Food as Medicine

Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice

Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries

I am very excited to share this Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice recipe, because it really helped me break my breakfast rut and is perfect for summer.  It takes so little active time to prepare at night, then no time at all in the morning to pop out of the fridge.  And it feels like eating dessert for breakfast which is always fun.

For breakfast I’m usually pretty boring: a lot of oatmeal during the winter and granola during the summer, and mix it up on weekends with pancakes, waffles and the like.  But I have been getting so tired of my go-to breakfast, and I really wanted something cool and something fast (still rushing one kiddo off to camp most of the week!).  I also really love to get something extra nutritious into my body first thing in the day to start things right, but am not quite at the point of eating leafy greens before 11am.

I have also been reading Mark Fuhrman’s excellent book, Super Immunity, which makes a very compelling case for the healing powers of natural plant-foods.  He has a recipe for Forbidden Rice Pudding, which uses a Chinese purple rice that is actually higher in antioxidants than blueberries!  Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.  Eating antioxidants can have a wide range of health effects, including reducing the risk for cancer, inflammation, aging, and cell damage.  It’s good to eat antioxidants.

This seemed promising; the nutritional power of berries in a rice pudding that can be  made [...]

Next Week’s Meal Plan Menu ~ Healthy Meal Plans

May 25 2014 meal plan photo

 

Healthy meal plans are Eat Happy Meal Plan’s specialty!  Not healthy in the low-cal, low-fat, rabbit-food kind of way.   Rather, in the – no one has adulterated these ingredients to strip the awesome nutrients from them – kind of way.  Just look at that list of amazing produce that’s worked into the week of dishes!  Farm-fresh arugula, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, peppers, etc.  Eating this way places so many nutrients in the body.  I have seen it hundreds of times in my health coaching clients – the body just starts working better.

Next week’s meal plan is full of one-dish wonders.  Here is the full line-up:

~Warm Lentil and Kale Salad with Portobello Mushrooms
~Beef and Broccoli with Brown Rice
~Arugula and Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan with Whole Grain Rolls or Crackers 
~Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Salad

Eat Happy Meal Plan will be immensely beneficial to you if you want to eat this way, but don’t have the time (or knowledge or experience or desire) to do the planning.  Eat Happy Meal Plan does the work for you, and makes it mindless and delicious.

Sign up today to get your Eat Happy Meal Plan each Thursday in your inbox.

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Gluten-Free Diet Lowers Type I Diabetes in Mice

Both celiac disease and type I diabetes run in my family, so this study about how a gluten-free diet reduced incidences of type I diabetes in mice is particularly interesting.  For years researchers and holistically-oriented health care practitioners have been pointing out a link between both dairy and gluten consumption and an increase in autoimmune disease (type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease, distinctly different from type II which is generally later-onset and related to lifestyle).

This study is the first I’ve seen with this angle: showing that a gluten-free diet can actually reduce the incidence of type I diabetes in baby mice (pups).  Consuming both dairy and gluten increases intestinal permeability, which can weaken the gut environment, make nutrients more difficult to absorb, and damage the immune system.

The researchers who conducted this study have hypothesized that changes to the digestive system and resulting immune system changes could be at root of the causal link between the gluten and type I diabetes.  However, there isn’t any current research that bares out the exact nature of the connection.

I would certainly love to see more research in this area.  Some of us, who have a family history of type 1 diabetes, or any autoimmune disease as I do, may consider adopting a gluten-free diet during pregnancy and lactation, in order to reduce the likelihood of our kids getting one of these diseases.

For more information on the study, click here.  For a fail-proof roadmap to adopting a nutritious gluten-free diet check out Eat Happy Meal Plan.

  • Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List May 11 2014
    Permalink Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List May 11 2014Gallery

    This week’s Eat Happy Meal Plan ~ Healthy Meal Plans ~ May 11, 2014

This week’s Eat Happy Meal Plan ~ Healthy Meal Plans ~ May 11, 2014

Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List May 11 2014 Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List May 11 2014

Have you thought about leveraging healthy meal plans to improve your health and make your life easier?  If you are feeling confused about what to eat, or how or what to cook to get it all in, Eat Happy Meal Plan can be your lifesaver.  After working with clients for several years I realized that, even if people were told the important foods to include in their diets, they were struggling at fitting them into their routine.  So I created Eat Happy Meal Plan to help my clients and others to make the process of planning, shopping, and cooking easier.

The meals are delicious, nutrient-dense, and based on whole unprocessed foods. Here is the menu for next weeks meal plan:
1) Baked Mediterranean Trout with Tomatoes, Capers and Rosemary with Green Bean Fries and Roasted New Potatoes 
2) Spring Salad with Strawberries, Rhubarb, Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken 
3) Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Tomato Frittata with Chili Sweet Potato Fries 
4)  Sandwiches with Arugula Walnut Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers and Chicken (or Portobello Mushrooms) with a Simple Salad

So much thought goes into these meal plans – that’s time that you don’t have to spend.  It’s ease of mind that you’re now eating a nutrient-filled diet (look at all of that produce in the shopping list!).  Here are some of the considerations that go into planning Eat Happy Meal Plan:

  • Every week contains a wide range of plant-based foods, including green leafy vegetables in 90% of meals as well as an abundance of high-carotenoid foods from other vegetables
  • At least 2 meals per week use primarily plant-based [...]

This Week’s Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu ~ Healthy Meal Plans

  • "Eat Snapshot of Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List May 5, 2014

Have you thought about leveraging healthy meal plans to improve your health and make your life easier?  If you are feeling confused about what to eat, or how or what to cook to get it all in, Eat Happy Meal Plan can be your lifesaver.  After working with clients for several years I realized that, even if people were told the important foods to include in their diets, they were struggling at fitting them into their routine.  So I created Eat Happy Meal Plan to help my clients and others to make the process of planning, shopping, and cooking easier.

The meals are delicious, nutrient-dense, and based on whole unprocessed foods. Here is the menu for next weeks meal plan:
1) Lime and Cumin Marinated Flank Steak, Spanish Rice with Black Beans and Corn, Steamed Broccoli
2) Quick Shrimp (or Tofu) and Bok Choy Noodle Soup
3) Rice Bowls with Black Beans, Corn and Avocado
4) Asparagus and Spinach Soup with Whole Grain Crackers or Bread and Cheese

So much thought goes into these meal plans – that’s time that you don’t have to spend.  It’s ease of mind that you’re now eating a nutrient-filled diet (look at all of that produce in the shopping list!).  Here are some of the considerations that go into planning Eat Happy Meal Plan:

  • Every week contains a wide range of plant-based foods, including green leafy vegetables in 90% of meals as well as an abundance of high-carotenoid foods from other vegetables
  • At least 2 meals per week use primarily plant-based proteins [...]

Eliminate Sugar Cravings with Bitter Foods

Dandelion Greens with Wehani Rice Dandelion Greens with Wehani Rice, image permissions

Oftentimes people try to eliminate sugar cravings by increasing their consumption of naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, dates, and natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup.  While these foods are certainly better choices than refined sugar, I find that this switch alone isn’t effective at eliminating the crushing sugar cravings that many sugar-addicted people experience.  In fact, only switching to naturally sweet foods can make sugar cravings worse.

One of the most effective tips I’ve witnessed in my clients in eliminating even the worst sugar cravings is to increase consumption of bitter foods.  In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sweet and bitter are viewed as opposite flavors – yin vs. yang.  Eating too much sugary and sweet foods places the body in a state of imbalance and causes a snowballing of sugar cravings.  The best way to balance the body is therefore to increase the consumption of bitter foods – think about balancing an old-fashioned scale with weights on both sides.

Bitter foods also have the advantage of being some of the most detoxifying and nourishing for the body.  This article written recently by Dr. Andrew Weil describes how important bitter foods are in the diet and their many benefits.

Add bitter foods, such as arugula, dandelion greens, endive, green tea, and even unsweetened cocoa nibs (the stuff chocolate is made from) to your diet several times per day to decrease your overall sugar cravings.  Eating a teaspoon of cocoa nibs or drinking a cup of green tea is a very effective and immediate cure for acute sugar cravings.

As time passes and you continue [...]

Does Sugar Make You Sick?

Sugar in various forms

Sugar in various forms

Will your intake of sugar make you sick?  A new book, “Year of No Sugar: A Memoir”, was written after the author watched a popular video discussing how devastating sugar is to the body.  As a result the author devoted an entire year to abstaining from eating processed sugar in nearly any form – not just for herself, but also her husband and two young children.

What is the value in such an extreme experiment?  From the author’s perspective, she appeared to be equally curious about the health effects of sugar as she was excited about an extreme challenge.  I know how pervasive sugar is, and a year without any added sugars is a lot to take on.

But it’s not without value.  From my perspective as a health coach, giving up all sugars for a period of time is extremely effective at accomplishing two goals.  First, it forces people to become hyper-vigilant, read all labels, and ask questions about the foods they’re eating in restaurants.  This provides a lot of information and great perspective about what’s really in purchased food.  My clients and participants in cleanses are nearly always amazed at how much sugar is hidden in their foods – especially foods that we don’t think of as sweet.

Secondly, as long as the experiment is done for at least 2 weeks, people get to experience the physical benefits of eliminating sugar.  Sugar affects people differently, but cutting down or eliminating it virtually always improves overall energy and mood, and can also improve your hormonal balance, reduce headaches, improve skin quality, improve digestion and immunity, and even alleviate allergies, [...]

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze

I just made this Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze last week, and I already want to make it again.  It went quickly in my house – I think my husband took care of the leftovers before I had a chance to.

I post a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes on this blog, which I love, but I do eat meat a couple of times a week in small quantities.  I tried being vegetarian once and I just felt…deficient.  So I’ve accepted that this is what I need for now and I buy naturally-fed meat from ethically-raised animals from our local farmer’s market and feel pretty good about it.  As a health coach I find it’s important to honor what your body needs.  The reality is that we evolved eating animals and on an intuitive physical level many of us may just need it to thrive.  Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the importance of meat in building strength and vitality.  True story: at my first appointment with an acupuncturist the doctor said, “I don’t have to worry about you becoming a vegetarian, do I?” (I did make the vegetarian attempt not too long after that, with short-lived and totally unsuccessful results).

Many of us in the holistic nutrition world may feel pressure to be vegetarian, or vegan, and as I said it is important to listen to your body.   Some thrive on a vegetarian diet and I’ve seen others actually become more ill after becoming vegetarian!  That said, most Americans will benefit [...]

New Study Shows Broccoli and Kale Can Lower Inflammation

broccoli

A new study has put some specifics around how broccoli and kale can lower inflammation in the body.  Check out any good anti-inflammatory food pyramid and you’ll see that vegetables make up the base, meaning they’re the foundations of an anti-inflammatory diet.  Yet there aren’t a ton of scientific studies demonstrating just how vegetables actually lower inflammation.

So it’s great to see this study, which shows just how powerful cruciferous vegetables are.  Cruciferous vegetables are those in the cabbage family, and include all cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli and cauliflower.  Research was led by Dr. Gong Yang  at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  Read below for an overview of his methods and findings:

“Yang and colleagues analyzed signs of inflammation in the blood of 1,005 middle-aged Chinese women who filled out questionnaires about their diets as part of the Shanghai Women’s Health Study.

The participants included in the new analysis were generally healthy, and had an average age of 58. Yang and his colleagues divided the women into five groups based on their daily intake of cruciferous vegetables.

The median intake of cruciferous vegetables was just under one cup per day, with women in the lowest fifth consuming about half that amount. The women in the top fifth of consumption took in about 1.5 cups of cruciferous vegetables every day.

The researchers then measured levels of signaling molecules involved in causing inflammation in the women’s blood. Blood levels of three important inflammatory molecules – tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin-1beta (IL-1b) and [...]

Whole Foods Cleanse: Results are IN!

veggies_cuttingboard

As you may recall I ran my first-ever 12 Day Whole Foods Cleanse and Detox about a month ago.  I was so excited to offer this program and expected participants to have great results.  After looking at the final survey responses….I am thrilled to report that results were as positive as I had hoped.

On the program, participants were asked to eat only whole, unprocessed foods, and avoid common problem foods/substances including dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, along with any and all processed ingredients (refined flours, processed meats, etc).  Ok to eat were an abundance of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and unprocessed animal foods such as whole cuts of wild salmon and pasture-raised turkey or chicken.  For support participants were provided with two weeks of cleanse-friendly meal plans from Eat Happy Meal Plan, daily support emails, and conference calls during key points during the cleanse.

Here are key findings from the final survey:

  • 100% of participants reported at least 1 positive result while on average individuals reported 3.6 positive results
  • The number one most common positive result was improved digestion, with 70% of respondents reporting this result
  • The next most common cleanse results were a reduction in food cravings and clearer sinuses (tied for second most common) and improved mental clarity and better sleep (tied for third most common)
  • Cleanse respondents reported an average difficulty, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most difficult, of 2.1 (no one responded with higher than a 3)
  • The number one most beneficial support mechanism provided was the weekly meal plans, from Eat Happy Meal Plans (special cleanse edition!)
  • Finally, 100% [...]