Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & Micro-greens

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Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & MicrogreensCauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & Micro-greens

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 
large heads cauliflower (25 to 30 oz each)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil + additional for drizzling
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt + additional as needed
  • 11/2-2 cups unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup microgreens, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pine  nuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Trim stems of cauliflower heads so that cauliflower sits flat upright. Cut each cauliflower vertically into two ¾-inch-thick steaks, making 4 steaks total. (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together oil, 1 tsp paprika, pepper and salt; brush half of mixture over cauliflower. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn and brush with remaining oil mixture; roast until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, remaining 1 tsp smoked paprika and additional salt as needed; heat on low until warmed. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate and garnish with microgreens, pine nuts and sesame seeds. Drizzle each with additional oil.

PER SERVING (1 steak with sauce and garnishes): Calories: 220, Total Fat: 18 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 15 g, Fiber: 5.5 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 678 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Hypothyroidism: The Real Solution

posted in: blog post, General Health | 0

imagesAccording to the American Thyroid Association, “More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.”  This is a staggering number! The real question is why?  This is one of many diseases in the United States that seems to be growing at an astronomical rate.  What few people understand, even many of those who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or high TSH levels, is that 90% of all hypothyroid cases in the United States are technically autoimmune conditions and not a primary condition of the thyroid.  This is a very important thing to understand.  I have had numerous people in my functional medicine programs that have been hypothyroid for many years and have never heard the term Hashimoto’s.  Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid.  Again, if you are in the United States and have hypothyroidism, then you have a 90% chance of actually having Hashimoto’s.  This is crucial to understand because the protocols used to help with this condition are completely different than if you had true primary thyroid disease.

With primary hypothyroidism the thyroid itself is dysfunctional and medical doctors must treat the thyroid itself, many times with medications.  This means that there is an underactive thyroid despite the body telling it to produce hormone.  However, the other 90% have an autoimmune condition.  In this case, the thyroid itself is fine, it is the immune system that is dysfunctional.  Wouldn’t it make sense to then address the immune system?  This is not what is typically done.  Either the patient doesn’t know if they Hashimoto’s, or they know they have it and still the sole means of treatment is addressing the thyroid.  Many times these patients have similar comments:

  1. My thyroid labs are normal, but I still feel terrible!
  2. Since being diagnosed my doctor keeps increasing the dosage of my medication.
  3. Sometimes I have hypothyroid symptoms and sometimes I have hyperthyroid symptoms.

All three of these comments are typical and occur when the immune system is not being addressed.  As is with everything in functional medicine, you MUST address the cause of the problem and not bandage the symptoms.  Hashimoto’s disease is similar to a building on fire.  When the building is on fire there are symptoms of smoke, ash, and flames.  The building doesn’t have an issue that needs to be addressed, the source of the fire needs to be stopped.  The fire is put out temporarily (medication) and the symptoms (fire, smoke, ash) cease.  However, nobody thinks to pay attention to the person that lit the fire and so he does it again and the building once again is on fire.  Should we just continue to put the fire out each time he lights it?  Or should we figure out who is lighting the fire and then stop him from lighting it?  I think most people would agree the latter is the best solution.  Same goes with the thyroid.  Let’s stop just putting a bandaid on the thyroid and figure out what keeps lighting the fire that is irritating the thyroid.

In autoimmune diseases it is crucial to figure out what is causing the immune system to be up-regulated.  We all want an immune system that works effectively, but when it becomes too aggressive it can cause many problems.  If we can keep the immune system from being irritated then we can keep this response low and the thyroid will not be attacked.  The trick is to figure out exactly what things are irritating your immune system.  Some common irritants and food, bugs, and other stressors.   If you are eating foods that are causing inflammation and increasing immune system activity, then you thyroid is a likely target that will be impacted.  Uncovering your specific triggers is important to do as soon as possible so that you can restore normal function and stop damaging your thyroid.  Many of these triggers are common, but each individual can vary.  There are many lab tests that can help determine some of these triggers, but also addressing nutrition, sleep, and stress management prove to be helpful as well.  In essence, creating a completely healthy lifestyle that is customized to you is the answer.  This will not only alleviate thyroid symptoms, but will provide you will the best possible chance for a life that is long and full of vitality.

Probiotics: The New Multivitamin

probiotic-foodsProbiotics: The New Multivitamin

 

For many years people have been taking multivitamins as a way to “cover the bases” in an attempt to optimize their health.  Not a bad idea.  Multivitamins are a good way to make sure that you are receiving adequate amounts of the most common vitamins and minerals.  Dietary sources are always the best way to get these, but it usually can’t hurt to add a little extra just in case.  For those who truly assess their health with a functional medicine practitioner you can customize which variety of multi might be best for you given your specific findings, or even better just target specific micro-nutrients.

However, next generation “Multis” should now be seen as probiotics.  The amount of medical research into the microbiome is mind-blowing!  The microbiome is basically the collection of microorganisms that are present within the human body.  The importance of these organisms cannot be overstated and their exact contribution to our health and/or disease is just starting to be uncovered.  You can think of the microbiome as an opportunistic environment.  These microorganisms live together in what should be a ‘balance of power’.  When various organisms grow in number excessively they can crowd out other organisms.  This can sometimes be a good thing, or a bad thing.  If it is a bacteria that tends to lend itself towards improved health then it can help to keep the harmful bugs from growing excessively in number.  However, if the opposite occurs then these beneficial bacteria cannot help keep the balance and harmful organisms are allowed to flourish.  The ideal ‘balance of power’ is not completely understood and may even vary from person to person.  However, we do have enough research to understand many of the different strains of bacteria that actually help to support a healthy environment.  These strains are the most common ones seen in probiotic supplements today.  However, we also know that variety is important because having one strain dominate in number too excessively, even if it’s a ‘healthy’ strain, can begin to crowd out other healthy bacteria needed for optimal health.  For this reason, I typically suggest that people either cycle which probiotic they take, in order to get a wide variety of bacteria exposure, or make sure to take one that is broad spectrum and expansive.  This allows you to attempt to maintain a healthy and varied gut environment.

Another easy and sometimes more effective way to help improve gut bacteria health is to consume fermented foods.  Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, are foods that are created by allowing bacteria to ferment the sugars in the food.  So, you are actually consuming foods that are full of bacteria.  Some studies have shown that eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, has more impact on actually changing the makeup of the microbiome than taking probiotics.  I say just do both.

Pretend that you gut environment is filled with millions of different soldiers, some groups of soldiers are good and others are bad.  The bad soldiers can’t do too much harm if the good soldiers are allowed to flourish and keep the peace.  However, if this balance is disturbed and the bad soldiers are allowed to grow in number, then the susceptibility for harmful situations becomes more prevalent.  This is a good way to imagine the environment in the human microbiome.  For now, the best thing we can do to attempt to keep the good soldiers healthy and strong is to support them with things like probiotics and fermented foods.

 

Monster Shake

posted in: Nutrition, Recipes | 0

green-monster-smoothie-resized-1Monster Shake

Unsweetened Almond milk – 12- 16oz

1 scoop Garden of Life: Raw Organic Meal – Vanilla Flavored

1 tbsp Chia Seeds

1 tbsp Raw, Organic Peanut, Almond, or Cashew Butter

1 large handful of Organic Spinach or Kale

3 medium sized organic Broccoli Florets

1/2 cup frozen Organic mixed berries

1 tbsp Udo’s Oil DHA – 3.6.9 Blend

 

Put all ingredients into a blender and let it rip!  Don’t get too tied down to exact measurements.  Just throw these things in and finely tune the amounts to fit your tastes!  Just don’t overdue the fruit to avoid drinking a sugar-bomb.  If you want to know the exact macronutrients in this shake, by all means look it up!  Just know that this shake is full of healthy veggies, high in extremely healthy fats, packed with healthy, dense calories, and the Garden of Life powder adds so much more! That powder tastes great and is high in vegan protein, full of probiotics, and ramped up with plenty of enzymes.  This shake is a monster because it has it all!  Make this as a meal replacement of use post-workout!

Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas with Mustard + Parsley

posted in: Recipes | 0

unnamedRoasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas with Mustard + Parsley

*Recipe from “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow”

So good. Roasted cauliflower, with its gently browned florets, is a sweet and deep contrast to the fiber-rich roasted chickpea. This is an ultrahealthy and filling side, one of those healthy dishes that actually leaves you feeling satisfied.

 

Ingredients:

14 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained & dried in a kitchen towel

1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and discarded (or slice and sauté them with garlic- surprisingly delicious!), cut into bite sized florets

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the middle

Toss the chickpeas & cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tbsps. of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and ¼ cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

shrimp-salad-lettuce-wrapsIngredients:

1 lb. small shrimp

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp grated ginger

2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 head butter lettuce

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 avocado slice

2 tbsp. chopped green onions

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Toss the shrimp in a mixing bowl with the garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper. In a skillet over medium high, melt the coconut oil, and place the shrimp in the skillet. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until shrimp is saturated with the spices. Serve in lettuce cups and top with sliced avocado, cilantro, and chopped green onions.

 

Salmon Cakes

posted in: Nutrition, Recipes | 0

salmon-cakes10Ingredients:

12 oz. baked salmon, chopped

2 eggs or egg substitute

1 small onion, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 tbsp. green onion, minced

1 tsp. spice blend of rosemary, sage, salt, garlic powder, onion powder

1-2 tsp. coconut flour

¼ cup coconut oil or butter

2 tsp. gluten-free mustard (optional)

Preparation:

Combine the salmon, eggs, garlic, green onions, spice blend, and mustard (optional) in a small mixing bowl. If the consistency is runny, sift the coconut flour over the mixture and combine well. Form the mixture into patties. Lightly fry both sides in a frying pan coated with coconut oil.

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers

posted in: Recipes | 0

Paleo-Diet-Mexican-Stuffed-Peppers-image-c-Waterbury-Publications-300x336INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano 
chile pepper, seeded 
and chopped
  • 2 lb ground chicken 
or turkey
  • 1 14.5-oz can unsalted 
fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 4 red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers
  • Lime wedges

SEASONING:

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare seasoning: In a small dry skillet on medium-low, toast cumin seeds for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a spice grinder; grind to a powder. Transfer cumin to a small bowl and stir in remaining seasoning ingredients.
  2. In a large skillet on medium, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, and chile; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken; cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp seasoning mixture (reserve remaining mixture for use in Meal Plan); stir well. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; then simmer, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro.
  3. Meanwhile, cut 
bell peppers in half vertically (from stems to bottoms). Remove and discard stems, seeds and membranes. In a large pot, blanch peppers in boiling water, 2 to 
3 minutes or just until tender; drain. Fill peppers with chicken mixture.
  4. For each serving, arrange 2 pepper halves on a plate. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

14 Medications to Zero

pillsA few weeks ago I heard a great story about a lady’s return to health that made me both happy and frustrated all at the same time. While checking out at Nordstrom’s the woman that was assisting me took down my email address and noticed that ‘Dr.’ was in the spelling. She continued to ask what kind of doctor I was and when I told her I was a chiropractor her face lit up as she told me how her chiropractor was the absolute best and was the only doctor she currently uses. This, of course, makes me smile, but also begs me to get more information. The explanation of her return to health was really summed up in one sentence. She said, “Two years ago I was on 14 medications and now I am on none!”. 14 MEDICATIONS!!!!! It is almost difficult to believe that someone can continue to be handed prescriptions at a rate so high. She said that she finally sought out this chiropractor because she was not satisfied with the direction of her healthcare and didn’t feel right taking that many medications every day. This particular chiropractor took control of her care and in two years she lost 50 pounds and was able to eliminate 14 medications from her life! That is just plain awesome. Can you imagine the negative side effects that 14 medications have on your system? Not only each individual one, but there also must be some negative interactions between these meds. Now, this story is really not to say how chiropractors are the best thing in the world. This could have been any other healthcare professional, like a dietician, a naturopath, an acupuncturist, or even another medical professional. The point is that she was able to turn her life around so drastically and truly control her own health.
This really made me smile as I walked out of the store, but this satisfaction was quickly joined by a feeling of frustration. Clearing 14 medications from the system and returning the body to a healthy state is a massive victory, but it begs the question of how someone can possibly be instructed to take all these medications in the first place. Was this really the direction that her previous healthcare provider(s) thought was in her best interest?? Surely there were multiple medical professionals who each lent a hand in boosting her prescription numbers. And maybe even 3 or 4 of these medications were given temporarily and not meant for long term use. However, this would still leave the patient with at least 10 daily medications and potentially no planned date for ending their use. Unfortunately, this has become a common scenario in today’s healthcare system; partly because multiple doctors are used to control a patient’s health and partly because many medical professionals rely on medications as their primary tool for ‘health’. Luckily, this patient decided to seek out advice from another health professional whose goal would be to fix things without using a prescription pad. My hope is not that we eliminate the use of all medications as there are extremely useful and necessary in many instances. My hope is that we use them only when other methods fail to provide solutions or if the body just cannot sustain health without them. I’m sure there are many stories just like this, but probably even more people that COULD have stories like this if they decided to finally take control of their own health.

How We Get Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Athlete

Ultimately, the goal of any sport is to get either bigger, stronger, or faster, or a combination of these. While this seems obvious it is beneficial to take a careful look at just how we achieve this so that we can improve each stage. When simplified, there are really four basic steps to get these results:

Stage 1: Put the body through a training stress

Stage 2: Remove stress from the body

Stage 3: Allow the body to adapt and grow

Stage 4: Improved ability for your body to handle that specific training   stress

While this is a very simplistic version of how the process occurs, it is basically how we do it. Most people would look at this and say “No —-, sherlock!”. However, they never really take the time to dissect this. The old-school (and unfortunately still fairly prevalent) thought process is focused almost completely on Stage 1. You get better simply by training harder and longer. While training duration and intensity does play a key part in improvement, it is by no means the only factor. In fact, many times this ‘train harder’ mentality is what promotes injury and decreased athletic performance. Instead, athletes should be focusing more of their attention on Stage 2 and Stage 3 in order to really maximize the Stage 4 process of getting better at their sport. While on the surface this seems fairly easy, it actually becomes a very complex conversation when trying to analyze how to best remove all stressors from the body. You must remember that the body has to deal with all stressors, not just the loads from training intensity. So, the times that you are not actually training does not mean that you have completely removed all stress from your body. Stress comes in many forms and can be present in either physical, chemical, or emotional states. The physiological responses from the body are exactly the same whether you are running from a tiger or getting verbally slaughtered by your boss. Both put the body through stress and make growth much more difficult. For example, the Type A businessman (or woman) whose stress levels are constantly elevated everyday never allows his (her) hormonal system to calm down. The problem with this is that the body’s high-stress hormonal environments are designed to be catabolic (breakdown of the body) rather than anabolic (building up of the body). So, remaining in this high stress state never really allows the athlete to fully experience Stage 3. Not only does this stunt growth or improvement, but it actually puts the athlete at a high risk for overtraining, which is shockingly common. Let’s also say that this person does not sleep very much either, given the hectic work schedule and emotionally stressful position. If an athlete is not sleeping very many hours or is unable to sleep consistently through the night then his/her ability to recover from workouts is dramatically reduced. Sleep is really where our bodies are allowed to regenerate and grow. Growth (or getting bigger, stronger, faster) can only occur when the body is given the proper environment to do so. I could go on and on about various examples that hamper an athlete’s ability to really maximize Stage 2. However, to keep this article from becoming too lengthy I’ll just list some for you. Here are just of few of the other things to consider when trying to maximize stage 2 and your attempt to ultimately get bigger, stronger, faster:

  • Improve sleep quality and duration
  • Avoid all processed foods and added sugar
  • Normalize hormone levels to avoid catabolic (breakdown) environments
  • Eat enough foods and a wide variety of them
  • Ensure inflammation (external and internal) is minimized
  • Supplement the body with key ingredients to ensure growth is maximized
  • Utilize stress-management techniques
  • Avoid prescription medications if possible (consult your doctor first!)
  • Maximize physical recovery through self-practices and/or soft tissue therapy
  • Normalize functional movements to ensure training is not providing excess stress
  • Listen to your body! Know when rest is the proper answer for the day
  • Track resting heart rate or HRV to avoid overtraining
  • Include recovery practices WITHIN your training plan as if it’s part of your training

The reason that these, and others, are so crucial is that if not addressed they not only don’t allow Stage 3 to happen effectively, but they also begin to really limit how effective Stage 1 can be. We all know that you must train hard in order to get better. However, if not done properly the harder you train, the worse the potential injury! Train smarter, not harder. You’ll be surprised how big, strong, and fast you can become if you really pay attention to the ‘other stuff’.

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