WHAT MEDITATION HAS TO DO WITH GUT HEALTH

WHAT MEDITATION HAS TO DO WITH GUT HEALTH

When you think of meditation you probably don’t associate it with better digestion and gut health. I know I didn’t until I learned just how much stress influences our gut health and just how powerful meditation is for decreasing stress.

What Evolution Has to do With Healthy Digestion

Issues like leaky gut often come from living a high-stress lifestyle. Most of us are under a lot of stress in today’s world. When you’re feeling anxious or rushed, your body goes into fight or flight. This is a survival mechanism that’s been with us since long before our frontal lobes developed. Back when we had to struggle just to survive, fight or flight was useful, but nowadays we don’t have to fight off predators and run for our lives (at least not often). This response to external stress kicks in anytime something triggers our stress response.

When your body is in fight or flight it isn’t able to direct much energy towards proper digestion. The food we take in when we’re in a hurry, working, or worried just sits in our guts until we’ve calmed down enough to initiate digestion. But a person’s still gotta eat and that’s where things get tricky. If you want healthy digestion, more energy, clear skin and a calm nervous system, meditation is one the answers.

How Meditation Helps Our Digestion

Learning and practicing meditation over time helps to decrease stress and turn off the fight or flight response that many people are all too familiar with. The nervous system and the gut are inextricably linked. Humans were never designed to be stressed out all the time, and when we learn to calm our nervous systems our health improves dramatically.

When you get used to tuning into your breath and releasing stressful negative thought patterns your digestion will improve, you’ll have more energy for fun activities and life will seem a whole lot less overwhelming.

Easy Ways to Incorporate Meditation in your Life
  • Simply taking even 5-10 minutes a day to sit down in a quiet comfortable place and focus on the breath is enough to make a difference.
  • Set aside time each day to do nothing but breathe. Allow any thoughts that arise to drift away without attachment.
  • HeadSpace happens to be one of my favorite apps that you can use to help you easily make meditation a part of your life.

Mediation and deep breathing are just one part of the puzzle.  If you’re seriously interested in getting healthy, restoring your digestion and boosting your energy then check out my comprehensive Restore your Gut & Thrive Program! In the program you get  group and personalized coaching, a ton of delicious satisfying recipes as well as strategies that will help rebuild your intestinal flora. Check it out today!

 

A Resource for my Thyroid Clients (or a cookbook for anybody)

A Resource for my Thyroid Clients (or a cookbook for anybody)

My blog has been really quite this past year.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but I have been growing my coaching practice and also shifting more content sharing to social media platforms.  That being said, I am still going to use the blog to share resources and ideas.

I wanted to share a resource for my thyroid/Hashimoto’s clients, but really this is a great resource for anyone with autoimmune disease or someone just looking for clean recipes.

Download a Free Sample Recipe: Asian Lettuce Wraps

I’m delighted to introduce you to two amazing nutrition experts who have created a long-awaited, groundbreaking, and scientifically supported cookbook containing over 100 “food as medicine” recipes for those with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) – The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.

Lisa Markley is a registered dietitian nutritionist with over a decade of nutrition and culinary experience and Jill Grunewald is an integrative nutrition and hormone coach who’s been in practice since 2008 successfully guiding her clients and students with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s to health and vitality.

They both know first-hand the challenges of Hashimoto’s and have discovered that the most impactful way to reduce symptoms and improve thyroid and immune health – for themselves as well as their clients – is to focus on the sound nutrition and lifestyle strategies outlined in this first-of-its kind cookbook. They’ve been working on it for five years and now they are (and I am) excited to finally share this essential resource with you.

The mouthwatering recipes are easy enough for any home cook, appeal to a broad variety of palates (Hashimoto’s or not), and are thoughtfully crafted to perfectly translate thyroid- and immune-supportive nutrition recommendations to your plate.

If this weren’t enough, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook is a book-within-a-cookbook. It contains a substantive, rigorously researched educational component focused on practical ways you can maximize nourishment to help restore your thyroid and immune system, or better yet, help to prevent thyroid dysfunction to begin with.

For anyone who has wanted to cook confidently for optimal thyroid and immune function, this is your definitive guide. The Essential Thyroid Cookbook belongs on the shelf in every kitchen of anyone diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s.

There is a free book bonus available until Sept. 19th

http://www.thyroidcookbook.com/bookbonus

 

 

Grain Free Veggie Pizza

Grain Free Veggie Pizza

So we have had an overabundance of broccoli at our house. My husband and I mixed up items on our grocery list and on the same day I bought a few heads of organic broccoli from Earthfare  (they have had it on sale all month for $0.99) and he bought two huge bags of organic broccoli florets at Costco.  Our family loves it and we eat it just steamed as a side for dinner a lot, but steamed broccoli at every meal was getting old.  So I decided to recreate one of my favorite childhood foods that my mom always made for get-togethers.  Vegetable pizza, you know they type made on packaged Crescent rolls.  Well, seeing that our family is gluten-free and pretty low grains, I decided to try a grain free version.  It turned out yummy…only thing I would change is to spread the dough thinner.

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grain free veggie pizza
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Ingredients
  • 2 c. almond flour
  • 1 c. arrowroot
  • ½ c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
  • chopped veggies of choice (i used broccoli, red bell peppers, black olives and carrots)
  • 1 package of organic cream cheese 8oz. (I used organic valley)
  • ½ cup organic full fat sour cream
  • 2 T. gluten free ranch mix (i used Penzey's ranch blend which is just spices, simply organic also makes one)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the dough dry ingredients in a bowl (almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, sea salt).
  2. Add in eggs, water and olive oil and mix by hand.
  3. It will be a wetter dough.
  4. Spread evenly on a baking stone or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. I used a spatula and then put a little olive oil on my hand to help even press the dough.
  6. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until dough is starting to brown up (cooking time will vary a little with dough thickness).
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. Prep veggies while dough is baking, by chopping into small pieces.
  9. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese and ranch mix.
  10. Once dough is cool, spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the crust and then top with veggies.
  11. Enjoy!

 

Kitchen Essentials :: Items I Use Everyday

Kitchen Essentials :: Items I Use Everyday

I was asked a few weeks ago about my kitchen. Specifically, what tools could I not live without? And what would my dream kitchen look like?

I actually love my kitchen. It’s an open concept and I don’t feel like I am stuck in a room away from people while I am cooking. When we built our house, we specifically choose this because we knew it would be a gathering place. It never fails when we have friends over, people will just gather around the island talking and snacking on food. I absolutely love that!

But what would I change? Well, I am pretty sure I saw my dream kitchen the other day…but seeing as that isn’t anywhere in the near future, I would actually only make one small change. I would rip out the microwave above our cooktop. I don’t like my microwave and rarely use it, but even more so is that it is obnoxiously huge. I would love a range hood that opens up my cooking area (especially when I am canning and always bumping stuff into the microwave.) I love this hood in the image below!
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In my ultimate dream kitchen my cook top would have twice as many burners and even more counter space with a larger island, but I would be more than happy to simply just replace my microwave with a fun range hood.  I am pretty sure this range from BlueStar Cooking is my ultimate dream one.

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As for the question, what items do we use every day? My first thought goes immediately to my Vitamix and my Le Creuset cookware. Both of these were purchased in times of our lives when we were tighter on cash and they were big splurges. Our Vitamix is over 5 years old and has lived a really good life…literally it is used multiple times a day in our house. I remember when I was trying to convince my husband of why we “needed” one and his response was “isn’t it just a blender?” I borrowed a neighbor’s and had my husband make hummus and from that point on he was convinced.

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As for my cookware, when we started purging all Teflon and aluminum pans, I slowly began collecting pieces of Le Creuset. For Christmas one year, my husband found a collector who was selling her entire lot… they are over 25 years old and are in incredible condition. So I went from a few prized pieces to my entire kitchen be stocked for an incredible deal. I love them and they are also used every single day in my kitchen.

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But, what is used the most and could I absolutely not live without? My answer is sort of a random item. Not in the least bit expensive or hard to find, but we use them everyday and for multiple things. I could not live without the simple Mason jar.

We ferment in them. We store all our pantry items in them. They are our drink glasses. We can fresh produce in the summers in them. When I am prepping meals early in the day, my chopped veggies always get stored in them. I literally have mason jars in every area of my kitchen. Such a simple item, but wow, our kitchen would not run smoothly without them.

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Protein Breakfast Bites

Protein Breakfast Bites

By the time I get to Friday mornings, I have pretty much run out of inspiration for breakfast.  While I typically eat a protein smoothie, I am always looking for ideas to feed my growing boys, that are loaded with healthy fats and fiber, but eggs get boring quickly and my oldest doesn’t love protein smoothies.

I am fairly adamant that my kids eat a hearty breakfast (not sugar and carbs), like the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) of cereal, toast, bagels etc.  So finding variations can be challenging. One of their current favorite breakfasts are my little protein bites.

They are loaded with gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, flax seed, chia seeds, sliced almonds and coconut oil.  While they look like little muffins, they are actually dense, almost crumbly little bites, that pair wonderfully with coffee.  Because of the fiber and fat, they are incredibly filling and can easily keep you fueled until lunch.

A few benefits are that they are easy to make, freeze well and can travel well as snacks. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand…besides the dried blueberries, but I live super close to our local Earth Fare and they always have them in their bulk food section. You can also easily substitute ingredients: chopped up dried apricots or dates, sunflower seeds, pecans etc. Be creative with them!

 

Protein Breakfast Bites
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Ingredients
  • 1½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1½ cups gluten-free oat flour
  • ½ cup wild blueberries
  • ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. celtic sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350º F
  2. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil (mine holds 32 muffins)
  3. Add all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate them
  4. In a separate bowl mix together remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla & maple syrup)
  5. Pour slowly into food processor and pulse until everything is well combined
  6. Fill mini muffin pans and press mixture until it is well compacted and just below the top of the pan
  7. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown
  8. Cool before removing from the pan
  9. *If they are hard to remove, twisting them around in the pan in a circle typically releases them