"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m fairly certain that eggs have been behind my ever-occurring acne breakouts. At least, since puberty ended. However, there’s also the chance that I was reacting to the source of the eggs (I was purchasing from a farm that apparently feeds their chickens soy. I didn’t know that and I’m DEFINITELY sensitive to soy). There’s also the chance that I’m only reactive to part of the egg. Most of the time, people who don’t tolerate eggs are reacting to the whites. So, I’m reintroducing eggs again, slowly this time, beginning with the yolks. Even if it does turn out that eggs are indeed the cause of my problem and it had nothing to do with what the chickens ate, I would at least like to know if I can use yolks when cooking. They’re like nature’s multivitamin and there are so many things you can do with just the yolks!
Which brings me to my new recipe for today… Plantain Pancakes. The plantain obsession is real and I don’t think it’ll go away for a bit. So let’s just see where it takes us, yes? 🙂
I haven’t felt like I’ve really had a “weekend” this whole semester – between work and continuing education classes for my personal training certification, I really haven’t yet. So today, I did Pancake Sunday. Involving egg yolks and plantains. What could be better!?
Cut the plantains up into chunks, size doesn’t really matter. We just don’t want them whole.
Place the plantain pieces, almond milk, and egg yolks into a blender or food processor (I just used my Nutribullet and it worked fine!) and blend until smooth.
Scrape the sides of the blender to get everything to the bottom, and add the sea salt and baking powder. Blend one more time to get everything evenly incorporated.
On low heat, melt the coconut oil in a pan on the stove and scoop large spoonfuls (I just used a dinner spoon) of the batter onto the warm pan. The low heat is essential because these WILL cook faster than you think!
Once the pancakes freely remove from the pan with a spatula, about 2 minutes, flip them and let the other side cook up to 30 seconds. Remove the pancakes and repeat until the batter is gone.
Serve with some maple syrup for a nostalgic and delicious breakfast!
This thing just might be the reason for world peace one day… or the reason the Internet crashes. I don’t know. All is possible now that this exists. I have no shame in admitting this was my entire dinner on Super Bowl Sunday. This recipe is the combination of two of man’s greatest culinary feats: Tostones and Pizza. Long story short: MAKE THEM.
I’d also like to say that since starting food allergen testing, I made the beautiful (and potentially dangerous) discovery that I am, in fact, tolerant of dairy. For the longest time, I thought that dairy was the culprit in my terrible recurrences of dairy. Through the Body By Butter Bootcamp, which I am still participating in, I was able to discover that high-quality cheese and keifer do not actually make me feel bad OR cause my skin to break out. I tested both goat dairy and cow’s dairy with the same conclusion for both: my Scandinavian-Polish-Irish genes pulled through for me!
I’m both very excited and a little worried about this realization. Very excited because now it means I can indulge in some cheese from time to time and use keifer as another source of probiotics. Also excited because I will be studying abroad in Italy this summer, and while gluten is actually very easy to avoid there, I am going to LOVE having some mozzarella and gelato without fear of digestive or skin distress.
However, this leaves me with a new issue: what is making my face break out? Well, I have an idea. After dairy, the next thing to reintroduce on the Protocol was eggs. I tried to take it slow by only eating yolks for the first few days, but realized after meal prepping for the week that the mayo I used to make my Primal Chicken Salad had whole eggs in it. Well, my face has broken out this week. I cut the eggs back out altogether these past few weeks to see if my skin would heal up, and it did. So there’s that. Next up is to slowly test PROPERLY this time, with only yolks for probably a week and then slowly work in whites if nothing happens from that first round. I also need to make sure that I buy eggs that are NOT from soy-fed chickens, because apparently the brand I’ve been loyal to for a while now feeds them FREAKING. SOY. That is the worst food allergen for me, so honestly even that could be the issue.
Long Story short: food allergy testing is hard.
For me, an egg allergy will be harder to face than a dairy one. I’ve been dairy-free for a year and a half now. Dairy is pretty easy to avoid in most things – you just don’t use it in the recipes that call for it and don’t buy the few products it’s included in. But eggs… DANG. Those are one of my favorite protein sources. I love breakfast. And eggs are used in so many products and recipes. I know it’s totally doable, but I’m having a bit of a diva phase about this possible readjustment I’ll need to be making. In the meantime, though, don’t you dare take away my Pizza Plantains that are, indeed, filled with CHEESE.
Optional: some other pizza toppings like preservative-free pepperoni, sausage, or other things you can stick in some cheese & get to fit between two plantains!
*NOTE: If you already know how to make Tostones, do that with the plantains and then jump to step 5 to pizza-fy them! If you don’t know, that method is outlined in steps 1-4.
Melt coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. There should be a thin, 1/8 inch layer of melted oil along the entire bottom of the pan.
While the oil is melting and heating up, peel the plantains and slice in 1-inch thick pieces.
Place plantain pieces in the hot oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until the majority of each piece is golden.
Remove the plantain pieces from the pan and grease the bottom of a gar or glass cup (I used a mason jar). Use the bottom of your jar to smash each plantain piece into a flat disk, and return the disks back to the hot oil to fry again. Keep frying them until they begin to get brown spots on each side, flipping as needed. Sprinkle salt, if using, on each side of the plantain disks while they are frying this second time.
Remove the disks from the pan again, and sprinkle shredded cheese and other toppings, if using, in the middle of half of them. Take the other half of the chips and place them on top of the ones with cheese on them. Place back onto the pan, still over medium heat, and leave them there until the cheese is melted. Flip as needed to avoid burning the plantains.
Remove the plantain cheese sandwiches from the heat and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Something along the lines of detox = juice cleanse, right? WRONG. I cannot emphasize enough how ineffective long-term that juice cleanses are (at least, from my personal experience). So, when Alexa Shirm of Simple Roots Wellness announced that she was releasing a simple guide to how to properly detox without starving yourself, I was ecstatic. She even opens up this ebook with a page on “Detox Lies!” Talk about great minds thinking alike, right?
This Simple Detox Guide is the basic how-to ebook for using food to remove the crap dumped on and into our bodies every from our modern world. Shirm even delves into the lymphatic, cosmetic, and environmental toxins around and on us as well, but she does a great job of keeping it simple. Whether you’re like me and want to know the “why” behind it all or simply want to know what to consume and avoid, this book will satisfy you. There is also a great aesthetic to the layout of the plan that accompanies the ideas set forth very nicely. In my opinion, the book can totally be judged by the cover. And font choice. And photography… which Shirm totally dominated, so the looks get an A from me!
Some of the big parts of this guide include a toxin-avoiding shopping guide, everyday detox hacks, substitutions for toxic foods, and tons of drink recipes to help you along the way. In my opinion, one of the best additions to this guide is the list of the top-20 best detoxing foods. I knew several of them , but was also surprised by a couple. That proved to me that there is good in so many more foods than we tend to think about! We can literally eat our way to health. Did someone say, “eat?” I’m so there. Speaking of which, the food recipes at the end of the ebook are beautifully photographed and mouth-watering to read the ingredients. I’m talking things like Plantain Chips & Guacamole, Chai Spiced Yogurt with Warm Berry Sauce, and Egg Roll in a Bowl. Yeah. I know. GET IN MY BELLY, PLS.
*Disclosure: I receive a small compensation for these reviews. This does not affect my honesty about the product. Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.*
Y’all… I got a pre-release copy of Ditch the Wheat in the mail the other day. Wow, oh wow. I am so impressed with this feat!
Written by Carol Lovett of the blog with the same namesake, Ditch the Wheat is a fun resource from start to finish. It’s chock-full of information regarding paleo and Lovett‘s personal journey to finding it, all the way through to a variety of recipes (120 of them, actually!) to adhere to this lifestyle. She shuns the notion that anything should be “given up” when dealing with GI distress, food sensitivities, or just the choice to be healthier. This dogma is hugely apparent in her recipes for things like Grain-Free Lasagna (which is a GENIUS version like I’ve never seen, mind you), Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sandwich Buns, and even Birthday Cake. I’ve already made the Swedish Meatballs and they took me right back to my childhood! Needless to say, I cannot wait to get to making many more of these beautiful creations from Lovett‘s book.
The first thing I noticed about this book upon opening the package I received it in was the stunning cover. I mean, yes, you tend to see the cover of a book first. But oh. my. LORD. The photography in Ditch the Wheat is absolutely marvelous. Judging a book by its cover would definitely work with this one; the vibrant colors and fun font used throughout are appealing to the eye without being too overbearing. It strikes a wonderful pose for the crafty side in all of us (and don’t lie, I know you have one of those!).
There are two distinctly unique sections I’d like to elaborate on about this book. There are parts on the somewhat-standard-at-this-point information about paleo eating, kitchen stocking, and tools for a successful kitchen. But on top of these, Lovett has included a section in the beginning of her book on kitchen tips that would be an enormous help to the beginner in regards to meal prep. This includes a spread with pictures on how to cut up a whole chicken, how to properly cook mass amounts of starches, and how to make veggie noodles. Following these how-tos are ideas for quick breakfasts and lunches because in reality, those are usually rushed meals for us Americans and convenience plays a huge factor in what we eat at those times.
The second super cool section Lovett has included is an entire chapter on fermentation. Sure, many recipe books have recipes involving fermentation. But Lovett has a “Fermentation 101” spread as the opener for her recipes in this category. This was HUGELY beneficial for me to read because, though I’ve made my own kombucha before, I tend to heavily rely on store-bought products for my other sources of probiotics. This simple layout of the different kinds of fermentation clarified so many things for me and made making my own pickles and sauerkraut seem a lot less daunting! I will be taking advantage of this guide in my near future… I can feel it. 🙂
You know what? I think you need a teaser recipe from the book, if my portrayals and summaries just haven’t pushed you over the edge to pre-order it yet. Here is the recipe for an oh-so-easy snack, dessert, finger food, appetizer, or all of the above – straight from Ditch the Wheat. I made it for a birthday party last week and it was a huge hit, so I know you’ll love it, too!
Salted Mexican Chocolate Clusters
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 7 minutes, plus 30 minutes to freeze
Yield: 20 clusters
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for garnish
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Place the chocolate chips in a heavy-bottomed 1-quart pot over low heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate chips have melted. Alternatively, you can place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted.
Place the melted chocolate and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
Using a large spoon, scoop up some of the mixture and place it on the lined baking sheet. Use your fingers to form it into a round shape. Repeat with the rest of the mixture until you have 20 round clusters. Lightly sprinkle salt on each cluster. Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the clusters firm, about 30 minutes.
Store the clusters in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you would like to pre-order a copy for yourself, Ditch the Wheat is available online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble‘s websites. The book will officially release on February 23rd, 2016.
*Disclosure: I receive a small compensation for these reviews. This does not affect my honesty about the product. Companies or authors interested in having me write about their product or book can email me at email@example.com.*
For some reason, I always forget that winter is citrus season. Maybe it has something to do with associating oranges with Florida, Florida with beaches, and beaches with summer. I don’t know. Whatever it is, it always comes as a nice surprise when the produce section at the grocery store lights up with the bright yellows, oranges, reds, and greens that indicate it’s time for some tangy fruit. Texas doesn’t even really get dreary for too long in the winter, but those bright fruity colors always cheer me up in the cold(ish) months!
Since I love citrus so much, and I love chocolate so much (but really, who doesn’t?), I decided to combine the two. This is a simple dessert that is sure to delight with its exciting flavor combinations and topping possibilities. Give it a try and get creative with it!
Optional extra toppings: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, etc. Think sundaes add-ons!
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Slice grapefruit in half and sprinkle the cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut sugar on the fruit’s flesh.
Place the grapefruit, flesh side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until it is warm and soft.
While grapefruit is baking, melt chocolate using method of choice.
Remove grapefruit from the oven once done and drizzle the chocolate on top, along with any other toppings you may be using. The fruit should pull away easily from the skin with a fork or spoon when eating. Keep the skin on and use that as the “bowl” – serve warm and enjoy!
So there’s this thing that’s been floating around the health world recently. It’s a fairly new concept to the mainstream posts, but athletes and “hippy-dippy” folks have been using it for a while. I’ve implemented it into my life over the past several months and have loved it. So what am I talking about?
Uhh… what? Yes, you read correctly: brushing. your. skin. Not your hair. Not the hair on your skin, though it’ll be brushed along with it. Your actual skin. Brushing it.
So what exactly does this entail? It entails using a natural-bristle brush, like this one (15), spending 5 minutes in the shower without the water running before you take your actual shower, and a whole lot of benefits to follow. These include:
So how do we do skin brushing, exactly? It’s simple, really. De-robe and stand in a bathtub or shower. You’ll want to be in one of these two locations because, after all, you’re removing dead skin cells and dirt! Take the brush and gently use it to massage each area of skin you wish to brush. Move in strokes that begin at the feet and work their way up toward your heart. Overlap each stroke to ensure you brush each area effectively. When brushing your arms, start at the hands and move toward the shoulder. For the torso, start near the hips and move toward the chest. It’s quite simple and shouldn’t hurt! It’ll scratch a bit, especially the first few times you try it, but you should NOT be hurting yourself.
Pretty simple, right? Here’s some more in-depth information on each of the benefits of skin brushing I listed above, if you’re interested in the “why” behind trying this for yourself.
Lymphatic System Stimulation
The lymphatic system (2) is often ignored in the health world and has finally recently received more attention for its many contributions to our bodies. This system is responsible for the delivery of disease-fighting white blood cells to our various parts and ridding the body of unwanted materials. The best way I’ve heard its operations described is that it’s basically like another circulatory system, but it doesn’t deliver blood and has no internal pumps (i.e. a heart) like veins and arteries do. It’s like a water bottle: there’s liquid in it, but the water isn’t actually going to shift around unless something pushes the water bottle over. Since there is no pump to move the fluid in the lymph around, it will actually sit still in your body if it is not stimulated to move… Newton’s First Law (4), yes?
So how do we get the lymph to move around more? Obviously we need to move it ourselves. I mean if you’re cool with toxins just hanging around in your body for long periods of time, then I guess you don’t need to move it. But I’d like to keep that crap out of me, thanks. One way to get it going is to move your body. Literally. Go for a walk. Throw around some weights. Just being active allows the lymphatic system to move around and do its job better. But skin brushing is just another way to stimulate the lymph (5), and with this method, you have the power to control the direction it’s pushed. By stroking the brush in the direction of the heart as I described in the intro to this post, you’re following the same basic pattern that the lymph nodes want to push their fluid to effectively detox the body and bring more white blood cells to their worksites.
Pretty closely tied with the benefits to the lymphatic system’s functions. According to NaturalNews.com, the skin eliminates over 1 pound of waste per day, including dead skin cells, dirt, toxins, and pretty much everything else your body and/or skin comes in contact with (6). By brushing that top layer of dead stuff off, you’re just accelerating the process while stimulating the lymphatic system to work quicker and more effectively.
Reduced Cellulite & Stretch Marks
What the WHAT?! These are two things that so many people have issues with, including myself. I’ve had stretch marks on my hips from I have no clue what since at least senior year of high school… probably because my legs are weirdly long and still haven’t seemed to stop growing yet.
Anyway, Edward Smith et al (3) patented one of the methods for skin stimulation to reduce both cellulite and stretch marks, and they report that surface skin stimulation via brushing has the following benefits:
Stimulating lymph flow
Increasing blood flow
Stretching the connective tissue fibers
Remodeling the dermal interface with the subcutaneous adipose tissue (meaning that the fat cells are moved around and “remodeled”)
Promoting cellular activity via stress-orientation (i.e. the cells are “woken up”)
All of the above bullet points (including the one on lymph flow, as I’ve already covered) basically rejuvenate the skin and allow the body a greater chance to repair itself. The stimulation (“stress-orientation” of the cells) helps break apart some of the surface-level fat deposits (7) that cause the dimpled appearance known as cellulite. As for stretch marks, the expedited removal of dead skin cells allows for faster replacement by the layers beneath, promoting skin tightness and reduction in appearance of those pesky stretches (8). Think about how scars fade over time. It’s the same concept, but you’re helping the process move faster by getting rid of that dead top layer each time you brush.
Again, pretty much a reiteration of the above reason. If you’re consistently brushing off the dead and rough top layer of skin, the end result will be the reveal of the softer layer from beneath, which is very nice to touch!
This is a super cool finding. Proprioception is defined by Pysioroom.com as “the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position” (1). An occupational therapist by the name of Patricia Wilbarger has recently developed the Wilbarger Approach to Sensory Defensiveness using dry brushing (9). Sensory Defensiveness is basically the abnormal response to normally non-noxious stimuli touch stimuli (10). By providing joint stimulation and pressure from brushes, Wilbarger has proven that children suffering from sensory defensiveness were able to improve their body’s perception of dangerous vs. non-dangerous touch stimuli and gained greater awareness of where their body was in relation to itself at all times (11).
That super-scientific first sentence on this benefit is all leading me to say that while the subjects in the Wilbarger studies were using sterile, hospital-grade synthetic brushes and needed to participate in therapy to retrain their bodies to understand touch, this same type of stimulation can work on everyday Joes that simply want to control their movements better. The gentle skin stimulation I’m referring to in this article wakes up the nerves just beneath the skin and awakens blood flow (12). Those two factors allow anyone a heightened sense of awareness of their body in relation to itself and the things around it.
Greater Lifts & Awareness During Workouts
Hear me out on this last one. In the same way that skin brushing can enhance spatial awareness in everyday activities, it can also improve your performance in the gym… especially for weightlifters.
By stimulating the nerves and reactivating blood flow to the areas that are brushed, the muscles below the areas you target are “woken up” and that increased blood to those areas have the potential to aid in better performance. Throughout this article, I’ve referenced nerve ending stimulation via brushing. However, I’ve failed to mention that the majority of your nerves are found in the fascia, which is analogous to a thin, sinewy casing of every muscle. Not only does it encase each muscle, it encases each muscle fiber, each muscle fiber bundle, each muscle, AND entire groups of muscles spanning from the head to the feet (14). When we “wake up” our nerves via skin brushing, we’re actually stimulating the fascia’s sensitivity (13). Having fascia that is more in-tune and trained to adapt to the demands you place on it (in this case, lifting a heavy weight) will make you progress leaps and bounds quicker than someone who doesn’t take care of their fascia (13). This is why you might see a powerlifter brushing their skin in a competition before stepping up to take their max lift.
We don’t give enough credit to our skin’s resiliency, especially with everything that hits it in our modern world. By taking the simple step to brush the skin, you’re giving yourself a far greater chance at avoiding illness, improving weight loss, killing it in the gym, and looking great while you’re at it. Give this method a test run for a month and see what it can do for your own wellbeing!
(1) n.a. 2016. Using proprioception to enhance rehabilitation. Pysioroom. Retrieved from http://www.physioroom.com/injuries/supplements/proprioception.php
(2) Zimmermann, K. A. July 9, 2015. Lymphatic system: facts, functions, & diseases. LiveScience. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/26983-lymphatic-system.html
(3) Smith, E., Oblong J. E., Samuel J. T., Bissett D. L., Bascom C. C., Kelm G. R. Method, kit and device for the treatment of cosmetic skin conditions. Patents US 20030069618 A1. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/patents/US20030069618
(4) Hall, N. May 5, 2015. Newton’s laws of motion. FirstGov. Retrieved from https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/K-12/airplane/newton.html
(5) n.a. n.d. Skin brushing. Center for Lymphatic Health. Retrieved from http://www.lymphatichealth.com/skin-brushing/
(6) Jockers, D. June 4, 2013. Dry brushing to detoxify your body. Natural News. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/040615_dry_brushing_lymphatic_system_detox.html
(7) McCluskey, C. July 16, 2012. 7 tips to naturally reduce cellulite. Mind Body Green. Retrieved from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5479/7-Tips-to-Naturally-Reduce-Cellulite.html
(8) Editorial Staff. n.d. How to dry brush your skin. Detox & Body Cleanse. Retrieved from http://www.detoxandbodycleanse.com/beauty-and-spa/how-to-dry-brush-your-skin/
(9) n.a. n.d. Wilbarger approach to sensory defensiveness. The Wilbarger Approach to Treatment of Sensory Defensiveness. Retrieved from http://wilbarger.tripod.com/id3.html
(10) n.a. n.d. Sensory defensiveness. The Wilbarger Approach to Treatment of Sensory Defensiveness. Retrieved from http://wilbarger.tripod.com/id2.html
If you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed lately that I’ve been using the hashtag #BodyByButter a lot. To explain, this is a new dietary protocol that my friends Anne Marie and James Garland over at Grass Fed Salsa have made. I am currently in their group of live-coaching clients through the 6-week process, which will be available as an e-course around March that can be started at any time you wish. Once I have completed the program, I will definitely be posting a full-length review for you to learn more about it!
That background has a point, I promise. In the first phase of the Body By Butter Protocol, certain major allergens are removed from the diet to allow the body to heal from them before testing to see if you personally have an adverse reaction to any of them. One of the things that is removed for a little while is eggs.
I. LOVE. EGGS.
Yes, that part was a slight digression. But I’ve come to realize that, since cutting eggs out, the reason I like them so much is more because I just love breakfast foods and those have been a staple for me for so long. I have been getting creative with the foods I have in the A.M. on this Protocol when I’m not doing some Intermittent Fasting with the help of Butter Coffee. This is one of those recipes, and it is damn good. It’s also Whole 30-compliant, which is great because a huge complaint I always get from the groups I help through the Whole 30 is that they’re sick of eggs in the morning. No more using that excuse around me with this baby in existence!
Remove ground lamb from package and spread it out in a flat glob on a cutting board. poke some holes in it with your fingers to get a larger surface area opened up.
Sprinkle all seasonings listed above evenly on top of the meat.
Roll up the meat and mash it around until the seasonings are spread evenly throughout it.
Form 4 evenly-sized patties. Melt the clarified butter on a skillet over medium heat, and cook the patties until they are done all the way through and slightly browned on the outside. Serve right away and enjoy!