Green Bean & Saffron Lamb Stew

The authentic flavors of Morocco, bursting with flavorful superfood spices! Free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, grains, and a long-winded story about my childhood that forces you to scroll down for eight minutes before finally arriving at the recipe. So… enjoy! 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb organic lamb stew meat, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric root
  • 3/4 tsp saffron threads
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped with juice retained
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cut in half
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 lime

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lamb, garlic, turmeric, saffron, onions, celery, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the tomatoes with their juice and 1 cup of water, cover and cook for 40 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mint. Cut the lime in half, and squeeze all of its juice into the pot. Stir well and serve hot.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019 All rights reserved. 

Avocado Quinoa Pilaf

This recipe is simple and easy, yet tasty and packed full of nutritious goodness. You can add any other fresh veggies from your garden or farmers market as well, such as fresh chopped kale or grape tomatoes.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic

2 1/2 cups quinoa, soaked and rinsed ( I used a blend of both red and white)

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp porcini salt (get mine here.… handcrafted with wild Wisconsin gourmet porcini!)

1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tbsp lemon juice

4-6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 ripe avocado, chopped

1/3 cup cucumber, chopped

1/3 cup bell peppers, chopped small (orange, yellow, red, and/or green)

1 can hearts of palm, sliced into rounds

 

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Stir in the quinoa, broth, and salt.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from the heat and stir in tomatoes, parsley, thyme, avocado, cucumber, hearts of palm, peppers, lemon juice and feta. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Warmly,

Megan (Kerkhoff) Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019 All rights reserved. 

Roasted Holiday Chestnuts

Chestnuts are now available in stores, and are perfect for the winter season. Their sweet, buttery flavor goes well in many dishes, as well as on their own as a nutritious snack. I’ve found they are so tasty plain that you really don’t need any seasonings.  This easy recipe comes from my husband Matt at Eden Wild Food, who used to forage for wild chestnuts in his home country of England.

Chestnuts provide protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, vitamin C, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin a, vitamin e, and heart healthy good fats, so it’s a snack you can feel good about!
Ingredients:
As many raw, fresh chestnuts as you’d like to roast
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Very carefully, cut a slit from one end to the other on the flat side of the chestnut, as pictured in the third chestnut from the left.
  • Once you’ve cut all your shells, place them flat side up on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until you notice the shell along the cracks begins to peel up a bit. Pull them out of the oven and peek at the nut inside- initially they will be soft and floury and are ready to eat at this point. Some people prefer them more caramelized, and the outer surface of the nut will be a more golden brown color. Let them cook until you get the color/texture you’d prefer.
  • Take out of the oven and let cool. To remove the shell, you’ll want to squeeze it from both sides at the same time until the crack widens. Then you’ll be able to peel off the shell and skin to reveal your roasted nut. Enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

 

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Maple Butternut Squash & Figs

Squash season is upon us! Butternut has always been my favorite, and I love finding creative ways to enhance its sweetness. Great for bones, eye health, blood pressure, this fall vegetable is chock full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Just one cup of it provides you with 6.5 grams of fiber, 19% daily value magnesium, 12% daily value potassium, 41% daily value vitamin C, up to 20% daily value for most of your b vitamins, 163% daily value beta carotene, and more. Try this easy, nutritious dessert (or snack) with just 5 simple ingredients.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 butternut squash (others like acorn squash work fine too!)
  • real maple syrup
  • cinnamon powder
  • hemp seeds
  • dried figs

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Directions:

  • Half or quarter your squash, remove seeds and fibrous pulp, and place it in a baking dish. Pour water in the dish.
  • Bake the squash in the oven at 350 until it is easily pierced with a fork. Depending upon its size, this may take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
  • When it’s fully cooked, peel the skin off and transfer to a bowl. Mash slightly.
  • Drizzle lightly with your maple syrup and sprinkle with desired amounts of cinnamon and hemp seeds.
  • Slice your figs and arrange on top. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

My Experience with the Train Wrecker

31589824_10102096509660343_782335860698775552_nA fairly uncommon but interesting Pheasant Back mushroom (cerioporus squamosus) look-alike, Neolentinus lepidius, is commonly known as the Train Wrecker. From afar, the earth-toned feathered patterning on the cap may have you convinced you’ve spotted a Pheasant Back. It’s had me momentarily confused! Once you get closer you’ll notice the distinct differences, beginning with the observation that this mushroom has gills, where a pheasant back has pores. Where pheasant backs have a distinctive cucumber/watermelon scent, the train wrecker has a very pleasant, fresh anise aroma to it. Neolentinus lepidius also has a tough, ringed stem with scales that match that of the cap.

I tend to find that in Wisconsin the Train Wreckers fruit as Pheasant Backs are finishing up their spring season, but you still may find them side by side in the same habitat. The two specimens seen above were growing about 15 feet apart in Outagamie county the first week of June.

This fungi prefers pine, but gets its name from its fondness for old railroad ties and unbridled chaos. They are unlikely to cause train crashes today due to stronger chemicals being used on the wood to discourage fungal growth. Quite an impressive little mushroom, isn’t it?

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Photo credit: Rachael Young. Sheboygan, WI

Now I see quite a bit of contradictory opinions on whether or not it’s suitable for your dinner plate. It is considered to be edible, but very tough and not too pleasant. I do not find this mushroom in books often, so I also don’t have many opinions to go off of. Despite the fact that there are no recorded poisonings, it could easily contain hazardous chemicals if growing on treated wood so be cautious where you obtain it from if you plan on ingesting.

When I took this picture last year I wasn’t quite brave enough to try it, but when my spot fruits again this spring I certainly will be updating this article with my culinary experience (good or bad). Maybe with it being a cousin to shiitake I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Stay tuned!

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UPDATE: (June 3, 2018)

I was pleased to find a baby train wrecker fruiting today in this same spot, and we had the opportunity to taste it, fried up with butter and salt. We ate the caps only, as the stems are very tough.

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Is that a baby bump or did I eat too many mushrooms?

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My husband: “It tastes like every other mushroom I’ve ever had.”

Me: “It tastes like and has the texture of oysters!”

So, I must say, this fungi definitely is worth eating. Perhaps those who did not enjoy it had tasted specimens that were older and tougher. Either way, I enjoyed our experiment!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

 

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally. We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com – megan@aayushealth.com – 920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Lentil Tacos with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing

Trying to lose weight, reduce portions, reduce inflammation, regulate digestion, improve diabetes, treat anemia, increase energy, prevent cancer,  improve atherosclerosis, support heart health, help your nervous system, live longer, or grow a healthy baby? Lentils, a part of the human diet since Paleolithic times, may be your new best friend. This pulse even has more disease-fighting phenols than apples, cherries, plums, broccoli, cabbage, grapes, & onions.

 

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Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • I large tomato, cubed
  • 2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups of shredded red cabbage
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 medium carrots, shredded
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • ½ avocado, sliced or cubed
  • 8 organic corn tortillas

Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • ½ pureed avocado

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, turmeric, salt, cooked lentils, and tomatoes to the onions, and stir well for another 5 minutes.
  3. Place your carrot shreds and cabbage shreds in their own bowls. Cut your lime in half and squeeze one of the halves over the carrots and cabbage. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt.
  4. Prepare your sauce by mixing the yogurt, avocado puree, ¼ tsp salt, and the juice from the remaining lime half together in a bowl.
  5. Serve on warmed tortillas as pictured and enjoy!

 

Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally. We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com – megan@aayushealth.com – 920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Organic Egg Taste Test- Which to Buy and Which to Ditch?

Being as frugal as they come, I tend to choose my eggs based on price. It’s certainly difficult to tell which taste best when weeks go by between your consumption of different brands. Being health conscious, my husband and I always purchase organic, preferably from local farms. An organic certification means the hens must be fed organic feed and have access to the outdoors; animal by-products and GMO crops in feed are prohibited. There can be no traces of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Forced molting is not allowed, the animals cannot be caged, and the certification requires maintenance of basic animal welfare standards.

So as foodies we decided to do a taste test to see which ones were truly worth the extra cash and which ones to pass on,  and of course included our four year old daughter Eliana. (We were a bit suspicious that she may have been born with a more sophisticated palate than us, until her adjectives got a bit questionable.)

We purchased all five of the organic brands that were available at Woodman’s in Appleton, WI.  All brands were fairly similar in appearance, each carton of eggs having slight variance in color, mottling, and size.

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We noticed some very slight differences in the color of the yolks and whites.

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All had similar sell-by dates, were cooked at the same time in a cast iron pan at the same temperature, and were unsalted.

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I let chef Matt do the honors

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Our observations were as follows:

BRAND PRICE LOCATION PACKAGE CLAIMS MATT’S REVIEW MEGAN’S REVIEW THE TODDLER REVIEW
Milo’s Poultry Farms Organic Omega 3 Eggs $4.29 per dozen Bonduel, WI “Pastured as much as possible” Mild, no off taste, not much depth. The shells are very thin, which leads me to believe the chickens have poor calcium intake. Not much flavor, but pleasant. Good. Kind of gross.
Eggland’s Best Organic eggs

 

$4.39 per dozen Does not disclose “Vegetarian fed, cage free” Fattier. Whites are clean and firm. Buttery, rich, creamy, hearty. Kind of tastes like olives.
Phil’s Organic Omega 3 Eggs $4.19 per dozen Forreston, IL “Free range, whole grain fed” Rubbery. Firm, blah, not much flavor. The whites taste like paper. Kind of good.
Organic Valley Organic Eggs $4.79 per dozen Wisconsin “Free range” Rich, creamy. Creamy, melts in your mouth. A bit umami. Good. Tastes like avocados and oranges.
Blue Sky Family Farms Organic Eggs $4.99 per dozen

 

Warsaw, IN “Pastured, outside 365 days a year, certified humane.” Strongest natural rich yolk flavor. Rich, buttery, satisfying, creamy. Grapes.
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The littlest food critic

So which were the best and which failed the test?

#1- Blue Sky Family Farms  (ding ding ding, winner winner chicken dinner!)

#2- Eggland’s Best

#3- Organic Valley

#4- Phil’s

#5- Milo’s Poultry Farms

 

So there you go! I’ll gladly be spending the extra $.80 on tastier, creamier eggs from now on. It was interesting to me that there was indeed a correlation between price and quality. Stay tuned and follow my blog and facebook page– I’ll be sourcing more local brands to taste test in the coming months. Which brands would you like to see? Let me know!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Creamy Wild Mushroom & Brie Soup

It’s no secret the canned cream of mushroom soup is horrendous for your health. Is there even any real food in there?? Here we have a much more flavorful and healthy alternative- great eaten on its own with a salad, or used as a replacement for cream of mushroom soup in your favorite recipes.

mushroombrie soup

Nom!

To add a wild twist to mine, I chose to use wild chanterelle mushrooms that I had frozen from last summer’s harvest. But you can use any mushroom you can get your hands on and it’ll still be wonderful! In place of the white wine I used my maple sap wine that we brewed with sap from the maples in our yard last winter. (wow that stuff is strong!)

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Ingredients:

  • 16-24 oz mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 6-10 ounces brie, rind cut off and cut into smaller squares
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Finely chop 3/4 of the mushrooms, and then slice the rest into thin pieces.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the onions, thyme, and garlic to the mushrooms and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the flour and wine then cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the milk and brie, and stir as until the brie fully melts.
  6. Separate the bigger slices of mushrooms, then puree the rest of it in a blender or food processor. Then add in the mushroom pieces for some texture, and enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Folate vs Folic Acid: Are you being duped?

Folate, or vitamin b9, is a water-soluble nutrient that was first discovered when it was found that brewer’s yeast (a source of b vitamins) could prevent anemia. Folate is essential for brain health, energy production, formation of red blood cells, immune system, protein metabolism, and regulation of homocysteine levels. It’s a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, so it is important for healthy cell division and replication. Folate is especially important during pregnancy as a deficiency can result in neural tube defects and/or premature birth. Pre-conception nutrition is important, because low folate levels BEFORE conception increases the risk of birth defects as well.  For men, women, and children, low folate levels can cause anemia, digestive problems, fatigue, prematurely greying hair, memory problems, insomnia, paranoia, anxiety, weakness, growth impairment, and depression.

Just a “little bit” pregnant with my daughter, Eliana

Now the big debate: is there a difference between folate and folic acid? The short answer is yes. Folate is the version of b9 that occurs naturally in foods. Folic acid is a synthesized version of the vitamin that will never be found in nature. Vitamins are always best when obtained from real, whole food sources. For some, particularly for those with an MTHFR genetic defect (fairly common), folic acid can mean trouble as it can be difficult to convert the synthetic version over to the usable form of the vitamin.

Now here’s where food & supplement companies trick you:

  1. Even if folate is listed on the nutrition facts, it’s not always actually folate. Manufacturers know ‘folate’ is something consumers are looking for, so they may list it as “folate (as folic acid).” If the nutrition facts list the form as ‘folate’ but you see ‘folic acid’ on the ingredients list, it is indeed synthetic folic acid. If you do not see the word ‘folic acid’ anywhere in those two spots, it should be the natural form of the vitamin.

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    “Early Promise Prenatal” Gentle Multiple

  2. A product labeled “all natural” or “organic” is not always 100% natural and not always using natural forms of the vitamins. Check your labels for ‘folic acid.’ Many “high quality” nutritional shakes, protein powders, and multivitamins tout themselves as being natural or whole food based, when the reality is they’re going the cheap route and using poor quality vitamins. Marketing, marketing, marketing.
  3. Whole foods don’t need vitamin fortification, because they are whole foods. The nutrients are already in there, in the perfect balance nature intended. When you see a food fortified with folic acid, it means it’s been highly processed and is most likely not healthy at all.

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    (real food tastes better anyways!)

Where CAN I get folate from?

  1. Genuinely natural multivitamin or folate supplements. Check out my list of some of my favorite multivitamins that only use the food-derived folate instead of folic acid.
  2. REAL FOOD! Really, this is always the best way. While supplements can be helpful (especially during pregnancy) they can never replace the ample vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that unprocessed food provides. While toxicity risk is low, it’s still near impossible to overdose on folate from foods (who accidentally eats 14 cups of broccoli??), where it’s easy to overdose with a supplement by taking just a couple too many pills. You can’t absorb one vitamin properly without all of the appropriate co-nutrients in balance, and this is where whole food always delivers. For example, the best food source of folate is lentils. Let’s look at the breakdown of the nutrient content of lentils- it’s about way more than folate! 26637747_10101947671173863_641004983_n

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    Data from USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, via “Nutrition Data” app

The best food sources of folate per 1 cup, according to daily value (DV):

  • Lentils (90% DV)
  • Pinto beans (74% DV)
  • Garbanzo beans (71% DV)
  • Asparagus (65% DV)
  • Spinach (65% DV)
  • Black beans (64% DV)
  • Navy beans (64% DV)
  • Kidney beans (57% DV)
  • Collard greens (44% DV)
  • Beet root (34% DV)
  • Split peas (32% DV)
  • Papaya- 1 whole (29% DV)

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    My “Fiesta Ranch” salad

If you want more in depth guidance to heal your body naturally, this is what I help people with every day! In my one-on-one personalized holistic health programs, we visit every area of your health in depth to ensure you accomplish all of your health goals permanently. My comprehensive programs give you the step-by-step nutritional changes, personal guidance, support, stress management, recipes, accountability, food sensitivity evaluations, and other tools necessary to make life-changing changes last a lifetime.

Contact me at 920-327-2221 or megan@aayushealth.com for your free consultation!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram

for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

Get your Sugar Detox on!

Sugar: the death of many a health goal. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve25593216_10101928426754833_1827350616_o digestion, keep your immune system strong, lower cholesterol, manage IBS, lower pain and inflammation, eliminate migraines, improve depression and anxiety, and so on… sugar makes it all so, so much harder. Studies have shown that white refined sugar is even more addictive than cocaine and heroin, so no wonder it’s so difficult to quit! Excessive sugar intake is now considered to be a public health crisis, for many reasons.

And “detox”… a word that some will scoff at. What do I mean when I say you can “detox” from sugar? Detoxification is defined as the process of removing toxic substances or qualities. Yes, white refined sugar is toxic, and yes we’re removing it. Yes, sugar addiction and cravings are toxic to your health, and yes we’re removing them. No, it won’t hurt, you won’t suffer, and you won’t hate me.

20 Reasons Why Sugar Ruins Your Health

  • Sugar can suppress the immune system.
  • Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  • Sugar can weaken eyesight.
  • Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
  • Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.
  • Sugar can cause arthritis.
  • Sugar can cause heart disease and emphysema.
  • Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
  • Sugar can increase cholesterol.
  • Sugar can significantly increase risk of cancer.
  • Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
  • Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
  • Sugar can make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen.
  • Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
  • Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.
  • Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
  • Sugar can cause depression.
  • Sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In intensive care units, limiting sugar saves lives.
(Adapted from 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.)

 

LETS BEGIN YOUR DETOX!

We will first want to identify all sources of white refined sugar in your diet. Read the ingredient listing on your labels. You’ll find sugar is lurking in everything from ketchup to yogurt, and there are countless trick names for white sugar. (evaporated cane juice or cane juice extract anyone?) Luckily there are many healthier alternatives. Is there sugar in your ketchup? Try buying an unsweetened version or crushing/pureeing fresh tomatoes instead. Sugar in your yogurt or almond milk? Buy an unsweetened version instead and sweeten with berries and/or a touch of honey.

You’ll find that choosing whole foods over processed foods (eg. oatmeal instead of boxed cereals) will make it much easier to avoid added sugar. Many of the “low calorie,” “low sugar,” or “sugar free” diet and snack foods on the market are chock full of junk that will not support your health or your goal of eliminating sugar. We also want to avoid chemical sweeteners as much as possible (such as aspartame & sucralose/Splenda), which may seem tempting when you are trying to avoid sugar. Not only are they all toxic to some degree, they will likely leave you craving more sugar later and this detox will be more difficult to accomplish. Studies have found that people who consume artificial sweeteners and “diet” foods tend to weigh more. And did you know that about 10% of people actually still get blood sugar fluctuations from synthetic sweeteners?

“Naturally-derived artificial sweeteners,” as I call them, are a no-go too. A sweet yet calorie and sugar free sweetener- sound too good to be true? Well, yes. There will always be a trade off. Highly processed “natural” sweeteners that have been made with chemical solvents, bleaching agents, etc are no longer natural. Stevia for example is wonderful, in its whole food form. The white, crystalline powder we commonly see today in stores is a very far cry from that wholesome green leaf it started as. Ask yourself- could you make this in your yard or kitchen? If the answer is no, question how far removed your stevia, xylitol, etc is from a real, whole food.

Now that you’ve identified the sugars, we need to identify the WHY. Why are you jonesing for it?

  1. White refined sugar is highly addictive. As you replace it with the gentle, whole food sweeteners we’re about to discuss, you’ll begin to escape its grip. When you consume sugar, do you tend to crave it again later in the day? Many do, and that’s the cycle we need to break. Once you’ve eliminated it entirely you can enjoy healthier versions of your favorite sweets, with complete control over your sugar intake, vs the sugar controlling you.
  2. Dehydration = Cravings. Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration. Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and then wait a few minutes to see what happens.
  3. Eat sweet vegetables and fruit. They are sweet, healthy and delicious. Some examples of sweet vegetables include onions, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, taro root, celeriac, yucca root, blue heirloom potatoes, and beets. The more you eat, the less you’ll crave sugar. These foods will give you a subtle sweetness, but are significantly lower in sugar. Your body says- hey, I got the right carbs & sugars I need… I guess I don’t want the unhealthy carbs & sugars as much! And because they are vegetables, they are incredibly nutrient-dense and have a healing effect on your body.
  4. 25589836_10101928431425473_1313811579_nExplore sweet spices & herbs. Fennel seed, star anise, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise hyssop, sweet cicely, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods without the sugars. (and they all have great health benefits, some even used as medicines!)
  5. Use whole food sweeteners. Make the switch to the sweets that nourish you. Gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raw honey, or maple sugar give you the flavors you need, but also supply essential nutrients. Honey for example has potent antimicrobial benefits and can be used for treating allergies, and maple syrup is a good source of b vitamins, manganese, and zinc. With this depth of flavor and nutrition you’ll find you need less of them to attain the same level of sweetness white sugar gave you in recipes. There are lots of really nice gentle sweeteners, I just like to look at where it comes from. If it takes lots of processing, solvents, bleaching, and the use of other chemicals to make it, then that’s a telltale sign that it’s not good for you. If it’s something you could easily make in your kitchen (we make maple syrup from the trees in our yard every year, for example), go ahead and eat it. When your favorite recipe calls for 1 cup of white sugar, use ½ to ¾ cup of maple syrup or honey instead. This allows you to enjoy small portions in moderation, without finding yourself desperately digging around for more sugar a few hours later.
  6. Get moving. Regular exercise will help boost mood, increase energy, balance your blood sugar levels, and alleviate stress and tension without medicating yourself with sugar.
  7. Add non-food sweetness to your life. Cravings for sweets aren’t always about food. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy and comfort… and sugar is the quickest, easiest instant gratification that many of us find. Sometimes we are simply craving sweetness from other areas of our lives like relationships or hobbies, or we crave foods out of boredom or stress.
  8. Old habits die hard. Is there a food you just grab without thinking, or that is a part of your daily routine? Maybe a not-so-healthy favorite childhood dessert? Identify, address, and get guidance and support in changing that bad habit to a good one.
  9. Protein intake. Too little or too much protein (yes, as with any other nutrient you can overdo it and it’s more common than you think!) can result in cravings for sweets. This is a problem I help a lot of clients sort out. Some people do great with animal proteins, some need vegan or vegetarian proteins. Too many animal proteins like meat or dairy can mean less fiber in your diet, so portions, balance, and moderation is important for omnivores. Respect your body’s individuality and experiment.

For your first 3 days, indulge in all of the aforementioned foods as much as you need, but zero white refined sugar. Unbearable sugar craving? Eat a spoonful of honey. Or 8. Whatever you need to get through it. (YUM!)

Once you’ve accomplished all of this, your next step is to pare down your total sugar intake. Watch your portions. Even healthy sweets contain sugars that easily add up, so your next goal will be to get your total intake down to 40 grams per day. For a couple days, track your total grams. I recommend the myfitnesspal app, or use this website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ to get nutritional information. To navigate the website, you will search for your food (or ingredients used to make your food) in the top search bar, locate your specific food, then record the total grams of sugar for your serving.

Some examples of sugar content:

1 tbsp raw honey: about 16 grams

1 tbsp maple syrup: about 12 grams

1 medium apple: about 14 grams

1 medium carrot: about 3 grams

1 medium sweet potato: about 6 grams

Where are you finding the majority of your sugar intake is coming from? How can you replace or reduce that particular food?

Ideally, you should be getting a total of at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. By aiming for 4-5 servings of vegetables, that will help to crowd any excess fruits you are getting. Did you know that each daily portion of vegetables reduces your overall risk of premature death by 16%, but each serving of fruit reduces your overall risk of premature death by only 4%?

You now have some great tools for beating that nasty little sugar bug! Remember- focus on adding in and creating abundance & variety, rather than focusing on restriction & denial. Vibrant health is a journey, not a destination- celebrate each day that you continue to make progress!

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If you feel you need more personalized and in depth guidance, this is what I help people with every day! Sugar intake is only one facet of health; in my one-on-one personalized holistic health programs, we visit every area of your life and health in depth, to ensure you accomplish all of your health goals permanently. Bad habits can be hard to overcome for good- but our comprehensive programs give you the personal guidance, support, recipes, accountability, and tools you need to make these and other positive changes last a lifetime.

Contact me at 920-327-2221 or megan@aayushealth.com for your free consultation!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

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