Two of my favorite quotes are “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order” and “Comparison is the thief of joy.” With all the images we see on Facebook and Instagram its easy to see all the amazing, fun, beautiful things people are doing and feel dissatisfied with our own life. We compare what we feel in our inner world to what we see in people’s outer world and we feel less than. On International Women’s day, it’s time to erase that “stinking thinking” and embrace our own beauty and strength within because we are all so powerful and fabulous just as we are.
This casserole is one of my go to favorites for meal that is traditional, clean, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and delicious. I’ve done several variations using spaghetti squash as my base for the casserole and change up the veggies and protein sources to make something new each time. This one is full of non-starchy carbs from spinach, spaghetti squash, carrots and onions. Chicken from my local farmers market is actually a stewing hen and is full of flavor. I added Applegate Farms turkey bacon as an experiment and it turned out fantastic.
In the Restart program we focus on preparing food and prepping in week 1. When you are prepared you will succeed. So we talk about clearing out the pantry of processed foods and making items ahead of time to have on hand so you don’t grab a non-compliant food because you are hungry and have nothing prepared. Planning, preparing and putting foods away in meal size containers is a way to make meal times easier and healthier! I participate in the challenge along with my RESTART students and this is one of the tastiest breakfast items I have made. It’s gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, soy free and 100% delicious! It contains healthy fats, good quality protein and healthy carbs from veggies. This is a clean recipe that your whole family will enjoy. They are great to make ahead and then have on hand for a grab and go breakfast. Enjoy!
- 3/4 pound clean chorizo sausage- I get mine locally from Creek Side Farms.
- 2 handfuls of fresh organic spinach
- 10 pastured eggs
- 1/2 sweet potato- cubed
- 1/2 acorn squash-cubed
- 1 t. celtic salt
- fresh basil to taste
- In a large skillet, cook the chorizo sausage. While it is cooking, add the sweet potato and acorn squash and sauté until soft. add in spinach and salt and cook until all is blended.
- Line a muffin tin with paper cups and place 1 T of sausage filling in each cup.
- Mix eggs in a pourable bowl. Pour the eggs over the filling.
- Bake 350 for 20 minutes.
- Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as a quick breakfast. You can substitute any vegetables of your choice.
So there are a lot of people that swear by Apple Cider Vinegar as an elixir of health. Some take shots of it daily and you may have even heard about the health benefits from your Grandma or Grandpa. But what are the benefits and why is it healthy to drink? And do I really have to take it as a shot? I’ve got some great news for you. No shots required. Instead I have a tasty drink that not only includes ACV but it is also beneficial in supporting the liver’s detoxification pathways. Win- Win!
Here is an easy how to video from Dr. Axe:
Ok- let’s get to the benefits of this quick and easy detox drink.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Make sure its RAW with the mother culture included. The mother culture contains enzymes and good bacteria to help improve your digestion and even eat up the starches that you may have consumed too much of.
Cinnamon: One of the best antioxidants on the planet. It’s the number one herb/spice for balancing blood sugar. And it tastes great.
Lemon juice: High in vitamin C and another food that helps balance blood sugar. It also has an alkaline effect on your body helping to regulate PH.
Cayenne pepper: Helps to increase metabolism and has been shown to help drop blood pressure.
Ginger: A powerful anti-inflammatory herb and antioxidant.
Honey: A food that is near and dear to my heart. Make sure to use RAW honey as it contains all the natural healing benefits of bee pollen and propolis, which are both two very positive health additions. Raw honey helps boost the immune system and is a power source of antioxidants. Honey is one of nature’s purest foods and is far more than just a natural sweetener. It’s a “functional food,” which means it’s a natural food with health benefits. Raw honey nutrition is impressive. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. (Dr. AXCE )
Essential Oils- What are they and how to use them?
When you walk in Shine Wellness Massage Therapy you immediately smell a relaxing fragrance that many of our clients comment about. What I hear is, “It always smells so good in here!” Or, “As soon as I come in, I feel relaxed and at ease.” So what is that fragrance and why does it make you feel relaxed, happy, at ease and peaceful? At the studio we use therapeutic grade essential oils in our diffuser and in our massage therapy treatments. You may have noticed the diffuser on our table and the beautiful jar full of empty essential oils for decoration. All of those empty bottles have been used in massage sessions and to diffuse into the air at the studio. When you walk in, you breathe in these essential oils and it goes to our emotional center ( the limbic system in the brain ) to give us a feeling of calm and relaxation- or uplifting and energizing depending on what oil is being diffused.
Raw milk is truly one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world and has a nutritional profile unlike any other food. It is even called a traditional super-food. When you combine this super food with live probiotics ( like yogurt cultures and kefir )- you get a nutritional powerhouse that not only feeds your brain and body, but it also feeds your gut with beneficial organisms that keeps pathogens at bay and heals the digestive system. If you are unsure about whether raw milk is safe, check out this article by Dr. Axe on 5 reasons raw milk benefits are out of this world!
The best way to include probiotics in your diet is in their most natural state, which includes raw milk products such as cheese, kefir and yogurt. Yogurt and Kefir are my top choices in adding a healthy daily dose of these good guys. And both are super easy to make at home. I’ll show you how below.
In North Carolina, we don’t have access to raw milk. However, South Carolina is just a few miles away and it is for sale there. I buy mine from Milky Way Farm every other week. I grab my cooler and get fresh nutrient dense whole milk and cream to make my yogurt, kefir and butter. But what if you don’t want to drive to SC? There are other choices of milk that you CAN use. It won’t have the same nutritional profile that raw milk does- BUT it can come close. The next best option is buying a milk that is pasteurized but NOT ultra- pasteurized. The ultra pasteurization kills ALL the beneficial enzymes and yogurt and kefir will not culture well with this type of milk. When I run out of my raw milk and the pic up day has not come around yet, I buy Homeland dairy from The Bradford Store right down the road in Huntersville.
Your first step is to grab your supplies. You will need:
1/2 gallon Raw whole milk
2 quart size mason jars– make sure they are clean and sterile (you can run them through your dishwasher or place upside down in boiling water for 2 minutes)
1/4 cup plain yogurt or 1/4 cup from your last batch of homemade yogurt (you can buy a small 8 oz container of organic plain yogurt at the store for this)
A candy thermometer – (See the picture below)
A spoon or rubber spatula
Step one: Heat your milk to 110 degrees
Once your milk is heated- Let it cool to 86 degrees
Step 2: Pour milk into your Mason jars
Step 3: Add 1/4 cup of your plain yogurt to each jar and stir
Step 4: Let time do the work- Put a cap on each jar and place in your oven with the oven light on. Let it sit overnight or 12-24 hours.
I use a Yogotherm. It keeps the milk at a more consistent temperature to allow the milk to culture. But it’s not mandatory.
And that’s it! Seriously simple right?! In the morning you have fresh homemade yogurt that is a fraction of the cost that you have to pay at the store.
I serve my yogurt with fresh berries and some local raw honey. Or you can use it in smoothies, as a dip or to make yogurt cheese.
Want to learn more about how to make traditional foods at home? Join me in the upcoming workshop. I’ll teach your how to make homemade sourdough bread, butter, fermented veggies and how to soak/ sprout your grains and turn them into your own nutrient dense flour. To learn more – Click here.
In Peace and Wellness,
BEAUTIFUL Bone Broth… It’s something that you may have heard mentioned recently in the health news or from friends who are making it and drinking it. It is known for it’s benefits in healing the gut and helping your whole body thrive by providing over 19 easy-to-absorb, essential and non-essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), collagen/gelatin, which help form connective tissue and nutrients that support digestive functions, immunity and brain health
Did you read that? Bone broth supports every part of your body, from your belly to your brain, from your muscles to your ligaments. It’s some serious stuff.
Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
So instead of spending money on pricey supplements, all you need to do is cook up a batch of bone broth. Our grandmothers knew the wisdom and value in bone broths. They made a batch at the first sign of a cold or sickness. It’s traditional wisdom that has been lost to the commercialization of our food. Today big companies want us to buy their product. They have convinced people that they can’t make it on their own. The message is that it’s too hard, takes too long and won’t be as good as what you can buy in the store. Well, let me tell you- that is ALL A LIE! Bone broth is one of easiest, inexpensive and quickest healing food that you can make. You can make up a batch in your crock pot and then freeze it for later use or keep it in the fridge to use in making a multitude of healthy foods.
How do I use bone broth?
I use bone broth several ways to support my family with optimal health. The simplest way I use it is to just drink it. A cup a day supports the gut and digestive system with healing gelatin that helps to heal inflammation of the digestive tract and leak gut. It’s also super easy to digest and full of nutrients that you body can absorb easily. Drinking bone broth is one of the best ways to help heal your gut lining.
I also cook my vegetables in bone broth. I slice up my veggies and add a bit of bone broth to the pan. This adds healthy vitamins and minerals to my veggie dishes and gets some extra oomph into my family.
Cooking rice, quinoa and or grains is another way to use bone broth. After soaking my rice or quinoa overnight, I replace the liquid that I would have normally used with bone broth. It makes the rice and quinoa taste full of flavor and adds healthy fats, minerals and electrolytes to help keep my family healthy and feeling satiated.
Healthy fat is crucial to a healthy body and brain. And, fat is what keeps you feeling full and satiated so that you are NOT hungry again soon after you eat. It’s long burning fuel to keep you going without the crash that comes with processed over-sugared foods on the market.
So how easy is it to make? Check out my video below. It’s less than 2 minutes to watch. Soon you will be making bone broth in your own kitchen too.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message. I’ll be happy to help.
Want to learn more about making traditional healing foods?
I have a class coming up August 6, 2016. I hope you will join me!
Traditional foods. Whole foods. Nutrient dense. Healing.
Saturday August 6, 2016 10am-2p
We will cover the basics of making sourdough bread and homemade butter, Lacto-fermented vegetables and kraut, and soaking and sprouting grains and making your own sprouted flour. Snacks and supplies will be provided to bring home a quart of your homemade kraut, homemade butter, sourdough starter and dough for a loaf to cook at home, along with recipes for breads, rolls, pancakes, tortillas, resources and instructions to recreate these foods at home. This is a hands on process with individual instruction and ample time for questions along the way. This class comes with FREE ebooks to guide you at home. Sourdough Breads, Lacto-Fermenting Veggies and Fruits, and Kombucha.
This class is designed for a maximum enrollment of six, and promises to fill quickly, so make sure you reserve your spot soon and mark your calendar!
Be well friends and Shine Brightly,
It’s no joke, we are killing ourselves by consuming truckloads of sugar and processed foods.
The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s roughly 22 teaspoons every day for every person in America. And our kids consume about 34 teaspoons every day — that’s more than two 20-ounce sodas.
Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low-fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat. And they are very often filled with hidden sugars designed to make you want more of what is causing the craving in the first place.
According to Micheal Pollen author of The Omnivores dilemma– Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food.” We have traded convenience for our health. We have been duped into believing that we can’t cook and we must buy from the commercialized food market. But it’s just not true. Processed food is full of ingredients designed to make sure your food never rots. Many of them are unpronounceable. And they are filled with cheap fillers like corn and soy that is genetically modified and the top 8 foods that cause food intolerance and allergy. It just makes sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?
But where do you start? How do you take back your own health and learn how to cook really good healthy food? How can you get rid of that afternoon fatigue, sugar cravings, sleep better, and lose body fat?
You start with a real food program designed to support you in your choice to get healthy. As a Certified Nutritional Therapist I will guide you in creating optimal health by shifting from the foods of commerce to real food that tastes great and improves your whole well-being. You will be supported along the way in a small weekly class with information to empower you to take back your health. It’s part nutrition class, part real food challenge and sugar detox and part community support. Those 3 things equal real success in reaching your goals.
The next Restart class is starting soon
2017 classes are now open- click here
What You Can Expect
- Losing Body Fat
- Improved Sleep
- Gaining More Energy
- Boosted Immunity
- Reduced Sugar Cravings
- Increased Mental Clarity & Calm
- Reduced PMS & Menopausal Symptoms
- Developing a Taste for REAL FOOD!
What You Will Learn
Week 1: How to prepare for RESTART®.
Week 2: Your digestive check-in.
Week 3: What sugar does in your body.
Week 4: The truth about fats.
Week 5: How to keep going & celebrate your success!
What will you get?
- Your purchase reserves 1 of 10 spots in the RESTART® 5-Week Group
- Sugar Detox Challenge and includes:
- Five 1.5-hour group meetings.
- Print-ready PDF guides for each week.
- Support emails from your instructor.
- Lifetime access to the private Nourishing Tables RESTART® Community
- Facebook page where you can receive support from your instructor, classmates, and program alumni.
- You will also get my experience on everything I have learned during my transition to a real-food lifestyle as well as:
- breakfasts, lunch & dinner recipes
recipes for snacks and smoothies
- the best sources for real food
- kitchen pantry makeover tips
- what ingredients to buy
- my BEST tips for successfully completing the sugar detox and living a healthy lifestyle and beyond!
So what are you waiting for? Take back your health- you will be so glad you did!
The RESTART® Group Sugar Detox Challenge is a 5-Week program meeting for 1.5 hours at the same day and time each week of the challenge.
Price: $197 includes all materials and the RESTART Cookbook.
Space is limited to the first 10 participants. Sign up now to reserve your spot.
One of the most common food groups that participants of The 30 Clean want to reintroduce back into their diet is grain of some kind. Many people miss bread. However, many also fear the reintroduction of bread will mean bloating, gas and other possibly uncomfortable symptoms. So, what is the best way to introduce bread back into your diet and is there any health benefit?
First, it is important to be mindful during the reintroduction phase, so you can understand if you have any potential intolerance or allergy to grains or gluten. I personally believe sourdough bread is one of the best ways to reintroduce wheat to your diet. Why sourdough bread? The answer is found in the bran part of wheat called phytic acid. It is a safety mechanism that protects the seed but makes it extremely hard for our bodies to digest. In commercial breads, wheat flours and grains, phytic acid is what inhibits enzymes that are needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch; making it difficult to digest. Phytic acid also binds to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc making these important nutrients unavailable for the body to absorb.
But sourdough bread actually predigests the flour and reduces the phylates, which makes this bread easier to digest and releases those necessary micronutrients. Sourdough bread is actually an ally and the wild yeasts in the sourdough starter neutralize phytic acid while the bread rises over a 12-24 hour time period. So, sourdough bread may actually be okay for those intolerant to gluten and it may aid in digestion instead of inhibiting it. Now when you think of piping hot sourdough bread with grass-fed butter, you can actually feel good about the decision to eat it!
Sourdough bread is truly EASY to make. It just takes intention. I mix up my bread in the morning (a process that only takes about 10 minutes ) and let it sit overnight while the fermentation of the starter does its magic. In the morning I bake it and the smell of freshly baked bread brings smiles to everyone’s face. It has become the most asked for bread that I have made over the years. The ingredients are simple too- flour, water, salt, coconut oil and honey. So when you are ready to reintroduce wheat, give sourdough bread a try. You really can make delicious and nutritious bread that you and your family will not only enjoy, but mostly likely not feel any uncomfortable symptoms from eating.
The sourdough recipe can also double as pizza dough, tortillas and hamburger buns, giving your family healthy choices instead of store bought breads containing artificial ingredients, high fructose corn syrup and rancid oils that affect your digestion and your health. Get your sourdough recipe HERE and let me know how you like it! Don’t forget to spread it with fresh homemade butter! Don’t forget your sourdough culture, which you can purchase HERE. Once you have your first starter, you will have it forever as long as you take care of it. There are actually starters that are over a hundred years old. Shows just how ancient this bread really is!
Enjoy friends- and if you have any questions- feel free to send me a message.
~ Chris Williams
How the Body Responds to Stress
Stress or the “fight or flight” response isn’t just a feeling or a thought. It’s an actual chemical response of hormones that your body produces when it’s met with a challenge. Sometimes that’s actually good. If we are faced with needing to run from a dangerous situation or need to react quickly, those chemical messengers kick in and can be life saving. The main stress hormone is cortisol. Cortisol is a messenger that tells our immune system to gear up for a challenge. The immune system responds by producing inflammation and then after the challenge is over, cortisol tells the immune system to calm down. The problem occurs when our body stays in this stress response from the bombardment of activities that come at us that are not life threatening. Responding to acute stress is healthy. Chronic stress is damaging to the body and our immune system. Constant work, sleep deprivation, diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, too much time on the computer, issues at home or work, the list goes on and on. Your immune system never really gets any down time. Eventually after being on too long, it goes rogue and starts attacking your own bodily tissues. We end up with a myriad of symptoms like weight gain, adrenal fatigue, insomnia, headaches, chronic aches and pains, digestive issues, skin issues, muscle pains, chronic fatigue and even hormonal imbalances. So how do we reduce this stress response?
We need to adopt daily stress-relieving strategies.
Create space for self-care: This is critically important. You need down time and time to refresh and fill your own tank to keep you healthy. When you are constantly taking care of others, giving your energy to work and not taking care of you, your immune system is on overload. Self care is not a luxury, it is a necessity for optimal health.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Get a massage: Therapeutic massage is not just for birthdays. It is an important component in activating the relaxation response and inviting your body to heal. Healing only takes place during the “Rest and Digest” (Parasympathetic response ) of your nervous system. Massage shifts your body from the stress response to the relaxation response and invites your body to heal and let go of stress held in the body and the mind. To book an appointment just click on book an appointment.
Breathing: When you find yourself overwhelmed with stress, take a moment to connect with your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and out until your anxiety has calmed. Centering prayer and mindfulness meditation are wonderful ways to stop the stress response and bring the mind back to the present moment.
Go for a walk outside: Just moving your body can help you literally “walk off” your stress. Breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the sunshine and the birds singing and feeling your body move brings a new perspective to any stressful situation.
Enjoy a Hobby: What do you enjoy? Knitting, crafts, photography
Whatever feeds your creative side that is enjoyable shifts that fight or flight energy into a creative way to process it.
Music: Amazingly, half an hour of listening to music can reduce your cortisol levels. Choose something soothing and relaxing and notice how your body relaxes.
Gratitude: When you feel over whelmed by the day or an event, take a moment to shift into gratitude. Write down 5 things you are thankful for. You might even find that the situation that is causing your stress is an agent for bringing more gratitude into your awareness. Gratitude shifts the focus. You can not be mad and grateful at the same time.
Gentle exercise: Try yoga or stretching. Just getting up from your chair and stretching the body for 10-15 minutes can do a world of good.
One of my favorite things to do seasonally for my own self care is to schedule a retreat by myself. I go to a lovely place called the Well of Mercy where I take 2-3 days to decompress, regroup and get centered again. I try to go twice a year. When I return home I find that I have a renewed clarity on items that have been on my mind, a renewed gratitude for my life and am ready to give more love to my family and energy to my clients. Find a sacred space that speaks to you. Your family and your health will thank you!
SIGN UP & SAVE 20%
When you choose the Shine Wellness Program you get a MONTHLY 1 hour massage for $49 or a 90 min. massage for $75. No contract, no sign up fees and cancel at anytime. Your debit or credit card will auto draft on the same day each month and you will be making self care a priority for YOU!
If you want an additional massage each month you will get the same discounted rate.
Shine on friends!