Happy Holidays!

I want to wish all of my friends a Happy Passover and/or Happy Easter!

It does not happen often that these two holidays land together like they have this weekend.  Today is Friday, the first night of Passover and also Good Friday.

I hope if you celebrate either of these holidays (maybe you celebrate both) that you enjoy a weekend of friends, family, good food and connecting spiritually to your Higher Power.

If you do not celebrate in a religious sense, I hope you enjoy the time when stores and roads won’t be crowded and find something nice to do outside on this early Spring weekend!

To your health!

Vicki

 

No Butter Needed Corn on the Cob

This week has been my spring break. I finished a class and decided to take a week off from school. Somehow, the week has sped by and I did not get my blog out. If you recall, my New Years resolution was to write a weekly blog. I do not want to break my promise so I am writing my blog a few days late. Better late than never!

The days are longer and hotter and it’s time to break out the grill again. We love having friends over on a Saturday night to just hang and cook out. I am sending you this wonderful Corn on the Cob recipe to get the BBQ season started. We make this all summer long and our guests always ask for the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

No Butter Needed Corn on the Cob

1 tsb. Fresh lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ teasp. Sea salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
6 ears of corn, in husk (we take ours out because we like the corn blacker)
2 limes cut lengthwise

Heat the grill or preheat oven to 500 degrees
In small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and oil
Prepare corn, one ear at a time. Pull off and discard outside leaves. Pull back remaining leaves, carefully until you see kernels. Pull off the silk and brush kernels with oil mixture.
Smooth leaves back in place, one by one until ear is covered. Arrange the corn on the grill or place them in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. If you are using a grill turn the ears 2-3 times. Not necessary to do if roasting in the oven. Serve corn immediately, accompanies by lime wedges which you can squeeze on the corn for more flavor.
Taken from http://www.aicr.org/information/recipe

This Spice Can Help You Ward Off Diabetes

Does this sound familiar? Mornings are just crazy with everyone rushing around the house trying to get out the door with lunches, books and briefcases. Darn! You meant to make some breakfast but now, there just isn’t time. You grab a bagel or a Poptart or you skip breakfast and figure you’ll find something at the office, even though you KNOW there isn’t anything to eat there.

(Did you think someone built a cute little café in your building overnight)?

An hour or so later, you are hungry and having trouble concentrating on your work-the dreaded brain fog. You may even feel a little shaky or irritable. You grab a sugary snack or a cup of coffee, feel a little better and anxiously wait for lunch.
That shaky, brain foggy feeling is from your blood sugar dropping. Reaching for the caffeine or sugary snack will jack up your blood sugar quickly so you will feel better quickly but unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. Sugar and caffeine are not the healthiest way to raise your blood sugar and sets you up for being on this roller coaster all day long.

This sugar yo-yo is a sure formula for gaining weight and being in danger of becoming diabetic.

The trick is to keep you blood sugar stable all day. That means that you need to eat three meals a day and a couple of healthy snacks. It takes a little planning but it is worth the effort because you will feel clear headed, productive and calm all day.

Cinnamon is helpful in maintaining blood sugar. There have been many studies that show that it helps to regulate blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Some studies show that cinnamon enhances insulin’s effectiveness. There are some studies that are not as clear but y’know what? It can’t hurt to use some every day. Cinnamon tastes good and goes great on oatmeal, it can be used in cooking meat for a Mediterranean style meal and is awesome on popcorn!

It also has many other healing properties that make it a healthy choice.
Work on getting up a little earlier so you have time for breakfast and sprinkle a little cinnamon on your oatmeal or toast with banana’s and raisins. One quarter teaspoon a day is all you need!

To Your Good health!

Vicki

If you’d like help setting and meeting goals to improve your health, click here>https://my.timedriver.com/TGW2Me to schedule a free 30 minute consult with me. Working together, we can accomplish a lot!

Roasted Chickpeas

My sister in law served these as a finger food appetizer. They are yummy! Easy and inexpensive.
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
5 dashes cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

1) Preheat oven to 425°F.

2) Place chickpeas on baking/cookie sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Shake the pan. (Do not spill on kitchen floor.) Roast another 10 minutes.

3) In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, oil, salt, and spices. Stir well to combine.

4) Spread chickpeas back out on baking sheet. Roast between 5 and 15 more minutes, until they’re browned and super crunchy. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
135 calories, 4.3 g fat, $0.15

Calculations
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas: 500 calories, 4.8 g fat, $0.50
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.03
¼ – ½ teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
5 dashes cayenne pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
1 teaspoon cumin: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
TOTAL: 539 calories, 9.3 g fat, $0.58
PER SERVING: 135 calories, 4.3 g fat, $0.15

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/04/roasted-chickpeas-wrong-way-right-way.html

30 Minutes a Day Could Change Everything

How much time do you spend outside during the week? If you’re lucky, an hour or two when it’s nice out…on the weekend?

Maybe even less when the weather is more extreme.

Most of us spend the majority of our time inside. When we go do go out, we’re either bundled up to stay warm or slathered with sunscreen to protect ourselves from damaging rays.
It is important to protect ourselves from the sun but it is also extremely important to expose ourselves to the sun too. We need to be exposed for about 20-30 minutes every day to insure we have enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D’s Numerous Benefits To You
• Key to bone health and strength (particularly important in the elderly)
• Muscle strength
• Reduction of high blood pressure
• Helps prevent multiple sclerosis
• Prevents rickets
• May help prevent cancer of the colon, ovaries, lung, kidney, breast and prostate, in fact, maybe all cancers
• May help prevent rheumatoid arthritis
• Helps regulate blood sugar
• Reduces tooth loss in the elderly
• Enhances mood, particularly with seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
• Assists in brain function and development

How Do You Get Enough?

Getting outside and exposing your skin for 20-30 minutes a day during the middle of the day will give you an adequate amount of Vitamin D. If you expose yourself during the summer your body can store up Vitamin D for the winter months. Be aware that the darker your skin, the more exposure you may need to get to optimal levels. You can also consume it through certain foods. Good sources include oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks, or fortified foods like milk and orange juice. Or you can take a vitamin supplement; D3 is preferable to D2.

[Read more...]

A Really Yummy Gluten Free Muffin Recipe

A friend of mine recently shared a cookbook with me called The Paleo Comfort Foods Diet by Julie and Charles Mayfield. The cookbook is visually beautiful. Each recipe is accompanied by a short explanation of where it came from with tips and hints at the bottom of each page. The right hand side is a beautiful, full page picture of the recipe.

In case you’re not familiar with the Paleo Diet, it is a diet that believes that we should be eating what our ancestors were eating during the Paleolithic period. This was the era before agriculture when we were hunters and gatherers. Basically, people following this diet eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and animal proteins, specifically wild and grass fed. They do not eat dairy, grains or legumes, refined salt or oils. I know, it sounds rather limiting but this cookbook shows you how to eat this way in a delicious, colorful way. You would be amazed at how well you can eat by eating these foods.

I will admit many of the recipes are lengthy. My husband joked that some of them seemed to be geared to keep him in the kitchen for a while! However, what we have found is that they are well worth the effort. Each one we’ve made has been delicious and there is usually a significant amount left over which means easy lunches for the next few days and less time in the kitchen over all!

I am sharing one of the muffin recipes with you. I have been gluten free for many years and have tried many recipes and commercial products and these are by far the best. They make for a hearty snack or a great addition to my morning egg for breakfast. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try these recipes; they are not difficult and well worth the effort to have homemade muffins. The first batch of Morning Glory muffins disappeared hot out of the oven between me, my husband and my son! And the house smelled heavenly!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and I strongly recommend you checking out The Mayfield’s Cookbook. http://paleocomfortfoods.com/

If you would like some help in implementing a new way of eating, Paleo or Mediterranean or just doing something different, please contact me at Vicki@yourhealthystructure.com for a free 30 minute consult. I am happy to work face to face, on the phone or by skype.

I’d also like to announce that I have just joined The Parkaire Consultant Group. We are a therapy group that specializes in ADD, ADHD, OCD, Tourette’s, Bi-polar and more. I will be there 1-2 days a week. Check us out at our website: http://parkaireconsultants.com/

I will also continue my private practice and working at Talbott Recovery Campus once a week.

Morning Glory Muffins
These are gluten free, delicious with a touch of sweetness and very filling. Makes a great snack or addition to an egg for breakfast.

2 ½ cups almond flour
1 tbl. Cinnamon
1/2 teasp. salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups carrots, grated
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
½ cup coconut or avocado oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a standard size muffin pan (12 cups)
2. Combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add carrot, apple, coconut and raisins and combine well.
3. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, oil and vanilla extract together.
4. Pour this mixture over your dry ingredients and mix well. This batter will be thick.
5. Sppon out into muffin pan and place on middle or upper rack for 40-50 minutes for large muffins or 20-30 for smaller ones.
6. When toothpick comes out clean, they are done.
7. Cool muffins 8-10 minutes and remove from rack to finish cooling.

Variations: Add in teasp. of orange zest. Replace raisins with cup of chopped dates. You can also make a loaf with this batter. Either one large or two smaller ones. Bake 45-60 minutes.

Tips: The smaller you can grate the apple/carrot the better. Muffins are moister if you can let the batter sit for 30-60 minutes before spooning into muffin pan.

***I have saved some money by using an electric coffee bean grinder to grind blanched almonds. Takes a little more time but it is 50% less expensive than buying the almond flour ground and packaged. I use my Cuisinart for grinding the apple and carrots and that works great. I’ve made this recipe twice now and both have yielded 18 muffins-Vicki

By Julie and Charles Mayfield
From the Gluten Free Paleo Comfort Food Cookbook

Removing This One Thing From Your Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

Did you know that sugar is everywhere in your diet?  It’s not just in candy anymore. Go look in your pantry and fridge. Check out the food labels. You’ll see that sugar is in salad dressing, pizza, soup and even in your bread!

What the heck is going on?

It’s the perfect storm that has created a health crisis.

Many years ago, a researcher named Ancel Keyes looked at heart disease in many different countries. His study was called the 22 Country Study.  The end result was that he concluded that fat was the reason that people were getting heart disease.  This one study spawned 30 years of medicine preaching no and low fat diets.

The problem is he may have been wrong.

And what manufacturers discovered was that low fat food tastes terrible.  They learned that if they added sugar, it was tasty enough that people would buy it. Unfortunately, what we now know is that fat does not convert into fat but sugar does. And those high doses of sugar we’re eating in our low fat food is what is making us fat.

Being overweight is the precursor to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  It also causes inflammation which is the precursor for all diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and others.

Consider that at the turn of the last century, people ate about 25 pounds of sugar a year.  Today,we consume 151 pounds a year! (Haley, S. (May 2011). Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: USDA).

The American Heart Association has created a guideline for how much extra sugar we should have in our diets.  Women should have 100 grams per day and men 150.  One gram is four teaspoons.  One gram is also 4 calories.

For example, one regular coke has 39 grams of sugar.  If you divide that by 4, you get 9.75 teaspoons of sugar.  39 grams x16=156 calories from sugar.  Guess what? The can states there are a total of 140 calories per can.  It is simply liquid sugar. Same with juices and caffeine loaded soft drinks and ice tea.  Next time you’re at the store, check it out.

Another problem with sugar sweetened beverages is that we don’t compensate for the calories.  If you know you are going to have a big celebratory dinner you may cut back during the day because you want to “save up” your calories.  Studies have shown that we don’t do that when we are drinking our sugar.  The pounds can easily creep up over a year when we consume those extra calories.

If you want to painlessly lose some weight over the course of a year, stop drinking sugar sweetened beverages. Not just soft drinks but juice, ice tea, etc.  If you really love juice, I suggest cutting it in half with water, to cut down on the sugar.

Sugar from natural sources like fruit are fine because they contain fiber to slow down the metabolism and they have vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  These other processed foods do not.

If you can think of sugar as a treat and not something to be consumed every day all day long, you will find the pounds pouring off!

If you’d like help in giving up sugar, a potentially difficult task made so much easier with some help, email me at Vicki@yourhealthystructure so we can set up a free consult.

To your good health!

Vicki

 

We’ve Lost Another Legend: Whitney Houston

I’m not a big celebrity follower. I don’t watch E! or any of the awards shows, however, I love music. I’ve always loved music and I love to sing. Not that I’m very good at it but I’ve always appreciated talented musicians and Whitney Houston was one of my favorites. I remember when she had just started out, none of my friends had heard of her but I’d already bought her first album and knew all the words to all the songs.

She had it all. She was gorgeous and talented. A voice like no one else’s. But clearly something was missing for her. Something was causing her deep pain because she was also chemically dependent.

Two days after her death, I am reminded of how powerful the disease of addiction is. I am reminded that while one might appear to have it all, this disease wants to take it all from you. This disease is tricky, evil, and so often fatal.

I’ve worked with chemically dependent people for almost two decades. I love my work. I have never found brighter, more resilient, caring, loving people as I have in my patients and clients. Unfortunately, society often does not respect people who are chemically dependent. People think that changing chemical dependency is just a matter of willpower or a moral compass gone astray. I am here to tell you it is real. It is a disease that ravages mind, body, and spirit-if one lets it.

I can only hope that Whitney Houston’s death will not be in vain. Not only that her record sales will soar and a new generation will hear her voice but also perhaps a new start for understanding, funding, supporting and helping those that continue to live on with addiction.

I specialize in working with chemically dependent people who are looking to improve their chances of recovery through nutrition and psychotherapy. Please contact me for a session at vicki@yourhealthystructure.com

Five Keys to Unlocking Heart Health

Love is in the air!  Valentine’s Day is next week.   February is also American Heart Month so this is a great time to talk about heart disease and what you can do to help prevent it.
Know your Numbers!  Five Keys to Unlocking Your Heart Health are Knowing These Numbers.
We all know that we need to watch our cholesterol numbers.  We fret about “getting over 200” and what is our HDL (good) or LDL (bad) numbers.  But did you know that we actually NEED cholesterol and that it plays an important role in our overall health?
Cholesterol:
  • Acts with Saturated fats to give cell membrane
    stiffness and stability
  • Is a precursor to vital corticosteroids, stress
    hormones, sex hormones like testosterone and progesterone
  • Is a precursor to Vitamin D, needed for healthy
    bones, nervous system, immune system
  • Bile salts are made from cholesterol and aide
    digestion and assimilation of dietary fats
  • Acts as an anti-oxidant
  • Needed for proper function of serotonin (the
    feel good neurotransmitter)
  • Mothers milk is rich in cholesterol and aides in
    baby growth of brain and nervous system
  • Maintains health of the intestinal wall
It is possible to have cholesterol that is too low and that can cause problems also.  While the numbers are controversial and still being discussed, doctors are recommending at least 150-160 as the beginning of normal.  HDL should be 50 in women and 40 in men.  It is also important to know not just what your LDL is but also your VLDL (very low density). LDL is made up of large, bouncy particles that actually float around your bloodstream nicely.  The VLDL are smaller, denser and more likely to get “caught” in your arteries and cause issues.
Knowing your triglyceride number is also important.  Some doctors believe triglyceride numbers are a more important marker than cholesterol. Triglycerides are a type of fat.  They are created from excess calories.  In fact, if you eat too many refined sugars and carbohydrates, insulin assists your body in making triglycerides to store the excess fat in your cells!  Triglycerides also rise considerably when you drink alcohol.
Oxidation is a normal function of our body.  Think about an apple when it gets exposed to air and turns brown.  That’s oxidation.  Oxidation causes free radicals, molecules that are missing electrons and in their quest to find one, create damage in our body. That is why you hear so much about eating anti-oxidants.
“Anti-oxidants act like sponges to sop up free radicals and put out their fires of destruction.” Rogers, S. M. D. (2002). Detox or Die: Sand Key Company, Inc.
Inflammation is another protective response of our body that causes heart disease. Inflammation is our body’s response to injury or infection.  Exposure to daily toxins like smoking, hypertension, LDL, chronic infections, illness or hyperglycemia all cause inflammation.  C – reactive protein (CRP) is a protein that increases with inflammation and is a marker for heart disease that your doctor can test you for.
The Fifth Key: Lifestyle Changes That Help Your Heart
  • A diet that is high in anti-oxidants like the Mediterranean Diet
  • Exercise
  • Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours every night)
  • Meditation
  • Connecting with others
  • If you smoke-quit!
The best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is not just with chocolate and flowers but also to be sure that you are around to continue to love the people in your life.  I can help you make the lifestyle changes that best suit you to insure that you will be around to enjoy many Valentines Days! Contact me to schedule an appointment today.

What Everyone Who Cooks Needs to Know About Salt

 

Yesterday, I sent my husband to the store to buy salt.  As he walked out, I said, “Be sure to buy Celtic Sea Salt!”  He came home empty handed.  “Where’s the salt?” I asked.  He said I must be crazy. That salt was so expensive…it costs more than the gas we put in our car! So he didn’t buy it.

Maybe I am a bit crazy but I went back out and bought some.  Yes, it is more expensive than the regular table salt but in my holistic circles, Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan salt, or Hawaiian salt (which I’ve used with charcoal or clay or green tea in them)
are the only salts to buy.

The question:  is there truly a difference between sea salt and table salt? Is it worth the price tag?

First, one needs to understand how important salt is to our existence.  The Salt Institute states:  “Salt is an essential nutrient. This is a technical descriptor, not marketing hype. An essential nutrient is one required for life that the body cannot produce itself and which is required for good health. For humans, salt is as essential as water. We can perish from too little salt as we can of thirst. The human body contains about eight ounces of salt. The amount of salt is regulated in our bodies by our kidneys and by perspiration.”

It’s a good thing we like the taste, isn’t it?

Most table salt today is “refined” or “purified,” a process that usually involves recrystallization. In recrystallization, a brine solution is treated with chemicals that precipitates out most “impurities,” that is magnesium and trace minerals. Multiple stages of evaporation are then used to collect pure sodium chloride crystals, which are kiln-dried.

During the drying process, an anti-caking compound is added to the brine—this ensures that the salt will “pour when it rains.” Some of the anti-caking chemicals used can cause health problems. (The Salt of the Earth, Sally Fallon, www.westonprice.org)

Since the 1920’s, many manufacturers have also been adding iodine to salt.  Iodine is an important mineral that supports thyroid health.  One can also get iodine from one’s diet if one eats seaweed and seafood.  However, many of us are land based and need to supplement.  Salt has been an easy way to do so.

Sea salt, on the other hand, is made by evaporating sea water.  Salt and trace minerals are left behind.  Sea salt often does not contain the iodine that refined salt has had added to it.

Consider:

  • Both products contain close to the same amount of sodium chloride.
  • Both products are essentially sea salt.  One is mined from the ground where waters have receded and one has been mined from the sea.
  • Some experts state that sea salt may be contaminated with all the pollutants that are in the sea (Himalayan salt is mined from a lake so it does not have that issue)
  • Sea salt has trace minerals; table salt has none
  • Table salt has iodine added; sea salt has none or very little

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Personally, I will continue to use Celtic Sea Salt or pink Himalayan Sea Salt (it is much cheaper) because:

  • I prefer unprocessed foods.
  • I prefer foods that have no additives.
  • I like the flavor of sea salt on my food much more than regular salt.  And yes, I can tell a difference.
  • I like that there are trace minerals, even if some experts say they are negligible.
  • I will simply supplement with iodine and be sure that I eat seaweed regularly to support my thyroid.

References:

Sea Salt vs Table Salt: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Sea-Salt-Vs-Table-Salt_UCM_430992_Article.jspan

Is Sea Salt Better for You Than Table Salt? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-salt/AN01142

The 13 Amazing  Health Benefits of Himalayan Crystal Salt the Purest Salt on Earth http://products.mercola.com/himalayan-salt/

Salt Facts: http://www.saltinstitute.org/About-salt

The Salt of the Earth Written by Sally Fallon Morell    July 4 2011 Why Salt is Essential to Health and Happiness

http://www.westonaprice.org/vitamins-and-minerals/the-salt-of-the-earth