10 Day Sugar Detox Group: Starts August 9, 2015

10 Day Sugar Detox Group: Starts August 9, 2015

Sugar cubes picDid you know that high sugar intake is not only linked to dis-eases like high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and inflammation but sugar can also aggravate other conditions like hormonal imbalance, headaches and migraines, yeast infections, joint pain, and overgrowth of the “bad” bacteria in our gut?

Some of you might feel like you are addicted to sugar. Or maybe you might think you don’t eat much sugar until you decide to really clean it out of your diet (What? It’s in bread and deli meat?). Or maybe you are usually pretty low-sugar but you just want to get yourself back on track?

If any of these sound like you, I have the perfect solution for late-summer 2015: join my 10-Day Sugar Detox Group! Next group starts Sunday, August 9!

What you will get:

  • Online private Facebook support group
  • Two live group calls to ask questions and get personalized feedback (and these will be recorded in case you have to miss one)–Sunday 8/9 and 8/16 at 7  p.m. PST.
  • Individualized suggestions to help you come up with a plan that works for you
  • Three different levels of “sugar detox” so you can find the path that works best for you!
  • Past participants report weight loss, more focus and clarity, less depression and anxiety, and reduction of PMS symptoms in just 10 days!

Only $49 per participant (valued at $150) OR I have a special offer when you join the group with a friend: Two participants can join together for just $78 total! 

Perfect time to “detox” from all that sneaky sugar! Break free of sugar once and for all!

I want to keep this group small so that you can get personalized attention and feedback, so sign up ASAP to save your spot. This is also great to do with friends for added support and accountability!

To sign up, please email me directly at

michelle@healthcoachmichelle.com 

& I’ll send you everything you need to get started!

Broth: One of the easiest and best things you can do for your health!

Broth: One of the easiest and best things you can do for your health!

I don’t know about you, but I love a warm cup of vegetable broth. Right now I’m sipping a large mugful as I recover from a bit of over-indulgence over the holidays. I’m also hoping to keep a cold at bay by drinking as much broth as possible.  A cup of delicious broth can also make for a satisfying small meal or help keep you warm on a cold day. This broth also makes a great base for any number of soups. There are a lot of great broth recipes out there, but the one I’m going to share with you is based on the Magic Mineral Broth recipe made famous by Rebecca Katz in One Bite at a Time.

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:

  • 2 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
  • 1-2 unpeeled medium onions, including peels/skin, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 stalks celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
  • 1 head of garlic, including peels/skin, roughly chopped
  • few inches of fresh ginger root, roughly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat‐leaf parsley
  • 1 sweet potato or yam with skins on, quartered
  • 1 8‐inch strip of kombu seaweed (available at Whole Foods, online or if you live in Oakland, HERE)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole allspice or juniper berries (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon quality sea salt (note: if I’m going to cook beans with the broth, I leave the salt out)

Note: Adjust the amount of ingredients to the size of your stock pot. Also, I often use vegetable scraps to make my broths (see below for more info on using scraps). Other vegetable choices (depending on the flavor profile you want and what you have on hand) can include mushrooms, leeks, fennel, greens, fresh herbs, parsnips, and potatoes.

Directions:

  1. Rinse all the vegetables well to remove any dirt.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients except the salt. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. I like to try and simmer mine for as much as 4 hours or more.
  4. Add the salt and stir (unless you plan to use the broth to cook dried beans).
  5. Let stock cool in pot until room temperature.
  6. Strain the stock using a large coarse‐mesh strainer (remember to use a heat‐resistant container underneath) and/or cheese-cloth or clean linen towel. Compost the cooked vegetables.

Makes 6 to 7 quarts, depending on stockpot size.

Broth can be frozen up to 6 months in a variety of airtight container sizes for every use.

broth_healthocachmichelle_healthcoach_nutritionconsultantTips for what to do with your broth:

  • You can add a little tamari, Bragg’s amino acids, coconut amino acids, or miso to your broth for a little added flavor.
  • I also often add some coconut oil for a bit more substance.
  • If you are not vegetarian/vegan, you can also add some gelatin for added protein.
  • When I’m making broth to really support my immune system, I will add A LOT more ginger and garlic to the initial broth ingredients. You can also add dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms, oregano, reishi mushrooms, and/or astragalus root.
  • Again, broth can be sipped alone or used as a base for any soup.
  • Broth is really great to drink when recovering from surgery, illness or chemotherapy. It is a great way to get nourishment for your body without putting too much stress on your digestive system.
  • To store leftover broth, I put them in mason jars to drink over the week and then freeze the rest.

Using vegetable scraps:

One of my favorite ways to make vegetable broth is to use leftover vegetable scraps. Not only does this reduce waste and save money, but often the foods we consider “scraps” contain great nutritional benefits!

  • When cooking any meal, save your cleaned vegetable scraps in a plastic freezer bag and store in freezer until ready to make into broth. I just keep adding ingredients to bags until I’m ready to make broth (or the freezer gets full!).
  • Good “scraps” to include are carrot peels, carrot tops, celery tops and bottoms, fennel tops, leek green tops, onion and garlic skins, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, stems from herbs like parsley, green tops of radishes, turnips or beets (just note that if you use beet greens, your broth will turn red!). I also added any vegetables that we didn’t get a chance to eat in the week that may be going a little limp.
  • Just dump the frozen vegetable scraps into your pot, add in some fresh vegetables that may not be included in your frozen bag, and then follow the directions from above!

I would love to hear from you. Have you made your own broth? What tips or suggestions do you have?

10 Day Sugar Challenge: November 2014

10 Day Sugar Challenge: November 2014

 

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The challenge is to GO SUGAR FREE FOR 10 DAYS

It’s the perfect time to take a break from sugar!

Want to join the challenge? It’s easy: Just go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/10DaySugarChallengeNovember2014/ and request to join the group.

The challenge starts Monday, November 10, 2014!

The idea . . .
1. Start by cutting sodas and other sweetened beverages and foods that have ADDED sugars.
2. EAT real, fresh, whole foods and stop consuming all products that contain added sugar including honey, molasses, agave, etc., and all liquid sugars, such as sodas, bottled teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
3. This includes all artificial sugars and sugar substitutes (which slow your metabolism and make you crave and eat more food).
4. Also, be aware of foods that may have hidden sugars, like yogurts, canned foods, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup.
5. Watch for hidden names of sugar.
6. Also try cutting out all flour products that turn to sugar in your body.

Sugar picJust for 10 days. We can do this!

It sounds tough but we can do it together and help each other every step of the way. Nothing is as sweet as treating yourself to a new and healthy lifestyle – I promise you’ll notice the difference.

Check in to the group as often as you’d like or need to. My goal is to make it a place for support, encouragement, questions, suggestions and ideas. If you have something that is working for you, please share it on the FB page! Have a great no-sugar recipe? Let us know!

 

Join TODAY! It’s free and a great way to get some support to kick those post-Halloween-sugar-blues! Share it with your friends–it’s fun to do together.

Quick disclosure: I am not a doctor and do not diagnose or treat disease, nor make recommendations regarding medical treatment or medications. Please see your doctor with any questions or if you have any concerns about your health and wellness.

9 Nutrient-Rich Snacks (That Happen to Be Vegan)

9 Nutrient-Rich Snacks (That Happen to Be Vegan)

Many people benefit from eating every 3 to 4 hours. A great way to be sure your body is getting the energy it needs is to eat a mid-morning and/or afternoon snack. Snacks are generally smaller and lighter than meals, but look for ones that are nutrient-rich. Nutrient-rich means that the food is concentrated in vitally important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and energy.

Many of these items can be mixed and matched. For instance, add some almond butter to your apple or swap the tortilla for gluten free crackers for your avocado salsa. Adding enjoyment and variety to your snacks makes them more enjoyable for you and also adds different nutrients to your diet. Also, be sure to consider your own biochemical individuality—what works for YOUR dietary system and nourishes YOU—when choosing healthy snacks!

Nuts or seeds like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds—raw & unsalted (1/4 cup = 1 serving)mixed nuts pic square

Nutrition: Good source of protein & healthy fats; also good sources of fiber, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, folate, vitamin E, & B vitamins; varies depending on nut/seed.

Tips: Remember that 1/4 cup is a serving size, so enjoy but do not over-­‐indulge. Many people find nuts and seeds easier to eat and digest if they have been soaked or sprouted first.

 

Hummus or other healthy dip and veggies (carrots, celery, red bell pepper, broccoli, radish or pea pods)

Nutrition: Fiber, phytonutrients, & vitamin C. Carrots are also a great source of vitamin A, K, biotin and fiber. Celery is a good source of potassium, and vitamins B6 & B1.

Tips: These are easy to pack ahead of time and make for a yummy, crunchy snack. For some other healthy dip ideas, check out this artichoke dip or this olive pistachio dip or this vegan pesto!

 

Almond butter and whole-grain, seeded crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers (2 T. almond butter & about 7-10 crackers)

Nutrition: For benefits of almond butter, see nuts/seeds above. Whole-grain crackers are higher in fiber & other minerals than crackers made with enriched flour.

Tips: Look for crackers without a lot of additives and ingredients; simple is best.

 

Whole grain or corn tortilla, avocado and salsaavocado

Nutrition: Avocados are good sources of fiber, vitamin C, E, K, folate & potassium. Tomatoes are great sources of vitamin C, biotin vitamin K, carotene & lycopene.

Tips: Use about a ½ avocado in a serving. For the other half, leave the pit in the fruit and place in the refrigerator in a sealed container—it will keep for the next day.

 

Fruits like apples, oranges, berries, plums, or pears

Nutrition: Good amounts of antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, vitamin C; amounts vary depending on the fruit

Tips: It sounds so simple but fruits with a high fiber count can be quite filling and refreshing as a snack. Can pair with some almond butter for some added fat and protein.

 

Roasted seaweed

Nutrition: Good source of vitamins A and C and iodine.

Tips: This delicious snack is a great way to add sea vegetables to your diet. Great as an after-workout snack! The iodine in seaweed can help regulate hormones like estrogen and thyroid.

 

Roasted chickpeasroasted chickpeas

Nutrition: Excellent source of phytonutrients, molybdenum and manganese. They are also a very good source of folate and copper as well as a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, protein, iron, and zinc

Tips: Make these yourself because the ones in the store are usually full of added sugar. For an easy recipe, check out here or here.

 

Edamame

Nutrition: High in protein and low in fat; good source of fiber, thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, vitamin K, folate & manganese.

Tips: You can get shelled edamame in the frozen food section of most stores. Add soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s if you want some flavor. If you have thyroid issues or a food sensitivity to soy, you will want to avoid soy products.

 

Baked kale

Nutrition: Good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.

Tips: Great for if you want something crunchy and savory with the benefits of kale. Easy to make yourself or can get at the store.

 

 

My Thoughts on Paleo Diets

My Thoughts on Paleo Diets

You may feel like suddenly everyone you know is talking about the Paleo diet.  So what are my thoughts?

Things I LIKE about the Paleo Diet:

1. Only eat whole foods: Automatically people are likely to feel better and lose weight

2. Focus on fresh vegetables and fruits: Focusing on eating so many vegetables and (low-glycemic) fruits is going to give you fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients

3. Nuts and seeds: Great source of protein and fats as well as many nutrients

4. No dairy, wheat, corn or soy: These are common allergens for many people, so avoiding these will definitely help some people. Plus, much of the corn and soy out there is genetically modified.

5. No processed foods like refined sugar, refined fats, trans fat, or processed meats: Most people in the nutrition field agree that these cause inflammation and weight gain. Everyone benefits from eliminating these.

6. Some people really benefit from a low/no grain, no legume, high animal-protein eating plan. These kinds of special eating plans are for very specific health reasons and should be done under the care of a professional.

 

Things I QUESTION about the Paleo Diet:

1. The supporters need to emphasize eating grass fed, organic meats or wild game, otherwise it is not “paleolithic” in any way since our commercial meat does not even resemble meat from even 100 years ago, let alone 20,000 years ago.  I recommend that anyone eating meat or eggs try to buy mostly grass fed, organic products. They are more expensive but you really do get what you pay for.

I also have a lot of concerns about eating so much meat, beyond nutrition.  There are also MAJOR environmental and ethical issues to consider as well. Eating so much meat requires using scarce resources like water and land to feed and support the animals; run-off from animal waste is a leading source of water pollution and causes “die-offs” in our oceans; animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction; most people are eating meat from CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, otherwise known as factory farms, which are very dangerous and unhealthy places not only for the animals, but also for the people who work there; animal agriculture in the United States is directly linked to GMO crops like corn and soy grown as feed for the animals; over 15-17 million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock every year to promote faster growth and address infections from their unsanitary living conditions. I could go on, but you get the picture. I do believe that some people need to eat animal meat for their health; however, we do need to remember it comes with a cost.

2. The ban on legumes and whole non-gluten grains across the board is troubling because some people do very well on these foods and they provide a great source of fiber, proteins, and nutrients. For many people, sprouting or soaking these foods can help aid digestion and absorption.

3. Is it a sustainable diet? To me this is the biggest issue. It is quite strict and restricting and most people will not maintain this way of eating for life.  The creator of the diet, Loren Cordain, says you only need to eat Paleo 80% of the time.  From my education and expertise, I also recommend the 80/20 goal where 80% of your foods are nourishing and that means your body can handle the 20% that is depleting. However, what is considered “nourishing” is much greater and wider.  I question anything that is a “diet” and anything that cannot be maintained, otherwise it leads to more yo-yo dieting and weight gain for many people.

4. Not everyone is the same and I question whether paleo addresses biochemical individuality. Chris Kresser, a proponent of the paleo eating plan, has new book called Your Personal Paleo Code that seems to allow for flexibility as well as personalization. He also addresses non-food aspects of health, which acknowledges the holistic approach to health. I think Chris Kresser’s approach may address some of my main questions with many of the other paleo diets out there.

 

Ultimately, I think eating a whole foods eating plan—full of organic, fresh, seasonal produce, quality proteins and healthy fats—is the way to go.  The details within that guideline (gluten, dairy, legumes, meat, soy, citrus, etc.) are going to vary person to person and will likely even change for us over the course of our lifetimes. The key is being open to experimentation and recognizing what works best for you right now.

Not sure what that looks like or need some support? Be sure to contact me today to schedule a free health history consultation!

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe  (Lower Sugar Version)

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe (Lower Sugar Version)

Total Time: 20 min

Serving size: 1/2 cup                                   

Makes approximately 7 servings

 

Note: Use raw, organic ingredients whenever possible.

These measurements are flexible; don’t worry too much about being exact.

granola with blueberries 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw, whole rolled oats (aka old fashion oats)
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup raw nuts, chopped (like pecans, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, etc.)
  • ½  cup raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, etc.)
  • ½ cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons grade-B maple syrup or raw honey or a combo of both (optional)
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 large pinch sea salt

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300º F.

  1. Add coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and optional maple syrup and/or honey to large bowl and mix together until ingredients are mixed together and oil is liquid. You can also warm the coconut oil and optional honey first so that they are both liquid before adding.
  2. Add oats, nuts, seeds and coconut to bowl.
  3. Use your clean hands to mix well and toss to coat; it will be sticky and messy but that’s the fun part.
  4. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet(s) and bake for 9-10 minutes, until very lightly toasted. Do not over-bake. I line the cookie sheets with parchment paper for easier clean up.
  5. Cool before serving or storing.
  6. This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

 Note: This is the lower sugar version; if you choose to make it without any maple syrup or honey, there will be a discernible difference. You can add fresh fruit to your morning cereal and “sweeten” it naturally instead! 

Tips: Add 1/2 granola to unsweetened yogurt and 1/2 cup berries for a great breakfast or snack. Also delicious with unsweetened almond milk!

Recipe adapted from http://www.elizabethrider.com/easy-healthy-homemade-granola-recipe

 

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