Category Archives for "Diet"
When analyzing brain foods, one of the most important things to look at besides toxicity (foreign to our bodies, i.e. artificial) is the glycemic index. If you don’t already know how important it is, start paying attention to the glycemic index (GI) of food and observe how you feel in relation to this one marker. Our brain thrives on a steady stream of glucose in the blood stream and when that steady stream isn’t so steady, the brain (as well as the rest of the body) suffers with irritability, depression and sluggishness to name a few.
Pastas, breads, and white potatoes are the worst offenders when it comes to upsetting the blood sugar and depleting nutrients.
Before we get to the good foods, check out some more of the “bad” ones. Artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugary foods and drinks, hydrogenated fats, nicotine, and alcohol are the worst “non-food” foods. The sad news about alcohol is that it doesn’t even need to be ingested…it kills brain cells if it is just smelled!
Did you know that both the Air Force’s magazine, “Flying Safety”, and the Navy’s magazine, “Navy Physiology”, published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame? The methanol in aspartame is found to build up in the tissues causing a potential cumulative effect. It is also reported to increase the likelihood of birth defects. Pilots have linked the use of aspartame to seizures and vertigo and most flight agencies warn against its usage. It is also reported to disrupt the chemical makeup of the brain and lower the levels of serotonin – which could affect sleep, appetite, mood, and behavior. Aspartame (and other chemical sweeteners) disrupt amino acid metabolism, hormonal equilibrium and nerve functions, to name a few. Read more here.
So that’s the bad news, and although there is MUCH more to be said about those “non-foods”, that is a subject for a whole other post. Here are some foods that you can incorporate into your diet that will enhance your cognitive function and decrease brain fog. When you eat the right foods you are able to see things more clearly, become more confident and overall add quality to your life and the life of your valuable brain through balancing your hormones, and nourishing your brain’s functions.
The top brain foods include:
Salmon and other fatty fish
Cacao – this is the raw bean. Chocolate has sugar (read about sugar above)
Green tea, especially Matcha
Acai berry and blue berry
Avocados – great fatty acids
Brewer’s yeast (great source of RNA)
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and all leafy greens
Eggs- great source of protein and readily used cholesterol (yes, the whole egg!)
Seeds and Nuts: flaxseed (freshly ground), walnuts, chia, pumpkin, etc.
Also, be sure to incorporate all of the colors that call to us from nature. Those colors, called bioflavonoids, are what gives wine and pomegranate so much value – they’re loaded with antioxidants that scavenge free radicals in the brain and in the body.
To break it down very simply: Get enough omega 3 fatty acids, plenty of protein (especially from non-meat sources), a variety of colors, and don’t forget plenty of PURE water (avoid unfiltered tap water). These are the ingredients that help people maintain a high quality of life and great mental clarity and cognitive function well into a ripe old age.
Complete deprivation only works for so long. Today we are surrounded by healthier alternatives to all the junky foods we used to love. This desert is quite lovely and guilt free.
Why guilt free? Well, THERE'S NO SUGAR HERE!
Only organic cacao, coconut, & wildflower honey.
Rest assured though that these truffles have plenty of good stuff in them.. and actually every ingredient is considered a super food. Briefly, chocolate is rich in antioxidants, iron, calcium, and exceptionally high in magnesium. Cacao has the highest source of magnesium of any other food (this is probably why most of us crave it, especially many women on their moon). Dark chocolate stimulates endorphin release resulting in an anti-depressant effect too. Coconut is also a superfood and is now being studied in the prevention and treatment of mental diseases such as dementia and alzheimer's. Coconut is also full of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and enhance fat burning, while providing energy. It also has great antimicrobial activity and helps repair the gut and immune system... I could go on but I'll leave it at that for now. I could go on but I'll leave it at that for now...You're likely interested because they're yummy and make great gifts, the fact that this is a superfood combination is just a bonus right?
Enjoy them for yourself or share the LOVE!
Click the button and while you're there be sure to check out our holiday gift options for acupuncture and neurofeedback too!
Creamy Cauliflower Mash:
4 c. cauliflower
1 c. coconut milk
1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 – 1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper taste
Steam or boil cauliflower until soft. Process it in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until smooth.
Coconut Crusted Chicken Bites:
1 lb organic boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup shredded unseetened coconut
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
2 – 3 tbsp coconut oil
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a bowl toss the chicken with the shredded coconut until coated.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken in two batches. Flip when golden and crisp, about 3-5 min. per side.
1/2 mango diced
1 1/2 tbsp red onion diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 lime juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
As with the other gluten free grains that have been mentioned on this blog, millet too should be properly (traditionally) prepared in order to A) get the full spectrum of nutrients it has to offer, and B) prevent the protective coating called “lectin” from irritating your intestinal lining. Pretty much all grains have some sort of coating on them in order to protect the seed from insects and animals. These coatings prevent us from absorbing the nutrition in the grain and often even block the absorption of nutrients from food we consume with the grain. Some examples of these “anti-nutrients” are the phytic acid in wheat and quinoa, the hemicellulous in corn and the lectins in amaranth and millet.
This porridge (recipe and image from Fountain Avenue Kitchen) may be prepared the night before, refrigerated, and gently reheated in the morning for a speedy breakfast. You can also make a bigger batch and portion into several bowls for easy breakfasts throughout the week. When preparing in advance, simply remove from the heat about five minutes early as the millet will continue to absorb the liquid overnight and as it is reheated.
Chef Karen, my sister-in-law is a really excellent chef. She has gifted us with these recipes that she made up while on her last detox program. You can learn more about Karen’s Crafty Kitchen Adventures here. She will soon be adding adult classes too!
Prep veggies. Everything in big, larger than bite-size pieces. Peeled sliced tomato (I used canned whole, then sliced them), thick slices/chunks of eggplant (I used Chinese eggplant), yellow squash, red bell pepper, sliced yellow onion. Toss with olive oil (generous amount), salt & pepper, and dried oregano. Roast @ 450*, until golden brown, flipping once. Gently toss with additional olive oil, chopped parsley, and salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold. A little balsamic drizzled on top adds a punch. Serve with Brown Rice.
Grilled or Broiled Portobello, served with Basil “Pesto”, lightly sautéed Cherry Tomatoes, Herbed Brown Rice, and Fresh Salad.
Portobello– season portobello with fresh garlic, s&p, olive oil. Broil on grill rack, both sides, until cooked or a dark golden brown.
Basil “pesto” – puree fresh basil, fresh garlic, olive oil, s&p, splash of water if needed.
Brown Rice with fresh chopped herbs (parsley, cilantro), lemon zest, s&p. A bit of Coconut Oil adds a nice depth to the flavor.
Lentil & Brown Rice Patties, served with roasted Sweet Potato hash (or mash), sautéed Veggies.
Lentil patties- 2 cups Lentils & 1 cup Br.Rice smashed together, with sautéed small dice Garlic, Onion, Mushroom, and 2Tblsp chopped fresh Cilantro, 1/4 crumbled rice cake, s&p. Form small thick patties. Sauté in olive or coconut oil until crispy on both sides.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Chimichurri sauce.
Acorn Squash– keep peel on, remove seeds, slice in wedges, coat with olive oil, season with s&p. Roast on parchment flat side down, @ 450*, flipping once. Until both are dark golden brown. (note: the peel is edible)
Chimichurri sauce– 1 bu. chopped Parsley. 8 cloves minced Garlic. 1 Tblsp diced Red Onion. 1 tsp dried Oregano. 1 tsp Black Pepper. 1/2 tsp Salt. 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar. Juice of 1 Lemon wedge. 3/4 cup Olive Oil. Mix together. Drizzle on everything. yum!
Enchilada Sauce (Optional: also serve with Guacamole, for an extra flavor boost)
Saute 3oz tomato paste, 1/4 c. New Mexico chile powder, 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp. dried Oregano in 3 Tblsp veg oil. Add 2 cup veg stock, and 1/2 tsp salt if needed. Cook for 15min, smoothing out any lumps.
Smoky Roasted Cauliflower Dip – 1 whole head Cauliflower, pieced into florets, tossed with 4 cloves crushed Garlic, 3 Tblsp Olive Oil, and s&p to taste. Roasted @ 475* on parchment, flipping once until golden brown. Purée, adding Smoked Paprika, Cumin, NM Red Chile, and a little water if needed. Adjust seasoning to taste. The roasted cauliflower is also super delicious without the pureeing. (Good substitute for Mashed Potatoes if pureed w/o the additional spices!)
Brown Rice Cake w/ sliced Avocado, Salt & Pepper, drizzle of Hot Sauce.
Surprisingly Delicious Lentil Soup served with fresh Salad.
Lentil Soup– 2 cloves Garlic, 1 diced Onion, fresh Herbs (1- 6” sprig Rosemary, 4 sprigs Thyme, 1 Tbsp fresh Oregano, 1 Bay Leaf), 3-4 diced Carrots, 3 cups Lentils, 6-8 cups Veg Stock or ½ tsp Marmite+H2O. Saute garlic, onion and carrots, until onion is translucent. Add Herbs until fragrant. Add rest of ingredients and simmer until flavors combine, approx. 10min. Season with Salt & Pepper. (Even the kids had 2nd & 3rd helpings!)
Salad– Power greens, Carrot ribbons, Green Apple sticks, crumbled Rice Cake, S&P, Olive Oil & Balsamic vinegar.
Friday Night Mocktail!
Sparkling water, fresh Mint, fresh Lime. Put a little crushed ice in a glass, add a few mint leaves, stir and crush a bit using a muddler or even just a spoon, until mint is broken up and fragrant. Add a squeeze of lime, and top with soda water. Special!
Veggie Sushi and Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Sushi– Brown Rice (short grain) prepared only with Rice Wine Vinegar, no sugar. Nori Seaweed sheets. Various vegetables sliced into thin sticks (carrots, cucumber, radish,etc.), or par-cooked/lightly steamed (asparagus, etc.), green onion stalks, avocado slices, etc. Prepare a little bowl of seasoning mixture (e.g., salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, or 5-spice, etc.). Once vegetables are placed on the rice and nori, be sure to season before rolling. (naturally colored wasabi is difficult to find, but sometimes possible)
Brussel Sprouts– Rinse and cut Brussel Sprouts in half, removing wilted outer leaf (and checking for bugs). Toss the sprouts with crushed garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt & pepper. Roast on parchment lined sheet pan at 450’, tossing once, until dark golden brown.
Sweet Potato & Lentil Lettuce Wraps
Wraps– Make a hash, by sauteeing the following, adding in order, but only after each item is fully cooked; Sweet Potatoes, Onion, choice of veggie (e.g., Red Pepper, Calabaza Squash, Mushrooms, etc.), and cooked Lentils. Season with Salt & Pepper.
Seasoning options: Asian/ 5-Spice. Moroccan/ 1 tsp.Cumin,1sp.Coriander, ½ tsp.Cinnamon, fresh Parsley. Southwest/Cumin, Chile powder, Ancho. Serve as filling for whole Romaine lettuce leaves. Topping options: fresh herbs, green onion, chives, fresh jalapeno, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce.
This porridge is an excellent source of protein (Quinoa is actually a complete protein). It’s very high in fiber, has a lot of antioxidants, and is also a good source of many of the minerals people are regularly depleted in such as Magnesium, Potassium, & Zinc…it’s also high in Iron. It’s best if you soak quinoa overnight so that you dissolve the Phytic acid that coats the seed and blocks the absorption of nutrients.
Makes: 2 servings
Rinse and strain the quinoa with cool water, rubbing the grains between your fingers, until the water runs clear. Add it to a small pot with the water, milk, date puree/mash, and sea salt. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, toast the shredded coconut in a skillet on low heat until lightly browned. Remove the coconut from the skillet, and toast the almonds in the same manner. Don’t let them burn!
Once the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the coconut oil and vanilla. Spoon the porridge into bowls and top with toasted coconut, banana slices, blueberries, mango, and toasted almonds. (You might try tossing in a few goji berries if you want it sweeter.)
Cut everything into small chunks and toss together
Cinnamon Apple & Pear Amaranth Porridge is a perfect fall flavored, hearty and nutrient dense porridge to make in the cooler months. Remember to soak your amaranth overnight if possible.
Toppings | *optional
This salad is very easy to make. Be sure not to over steam the asparagus, they should have crispness or be al dente’. When you remove from the steamer, toss them in ice water to “shock” them. This will help maintain green color and crispness.
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
Perfect on salads, grilled tuna or even as a marinade for seafood and chicken.
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Created By: Chef Keith Snow www.HarvestEating.com
As I mentioned last week, for me, it’s time for some detoxing! I love it. I crave it! And I’m ready… I can’t wait till the spring to do it again, so I’m starting on the 18th and if you’re looking to shed some of last years gunk I urge you to join me for my very first ever webinar this coming Tuesday, January 12th at 12pm (central) where I will be sharing:
If we are looking for optimal health, or even good health, we won’t get there without it. Cleansing is something that is very natural. Every animal does it and prior to the last 100 years, pretty much every person other than emperors and nobility had to do it. Throughout all of human history we have had periods of feast and periods of famine… until recently of course.
But our body’s have evolved to thrive on periods of detox & they surely weren’t designed to be saturated in all of the chemicals now floating in our environment.
Believe it or not, there are more chemicals in the average cupboard now than existed in most laboratories in 1940. These are things that most of us are intentionally ingesting on a regular basis. But even if you eat really well, they lurk in practically every place you want to be.Alcohol, preservatives, chemical skin care products, household cleaners, hormone disrupting fragrances all add to our toxic burden. But things like anger, stress, relationship woes also add to our overall toxic burden. When the burden overruns the liver’s ability to detoxify these compounds, we start to suffer.
If you’re needing an upgrade, I encourage you to do this. It is only seven days, which makes it really do-able. I will also be sending you recipes and daily email support each day and I’ll be with you throughout the process if you have any questions or concerns.
Though short, this program is very effective in helping your body go into a deep liver detox and eliminate all that accumulated cellular debris.
Most people report feeling that they have:
Fat cells typically surround toxins in the body and once the toxin is eliminated the fat cell is no longer necessary.
Go here for more information or to register for the upcoming webinar. If you can’t make the live webinar we will send you a replay link.
P.S. – The kit is $106, but get $10 off by signing up for the webinar by Tuesday. If you live out of town there is a $7 shipping fee for the kit.
FYI – I will be hosting another group detox at the beginning of March, so if Monday the 18th is too soon for you go ahead and sign up for the webinar and we will let you know before the next round.