Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & Micro-greens

posted in: blog post, Nutrition, Recipes | 0

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.

 

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.

 

Tuna Salad in Butter Lettuce Cups

posted in: Nutrition, Recipes | 0

 

Photo-May-27-5-00-09-PMIngredients:

1 4-6 oz can of water-packed tuna

1 green onion, sliced thinly

½ stalked of celery, chopped

1 tbsp. light mayonnaise (egg & soy free)

1 tsp. chopped olives

¼ avocado, mashed

2 butter lettuce leaves

Sea salt & pepper, if desired

 

Preparation:

Drain the tuna. In a medium bowl, add the tuna, onion, celery, olives & mayo. Mix to combine. Add salt & pepper, if desired. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill, or serve immediately. Serve on a butter lettuce leaf. Makes one serving.

Chicken Vegetable Salad

posted in: Nutrition, Recipes | 0

chickenvegIngredients:

2 cups green leaf, red leaf, romaine, and butter lettuces

½ cup red cabbage, shredded

¼ cup jicama, julienned

¼ cup carrots, julienned

1 green onion, sliced thinly

2 radishes, sliced thinly

1 stalk of celery, sliced thinly

1 2-4 oz chicken breast

1 clove of garlic, macerated

2 tsp coconut oil

Sea salt and pepper, if desired

 

Preparation:

Rub chicken breast with the macerated garlic; add salt & pepper, if desired. Rub the bottom of a heavy sauté pan with the coconut oil & sauté the chicken over medium heat, turning once. Cook thoroughly and remove from skillet to cool. In a large bowl, combine all of the vegetables. When the chicken is no longer too hot to handle, slice into thin strips and add to the bowl of vegetables. Toss with vinaigrette. Makes one serving.

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.

Cannons and Canoes

cannon

Cannons and Canoes

One of my favorite quotes as it relates to power creation in the human body I read many years ago in Stuart McGill’s “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. When speaking about how the body can generate the most power the book says, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”. This image has stuck with me ever since I first read it and seems to simply explain how we need to address the athlete’s conditioning if we want to ultimately create maximum power. The absolute, crushing power of a cannon ball shot from a cannon is unmistakable. If you decided one day that you wanted to create a cannon with more power that could ultimately create more force, the first instinct would be to build a bigger cannon that used a bigger cannon ball. This is often the same instinct that we have as athletes when it relates to our sport. Getter faster on the bike means getting a better bike, a lighter shoe, a lighter wheel, or more aerodynamic frame. To get faster, runners want to get the best shoe and just run more miles. To get bigger muscles athletes think only to lift heavier weights and lift them more often. While all of these things do help to improve the performance of the athlete, the most important piece of equipment is often neglected: the body.
Let’s look back at our example of the cannon. What if all the focus was placed on building a bigger cannon and heavier cannon ball without paying much attention to the stability of the cannon. This is eloquently illustrated by thinking about firing a cannon from a canoe. If you put a powerful cannon on a canoe and fired it, the explosion would cause more energy displaced in the movement of the canoe rather than in the propulsion of the cannon ball. This same principle can be seen with athletes. Too often athletes are narrowly focused on big muscles and better gear, rather than focusing on the stability of their cannon. Remember that the more you stabilize the cannon, the more power you can create when shooting the cannon ball. Any loss in the stability of the cannon directly relates to loss of power in the firing of the ball. This is no different than the human body. If athletes lack proper stability then maximum power can never be created. This goes for every sport: golf, running, cycling, basketball, football, etc. Taking the cannon off of the canoe and putting it on the ground obviously yields better results. For the highly competitive athlete this needs to be taken one step further. Not only does the cannon need to be on solid ground, but it needs to be completely immobilized so that no energy is wasting moving the cannon when fired. This ultimate stability of the cannon allows for maximum force dispersed to the cannon ball.
For the athlete, this ultimate stability needs to be realized not only through the proper fitness training, but also through optimizing the stability of the internal health. Let’s briefly discuss these two:
Proper fitness training for the athlete needs to be very specific to what muscles and movements are involved in the sport. It also needs to build an athlete from the ground-up. This means making sure there is a proper base strength and muscular control from which power and strength can be built upon. It is far too common to see athletes who focus on power and strength, but have very poor stabilizing capacity and fine motor control.
Optimizing internal health is probably never even considered by the athlete as a way to ‘stabilize the cannon’. This is where I find true performance enhancement can really be achieved. Getting bigger, stronger, or faster is completely determined by an athletes ability to recover. This was discussed at length in a previous blog (read here: http://momentumsportstherapy.com/category/sports-and-fitness/) so we’ll keep it simple here. Just know that improving your overall health is the absolute best way to be able to train harder and recover faster. Using specified lab work, precise nutritional intervention, and high-quality supplementation can give athletes huge advantages in competition.
If you are a serious athlete that either wants to compete at a high level or stay in the sport for many years, start to consider that optimizing your health is the first priority to achieving those goals.

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.

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.