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Tangible Steps for Building a Healthier Life

This article by Experience Life Magazine is excellent! It offers many valuable resources on improving your health. And what you’ll notice is that health encompasses much more than eating well and exercising. The “Skills and Know-How” section is a great way to access where you are currently with many important aspects of your health.

 

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Your Needs and Desires Matter

When someone starts a diet (which I don’t recommend), they focus on what they can’t have. That usually doesn’t feel very good.

I’d like to offer a unique, effective, loving approach to upgrading the way you eat. Start to notice what you want more of in your life and give yourself that. Sound dangerous? Well let me clarify something very important. I hear many stories of people ‘rewarding’ themselves with sugar and processed carbs because they ‘deserve it’. Interesting…..does that mean they deserve more pounds, more guilt, more stomach aches, etc.? There is nothing loving and kind about eating processed foods that don’t nourish you. It’s actually being really unkind to yourself. I’m not overlooking the 5 or 10 minutes of relief or joy people feel from eating a Snickers bar from the vending machine, but those feelings don’t last, do they?

I invite you to dig deeper, much deeper. Allow yourself to explore what you want more of in your life. I am so fortunate to work with some amazing clients who do the work necessary to change their relationship to food. These people start treating themselves kinder, exploring their long forgotten creative side, engaging in dating, allowing themselves more fun, rest and relaxation. And guess what? They start to eat more whole foods.

People often reach for food that doesn’t serve their health because there are unmet needs in their life. Some people want to deepen their spiritual practice or relationship with others, but they ignore these callings and eat sugar instead. I’ve been doing this work for 9 years and I see amazing results when people begin to create a life they enjoy and treat themselves with a deeper kindness and respect. The results are that they are able to change the way they eat without pain and deprivation. When they get more of what they need in life, they stop using food to stuff the uncomfortable feelings they have from not meeting their heart’s desires.

More discipline, self-hate and deprivation won’t create lasting results in your health. It instead creates a roller coaster of painful emotions and intense shame for continuing to gain the weight back.

Ask yourself, what are you truly craving in life?

Sugar Cravings

Food is Medicine

My Mom recently heard this interview on Minnesota Public Radio and called me to let me know I had to listen to it. I’m so glad I did. This podcast features Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for functional medicine, James Gordon, executive director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine at the Georgetown Medical School, and Penny George, the board chair of the Penny George Institute Foundation which supports the work of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis.

They discuss how real food, social connection, time in nature and connecting to something greater outside of yourself (spirituality) are key components in healing. It’s such a hopeful perspective on how these leaders in holistic health are making significant changes in how we get well.

I especially appreciated their shared perspective that an illness is an invitation and a doorway into a healthier, more satisfying life if we are open and willing to do our work in healing.

I invite you to download this today and be inspired by the positive change you can create in your life.

 

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Sassy Spoon Restaurant

I came across a restaurant that serves naturally raised, local meat, whole fats AND everything they offer is gluten-free, so I had to share!

Sassy Spoon, located in the Nokomis neighborhood of Minneapolis, is a gem! My husband and I ate there yesterday and ordered the turkey meatballs and yucca patties….absolutely mouthwatering and delicious!! I believe real food comes from farms and gardens and this is exactly what the owner Tamara  is offering. And there is gluten free beer and wine to enjoy too.

And to take it a step further, this restaurant serves bone broth! It doesn’t get any healthier than that. I hope they get so busy they need to open additional locations. Healthy food can taste amazing and she’s making that happen!

Tell your friends and make time to visit this establishment. Show your support for healthy, local, real food!

 

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Proud Member of the Weston A. Price Foundation

I am a member of the Weston A. Price organization. I believe in their mission and value the scientific knowledge they offer on whole foods. I also appreciate that they aren’t funded by the government or any other private interest group.  I highly recommend subscribing to their quarterly journal that is packed with valuable information on health. And it’s available for just $40.00 a year. The one comment I would make on their mission is about dairy products. It’s been my experience that not everyone can digest dairy. I believe in the benefits of raw dairy, but it’s not for everyone. Below is an excerpt from their website to learn more about their mission.

“The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants.

The Foundation seeks to establish a laboratory to test nutrient content of foods, particularly butter produced under various conditions; to conduct research into the “X Factor,” discovered by Dr. Price; and to determine the effects of traditional preparation methods on nutrient content and availability in whole foods.

The board and membership of the Weston A. Price Foundation stand united in the belief that modern technology should be harnessed as a servant to the wise and nurturing traditions of our ancestors rather than used as a force destructive to the environment and human health; and that science and knowledge can validate those traditions.

The Foundation’s quarterly journal, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, is dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural and medical traditions throughout the world. It features illuminating and thought-provoking articles on current scientific research; human diets; non-toxic agriculture; and holistic therapies. The journal also serves as a reference for sources of foods that have been conscientiously grown and processed.”

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It’s a Journey, not an Event

Within the “diet industry”, there are an abundance of promises for quick fixes and FAST results. However, these short periods of dietary changes seldom create long-term outcomes. After years in my practice, I recognize that releasing weight and becoming emotionally healthy go hand in hand.

When losing weight too quickly, you may find it difficult to keep up with the changes emotionally. Let me explain. Most people do not realize that processed food is usually their way to cope with uncomfortable emotions. For example, how often have you gone through a pint of ice cream or a favorite dessert when you were anxious or lonely? How often have you overeaten and then promised yourself that the next time, and the time after that, will be different?

Although these habits can be changed, they require a longer-term approach that involves layering changes over time at a pace that works for you AND addressing the emotional root causes of your relationship with food. For example, if you are bored with your career and desperately want to be in a relationship, it will be more challenging for you to sustainably change your relationship with food until your life becomes more satisfying. Processed food and sugar is readily available and one of the main reasons for consumption is to give you a momentary high and block uncomfortable feelings. When you are carrying an underlying, unpleasant emotion throughout the day, due to boredom or lack of a meaningful relationship, you will often turn to food to get you through these emotions. How often do you need processed food to help you cope?

What I’m suggesting is that you become aware of the emotions that are blocking you from nourishing yourself with whole foods and also realize that the process of health is a journey, not an event. Listening to your emotional needs and learning how they can sabotage even the most dedicated dieter requires bringing to your awareness why you do what you do. And often, when you create positive changes in your emotional wellbeing, it affects not only your weight, but your life. Keep in mind that sustainable change is not a one-time event, but a continual refining of the journey.

Everyone’s journey to wellness is unique. Depending on how you’ve cared for yourself over the years will determine how long your journey to wellness will take. Here are some significant reasons that cause your recovery to take longer:

• Trauma and/or a difficult childhood
• Long term pharmaceutical drug or alcohol use
• Heavy sugar consumption
• In some cases, a long-term vegetarian or vegan diet
• Ignoring your health for a long period of time
• Ignoring chronic food sensitivities
• Toxic relationships

You may wonder why negative emotions are so important to bring to your awareness and resolve for a weight loss program to be successful. Most people do not realize that emotions are stored in the body and need to be addressed for good overall health and wellbeing. For example, the ‘heavy emotions’ of deep-rooted shame, unworthiness and guilt, are stored in the body and can often perpetuate weight gain. It is imperative to look at the whole person when creating health, especially the emotional side.

Creating health takes time, but a commitment to growth brings with it some amazing results. For example, some of the people that I’ve counseled have discovered their artistic side, started new hobbies, developed new friendships, started new romantic relationships, changed jobs, grown closer to their partner and have grown and evolved in many ways.

Quick fixes do lull us all into a feeling of “this time will be different”, but when we look back at all of the ‘promises’ it just might be more satisfying to make a commitment to confront what is not working and try a sustainable approach. People often think that getting away from their beloved sugar or processed food is going to be miserable, but eating satisfying, delicious whole foods leads to having more energy, feeling comfortable in your body, freedom to move as you’d like, positive moods, better confidence and so much more. When will you start your journey?

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Are You Addicted to Food?

If you’ve worked with me, you know that I have shared that some people cannot be ‘casual’ with sugar or other triggering foods.

In my practice I believe in transitioning into whole foods at a pace that works for the individual, while paying close attention to the emotions that surface as they upgrade their way of eating. That being said, some people find food as addictive as drugs and alcohol and they often need a different approach to heal.

Here’s a valuable article that shares 8 Common Symptoms that are typical of food addicts as well as the science behind the addiction.

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Maple Sausage with Cinnamon Apples

This breakfast combination is the perfect marriage of savory and sweet and provides a tasty alternative for those with egg allergies. I enjoy these with Swiss chard sautéed in butter, a piece of buttered teff Thurobread brand bread, and fermented vegetables. I make seven patties (scant 1/3 cup each) and freeze half of the uncooked meat to bring out later in the week. I make the apples all at once and just store in the refrigerator for the week.

Approximately 7 servings

Ingredients

1 lb. ground pastured pork
2 tsps. chopped sage
2 tsps. maple syrup
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. marjoram
3 apples, sliced thinly
2 TBS butter
½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions

1. Sauté the apples, cinnamon and butter in a skillet on low heat. You can add a little water to help them cook more quickly. Put a lid on the skillet to keep moist.

2. Place the pork, sage, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, red pepper, and marjoram in a bowl and combine well. Form the mixture into patties 2-inches wide and ½- inch thick.

3. While the apples are cooking, heat another skillet over medium-high heat.

4. Fry the sausage patties in the skillet until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Recipe compliments of Danielle Walker.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs

I have a theme to my cooking lately . . . delicious, satisfying and QUICK to prepare! Here is my latest which is Braised Beef Short Ribs. It makes a large portion and contains plenty of marrow from the bones which is healing on so many levels.

Braised Beef Short Ribs (serves 8-10)

Ribs are a flavorful cut of meat with plenty of healthy, satisfying fat. Although you can bake them, I find the slow cooker to be more convenient. Ribs are not inexpensive, but when you figure you can get up to 10 servings from this delicious recipe, the cost per meal is very reasonable.

Ingredients

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. sea salt

12 grass-fed beef short ribs

2 TBS coconut oil

6 carrots, chopped

6 celery ribs, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 turnips, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef stock

Directions

  1. Turn the slow cooker on high.
  2. Stir minced garlic, ground pepper and sea salt together. Then season the beef short ribs with the garlic, salt and pepper mixture.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Sear seasoned ribs approximately one or two minutes on each side.
  4. Transfer the seared ribs to the slow cooker and add carrots, celery, onion, turnips, bay leaves, red wine and beef stock.
  5. Cook the ribs and vegetables on high for approximately 5 hours, or low for approximately 8 hours. The ribs are done when they fall off the bone and are very tender.

 

Recipe compliments of Jenny McGruther.

Healing Intense Digestive Symptoms

Healing Intense Digestive Symptoms

I would like to share a little about the GAPS Diet because of its amazing healing properties. I am not suggesting that people who work with me need to eat this way. However, I thought someone might benefit from my personal experience.

First, I do not care for the word ‘diet’. It often brings to mind a ‘plan’ that someone blindly follows for a period of time without truly connecting to themselves and their body and then resumes their former eating habits. If I could rename this book by Natasha McBride, I would call it the GAPS Nutritional Protocol, but she did not ask me.

I have witnessed the amazing healing benefits of this nutritional program firsthand. My husband and I have been married for 5 years. Prior to meeting me, he ate corn flakes, hot dogs and cheap Chinese food. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. After our marriage, he began eating the foods that I prepared and noticed improved energy, reduced cravings and he eliminated some health symptoms. However, he still consumed foods he was sensitive to. Even though, he experienced bloating, gas and diarrhea, he was not emotionally ready to remove them from his diet. However, in the fall of 2012, he experienced some severe health symptoms and was diagnosed with Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder. Reluctantly, he began thyroid medication to stabilize his intense symptoms. His goal was to eliminate this pharmaceutical drug as soon as possible. After some research, I realized that the root cause of his illness was a leaky gut.

This brought me to the GAPS Diet and I realized it was imperative for him to begin this diet to heal the root cause of his thyroid disease. And since I struggled for years with a gluten and dairy allergy, I decided to try the GAPS diet and see if it would heal my gut, too. If you are not familiar with the GAPS Diet, it is a soup made from bone broth and non-starchy vegetables with plenty of high-quality animal fat. This combination heals and seals the gut lining. It takes a significant commitment to have this bone broth soup prepared and ready at all times since it is all you eat until you are symptom free. We made 3 large crockpots a week.

Eliminating symptoms takes different lengths of time for different people. We started the GAPS diet in January 2014 and in less than a month, my husband had well-formed bowel movements day-after-day with no bloating, gas or urgency. His energy improved and he began to absorb more nutrients. However, he was by no means ‘healed’. He still has this soup once or twice a day because he craves it and his body does very well with it. He is not ready to eat much else other than naturally raised animal protein, healthy fats and cooked vegetables. Recently, he has added small amounts of 100% grass-fed, raw dairy with no symptoms. It is important to note that he also does weekly acupuncture, tai chi or chi gong, standard process whole food supplements and a homeopathic remedy. This combination has allowed him to discontinue his thyroid medication and be 100% symptom free for many months.

I also experienced great results on the GAPS Diet .I had been unable to eat gluten and dairy since 2006 because I had severe symptoms. Now I enjoy 100% grass-fed, raw dairy and gluten. I choose not to eat much gluten because my body just feels better with animal protein, healthy fat and vegetables, but it is a delight to have the freedom to eat it occasionally. I choose to still eat the soup about once a day because I really like it and I continue to experience healing from this way of eating.

The GAPS Diet is like a spiritual experience, meaning it’s HARD. You must give up your attachment to food and simply eat soup. You can consume as much soup as you want (which by the way gives an intense feeling of nourishment). And remember over time you can add other nourishing foods one at a time as long as there are no signs of sensitivity. My husband and my #1 priority in life is spiritual growth so we were up for the challenge. Also, you need to be ready for the GAPS diet because it affects your whole life. We did not eat out, we could not eat at other people’s homes and we packed all of our own food when we traveled. It was a serious commitment and one that many people aren’t ready for yet. And that’s ok. Timing is everything. Also, it’s important to understand that the GAPS Diet is very detailed and specific. There are many things that Natasha McBride recommends beyond just the bone broth soup so I encourage anyone wanting to apply this way of eating to read her book in detail before beginning.

So even if you do not need the GAPS Diet, I highly recommend making bone broth regularly. I explain it in detail to my clients since it has incredible healing properties. And it is a delicious base for your favorite soups and sauces.