Apple Squares - gluten, casein and nut free

Plenty of apple and coconut goodness

Apples, coconut and a hint of orange spice

Here’s a yummy way to use those delicious apples that are in abundance this time of year. Coconut and coconut oil help add to the nutritional value of this tasty treat and the spices and orange peel give it a unique flavor that tickles the taste buds.

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then blend together in whichever bowl is bigger.

Wet
2 large eggs (farm raised are best)
1/3 cup coconut oil (liquified on the stove)
2 tsp. ghee (liquify with the coconut oil)
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 tsp. rehydrated orange peel* in 2 tsp. pure water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 medium apples – peeled and finely chopped

Dry
2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup shredded organic coconut

The batter is going to be pretty thick. Pour (or plop) it into a medium rectangle glass casserole (I used 9 x 13) that has been greased with coconut oil, red palm oil or high quality lard. To even out the batter, use your hands, a spatula, or just hold both sides of the pan and gently tap on the counter so batter settles.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 (check with toothpick at 20 minutes if your oven runs hot).

Wait until completely cool to cut into squares (1-2 inches suggested). I used a butter knife and got it wet every so often for ease of cutting.

Enjoy! As always, wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.

* I used Penzey’s Orange Peel (it’s organic from what I was told). You could use a couple teaspoons of fresh orange zest if you prefer.




What to do with all those summer veggies - STIR FRY

Summer Stir Fry

Do you have a CSA share (community supported agriculture)? Are you growing your own veggies and want to use as much as you can while they’re fresh? I’m doing both so it’s the season to get creative.

For those of us with CSAs, you probably know what it’s like to get a vegetable you’ve never seen before. And since you’ve never seen it before, what do you do with it? STIR FRY. No matter what veggie it is, you can make it tasty in a stir fry.
Here’s one I just created. It took me 20 minutes total (besides marinating and having the rice already cooked from the day before).

To make it you’ll need:

1-2 large boneless/skinless chicken breast(s) (marinated all day in the frig with aminos {coconut or Braggs})
2 small or 1 large onion sliced thinly (unless you’d prefer more crunchy)
1 large carrot sliced 1/4″ thick
2 small summer squash sliced 1/4″ thick
2 bok choy, chopped
4-6 leaves kale, chopped
1/4 cup bacon grease (grass-fed only)
1 T sesame oil
1 T coconut oil
1 tsp organic garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 T sunflower seeds (soaked and dehydrated preferred)
Optional – 3-4 cups of cooked rice (best if it’s been soaked before cooking)

Melt bacon grease in medium heat large skillet and once melted, put in the chicken breast to sear on both sides (about 3-5 minutes each side). It’s a good idea to have a screen handy to keep the splatter to a minimum. While it’s cooking, that’s when I do the chopping, but you can have it all chopped in advance if you like.
Remove breast from pan to a plate or cutting board and throw the onions and carrots in the skillet – cover with screen. Slice up the chicken breast in about 1/2″ slices and throw in with the onions and carrots. Turn the heat down to low/medium. Stir every few minutes.

Once the chicken is back in the pan, in another skillet melt the coconut oil over medium heat then add the squash. Cook about 5 minutes then add the greens and garlic powder. Cover with a lid and let simmer over low/medium heat for about 5 minutes.

You’ll know the chicken/onion/carrot mixture is done (about 10 minutes) when you take a piece of the chicken out and cut it on a plate and it’s nice and tender. Now, put the rice and sesame oil in the big skillet and mix together. The other skillet should be about done so mix those veggies in, too. Add salt to taste and top with sunflower seeds on individual servings.

If you wonder about the rice preparation, see my Yummy Good for You Casserole.

Don’t have the veggies listed? Substitute WHATEVER veggies you have.

Don’t have the bacon grease? Substitute grass fed lard or ghee or butter. Remember, you NEED THE FAT! All healthy traditional diets had an abundance of fats.

Don’t have the sunflower seeds? Substitute almonds, sesame seeds, cashews…anything with a crunch. Watch the preparation methods, though, for maximum nutrition.

Don’t have the aminos on hand? Add a little extra salt at the end and you’ll be fine.

Want it to have a little more kick? Sprinkle in a bit of organic cayenne.

Just STIR FRY!

Wishing you a summer full of real food for real health so you can be real happy.




Why are we fat?

This post is dedicated to that amazing group from Unity of Muskegon who meet for Let’s Talk Wellness and are making positive changes toward better health every day. I am SO proud of you all!

Last year as I ended our second year of monthly meetings at Unity on wellness, I asked what people wanted to discuss in the 2014. The topic of interest most requested was the title of this article. Yes, we already understand that being as active as possible reduces our fat reserves, so I didn’t focus on exercise. Everyone knows…get up and move! But if we don’t address the misinformation out there, we don’t stand a chance at weight loss and management.

Since I do not teach about short term fixes at the expense of the body’s health, we must address lifestyle changes, dispelling the myths we’ve been told the last 3 decades, to build vital cells, tissues and bodies. The focus must be on sharing the truth about the need for healthy fats and nutrient dense foods and how the low-fat/high whole grain/”sugarfree” additive recommendations have led us to the obesity fiasco we are in now.

Below is my evidence based summary of why we are larger (and much less healthy) than we should be:

• Eating BAD fats (polyunsaturated, liquid vegetable oils, margarine, oils from GMO crops {soy, cottonseed, canola, corn}, fatty meat/poultry from conventionally raised animals {complete with antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO fed, pesticide residue, no to very little sunlight}).

My family's favorite fat

My family’s favorite fat

• Not eating enough good fats (coconut, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed meat and poultry, wild caught fish, avocado, cod liver oil). Low-fat foods lead to obesity because we substitute with….

• Sugar and empty carb consumption (anything made with a fine powder like flour, like baked goods, candy, chips, pastas). These carbs are digested quickly and stimulate the hormone insulin, which, among other things stores fat in fat cells. High fructose corn syrup. Diet sodas.

• Eating processed and non-organic foods (and using chemicals on our bodies, in our homes and on our yards). These foods often have pesticide residues which keep our body from taking in the minerals we need to make our metabolism work correctly. Our bodies need nutrients to function and be the “right” weight for our structure. These empty foods lead to…

• Overeating – which we do WHEN WE ARE NOT EATING NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS! Our body keeps saying, “where are the nutrients?” and then “eat more and you might find some.” We can also get into the habit of over eating because of emotional issues, but again, it is often, if not always, nutrient deprived foods. We seldom eat too much when the food is REAL and nutrient rich.

• An unhealthy microbiome. Our balance of good micro-organisms in our body plays a significant role in our health and weight.

• When we have an underactive thyroid, we have a very difficult time trying to shed pounds. Be aware that water with chlorine and fluoride is thyroid disruptive. Drinking the cleanest water possible is a must. Also, good quality coconut oil supports the thyroid and is energy boosting.

What to do? The same thing I teach for other physical/emotional issues…

• Eat good fats at every meal
• Eat protein from clean (organic, grass fed, preferably local) sources at every meal – we need protein to make the happy chemicals in our brain
• Eat plenty of colorful, local (for more vitamin content), organic (for more mineral content) vegetables WITH LOTSA BUTTER (or ghee)!
• Take good quality coconut oil – even at every meal.
• Take a high quality probiotic and/or fermented foods and drink.
• Eat organic fruits as desserts (“cave people” ate them in the fall to fatten up for the winter)
• If you feel the need for baked goods, make them out of nut flour (organic preferably).
• Don’t starve yourself. This will mess up your hormones. EAT! Just eat the real foods described above.

Until next time…wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.




Yummy Good for You Casserole

DSCF1810Over time I created this recipe as a teaching tool because each of the ingredients is chosen very deliberately for it’s health benefits (ok, the seasoned salt is just for simplicity).

1 pound grass-fed ground beef or breakfast sausage (sausage will make it have more “wow”)

1 organic medium size onion – chopped to your liking

1 – 2 cloves organic garlic (crush and let sit 10 minutes before cooking to maximize the nutrient content)

1+ tsp sea salt

2+ dashes of turmeric (helps prevent cancer)

1+ tsp seasoned salt (I use Simply Organic All-seasons salt) or any herbs and spices that you like

1 big bunch kale or ½ small head of cabbage (or any mixture there-of and the more the better for you) – to clean kale, let soak in tepid water and 1T vinegar for 15-30 minutes then rinse each leaf

1+ T – Bacon grease (from grass fed bacon) or organic butter

2 cups organic rice (soak at room temperature 7 hours or overnight in enough water to cover it with 2 T apple cidar vinegar or whey – drain before cooking)

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Start cooking the rice according to the instructions minus about 1/3 of the water requirement (since the rice is soaked). Bone broth is a flavorful healthy liquid to cook your rice in. You could add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the water to keep it from sticking and add some luscious medium chain fatty acids.

Brown meat with onions in a stainless or cast iron skillet for which you have a lid. Don’t drain the fat. Add garlic. Finely chop (or use kitchen scissors) the greens and put on top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle salt, turmeric and seasoned salt on greens. Put bacon grease or butter on top. Cover and simmer while the rice continues to cook. The greens need a good ½ hour or more.

If you have room, stir the rice together with the meat/green mixture and let simmer another 15 minutes. If you don’t have room in the skillet pan, put all the ingredients in a casserole and bake covered for another 15-30 minutes at about 300.

Sample taste…you might want more salt or seasoning, or bacon grease. Be daring!

Would you like it to be even more of a superfood casserole?…add grass fed liver pieces. (I haven’t been ready to do this just yet.)

Don’t want to use rice? Finely chop potatoes (you can do this in the blender) and put them in the same time you add the greens. Want color? Add a finely chopped carrot when the meat is about halfway cooked. Mix and match! When you cook with bacon grease, butter and seasoneing, it always comes out tasty!
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To get the full benefits of all the nutrients, consume a couple tablespoons of raw, fermented sauerkraut with the casserole.
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Special thanks to Nicole and Sarah – 2 of the world’s most awesome Moms.

Until next time…wishing your real food, for real health so you can be real happy.




Alzheimers and a Must See Video

After speaking with Dr. Bruce Fife two weeks ago, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, I was reminded of what a miracle the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can be to those with memory loss. I dedicate this article to two special women in my life who I think could be helped by its use.


I met the doctor in this video a few years ago at a national Weston A Price Foundation conference. Since that time, her husband continues to increase his functioning – not decline, like we’re told the course of Alzheimer’s generally goes. Yet, the information is not out there on mainstream media. Why? Well, who can profit? Not the pharmaceutical companies.

In my past posts on coconut oil and it’s uses I highlight additional benefits of this wonderful natural substance as well as a myriad of ways to include it in our daily lives.

If you or someone you know suffers from memory loss, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, or any neurological dysfunction- Please share this post with them. I continue to hear stories, almost daily, of health issues that are improved with the use of coconut oil. That’s exciting to me.

As always, wishing you REAL food for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.

Here is an additional link for further information on Dr. Westport’s work with her husband using coconut oil.




What's with the Coconut Oil #2 - Let's Get Practical

Usually the first comment clients make when I encourage lots of good fats, like coconut oil, is “What about low-fat?” Take a look at my April blog and the Weston A Price Foundation . As time goes by, we are seeing more and more truth hitting the mainstream about the low-fat myth. Gary Taubes was right on the money with his article What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Ask yourself, if you still believe the low-fat jargon, what are you going to eat instead? Carbs. Carbohydrates that signal the release of insulin to store body fat. I haven’t met a client yet who wants that. And those carbs are usually processed foods (breads, “health food” bars, pasta) which make our blood sugar go up quickly then crash. Ample amounts of good fats, like coconut oil, at every meal keep the blood sugar level.

Coconut oil at room temperature, which is how it should be stored, is a solid. This shows that it is saturated (and good for you) and stable. Being saturated makes it a good cooking oil as it won’t turn toxic when heated.

What to buy…Make sure you get organic, virgin coconut oil. In their book Eat Fat, Lose Fat Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon highly recommend tropicaltraditions.com as it is made through a traditional process and supports artisan coconut oil producers. Most health food stores as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stock virgin coconut oil extracted using safe, non-toxic methods.

OK, so you’ve got your coconut oil…now what? Switch it out for any toxic liquid oils you have in your cupboard (vegetable, canola, corn) or margarine in the frig (if you’re not allergic to milk…keep eating butter. It provides a whole other bunch of nutrients.)

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re in luck. Consuming coconut oil before your meals can help escalate weight loss. When you consume it about 20 minutes before meal time, you won’t feel near as hungry – which will curb your appetite. It’s 100% natural and something your body recognizes (unlike diet pills and powders). Start with a teaspoon in warm water once a day first thing in the morning. Don’t like the taste? Have it in green tea, or herbal tea, or your coffee if you drink that. You’ll get used to it.

After a couple days, double the amount you’re consuming, after a couple more, double it again. Below are Fallon and Enig’s recommendations for daily consumption according to weight:
90-130 # – 1 Tbl per meal up to 3 Tbl day
131-180# – 1.5 Tbls per meal up to 4.5 Tbl a day
and over 180# – 2 Tbls per meal up to 6 Tbl a day

How else can you get this wondrous oil in your body
* Use as a body moisturizer
* Use a small amount for dry scalp and hair
* Use on toast (preferably true sourdough as it is prepared traditionally)
* Super drink – add to warm bone broth with a dash of tasty mineral rich sea salt
* Add a tablespoon or 2 to your casseroles or mashed potatoes
* Mix with your butter or use alone on morning warm cereals
* Have a quart jar in your cupboard with Mary’s (Enig) Blend in it for cooking: 1 cup each coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil. This is especially delicious for salad dressings

And please be aware, not only is the oil of the coconut incredible for you, but the meat and the milk are good for you, too. Make sure to get high quality organic safely made products.
Then you can try:
* Sprinkling coconut on top of just about anything – salads, casseroles, oatmeal (which is best for the body if soaked).
* Adding coconut milk to smoothies, soups, porridge, and sauces

This should give you ample ideas for integrating coconut products into your life.

Do pay attention to your body’s response. After years, even decades of eating unhealthy fats, it may take your body some time to adjust to the molecules of this healthy fat. Start out small, like with cooking. If you don’t feel well after eating coconut oil, perhaps it’s not for you. I personally have not met anyone yet with such a sensitivity, but I believe it can exist.

As always, wishing you REAL food for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




What's with the Coconut Oil?

This is the first in a 2 part series on consuming coconut oil and coconut products. While this article addresses the “why?” the next article will be the “how”.

Talk about a super food

For balanced energy, blood sugar and health

One of the primary things I suggest for my clients (and family and friends) to consider is adding coconut oil into their lifestyle. The reason is 2-fold. First and foremost we have got to get those toxic vegetable oils out of our diets. We were told they were good for us because of the polyunsaturates, right? However, the truth was skewed to benefit the edible oil industry. The process by which they are made is downright scary. Vegetable oils (i.e. corn, soy, canola, etc) become even more toxic when they are heated. These oils, as well as margarine, were NEVER good for us, but their sale is good for market share. Unfortunately, what is on TV and in the media does not have to be the truth, it just has to make money.

The second reason is the plethora of benefits the human body can gain from consuming coconut oil (orally and through the skin). Read on.

From Sally Fallon’s foundational Nourishing Traditions – The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats we learn how oils like coconut and palm have protected third world tropical communities from fungus and bacteria in their food supply for generations. As more recent generations have switched to poly-unsaturated vegetable oils, the incidence of intestinal disorders has increased. This is because coconut oil is chalked full of medium chain fatty acids (also called medium chain triglycerides) like lauric acid which has strong anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The only substance that has as much lauric acid is human breast milk – liquid gold to an infant’s developing immune system. The body changes the fatty acid to mono-laurin which can destroy lipid coated viruses like HIV virus, measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1).

From Dr. Ray Peat we see: An important function of coconut oil is that it supports mitochondrial respiration, increasing energy production that has been blocked by the unsaturated fatty acids we been told to consume for the last several decades. While these polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit thyroid function on many levels, coconut oil can promote thyroid function by reducing those toxic effects. It allows normal mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, without producing the toxic lipid peroxidation that is promoted by unsaturated fats. This assistance with metabolism helps with weight control, something most of my clients are concerned about.

From Dr. Bruce Fife: Consuming coconut oil slows down sugar being absorbed in the bloodstream and helps with the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. We all depend on our pancreas so whether you’re diabetic or not, this is positive for your body.

So coconut oil increases our immunity, helps our pancreas, blood sugar, thyroid and metabolism. Does it do anything else? According to an article by Dr. Mary Enig it helps improve heart health promoting normal platelet function. The liquid vegetable oils in the grocery store do the opposite – they increase platelet stickiness which can lead to blood clots.

After starting consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis, clients tell me they feel better than they have in years, their skin is more supple, and they don’t get hungry (and subsequently don’t snack too much like they used to). However, the most exciting case study of which I am aware regarding the benefits of coconut oil comes from Dr. Mary Newport whose husband has shown remarkable cognitive and functional gains since he began to consume coconut oil. Dr. Newport, medical director of the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida, watched as her 53 year old husband became incapacitated by early onset Alzheimer’s. When conventional medication failed to help his condition, Dr. Newport (after much research) decided to try using coconut oil because of the medium chain triglycerides. The liver converts MCTs directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy by the brain. Her husband just celebrated his fourth year of improved functioning, not the regression usually seen in Alzheimer’s patients. We aren’t aware yet what it can do for the “average” brain.

So much to ponder…

Next week we will take a practical look at how to add this wonderful substance to your life everyday. Adding coconut oil to one’s diet is easy on the body since most of the fatty acids in it do not require bile for digestion. And the body turns them directly into energy providing fuel to meet the activity expectations we have for our busy lives.

Until then, wishing you REAL food, for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




The First Step to Better Health - Bacon Fat*

*from grass fed pigs…and organic evco

This post is dedicated to the incredible activist film maker Chris Bedford who introduced me to the sad and insidious world of food politics. He guided me – and thousands of others – to the possibilities for making our world sustainable. Today’s blog is controversial…Chris always loved controversy.

My family's favorite fat


Fats? Seriously? We’re supposed to avoid them, right? They clog our arteries and make us unhealthy. Especially animal fats. NOT!

Many people ask me what the first step toward better health is – I say switch out your fat. In my studies and travels I’ve met a growing number of very healthy people who understand the dire importance of good fats in the diet. But I’ve found the majority of people who live in my beautiful corner of the world, the Lakeshore of West Michigan, don’t have a clue. So I write this for them. The rest of you, nod your head and say “yup”.

Our bodies need fats. And saturated fats, those dreaded rascals that the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have been warning us against for decades, are in EVERY cell in your body. Our heart, nerves, hormones and brain need them everyday. Has the advice we’ve been getting all these years shown a dramatic decline in cancer and heart disease? Let’s be honest…No.

Lipids and cholesterol = healthy cell membranes

That’s because our cells are starving. Look at any anatomy book and you’ll find that saturated fats and cholesterol form a key part of the outer edge (membrane) of all the cells that make up YOU.

So we have been encouraged to swap out animal fat with vegetable oils that aren’t healthy at the cellular level. Our poor cell membranes don’t get what they need to stay pliable and do their jobs in relation to the cells around them (cell signalling). After years of consumption of these liquid vegetable oils we end up with problems all over the body – immune system disruption, heart disease, memory issues, cancer and more. Yes, other lifestyle factors contribute to these concerns also, but why increase your risk? Dr. Mary Enig, the world renowned expert on the biochemical structure and effect of fats in the body discusses the issue at length in this interview, if you want to know more (and you REALLY should). No, you won’t see this on television or in the mass media because there’s no money in it. At least not for big business. But the truth is coming out, thanks to organizations like the Price Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A Price Foundation and the Internet (as long as we remain uncensored).

Well done Dr. Enig!! How sad that so many young people’s eyes were damaged because the advice we were given was flat out wrong. How long is it going to take to get this truth into the mainstream?

We must be aware of the QUALITY of the fats we eat. The fats from a grassfed cow are going to be healthy and the fats from a feed-lot cow eating GMO grains grown with pesticides and then filled with antibiotics and hormones are going to be VERY different. The organic extra virgin coconut oil that our cells thrive on and that can be safely heated to high temperatures is miles ahead of the rancid refined vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves that gets further damaged when we cook with it.

We’ve been sick long enough. It’s time for a change. The very first step I recommend is get rid of those truly dangerous fats and start adding in the coconut oil and fats that come from critters raised outside naturally. By the way, grass fed bacon grease is one of THE most tasty ways to add flavor to your casseroles and stir-frys.

We’ll talk about the superfood cod liver oil some other day.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy