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.

Avocado & Artichoke Dip

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avocado-artichoke-dipIngredients:

2 ripe avocados

1 jar artichoke hearts

1 can sliced black olives

2 garlic cloves, grated

¼ tsp onion powder or 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion

1/8 tsp cumin

2 tsp tarragon vinegar

½ tsp fresh lime juice

Sea salt to taste

 

 

Preparation:

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the avocados. Cut the artichoke hearts into pieces. Mix together all ingredients.

 

Chicken Kebabs and Nectarine Salsa

posted in: Recipes | 0

chicken picIngredients
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 24 (2-inch) pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 32 (2-inch) pieces
Cooking spray
2 cups diced nectarine (about 3)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
1. Preheat broiler. Combine first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish; let stand 15 minutes.
2. Thread 4 onion pieces and 3 chicken pieces alternately onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Place skewers on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 12 minutes or until chicken is done, turning occasionally.
3. Combine nectarines and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a bowl. Gently stir in avocado.

Lemon Garlic Baked Halibut

halibut-lemon-18Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil 4 Tbsp. lemon juice Salt Pepper Halibut 2 cloves of minced garlic
8 cups of baby spinach

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together 1 Tbsp. olive oil and lemon juice in small bowl. Add salt and pepper to season. Drizzle half of this dressing onto the halibut and bake for 12 minutes. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and garlic to saucepan and sauté on medium heat for 1 minute. Add the spinach. Top baked halibut with spinach mixture and remaining half of dressing.