Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Overcoming Emotional Blocks during Dietary Changes

I am excited to share with you today our first guest blog post! We mainly focus on the physical side of health through diet and don't talk much about the emotional or spiritual side. The path of healing is an interconnected path, meandering through all planes of existence. We are operating on all levels at all times even though we might not be aware of it. Today Colleen, from this little lark, has shared 5 Ways to Overcome Emotional Blocks that may occur when embarking on a new diet or while undergoing a shift in one's current diet. Colleen blogs about the many facets of the healing arts that improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Follow this little lark on Facebook for inspiration during transformation. ~Ali :)

Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, was onto something when he stated "The only thing constant is change." Though hearing this statement does not necessarily make transitions any easier. When we discover we have food sensitivities or allergies, a lot of different emotions can surface. We can feel joy in knowing health and healing are underway, but we can also feel isolated, different, and challenged in having to implement a completely different dietary lifestyle. The following suggestions are meant to support and encourage you through this phase. If something that is not listed has worked for you, please comment and share, as we are all here to learn from one another!


1.  Positive Thinking! In order to get over these emotional blocks, it is important to know that a lifestyle change always involves a positive mindset. Oprah Winfrey hit it on the nail when she said "My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." Make each moment count with a positive attitude.

2.  Practicing compassion, unconditional self love, and acceptance through dietary transitions will lighten our expectations and give more room for learning and growth. Our heart must be in it so we can celebrate when goals are reached, as well as call upon it when times get tough. We become open to knowing that there are ups and downs to every endeavor, and as this happens, we are able to go with the flow and be more present with our daily choices. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have not met certain health goals, just pick up where you left off and try again.

3.  Remember all those symptoms you are trying to resolve! Physically: weight gain/loss, hives, rashes, headaches, water retention, digestive disturbances, respiratory issues, nervous system imbalances. Mental/Emotional: fatigue, sluggishness, mood swings, inability to concentrate or focus... Life feels better without them! Remind yourself of this often.

4.  Find support. Surrounding yourself with people who can support you can really make the difference. Friends and family are always wonderful to have on your side, but you can also find support in community groups, online forums, websites, and blogs. Many, many people want to share their stories and more often than not, they will resonate with something you have or are experiencing.

5.  Be creative in the kitchen and HAVE FUN!
We are so very lucky to have Whole Life Nutrition as a resource to support your dietary needs as well as introduce so many new and exciting foods to try. No one ever said eliminating certain foods had to be boring! If you do feel you are getting bored of the new foods you are eating, chances are you are in need of a few good new recipes to change it up. An extra bonus: share your food in the household or at a gathering! More often than not, people love what you will have to offer and realize that being health conscious is the way to go!

"Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." ~Les Brown

Please share anything else that you have found to work for you in the comments section. You can read more of what Colleen has to offer on her blog, this little lark, or on her Facebook page.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables without Whey (plus video)

Lacto-fermented vegetables are cultured vegetables. You've probably heard of sauerkraut, kim chi, and sour dill pickles, right? These are all forms of lacto-fermentation. Many people use whey as a starter but it is not necessary given you use enough salt. Making your own lacto-fermented veggies is so easy that once you start you'll be hooked!

Traditionally, lacto-fermentation was used to preserve the harvest and store vegetables for the winter. If you have a garden full of cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, and green beans and don't know how to store them all, consider making a few batches of lacto-fermented vegetables. These veggies can be stored in your refrigerator for months....if they last that long!

Lacto-fermented vegetables provide a viable source of probiotics (at a cost well below most supplements) to heal and maintain a healthy gut. These beneficial microorganisms attach to receptors in our guts that send a signal to the immune system that says everything is okay, no need to overreact to foods and other things entering the gut, let's keep everything calm. If you are dealing with multiple allergies, chances are your gut is out of balance and is in need of a daily dose of beneficial microorganisms. These crispy, sour, salty vegetables are highly addicting and an easy, economical way to maintain a healthy gut. These vegetables are also important to include daily if you are following our Elimination Diet.

Tom graciously helped me make a video for you on how to make lacto-fermented vegetables! After many video takes (with Tom behind the camera recording me), my postpartum baby brain could not quite deliver the message as succinctly as I wanted, so he stepped in, and in one take we finished this video (even though he had never made lacto-fermented veggies before)!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banana Coconut Cookies (grain-free, sugar-free, vegan)

Using mashed, ripe bananas in recipes is a really simple, nutritious way to replace sugar. I've used it before in my sugar-free, grain-free Carob Banana Bars and in these lovely Teff Pancakes. My four year old twins keep asking to cook in the kitchen, and if I don't step in right away, they take over and begin cooking on their own. Hmm, I wouldn't have any idea why that would be! Lately cookies have been on their minds.

Yesterday one of them asked if we could make cookies "with that cookie flour" and bananas. The following recipe is what transpired. "That cookie flour" is blanched almond flour. We just ordered a box of it and split it with a friend. This is a good way to save some in bulk and split orders between two or more families.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Stew

I don't think I've shared a beef recipe yet on this blog. It might be because we rarely eat it. To eat meat or to not eat meat is an interesting subject and heated debate among many. Beef is a concentrated source of protein, minerals, fats, and vitamins. For the deficient person, beef can be extremely beneficial. For someone dealing with diseases of excess, beef may lead to more health issues. Eating beef raised on corn, which is most likely GMO-corn, leads to the need for medications for the cattle, different types of fat deposited in the meat, and a reliance on a type of agriculture that is not sustainable for our planet. Plus, most feedlot cattle these days are pumped full of hormones to grow and plump up quicker, making the business of raising cattle more profitable. If this isn't enough, it has now been found that a quarter of all ground beef is now tainted with drug-resistent bacteria, such as staph aureus.

When cooking with beef, look for a source of locally raised organic grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and vitamin E. In fact raising cows on grass is what nature intended. It has only been in the last 70 years that farmers began feeding grain (corn) to cattle. Eating beef with green leafy vegetables, especially cultured vegetables, helps digest the meat, making the meal even more beneficial.

I feel best revolving my diet around plants and eating beef on occasion, only when I feel I really need it. The end of pregnancy creates an extra demand on a woman's body. I found that eating red meat about twice a week in the second and third trimester of my pregnancies was very beneficial. Now breastfeeding a busy, scooting, almost-crawling five-month-old, I feel good having beef in my diet a few times a month. Of course you'll need to decide how often, or if at all, eating beef is right for you.