Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms can pack a punch when it comes to immune-boosting benefits, which is especially helpful this time of year during the cold and flu months. Here are a few of the easiest to find and most powerful mushrooms you can include in your recipes this fall and winter:

  • shiitake
  • chaga
  • reishi

There are loads more, but I’ll leave you with a few, so I don’t overwhelm you. Try adding these mushrooms into your recipes as much as you can. They are so easy to toss in with soups, stews, veggie medleys, and even with your breakfast. A mushroom omelet is a great way to start the day.

If you aren’t a mushroom fan, you can also opt to try mushroom tea or capsules, even. Check your local health food store.

Are you a mushroom fan?

 

Check in with Yourself

I find it so helpful to do regular check-ins to see how things are going internally and logistically in my life.  Have you ever done this before?

It can be as simple as putting a reminder in your phone for a specific day every month to have a small check-in.  Ask yourself how you’re feeling, what’s working and what’s not, what could take some improvement or extra attention — and devise a game plan from those questions.

Set a reminder on your phone right now that can reoccur every month for your monthly check-in dates.  Pour a cup of tea, have a notebook handy, and see what comes from it.

 

Getting Ready for Shorter Days

Daylight Savings Time is coming up on Sunday, November 3rd.

You’ve likely already noticed the sun setting earlier, shrinking the daylight hours day by day.

One way you can ease your body into this seasonal change is to go to bed 30 minutes – 1 hour earlier than usual for the week or two leading up to November 3rd.

Try taking a magnesium supplement (like the Natural Calm drink) before bed to help relax your body throughout this change.  Strive for relaxing night-time routines to help your body learn its new routine.

Allow yourself to explore how rest and rejuvenation can nourish you this season.

 

 

 

A Morning Experiment

I want to invite you to do something that may feel a little radical tomorrow morning.  When you go to sleep tonight, switch your phone to airplane mode.  Eek – did your heart just pitter-patter a bit at the thought?

That’s precisely why you should try it.

It’s no secret we’ve allowed our phones to become an extension of us in quite a harmful way.  Step by step, we can begin to break the habit that we’ve created.  The first step is switching your phone to airplane mode at night, and not turning it back “on” until two hours after you’ve risen in the morning.

It’s going to feel awkward at first, and maybe even quite difficult.

But I invite you to give it a shot and see what it feels like to be “disconnected” for a spell.

Mindful & Healthy Late-Night Snacking Ideas

If you’re anything like me, a late-night snack is something that comes to mind often. Most snack foods are usually less than healthy, and enjoying those before you turn in for the night could lead to a habit that causes negative repercussions you’re surely trying to avoid.

What’s your typical go-to snack? Let me know in the comments below. Here are a few healthy snack options for a mindful late-night snack:

1. Apple or Banana Slices with Nut or Seed Butter
To set yourself up for a great night’s sleep, try having banana or apple slices with almond butter or any nut or seed butter that you prefer. Bananas are rich in an amino acid called L-tryptophan. Through a process of steps, this amino acid gets converted into melatonin, which is the hormone that is  responsible for giving us a good quality sleep at night. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds also contain high levels of this amino acid, so butters from these nuts and seeds would be great choices. Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral that can help you relax and fall asleep easier.

2. Almond-Milk Yogurt with Berries
Pair some unsweetened, plain almond milk yogurt with your favorite berries for a sweet but low-sugar snack. Almond yogurt has protein and will keep you satisfied before falling asleep. A great trick is to use frozen berries and heat them in a saucepan until they begin to burst and release liquid. When you stir these warmed berries into your yogurt, your whole yogurt will be flavored with the taste of berries without the added sugars that store bought flavored yogurts contain! Plus, berries are great low-sugar fruits and don’t contain many calories. If you want to sweeten it up for a bit more of a late-night treat, you can add a teaspoon of raw honey or pure maple syrup.

3. Roasted Chickpeas
You might be wondering why anyone would reach for chickpeas to satisfy their late-night cravings, but they are delicious and crunchy when roasted!  You can create a variety of flavors, from adding spicy chili flakes to cinnamon and raw sugar. They’re even tasty with a simple sprinkle of salt. Simply rinse a can of organic chickpeas, pat them dry, season them to your liking and place them in the oven at 350°F/175°C for around 45 minutes. You can store them in an airtight container for a few days and always have a crunchy, healthy snack to grab. They’re packed with protein and contain fewer calories than roasted nuts.

4. “Nice” Cream
No more reaching for that tub of ice cream to satisfy your late-night sugar cravings! Banana “nice” cream is a much healthier alternative as it contains only natural sugars from fruit and no artificial flavors or added sugars. It is a low-calorie alternative to ice cream with way less junk. You can make the flavor anything you like. If you’re a chocolate lover, add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, blend it with two frozen bananas, and add some dark chocolate chips to top it off. If you see that the consistency is too thick to blend properly, add a splash of any nut milk of your choice.

It’s apple season, and I’ve recently created some simple, healthy apple snack recipe I can’t wait to share with you.

Using apple slices and delicious toppings, you can have a seasonal snack you’ll love within minutes.

Cut your apple into slices. Using a small cookie cutter, cut the core from the center so that it’s shaped like a bagel — round with a hole in the middle.

Lather your apple ring with your favorite nut butter such as almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter or cashew butter.

Next, add toppings of choice (and mix it up each time!) — some of my favorites include:

  • dark chocolate chips
  • raisins
  • coconut flakes
  • granola
  • finely chopped nuts

 

Now that autumn has arrived, and colder temperatures will only increase through the coming months — having this slow cooker oatmeal recipe in your arsenal will benefit you for months on end.

Slow Cooker Oatmeal Recipe:

  • 1/2 cups gluten-free, organic, steel-cut oats
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Spray slow cooker with olive oil spray, so it doesn’t stick to sides. Combine all ingredients and add to slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring every hour or so. When desired thickness has occurred, your oatmeal is ready to enjoy.  Add any fresh fruit or raw nut toppings you desire.

 

What tool/appliance do you use the most in your kitchen?

In my kitchen, I use my Ninja Blender the most.  It works great for my morning smoothies <3

A few tools and appliances that can help you eat healthy more simply can include:

  • Vegetable spiralizer
  • Instantpot
  • Slowcooker
  • Air Fryer
  • Juicer
  • Vitamix

Drop a comment below and let me know what you use the most in the kitchen!

 

 

One thing I teach in my Health Coaching Practice is simple, and sustainable steps help to win the race.

I think all too often we try to overhaul too much and end up throwing in the towel. Focusing on one small step at a time and compounding from there creates the most lasting results. It’s also so encouraging to actually see and feel movement toward your goals using this method.

I also think it’s incredibly important to celebrate your small wins along the way. It helps to keep your spirits high and encourages you to continue on your path.

What “small win” can we celebrate today in your life?!

 

 

 

How to Renew Your System After a Round of Antibiotics

Antibiotics might be unavoidable at times, especially if you have a severe infection that won’t be treated with natural remedies. Prescribed antibiotics are usually very broad-spectrum, aimed at killing all the bacteria in your system to make sure that the infection subsides once and for all.

Unfortunately, this means that antibiotics will wipe out the good and bad bacteria. The immense impact that our gut microbiota (the population of good bacteria) has on every single system in our body is being more revealed in recent years.

We need a large and diverse microbiome to make sure everything from our digestion, immune system, reproductive health, and even our mental health is functioning at its best. When we take antibiotics that wipe out the good bacteria, the space they occupied in our gastrointestinal tract is now available for the bad bacteria to settle in and possibly invade, which will  lead to further infection in the future, digestive issues, and chronic inflammation.

So, what can you do about this?

There are few things you can do before and after taking your antibiotics to minimize the damage done to your gut bacteria ecosystem. The delicate balance might still be disrupted while you’re taking the antibiotics, so the most repair can be done once your round of antibiotics is finished. During your course of antibiotics, make sure to have plenty of nutrient-dense meals that are low in simple sugars and rich in fiber. Simple sugars can increase inflammation and worsen your symptoms, whereas low-glycemic foods will not.

Instead of containing simple sugar molecules, complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which our bodies are unable to breakdown. Instead, fiber is the food source for our beneficial gut bacteria. Sweet potatoes, oatmeal and other whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, beans, and seeds contain lots of fiber. Avoid junk food and treats with added sugars.

After taking your antibiotics, have some probiotics. This can be in the form of probiotic supplements or foods and drinks that contain bacterial cultures, such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha drinks. Probiotics are strains of good bacteria that are made for us to consume. High-quality probiotic supplements might be pricey, but they are well worth it, especially if you are trying to restore the balance in your microbiome after antibiotics. Please, don’t take your probiotics right before you take antibiotics. This will be counterproductive because the antibiotics will wipe out all the newly introduced good bacteria directly after you’ve consumed them.

Once you’re finished with your round of antibiotics, increase your consumption of both probiotics and prebiotics to most effectively restore the balance in your gut microbiome. You can also up your intake of certain gut healing nutrients, such as vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A has a protective effect on the intestinal lining and can help repair any damage done to the intestinal barrier during your course of antibiotics. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase the population size and diversity of gut bacteria.