About livecleannourish

Hi, I'm Ania. I'm a natural living, primal advocating mom of a crazy toddler.

Is it all just chemical phobia?

chemical phobia

Many call it chemical phobia. I call it common sense. Here’s why:

We don’t understand the true impact of the thousands of regulated and unregulated chemicals we are exposed to every single day, day after day, year after year. There are no studies showing the synergistic effects of ALL toxins on a chronic basis. And there never will be (because it’s impossible).

Here’s what we DO know:

  • Science has proven many of these chemicals to have harmful effects on the body. Hormone disruption, reproductive issues, birth defects, developmental disorders, neurological disorders, cancer, asthma, the list goes on.
  • Regulations are loose and many chemicals commonly used have little to no studies to prove their safety.
  • Chemicals that are deemed safe are not studied in a way that takes into account the thousands of OTHER chemicals we are also exposed to, nor the interactions some of these chemicals may have with each other.
  • Most chronic diseases are rising and the collective health of the western world is declining. This is multifactorial of course, but without a healthy population, every aspect of our modern lives should remain under scrutiny.
  • It’s impossible to know how much of our declining health can be attributed to the toxins we surround ourselves with vs other lifestyle and diet factors.
  • Many studies that do exist are done on animals. What happens in animals can’t always be extrapolated to humans. This is one reason why some concern for toxins is downplayed.
  • Chemicals are getting into our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans and affecting all walks of life, not just humans.

We don’t know the impact this is having on health. Period.

This is why I strongly believe in the precautionary principle. Why risk the health of me, my family and my future great grandkids (yes, your actions impact generations to come through cellular changes)?

Some of this is outside of our control. I don’t control what the factory down the road spews. But so much of it IS in our control. There are safer, more natural alternatives to almost all household and beauty care products, along with many environmental toxins we surround ourselves with.

So what’s the point?

That we should care. That demand influences supply. That we as consumers have power to influence positive change.

It’s not chemical phobio. It’s common sense.

 

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By | 2017-10-15T16:43:20+00:00 October 15th, 2017|Clean|8 Comments

Top 5 reasons to go paleo

Top 5 reasons to go paleo

There are many reasons to jump on the paleo bandwagon. Unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions about the diet and a lot of nitpicking (Can I eat dairy? Are potatoes paleo? Can I eat white rice?). Some of these details get in the way of people achieving their health goals, so let’s focus on the main reasons to eat a paleo diet.

There are many shades of paleo and it’s a great template to begin your health journey.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons to eat a paleo inspired diet:

 

1. It’s a REAL FOOD diet.

Many diets like the slim fast diet or nutrisystem diet are nothing more than processed junk in a can. That’s not food, it’s food-like product. Health starts with real food. You might have short term success with those other diets, you may be losing weight… but are you GAINING health? Probably not.

2. It removes processed food

Processed foods generally are higher in sugar, sodium, unhealthy trans and vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates. They contain preservatives, flavorings, texture enhancers, flavor enhancers and more. They are nutrient void and don’t contain the necessary fiber we need for proper digestion. In addition they bypass our innate abilities to know when we are full and contribute to weight gain.

Many ingredients used in processed foods have not been thoroughly researched and we don’t understand the true implications of what they are doing to human health.

We are built through millions of years of evolution to live off a diet that contains nutrients. Processed food is devoid of nutrients.

3. It removes inflammatory vegetable oils (canola, soy, cottonseed, etc.)

Vegetable oils are ubiquitous in our modern lives. Just look at the ingredients in most items in the middle aisles of your grocery store, you’ll likely see canola oil in the vast majority of the products. It’s hard to escape.

There are a variety of reasons to avoid vegetable oil, the two most important being its highly processed nature and fatty acid profile. These factors lead vegetable oils to be one of the most inflammatory aspects of the modern western diet.

4. It’s naturally low in sugar

There’s no diet that advocates for high sugar (even though a lot of them actually HAVE high sugar). This is for good reason, it’s harmful to health in a variety of ways. It’s connected to every condition under the sun from heart disease to diabetes.

5. There are countless success stories of people losing substantial weight and curing chronic disease on the paleo diet

Why is this? It’s because it’s a diet of REAL FOOD. Because it eliminates PROCESSED JUNK. It’s anti-inflammatory and it’s naturally low in sugar. Of course it’s going to make people healthy!

These are the real reasons why people have success on the paleo diet.

 

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By | 2017-10-15T16:43:44+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Nourish|5 Comments

Inflammation: The sneaky cause of pain and illness

inflammation cause of pain and illness
The following is a guest blog post written by Kim Maravich, RN. Kim is the author of the book titled “360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, & Total Body Wellness” available on Amazon. You can follow her at www.kimmaravich.com

What do think of when you hear the word “inflammation?” Maybe you think of red and swollen joints. Or, perhaps, the pain and fiery irritation from an injury come to mind. Maybe you remember a time of illness and think of fever, chills, and aches.

Undoubtedly, all of the above are forms of inflammation. However, inflammation can also be a sneaky invader, harming us unawares.

By definition, inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm. Acute inflammation occurs immediately following an injury or accompanies an illness or infection like pneumonia or the flu.

Chronic inflammation, however, is often a low-grade, continuous burden in our bodies and is typically a response to an unwanted or undesirable substance. It’s so problematic because it is insidious, and we often may not know exactly what is causing it.

Symptoms of Inflammation

The symptoms of chronic inflammation can also vary from person to person which is why it’s so darn sneaky and hard to “diagnose.” People may just feel a little “off” or chalk up their pain to aging.

Symptoms can range from achy joints, to skin issues like rashes and eczema, digestive problems, fatigue, excess weight or a “spare tire,” periodontal disease, brain fog, puffy face or eyes, and even depression or anxiety.

Unfortunately, if left unchecked, this constant barrage of irritation can also lead to conditions like atherosclerosis, lung disease, high blood pressure, or joint immobility. The list goes on and on.

Autoimmune conditions are also thought to be caused, in part, by excessive and chronic inflammation. When the body senses that toxins are present, it tries to eliminate or wall them off by forming inflammation around them. But sometimes problems with the immune system cause it to mistake the body’s own healthy cells as invaders and then repeatedly attacks them.

Cancer is another disease that is associated with chronic inflammation. Over time, this inflammatory response can lead to DNA damage at the cellular level. Once DNA is altered, the cells are no longer “normal” and can mutate into tumor cells. This is scary, to say the least!

If you’re wondering how much inflammation you have in your body, your doctor can order a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. This is a blood marker for inflammation and potential disease.

Causes of Chronic Inflammation

As we mentioned earlier, our bodies identify and attack unwanted “toxins” and foreign substances. So what are these toxins, and how do we avoid them?

Some toxins come from our environment. When we are exposed to pollutants in our water (like chlorine and fluoride) and in the air we breathe, our bodies become inflamed. Our beauty products and household cleaning supplies often contain dangerous levels of toxins like fragrances, phthalates, parabens, antibacterials and triclosans to name a few. Sometimes environmental toxins surround us whether we know it or not. One example is radon, a colorless and odorless gas.

Toxins can also invade our bodies through the food we eat. We may be ingesting antibiotics and hormones when we eat conventional meats and dairy. When the animals are given these substances, we too get them when we consume animal products.

Refined vegetable oils are also a culprit in inflammation. Oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and cottonseed are damaged in processing and oxidized. These are Omega 6 fatty acids and are associated with inflammatory diseases (versus Omega 3s which are anti-inflammatory).

Other inflammatory foods often enter the average American’s diet. Fried foods, because they are heated in damaged oils, contain potentially carcinogenic compounds. Trans fats fall into this same category of damaged fats/oils.

Refined and heavily processed foods like most cookies, crackers, and boxed snacks are also inflammatory. They may contain damaged vegetable oils, and more significantly, they are high in carbohydrates and simple sugars.

Sugar, in general, is VERY inflammatory and should be limited or avoided as much as possible. Sugar leads to increased blood sugars and insulin, taxing our bodies and leading to stored body fat.

Too much alcohol is not good for many of our organs and is associated with diseases like cancer. Red wine may be beneficial and anti-inflammatory in small doses, but overconsumption of alcohol is detrimental to health.

Genetically modified (GMO) foods should also be avoided. The four most common GMO crops are corn, soy, canola, and cotton. But GMOs are making their way into other crops like potatoes, tomatoes, sugar, rice, and conventional dairy and meat (since the animals are given GMO feeds).

Healing Chronic Inflammation

Fear not. There are ways to reduce the overall inflammation in our bodies. Sometimes making just a few changes can go very far in turning around one’s health and unpleasant symptoms.

Environment: First of all, we can avoid as many environmental toxins as possible. You can make your own cleaning products using water and vinegar and some good-smelling essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus. Alternatively, you can look for organic cleaning products.

Likewise, organic beauty products may be a good choice. There are companies that pride themselves on providing non-toxic makeup products. Also, look for lotions and sunscreens without toxic ingredients. Another simple, effective ingredient is baking soda. Baking soda can be used as a toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and even to clean the house. Talk about a multi-faceted and cheap solution!

anti-inflammatory food

Diet: As far our diets go, if we follow a diet similar to what our ancestors ate, much of the inflammatory foods will be removed. The Paleo diet is a good approach. Following this way of eating, one would aim to cut out most refined and simple sugars. Most, if not all, grains are eliminated. This is important since grains can be inflammatory, elevate insulin, and even cause digestive issues. They also contain anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates, and sometimes gluten which can lead to a leaky gut, and, you guessed it … more inflammation!

Conventional meats and dairy are also out. The focus would be more on grass-fed beef, organic chicken, pastured pork, and wild caught fish. For some, all dairy is eliminated. However, some Paleo followers allow for ghee (clarified butter), butter, full-fat yogurt, kefir, and cheese … all of the organic and grass-fed variety. If someone tolerates dairy and seems to be asymptomatic consuming it, these high-quality versions may be fine. However, in general, dairy is quite inflammatory for many.

When we focus more on eating an array of fruits and vegetables, healing fats (like avocado, olive oil, or coconut oil), and nourishing meats and organ meats (from grass-fed and/or organically raised animals), our bodies get a break from toxic foods and can have a chance to heal. Another nourishing and healing superfood is bone broth. Consuming a cup or two of bone broth each day can heal the digestive tract, reverse a leaky gut, and help stop inflammation. Drinking lots of purified water also helps to flush out toxins. Aim to hydrate each day with at least 8-10 cups of water.

Lifestyle: Daily exercise, meditation, prayer, good sleep, and stress relief are essential to reducing inflammation. These things will reduce blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar, and release feel-good chemicals that help calm the body and lower CRP. Getting adequate sunlight and spending time outdoors also lowers inflammation by raising vitamin D levels.

Supplementation: There are some key supplements that have anti-inflammatory effects. Including the following into your regimen may be beneficial. Omega 3s (in the form of fish oil, krill oil, or cod liver oil), turmeric curcumin, evening primrose (GLA), vitamin C, vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin K2, and coenzyme Q10 are a few known anti-inflammatory supplements.

Final Thoughts

Chronic inflammation is something we all need to look out for. If we’re experiencing any unexplained aches, pains, or fatigue, our body may be telling us it’s in distress. When inflammation goes on without efforts to stop it, we can become sick or diseased.

Through thoughtful and diligent food choices, lifestyle decisions, and self-care, we can reverse inflammation and feel much better in our own skin.

This was a guest post written by Kim Maravich, RN. Kim is the author of the book titled “360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, & Total Body Wellness” available on Amazon. You can follow her at www.kimmaravich.com

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By | 2017-10-15T16:43:59+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Clean, Nourish|5 Comments

Paleo junkfood is still junkfood (and why I eat it anyway)

paleo junk food is still junk food
There are no shortage of paleo dessert cookbooks, fancy bars and paleo cookies. Us paleo folk are really, really good at finding replacements for every standard junk food item out there. Paleo donuts? We’ve got em. Paleo doritos… Siete nacho flavor fits the bill.

The heart of the paleo diet is all about eating nutrient dense food. Paleo junk food.. Eh not so much.

So do I think we should all be eating strictly perfect paleo all day long, all year long, for the rest of our lives? Of course not.

Paleo junk food is still junk food but why I eat it anyway

I’m going to eat “junk food” for the rest of my life.

I enjoy food far too much to never have a cookie or potato chip ever again. But here’s the thing. Will I eat a dorito ever again? Probably not. I don’t need to. Why? Because I have alternatives made from real food with real ingredients. They may not be the most nutrient dense foods out there, and sure, maybe I’m replacing a meal of vegetables to splurge on a paleo treat… but ya know what? I’m still “paleo” and I don’t care.

Would I maintain a paleo lifestyle year after year if I didn’t allow myself to eat “junk food.” No, I’d go insane. There is absolutely no way I would maintain a healthy long term paleo lifestyle sticking to the best of the best, day in and day out.

I’m still going to occasionally use food to self medicate. I don’t think I need a therapist. I think I’m normal. But I don’t have to eat crap, even if I’m in one those moods. I can find a clean, reasonably healthy alternative to almost anything. So I will.

And I’ll eat the whole damn thing…and I won’t feel bad about it the next day.

It may not have been nutrient dense or amazing for my health but it doesn’t wreck havoc on my body like processed food. It’s been at least 4 years since I’ve had a dorito or a real, gluten filled, sugary-frosted donut.

I lead a paleo lifestyle now. I don’t eat crap.

BUT I DO EAT “JUNK FOOD”.

And I do stay sane.

Paleo junk food should be treated just like normal junk food was once treated in your life. It’s an occasional treat that keeps you from feeling deprived and helps you get through those tough times when it’s easy to “cheat” and reach for some processed poison.

I don’t need to eat poison because ingenuity is one of the paleo community’s best traits.

 

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:07+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Nourish|7 Comments

Natural cleaning products for healthier living

The following is a guest post from Emily at Crunchy Mama Science. Emily Brown is a Medical Laboratory Scientist gone crunchy stay at home mama who blogs over at Crunchy Mama Science about simple, healthy living with a side of the science behind natural living! For Ten Easy Steps Toward Natural Non-Toxic Living and a free worksheet, visit www.crunchymamascience.com!

Using natural cleaning products for healthier living

My Natural Cleaning Routine and Why I Have One

Why Natural Cleaning?

Natural cleaning is one of the simplest, most inexpensive ways to begin a transition into natural, healthy living. Not only does it remove some of the harshest chemicals in your home, it is incredibly cost effective, and very easy to start. It was one of the first natural changes I made in my life.

Why would we want to avoid harsh cleaners?

Chemicals in cleaning supplies may contribute to asthma, allergies, rashes, birth defects, reproductive problems, cancer, and of course burns and poisoning (1).

Some of these toxic chemicals include:

• Formaldehyde—known carcinogen, respiratory irritant
• 1,4 dioxane—probable human carcinogen
• Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether—implicated in fertility problems and possible harm to fetus

According to the EWG website, “The known dangerous ingredients are also at times able to vaporize into the air, react with other chemicals, and create even more dangerous and unknown chemicals” (1).

These are just a short few examples of the toxic chemicals that are lurking in your cleaning products (for an extensive list, see this website).

How To DIY

But, the good news is that it is simpler, safer, and cheaper to just make cleaning products right at home! My cleaning arsenal is very simple.

The Players:

• Baking Soda: Baking soda is an abrasive base, which makes it an excellent choice to work in conjunction with soaps as you scrub hard messes.
• Castile soap: Castile soap is a saponified, vegetable based soap that is multi useful especially when it works together with baking soda. You can buy it unscented or scented with essential oils.
• Essential Oils*: Many essential oils are naturally microbial and function as anti-septics as well as offering a cover smell for vinegar.

*As with any essential oil, educate yourself. Do your research on the company you have chosen; call them and ask questions, research their farms, distillation processes, GC/MS reports, organic practices, and other data. Essential oils are powerful and must be treated as such. Please, keep them in a locked cabinet far away from children.

• White Vinegar: An excellent, natural, mild acid that works well for disinfecting.
• Hydrogen peroxide: For serious clean ups and biohazards, vinegar may not quite cut it and a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant boost is a good choice.
• Natural Dish Soap: An optional alternative for castile soap that won’t leave a film.

All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
I fill up a big spray bottle with half white vinegar, half boiled or distilled water, a few squirts of natural dish soap, and 40+ drops of essential oil (usually cinnamon or lemon). You can also use castile soap here if you don’t have hard water.

My Cleaning Routine
I use my all-purpose cleaner and a damp rag for most of my home cleaning, including the kitchen, bathroom, and all other rooms in the house.

I use baking soda for tough messes and cleanups. I sprinkle it on the area followed by castile soap, then I use a sponge to scrub it; it works well for shower scum and the toilet bowl. For the carpet, I mix baking soda with essential oils and sprinkle it on the floor, let it sit for a few minutes, and vacuum it up.

DIY cleaning is just about as simple and cost effective as can be. It’s one of the easiest and most effective changes to make toward getting toxins out of your home, and I recommend beginners start here. I don’t have to worry about my daughter being in the room when I’m cleaning, in fact she can help. When I was pregnant I didn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in my home.

It’s much simpler too. Gone are the days when you need a cabinet full of different cleaning products for each appliance and room. The ingredients to make these products are cheap, and can easily be purchased in bulk.

Pro tips:

Don’t mix baking soda and vinegar. Although nothing bad will happen, we have to remember that baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. Base + Acid = Salt and Water. Water won’t give you a good clean! Keep baking soda with castile soap and vinegar with oils and water.

Castile soap may leave a film behind when combined with hard water, as it reacts with the minerals. If you find this happening, you can cut it afterwards with your all-purpose vinegar spray.

Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your recipes below!

References
1. http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health#.WYiUsMeGPD4

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:14+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Clean|3 Comments

It’s more important what you take off your plate than put on it

eat real food, take poison off plate

When it comes to the world of healthy eating, there are a lot of different schools of thought. I’m a little bias towards an ancestral perspective, as following our biology makes the most sense (we are animals after all), but to give credit to some of the other diets out there (not the ones that come in boxes or cans like Nutrisystem or Slim Fast)…

Any diet that removes processed crap is a pretty decent diet.

Although there’s a lot of value to our health in eating nutrient dense food, high quality pastured animals and loads of healthy fats (including saturated!)… I think you get the most benefit to health in dropping the poison from your plate.

Yes poison, let’s call it what it is.

Processed food isn’t food at all, it’s food like product. It’s made in a lab with some fancy technology that depletes it of any nutritional value. Those nutrients you see on the label? They are likely added back in and manufactured from petroleum or in some fashion equally as off putting.

Those ingredients you can’t pronounce?

Sure, on a one off basis, not a big deal. They aren’t going to kill you (quickly anyway). But when you take meal after meal, day after day, year after year of hundreds of random chemicals, working in synergistic fashion, it becomes a problem.

It’s a very slow poison, but a poison indeed.

Poison: a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.

Yep, that’s it. Poison!

There’s one common feature to most diseases and that’s our modern lifestyle. Of course there’s more to it than food. Our lack of sleep, high stress, and toxic world doesn’t help. But what we eat directly contributes to our health and it starts with the food you put on your plate.

Evolution hasn’t equipped us for highly processed foods stripped of nutrition, high sugar foods, trans fats, food dyes, preservatives, artificial fillers and empty calories.

Let’s get the poison off our plates and go back to eating real food!

End rant!

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:21+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Nourish|5 Comments

Intermittent fasting is all the rage, but should it be?

intermittent fasting and paleo


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor nor claim to be. Please seek medical advice should you choose to begin a fasting protocol.

I won’t keep you in suspense. I think intermittent fasting is all the rage and with good reason (mostly).

Before I get into why, let’s talk about what intermittent fasting is. You may also see it simply referred to as IF.

Intermittent fasting is purposeful fasting in order to improve health and/or lose weight. It’s an eating pattern that cycles periods of eating with periods of fasting. There are many methods to achieve this with varying hours of fasting and in varied frequencies.

Why would anyone not want to eat?

That’s a good question. Food is awesome, right? So why on earth would we purposefully not eat if we have the means to do so?

From an ancestral perspective we would fast on a regular basis. Our bodies are built to function assuming periods of fasting.

It makes sense.

Food wasn’t always abundant and you ate when you had access to food and sometimes would go long periods without. Our bodies are built to have breaks of time to regenerate and heal. Fasting brings about cellular repair processes, such as removing waste from cells.

It’s nature’s detox, essentially.

In addition, extending time between when you eat allows your insulin levels to drop and increase your rate of fat burning. Intermittent fasting changes hormone levels to make stored fat more accessible. This is why it is often used as a tool in weight loss.

Finally, due to lower insulin levels, hormone changes and cellular repair, intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, reduces risk of diabetes, can improve risk factors for heart disease, and most impressively, it has been found, at least in mice, to reduce the risk of cancer.

Check out these studies showing the impressive benefits of intermittent fasting on health:

“Periodic cycles of fasting reprogram pancreatic cells and restore insulin production”

“Relatively mild dietary restrictions should be included in clinical trials designed to inhibit cancer growth and enhance the survival of human cancer patients.”

“Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors”

“Alternate fasting could exert a beneficial antioxidant effect and a modulation of the oxidative stress associated with aging.”

” Long-term IF regimen exerts an anti-promoting effect on rat hepatocarcinogenesis”

There are many other purported benefits, many of which are scientifically backed up. It can definitely be a positive and therapeutic tool.

Ok – so should everyone fast?

No, not necessarily. For women, long term intermittent fasting might be a bad idea due to its influence on reproductive hormones. Our reproductive organs might be thinking “oh no, a famine.. Don’t reproduce now” and turn your hormones out of whack. That’s why I don’t advocate any sort of long term or overly frequent fasting like many intermittent proponents might recommend. It’s a powerful tool and with such, it should be used with caution.

using bulletproof coffee to fast

Dave Asprey of bulletproof fame has his version of fasting he specifically recommends for women called bulletproof intermittent fasting. Basically, he recommends having coffee or tea with fat (generally coconut oil, MCT oil or butter) for breakfast which lets your body receive the benefits of fasting because you are still refraining from carbohydrates and protein. Due to the added fat, your body has fuel and doesn’t think you’re in a famine, keeping hormones more in line.

There are also specific medical conditions that do not support intermittent fasting. If you have existing medical problems, take extra caution. Your mainstream doctors will likely think you’re crazy saying you’d like to fast to improve your health, so I recommend seeking a functional medicine practitioner or a more progressive doctor who is cognizant of the latest research in fasting.

But practically speaking, what does intermittent fasting entail?

A lot of people do a lot of different things. Some fast for a full day then eat for a few days, some fast for 18 hours every day and only eat during a small window. There are many methods of intermittent fasting.

What I advocate for is 16 hours without eating once or twice a week. It’s a small enough amount that it shouldn’t cause adverse reactions for the vast majority of people. It’s also relatively easy to do. Here’s what that looks like:

Dinner 6pm
Breakfast 10am

Doesn’t sound that crazy right? Heck, you might already be doing that sometimes. This gives your body a break and helps it regenerate and remove waste from cells!

Pretty cool, huh?

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:33+00:00 August 13th, 2017|Nourish|4 Comments

Paleo Sweet Potato Pad Thai!

sweet potato pad thai recipe
This is a guest post from Brynn at My Sweet Potato Life. She has many wonderful recipes, so do check her out!

This vegan & paleo dish has all the quintessential flavors of pad thai: lime, coconut aminos, sesame oil, peanut butter, et cetera. Let’s be honest, sometimes all you want to do is faceplant into a BIG bowl of noodles, am I right? I used my handy-dandy spiralizer (which, by the way, was a birthday present that I actually asked for #foodie) to make awesome sweet potato noodles! Sweet potatoes are the BEST way to make an epic recipe even more epic! As you can tell by my blog name, I’m a bit obsessed with sweet potatoes.

Note: I used homemade peanut butter in this recipe because I tolerate peanuts, but you can use sunflower seed butter to make it “perfect paleo!”

Happy cooking!

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 20-30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

for the sauce

1/2 cup smooth natural sunbutter or peanut butter, salted
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/8 teaspoon red chili powder

for the pad thai

1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, spiralized on smallest setting
1 red bell pepper
1 small yellow or sweet onion
sea salt to taste
fresh red cabbage, cilantro, green onions, lime wedges, and chopped peanuts/cashews/sunflower seeds, to serve
meat or sliced scrambled eggs, to top (optional)

Directions

1. Heat the sesame oil and olive/coconut oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
2. Add sweet potato, onion, and red bell pepper. Cover and cook until soft (10 to 15 minutes), stirring every so often.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together until smooth.
4. Add the sauce to the vegetables and season to taste with salt. Stir until combined.
5. Serve noodles over a bed of cabbage with desired toppings.

-Brynn Elson

My Sweet Potato Life
www.mysweetpotatolife.com

 

 

 

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:38+00:00 August 7th, 2017|Recipes|1 Comment

Clean eating on the go

Clean eating while traveling
I’m leaving for vacation in a few days and staying healthy is top of mind. My healthy eating lifestyle is super easy to maintain while I’m home because I’ve set up my kitchen to make it a breeze.

Things aren’t always so simple when I leave the confines of my kitchen.

Traveling and trying to eat real food is a struggle. Most restaurants simply serve junk, even if it’s disguised in healthy appearances. Vegetable oils, preservatives, sugar… restaurant meals are full of it. Fast food, rarely an option.

So what’s a paleo momma to do? Here’s my plan and my thinking for this particular trip so you have an idea of how I plan out my travels.

First, I plan out my travel day.

I’m flying from Denver to the Bay Area, and with travel time and car rentals, I’m probably looking at about 7 hours. If I wanted to, I could simply not eat during that time period or have a quick snack… and plan for a healthy meal on arrival. But I love me some food.

So here are some of my options:

The first thing I do is I think about my options at the airport if I were to want to get food there. Denver, unlike most airports, actually has 2 really good real food options (Mod Market and Root Down if you’re wondering). I won’t bother looking into Oakland, because if I’m at my destination that means I have options OUTSIDE the airport which are much more plentiful.

My other option, and the option I’ll most likely take is to pack some food!

I could bring any of the below assorted foods, usually I just take whatever I already have so I don’t need to go to the store and make a big hubbub about the trip.

Snack type items:

  • Grassfed sausage, which I would plan to eat cold
  • Fruit: Anything not too messy, I usually stay clear of oranges or things that will make my hands sticky
  • Veggie sticks or grape tomatoes: I rarely bring this because personally I find it boring, but it’s definitely an option for some.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Bars: Lara bars or some relatively clean equivalent
  • Dried fruit (high sugar but easy to snack on!)
  • Cans of fish: I usually pack a fork or take one from a Fast food restaurant at the airport (something about stealing their utensils to eat my healthy food makes me feel good). Options include: sardines, tuna, oysters, whatever you can find in a can! Don’t eat this on a plane though unless you want to get the stink eye from everyone around you.
  • Hard cheese: I don’t eat much dairy at home, but while traveling it opens up a lot more options so I may include some.
  • Dark chocolate: No explanation needed.
  • Almond butter: Sometimes I’ll buy pouches ready to squeeze on a banana or apple or just eat straight
  • Jerky: Grass fed of course!
  • Avocado: If not too soft, I may bring one to eat with my fish

Prepared food:

  • Hard boiled eggs: Sometimes I boil up a few eggs, keep the shell on and munch on them at the airport. This is also a no plane food – people don’t like the smell of eggs!
  • Meat roll up: I may roll some sliced meat over lettuce or shredded carrots
  • Paleo treats: I might make some paleo approved banana bread, muffins or something in that category. They are easy to eat and travel with.

Or

I might just bring what I normally eat in a pyrex or perhaps a disposable container I have laying around, depending on the circumstances. I’ll just eat it cold instead of warm, and all is the same as if I were at home! Make a fresh salad, eat some leftovers, whatever floats my boat.

Next up, what am I going to eat when I get there?

Lucky for me, we’re staying just north of Berkeley, CA and getting fresh, real food shouldn’t be too difficult. Hippies love real food, right?

I’ve already staked out a natural health food store that sells organic prepared food. That’s a great option! There are some Whole Foods as well. Awesome.

I’ll typically search online for the city I’m staying in and the words: paleo, organic, farm to table, healthy food, etc. Lucky for me, Berkeley has a full scale paleo restaurant called Mission Heirloom. I’ve heard good things.

Outside of that, my favorite food in the world is Asian food. Generally, the following are relatively clean and filling if you’re ok eating white rice:

  • Thai curries
  • Vietnamese soups
  • Indian curries (though do expect them to use vegetable oil)
  • Sushi (avoid artificial crab and most sauces)

I also have a backup of chain restaurants I know sell a few things I’m ok to eat: Chipotle, Panera, Ruby Tuesday (they have a salad buffet), Wahoo Fish Taco (they have a paleo plate), and some american style restaurants have ok meat/veggie plates. I won’t have to extend this option in such a culturally diverse area as the Bay area, but sometimes when I travel that’s not the case.

Any American chains you’ve found healthy meals at?

Next up, hotel living.

If you’re staying somewhere with a fridge and microwave, you can go a long way! I will have access to both.

Some things I may be able to find at a grocery store for snacking at the hotel:

  • Ready made hard boiled eggs
  • A small bottle of olive oil (to put on something I make at the salad bar instead of their vegetable oil poison they call salad dressing).
  • Amy’s Organic Soups. They aren’t perfect, certainly not ideal eating soup from a can, but they are relatively clean and a good snack item to have lying around. Plus, they are cheap.
  • Steamables. Sometimes you can find vegetables in a steamable bag you just put in the microwave. You could buy butter to put on it or snatch some salt packets.

Concluding thoughts

Part of why I make such a big deal about staying healthy while traveling is because my diet at home is clean 95+% of the time. I just can’t handle processed food anymore. My body knows best and it says poison! My main goals while traveling are to 1) be gluten free and 2) eat as few processed ingredients as possible.

I don’t want to feel like crap all vacation.

But at the same time… It’s a vacation.

I want to indulge a little.

That’s why I stick to foods that generally don’t make me feel sick but aren’t necessarily perfectly paleo. I love ethnic food and it’s a real treat, so that’s the direction I’ll likely take for many meals. If I find a gluten free bakery, I may splurge.

I also have a toddler to travel with, so it’s a whole new ballgame. I may be ok eating some vietnamese pho, but my 19 month old? It’ll be on the floor in 3 seconds flat.

Wish me luck.

 

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By | 2017-10-15T16:44:48+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Nourish|2 Comments

The science is not settled on GMOs

science is not settled on gmos
I have a lot of issues with the way the term “science” has been used to push GMO agenda over the last few years.

Skeptical about GMOs? You’re anti-science. You’re now lumped in with climate change deniers. But is that fair?

Hardly so.

“Science” is used to prove GMOs are safe, but it’s the very same “science” showing how little we actually know. I think it should be re-phrased as:

“The science that can be linked, in one way or another, to Monsanto is settled. GMOs are safe.”

Independent research? Not so much.

Science from government and corporate funded studies should not hold more value than independently researched science, in fact, much the opposite. The conflicts of interest in science are immense.

According to a cellular biologist (referenced here), “Funding, much of it from the companies that sell GM seeds, heavily favors researchers who are exploring ways to further the use of genetic modification in agriculture. He says that biologists who point out health or other risks associated with GM crops—who merely report or defend experimental findings that imply there may be risks—find themselves the focus of vicious attacks on their credibility, which leads scientists who see problems with GM foods to keep quiet.”

“Science” is being used as a term to justify the use of GMOs, by belittling people and labeling them anti-science. But to refer to the term science, as if it’s one thing and not something immensely complex, is anti-science in itself. It’s anti-science is say that science is settled. The science is never settled, we should always be pursuing further information and evaluating risks and benefits to everything, always. You can cherry pick science all day long and get whatever result you’d like… painting science with a broad brush as a reason to be for or against something is misleading.

Just because a short term study looking at a specific number of factors doesn’t find anything egregious about GMOs does not mean they are safe. We don’t know their true impact and we probably won’t for a long time. This “it’s safe until proven otherwise” mentality needs to stop. It’s UNSAFE until proven otherwise.

I’m tired of being an experiment.

canola field gmo

Research into GMOs is in relative infancy, there are many health risks that we have yet to fully understand, and it’s naive to think otherwise. I prefer to err on the side of caution. For me as a consumer, besides a minor dent in the pocketbook, there are no actual benefits to buying GMO (eating real food makes that dent much smaller, which I’ll discuss later). I confidently believe that feeding the world is simply a myth perpetuated by big agriculture. I’m not the only one who thinks that, here’s a report from the Environmental Working Group on how GMOs don’t feed the world and in fact, helping small farmers is the right approach.

Most of Europe doesn’t want anything to do with GMOs. A lot of times when I look at health decisions I step outside my American box and think about the rest of the world. Most of the world is skeptical, yet in American culture you’re supposed to just accept them because science says so? There’s enough science in Europe to warrant debate, but why not here?

But don’t trust me, let’s look at some science (from Europe, of course).

According to a consensus statement of 300 independent scientists published in the Journal, Environmental Sciences Europe:

“This statement clearly demonstrates that the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist outside of the above depicted internal circle of stakeholders. The health, environment, and agriculture authorities of most nations recognize publicly that no blanket statement about the safety of all GMOs is possible and that they must be assessed on a ‘case-by-case’ basis. Moreover, the claim that it does exist – which continues to be pushed in the above listed circles – is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue. The claim further encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.”

Simply put: THE SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED.

Their conclusion?

  • There is no consensus on GM food safety
  • There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health
  • Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate
  • List of several hundred studies that purportedly show GMOs are safe do not show GM food safety “Examination of the studies listed reveals that many do not provide evidence of GM food safety and, in fact, some provide evidence of a lack of safety.”
  • There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops
  • International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops

The safety of GMOs is misleading and misrepresented. And I’m not even getting into the fact that glyphosate is used alongside GMOs, which California has recently decided to label as “possibly carcinogenic.” Glyphosate is reason enough to avoid GMOs, but alas, that’s for another day.

So here’s where a real food diet comes in. The debate as to the safety of GMO’s will rarely affect you if you don’t eat processed foods. What foods are most commonly GMO? Corn, soybean, canola, sugar, and cotton.

Yup, we don’t eat those foods. (but we do eat zucchini, yellow squash and papaya, so watch out there and buy organic if you can afford it)

Eat real food, buy organic if you can afford it, and be on your way.

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By | 2017-10-15T16:45:17+00:00 July 25th, 2017|Nourish|3 Comments

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