This morning's breakfast of fluffy Paleo Pancakes was a fun little endeavor and happily, I'm still full hours later. The best part is, no carb crash! Everybody loves pakcakes, but needing a nap after breakfast is never good when there's a whole day ahead of us. The secret weapon? Coconut flour (thanks, Mom!).
Coconut flour is a great substitute for grain flours, providing much more protein and fiber. It also contains less carbohydrate than an equal amount of grain/wheat flour, but requires much less content in recipes than grain flour (note these pancakes use just 1/2 cup of flour), therefore drastically cutting carb content even more. Coconut flour is great for those with grain or gluten sensitivities or those who lean toward a grain free diet, being recently popularized as "Paleo".
Coconut flour acts differently than grain flour, so they can't be interchanged in recipes without lots of adjustments, but as with any baking recipe, stick to it and you'll be good! The texture of these pancakes is different than that of a conventional pancake, and make sure you are using coconut flour that hasn't been exposed to moisture. Have an open mind, and enjoy!
(makes about 8 small cakes)
4 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk of choice (I prefer coconut milk)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional, but yummy!)
dash of cloves (optional)
dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
fat of choice for skillet frying (I prefer coconut oil, butter, or olive oil)
(If nuts or fruit are desired, either fold in 1/4 cup before frying or add to top when serving.)
Pre-heat skillet (I prefer cast iron) to medium-low. In small mixing bowl bowl, beat room temperature eggs for a couple minutes until very frothy (the secret to "fluffy"). Beat in milk, vanilla, and honey (or maple syrup) until combined. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk or fork together flour, spices (if desired), baking soda, and salt. Whisk egg mixture into dry flour mixture until combined and not lumpy. Batter will be very thick, sort of like muffin or brownie batter, and not like regular cake or pancake batter. Add fat to skillet, and add batter by less than 1/4 cup dollups to skillet. Trust me, keep them small! These do not hold like conventional pancakes, so keeping them small makes them easier to flip and helps them cook more uniformly. Cook for a few minutes on each side, and be very careful when flipping. When they're brown on both sides and spring back in the middle when tapped, they're done. These are best topped with real, grass-fed butter (or coconut oil) and real maple syrup. Chopped nuts, berries, or bananas would be great on top, too!
Television commercials never cease to amaze me. This morning, yet again, I accidentally came upon a TV commercial that's screaming for rebuttal. This one, for Special K Protein Shakes. I guess I didn't learn my lesson after yesterday's blog post!
So, the scene: A lovely young woman in her car with a Special K shake in hand, stopped in front of a person in a cupcake suit who's trying to tempt her with a pretty looking pink cupcake in hand. She grips and sips on her Special K shake, staring back at him as if to say, "I don't need you anymore, evil cupcake." Then, a voice babbles something about the "Protein Effect" (Special K's newest marketing angle).
Yes, these shakes do have 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber as claimed. That's great for keeping you full and less easily tempted by a pretty pink cupcake (if the person in the cupcake suit doesn't scare you off first). However, the commercial fails to mention that the shakes also contain a whopping 18 grams of sugar. That's more sugar than the fiber and protein content combined! 18 grams is equal to 4.5 teaspoons or 1.5 tablespoons. If you had one of these shakes daily for a month, you'd ingest almost THREE CUPS of sugar. See my blog, "Sugar 101: Everything You Need to Know" for a crash course on why 18 grams of sugar is unacceptable in a drink or snack being marketed as good for you. In fact, why not note the full ingredient list for the milk chocolate flavored Special K Protein Shake:
"WATER, PROTEIN BLEND (WATER, NONFAT MILK, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE), SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF POLYDEXTROSE, CANOLA OIL, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, GELLAN GUM, CELLULOSE GUM, SOY LECITHIN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, POTASSIUM CITRATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), SALT, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUCRALOSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, VITAMIN E ACETATE, VITAMIN K1, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN D3, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN B12, ZINC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FERRIC PYROPHOSPHATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), POTASSIUM IODIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE. SWEETENED WITH NUTRITIVE SWEETENERS AND NONNUTRITIVE SWEETENERS."
Drink up? Hm. No, thanks! My loves, Special K Protein Shakes are a processed food that the body was never intended to ingest or digest. Your body needs and wants food from nature, not from a laboratory.
TV commercials are created for the single purpose of getting you to comply with an agenda, whether it's buying a product or believing an idea, with truth and integrity NOT being part of the formula. Marketing is a powerful tool and we, especially children, fall victim to its manipulation every single day, everywhere we go. TV, radio, the internet, billboards, endorsed products/toys, movie and TV product placements, intentional supermarket layout and neuromarketing are constantly fed, most often covertly, into the psyche. The average child watches 10,000 food advertisements per year on television but they're never for REAL, healthy food. How can 10,000 views not affect the thinking of a child when repetition is the key to learning? Marketers study child psychology in order to be able to most effectively get children to nag their parents into buying products. There is actually a form of measurement in the marketing industry called the "nag factor". I couldn't make this stuff up!
I cannot stress enough the need for muting commercials! We use the DVR in my house so we can skip right over them. When I forget to press fast forward, I see the idiocy of marketing and then I end up here blogging about it, but only because I truly love you. :)
So, when you need a pick me up, don't believe the hype. Instead of trading that cupcake for a Special K shake, go for celery or an apple with natural peanut or almond butter, mixed seeds and nuts, chopped vegetables with humus, or berries with plain yogurt - all of which provide a serious protein and fiber boost! Is it easier to grab a ready-made shake on the go? Sure it is. But, can't we all find 2 to 5 extra minutes to make a better investment in our health? You betcha!
I watch very little television. The bit that I do watch is almost exclusively DVR'd so that I can fast forward through the commercials. I loathe television commercials to the point that it's a house rule that if they're on, they're muted. Today, I was reminded why!
I woke this morning and decided to watch a recorded snippet of Deepak Chopra talking about meditation. About 10 minutes in, I had to make a pit stop (hence, my need for meditation) and therefore didn't fast forward the commercials. As I came back to the TV, I was greeted by one of the most outrageous commercials I've ever seen. I laughed. I pondered. And then, I was simply disgusted, but I'm glad I didn't miss this one because it reminded me just how important my mission to spread wellness really is.
Walgreen's latest marketing campaign aims to make you think that you're crazy if you use nutrition to battle a cold. Yes, they've stooped to the lowest of the low, bashing good wellness practices and insulting our intelligence at the same time. Ouch.
The scene: A slightly overweight woman is standing at her kitchen counter, looking sickly in her bathrobe, wiping her runny nose. On the counter in front of her are several healthful ingredients, ideal for treating illness, that she is reluctantly dumping into a blender, such as kale (my favorite food!), ginger root, lemon, raw egg yolk, sardines, garlic, cayenne pepper sauce, onion, and some orange liquid (presumably orange juice, hopefully fresh squeezed!). As she's looking disgusted at adding ingredients to her concoction, a script plays in the background, spoken by a cheerful male voice (sounding much like the adorable John Corbett):
"When you're sick, seems everyone and their brother has a home remedy to try. But Walgreen's knows that you need advice from an expert. [Scene then pans to the same but now healthy woman, dressed nicely at Walgreen's, talking to a Pharmacist with a box in hand and looking so very comforted.] That's why our pharmacists are trained to know just what you should take for your symptoms. They're here and ready to help. Before you try anything TOO CRAZY. [Scene pans back to woman looking sickly, now smelling the finished blender concoction and dumping the lumpy mix into a glass. She obviously doesn't have a Vitamix. Woman is so disgusted that she puts her glass down, giving up on that "craziness".] You can stop by today for the service you trust, at the corner of Happy and Healthy."
Translation: If you choose natural healing over chemical drugs, you're crazy. Walgreen's lies at the corner of "Happy and Healthy"? Keyword: LIES. Seriously, friends. Walgreen's wants you to skip the nutrient dense smoothie and head to the pharmacy for a drug that will mask your symptoms but do absolutely nothing to heal you or promote your good health in general, leaving you more susceptible to colds in the future and needing a detox to get all those drugs out of your liver! This is not conducive to "Happy and Healthy"; it's conducive to staying sick and unhappy while Walgreen's thanks you for your money.
Things like this keep me motivated on my mission to help people navigate through media and marketing manipulation and to steer themselves to lasting wellness. Here's what Walgreen's doesn't want you to know (or believe) about the healthful ingredients in their commercial that can heal your body, boost your natural immunity, and increase your lifespan:
Kale: Second most nutrient dense food on earth. Full of fiber to cleanse your gut, antioxidant vitamins to fight disease, minerals such as iron and calcium to build strong bodies, vitamin K (for blood, bone, and cell health) and essential omega-3 fatty acids (for heart and brain health and to fight inflammation). Excellent for the lungs.
Ginger: Powerful anti-inflammatory, immune booster, promotes healthy sweating to detox during colds and flu, cancer fighter, boosts gastro-intestinal health and powerful fighter of motion sickness.
Garlic: Powerful antioxidant and natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, assists in normalizing blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Lemon: Alkalizing (creates an alkaline state in the body, vital to good health), high in vitamin C and flavonoids to fight colds and flu, liver cleanser, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer.
Onion: Antibacterial, promotes cardiovascular health, high in vitamin C to boost immunity, B vitamins for energy, high in potassium for multiple health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer.
Cayenne Pepper: Promotes circulatory health, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, clears mucous, anti-inflammatory, promotes detoxification.
Egg yolk: Nutrient dense! B vitmains for energy and immune boosting, calcium and magnesium, antioxidants, selenium, zinc (cold fighter!), lecithin to counteract the cholesterol, and more!
Sardine: Promote heart and bone health, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, second highest B12 content of any food, high in vitamin D for numerous health benefits, rich in selenium, high in calcium.
Smoothies are a great way to create a nutrient dense health boost, but adding all the above ingredients together, as the woman in the Walgreen's commercial did, will surely turn off a lot of newbies (a great way for Walgreen's to keep people coming back for more drugs!). So, try adding a few of those ingredients to a smoothie with lots of berries or other colorful fruit. See my KaleBerry smoothie recipe for starters. You'll love it; I promise.
As a health coach, my advice is to add any of these health promoting foods to your diet anywhere you can sneak them in. I also advise that you not take health advice from a television commercial, and most definitely not from a drug store. Even better still, MUTE the commercials!
Cheers to your health.
Smoothies are one of my favorite things, not only because they're delicious and easy, but also because they're a powerhouse of nutrition and a great way to get greens into kids (and adults) who wouldn't normally eat them! This KaleBerry smoothie is one that I make more often than any other for my family. With the right balance of ingredients, the taste of the kale (which I happen to love!) is virtually undetectable by even the most critical tongue.
Kale happens to be the second most nutrient dense food in the WORLD (and my favorite vegetable)! It's chock full of antioxidant vitamins, minerals (lots of iron and calcium), fiber, amino acids, and the ever important omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It's readily available at supermarkets, and definitely abundant at farmer's markets (my personal preference) where you'll get the freshest crop and therefore the highest nutrient content. It can be bought in bulk at a more than reasonable price at farmer's markets and can be frozen for year round use.
Berries, like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, also rank very high in nutrition content, being one of the top ten nutrient dense foods on earth. They're loaded with powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals, dietary fiber, and minerals. Berries also have the lowest carbohydrate content of all fresh fruits. They're commonly available at supermarkets and farmer's markets, and, just like kale, berries can be bought in bulk and frozen for year round use. Frozen berries are also available year round in supermarkets, being a great choice because they're picked at peak ripeness and then quickly frozen, preserving nutrient content. For the best price and quality, I prefer Trader Joe's organic frozen fruit. Nature's Promise and Cascadian Farms also market organic frozen fruits which are a little more expensive, but still very good.
I tend not to measure my smoothies by methods other than handfuls, palmfuls, and pinches, even when following recipes that call for it. I prefer to throw things together quickly and experiment with different ingredients each time I make something. The ingredients for this smoothie are pretty basic, and at the bottom of the recipe you'll see suggestions for adding a little flair if you prefer, which I alwasy do. Enjoy!
KaleBerry Smoothie Recipe
Yeild: 4 servings
(all organic highly recommended)
2 large kale leaves, or 1 handful of chopped kale**
1 heaping handful of blueberries**
1 heaping handful of strawberries**
1 heaping handful of raspberries** (these best mask the kale flavor)
enough water (unsweetened rice or almond milk work nicely, too) to cover about 3/4 of blender ingredients
**More can be added once blending has commenced, depending on what will fit in your blender and what consistency you like. The more the merrier!
Purslane is a hardy, annual succulent plant that is viewed here in the United States as a common pesky weed. Much to our surprise, it’s actually packed with nutrition and commonly eaten all over the world. I first came across Purslane when helping my mother weed her vegetable garden many years ago. She found a bunch growing in a raised bed and delightfully exclaimed that it was “Purslane”, having been taught about the plant when she was a child by her father, my grandfather, who was an avid outdoorsman and forestry major in college.
Purslane can be identified by its sprawling, pinkish red stems and succulent clusters of bright green leaves that are paddle shaped and not more than one inch long. It grows along the ground but will grow upward sometimes if surrounded by other plants that are taking up its elbow room. Purslane is well tolerant of drought and poor soil conditions. This explains why it absolutely THRIVES in my well cared for and watered organic vegetable garden, without ever having been invited!
Purslane is unique and wonderful in that it contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant, providing both ALA and EPA. It is full of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. (Note: you want to consume calcium foods that naturally contain magnesium, which aids in calcium absorption. This is nature’s innate wisdom at work.) Purslane is clearly not a “pesky” weed worthy of pulling and discarding. I happily munch on sprigs of it while I garden, fresh picked!
Purslane has a crunchy texture and a very mild flavor with a hint of sweet/sour/tang. All parts of the plant, stems, leaves, and seeds, are edible and can be used in the same way that one would use any other leafy vegetable. Purslane can be added to raw salads, sautéed in a stir fry, or blended into a smoothie for picky eaters. In Greece, it’s sautéed in olive oil with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, and oregano. Give it a try!
“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” - Jan Glidewell
People like “stuff”, especially in America! We tend to hold onto it year after year. We accumulate physical things, toxins in the body, and emotional baggage. Stuff… the more the merrier? Definitely not. The more you hold onto, the more you’re held down and held back. If you’re feeling physically or emotionally cluttered, it’s probably time to Spring Clean your life! There is a saying that goes, “You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.” Try these simple ideas to help you say goodbye to the past and welcome the new:
Go through your closet with open eyes and an open mind. If you see things that you haven’t worn in a year, chances are that you’ll never wear them! Round them up and drop them off at a local donation receptacle. Don’t know where one is, you say? Search here: http://www.donationtown.org/news/donate-clothes.html Some organizations will even pick up your donations right at your front door!
The same goes for your kitchen cabinets, your basement, your garage… Donate non-perishable food items to a local food pantry to help the less fortunate. Find one here: http://foodpantries.org/ If you have boxes from when you moved into your place 5 years ago, let them go! Tupperware, curtains, small appliances, sports equipment, books, toys, bedding, you name it and you can probably donate it! Find a complete list of things that you can donate here: http://www.donationtown.org/acceptable-donations/
Just like our homes, our bodies accumulate things that we don’t need or want in the form of old food residues and toxins. To spring clean your body, give it a break from processed, rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means reducing your food intake to just simple vegetables and fruits, lots of water and perhaps some whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, kasha, wild rice). Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh (not pasteurized!) vegetable and fruit juices, teas and occasional pureed soups. Without much energy going toward digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Try either method for a couple of days, a week, or a month if you can. Cleansing and fasting will make you feel lighter, can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight (more on that in a moment), and promote spiritual awareness. Cleansing and fasting will both help cleanse your colon, which can aid in weight loss, promote improved immune function, reduce your risk of colon cancer, and improve overall digestion and nutrient absorption from your food. Experts say that the average person has at least 5-20 pounds of accumulated waste matter in his/her colon!
While you’re cleaning out your home and your body, you may notice that it’s helping you clear your mind, or that it’s at least increasing the flow of thoughts in your mind! I mentioned above that cleansing and fasting may help you gain insight. A clogged body can really affect the mind in a negative way. Digestion takes up an enormous amount of energy in the body. Therefore, when eating less and cleansing, your body has more energy to use for mental and emotional tasks. Take advantage of this spring cleaning time by identifying any negative thoughts or old habits that you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. A cluttered mind and heart leave no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter. A clean, open mind will allow you to receive the good that awaits you every day. Mantras are a great way to accomplish this! A mantra is a word or group of words used as an instrument of concentration when repeated, chanted, or sung. Try repeating these as often as possible throughout the day, especially during your morning routine (writing them down is powerful, too):
“___________ is over and done with. I live by a new vision now!”
“Life is about change; change is constant and I’m open to it!”
“Everything happens for a reason and then I move on! I choose to focus on how I want things to be next."
Sound too silly? A mantra is just as effective when chanted quietly in your mind.
Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 13th, so remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday, the 12th. This is the adjustment period where we lose one hour of sleep, so try going to sleep an hour earlier a few days ahead of time so that you can adjust quickly for Monday morning! A diet rich in the broad spectrum of B vitamins will also help you wake with more energy. Foods high in B vitamins include lentils, bananas, oats, wheat bran, leafy greens, avocadoes, and nuts. However, a high quality B-complex supplement can cover all the B bases during a health maintenance and/or adjustment period. Raw (unheated), whole food supplements are always recommended and can be found in your local health food or vitamin store.
In honor of the coming of spring and St. Patrick's Day, we celebrate the common clover! Did you know that clover is edible, and highly nutritious? It's abundant in your own back yard and beyond, and it's abundant in nutrients including calcium, lecithin, chromium, magnesium, potassium, silicium, vitamins A, E, C, B2, and B3. It also has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and anti-asthmatic properties, as well as being a detoxifier in the body. I'd call that lucky clover, for sure! So, when you head out to hike this spring and come upon some wild clover sprouting from the ground, take a bunch and have a snack. The flavor is refreshingly light and mild, with the youngest shoots showing off a slight lemon flavor. Wild edibles have more to offer than many of us know!
Intentional Chocolate is a conscious company making amazing chocolates that are blessed by master meditators - some who have trained with the Dalai Lama - to hold the following intention: “Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health in body and mind. Whoever consumes this chocolate will experience an increased sense of energy and well-being." They started making these chocolates in 2007 and clinical evidence has shown that those who ate one serving per day experienced decreased stress, increased energy, greater calmness, enhanced focus, and better general well-being. I'm not kidding! Evidence validating the power of intention is strong, so consider giving a conscious gift of delicious good wishes to a loved one on this Valentine's Day (or any day!); bless them with some Intentional Chocolate!
At the risk of sounding like a self help guru, I'll ask anyway... How much do you love yourself? Seriously, do your actions on a day to day basis benefit you and those around you? Do you work in a field that feeds your soul? Do you have relationships in your life that fulfill you and make you your best you? Does the food you put into your body make your body give back all it can in the form of energy? Is there a hobby that you've always wanted try but just never did for whatever reason? Did you create art in the past and "just don't" anymore? Maybe it's time to start again. Self love is about taking care of all areas of your life so that you reap the rewards in the form of true wellness.
It's important that we contemplate the state of our bodies, careers, relationships, and spirituality, and find ways to cut out negative actions and thoughts to replace them with beneficial ones. If you sit home and dwell on a flabby belly, wouldn't doing some simple ab exercises make you feel a whole lot better? Feeling creative, but stuck in a regimented business world? Design your own business cards or carry a camera around and take pictures of nature on your way home from work. If you're feeling no spiritual connection, buy a book on world religions or spirituality to help you find a practice that you might resonate with... read it at lunch, bedtime, or buy it on CD and listen to it in your car. If you're a busy parent and feel that you never get time to pamper yourself, might a nice bubble bath and a good book or songs on an mp3 player at bed time feed your soul more than doing the laundry or watching television? Or, maybe a massage from a professional would do you a world of good... or maybe a massage from a lover? Schedule "me" time into your life. Just do it... and don't you dare feel bad about it! "I don't have time" is a statement of illusion and choice. There's no reason why blocks of time on your calendar shouldn't be dedicated to your health and happiness. After all, how you feel affects all those around you, too! Think of at least one thing you can do for yourself per week, write it down, and then do it! If you're feeling stagnant, contact your local health coach (that's me)!