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What a fascinating read!  In this book, William Davis makes the case that wheat (used interchangeably with gluten) is detrimental to our health.  This goes against conventional teachings that whole grains are a necessary part of a healthy diet.  He explains that modern wheat has been scientifically modified to a great extent over the past century in order to yield more wheat per acre.  The result is a product that looks nothing like wheat of even a hundred years ago, and this new wheat has negative effects on our health.  He claims that wheat is addictive, is a big contributor to obesity, diabetes, premature aging, heart disease, and poor brain health.

As a cardiologist, William Davis has seen first hand how conventional medical approaches work (or don’t work) to address many health problems.  He provides shocking anecdotes that show how healing a wheat-free diet can be to people suffering a wide variety of medical problems.  This book is full of some solid, and some more hypothetical conclusions about the role wheat plays in disease and healing.  My takeaway?  As with everything health related, one needs to look at the whole picture.  For me, this book provides good information regarding one piece of the puzzle.  I do agree that wheat has become far too central to the American diet, and it would be more health-promoting to eliminate or reduce the amount of wheat we consume.  There really isn’t a place in any healing diet for gluten.  However, I’m not sure if it will necessarily be a miracle solution for everyone.  With that said, I do think that with any health condition, diet and lifestyle should be the first things addressed – food can either build our health or build our disease!

You should read this book if you are hoping to wrap your head around the whole gluten debate, and better understand the science why gluten may be problematic in our diet.

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Last year I had the privilege of taking Meghan Telpner’s online course, the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, and I cannot say enough good things about it.  The course deepened my knowledge of how we can heal and nourish through dietary choices, and it took my passion to the next level.  Wondering if you would like the course?  Well, YES you would, I have no doubts!  But read on for my top 5 reasons you should become a Culinary Nutrition Expert:

  1. Half of your assignments are cooking assignments!  That means every week you get hands-on experience in the kitchen, and every single recipe is delicious!  I mean, what’s the point of learning how to heal with food if we don’t know how to make the healing food in the first place?!
  2. You will connect with an amazing community!  The Culinary Nutrition Expert Facebook group is a great place to connect with fellow students and alumni about all things food, business, etc.  Some of my closest Instagram friends are from the program, and we’ve bounced many ideas off of each other in terms of how we plan on applying what we’ve learned.
  3. Meghan and Josh (her husband) are so knowledgable and so much fun!  I seriously think Meghan might be my sister from another mister.  The video modules are definitely not boring.  And if you think you know a lot about this topic, be prepared to realize just how much you have to learn.  These 2 have been researching this topic for years and years and years, and it was an absolute joy to learn from them.
  4. The written assignments are so practical!  You will not feel like you are wasting any of your time during this program.  No matter how you plan on applying the information in your real life or business, all of the skills you practice during the course are skills you will use again.  From meal planning to recipe creation to researching health conditions, anyone who is human could benefit from the information, whether you plan on starting a business or not (it has definitely been extra helpful on the business side though).
  5. If you do plan on starting a business, you will gain a certification!  With my own meal-prep service and cooking class instruction, I believe it gives me an edge.  And trust me, you EARN that badge of honor in this program!

Wanna give it a test-run?  Check out the Academy of Culinary Nutrition Mini-Training to see if you like the vibe!  Registration opens on April 3 (next week!), and you can sign up for an Info Session to learn more.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me cleanfoodcleanplate@gmail.com.  And use my unique referral link so they know I sent some love their way: Academy of Culinary Nutrition

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Oh, happy day!  Here’s a recipe that makes it perfectly acceptable to eat a decadent chocolate bowl of YUM for breakfast.  You will feel like you are doing something wrong, like you’re starting your day with dessert, but it is oh-so-right!  This breakfast is full of nutrients, anti-oxidants, and has the perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbs to start your day.  Plus it has a serving of the superfood, Maca.  If you’ve never tried it before, it smells kind of like butterscotch.  It’s an adaptogen that is derived from a root in the mountains of South America.  It’s said to be good for hormone balance, immune system support, and increased energy, and it’s loaded with a long list of amino acids and nutrients.  If you aren’t ready to branch out and buy this ingredient, you can make the oats without it, but I like to have it on-hand for this recipe, raw brownies, energy balls, and smoothies.

But the real star of the show here is cacao.  Cacao isn’t just cocoa spelled wrong, it’s the raw, unprocessed version (and way more fun to say).  Both cocoa and cacao are extracted from cacao beans.  The fatty part of the fruit is removed (that’s cocoa butter, which is used in cooking and beauty products), and what’s left is cacao powder.  When cacao is heated and processed, we call it cocoa powder.  Unfortunately, the heating and procession and general “sciencing” kills off many of the living, vital, key nutrients that exist naturally in the cocoa bean.  Cacao has a slightly stronger, richer, and more acidic flavor, whereas cocoa loses some of that “punch” in the roasting process.

If you are baking or heating a dish, you can use either, since you will be applying heat anyway, but if you are preparing something to be eaten raw, I highly suggest you reach for the raw cacao powder, and this is why:

  • Cacao is high in antioxidants – 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries – decreases your risk of cancer by scavenging for free radicals
  • Cacao is high in magnesium – magnesium is basically nature’s “chill pill” – it relieves muscle soreness, decreases anxiety, promotes more restful sleep, aids in digestion, plays a role in heart health, may prevent migraines, and regulates levels of other key minerals in the body.
  • Cacao is the highest plant source of iron – good for circulation and carrying oxygen throughout the body
  • Cacao has more calcium than cow’s milk – strong bones!
  • Cacao is an aphrodisiac and a natural mood elevator

Strawberry Chocolate Superfood Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of strawberries, cut up
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides, optional

Directions

Mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight before eating.

You can make this up to 2 days in advance with the strawberries already mixed in.  I recommend leaving them out and adding them right before you eat it if you plan on preparing them more than 3 days in advance.

Optional toppings: more strawberries, almond butter, or coconut cream; cacao nibs.

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I’m so excited to share that I have another ebook available to you!  The 10 Day Reset is a complete wellness program.  I’ve collaborated with a couple of my good friends to bring you a 10 day meal plan, along with 10 minute yoga and interval training workouts.  We round out the program by suggesting a 10 minute daily meditation practice.  We are releasing this at the end of February, as a sort of “reset” and refocus on health goals (as many people have begun to slip by now on their new years resolutions, or downright given up and rolled on down the hill), but this program is also a fun challenge any time of the year!

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The meal plan

The meal plan is plant-based, and excludes all animal products, gluten, and refined sugars.  It’s full of simple and delicious meals that will nourish and fuel your body, leaving you satisfied, not deprived.  By cutting out these food groups, you allow your digestive system to take a little break, fueling it with only easy-to-digest plant foods.  You will feel a boost in energy, and your body may even release some of those unwanted pounds.  In cutting out processed foods, you will also reset your taste buds and reduce sugar cravings.

The workouts

The workouts are 10-15 minutes in length, and are designed to get results in a short period of time.  The yoga workouts are provided by Chelsea Young.  In just 10 short minutes, you will flow and be challenged, and you will step off your mat feeling better than you did before you stepped on.  The interval training workouts are brought to you by Hilarie of Official Positively Fit and Positively Panicked.  She uses high intensity moves interspersed with body-weight resistance training that will help you burn fat, boost your metabolism and build stamina.

The meditation

This part is for you to complete on your own!  We urge you to set aside 10 minutes a day to connect with your physical body and quiet your mind.  For me, this will be the most challenging part of the program!  But the benefits of meditation make this part so worthwhile – plus we provide you with a checklist, and if you are anything like me, this is motivation enough to get it done.

What the ebook includes:

  • Original recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire 10 days
  • Bonus snack recipes
  • Complete grocery lists
  • A weeknight meal prep guide
  • Exclusive YouTube workouts – 5 yoga workouts and 5 interval training workouts
  • More detailed information about the meal plan and why it will benefit your body
  • A meditation guide
  • A checklist, so you can track your progress

Click here to purchase the program, and join us, starting Monday, March 5, as we commit to 10 days of total wellness!  Tag us in your journey #10dayreset

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What a read!  This book will tell you things you almost intuitively know to be true, but somehow will still manage to blow your mind.  The processed food industry is one of the greatest contributors to many of the health crises in our country.  The name of the game is profits, and that is achieved a few ways: the products need to be shelf-stable (take out the living, vital nutrients and replace them with preservatives), the products need to be crave-able (in fact, then tend to lead to overeating), and the products need to be produced cheaply.

The key players in the processed food industry aren’t nutritionists.  Or chefs.  Or farmers.  Or anyone who really grasps real food in any way, shape, or form.  The real players are marketing geniuses and scientists.  Processed food is largely created by chemists (!!), who work to perfect the chemical cocktails so that they taste great, send lots of happy signals to our brain, keep us reaching for more, and have unnaturally long shelf-lives.  This is the food that is powering our bodies?!  (Note: I got a sense of relief when reading this, because I always had a hard time moderating my food cravings and intake before I switched to a whole foods diet.  I mean, who really can eat just one?!  But knowing that it was very intentionally designed that way by really smart people made me feel like less of glutton!).

In this book you will find story after story of big companies, political entanglements, marketing strategies, scientific discoveries, and changing social climate in favor of “convenience foods” that have led to a health epidemic in our country of people who are overfed and undernourished.  The INSANE levels of salt, sugar, and fat that get pumped into processed foods to make them increasingly delicious and irresistible are wreaking havoc on our bodies.  When more money is spent on marketing than the ingredients themselves, lobbying to control labeling laws, and study after study that is funded by the companies themselves to try to defend their products against negative health claims – is it any wonder why Americans don’t know how to properly feed themselves?  I won’t go into more detail because I think everyone should read this book — hopefully it will inspire you to continue to make steps to transform the way you eat.

Last week I shared my personal experience with adrenal fatigue.  If you’ve been under chronic, long-term stress and you think it is impacting your health, I’m going to share some ways you can help to heal your body with food.  But remember, to truly heal, you need to heal your WHOLE self, and I highly recommend things like counseling, yoga, meditation, a support group, etc. in order to address the root cause of your stress.

The common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are: chronic fatigue, body aches and headaches, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, lightheadedness, hair loss, brain fog, moodiness, depression, skin ailments, sleep disturbances, and sweet and salty food cravings.[1]

Foods to avoid:

Caffeine

One of the best things you can do to help heal adrenal fatigue is to cut out caffeine.  I know it sounds daunting, and maybe even downright terrible, but I promise you, it is so important (and the terribleness only lasts a handful of days, max).  Anyone who experiences chronic stress knows how hard sleep is to come by, and since caffeine further interferes with the natural sleep cycle, it’s pretty clear why it’s so important.  Our body recovers and repairs while we sleep, and poor sleep just takes away time the adrenal glands need to recover.  Furthermore, caffeine stimulates the already over-stimulated adrenals and uses more of the already-depleted cortisol.[2]

Sugar

Energy levels are another key area of concern when it comes to adrenal fatigue.  If you are exhausted all.the.time., it is really important to stabilize your blood sugar so that you don’t experience the dips that come with blood sugar spikes and crashes.  The easiest way to do this?  Cut out sugar![3]  The adrenal glands kick into high gear when blood sugar crashes – and your adrenal glands are already tired, so give em a break.[4]  Starchy carbohydrates should also be eliminated or limited due to their effect on blood sugar.  Ironically, sugar is the first thing I turn to when I’m tired, so cutting this out in a fatigued state takes some willpower, but once you start feeling the effects, you’ll know it’s worth it.

Foods that cause Inflammation

This is a big category, but it is so important to bring down systemic inflammation in order to heal any system of the body.  Inflammatory foods are also more difficult for the body to digest, and since adrenal fatigue compromises digestion, you need to be sure you are putting food in your body that it can handle.[5]  Foods in this group include any processed foods and meats, hydrogenated oils and gluten.  Replace these foods with real foods that are rich in nutrients!

 

Healing Foods

Focus On:

  • Eating small meals often throughout the day to maintain stable blood sugar and energy levels.[6]
  • Macronutrients: healthy fats and quality proteins
  • Micronutrients: Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium[7]
  • Other: Probiotics and Adaptogens

Seaweed

Seaweed is extremely rich in magnesium, zinc, iodine, and Vitamin C.  It also helps maintain a healthy digestive system, and can act as an anti-viral.[8]  Remember, immunity and digestion are compromised under chronic stress (“fight or flight” mode), so we need to boost the function of these systems with food!  Some of my favorite ways to consume seaweed are sushi and miso soup.

Organ Meats (such as liver, from pasture-raised animals)

I will confess that I haven’t dabbled much in organ meats, mostly because I have no idea how to prepare them.  BUT it is worth mentioning here because they are SO rich in vitamins and minerals, and all of the constituents are great for healing the adrenal gland.  Liver contains all of the B Vitamins as well as healthy fats and cholesterol.[9]  If you aren’t down with organ meals, other pasture-raised meats provide beneficial protein, fats, and vitamins.  The higher levels of Omega-3s in pasture-raised meat (vs. factory farmed meats) are better for balancing hormones.

Spinach

Spinach is a top food source for both B Vitamins and Magnesium![10]  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that use spinach: Ultimate Summer Salad and Pesto.

Sea Salt

Many people suffering from adrenal fatigue have deficiencies in minerals and electrolytes. This is because another hormone that is produced in the adrenal gland, aldosterone, also becomes depleted.  Aldosterone is responsible for regulating salt levels in the body.[11]  It’s all connected, right?  I noticed when my aldosterone was being affected when I started craving salty foods (I normally crave sweet things).  Sea salt (as opposed to table salt) also contains many minerals needed to support the adrenal gland.[12]

Bell Peppers

Move over oranges, bell peppers are one of the best food sources of Vitamin C!  Vitamin C not only supports adrenal function, but it also supports the suppressed immune system.[13]

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are the best food source of magnesium – one of the critical minerals in healing the adrenal gland.[14]  Magnesium is nature’s “chill pill” and may help reduce anxiety and depression – the very things that probably got you into this whole mess.  Try my Turmeric Spiced Pumpkin Seeds for the most satisfying sweet and savory anti-inflammatory snack.  I also sprinkle them on salads and on my Butternut Squash Soup.  Pumpkin seeds are also an amazing source of zinc, B Vitamins, and Vitamin E.[15]

Avocado

Good fats help your body heal, period.  They also help balance hormones and regulate energy levels.  Avocado is a delicious source of healthy fats.[16]  As if we needed more reasons to eat avocados?!

Fermented Foods like Kimchi and Sauerkraut

As I’ve said before, the digestive system is of secondary importance when it comes to survival.  Probiotic rich foods help keep a healthy balance of microflora that aids in digestion (and immunity too!).[17]  I love adding kimchi to my stir fry or sauerkraut to my Buddha Bowls or any Mexican dish!

Adaptogens

The name says it all – adaptogens help us to adapt to stress.  There are a group of medicinal plants, roots, mushrooms, etc. that have constituents that help to balance out our stress response (cortisol!).  Some examples of adaptogens are Ginseng, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Maca, Eleuthero, Reishi, and Moringa.  These can be taken in supplement form or often incorporated into food.  Adaptogens worked very well to help balance out my stress hormones, and I noticed within a few days of starting a regimen, my face stopped breaking out.[18]

 

Hop on over to my recipe section for an adrenal supporting recipe that will make your tastebuds, your tummy, and your adrenal glands happy.  I developed my Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl to include as many healing foods as possible, and the results are delicious.

 

[1] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[2] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[3] Diet for Adrenal Fatigue. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2017, from http://adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[4] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[5] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[6] Diet for Adrenal Fatigue. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2017, from http://adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[7] Mama, K. -. (2017, June 02). Adrenal Fatigue: Remedies, Supplements & Recovery | Wellness Mama. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/55210/adrenal-fatigue-remedies/

[8] 15 Impressive Seaweed Benefits. (2017, August 23). Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.organicfacts.net/seaweed.html

[9] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[10] McAdams, M. (2017, October 03). Foods That Are High in B Vitamins. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/22253-foods-high-b-vitamins/

[11] Mama, K. -. (2017, June 02). Adrenal Fatigue: Remedies, Supplements & Recovery | Wellness Mama. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/55210/adrenal-fatigue-remedies/

[12] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[13] McLaughlin, A. (2017, October 03). Foods High in Vitamin C & Zinc. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/240979-foods-high-in-vitamin-c-zinc/

[14] RD, M. T. (2017, October 03). Foods That are Highest in Magnesium. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/22672-foods-contain-magnesium/

[15] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[16] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[17] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[18] Edwards, R. (2018, January 22). 7 Adaptogenic Herbs or Adaptogens that Help Reduce Stress. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from https://draxe.com/adaptogenic-herbs-adaptogens/

About 9 months ago, my whole world started to unravel.  My husband wanted a divorce.  I’d been a stay-at-home mom for 4 years, and spent my days caring for our two young kids (3 and 11 months at the time).  Sure, our marriage had lots of problems, but so does everyone else’s during this hard season of life of raising young kids and building careers.  After a quick trial separation, an even quicker few sessions in couples’ therapy, and a disastrous final family vacation, it was over.

During those first early days as a single mom, I thought I was doing well enough, all things considered (“well” is a relative term, I gave myself a lot of grace while i grieved).  Then one day it hit me like a freight train, all the tell-tale signs of adrenal fatigue.  While I was trying to keep my little family afloat, Cortisol was in the background pumping out at full force, wreaking havoc on my body, until one day, a couple of months into this whole mess, my adrenal gland was officially exhausted.

Headaches…oh, the headaches.  And the CHRONIC fatigue, only to be followed by sleepless nights.  My normally clear complexion was constantly breaking out.  I realized my immune system was shot when, night after night one week in the summer, I broke out in fever (which is even less fun when you still have little ones to care for 24/7 alone).  During the worst of it, my appetite was mostly gone and I lost 5 lbs. in one week, and I had an unquenchable thirst (which is indicative of extremely low blood pressure linked to stress).  My brain was in a constant fog and my short-term memory was basically gone.

The first thing I wondered was, “is this what depression feels like?”  Emotionally and mentally I was able to work through a lot of things, but none of this reconciled with my physical state.  I’m extremely fortunate to be part of the huge online health and wellness community, so I was familiar with adrenal fatigue.  I looked at my symptoms, did some research, and decided to try a more holistic and natural approach to healing myself.

The first thing I did was add in some adaptogenic supplements.  Within 48 hours, my face stopped breaking out.  The next thing I did was cut out coffee.  Since coffee stimulates the production of adrenaline and cortisol, it’s further taxing an already fatigued system.  After the first few foggy days, I felt better.  Like, a lot better.  And I started sleeping better too.

Since I already ate a very clean diet, I didn’t have any processed foods to cut out, so I focused on adding foods that would heal me.  The three areas I focused on were 1) my adrenal gland 2) my immune system and 3) my digestive health.  You see, when our body pumps out cortisol, we are essentially in “fight or flight” mode, which redirects our body’s energy to survival, and slows down less essential functions, like immunity and digestion.

While I am still on the road to recovery, I feel that I have been able to bounce back from the lowest lows much quicker than I would have had I not taken deliberate steps to heal my body with a combination of food, yoga, counseling, and a strong support system.  If you suffer from any of these symptoms, I hope my story will inspire you to take your health into your own hands.  It’s incredibly empowering because not only are YOU able to strongly influence the way you feel by what you put into your body, but you will also realize just how resilient your body (and spirit) can be.

 

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

 

  1. GET MORE SLEEP  Sleep is one of the most important factors to good health!  It should be a priority for all of us…it’s not a luxury, it is a necessity.  It supports a healthy immune system, reduces inflammation, prevents obesity, improves mood and cognition, and helps your body stay strong to fight off disease!  2017 was not a great year for sleep for me.  The year started out well.  Great, actually.  My baby finally started sleeping through the night at the end of January (he was 9 MONTHS…it was a long 9 months…), and I had a few great months of deep, mostly uninterrupted sleep.  Then my marriage started falling apart and the stress that accompanies divorce is not conducive to good sleep.  And now that I’ve got that under control, I’m a stay-at-home mom turned work-from-home mom who really can’t work much until the kids are in bed.  While I’m still figuring out the details of how to make that more manageable, some things we can all do to improve the quality of our sleep are: reduce sugar intake, reduce (or even eliminate) caffeine, have a calming bedtime routine that may include restorative yoga, warm baths in epsom salt, meditation, and reading, and stopping the use of electronics at least an hour before bed (GUILTY).
  2. Eat more greens.  Every day.  Ok, this one does have to do with food, but it is extremely specific and I think worthy of my list.  In my opinion, leafy greens should be their own food group, not lumped into the recommended servings of “fruits and veggies.”  They help every system of the body, fight disease, detoxify, and help slow down the aging process (yes please!!).  Instead of aiming for the generic “get healthier” or “lose weight,” add some very specific goals.  For me, this year, I want to be sure I eat greens every.damn.day. #greenseverydamnday let’s make it a thing!
  3. Detoxify my home with plants in every room  Speaking of greens, I want more green things around me!  There is something so calming about being surrounded by plants.  But even more important, they are a powerful tool to clean the air in your home!  They reduce toxins (and there are a lot), and oxygenate the air.  I want at least one green thing in every room of my house this year.
  4. Spend more time outside  I actually make this resolution every year, because it’s a good one.  And a fun one!  Being outside in the sunshine exposes us to Vitamin D (and the vast majority of us are Vitamin D deficient), and playing in the dirt may expose us to beneficial bacteria.  Plus, it just makes you feel good.
  5. Read more health books  There is just so much information out there, and I want to take it all in!  In fact, i’ll be publishing short book reviews on the blog every month or two so I can pass on some of the interesting tidbits.  I wish these kinds of things were required reading in school – I mean, we graduate high school knowing how to do calculus, but not knowing how to properly feed ourselves!  It blows my mind!  But it’s never too late to learn.  Sometimes the health headlines that make their way into mainstream media are a very incomplete picture of what true health is, so dig into the meaty stuff.
  6. Plant a bigger garden  I successfully grew zucchini and bell peppers last year, so I’m adding at least one new raised bed (hopefully 2!).  And I will keep them alive!  Mark my words!
  7. Reduce waste  Two New Years ago, I recommitted to recycling (I live outside of city limits and have to take it to a center).  Last New Years I decided I would start composting.  This year I want to examine all of the plastic and packaging that finds its way into our house and find ways to cut back even further.  What is something you can do to be a little greener?  Turn down your AC?  Cut back on your Amazon Prime purchases?  Start buying from the bulk bins?
  8. Spread the good word – food can be *healing*  I started my blog in 2017 mostly for fun.  I had some information and recipes I wanted to share, but lately my mission has become crystal clear.  Food can be our greatest healer.  Our healthcare system is totally messed up.  So many problems can be solved or prevented entirely through diet and lifestyle changes.  But most people don’t even know the proper way to eat, and it’s not their fault!  We are never formally taught about proper nutrition, and most of the studies and information comes from large processed food companies protecting their own interests.  I hope to be yet another warrior sharing what we should be eating, why, and equally important, how to do it – how to plan, shop, and prepare meals that will help us live our happiest, healthiest lives.  I want to do this on my Instagram account, my blog, in cooking classes, and in ways I haven’t yet dreamed of.

I’ve said it 32 times, and I’ll say it again: “where did the year go?”  Actually I’m pretty sure I’ve only said that in recent years, but since I’m not sure exactly when that sentiment became so strong on December 31st, I’m taking it back to the beginning.  It’s a time of year to reflect, and with all-to-recent memories of belly aches and holiday indulgences, it’s tough not to include some sort of health-related resolution.  No matter what side of the fence you stand on with New Years Resolutions, I think it’s always nice to have a defined moment in time to set goals, set intentions, and visualize the things you want in the year to come.

If you have a resolution to lose weight, I urge you to reframe and reimagine that goal (because it is SO not original, and it’s just so negative).  Let’s make this the year we GET HEALTHY.  It’s about abundance, not deprivation.  There are so many life-giving, delicious, colorful, interesting foods to try.  There is so much to learn!  And would you rather give your money to huge corporate food companies who have chemists making your food?  Or local farmers who grow things in dirt and sunshine, things you can take home and experiment with and cook with love?  The decisions are not as hard as we make them seem sometimes.  And while you are doing these things, your health will improve, your energy will increase, your moods will be lifted, your joints will stop aching, your headaches will be less frequent, your skin will start glowing, your digestion will improve, and yes, you might even lose that weight!  You’ll learn just how good you can actually feel.  You may even learn that you felt worse in the past than you even realized.

Last January I did my first Whole30, and I LOVED it.  For anyone looking to improve their health, I strongly recommend following a strict program for a minimum of 3 weeks in order to detox the body and establish new habits.  If you don’t know, the Whole30 is a 30 day program where you eliminate dairy, grains, legumes, added sugar, alcohol, carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites.  Why these foods?  They often have a negative impact on our health.  The goal is to reduce any problems and inflammation, and at the end of the program, reintroduce them systematically so you can assess exactly how these food groups make you feel.  I was surprised to find that legumes caused digestive discomfort for me (which would explain why I didn’t feel great during a plant-based vegan program a couple years prior).

Obviously most processed foods are out.  In fact, you may not open a single package the entire month.  What you WILL be eating is lots of whole foods – tons of vegetables, some fruits, quality (pasture-raised) meats and eggs, seafood, and healthy sources of fat, like nuts, seeds, and olive/avocado/coconut oils.  If you can fully commit to this program for 1 month, I am 100% confident that you will feel great and carry over many of the habits for the rest of the year (and hopefully the rest of your life!).

The only downside to the Whole30 is the amount of planning.  And prepping.  And maybe, if you’re not used to spending much time in the kitchen, it will seem like a lot of cooking.  That’s why I put together Whole30 meal plans (check them out here) to make it easier on you.  The meal plans cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the week.  Each meal plan has the recipes for that week, a complete grocery list, and a meal prep guide.  All you have to do is execute it!  I genuinely think you will find lots of foods and familiar flavors you love, and maybe even fall in love with some new things.  You’ll be shocked at how much your tastebuds change over the course of the 30 days.  I’m looking forward to it because I need to re-tame my sugar monster.  BAD.

If you have any questions, check out the official Whole30 website, or feel free to email me: cleanfoodcleanplate@gmail.com.  So what are you waiting for?!  2018, we are ready for you!

It’s that time of year again!  Are you ready to make your own bone broth but don’t know where to start?  I’m going to share my SIMPLE method, tell you where to source your bones, and give you some ideas on how to incorporate it into more dishes.

So what’s with the whole bone broth craze anyway?  It’s one of those “what’s old is new again” things.  People used to throw leftover bones in a pot and make a delicious, flavorful stock.  Then along came processed food, which stripped the good stuff out (or recreated the flavor profile altogether in a chemists’ lab), giving it a shelf-stable, eternal life.  Convenient?  Maybe.  Health-promoting?  Unfortunately no.

Bone broth is easy to digest and promotes healing in the body.  There’s a reason people turn to chicken soup when they are sick!  Bone broth contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and glucosamine (yep, the same thing sold as supplements to reduce inflammation and joint pain). Most notoriously, bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin, which may promote healthy skin.  Even more importantly, it helps restore health to the gut lining (bye-bye leaky gut).  It also supports healthy gut bacteria.  This aids in digestion AND supports the immune system.

So what are we waiting for?  First things first, you need to start with good quality bones.  Local, free-range or pasture-raised animals are going to have the best, most nutritious bones.  You can usually find these at your local farmers market or Whole Foods.  For chicken bone broth, you will usually find something like “chicken backs,” and if you are brave, pick up some chicken feet too – these will add a big boost of gelatin to your broth.  For beef bone broth, you will want marrow bones.

I only buy bones for beef bone broth.  For chicken bone broth, I just accumulate bones from meals in a zip lock bag in the freezer until I have enough to make my stock.  If you are using local meats, you will rarely get a boneless cut.  This is good!  Your bone broth with be virtually FREE because you are using the parts one would typically throw in the trash.  Win!

The other ingredients I use in my bone broth are onions, garlic, and celery.  You could chop these ingredients and add them to your stock (keep the skin and leaves on!), or you could collect kitchen scraps over time, add them to that zip lock freezer bag, and again, it’s basically free!  I save the outer layer of my onion peels, the tiny garlic cloves that are annoying to chop, and the ends of celery stalks.

Once I have filled a gallon sized zip lock bag to capacity with about 80% bones and 20% vegetable scraps, I know it’s time to make bone broth.  And for beef broth, you’ll want 2-3 large marrow bones.  I don’t add salt to my broth because I like to be able to control the amount of salt when I use it.

Bone Broth

  • Servings: makes about 3-4 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Chicken bones or beef marrow bones (about 2 lbs or slightly less than 1 large ziplock bag’s worth)
  • 1 small onion (or scraps)
  • 3 celery stalks (or scraps)
  • 3 garlic cloves (or scraps)
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Directions

Fill a crock pot with bones and vegetables.  Cover with filtered water.  Add apple cider vinegar.  Cover and cook on low.

Chicken bone broth: Cook for 24 hours

Beef bone broth: Cook for 48 hours

Strain liquid and cool before dividing into containers.  I suggest freezing it in 2- and 4-cup quantities.

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Here are some great ways to incorporate bone broth into your daily cooking:

  1. Sip it warm from a mug.  Since there isn’t any added salt in the recipe, add a pinch of salt to your mug before drinking.  It is also tasty with a squeeze of lemon.
  2. Cook your grains in it.  Replace water with bone broth when cooking things like rice and quinoa.
  3. Use it as a base in soups, stews, and chili.
  4. Saute with it instead of oil.
  5. Make mashed potatoes with it.  Replace milk with bone broth.  It’s also delicious with mashed sweet potatoes.

What are some of your favorite ways to use bone broth that I haven’t thought of?