Thursday, January 19, 2017

Healing Turmeric-Ginger Broth


Learn how to make the most delicious, anti-inflammatory turmeric-ginger broth! I love adding chopped fresh turmeric to chicken soup, but this recipe takes the turmeric content and bioavailability to a whole new level. I've created a broth that uses both fresh turmeric and dried, powdered turmeric in combination with other ingredients to get the maximum amount of nutrients into the broth.

Curcuminoids are beneficial polyphenol chemicals found in turmeric. They shut down, or dampen, the primary inflammatory switch in the body, which is a very important step in healing many health issues including cancers, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and food allergies & sensitivities.

Disease is caused by getting too many things that you don't need (inflammation, stress, toxins, infections, allergens), and too little of the things that you do need (antioxidants, relaxation, exercise, healthy foods, proper nutrients).

The magic of curcumin is that it is a master-balancer (an adaptogen). Cancer research has shown that curcumin can shut off the master switch of inflammation called nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκB) better than almost anything else, making it one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatory substances. At the same time, research has also demonstrated that curucmin can help to combat various infections (yeast, bacterial, and viral) that can lead to the inflammation in the first place. Curucmin also activates our genes (via a gene transcription factor call Nrf2) to signal our cells to make more antioxidants, which lowers inflammatory damage. But there is more! When this Nrf2 is activated, we also start to make hundreds of beneficial detoxification proteins to remove harmful toxins from our cells.

Turmeric is amazing, isn't it?

The polyphenols (which include the curcuminoids) in turmeric are lipophilic, which means turmeric is best mixed or cooked with fat so you can get the full benefit of this food! This is one of the ways turmeric has been traditionally used in India. Spices are always sautéed first in fat (often ghee) before being used in recipes. This not only allows for the absorption of the beneficial polyphenols, but it also brings out the flavors in the spices.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Green Kale Detox Soup


This flavorful green soup uses simple ingredients to create a nourishing meal that can help support natural detoxification. It is designed for Phase 1 of our Elimination Diet, but of course is a wonderful addition to your weekly meal planning even if you are not on the elimination diet! I chose ingredients for this recipe that are easy to digest and are naturally anti-inflammatory. Perfect if you feel that your body needs a break from some of the heavier foods of winter.

As we turn the corner into a new year, new resolutions, new diets, and new commitments to health inevitably echo around the blogosphere. While I believe it is a wonderful thing to try something new, I think it is only helpful if you enter into your diet or exercise regimen with the goal of learning more about yourself. This is because nobody is more of a guru on your own health than you! I know this might sound hypocritical in a blog post about a Green Kale Detox Soup recipe for the Elimination Diet so let me explain.

The Elimination Diet is not a diet that tells you what is good for you and what is not. It is a process that helps you discover what foods work best for you. We are all unique. There is no one way of eating or one perfect diet that is right for everyone. Even Hippocrates noticed this well over 2000 years ago.

He said: “For cheese does not prove equally injurious to all men, for there are some who can take it to satiety, without being hurt by it in the least, but, on the contrary, it is wonderful what strength it imparts to those it agrees with; but there are some who do not bear it well, their constitutions are different, they differ in this respect, that what in their body is incompatible with cheese, is roused and put in commotion by such a thing; and those in whose bodies such a humor happens to prevail in greater quantity and intensity, are likely to suffer the more from it. But if the thing had been pernicious to the whole nature of man, it would have hurt all.” 

What he meant by this is that some foods can make people strong and healthy while the same foods could make others weak and sick. This is as true today as it was then.

There really are no bad foods. Only foods that work well with your body and those that don't. Finding the foods that satisfy your body, soul, and taste buds is part of deepening the connection with yourself. It is part of listening to your inner wisdom. You can do this through the process of the elimination diet. And you can do this through the process of asking questions. Or both.

What can I do to have more energy? Clearer thinking? A strong digestive system? What can I do to heal my health condition? If you listen—really listen—the answers will come to you. This takes getting into a parasympathetic state. A state where your nervous system is not in flight or fight, but rest and digest. The answers will come to you when you are most relaxed. Maybe on a hike, in the shower, as you are going to bed, or breastfeeding your baby.

Sometimes it can be hard to access that all-knowing part of you. Sometimes your body is out of balance and you might be listening only to what your brain is telling you. "Give me a donut!" "Give me a grilled cheese sandwich" "I'm craving pizza!" "I can't go an evening without a drink [of alcohol]!" If you are on the carb/junk food roller coaster then it can be very difficult to access the voices of your body and gut....your innate gut wisdom that tells you what you can do to supercharge your body. This is where detoxes and elimination diets come in. They remove the clutter so you can have a clear signal to your inner wisdom. You'll know when the path is clear when you start craving a plate of sautéed kale, or the thought of a small steak and a large fennel-cabbage salad sounds grounding and energizing, or perhaps when a simple bowl of brown rice, beans, and avocado sounds comforting and nourishing.

This is deep listening. It is a process of nurturing ourselves that is constantly growing and evolving.

If you feel like the Elimination Diet resonates with you then I'd love for you to join Tom and I online. We host a wonderful and informative online support program so you can let go of the foods that don't serve you, and so you learn more about your health and the foods that make your body sing. The elimination diet is not just about eliminating and reintroducing foods, it is about ramping up detoxification so your body can work more efficiently. It is about getting your digestive system back into tip-top shape. Let's make sure you have enough stomach acid so you are breaking down your food, signaling your body to absorb key nutrients, and triggering your pancreas to release digestive enzymes. Let's make sure you are deeply nourishing yourself with the foods rich in nutrients that calm down inflammation so your immune system is not overreacting. It's a functional medicine 101 training course!

We also have an Elimination Diet book and some online resources for you if you would like to dive deeper. If not, then you always have the all-knowing part of yourself that you can talk with daily. Just ask a question and listen for the answer. Maybe this nourishing green detox soup recipe will resonate with you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nightshade-Free Chicken Taco Recipe (corn-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)



I've got an easy, nourishing main dish recipe for you today! These Nightshade-Free Chicken Tacos are super easy to prepare and perfect if you are following our Elimination Diet or another special diet such as an autoimmune diet or a diet specific for arthritis. My children also love this recipe! The chicken taco filling is cooked in a Crockpot making the prep time less than 10 minutes. I like to serve the taco filling with my Plantain Tortillas (pictured here) or my gluten-free brown rice flour tortillas. The filling is also wonderful served inside of a baked half of a kabocha or delicata squash, topped with greens and sprouts of course!

Need a little more assistance in the kitchen creating this meal? Then check out the elimination diet video cooking series I created on how to make plantain tortillas and this chicken taco filling, plus a few more easy and delicious elimination diet recipes. You can sign up here to watch the videos.

Use this recipe for Phase 2 of our Elimination Diet program. Not quite sure what an elimination diet is? An elimination diet is a powerful tool to get to the root of most diseases and disorders. Why? Because most disease begins in the gut. The gut has the highest concentration of immune cells, and the most common thing that the immune cells will react to is food.

When you are constantly in pain, moody, and fatigued, your body is inflamed. In other words, your immune cells are being irritated by something in your environment. What is the most likely suspect that is irritating you? Surprisingly, it’s your food.

Odds are that foods you are eating every day are leaving you sick and tired. How do you find out which ones? The Elimination Diet. This foundational tool of Functional Medicine has been used for centuries to discover which foods are making you ill and which ones can make you feel incredible.

The Elimination Diet is a simple process of removing all potentially problematic foods from your diet until your symptoms subside—usually a few weeks. Then you slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet, one by one, to see which ones bring your symptoms back. By finding the foods that are behind your suffering, you can completely turn your health around and elevate your quality of life. 

If you are curious about trying an elimination diet and not sure where to begin then check out our online Elimination Diet Support Program and Elimination Diet book, both of which provide excellent tools that walk you through each step of the elimination diet.

What if these new tools helped you to become a better you? A lighter, more energetic, happier you! That's what doing an elimination diet is all about.

While on an elimination diet, you'll find that many of the foods you are accustomed to eating everyday are off limits. You'll get to experience new flavors and new foods that promote healing at the cellular level. And you can start right now with these nightshade-free chicken tacos.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Raw Cranberry Sauce ~ So Easy! (vegan, sugar-free)


If you are looking for an extremely easy and super nutritious cranberry sauce recipe then I have just the thing! I've been making this raw cranberry sauce recipe for a few years and have shared it on Instagram and Facebook but never seem to get around to getting it up on my blog....until now!

Serve this tart and tangy cranberry sauce with your holiday turkey, baked salmon, or winter squash and bean casserole. It's also delicious on top of pumpkin pie! I know, I know. Try it and you'll see!

Did you know that cranberries are one of the most concentrated sources of ellagic acid, a potent anti-oxidant and anti-cancer compound? Ellagic Acid is a phytochemical that is found in significant amounts in cranberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pecans, walnuts, and other plant foods. For the most part, think bright red plant foods that make your mouth pucker! Ellagic acid is destroyed by cooking, so eating cranberries in a raw recipe like this is most beneficial!

Findings from a 2016 study "cast a beam of light on the potential therapeutic use of ellagic acid in obesity-related colon carcinogenesis" (colon cancer). A 2015 study found that ellagic acid inhibits the proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells and that its use could be a "novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with breast cancer." Another 2015 study found that ellagic acid from pomegranates suppressed prostate cancer cells!

Food is medicine! You can use this to your advantage during the holidays and enjoy medicinal recipes like this raw cranberry sauce.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Autumn Detox Salad with Creamy Ginger-Cilantro Dressing (vegan)


Sometimes when the weather cools it is easy to get into the habit of eating more dense, cooked foods. For some people this is just what they need. But for others, a balance between raw and cooked (or even predominantly raw) is best. We each are unique, and so should be our diets. This colorful and nutrient-dense salad provides some key ingredients to support healthy detoxification. The dressing is delicious and can be used as a dip for raw veggies or used to top your favorite salads! I've even used it to top steamed vegetables! 

What is detoxification? In functional medicine, detoxification is often considered "biotransformation" because our bodies will transform harmful substances into less harmful substance and then excrete them from the body. This process can vary in effectiveness in different people depending on the nutrients we ingest, our genetics, and what types of toxins we are exposed to. For example, if we are exposed to persistent organic pollutants, which are so complex that they recirculate over and over in our body's detoxification process, they can slow everything down, not allowing a person to properly detox the everyday exposures like mercury from dental fillings or alcohol. Persistent organic pollutants include things like dioxins, DDT, and PCBs. DDT is an insecticide that was banned from the US in 1972. My mom has told me many stories of how she and her friends and siblings used to run behind the trucks that were spraying DDT when she was growing up in the 60's because they all liked the smell of it! Unfortunately they just had no idea back then how toxic it was. DDT has a half life of 50 years, which means that she passed down this stuff to me in utero and through breastfeeding. As a result of this (and other factors), I always need to take extra care in supporting my detoxification pathways.

Toxins come in through our air, food, water, and skin. Once they are in our bodies we need to change their shape to make them less toxic and get them safely out of our systems. Toxins go though two phases of detox: Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 adds a chemical handle onto the toxin (usually a hydroxyl group). Phase 2 then grabs the handle and pulls the toxin out of the body (commonly this is glutathione that attaches to the hydroxyl group). Now the toxin needs to safely exit out of the body. This happens through the sweat, urine, and feces. However, if you are consuming a diet low in plant foods, while consuming a diet high in salt and acidifying foods like processed foods, meats, and dairy, then you will not be able to excrete the glutathione-bound toxins in the urine and therefore they will get reabsorbed back into the body! Same with the gut. Without enough soluble fiber from plant foods, the toxins will stick around and get reabsorbed back into the system. This is another reason why a plant-rich diet is so important.

Detox Benefits of this Salad