Postnatal Return

After a woman grows and births a baby, her body has gone through a terrific amount of changes. While those changes have produced such a joyous outcome, the same changes can wreck hormonal homeostasis and deplete nutrient levels. Hormones are the main operators behind the child bearing process. Returning a woman’s natural hormonal rhythms post baby can be quite tricky and frankly depressing without nutritional support.

Similar to hormonal changes, a woman’s body must give a significant amount of her own vitamin and mineral reserves to her new baby. Getting those reserves back to a healthy baseline is critical not only to having energy today but also prepping for future offspring tomorrow.

New Food Rules: VEG OUT

Many people ask me, what do I need to do to be healthier? “Well… That depends… Healthy is such a relative term.” The answer is SO different for each person. Nonetheless, there is one universal piece of advice I give to absolutely everyone without fail: INCREASE your non-starchy VEGGIES DAILY.

 

Non-starchy veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. They help you feel full and satisfied. They are very low in sugar, fat, and calories. Veggies enhance pretty much every body system from the circulatory to the skin.

Two distinct points to make with this (not so new) food rule. First, I did not say eat more FRUIT and veggies. I left all off the fruit apart of the usual phrase for a reason. Fruit is a very nutritious part of any diet; however, 2 servings per day is ENOUGH. Fruit is composed of vitamins, fiber, and yes sugar. More is not necessarily better with the sugary goodness.

Secondly, add more veggies of the NON-STARCHY type. Corn, peas, and potatoes are all examples of starchy vegetables. Just like with fruit, the main components of starchy vegs are vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates (which triggers an insulin spike.) Not to say that these types of foods are bad, we just do need more than 2 – 3 servings per day of them.

More than likely, you knew the WHYS to consume veggies more often. But actually getting the goodness from the frig to your mouth is much harder. Here are 3 tips to making it work.

 

Prep Your Fridge: When prepping a quick lunch or going for a speedy snack, a head of cauliflower or whole carrots are not going to make the cut. In the moment, bringing out the cutting board and breaking down the item will just not happen. Especially when crackers or chips are much easier to grab. Instead make it your intention to cut each veg right after you purchase your stash. You will be surprised how much more appealing a strip of bell pepper or a wedge of zucchini are when they are bit sized and ready to go!

carrots and broccoli pic 2cut carrots and broccoli pic

 

Make a Tasty Dip: Let’s face it… raw veggies are not that punch of flavor that your favorite chips might be. Why not change this fact? Explore different sauces, dips, or hummus recipes that get you excited about the afternoon snack time.

carrots and broccoli pic

Here is one of my personal and recent favorites:

Ian’s GrIans Green Dressingeen Dressing

One big handful of basil | One handful of           parsley | 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard | 2 – 3 squeezed lemons | 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil |     2 – 3 cloves of garlic | Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Enjoy! (NOTE: For a thicker version, sub half of an avocado for ½ cup of oil. Or try MCT oil instead of olive oil.)

 

 

Blend it Up: Have an “easy-out” on hand on those days that you just cannot seem to fit it all in. There are many brands of “green powders” on the market that you can add to either a full smoothie, a vegan milk, or even just water. I encourage purchasing a few different sample packs to do a bit of taste testing. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and preservatives. Vega One is currently the brand in my diet routine.

Vega One Mix Pic

Let’s Supper: 9th Edition!

The holiday season brings a ton of EXTRAS to the to-do list. De-stress with a comforting, nutritious, and simple meal at home.  *Note: All recipes serve 4.

Supper 1:

Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over roughly chopped butternut squash (1 – 2 pounds), 2 small sweet potatoes, and 1 yellow onion on baking sheet. Season with a tablespoon curry powder, teaspoon cinnamon, teaspoon nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until lightly brown and tender. Transfer veggies to deep stock pot over with 1 – 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Begin to mash veggies to release flavor. Add 2 cups of low sodium, veggie broth and 1 cartoon of culinary coconut cream. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before blending with immersion blender or stand blender. Transfer back to stock pot and bring back to simmer. Option to add toasted and buttered, gluten free bread on side. (I prefer “Food for Life” flax and rice gluten free bread).

Supper 2:

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Rotisserie Chicken

In a large serving bowl, add shredded bunch of kale and 1 head of cabbage. Massage 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt to greens for 2 minutes. Set aside to allow oil to soften greens. Combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper in small bowl before whisking in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add shredded rotisserie (organic if possible) chicken to greens with diced Fuji apples and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper for finishing.

 Supper 3:

Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots & Greens

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 12 carrots into 1 – 2 inch slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon raw honey, salt, and pepper. Transfer to sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes. Season pork chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of curry powder. In cast iron skillet, cook chops for 1 – 2 minutes on each side. Place 1 pat of butter on each chop before placing in oven for 5 – 10 more minutes (depends on thickness of chop and temperature preference.) At the end of pork chop and carrot cooking, sauté 2 bags/bunches of spinach in 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chopped garlic. Season spinach with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Plate pork chop, carrots, and greens as soon as spinach is wilted.

Supper 4:

Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon and add large diced yellow onions. Once onions are softened, add 1 package of diced chicken and apple sausage. Allow to heat through before adding 1 pound, halved Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate. Pour 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of chicken broth to pan. Cover and allow sprouts to steam for 8 minutes or until tender. Uncover and add 2 – 3 sliced apples to pan. Stir again to combine. Once apples are tender, the dish is ready to serve.

 

Grocery List:

Produce:

1 large sweet potato (or 2 small)

1 medium butternut squash

2 onion, yellow

1 bunch lacinato kale

1 head cabbage

1 lemon

4 Fuji apples

12 carrots

2 bunches/bag spinach

Garlic

1 bunch/1 pound Brussel sprouts

 

Protein:

1 rotisserie, store bought chicken (organic is preferable)

4 small pork chops

1 package apple chicken sausage (I like Applegate brand.)

 

Cold/Diary:

Butter (unsalted, grass-fed)

1 round goat cheese (grass fed, if available)

 

Pantry:

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 carton of culinary coconut milk

Vegetable broth, low sodium

Chicken broth, low sodium

Apple cider vinegar

Maple syrup, grade A or B

Raw honey

Dried herbs: Curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper flakes

 

 

5 Minutes to a Better Booty

Dreaming of a perky, yoga pants don’t know what hit them, BOOTY? Small, concentrated movements are fab at hitting all the right muscles. The trick is to perform all of the movements at various angles to incorporate the 3 glutes. These 5 moves can be performed standing or down on all fours. I recommend doing both ways to see how it feels different. Perform a few times each week to really see the change happen.

 

To start, stand or lower down to hands and knees.

0:00 – 0:30 Right Leg: Horse kicks Leg with bent knee facing down, and foot flexed, pulse back from the hip leaving hips tucked
0:30 – 1:00 Right Leg: Attitude pulses Knee bent, opened, and parallel to ground, pulse up from outer buttock
1:00 – 1:30 Right Leg: Attitude cross pulses Knee bent, opened, and parallel to ground, pulse leg  towards midline of body
1:30 – 2:00 Right Leg: Hydrant to arabesque Leg coming to right side with bent knee opened and parallel to ground, extend leg straight behind
2:00 – 2:30 Right Leg: Arrow lifts With straight leg, knee facing outerward, and slightly outside of body line, raise leg from hip to midline, lower to opposite side
2:30 – 3:00 Left Leg: Horse kicks Leg with bent knee facing down and foot flexed, pulse back from the hip leaving hips tucked
3:00 – 3:30 Left Leg: Attitude pulses Knee bent, opened, and parallel to ground, pulse up from outer buttock
3:30 – 4:00 Left Leg: Attitude cross pulses Knee bent, opened, and parallel to ground, pulse leg  towards midline of body
4:00 – 4:30 Left Leg: Hydrant to arabesque Leg coming to right side with bent knee opened and parallel to ground, extend leg straight behind
4:30 – 5:00 Left Leg: Arrow lifts With straight leg, knee facing outerward, and slightly outside of body line, raise leg from hip to midline, lower to opposite side

 

Food For Thought: Grass-fed Craze

Grass-fed has become a huge buzz term in the health arena. Here is a amazing video from the Weston A. Price foundation explaining not only why eating grass fed is important for our health but also why is important from an agricultural stance.

Remember, every grocery store visit or meal ordered is a vote you have to influence farmers, distributors, big food companies, and restaurants. The buying power is a very effective tool to help change how our food is produced to how much it cost.

All Health Begins in the Gut

All health begins in the gut… Wait, what?!? In the traditional sense, most of us think that the stomach as having one function of getting our food where it needs to go. Instead of taking the gut for granted, we need to recognize it as a vital role for both the WHOLE body.

 

Many in the health arena are coining the term of Gut-Brain. There is a close collaboration between the gut and brain in order to maintain both physical and mental health. Our nervous system is tightly integrated into the stomach with almost 100,000,000 neurons (this is as many neurons in the spinal cord) in the stomach lining. These neurons ensure that our food is digested, our IMMUNE system is regulated, and our brain is informed about nutritional status, inflammation, and stress.

So, the gut is a big deal. How do we keep it healthy? One answer: Nurture our bacteria. Our guts house 100 TRILLION bacteria. I’m going to let this Ted Talk scientist give a vivid picture of the impact of these microbes.

For your gut microbes, diversity is good! Low microbial diversity, or dysbiosis,  is associated with inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and the presence of disease causing bad bacteria. Healthy individuals’ microbes have also been shown to produce more fatty acids to aid in weight management. To top if off, dysbiosis is associated with inflammatory bowel disease or syndrome.

The Savage Solution:

Each fermented, probiotic foods such as grass-fed cow-milk yogurt, goat’s milk yogurt, kefir, komucha tea, saucerkraut, pickles (check label for additives), or raw cheeses. Include a serving or two of these foods every day.

Supplement with a quality probiotic. Look for a high number of probiotic stands (15 billion to 100 billion) and over 10 different strands. Also be sure to check the expiration date on the bottle. (If taking a probiotic for a specific purpose, be sure to research what best strains to consume.)

Avoid the overuse of antibiotics in both medicine and food supply (ie antibiotics in meats).

Avoid the overuse of such medications as antacids, steroids, acid blockers, and birth control.

Avoid excess processed sugar in your diet.

Asian Spiced Chicken with Root Vegetables

Combining Asian spices with fall friendly root vegetables is a twist on the usual side dish. Trust me, this will be a go to veggie dish to pair with any meat. Chicken goes nicely here but pork would be an tasty sub.

Ingredients

4 bone-in chicken breast (organic, if possible)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons yellow curry powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 large turnips, large dice

3 medium parsnips, large dice

6 medium carrots, large dice

10 small golden beets (or 2 large), large dice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1/2 tablespoon dried sage powder

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free option)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix spices for chicken rub (garlic, curry, chili powder, plus salt and pepper to taste). Drizzle chicken breast with olive oil and rub spice mixture on each piece. Place on baking sheet and cook for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on oven).

While chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the diced turnips and parsnips to the water and cook for 2 minutes. Using large spoon, transfer the turnips and parsnips to baking sheet. Continue with carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes followed by beets for 5 minutes.

Season the vegetables with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and sage. In the same oven, cook the veggie mixture for 25 minutes.

Once slightly browned, remove the vegetables. In small bowl, combine white vinegar and soy sauce. Drizzle with over the vegetables and taste for any needed salt and pepper.

Fill over 1/2 of plate with veggies and a side of chicken for a great Savage Standard portioned plate!

(Note: Some bone-in chicken breast may be larger than protein need. Cutting in half is always an option! Save for lunch!)