Tag Archives: Health

Zucchini Brownies

These brownies are super fudgy and full of flavor. They do need to be prepared the night before serving to ensure they are set, however the wait is well worth it! Zucchini is an awesome source of dietary fiber as well as manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesiumfolate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. So if you’re determined to get your chocolate fix one way or another, you may as well make it a healthier one and try these out! 

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 Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or sub. vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coconut flour (or sub. blanched almond flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or sub. regular sugar)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Frosting (optional) 

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

Instructions (makes about 20-24 squares)

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Use food processor to shred zucchini until fine.
  • Whisk the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl and let sit at least 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients in a seperate bowl.
  • Pour the wet mix into the dry and stir until evenly mixed.
  • Pour into the baking dish and spread the batter smooth.
  • Bake 25 minutes, and then remove from oven and pat down with spatula (even if it appears undercooked it will firm up once refrigerated overnight!)
  • Place brownies in the fridge and once they are a bit cooled mix the frosting ingredients together to form a sauce.
  • Spread the sauce over the zucchini brownies, then fridge or freeze brownies overnight or for several hours to allow them to set and become even more flavorful before serving.
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Peach Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are seriously trendy right now, but way too expensive to buy out! Today I made a Peach Strawberry one and decorated it with some of my favorite toppings like shredded coconut, kiwi, chia seeds, and almond slivers. The hardest part about making this is that it looks so pretty you almost don’t want to take that first bite!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
Instructions
  1. In a blender, mix together the frozen strawberries, peaches, banana, almond milk and flaxseed (add more milk or ice if needed to get your desired consistency, however smoothie bowls are typically thicker like ice cream)
  2. Pour into a bowl, and top with your favorite add-ons!

10 Superfood Add Ins for a Daily Boost!

Superfoods are those foods unknowingly chock full of essential nutrients that our bodies crave to stay nourished. Here are some of my favorite superfood add in ingredients that can be easily added to your daily meals to help promote an overall well being!

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  1. Chia Seeds: These seeds are extremely high in Omega-3 fats, magnesium, protein, calcium, fiber, zinc, and antioxidants. You can add these to cereals, shakes or even make a pudding with them.
  2. Flaxseeds: Also filled with omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber, these are known to lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Flaxseed meal is the ground version and can easily be added to daily breakfast foods, and is often used as an egg substitute in vegan recipes because of its binding properties.
  3. Hemp Seeds: Hemp is a complete food source and has more Omega-3s than any other food. It’s high in Vitamin E, has fiber, and contains magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
  4. Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are filled with healthy fats, lignans, protein, copper, manganese, and calcium, and is a good source of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. They are known to help lower cholesterol & prevent high blood pressure.
  5. Tumeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory so it can help reduce joint pain and arthritis. It can also reduce menstrual cramps, aid with digestion and even help prevent cancer.
  6. Cinnamon: Cinnamon works to stabilize your blood sugar so it is great for diabetics. Like turmeric, it also works as an anti-inflammatory, so it is essential for those with joint issues or arthritis. It also helps naturally boost immunity and prevent disease with it’s antibacterial properties, so if you feel a cold coming make sure to get your daily dose. This superfood also helps reduce pms cramps, aid digestion and even increase energy levels.
  7. Cayenne: Cayenne is surprisingly high in Vitamins C, B, and A. This pepper helps stimulate digestion and aid in nutrient absorption, and also can help stimulate circulation and blood flow to those cold extremities. Cayenne also promotes heart and prostate health.
  8. Oregano: Filled with vitamin K, fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium and omega fatty acids, oregano should be eaten with more than just pizza!
  9. Coconut Oil: (Organic, unrefined) With high levels of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, this superfood protects against heart disease by lowering cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, helps diabetics by slowly releasing sugar into the bloodstream, kills disease causing bacteria, boosts metabolism and weight loss, and visibly improves the quality of hair and nail health.
  10. Apple Cider Vinegar: Made from fermented apples, ACV is high in probiotic properties. Drink a little a day to regulate your healthy bacteria, or even use as a rinse for super soft hair.

Israeli Salad

I decided to make some Israeli Salad & pair it with a yummy paleo version of Sole Meuniere. I made plenty extra for leftovers which will be perfect for lunch or for snacking on these next few days! This Mediterranean salad is traditionally served alongside or within falafel and pita sandwiches, but also makes for a wonderful side dish with any fish or meat. 

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 4 radishes
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

  1. Chop all vegetables and toss together in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the salad and season to liking with salt and pepper.

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Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

This is a super quick and cheap recipe for a wonderful side potato dish. I served this alongside some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Ingredients  (1-2 Servings) 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 potato
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves or about 1/2 tbsp of garlic
  • 1- 2 tbsps of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • garnish with rosemary, salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to large pan
  2. Slice 1 potato in pieces .5-1cm thick so that it can all cook rather quickly
  3. Chop .1/2 – 1 small onion, and add both potatoes and onions to pan
  4. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice over vegetables
  5. Cook covered for about 5 minutes over medium heat
  6. Flip potatoes and add in minced garlic, sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper
  7. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until tender
  8. Serve with extra lemon or olive oil to liking

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Preventing Cancer with Iodine

What if I told you can help protect your own body from cancer? For example ladies, take breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org “About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” Now I am not trying to scare you, but I am being realistic. We all will unfortunately face this challenge within our families, and historically we only see the risk increasing over the years. Now if we look at varying breast cancer statistics geographically, women living in japan have a very low rate. The major difference between Americans and Japanese being diet, with the average Japanese woman consuming 13-14mg of iodine per day.

Now Geoffrey T. Bouc, M.D., whom wrote a very informational piece called “Iodine: A Tale of the Shrinking Violet,” is a doctor that specializes in treating endocrinology issues with a more holistic approach than the typical trip to the pharmacy. He explains that 75%-95% of all americans are iodine deficient and this can be attributed to the fact that “Iodine intake has dropped from 500-800 mcg per day in 1940 to less than 135 Mcg per day in 1995,” and that “modern farming has made most productive soils very deficient in iodine so it is no longer in your produce.” He writes even further concerning the history of iodine consumption in America and how the supplement went from being commonly used to being replaced with the common toxin bromine in breads and flours. Thanks again food industry!

Since many Americans are deficient in this supplement, this leads me to question what effect this deficiency has on our health. Now Dr. Bouc goes into this as well, which I will here again abbreviate and say that the thyroid hormone is made of both protein and iodine and will not work properly without enough of it. Only a small percentage of our bodies’ iodine is stored within the thyroid, and the rest is stored within every other organ and tissue. As he writes, “Without it we are prone to forming nodules, goiter and cancer. Iodine is essential for the proper development of the fetus, brain growth and development, proper cognition, metabolism and temperature regulation.” Therefore iodine deficiency is linked to fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovarian syndrome, Hypo and Hyperthyroidism, Cognitive dysfunction (Brain fog), Diabetes, Heart Arrhythmias and Breast Cancer.

Knowing that iodine deficiency can be a leading cause of a whole slew of ailments, reading up on the holistic success stories of people who begin iodine supplementation is even that much more satisfying. There are loads of online message boards filled with people explaining that with iodine supplementation they have cured their thyroid issues and no longer need to supplement with TSH and T4, have reduced their cysts and eliminated breast pain, have cleared their daily mental fog, or even have increased the strength of their hair and nails.

Of course being on my own health journey, a known contributor to gallbladder disease is a poorly functioning thyroid. Knowing that Iodine is a major factor for the optimal workings of this gland makes supplementation of high interest to me. Studies have shown that people need about a year of 12.5mg daily to achieve total body saturation and then to continue with the daily 12.5mg iodine maintenance dose (2 drops of Lugol’s or 1 tablet of 12.5 mg Iodoral). Beginning with small doses and gradually increasing your dose over the weeks is sometimes suggested in order to reach maximum dosage within only a few months. However many people as they increase their dose experience varying levels of detoxification and uncomfortable symptoms as the body begins ridding itself of the built up bromine and fluoride and replacing it with iodine, so for me the maintenance dosage is just fine.

I began to follow protocol and started taking a 12.5 mg Iodoral pill along with a 200mg selenium supplement (2-3 brazil nuts) which protects your thyroid. At first I felt very energized, almost jittery, but it was manageable. However as the week passed these so-called “detoxification” symptoms I thought I was experiencing began exhibiting themselves as classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. I continued researching and found that there shouldn’t be any serious issues with regular consumption of a small dose of iodine unless the subject has an underlying autoimmune disorder like Hashimotos or Graves Disease. As Dr. David Brownstein, a strong advocate of iodine supplementation states, “Iodine can aggravate autoimmune thyroid conditions. Iodine supplementation in those that have an autoimmune thyroid problem can be akin to pouring gas over a fire.” Now as autoimmune diseases do run in my immediate family with my sister being celiac, the likelihood of my sister or even me of having another underlying autoimmune disease isn’t that far fetched. As stated in Two of a Kind — Research Connects Celiac and Thyroid Diseases and Suggests a Gluten-Free Diet Benefits Both By Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, and Gary Kaplan, DO, “Anyone with an autoimmune condition is predisposed to developing other autoimmune conditions, and there is a particularly strong connection between celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), which includes Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases.”

Now for anyone like me questioning if they should still supplement iodine with the possibility of having an underlying autoimmune disorder, the key appears to be the adequate consumption of selenium for several weeks before introducing the iodine. Selenium works to protect your thyroid. As Dr. Harris & Dr. Kaplan write, “Selenium deficiency is the underlying prerequisite for iodine induced thyroid damage in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Selenium supplementation is protective and prevents thyroid damage from iodine. Iodine opponents such as Dr K and Chris Kresser as well as the studies they quote tend to ignore the role of selenium.”

Therefore I began again, and this time started supplementing with selenium for four weeks beforehand, and then finally reintroduced iodine into my diet. I began with half of one of my 12.5mg iodine supplements 5 out of 7 days of the week, and then increased it to the full dose for the next week. I am now on week three and I am no longer displaying the worrisome hypothyroid symptoms that I had when I hadn’t adequately pre-dosed myself with selenium. I have now figured out how to comfortably increase my iodine consumption which will help me ward off potential diseases while also detoxifying my body and regulating my thyroid and hormones. Best of luck to anyone else who is also looking into iodine supplementation, I do advise you to consult a professional or do your own research before you begin.

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Swiss Watch Fitness Tracker

The Fitbit has been the most popular fitness tracker for years. However it has always been a bit too bulky and not stylish enough for me, so I knew I wouldn’t wear it on the daily. But the convenience of tracking my activity on my wrist, motivating me to reach my daily goal, was something I really wanted!

At the same time I had been on the search for a new wristwatch as my last one had broken awhile back, so I began to wonder if I could find a stylish wristwatch that would do both. And then I found the Withing’s Activite – a beautiful waterproof swiss watch, that also tracks your steps. Access to the sleep monitoring and a whole range of other fitness features on the app are added bonuses that just make tracking personal health that much easier.

Although this is an investment piece, they do also offer more inexpensive options like the Withings Activite Steel, or the Pop which are still far more attractive than any other fitness trackers on the market.

Every time I check the time, I now also find myself checking my steps, determined to reach my daily goal of 10,000. I love this watch. Check it out.

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Paleo Granola Bars

As grains are not included within the Paleo diet, typical granola bars are off the menu. Here is a nice recipe I found and modified just a bit from PaeloMom. Although gathering these ingredients seems like a hassle, these delicious bars are pretty easy to make and really worth it! They are such a great morning or midday snack, and the extra pieces can even be broken up to eat as granola.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1½ Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 ½ cups sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease a 9’x13′ baking pan with coconut oil.
  2.  Mix ground flax seed with water and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pulse sun flower seeds in a food processor to break up to the size of sunflower seeds.
  4. Add in coconut oil, almond butter, honey and vanilla to the flax mix.
  5. Add almond flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
  6. Add slivered almonds, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and dried cranberries.  Stir to combine.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan.  Spread out and flatten well with your hand or the back of a spatula.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. After removing from the oven, flatten the bars with the back of a spatula.
  10. Let cool completely before cutting bars & break up the extra to eat as your morning cereal!

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