Surviving The Holidays With Food Sensitivities

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21 Days of Blogging- Day 2.

Few things seem to bring out people’s food issues like sharing a meal at the holidays.

During this time of year you’ll hear about people gaining 10 pounds of ‘holiday weight’ as they gorge themselves on the lovely indulgence of traditional dishes that don’t always serve a healthy or healing body.

During these festive get togethers my sensitivity and avoidance to foods that contain gluten, dairy, sugar, some nightshades, and corn frequently feels like an issue or an inconvenience if I’m the only one eating that way.

If you would have known me several years ago I was the first one to the table as I sampled through everything the table had to offer and then go back for seconds. Family dinners were awesome.

Those awesome eating experiences changed when I quit eating gluten and dairy. People generally don’t have any idea how to modify their recipes (nor do I ever expect them to do so only for me) so unless I expose my digestive system to gluten and dairy I am left out from enjoying everything on the menu. My experience has often been that I will be able to eat the meat (when I’m eating meat) if it doesn’t have any weird spices or sauces and I can eat the veggies if they are not dressed with butter or cheese. It is a very limiting experience and if not planned for a major let down while everybody else is drooling over their decadent food and you are left with plain food.

  1. When possible, talk with the host beforehand about what is being planned for the menu and ask if you can bring anything and/or if they can set aside your portions without dairy and sauces containing gluten.
  2. Bring your own dishes or sauces and make enough to share. Your dish might be the one thing on the table you will eat.
  3. Be grateful. No matter if you can only eat one thing on the table, you can eat one thing. Enjoy every healthy bite while you share time with loved ones.
  4. Prepare to have other people feel bad for you because you are so fragile and limited and can’t indulge like they can. Ugh.
  5. Try to keep your manners and not be judgemental when people tell you how they know they would be much healthier if they gave up certain foods and then proceed to pile said foods on their plate, eat them up in front of you then complain about their indigestion and bloated bellies after dinner. Its an odd experience for me to watch and an exercise in holding my tongue.
  6. Prepare to not be able to have dessert. This one hurts. As a foodie, this one hurts. Bring your own, if possible.
  7. Remember why you are skipping the foods that cause angst in your body. Honoring your body with the best food possible will leave you feeling better in the morning.

When you face food limitations because of your health, you also get to witness how limited other people are in the same old food habits they don’t feel are necessary to upgrade.

Good luck keeping your food healthy this holiday season! We got this.

See you tomorrow.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

Becoming An American Immigrant In 2017

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This week I proudly became an American citizen. They told me at my oath ceremony that it is my right to pursue happiness and that is what I plan to do. Up until now I haven’t talked much about the fact that I am an immigrant. I’ve lived in the US for twelve years and while I may have only moved across the Canadian border it has been a major shift in my world.

When I first moved here George Bush was president and performing shock and awe in the middle east. Moving to a place where you see a military presence everywhere including overhead from a place where you rarely see military is a really crazy feeling. Mildly unnerving at first, but you do somewhat get used to it. Same with the number of guns that people have either in their house or on them at all times, they take the right to bear arms very seriously here and that was a major culture shock for a Canadian farm girl that had never held a gun until she moved to America.

Moving from a country that provides health care to everybody to a country where people regularly go bankrupt and lose everything because they get sick and cannot afford the costs of their medical bills- that makes me uncomfortable on every level. I don’t dare get sick here even if I have insurance and am certainly proactive in making healthy choices to prevent anything worse than the chronic conditions I already have that they can’t cure.

I started reading food labels here and noticed that the ingredient lists are different. There seems to be a lot more ingredients and additives in the food.  Since moving here I either become acutely aware of or actually developed sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I don’t dare eat things with gluten and dairy anymore. On the bonus side, food is way less expensive than in Canada.

Obesity is a real thing here. One of my first times going to a county fair, I experienced my own kind of shock and awe witnessing the excessive amount and size of the food they were serving and the size of the people eating that food. Before moving here I had been working in a health bubble of sorts as the Fitness Manager of two women’s only clubs in Vancouver, BC personal training, teaching classes, and running boot camps on the beaches. Seeing such blatant obesity and obvious imbalance was a major culture shock to me. I adjusted by personal training outdoors, out of my garage studio, and improving my home cooking skills to avoid the ridiculous portions of low quality or low nutrient food served everywhere.

What is next for me now that I am a citizen of the country I’m living in? Why not start with free speech? I have a lot to say and this blog is one of the ways that I plan to practice that right. I want to spread wellness, self-health awareness, and positivity on a much larger scale.

I want to share the holistic options available to other people like myself who are seeking natural ways to manage long term health issues. One of these options that I have been using for my chronic pain, muscle spasms, and migraines is medical cannabis. Instead of taking multiple pharmaceutical pills I have one  non-toxic medicine I have a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, anti-anxiety and antidepressant. One unique way that I use this plant is eating it like a vegetable. I juice the fresh leaves or put them in my smoothies. I can’t wait to share this stuff with you!

I also am a huge fan of hemp. When I was learning about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of cannabis leaves I learned about eating hemp that doesn’t contain THC. This plant has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 for the human body. Plus it provides easily digestible protein and fiber. I have a lot of healthy recipes and ideas to share with you. You may have already noticed that every recipe I post has hemp in it, that is intentional. Check out this Blueberry Hemp Cake

I am a healthy food advocate. I started volunteering for a local food organization that feeds those in need with the less perfect but perfectly edible food that doesn’t end up in the grocery stores. They have a number of programs that help feed hungry children in the community, and that is really important to me. I would love to make it possible for every child in this country to have access to healthy food even if their parents cannot provide. That is my American dream.

Oh, and one more thing. When I told people that I had applied for my citizenship most of them asked me why. The simple answer…President Donald Trump. Not being able to vote in the last election really bothered me and I vowed to be a voter in the next one. I feel connected to this country and although it is certainly not perfect, its optimistic ideals move me.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

 

 

CBD Turmeric Bone Broth

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I spend a lot of energy promoting and consuming a plant based way of eating but that conversation shifts when we start talking about bone broths.

I swear by taking bone broth for improving immunity, moods, brain function, digestion, and reducing inflammation in my body. A good bone broth is full of beneficial minerals, gelatin, collagen, glutathione, glucosamine and packaged in a form that is easy to swallow and absorb.

I make my own because it is way less expensive than store bought, I can make it in bulk, and mine is always better.

About once a month I will cook a whole organic chicken, debone it, and put the carcass and any parts that won’t be eaten into the crockpot and brew a big batch of bone broth.

Once made it can be used in all sorts of recipes or easily frozen for later use. One of my favorite ways to take it is simply to sip it plain with a little hot water, salt, and pepper.

During this month’s batch I decided to try infusing it with a high CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis kief and powdered turmeric. The results were great. I’ve had it first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, and for dinner and no matter what it feels like I have done something good for myself.

CBD Turmeric Bone Broth

-bones and scraps from 1 organic chicken

-1T apple cider vinegar

-1 gram kief

-2T turmeric, or more

  1. Put the chicken parts in a crock pot and fill to about an inch from the top.
  2. Add apple cider vinegar and let sit over night on low. (This helps to bring nutrients out of the bones.)
  3. Remove all chicken parts and separate the liquid through a strainer.
  4. Return the liquid broth to the crockpot, add kief and turmeric, and let sit on low overnight.
  5. Use immediately or freeze individual portions for later use.

Notice that I did not decarboxylate my cannabis, which is something you may want to do before you add it to the broth. I didn’t feel the need to do so with this recipe or this particular strain of CBD (cannabidiol) rich kief.

If you are new to taking turmeric, feel good about adding generous amounts as it is beneficial for reducing inflammation, improving digestion, lowering blood sugar, and increasing bile production. It is mild in flavor and a bright yellow color that brings extra life to food.

Good health and peace to you.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

 

 

Do Vegans Eat Their Chia Pets?

Chiapuddin

Of course vegans eat their chia pets! I dare say that more than one chia pet has educated the vegan foodie to sprout their chia seeds before they eat them to maximize nutrition.

Do you eat chia seeds? You might want to as they are an amazing food for your digestive system, your heart, your skin, your brain, and your immune system.

I swear by them for how good they make my sensitive digestive system feel and for the long lasting kick of energy they predictably provide. Lately, I have found myself on a chia pudding kick where I am consciously eating them every day with the intention of using them in at least one meal for the protein, essential fatty acids, and a solid dose of fiber.

When I discovered that if you soak them before you eat them they start sprouting and become more bioavailable, easier to digest, better absorbed into your system, and help to keep you hydrated I became mildly obsessed with all the possibilities of how I could use them.

Pumpkinpuddin

 

Basic Creamy Coconut Chia Pudding (4-5 servings)

1 can of coconut milk

1/2C chia seeds

1/2C of filtered water (add more water if you prefer it to be less thick)

  1. Combine all ingredients and let sit in a covered container in the fridge overnight.
  2. Eat one serving per day.

Suggested ways to customize your pudding:

Add a tsp of vanilla, use juice instead of water, sweeten with 1-2t honey or maple syrup, add chopped fruit or berries, mix with a fruit puree, pumpkin puree and cinnamon, hemp seeds, nuts, shredded coconut…the possibilities are as infinite as your imagination.

“I’ll have the chia tenderloin with a side of garlic infused olive dipping oil.” 😉

Brussels Sprouts For Breakfast

I’m in bodybuilder mode. By that I mean I’m trying to put on some healthy weight and hopefully regain some muscle that somehow disappeared somewhere. Such a project requires meal planning.

I consciously have to eat more nutrients and the only way to do that is to know what I’m having before I even get hungry. I plan ahead and do some batch cooking on Sunday to have multiple meals ready to go and make sure my pantry, fridge, and freezer are stocked for the spontaneously cooked meals that I put together later in the week. My meals plans usually work out about 90% of the time. 

I find that this type of planning virtually eliminates food waste at my house and leaves me physically running better because I have no reasons to skip meals or eat poorly due to not knowing what to have or being too busy to cook. This method also saves me a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on meals out or the purchase of unmade food that goes bad in the fridge.

This week the chosen main vegetable has been brussels sprouts and the first way that I used them was for making a breakfast bake with sweet potatoes, spinach, and eggs. I made enough for two portions and I now I also have another meal already to go for tomorrow morning or whenever.

Brussels Sprouts For Breakfast

Brussels Sprouts For Breakfast (2 servings)

1 small sweet potato, sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces

6-8 brussel sprouts, quartered

4 eggs

2 mushrooms, finely chopped

2C spinach, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Put the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts in an 8″ pan and lightly drizzle avocado oil (or oil of your choice) over the veggies and give them a stir. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Mix together eggs, mushrooms, spinach, and spices and pour evenly over the partially baked sweet potato and brussels sprouts mix. Bake for about 15 more minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked and firm.
  4. Eat half and store the other half in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days.

I love a solid savory meal for breakfast. This one wins in every way. Easy, filling, nutritious, and delicious.

Here is to healthy muscles!

 

Sweet Potato And Leek Ginger Soup

With a shift in the seasons from winter to spring brings an attention to a new menu of local fresh foods. In the Pacific Northwest leeks, garlic, baby greens, peas, radishes, and rhubarb are just a few of the exciting seasonal ingredients worth adding to your menu. With that in mind I bring you my latest soup recipe that is very easy to make, delicious, versatile, and really good for you.

I recently discovered a simple way to use fresh ginger to create a broth and have since been creating different versions of this soup loaded with beautiful colors and packed with nutrients. The ginger and garlic add a nice spice and serious immunity boosting qualities. The abundance of vegetables provides your digestive system with a healthy serving of fiber.

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Sweet Potato and Leek  Ginger Soup

4 inch piece of ginger, scrubbed and thickly sliced

2 leeks, chopped

1 lg sweet purple potato, cubed

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

salt and pepper

  1. Put the ginger in a large pot of hot water and and simmer for about 20 minutes while prepping the other veggies. Your option here is to remove the ginger before adding the rest of the ingredients, be hardcore and eat the ginger in the soup, or pick it out as you eat.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the ginger broth and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately and store leftovers in the fridge for about 3 days or freeze for future quick meals.
Leeksoupjar
This batch of soup was made with white sweet potatoes.

Cheers to a happy and healthy spring season!

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

 

Blueberry Hemp Cake

I’m in a minor cake mode. I’ve made a new cake every week for the past few weeks and this last one came out with a muffin feeling but since it was made in a cake pan, I’m calling it cake. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, and in the freezer for later.

Recipe positives:

-gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly, no processed sugar, full of nutrients, easy to make, takes delicious.

Blueberry Hemp Muffin Cake

1/3C coconut oil

1/4C maple syrup

1t vanilla

4 eggs

1/t baking soda

1/2t salt

1/3C hemp seeds

1.5C almond flour

1C fresh or frozen blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch pan or line with parchment paper. Cream together coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix eggs into mixture.
  2. Add all dry ingredients mix until combined.
  3. Stir in blueberries.
  4. Spread evenly into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick stuck into middle comes out clean.

It has been in my thoughts that this recipe would work great in a loaf pan or as actual muffins although I have yet to try.

As you may know, I like to use hemp in my diet. I first discovered it when trying to find healthy sources of plant based protein and it has turned out to be a great one for my sensitive digestive system. Hemp comes with other bonuses like omega-3 fatty acids and B-Vitamins which rounds out the beneficial nutrient profile needed for a healthy brain and nervous system. I highly recommend it.

Happy Health to You.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com