January 21, 2018

Food as Medicine: Balance Your Hormones

Everyone thrives when their hormones are balanced. Lack of adequate hormone secretion can affect mood, digestion, and fertility. For female-bodied people, there are not any foods that contain estrogen or progesterone. However, certain nutrients support the body’s natural process of producing these hormones in a balanced way. Since most of the neurotransmitters that produce our hormones live in our intestines, using food to balance hormones is very effective!

After age 35, progesterone levels tend to decrease and estrogen levels increase. This slow process eventually leads to menopause. We can support this gentle change while we are still in the child-bearing years (until age 43 on average) by boosting progesterone levels.

Here is a list of progesterone-stimulating nutrients and their food sources in order of importance. Don’t feel like you need to get all of these nutrients every day. Focus on L-Arginine, Magnesium, and B Vitamins.

L-Arginine: aim for 6 grams per day
  • Turkey – 4 ounces contain about 16 grams 
  • Chicken – 4 ounces contains 9 grams 
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 1 cup contains 7 grams 
  • Chickpeas – 1 cup contains 1.3 grams 

Magnesium: aim for 500 mg per day
  • Spinach – 79mg per 100g 
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 534mg per 100g 
  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 97mg per 100g 
  • Brown Rice – 44mg per 100g 
  • Dark Chocolate (70% or higher) – 327mg per 100g 
  • Vital Calm Magnesium powder – 320 mg per serving 

Vitamin C: aim for 1,000 mg daily (do not exceed)
  • Yellow Peppers –3mg per large pepper 
  • Kale and Collard Greens – 120mg per 100g 
  • Kiwi – 64mg per Kiwi 
  • Broccoli – 89.2mg per 100g 
  • Oranges – 69.7mg 

Vitamin B6: aim for 25 mg per day
  • Sunflower Seeds –35mg per 100g 
  • Pistachio Nuts – 1.12 mg per 100g 
  • Tuna – 1.04mg per 100g (cooked) 
  • Turkey – 0.81mg per 100g (cooked) 
  • Prunes – 0.75mg per 100g 

Vitamin E: aim for 150 mg per day
  • Almonds – 2mg per 100g 
  • Sunflower Seeds – 3mg per 100g 
  • Shrimp – 2mg per 100g of Shrimp 
  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 8mg per 100g 
  • Olive Oil – 4mg per 100g 

Zinc: aim for 25 mg per day
  • Beef – 12.3mg per 100g 
  • Wheat Germ – 16.7mg per 100g 
  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds – 10.3mg per 100g 
  • Cashews – 5.6mg per 100g

Here are some recipes that include hormone-balancing ingredients.

Easy Trail Mix

You will need:
2 cups pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cashews
3 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup prunes,chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the prunes until well mixed.

Spread mixture in an even single layer on the lined baking sheets.

Bake the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, place back into bowl, add chopped prunes and toss to combine. 
Cool completely.
Store cooled trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemony Turkey Stew

You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 pound organic ground turkey
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, oregano and salt
1 bunch kale
1 inch chopped kombu or wakame seaweed
3 cups chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon to finish

In a soup pot, sauté turkey on medium high heat with vinegar, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 25 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, ginger, cabbage, seaweed and spices. Stir well. Add the kale and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and stir in lemon juice. 
Serve and enjoy!

January 18, 2018

Blueberry Bread

Winter is a wonderful time to prepare dishes that feature the summer's bounty and remind us of the warmer days that will soon come.

We froze a lot of blueberries this past summer and have been enjoying them in baked goods all winter long.

May this bread nourish and inspire you. It's a great one to make an advance and have ready for breakfast or a snack when you're short on time.

You will need:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350.
Oil a loaf pan and set aside.
Mixed together the flours, spices, soda, powder, and salt.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and put the vinegar, syrup, eggs and oil into that well.

Whisk them together with each other then incorporate with the dry ingredients. The batter should be fairly thick and lumpy.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Run a knife along the edges of the bread and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


January 1, 2018

Keeping Blood Sugar Balanced

When eating treats, it's great to choose those that contain protein. 

Because it takes the body longer to
digest protein, blood sugar remains stable when eating sweets with protein. The digestive process takes all carbohydrates and turns them into glucose, a kind of sugar that's and released into the blood stream for energy.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps cells to absorb glucose once it's in the blood stream so that they can use it to generate energy. However, if there is too much circulating glucose in the system, the body gets overloaded. 

By consuming excessive carbohydrates and sugar without the protein to slow down the release of glucose into the blood steam, sugar levels and hence insulin levels can become chronically elevated. This elevation can lead to inflammation, high blood sugar and pre-diabetes (also known as insulin resistance).

Combining sweets and protein helps our body make the best use of the energy we gain from treats and keeps blood sugar balanced. Protein sources include: nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, meat, eggs, and cheese.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chippers

You will need:
1/4 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sorghum or brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (try to find ones sweetened with rice syrup instead of cane sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, applesauce, coconut sugar, flaxseed, and vanilla.

Mix in flour, cinnamon and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Flatten in a criss cross pattern with the tines of a fork.

Bake for about 15 minutes.
Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before enjoying.

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