Category Archives: Nutrient Dense Foods

Alternative Food and Supplement Sources

We are all seeing changes in our local stores. Prices going up. More bare shelves. Favorite brands harder to find. And now, we are being told that more food shortages are coming.

You may no longer be able to depend on your local grocery store for all your needs. Instead, consider creating a backup plan so you set yourself up for success.

Below I will share some ideas so you have alternative food and supplement sources available to you. Not only will you be prepared should shortages become a more of a reality, it may help you to start eating healthier. Continue reading

Oven Baked Fries

French fries are an American favorite, especially when eating out. However, most restaurant fries are deep fried in oils that are less than optimal. Typically GMO and pesticide laden vegetable oils are used, which are not made to be reheated over and over again. The oil becomes rancid after its first use.

These oils also oxidize when exposed to air and create what is known as aldehydes when heated at high temperatures, both of which are not good for the body. (Learn more about good and bad fats here.)

Instead, you can make your own healthy baked fries at home like we do. Continue reading

9 Benefits of Chia Seeds (And a Few Drawbacks)

chia seedsThere are many benefits to eating chia seeds. In fact, they are considered a “super food” because of the many nutrients they provide. And, as you will see below, they are packed with lots of good stuff.

However, you should know that just because it has been dubbed a super food, does not mean you should jump in and start consuming lots of it. Start slow and make sure it works well for you. One person’s super food can be another person’s toxin.

So, before I get into the benefits, lets look at the other side of chia seeds.

Things to Consider Before Eating Chia Seeds

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Cilantro Garlic Dressing

If you like garlic and cilantro, you will love this dressing. Not only does it taste wonderful, but both garlic and cilantro have many healing properties.

Garlic is great for your immune system and acts as a natural anti-microbial. (You can learn more about garlic’s benefits here.)

Cilantro’s green leaves and stems are full of nutrients and are known to provide Continue reading

Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Your Gut Microbiome

As a young girl, I was on penicillin daily for six years, so I know first hand the affects of a compromised microbiome. Over the years, I had to work hard on healing the gut and even today I still need to be proactive, using many of the methods I explain below.

The term “microbiome” typically refers to the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract (or gut), specifically in the large intestines. These bacteria live in harmony with other microbes in our gut such as viruses, fungi, and parasites. Some report up to 100 trillion bacterial cells reside in our gut microbiome, which cumulatively comprise more genetic makeup than all the other cells in our body.

These bacteria consists of commensal (friendly or good) bacteria and pathogenic (harmful or bad) bacteria. In the past, the common thought was that we had to kill off the “bad” bacteria and replenish the “good.” The problem is that when you try killing off the harmful bacteria, you also kill the good.

More recent research indicates that both types of bacteria, the good and the bad, live in harmony with each other. The key is to have enough good bacteria at all times so that the commensal bacteria keep the pathogenic bacteria in check.

You want to improve and maintain a balanced microbiome by eliminating the things that disrupt the microbiome and create a well rounded strategy to encourage bacteria diversity. Hint: It is more than just taking a probiotic (or prebiotic) supplement. Some of the suggestions below may surprise you! Continue reading

Preparing Sprouted Lentils

Lentils and legumes are a great source of protein and fiber. They also provide antioxidants, folate, and various minerals. According to Dr. Sharon Moalem, in his book The DNA Restart, legumes additionally provide a rich source of isoflavonoids and phytosterols, which nourish your genes. Other studies have shown that legumes help to lower cholesterol, reduce cardiovascular and heart disease, possibly reduce your risk for diabetes, help with weight loss, and even reduce pro-inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein.

That is a lot of good stuff. However, to gain these benefits lentils and legumes must be prepared the right way. Similar to nuts and seeds, lentils and legumes contain “anti-nutrients” or phytochemicals like phytic acid and lectins, which inhibit the absorption of certain minerals, and enzyme inhibitors, which can prevent proper digestion. Soaking and sprouting them before cooking (as shown below) helps to reduce these anti-nutrients. It also helps to enhance the vitamins, minerals, and fiber naturally found in the lentils and legumes. Continue reading

Finding Good Salmon – Not All Salmon Are Created Equal!

Last night I cooked salmon for dinner. We try to have it at least once or twice a week. However, when I pulled the salmon from the freezer, I realized I bought the wrong one. The package I held in my hand did say “wild-caught salmon,” but the salmon inside the package was not the usual naturally bright orange color.

Upon further inspection, I realized that I bought the “Silver Brite Salmon Fillets” by mistake. The label went on to state that this salmon has “the lowest fat content among the salmon species.” Definitely something I would not normally purchase since it defeats part of the reason to eat salmon — there are good nutrients in the fat.

There are lots of substandard salmon on the market today. This includes both farmed salmon and, more recently, genetically modified (or GMO) salmon. In my opinion, the only salmon worth eating is wild-caught. I believe that farm-raised salmon and GMO salmon can actually cause harm to the body and should not be eaten at all.

This is why finding a good salmon source, one that you can trust is important. You may not be able to visually see the difference, so you need to do your homework. Below you will learn Continue reading

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie (with Meat and Optional Organ Meat)

The dinners in our family have been needing a little more variety, so I recently tried something new: Shepherd’s Pie. However, instead of the typical potato topping, I used mashed cauliflower. It was delicious and it will definitely be a repeat in our family.

It is a good recipe to include (or hide) a variety of vegetables. I typically add shredded carrot any time I use ground beef. In this recipe I also included Broccolette (or broccolini), a natural hybrid of broccoli and Kai-lan (a Chinese kale). You can substitute with broccoli and/or kale instead.

If you are a meat eater, this is also a good recipe to include organ meat, since the look and flavor will be hidden by the flavor of the overall dish. Continue reading

Good Fats and Oils – Learn Which Ones to Use and Why

Despite what you have been led to believe, we need to eat fats. In fact, most people should include healthy fats at every meal. The key word being “healthy.”

For years, fats, oils and fatty foods were given a bad rap. We were told that fats were bad for us. We were told to eat low-fat and no-fat foods. We were told to eat lean meats only. We were told to eat man-made fats like margarine and processed cheese instead of pure fats like butter and cheese made from real, whole-fat milk.

Many people in the United States followed this advice. Yet as a whole we did not get healthier. Continue reading

Homemade Marshmallows

I recently purchased my first container of bovine gelatin. Gelatin (for those of you who are not vegetarian) is a great source of collagen and amino acids such as glycine and proline. It provides many health benefits such as supporting skin, hair and nail growth, joint health and recovery, and muscle building. It can also strengthen the immune system and provide digestive support. (For some people, the glycine in the gelatin may aggravate existing health problems, especially if you are sensitive to oxalates and/or sulfur.)

For most, bovine gelatin is a great nutrient-dense food. Continue reading

Simple Balsamic Dressing

9It has taken awhile, but my family has finally converted to homemade salad dressing. The reason it took so long is (1) store bought salad dressings contain sugar and other ingredients that are hard to resist (and actually quite addictive), and (2) because I needed to find an easy-to-make recipe and get into the habit of making it.

You definitely want to stay away from conventional salad dressings that contain many preservatives, bad oils, and genetically modified (or GMO) ingredients. Even supposedly natural dressings typically contain GMO oils, such as canola oil and/or soy bean oil, which are best to avoid.

Instead, try this homemade one. Continue reading

Bone Broth and Other Recipes: Thinking Ahead to Thanksgiving Dinner

“We’re really looking for more than just health of parts. We’re looking for happiness of whole.” – Shilpa Saxena, MD

When we had our big Thanksgiving dinners as I was growing up, it was my job to debone the turkey afterwards. We all looked forward to turkey sandwiches the rest of the week, but what I really enjoyed was finding the wish bone and making a wish.

If you are eating a good quality turkey this Thanksgiving, one that is free-range and GMO-free, don’t forget to save the bones and make bone broth.  Continue reading

Vital Broth Recipe for Electrolytes

4Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate, and sulfate. They are what your body needs to communicate at a cellular level. They are needed for many functions in the body including digestive, nervous, cardiac, and muscular systems.

You lose electrolytes when you get dehydrated through things like fevers, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, excessive exercise, and just being outdoors when it is really hot outside. (Other health issues, cancer treatments, and taking certain medications can also deplete your electrolytes.) It is important to keep your electrolyte levels balanced. Continue reading

Boosting Your Immune System Naturally

5104728271_f3046e4e87Photo Credit: comprock via Compfight © ”The germ is nothing, terrain is everything.”
Claude Bernard (1817-1920)

Did you know that each time you eat sugar, your immune system is compromised for up to five hours afterwards? Sugar can include candy bars, sodas and other foods obviously full of sugar, as well as fruit drinks, maple syrup, and other naturally sweetened products.

When your immune system is compromised and you are exposed to a bacteria or virus, you have a greater chance of catching it. Your white blood cells are not operating at 100%.

No wonder cold and flu season is so much more prevalent in the fall and winter months, especially after the holidays. First Halloween and then Christmas – both holidays full of sugary treats.

The good news is that you can also use foods (and other things) to boost your immune system naturally. Continue reading