Monday Morsels 3/17/14

Happy Monday and Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Welcome to another edition of Monday Morsels, where I share the last week’s happenings in the wonderful world of wellness (say that three times fast).

Recipe

The Paleo Mom aka Sarah Ballantyne posted a link to one of her recipes on facebook this week.  Sarah is a scientist, wife, mother, blogger, and author who is a passionate advocate of the Paleo diet. She is quite an inspiring individual. By eating Paleo, she lost 120 pounds and was able to discontinue the use of SIX prescription medications. As Sarah has personal experience with autoimmune disease, she writes a lot about the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP). Lots of people with autoimmune conditions, intestinal disorders, or any type of systemic inflammation can benefit from this type of diet. I, myself, have tinkered with AIP and it has helped in my healing. Check out her blog for more info on AIP and other science backed Paleo information! On to the recipe..

Ginger Chocolate Freezer Fudge

This recipe tickled my fancy because I heart ginger.

If there was a “who loves ginger the most” contest, I would be the winner. I love to stir fry with ginger. I love to make fresh ginger tea. I love ginger juiced raw with other fresh organic fruits. I’m starting to sound like Forrest’s best friend Bubba with all of this ginger talk.

I know lots of people can’t stand its strong taste, but I mostly love ginger for its many healing properties. Just to name a few:

  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces nausea
  • aids in digestion
  • soothes an upset stomach

The Paleo Mom’s recipe is well, Paleo-friendly, which means that the ingredients are grain free and squeaky clean. I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a go, and I hope you do too.

Health

Last week, I got in my car after work and was delighted to turn the radio on to hear NPR discussing gut bacteria and Crohn’s disease.

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned from my serious health ordeal is the importance of healthy intestinal flora. Your gut bacteria plays a major role in mediating your immune response. We live in a culture where it is easy and commonplace to get antibiotics (aka killers of good AND bad bacteria) to treat just about every little cold.  Taking care of your intestinal bacteria as a means to health and wellness is very rarely talked about in mainstream news. This segment and article from NPR indicates that things are starting to change.

Many people who have Crohn’s disease end up having parts of their digestive tract surgically removed. If more people were aware that gut microbes play a role in their disease, they could address their conditions by taking natural, less invasive routes to healing. As I have said before, many people are thriving on diets that greatly reduce inflammation and support intestinal health, such as the Paleo diet, Paleo AIP, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Click here to read or listen to NPR’s segment:

Mix of Gut Microbes May Play Role In Crohn’s Disease

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you have a great week!

Love and light,

vm

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Monday Morsels 3/3/14

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Happy Monday!

For some of the newer readers here, Monday Morsels is a series where I share recent articles or blog posts on the topics of nutrition, wellness, and clean beauty.

Nutrition

Recently, I read an important article written by Chris Kresser that examines the vegetarian diet from a nutritional standpoint.

A large majority of my audience comes from the green beauty community, which is comprised mostly of vegetarians and vegans, so I thought that this would be relevant to share.

Holistic nutrition is my passion and this topic is in line with my nutritional approach.  Although I may be one voice in a sea of many green beauties, I wanted to share my thoughts.

To all of my vegetarian and vegan friends: Although I am not a vegetarian myself, I respect your choice to eschew meat due to ethical, spiritual, religious and social reasons.

The aim of this post is not to convince anyone to eat meat.

The purpose of this post is to raise awareness about the possible negative health implications of a vegetarian or vegan diet, if not properly implemented. 

Many people who choose to adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet do so because they assume that it is healthier than diets which include meat. Many people are not aware of the potential nutritional deficiencies that they may develop.

As a side note, I believe that anyone pursuing any type of diet (meat or not) for the sake of health should have a deep understanding of the implications of that diet.

Chris Kresser discusses this in a fair manner and his article is an important read for those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan for optimal health. I should note that the author is a former macrobiotic vegan. Click here to read his article:

Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

The biggest takeaway is that thriving on a vegetarian or vegan diet is possible, but it requires an active and meticulous awareness of the nutritional composition of your intake of food.

I Choose to Eat Meat

Being a green beauty blogger, it’s easy to feel like I am the only meat-eating one. I follow a Paleo framework which is a diet that is based on nutrient-dense whole foods.

Foods That I Eat:

  • Grassfed, pasture-raised, organic meat (I consciously purchase ethically and sustainably raised meat whenever possible)
  • Eggs (ideally pastured)
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Starchy tubers (sweet potatoes, taro, etc)
  • Fruit
  • Foods that support intestinal health (bone broth, raw sauerkraut)
  • Traditional, unprocessed fats (grassfed ghee, cold pressed coconut oil)
  • Other nutrient dense foods such as organ meats and fermented cod liver oil

Foods that I Exclude From My Diet:

  • Processed foods
  • Gluten
  • Most grains (except white rice) and legumes
  • Refined oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, etc)

What I Value:

  • Ethically raised animals
  • Local, sustainable, and organic food sources
  • Food that is closest to its natural state
  • Food that nourishes the body, supports long-term health, and prevents illness & disease

Why do I eat this way?

As I’ve mentioned before, in 2013, I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), and a pathogenic intestinal infection. At the beginning of my sickness, I was incredibly reactive to most foods.

As I struggled with navigating what I could and could not eat, I dove deep into learning about eating to heal your body. More and more, I came across an underlying theme of the importance of eating for intestinal health by eliminating all inflammatory and irritating foods while incorporating nutrient dense foods.

Lots of people, myself included, have turned to eating a Paleo/ancestral/traditional type of diet to cope with autoimmune conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac disease or to prevent these diseases. Eating this way has helped many people not only cope but also thrive despite their very serious conditions. (Read about Danielle Walker of Against All Grain and her inspiring story here).

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise , and I truly believe that it is due to environmental factors as well as the lack of proper nutrition due to factory farming, GMOs, and the prevalence of highly processed foods.

I feel as though the Paleo/ancestral/traditional diet community is misunderstood by the green beauty community. For a long time, I didn’t know how to share my thoughts about this, but once I read Chris’ article, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity.

Eating a Paleo diet has a lot more in common with living a nontoxic lifestyle than one might initially think.  Both require conscious decision-making with the aim of optimal health. Both are environmentally conscious and value food/cosmetics/products in their purest, most natural forms. Both recognize that conventional food/products contain toxins and have a desire to go back to the basics.

I choose to eat meat in following a Paleo framework as it makes me feel like (and actually become) the healthiest version of me. Eating healing foods while excluding inflammatory foods has helped me heal from the scariest, most life-altering health ordeal of my life. Eating Paleo also upholds certain values of mine such as supporting local, sustainable, and ethical farming and food sourcing.

What about you? How do you choose to eat and why?

Love and light,

vm

Monday Morsels 1/20/14

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Welcome to another edition of Monday Morsels. Hope you’re in for a tasty treat! I’m so corny it hurts, I know.

Nutrition

Liz Wolfe of CaveGirlEats made a scrumdiddlyumptious (technical term) looking barbacoa beef with plantain tortillas.

Are you reading this? Plantain. Tortillas. Let all the paleos rejoice.

This brings me to my obsession with plantains as of late.  A few Sundays ago, I pan fried a ripe plantain in coconut oil, salt, and pepper and served it as a side to go with pastured eggs, bacon, and steamed kale. Delicious. Plantains bring me back to a trip I took with my cousins to Puerto Rico where we ate a lot of mashed plantains aka Mofongo.

And don’t get me started on plantain chips. I know packaged plantain chips aren’t a “health food” per say, but they are a better-for-you-than-most treat to be enjoyed in moderation. Plus, the Inka brand I purchased at my local Whole Foods contains palm oil, which is much better for you than, say, canola or sunflower oil because it’s a more stable fat that can withstand high temperatures without becoming damaged.

Have I talked about plantains long enough? Moving on..

The Balanced Bites Podcast featured Jonathan Bailor, author of “The Calorie Myth”.

This book will cause paradigm shifts in the way people view food.  Jonathan’s message is pure and simple: the quality of the food you’re eating matters. It addresses America’s fixation over calories in vs. calories out and why this way of thinking is not effective or sustainable for long-term health.

Clean Beauty

Johnson & Johnson is taking its first step in removing toxic chemicals from their products.

What’s formaldehyde doing in baby shampoo in the first place? “No more tears”?  How ’bout no more carcinogens, please? I’m glad J&J is taking action to fix this though. It gives me hope that people are catching on and are demanding more from companies as large and as ubiquitous as Johnson & Johnson.

photo credit: kjaerweis.com

photo credit: kjaerweis.com

Britanie Faith of beautybybritanie loves the new Kjaer Weis foundation.

This foundation has been on my radar for a few months now. It’s got clean ingredients and it’s luxurious. Word on the (green beauty) street is it’s got an amazing finish. It’s been highly anticipated in the green beauty community and so far, it seems like it has lived up to its hype. Thinking of purchasing it? You can find it here and here.

Until next time, my wellness friends,

vm