Mindful Moves: Pampered Soles

Have you ever stopped to think about how much pressure is exerted on our feet with each walking stride, running foot-strike, or the simple act of standing while enjoying life’s ride? That’s a lot of weight that are carried on our feet, so it’s important to pay close attention to those beauties!

So Much Sole

Though we often think of our body as a whole, we often neglect the fact that our beautiful soles bear the entire load of our body throughout each day.  Did you know the foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 20 muscles and tendons? That’s some major shock absorption! Get to know some of  the major players you should be extending some extra gratitude to:

  • Tibialis Anterior –  enables the foot to move upward (dorsiflexion). The tibialis produces a controlled lengthening of the muscle which requires an eccentric contraction.
  • Tibialis Posterior – supports the arch, assists in dorsiflexion and foot stabilization.
  • Peroneals- control the movement of the outside of the ankle (eversion,) and the downward motion of the foot (plantarflexion).
  • Extensors – assist the ankle in raising the toes as seen when initiating a step forward, or when dorsiflexing in conjunction with the Tibialis Anterior and Tibialis Posterior.
  • Flexors – assist in stabilizing and flexing the toes.

Reflexology & Pilates for The Sole

In addition to the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the foot, it’s important to note that our feet also contain nerve points which we can stimulate to improve the function of other body organs and systems; e.g. digestive system, lymphatic system, reproductive system and urinary tract, so not only are we relieving stress when applying pressure to these areas, we’re also ensuring our body is functioning optimally as a whole!

One thing I like to note when teaching Pilates to my clients is how we emphasize on these same reflexology points when doing footwork and other foot exercises on different apparatus which work the leg muscles as well as the intrinsic foot muscles resulting in proper balance, and posture to carry out with each movement. (Yet another reason to love this exercise that develops the body uniformly, invigorates the mind, and elevated the spirit!)

soles

In addition to incorporating footwork into my Pilates regimen – whether it be on the reformer or even the wonderful Wunda chair, each morning I like to treat my feet by taking the time to give each sole a nice rub down straight out of the shower with an essential oil that best suits the day, my current essential oil favorites that I have on rotation are eucalyptus, bergamot, and spearmint. You’ll immediately see the blood rushing to your lively feet proving this to be a good practice!

This healthy habit will surely knock any person far from apathy, and will send all little piggies shouting “Wee, Wee, Wee!” all the way home.

So, go on now… give your feet a little attention to release some tension!

The Pampered Soul,
blogsignatureupdates

Advertisements

IF : Should You Be Intermittent Fasting?

If you read and implemented topics from my post regarding incorporating healthy fats into your diet; The Skinny: Why Fat Should Be Your Fuel, the idea of fasting should be a little less daunting for you now that you have experienced the true feeling of satiety that heart-healthy fats give us when incorporated into our diets.

Intermittent Fasting can be a simple and extremely effective health tool which every person can benefit from, and it can easily incorporated into your lifestyle.

Though there’s no one way to do this type of fasting, it can be done by scheduling your meals into a narrow time window so that by the time you have had your last meal of the day and are ready to consume your first meal the following day, you will have fasted for x amount of hours. Another option would be to skip that first or last meal of the day. Yes, it really is that simple, and no, breakfast is not the “most important meal of the day.” In fact, skipping breakfast may very well be the missing factor to reaping your best body.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Weight Loss & Hunger Regulation

The weight loss associated with intermittent fasting is a decrease in fat mass due to an increase in the secretion of the growth hormone which takes place during fasting.
Keep in mind that this is most effective when you’ve adopted a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet simply means eating real food and making sure to incorporate healthy fats, which will help you become fat-adapted and teach your body to stray from burning sugar for energy. Your diet choices are crucial; by cutting back on pro-inflammatory foods (i.e. grains, sugars etc.) our bodies recover from workouts easier and are able to easily access and burn stored body fat. Fat-adaptation is a goal everyone should strive for, it will eliminate cravings, and the constant grazing on food will no longer be necessary – this is a very primal attribute that simply got lost when the mass production of processed food came along.

Improvement on Insulin Sensitivity

Intermittent fasting’s impact on insulin sensitivity is one of the primary reasons many people today can benefit from fasting. It’s important to understand that when a person consumes a high amount of carbohydrates/sugars, the body’s blood glucose level will rapidly rise and in order to adjust those blood glucose levels, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. By improving our insulin levels, we starve off the onset of diabetes, heart disease to even cancer while embracing heart-healthy foods. (Read more about insulin sensitivity here.)

Lower Triglyceride Levels

When we have high-levels of insulin, our bodies are not able to access our stored body fat (also known as triglycerides,) so we continue storing fat without utilizing it for energy. When fasting, our insulin decreases and lipolysis increases – this simply means that our bodies are able to access stored body fat to burn as energy, this is most effective when there are no insulin barriers due to the high intake of processed foods.

Strategize

  • Cut the carbs, eliminate sugars and grains, and supplement with satiating foods and snacks to take the edge off of this transition; e.g. macadamia nuts, bone broth, beef jerky, Primal Coffee.
  • Skip a meal and see how it affects you; if you are able to carry on without feeling moody and tired, your body is becoming fat-adapted and you’re burning fat as your fuel!
  • Boost the benefits of fasting by adding High-Intensity Interval Training to your regiment while in a fasted state. You’ll double up on decreasing body fat, improving muscle tone, regulating insulin levels, and boosting those energy levels!
  • Know that the human body has a remarkable capability to store and access fat for fuel.
  • Listen to your body. It’s simple – if you’re not hungry, you do not need to eat.

Working Intermittent Fasting into your lifestyle shouldn’t be a hard feat. To start, choose a day where skipping a meal may actually help check those items off of your To-Do list without a delay due to breakfast, as long as this jives with your body. For example, Travis and I incorporate some form of high-intensity interval training sessions three times a week which we perform in a fasted state – one of these sessions is Saturdays, which we extend our fast post-workout. Since our Saturday morning HIIT session is typically followed by swings at the driving range, and grocery errands, 1PM quickly approaches without a ravenous thought about food. How about them apples?

As with many things in life, it’s important to remember that achieving balance is key. Intermittent Fasting should not be forced, nor should it be done if it activates stressors in our bodies.

Find harmony in your body via a proper diet free from processed foods, and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activities, low stress levels, proper sleep, and the ability to listen to your body – these are all prerequisites if you wish to reap the many health benefits linked with fasting.

Mark Sisson has a great series on fasting, which I recommend everyone read to shine some more detailed light on the topic for those ready to welcome this healthy, primal routine!

Happily and healthily Fasting,
blogsignatureupdates

A Rich (and Sweet) Friend with Benefits: Dark Chocolate

If you haven’t had a friend with benefits, you may want to reconsider friending this dark and sexy one. Seriously… A feel-good dose of dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and polyphenols, healthy fats, and flavor–many benefits which we can all enjoy guilt-free.

Choosing a fine dark chocolate is an exciting experience similar to that of finding the perfect red wine – and on the special occasions in which these antioxidant-packed bullets are paired together, you can expect an extra fine evening indulgence (especially when in good company–thanks for partaking, Honey.)

Let’s unwrap some of this goodie – Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:

Healthy Fats  – Cocoa butter, found in many dark chocolate bars, is made up of mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat with very little polyunsaturated fat.

Resveratrol – increases glucose metabolism; i.e. it helps make glucose readily available for our bodies to use as energy, rather than storing it.

Polyphenols – antioxidants have the ability to stop free-radical mediated oxidation; i.e. protects us against DNA damage and the risk for developing many different chronic degenerative diseases which are caused by free-radicals.

Brain Boost – caffeine and theobromine are natural stimulants found in chocolate which produce a boost in brain and physical activity.

Blood Pressure – various studies show links between dark chocolate consumption and lower blood pressure readings due to the high polyphenol — namely flavonoid — content. By consuming flavonoid-rich dark chocolate, we improve endothelial function which houses circulatory system for blood. Flavanoids found in chocolate induces nitric-oxide vasodilation in our bodies which relaxes our smooth muscle cells and dilates our blood vessels which allows for increased blood flow.

DarkChocolate

 

Keep the Standards High – Choose High Cacao Content, and Purest Form

If we’re looking to really reap these health benefits, we should be choosing dark chocolate with the high polyphenol counts rather than that ol’ Hershey sugar-rush of a bar.

Since the aforementioned health benefits are tied to the polyphenol and flavonoid compounds found in dark chocolate, 70% cacao is a good starting point–and of course, the higher the better, i.e. the more antioxidants and polyphenols present.

It’s also important to read labels. Many dark chocolate bars may contain soy lecithin, which is a very ubiquitous ingredient many people tend to overlook. Though this ingredient seems like a simple “emulsifier,” the steps and ingredients involved in creating soy lecithin may make you reevaluate for various reasons.

First, it’s important to note that roughly 94% of soy grown in the US is genetically modified. In order to make soy lecithin, soybean oil is extracted from raw soybeans by using a chemical solvent (e.g. hexane), then water is mixed in to start a “degumming” process. After the separation, the lecithin is dried and sometimes bleached using hydrogen peroxide. Although the crude oil undergoes a multi-step process to remove the hexane residue, the FDA does not regulate the amount of hexane residue found within food products, and as one paper shows, it’s been proven that up to 1000ppm residual hexane concentration may still remain in soy oil during this process. To put things in perspective, note that the FDA regulates the chemical solvents found in pharmaceuticals limiting the hexane residuals at 220ppm.

…I’ll take that dark, clean, real, sliver please.

Raising the Bar – Choose Organic and Sustainable Sources

Unless you are sourcing your chocolate directly from small farmers, it is hard to know the measures which were taken to render your chocolate. Loads of pesticides may have been used along with chemical-ridden fertilizers, and as much as we wish not to think about The Dark Side of Chocolate, many children are also exploited in the process–not much of a sweet treat anymore, right?

By choosing Organic, we are able to take control and vote with our dollars to keep harmful synthetic chemicals out of our food supply. We also welcome healthier products to consume while respecting nature’s ecosystem, and at the same time we are protecting the farmers who are producing these products (as well as the families surrounding the farms,) from the harmful effects of pesticides found in many conventional farming methods.

Fair Trade products ensure that child-labor laws are adhered to and that the product is bought directly from a co-operative of small-scale farmers who own their own land and control their own livelihoods. Fair Trade also means fair pay, and fair working conditions, which many of us may take for granted, and it is also a good way to give Mother Earth a hug by supporting sustainable practices with a smaller environmental footprint.

In addition to supporting sustainability and a productive, healthy — and balanced — work environment, I especially like that Fair Trade products support their communities by investing their earnings locally to improve things like housing, healthcare, and school programs.

Our current favorite dark chocolate is Equal Exchange‘s Panama Extra Dark Chocolate (80% cacao). Hardly bitter and not too sweet, a dose of this chocolate is rich enough, creamy, and smooth – which is often hard to find within higher cacao content chocolate, it’s also free from soy lecithin… This love-embodied bar is definitely a keeper in our home – we share the guilt-free slivers of pleasure!

Go on now… Antiox Up!

Your sweet and satisfied friend of a friend,
blogsignatureupdates

#BalancedFitness: Welcoming 2014 With My Teammate

Because every day is a new day to continue building and evolving, our wealth in the form of health should be abundant yearlong!

This year, I’m looking forward to continuing to build upon the lifelong journey of a fun, active lifestyle I like to call Balanced Fitness.

Travis and I decided to ditch the routine HIIT session at the gym this morning, and opted to liven up our workout by basking in the west coast sunshine and cool ocean breezes while running through various football drills and sprints. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate, my motivating fiancé (on so many levels), sure knows how to keep me on my toes; “quick feet, quick feet, quick feet!” A fun and fit experience to share with my significant other!

Here’s a sneak peak into another year of #BalancedFitness; empowering a fun, active lifestyle that incorporates mindfulness to break barriers and push to greater heights!

Running Sprints in Finger Splints,
blogsignatureupdates

Paleo Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Bites

Whoever said pumpkin should be retired after Thanksgiving must not know the versatility of this much-loved fall squash!

With this recipe, you’re in for a treat; tall, dark, pumpkin, spice, and everything nice. These dark chocolate pumpkin goodies are sweetly balanced, divinely moist, and perfectly spiced for a well-rounded treat that is guaranteed to make you demand the Fairy Godmother postpone bibbidi bobbidi booin’ that pumpkin into a carriage!

In my ongoing grain-free quest to conquer coconut flour for all baked goods, it was a pleasant surprise to find that these worked extremely well without the use of any eggs! The texture was beyond my expectations; not too dry, not overly-moist… Balanced!

As some of you may know coconut flour baked goods typically require many eggs to bind and add appropriate moisture. However, thanks to the touch of pumpkin in this recipe, I was able to save those beautiful pasture-raised eggs to enjoy closest to raw form, e.g. a Primal Coffee, in order to preserve their highly-perishable nutrients. (*Victorious fist pump.)

As the warm and welcoming pumpkin spice filled our humble abode, Travis worked his way to the kitchen to take a peak and soon pointed out that there was still leftover dark chocolate lying rather lonely on the kitchen counter… Trav-fucious says; “When dark chocolate is left lying around, melt and immerse.” We were on the same page of course, and my chocolate tempering skills were put to the test during operation, “No Chocolate Left Behind.”

The outcome? A delicious success. After patiently waiting for the Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Bites to set, confirmation was received from the dark chocolate-covered mouth of my sweet and always honest fiancé; “…What?! Best chocolate-covered pumpkin bites. Ever.”  

Though I smiled confidently as if I knew those words would be coming, I must admit that I even surprised myself with this fitting fall treat!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

PumpkinBites


Paleo Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Bites – Yields approximately 24 bites

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbs arrowroot powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Dash of cloves
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped (I recommend 70% cacao or higher)
  • 4 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbs Ghee (can sub regular butter or more coconut oil), melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs maple syrup (I recommend Grade B.)
  • ½ cup pumpkin (canned, not canned pumpkin pie)
  • 5 tbs almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • *optional – 3.5 oz dark chocolate for dipping and covering.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all your dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add chopped dark chocolate chunks and stir.
  5. In a large bowl whisk the coconut oil, ghee, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup.
  6. Add pumpkin to the wet mixture and mix to combine.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix.
  8. Add almond milk and give one final mix.
  9. Let the batter sit for at least ten minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquids. (This will yield softer cookies.)
  10. Scoop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheet by the teaspoon. (I used a cookie dough scoop.)
  11. Bake for 22 – 25 minutes, until edges start to (slightly) brown.
  12. Let cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Covered:

  1. Roughly chop your 3.5 oz. of chocolate.
  2. Melt 2.5 oz of the dark chocolate and 1 tsp of coconut oil in a double boiler, or in a small mixing bowl placed in a pan with a hot water bath. Stir gently but steadily until chocolate starts to melt.
  3. Continue stirring. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and add the remaining 1 oz of chocolate and continue to stir.
  4. Add back to heat source on very low heat, stir until chocolate is melted, smooth and creamy.
  5. Begin with the dark chocolate covered option of your choice;  A.) Dunk the bottom of your pumpkin bite into the chocolate, give it a swirl to let the excess chocolate drip, and place right back on the parchment paper. B.) Dunk bottom of the pumpkin bite in chocolate, spoon on chocolate to cover the entire cookie, lift and give it a swirl to let the excess chocolate drip, and place right back on the parchment paper.
  6. In between covering each pumpkin bite, be sure to stir the chocolate.
  7. Continue covering pumpkin bites as you please.
  8. Let cool completely.
  9. Once the chocolate has set, ENJOY!

*Note – If you made half a batch of the chocolate covered pumpkin bites, and the other half chocolate dipped, be sure to repeat Step 8 with your other batch. Y’know, just to make sure the chocolate covered bite is just as good as the chocolate dipped one… and if you’re still not sure which you enjoy more, three might just be the magic number.

Our second round of these pumpkin bites involved some very satisfying dunks within a pond of creamy almond milk, which I highly recommend. (Guilt-free, immerse yourself in the health benefits of dark-chocolate!)

The Great Pumpkin believer,
blogsignatureupdates

The Skinny: Why Fat Should Be Your Fuel

Fat.

Get comfortable embracing that three-letter word, and you’ll get comfortable slipping into those skinny jeans more often… or just doing away with them completely. (Hey, that’s ancestral!)

As a young teenager, I remember cringing at the fat my Pop would render from roasts, and commenting on how “icky” it was that he would save the piece of meat with the most fat for him to enjoy come dinner time. Of course – as with all parental advice growing up, I later came to learn that Pop was right all along, as was Mamá when she would comment on how delicious and nourishing those livers in our Sancocho Colombiano were.

I’m sure that many–if not all of us, have had a period in our life in which we consumed margarine rather than butter. We slathered this spread full of unhealthy trans-fat, emulsifiers and preservatives, bleach, artificial flavors, free radicals (as a by-product of the high-heat processing,) thinking we were making smart moves, when in reality we were increasing our risk of heart disease, hormonal imbalances, bone problems and various other issues.

The reason many American’s shifted their consumption of fats was all due to flawed studies from the late 60’s and 70’s, which have since been proven incorrect countless number of times. Dr. George V. Mann, ScD, MD, a noted researcher of the Framingham Heart Study, even stated it bluntly;

“The diet heart hypothesis that suggests high intake of fat or cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit, and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprise, food companies, and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.”

The low-fat diet has still managed to stick around even long after various different studies have continued to prove time and time again that cholesterol along with healthy fats in their natural forms are not the enemy, rather they are essential compounds for optimal body function. Contrary to popular belief, consuming a high-fat / low-carbohydrate diet is associated with weight loss and improved body functions in comparison to diets which are low in fat and calorie-restricted. It’s no wonder diabetes and obesity rates have since sky-rocketed when the low-fat diet recommendations were made as Americans began to supplement the lack of fat in the diet with highly-processed and refined carbohydrates.

Walk through every aisle in a grocery store and you are bound to see labels left and right; Low-Fat this, Fat-Free that… Well, wake up:

  1. Are you sure you should be roaming these grocery aisles full of packaged, refined foods which are made up of genetically modified ingredients and contain these dangerous man-made factory fats? (I surely wouldn’t recommend it.)
  2. Though you may not be purchasing these items, don’t let the marketing persuade you. Natural, unprocessed, traditional fats, such as those derived from humanely-raised (grass-fed / pastured) animals are vital to proper nourishment. Vital meaning you simply can not be healthy without these nutrients.
  3. Restricting fat deprives our bodies of the nutrients we need, there is no research that proves positive outcomes from low-fat diets.

Fats are far from scary; they play in important role in the upkeep of many different body functions. They boost our immune system, protect our liver from toxins, contribute to healthy bones by helping us utilize calcium efficiently, protect our digestive tracts from harmful microorganisms (thanks to their anti-microbial effects,) and they even help protect our hearts against heart disease and stressors. Healthy fats do not make us fat, it is the flaw of challenging our body with sugars and carbohydrates which trigger our bodies to store fat. Remember that.

So, let’s do a little exercise to welcome Fat (Take note of that irony, Alanis Morrissette and Glen Ballard.)

Imagine an shiny, open,  glass jar full of raw, deep yellow butter sitting on the countertop in your bright, clean, kitchen.

This rich, creamy, butter was created by happy, humanely-raised cows who spent a lot of time grazing on fresh vegetation outdoors under the welcoming Sun. Thanks to the cow’s fresh, rich, diet and their traditional living conditions, that beautiful butter sitting on your kitchen counter is full of rich vitamin content like Beta-Carotene and the easily-absorbed Vitamin A (as reflected in that rich vibrant color,) which keeps our endocrine systems and vision in check. Vitamin A, along with Vitamin D, contribute to our growth development which is especially useful for growing children. Vitamin E, alongside Vitamin D, and K2 present in this healthy fat also helps our bodies use calcium and other minerals correctly and effectively, (Sorry, Osteoporosis,) and also reduces, prevents, or even counteracts arterial plague. (Adios, Heart Disease!)

With those bright eyes of yours and that empowering, steady breath, notice your chest open up as you expose your welcoming heart. You’re ready to embrace this friend called Fat in the form of grass-fed butter.  With this, you also welcome:

  • An equal balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3.
  • Short and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids. The Short and Medium-Chain Fatty Acid content in butter falls between 12-15%. These are saturated fats absorbed directly from our small intestine directly to our liver which becomes readily available for quick energy. Not only that, these fatty acids also support our immune system greatly.
  • High levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a naturally occurring trans-fat that protects our hearts and increases our muscle-building and fat-burning potential.
  • Cholesterol, which has many health benefits; it keeps our blood levels and hormones in balance to help us cope with stress, it protects us against heart disease and cancer, maintains our intestinal health, and contributes to brain health by keeping our feel-good serotonin receptors – as well as all other neurotransmitters – functioning properly.
  • The Wulzen Factor – Also known as the “Anti-Stiffness” factor, found in raw animal fat (i.e. unpasteurized butterfat or cream). This compound protects our arteries from any hardening, protects our joints against calcification, and it also does the same for our pineal glands which is crucial for proper production of serotonin and melatonin.

After getting to know all those health benefits, who wouldn’t want to become best friends with grass-fed butter and it’s nutrients? The best part of all is that there are so many healthy fats which give us the same aforementioned benefits (and more!) making it easy to get our daily fat intake from various different and delicious sources.

GuideToFats-01

(Printable: Healthy Fats & Oils .PDF)

Eating plentiful amounts of healthy fats makes adopting a much healthier grain-free lifestyle such a breeze! The reason for this is because fat is very satiating, i.e. we feel much more satisfied more quickly when eating these healthy fats.

Ever wonder how appetizer bread baskets seemed to magically empty themselves rather quickly when waiting for your main course at a restaurant without having even reached that satisfying feeling? Well, grains do not pack much of a nutrient punch which leaves our bodies wanting more. Should you decide to graciously decline the bread basket next time and wait for that tender grass-fed beef roast full of healthy fats and ample protein, overeating will now be a nonexistent issue. Say goodbye to your ravenous sugar-burning self, and welcome balanced, fat-adapted living!

Now that you know your fats, I encourage you to tell that unhealthy, highly-processed, hydrogenated margarine full of trans-fats that you’re now committed found some real fat. Don’t be alarmed if you lose more than a few pounds along the way – Travis and I managed to effortlessly lose over 50 lbs combined in just two months by going against the grain, including plenty of healthy fats in our diets, and continuing to eat real food.

Taking control of your health is simple and smooth like butter, babyEat. Real. Food. 

May fat be your friendly fuel,
blogsignatureupdates

Batter Up: Grain-Free Dark Chocolate-Chunk Cookie Mounds

Prior to last night, it had been a few months since I’ve whipped up a delicious cookie treat for us to enjoy as I  hadn’t yet mastered (or really attempted) the perfect grain-free cookie.

After familiarizing myself a lot more with coconut flour, I finally ditched fear (along with the grains,) and the most beautiful hunk of cookie came out of it– so did a genuine, chocolate-covered “I love you,” from Travis.

CookieMoundBlog

Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mounds – Yields appx. 10 cookies
Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup almond flour, packed
  • ¼ cup coconut flour, packed
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of ginger
  • dash of himalayan sea salt
  • 3 tbs butter or coconut oil – (I used 2 tbs coconut oil, and 1 tbs ghee which added that extra nutty sweetness!)
  • 2 tbs organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla
  • 2 tbs cream or milk of your choice (preferably full-fat, but a nut milk should work just as well – this just adds moisture to balance out the dryness of the coconut flour.)
  • 5 organic dates, pitted and chopped (I used halaway, but medjool and deglet noor would be just as good!)
  • 3 oz organic dark chocolate, chopped. (preferably from a sustainable source.)

 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, melt butter (or coconut oil) over low heat. Remove from heat, add in maple, vanilla, cream, and mix to combine, then add chopped dates to soak while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, shredded coconut, salt and spices.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Add in the chopped dark chocolate and mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer dough to refrigerator to let sit for 10-15 minutes. This allows the coconut flour to absorb the moisture, and yields fatter cookies.
  7. Scoop the dough into mounds onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a couple inches around each cookie.
  8. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until  golden brown.
  9. Allow these nice, round, chocolatey goodies to cool completely, then ENJOY!

P.S. Feel free to repeat once or twice, you wouldn’t be the only one.

Grain-Free Home Runnin’,
blogsignatureupdates

Primal Frothy Micronutrient Coffee

PrimalEggCoffee

Thanks to my Costa Rican and Colombian roots, Mamá y Papá always had the household filled with the robust aroma of freshly-brewed quality coffee every morning.

When I finally jumped on the coffee carreta, Mamá would always prepare a nice, smooth, café con leche for us to enjoy with breakfast on the weekends, and throughout the years to follow–and after many long nights of college finals, I learned to love my coffee black – tinto, as we would say in Colombia, or café negro as we would say in Costa Rica.

Now, on the weekends Travis and I enjoy breaking our intermittent fasting with an alteration to this much-celebrated morning ritual resulting in a rich, creamy, froth, and a heck of a nutrient-packed cafécito!

For the record–contrary to popular belief, egg yolks are one of the healthiest foods we can consume. Dietary cholesterol actually reduces the body’s production of cholesterol. Many of us have had this belief throughout the years that the cholesterol we consume converts directly into blood cholesterol, which is downright false. (Our own liver produces about 80% of the cholesterol in our body.) Note that if anything, egg consumption is likely to protect against heart diseases by increasing the proportion of large buoyant LDL particles (the particles pushing nutrients to the cells and tissues of the body) thus fewer LDL particles are needed overall. High LDL particle concentration, on the other hand, is a risk factor for heart disease and an indicator of risk for metabolic syndrome.

Egg-citing – a few superstars found in egg yolks:

  • Vitamin A – essential for eye health, normal growth and development, and strengthens immune system.
  • B Vitamins – essential for vital functions of the body–most importantly, proper sharp brain function.
  • Vitamin D, and Phosphorous – promote mineral absorption and healthy bone health.
  • Vitamin E – protects our hearts and even protects against some cancers.
  • Iodine – enhances thyroid function.
  • Lutein, Zeaxanthin – antioxidants which protect the eye, protects against macular degeneration.
  • Choline – contributes to fetal brain development–promotes a healthy pregnancy; brain nutrient necessary to produce acetylcholine which plays an important role with memory function and assists in relaying messages from the brain through the nerves to the muscles.

Primal Frothy Micronutrient Coffee

(Adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple)
Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup freshly-brewed organic coffee
  • 2 pastured* egg yolks
  • ½ tsp coconut oil or Ghee for toffee-like notes
  • Optional: ¼ tsp cinnamon (you can also add other spices such as cloves, nutmeg, allspice — that’s my current Fall favorite, reminiscent of pumpkin spice!)
  • 1 tsp natural sweetener of your choice – e.g. maple syrup, coconut sugar etc. (optional, since I’ve learned to love my coffee black, I don’t add any sweetener.)

eggyolks

Directions:

  • Brew the coffee of choice using your preferred brewing method.
  • Separate egg yolks from egg whites
  • Add coffee, ghee/coconut oil, optional spices, and pastured egg yolks to your blender and blend on low for a few seconds until fully mixed. Alternately, you can whisk this baby up.

(Use those leftover egg whites for a nice batch of simple coconut macaroons, or whip them up into stiff peaks to leaven your favorite grain-free bread recipe.)

*Note that it is important to consume pastured / pasture-raised eggs due to their far superiority in nutrition with roughly 2/3 more Vitamin A, 2 times more Omega-3 Fatty Acids, 3 times more Vitamin E, 7 times more beta-carotene, than conventional eggs from Confined Animal Feeding Operations which also have a higher risk of containing salmonella. Though I was a bit skeptical whether there would be much difference between Cage-free, and Pastured eggs, I made my decision to stick to Pasture-Raised even before tasting the beauty of an egg produced by true pasture-raised foraging hens once I saw the healthy, bright, deep and bright orange yolk! When I first tasted pastured eggs, I kinda forgot about all other options–on purpose.

Farmer’s Markets are a great resource for purchasing good-quality eggs from sustainable farms – Local Harvest is a great resource to search for local farms in your area. Additionally, The Cornucopia Institute also has a handy Organic Egg Scorecard which is also a highly-recommended resource for those purchasing eggs from supermarkets.  Vital Farms has been our go-to when purchasing eggs, which have an exemplary 5-Egg score according to the Cornucopia Egg Scorecard.

Go on now, enjoy this super-charged, extra-frothy, antioxidant-rich, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, Vitamin D, choline, Omega-3-packed health-bullet of a coffee! There’s no doubt it will have you Feelin’ Groovy – after all, you got to make the morning last. (*Exit stage left, cue in Simon & Garfunkel*)

Rockin’ the Froth,
blogsignatureupdates