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Kitchen Spring Cleaning

That itch we feel to clean out and clean up our homes in the spring is approaching! If you’re like me, then you might be finding yourself digging around in your pantry for a snack or something to make as a side dish for dinner when you come across that chocolate Easter bunny from last year or that discarded bag of chip crumbs that was kept for a just-in-case midnight snack. It’s time for the crap to go!

One of the wonderful symptoms of spring and warmer weather is not just the need to organize and purge, but also to begin (or hopefully continue) eating right. We become increasingly aware of summer; and that our sweats will retire to the back of our closets and be replaced with shorts, dresses and bathing suits. That’s all the motivation I need to toss the tempting junk food I’ve hoarded for months and get back on track.

Let’s start with the junk in the pantry!

  • Toss the foods that are overly processed and high in sugar. Leave yourself a treat or two...
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Best MCT Oil, Product Review

As you may or may not know, MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil has many health benefits. So much so that I've written a whole blog post on what it is, you can read the "What is MCT Oil" article here. I use MCT oil on days when I am following a pretty low carb eating plan. The reason being because they are a great source of fuel for the brain and the body!    

MCT Oil is tasteless and odorless, but it is great to use in your favorite Fat Bombs, “Bulletproof” coffee, etc. I personally use it for:

  • My morning coffee when I am internment fasting, just pouring about 1/2-1 Tablespoon
  • My favorite fat bomb recipes, like this this keto peppermint fat bombs
  • Homemade salad dressings

I’ve tried & tested out a few different brands over the last year and half (or so), since starting to incorporate MCT oil into my diet, and here are the reasons why I prefer the Sports Research Brand:

  • Organic, Non-GMO
  • Helps push off the hunger when intermittent...
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Nighttime Snacking Struggles

Are you a big evening snacker?  Nighttime snacking is a common struggle for many reasons.  Emotions and habits play a big role.  It’s the end of the day, the kids are in bed, and you finally have time to relax. So you may grab a bag of chips or chocolate if you’re into the sweets and turn on the TV to unwind.  You’ve been focused all day, but now all you want to do is “check out” with a bag of chips in your lap!

It can be a real struggle to curb those cravings and habits, but it is possible. Keep your evenings interesting and find other ways to wind down. Find what works best for you and do them consistently to form new healthy, evening habits. Below are a some things to do instead of snacking.

1. Water.
Pour yourself a big glass of water. Make it fun and infuse your water with cucumber and mint or any fruit you have on hand.

2. Make a cup of tea.  
When water doesn’t do the trick, try a warm glass of caffeine-free tea. My...

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Gut Health 101

What IS Gut Health? How Do I Keep My Gut Healthy? 

The gastrointestinal tract (aka the gut) is composed of trillions upon trillions of live microorganisms commonly referred to as the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota has a very important job of keeping us healthy by fighting off bad bacteria and aiding in digestion.  A healthy, diverse gut microbiota is related to good overall mental and physical health. An imbalance or lack of microbiota diversity has been associated with an array of issues and chronic disease states such as…

  • Asthma
  • Obesity (Yep! Gut microbiota has been shown to have an effect on weight)
  • Mood
  • Neurological diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Leaky Gut
  • Inflammation 

What Affects Our Gut Microbiota?

Everyone is different and everyone’s gut microbiota is different, and there are a number of factors...

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What the Health: Fact vs. Fiction

I am not writing this to bash anyone’s opinion or tell you that one diet is better than another. I am writing this to provide you with accurate, evidence-based information so you can make the best diet decisions that actually works for you. It frustrates me to see people use the popular documentary "What the Health" as their basis for going vegetarian or vegan. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going vegetarian or vegan, in fact, I was a vegetarian for almost 12 years!

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or a lover of meat and potatoes, I am going to provide you with the truth!  I'm going to explain some aspects of the video that I did agree with, and then my problems with it below.

What I DID Agree With: 

  • Eat more plants.  A plant-based diet has phenomenal impacts on overall health.  Plants are an incredible source of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
  • We eat too much protein.  The average Western diet’s...
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What is Inflammation?

Is inflammation good? Or is it bad? Do we want inflammation? Would you believe me if I told you inflammation is supposed to be a good thing? Inflammation is actually the body’s response to stress, injury, or illness.

It helps the body heal and defend itself against harm.  Think about a cut/scrape, sprained ankle, or bee sting.  Often there may be redness and swelling associated with the injury. This extra blood the body sends there contains many helpful cells that work to fight infections and heal. After injury is healed, the body goes back to normal.  This would be an example of acute or short-term inflammation.

Inflammation becomes dangerous when it is chronic, or long-term inflammation, which can often be somewhat silent. Chronic inflammation is associated with or can lead to heart disease, leaky gut, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and a number of other diseases and conditions.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise play a HUGE role in inflammation.

...

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Homemade Frozen Yogurt Pops

My girls loved these super simple homemade frozen yogurt popsicles! I made them for a few reasons:

  1. There is too much sugar, artificial sugars and mysterious ingredients in the store bought kind.
  2. Teagain is teething, bad, and she loves anything cold and frozen!
  3. It's fun!

So you could buy these little Zipsicle containers and use them for almost anything and for a million recipes! I'll share my two simple recipes:

Strawberry Chia

  • 1 cup organic full fat yogurt
  • 1.5 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds

Blueberry Flax

  • 1 cup organic full fat yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbs ground flax seeds

Put all ingredients in a blender, I use the Vitamix, and blend til smooth.

Use a funnel to pour ingredients into Zipsicles. 

My recipe made about 5 popsicles of each flavor. 

Freeze laying flat, then once frozen put in large zip lock container. 

Enjoy!

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Micros 101

Micro is a shortened term for micronutrients, which are commonly referred to as “vitamins and minerals.”  Unlike macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein), which you can read about here, the body only requires a small amount of vitamins and minerals hence the term “micro.”  

I could go on forever about micronutrients because there are so many of them with many different purposes and functions, but for the sake of time (and short blog posts) I’ll only touch on a few key micros that you may or may not be familiar with.

Vitamins:

Vitamin C aides in the absorption of iron, protects against free radicals, and helps with wound healing and building a strong immune system. One fun fact is that 1 cup of red bell peppers actually contain more Vitamin C than an orange! Sources: green pepper, red peppers, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, Brussel sprouts.

Vitamin A helps vital organs work properly and plays a role in healthy vision, reproduction, and the...

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Macros 101

 

What in the world are macros, what do they do, and which foods contain them?

According to dictionary.com macro is defined as anything very large in scale, scope, or capability.  When used in the context of food, macro is the abbreviated version of macronutrient.

There are three types of macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These three macros are required in large amounts by the body in order to function properly and maintain health.

Protein (1g of protein = 4 calories)

Protein is broken down by the body into amino acids and used to repair and build muscle, make enzymes and hormones, and contribute to many other important functions.  There are nine essential amino acids that we must get from food, because our bodies cannot make them.  

 
We obtain these essential amino acids through complete protein sources such as high quality animal proteins like humanely raised chicken, grass-fed beef, and wild caught seafood.  If you don’t eat...

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What is MCT Oil?

MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride, and it is commonly found in foods like coconut oil. Medium chain references the number or length of carbon atoms in the molecule, and triglyceride is a scientific word for fat or fatty acids of which there are three types:

  1. Short chain fatty acids with less than 6 carbon atoms (i.e. milk and butter)
  2. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) with 6-12 carbon atoms (i.e. coconut oil and palm kernel oil)
  3. Long chain fatty acids (most common) with 13-21 carbons. (i.e. vegetable oil like canola and safflower oil)

There are four common types of MCTs where the number represents the amount of carbon atoms in the chain:

·      C6: Caproic acid

·      C8: Caprylic acid

·      C10: Capric acid

·      C12: Lauric acid

Currently, there is much debate over whether or not C12 acts as a true MCT in the body.  Some contest that it acts...

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