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.

Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad with Minty Green Beans

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grilled-watermelon-halloumi-salad-minty-green-beans-ck

Ingredients:

8 ounces haricots verts (French green beans)

1 small seedless watermelon (about 5 pounds)

4 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 4 triangles
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves
4 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Preparation:

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add haricots verts; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.

2. Heat a large grill pan over high heat. Cut watermelon lengthwise into 4 quarters. Cut 1 quarter crosswise into 8 (3/4-inch-thick) wedges; reserve remaining watermelon for another use. Add watermelon and cheese to grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.

3. Combine oil, juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Remove 2 teaspoons oil mixture; set aside. Add haricots verts and mint to bowl; toss to coat. Arrange bean mixture on a platter. Return reserved 2 teaspoons oil mixture to bowl. Add arugula to bowl; toss to coat. Arrange arugula mixture, watermelon, and cheese on platter. Sprinkle with nuts.

Pre-Diabetes Mostly Ignored by Medical Doctors

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Pre-Diabetes Mostly Ignored by Medical Doctors

type2diabetes_child

A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine states that less than 25% of patients received and lifestyle or dietary advice when labs showed that they had pre-diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most serious and rapidly growing conditions affecting society today. It is quickly becoming out of control and the worst part is that the vast majority cases of Type 2 Diabetes are completely preventable and even reversible if action is taken early on in its development. That’s right, I said reversible! This disease progresses as sugar handling in the body and insulin sensitivity become dysfunctional. Both of these are things that can be changed and improved with the correct advice and lifestyle modifications. The other option, which seems to be the preferred course of action in modern medicine, is to wait until it progresses to full blown diabetes and then just prescribe medications for the rest of the patient’s life. Not only does diabetes cause problems with sugar control in the body, but it also affects almost every other system in the body. Hormone production and brain function are vastly affected by dysfunctions in the body’s ability to tightly regulate sugar. Not only that, but diabetes medications always lead to more medications. Inevitably, blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, and others to help with associated hormone and mental dysfunction are prescribed to help ‘alleviate’ future complications of a disease that could have easily been prevented.
To make this ‘hit home’ just a little bit more, the OC Register just reported that nearly 50% of Orange County adults have either unreported diabetes or are in the pre-diabetes stage. This is absolutely ridiculous! And studies show that up to 30% of these people will develop full blown diabetes with 5 years. This means that 15% of all Orange County residents will have diabetes within 5 years. Read the full OC Register story at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/diabetes-707589-prediabetes-percent.html
At some point we need to accept the fact that what we are doing is not working. Many disease processes are worsening and becoming more prevalent. Diabetes is just one of them. Autoimmune diseases are growing in number and becoming more common than diabetes. If all autoimmune subcategories are lumped all into one category, autoimmune disease is the most prevalent disease in the world. The BIG question needs to be completely changed! We need to stop looking so hard for new medications to treat the symptoms of worsening diseases. Instead, we need to start spending more research dollars on what is actually causing these diseases in the first place. Autoimmune diseases and diabetes, for instance, are many times created and worsened simply by the foods that we eat. All the new research already shows this, but only functional medicine doctors are applying it. More needs to be done to prevent misleading marketing and to start educating the public on what is really creating so many problems. People can and will make changes if they are actually armed with the correct information. The problem is that Big Pharma and Big Food don’t want you to know the truth. They are making serious money and have no intentions of stopping. However, all businesses are directed by consumer demand. As people start to demand healthier foods and alternative to drugs, big corporations will have to listen. So, start being your own advocate for health. Don’t simply take the advice of the guy in the white coat as truth. Do your own research, ask your own questions, and fight for your own health!

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers

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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.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Shrimp

posted in: Recipes | 0

fennel-spinach-salad-shrimp-ck-xIngredients

3 slices center-cut bacon

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1 medium bulb)

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 (9-ounce) package fresh baby spinach

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

                                         1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings, and crumble. Add the shrimp to pan, and cook 2 minutes, turning once.
2. Combine bacon, 2 cups fennel, grape tomatoes, red onion, and baby spinach in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the shrimp and balsamic mixture to spinach mixture; toss well.

Chicken Kebabs and Nectarine Salsa

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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.

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