Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Uncategorized

Roasted Beet Avocado Orange Salad

Beet-Avocado-Orange-Salad

ROASTED BEET, ORANGE, AND AVOCADO SALAD

These three flavors together are a dynamite combination — and super nutritious, too. Beets contain pigments called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox benefits. Avocados deliver a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as heart-healthy fats, and oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 to 60 minutes

  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 orange, halved: one half zested and juiced, one half peeled and cut into segments
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 avocado, split lengthwise, pitted, peeled, and diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse beets and stab all sides with a fork. Place in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tossing to thoroughly coat. Wrap each oiled beet in aluminum foil, pinching the top closed to create a seal. Place beets in the center of a baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes. When you can pierce a beet with a thin knife all the way to the center without resistance (be careful opening the foil), it’s done. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

With a knife, remove the skin from the beets. (Wear gloves and an apron.) Dice the beets into 1-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined.

Add the orange segments and avocado to the beets. Drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle on the orange zest, toss to coat, and serve.

 

Foods, Uncategorized

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower-Rice

CAULIFLOWER RICE

Gone are the days of overcooked cauliflower that smells like sulfur. “Ricing” cauliflower in a food processor by pulsing it until it’s ground to a rice-like consistency gives it a light, delicate structure and a mild taste that pairs well with just about anything. Make this a complete meal by adding a serving of your favorite protein and sautéing any leftover veggies from your fridge.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

“Rice” the cauliflower in batches: Place approximately half of the florets into the food processor, being careful not to pack too tightly, and pulse 15 to 20 times until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Remove riced cauliflower from the processor and repeat to rice the remaining florets.

In a large skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan. When the ghee is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, two to three minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about one minute.

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan with a lid, and steam until finished, like cooked rice, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.)

Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

Foods, Uncategorized

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken-Cacciatore

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

Don’t be tempted to use boneless, skinless chicken with this classic recipe. The chicken skin holds the fat, and fat equals flavor. Plus, the skin helps the sauce cling to the chicken.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

  • 4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 lb. chicken legs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 3/4 lb. chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ onion, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. capers, drained
  • 1  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbs. fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

In a large skillet with high sides, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium-high heat, coating the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place in the pan. Sear the chicken until golden brown, about three minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

With the same pan still on medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 table-spoons of ghee, the onions, and the peppers, and sauté for two to three minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring for two minutes. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about one minute. Add the capers and diced tomatoes.

Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the chicken broth or water until it covers the chicken pieces. Reduce heat to medium and bring everything to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with the chopped basil and serve hot.

 

Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach Frittata

Spinach-Fritatta

SPINACH FRITTATA

 

This recipe goes heavy on the spinach, a nutrient-dense green rich in carotenoids and vitamin K, as well as magnesium, iron, and copper. A frittata travels and reheats well, making it handy for packed breakfasts, lunches, or on-the-go snacks. You can even make this recipe in muffin tins for extra portability. For a Mexican-inspired version, add seasoned, cooked ground beef, thinly sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.

 

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced, seeded tomato
  • 4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

Set oven to broil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.

Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about three to four minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for three to five minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.

If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for three to five minutes.

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cultivate Self Compassion

selfcompassion

 

Cultivate Self Compassion

 

Life-changing strategies can help you be kinder to yourself.

 

 

Self-compassion not only helps you be kinder to yourself, but it also gives you the power to be kinder to the world around you.

 

These benefits have been empirically validated by Kristin Neff, PhD, one of the world’s foremost researchers on self-compassion. She established it as a field of study almost a decade ago, during her postdoctoral work at the University of Denver. In her book, Self-Compassion, Neff walks us through the scientific research underpinning the whys and hows of cultivating self-compassion. The volume is packed with both theoretical and practical goodness.

 

Neff’s basic argument is that self-compassion is made up of three components:

 

  • Self-kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves. Beating ourselves up is not helpful.
  • Common humanity. We’re not alone. It’s important to see that our suffering is part of a shared human experience.
  • Mindfulness. We want to observe our experience. We can learn to hold it in “balanced” awareness without trying to push our pain away or make it a bigger deal than it is.

Now let’s take a look at each of these elements in more detail.

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

“Self-kindness, by definition, means that we stop the constant self-judgment and disparaging internal commentary that most of us have come to see as normal. It requires us to understand our foibles and failures instead of condemning them. It entails clearly seeing the extent to which we harm ourselves through relentless self-criticism, and ending our internal war,” Neff writes.

 

“But self-kindness involves more than merely stopping self-judgment,” she adds. “It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, ‘This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?’ With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”

 

I love the image of treating ourselves the same way we would treat a dear friend or family member. By slowing down and allowing ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, we actively comfort ourselves.

 

The first step is to stop the internal heckling. Quit beating yourself up with thoughts like Why am I such an idiot? or, I can’t believe I did or said that. Instead, replace that heckling with phrases like I feel my pain right now. This is tough. How can I best take care of myself right now?

 

In short, be nice to yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but learning to do it can lead to huge breakthroughs in your life.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

 

Once we’re in the practice of being kind to ourselves, we can work on the second fundamental element of self-compassion: recognizing the common human experience.

 

Neff argues that seeing our common humanity “helps to distinguish self-compassion from mere self-acceptance or self-love.

 

“Although self-acceptance and self-love are important, they are incomplete by themselves. They leave out an essential factor — other people. Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer with,’ which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering.

 

“The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect. Why else would we say ‘It’s only human’ to comfort someone who has made a mistake? Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is.”

 

In our hyper-individualistic, hyper-comparative society, it’s easy to always try to outdo everyone and feel disconnected — either better or worse than those around us. But what if, instead, we slowed down and appreciated our sameness? Doing so gives us the ability to see the threads of our common humanity. It leads us to recognize that we all struggle and can connect to one another through our shared triumphs and failures.

 

FACE UP TO REALITY WITH MINDFULNESS

 

One way to stay connected to our own experience and to cultivate our connection to the experiences of others is by practicing mindfulness.

 

For Neff, “mindfulness refers to the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment. Facing up to reality, in other words. The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate — and therefore effective — manner.”

 

Like many wise teachers, Neff reminds us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. How we respond to pain determines our level of suffering. Resisting pain by trying to wish away whatever is happening — whether it’s something mundane, like traffic on the way to work, or something more significant, like a serious illness or death of a loved one — only causes our suffering to grow.

 

“Our emotional suffering is caused by our desire for things to be other than they are,” Neff explains. “Once something has occurred in reality, there is nothing you can do to change that reality in the present moment. This is how things are. You can choose to accept this fact or not, but reality will remain the same either way.”

 

Mindfulness is one tool we can develop to appropriately relate to reality.

 

TAKE NOTE

Neff’s “noting practice” is one of my all-time favorite tips for building mindfulness. She writes that “the idea is to make a soft mental note whenever a particular thought, emotion, or sensation arises. This helps us to become more consciously aware of what we’re experiencing.”

 

Noting is a simple way to create awareness, and I love to use it during my own meditation sessions. For example, when I observe my mind wandering off into strategizing or planning, I softly say the word “strategy” to myself  and then bring my attention back to my breath.

 

Give it a try and see if noting helps you become more conscious of your life experience.

 

Using the three components of self-compassion improves our chances of reaching our goals and living the profoundly beautiful and fulfilling life we all deserve.

 

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-Well

 

 

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Everyday Detox

everydaydetox

Everyday Detox

No need to subsist on juices and herbs. These whole foods support your body’s innate ability to detoxify on a daily basis.

 

Lemon-juice flushes. Coffee enemas. Fruit-only diets. With funky programs like these flourishing, it’s no wonder many people dismiss detoxing as a perennial fad.

 

But don’t be too quick to reject the idea of detoxification altogether. Eating to promote your body’s natural detox functions can help you look and feel better every day — without extreme interventions.

 

Many of your organs are equipped with detoxification superpowers, and with just a little nutritional support, their powers get stronger. Your liver, for example, neutralizes environmental pollutants that could trigger a range of health conditions. Your kidneys filter waste from your blood. Your skin releases toxic elements via sweat. And the digestive system shuttles waste out of your body with each bowel movement.

 

So if your body cleanses itself automatically, why worry about detox? Because without some extra help, your body may have a hard time keeping up with whatever life throws its way.

 

“As modern humans, we’re exposed to an unprecedented array of toxins in our environment,” says Mark Pettus, MD, director of wellness and population health at Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts and associate dean of medical education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

 

Compounds like glyphosphate in herbicides, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics, and parabens in our cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are among the tens of thousands of chemicals used commercially in the United States. And these compounds affect us negatively at a cellular level.

 

“The longer these toxins are in contact with our cells, the more likely they are to cause damage to our organs and other bodily systems,” says Robert Rountree, MD, family medicine doctor and faculty member at the Institute for Functional Medicine.

 

One of the best ways to reduce your toxic load (the chemical burden your body is carrying at any given time) is to eat in ways that optimize your body’s natural detoxification systems and processes.

 

“It’s better to help the body eliminate toxins at the time of exposure than it is to allow them to accumulate at high levels before going on a radical cleanse,” Rountree says.

 

“The optimal scenario is to live a detox life as much as possible,” agrees Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CNS, author of Whole Detox. “Making some daily, consistent tweaks can have dramatic effects on your long-term health.”

 

Read on to discover the most detoxifying whole foods, and to learn how they work their magic.

 

THE LIVER SUPPORTERS

Detox Superstars: Watercress, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, leeks, garlic

 

Supporting Role: Compounds found in these foods help to increase the cellular response or sensitivity of enzymes in the liver and remove undesirable elements from your body.

 

One of the liver’s most important roles is to filter waste products and remove harmful substances from the blood after it passes through the stomach and intestines, and before it moves to the rest of the body.

 

Think of the liver as an inspection facility, deciding which packages are beneficial and which are not. When the liver finds something toxic, it first separates the dangerous substances from the blood (this is referred to as phase 1 detoxification). The liver’s second step, or phase 2, is to rid your body of the harmful compounds by carrying them away in bile.

 

Your job is to eat foods that help keep both parts of this two-phase process running efficiently — and that protect the liver from the toxins and byproducts of detoxification.

 

Good to Know: Cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are responsible for most phase 1 reactions in the liver, can be stopped in their tracks by a compound found in grapefruit juice. This is why people on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs (whose livers are working overtime) are warned against drinking the beverage. Should a healthy person avoid grapefruit juice? Not necessarily. “Everything we eat can have an effect on our liver enzymes,” says Minich. She advises eating a wide variety of whole foods to help optimize the liver’s detoxification abilities.

 

THE HYDRATORS

Detox Superstars: Water, herbal teas, fluid-rich produce (cucumbers, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, celery, etc.)

 

Supporting Role: The human body is largely made up of water, so it makes sense that consuming water and water-rich produce helps maintain balance and protects against dehydration. It also helps you detoxify. Fluids allow the kidneys to remove waste products from your blood, sending important minerals back into the bloodstream and flushing the leftover compounds out in your urine.

 

Good to Know: Contrary to popular belief, coffee and other caffeinated beverages (consumed in moderation) don’t appear to be dehydrating — though you’ll still want to balance your caffeine habit with plenty of plain water to avoid the jitters and to keep your system flushing regularly. Aim to drink enough fluids and eat enough fresh produce that your urine is light colored.

 

Keep in mind that our municipal and rural water supplies are contaminated with a wide range of toxins, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides, says Rountree. “Water-treatment plants are designed to get rid of the organisms that will kill you, not the things that will make you sick in the long run,” he says. To minimize your exposure, drink purified or filtered water.

 

THE METAL DETECTORS

Detox Superstars:

Turmeric, seaweed, cilantro, onions, garlic

 

Supporting Role: Heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic are ubiquitous in our environment and are known to cause organ damage and increase cancer risk. Fortunately, some common foods and spices can help prevent their accumulation.

 

In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, rats that had been exposed to mercury were given curcumin, the active compound in the orange-colored spice turmeric. Examining the animals’ kidneys and livers, researchers determined that curcumin significantly reduced the concentration of the heavy metal in these organs and reversed damage done to other bodily systems.

 

A 2014 study suggests that curcumin may even help prevent liver damage from heavy metals through its ability to bind with metal compounds, potentially helping remove them from the body.

 

Alginates — carbohydrates found in seaweed — are able to stick to heavy metals like lead and mercury and direct them out of the body through normal excretory processes. Seaweed compounds can also bind to and remove radioactive strontium (a cancer-causing compound) from the body, according to research from Montreal’s McGill University.

 

Good to Know: Purchase seaweed from a reputable source that monitors the waters it’s grown in to be sure it’s not contaminated with heavy metals itself, says Rountree.

 

“Any high-quality seaweed supplier should be able to provide information about the quality of their products on request,” he says, noting that he typically recommends buying seaweed “harvested from areas that are known to be pristine, such as Iceland.”

 

THE COLON CLEANSERS

Detox Superstars: Lentils, raspberries, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, artichokes, apples

 

Supporting Role: Constipation is one sign that your body isn’t detoxing the way it should. Getting plenty of fiber and water (which is drawn to the soluble fiber in foods like beans and oats, forming a gut-scrubbing gel) supports healthy, regular bowel movements — helping to remove waste products and other undesirable compounds from your body. “If you’re not moving things through your bowels, then you can’t get rid of that total toxic load,” says Rountree.

 

Both soluble and insoluble fiber play important roles: In addition to keeping the gut regular, eating a variety of fiber helps provide microbes in the gut with fuel, which helps decrease inflammation and improve immunity

 

Good to Know: All-juice cleanses are devoid of insoluble fiber, so they don’t optimally support your body’s detox-elimination processes, according to Seattle-based nutritionist Riana Giusti, MS, CN. “Fiber helps remove toxic substances that can accumulate in the colon and is an integral part of our bodies’ inherent and natural detoxification systems,” she says.

 

THE PH BALANCERS

Detox Superstars: Vegetables, citrus fruit

 

Supporting Role: The pH balance in the body varies greatly by body part and region. The stomach, for example, is highly acidic, while the layer just outside the stomach lining is quite alkaline to prevent damage to the mucosa. And while the body is generally good at keeping itself balanced, research has shown that a diet heavy in animal proteins but low in non-starchy vegetables and fruits can shift the pH of urine (which may reflect other imbalances in the body) to a more acidic makeup.

 

“Many enzymes that play a role in detoxification are pH-dependent,” says Minich, which is why you want to maintain balance with a focus on green, leafy, and fresh foods. A diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, and plant proteins is likely to have an alkalizing effect. When you eat loads of acid-forming foods — like meat, dairy, sugar, and processed carbohydrates — the body neutralizes pH with alkalizing minerals. And if there aren’t enough minerals in your diet, your body pulls them from your bones

 

Bottom line: Eating more plants will help you maintain healthy biochemistry and bone mass while also setting the stage for proper detoxification.

 

Good to Know: It may seem counterintuitive, but acidic fruits like oranges and lemons actually increase the pH of your body, making it more alkaline, says Rountree. The pH of the foods you eat or drink doesn’t directly affect the pH in your bloodstream, thanks to the acid-balancing act described above.

 

THE CULTURED CLUB

Detox Superstars: Yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi

 

Supporting Role: Keeping the gut healthy is central to overall health, and the probiotic bacteria found in these foods help balance the gastrointestinal tract. “A well-balanced gut microbiome has a wealth of friendly bacteria to keep harmful microorganisms in check,” says Giusti. She adds that a healthy microbial ecosystem also aids in digestion and nutrient generation, metabolism, and absorption; reduces bloating; normalizes bowel movements; and boosts immune function.

 

Good bacteria may also have the ability to bind to toxins in food and water, such as those from heavy metals. When pregnant women in pollution-fraught Tanzania regularly ate probiotic yogurt during their second and/or third trimesters, they reduced their absorption of mercury by up to 36 percent and arsenic by as much as 78 percent, according to 2014 research from Canada’s Lawson Health Research Institute.

 

Good to Know: The refrigerated section of the supermarket is your best source for probiotic-rich foods — not just yogurt and kefir, but also sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. “Products that are shelf stable have undergone pasteurization and canning processes that will heat the product and kill the beneficial bacteria,” says Giusti.

 

THE INFLAMMATION FIGHTERS

Detox Superstars: Salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, hemp oil, walnuts, flaxseeds

 

Supporting Role: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids support your body’s detox efforts on two levels. First, they help keep systemic inflammation in check. Your immune system is adept at fighting off invaders by creating inflammation in the body; chronic inflammation, however — often driven by diets heavy in refined carbohydrates, highly processed meats, and sweets — kicks off reactions that create oxidative stress in the body. This leads to the production of free radicals, unstable compounds that can start a chain reaction and cause cellular damage that contributes to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

 

“When we have oxidative stress in the body, we have more free radicals,” says Minich. “That’s one more thing to detoxify, and that adds stress to the detoxification process.”

 

Reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids (present in most commercial meats and processed foods) while increasing omega-3s is crucial to decreasing this “silent inflammation” that underlies chronic disease and leads to a runaway train of free radicals.

 

Omega-3s may also target toxins directly. According to University of Kentucky researchers, these fats prevent damage to the circulatory system caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), manmade chemicals once used widely in commercial and industrial applications, and still found in the environment despite being banned in 1979.

 

Good to Know: The form of omega-3 found in fish is the most effective; plant-based omega-3s found in walnuts and flaxseeds get converted in our bodies to the more powerful form, albeit in smaller amounts and at a relatively slow rate.

 

THE SWEAT STARTERS

Detox Superstars: Habanero peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, organic green tea, organic black tea, organic coffee

 

Supporting Role: The skin is your body’s largest organ, providing a barrier that keeps most foreign substances out. It’s also a surface through which some toxins can be excreted via your sweat. Certain foods can encourage perspiration and nudge your sweat glands to cleanse away. In a review of 24 studies published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers concluded that sweating has the potential to assist with removing toxins, such as heavy metals, from the body.

 

“The capsaicin in hot peppers creates a heated, metabolically revved response,” says Minich. Caffeine, she says, is also warming to the body — it stimulates certain liver enzymes.

 

Good to Know: Taking saunas and working up a sweat at the gym are good ways to support a detox-promoting lifestyle.

 

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IF YOU NEED MORE DETOX SUPPORT

 

An everyday approach to detox can help you maintain good health and prepare you for a more in-depth cleanse when you need it.

 

“If you’re eating a lot of detox-supporting foods but still suffering from fatigue, decreased cognition, or loss of memory, as well as gastrointestinal issues like bloating, or neurologic symptoms like tremors that doctors haven’t been able to get to the bottom of, you might need a more targeted detoxification program, or supplemental program”.

 

Please give us a call, the number is below, and ask for assistance in your healthcare needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL