Be Well Kitchen: Chia Seed Pudding for Breakfast

Chia Pudding for Breakfast
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

Have you jumped on the chia seed bandwagon?  I love chia seed pudding for breakfast in the spring and summer. It’s super quick and easy to prepare, and the variations are endless.

Chia seeds are a great superfood for a few reasons:

  • A complete protein source, containing all 8 essential amino acids
  • Packed with iron and calcium
  • Great source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Have lots of fiber which can make you feel full and help with constipation
  • Because chia seeds absorb many times their weight in water, they help with hydration and retaining electrolytes
  • They are sugar free!  

One easy way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet is by adding a tablespoon to your morning smoothie. Or if you want to change things up, try this recipe for Chia Seed Pudding:

Chia Seed Pudding with Endless Variations (Serves 1)

Base

  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Toppings

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Shredded coconut  
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Honey or stevia

Mix the chia seeds, liquid, vanilla extract and salt. Place in the refrigerator overnight to thicken (or for at least 3 hours).

In the morning, you can add a splash more of liquid and any toppings you choose. Get creative and have fun! This is a breakfast you can easily “grab and go” and bring to work in a mason jar.

My favorite combo these days is avocado + mango + shredded coconut + a drizzle of honey.

What’s your favorite way to have chia seed pudding for breakfast?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014| 0 Comments

How To Eat Healthy Anywhere

Dinner Party

By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

One of the things I hear all the time is “I could eat healthier, but __________.” Fill in the blank with an upcoming wedding, travel plans, work event, or a number of other excuses for why healthy eating just won’t work out right now. I’m not one to say you should never indulge, but if you are really serious about your health goals or you have a specific health condition that can be healed through dietary changes, it can be a good idea to learn how to live (at least for a little while) without the “trigger foods.” On the Be Well Cleanse, in order to give your body a serious detox and investigate which foods are helping or harming you, we cut foods out like gluten, sugar and dairy for 2 full weeks – no exceptions, no bending the rules, no excuses.

When you’re making this kind of commitment to your health, you’ll want some ideas in your toolbox for how to face the more “difficult” eating situations. Most of the time, it just requires a shift in mindset. You always, always have the option to not put something in your mouth! How badly do you really want to feel better? The choice is yours.

Here are some tips for sticking to a healthy eating plan anywhere, no matter what:

Out to Dinner

No matter what kind of restaurant you are at, you can focus on protein, vegetables and healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil) while avoiding the bread basket, pasta, desserts and alcohol. Every restaurant has some type of salad or soup option. You can’t always control whether or not everything is organic or what kind of oil it’s cooked in, but you can certainly do your best with the choices you’re given!

A Dinner Party at Someone’s House

Bring something to the party! Call the person throwing the party and let them know you’re on a specific eating plan and that you’d love to bring a dish to share with everyone. If you’re afraid of being rude or hurting someone’s feelings, don’t you think it’s more rude to yourself to break your commitment? Ok, I understand there are times when you want to eat your grandmother’s famous custard and not offend her. But how often is that really the case? Most of the time you really do have the ability to figure out a powerful plan of action.

Traveling

Prepare. Bring healthy snacks with you on the plane, and map out some health food stores or healthy restaurants in the area where you’ll be traveling to. A piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, some shake packets and a blender bottle, a bottle of water – these are all great on-the-go options. A bag of chia seeds can be a great companion to add to beverages to make them more filling. Once you’ve arrived at your destination and you’re out at restaurants, see the above “out to dinner” section for how to proceed.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014| 1 Comments

Video: Preparing for a Successful Cleanse

By Be Well Health Coach Jennifer Mielke

The first few days of the Cleanse can be a little daunting, and preparation is key for making sure it all goes smoothly!

Jennifer gives her top tips for getting off to a strong start on the Cleanse.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014| 0 Comments

Six Basics for Nontoxic Cleaning

Non-toxic Cleaners

I once had an editor write an entire magazine article about the cupboard under my kitchen sink because she was so impressed with its simplicity. All it contains are these simple ingredients: Baking soda, vinegar, washing soda, a good soap and detergent, and tea tree oil. I find them the safest and most effective for cleaning….everything.

Using these materials and making my formulas with them dispels all the myths you may have heard about nontoxic cleaning taking too much time, or not working. I can clean everything in the house using these five favorites, even peel wax off of the floor, and most of the formulas take seconds to blend. Or if they take time, it is to let the baking soda soak overnight, for example. They never take time because they need elbow grease to work, or because the formulas are hard to mix.

I’ll regularly put my cleaning formulas on GreenChiCafe.com, or you can find them in my GreenChiCafe.com ebook Cleaning for Pennies, or in Better Basics for the Home.

Baking Soda

A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (its pH is around 8.1; 7 is neutral). It neutralizes acid-based odors in water, and adsorbs odors from the air. Sprinkled on a damp sponge or cloth, baking soda can be used as a gentle non-abrasive cleanser for kitchen counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, ovens, and fiberglass. It will eliminate perspiration odors and even neutralize the smell of many chemicals if you add up to a cup per load to the laundry. It is a useful air freshener, and a fine carpet deodorizer.

Washing Soda

A chemical neighbor of baking soda, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is much more strongly alkaline, with a pH around 11. It releases no harmful fumes and is far safer than a commercial solvent formula, but you should wear gloves when using it because it is caustic. Washing soda cuts grease, cleans petroleum oil, removes wax or lipstick, and neutralizes odors in the same way that baking soda does. Don’t use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors—unless you intend to remove the wax. (Arm & Hammer is one brand that sells washing soda and the familiar yellow box is commonly found next to Borax in the laundry section of the supermarket.)

White Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen references numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar, the kind you can buy in the supermarket, kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). Heinz can’t claim on their packaging that vinegar is a disinfectant because the company has not registered it as a pesticide with the EPA. But it is common knowledge in the industry that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial, and even the popular CBS news show “48 Hours” had a special years ago with Heloise reporting on tests from The Good Housekeeping Institute that showed this.

White vinegar and lemon juice are acidic—they neutralize alkaline substances such as scale from hard water. Acids dissolve gummy buildup, eat away tarnish, and remove dirt from wood surfaces.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014| 0 Comments

Interview With Sharon Salzberg About Her
New Book, Real Happiness at Work

Real Happiness at Work

Dr L: As you know, the title of your book is Real Happiness at Work. Some might object to the title and say that happiness is not possible, and perhaps not even desirable, in the workplace. What do you think about this position? 

SharonI don’t define happiness simply as pleasure or having fun, but as something much more than that. I think happiness is deeply related to resilience, an inner sense of wholeness that prevents us from feeling depleted or overcome by difficult circumstances. Happiness is born of our ability to tap into our inner sources of strength while also connecting to a bigger picture of life.

In the context of work, it’s not only possible, but necessary, to achieve this kind of happiness. Otherwise, we either burn out or become indifferent. Neither is a good position from which to sustain our efforts.

Dr LIn the introduction to Real Happiness at Work, you introduce the five Core Meditations as the basis of all the meditations in the book. What are the five Core Meditations?

Sharon: The core meditations include the basic breath meditation, paying attention to emotions, walking, letting go of thoughts, and Lovingkindness. 

The core meditations form a comprehensive path to meditation skills. If we practice them, we build a strong set of foundational skills that allow us to deepen concentration, mindfulness and compassion. Concentration helps steady and center our attention. Mindfulness refines our perspective by helping us see things more clearly, including the many old reactions and fears that can cloud our vision. Compassion strengthens the forces of Lovingkindness towards ourselves, and towards others. 

Dr LWhy write about mindfulness in the context of work – and why now?

SharonIf we practice mindfulness—a balanced quality of awareness that allows us to connect to a given moment’s experience without becoming lost in immediate reactions to it – our worlds open up. By practicing mindfulness, we open up the door to discernment, compassion, and intelligent, empowered choice. All of these are valuable whatever kind of work we do. 

Mindfulness is also the basis for insight. If we try to deny or avoid a difficult thought or scenario as soon as it appears, we don’t make adequate space for learning. If we become swamped by reflexive reactions, we leave little room for a sense of perspective. Mindfulness transforms our lives by enabling us to be more present and aware, which becomes the platform from which we can reach greater wisdom and compassion.

And why now? Recent research has shown that mindfulness meditation improves one’s concentration, memory, energy and mood while on the job. We’re seeing more and more corporations, non-profits, tech companies, universities and government agencies exploring the potential benefits of mindfulness for their employees.

Dr LWhat can we gain from being fully present in the workplace? How does that contribute to greater happiness?

SharonIn a previous book, Real Happiness, I wrote about “continuous partial attention,” the fragmented and hyper way we often pay attention these days. We ostensibly pay attention in this way so as not to “miss” anything – but this scattered way of “paying attention” often leaves us feeling stressed and unfulfilled.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014| 0 Comments

From the Be Well Kitchen:
Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Bulletproof Coffee
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

I bet you never thought you’d hear someone from Dr. Lipman’s office touting the benefits of coffee, but we are constantly learning and evolving here, and Bulletproof Coffee is our latest experiment!

While our cabinets are full of tea, we do have an espresso machine at the wellness center and it gathered dust for a long time. Until one day, when a patient who had reversed his rheumatoid arthritis by following a Paleo diet told us about his new morning beverage. He described a drink that sounded quite odd: coffee + MCT oil + grass-fed butter.

Be Well Bulletproof Coffee Recipe:

Makes 1 serving
- 1 shot of espresso (or one cup of organic coffee)
- 1 tbsp MCT oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter (like KerryGold butter)

Combine all three ingredients in a high-speed blender for about 20 seconds, until the drink takes on a frothy consistency. Enjoy!

Who is Bulletproof Coffee good for?

This is a good option if you don’t normally have breakfast, or if you practice intermittent fasting. It’s a good option if you are hooked on coffee and want to upgrade the health benefits of your morning cup. It’s good if you have very low energy or brain fog in the morning. (Even though I’m quite sensitive to caffeine, I don’t get jittery from Bulletproof Coffee. But if you’re not a fan of coffee, no pressure to try this!)

When is the best time of day for Bulletproof Coffee?

We recommend having this drink first thing in the morning. You may find that it gives you a boost of energy that will last for hours. By having this drink in the morning, it will signal to your body to burn fats for energy and will boost your cognitive function.

Why do we like MCT Oil?

MCT’s (Medium-chain triglycerides) are a unique form of fat that require less energy and enzymes to be digested. As a result, they are a readily available source of energy, leading to an increase in metabolism and providing quick energy replenishment. Unlike other dietary fats, MCTs don’t get stored as fat in the body, they get burned for energy. MCT’s improve satiety, which means less hunger and less cravings, two important components in healthy weight management.

Why do we like grass-fed butter?

Butter from grass-fed cows supplies a ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids that’s much healthier than what comes from cows that are fed corn or soy. Grass-fed butter is a good source of carotene, vitamin A and vitamin K2. While we often encourage people to avoid most dairy, grass-fed butter is generally not a problem because it contains fats, with only minor traces of dairy proteins. You’ll also find the color is a more vibrant yellow and the flavor is much better than butter from grain-fed cows.

Isn’t it too much fat?

It’s a lot of fat! The caveat I would make is that you should not be having butter-coffee along with a big heavy meal — I think of this as a “mini meal” or meal replacement. More and more research is showing that refined carbs and sugar are making us fat and leading to heart disease — not fats. Dr. Lipman has been working to set the record straight on fats:

4 Reasons to Put Grass-Fed Butter Back on Your Plate
A Big Fat Mistake
A Chef and Doctor Talk about Butter

Please let us know if you try out this recipe! And a special thanks to Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive for teaching us about Bulletproof Coffee.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014| 8 Comments

Gluten-Free Living 101

Gluten Free Foods
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

Are you ready to cut out gluten once and for all?  Although the task can seem daunting at first, it’s really quite manageable by making a few small changes to your habits, and remembering to relish all of the delicious foods that are naturally gluten free!

Here are 5 easy tools to get you started.

1. Breakfast Plan

Make a plan for breakfast and avoid getting stuck picking up a bagel or sugary pastry on the go! A quick smoothie with Sustain or Recharge powder in the morning is easy, nourishing and delicious for people short on time.  Eggs are another great breakfast option – soft boiled only takes a few minutes to prepare, or whip up an omelet or frittata full of vegetables chopped the night before.  Have you considered leftover grains for breakfast?  Warm up your quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice with coconut milk, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla. Delicious with a touch of maple syrup and coconut oil!

2. Get Familiar with the Alternatives

Instead of reaching for the gluten-free processed foods (a cookie is still a cookie) familiarize yourself with naturally gluten-free whole foods.  Quinoa, buckwheat, millet, wild rice and amaranth are delicious grains that are also good for you. If you like baking, you’re in luck!  There are thousands of delicious gluten-free recipes online.  Try one out that uses coconut or almond flour instead like these carrot banana muffins. Don’t forget your fruits and veggies! Baked sweet potatoes are a healthy and satisfying alternative when you crave something sweet and soft.  It’s hard not to see this sweet potato and spinach salad as a treat!

3. Wrap It Up

There is something so convenient about a sandwich or a wrap. Luckily, going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to give that up. Try using collard leaves, romaine lettuce or nori (the seaweed used for sushi) instead.  Some brown rice, cucumber and avocado make a great sushi style roll. Grated carrots, sunflower seeds, sprouts and lettuce work great in a collard wrap, or try some leftover chicken, mustard and tomato in a romaine lettuce cup.  Fresh, healthy, and convenient too.

4. You Can Still Go Out

Fret not. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit or never eat out with your friends. When you first make the switch, use the Boy Scout tactic and Be Prepared! Be the one to pick the restaurant if you can, and try to take a few minutes to check out the menu online before you go.  When you know which delicious options on the menu are gluten-free, it will be easier to make a wise choice when it’s time to order.  Get in the habit of looking for the possibilities!  Even Italian restaurants usually have a clean fish or protein dish, or you could always make a meal in a place with plenty of vegetable sides. That being said, maybe stay clear of a pizzeria for now ;)

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack

For many of us, going gluten-free can be a big change from our usual eating habits and daily routine. Take it step by step! You could start by committing to the switch at breakfast.  Stick with that for a few weeks and then tackle lunch and dinner. Go easy on yourself and celebrate the healthy choices you’re making everyday.

I hope you’re feeling inspired and excited to try some new delicious foods that also happen to be gluten-free!  If you’re hungry for more tips and great recipes, check out Dr. Frank Lipman’s Pinterest page, packed with gluten-free goodies and cleanse friendly recipes.

Have a favorite tip for going gluten-free?  We’d love to hear it, so please share with our community in the comments below.

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014| 0 Comments

Healthy, Delicious, and Easy Recipes from The Coconut Oil Cookbook

Cooking with Coconut Oil

By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

The recipes in this new cookbook from the GuiltyKitchen blogger meet all my criteria for an excellent kitchen companion: enticing, healthy, and, most importantly, easy. Full of delicious Paleo-friendly recipes utilizing coconut oil, Elizabeth Nyland’s book is an inspiration for all types of eaters, Paleo or not.

Admired for its many health benefits, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride which supports the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, lowering cholesterol, boosting thyroid function and improving overall hormonal health. MCTs are absorbed directly into your liver where they are metabolized to provide instant and sustained energy for your body and brain. To reap all the benefits of MCTs, supplement with MCT oil, starting with one teaspoon per day and gradually building up to 2 teaspoons, two or three times per day.

Coconut oil is also celebrated as an immune booster and its antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Additionally, coconut oil wards off free radicals that cause degenerative diseases and premature aging, and it is helpful in fighting wrinkles and reducing inflammation.

As author Elizabeth Nyland says in her introduction to her cookbook, coconut oil is not only healthy, but it tastes great too, “with its slight tropical scent and creamy consistency, coconut oil has become the most used ingredient in my pantry.” After experimenting with a few of the 77 recipes in the book, it may become one of the most used ingredients in your kitchen as well!

We’re happy to share two of our favorite recipes from Cooking with Coconut Oil, below. Join us on Facebook tomorrow for an opportunity to win your own copy of the book. 

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable (botanically speaking, though, it’s actually a fruit!). Not only is it packed with folate, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A, but it is useful in savory and sweet recipes. One of my favorite foods as a kid was a chocolate zucchini loaf made by my aunt. I have found, though, that most people prefer their zucchini in savory dishes and cooked. I could eat it raw any day of the week, but some people find it bitter or not overly pleasant. Making it into pancakes, however, seems to appeal to even the pickiest of consumers. In the peak of summer, when zucchini takes over your garden, making these as often as possible is a good way to keep up with their overabundance.

Yield: 10–12 pancakes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis)
  • 3 eggs
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp–1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives or spring onions
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini on the largest side of a box grater or in a food processor. Squeeze out the excess moisture and place in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the grated zucchini.
  3. In a nonstick pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. (If you don’t think you will be able to put the whole batch of pancakes in the pan at one time, preheat your oven to 300°F and put a baking pan on one of the racks to hold the first batch while you cook the remainder.)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the zucchini-egg mixture.
  5. Scoop out some of the batter and place in the hot oil. Continue until the pan is full, with enough room to flip the pancakes. Cook each pancake for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to oven for holding or onto plates for serving. Serve immediately. 

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014| 0 Comments

7 Dirty Little Secrets about GMOs that Impact Everyone

GMO Pepper

Transparency is sexy.  Misleading people, not so much.

Americans are waking up to how our food is made and quickly realizing that are food supply has been polluted with ingredients we didn’t even know existed. Some companies like Chipotle are getting in front of this and telling consumers how their food is being made.  Others are having an allergic reaction to labeling.

If you had no idea that ingredients, labeled by the EPA as pesticides, are hiding in your food, you’re not alone.

Seven dirty little secrets about GMOs that impact everyone from farmers to families to the financials of our economy:

1. Shh, Don’t Mention the Food Waste

“We need this technology to feed to world” is the marketing cry of the big chemical companies.  In truth, they do need this technology to feed the expectations of shareholders, but it turns out that more than one-third of the food produced in the world goes to waste. That amounts to 1.3 billion tons every year, costing us economically.  In this country alone, we throw away 96 billion pounds of food every year, or 27 percent of the total amount of available food. That’s 3,000 pounds of food a second. With the United Nations on record saying that we need more than just genetically engineered food tools in the toolbox, it appears what we also need is a smarter distribution model to address this waste.

2. Forget Big Tobacco, it’s Big Razor’s Playbook

Gillette will practically give away the razor to get people hooked on buying the razor blade.  It’s a smart strategy for chemical companies, too.  They offer the genetically engineered seed at a discount, then get farmers on the hook for buying the chemicals and suite of chemical products required to make their seeds grow. Pesticide application is up 527 million pounds since the introduction of these genetically engineered crops.

3. EPA now Regulates this Genetically Engineered Corn as a Pesticide

Seriously, if you had the choice on your kitchen table or at a BBQ between a corn regulated by the EPA as a pesticide and one that wasn’t, which would you choose?  No brainer.  We should know which one is the pesticide and which foods it is going into.

4. Pouring on the Pesticides

The latest analysis shows that genetically engineered crops have driven up overall pesticide use across the country, contributing to a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use between 1996 and 2011. And last year alone, genetically engineered crops used 20 percent more pesticides on average than non-GE crops. Who pays for that?  Farmers and the people that eat them.  Who benefits?  The chemical companies selling the seeds engineered to withstand these increasing doses.  It goes straight to the bottom line and into the bank.

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014| 1 Comments

CLUCK U:
5 Things You Need to Know About Chicken

Chickens

Though America still eats more meat than any virtually other country in the world, consumption at home has been on a downward slide for the past several years. Concerns about factory farming methods and its environmental impact; animal welfare; potential health risks as well as the Meatless Monday movement, all have helped fuel the slide. And while some have cut out meat altogether, many people have simply swapped cows for chicken, thinking it a healthier or earth-friendlier option. Not surprisingly, the switchover to chicken has increased demand and the poultry industry has answered the call, in a way that’s anything but healthy for man or bird. In short, chicken’s got problems – and if you’re a poultry-eater, so do you. Let’s break it down:

Factory-farmed Chicken – It’s For The Birds

Factory-farmed chicken, aka Big Chicken, is the stuff of nightmares: over-stuffed coops, floors covered with excrement and thousands of live animals packed so tightly they’re barely able move, much less engage in comfort behaviors like pecking, wing-stretching or simply walking. The result: stressed-out chickens with reduced immunity to the illnesses that rip through over-crowded facilities. The sick birds (and often the well ones) receive multiple courses of antibiotics, traces of which eventually wind up in our bodies, and over time contribute to antibiotic resistance. In short, nothing good is happening down on the ol’ Big Chicken farm.

Factory-farmed Chicken Poisons People and the Environment

The U.S. raises roughly 10 billion chickens a year, which generate billions of pounds of excrement annually. While some is used as fertilizer, there’s literally tons more waste, which, no matter how well-managed, still tends to “spillover,” contaminating air, land and water. And poultry processing is pretty tough on people too. Workers face daily exposure to the toxic chemicals used to clean and disinfect poultry, which often trigger severe respiratory problems, sinus troubles, rashes and burns. If that weren’t enough, poultry production is also indefensibly and insanely wasteful: it’s estimated that it takes roughly 700 gallons of water and 6 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of chicken meat. Is this any way to spend our precious resources?

What the Cluck? Your Chicken’s Going to China – And Back

In what must be one of the looniest pieces of legislation ever, late this past August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, perhaps thinking everyone was on vacation and wouldn’t notice, cleared the way for your birds to go on an all-expense paid trip from the U.S. to China and back. In China the chicken will be cooked, packaged, and then shipped back to the U.S for sale. Given China’s questionable track record on food safety, this seems like one of the most wasteful and potentially dangerous chicken-processing schemes ever devised. I urge you to fight back by refusing to buy pre-cooked, ready-to-serve or heat ‘n eat, processed chicken products – no matter how much the kids protest!

Read the Whole Article

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014| 3 Comments