Adrenals & Cordyceps

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I believe that our bodies are created to heal themselves provided the right inputs. I believe that whole unprocessed foods, low sugar, good sleep, stress management, connecting with nature, frequent movement, having some fun with the people you love, and target supplementation will yield a healthy and vibrant body. I talk in more detail about all this in my post: “The Trifecta”.

A piece of my story….

A few years ago, I suffered an adrenal crash (aka: severe HPA Axis Dysregulation), unfortunately at the time it was thought it was just my thyroid. I was given a T3/T4 combination medication called Nature-Throid. Initially it made my symptoms worse (once some time passed the thyroid medicine started to help me). This caused me to start researching about other causes for my debilitating fatigue. This is when I learned about the adrenals. During my research I learned that my hypothyroidism was secondary hypothyroidism caused by my adrenals, as they are in the endocrine system that is tightly knitted together.

After a year of living with severe debilitating fatigue and doing everything I could think of, I finally got tested and learned that my cortisol output was really low, see my results below.

Cortisol Test Results

If you are really suffering, like I was, and you want to do some testing there are 4 point cortisol saliva test as well as 24 hour urine tests that can be done to test your adrenal function levels. Here is an interesting podcast on adrenal testing.

What is an adrenal?

The adrenals are two small glands located just above each kidney. The adrenals are responsible for the production of DHEA, sex hormones, corticosteroids, aldosterone, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Dr. Alan Christianson is one of my go-to adrenal experts.

adrenal-glands

Over the past few years I’ve worked incredibly hard at healing my body and I’m still working on it! Something that I recently found that has been a needle mover for me is called Cordyceps. “Cordyceps is an adaptogen, not a stimulant, so it helps you produce and maintain steady energy levels. Cordyceps helps your body produce its own energy.”

What I’ve done and am doing….

I found Four Sigmantic through Ben Greenfield (who is a BOSS); here is the podcast. I had nothing to lose by trying out their products. Initially, I was afraid of cordyceps because I didn’t know enough about them yet to determine if they were something that I should take considering my adrenal history.

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I started with drinking their 5 Mushroom Blend which has benefits of antioxidants, adaptogenic property, liver support, glycemic balance, and immune system support. I found that this one was better for me to use later in the afternoon early evening time to ready me for bed.

10 Mushroom Blend

Then I switched to their 10 Mushroom Blend because it had cordyceps in it along with 9 other super medicinal mushrooms. It has changed my life!

Four Sigmatic

I recently drank straight Cordyceps because they come in easy to carry packets. I used ½ a packet each morning.

What have cordyceps done for me?

My energy levels have been better and more consistent throughout the day. If I don’t take it, I can feel the difference. I’ve been taking ½ tsp daily for a couple of months; I think I can safely increase to the full recommended amount of 1 tsp. However, you can drink it more than one time per day if you need to.

More fantastic resources for you….

According to Dr. Jockers.com, the five benefits of cordyceps are improved kidney and adrenal health, positive effect on sex hormone production, helps with blood sugar control, and better brain health due to the anti-inflammatory properties.

Cordyceps (a genus of ascomycete fungi)

I could go on and on with various resources that discuss similar finds on how healthy cordyceps are for us….but I won’t. If you want to check out what others have to say about it, check out Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Lam, as well as the previously mentioned Dr. Alan Christianson. There is also a very helpful YouTube channel called: Adrenal Fatigue Society.

Here is a podcast that I recently listened to that went into how and why not all cordycep supplements are created equal. I personally am only taking Four Sigmatic’s brand. Here is another podcast with Four Sigmatic’s Tero Isokauppila.

Where to go from here….

I think everyone is under some form or multiple forms of stress these days. It certainly will not hurt you to try cordyceps, since they are adaptogenic they will increase if you need increase or decrease if you need decrease; they adapt to your body’s needs.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the ‘comments’ of this post.

My Very First Hater

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Logically I know that I shouldn’t engage with haters, because it is a fruitless effort……but since this is my very first one….I figured I’d publicly respond in hopes to avoid this type of thing later.

Below is a comment that I received in response to my “Get to Know Your Coffee” post.

Hater

In Response

Hi MinaMac,

Thank you for taking an interest in my blog site. Each blogger has a specific audience, perhaps you are not mine and found yourself on my page by mistake? Feel free to not come to my page and read nor comment. My page is my outlet to disseminate information that I find important and helpful to those who want it. If you do not find my information valuable, again feel free not to come and read my page.

You wrongly assumed that I am not or have not ever been financially distressed. You are also assuming that I do not shop at regular stores for my food, which you are wrong again.

We each do the best that we can when and while we are able. When people find themselves in financially trying times, my advice is to make the appropriate trade-offs within their budgets that still allow them to put their health as a top priority.

If that means that people cannot afford coffee that has not been sprayed with pesticides that poison their body, then perhaps they should not buy coffee or trade it for something that is more in line with their budget. For example, you can buy lots of lemons and raw honey and drink warm lemon honey water every morning instead of coffee. Just because someone doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t give them an excuse to not prioritize their health, particularly if they are single parents.

An example of a trade-off I’m currently making: I have chosen to not purchase manicures and pedicures nor get my hair done in 8 months because I am choosing to reallocate my funds to my food and supplements that promote my health.

There are plenty of whole food health bloggers out on the web that focus on budget friendly options that still prioritize health. You do not have to have a lot of money to choose health.

Side Note: It’s not a practice of mine to get online and hate on others. While my blog site is public, if you feel the need to post negative comments that you wouldn’t otherwise say in-person, think twice; it demonstrates a tremendous amount about who you are and what your character is.

Proverbs 23 7

Get to Know Your Coffee

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Between 50% – 60% of Americans drink coffee. These coffee drinking Americans drink on average between 2 – 3 cups of coffee per day. (all stats provided by Googling articles) Folks….that is a massive amount of coffee being consumed every year in this country.

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According to Healthy Organic Woman, “250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed per acre on non-organic coffee beans”. Coffee Review says that if someone is concerned about unwanted chemicals in our coffee (which I am), we should buy coffee that is “free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals”, buy coffee from “Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sumatra Mandheling”, and look for the word “sustainable” on the label.

organic-seals

Coffee Questions to Ask and Consider:

  • Is it Certified Organic?
  • Is the process being monitored by an independent agency?
  • Where is it grown?
  • Is it grown in the shade?
  • What altitude is it grown at?
  • Is it from a single origin?
  • Is it sustainably grown?
  • Is it Fair Trade?

There is a lot of back and forth on the web about whether mycotoxins in coffee is something we should worry about. It seems unlikely this is a major issue, but I think…better safe than sorry….so buy the best quality possible.

Side Note: Please think about not using coffee pods. Do you really want to be drinking coffee made through heated plastic? Do you want to fill-up our earth with used coffee pods? Purchasing coffee beans and grinding them yourself produces a very fresh yummy cup of coffee.

I challenge you to spend to little time on the web researching coffee brands and how their beans are grown and processed. This action can yield for you peace of mind and better long-term health. I hope you choose to spend the time to get to know your coffee.

As you may have noticed there are themes throughout my blog posts….quality matters…even/particularly with your coffee, vote with your dollar, and knowledge is power!

 

 My morning coffee…

Right now we are drinking coffee made from Certified Organic Fair Trade beans from Peru that we purchase at Sprouts. We grind our beans fresh every day and set a timer on the coffee pot so we have fresh yummy coffee every morning.

Coffee Cup

I LOVE coffee, however I choose to drink only one 8oz cup per day in the morning.

 

My Coffee Additions

 

 

 

Book Review: Well Fed Weeknights by: Melissa Joulwan

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I’m totally in love with this cookbook! It is so fun! It is food you want to cook and eat!

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The book boasts “complete paleo meals in 45 minutes or less” – and it delivers.

Here’s the breakdown….

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After the Table of Contents, Melissa J. (aka: M.J.) then goes through a few pages about Paleo, yes/no foods, her story, and other cookbooks (which I own).

About This Book (p11) – this section talks about it not being a diet book and doesn’t have nutritional breakdowns, it is whole-food healthy recipes folks – don’t freak-out! A bit on “how-to use this book” and about the “mini cook-up”.

The Recipe Pages (ps13-15) – these pages discuss how the recipes are broken down, about food quality, and cooking tips – her humor is great.

Sample Menus (ps16–17) – She provides Weeks 1 – 4 of menus with the name and page number of suggested recipes. Then 8 weeks of menus with unique themes (super-fun sporty suppers, 2 weeks of distinctive dinner salads, balls & bowls, a break from red meat, international taste buds tour, comfort food, all the time, and seven of her favorite recipes).

Cooking & Storage Tips (ps18-20)

Mindful Eating practice (p21) and Dining Out guide (pgs23–27)

Essential Kitchen Tools (ps30-31)

Your Paleo Pantry (ps32-33) – She discusses her suggested pantry items, why, and how to use them.

Herbs and Spices (ps34-35) – She discusses the ones used in her recipes, about it, and it’s qualities – this page is super helpful for learning how to put flavors together.

Mini Cook-up (ps39-40) – M.J. provides a 9-step “Mini Cook-up” that allows you to do some minimal meal prepping for the week that helps to make your dinner cooking sessions each night “45 minutes of less”.

Beef Recipes (ps71-105)

Pork & Lamb Recipes (ps109-151)

Chicken Recipes (ps155-195)

Egg Recipes (ps199-217)

Fish & Seafood (ps221-244)

Resources (p249), Shopping Lists & AIP Modifications (p250), International Conversions (p252)

Why It’s Unlike Any Other Cookbook!

My absolute favorite part of this book is what M.J. calls “Super-fun Sporty Suppers” (p17).

Meat & Potatoes (p43) – M.J. walks you through how to pre-cook the potatoes so that you have that part already done, which cuts down dinner cooking time tremendously. She provides 12 M&P variations.

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Velvet Stir-Fry (p57) – M.J. walks you through a preparation process that is super easy and fast that applies to all the stir-fry variations. She provides 8 stir-fry variations.

My favorite is No.2 – Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken Stirfry

The Ultimate Salad Bar (p61) – M.J. walks you through the steps on how to build the perfectly dress salad in 10 quick steps. I was super-duper surprised about some of her tips in this section that I didn’t know!

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In this section she provides lists of all the types of salad fixings (ps62-63). Then on (ps66-67) she provides 25 “super salad combos” variations for easy-breezy-no-thinking salads to build.

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On (p65) she provides 6 salad dressings and on (p66) a list of 14 more salad dressing recipes throughout the book.

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Burger Night (p79) – M.J. walks you through the 5 steps to create/build a great burger! She provides 8 burger variations, some of which I would have never thought of…..

What you eat with your burger is up to you, however using some of those pre-cooked potatoes you did is a quick and easy side dish….or….while your burger is cooking pulling out some of your pre-cut veggies and building one of her scrumptious salads is easy too.

Taco Night (p93) – M.J. walks you through 6 steps to achieve your best taco ever! I personally skip step No3 – you’ll have to see for yourself.

I like to vary my taco base…. I use gluten-free tortillas (p94), lettuce wraps, taco bowls over cilantro lime rice (add butter, fresh chopped cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice to a pot of rice) or cauliflower rice (p.203), over a Mexican style salad (p.66) the Cumin-Lime Dressing (p46) or eat all the goodies on plantain chips or gluten-free non-GMO corn tortilla chips cooked in avocado oil or coconut oil.

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Hot Dog Night (p141) – M.J. walks you through 5 steps for this quick dinner night! She provides 8 recipes varieties that are new to the palate. I tend to get in a rut and go with spicy brown mustard and raw sauerkraut….but her recipes are FAR more exciting than that!

Hot Dog Night

Side Note: Please make sure you are purchasing Organic Grass-fed 100% Beef or Pork hot dogs. You can find them in dang-near every grocery store these days. They are completely worth the little bit of extra costs to avoid the hormones, antibiotics, soy, and bad fats associated with conventionally raised cows.

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Tuna Salad Platters (p229) – M.J. walks you through 5 steps for yummy varieties of tuna salads. She provides 8 recipe varieties that will wake-up your taste buds! She also gives a recipe to make your own mayo (p229). I personally am not one to make my own mayo, despite how easy folks say it is….I use Sir Kensington’s Organic Mayonnaise.

If you only use the recipes from these 7 sections of the book, you will have 76 recipe variations to choose from. 76! If you cook dinner 7 nights per week, that is 10+ weeks of dinner recipes without ever repeating a recipe variation. Mind blown!!

What I like to do is sit down with the cookbook, a small piece paper, and pen for a few minutes (10-15) toward the end of each week (usually Saturday AM sometime) and assign a theme to each night of the week (which I typically do not deviate far from, from week to week). Then each week pick a recipe from that area of the book and make a grocery list. Now I have a plan for each night and I know exactly what I need from the store to make it happen. Easy-peasy!

My Weekly Sample:

Monday: Stir-fry Night (p57) – cause it is so fast and easy.

Tuesday: Taco Night (p93) – cause it’s a thing.

Wednesday: Hot Dog Night (p414) – do this theme on a night you know is either super busy or you know you’re going to be tired. Then you can put your significant other in charge of “Hot Dog Night” – since it is so easy.

Thursday: Burger Night (p79)

Friday: Fish & Seafood Night (ps221-244) – Fast protein cook, cause I’m quite tired on Friday evenings.

Saturday: Meat & Tater Night (p43)

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Another wonderful and easy recipe is the Chicken Paillard (p167) that can be served with 1 of 7 toppings (citrus-mango relish; Greek olive tapenade; pesto; cucumber-pineapple salsa; onion-pepita relish; mushroom & pancetta jam; or tomato, bacon, & avocado relish) for variety.

If and or when you find yourself in need of a little comfort, M.J. lists out her 50 Comforting Things (p205).

What is terrific about this book is that you can easily meal plan for each week aaaannd have variety at the same time. This book is all about variety without having to think too hard about it, which as a full-time working wife I completely appreciate.

To Buy or Not to Buy….That is the question……I say YES!

A Few of My New Favorite Things….

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Long-Perishable Food Items

Chile PicanteInka Plantain Chips, Chile Picante (2-pack)

PlainThe plain ones are tasty too; I usually order both.

Black Sesame Brown Rice SnapsEdward & Sons, Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps

Beauty Product

Mineral Fusion, Graphite Lengthening Mascara

Thrive Market

I highly encourage you to Sign-up for Thrive Market.

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only to you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

The second best part, aside from saving money, is that it all gets delivered to my door and I don’t have to go to stores thus also saving me time and energy.

Batch or Bulk Cooking / Meal Prepping

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Meal prepping….batch or bulk cooking is not a foreign concept….there are hundreds of resources that talk about this practice. And don’t get it twisted….it is a “practice” in the traditional since of the word.

Practice meaning that it is not usually easy to do start with, but after you do it for a while you get better and more efficient at doing it (definition source – my brain).

The basics of what you need:

  1. Time 1x to 2x per week (I like a weekend day and a mid-week day)
  2. Food / Ingredients (make a list, go to the store or farmers market)
  3. Lots of glass or stainless steel containers and zip-lock baggies

Add Some Fun

kitchen dancing

To make your batch cooking experience more fun, I suggest putting on some groovy music or informative podcast while prepping and cooking. It is fun to bring a friend or loved one in on the fun by batch cooking together and splitting the food. If you have kiddos you can include them on the process as well, the more involved they are the more fun it will be for them to eat the food they helped prepare.

Note: If prepping the food items and cooking it all on the same day is too much; then prep the food (cut, chop, puree, marinate, make sauces etc.) one day and cook it the next day.

Variety is the Spice of Life

variety spice

My bulk cooking strategy has been to cook-up approximately 3 different meals to last 3 -4 days until my next session. You can also cook up 2 – 3 meats that you can mix match with 2 – 3 starchy carbs sources and veggies. You can also cook enough to last 5 – 7 days, but be sure to freeze half of the food and then pull it out to replace what you use from the fridge. I’ll cook enough veggies to use with breakfast and lunch and cook fresh veggies at dinner time. But, whatever works for you….do that!

The key is cooking enough variety that you don’t get bored or tired of eating the same food. Also, to avoid food boredom if you cook generically spiced food items you can later add different spices or sauces to create a new flavor profile to the meal you are about to eat.

Utilize all the Tools

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I’m a bit of a kitchen gadget junkie; anything to make my experience more fun, easier, or faster! You really just needs some pots, pans, baking sheets, your grill and or a crockpot. An Instant Pot also works nicely. Choppers, Food Processors, Blenders etc. etc. can all come in handy depending on what all you want to make.

The plan is the use all of the things at the same time! The more you cook at the same time the shorter the amount of time it takes to complete the objective. Use your crockpot(s) (get them going first), oven, pots and pans (use all 4 or 5 you have), grill, and Instant Pot.

To Recipe or Not to Recipe….That is the Question

So, the question is – do you want to use recipes or not. My suggestion is to do one of three things….1) pick recipes out ahead of time and make a grocery list or 2) go grocery shopping see what looks good to you and then pick out some recipes that will work with what you bought 3) go grocery shopping see what looks good to you and then cook them up however you like, add some condiments and be done.

I like to do a bit of #1 and bit of #3. I like to have a general idea of what I want to cook, find some recipes that look easy, get a grocery list together, pick up some extra generic stuff, then cook it up and mix and match my meals.

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I have LOTS of recipes on my Pintrest page. LOTS!

Where to Start? Here are some basics….

As I previously said, you’ll do this once or twice a week.

After you have all your ingredients, you can start prepping it, most of my dishes start with a base of onions so I usually chop those first and get them sautéing/browning (butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

If you are doing something in the crockpot, get that meal in and cooking first – cause it is the slowest. If you are doing chili or greens or peas get those going now because they will cook for a few or more hours.

Then get your meats prepped and cooking – likely next would be the whole chicken or the bone-in and skin-on chicken as it takes time to cook. Then your beef items. If you are precooking bacon; I would do that now as well, so you can use your bacon grease (if it is high-quality bacon) for roasting veggies.

Once your oven is free from meat you can roast your veggies and potatoes; use two wracks and get it done. You can also roast your veggies and potatoes with and around your chickens; they will get good flavor soaking up the chicken drippings. I also have a counter-top convection oven I use as well.

While you are cooking all that also put on a pot of rice or use a rice cooker.

There will be a point when all things are cooking – this is when you chop your raw veggies for grab-n-go and wash-up dishes and utensils to get them out of the way.

You can also cook up one-pot-meals or casseroles. The book “One-Pot Paleo” is fantastic!

Food Stuff

Since Protein is the most time consuming part of cooking meals, at the very least make sure you have enough proteins cooked for each meal for 4 – 7 days. If that is all you prep each week, it will save you so much time!

Chicken / Turkey / Duck

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Skinless boneless breast or thighs for quick stir-fry or Asian inspired food dishes, whole baked or crockpot chicken to just eat and to make things like chicken salad or shredded chicken for tacos, grilled or baked crisp dry-rub wings, for easy snacks. Save your bones and throw them in a pot to make broth.

Beef / Bison

Ground beef (grass-fed/finished is the best quality) or ground bison sometimes I mix the two together. I probably cannot adequately describe out versatile this meat is. I like to cut some onions up and sauté them nice and brown in butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then add in the ground beef and add more, salt, pepper, and garlic powder till done (but not dry). This base can be then later used for dinners where you will add extra spices to create various meals like Mexican or Italian. I also like to make meatballs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and an herb blend of some sort – easy to bake them in the oven. I like to pre-make a bunch of burger patties and put them in ziplock bags. I like to have some pre-cooked and some raw (parchment paper in between) in the freezer for easy grab and go. Putting a beef or pork roast in the crockpot is easy and delicious; you can even add in a bunch of root veggies (others will get too soggy) and you have a one-pot-meal. Pre-grilling various types of steaks (keep them at least medium-rare so when you warm them back up it won’t get over cooked). I like to make a double recipe of Spicy Pineapple Chili and keep it in my freezer at all times. When I run low, I make another batch.

Pork

Pastured Pigs

I love to pre-cook a whole package of bacon, creating individualized portions in zip-lock bags to eat with my eggs for breakfast and some for crumbling up and adding to other dishes. I also like having pre-cooked sausages available to easily pull out for breakfast or snack – add some spicy mustard, sauerkraut, and cheese. Yummm! Again a nice pork roast in the crockpot is so easy. You can also cook up pork chops and tenderloins in the crockpot or oven, do your best to not overcook or cook on too high of heat (in the oven, stove-top or grill) because they will get tough and dry.

Seafood

Seafood

I tend not to bulk seafood. It takes very little time to cook and doesn’t preserve very well. If you are going to eat it the next day you can pre-cook a filet of fish or boil some shrimp, but I’d eat them pretty quickly. I love salmon cakes, so keeping cans of salmon in the pantry is a must for fast meals. They are fast to put together and cook – if you make enough you will have some to eat the next day too for added variety to the week. (How-To: Cook Scallops Perfectly)

 Eggs

Farm-Eggs

I personally don’t consider eggs a protein necessarily I consider them a healthy fat. I prefer spending an extra couple of bucks to get fully pastured / free range eggs like Vital Farms. I like to batch cook “egg muffins” with meat and veggies in them – heat up and eat with hot sauce. Also, I will pre-cook soft or hard boiled eggs for grab-n-go breakfast with pre-cooked sausage or bacon.

Starchy Carbohydrates

Easy-peasy! Roast or bake some potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and or winter squash. Cook up a pot of black, brown, or white rice. I also will occasionally cook up some plantains; but not very often. I love these Plantain Chips to eat my chicken salad on.

Vegetables

Vegetables

One of the easiest things I like to do is to roast a BIG pan of veggies together. I will add onions, carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, beets, turnips, radishes all on one pan together with some avocado oil or ghee with some lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herb blend and roast them up till they are soft and browning.

I like to pre-roast cabbage steaks, broccoli, and cauliflower – basically with the same oil, citrus, and spices as above. I love asparagus, but I’m not big on bulk cooking it; tastes better fresh. You can also roast or sauté yellow squash and zucchini to mix match.

I also like to sauté onions, all the colors of bell peppers, and garlic with lemon or lime juice, salt, and pepper and keep it in containers to add to dishes for extra flavor. If you like mushrooms add those in too.

You can add these to any meal of the day – throw some fried eggs over the top with crumbled back or sliced sausages, add your meat of choice to them for lunch or dinner with a side salad.

During the winter I like to make large pots or slow-cooker of greens, usually a mix of collards, mustard, and turnip. I do the same thing with peas and keep them in my freezer all the time to pull out at any given meal. I cook up ½ to 1 pkg of bacon, in the same pot I add onions to brown with salt and pepper, then garlic cloves, then add stock/broth, water, ½ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar, red pepper flakes or ¼ to ½ cup of Frank’s Hot Sauce, and all the greens with additional salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Same for the peas except I don’t add the vinegar and hot sauce.

Raw Veggies

I keep lemons and limes in bulk in my refrigerator at all times and I use them all the time for all the things.

It is always good to have grab-n-go veggies in the fridge or at least veggies you can quickly cut and eat. Love to have cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, and lettuces in the fridge so that I can snack or have a salad with some meat that is fast and easy.

Fruit

fruit

During the summer time I eat more fruit than winter time, because they are fresh and in season. I will keep some fruit around. I’ll keep a couple of apples or banana to easily grab-n-go. I love grilled peaches, tangerines, and pineapple to add to my pork and chicken dishes. Berries and homemade whipped cream for a treat. When cherries and watermelon are in season, I eat them for a couple or few weeks until I’m tired of them. If fruit floats your boat then add that in too. I incorporate avocados into my meals every week as well.

Side Notes

You want to cook the food till it is done and flavorful, but not so much that when you warm it up later that it is dry. With this in mind, at the end when put your food in containers you will want to add a touch of bone broth, lemon or lime juice, Ponzu sauce or other to the container so when you warm it up it has extra moisture already and it doesn’t try out. Also add a dipping sauce (tzatziki, quacamole, almond butter, homemade ranch, hummus) or something after you warm it up to add to the variety of the meal.

I am all about brining my chicken it give it so much more flavor and keeps it moist.

Storage

I like to use glass containersstainless steel, or at the very least BPA free plastic.

No Food Poisoning Here!

  • Allow the food items to completely cool before placing them in the refrigerator or freezer. Rapid cooling is best – I use a fan
  • Put half of your prepared proteins in the refrigerator and the other half in the freezer; as you eat the ones in the refrigerator pull one out of the freezer to replace it
  • When reheating your food, make sure you get them nice an hot for at least 10 or 15 mins (boil, hear sizzling) (unless you are using a microwave) to kill bad bacteria. This webpage to make sure the food is over 165 degrees.

This mini crock-pot food warmer is so awesome!

Are you Fully Prepared for Your Week Now?

While this is about bulk cooking, it is also about being prepared for your week. Snacks are important. If I am able to, I prefer to have smaller containers/portions of the foods I bulk cook as my snacks. If I am on the go, I like to have beef sticks, cheese slices, a few nuts, a piece of fruit, a shaker bottle of protein powder or this one, seasnax, or even some of the grab-n-go veggies in a baggie in my purse or vehicle. And don’t forget water!

 

 

 

Where are all the women at? Seriously?!

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I just received an Instagram notification that a male fitness coach “started following” me….I always go and check out the people following me to make sure I want them to be following me and “block” accordingly. This guy…while on the surface level seems legit….as I went through his page – it was lots of pictures of him and his abs, with his dog, surfing, etc. I didn’t see one woman on his page, not one! WHAT!?

There are a TON of men in the fitness coaching world…..not knocking the guys really….but they have no clue what it is to live and work out in a woman’s body.

As I watch and read the women in the fitness coaching world there truly aren’t that many that I would trust my mother, sister, or other family to. There is still too much dogmatism, wrong information, and disordered eating and exercising advise being spread out there. It is scary!

Below are some of the fitness folks that I recommend that my ladies get to know. Keeping in mind that no one is perfect in their approach to everything so please use a discerning mind.

The Women I Trust

  1. Girls Gone Strong
  2. Jen Sinkler
  3. The Girl with the Butter
  4. Steph Gaudreau
  5. Jen Heward
  6. Gauge Girl Training
  7. Jen Widerstrom

 

There is a fantastic FREE online summit starting TODAY, Monday, 05/15 – Sunday, 05/21 called the Women’s Strength Summit. I listen to the interviews while I work. I highly suggest this summit; this is the 2nd time they have done it. The last one was fantastic!

Diet – The Short Version….

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THEN

Back in the 1990’s and 2000’s I was all about a Low-Fat diet. I thought I had to eat low-fat to be fit and health. Keeping in mind I was in my early 20’s I was fit, but I was not healthy. At all. Then I also became un-fit as well. I yo-yoed back and forth for years.

Side note: Even when I was eating low-fat, I was never really able to eat as low-fat as I thought I “should” be eating. I still don’t know what people eat to maintain super low fat intake.

Enter “The Paleo Solution Diet by Robb Wolf. This is a great book – I highly recommend it!

I again was not healthy. At all. So, I dove into Paleo face first. Over a few years I became very health and fit again. It was fantastic! I felt great – I preformed great – I looked great!

Somehow I ended up messing around with a super low carbohydrate diet. Between the low carbohydrate diet and poor lifestyle factors, and after some time…I became unhealthy and un-fit yet again.

I’ve been working to flight my way back ever since. This time my body broke down to levels I did not know existed and wish I didn’t know.

NOW

Through all of my diet and health struggles…..this is what I’ve learned.

  • Paleo is not dogmatic (you’re the only person that can impose rules on yourself)
  • Low-fat diets will eventually break you
  • Low-carb diets will eventually break you
  • Excessive exercise will eventually break you
  • It takes longer to heal the broken than it takes to break

I will no longer cut out a whole macro groups (protein, fat, carb) from my diet ever again. It isn’t necessary and in the long run it will break you.

take-care-of-your-body-quote

Eating protein, fat, and carbs is required.

I know….I know…. everyone is either still in the low-fat camp or all about the ketogenic diet – it is everywhere and I’m sure most people are super confused about it all.

Truth is everyone’s dietary requirements are different from everyone else’s and each person’s dietary requirements change throughout their lifetime.

Recommended Books

Soooo…..I’m not a man…I realistically cannot speak to that….but I can tell you….as a women….while we can adjust our macros (protein, fat, carb) of how much of each we take-in we need to be eating all three. Maybe not at every meal and maybe not every day, but you need all three in your face…in your body if you want to maintain your life, health, well-being, fitness, hormones, sleep….etc.

no-restrictions

I find that I personally do not do well with restriction. Restriction in anyway will send me into a tailspin. So, now….I do not tell myself that I cannot have something. I can have anything I want any time I want. It is my responsibility and my choice to eat something or not to eat something that I choose…knowing that it either helps me or hurts me and it either gets me closer to my goals or further away from my goals. I own it and I suffer or reap the consequence of my choice one way or the other (I don’t feel bad about it either way).

UNCOMPLICATED

This whole thing is less complicated than what folks make it out to be.

Eat whole real foods.

If you can answer yes to these three questions, then it is real whole food.

  • Did your food grow out of the ground, fall from a tree, or have a mother?
  • Will it spoil?

paleo_food_pyramid_Irey

There are times when we will eat foods out of a box or a bag; this day in age it is inevitable.

  • Can you pronounce all the ingredient’s names? (if not, find a better quality product with simple/less/pronounceable ingredients)

Go back to basics.

Trust me I get it….while this is a simple approach….it isn’t necessarily easy. BUT there are lots of tools out there to help (including me). I have found that we can and will do anything that we determine is important to us.

"Priorities" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

The Trifecta

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They keys to good health, longevity, and being fit is not dependent on one thing. To achieve optimal health, live a long time, and being fit is dependent on three things.

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Nutrition
  3. Movement & Exercise

None of these three factors on their own will result in a long and healthy life.

LifeStyle

This day in age, I think lifestyle factors are the most difficult to be consistent at. The truth is….if you do not achieve this one, the other two will not yield the desired effect.  The lifestyle factors to get in check are: sleep quality and quantity, stress management, socializing with friends and loved-ones, and getting in touch with nature.

Not so long ago our lives looked very different day-to-day than they do now; the majority of the lifestyle factors were built into how our days and lives flowed. Now…we have to work at these things; put forth effort towards making sure we are sleeping well, being aware of our stressors and mitigating them (reframing our perspectives), making and scheduling time with our family and friends frequently, and getting outside in the sun, trees, and animals.

As humans these things are desires built into our DNA. We need them to be healthy and content.

Below are ideas and suggestions to guide you towards incorporating or improving in each area.

Sleep: cool dark room, little or no clothing, white noise, transdermal magnesium oi, use blue blocking glasses, and use flux and the night-shift mode on electronic devices, diffuse and topically apply cedarwood, lavender, and peace & calming essential oils, sublingual CBD oil, have dinner 2 to 3 hours before bed, read a book before bed, use a night-mask, use ear plugs

Stress: be self-aware, step-away, reframe perspective, take a walk, take an Epsom salt bath, take long deep breaths, get a massage, get a mani/pedi (yes, even you men), play with a pet (doesn’t have to be yours), read, use Stress Away essential oil, meditate (use an AP for guided meditations)

Social Time: schedule weekly and monthly meals or activities with friends and family, put your phone down and connect with the people near you, start a weekly or monthly card or domino game, find a new restaurant or activity to do together, start a weekly food-prep day with friends

Nature: take a walk every day outside or every morning and evening when the sun comes up and the sun goes down (this will help with circadian rhythm) walk the dog instead of just letting them outside…you go too, go fishing, go kayaking, sit or stand in the yard barefoot (grounding) and listen to the birds, go feed the ducks (bird seed not bread)….go outside

Nutrition

You get out what you put in. Drink clean water. Think nutrient dense. Vitamins and minerals.  Real whole foods. Organic every time possible.  Grass-fed grass-finished beef and bison, pastured chicken, eggs, pork, and lamb. Wild-caught cold-water fish.

If you can answer yes to these questions, then it is real whole food.

  • Did your food grow out of the ground, fall from a tree, or have a mother?
  • Will it spoil?

There are times when we will eat foods out of a box or a bag; this day in age it is inevitable.

  • Can you pronounce all the ingredient’s names? (if not, find a better quality product with the least ingredients possible)

My thought process on nutrient dense foods are real whole foods (as defined above) that have high nutrient content in a fairly small amount of calories. The goal is to eat as many foods as possible that have lots of nutrients in them throughout every day.

Book Recommendations

Movement & Exercise

You get out what you put in. Walk, walk , walk, walk, walk…..walk as much as you possibly can every day. We were designed to walk. People used to walk, walk, walk, walk….they had to….to get food, to work, to get from point A to point B, and to see other people.

Most of our lives today do not require us to walk, it requires us to sit. I work at a sitting job. I do my best to get-up once every hour or so and at least walk to the bathroom (if I’m drinking the amount of water I should be, I usually have to “go” anyway) do some hip opening stretches in my cube and move on. I take at least a 30 minute walk at lunch every day.

It is important to get in movement every day all day….walking, light stretching, air squats in the bathroom stall or cube, desk or counter push-ups, taking the stairs, park far instead of close, use a pull-up bar in door way every time you see it….whatever you can get in….get it in. I think that movement throughout the day is more important than “exercising” once a day or a few times a week.

Sprint for 10 – 15 minutes once or twice a week.

Lift Weights 1 – 4 times per week for 20+ minutes.  

Side Note: Please be aware – most men lift heavier than they should to keep good and proper form. And most women lift way too light to see the results they really want.

Reminders: Warm-up the muscles you are going to be using for 10-15 minutes prior to lifting. Cool-down by doing mobility work and stretching after your workout.

Book Recommendations

Also, check out the following peeps:

Having the trifecta in-check will result in a long, healthy, and more capable life.

If you need help, guidance, have questions – please feel free to reach out to me by either leaving a comment under this post, hitting me up on Facebook or emailing me directly at bycandace@yahoo.com.

I highly encourage you to Sign-up for Thrive Market. 

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only do you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

Aside from saving money, your groceries will be delivered to your door and you don’t have to go to stores thus also saving time and energy….and who can’t use more of those!?!

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo – The Preverbal Pumpkin….?

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Does turning 40 mean I’ve turned in to the preverbal pumpkin?

Last month I made a few different medical appointments, took off work for the morning so I could knock them out; later I realized that I looked like a masochist booking all these in one morning.

I started out my day getting blood drawn to get an update on how my Thyroid is functioning. I’m currently on Nature-Throid, which is a T4/T3 combo.

Then I saw my chiropractor to get Graston Technique and myofascial release on my calves, feet, and toes. Pure and utter torture! BUT it works!

graston-image

HMGS-GrastonTools

Then I headed to get my “Well Woman Exam” at the gynecologist. It had been just shy of 3 years since my last exam; I personally do not think that I need to do it every year. I am not on birth control, have regular cycles, and have no symptoms or abnormalities occurring that would warrant annual visits.

However since ovarian cancer did hit close to me, I’m looking into genetic testing for myself to see if my risks are high enough for MD Andersen’s Cancer clinic will take me as a preventative patient.

This is where the day got interesting.

The doctor and location I went to is new to me, I wanted to find someone that was close to my home. This place received good reviews, so I decided to give them a try. I go in, fill out paper word, weigh-in, urinate in a cup (apparently me telling them I was not pregnant wasn’t adequate), and strip down to nothing but my socks. Man am I happy I wore socks that day!

The lady comes in the room and much to my surprise, she was the opposite of what I was expecting to walk through the door…..she explained she was not the doctor that she was a midwife and was it ok with me that she complete my exam. I said “yes” that was fine; I thought to myself….”oh yes…maybe she is a bit progressive in her thinking, education, and more up-to-date on research than the doctor would have been”. NOPE!

While she was very good at communication and executing the exam….the education and mind-set was very old-school and not accurate.

I think I heard “Now that you’re 40…..” at least 5 to 10 times! I asked her if “now that I am 40 if I’ve turned into a pumpkin or something” and she giggled and said “ya…kinda”.

Pumpkin

Here are the three inaccuracies that jumped out at me when she was giving me the “now that you’re 40” recommendations.

  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to make sure you’re taking calcium”. Fallacy!
  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to start getting mammograms”. Nope!
  • “Now that you’re 40, you need to start looking out for perimenopause symptoms”. What?!?

Please allow me to break down my thoughts and provide some up-to-date resources, data, and information.

Calcium

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The old-school way of thinking that we need to supplement with calcium is not accurate. We do not need to supplement with calcium to have strong bones or teeth or anything else that they claim taking calcium does. Calcium supplementation is correlated with increased heart disease, kidney stones, and premature death. Calcium can cause medical issues with the heart and kidneys.

Naturally because this is a very controversial topic there are lots of articles and arguments in both directions, mostly because “big dairy” doesn’t want to lose their customers and money because people don’t “need” to drink milk, eat yogurt, or cheese (however I do love eating cheese, because it tastes so yummy, not because I need it for calcium). Also, note who is paying for these studies…..is it “big dairy”?? Think about the fact that there use to not be calcium supplements….people ate vitamin and mineral rich foods and worked hard physically and they were healthy.

Calcium needs co-factors to be absorbed and used by the body; vitamins K2, D and A, magnesium, and zinc.

Side note: Rosita Extra-Virgin Cod Liver Oil has K2, D and A in it naturally as a food derived supplement. WARNING: Not all Cod Liver Oils, Fish Oils, nor Krill Oils are created equal. The fats in these products are very delicate and will go rancid very easy, thus the “fish burps”. Do not pick the product based on price….you could be doing more harm than good to your body.

To error on the side of caution, the best way to get calcium in your body is to eat real whole foods like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, almonds, blackstrap molasses, cold-water fatty fish, bone broth, raw grass-fed dairy from A2 cows (if you tolerate it), goat, or sheep. But milk nor dairy products are necessary to obtain calcium.

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For strong bones you should include resistance training and make sure you are getting all your vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Mammogram

Mammogram

This can be a very controversial topic. I’m going to try and keep this section as short as I can while hitting the highlights of the topic. I’ve ran across a plethora of articles over the years that discuss mammograms not being as beneficial as allopathic (traditional western) medicine claims.

What you need to know is that mammograms are not super accurate and have lots of false positives and false negative results. The big one for me is that there is a high amount of radiation associated with this test and radiation can cause cancer. Specifically ionizing radiation is a risk factor for breast cancer to develop (see Dr. Mercola article links below).

My conjecture is that the mammogram business is so big, creates many jobs, and makes so much money that not pushing them on women and not doing them doesn’t seem to be an option – because it “works” sometimes.

The alternative that I like is a Thermogram (see links below). Thermograms are a much safer and less invasive than mammograms. They can be used starting earlier in life and can be done more frequently without harm to your health. They also provide more accurate results.

A multi-pronged approach is best, use all the tools that we know and have, including mammograms when necessary. Do self-exams, do thermograms, do ultrasound and if necessary do mammograms and MRIs.

BUT, prevention of cancer is the real key.

What you put in and on your body, your lifestyle including sleep and exercise, and your hormonal/endocrine health are all very important in the prevention of cancer.

Perimenopause

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Let’s start with definitions:

Pre-Menopause is the time when a woman is having regular menstrual cycles, fertile child bearing years.

Perimenopause is the time up to 10 years prior to the full stopping of your period (aka: menopause), during which a woman’s hormones are changing typically causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

Menopause is when a woman goes a minimum of 12 months consecutively without menstruation.

Premature-Menopause-Symptoms-Reasons-MainPhoto

The truth is that every woman goes through menopause at different ages, therefore I deduct that women also go through perimenopause at different ages. Some women have very gradual long time symptoms and some women it hits like a freight-train.

It may in fact be me not wanting to face the fact that being 40 means that I am now old enough to experience perimenopause symptoms, due to just my age. My brain doesn’t want to comprehend nor accept this!

What I do know is that my lifestyle (aka: long-term chronic stress) broke my body down in such ways that directly affect my sex hormone outputs and I have been working a long time to rebuild my health and hormones. I still have regular menstrual cycles. This has motivated me highly to heal as quickly as I can so that I can better manage the impending perimenopause.

Encouragement: I believe that women can transition through perimenopause into menopause without it being miserable and traumatic. This isn’t common these days, but it is possible. As I learn more, rest assured that I will be writing and sharing what I learn.

Below are a few books that I recommend:

Takeaways

  1. Do not take calcium supplements, get it from real whole foods. If you do take a calcium supplement do not take it by itself, take it with co-factors.
  2. Use more safe methods of breast cancer screening before subjecting your body to cancer causing radiation.
  3. Just because someone is 40 doesn’t mean that they are going to start perimenopause. However it does mean that one should get as healthy as ever possible before any major hormonal changes start occurring. Particularly the adrenal glands.

 

Below are links for you to read and research further the topics briefly discussed in this post.

Calcium Resources:

http://empoweredsustenance.com/avoid-calcium-supplements/

http://www.healthy-diet-healthy-you.com/Benefits_of_Calcium.html

https://paleoleap.com/calcium/

https://chriskresser.com/how-to-keep-your-bones-healthy-on-a-paleo-diet/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/why-dont-i-need-to-worry-about-calcium-2/

The following excerpt is from a PDF called “The Real Food Action Guide by: John and Ocean Robbins” Pgs. 7 – 8:

“John Robbins: For years, the dairy industry has been telling us that dairy is the best thing for healthy bones, that kids need to drink cow’s milk, and that milk is Nature’s perfect food. Actually, milk is nature’s perfect food for turning a 90-pound calf into a 450-pound cow in about 12 months. If it were true that we need dairy products to have strong bones, then the countries in the world with the highest dairy product consumption would probably have the strongest bones, and they would probably have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Well, the four countries with the highest consumption of dairy products in the world, are: Finland, Sweden, the United States, and England. Now, the four countries in the world with the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world happen to be those very same four countries: Finland, Sweden, the United States, and England.

Ocean Robbins: This can actually seem kinda hard to believe, when we’ve all been inundated by ads telling us that the calcium in dairy products is the best way to build strong bones. Most of us have come to believe that this is just a fact of life.

John Robbins: Yes, but in reality it’s a fabricated myth designed to sell dairy products. Now, it’s true that milk has a lot of calcium, and that women, in particular, need more calcium then men do. But a famous study of 78,000 female nurses found that the relative risk of hip fracture for women who drank two glasses or more of milk per day, was nearly one-and-half times higher than for those who drank one glass or less per week. And another population that can need a bit of extra calcium is the elderly. Yet a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that elderly people with the highest dairy product consumption actually had double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption. Calcium is of course important. But dairy products are not the best way to get this important mineral. One reason is that the calcium absorption rates for green vegetables is so much higher than it is for dairy products. For kale, the calcium absorption rate is 50 percent; For Brussels sprouts, it’s 64 percent. But for milk, it’s only half of that – 32 percent.

If you want to have strong bones throughout your entire life, your best approach is to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, to exercise regularly, don’t drink Coke or Pepsi because cola drinks are made with phosphoric acid that deletes calcium from bone tissue, and minimize your consumption of animal protein, which has a similar effect. You’ll feel better, your bones will be stronger, and your overall health will benefit in many other ways, as well.”

Mammogram Resources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/25/mammogram-effects-risks.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/10/14/mammography-promotion.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/26/mammograms.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/30/mammography-screening-programs.aspx

http://realfoodforager.com/3-risks-your-doctor-wont-tell-you-about-mammography/

http://realfarmacy.com/why-mammography-screening-is-being-abolished/

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/thermograms-safer-accurate-mammograms.html

http://realfarmacy.com/mammograms-cause-cancer/

http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_living/191875/women_told_having_fewer_mammog

http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/what-if-breast-cancer-dr-saras-prevention-top-10-list/

Perimenopause Resources:

http://www.bridgitdanner.com/womens-wellness-blog/2017/3/31/what-in-the-world-is-peri-menopause?rq=menopause

https://go.magicmenopause.com/waiting-list

https://www.drlovely.expert/