Food is Medicine

I woke up early the other morning to finally listen to a webinar. Sometimes that’s the only time I get! I came across Andrea Beaman through my studies at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.   She talks about a lot of interesting things, including face mapping. Where do you break out? The face tells you what is out of whack internally – check her out.  But this webinar was about food –

Food As Medicine.

I bet you are already doing it and not even realizing it. I mean, we are all familiar with chamomile to chill or ginger chews for motion sickness. It goes so much further.

Here is my compilation of notes I took; I hope you find it as interesting as I did. Some of this may seem familiar to you, (but always a good review!) and to others this may seem way out there. Some of these herbs may be new to you. Check out your natural food store and cheers to trying something new!

There are so many diets that work. Why? They take out the crap and you feel better.  Paleo, no crap. Vegan, no crap. Totally different diets for totally different values/lifestyles/body constitutions. You try a diet, it works, but eventually crash. A big reason is that it’s the wrong diet for the wrong body system.  This webinar went into understanding various types of food prep to support the organ systems and body as a whole. You can use food/herbs to create specific reactions. It’s important to not stay stuck in one way of eating. Keep the seasons and seasonal foods in mind. Soon we will be moving into fall, time to focus on the lungs now before cold season hits.  Think wholesome, organic, traditionally prepared foods. Not gluten free crackers.food is medicine 3

From here, dig deeper.

It’s time we started understanding our body systems. We have the Energetic System (Hello Acupuncture and Thai Bodywork!) and the Organ Systems working for us. Each system has a time of year and each one requires something of us. Here are a few examples:

Respiratory – needs moist environment for silia (sorry for those of you who hate that word, sometimes it’s just the best!) When it is dry it becomes a host for disease and bacteria. You need to have saliva and lymph moving. Try incorporating mucilaginous foods such as seaweeds, okra, aloe vera, chia, and fenugreek. On the other side of the scale if you have Asthma, you have an excess of sticky mucus – the lungs and large intestines need to dry out. Try ginger/nettles.

Digestive – This is a big one, but for now we are focusing on the liver. I know liver detoxes are all the rage, we just need to let it do it’s thang and give it a break. It does not properly function if it’s always working.  Try not eating before bed. It can lead to monthly headaches if congested. An iron deficiency can also be a sign the liver and large intestines are out of whack. If the large intestines are backed up, they can not properly digest food. Then the liver can not absorb all the needed nutrients the Large Intestines were supposed to break down from the food. See the vicious cycle? Spirulina and, ahem, liver are good sources of iron.

Cardiovascular – needs movement/stimulation. Herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and  garlic help move blood.

Energetic Effect of Cooking Styles

Raw – cooling, refreshing, cleansing, hydrating. Great for someone who is hot, inflamed, or dry. Think SUMMER! Don’t drink raw smoothies every morning if your system is damp. They are good in the hot weather because the foods used are cooling, just maybe not all winter.

Pickled – sour, salty, astringent, probiotics. Good for digestive weakness. Eat yogurt (not sugary sweetened), kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut.

Steamed – slightly warming and hydrating. Easier to digest than raw.

Stewed – deeply nourishing with tons of moist (sorry!) heat. Great for a weak digestive system. Anyone with an osteo-issue or anemia, stewing your food really helps to break down food into small proponents.

Sauteed – warming and highly energizing. FALL!

Baked – removes moisture, drying. Great for runny nose, leaking fluids, cold. WINTER!

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Energetic Reactions from Food and Herbs

Diaphoretics – opens pores to make a person sweat; sage, thyme or ginger.

Antispasmodic – eases spasms, cramps, muscles; warm water bottles or stewed foods incorporating anise seed, fennel, garlic, cohosh herbs.

Adaptogens – Have you heard this word yet? All the rage right now. They help the body adapt and moderate stress response. If you have adrenal issues you are not only not absorbing nutrients but are slowly destroying your system. Need to learn to calm them down. Try doing a castor oil pack, ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus, licorice root, rhodiola, or cordycep mushrooms.

Anti catarrhal – eliminates excess mucus; peppermint.

Antimicrobial – destroys pathogenic organisms; cinnamon, clove, allspice, thyme.

Astringent – tightens tissues; pickles, sage, goldenrod, yarrow, and raspberry.

Carminative – eases discomfort from gas; mint tea, rosemary, thyme, basil, fennel, ginger.

Demulcent – mucilaginous properties soothed inflamed irritated tissues; marshmallow. When used on the skin they are called emollients.

Diuretic – aids body in ridding excess fluids; dandelion, hawthorn, parsley, green and black tea.

It’s important to think about what you are putting in your body, and what the reaction will be. Ask yourself “What do I need?”  Be your own detective. I’d bet you are running to the store right now to pick up some liver and marshmallow root! No?

If any of this sounds interesting to you, let us know! We would be happy to expand on something if you are into it. This is where a Health Coach can help. Usually  we start with an elimination diet then by slowly adding things back in, it is easier to decipher what is it your are reacting to. Not as scary as it sounds!

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Steeping in the Wellness,

Tori

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Set Yourself Up For Success

When you think about your life and more specifically, a time when you were successful, what did that situation look like? Who was present? What challenges did you overcome? What pre-work or planning contributed to your success? These questions are helpful when we talk about building a supportive environment to help you accomplish your goals.

Let’s do a little proof in case…CONGRATS! You just got a phone call finding out you landed your dream job. WOOHOO! Ok, so I would venture to guess that job didn’t just fall in your lap…right?! You updated your resume, researched your job market, reached out to networking contacts, prepared for the interview, got that spiffy new interviewing outfit, made a major impression and BANG! you got the job. You set yourself up for success..

What if we were to translate that example to a wellness related goal that you’ve been targeting? You want to eat healthier, you want to feel confident in the new dress you bought for that wedding coming up this summer, you want to run your first 5K race OR maybe you just want to have enough energy to keep up with your children. Whatever your reason, these ideas could help prepare you for success.

  • Ink the Deal – Evidence proves that actually physically writing down a goal increases your chances to accomplish said goal. So get out your pencil, pen, crayon, whatever’s handy, jot-it-down – post it on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, at your desk or even on your dashboard – whatever works so you can be reminded of your commitment as often as needed.
  • Building Blocks  So you did the hard part, you decided on your goal. What’s next?? Make an action plan for how you will achieve it. Put this into words that make sense to you. Remember the first part word is ACTION – or ACTIONABLE. Example…I will eat an additional fruit 5 out of my 7 lunches this week vs. I want to lose 20 lbs. It’s the HOW to your WHAT. These are the steps that will help you accomplish your ultimate goal.
  • It takes a Village: Build a healthy support system of friends family, co-workers, the guy at the deli counter (ok maybe not the last one). Tell them your goal and how you plan to accomplish it. Explain to them their part – how they can be supportive in this journey and maybe how they could sabotage it. Health coaching is a great means for support through this process, we’re here to help!
  • Our World – First think about your goal and then think about all of the sabotages that could be in place to stop you from reaching that goal. If your environment is not conducive to achieving your goals, you will be wasting a lot of energy trying to go against it every day. If your goal is to eat healthier, an idea would be to clean out your fridge and pantry to start fresh with the foods that will help you accomplish your goal. Do things to set you up for success that you actually LIKE. Huh? Yea, don’t buy kale if you don’t like it…try something new but also something that you will willing want to stick with.
  • Don’t start on a Monday – I know, weird right?? Let’s just put this one into perspective. Raise your hand if you looooove Mondays. Any hands? If I could actually see you out there in the interwebs, my guess is that very few hands flew up with excitement. So, why start something new on a negative foot? Heck, even Tuesday has a little better vibe than Monday.

Health Coaching can help you and support you through this process. Whether the first step is daunting or easily do-able, it’s a step and we are here for ya! Email us at SteepedInWellness@gmail.com for information on Health Coaching.

What has contributed to your success in the past?? Share them below!

Steeped in Your Journey,

Megan

My Happy Place

We have now lived in our house for 5 summers and with each summer, my gardening skills have gotten progressively better – not great…just better. It’s been one of those things that I keep wanting more of, more garden space, more plants, different plants. It’s a fun project that I look forward to starting in spring and seeing the fruits of the labor right about this time of the year. I have a modest set-up, with a 3 x 8 garden box and a few pots. The best part of this venture is that my kids, mostly my son at this point, have an interest in the garden. He’s been my right-hand-man through it all. I try to get him involved as much as possible, sifting dirt, digging holes, planting seedlings, watering and now the best part of all – picking the veggies!

Along with the perks of having the kids learn about the growing life cycle for plants and food, after a long summer day, I can sneak away and spend some time by myself, picking weeds, mixing my compost or just taking in some breathes of the night air. Gardening reminds me a lot of my grandma, she always grew tomato bushes and cucumbers to pickling. The lasting smell from the tomato bushes and remnant powder on my hands reminds me of her and adds to the contentment of my happy place. A place that I can reconnect and think and reminisce. Although a quick growing season in our Wisconsin climate, it will be something that I will continue to appreciate and look forward to and hopefully my kids will as well.

Tomato Hand

Since jalapenos have been one of the most producing and successful plants for me over the years, I have learned to utilize them the best way I know how – Spice-a-rita anyone?? It’s a take on the standard and beloved margarita – but not for the spice-wusses.

Spice-a-ritas – Makes 4 Pint Glasses

4-5 Jalapenos, chopped without stems (put them on the grill for a nice char)
½ Cup of Fresh Lime Juice
½ Cup Water
¼ Cup White Sugar
White Tequila
Triple Sec

Directions: Make your syrup by boiling the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Stir in fresh lime juice. Add chopped jalapenos to lime mix. Fill pint glasses full with ice. Pour in tequila 2/3 of the way up. Top with triple sec about ⅘ of the way. Top it off with lime mix. Garnish with jalapenos and a salted rim!

Steeping in my Happy Place,

Megan

Good Grief, Are We Still Talking about Gluten???

Well kinda.

As a Health Coach, I don’t believe all diets are good for everyone.

Not everyone has reactions with gluten, so not everyone needs to forgo the wonder of biting into a sandwich. BLT anyone???

Side note: how do you feel after eating a bagel? What kind of exercise do you really enjoy? What happens on the days you get a headache? Which relationships drain you? By getting curious you can start to realize what is keeping you unhealthy, and which activities make you feel fab. Set time aside daily to write down observations; ask yourself questions and/or answers as you gradually make progress towards self-understanding and better health.

Within the past year I moved my family away from whole wheat bread to a sprouted bread. My husband is a big sandwich eater and my son enjoys an almond butter spread.

Instead of forgoing all gluten in our lives, I traded up. It makes for a happier household.

I’m sure some of you have said buh-bye to all breads in your life, maybe eat a more paleo diet,  and are happier for it. I commend you.

This is for people looking for a better option.

So why sprouted?

  • Sprouting releases vital nutrients, producing a living food
  • The flour made from these grains offer more protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enzymes are released which help breakdown the protein and carbohydrates, lowering the Glycemic Index.
  • Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance found in grains, which inhibits absorption of said vitamins and minerals (which is also why you should soak quinoa overnight before making it.)
  • Sprouting almost pre-digests the starches breaking them down to simple sugars. ( to grow, the sprout eats the starch, meaning less starch for you!)
  • Less Gluten. Easier if you are sensitive, but not recommended for Celiac or a true intolerance.
  • https://www.angelicbakehouse.com/why-sprouted-grain/sprouted

 

While all this is great, you have to remember it IS still a processed product. The grains are sprouted, dried, and ground into flour before being baked. And while the amount of protein is not muscle building, it does have all the amino acids to make up a full protein if you are following a vegetarian diet.

I feel better feeding this to my family. Sucks when you are trying to eat healthy, but not even absorbing the nutrients. This helps. I know Ezekiel is a popular brand. Stores have them. YES, more expensive.  I buy Angelic from Costco and BONUS they are local.

I love that. IMG_6528

Recipes:

https://www.angelicbakehouse.com/recipe/rosemary-avocado-toast/

https://www.angelicbakehouse.com/recipe/mediterranean-sandwich/

Happy Steeping,

Tori

 

Take the Leap

About a month and a half ago I Challenged You – I put it all out there to inspire… urge… promote… convince YOU take the next step and challenge yourself – BIG or small – to take a step out of your comfort zone and do that something. While writing that post I was on the verge of taking that step myself. I was teetering on a significant job change. It was not only a job change but a life change for myself and my family. I think the thing that made this job change as significant as it was – in my mind at least – was because it was the first job change I have had since being a wife and mother. A lot has happened in the last 8 and a half years. I had more people to take into consideration this time around. Never did I ever image a 401(k) match to be a major deciding factor…hello paid time off ??IMG_5831IMG_5837IMG_5728

The biggest thing on my mind was the impact to my family. Positive, negative or just different, it was going to affect my family. In the big picture – 30,000 foot view – not so much. Both of my kids are young enough, they have no clue what happened. They continued with their same existence, same school/day care, same friends, same shoes, same. I pick them up at the same time every day and even get an extra day during the week to spend with them – BONUS! So why all the worry?? Well, because I worry – a lot. I always have, I always will. Another topic for another day.

Let’s fast forward to today. I took the job and life has changed for me. I am happier, a little less stressed and doing something that I absolutely LOVE. Period.

What ultimately helped me with this decision? I re-framed my mindset. The risk wasn’t the new job – the risk was ultimately in staying in my old job. Just by thinking about it from a different angle gave me the clarity and the “OK” that moving on was the right thing for me.

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I took the leap, how about you?

Steeped in Life’s Adventures,

Megan

Life is Short, Cook Good Food

I just had one of those weeks when you are reminded of how short life is. It catches you off guard and knocks the wind out of your chest. And if you are like me, it lights a fire under your rump to do what you can to better not only your own lifestyles, but your loved ones.

I’m sure you have heard Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I recently read an article in IDEA Fitness Journal titled “Epigenetics and Food DNA does not determine our fate: Why diet and daily activities influence how genes do their jobs.”  Epigenetics is the process of genes transmitting instructions to molecules that make up all living things. We now know genes do not turn themselves on or off. There must be an environmental signal to trigger gene expression.

Ideas like ‘well, it’s in my genes…’ or ‘my mom suffered from heart disease’ don’t necessarily have to be truths.

We have the same number of genes as a rodent – 25,000. Just one thousand more than a worm!

That’s when scientists realized that the complexity of the human being does not come directly from genes. Scientists are looking beyond mutations and trying to understand our thoughts, emotions, nutrition, stress management, and lifestyle choices. According to Dean Ornish, improving nutrition and lifestyle can cause 500 genes to alter expression. Preach it to me! I find this so empowering!

I love the saying:

Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you got.

What does that mean to you? Go eat a rainbow of foods! (not just for Skittles) Phytonutrients are plant based, health promoting compounds that affect our well-being all the way to our transcription level of our genes. Many are found in plant pigments. Teri Mosey, the author of the article, explains “Each phytonutrient contributes to a bigger process – and without the presence of other nutrients would not function efficiently and effectively. Most physical responses to our food intake take years to surface. The body, working as a holistic system with multiple overlapping functions, compensates to adjust for nutrient deficiencies, with some processes overworking and others under functioning.”

That’s why it’s important to eat your rainbow and try new things! She suggests each week picking out a seasonal recipe that will add one or two new plant-based food choices to your diet. Before you know it, you will have a diverse arsenal of recipes! I think I can handle that. Check out this chart for inspo:

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I am not saying this is going to cure you or stop something from happening. What I am saying is that we have some power. In a world where we don’t know what is going to happen, we do have some control of what goes in our bodies, from food to thoughts, and how we move our bodies. I hope this inspires you as much as it has re-lit a fire under my own rump.

 

*Watch for Mantra Mondays on Instagram in the future!*

 

Steeping in the Journey,

Tori