Adaptogens

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An adaptogen is “a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning” Merriam Webster.

Brendon Burchard

Stress runs rampant in our society. While I believe that we can avoid and mitigate (re-frame our thoughts/change our perspective/change our reactions) stress; some stress we cannot. We are constantly under states of stress that we weren’t 200 years ago. For example: me sitting under fluorescent lights in front of my computer all day at work is stressful on my body.

I think that everyone living in the modern world should take adaptogens. Including adaptogens in my daily routine has changed my life! It is not like a sleeping pill, you cannot take adaptogens one time and your stress response is magically fantastic; you need to consistently take them over time to really reap the benefits. I like to rotate the adaptogens I use.

Here are some of my favorite products:

Side Note: As with most things, quality does matter. You will get what you pay for.

Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple does a fine job discussing some adaptogens in the 4 articles below:

  1. Adaptogen Effects: American and Asian Ginseng
  2. More on Adaptogens: Ashwagandha, Astragalus, and Holy Basil
  3. Adaptogens: Maca Root, Sea Buckthorn Oil, and Schisandra
  4. Two Final (and Favorite) Adaptogens: Rhodiola Rosea and Bacopa Monnieri

Check out my post: Adrenals & Cordyceps

I also like MommyPotamus’ article The Beginner’s Guide to Adaptogens For Adrenal Support

I hope that you give adaptogens a try. If you do, leave me a comment and tell me all about it.

 

Tips for Enjoying the Holidays

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As I’m writing this post, today is November 1st. Wow how this year has flown by! It is that time of year again; we are quickly approaching the holidays. There are mixed feelings about the holidays out there….some love them, some feel overwhelmed and stressed out by them, some flat out dislike them. I personally have a blend of the three feelings about them at various times. But mostly I tend to really enjoy them. I’m going to give you my tips for enjoying the holidays.

The first two tips are pretty equal in importance for enjoying the holidays.

No. 1 – Let go of expectations

No. 2 – Let go of guilt

Let me break it down for ya…..

Expectations 

Expectations will make or break you (not just in this scenario). Let go of preconceived, probably unrealistic, expectations you have of other people. Not putting your expectations of people and situations on to other people will allow the situation to unfold naturally and allow people to be themselves (despite whether you like them as themselves or not, they still are who they are). Set your mind to the fact that people are going to be who they are and know going into it that is what is going to happen and you are going to roll with it and laugh about it. You cannot control people and things outside of you. The only thing you are in control of is you, how you react to situations and people, your attitude, and your perspective. This advice is coming from a recovering control freak, so I know it is possible. If you do not think you are capable of doing this, I’d suggest avoiding the people you find difficult to be around.

No guilt!

Here’s the thing….you cannot be everything all the time to everyone. Anyone who expects that of you is unrealistic and unreasonable. You have the right to say “no”. Particularly during the holidays folks find it difficult to say no. My suggestion is to get really comfortable with say no to people, requests, and activities. You do not have to do them all and you do not have to feel guilty about it. It’s your time and you should spend it however it serves your mental health best.

Now….saying that….this is not a license to be a selfish butt-head. Let’s not do that. But it is a license to protect your time, energy, and sanity against completely unpleasant situations and people. Spend your time with the family and friends you want to spend time with.

Those are the two biggest things that will make the biggest difference for enjoying the holidays.

No. 3 – Plan, Plan, Plan / Be Prepared, Be Prepared, Be Prepared

A well-laid plan and ample preparation will alleviate stress. Even if everything doesn’t go perfectly according to plan….you are prepared!

Now….this one can be difficult for the Type B personality. BUT for us Type As over-planning can create as much stress as not planning at all! Catch-22, I know. Here is what I suggest….

  • Write your obligations on a calendar (paper or electronic) so you can see what you have already committed to. I prefer electronic because I can set reminders and share it with people.
  • As new invitations arise look at the calendar and determine if you have the time and energy to add it; if you do….then do….if you need to switch out one commitment for another…do that. If you need or want to say “No” do that.
  • Figure out what each commitment on the calendar will require of you (travel time and distance, do you need to make or take food with you, etc.) and plan ahead.
    • Buying something to take with you, takes less time than making something yourself. That is what restaurants were designed for!
    • Buy gifts and anything else you can online and have it delivered to your house to save you time and energy.

I highly suggest NOT over booking.

Allow yourself and family time to rest and recover. Rule of thumb, only say yes to one event per weekend. If that isn’t possible for you, then only say yes to one event per day per weekend. If you work full-time (home or office), I usually try and stick to the only one event during the week rule, if any at all.

Selfcare

Take Care of Yourself

I think that people, mostly parents, primarily women fall into doing for others before or instead of taking care of their needs. Stop that! Don’t spread yourself too thin. Taking care of yourself and your mental and physical health is so important. Not only for you, but for those around you. Saying “no” is a good step in this direction.

Take time to have a quite shower or bath. Take time to sit down….rest….watch a show, read a book, listen to music on the patio, or take a nap. If you need to be outside the house to take care of yourself, leave! Turn off your phone….go get a beverage and walk around Hobby Lobby or Target, go walk at a park and listen to a good podcast, read a book in a coffee shop or in a park, get a mani/pedi, go see a movie by yourself or with a girlfriend. Slow down and take some time give to yourself. Check out my self-care post here: What is Self-Care to you?

I think it is more than this….it is also keeping with your movement routine (walks, gym time, workouts) and eating healthy nutritious foods. You don’t have to be perfect! Below are some of my other posts you may find helpful.

Keep yourself physically well during this time. Prioritize sleep.

Here are some of my favorite products that I use daily to keep my immune system healthy and some that I use only if or when I’m feeling like I’m getting sick.

I hope and pray that you stay healthy, happy, and well during a time of year that a lot of folks breakdown emotionally and physically. I hope you find my tips helpful for you to enjoy your holiday season more.

Bring on the holidays!

Next up…..Thanksgiving!

 

Recipe: All-In-One-Meal – Chili

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I waited for our first cool-front of the year in the Houston, TX area and seized the day by making a big-ole pot of chili to watch football with friends. Go Texans!

Not Vegetarian Friendly / Not Really Paleo (cause Beer)

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of bacon diced (peppered bacon is the best)
  • 1 Medium white onion diced
  • ½ Medium purple onion
  • 4 Cloves of garlic diced small
  • 1 Green bell pepper diced
  • 1 Red bell pepper diced
  • 2lb of ground meat (any combo of beef, bison, elk, venison)
  • 5 Shiner bock or beer of choice (2 for long cook time)
  • 2 Cans fire roasted tomato
  • 1 Can tomato sauce
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • 1–2 Jalapeños (to taste, optional)

Seasonings:

  • Salt (liberal)
  • Black pepper (liberal)
  • Garlic powder (liberal)
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
  • ¼ – ½ tsp Crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 Cup chili powder

Directions:

Cut bacon in ¾” pieces, place in the pot and sprinkle with garlic powder, cook until crispy, and set aside to drain on napkins.

Bacon

Use bacon grease to sauté onion and bell peppers with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, until soft and brown.

Use a small amount of beer to deglaze the pot.

Add in fresh minced garlic cloves. Allow liquid to fully evaporate off.

Garlic

Grill the poblano and jalapeño peppers on high-heat for approximately 10 minutes to get a nice dark char and blistering on the skin, then place in a bowl and cover with saranwrap to steam for approximately 5 minutes.

Pabalano & Jap

Add in ground meat and season with salt, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.

Once the peppers are steamed, remove from bowl, open up the pepper and lay flat on a chopping board, scrape off the charred outside and skin, turn over and remove the veins and seeds. Then mince the peppers and add to the meat mixture.

Once the meat is browned, add in cumin and chili powder and mix until spices are evenly distributed.

Chili Seasonings

Pour in the rest of the beer.

Add both cans of fire roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with a little more garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir well.

Add in the previously cooked bacon. Stir well.

Allow for a minimum of 1.5 – 2 hours simmer time; the longer the better.

Ratios to be aware of when making multiples of this recipe:

  • 1lb of bacon for every 2lbs of ground meat
  • ¼ Cup of chili powder to 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 can of beer for each recipe or for every 3 hours of cook time.

The key is to build the flavors with each layer, do not be afraid to season each ingredient as it is added to the pot. Don’t get in a hurry, all good things takes time and patience.

Serve w/ options of: Corn Chips, Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, and/or Finely Diced Green Onions

Side Notes: The pictures used in this post is a double batch of the recipe. I used venison and elk meat this time. I have to say, the flavor of elk meat makes chili, spaghetti sauce, and burgers so delicious! I made the chili in a pot on Saturday and simmered it for about 90 minutes, then allowed it to cool, then transferred it to my large crock-pot and placed it in the fridge overnight. Allowing it to either simmer for a really long time or sitting overnight really sets in the flavors. Sunday morning I warmed up the crock-pot bowl in warm water before placing it in the warming part of the crock-pot (dry the bowl before placing in the warming part). Cooked it on high for 2 hours to get it nice and hot, then reduced to low for 2 hours to continue to simmer, and then down to the Warm mode.

I was told this is my best chili yet! I hope you give it a try and think so too!

3 Easy Swaps to Improve Your Health

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I find that making healthier option swaps for foods prevents me from feeling deprived and helps me to feel nourished at the same time. Swaps are the easiest place to start when making moves towards healthier foods and nutritious lifestyle.

The first and easiest place to start making swaps are in the foods that you use and eat every day, like the oils and fats, sweeteners, and carbohydrates. Bonus is that these swaps will not costs you much more than you spend already.

In Order of Importance….3 Easy Swaps for Big Positive Health Improvements

#1 Oils & Fats – Just say no to man-made highly processed oils.

fats-and-oils

Remove:

  • Seed oils: Corn, Canola (or Rapeseed) Vegetable, Soybean, Grapeseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Rice bran
  • Crisco or other Shortening made from any of the above
  • Margarine or “butter-like” products
  • Traditional Mayo
  • Traditional Salad Dressings

Side Note: When you eat out at restaurants you will be exposed to mostly the oils on the “Remove” list that is not healthy for your body and creates inflammation in your body. But I still eat out fairly frequently, so I keep to the ones below when eating at home.

Healthy Swaps:

#2 Sweeteners

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Remove:

  • Equal, Nutra-Sweet, Sweet’N Low, Truvia, Sun Crystals, Splenda
  • Agave (mostly Fructose), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup

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Healthy Swaps: Organic

#3 Starchy Carbohydrate Sources

Remove: Boxes and Bags

  • Traditional Potato Chips
  • Traditional Crackers
  • Breads and Tortillas

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Healthy Swaps: Whole Food Carb Options

  • All the Organic Potatoes and Yams
  • All the Organic Rice (I use Lundberg Farms) (Side note: organic rice is important, because conventional rice is known for having arsenic in it and who knows what other pesticides.)
  • Squashes (Butternut, Winter, Spaghetti, Pumpkin)
  • Root Veggies: Parsnips, Carrots, Turnips, Beets
  • Plantains

Treat Bag Carbs:

Diane Sanfilippo has FREE 1-page tear out guides from her fantastic book Practical Paleo that goes into more detail about these three swaps and many others.

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 all your favorite pantry items will be delivered to your door and you don’t have to go to stores which also saves you time and energy. And who can’t use more money, time, energy?!?!

Side Note: Many to all of these products can also be found at various grocery stores near you: HEB, Kroger, Whole Foods, Sprouts – but it may cost you more money, time, and energy…

“What the Health” Documentary – Don’t Take It at Face-Value

Several people have come to me since the “What the Health” documentary came out to discuss and ask questions about it. I am sharing lots of resources for you to read and listen to and to use your critical thinking skills on, as well as some of my personal thoughts.

When reading this post keep in mind my POV:

  • I believe in eating real whole foods.
  • I believe in eating lots-o-vegetables and fruit.
  • I believe in sourcing the best and highest quality of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk) possible.
  • I believe in voting with your dollar.

I believe that big agriculture, factory farming, and big government have done the American people (and others we provide food for) and the planet a massive disservice. This may not have been the intention, but has been the result nonetheless. Anyone who does not tie all three of those groups together is already someone not to listen to.

I highly suggest you take the time to educate yourself….read, research, be informed from all sides, use critical thinking and common sense to drive your thoughts, opinions, and actions – do not just believe any deplorable, extreme video, article, book, or documentary that someone decides to put out there.

Reviews and Articles by Other Real Food POV People to Read:

There are articles that have been written as though “What the Health” documentary is pure fact. I did take the time to read some of them. The fact is that what they say and the statistics they spout are not pure fact. If you read What the Health: A Wolf’s Eye View alone will debunk the majority of them. If you only read one of the articles linked above, read that one.

Side Note: Please watch documentaries with a discerning eye.

ByCandace Blog Posts to Read:

Books to Read:

Podcasts to Listen to:

Sustainability Websites:

My Personal Choices

I do my best to not support with my dollar factory farmed (conventionally raised) foods, particularly meat and eggs. I do my best to not purchase GMO foods. I do my best to sources grass-fed and finished beef, bison, and pork; wild-caught fish and seafood; and organic vegetables from local farms. If you buy quality foods from farmers who are running their animals and growing produce on the same land all the better for the environment. If you purchase food from local farms you can reduce the carbon footprint; the food doesn’t have to travel far. Buy local and buy in-season. I’m not perfect in this endeavor, but I put forth a valiant effort.

Side Note: You can do these things on a budget! You have to put forth some effort to do it.

My Opinion

Red-Flag

The extremism of the documentary “What the Health” is a big red flag that should pop-up in your mind when you watch it.

  • The documentary is fear-mongering and propaganda.

I agree that there is “collusion and corruption in the government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick”. I do not agree with “What the Health’s” solutions to these issues.

  • If you go to their webpage and take-a-gander, you will find that these folks are trying to make money off of creating fear in people. I see the selling DVDs, a Cookbook, a Companion Book, a T-Shirt, and a Meal Planner. Give me a break people! Boooo on you!
  • It would truly be amazed if the makers of this documentary have ever taken a physiology or human biology class…or read any books, journals, or non-biased studies on their own that was to the contrary opinion. It is easy to see what you want to see when you are only looking at things that agree with your opinion.

They list off a boat-load of modern western diseases, all of which is associated inflammation. Nothing causes inflammation faster in the body than grains, processed grain products, sugar, alcohol, vegetable oils, trans fats, fried foods, fast food, conventionally raised diary, and artificial sweeteners. In addition to….yep….grain-fed meats and processed meats (in the factory meat farms). If you notice, all of the things listed are products of man….not real whole unadulterated food.

It is no secret that these foods will make you sick! So why all the hype?

Vote with Your Dollar

Nothing will change the face of our food landscape like withdrawing our money from “the system”. The other thing I agree with is…that drastic measures need to be taken or we are going to end up in the gutter…..broke…with lots of sick people and no “sick-care” in sight to put a band-aid on it.

On repeat….source your food locally, seasonally, organic, grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured, and raw. Source as close to how and where it fell off the tree, grew out of the ground, raised and ethically slaughtered. Your food should spoil and need refrigeration or the freezer.

Please take the time read through my other posts listed and linked to above for more information, as well as the others that I’ve linked to.

It’s Been About 2 Months

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I can’t believe it has been about 2 months since I’ve posted anything. Time flies. So much life has been going on that I just haven’t….

The weekend of 08/11 – 08/13 me, my husband, my sister, and her boyfriend went to a place called The Retreat at Artesian Lakes.

The incident(s) in Charlottesville happened…..sooooo that was time consuming, distracting, and infuriating to say the least. I could write a dissertation on this subject, but let me leave it at “People-Be-Crazy!”.

People Be Crazy

Then Hurricane Harvey hit Houston! We were one of the few super fortunate that did not get water into our house.

I worked for a month from home because my office building flooded again this year; it also flooded in the 2016 Memorial Day flood.

My little dog loooooved having me home all day.

Then I found out that Don Williams died 09/08! WHAT?!?!? His voice is like butter!

My husband and I crashed my Aunt’s house party on 09/10 cause…..chicken fried steak and black berry cobbler.

Then….Hurricane Irma hit!

Aaaaand there was all this….too….fires….

Natural Desasters

My friend Meagan and I went to the 50th Annual Fall Antique Fair in Round Top, TX the weekend of 09/29 – 10/01.

Then mix in a full-time job, birthdays, and brunches….aaaand we basically arrive at today. As you can see….LIFE….good stuff, scary stuff, bad stuff, more good stuff…..LIFE.

I hope to have more to share soon….

 

 

The ‘Paleo Diet’ IS Plant Based

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There are a lot of misconceptions about the Paleo Diet. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the Paleo Diet is a meat based diet, which is not entirely true. This misconception feeds directly into the second largest misconception about the Paleo Diet, which is that it is a low carbohydrate diet….which is also not inherently true.

In my opinion, the Paleo Diet IS plant based.

The brown section in this picture below is not accurate! The green section in this picture also is not accurate….plant based doesn’t = vegan. Plant based means plants are the foundation of the diet aka: the majority of the food you eat. Eat in the orange section of this picture (maybe + raw dairy if you tolerate it), your body will thank you in all the right ways.

paleo-vs-plant-diet

In the Beginning of Modern Day Paleo

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.  is the grandfather of the Paleo Diet (yes, I just made that up!). According to Cordain, the premise of a Paleo Diet should be 19-35% protein, 35-45% non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables (low glycemic index foods), high fiber, no trans fats, low Omega-6 fats with an increased amount of Omega-3 fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), low sodium and high potassium, increasing dietary alkalinity, and a higher intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals.

While Cordain promotes lots of non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables, which most people will agree is healthy, he also has written about eating sweet potatoes….which is a starchy carbohydrate. The starchy carbohydrates are particularly important for very active people and professional athletes.

Robb Wolf is the grandson of the Paleo Diet (yes, I just made that up!). His first book the Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet goes into great detail about eating whole real foods and why it is important to do so. His second book, Wired to Eat, he addresses the carbohydrate issue at length (along with many other things). The short of it is that different people handle different amounts of carbohydrate differently. Meaning the need for and ability to tolerate starchy carbohydrates is highly individualized.

It is safe to say that for most average people with desk jobs that the amount of starchy carbohydrates required is much lower than what the Standard American Diet (SAD) / My Plate recommends. Cutting out grains, legumes, and white potatoes alone will cut most people’s carbohydrate intake down by ¾. So, I can see where folks get confused about Paleo being a low carbohydrate diet, because that is much lower than what the average American typically eats. What people forget when switching to Paleo from SAD is that they can replace the processed carbohydrates with whole food carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, plantains, yams, parsnips, winter squash, carrots, beets, cassava, taro root, and onions).

Plants Are the Foundation

The common thread between Cordain and Wolf and most every other Paleo promoting person in the real whole food space (Chris Kresser, Balanced Bites, Coconuts and Kettlebells, The Real Food RDs, Not Just Paleo, PaleOMG, Predominantly Paleo, Paleo Parents, Real Food Liz, Stupid Easy Paleo, The Paleo Mom, and the list goes on and on) agree that non-starchy fruits and vegetables aka: Plants are the foundation to the Paleo Diet and good health.

More Veggies

The Evolution

An evolution has occurred in the thinking around the Paleo Diet. The basics of “eat whole real nutrient dense food” (grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, fresh vegetable, fresh fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils) is the same; the part that has changed is that instead of it being dogmatic of ‘there is only one way’…the thinking has changed to individualization of ‘do what works for you’. Some of the folks in the Paleo space have included legumes back into their diet (whole, soaked, and sprouted before cooked), because that works for them. Some include white rice, white potatoes, and or steel cut oats in their diet because that works for them. Some also consume raw dairy because it works for them. Make no mistake….these will not work for everyone and you will not know, until you remove them for a while (3 to 6 months or longer) first.

Plant-Based-Paleo

What Hasn’t Changed

One constant of the Paleo diet is eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Eating high-quality meats and seafood. Eating high-quality fats (avocado, grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil).

Not eating cereal grains, conventional dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, and refined vegetable oils.

Here is a site that has lists of foods; those to eat freely and those to avoid. Diane Sanfilippo also has wonderful one-page guides that are super helpful.

Affordability

In the shortest way I can tell you, I would like to address the misconception that eating the Paleo diet or eating real whole food is expensive. The first and I think most the important tip I can give you to afford buying real whole foods (they really aren’t expensive, that box of cereal is), is to reallocate your money from the packages, bags, and boxes to the real whole foods. If you do not buy the $5 box of cereal, you can buy $5 worth of fresh vegetables. Note not all of them need to be organic, also saving money. See the “Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen” lists.

Dirty-12-Clean-15

Other tips for saving money is to buy in bulk, buy directly from the farmers and ranchers, buy towards the end of the farmer’s market, buy online using discount codes and Thrive Market, buy in-season foods, and frozen veggies can cost less than fresh veggies.

Food Sources

If you live in the Spring, TX or The Woodlands, TX area, Theiss Farms Market also provides year-round seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits through their Fresh Pick program. They have an option for delivery as well as pick-up. You can pick and choose what you want or you can purchase an Assorted Box for 2 people $25 or Assorted Box for 4 people $40 that consists of enough produce to last 7 days per person.

The “Healthcare” System

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I believe with all my heart that if people in leadership were focused less on making money and more on doing the right thing the “healthcare” system reform our country so desperately needs would come to fruition. Unfortunately for us…that is not the case.

While once upon a time, I do believe that it was not the intention of people in leadership (aka: government) to screw-up “healthcare”….it now is and has been for a long while.

In my opinion, the federal government has no place and no business regulating and profiting from “healthcare” in this country. I remind you that the federal government was developed to do three things only: 1) govern foreign affairs, 2) conduct war, and 3) regulate currency” (http://www.history.com/topics/constitution). My personal belief is that…we need to break-off “healthcare” and big-pharma from the government placing them into a free enterprise system.

It has been a while since I was in high school….so just as a reminder…”free enterprise is a type of economy where products, prices, and services are determined by the market, not the government. It’s capitalism, not communism……prices go up and down because of supply and demand. Private companies compete for profit without government interference” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/free%20enterprise).

quote-let-s-face-it-in-america-today-we-don-t-have-a-health-care-system-we-have-a-sick-care-system-tom-harkin-79566

I do know that while our “healthcare” system, I call it our sick-care system, is fantastic at acute emergency care…it really really sucks at long-term HEALTH care. The word ‘healthcare’ implies that the system promotes and encourages health. In its current model it doesn’t.

The word “doctor” from its Lain root doc(ēre) means “to teach”. It wasn’t too very long ago that doctors would travel around helping people and teaching people….providing care for people. That isn’t the case these days for sure; the government created system won’t allow it! Doctors are forced to spend approximately 10 minutes (if you are lucky) with each patient and prescribe the latest and greatest drugs that the FDA approved for whatever symptom the patient comes in with or run the risk of losing their license to do business (I can’t even say the word ‘practice medicine’ anymore).

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The system is broken and the people of this country are suffering for it. Yet all most people do is complain about it, most people don’t actually do anything. It is a large problem…very overwhelming for the average person to take on. What we have is the Federal Government, Medical Insurance Companies, Big Farma, and the FDA calling the shots, making tons of money while holding our doctors hostage and watching the citizens of this country get sicker and sicker. By the way, this is also where food subsidies comes in, but that is a whole other rabbit hole.

Where is the justice? It will take an uprising to change this big money-making-machine! Is this likely? No. Is it possible? Yes.

I am fortunate to have found (through hours and hours of research) a relatively progressive thinking primary care physician that as actually tested me for nutrient deficiencies and “prescribed” vitamins to me. I currently choose to pay a $225.00 annual fee (per person) to my doctor that allows her to provide medical insurance to her staff and it also allows her the ability to spend 30 minutes with me each time I visit her. I also work with a functional medicine doctor who is also a nutritionist and chiropractor. Most of her services are outside of medical insurance coverage, because the medical insurance providers somehow get to dictate to me what services I need for the money I pay them. She is my true health care….identifying the root-cause of the symptoms I have, not just managing or covering-up the symptom. Be aware that making a symptom go away doesn’t make what is causing the symptom go away.

This is where self accountability comes in. Vote with your dollar. Doing what you need to do to make and keep your body healthy so you are not fully dependent on this broken down sick-care system.

I know how difficult it is; I am presently dependent on the system. My body isn’t fully healthy. You can bet I’m working on it. I’m spending my money and effort where it matters most. I’m doing everything I can to give my body what it needs to heal itself. Our bodies are created to heal and regenerate. What a glorious creation we are.

william-parker-quote

The sick-care system isn’t going to fix itself. I do not think that we can rely on our government to do what is our best interest. We have to take responsibility for our part in the system and our part in our own health or lack thereof. Do what you need to do for your body to be healthy.

Learning Opportunities – Applied Knowledge is Power

Check out these two articles by Chris Kresser

  1. Healthcare vs Disease Management
  2. Two Reasons Conventional Medicine Will Never Solve Chronic Disease

Article: The American Medical Nightmare: Are We Ever Going to Wake Up? by: Steven Wright

Below are a few books you may be interested in reading:

Podcast: Joe Rogan & Chris Kresser on Paleo and the Modern Healthcare System

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If you want to make some noise…..here are a couple of links to contact congress men and house representatives. Keep and email template in your ‘drafts’ box and shoot them out an email every week!

Recipe: Main Dish – Asian Inspired Lettuce Wraps

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This is a super easy and fast recipe that I like to make for a weeknight meal. This was the second time I made it and I tweaked it just right to the point that it was so very delicious I want to eat it again and again. Which means…it is so very tasty that I needed to share it!

Writing this all out…it looks complicated, but it is not! It is meat, carrot, rice, lettuce, and sauce. The whole meal only took me 30 minutes to make.

Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Large Skillet
  • Spatula or Spoon
  • Small Bowl
  • Whisk or Fork

The Meat:

  • 1 lb of Ground Meat of choice (grass-fed beef, bison, elk, venison, turkey, chicken)
  • Garlic Powder (sprinkle liberally)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of Five Spice (to your taste preference)
  • ½ – 1 tsp of Powdered Ginger (to your taste preference)
  • 1 – 2 Pinches of Red Pepper Flakes (to your heat preference)
  • 1 ½ Large Carrots or 2 Medium Chopped Finely

Optional Veggie Additions: Finely chopped onion (or the white part of green onions) or julienne red bell pepper

The Sauce:

1 Cup of Cooked Jasmine Rice (I like to cook my rice in broth for added flavor)

Optional Toppings:

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Green Onions (I used homemade dried chives)
  • Cilantro Leaves
  • Chopped Avocado

Directions:

Wash and dry lettuce leaves and place on a plate like tiny bowls. I usually double or triple the leaves to make a secure wrapping surface. Finely pre-chop carrots and set aside. If you are adding finely chopped onion or julienned red bell pepper, pre-chop those as well.

Side Note: You can not only pre-chop all your veggies, but you can pre-cook the rice, and pre mix the sauce. This can be much easier for folks…instead of multi-tasking during the cooking process, particularly if it is the first time you’ve made a dish. This is called Mise en Place (MEEZ ahn plahs) it “is a French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking. Pans are prepared. Mixing bowls, tools and equipment set out.” (Google it).

Over a medium-high heat brown meat of choice in a large skillet (if you use a lean meat you may have to add cooking fat). While browning sprinkle liberally with garlic powder, add the ginger, five spice, and red pepper flakes. Cook through to the point of the meat getting a little crispy.

While the meat is cooking start cooking the rice. If using traditional stove-top rice it takes approximately 30 minutes total. Instructions for the rice I linked to above: bring rice to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low simmer, cook for 15 minutes, turn off heat moving to another burner location, remaining covered…allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. You can pre-cook rice the day before or you can use a pressure cooker or rice cooker to speed up the rice cooking time.

Once the meat is about ¾ the way cooked, add the finely chopped carrots (and other optional veggies) and continue to cook. Siring occasionally.

While the rice is cooking and meat is browning, assemble the sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the liquid aminos, pure maple syrup, sesame seed oil, lime juice, and chopped pickled ginger. Set aside.

Once the meat is starting to get a bit crispy (the rice should be around 7 minutes from being complete), reduce to a medium heat and pour the sauce over. Stir well. Once the rice is done, turn the heat off under the meat and mix the rice into the meat mixture. This is also the time I added a Tbs+ of homemade dried chives.

Spoon the meat and rice mixture into the lettuce cups/wraps and top with your preferred optional toppings.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

With the leftovers, I made a salad with avocado, warmed-up and dumped the meat mixture over the top, and used Bragg’s Ginger and Sesame salad dressing. It was sooooo good!

Leftover Asian Lettcue Wraps

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 all your favorite pantry items will be delivered to your door and you don’t have to go to stores which also saves you time and energy. And who can’t use more money, time, energy?!?!

I officially have a hobby!

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I now have a real hobby for the first time in my whole life! I’m so happy and excited about it!

I’ve been wanting to include this hobby in my life for several years and decided this year I was going to pull the trigger and do it!

Here I am – my first time in my kayak.

Kayaks

The fun and benefits of kayaking for me is:

  • Being in nature                         (aka: Forest Bathing – sorta…)
  • Being on the water                    (aka: Lowers Stress – very calming to me)
  • Getting some sun                      (aka: Vitamin D)
  • Great upper body workout         (aka: Strong arms)

I love kayaking

I hope that all of you are making time to have some fun too!