a cinnamon stick into the filling mixture. A little more high maintenance but it worked.

Put the pie filling mixture into the pie crust.

For the crumble, take the other 1/2 of the crust mixture. Add the whole oats, sugar, walnuts, coconut butter, and mix thoroughly.

Put the crumble mixture onto top of the pie. Press it down a couple of times so that the crumble stays in place.

Bake in the oven for ~45 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

The Best Grab-N-Go Superfood Breakfasts

tumblr_mj4j59lg5R1rnp953o1_500If you’ve read some of my recent articles, you’ll know that I not only believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that it should also be the largest. Not just for the reasons you likely heard as a child (i.e. improved mental focus and test scores), but because a big, nutrient-dense meal at breakfast also supports things like:

  • A healthy body weight
  • Stable energy due to less fluctuation in blood sugar levels throughout the day
  • Improved digestive function (a.k.a, stimulation of a regular, healthy bowel movement)
  • Manifesting your modern day superpower (mine happens to be finding decent parking spots)

Most days, I don’t have the luxury of a leisurely breakfast, and more days than I’d like to admit, breakfast happens while driving in my car. So, after many years of perfecting my need for grab-n-go breakfast options that meet my nutrition requirements, I landed on a few favorite options that give me everything I need to feel great and get my day off to a healthy start.

Superfood Muesli 

This is a recipe I was given while in naturopathic medical school. It can be eaten warm or cold, and it’s super easy to make. You can store a big batch for weeks and then place a scoop in a Pyrex dish the night before so you can literally grab it out of your fridge and go. I like to use soy milk as the liquid and add some honey for sweetness. It is incredibly dense and gives you a “stick to your ribs” kind of feeling which is great if you have a busy day ahead.

Superfood Smoothie 

One of the reasons I love smoothies is that I can throw supplements like vitamin D, fish oil and multivitamins into the mix to streamline my morning ritual even more. This recipe was my go-to breakfast almost every morning through both of my pregnancies. I’d often grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels as well to balance out some of the sugar from the fruit. Tip: Put all your smoothie ingredients into a large mason jar before going to bed so all you have to do in the morning is take it with you (if you happen to have a blender at work), or blend at home and then put back into the mason jar to use as a travel container.

Nut Butter Balls 

I came across this recipe while looking for snack options to have on-hand for my boys to eat. It turns out this recipe is not only easy to make and kid-approved, but a great on-the-go breakfast option. I like to add lots of goodies like chia seeds, flax seeds and fresh shredded coconut. You can make a big batch and keep in a large Pyrex container (create layers in the container using wax paper) for up to a week. Two or three of these balls and you’re satisfied until lunch, no problem.

Nut Butter Toast

When your best attempts at planning and prepping don’t manifest, there’s always basic nut butter toast. I like to trade between almond and sunflower butter, and when I know I have a big day planned, will make this into a toasted sandwich using two slices of stone-ground bread with a thin layer of jam. Basic and perhaps a tad boring? Yes. Super fast to make and easy to eat while driving? Absolutely.

Like this post?

 

Photo credit: Instagram @riiaberg

Weight Maintenance: The True Story

Free coiled tape measure healthy living stock photo Creative CommonsHave you ever gone on a diet? Lost weight on it? Gained it back? Tried yet another diet? Lost weight? Gained it back? Most people who eventually lose weight and do keep it off, have done just that. They have tried various diets and found that they do, actually work. However, any diet you “go on” you eventually “go off”. And when you go off that diet, then what?

This is where the real weight loss work comes in. It’s not so much losing the weight, although that can be challenging for sure, but what follows that determines one’s success, or lack of it, at keeping the weight off.

For my book, I did a lot of research and also relied on the best study to date of weight loss masters. They are people who have lost at least thirty pounds and maintained that loss for at least a year. I am proud to say that I am in the weight loss master category, having lost fifty pounds and maintained that for twenty three years.

So what sets the masters apart from the others? That is a really good question and can actually be answered with data.

Weight loss masters understand that maintaining weight loss takes work. They continue to monitor themselves and stay awake to the food and exercise choices they make so they can maintain their weight. They weigh themselves on a regular basis. They exercise and many of them keep food records. They also understand that weight maintenance is actually the state of gaining and losing small amounts of weight over, and over, again.

In my book I talk about “gaining weight successfully”. What that means is that we begin to understand that it is normal to gain a pound, or two, or three and then to work it back down. It’s only when a two pound weight gain turns into a twenty five pound weight gain that it really becomes a problem. We learn that we cannot expect to lose weight, get to our goal, and stay at exactly that number for life. We live in a range of weight that feels comfortable. When we get to the high end of that range, we do what we know we need to do to bring it back down. That is, keep food records, eat a healthy diet, exercise and keep track of our weight carefully until we get back to a comfortable place. Weight maintenance is not staying at exactly the same number, everyday, for life.

The other aspect to keep in mind with maintenance is that it is kind of dull. Losing weight can be exciting. You see changes, you look better, feel better and people are noticing. I lost weight quickly and the compliments were constant. Even the guy at Starbucks would comment. “Wow, you look great. Have you lost weight?” Those compliments were very motivating.

Once you get stable at a weight, the compliments either slow down, or stop. Instead of , “Hi Irene. OMG, you look fantastic. Have you lost weight?” It would just be, “Hi Irene.” I’d be waiting for the OMG part and it wouldn’t come. People will get used to the new you. It then becomes harder to keep up the work because you don’t have that steady outside stream of motivation reminding you just how worth it the work is.

So, my goal is to help you know and accept these things upfront so you can be successful long-term and be prepared ahead of time for the work that weight maintenance requires. It’s worth it!

That’s it for now. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.

Why You Should Not Stop Taking Your Vitamins (Part 2)

Amor Sin Remedio Hopeless Love Hoffnungslose LiebeClick here to read Part 1!

Why Most Vitamin Studies Are Flawed

There is another important thing to understand about clinical trials that review the utility of vitamins in the treatment of disease. The studies that show harm are often designed like drugs studies. For example, a study may use a high dose of vitamin E and see what happens. This is actually a prescient example also explored in recent media.

Studies recently found that high doses of vitamin E and selenium didn’t prevent prostate cancer and may increase risk. What this study didn’t explore properly was the true biochemical nature of vitamin E and selenium. These nutrients work as antioxidants by donating an electron to protect or repair a damaged molecule or DNA. Once this has happened, the molecules become oxidants that can cause more damage if not supported by the complex family of antioxidants used in the human body. It’s sort of like passing a hot potato. If you don’t keep passing it, you will get burned. Many studies simply fail to take this into account.

Nature doesn’t work by giving you only one thing. We all agree that broccoli is good for you, but if that were all you ate, you would die in short order. The same is true of vitamins. Nutrients are not drugs, and they can’t be studied as drugs. They are part of a biological system in which all nutrients work as a team to support your biochemical processes.

Michael Jordon may have been the best basketball player in history, but he couldn’t have won six NBA titles without a team.

Obesity Is Linked To Malnutrition

The tragedy of media attention on poor studies is that they undermine possible solutions to some of the modern health epidemics we are facing today, and they point attention away from the real drivers of disease.

Take the case of obesity, for example. Paradoxically, Americans are becoming both more obese and more nutrient deficient at the same time. Obese children eating processed foods are nutrient depleted and increasingly get scurvy and rickets–diseases we thought were left behind in the 19th and 20th centuries. After treating over 15,000 patients and performing extensive nutritional testing on them, it is clear to me that Americans suffer from widespread nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, folate, and omega 3 fats. This is supported by the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data on our population. In fact, 13% of our population is vitamin C deficient.

Scurvy in Americans in 2013? Really? But if all you eat is processed food–and many Americans do–then you, like the British sailors of the 17th century, will get scurvy.

Unfortunately, negative studies on vitamins get huge media attention while the fact that over 100,000 Americans die and 2.2 million suffer serious adverse reactions from medication use in hospitals when used as prescribed is quietly ignored. Did you know that anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen kill more people every year than AIDS or asthma or leukemia?

In short, these studies often confuse rather than clarify, and they only serve up doses of media frenzy and superficial analysis. They leave the consumer afraid, dazed, bewildered, and reaching for their next prescription drug.

Please, be smart; don’t stop taking your vitamins. Every American needs a good quality multivitamin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fat supplement. It is part of getting a metabolic tune-up and keeping your telomeres long!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

5 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Lose Weight Once and For All

Waldgeist Restaurant in Hofheim. Just make sure to take your Lipitor before bed.By Orion Talmay

The adage goes that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So, it would logically follow that hanging out with people who eat fatty junk food will sabotage you and your diet.

Few of us consider that one of the things preventing us from committing to our weight and fitness goals is our environment – and that includes the people around us. This is especially true in America, where fast and “super sized” are glorified. We are surrounded by a junk food friendly environment – whether it’s the muffins offered to you in your company break room or the Italian “family style” dinner with friends. Everywhere you turn, advertisers are trying to hypnotize you into buying. We are bombarded with commercials for food which show joyful anorectic models enjoying chocolates and cheeseburgers. We were taught by our mothers to dutifully finish what’s on our plates. This world full of temptation, misconceptions, and immediate gratification just might affect our ability to get back into our jeans size from high school, don’t you think?

We are drowning in a flood of false information, thanks to all this pervasive and persuasive advertising. These advertisements train our brains to link unhealthy food with pleasure. As you pass a billboard showing a hot celebrity drinking Coca Cola, subconsciously you make a connection between what he or she represents to you – namely health, happiness, athleticism, vitality and success – and drinking Coke. In reality this sugary, toxic and chemically addictive drink is the epitome of unhealthiness, addiction, and obesity. In many cases, junk food is marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural” or even “organic,” but the opposite is more true. Even TV shows about weight loss such as The Biggest Loser glorify rapid, dramatic weight loss that unfolds before our eyes in an hour. And of course it doesn’t tell the whole story; we are spared the gory details, the high risk of injury, and the non-sustainability and unhealthy methods they use on the contestants. The TV magic and the glaring omissions give legitimacy to extreme rapid weight loss and create unrealistic expectations for the audience.

As I alluded to earlier, your peer group can also alter your decision-making. In general, people like people who are like them. For example, heavy drinkers prefer to hang out with heavy drinkers, and overeaters prefer feasting with fellow gluttons. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) pressure is on, to fit in and be liked. Most social gatherings center around food and alcohol, so if you are dieting, you will need premeditated strategy and willpower if you don’t want to sabotage your diet.

Friends and family tend to appease each other when they fall off the wagon. When you look for consolation, they will tell you “It’s okay, it’s not that bad to take a day off; come on and live a little!” People become very forgiving because they want you to like them. They don’t hold you to a higher standard, in part because that’s not what you want to hear.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants you to be successful. Sometimes it can even be someone close to you like a spouse, family member, or friend who will try to talk you out of your goal. They might be afraid that if you feel better about yourself, you will neglect them or leave them. They might be afraid of “new competition” they will have when you accomplish your weight goals. Or, they may feel in competition with your “gym time” or even with your trainer. Bottom line is that most of the time they do it not because they don’t love you but precisely because they do. For instance, spouses may worry a “new you” may be less attracted to them. Sometimes, simply reassuring them of your love and friendship, keeping open communication and involving them in your health journey can solve these issues.

So, if you agree that the environment that surrounds you can sabotage your progress, what do you do? Well, since living on a mountaintop in Tibet is (probably) not an option, the best way to deal with misinformation or saboteurs is to plan for your success. When your mindset is stronger, achieving your outcome will be your priority. Nothing and no one will deter you. When you are prepared for success, you will win.

How do you prepare for success?

1. Surround yourself with supportive people. If your loved ones aren’t supportive of your health and fitness goals, convince them to change and be a part of your team or find some supportive peers to cheer you on. Succeed regardless.

2. Make sure you have accurate information about fitness and nutrition. Consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Nothing beats having a coach who can guide you to win the game the right way.

3. Plan your food shopping, plan your meals and plan your exercise time.  Don’t let anyone or anything distract you or steal your time.

4. Watch less TV. The number of commercials for garbage processed food is mind-boggling. These companies are paying a lot of money to sell to you and have mastered the art of influence. They (mis)use popular words like “healthy” and “natural,” but one glance at the label reveals how supposedly healthy, low fat, and natural it really is. Put your TV watching on a diet too, and it will facilitate your dieting and help you avoid unnecessary temptations.

5. Remember that you are a rock star. You can do it regardless of what anyone tells you, including your own inner critic. I believe in you. You put your mind to it and you will succeed.

* * *

picOrion Talmay is a fitness expert and life coach who helps her clients transform their bodies and their lives. Her fitness skills include yoga, weight training, kick boxing, Aikido, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Krav Maga. Orion completed the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile extreme obstacle course with an ice pool, electric wires, buttered monkey bars, and more. She’s not all hard-core though; she is also a woman of the arts — loves to dance and sing, went to acting school, and speaks three languages. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training and is AAFA, AAPT, KBA, and Zumba certified. She is currently working on an online coaching program for weight loss and self development, designed to empower people across all aspects of their lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Orion is also working on her first book, about transformational change. Originally from Israel, she currently lives in sunny Santa Monica, California.

4 Delicious Breakfasts More Interesting Than Cereal

kefir-blue-1024x768No one can skimp on breakfast. My son’s kindergarten teacher said that she could tell which kids had eaten a good, nutritious breakfast. They were the ones who were still alert and interested at 10:30am circle time and kept right on going until lunch. I had to come up with a quick and low maintenance way the get my kids to eat a nutritious meal– and quick! Here are 4 easy, tasty, and nutritious breakfast recipes that are way more interesting – and healthier! – than breakfast cereal or any other average morning fare.

1. Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients:

  • coconut milk – 2 cups, full fat
  • Body Ecology Kefir Starter – 1 packet

Instructions:

Shake the cans before opening them. This mixes the milk and the whey so that it is easier to handle. Empty the contents of the coconut milk cans into a clean quart mason jar.

Empty one packet of the kefir starter into the coconut milk. Mix well with a wooden (not metal) spoon.

Cover with a towel or a plate, but leave some room.You want to make sure that air can get into the jar. If it is airtight it will not turn into kefir. Let it sit for @36-48 hours. When it starts to thicken and has a mild “tang” it is done. The colder the place it is stored, the longer it will take and vice versa.

When it is sufficiently “kefired,” put an airtight lid on it and keep it in the fridge. It will keep for a few weeks. It will thicken up more when it is cold taking on the consistency of yogurt.

I use it in place of sour cream, as a fruity yogurt drink, as a yogurt topping on my berries, with apple crumb pie, as a base for smoothies, as a yogurt and  as a “cream” for soups.

2. Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • chia seeds – 1/2 cup, ground
  • hemp seeds – 1/2 cup, ground
  • coconut flour – 1 cup
  • garbanzo bean flour – 1 cup
  • coconut – 1/2 cup, shredded
  • Xantham gum – 1 1/2 tsp
  • baking powder – 1 tsp
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 tsp
  • bananas – 3 mashed ripe
  • vanilla – 2 tsp
  • coconut oil – 1/2 cup, melted
  • maple syrup – 1 cup
  • almond milk – 1 cup
  • dark chocolate chips – dairy-free 1/2 cup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Fill muffin tins with baking cups or spray pan with a non-stick spray

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
Mash bananas in a medium size bowl with the back-side of a spoon.

Add almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips (I use a dairy-free one called Enjoy Life or you can substitute raisins, dried cherries, walnuts, or any other add-in that you think would be yummy). I add chocolate to everything I can.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Fill about 3/4 of the way because they will rise. I like to sprinkle a little bit of coconut sugar onto the tops of the muffins before I put them in the oven.

Bake for around 25 minutes.

These are a great breakfast, a lunchbox or snack. Give one to your kids when they are saying “When’s dinner going to be ready?” and it’s still 1/2 an hour away. It’s just enough to satiate them but not so much that it spoils their dinner.
These muffins are packed with Omega 3’s, potassium, fiber and protein. Not bad for a little muffin.

This recipe yields about 50 mini muffins which is equal to approximately 10 regular sized ones.

3. Oat and Almond Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

  • garbanzo bean flour – 2/3 cup
  • Xantham gum – 1/4 tsp
  • chia powder – 1/2 cup
  • hemp seeds – 1/3 cup, ground to fine flour
  • gluten-free oats – 1 cup, ground to a fine flour
  • almonds – 1 cup, raw, ground to a fine flour
  • coconut – 1 cup, shredded
  • himalaya salt – pinch
  • figs – optional
  • jam – optional
  • coconut oil – 2/3 cup
  • maple syrup – 2/3 cup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Heat the coconut oil until liquid. (At room temperature it has the consistency of margarine.) Add the syrup and the oil to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Line a 7X11 baking tray with parchment paper. You’re going to have to use your hands to get this flat and even in the tray.

This mixture does not rise and it does not melt. Whatever shape it has when it goes into the oven is exactly the shape it will have when it comes out.

Bake for 20 minutes. Do not overcook. It will become too hard. The center should remain soft.

Let it cool before you cut it into squares.

I keep the bars in an airtight container on the counter. When you are ready to eat them, cut them in half and add whatever filling strikes your fancy. I rotate between strawberry jam and figs but it can be whatever filling is appealing to you. To make the fig filling, soak a few dried figs overnight, and then blend until smooth.

I give my son 2 bars and a bowl of berries most mornings. This combination makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast that requires very little effort. Works for me!

4. Flax and Sesame Seed French Toast

Ingredients:

  • sesame seeds – 1/3 cup
  • flax seeds – 1/3 cup
  • natural organic sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Udi’s gluten-free chia millet bread – 3 pieces
  • egg – 1
  • fresh berries – 1 cup
  • maple syrup – dollop
  • sesame seed oil – 1 tablespoon

Instructions:

In a dry saucepan, toast the sesame and flax seeds until they begin to pop.
Put the seed mixture in a grinder or a blender. This mixture can be kept for up to 6 months in the freezer, so you can grind a large quantity and save it for future use.

Combine the seed mixture with the sugar. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl wide enough to fit the the bread. Soak the bread in the egg, then, coat it with the seeds and sugar.

In a hot pan, cook the french toast with 1 tablespoon of good quality oil for high heat. I use Sesame Oil. Cook until the bread has got a nice brown crust on both sides. It should take about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with berries and maple syrup.

Enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Your Fail-Safe Guide to Healthy Hotel Travel

find your inner self

Traveling is one of life’s great adventures – a chance to explore foreign cities, meet new people, and try out alternative lifestyles. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, you probably know that exploring new territory can be as thrilling as it is occasionally draining. Why is that? For one, it gets us out of our routine…for better or for worse. We might escape the cares and worries of our daily life, but can also slack on fitness routines and healthy eating plans. But that’s the trade-off, right?

Well, not necessarily. More and more people are deciding that travel shouldn’t necessarily make us throw out healthy practices. Key to this is the ability of hotels and other accommodations to provide services and amenities that support healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness practices, and the like. But finding such places can be tricky.

Here are 5 sources to help you pick a hotel with the best healthy amenities to keep you fit and happy, even on the road:

Hotels with outdoor fitness amenities (Reuters)

 “StayWell” Hotel Rooms: Keeping You Healthy in Vegas (Forbes)

Hotels that offer yoga classes, fitness experts, and more (Well&Good NYC)

How to have a “green” hotel experience (Greatist)

Turn Your Hotel Room Into A Healthy and Budget Friendly Kitchen (Living Harvest)

 

So next time you find yourself away from home and in search of accommodation, keep in mind the kind of healthy amenities you’d like to find in a hotel. There are so many great offerings these days, and it won’t be hard to stay healthy and happy while you explore!

* * *

18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

medusa

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

* * *

For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

How I’m Moving Forward in the GMO Food Debate

Bosworth Battlefield (2)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, “The Genetically Modified Food Debate”, which introduced a series of articles by Nathanael Johnson, a Grist.org writer that’s taken on the big task of sorting through the GMO debate to provide the straight story on where the science, politics and implications to people and planet truly stand.

As someone who’s followed the topic of GMO for many years, I’ve often wished for a series of articles just like this. It’s a heroic effort and having the opportunity to go on an exploration of sorts through these articles has helped me crystallize what I believe are the biggest issues and necessary next steps in the GMO food debate. If you’d like to read Johnson’s series, you can start here and find links to subsequent posts at the bottom of each article.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things can get complicated. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and planet as it relates to genetic modification is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

My primary concern about genetically engineered food crops is not so much about the study of biotechnology in plants, but the ripple effect the application of these crops is having on current farming practices and our global food community. Here are some of the things I find most troubling:

  • GMO are often bred for resistance to herbicides and pesticides. As a result, weed-killing herbicide use on genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton increased by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008.
  • GM crops support the practice of mono-cropping (growing only one type of agricultural product in a large area of land, year after year). This approach has an economic benefit in that it simplifies farming operations and decreases labor costs. However, mono-cropping depletes nutrients from the soil and decreases crop-yields over time creating a need for increased synthetic fertilizer use. Although there may be a short-term economic gain, there’s a larger long-term cost to the health of the planet.
  • Implementation of GMO and mono-cropping practices in developing countries has impacts that go beyond just human and planet health. Traditional knowledge about how to farm the land, what indigenous plants provide nutrients of need and seed saving techniques to maintain biodiversity…all this wisdom that is passed from generation to generation may be lost and maybe more importantly, be seen as inferior to modern conventional methods.

The biggest hurdle to finding a path forward that is acceptable to groups on both sides of this issue seems to sit within science. Through Johnson’s articles, it’s clear that the methods we have to determine safety and the impact to human and planet health are flawed. The questions we’re asking through testing simply do not provide the answers many people are seeking to understand. This is an issue that’s much bigger than just GMO, but yet one that is effectively stalling the ability of the food community to find consensus about how to move forward. Until we evolve both the methods of testing and what we’re testing for, I don’t see how we’re going to come together.

So, what to make of all this? Well, as for me, I plan to keep looking [read: hoping] for an evolution in testing, particularly in the form of support from our government to investigate new approaches to better answer the valid concerns around GMO’s impact to people and planet health. In the meantime, as we continue to navigate our way to better answers, I believe the right thing to do is provide as much transparency and through that, education, as possible. We don’t have the answers, and until such a time that we do and this matter is settled, why not let people make their own decision? Let’s label GM foods, raise awareness and hopefully get to a place where we can argue towards solutions.

If you’re interested in doing some digging of your own into this issue, Johnson also did a recent article that provides a “Cliff’s Notes” version of some of the most popular books on GMO. You can read this article here.

Like this post?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...