Well, the 59°F thing didn’t happen yesterday, but it was still a great weekend. Full of friends, wine, good food, some exercise and fresh air…what else could you want?

Back at it today…put down the chocolate and jelly beans and pick up a carrot.

 

Monday: Veggie Korma– Vegan, paleo, gluten free- Lots of vegetables, lots of nutrition, lots of deliciousness. You can leave out the “garnishes”to cut out some calories. Serve with naan, rice, quinoa…

Tuesday: Paleo Bacon Carbonara “Pasta”–  Gluten, grain, dairy free, low carb…leave out the bacon/sub faux bacon for vegetarian. You could use actual pasta instead of squash noodles, if you’d like.

Wednesday: Balance Bowl– You know by now that I love a good bowl! They’re so easy, quick, and you can add/leave out ingredients to suit.  This particular recipe is paleo, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free. Sub tofu or beans for the chicken to make it vegetarian. This is a small recipe that will multiply well.

Thursday: Pesto Basil Sauce over Chicken and Zoodles– Pretty self explanatory! Use pre-made pesto to save time…just look for added sugars and fillers.

Friday: Paleo Plantain Beef Pie– Once you get past the name…gluten free, paleo, grain free, dairy free. Try subbing the grass fed beef for tofu crumbles, or maybe black beans for a vegetarian option. You can try using an egg replacer for a vegan option…can’t attest to the results, though. Don’t be afraid to try plantains. They’re so versatile; inexpensive; and have a lot of Vitamins A, C, B6, and Magnesium.

Saturday: Shrimp Cobb Salad– It’s a salad…go crazy. Feel free to use whatever protein you’d like.

Sunday: Vegan Potato Cakes Stuffed with Mushrooms– Be sure to use gluten free flour if you’re g-free (probably any single flour or blend will work…I plan to use oat flour). This would be good paired with a big ol salad. And dessert, because you need something to balance out all of the vegetables.

Just an interesting read…

Who knew?! Don’t let this freak you out, or go running to a lab. I just found this to be interesting, and thought you might too.

Your body is made up of trillions of cells, each containing your genes — the specific instructions that make you who you are. Genes are sections of DNA, your body’s master manual. The latest estimate is that there are around 20,000 genes in the human genome.

And one of those is called the MTHFR gene.

What in the world is a MTHFR?

No, it’s not short for an expletive. The MTHFR gene provides instructions for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, the enzyme used to convert folic acid (vitamin B9) into folate’s active form, methyl-folate (5MTHF).

Activated methyl-folate plays a key role in a biochemical process called methylation. Methylation is the powerhouse detoxification, production, and DNA protection system that almost every cell of your body depends on.

Methylation happens more than 1 billion times a second in your body to keep you alive and healthy. In short, if methylation is not working well, a lot can go wrong with your health.

MTHFR gene mutations don’t send all the instruction to make that important enzyme. Some research estimates that those of us with MTHFR changes make up to 70 percent less methyl-folate!

There can be one mutation (heterozygous) or two mutations (homozygous). The more mutations you have, the more problems your body will have methylating. As a result, some research has shown an association between MTHFR mutations and many health problems, including, among others:

What should I do?

Some estimate that as many as 40 percent of people have a MTHFR mutation — and most don’t know it. I just so happen to be one of the four in ten people who have this genetic change. If you’re concerned you are too, here are some steps you can take:

1. Consider getting tested with these lab tests:

  • DNA Methylation Pathway Profile: This test looks at around 30 methylation SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). By looking for DNA mutations that govern methylation, it gives us a personalized guide to what your unique genetic weaknesses and imbalances are so that they can be specifically addressed.
  • Homocysteine: Most of the medical literature correlating health problems with methylation impairments is centered around high inflammatory homocysteine, which needs to be recycled down by methylation. Read Why You Should Get Your Homocysteine Levels Tested for more information.
  • Microbiome Labs: Underlying gut problems such as bacterial imbalances and candida overgrowth can exacerbate methylation problems.
  • Urine Amino Acid Labs: This lab assesses for several biomarkers such as glutamate and ammonia, which can be high with certain methylation mutations.
  • Hair Metal Testing: We use HMT to assess lithium levels. Lithium plays a vital role in our mood, as well as B12 transport.

2. Avoid synthetic folic acid.

Steering clear of foods and supplements with added folic acid is important for anyone with MTHFR mutations, since it could be toxic. Be sure to read labels on anything you eat or take.

3. Take activated B vitamins.

General support of methylation impairments can be started by taking activated B vitamins — like B9 L-Methylfolate (L-5-MTHF) and B6 Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate (P5P).

4. Eat green, leafy vegetables and organ meat.

Greens like spinach, okra, and turnip greens have many health benefits, including their folate content. And organ meats like chicken liver or grass-fed beef liver have the highest levels of bio-available B vitamins.

5. Calm inflammation and support detoxification.

Taking natural medicines such as curcumin, resveratrol, phosphatidylserine, super oxide dismutase, n-acetyl cysteine, and alpha lipoic acid can help promote healthy detox pathways, dampen inflammation, and promote antioxidant functions in the body.

6. Avoid B vitamin-depleting medications.

Birth control pills can block folate function, and antacids can decrease B12 absorption. Talk with your doctor about what is right for you.

7. Find the right B12 for you.

Depending on your specific MTHFR polymorphisms, certain types of B12 may be better tolerated by you. Working with a qualified practitioner can help determine if methyl B12, hydroxycobalamin B12, adenosynl B12, or cyano B12 is best for you.

8. Manage stress.

Studies have shown that stress can alter the methylation of DNA, which in turn alters the activity of certain genes. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi are all effective ways to buffer the stress in your life.

9. Avoid toxins.

People with MTHFR changes have a harder time detoxing. What we eat, put on our skin, and breathe in is vitally important to address. Read 11 Tips To Remove Toxins From Your Life & Revamp Your Health for more information on how to live as nontoxically as possible.

10. Consider working with a functional medicine practitioner.

Since everyone is different, there’s no “one size fits all” with MTHFR mutations. Healing is a journey and there are no quick fixes. Consider a free functional medicine webcam or phone evaluation to talk about your specific health concerns.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21657/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-gene-mutation-that-affects-40-of-the-world.html

The best half of the year is finally here!!! I’m still missing out on the warmth and sun, but it’s coming…it’s supposed to be 59° on Easter, so…that could be exciting. Let’s begin spring with a week of healthy, light, fast meals, k?

Monday: Thai veggie quinoa bowls– Gluten free and vegan. This only serves 2, but is easily multiplied.

Tuesday: Stuffed peppers- So many possibilities for these. Fill bell peppers with any combo of vegetables/protein/grain you’d like, put upright in a crockpot, and let it go for a few hours.

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats– Whole 30, Gluten free. Serve with a bid salad for a filling, low carb meal.

Thursday: Taco salad with creamy cilantro dressing– Pretty self explanatory…gluten free, can be vegan if you sub the meat for beans, tofu, lentils, or meatless crumbles. Feel free to leave out the plantain chips and substitute homemade tortilla chips, or organic tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Friday: Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad– Sub liquid aminos/coconut aminos/tamari for the soy sauce for gluten free; use almond butter instead of peanut butter for paleo; leave out the chicken, add more vegetables, and sub maple syrup or agave for for vegan. Whew! Now for the noodles…use any kind of pasta that pleases you! You can also bulk this up without the added calories by using zoodles &/or shirataki noodles.

Saturday: Tandoori Chicken and Curry Pineapple Cauliflower Rice– This one has a few parts…recruit come help and cut down your kitchen time. Gluten free and Whole 30. Just make the chutney and the “rice” for a vegan meal…I’m going to recommend that you eat something else besides cauliflower for a meal, though.

Sunday is Easter, so cook what makes you happy. We’re having beef tenderloin, whatever kind of green vegetable is fresh, smashed red potatoes, and banoffee pie….and wine. A lot of wine.

Things that make you go, “WTF?”

This might be a bit of bad news for vegetarians, vegans, and those who like transparency in the food industry. The bad/weird/slightly disturbing news I bring you today is about sugar, and whether or not it has come into contact with bone char…as in ground up cow bones. MmmmmK?

So, if you only consume beet sugar, organic white, organic brown, organic powdered sugar, or 100% organic products that contain sugar; great news! You can stop reading. Your sugar is bone char free. If you do not fall into one of these categories (99.9% of people), you have consumed sugar that has come into contact with bone char.

What is bone char? It’s (primarily) cow bones that have been heated (charred) in a low oxygen vessel which leaves activated carbon. Too much oxygen will yield ash (and that would just be gross, right?).

What does this mean? To make sugar, sugar cane stalks are crushed to separate the juice from the pulp. The juice is then processed and heated to crystalize, and is then filtered. For non-organic sugars, the sugar crystals are filtered through bone char, which results in sugar’s pure white color.  This is why you may wonder why Sugar in the Raw is so much darker. So, while you’re not actually eating bone, each little sugar crystal has come into contact with it. For strict vegetarians and for vegans, this is probably not making your heart sing.

So, once again….stick with organic. But, when consuming the classic processed foods that we love so much, just know what you’re getting. You may have seen wine, beer, and juice with a, “vegan,” label…this is why!

                    Bone Char-Free Sugars Produced By U.S. Companies

Company Brand Name
C&H Sugar C&H Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar
C&H Pure Cane Certified Organic Sugar
Cumberland Packing Company Sugar in the Raw
Domino Sugar Domino Demerara Washed Raw Cane Sugar
Domino Pure Cane Certified Organic Sugar
Florida Crystals Florida Crystals Demerara Natural Sugar
Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (granulated and powdered)
Golden Granulated Evaporated Cane Juice
Florida Crystals Milled Cane Natural Sugar
Florida Crystals Certified Organic Natural Sugar
Great Eastern Sun Sweet Cloud Organic Raw Cane Sugar
Hain Celestial Group Hain Organic Brown Sugar
Hain Organic Powdered Sugar
Shady Maple Farms Shady Maple Farms Granulated Maple Sugar
Tropical Traditions Rapadura Whole Organic Sugar
Wholesome Sweeteners Light Muscovado Sugar
Dark Muscovado Sugar
Sucanat (granulated and powdered)
Organic Sucanat (granulated and powdered)
NOTE: 100% Pure Beet Sugar is not passed through a bone char filter.

***Look for bone char to be labeled as, “natural charcoal”….Domino Foods and the C&H Sugar Company both use this trickery. ***

 

If you’re looking for vegan marshmallows, made with non bone char sugar, buy Dandies. You can purchase through Amazon, iHerb, WalMart, and Vitacost (just Google it- lots of options). I stock up on Vitacost (when they’re in stock), and keep them in the freezer.

 

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/05/sugar-vegan-bone-char-yikes_n_6391496.html

https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2007issue4/2007_issue4_sugar.php

Do you ever feel strangely guilty over, well, nothing? For example, my Pinterest boards bring me a lot of anxiety. If you follow me, you’re probably quite annoyed by the mass quantities of brownies, naan, and chocolate chip cookie recipes I pin. I’m sorry. I probably won’t stop. After I pin these recipes, I have a feeling of doom…as if I owe something to the pin (this one is the WORLD’S BEST!)…if I don’t get around to trying out the recipe, then I’ve failed…let down the pin…wasted my time…clogged up feeds. I haven’t made 99% of the dessert recipes I pin. As much as I’d like to only eat brownies, naan, and cookies…my American thighs don’t think it’s a good idea. This anecdote has no purpose. It’s just to share a glimpse into my weirdness.

Moving on….you shouldn’t have any guilt over any of these dinner recipes this week. *Brought it back; saved the post.*

Monday: Banh Mi Spring Rolls– Gluten free and vegan. I love a spring roll, but you can eat the filling atop quinoa or rice, if you can’t find rice wraps. Feel free to substitute chicken or shrimp for the tofu.

Tuesday: Brinner!!! Breakfast for dinner is never a bad idea. Fast, easy, filling. There a so many options here. I’m going to make these Gluten Free High Fiber Pancakes.

Wednesday: Paleo Chicken Shawarma with Zucchini Hummus– Paleo, gluten free, nut and dairy free. This would be good paired with one of the 3347203947 naan recipes I have pinned…check them out! https://de.pinterest.com/megfin812/starchy/

Thursday: Sweet Potato Taco Bowls– Gluten and dairy free, paleo, Whole 30- can be vegan if you leave out the meat and sub beans/lentils/veggies. This is a fast and easy recipe…I think the only change I’ll make is to reduce the amount of meat used…1/2lb of meat per serving is way to much for this lady. 1/2 lb of fries or Cadbury eggs? Yes. Meat? Never.

Friday: Salmon and Jalapeño Pesto Pasta– To make gluten free, use g-free pasta and breadcrumbs, or leave out the breadcrumbs (I never use them). To make vegan, don’t make the salmon! When I make salmon, I like to season it with Potlatch seasoning from Williams Sonoma…that’s it. The seasoning is so good that you don’t need to add anything else to it.

Saturday: Indian Spiced Roasted Chicken with Sarson ka Saag (Indian spiced spinach)–  Gluten free, paleo, to make dairy free use lactose free yogurt, plant based yogurt, or coconut cream. If cooking a whole chicken weirds you out; don’t do it. Try using whole breasts instead. And again….another chance to make a naan recipe!

Sunday: Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki Bowls– In the interest of saving time, use store bought teriyaki sauce (but check your ingredients because most contain wheat and are loaded with sugar). A great paleo option is Coconut Secret Teriyaki Sauce.  To make vegan, leave out the chicken and grill up a whole mess of vegetables.

 

****I’ve recently added more services to my “Work With Me” page. Check it out…I think you’ll find there are services offered that fit into every budget. And I don’t have to remind you that summer is a comin’ and putting off becoming healthier isn’t doing you any favors!!! ****

 

 

 

Just for fun…

Need to kill 10-15 minutes today??? Here’s a little personality test…*pause for groans* Yea, I groaned too when my husband sent this test to me this morning. But, you don’t have to give your email, SSN, kidney, or the promise of a first born son. I got the personality type that I’ve gotten since elementary school, but this site gives a really thorough explanation….and it was frighteningly on point.

I am an INFJ-T, which stands for Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging-Turbulent. I make up less than 1% of the population, which is probably why you ain’t never had a friend like me. I used to hate that I would always get, “introvert,” when I’d take personality tests, but…it’s so true. Anyway, here are a couple explanations that gave me goosebumps…

“His desire to help and connect makes careers in healthcare, especially the more holistic varieties, very rewarding for INFJs – roles as counselors, psychologists, doctors, life coaches and spiritual guides are all attractive options.”

Whaaaaa???? Guess I’m totally nailing it.

Ever wonder why I’m able to look at someone, and figure out immediately who they are?

“Meanwhile, INFJs are very insightful and have a particular knack for seeing beyond others’ facades, interpreting intent and compatibility quickly and easily, and weeding out those who don’t share the depth of their idealism.”

Trust my people judging, people. I know what I feel.

So, take the test, have your partners/friends/family take the test, and compare. You might not be an elite INFJ like MLK, Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, or I….but it’s cool, we still love and accept you.

 

www.16personalities.com

 

We’ve got to be startin’ somethin’

I’m sure most people have wondered why gluten intolerance has become a, “thing,” in the past few years. I read a study a few days ago that (for many sufferers) holds the answer: The gluten isn’t the actual problem, it’s the glyphosate. Glyphosate is the fancy word for Roundup…as in the pesticide.

80% of all foods grown in the US is contaminated with glyphosate. Think about that…it should scare the crap out of you. Glyphosate is now linked to Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, kidney disease, antibiotic resistant bacteria, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations. It destroys the microbiome of humans and plants, which is the root cause of many modern diseases.

Something scarier, is that now, most certified organic grains are also contaminated. While these crops aren’t directly sprayed with Roundup, they can become contaminated through rainwater (wow, neat), irrigation, and/or wind blowing it from GMO crops. How helpful that now the USDA has changed their standards, and now allows a certain percentage of glyphosate on crops and still considers them organic? Something scary-er-er…you can not wash glyphosate off after purchasing. The glyphosate seeps into every single cell of the plant.

SN: This has also caused a problem for beer brewers. On some grains, the level of glyphosate is so high, that the yeast in the brew mix is killed. So….drink imported beer.

Americans are incredibly uneducated on the production of the food they’re consuming. The only way to stop this slow poisoning is to refuse to accept it. It won’t be a short process, but we can make a difference. If you live in a state where, “mandatory GMO labeling,” is on your ballot…vote hell f*&%$g yes!  It boggles my mind that these bills aren’t passing. How could you not want to know what you’re consuming?! Ignorance is bliss until you get cancer, I guess. Currently, these states have active anti-GMO bills and campaigns:

Arizona: GMO-Free Phoenix

California: California Right to Know

Colorado: GMO-Free Colorado

Connecticut: Northeast Organic Farming Association, CT Chapter (Proposed Bill: HB 5117)

Florida: Label GMO Florida

Hawaii: Label It Hawaii (Proposed Bill: HB 2034/SB 2443)

Idaho: GMO-Free Idaho

Illinois: GMO Free Illinois

Massachusetts: Northeast Organic Farming Association, MA Chapter (Proposed Bill: H3276)

Michigan: No GMO 4 Michigan

Minnesota: Right to Know Minnesota (Proposed Bill: S.F. 2563)

New Jersey: Label GMOs in New Jersey (Proposed Bill: HB 1367)

New York:

www.gmofreeny.org
info@gmofreeny.org
www.facebook.com/gmofreeny
www.twitter.com/gmofreeny

North Carolina: (Proposed Bill: HB 446)

Ohio: GMO Free Ohio

Oregon: GMO Free Oregon (Proposed Bills: SB 517 & HB 3346)

Utah: GMO Free Utah

Vermont: Vermont Right to Know GMO (Proposed Bill: HB 722)

Virginia: (Proposed Bill: HB 606)

Washington:Label It Washington (Bill Title: HB 2637)

 

You can also buy organic as much as you can. I know that this can be pricey. Each year a list of the, “Clean 15,” and the, “Dirty Dozen,” are released. These are lists that show which produce has the least amount of pesticides present and the least amount, respectively.

Clean 15 (least amount of pesticide present; ok to buy non-organic):

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes

 

Dirty Dozen (buy organic!!!!):

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Potatoes

***Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which the Environmental Working Group characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:

  • Hot peppers
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Kale and collard greens

And after this information has surfaced, be sure to buy organic wheat; wheat products; and grains. Tropical Traditions is now selling Glyphosate free products. Look for lots of “Glyphosate Free” labeling in the future…I’m calling it.

 

 

http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/alert-certified-organic-food-grown-in-u-s-found-contaminated-with-glyphosate-herbicide/#sthash.FQNy8RL8.dpuf

http://www.justlabelit.org/press-center/press-items/gmo-labeling-isnt-dead-see-which-states-are-leading-the-fight/

 

Monday: Curried Butternut Squash and Greens with Paleo Naan–  Gluten free, vegan, paleo- Can sub sweet potatoes for the squash….that’s what I plan to do. Peeling a butternut squash is it’s own form of torture. I also like to finish this recipe by stirring in some coconut milk, so it’s creamy and more like a curry dish. As for this “naan;” do not expect to get traditional naan. This is more like a wrap. Still good, but not fluffy. Multiply the recipe, and save some for later in the week.

Tuesday: Paleo Fish Tacos– Use bagged slaw to save some time. Feel free to add the fish and the slaw to tortillas, coconut wraps, or the leftover Paleo Naan from yesterday.

Wednesday: Pasta and Meatballs–  Lots of pasta options here….zoodles, regular pasta, g-free pasta, Miracle Noodles…These meatballs are really good, and the chia seeds replace breadcrumbs and eggs as the binder. ***Save 1/2 cup of the sauce you use for this recipe for tomorrow’s dinner.***

Thursday: Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale Bake– Paleo, Whole 30- Again, I may use sweet potatoes for butternut squash. I’m also thinking of skipping the sausage and replacing it with another protein. I’m not a sausage fan.

Friday: Tilapia and  Moroccan spiced Sweet Potatoes and Carrots– When buying (frozen) tilapia, look at the packaging to see where it’s coming from, how it’s raised, and any other weird ingredients. Spice the tilapia any way you’d like. I plan to cover it in ras el hanout.

Saturday: Bunless Paleo Chicken BLTs– Pretty self explanatory! And since you’re saving on carbs by replacing the bread, you can definitely pair this with oven baked fries.

Sunday: Thai Turkey Burgers– And sometimes you just need a big ol burger.