Bone Broth

Next on our list of foods to eat in the “No guts, no glory” series is Bone Broth. Fermented foods re-stock our guts with beneficial microbes to help keep it healthy. Bone broth repairs the gut lining itself. Bone broth contains collagen, which reduces inflammation in all areas of our body, including the gut. Leaky guts become less leaky when we have strong collagen stores, and bone broth is an excellent place to get natural collagen. It is also very easy to digest.

Here is my favorite homemade bone broth recipe from Dr. Josh Axe. I typically use chicken feet from Carlton Farms to make this.

If you’re not into stewing chicken feet for 24 hours (my hubby has real problem with seeing the claws!), then you can buy it too. Bonafide Provisions makes excellent bone broth that you can find in the frozen section of Whole Foods.

Happy stewing!

Fermented foods

We are starting with fermented foods as part of the “No guts, no glory” series inspired by Pique Tea’s Gut Health cheat. If you haven’t downloaded the cheat sheet, I highly recommend it! (And tell you how to, here.)

Otherwise known as cultured foods, fermented foods are made with live bacteria, and are a true foundation for gut health. And good gut health is the foundation for the overall health of our minds and bodies.

Fermentation is a method of food storage that every ancient culture used in one form or another. The key to its life-giving benefits are the live cultures (or bacteria) that are used to preserve the food. Modern technology like refrigeration, and our growing addiction to convenience have taken us away from fermented foods, and our microbiomes have suffered as a result. I believe (as do many others) that unhealthy microbiomes have resulted in so many of the chronic mental and physical health conditions we face in our modern society. So let’s get back to basics.

Two awesome metro Atlanta companies that sell a whole lot of different types of fermented foods and drinks are Ancient Awakenings in Woodstock and Cultured Traditions in Suwanee. And Carlton Farms, my very favorite, will actually deliver these products to your door, as well as literally every other food on the Gut Health Cheat Sheet that you should eat. If you prefer just to shop at the big box store, never fear, there are plenty of non-local fermented foods, like Bubbies pickles. Look in the refrigerated section, you won’t find these pickles in the middle of the store. You may also look for kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and more.

Try one serving of fermented foods per day, for a week, and see how it makes you feel!

No guts, no glory

I recently reviewed the “Gut Health Cheat Sheet” I downloaded from Pique Tea. Somehow, the time was right for me to digest it, and I am struck by how simply this guide takes us through basically everything we need to know from a dietary perspective to improve the health of our bodies and minds.

I was inspired by this to do a series of posts on the elements of this simple but profound plan. It really summarizes everything I’ve learned (and that has “stuck” with me as truth), over the years.

Since I did not ask permission to re-publish the sheet, I encourage you to visit the Pique’s blog, The Flow, to get it. Follow the link, and once you are there, a pop-up should appear, asking you for your email. If you enter your email you can download the guide to keep. I love concise, pretty information. This fits the bill.

The first step is to use tea to improve your gut health. I’ll let Pique tell you all about that.

Then they get into the foods you should focus on. We’ll take these one by one in upcoming posts. Fermented foods is first. Pique even doubles up on fermented foods in the guide, so we know they are important! Tune in tomorrow for the skinny on fermented foods.

Garden 2019: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

It’s almost harvest season and I wanted to include my takeaways from my first year of a real veggie garden since I have lived in this house. I had delayed planting one for the past couple of years because I wanted raised beds. This year I decided not to pressure my hubby into making them anymore, and look for what was readily available. I came upon these Big Bag Beds, and decided to give them a try.

Love them! We got a big yellow bag of compost from Super Sod, and it took about half a huge bag to fill the two beds up. By the time this all occurred, it was mid-May. This was a totally experimental year, and here are my findings.

The Good

Okra. What a beautiful plant!! Next year I will know that if you let the okra get too big, they will become tough and woody. Best to harvest when they are just a few inches long.

Herbs – most of my gardening experience has been with herbs, with an occasional pepper and tomato plant. This year I was heavy on the herbs: parsley, oregano, chives, thyme and lavendar. They are so neat and contained. Next year I will give them their own bed because I think they get offended by their sprawling veggie cousins. One herb that will not be welcomed back is the Thai basil. It is big and I like regular basil better.

Speaking of sprawling, the cucumber plant I will not do again. What a mess! My garden consists of two round beds, and really doesn’t have the room for cucumbers to creep. Besides, I don’t eat them that much and no one around me likes them.

I will do a few peppers next year, but not as many as I did this year, and I will be careful to get the bell peppers rather than the hot.

Tomato will be outside of the beds in a pot. Yes they are anti Plant Paradox, but a good homegrown tomato is the absolute best. Need to find a variety that will stay contained within my tomato stakes though.

Eggplant – these were my first pick this year and I was so proud of my little purple delights. I did like the plant, but like with cucumbers, I just don’t eat them that much. And Plant Paradox is in my mind. Next year I am going to try to adhere to PP a little more when planning my garden. This year I was late in planting, since it took me a while to get the beds and the soil. I’ll be ready at proper planting time next year, and will be more intentional with my choices. I may do more seeds as well.

We are going to just keep playing with which vegetables to plant so that the garden is neat and beautiful within the small space, and so that I’m able to take care of it.

I value the garden because it invites mindfulness, it is beautiful, and growing and eating variety of herbs and vegetables is good for the gut and good for the soul.

Somehow I feel like the more experience I get in gardening, the more I will come into my own as a wise person, and as someone who is able to sustain herself from home.

Livers and Colons … and Kidneys? Oh my!

This one is for my auntie, who is already down a kidney. Many people talk about colon and liver cleanses, but this is the first I have heard of a kidney cleanse.

Since it doubles as an adrenal fatigue diet, it sounded like a great thing to cover. Both posts are from Dr. Josh Axe, who is currently in my Top 5. (Not that Top 5 — the Top 5 of resources I go to for the Wellness leg of my Ws.) He’s pretty sales-y when you share your email with him, but I love the information he publishes.

On Tea

I’m diving into tea a little.

I have always loved tea, and then I took a break from caffeinated kinds prior to getting pregnant with Kate. In recent months, while experimenting with Intermittent Fasting, I have learned that the caffeine (and catechins, antioxidants) in green and black tea help suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin (yes, like my stomach is “ghrelin”…!), and help you burn fat, along with other health benefits. So I’m back on the caffeine. You’re welcome, Kate, for the hiatus.

To access the plethora of health benefits from tea, you must drink at least 3 cups a day of tea, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. I have heard other sources say even more tea is needed in our diets. So my new favorite is Pique Tea. They are serious about tea for health, especially gut health, which I (and many others believe) is the foundation for the health of the rest of our bodies. Their home page details the primary health benefits, and if you read on, it explains why they cold-brew their organic tea, and skip the tea bag. The little crystal packets are so convenient, and I love that I feel I am making a difference in my health by pouring them into a cup of hot water.

Pique’s blog has a tremendous amount of helpful health information. Here is a whole post on gut health; it’s as complete as a well balanced meal with fermented vegetables. I highly recommend!

That’s all for now, I have some tea crystals to liquidate.

A Morning Shake Recipe

– 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 2 scoops SunWarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla Protein Powder
– 1 tbs+ Starwest Botanicals Organic Cinnamon
– 1-2 tsp Navitas Natural Raw Organic Cacao Powder
– 2tbs organic chia seeds or flax seeds – I am using Whole Foods 365 for each of these right now.
– 1tsp Starwest Botanicals Spirulina powder
– 1-2 organic bananas (2 if I don’t have an avocado)
– 1/2 – 1 organic Avocado (avocados give excellent consistency and nutrition and you can’t taste it unless it is too ripe)
– 1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
– 1-2 organic lacianato kale leaves
– Enough water to fill the blender

I have been drinking some version of this shake every morning since I found out I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son. I needed to learn how to get plenty of nutrients without plenty of processed carbohydrates, and Aubrey at Juices Wild helped show me the way.

One of the first foods my son ate besides my milk was this shake. He still considers it a royal treat at four. We drink one every morning, and occasionally for dinner. It’s so nice when I take him for his yearly checkups and they ask, “How many servings of fruits and vegetables does he get per day?” I think of the bit of fruit he eats with meals and snacks (heavens forbid a vegetable), and come up with 2 or 3 max. Then I add in the 2 to 3 he gets with the shake (including KALE), and I feel like supermom.

Occasionally when I am too busy at work and feeling down about my role as a mother, my husband tells me, “Just keep feeding him that shake every morning. That’s the best thing you can do for him” This from the man who eats microwaved Jimmy Dean chicken biscuits for breakfast.

My favorite flavor right now is the cinnamon. I accidentally ordered a bag of cinnamon from Starwest Botanicals on my Amazon Prime Smile when I meant to order the spirulina. What a happy accident. This cinnamon is soooo much more fresh and cinnamony tasting than “spice rack” cinnamon.

Another ingredient I used for years was maca powder, and I really enjoyed its flavor and consistency. However someone brought up a possible issue with its role in regulating hormones and how it might not be appropriate for a child. So no more maca. If I were drinking these solo I might add maca again.

If you’re looking for a healthy and tasty way to start the day, consider experimenting with a shake. If you start your kids on it early enough, they’ll like it as much as we liked Fruity Pebbles.