Flaxseeds: A Hormonal Powerhouse

After taking some time to think long and hard about what is best to share via social media and the Savage Standard blog, I am starting a series on small POWERHOUSE additions that will benefit {MOST} women regardless of the life stage they are in. Trying to balance hormones, trying to have a baby, or trying to recover after said baby (maybe even years later), I want to encourage the inclusion of SUPERFOODS, if you will. The focus should be on the power of whole foods and how to get them in on a regular basis. Let’s not dwell on what is off limits or bad or how we are not measuring up. Just small, little grocery store items to add to the list that make you feel like super woman.


First up, FLAXSEEDS. These little guys are packed with vitamin E, a healthy dose of your omega fatty acids (caveat: they are not a source of DHA), and a compound called lignans. Lignans have antioxidant and phytoestrogen compounds which assist in healthy gut flora as well has balancing estrogen levels. While, I could write a term paper on their benefits, here are the top 4 for women:

Benefit 1: Stress hormones, which can completely cause chaos to overall hormonal balance, have been shown to be reduced by flaxseeds. Research has related that the intake of flax can decrease stress hormones, such as cortisol, as well as overall perceived level of stress.

Benefit 2: Studies have shown that flaxseeds aid in a woman ovulating during EACH menstrual cycle. If trying to conceive, ensuring ovulation happens each month is critical. If not trying to make a baby, releasing an egg every cycle is still very important for hormonal production.

Benefit 3: With its high fiber content, these seeds help to reduce excess estrogen in circulation. Reducing unwanted estrogen in conjunction with ensuring ovulation occurs promotes balance with progesterone to estrogen ratios.

Benefit 4: The powerhouse seed has been related to lower hemoglobin A1C levels. If struggling with PCOS, controlling blood sugar levels is very important in reducing symptoms and managing the disease.


Lets Game Plan:

Aim to get 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day.

Considering either buying whole flaxseeds and grinding yourself OR storing pre-ground flaxseeds in the refrigerator. The fats in the seeds go rancid very quickly which means money down the drain.

Add ground flax to smoothies, cold cereals, soups, or stews. Sprinkle them on top of salads or baked casseroles for a nutty crunch.

A personal favorite is to add a tablespoon on top of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal, served with a nut milk and sliced bananas.

SIMPLE BANANA FLAX BREAD: Mash 4 very ripe bananas in a bowl. Add ¾ cup coconut flour, 5 beaten eggs, ¼ cup coconut sugar, 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds (or flax meal), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the batter into a lined loaf pan, top with ¼ to ½ cup chopped walnuts (depending on liking) and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and store in fridge.

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

 

 

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!)

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

This cookie recipe is one of the easiest around. The combination of sweeteners give the recipe a bit more interest. No flour or gluten is involved.

Ingredients

1 cup organic, creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup stevia, “whole-leaf”

3 tablespoons raw honey

1 large egg, pasture raised

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Using 2 spoons, scoop dough and form into balls on greased baking sheet. Press fork on top of cookie to make grooves. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Pumpkin is an amazing ingredient not only for fancy lattes but also baked goods. Traditional baked goods are a sugar bomb. These muffins are clean, light, and low sugar. They pair PERFECTLY with a steaming cup of coffee (or Bulletproof coffee) for breakfast or served even as a pre-workout snack. Did i mention they are gluten free too!

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, pastured raised

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup butter, melted

6 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease either 12 large muffin pan or 24 mini muffin pan with butter. Whisk dry ingredients (coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt) together in large bowl. In second bowl, whisk wet ingredients (eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, coconut oil, butter, and maple syrup). Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine. Divide batter in pan and top with chopped pecans. Place in oven and bake for 22 – 24 minutes.

Spicy Sausage, Pepper, & Quinoa Stirfry

It’s time to spice things up! Try this super simple Cajun stirfry with Andouille sausage and peppers. Add quinoa for a complex carbohydrate to round out the meal.

 

Ingredients:

1 package of spicy Andouille turkey or chicken sausage (nitrate, preservative free)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 bell peppers (differing colors), large chop

1 yellow onion, large chop

1 cup dry quinoa (any type will work)

2 cups chicken broth (no or low sodium)

1 bunch scallions, sliced

Dried oregano

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut peppers and onions into large chucks and spread on baking sheet. Coat with 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. (Long enough to bring out the flavors but not lose their firmness.)

Place rinsed quinoa in sauce pan and cover with 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover for 15 minutes.

During the last few minutes of peppers and quinoa cooking, add 2 tablespoon of coconut oil to large skillet. Add sliced sausage. Allow to heat through and flavor the oil before adding peppers and onions.  Stir for 1 – 2 minutes and add cooked quinoa.  Stir again and add scallions.

Taste test for seasonings. Add any additional salt, pepper, or dried herbs of choice. Serve in bowls or cassoulet dish.

Laissez le bon temps rouler!