Eating

Fall Grocery List

My favorite season is fall, hands down. Coming in at a close second is winter. I LOVE the cold weather. And being in San Diego, cold means anything below 70. I cannot stand the heat. I don't know if it was just after the hormones of being pregnant and nursing, or just becoming more selective, but I find anything above 75 a drag. I wonder sometimes if I am more suited to somewhere like Alaska or Scandinavia....So I rejoice when the weather changes and I have an excuse to put on baggy sweatshirts, sweatpants, scarves, beanies and boots. This of course only works between the hours of 6pm and 10am.... but hey, at least it's a few hours. 



Fall in the Northern Hemisphere is typically characterized by a drop in temperature, crispness in the air, and sometimes precipitation. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Autumn is a time where you want to build your immune system and prepare and protect your body from external climate changes. While many health trends are pursuing weight loss and being 'skinny', it is actually healthy for your body to experience a rise and fall with your weight on an annual basis. Many health trends talk about how to reduce your cravings, eat less, and decrease overall calorie intake. While this is necessary for many people since they are way overfed, eating too little puts a tremendous strain on your organ systems, and breaks down your immune system. Fall is the time to prepare your body for the cold(er) winter.

* Oats- Oats are high in starch and therefore high in calories, so you will be able to add on a few pounds of muscle and fat to insulate your organs. They also store for extended periods of time without spoiling, making it a great item to have during times where you may not always be able to just run out to the store. My favorite use for oats is homemade granola. I have used more than a dozen recipes, but once I found this AMAZING recipe, I never went back to the others. 

* Leafy Greens (Collards, Chards, Beet Greens) - Aside from usually being in season in the United States and therefore being readily available and fresh, greens have an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health during the fall and winter months. Collard greens are high in Vitamin D, which is partially manufactured by the body when sunlight reacts with cholesterol in the body. Adequate levels of sunlight can be difficult to get during rainy, cloudy, or sleet filled seasons, so making sure your diet includes foods high in Vitamin D is essential to prevent it's related dis- eases. 
I mostly like to use strong flavored greens in stews (which is also a fall must), but sometimes I will use it in a Paleo-ish Salmon patty wrap.

* Root vegetables (Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Beets, Chives, Fennel, Garlic)- There are many reasons to eat in season, but I think the most important reason is because God made it so what is available during the season is also what is best for our bodies! 
Potatoes are my dietary hero and superhero most of the year actually. They are a unique root vegetable in that they are high in calories because of their starch content. They are very filling, and CHEAP! I prefer to use them in a stir fry with Costco's frozen Spinach and Kale combo. My kids love it. And its a great left over food to mix in with eggs in the morning. 
As for the other roots veggies, they are low in calories, but rich in many vitamins, and high in fiber. Fiber is always necessary, but especially to maintain colon health during times when the diet is rich in congesting foods like potatoes and animal products. 
Some roots, such as garlic, have powerful anti-fungal/bacterial/viral properties. Sounds good to me!

* Whole Chicken- It isn't just an old wives tale that chicken broth is good for a cold. But broth should not be a reactive food to a cold, but more of a preventative one. Real bone broth has minerals from the animal's bones which help build the immune system. I am not an expert on making bone broth, and I am sure there are much better blogs out there with excellent recipes. Just make sure it's in your fall and winter diet.
The meat and organs from the chicken will help add the muscle mass I mentioned above. I don't believe the human body actually needs that much protein, so I do not think you even need to have it every day. I would say about 3-4 times/week for an autumn and winter diet. 
One thing more- protein puts an increased workload on the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. It is crucial that you plan to do a liver cleanse come spring. You should also do a end of summer cleanse. This gives your digestive system time to restore itself at a cellular level, and enables your liver to clean itself so it is ready to process the next years dose of increased protein and starches. 

* Dairy- There is a reason people groups throughout the ages have utilized animals in their diet, and it's not because it's cost-effective or even the healthiest! Feeding an animal is actually 4x more expensive than feeding a crop. It's because animals are portable and continue to make food despite the changing weather! Fruits and grains are abundant in summer and fall harvest time, but depending on the output, the supply may not last throughout the winter. 
Dairy such as yogurt and cheese (not milk), have fat and protein to help add some insulation and vitamins and minerals to maintain the immune system. I think that Kefir is a superstar Dairy fall food because it is high in probiotics, which is crucial in having an effective colon to clear out waste. 

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So along with a cute pair of boots and a scarf, those are my fall staples! I of course include other vital things such as fresh fruits and salads, but they are dramatically decreased during the fall months. 

What are your favorite fall recipes or health tips? Please comment and share this article :)


Going Against the Grain- Part I, Corn

You can hardly go anywhere now without seeing all the food company marketing adds stating that there are ‘this many’ and ‘that many’ grams of whole grains in their food. There has been a huge push to increase whole grain consumption in the last 10 years, and for good reasons. 



 Is it just me, or does anybody else notice that one particular whole grain seems to get all the attention?? <wheat, cough, wheat>. Yes, it seems like wheat is the popular kid at the whole grains school, leaving all the other whole grains out of the spotlight. Almost all the breads, cereals, and other grain products that are marketed as “whole grains” are mainly wheat.
 So what is my problem with this, you ask? A person’s whole grain menu should be varied for optimal nutrition and enjoyment. There are over 10 whole grains to choose from, making a varied whole grain menu realistic and attainable.
 So my next few blogs I am dedicating to the forgotten whole grains and how to incorporate them into your daily diet. I will start with the more easily found grains in American grocery stores, then move on to more ‘exotic’ grains. Join me in this counter culture grain revolution! 




CORN
 Corn? A grain? But isn’t corn a vegetable? Yes - and no. Fresh corn is classified as a veggie, but dried corn is classified as a grain. It is actually the number 1 crop grown in the US, but is fed to livestock or used for high fructose corn syrup.
 It has been long perceived as a nutrient poor veggie at best, but is making a comeback. Corn has the highest Vitamin A content of all the other grains. Corn is also high in antioxidants and carotenoids that are associated with eye health, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
 The combination of corn and beans works well because they have complimentary amino acids, giving you complete protein. Here are a few simple ways you can include corn in your daily whole grain regiment:
* Corn Tortillas
* Corn Muffins (http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/snacks-desserts/whole-grain-corn-muffins)
*Corn and Black Bean Salsa

! Make sure when you buy your corn product, it says “Whole Corn” or “Whole Grain Corn” ! 


To learn more about the history of corn, go to http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/corn-october-grain-of-the-month 

Stay tuned for the next episode where we cover millet!


Beet Greens Coconut Pesto

I was hankering for some pesto, so I rummaged through my fridge and found a few bunches of organic beets. I usually reserve these messy roots for juicing and cleansing,




 but the greens were the only greens I could include in my pesto. And I use Coconut Oil for almost all of my baking and cooking, so I rarely have olive oil on hand. So I made it, put it on toast, and it was amazing!



Ingredients
* 3 cups beet greens
* 2 cloves raw garlic
* 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
* 1 Tbsp Basil (fresh is best, but dried will do)

Directions
Lightly steam the beet greens for about 5 minutes total (that includes turning off the burner and letting it sit there). Please please don't boil your veggies! They lose much of the nutrients in the water; steaming helps reduce this, and preserves some of the enzymes.

Melt your coconut oil. I prefer to use a small Ball glass and place it on the coffee burner. This way you don't have any extra dishes, since you will be using it to store your pesto. 

Combine all ingredients into a glass blender.  Don't use plastic with hot foods. Very naughty. You may need to shift the ingredients around once you stop the blender. Also remember that if there are any ingredients that are colder than room temp, your contents may solidify.

And you are done! I prefer my pesto on sourdough toast, with a little garlic salt, but using it as a dressing on anything like lentils or pasta. When you are done, you can dump it all back in your little Ball container!

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