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.


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


  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

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.

If you think about it, life only happens in the present moment. Deciding to try something new or making a different choice can only happen in the ‘now’ moment. I share this topic because something that derails many people when they want to change their food choices is, “I’ll start tomorrow.”

If the changes you’re going to make are always in the future, you never actually make any changes. However, a question that you can ask in the moment is, “What can I do differently now to improve my health?” Sometimes, it is as simple as noticing that you’re comfortably satisfied so you choose to not eat more food than you need. Or, when you plate your food, you may choose a smaller portion. Notice that these actions only happen in the ‘now’ moment.

So why do so many people avoid the present moment? Often, it is their fear of being intimately aware of the choices they have made in their life. They may be so angry at themselves for gaining weight that they cannot tolerate their feelings in the ‘now’ moment. Something to consider is that it’s exhausting to constantly distract yourself from the present moment and it often leads to weight gain and poor health. In time, there can be peacefulness in allowing yourself to be fully in this moment. It can be freeing. However, it takes in-the-moment courage to allow yourself to experience your current state of being.

It’s been my experience that creating sustainable changes to the way you nourish yourself begins with being in the present moment. A strict diet often uses willpower for a certain period of time, but that usually comes to an end. Unfortunately, when most people stop their ‘diet’ they return to their familiar eating choices and patterns. However, when you get in touch with the present moment, you can notice and begin to heal the underlying causes of your need to soothe with food. Being in the ‘now’ moment empowers you to make sustainable, long-lasting changes to your health.

Diets are not sustainable, otherwise everyone who has ever dieted would be at their ideal weight. Most diets require quick (stressful) change with no time to transition emotionally into high-quality foods. So, let’s be honest, most people have emotions surrounding their eating habits. Often, people are surprised that their attachment to food is emotionally driven. If food choices were logical instead of emotional, everyone would simply eat the best foods for their body, adjust their portions sizes, find exercise they love and get the results they want. Plus, they would seamlessly continue this lifestyle because they know it best serves their health. However, I have yet to meet someone who can change their food patterns without addressing unmet emotional needs.

Most people discover that emotional support unravels the mystery surrounding the frustration with their “lack of willpower.” Also, they are bewildered about what to incorporate into their meals that is, not only nutritious, but also satisfying. The first step is to bring consciousness into their relationship with food. Food often serves a purpose in their lives, such as avoiding painful feelings like loneliness, unworthiness, and/or shame. You may read this and think,” I’m just lazy. I don’t have any emotional baggage.” However, digging deeper, you might find ‘good’ reasons why it has been difficult to change your eating patterns.

Another angle to consider when exploring why it’s difficult to shift your food choices is the food industry. They have made a science of creating addictive foods to increase their profits. Sugar is a great example; studies have shown it’s as addictive as heroine. However, whole, one ingredient foods from nature combined in a, delicious, health promoting way do not create cravings, in fact, they calm cravings and allow you to feel satisfied.

As a holistic nutrition counselor and licensed therapist, I support each person individually during and after the 4 month program. There is no ‘correct’ pace. The goal is forward movement at a pace that works for your lifestyle. You will not add additional foods until you are emotionally ready. This approach creates sustainable change to your eating habits because you grow emotionally while at the same time changing your food. When you are able heal and release the intense emotional need to comfort and soothe with food, you open the door to freedom and satisfaction with your food choices.

Your relationship with food can have a tremendous impact on your spiritual growth. People can often overlook the nourishment of their body when on a spiritual path. Although we are more than our body, it is the vessel that we travel with in this life. Processed foods with sugar and chemical additives have a low vibration, while one ingredient foods from nature actually raise your vibration. Eating whole foods from nature calms your body and mind so that you can be conscious and present in life. On the other hand, eating pastry and having a cup of coffee can actually cause you to feel more anxious. If you are on a spiritual path, I invite you to consider the benefits of truly exploring your relationship with food. Food is a profound doorway into spiritual growth because how you experience food is how you experience life. For example, if you deprive yourself of pleasure and joy in your life, you probably deprive yourself of eating nourishing food. I often see people ‘being good’ all day with food, a.k.a. eating less than they may need or not getting the macronutrients their body requires, and then losing control at night. Our beliefs and habits are ‘mirrored’ in our food choices.

The purpose of this article is twofold. If you’re focused on living life more consciously, I want to pique your interest about the possibility of awakening to your relationship with food. Life changes when you upgrade the way you nourish your body. And after making the connection to spiritual growth and upgrading the way you eat, I would like to share some valuable tips on how to create more efficiency in supporting yourself with high-quality, delicious food. I find that supplying yourself with whole natural foods that are ready to eat in your refrigerator is one of the number one ways to make sustainable changes to your eating habits.

When counseling clients, I notice that they have a sense of what foods might be good for them, but often short change themselves by choosing low-quality, processed foods. Why? One word: EMOTIONS.

Let me share an example of a woman who I’ll call Stella. Stella is highly committed to spiritual growth and came to me because she was working with a spiritual teacher who invited her to notice her feelings. She quickly realized that this was going to be a stumbling block for her because she would numb her feelings by reaching for sugar and processed carbs. She shared that she had been overweight for years and it wasn’t because she didn’t have a sense of how to eat well, it was because she didn’t allow herself to feel her feelings. Over several months, we gently untangled the root causes of her need to numb with food. This exploration allowed her to get in touch with some unresolved pain and frustration that she had been afraid to confront. Stella was willing to face these issues and through the process found her voice and got in touch with what she truly needed more of in her life and it wasn’t sugar and processed carbs. She has since calmed her sugar cravings, lost weight and flourished on her spiritual path which is opening her heart and taking her places she never dreamed she could go.

People often think nutrition is a confusing topic because of the latest fad diets and theories on best ways to eat. These ‘diets’ miss a key component: tuning into your unique body and the signs it gives you about your food choices. I invite you to explore nutrition from the perspective of your body, not your head. You may not want to admit it, but your body is far more brilliant than your head in matters of which foods are most nourishing for you. I invite you to become aware of the effect of foods during digestion and following a meal to learn which foods are best for you. The mind is often cluttered with beliefs around topics such as eating meat, dairy or whole grains based on the endless conflicting information you have received. The body will give you clear signs about what it likes and what it does not if you listen closely. Since nature is not making any new foods; one ingredient, whole foods are the best place to begin your experiment. It is unrealistic to think that something manmade is more nutritious than the profound wisdom of whole foods.

Now, let us transition into ways to make healthy eating a part of your busy life. You should know that eating well is a part-time job and that is not going to change. With that being said, there are ways to create efficiencies in your meal planning and prep. First, it is important to get clear on the fact that you will need to feed yourself 3 to 5 times a day for the rest of your life. Daunting, I know. So, taking the time to create efficiency around meal planning and cooking is invaluable.

You might find it helpful to know that I do not cook during the week. Like most people, I have a busy schedule and the last thing I want to do after a long day is prepare dinner. It would not happen. So, I batch cook every weekend for 3-4 hours. I know what you’re thinking . . . that is a real investment of time. But do consider that people often spend at least one hour a day with cooking and clean-up which would be 7 hours a week. With batch cooking, I’m able to open my refrigerator or freezer to delicious, whole foods that are ready to eat within minutes after heating them. I believe in cooking once and eating numerous times, versus cooking once and eating once.
Here are 8 helpful tips to explore when upgrading the way you nourish yourself:

1. Organize your kitchen. Clear out all unnecessary items. Have important kitchen tools easily assessable.

2. Create a permanent, staple grocery list. Organize it by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, staple items, etc. Include all items you purchase regularly. Leave space to write in ingredients for specific recipes each week. Tailor this list to fit your family’s needs.

3. Make a weekly grocery list. Plan your meals for the week instead of planning one meal at a time and running to the store multiple times a week. Yes, it may take you 45 minutes or more to plan food for the week, but this will save time that can be used to prepare food rather than driving and shopping.

4. If possible, include your children/or partner with food prep to save time and create connection.

5. There are two types of cooking: one that uses a recipe with multiple ingredients and has a more complex flavor; and also what I call simple cooking: a protein, healthy fat, complex carbohydrate and a vegetable. So an example of the simple cooking option would be seasoned baked chicken, sweet potato, green beans with organic butter or olive oil and sea salt. You could also add a whole grain if that feels good for your body. I combine both styles of cooking based on preference and available time.

6. Find a rhythm that suits you. I make my grocery list on Thursday, shop on Friday and cook early Sunday morning. All of these tasks in one day make me grumpy and take more time than I am willing to give. Consider the time of day you have the most energy and make that your cooking time.

7. Make your cooking environment enjoyable. Play your favorite music, listen to a book or podcast, or practice consciousness by being present with the art of cooking. Surrender to cooking. Know that this is the most important way to spend your time at that moment.

8. Most food lasts well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Consider freezing half of your batch cooked food and bring it out halfway through the week.

I invite you to make changes over time at a pace that works for you. It is not beneficial to change all of your food at once as abrupt beginnings often have abrupt endings.

MAGGIE CHRISTOPHER is a certified holistic nutrition counselor, psychotherapist and advanced QNRT practitioner. She helps people heal the pain of their past using QNRT so they can thrive which includes eating high-quality whole foods. (This article also appeared in the Edge Magazine.)

A client of mine shared this movie trailer with me and I decided to purchase the DVD because it was so valuable. I’ve watched it numerous times and continue to get value from it as I apply this knowledge to my life.

I see a pattern in my work between the people who know they can lose weight, and the ones who feel that their body is unable to lose weight. I find that the ones who have positive beliefs around weight loss, see results, and the one’s who are tied to the belief of “I can’t lose weight,” struggle.

I highly recommend this DVD to anyone who is ready to grow and evolve. Applying this wisdom is key to becoming happier and healthier on a cellular level. You can purchase this movie in several formats on their website.

Here’s the 4-minute trailer. Enjoy!

Here is another variation of chili worth adding to your recipes. This is also delicious vegetarian.

Serves 8-10

1 TBS olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4-1 tsp ground cayenne or chipotle pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen corn
2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 28-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
4-oz. can roasted green chilies, mild or hot
4 cups chicken broth, more if needed
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
A small drizzle of honey
2 chicken breasts, baked & shredded
Juice of 1 lime, or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear.

2. Sauté onions on medium high heat in olive oil until translucent. Then add the garlic and spices and stir for a minute.

3. Add the corn, beans, tomatoes, green chilies, broth, balsamic vinegar, and honey.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the shredded chicken and some lime juice.

5. Adjust the seasonings – More heat? More lime? A tad more sweetness? Good chili has a balance of these flavors. If the chili thickens too much, thin it with broth; if the chili becomes too thin, cook it longer with the lid off to reduce the liquid. Serve with a wedge of lime.

This meatloaf is packed with flavor, vegetables and topped with a delicious glaze. It makes enough for two meatloaves (standard size loaf pans) so I cook one and freeze the other. Serve with a side of vegetables and brown rice if desired.

Serves 8-10

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
1 large zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided use
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound ground bison
1 pound ground grass-fed beef
1 cup ketchup, divided use
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, zucchini, pepper, garlic, ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté until veggies are al dente.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and parsley. Add the meat, ½ cup of ketchup, 2 TBS balsamic vinegar and the cooled veggies. Mix until just combined.

4. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil. Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place in pan.

5. In a small bowl, make the glaze by mixing ½ cup ketchup, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over loaf.

6. Bake uncovered for approximately 60-75 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

I’ve found it difficult to get brown rice to turn out consistently until I found this easy technique. With this recipe, you’ll be able to make perfect brown rice – every time!

Makes 2 cups

1 cup short, medium, or long-grain brown rice
Sea salt, to taste

1. Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds.

2. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over
high heat.

3. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

4. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink.

5. Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off of the heat.

6. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.

7. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with sea salt.

This recipe will make enough for two, 6oz tilapia fillets. If you find you enjoy this seasoning, make a large batch and have it ready for an easy, weekday meal.


1 tablespoon butter, oil, or ghee, melted
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking dish.

2. Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over fish.

3. Bake covered for approximately 20 minutes or until fish is white and
flakes when pulled apart with a fork.