Monthly Archives: February 2013

Easier said than done.

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Health tips are happening on my Facebook page lately.  It’s just evolving in that direction.  Yesterday’s was the following:

“Eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.”

Yeah, groundbreaking stuff, there. I could almost hear the collective muttering, “duh” in a hushed exhale.

I concede that it’s not news.  It’s not avant garde.  It’s not the latest scientific breakthrough.

In my defense, however, chances are mighty, mighty good that you’re not following this old, ratty advice.  Chances are pretty good that you are probably trying to find ways to eat less than you are actually hungry for a lot of the time and eating way past that full signal other times.  How do I know that?  What, am I made of stone?  These things I speak of are things with which I am familiar, my friends.

Of course, in some part of your mind, or maybe a lot of your mind, you think that you can’t follow this little “rule” because there’s something quite wrong with you.  I mean, really, it’s so easy a kid could do it.  And before we cram crazy messages into their tender brains, they all do.

So if you can’t do it, what’s wrong with you?

Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  That’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with you.

There is probably something wrong with the nourishment that you are receiving though.  I’ll bet a shiny new quarter on it, actually.

Here are the reasons that I think following this most obvious and simple guideline is so difficult:

1.  We’re told that the body is not to be trusted.  We get this message from early on from everywhere.  So, when it’s 10:30 on a Tuesday morning and you’re still not hungry but stuff down some breakfast because you’ve been told that “it’s the most important meal of the day” or it’s 8:15 on a Monday night and your stomach is growling but you ignore it because “you’re not supposed to eat past 7”, you do this because you don’t trust your body.

2.  You are malnourished.  You will continue to eat until you get the nutrients that you need, not the calories that you need.  This is a crucial distinction.  We’ve shifted in the past 100 years to the caloric model of eating.  You can eat a pint or more of low-fat ice cream during a commercial break.  Just TRY and eat that much liver.  And if liver is gross to you, you can change that to steak.  Your body wants nutrients first and foremost.  You understand this.  A tablespoon of white sugar is not the same thing as a tablespoon of just about anything else.  The calories may be the same but the drive to eat more will not be sated with the sugar.  There are no nutrients.  None.  And worse, foods such as sugar and white flour actually use up your stores of other nutrients to digest.  So, you’re not getting “no nutrition”, you’re getting “negative nutrition”.  And what do you need?  Positive nutrition in order to feel full, good, and healthy.

3.  Malnutrition is not just a matter of food.  If you feel agitated, you may need to go for a walk or punch a pillow.  Cake will not allow the emotion to move through.  Cake will numb it and repress it and that can feel helpful at times, but the agitation is still there, just buried under cake.  The starvation you feel when loneliness overtakes you?  French fries really don’t give a flip about your struggles.  Friends do.  The craving you have for affection will not be met by squirting the whole can of whipped cream in your mouth.  This cycle only creates more agitation, more loneliness, more cravings for human touch.  In the same way negative nutrition creates deeper and deeper deficits, using food to do something it’s not meant to do, creates deeper and deeper emotional deficits.

4.  Portion prescriptions.  Once you are able to connect with your hunger, portions are the stupidest thing EVER.  There are days when I eat 5 snacks a day.  None are big enough to be called a meal.  Others, I eat the traditional 3 squares.  Some, I eat one big meal with a steak so big it can’t fit on the plate.  Once in a long while, I only want a smoothie for the whole day. Portions as mandated from the heavens assume that you are the same, day in, day out.  They assume that your level of activity is identical every day.  They assume that your hormones never fluctuate.  They assume that you at 18 is the same as you at 45.  Yes, I know there are “formulas” that allow for variance, but, really? Formulas?  How hungry are you today?  Well, eat.  If you’re not, don’t.  You don’t have to eat 5 meals a day if you’re not hungry five times a day.

I could probably go on and on but this will dissolve into a rant instead of something useful REAL quick, so I’ll stop there.  In short, eat when you’re hungry.  Don’t eat when you’re not.  Basically, Nourish yourself into Freedom.

If you haven’t joined us for #30daymove, yet, it’s not too late.  Never too late!

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Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raspberry “Gravy”

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raspberry “Gravy’

I had this as a side for my steak the other day.  It was so good so I thought I’d pass it on to y’all.

What you’ll need per person:

For the potatoes:

1 sweet potato

2 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon of coconut milk

Water to cover

For the “gravy”:

1 cup of bone broth or stock

10 or so raspberries

1/2 Tablespoon mint leaves

2 pinches dried thyme

1 pinch dried rosemary

Juice of 1/2 lemon

To make the potatoes:

1. Peel and cube the potatoes tiny for faster cooking.

2. Peel the garlic.

3. Put the potatoes and garlic in pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.

4.  When tender, add coconut milk and either using a fork or a blender, mash and mix well.

5.  Salt to taste.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the ‘gravy’.

1. Put the bone broth in a saucepan.

2. Add raspberries.  (I use frozen.)

3.  Add mint and other herbs.

4.  Allow the broth to reduce by half and mash everything together.

5.  Incorporate lemon juice.  (I like the tang so if you don’t, use a little less juice.)

6.  Salt to taste.

Spoon the gravy over the potatoes and nosh on, my friend.  Nosh on.

I like the chunkiness over the smoothness of the potato but you can also pass through a sieve to get a clearer, smoother sauce.

(Make plenty more if you would rather this as a main dish!)

Enjoy!

Reader question: Water?

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Larissa writes:  Water.  “don’t drink tap water.  don’t drink water from plastic bottles. use a filter. not all filters are ok., etc. etc.” are things that we hear all the time.  How is water essential to our health ? What minerals are there in water ? Is A lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient ? Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate ?

Full disclosure: Larissa is one my very best friends and she very humbly allows me to think I always know what I’m talking about.  The woman is smart as a whip, however, and keeps me on my toes!  We’re going to have to get her to do a guest post here.

There are a lot of questions in this request for an answer.  Let’s try and take them one by one.

1.  How is water essential to our health?

Well, we are, on average, 60% water.  Babies are like 80%.  (That’s why they are so plump and delicious!)  The water that we drink becomes our blood.  We use water for these processes in the body: 

a.) gets oxygen to our cells

b.) between our joints, there is something called synovial fluid, the efficacy and “cushiness” of our joints depends on the amount of hydration we take in

c.) our cells communicate with each other-water make this communication more effective/efficient

d.) water maintains normal electrical properties of cells (yep, I saw the Matrix, too and yep, we probably could be used as batteries and that’s why we are in pods of fluid in those movies)

e.) our lymphatic system’s function depends on two things: 1. movement-it’s a kinetic system that requires movement to flow and 2. water-our lymphatic fluid’s viscosity is directly influenced by our water intake

f.) we are better able to regulate our body temperature when we are well hydrated (when you  consider the incredibly narrow range of healthy body temperature that we have and the incredibly broad range of environments in which humans live, you start to understand how crucial this is.)

g.) water removes waste from the body’s metabolic processes

There’s more, but I think you’re getting the picture.  The short answer is “water is important”.

2.  What minerals are in water?

This is a deceptively simple question to answer.  Water, on a molecular level, is hydrogen and oxygen (dihydrogen monoxide for my geeks out there.  holla!)  However, the hydrogen and oxygen molecules act as a matrix (little m) for other things.  The minerals in water are incredibly variable according to the water source.  (My go-to guy for all anything water related is Daniel Vitalis, for those of you interested in a vastly more in-depth study of this.)  What that means is that the minerals in Perrier are going to be different than the minerals in San Pellegrino.  Are you still with me?

Now, once you understand that, you’ll see that water from different sources really is not the same thing.  We drink water to hydrate, yes, but it is also a valuable source of nutrition.  It is not just “wet”.  I was lucky enough to grow up drinking water that came from a spring not far from my house.  We never drank milk in my house, except on rare occasions when the farmer came by with his cow.  (You’d tell him how many jars of milk you wanted-that you’d provide-and he’d milk the cow right there in your yard.  True story.)  Why do I mention this?  Because, the water I grew up on fed through limestone rock.  I can remember waiting until the end of my meal to drink my water (as is my culture) and there would be limestone sediment at the bottom of the glass, so rich in minerals was that water!  Also, no fear of calcium deficiency, either.

So, the minerals in water are location dependent and source dependent.  

3. Is a lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient?

Yes.  It is both.  For people who live in cities and source their water (actually “tap liquid”, according to Daniel Vitalis) from the tap, mineral waters are a wonderful addition to the diet.  I love to have sparkling water on a regular basis.  I tend to brand hop.  Appolinaris is a personal favorite, but I don’t do it frequently because of the whole “I love the earth and I’m paying for jet fuel and pollution by buying this.” thing.  Water is incredibly heavy!!  So, bottled water is not my favorite way to destroy the earth.  

4.  Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate?

Yes, to both.  Of course, I’m not talking about table salt, which you should probably get rid of A.S.A.P.  Table salt is pretty much strictly sodium chloride and iodine.  It will create an imbalance in the body on a mineral level, so please, sea salt.  I vary my salt intake from different sources and every single time I go home to Haiti, I bring back a quart or so of local sea salt.  True salt is also rich in minerals.  Adding salt to denatured water helps remineralize it.  As far as lemon and vinegar in water goes, I can remember reading that it helps with the availability of the water to the cells but can’t find the reference anymore, so take that with a grain of (sea) salt.  Adding lemon and vinegar does do other things that are more frequently and commonly documented, like aiding with digestion and “stronger” blood.

5.  This wasn’t asked outright but was implied at the beginning of the question.  Water sources:

Worst: Plastic bottles.  Absolute worst.  Don’t do it.  We are becoming plastic people.  Literally.  Water is the more powerful solvent.  When you drink water from plastic, you are also drinking plastic.  

Less worse but not by much: Tap water.  Most of the water is flouridated (carcinogen), chlorinated (carcinogen) and completely ‘purified’-denatured and demineralized.  At least you’re not drinking plastic?  Well, maybe, but whatever anyone is flushing down their toilet, it’s eventually getting back to you.  I’m not talking about sewage, because that’s properly taken out of the flow, but prescription medications, etc.  Those chemicals are finding their way into the water source regardless.

Even less worse: Filtered tap water.  This is a good solution for most people.  Personally, I would filter it through a really good filter, the best that you can afford, and I would add a little vinegar and some salt to it.  Maybe a half a Tablespoon of each to a gallon.  (I’m spitballing here and saying what I would do.)

The good stuff:  Find a spring.  Spring water is where it’s at.  When I was living in the cabin, I would drive an hour every two-three weeks to fill glass carboys with spring water.  Since I’ve moved, I haven’t yet found an easy to get to source.  My old spring is two hours away.  It’s becoming more and more worth it to make the trek.  I’ve been drinking the tap water here and it is not the same.  At.  All.  It doesn’t taste right nor is it hydrating me.  I just have to get a couple more carboys to make the trek less frequently, but I will probably be doing the trip this weekend.  It.  Is.  That.  Important.  And.  That.  Different.

Thanks Larissa for a great question!  I hope the information provided was useful.

*Disclaimer:  Everything I say on this blog is my opinion and just provided for information purposes only.  What you choose to do with that information is your responsibility.  

 

Movement Challenge?

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I recently just did the whole30.  During that time, I made the conscious decision to cease extra movement.  Other than the 15-20 minute morning walk with the dog, I did nothing else. I did a lot of sitting around.  

I did this because I wanted to remind myself of how profoundly eating authentically will take me.  And, it takes me far.  

Now, I have the energy to want to move.  That’s how eating authentically works.  Eat well first.  Desire to move next.  

So, I’m giving myself the 30 Day Movement challenge.  For the next 30 days, I will move intentionally each day.  Today, for example, I went for the routine walk and then came back and did a Tabata.  I am going to move for a 5 minute minimum as an intentional, focused thing.  I will also try to just move more throughout the day.  I’ve got my stand-up desk.  I will just incorporate more ways to move throughout the day and keep a nice variety going.  

I’d love for you to join me.  

Comment below about the different ways you move with focus.  Let’s have fun with this!  Make it fit your lifestyle and your preferences.  If it’s not fun, why bother, right?

You body will be happy!

On Instagram, I’ll be chronicling this at #30daymove.  

New Page!

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Just a quick post to let you know that we have a new page up to notify you about our upcoming events.  The first one of the year is an amazing, information-packed, super-practical 2 part workshop on how to nourish our children.  Would LOVE to see you all there!

Recipe: Preserved Lemons

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This is the most highly anticipated recipe that you didn’t even realize that you couldn’t live without.  You only thought that your kitchen was well stocked and that all your other recipes were doing just fine.  This little addition is kitchen gold, I tell you, gold!

 

Preserved Lemons a.k.a. Sunshine in a Jar of Yumminess

What you’ll need:

A very clean glass jar with lid

A tamper downer (and yes, that is the correct technical terminology)  (not really)

Lemons

Sea salt

A sharp knife

Time

The return on this investment is unreal by the way.  I’m not sure how much more I can gush over these, really.  I buy the lemons when they go on sale.  They’re usually on sale because they’re about to be over ripe.  In other words, you’re going to take the lemons that life hands you, add salt and preserve them to make something even better than lemonade.

Okey dokey (there’s a lot of preamble because the recipe is overly simple).

1. Cut your lemons into quarters or eighths.

2. Put lemons in jar.  (I do this every two lemons because the rhythm seems right.)

3. Put a pinch of sea salt in the jar.  

4.  Tamp down releasing all the juices.

5.  Repeat this process until your jar is full.

6.  Close jar.

7. Wait.

I wait anywhere from 3-14 days.  The longer this sits, the better it gets.

The one thing you want to watch is that at the top of the jar, the lemons are completely immersed in their juices to keep air from getting to the flesh.  

These are good chopped into just about anything.  They are unbelievable with merguez and green salads.  The juice can be used just like you’d use fresh.  Just adjust for the salt.

Enjoy!  Nourish yourself into Freedom.

Reader Question: Rejection?

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Kristeen writes: Can you talk about how to handle rejection?

Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist.  What follows are my opinions based on my own experience.  What you do with this information is your responsibility.  

My mother didn’t love me.  Not in a horrid, dramatic throw me down the outhouse hole at birth sort of way, but in a steady, corrosive, no idea what to do with me sort of way.  I learned about rejection very early on.  I became quite intimate with its jagged edge.

The first 39 years of life has been all about striving to figure out why.  What was wrong with me that she had to reject me?  How was I so different from her?  How was I so the same that she couldn’t bear it?  What was it?  I plumbed the depths.  

In so many ways, that rejection formed who I am today.  

I was able to set it down as I am preparing to enter my 40th year.  It had jack-all to do with me.  Rejection is a lot of things: it’s perception, it’s real, it’s mostly about the one who’s doing the rejecting, it’s a gift.

I know what doesn’t work when trying to deal with rejection.  They are as follows:

1. Try to nail down the exact reason you’ve been rejected.  You’re not going to be able to and the amount of energy this consumes will never be returned by the answer.  You may never know.  It may be as simple as that the person had a really bad experience with someone wearing a yellow sweater when they were a kid and you are wearing a yellow sweater.  It may be as complex as you remind them of someone who rejected them once.

2. Believe that this one rejection will destroy you.  It won’t.  It is just another event that you will use to shape your life and your self-perception.  More times than not, it has nothing to do with anything that is in your control.  All it is is information about that person. 

3.  Act like it doesn’t hurt.  It really, really does sometimes.  Be authentic.  Be with the hurt of it.  The rejections that hurt the most probably raise up the self-rejections you already believe.  Meaning, when someone tells you that you really suck at ice hockey and it hurts, maybe you already believe that you suck at ice hockey and just didn’t want it to be so obvious.  When it really hurts, that’s excellent information.  It can uncover what is really important to you.  Maybe being really good at ice hockey is really important to you.

4.  Make someone’s rejection of you their problem.  it’s not.  The person may have no clue that what they did was perceived as rejection by you.  Depending on the intimacy of the relationship, this may never even need to be broached with the person who had rejected you.  If it is a relationship of intimacy, let the person know that you feel rejected.  Let them know specifically what your experience of rejection was with them.  Then, do some detective work and figure out what rejection earlier in your life triggered this reaction.  Let them know what that was, depending on the intimacy of the relationship, so that it’s clear to both people that something older is happening there.

5. Insist that rejection with commonality has nothing to do with you.  I think of this in more of a professional way, but it can be applied to personal relationships, as well.  If you keep going for a certain type of job and keep being denied, it’s time to recuperate.  Maybe it’s not the right domain for you.  Maybe your resume needs work.  Maybe it’s because you’re projecting that it’s not what you really want.  

This is what does work with rejection:

1. View it as a gift.  Something is being told to you.  If you see rejection everywhere, do some thinking.  Why is that?  What part of you believes that you deserve it?  If rejection comes from the same person over and over, take the hint.  There are other people on the planet.  Lots of them.  If rejection is professional, rejoice!  Another avenue is waiting for you.

I hope this helps!