Vegan Walnut Burger Recipe

I have to say that ever since I started on this new journey of eating animal products, I have missed my vegan entrees quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that their are famers who feed animals their ancestral diet, rather than a diet of corn and grains. I have grown to even like some forms of meat, which is a big step for me. I decided to experiment with vegan cooking to give myself a break from the normal meat containing meals. These burgers can serve as a main dish, or even as an easy snack that you can take on the go!

Vegan Walnut Burgers

Vegan Walnut Burger Recipe

  • Servings: 9 burgers
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts (properly soaked and roasted for increased digestibility)

1/4 cup hemp seeds

3 TBSP coconut flour

2 TBSP chia seed (mixed with 3 TBSP water)

1 chopped red pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley and cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

*If you want to add a little spice to burgers, add red pepper flakes*

Directions

* Preheat oven to 300F*

1. Place chia seeds in water and mix. Let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Put walnuts and hemp seeds into vita mix and blend until flour like substance forms.

3. Take flour out and place into medium size bowel. Add coconut flour, chia seeds, pepper, parley, cilantro, salt and pepper.

4. Mix together until fully incorporated.

5. Form into patties and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Place burgers in oven and bake for 60 minutes.

Food Sensitivities and Leaky Gut

While attending my last doctor’s appointment, I received the results of my IgG, which showed that I had sensitivities to over 70 different food items. After mourning the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat some of my favorite foods such as avocado and almonds for several months, I moaned at the idea of telling my loved ones that I probably could not share in the meals that they prepare for a while. After years of shunning meals that were made with gluten or dairy, I knew adding MORE items to my list of, I can’t eat that, would be a arduous task. Many of the repeated questions I received from family and friends were, “you can’t eat (insert food)?!?! What’s wrong with it? Should I be avoiding this particular food as well?” My answer was a no, as I tried to explain that many of my food sensitivities are to foods that are considered healthy and give the body many needed vitamins and minerals. People with a healthy gut can tolerate these foods with no problem. I acquired sensitivities to these foods because of something called leaky gut.

 leaky gut 2

Leaky gut is something that occurs in when the villi in your intestines become irritated or inflamed. Healthy villi in your gut allow for your body to absorbed nutrients from food that you consume. However, when these brush like boarders are broken down from stress, illness, antibiotics or processed food, it allows tiny food particles to get into your blood stream. These foreign objects cause your body to set off an immune response in order to deal with them. In Mark Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint, he further explains what happens in this process by stating,

“Unfortunately, these undigested protein molecules can resemble molecules that reside on the outside of healthy cells, leaving your immune system confused as to who the real enemy is. An autoimmune response ensues, something experts believe is the root cause of many common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other conditions.”(Sisson, 168)

In my own body, it caused my immune system to start attacking my gut, which left me with inflammatory bowel disease. I believe the breakdown of my villi happened in college as I was exposed to stress from school, multiple rounds of antibiotics, alcohol and tons of processed diet food. After college I began to start to cut out certain foods and made a switch to a whole food diet. This  seemed to improve my symptoms, but I didn’t consider myself 100% healed as I still had reoccurring bouts of symptoms when I found myself coming down with a cold or stressed. It wasn’t until recently as I started on a combination of gut healing techniques, increased my consumption of protein and amino acids and avoided potential food sensitivities that my chronic symptoms are disappearing and the overall health of my gut is starting to return to a balanced state.

What are the symptoms of leaky gut?

In my own experience, leaky gut presented itself with a host of symptoms including: food intolerances, inflammatory bowel, anxiety, fatigue and depression. These symptoms appeared soon after taking multiple rounds of antibiotics. On Chris Kresser’s blog he includes an article titled, 9 Steps to Perfect Health-#5 Heal your gut, he mentions that ,

“Leaky gut can manifest as skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, heart failure, autoimmune conditions affecting the thyroid (hashimoto’s) or joints (rheumatoid arthritis), mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, depression and more. “ (source)

The good news is that if you believe you are suffering from leaky gut, you can do things to heal your gut and get rid of your food sensitivities.

Steps to heal your gut

  • Test for parasites in your gut- It turned out that I had yeast present in my body which contributed to my leaky gut. Once I killed off the yeast, I was able to rebalance my gut flora.
  • Get a good quality probiotic- Make sure you are getting a probiotic from a reliable source that is quality tested. I ended up getting a high dose mult -strain probiotic from my functional medicine doctor.
  • Remove processed food from your diet- If you don’t want to get tested for food sensitivities, I recommend doing program such as GAPS, or SCD diet. This will allow your gut to heal before you slowly add in foods to test if you can tolerate them.
  • Drink Bone Broth- Bone broth contained many healing vitamins and minerals and contains gelatin that will help sooth the digestive track.

sources:

1. “9 Steps to Perfect Health – #5: Heal Your Gut.” Chris Kresser. N.p., 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 31 Dec. 2014. <http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-5-heal-your-gut&gt;.

2. Sisson, Mark. The Primal Blueprint: Reprogramme Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health and Boundless Energy. London: Vermilion, 2012. Print.

Easy Purple Potato Chips

Have you tried purple potatoes? If you haven’t, you should! My husband thought of the idea to make my own potato chips after discovering similar chips that claimed to be healthy, but contained GMO canola oil. When I am traveling and away from home,  it is typically hard for me to find enough to eat. I am always trying to bring enough food to sustain me, but most of the items I make need to be refrigerated. That is why these are the perfect chips to take when you are on the go! They are super thin and crispy and satifies my need for a saltily, crunchy snack!

Purple Potatoe Chips

Easy Purple Potato Chips

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 24 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kitchen Necessities:

Simple Slicer (This can also be done with a knife but I find it hard to make a consistent thin slice)

Dehydrator

Ingredients:

2 medium organic purple potatoes

1/2 cup coconut oil

Sea Salt

Directions:

1. Slice potatoes into very thin circles

2. Warm up coconut oil and place potatoes into pan to coat with coconut oil

3. Add salt to the potatoes

4. Spread evenly onto four layers of dehydrator

5. Cook on 115F for 20-24 hours

Pressed Salad Recipe

I was introduced to the idea of pressed salads a couple weeks ago when I began to add more varieties of vegetables to my diet. After experimenting with several variations, I found a refreshing blend of vegetables and herbs that please my taste buds to no end. Even better, these veggies are “cooked” by pressure which will break down the hard to digest aspects of the vegetable, but keep the healthy enzymes. It’s no wonder that this salad makes my tummy feel wonderful after eating it. In my opinion, a salad recipe doesn’t get much better than this one!

Lemon Dill Pressed Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 2hr 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kitchen Necessities:

2 large dinner plates

Vegetable slicer

Something heavy to place on top of salad

Ingredients:

1 Cucumber

1 Celery Stock

1 Fennel root

1 Green Apple

Sea Salt

Juice from 1 Lemon

Fresh Dill

Directions:

Slice the cucumber into thin circles and place a layer on the bottom of the dinner plate. Spread a pitch of sea salt over the layer of cucumbers. Continue to slice each vegetable and fruit into thin pieces adding salt to each new layer.

Pressed Salad 2

Once all vegetables are used, place a plate and heavy item on the top of the salad.

Pressed Salad

Leave the salad to rest at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours. After, drain excess liquid and add the lemon juice and dill. Toss and chop with salad choppers and serve!

What I Ate Wednesday

My diet has recently had a complete overhaul. At first, I was dreading the fact that again, a new diet would mean I have no idea what to eat and that I was going to spend countless hours preparing enough food to eat throughout the week. I may have even broken down to my husband who, with a little too much enthusiuam said, “I am so excited you are going to eat meat!” Thats right, I need loads of protein to rebuild my gut. I thought I was getting enough protein from having chicken or fish a couple times a week and eating a somewhat vegan/paleo diet.  I wasn’t sure that this new diet would actually make me feel better and reduce my symptoms, after all I ate VERY clean. I never cheated and had sweets or gluten, I felt like I should have been healed, but that just wasn’t the case. So, I would say after three weeks on this diet and healing regimen my symptoms are GREATLY reduced. I believe I still have healing to do, but I am certainly on the right track. Here is a look at what I eat on a typical day…

5:45

Water with 2 probiotics and a digestive enzyme

WIAW

6:15

Anti-Inflammatory Protein powder. This powder contains ingredients like L-glutimin and curcumin which will help to reduce inflammation and rebuild my gut. It also helps me reach my protein intake with 20 grams per serving!

wiaw 3

7:00

Chicken Bone Broth while spending some quiet devotion time reading, She Reads Truth.

Bone Broth

7:40

Water with my supplements that I need to take with a fat containing meal- b-vitimin, vitamin D, and fish oil.

WIAW suppliments

11:30

Half of an avocado, fermented veggies, salmon (ate half before I remembered to take a picture!) with sea salt and dill, a chicken squash patty (recipe coming soon). I also had a bowl of bone broth soup with carrots, onion, salt, pepper, burdock root and fresh herbs.

WIAI lunch

WIAW SOUP

 

12:00

My favorite treat-almond butter and coconut butter!

Almond Butter with Coconut

2:30

Tusli Glee

Tulsi Glee

4:00

Roasted veggies and tahini from previous night’s dinner.


WIAW Veggies

6:45

Boiled Kale, half of an avocado, fermented veggies , lamb chops, and (un-pictured) purple grapes.

WIAW Dinner

 

There you have it, a look into what I eat on a typical day!

 

What is your favorite meal?

How To Properly Prepare Kale

Kale PostKale has been named a super food due to its high nutrient profile and cancer fighting abilities.  I admit that I jumped on the kale band wagon and eat kale salads, kale smoothies and kale chips (still one of my favorite foods). Over the past year I have heard some negative talk about eating kale raw. When my nutritionist’s mouth dropped when I told her how much raw kale I ate, I decided to look a little more into kale and find out the proper way to prepare it. I don’t think that raw kale is the worst thing in the world, a little raw kale every one in a while is fine to consume. However, on Western A Price. org, he mentions that large amount of crucifers can produce toxins in the body and that these foods contains goitrogens that will, “inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland; this effect can be overcome by an increased dietary intake of iodine. At high concentrations, however, these chemicals inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone. In this case, even the iodine that makes it into the thyroid gland cannot be used; dietary iodine therefore cannot overcome the effect of very large amounts of crucifers (source).” You may be asking? If raw kale can be harmful, how can I prepare it in a way that is not? My answer is that you need to neutralize the goitrogens. Boiling seems to be the best way to do this…

Kale Recipe

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 2-4 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kitchen Accessory: Cast Iron Pan

Ingredients: 3 to 4 kale leaves torn away from the stem 2 pinches of sea salt

Directions: Fill cast iron pan with 2-3 inches of filtered water Bring the water to the boil and add kale Keep the kale under water with a wooden spoon and boil for 2-4 minutes The kale will turn a bright green and thats when you know it is done. Add more salt, garlic and olive oil and serve!

Why I chose To See A Functional Medical Doctor

functional medical doctor

Functional Medicine- Getting To The Root Of The Problem

Over the last couple months, my health has taken a drop due to a variety of unexpected stressors in my life. Although I did a lot of healing in the past year, I was not to a point where my gut was completely healed and restored. I recently sought out a local functional medical doctor who is helping me get to the bottom of my condition. After only two weeks, I have seen amazing results. During the next couple weeks, I am going to do a series of posts as I continue on this healing journey to demonstrate the astounding benefits of choosing a functional medical doctor.

More Time With the Doctor

When going to a functional medical doctor you will notice that your doctor’s appointments will be longer than they are with a general physician. I remember when I first saw my general practitioner and told her about the two health issues that I was having. The first was with my colitis symptoms and the second was that my menstrual cycle had stopped. She told me that we could only address one issue that day and that was my menstrual cycle. After five minutes I had a prescription for birth control and was sent on my merry way. I don’t blame the doctor for not looking into a deeper cause or connection to the two symptoms I was having. Most doctors can only spend so much time with a patient for insurance reasons, and the doctor I saw only had time treat one of my symptoms that day. The difference between my past doctor and my current doctor is that my current functional medical doctor looks at ALL of my symptoms in order to find the root cause of my illness. Looking back to that first doctor’s appointment, I can see that the two problems I had were related and birth control was not going to fix the underlying issue.

A Different Approach

Three days prior to my first appointment with the functional medical doctor, I filled out a series of questionnaires that included; a toxicity evaluation, food diary, and medical history. This was so that during my first appointment the doctor could get a snap shot of where my health was so far. During the first appointment he wanted to get to know me, and get as much information about how I was feeling. We went through my entire life history and pin pointed some areas in my life that could have caused toxicity to build up in my body. At that point he had an overview of my life (both health and non-health issues) and current state of health. He also had a better idea of what was causing this disease and how to restore my health. He emphasized that treatment would not be disease/diagnosis centered, but patient centered. He explained that he would be coming up with an individualized plan for me that would address; nutrition, supplementation, detoxification, stress management, and spiritual growth. In week leading up to my next appointment, I would do some at home tests that would be sent into labs to test for any parasites in my gut. At the appointment, I would have my blood taken to test certain blood serum levels in my body. During that time, I would also meet with the nutritionist and begin a detoxification program that included lymphatic massage, acupuncture, and use of an infra-red sauna. I was amazed at the way they were going to address my health issues from all different vantage points. Leaving the doctor that day, I already felt healthier!

Seeing a functional medical doctor is a completely different experience. If you want to restore your bodies energy, health and vibrancy I would recommended working with a functional medical doctor!

5 Ways To Beat The Flu This Year

No one enjoys getting the flu. Many people try to avoid it by using things like hand sanitizer or getting the flu shot. I’m here to tell you about some natural options for beating the flu this year. These solutions have worked wonders for my family and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Five Ways To Fight The Flu

1.Diffusing and Applying Thieves Essential Oil

Thieves essential oil contains clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary cineol. The oils included in this blend contain antibacterial, anti-infectious, immune stimulant and anti-inflammatory properties. I love to read about all of my  essential oils using Connie and Alan Higley’s book, Reference Guide for Essential Oils Soft Cover 2013.  While reading on day, I discovered that this blend of oil defends the body from the flu, colds, strep, and many other illnesses that occur this time of the year. After finding out this information, I knew thieves would be perfect for the cold and flu season. When my husband and I feel a cold coming on we start to diffuse it at night, while we are sleeping, as well as applying the oil to the bottom of our feet. If I have a sore throat, I will also massage it into the submandibular lymph nodes (lymph nodes under your chin).  In order to protect myself from the illnesses the kids bring to school, I rub the oil onto my feet before work and use my Thieves Spray by Young Living on objects around my classroom.

2.Oregano Oil Steam

Oregano Young Living Essential Oil is another notable oil we use to prevent illness. This oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and an immune stimulant. It is a powerful oil which people have used for intestinal parasites, warts, staph infections/MRSA and even whooping cough. When I feel like I am getting a sore throat or stuffy nose, I will put  3-4 drops of oregano oil into a cup of boiling water. After, I get a blanket and put it over my head and breath in the oregano steam for 15-20 minutes. This will draw mucus out of your nose so make sure to have Kleenex with you! I almost always instantly feel better after this process.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Several years ago my mother in law gave me Larry Cook’s book called, The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Living. I learned all of the benefits of using apple cider vinegar for your health. One thing cook emphasizes is to use good quality apple cider vinegar. I like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw — 32 fl oz brand because it is raw and contains living enzymes. I use apple cider vinegar all the time! From conditioning my hair to soothing sore muscles, this vinegar is a great all purpose solution. Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural anti-baterial which will fight off viruses. For flu prevention I drink 2 TBSP of apple Cider vinegar with warm water and lemon. I also gargle with a watered down shot of vinegar to sooth a sore throat.

4.Stop Using Hand Sanitizer

During my first year of teaching, I used hand sanitizer ALL THE TIME. It was also the year I continually got colds and the flu. In fact, now when I think about how much hand sanitizer I used, I cringe. Hand sanitizer kills the good flora in your gut. Your microbiome is what keeps you healthy and keeps the “bad bacterica” away. Dr. Mercola’s article, The Role of Microscopic Organisms Inside your Gut Flora, makes it clear how important our gut flora is when he metnions,

“Exactly what those different life forms do has been the subject of some exciting research in recent years, and while a few of these organisms can sometimes wreak havoc with your system, the majority of these little “bugs” are good, helping you digest your food, stay protected from infections, and even keeping your immune system properly regulated to fend off autoimmune diseases like asthma, allergies, and diabetes.” Source

I now opt for regular soap and hot water to keep germs away. My favorite soap to use is EssentialOilsLife – Thieves Foaming Hand Soap!

5. Detox Bath

I first heard of a detox bath from my massage therapist. At first, I wasn’t sure if I believe that this bath was all it was cracked up to be until I tried it myself. I found that this bath rids you of the toxins that are making you sick! You will need:

1/2 cup magnesium flakes

¼ cup sea salt

1/4 cup baking soda

2 TBSP ground ginger

Fill the tub with HOT water (as hot as you can stand) and put in ingredients from above, relax for 15-20 minutes. During this time you may notice perspiration, which is detoxifying process happening in your body. After you get out and towel off and rest for 30 minutes laying down. You will want to be still during this time so don’t try to read, or get on your IPAD :).

What do you do to prevent your family from getting sick during the flu season?  

Glute Activation

When I was training for a marathon several years ago I tragically injured my knee. After numerous chiropractor and doctor visits, everyone was stumped as to what exactly caused the injury. My chiropractor came to the conclusion that I had over developed quads and that this caused my glute muscles to “turn off”. A runners world article talks about weak glute muscles and mentions ,

“Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shine splints, runner’s knee, and iliotibial-band syndrom.” (source)

Cycling in college, and my love for running assisted in the over-development of my quads. Recent studies have shown that chronic sitting (sitting for 6-8 hours a day) will also turn off the activation of these muscles and cause imbalances in the body structure. In the past, strength training was not something that I loved to do. However, I now know how much it aids in keeping me from not getting injuries while exercising!  I incorporate strength exercises quite a bit throughout the week. Below are my favorite glute activating exercises!

1.Clam Shell- This is by far my favorite activation exercise. They are so easy to do while watching t.v. Try doing 10-12 on each side, four times each.

2.Extended Clam Shell- This is the same exercise as above, just a little more intense. If you are having a hard time feeling the burn with the regular clam shell, these will be sure to do the trick. You can also alternate between this exercise and the clam shell.

3.Fire Hydrant- This is the first activation exercise that my chiropractor had me try .  Again, try doing 10-12 on each side, four times each.

4.Kettle Ball- Make sure to squat down as you do this exercise to feel it in the glutes. This can be used as a great interval workout. Try doing this exercise for 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off 5-8 times.

Fermented Veggie Recipe

There are so many benefits to eating fermented food, especially if you want to heal your gut. However, the benefits of fermented food is a post I am going to save for another day. Today I want to show you a basic sauerkraut recipe.  I introduced probiotic food into my diet about a year ago. At first the process of making these foods seemed scary. Do I really want to eat something that has been sitting on my counter for a week?!?! I have to admit, taking that first bite was a little intimidating. However, now that I have tried them, I will never go back to not eating them! Not only do they taste delicious, they make my tummy feel wonderful!

fermented veggie blog post

 

 

Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe

  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients 

1) 1 head of purple cabbage

2) 3 TBSP salt

3) 2 Lemons

4) 2 Cloves garlic

5) Crushed Peppercorns to taste

Directions

1. Pour four quarts of filtered water into glass. I use The Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl

2. Add 2.5 TBSP of salt to the glass bowl and mix periodically with a wooden spoon. You want all of the salt to dissolve into the water.

3.Chop purple cabbage in small pieces. I use The Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper

4. Put pieces of small cabbage into glass mason jars (make sure the jars are sterile by cleaning them with boiling water). You may use more than one mason jar depending on the size, I used one large and 2 small for this recipe)

5. Add 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1/2 clove garlic and crushed peppercorns to each jar of cabbage

6. Add saltwater to jars and pour until cabbage is completely covered. If cabbage floats to the top of the jar you  can push it back down with spoon (you may have to do this several times over the course of the fermentation process.

7. Place lids on mason jars and leave the lids a little loose so that air can get in.

8. Place in a warm spot (I keep mine on top of my oven) for 5-7 days. As the fermentation process takes place you may see bubbles and the water may spill out a bit. I always place my jars on top of cloth towels.

After day 5 or 6 you can taste the veggies, they should have a sour/tangy flavor. The veggies should not contain mold, or have a moldy smell/flavor (believe me you would know if they went rotten by the smell). You can then transfer them to the refrigerator. You can keep the kraut for 4-8 months in an air tight jar in the refrigerator.