Ancestral Fitness… How Far We’ve Come…

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With so much focus on ancestral diets, it is important to note that the nutrition piece is only part if resyncing ourselves with out genetic coding. Physical activity has no doubt decreased in modern society as we continue to advance technologically.

The dreams of the past of when computers and machines would make our lives much easier and increase the quality of living did not come true for most of us. Now don’t get me wrong, sure we can communicate at lightning fast speeds, automate production and travel more efficiently (even though I’m still waiting for my hover board from Back to the Future.) But, as our technological means have increased, so have the expectations of our production. We are working as many, if not more hours than before except now we are tethered to our devices sitting at desks, on planes, trains or in automobiles. Even the visit to a cubicle down the row has been replaced with a text message or email. Add in the morning and afternoon commutes, it’s no wonder over 35% of Americans are now obese. Read that again, over 35% of Americans are obese, not just overweight.

While it would be true to say that America has gotten lazy and simply let the blame lie there, in many cases we have actually just hoarded too many to-dos and are left with our time management cluttered and we don’t know where or how to fit functional fitness into our routines. We’ve forgotten how to move.

Regardless of ones view on the evolution vs creation debate, our ability to move is not only something we should not take for granted, it is a gift we should celebrate as a species! I mean, can you think of another animal on this planet capable of what we are? Crawling, walking, running, jumping, ducking, dodging, climbing, swimming, diving, pulling, pushing, lifting, throwing, catching etc… And with the correct apparati, you can even throw gliding and flying in there. You get my point, we are truly the Swiss Army Knife of biological organisms.

I’m really excited to spend the next several weeks revisiting a study done by the esteemed Dr. Loren Cordain (pioneer of the paleo movement) and colleagues on how fitness was incorporated in the lives of our ancestors and why it is still possible, and critically necessary, to revive this “movement” in our lives today.

The Power of Healing Yourself with Food

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I believe that with every action we take, every thought we think and every morsel we put in our body, we are moving towards greater health and vitality or we are moving towards faster aging, illness and death. What if we had thepower of healing and living at optimum health at our fingertips? I believe we do.

Our diets are a key component to the functioning of EVERY part of our body. I was thinking about the food I used to eat. I don’t think the food I ate as a child and young adult were much different than the average person in this country. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, bagels and cream cheese, homemade chocolate chip cookies, apples, grapes. As I became an adult, a few more greens, other veggies, whole wheat and other grains made their way into my diet, along with more variety (and a few more indulgences).But, along the way, my body began to break down, and it didn’t take long. I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata when I was 8 years old. Then as a young adult, I learned that I had an underactive thyroid and then Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which really turned out to be leaky gut syndrome (yes, its as bad as it sounds).

Unfortunately none of the many doctors I saw ever suspected my sugar, gluten, dairy, low-fat and preservative-filled diet could have had an impact. Diet and possible food sensitivities were never discussed.There are countless studies that point to the direct impact of our diets on our health. A recent paper inThe New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases that can be caused just by eating gluten. Most people with a gluten or food sensitivity often attribute their symptoms to something else – not food.Not only does food have the ability to do damage, but it also has the ability to support our body in its natural healing processes.

After many years of symptoms, some obvious and some not so much, I’ve discovered the power of healing with food. Making dietary changes aren’t necessarily easy, even if the goal is as important as healing an illness. But it’s critical to add in the life-giving foods that our body needs to thrive — like fruits, veggies, healthy fats and water— and begin removing inflammation-causing foods, like gluten and sugar. At times it’s been overwhelming and frustrating. Why would I want to give up eating warm, delicious French bread in my favorite restaurant or my mother’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, that I’ve known and loved my entire life? Is it really worth it? As I began realizing the tremendous impact my diet has had on my health and the possibility of healing my body of the Alopecia Areata that I’ve had for 36 years, I’ve often thought, “Ok, I can do this. It’s not that hard.” That is, until I’m face to face with that cookie! More than once, I’ve said to myself, I’m willing to sacrifice a few hairs for this cookie. (Can you tell I like cookies?) Seriously, one cookie is not going to determine the growth of a single hair or my overall health. But it has never been just one cookie.

The truth of the matter is, in order to actually heal our body (yes, it is possible to heal our body even with autoimmune disease) we need to make our health and our diet a priority. It really is about everything we put in our body, and the many lifestyle choices that we make each day, each moment. Making our health a priority is about feeling good, having optimal function of every part of our body and wanting great health more than satisfying a momentary craving with our favorite treat. It’s also about balance and discovering new favorite foods that support our health instead of destroying it.It’s about being patient and allowing our body to heal. It takes time to heal.It’s about trust — trusting that sound nutrition and whole natural foods support healing and good health and our body has the capacity to heal.
And it’s about knowing that we can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results.Take back your power. Take back your health. You are the captain of your ship, the one and only one you’ll ever have. The time is now. 

By Jodi Briden at Mind Body Green

Got Tailgate?

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It’s that time of the year again. Whether you know or care about who is playing, are in it for the commercials, or just looking forward to the party, the Super Bowl is conveniently scheduled each year at a perfect time to derail any of your New Years resolutions. But, if you plan ahead, there is no need to sabotage yourself, or go hungry. I’ll be hitting it hard this week with healthy options to keep you fueled for the game. For now, some tips to remember…

Bake: Many foods can be prepared in a much healthier way just by skipping the fryer. Try baking your wings, kale chips, sweet potato or butternut squash fries and season them with spices instead of dipping in sugar filled sauces and ketchup.

Substitute: Look for healthier options like uncured sausages and hotdogs made from grass fed beef, chicken or pork. Skip the sour cream and substitute greek yogurt in your dips.

Make Fresh: Salsa, guacamole and dips are easy for you to prepare on your own with fresh local ingredients. Avoid the cans and jars as these have unwanted sugar and additives like MSG.

Dip Wisely: Skip the chip… And the crackers while you’re at it. Go for raw vegetables, homemade kale chips and other dehydrated vegetables. Avoid processed cheese and sour cream dips in favor of pesto or roasted red pepper. Keeping in mind that hummus is traditionally made with garbanzo beans, a legume, if you don’t have any inflammatory issues with beans this is always a better substitute than many others although you will still face the antinutrient issues. Keep your eyes out this week for a great cauliflower hummus recipe that can be flavored in any way you like.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

With rain in the forecast the rest of the week, it was a perfect day for one of my favorite pastimes and the closest I have come to a Zen moment. I’m not talking chicken soup for your soul. I’m talking about checking out from everything in my life that may be stressing me out at the time and being at perfect harmony with the universe. Some people meditate, some people create art, I make soup… A… Lot… Of… Soup… At a previous restaurant, my tomato soup called for exactly 50 tomatoes that I would fire roast individually by hand. Forgive the language, but when it comes to soup, I don’t f$&k around…

With the nasty weather coming later this week, what better than something that’ll stick to your insides and warm ya right up. Best yet, this soup is incredibly versatile when it comes to seasonings so before we get into it, I’ll touch on that. With a great full body and natural earthy sweetness, the butternut squash holds its own with just about anything you want to throw at it so when you season it, don’t be afraid to be bold. This is one recipe I am not going to list spices in the ingredients. That’s up to you. I will give you some ideas before we get into it of some of my faves.

Ideas:

– Simply seasoned with salt and pepper au natural…
– Cumin, salt, and pepper with a poblano coconut cream…
– Curry, any curry… Hot, sweet, rogan josh, vindaloo… Take your pick…
– Cloves and nutmeg, great for the holidays…

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash
2 Onions, white or yellow, small dice
2 Stalks Celery, small dice
1 Carrot, small dice
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped fine
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1 Cup Coconut Milk
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease sheet pan with 2 tbsp of oil.
2. Peel squash and cut in quarters, scoop out seeds and lay cut side down on sheet pan. Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes until soft. Will depend on oven and size of squash.
3. While squash is heating, sweat onion, celery and carrot with remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil on medium-low heat in sauce pot. Do not allow to brown. When softened, add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
4. Add squash to pot, top with chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Blend with immersion blender until smooth. (For smoother consistency you can strain through a fine mesh strainer, but you will be losing great fiber.) Continue to blend while adding cream. Note: This step can be done in a blender also. Blend in batches, never filling more than half the pitcher at a time or you will end up with a mess. Trust me…
5. This is where ya get to choose your own adventure. Be bold. Don’t be afraid. Find the flavor that suits your mood and make it happen.

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