I have sworn off synthetic vegetable oils and that was the last straw in finding crackers I could eat. The crackers I was using before sadly contained safflower or sunflower oil. Even though I only ate them occasionally, since I try to stay low carb, I wanted to find a better option. Being gluten free and dairy free along with cutting vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, safflower and palm oil makes it (next level) impossible to find crackers or chips. Even organic or non-GMO vegetable oils are still damaging to your cells and cause inflammation. Inflammation = cancer.
“they contain too much linoleic acid, a fragile fatty acid that becomes inflammatory when exposed to heat and creates oxidative stress when incorporated into our cell membranes and lipoproteins.” -Mark’s Daily Apple.
Check out the rest of this article to understand the difference in oils.
In my quest to be as healthy as I can be it is important to me to cut out these oils. In cooking it’s very easy. I use olive oil for salads/dressings, avocado oil or ghee to cook high heats and even grass-fed butter (yes, I’m dairy free but eat grass-fed butter, it doesn’t affect me and is a great source of healthy fats that are necessary for hormone balance) I will even use (gasp) lard I got form my friend locally who raised her own pigs for lard.
I searched high a low on Pinterest for cracker recipes and found one I tweaked a few times to make just how I liked them. These crackers remind me of Wheat Thins and someday I might try to make them a bit sweater like Wheat Thins. I’m assuming there is a bit of honey in them. For this recipe it only takes a few minutes to prep and only 12 minutes to cook! These bad boys are perfect for dipping in the organic guacamole we bought in bulk at Costco.
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (gives them a cheesy flavor)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp Trader Joe's Everything But The Beagle seasoning
1. Preheat the oven to 350, cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit a large sheet pan.
2. In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients. Add the egg and stir until it’s fully mixed.
3. Place a piece of parchment paper on the pan, grease the paper. Place dough on parchment paper.
4. Lay the second piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll out until it’s about 1/8 an inch thick.
5. Remove top sheet of parchment paper, using a large knife cut dough into about 40 small squares. Leave the cut dough in place. Pepper then lightly.
6. Bake for around 12-15 minutes let them cook before you break them apart.
7. Store in an airtight container.
Let's talk about FAT!!
You will see this theme a lot in my blog and if you work with me as a nutrition client. Healthy fat is so good for you. It helps balance your hormones, helps you burn fat, keeps you full and cuts your cravings.
Fat bombs have become a staple snack in our house. We eat a higher fat and lower carb diet because of the satiating effect of fat, but mostly due to the fact that fat just plain tastes REALLY GOOD. Plus, saturated fat is now being widely accepted as being part of a healthy diet. So, say a big “helllllooo” and “I love you” to these yummy guys!
I made these specifically for my girls weekend/business trip. I wanted to make sure I had something to travel with that would insure I was able to get a good amount of healthy fat during our long days in the conference. Nothing worse then being HANGRY!
So what is a FAT BOMB?
Fat bombs are high-fat bites of goodness that are perfect for your low-carb/high fat diet. Whether you just need a small snack to keep you satiated between meals or if you have a craving for sweets, fat bombs are gonna be your new best friend! We always have some on hand to enjoy as a post-dinner treat!
There are a million Pinterest recipes for fat bombs if chocolate isn't your jam. I think you're crazy if you aren't into chocolate, almond butter and coconut oil but check out my Pinterest for more fat bomb ideas.
Here is the simple recipe:
Super simple you melt the coconut oil and almond butter over medium heat. Once they are combined mix in the other ingredients. From there you pour the mix into your silicone molds (I have mini fruit molds and large square molds, so I divided them between both styles of molds.)
You then let them solidify in the freezer for 2 hours. You will want to store them in the fridge. They melt pretty easily since there is so much coconut oil in them!
Well that was a little dramatic but I stopped grocery shopping for MOST things. I still pick up a few things, here and there but I don’t set time aside each week to grocery shop like I use to. The biggest complaint I hear from people about maintain a healthy lifestyle is the lack of TIME.
They don’t have time to grocery shop, they don’t have time to meal prep or cook healthy food. I get it. Believe me. I am thankful that I get to create my own schedule and have flexibility since I own my own business but that doesn’t mean I have time to grocery shop or cook anymore then you do.
Luckily, we are in a time where convenience is key and we can order everything online! What I do in order to maximize my time is set up auto deliveries of food to my house. Now this isn’t just for the convenience of time. It also guarantees that I get the highest quality food that I can. I will not eat foods that aren’t Organic/non-GMO. I refuse to eat meat that isn’t pasture raised or grass finished from small batch butchers. We have chickens for this same reason. Believe me it matters. Meat that has fear hormones running through it's body from being treated poorly and killed inhumanly, passes those stress hormones to you when you eat it. On top of that they are pumped with hormones and antibiotics that are not good for you. So my top priorities are high quality, convenient foods delivered to my door.
For our family we have prioritized our food budget to be what we spend the most money on. We luckily don’t need to have antacids, cold or flu medications and pain medications on hand. We don’t need them because we support our health with nutrition first.
All that being said I have tried a lot of different companies for food delivery and am limited where I live (being in the country on a peninsula isn’t easy). You may have other companies that deliver, specially if you are in a city. For me these are the best companies I have found.
Our monthly food shipments include:
We purchase our meat and bone marrow from Crowd Cow. I use the meat to crock pot our weekly lunches or makes dinner one or 2 nights a week. Usually I only make one crockpot meal on Monday, put it in Tupperware in portions for the two of us for the week. We also use this meat for our weekend meals if we cook at home. Here is a discount code for your first order!
Bone broth from Osso Good Bone Broth here is a link for a discount off your first order. I wrote a blog about its health benefits and even the benefits in incorporating it into your nightly routine for better sleep. I drink it daily, usually before bed and add it in place of stock or water in recipes.
Our nightly dinners come from Sun Basket, they provide Organic meals and we choose their gluten free/dairy free options for our dietary needs. You can get a 50% discount for family meals with this coupon or $35 off meals with this coupon. We use this for our weekly dinners.
I get monthly shipments form Perfect Keto also. From their site I get MCT powder and collagen peptides. I use them in my shakes or baking to add healthy fat and protein. I put the MCT powder in my coffee each morning, it is so much less messy then MCT oil and great to travel with. It makes my coffee creamy, gives me energy and mental clarity. It is the perfect pre workout!
We keep non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free meal replacement shakes on hand, along with a greens powder, natural pre- workout, natural post workout recovery BCAAs, non-toxic coffee, snack bars and a few other natural supplements from an online health and wellness company. Comment below if you want more information on that company and what they offer. I can get you set up with a wholesale account so you can purchase from their site also. If you use any of the products above I wouldn’t use other brands, I believe in their ingredients and integrity as a company. I spent a lot of time trying to find quality products I personally trusted.
Our eggs come from our back yard (yes, we are lucky to live in the country for that reason). Otherwise, once a month or so I go to Costco to stock up on pantry items, home essentials and bulk veggies for our weekly lunches.
The key to this is minimizing the time I spend shopping but also the time I spend cooking. Cooking dinner only takes us 20-30 minutes to make and crock pot meals are so quick and simple for lunch. Here is a link to my Pinterest to check out the quick crockpot meals or what else I am cooking!
Congee is a thin porridge of rice (or other grain) and bone broth. It can also be made with water but I don’t suggest that! It is traditionally made 1-part rice to 5-6 parts broth. Although it is said to be better to air on too much broth; than not enough so I go about 7 parts broth!
I had not heard of congee until my naturopath gave me a hand out about it. We were discussing my poor digestion. She has an extensive background in Chinese Medicine and mixes that into her practice. Chinese herbs have been a part of my care while working with her and I love how she explain the philosophy behind it. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the stomach rules holding the food, while the spleen is transportation and transformation of the food. Their ability to work properly is considered so important that the human body rests on the proper function of the spleen and stomach. A bowl of warm rice congee fortifies the spleen, balances the stomach and is a great meal. Congee becomes a great digestive tonic. It is easily digested and absorbed. It is considered a cooling qi and blood tonic, making it great for those who are chronically ill or inflamed. My favorite fact in the hand out was that it can augment lactation as well. Yay for easy food for new moms!
The range of ingredients used in preparing congee are endless and also vary with geographic origin. In China, congees are typically flavored with chicken, pork, fish and seasoned with ginger and green onions and cilantro. In Japan, porridges are flavored with mushroom, scallops and shrimp, while in Korea the rice soup is enhanced with sugar, dates and pin nuts. Even dairy products, coconut milk and various spices are incorporated into the porridge in regions of India.
I went to Pinterest to find all my congee options and many very of course. You can add many things to congee in order to make it savory or sweet. These are add ins for common “issues” from the book Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods.
My favorites are:
Ginger- warming and antiseptic to intestines: used for deficient cold digestive weakness: diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, indigestion
Quinoa-warming, strengthening for the whole body: highest protein and fat content of all grains (technically a legume), high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, B & E vitamins.
Taro Root: Nutritious: aids the stomach and builds blood.
Yogurt & honey- Beneficial to the heart and lungs
Just start! Don’t overthink it. I suggest starting out with a basic 1 cup rice to 7 parts broth ratios. Add a little ginger, salt and pepper and simmer for a minimum hour or 5-6 hours! From there you have a large batch and can add to it what you want for that specific serving. When you do eat it again add a bit more broth to reheat it. I personally can eat a serving cold for lunch with other warm foods. Maybe you put veggies over it for lunch, with some garlic and avocado. Maybe you add coconut milk, cinnamon and berries for breakfast. There are so many possibilities. I made a Pinterest Board you can check out!
Here are two simple recipes I love!
Your sleep habits matter! Nutrition is 80% of your health but the other 20% is sleep and lifestyle. For some people sleep and lifestyle effect more than 20%. Once nutrition is addressed it is important to look at sleep. Having insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night or only getting 4-6 hours of sleep really effects your health. I am sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this but hopefully it’s the first time you take it seriously enough to make changes to your nighttime routine.
Sleep is a hormone dependent process and with all the variables in our lives that can affect proper hormone balance (foods, toxins, artificial light, etc.) it makes sense that many people struggle with sleep. It makes sense that a common pregnancy and menopause symptom is sleep problems. Of course, my main focus in my work is women’s health but hormones do effect men also!
Too often I hear people say they are following mainstream thinking and taking pharmaceutical options to help deal with sleep issues. What I hope you realize is what that’s doing to your body and of course rules this out as an option in pregnancy. Sleep aids artificially augmenting the hormone system to induce sleep isn’t without its problems (just check out the side-effects and warnings list!) and can have an impact on other hormone functions as well. For my ladies TRYING to conceive sleep is a big factor in your hormone function.
Often, lack of quality sleep stems from one or more lifestyle causes. It is important to address these underlying issues as they can impact more than just sleep. When I work with clients for a 3 month nutrition package we address these issues and lifestyle changes in depth. For now, here are a few tips to help you start sleeping better.
Let’s start by setting the mood right:
Cut out the lights, make it as dark as possible in your room, get rid of the blaring alarm clock that tells you the time. You won’t miss it. You can set your alarm from your phone and place your phone out of reach! Cut your screen time out at minimum 30 minutes before bed. Ideally 2 hours before bed cut out any screen time. The blue light from screens wires your brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. Check out this free download from F.Lux to block out the harmful light form your electronics. Sleeping in a cool room is best, so keep the temperature as low as 58 degrees- max 65 degrees. The cooler the better.
Drinks before bed:
Once the mood is set, it’s time to take your 2 oz shot of tart cherry Juice followed by a magnesium supplement and head to your dark room with a cup of bone broth! The idea is to go to bed in enough time to get 8 hours of sleep, I personally need 9 hours of sleep to stay on top of my autoimmune symptoms. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is also best. Really the routine is what helps your body know that “this” is what we do to go to sleep. I’m sure you’re wondering why tart cherry juice, magnesium and bone broth so let me explain.
Tart Cherry Juice:
Ongoing research shows that tart cherries are a natural source of beneficial phytonutrients. They are also a natural source of melatonin and are traditionally used to help relieve arthritis, gout pain and to help maintain heart health and blood circulation. You want to look for brands like this. They should be USDA Organic Certified. All-Natural Ingredients. No Preservatives. No Sugar Added. You take a 2 oz shot 30 minutes before bed to help you sleep more soundly and fall asleep faster.
Many people are magnesium deficient and don’t even know it. When we are under stress; our cells, which in their resting state contain magnesium, go through a change. Calcium, normally outside the cells, enters the cells and the calcium level becomes high and will contract and tense the muscle. The magnesium then pushes the calcium out of the cell and the cell is again in its resting, relaxed state. Think of it as an on-off switch. The “off” is magnesium and the “on” is calcium. But when we are deficient in magnesium, the cell that is not in balance so the “off” switch doesn’t fully turn off. That means calcium can continuously leak into the cells and stimulate cell activity. The result is stress accompanied by one or more of the magnesium deficiency symptoms.
Check out this blog on magnesium deficiency symptoms by Wellness Mama.
In short magnesium helps your muscles and nerves function properly; it keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and also assists in keeping your bones strong. This essential mineral helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy. It’s easy to see why many researchers say that nothing is as critical as magnesium!
TIP: You can mix your tart cherry juice with water and this magnesium mix (this works better for some people who don’t want to take a shot of cherry juice and the pill form of magnesium) I personally use a magnesium and bentonite clay supplement I buy through a Health and Wellness company online.
The final piece to this new nighttime routine is bone broth! I wrote a blog about the benefits of bone broth and you can check that out Here.
I find drinking my broth before bed is the easiest way to incorporate 8 oz of bone broth into my life on a consistent basis. Bone broth contains gelatin and collagen that help with deeper, more restful sleep. You will also find more magnesium in bone broth making it a double whammy! Even more interesting is that it contains Glycine.
This blog from “Kettle and Fire” talks about the importance of glycine in bone broth. Here is a snip of what they say about glycine.
“Glycine, an amino acid which is prevalent in bone broth, is a neurotransmitter possessing unique properties. Glycine operates through two different receptors, engaging in several functions in the central nervous system.”
“Glycine has long been known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brainstem and spinal cord (1). It’s the primary neurotransmitter that inhibits sleep cycle motor neurons during active sleep (2). Taken before bedtime, it improves sleep quality, efficacy, latency, and reduces daytime sleepiness and fatigue in people who struggle with insomnia (3). Glycine elevates cutaneous blood flow, resulting in heat loss and deeper sleep (4).”
The goal of good sleep is to support our immune system, let our body and brain rest in order to start fresh the next day. Remember it effects your hormones, fertility, weight gain and memory.
No one is getting a gold star for functioning on 4-6 hours of sleep. Well maybe if you’re one of those biohackers who has figured out how to manipulate your genetics and take a million supplements to get your body to work off less. BUT you’re not!
I encourage you to try this for 21 days, see how you feel and I bet after a week you will see the difference from these healthy habits!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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