Welcome back to Q&A Monday! Thanks for checking in. I answered more great questions this week and am loving this so keep them coming! This week we talked about healthy eating during quarantine, immunity booster tips and what I think about dairy products (get ready for this one, bit of a soap box!). You can check out the live video on YouTube here. Buckle up and enjoy! Let me know if you have questions – you can shoot me a message here!
1. How are you eating healthy during quarantine? How do you avoid cravings during this downtime?
When it comes to “eating healthy”, I keep it real simple folks. To me, eating healthy simply equals “eating whole”. What does that mean exactly? It means eating as little as possible out of a box, can or jar and when I do, ensuring that only “whole food” ingredients are in that item, and hopefully under 5 total ingredients.
What exactly are “whole food” ingredients? Well my friend, these are all the things that you can pronounce, to be quite blunt. Words that you look at and know that it is food. For instance, oats. I know we all know what oats are. If oats or oat flour was an ingredient, you can consider that a whole food. It’s been minimally processed (e.g. simply ground down from its’ purest form) and not messed with beyond that. Nothing else was added to the “oats”. Things like sea salt, other natural spices and herbs, natural flours etc. This also could be eggs or milk or fruits and vegetables. The reality is, you should be able to clearly recognize and read all ingredients in any prepared food as well, food. You shouldn’t have to check in with our friend Google to know what it is you are eating!
I don’t subscribe to “diets”. I purely believe in bio-individuality (that what works for some, doesn’t work for others) so would never “prescribe” a diet of any kind. I recommend playing with different foods and dietary theories until you find what works for YOUR body. BUT, what I do know is that eating a whole food diet covers all bases and pretty much everyone with the exception of someone with a rare disease can live very well and healthfully by just eating a variety of whole foods. So, that is what I do! I shop the periphery of the grocery store (this is where all the fresh, unpackaged, unprocessed food lives!) and just dabble in the center aisles for things like pasta, bread and any frozen goods that I might need.
Bottom line, if I fill my house with whole foods, I can guarantee that I am eating pretty healthfully at all times. It might be some veggies and hummus for a snack, loaded oats with blueberries for breakfast, a big salad and some crusty bread for lunch and hearty pesto pasta and broccoli for dinner. Regardless, I know that the foods I bring in my home are what will enter my body – pretty much exclusively right now during quarantine. Does this mean I don’t enjoy my food or splurge on fun snacks or treats? Absolutely not! I make whole food desserts that I let myself enjoy several times a week – but they are low glycemic, whole foods (gluten and often grain free) and delicious or potato chips – those are also a splurge in our house J. Guess what? They are a whole food – yes, they are fried, so we limit our consumption, but I feel I do pretty good everywhere else, so some high-quality potato chips in low quantities are just fine!
Keep healthy snacks and foods available and accessible at all times so you are less likely to overconsume things you may wish you didn’t (apples/peanut or almond butter, celery and hummus, rice cakes with almond butter, strawberries and hemp seeds, half an avocado with everything seasoning, a small plate of raw nuts, olives, pickle and a few whole grain crackers).
Progress, not perfection is the name of the game. Fill your home full of whole foods – this is done easiest if you meal/snack plan for the week and make sure you have all the foods in your house you need to stay excited about your meals and can’t overconsume on the bad stuff J. That being said, when you find that you have binged in the closet hiding from your kids and you find an empty package of peeps in your hands from Easter, go easy on yourself. There is no failure. These are weird times! Happy (whole food) eating!
2. What are your go to immunity boosters?
I love this question, because I have noticed such a difference since taking a few very simple steps.
Let’s all say YIPPEEE for Vitamin C! Every morning, first thing before anything else goes in my belly, half a lemon squeezed into 12 – 16 ozs of warm, filtered water (warm water is important as it helps you to more easily absorb all the good vitamins and minerals from the lemon and is less shocking to the system). This vitamin C daily dose is a massive immunity booster all on its’ own, not to mention an act of kindness for your gut! It aids in digestion – gives your tummy a little TLC before you start loading it up with all the nutritious foods it needs to absorb all day long (immunity starts with the gut!!)
Every other day:
Green is a dream! Juice it up with 16 ozs of straight celery juice! Give yourself 30 minutes in-between the lemon water and the celery just and then drink up! Expect to use about ½ to a full root of celery for one glass – depending on the size. Wash it well under warm water and then juice away! Again, this is a massive hug to your gut and doses you up with immune boosting vitamin C, K, folate and potassium which ward off a long, long list of diseases. Use organic as celery is on the dirty dozen list!
When you feel that dry spot in your throat:
When you think something is just beginning to attack your system – you feel lethargic, dry throat, lightly feverish, headachey, runny nose – then you need to 1-2 punch it with the following:
Wellness “cocktail”: Peel the skin from 2 inches of fresh ginger, chop it coarsely and place it in 16 ozs of simmering (not boiling) water. Allow to simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Strain out 4-6 ozs of this ginger “tea” into a mug and put the rest (leaving ginger in liquid) in a jar and place in fridge after it cools. This will be used for your next several doses.
To the ginger tea add half lemon squeezed, 1 tsp Manuka honey, 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar (if this is too potent, you can water down a bit). Drink this 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days or until you notice the symptoms subsiding.
Zinc! In addition to the wellness cocktail, adding in Zinc at the first sign of an illness or exposure to an illness may be beneficial. We should be getting enough zinc every day through foods like beans, meat, cheese or seeds, but if you feel that you may be deficient, or just need an immune boost, add in a little Zinc temporarily for an immune boost. Zinc Picolinate is the best absorbed form of zinc. Here is an example of a good quality zinc supplement. Taking 15mg 1-2 times daily while you are feeling a little low on immunity may help shorten the severity or duration.
Finally, refer to question 1. Eating a whole foods, primarily plant-based diet is the way to strong immunity through and through. If you do this, plus add in a little celery and lemon into your life and have good hand washing hygiene, you’re setting yourself up to not having to use the “I’m already feeling compromised” solutions. Eat whole and be well!
3. How do you feel about dairy? Do you suggest eliminating all or just certain types? Do you every consume it?
I’ll default to bio-individuality here, too. You’ll hear that a lot from me, because I believe in it whole-heartedly. I read something recently that over 75% of people in the world today do not have the right enzymes to digest dairy products. I believe it. Client after client, friend after friend complain of not feeling well after consuming dairy and definitely feel better when they don’t. So, I recommend following along with how you feel. Unsure how it is impacting you and your health? Try ditching it for a month or two. See how you feel, how your body responds, how your skin looks, your energy level, headaches, allergies and more. Just give it a try – you may think you are fine, but realize you feel much better without it, or you may realize you are one of the few that can tolerate it with no issue. Good for you!
I’m not here to preach – but biologically, let’s just think about it. Why would we, as humans think that our bodies can handle processing something that even the animal it is made for can’t process after it gets to a certain age which is why it weens from its’ mother? Just food for thought. Bottom line, there is a lot of research out there that shows just how hard it is on our gut, our microbiome and our whole system. From asthma, to acne to poor immunity, to IBS to obesity and more, dairy (in my humble opinion) is just not worth it. I know that marketing has pushed it on us for decades (“Milk. It does a body good.” – if you were alive in the 90s, you remember that) and that our taste buds are keen to crave the creaminess and varying tastes from sweet ice cream to salty, briney cheese. We’re addicted. And for good reason, because dairy contains a protein called casein that is made to keep (baby) cows coming back for more…so they don’t die! So not only is marketing pushing this on us, biologically, we will keep going back for more, because that is how milk is made – to keep a baby alive and thriving. You can check out this article for more details. Casein does NOT do a body good and actually leads to things like cancer, diabetes and more. Don’t listen to mainstream media or big brands that tell you otherwise – they are all tied in with the success of the dairy industry so of course they will tell you how amazing it is. Always know your source! For instance, Susan G. Komen the infamous breast cancer research nonprofit has advertisements by and supports Yoplait yogurt and other dairy brands even though the research is out that dairy is not helpful for cancer, especially breast cancer. How misleading is that?! Ok, I’ll do my best to get off of my soapbox! This is a tough one for me.
No, I do not consume it and never plan to again. My body is so much better without it – dramatically better. Additionally – beyond how my body feels, my mind and emotions are lighter, too because I can rest-assured I am making a choice not only for my body but for the livelihood of the animals that grace our planet in forced captivity and squalor. Forcefully impregnated over and over again and babies ripped away over and over again (yes, cows have feelings and they cry and scream…for days) simply so we can satisfy our taste buds with a product our bodies were never designed for and never needed. I sleep better at night with this choice and can only hope that more and more people choose this over time and fewer and fewer animals are put through the torture that is their life for our own benefit.
There is now a WORLD of amazing alternatives!! Ice cream, cheeses, milk and more! It’s endless and many of them you can make VERY easily yourself! Who knew? I can have cheese or milk or ice cream anytime with just a handful of ingredients on hand. Make sure that when you’re choosing store-bought alternatives that you are still ingredient savvy and make sure that you’re buying the purest forms. With milks for instance, be weary of “carrageenan”. It is a nasty little ingredient that may give you worse tummy trouble then cow’s milk. A LOT of alternative milks have this unfortunately, so just be on the lookout. Trader Joe’s brand does not as well as the Silk brand. I prefer to make my own – I just keep raw nuts on hand at all times – hazelnuts, cashews or almonds – and make my own jugs. It’s SO easy. I’ll have a tutorial on this soon. It takes me less than 5 minutes!
With this, I’ll let you decide what works for your body – but do your research, check your heart and also get close to how you feel with and without dairy in your life. You may be surprised! The hardest part will be recovering from the addiction. It’s real and it holds on tight. Be strong!