Seafood and Vegetables Grilled in Foil Wrapping

This recipe engages the whole family by allowing them to choose their own ingredients and spices.  I usually put out the following and arrange it nicely on my kitchen counter.

Fish (Salmon usually) leave skin on and cook separately.  Season with sliced lemons, sea salt, pepper, garlic, fresh or dried herb of choice.  I used fresh dill.

For Foil:

Mussels, Shrimp (keep shell on) then Sausage (cut up in slices)

Fresh cut vegetables: I used peppers, carrots, onions, kale, cabbage, and cherry tomatoes.

Arrange seasonings on countertop such as Old Bay, Paprika, various herbs, Blackening, Garlic, S/P.  Make sure you add plenty of lemons, a little water or chicken broth for steaming.

Let everyone make their own, then wrap loosely in foil and place on grill on medium heat. 20 minutes and then open slowly to let steam release, serve with rice of your choice!

 

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What Triggers Adrenal Fatigue?

Let’s break down in simple language what the adrenal glands do for us and why they are often neglected as far as overall health is concerned.  The adrenals are located on top of the kidney’s, they are small, just about the size of a grape. There is an outer shell which produces hormones, and an inner part that regulates the cortisol response that is sometimes referred to as “flight or fight”, which occurs in the sympathetic nervous system.  Its not such a bad thing…this “flight or fight”, its what keeps us from a potentially harmful situation, like running from a bear, or fleeing from any life-threatening condition.  The problem arises when there are constant triggers such as situational stress, ongoing illness or injury, and possibly organ weakness or deficiencies that ask the adrenals a bit too much.  When “flight or fight” is in action, our bodies only concern is to survive that moment….therefore, our immune system shuts down, along with our digestion.  As the adrenals overcompensate time after time, they eventually get tired and worn, i.e., “adrenal fatigue”.

What are the common symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

The list of symptoms are quite broad but if you are constantly tired all of the time, have depression, sweets cravings, insomnia, brain fog, mood issues, allergies, or environmental sensitivities, its likely your adrenals are stressed.

Is there any way to test for adrenal fatigue?

According to Glen Depke, (Traditional Naturopath) of Depke Wellness, he has tested over 4300 clients and nearly ALL of them tested positive for adrenal fatigue!

There are many ways to test for adrenal fatigue right at home. Take for example, ZRT labs Adrenal Stress Profile, which measures adrenal hormones like DHEA and cortisol levels throughout the day.  These test are available online, or through your holistic health care provider.

Are there supplements that are helpful for adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal herbal support including adaptogens or glandular supplements offer relief and recovery to weakened organs. This in turn allows the adrenals a break from overcompensation.

What triggers wear out the adrenal glands?

If there are inflammatory foods being eaten on a regular basis that are damaging to the gut, the adrenals will become stressed.   Sometimes it is wise to eliminate foods that may be considered inflammatory, like gluten or dairy for a week or two in order to evaluate energy levels as well as digestion.

Another helpful tip would be to eliminate situational stressors.  Perhaps we come home every day to a stressful situation, or our work is not only unbearable but the people we work with are too!  Experiencing these situations on a daily basis contributes to adrenal fatigue.  Another example of a stressor is if we are having allergies or our immune system is always fighting something.  In this case an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants is very wise, along with a supplemental regimen to further facilitate healing in overworked adrenals.  Exercise is also recommended, although it is important to not overdo it. Many people with stressed adrenals are already exhausted and this will only make matters worse.  A light exercise regimen is best until the energy levels come up.

What additional alternative healing modalities are helpful?

Yoga therapeutics as well as MELT Method are also very good healing modalities that activate the para-sympathetic nervous system. This part of the brain is what we need to spend more time in, as it puts us in a more mindful, restful state.  Good chiropractic care is also essential, making certain that there are no subluxation concerns along the spine that mix up nerve communication throughout the body causing overall weakness.

Please take note that it took quite a while for chronic states to wear out these precious glands, and they usually do not respond overnight.  Listen to your body, rest when you can, and take good care of yourself.  It is always a good idea to work with a qualified health professional that understands your concerns both emotionally and physically so they can get you on the path to feeling alive once again!

Options for Kids’ Lunches

Options for Kids’ LunchesOkay, it’s not a contest here but let’s take some time to think about what we are putting in our kids’ lunches for a moment. Hopefully not many of you are reliant upon feeding your children cafeteria food because it’s basically nutrient deficient. When my 8 year old was in public school he started begging to eat the junk most other kids ate. I addressed this by treating his request like a special reward (not a reward for his colon or overall immunity). I allowed him to order pizza or whatever was on the menu, only once on a week-to-week basis. On those “crap” eating days I made sure to pack snacks like crunchy vegetables, whole fruits, nut crackers, homemade bread, etc.

I know some of you non-cooks or just plain crazy busy people feel it’s already a chore to think about what to make for dinner, not to mention the kids’ lunches. I have those moments as well, and what is really annoying is what the kids like one day, they do not like the next, ugh! Here are some things to consider you may not have thought of:

Pack a funny looking fruit they may have not seen recently and tell them you have a secret surprise in their lunch box, and then giggle quietly. Explain casually that no other kid will have one. For example, maybe a dragon fruit or mango, try finding one in season like the pomegranate right now…. give them a plastic knife to cut it themselves and share it. Some teachers probably think it’s a mess but I’ve found most of them find it intriguing to watch the little devils carve it up. Pack napkins!

Hard or soft boiled eggs (obviously if you child doesn’t have an allergy to eggs)

Yogurt cup with low sugar content, or use plain yogurt and send ingredients they can add themselves like lemon juice, granola, bananas, honey, etc.

Meats, cheeses, cherry tomatoes and whatever you can arrange on a small stick or toothpick. My kids love those huge black olives, so I grab whatever I can find in the refrigerator. They just love the variety of colors and the stick presentation in general.

Organic corn chips with fresh salsa or guacamole. I make the salsa at the beginning of every week. It’s easy to do the guacamole for me because all I do is mash it up then add a tbsp or two of the salsa to keep it from browning. There are a ton of cute receptacles that keep things like this in order.

You can also just cut the avocado in 1/2, take the pit out and squirt some limejuice over it, give them a spoon and they can dig out the flesh themselves.

I am fortunate to have both kids like vegetable rolls so I often just grab the brown rice rolls at the market or whatever looks good. I am not so pleased with the sugar and soybean oil content in the rice or “drizzle” on top but its better than other pre-made items, plus they are getting a lot of fresh vegetables to offset the ugly ingredients.

And what about a nice bowl of organic soup with a side of crackers they can add to it themselves?

Sometimes I send a little chunk of dark chocolate, pack of raisins or apple sweetened cranberries. Keeps them more cooperative overall and interested.

There are many healthy, creative and easy options. Once you get into a routine of making wraps with organic meats and vegetables you will be a pro before you know it.

And if you child doesn’t eat much of what you prepared then I guess they will be really hungry when dinnertime comes.

Life could be worse for them, yes?

Tell them to call social services.

Pomegranate mania!

pomegranateTis the season for that funny looking pinkish-reddish fruit called the pomegranate. So what is so fantastic about this super fruit?
First of all pomegranates contain ellagic acid compounds (red raspberries included) which have anti-cancer properties. Packed with vitamin C along with being a good source of B-complex groups, pomegranates rate high on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity).  Being a low carbohydrate fruit comparable to an apple, pomegranates are often an acceptable choice for diabetics.

While my kids like to cut open the pomegranate, watch the juice drain all over the counter like an open wound, then “chew out” the seeds like an animal in the woods, I prefer another, less messy method.
Fill a med size bowl 1/2 full of water.  Put the pomegranate directly in the water, THEN cut it open in the water into quarters.  Then simply flip the quartered fruit upside down and slowly pick out the seeds, working your fingers through the white membrane. While all the seeds float to the bottom, the skin and white membrane will float to the top! Discard what has floated to the top then drain the seeds into your favorite colander.  Serve the seeds however you wish, by themselves or added into yogurts, salads etc.

***Be careful when purchasing pomegranate juice in the store as the nutrient value could be compromised. Reason being is that it is possible that the seeds are being exposed too long to the light prior to juicing thus resulting in lesser nutritional content.  Please also be aware that many times there are other juices added to these pre-made mixes.  Best to just buy the pomegranate and a decent juicer for optimal anti-oxidant value!

The Lowdown on Vitamin D

Yes its true, it fell below 70 degrees here in Jacksonville, the hot Florida sun is waning, the bathing suits have been put away which leads me to increase my vitamin D intake. So what is the lowdown on vitamin D anyway?

First and foremost, vitamin D is a great immune system builder, it helps boost our bodies defenses against infectious disease. Animal studies show that when vitamin D is absent, the cells of the immune system are more likely to attack the healthy cells of the body (autoimmunity)…. In addition, when D becomes active in the body, it promotes calcium and phosphate absorption in the gut, which of course if crucial for healthy bones. Adequate levels of D may decrease one’s risk for cancer, arthritis, asthma, and risk for heart attacks. The form of D that has been shown to work best is D3. Food sources consist of fish, liver, egg yolks, and of course, sunshine. A recent study out of Harvard recommended to triple your daily intake of 600 IU’s per day to 2000-4000 per day. As research is still ongoing on how much D is actually ideal, I take a bit more during the winter. Many physicians even note that taking vitamin D is much more effective than a potentially harmful vaccine.

What has attracted me recently is a youtube video about the importance of using vitamin D directly on the skin and why we may start seeing more D incorporated into our external skin care regimen. Listen for yourself about what this doctor has to say:

I personally use Pure encapsulations vitamin D which I order from longnaturalhealth.com. I like the research and care they take when putting a supplement in their catalog and continue to order from their trustworthy staff on a regular basis.

Deconstructing Cravings

Many of us have cravings we turn to that we know are not very good for our overall health.

I’d like to challenge us all this week to look further inward when we reach for a bag of chips, a cigarette, a bottle of wine or anything that may be excessive in our diets or daily lifestyle. When I’ve had an argument with my husband, or an issue arises with one of the kids, my appetite is sometimes suppressed, I withdrawal, or make bad choices in what I choose to eat. I dismiss my hunger pains, and I am not as in tuned to my body as I normally am. Some people may have the very opposite reaction, perhaps grabbing a ton of chocolate or just end up driving thru one of those fast food places to numb what is really bothering them.  The physical nor emotional energy is there to allow for healthier food choices.

We all react differently to every day stressors, but one thing is for certain. The poorer choices would occur less frequently if when we walked in the door we were greeted with a “hug” and warm “hello, I missed you”. Or your child’s teacher sends home a note “look at this homework, great job, he worked hard today”. Better yet you went to work loving what you did and adored who you worked with on a daily basis.  Even more effective, letting go of past hurts or traumas, examining what things in your life that do not serve you anymore and are influencing what you eat in a negative way.

Timothy Long, a Holistic Transpersonal Psychotherapist advises that “based on over twenty-five years of working with clients as a psychotherapist as well as a naturopathic health consultant, it is clear to me that the root causes of ill health, weight and diet issues are emotionally-mind based. It is of course very important to have a healthy diet and optimal nutrition, though I see so many people over-concentrated on food, supplements and exercise who will not get the results they really want until they take a mind-emotions-body and spirit approach. In most cases this does not mean years of psychotherapy, though it does mean working with a qualified therapist or counselor who can help the person get to the root causes and make transformational changes.”

So take a moment to deconstruct your cravings, it may be you need to work on something much more inward.  These changes can launch you further towards health more than any nutrient, pill or supplement could ever achieve.

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