The traveling mom’s guide to a whole food baby

 This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

As Aussies living in the USA, we tend to travel a lot. The USA just has so many awesome places to see. We have a 17 month old who eats what we eat. (Well, actually we eat what he eats to make sure he’s getting all he needs when he’s doing the most growing of his life.) So, traveling really means we’re on the lookout for the very best for him and us at every turn! Here are some tips to make traveling a little bit easier on our body and minds.

FOOD: DIGESTION UNDER PRESSURE

Air travel and food is really all about digestion under pressure: time deadlines, waiting, and not to mention the changes in pressure at 40,000 feet.

The good news is you’ll be sitting and relaxing on the flight. However, air travel can be pretty hard on your digestion. Enhance your it by including bitter foods like leafy greens and fresh lemon in filtered water. Herbs and spices such as dandelion, peppermint and ginger are also fantastic. These enhance the production of bile, which increases stomach acid allowing you to break down your food more effectively. Then, make sure to avoid inflammatory foods such as wheat, gluten, milk, refined sugar, alcohol and coffee, which can aggravate your digestive system and the healing process. Try Matcha green tea; it’s loaded with antioxidants and kinder to your digestive system than your morning coffee.  Be sure to take probiotics and/or eat fermented foods to promote healthy gut bacteria i.e. kefir, kombucha tea, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables. Avoid processed and eat fresh and natural foods. And not going to bed on a full tummy goes for the plane too: eat light.

If you don’t want to pack your own, there’s always Paleo meal delivery services with healthy pre-made travel friendly options. The AIP menu is probably a great place to select from  because with the stresses of traveling mean you’ll be healing in advance. Try Apple Cinnamon Paleo Tarts (remembering you’re missing your veggies but it’s only one meal ok?), 48 Hour Brewed Bone Broth (freeze portions in your baby’s food container), and Plantain Pancakes (with the added benefit of apple cider vinegar for digestion but also doubling as a bread-like food for finger food eating on the plane: just add raw cheese, almond butter, apple slices or all!

SLEEP AND JET LAG  (NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE)

pexels-photo-38973

Sleeping is a biggy for everyone. Try and book flights that coordinate with nap and bedtime, which isn’t easy considering lay overs or long haul flights. Onboard, signal nap time with either a bassinet (under 25pd/11kg) which you need to pre organize before the day. Or, bring a king sized pillow to drape over your knees. Saturdays and Tuesday’s seem the best days for travel (you’ll have a better chance of there being extra seats next to you).

It’s tempting to push for the timezone you’re aiming for, but sleepiness is better addressed from where you’re coming from. On arrival try and set the clock for the new times. Get the first sunlight into yours and bub’s eyes and just push naps back to ‘normal’ 15-30 mins a day as you can.  You’ll catchup eventually. Hormones and cravings are out of control with a lack of and mixed-up sleep schedule, so snap it back into rhythm as soon as you can to avoid sugar cravings and highs and lows and overstimulation compounding your over tiredness.

 

HYDRATION: TAKING OFF OR LANDING EARS AND TRAVEL COLON IS A THING FOR BABIES TOO.

Airport security can be interesting with baby food and breast milk. Hopefully you can read between the lines there that sometimes it’s easy (‘that’s breast milk it’s fine’) and sometimes downright frustrating ‘we’re going to have to test each bottle’!). Freeze your bottles beforehand because then they’re fine to go through security untested! Try and also freeze water with a pinch of sea salt (natural Gatorade for optimal absorption) and grass fed organic bone broth.

 

The more hydrated your are on board the plane, added pressure and all, the more likely you are to avoid travel colon; babies too.

 

AISLE WALKING: MOVEMENT IS KEY FOR EVERYONE WHEN FLYING.

Getting movement on the plane isn’t about your PR or sweat out cardio workout. DVT prevention and exercises that go with it are pretty much in everyone’s back seat pocket. But general movement of your arms over your head, stretching whatever feels tight especially your bent sitting posture like the front of your hips, opening your chest and deep breathing is a must for everyone, even babies. And the best way to achieve that is also a social one when walking up and down the aisle you’ll find: everyone loves a cute (smiling not crying) toddler.

ENTERTAINMENT: NEEDN’T BE THE VIDEO IF YOU WANT A NAPPER.

Screen time creates notable changes in brain chemistry – most notably in the release of dopamine and specifically in kids. It’s easy and convenient.  And it’s not always a bad thing. No matter how convenient, educational, or mood-enhancing computers and other devices may be, experts agree that although screen time isn’t bad in and of itself, there needs to be a limit. And that limit needs to apply a lot on planes especially if you want them to nap (so you can too!). Setting boundaries will also help parents become a little more creative in the mean time; Ice cubes are particularly enthralling for toddlers as is filling their own water bottles, tray table and window flap opening (though your neighbors might disagree!) and seat pocket reading.

 

TRAVELLING CAN BE STRESSFUL, BUT EASIER WITH A LITTLE PREPARATION

Traveling is more than food when considering the whole food baby. It’s digestion under pressure, hydration, sleep and naps scheduled as much as you can, movement and creative approaches to entertainment. You might all enjoy the trip better if you follow some or all of these tips!

Three Ways To Encourage Our Kids to Grow Up NaturallyThis article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Natural means derived from nature not made from humans. As adults, even our most natural, biological instincts; food and movement, have become unnaturally, guilt and punishment, respectively. We all want our kids to eat and eat well. We want them to walk well and walk fast and we’ll use any means to help them get there quickly. For instance, we’re substituting nature’s whole ingredients foods with processed baby foods and toddler safe meals. Requisite shoes are used to help them take  their first steps and baby walkers get them there asap. This new flow is actually making everything a lot harder for them and less natural. How can we encourage our kids to grow up naturally, to harness their innate know-how from the way they move, eat and think from day one?

NATURAL MOVEMENT 

Natural living has had a resurgence over the last few years. In this blog post, we offer you 3 ways to encourage your children to live as nature intendedTo move naturally our kids need to be outdoors experiencing textures in nature. However with inventions to aid carrying, crawling and walking we’re making things harder on ourselves and our kids. In this day and age, we’re told we must do tummy time. Parents are victims to marketing gurus who promote jolly jumpers, baby walkers and wearing or carrying devices. Instead of becoming entranced by what’s new on the market to help assist you by strapping them on or push them to walk, perhaps we should just put our kids on the floor whenever possible. Perhaps this will help them to discover the world themselves. Is the answer to carry them naturally so they grasp themselves on and learn their center of gravity?

Whatever the situation, let’s offer kids the opportunity to teach themselves their own natural movement. When a baby’s born they’re just so happy. They move in as many free flowing ways as possible constantly adjusting to their body weight. The same goes for us adults, reading this: when you were born you didn’t care what you looked like you just loved what it felt like to move. That seems as natural as it can get.

EATING THE WAY NATURE INTENDED

It’s the same with food. If anything, babies know when they’re hungry! They also know when they’re enjoying something ‘hmmm hmmmm hmm’ is hard to hold back from their delicious mouthfuls. When do we lose this natural knowledge?

We are what we eat eats. Babies today are born with over 200 chemicals already in their little bodies. The world has changed in terms of delivery so there’s already a lot of unnatural in the world they come into. Moms used to prepare nutritionally for conception as well as pregnancy. Breastfeeding was the norm and baby’s first foods were lead by the babies themselves. Now conception can be aided by IVF or comes as a big joyful surprise after a long time trying. Breastfeeding is frowned upon if it can’t happen or if it does happen in public, and babies need certain “shelf stable foods” available for busy moms.

We are what we eat to the level of our cells and that often refers to our DNA in the nucleus of every cell. We eat nutrients that make and remake our DNA. Research into epigenetics is revealing we aren’t so much our genes as the genes we turn on through our environment – food, movement and thought.

THINK NATURALLY

Offering opportunity is encouragement we can provide especially when it comes to food and movement. But what other things can we un-restrict, to encourage our kids to grow up naturally?

Natural living has had a resurgence over the last few years. In this blog post, we offer you 3 ways to encourage your children to live as nature intended

Screen time is a big one.  We dream of our children lost in imaginative and innovative play in the woods with other children but technology is taking that way from us. A never-ending battle to “limit,” or a sea of guilt, we’re assuming they’re mutually exclusive. There’s got to be as many skills, ways of thinking, communication and connection in technology as the ‘real outdoors’. Like everything it’s all about the balance. Role modeling what you’d like for them is a great start: live the balance you want them to develop. Children are really at the mercy of the opportunities we provide for them: if your child is confined to a small indoor space with no access to nature, exploration, or friends, then technology will likely be their only means to connect with the outside world and other people in it. Find the balance.

Where possible we should try to avoid time commitments. Yes, a routine of familiarity works very well for babies learning about this new thing called living but if you can avoid rushing, when time seems to pass both incessantly fast and slow at the same time in your kids’ early years, you’ll be happier and your kids naturally explorative. If you must schedule, which happens when you live in the world with millions of others, just make sure you’re flexible when you don’t want your beach playdate with friends to end.
If you want your child to grow into their potential, nourishing and stretching all the sides of themselves, then you must provide the opportunity for that growth. It’s naturally theirs to grow.

Sugar Isn’t Just SugarThis article appeared for Paleo on the Go

YOUR BODY NEEDS SUGAR! SAY WHAT?!

Before you go and join mainstream media recommendations to ‘quit sugar’ for the good of your health, it turns out our bodies run on the stuff!

Glucose is a form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, even every bacterium – and in fact, every living thing on Earth – uses glucose for energy. So it’s no wonder our body continually monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance. Too much or too little triggers the release of hormones to return the glucose levels to “normal.” And this seesaw between too much or too little is what we really need to focus on for health.

SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE!

It’s not just the white granular sugary stuff we add to our coffee that affects the too little or too much glucose in our blood stream. It’s anything that can be broken down into glucose that we eat, as well as allergenic-foods we might not even know we’re sensitive to. Even not getting enough of the right type of sleep at night, as well as stress play a role. Sugar really is everywhere, so just quitting sugar would actually not be enough, especially if you’re stressing about it!

After a meal of carbohydrates, glucose is converted into a starch form of sugar called glycogen. 
Glycogen is stored first in the liver and then in the muscles. It’s our reserve. It is converted back into glucose when blood sugar levels need to increase (the too little scenario).

Oh and only the glycogen stored in the liver can be used to elevate blood sugar. The glycogen stored in the muscles is only used for the muscle. 
Sounds like we should eat as many glucose-rich carbs as possible right? No! We were designed to use a balance of unrefined carbohydrates along with good fats and proteins as our primary sources of fuel:

– Carbohydrates are like “kindling”

– Fats are like “logs”

– Proteins are used as needed

We were never designed to run on just carbs. Unless you want to be a slave to food constantly needing to eat. We need all three marconutrients.  That said, what we eat is a great place to start in balancing blood sugar responses.

WHERE YOU SHOULD GET YOUR SUGAR

Eat real whole foods, avoiding processed foods with their unrecognizable (read stressful and blood sugar spiking) ingredients, with a balance of all three macronutrients – not too many carbs, fats to slow things down in your tummy and proteins from responsible sources.

It turns out all sugar summates. It’s not just stress or too little sleep or foods you didn’t know you were allergic to. It’s all of them together. To your body they’re all stresses and they look pretty much the same on the inside- a spike in blood sugar. Perhaps the secret to longevity is truly low insulin secretion. It’s our blood glucose lowering hormone, and also our fat storage one! Maintaining an even blood sugar balance would also mean an even hormonal balance. With that comes the weight, mood, energy, motivation and pretty much everything we’re all hoping to fix in our lifetimes!

The truth is nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance and our body’s blood sugar responses are most definitely out of balance and not just cos of the sugar we’re eating.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Comfort foods are nostalgic or sentimental meals that are simple in preparation but often high in calories and carbs, with memories of better times. They’re something we reach for when we’re under the weather with a cold or stressed.

The problem with comfort foods however is that while they give your spirit a dose of TLC, they can deliver to your body an overload of unhealthy ingredients. While no one is proposing that you give them up, if you understand why you crave them then you can learn to recognize the signals in your body and brain before you dive in to something that’s awful for you.

IS THERE A SUCH THING AS PALEO COMFORT FOOD?

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

To most, Paleo recipes are delicious but don’t resemble what we consider “comfort food.” They’re about thriving without the grains, sugars or dairy, which usually make up comfort foods! Thank goodness we can Paleo-ize our comfort foods ensuring the basics, the balance of macronutrients and the reinsertion of pleasure. Yes, we can reach for comfort food recipes without repercussions. We just have to change up our thinking slightly. When you think comfort foods you may think chicken soup, roasts, casseroles, roasted root veggies, mashed potatoes and sausages: which from a nutritional standpoint means broth / collagen, fattier slow cooked meats preserving their precious proteins, starches and more (healthy sourced) fats. When it comes to craving comfort foods, your body is talking to you.

When your body is looking for feel-good hearty fare, the examples above are what you should deliver. Some good ole’ food favorites that make you feel full of energy and not sluggish. Before looking at suggested recipes, let’s break down the common comfort food types and find out why you may be craving them.

COMMON COMFORT FOOD CRAVINGS

  •    Collagen rich foods like slow cooked meats provide every cell’s scaffolding.
  •    Healthy fats with preserved proteins help each other other digest while providing the bricks for the scaffolding.
  •    Roast veggies and starches in healthy fats provide fat-soluble vitamins which means useful vitamins!
  •    And more healthy sourced fats provide the lipid bilayer of the membrane of every cell i.e. two layers of fats so you’ve more been what you eat!

Craving comfort foods when you’re not feeling your best may be your body’s way to help healing and regenerating itself to get you back to 100%!

TOP 10 PALEO COMFORT FOODS

Here are some Paleo Comfort Foods to get you started:

  1. Raw Beet Truffles: Who doesn’t find chocolate anything comforting?! It’s delicious sweet taste and creamy texture aside, you might find you enjoy a little boost from indulging. Chocolate cravings seems especially tied to hormone changes. The magnesium in chocolate, as well as its ability to affect neurotransmitters, may be a large part of the reason. So your next craving chocolate you might well be self-medicating for a dietary deficiency in magnesium. And these raw beet balls are almost chocolate, in fact healthy, so enjoy.

    nr-potpiechicken

    Chicken Pot Pie

  2. Homemade Chicken Pot Pie: Warm and filling, talk about the ultimate comfort food. Healthy fats(contained in each
    premade meal delivery pie I’ve linked) are the main ingredient of every membrane, in every cell in our body from our skin to our hormones. It’s no wonder this is a go to for so many people.
  3. Sticky Date Pudding: I’m sure we all have childhood memories of a favorite pudding our mothers made especially when the cake was still warm and that can probably be easily compared to this one. Dates are a great source of dietary fiber and have the highest concentration of polyphenols among dried fruits. Dates are a perfect energy boosting snack but alongside the healthy fats in the nuts and coconut oil (fats slow sugars down and aid in their digestion) and the eggs for protein, you’ve got pretty much a balanced meal with all three macronutrients.
  4. Biscuits and Gravy: No explanation necessary. It’s an ultimate Paleo comfort food.
  5. Fried Chicken: Right at the heart of southern cooking, fried chicken is perhaps homestead cooking personified. And while we’ve talked about the benefits of healthier fats, fried chicken’s spices – paprika and cayenne – could well be the comforting factor on top. Paprika is not just a spice that adds color, but is also rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, providing a variety of health and beauty benefits, and alongside cayenne, both have Ayurvedic properties to do with metabolism and warmth spanning 1000s of years of cooking. Garlic and onion are often added too and both part of the same allium family often associated with stomach health and immunity. Healthy fried chicken ticks all the winter-wearies.

    Paleo Shepherd's Pie

    Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

  6. Original Shepherds Pie: If there was ever a comfort food that delivered as much comfort as it did nutrient dense benefits this would be it! The structural aid of the collagen in 48 hour slow cooked beef broth and cauliflower-mash instead of potato, rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, choline, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin deliver a pretty big health boost.The bonus is that Shepherd’s Pie is even better as leftovers, so you can continue your healthy comfort food eating into lunch the next day.
  7. Cream of Broccoli Soup: Simply put, this soup is anti-aging beauty in a bowl and if that’s not a comfort to anyone then nothing is. The organic chicken broth is wonderful for nutrient absorption, fat soluble vitamin digestion and then the best of all, increasing your collagen levels. As we lose collagen, the skin becomes thinner and creases (aka wrinkles) form. So, if you really want to get rid of wrinkles permanently, you’ve got to increase your collagen levels: cream of broccoli soup is truly Botox in a bowl without any of the toxins.

    Apple Cinnamon Paleo-Tart

    Apple Cinnamon Paleo-Tart

  8. Apple Cinnamon or Strawberry Paleo-Tarts: There’s nothing quite as comforting as the smell of toast in the morning or apple pie at night, and these paleo tarts bring those two together! The main ingredient is cassava flour, which is great for people with allergies like gluten or grains, or nuts and coconut, the latter which most of us eating alternatives to traditional flour are consuming rather too much of anyway! However, the comfort isn’t limited to relief of your allergies, but down to the depths of your tummy and beyond. Cassava flour is probiotic, which basically means food for your good tummy bacteria. They promote your very best immunity. Also known as a resistant starch, cassava has been shown to increase the absorption of important minerals like calcium and magnesium, decrease absorption of toxins, lower overall blood glucose levels and increase feelings of satiety. Now that’s a comfort food with bang for your buck!
  9. Ice cream sandwiches: Comfort food needn’t always be about the warm and fuzzies. These ice cream sandwiches use graham crackers made from hazelnut meal for a chocolate-y finish and ice cream made with frozen bananas, cacao and maple syrup.
  10. AIP Vegetable Lasagna with Pork Sausage: Don’t let the AIP in the title fool you into thinking this delicious dinner is just too healthy to be comforting. It’s also not too AIP as to avoid the wondrous sneaky veggies and their requisite nutrient bang for your buck they manage to get into one meal! Comfort food just took a step toward healthy.

So there you have all the comfort reasons why paleo comfort foods can indeed be healthy too. But let’s not forget to enjoy your creature comforts with a good conscience and good health because it’s the pleasure side of eating that is truly comfort food inside and out.

PALEO DOES MEAN COMFORT FOODS

The idea of Paleo comfort foods sounds paradoxical: Paleo is all about eating for health and comfort foods not so much! If you’re craving foods of any kind, comfort foods as well, Paleo is a great platform for looking into why: Paleo can help us better balance our foods by reconsidering our “go-to” and that goes for “Paleo-izing” our comfort food favorites. That way, warming recipes for winter nights can indeed be food for the soul that takes you to better days while still having a good day today as well!

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

You’ve probably heard that simply breastfeeding sheds pregnancy weight. It’s all about the calories your baby is consuming on your behalf. Perhaps you’ve then heard that stopping breast feeding sheds more weight: your body no longer has to store additional estrogen to ensure your milk supply, specifically in places like your breasts, upper back and upper arms. Then there’s that magic six week postpartum start (more if recovering from a c-section) to get to your rigorous exercise program following your doctor’s ok to start burning away those extra calories stored. After all that, shazam you’ll be back to your pre pregnancy weight, shape and body in a flash. Right? Not quite, for all three.

Lose that pregnancy weight

How to lose that pregnancy weight

CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT IS A MYTH

The reason? Calories in versus calories out simply makes no scientific sense, but, if you need an equation, nutrients in and hormones out does.

Calories in vs calories out is just a bad way to think and it’s wrong. For example, there’s no way a plate of ice cream with the equivalent amount of carrots in calories can have the same nutritional value for your body. Nor can that many carrots be good for you either. It’s all about things being in balance and that starts with each meal. Another myth is that consuming more fat calories makes us fat, which is again simply untrue. Body fat is just not the same as macronutrient fat (that you eat). In fact, the truth is that consuming more sugar makes you fat. Eating sugar in excess causes insulin to be released lowering our blood sugar. I’ve written more about this in It’s All About Nutrients In vs Hormones Out.

WHERE YOUR FOCUS SHOULD BE IN ORDER TO LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT

What you put in your mouth is key to dropping your baby weight and it can be as simple as keeping sugar off your plate and focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods. If there’s a need to count something then it should include counting the nutrients found in our food. Our focus should be getting the very best quality, and the most efficiently digested and absorbed for our body. Each meal should include each macronutrient – carbs (veggies), proteins and fats. Start planning each meal with your veggies cooked in a healthy fat like butter, olive or coconut oil. Why? Because veggies provide us with fat soluble vitamins, so they need fats to be soluble in. They will also provide your main portion of carbs – so nothing rigorous like trying to go carb-free at a time when you’re trying to get this new life and new body into gear. Next up, choose a healthy source of protein. Look for terms like pasture raised, organic where possible, grass fed and finished, or sustainably caught. The benefit of these protein-filled animal products is that they come with the essential fats we need and their easily digestible. Yes, eat the skin, the whole egg and the marrow in your bones. Cook on low-medium heat (to preserve the quality of the amino acids that make up the proteins) in healthy fats like butter, lard, ghee or coconut oil. Then perhaps serve with a gravy, pesto, tartare or sauce made from healthy fats like egg yolks, olive or sesame or another oil. This helps get in the final essential macronutrient, fats, which is not surprisingly still our hardest one to get enough of having spent nearly thirty years on a low fat diet.

So, why the focus on digestion and that of healthy fats particularly? Our equation is all about the best quality nutrients in and then (used) hormones out. Digestion is the way we get the best quality nutrients in. Healthy fats are what makes up our hormones. And the final piece of the puzzle which we discussed above is adding our proper macronutrient portioning at each meal. This helps us to keep sugars off our plate so your liver doesn’t take a hit and can process your used hormones. Processing used hormones is perhaps the biggest key to getting our body back after pregnancy.

SIMPLE TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR BODY WITH DIGESTION

Start your re-nourishment as a mom with digestion. Simple tips everyone can adhere to include:

  •       Slow down to eat. Take the time to enjoy your food and don’t eat on the go or in your car
  •       Drink enough water (1/2 your body weight in ounces a day). It’s a good practice to only sip water with meals since it dilutes your natural stomach acid.
  •       Enhance the stomach acidity required for digestion with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before each meal
  •       Eat more beets for better betaine, which is crucial in fat digestion.

We’ve all been on a low fat diet for nearly thirty years and we need to bring it back to normality. Rather than on burning off your pregnancy weight, instead focus on building your body back from the hormones up! Getting your body back is surely about just that.

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Real Food on the Table

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

There’s no denying it. Moms these days are in a hurry. We use the quickest route to get from here to there, the fastest computer to get things done and upgrade to the quickest Internet speeds for improved efficiency. We’re busier than ever. To add to that, we’ve got a tiny little time thieves crawling or running around the house!

The same goes for eating. Time pressures are often the driving force for what we consume, quick and easy are the “golden rules” of food preparation. In an ideal world, foods would not only be quick and convenient but also nutritious and economical. However, they can be. It’s all about redefining convenience.

 

A mother and an infant play in the park. Spending time together is important for families, and by preparing our meals quicker, we can find more time in our day to enjoy with those that we love.

TIPS FOR REDEFINING CONVENIENCE FOR MOM

Basically, it’s as much about keeping toxins out as it is getting the best nutrients in.

  • Throw away the instant noodles and the weird extruded rice flakes that look like packing filler. They’re just as nutritious as they are space fillers. Eating foods that cost your body more than they give, is like putting in a lot of hard work and getting nothing in return. No wonder processed foods are killing us.

 

Next up, just eat real food. No gimmicks, no fad diets. Not hours of cooking, shopping and preparing. Just real food. Start with simple planning of some meals.

  • Start with a few favorites to have on rotation.
  • Plan for leftovers. Cook more dinner than you need: plan for breakfast and lunch. Side note: this is not the leftovers you used to dread as a kid but ones you’ll look forward to. Get creative. Think Bridget Jones’ leftover thanksgiving turkey curry!
  • Plan to eat out once or twice on the weekend. With 21 meals in a week and 2 that are prepared by someone else that only leaves you with the task of 19. Start with 5 meal ideas (see below) beginning each with your veggies to get your nutrition through variety. Cook 5 extra for an additional lunch or dinner, so five extra from the five you’ve planned leaves 9.

woman-in-a-kitchen-setting-photographed-in-the-process-of-preparing-a-number-of-just-washed-red-bell-peppers-725x441

That leaves just 5 meals to plan to add back to the freezer and for leftovers. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Sang choi bow Heritage pork ground. Ginger. Coriander root and leaves. Bok choi on side. Leftover lunch from pork mix through an Asian inspired salad with a crepe sliced thinly on top and a slash of coconut aminos. The pork also freezes well for a leftover dinner later.
  • Steak sandwiches with the steak as the sandwich, filled with arugula, raw cheese, a soft fried pastured egg, fresh heirloom tomatoes and pickled beet. Leftover lunch is steak sliced into lengths tossed through a Thai beef salad with zucchini noodles to not only up for veggies but to join in everyone spiraling everything.
  • Lamb rib chops with cauliflower humus and tabbouleh eggplant fries. This is just great leftover as is.
  • Bacon wrapped chorizo filled chicken breast roll. Served with rainbow carrot mash and leeks. It’s a Sunday night ‘roast’ eye popping presentation with simple prepping and cooking. Have it for lunch sliced on a salad with some macadamia nuts, avocado and cranberries or with a poached egg on top for breakfast. It’s got bacon in it after all.
  • Hot dog using the sausage as the bun with sauerkraut, fresh made mustard and see-thru fried onions inside. Sweet potato, zucchini and carrot fries on the side. There’s never leftovers. Sorry.

Last but not least the real food you get on the table should be something you and your family look forward to. It’s easier to buy, prepare, cook and think ahead for something you love. Adding pleasure back alongside all the nutrients may be the biggest missing ingredient from our real food tables as busy moms. Good luck.

It’s Time to Get Out of (Your Current) Shape

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET IN SHAPE? WHAT’S WITH YOUR SHAPE NOW?

“Getting in shape” is such a common phrase in the fitness world and it’s becoming more common in the world of nutrition. We’re now actively getting not only our diet in shape, but also our digestion, energy levels and hormones “in shape.” The real objective on getting in shape is actually to get out of the one we’re currently in.

The shape you’re in is the one that’s serving you for now. It depends on what you’re trying to do to change, but also what you’ve pretty much done your entire life. If we’re judging on what we’ve done, that would make most of us Sitting Ninjas who can order a meal with the tap of a few app keys, while still holding that Sitting Ninja posture. No wonder we want to “get in shape” (a better one than the one that looks like we’re sitting even when we’re standing!) Every day we have three opportunities to get our diet, digestion and energy in shape, and we should do the same to change our Sitting Ninja posture too.

GET IN SHAPE BY LOSING YOUR CURRENT SHAPE

A thin woman and an overwight woman lean back to back. We challenge you to get in shape by following these few tips to become a healthier person.Getting in shape really means getting out of the one we’re in currently. It takes change and it can be done fairly easily! By keeping your body’s best interest in mind, you will shape your diet, movement and mind into a more holistic and healthier one.
Here are a few things you can count on:
– you’ll remember to drink plenty of water because your body needs it to for proper digestion and to clear out toxins.
– You’ll choose fruits instead of synthetic beverages and sweets, in order to give your body the extra fiber it needs.
– You’ll eat your vegetables raw or lightly cooked, but not processed to make sure nothing gets lost between the farm and your hand. When it comes to food, nature is definitely wisest.
– You’ll squat intermittently throughout the day, walk wherever you can, stretch the places you know could use it whenever you’re waiting around (tops of your feet, calves, hammies and lats on most of us).

7 TIPS TO GET IN SHAPE AND STAY THAT WAY!

Getting in shape is where food and fitness collide. Each of us is different but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a number of common markers for people who consider themselves “in shape.”

 

  1. Make it easy for yourself to work out in the mornings. … And eat a good breakfast.
  2. Master the art of portion control… And movement over exercise.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Don’t aim for perfection. Nothing is good or bad, just in or out of balance. Food and movement.
  5. Find a workout and meals you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.
  6. Try to do some form of movement once an hour. Or just set a goal to move more and create opportunities to do so. Combine movement with food choices, like walking to the produce store or farmers market.
  7. You’ve a set point. Acknowledge it. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where there body wants to remain. Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face. When expectations meet reality you can avoid dietary crashes. Eat healthy. Not just food that looks healthy. Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you. The most basic nutritional advice is: eat unprocessed food, more veggies, use meat as a side dish not a main course, dress and cook with different healthy fats and get your nutrition through variety.

You’re not out of shape; you’re in the exact shape of what it is you’ve been doing. The shape you’re in is the health you’re in. It’s not just something you think about one meal or workout at a time. It’s a lifestyle. And one you can enjoy!

How to Approach Transitioning to Clean Eating

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

A long time being marketed to by the food industry has a lot of us needing to carry a label when it comes to our eating habits. “Clean Eating” might seem like yet another label, but as far as a label goes, it doesn’t matter if you’re a vegetarian or you binge on carbs, we could all do better with our clean eating.

DEFINING CLEAN EATING

Put simply, clean eating means eating whole foods, as close to nature as possible. We aren’t eating processed foods. The point is to buy less foods in packages and more foods that you can find at a farmer’s market. In a nutshell, if you keep good food in your fridge you’ll eat good food.

Like the need to label, we also tend to associate ourselves with either being good or bad. We take eating clean further and make a “diet” out of it, or make it a very restrictive and expensive way to eat. But nothing is really good or bad, just in or out of balance and clean eating is simply shifting our focus to the quality of food we put on our plate.

There’s two ways of transitioning to clean eating. The first, is the right here, right now as quickly as possible approach. The other, is to really understand, getting to the nitty gritty and really giving your body what it needs to help itself. This is achieved by moving to an 80:20 lifestyle where 80% of the time your eat clean so that the other 20% your body can absorb any indiscretions. It’s called “living.” By helping your body help itself and moving to an 80:20 lifestyle, you’ll acheive a healthy balance in your diet and still be able to enjoy some of the “finer” things.

bistek_tagalog-02

THE TRANSITIONING TO CLEAN EATING RIGHT NOW APPROACH

Ok, so this is heavily borrowed from Michael Pollan:

Eat food.

Whole foods, as close to nature as possible. No processed foods, buy less foods in packages and be a peripheral (fresh produce) and farmer’s market shopper. Keep good food in your fridge to eat good food.

Mostly plants.

Of the 180 or so varieties of fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds most of us eat 5-6 a week, some every week. Green leafy veggies should be our number one priority for carbs and colored everything for antioxidants. Nutrition through variety is a great meme.

The right amount of enough.

Michael Pollan also warns against eating too much (you know if this is you). Eating too much means you’re not getting the right amount of each macronutrient; carbs, proteins, fats. Each meal you should strive for about a 40:30:30 ratio. Beginning with how you eat makes you feel and focus on satisfaction and enjoyment not fullness.

TRANSITIONING TO CLEAN EATING USING THE 80:20 APPROACH

I see transitioning as a process, something you’re always doing and working on. It’s not done and over, never to be thought about again because it’s how you’re going to do it from now on. Even the healthiest most balanced meal every day can behave much like sugar in your brain. We’re wired to seek difference, as much as we are to detect ripeness and spoilage. Ensuring our micronutrient needs in our bodies are met through our foods is important. So here’s a few things to keep in mind when transitioning to clean eating, over time.

  1. When we remove processed food from our diet, our health comes a long way. Foods our bodies were not made to use can cost more in energy than they provide. We also need more of them to get the same energy whole foods can easily provide us.
  2. Clean eating doesn’t have ingredients; it is ingredients.
  3. Forget the calories: chances are we’re nutrient not calorie deficient. If you’re gonna count something, count nutrients.
  4. There is no one size fits all diet. People prescribing ‘diets’ that have worked for them, without getting to know a person and what is happening in their body at a biochemical and cellular level are either misguided, selling something or both.
  5. Eat foods to enhance health from the level of the cell. This means getting to the root cause. Clean eating isn’t the opposite of dirty, it’s unprocessed.
  6. Digest optimally. Think about your food, don’t eat on the run, chew your food and de-stress. Stress is high blood sugar but also digestion needs a parasympathetic state to work properly and stress is sympathetic: it turns digestion off.
  7. Eating fat doesn’t make you fatSugar does. Sugar mobilizes insulin; fat does not. Macronutrient fat does not trigger the hormonal dance that creates body fat storage. When you eat something sweet, your blood sugar levels increase too quickly, and your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to take the excess sugar out of your blood. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. It stores that extra sugar first as glycogen, and then as triglycerides (fat) once these glycogen stores are full.
  8. Eat more healthy fats because we need healthy fats to digest what we should be eating! The very bodily substance we need to digest fats, bile, is produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Ironically it’s made of the very fats it digests so low, no or weird trans-fats in your diet means that’s exactly what your bile is made of and probably why you’re body is not digesting fats! Good healthy fats mean good healthy (functioning) bile to digest more fats. And the secret to healthier bile and fats digestion? Beets! In fact you should probably drop some fresh beets daily. beet-root-salad
  9. Beware Franken-fats. The fact is you can’t make a processed food without heat. Turn over just about any box or bag in your kitchen and chances are one of those vegetable oils (along with some level of oxidation) is in there. Even less convenient is the fact that these refined, polyunsaturated oils are the most popular choice in most commercial kitchens because they’re cheap and have that high smoke point — so they can withstand high heats without making food taste burnt. But, there is hope! A growing number of packaged food brands and restaurants have started to make the switch, using more stable oils like coconut, avocado and animal fats for their house-made potato chips and French fries. And, rather than hiding from the world and only eating oil you’ve cold-pressed in your backyard, you can always ask that your meal be cooked in butter the next time you’re out to eat.
  10. Eating clean will help you re-realize what you need vs want. No one needs three coffees a day; no one needs a muffin: they’re just sugar and artificial ways of lifting our energy, which our body could be doing for itself, helping itself out in the process.
  11. When we eat clean, we can expect to feel energetic not need processed foods for a boost. It would seem our bodies really do know what to eat; our problem is we’ve forgotten how. We rush to eat, eat on the run and stress our way through our day to get more food in and hope blissful sleep will energize us to do it all again the next day. However, digestion turns off in all these occasions; so taking time is your number one transitioning goal. It needn’t be meditation before each mouthful, or copious amounts of hours cooking and preparing and serving up a ten-course degustation; the time you take is for you and that’s whatever you can.
  12. Removing the stressors – after we prioritize everything we need first and foremost on our plate, full of vegetables, good fats and high quality proteins at each meal, there’s little left for the “go to foods” we used to fill up on. When did being full start constituting a healthy meal by the way?!
  13. Strengthening the defenses – this is the next or at the same time, step. It starts with digestive strengthening. A lot of us share similar symptoms like rushing to eat and low stomach acid or poor fat digestion function from a low fat diet. Each of us is as different on the inside as out. There are going to be foods you reintroduce you can tolerate, some you can’t and others you can eat but maybe shouldn’t or should limit. It’s about listening to your body, which is always talking (as symptoms); we’ve just got to learn to listen.
  14. Transitioning steps: bad, good, better, best. While it’s so encouraging to see people consciously making better food choices, meal planning, grocery shopping, or even perusing your local farmer’s markets to know which foods are the “best” options it’s pretty daunting. Start by making family favorites in a healthy manner. Increase good fats by adding them to foods (such as butter on vegetables). Focus on their digestion through the inclusion of things like beets at each meal. Add more variety after you get used to healthier food ingredients. Increase the ratio of raw foods in your diet. And change gradually: Rome wasn’t built in a day!

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Do you spring out of bed each day? For most of us the answer is, no.

Most of us have started feeling the effects of age and disease and are wondering where the magic button is to reverse it is. We’re looking for more, and in doing so choosing foods with less – fat free, salt free, sugar free, gluten free. The truth is going ‘food-free’, namely gluten-free, is the answer we’re looking for which confirms the diagnosis: we’re gluten intolerant.

The truth is that we have a long history of vilifying certain foods. But what if the real culprit isn’t the food, like our difficulty digesting gluten, but that our digestion itself is compromised. The quality and strength of our digestion governs the ability of our body to properly absorb nutrients from the food we’re eating. Looking at the nutrition facts label listing what various vitamins and minerals are in the food we’re eating, it is tempting to think that you simply absorb it all when you consume that food. Without a healthy, well-functioning digestive tract even the best food choices will do you little good. Your body will struggle to process essential nutrients contained in the food you’re consuming. This can lead to unnecessary dis-ease because your body will not be getting the basics for proper function.

Using a very simple outline of how digestion works, we can also see how when it dysfunctions.

HOW DIGESTION WORKS

woman biting a red hot chili pepperDigestion begins in the mouth. Actually it’s before that: our cephalic response begins when we see, smell and think about food, releasing saliva and beginning pancreatic enzyme release further down. The act of chewing food mixes it with our saliva, which, rich in digestive enzymes, begins to break down the food even before it reaches our stomach. So, the first step in improving your digestive problems is tochew your foods thoroughly.

Once food is swallowed it enters the stomach, which then secretes hydrochloric acid and various enzymes to further digest and break down the food. A lot of us are lacking enough of this acidity, which is another article entirely, but we also eat and drink simultaneously. While a few sips of liquid with meals is harmless, larger amounts begin to dilute the concentration and effectiveness of the hydrochloric acid-enzyme mix causing food to enter the intestines without being properly broken down. We call this indigestion showing itself as gas and shooting pains, and sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies can result as the body struggles to release the vitamins and minerals still locked away.

As food leaves the stomach and enters the intestines, the pancreas enzymes, along with the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms in the bowels, break it down even further. These beneficial bacteria (also known as probiotics or intestinal flora) are in a delicate balance but are rather resilient if we eat well: aka little sugar, no unprocessed foods, and a good balance of each macronutrient, in turn abiding by the best digestive practices.

IS GLUTEN REALLY THE PROBLEM?

Gluten is particularly difficult to digest. In fact, like the grains it comes with, it’s made to germinate a new plant, not to be digested. The worse part is that gluten takes other nutrients we the body needs away. Properly preparing, soaking and activating processes can help with some of this.

Then gluten requires a strong stomach acid to process it. If not enough of this acid is produced or is diluted with too many liquids at mealtime, the gluten passes through to the small intestine, undigested. If eaten in excess, it can irritate the intestinal villi on the gut wall and affect our digestion and absorption.

Which brings us to coeliacs disease: only about one in 100 people give up gluten because they have Celiac disease. Celiacs are allergic to gliadin, one of the proteins in gluten. Upon exposure to this protein, their bodies initiate an auto-immune response which severely damages the intestinal villi. Inflammation, shortening and flattening of the villi result in less surface area available for absorption of nutrients, leading to malabsorption, malnourishment, weight-loss and fatigue.

WHAT IF THE WIDER PREVALENCE OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE IS SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED?bread basket

  • MODERN WHEAT.

Modern wheat is a cross-bred super high-yielding crop, which not only contains more gluten, the amino-acid chains within the glutenin and gliadin proteins have undergone significant changes, particularly relating to appetite stimulation. Research is also beginning to reveal that modern wheat’s biological code is wrecking havoc with the hormones related to obesity and diabetes. It seems that modern wheat is bad news for our health.

Remember that there are other glutinous grains, like spelt, which have remained virtually untouched by science and agriculturalists for hundreds of years. Spelt is much easier to digest than modern wheat and much better for you, if you can tolerate it.

  • PROCESSED FOOD.

Factories and major processed food companies start with a high-gluten, modern wheat frankin-grain, then food processors add more gluten to it when making breads, pastas and cereals – so it is easier to produce and a better looking product. On top of that, ‘hidden’ gluten is added to a vast array of other food products, totally topping out our gluten load.

If gluten affects you, you should also stop using these highly processed products and start eating real food home cooked meals or pre-made paleo meals again.

  • NOT ENOUGH DIVERSITY.

People eating a ‘normal’ modern western diet eat way too much deranged-wheat-based products and, therefore, too much gluten!

Gluten is found in food products made from grains naturally containing it but is also used as a protein additive to many products low in protein. Gluten is also used in products requiring its specific textural properties: imitation meats, beer, soy sauce, dressings, gravy, ketchup, canned soup, stock cubes, frozen or canned vegetables in sauce and even ice cream! Extra gluten is also generally added to commercially produced bread (it makes the dough rise and improves the uniformity, structure and texture of the bread). It is also found in a variety of cosmetics, hair and skin products.

We eat bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes and pizza all the time. This list of glutinous products are, more often than not, found in every single meal of the day, all year round. We’ve lost all genuine diversity in our diets! We were not designed to eat this much gluten, or this amount of the same food. We’re wired to seek difference in our foods to ensure our micronutrient diversity.

The bad guys are processed foods made from deranged modern wheat and processed foods with added gluten. We need to give THEM up as well as gluten.

Compromised digestion is probably the biggest reason we’re having difficulty digesting gluten. We’re not producing enough acid, or secreting the amount required to break down this protein. We’re also not chewing our foods, drinking too much liquid diluting it as we eat.

Simply, an inability to digest gluten is a sign of our digestion not working properly. If we’re not digesting gluten properly, we’re not digesting anything properly. But this doesn’t mean we have to give up gluten. We simply need to learn how to eat and live in ways that promote strong, balanced digestion and the appropriate elimination of toxins. Paleo real food values offer a great template for reclaiming our health through taking on our own health responsibility. Then we’re on our own. Scary, but maybe the diet we’re best suited for is the one we can digest.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

 

Looking after mom’s diet is more than simply prenatal vitamins and eating for two.

Put simply, the growth and development of your baby is directly affected by what you eat, especially through pregnancy and nursing. You are also effected what your baby eats because if you don’t provide your body with the ability to make the things his growing body needs, then your body will be taxed with making them for your milk. Finally, what your baby eats affects their behavior, learning, tantrums and frustrations. Here’s some things to definitely avoid while nursing, others that can enhance yours and his health as you nurse, and better than that, enhance both your health after nursing too.

 

WHAT’S NOT OK WHILE NURSING

breastfeeding

Hopefully it goes without saying that smoking and drinking too much alcohol while nursing are obviously not ok. But there are other definite things to avoid when nursing.

FOODS TO AVOID WHILE NURSING AND PREGNANT

  • Polluted Fish (like swordfish and shark)
  • Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats and oils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • GMOs

 

SOY

Soy contains plant-based estrogens, which hormonally disrupt both mom and nursing baby. It also contains thyroid-blocking factors that can lead to metabolic problems and an underactive thyroid. Thyroid issues may lead to fatigue, cold extremities and failure to lose weight. Research suggests children born to moms with underactive thyroids have a below average IQ below too.

 

SUGAR

Hopefully we’re all pretty aware of the danger the amount of sugar in our current diet can have, but when it comes to young babies, sugar’s worst influence is on yeast. Any type of sugar feeds yeasts in your gut. In large amounts, yeasts cause vaginal yeast infections, sugar cravings and the breast infection mastitis. Mastitis is dangerous for mom and baby because it can cause thrush, diaper rash, food intolerance, food allergies and nutrient deficiencies.

Also, when yeast eats sugar, it puts out toxic byproducts that pass through your milk. In your baby’s stomach these byproducts reduce stomach acid. Sufficient stomach acid is required to ward off acid reflux, colic, food allergies and infection in babies. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid eating sugar as a nursing mom.

 

DRINKS

The most important advice for nursing moms is to stay hydrated to provide enough fluid to produce milk. It’s so important that a female’s body can and will trigger hormonal changes that cause the body to release chemicals telling the brain it’s incredibly thirsty during the first few minutes of breastfeeding. This built in mechanism is to ensure sufficient hydration. In addition to the amount, what you drink is also important for both you and your baby.

  • Caffeinated beverages (coffee, teas, chocolate and soda). Caffeine is a diuretic and can make you more prone to inadequate hydration possibly affecting milk supply. Also it will get into breast milk so watch for signs of caffeine sensitivity in your baby: wakefulness, hyperactivity, colicky behavior and shorter duration feedings.
  • Even some herbal teas according to the PDR for Herbal Medicines, herbal teas that contain alfalfa, burdock, cornflower, dandelion, dog rose, ginger, hibiscus, mint and spearmint, marshmallow, holly, horsetail, juniper, larkspur, calendula, corn silk, mate, meadowsweet, olive leaf, parsley, nettle, sweet clover, fennel, uva ursi or winter cherry may be diuretic.
  • Alcohol enters breast milk within 30-60 min, more than 1-2 social drinks can hinder ‘let down’ and it has been shown to create problems with your baby’s sleep cycle. Wait at least 2 hours after any drink to nurse. If you have any more, it’s wise to ‘pump and dump’. And personally while there’s no use crying over spilt milk, there’s most definitely every reason to cry here!

 

GMOS

Genetically modified organisms look and taste just like their counterparts, but their DNA is nothing like nature’s version. The company’s that make them force DNA from bacteria and viruses into recipient DNA to ‘engineer’ seeds to produce their own insecticides or survive being sprayed with massive quantities of pesticides. Consuming GMOs means you’re getting more toxic exposure from pesticides since those crops are sprayed much more – whether GMO are safe or not!

Mutated cells in GMO crops have been shown to spread to human cells when eaten and implicated in increased immune reactions. Further, today’s most popular vegetable oils are made from GMOs which is another reason to avoid them too.

 

WHAT’S OPTIMAL

Following Paleo real food values we can see just how optimal health is entirely possible from the right form of foods and nutrient density. None more so than a nursing mom with all the enzymes, nutrients, vitamins and minerals she needs for herself and her baby, some daily, others weekly, but like any diet, best adapted uniquely to her needs.

 

HERE ARE SOME SPECIFICS:

BUTTER – BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT

Butter is a stick of big (healthy) fat nourishment and it makes food taste good. Grass-fed butter is an amazing healing food containing fat-soluble vitamin A, beta-carotene, conjugated linoleic acid (potent cancer fighter found exclusively in grass fed dairy and animal fat), omega 3s (especially DHA, crucial for building your baby’s brain), and vitamin E. Butter’s fatty acids provide these excellent nutrients but along with the fat to make sure your body can use them: perfect.

 

THE RIGHT FATS

Your breast milk is naturally high in healthy fats – almost 60% – both saturated fat and cholesterol especially important for your baby’s brain which is also about 60% fat. If you don’t provide your body with the ability to make these then it will be taxed with making them for your milk. Most of your healthy fats should come from clarified butter, eggs and meat; coconut fats (oil and milk) should contribute significantly due to their special medium chain triglycerides (fats that feed probiotics and spur metabolism). Fish, oily fish and nuts will round out your essential (your body cannot make these, so you need to ingest them) fatty acid needs.

 

WISE CARBS

Eat a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits as your main source of carbohydrates. They pack great nutrition and fiber but don’t spike your blood sugar as much as the more commonly consumed carbs; refined grains and beans, which particularly are hardest to digest and can block the digestive tract.

 

In conclusion, the goal is for your diet to be as nutritious as possible with the least amount of toxins. Unfortunately, if you don’t provide your body with the ability to make the essentials for your growing baby, then they’ll be taken from you. This can mean a lifetime of problems for you both. Thankfully, optimal health is entirely possible with the right foods and nutrients.