The big problem I have with extreme diets and detoxes is the purposeful calorie restriction.
Here’s my stake in the sand, my rage against what I call the Diet Industrial Complex:
Calories. Don’t. Matter.
When you’re trying to cleanse your body of built up toxins and inflammation, and to really heal your digestion, hormones, and mood, counting calories is a false promise.
It’s all about the types of food you put in your body, avoiding foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, and caffeine for a while, and adding foods and supplements to heal your body.
Counting calories makes you crazy and fills your head with useless numbers.
Counting calories (or points for the “weight watchers rejects” who have finally escaped) focuses on the wrong thing:
Counting calories makes you stop listening to your body, and that keeps the horrible cycle of dieting and body-shame in place. CLICK TO TWEET THIS
What you see here is a sample of the snacks that I enjoy, and that are Cravings Cleanse approved. My rules for snacks while on the cleanse are:
- Toxic 6 free (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar, and caffeine)
- I eat when I’m truly hungry
- I eat slowly, with love, appreciation, and away from my computer
- Snacks have to be yummy!
Whether hard boiled eggs, avocados filled with extra virgin olive oil, fruit, chopped veggies, or coconut wraps filled with apple slices and almond butter, my snacks are healthy, yummy, and cleanse approved.
I will not choose a snack based on how many calories are on the label.
And that’s how I’ve been coaching my clients to eat for over 13 years.
Because counting calories will not tell you how a food makes you feel, and that’s the most important thing you can learn now.
Counting calories will not help you heal your body, or fix your relationship with your body.
Choosing wholesome foods, and listening to how your body feels when you eat them, while removing the ingredients that cause us to feel sluggish, bloated, foggy, and in pain, is the only way to really create a new way of eating and living.
And helping you feel well in your body is my main mission.
Chocolate is Love.
At least that’s what our brains think.
See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.
Kinda like love.
Cacao contains a delicious mix of natural chemicals that make us feel darned close to giddy in love:
Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” that has heightening physiological effects… fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.
Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.
With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)
Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine.
Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine.
When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.
Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CACAO
Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible.
We learned it from watching monkeys.
Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.
Monkeys and people cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds.
The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.
Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.
But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.
Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.
I’ve visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.
Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!
Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates
4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 tablespoon almond butter
Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!
Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.
Raw Cacao Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Truffles Recipes
2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)
½ cup pitted Medjool dates
pinch sea salt
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles
Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.
Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.
You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.
Serve as is, or crumbled on banana slices.
WHY I USE RAW CACAO
As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.
And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.
BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.
If you’re wondering, here are some health benefits of raw cacao:
Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.
Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.
Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!
Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.
Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.
Here are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:
Theobromine: which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.
Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.
With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.
These and other Toxic 6-Free chocolate delights are all Cravings Cleanse approved!
Join me for an 8-week exploration & healing journey to get your cravings, taste-buds, hormones, and waistline back in alignment.
I’ve used green smoothies with added protein to help me and thousands of clients heal - on many levels.
I love them! Smoothies are an easy, yummy way to nourish your body, feel satisfied, and start new food habits without feeling deprived.
Since calorie restriction is NOT part of my program for getting clean, happy, and in touch with my body, I’m a fan of adding good quality fat to my smoothies, especially in winter.
See, a lot of green smoothie recipes don’t help us feel warm and cozy, because they use frozen, out-of-season fruit, and don’t include protein and fat.
In order to feel good, enjoy and feel satisfied with your smoothies in winter, you must add warming fats, protein, and even some spices.
The danger of not adding fats and protein to your winter smoothies is that you’ll feel hungry, cold, and uncomfortable sensations in your tummy.
Here are 2 simple Winter Smoothie recipes, which are part of my Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover program – we start 2/12 and you can join here!
Winter Green + Clean Protein Smoothie
2 leaves curly kale, washed
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄4 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
1 – 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened almond or hemp milk
15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon (warming spice that balanced blood sugar)
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away!
Glow Green Smoothie
2 cups water
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄4 of a bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed
15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)
1⁄4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 large Medjool date, pitted
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away!
Did you know you’ll get over 50+ recipes like this when you join the Cravings Cleanse?
We start 2/12 and you can get over $300 in bonus resources when you join now!
I couldn’t budge my muffin top…
My belly would bloat up all the time…
I was addicted to sugar and caffeine…
I was too tired to fight for what I wanted in life…
…and what I wanted was hidden by clouds, kind of indistinct and hard to define.
(new career – but what? new relationship – but who with, and was I worthy? creative time for me – what medium?)
When I heal my body, (again + again)
I still find that my belly’s health is a big part of the process.
I talk a lot about the four root causes of cravings, and that the first place to look at any craving,
at any health issue, is in our guts.
Your gut is the seat of your health + your intuition:
* it’s where your immune system is either built healthfully, or falling apart
* how well you digest your food impacts your energy, mood, nutritional cravings, and “elimination” (aka pooping)
* 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is in your gut – that’s one of your feel good, relaxed hormone
* neurons in the gut generate as much dopamine as those in the head (for help with sleep, mood, pleasure + attention)
* we store emotional trauma, sexual fears + hurts, and injuries to our childhood safety in our gut
Your gut is your second brain.
It’s also your intuitive, feeling brain.
It’s where we make a lot of our life decisions from,
because we need to feel good + strong in this part of our body to go after the things we desire.
(ever make a gut decision, feel nervous knots or have butterflies in your stomach before a big event?)
But when it’s bloated, covered in layers of extra stress-induced fat,
in pain, or just uncomfortable all the time…
you just can’t connect to your intuition, or feel strong about your decisions.
You will be tired, want to hide, or cover the pain with emotionally craved foods.
That’s why one of the first areas we heal in the Cravings Cleanse is the gut.
To feel and see a real shift in your body, energy, and mindset (and life!)
we need to heal our guts and take out the foods (I call them the Toxic 6)
that hurt our digestion and cause a real disconnect between the brain in your head
and the brain in your belly.
Foods that help the belly heal are:
1. easy to digest – Toxic 6-free, fiber rich, but not hard on an impaired digestive system
2. nutrient + enzyme rich – contain healing ingredients like L-glutamine, Omega-3s, probiotics, and enzymes
3. tasty – if they don’t taste good, we won’t eat them, will we?
4. and non-inflammatory – foods that won’t cause damage, leaky holes in your gut, or poor digestion
They are also free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, and caffeine…AKA the Toxic 6,
which cause leaky gut, bloating, fatigue, bacterial overgrowth, and brain fog.
And as I have seen over the years in person experience and working with thousands of clients,
when your gut is sick, your brain, intuition, confidence, and energy all take a hit.
That’s why I include so much information on gut health in
my programs like the Cravings Cleanse & Mindset Makeover.
Past members have totally changed their gut health with the Cravings Cleanse:
“This is the easiest Cleanse I’ve ever done! I’ve tried to get off sugar, caffeine and alcohol before, but this time I’ve been successful! I’m feeling energized, less joint pain, and my gut is happy and thinner – finally. The weight is dropping off, and I’m feeling a lot better. My husband isn’t officially doing the cleanse, and he’s feeling really good! He wants to do this every 6 months.” Aliza from NYC
“I have more energy! My digestion is way better, and I’m not constipated anymore. I’m noticing smoother skin. I have my family eating with me! that is huge…” Serena, Grapevine, CA
Your experience of yourself and the world will be strained and
based on old fears when your gut is in knots, constipated, impaired, or uncomfortable all the time.
It’s time to heal your gut, and feel the energy, strength, and intuitive knowing that your body is capable of:
* remove the Toxic 6, one of the cornerstones of my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program
* add the foods and supplements that will begin to heal the matrix of your intestines + improve your digestion
* get clear on how past events + traumas have been stuck in your body and how processing them, seeing them, and loving yourself are an important part of your healing journey
We can’t just look at food or emotion as we create the body and life we crave.
Foods and emotions can be either toxic or healing.
Are you ready to find out which foods and emotions have been keeping your belly stuck?
Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover — What if you could spend 8 weeks supported by a beautiful circle of health seekers who are creating their best health + best lives with Alex? What would your life, body, and days feel like if you had the health, confidence, and energy you truly crave? Enrollment is now open, spots are limited. Learn more here.
Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday treats – but now that I know I’m egg-sensitive, I had to put on my thinking-chef’s hat
and get creative in the kitchen -
which I love doing!
I used some leftover, naturally sweet garnet yams as the base. This thickened the smoothie, and added great fiber.
I’ve been feeling very “featherweight” lately, which is one of my cravings types (I’m a dual type, also Fire Brand, or Pitta)
and wanted to add some spices that would help me feel warm and comfy.
Earth Mama/Papa types can add some ginger to this recipe to help them feel more energized and uplifted!
Eggless Nog Smoothie Recipe:
12 ounces unsweetened almond or coconut milk
½ cup water
1 cup cooked sweet potato (peeled)
2-3 pitted Medjool dates (the big juicy ones) cut in half
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in the blender.
Blend, pour, sip and smile!
Holiday food should be pretty. So this dish rocks.
Especially if you’ve discovered that you have to cut out a ton of foods to get or stay healthy.
We just discovered that our family has to avoid gluten + eggs + soy (me and the boy), whey from milk (me), and corn (the kid).
So, yeah. That’s a lot of ingredients we’ll be avoiding!
BUT, I always loved a good challenge, especially in the kitchen.
AND, one way to ensure optimism + resilience is to look at the cupboard as half full, and expect the best, rather than getting depressed + overwhelmed by saying goodbye to certain ingredients.
I’m putting on my big girl panties, looking on the bright side, and putting all my energy into making delicious, nourishing foods that everyone can enjoy at the table.
One of the first places to start is with super easy, super tasty, no-fail recipes:
Ok, so most hummus is already gluten-dairy-soy-corn-free, but when I saw a picture of this gorgeous dip, I couldn’t resist making it in hopes of livening up the impending Christmas table.
Ruby Red Beet Hummus
- 1 medium beet (1 cooked a whole bunch at once to have for later)
- 15-ounce BPA-FREE can (1 3/4 cup) of garbanzao beans, drained
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tiny pinch cayenne
- 1 dash paprika
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
How to make the best hummus ever:
First, roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400F. Clean, scrub, and cut off the stems and root end. Loosely wrap individually in foil, place on a roasting pan. Roast for 50-60 min. They’re ready when a knife can be easily inserted.
(might as well wrap a head of garlic and roast that, too – I mean, who can ever get enough roasted garlic?)
While you’re waiting, take a nap or watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
When the beets are done, slip the outer peel off. Your hands will get red, but you’ll look pretty bad a$$.
Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Add water or additional olive oil until desired consistency. You want this to be creamy + smooth.
Add salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
Serve with gluten-free crackers, yo! Or just eat it with a spoon, like I did.
This is a great cooling recipe for Firebrand cravings types if you add a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a traditional hummus ingredient (AKA Pitta in Ayurveda). The cooked beet is good for Featherweight cravings types, and this recipe is great for Earth Mamas, but go light on the added drizzle of olive oil.
Don’t know your Cravings Type? Take my quiz and get your free Cravings Type Report here:
Happy Holidays, all! Eat to be happy + healthy…xo, Alex
not just about yourself, but about the world and people around you and how you feel in your body - isn’t that the big goal?
That’s why I love to cook, especially for other people, and that’s why I’ve been studying positive psychology.
It’s all about what helps us flourish – not just feel “fine.”
What I’ve learned so far may not seem totally earth shaking to you, but it has made me think hard about what I do with my time, and why.
And it’s all coming down to one thing:
Other People Matter.
Happiness and contentment aren’t about how much money you make. In fact, after our basic needs are covered (in the USofA, that’s about $50-60K a year), we don’t feel a lot happier when we make more money. We just think more money, more stuff, or having the right stuff will make us feel better about ourselves.
The one thing that makes us happy, if you’re rich or poor?
Having strong, connected relationships. Having people you can share your wins and your troubles with.
In short: we crave connection. We crave being with other people who love us. It’s a basic human need.
Well, one of my favorite things to do with other people is share good, delicious, healthy food. Making it together, talking while we cook, planning the meal, and savoring the delicious aromas and flavors – that is jus what life is all about.
So I want to share my new favorite recipe with you – a pumpkin soup, baked right in the pumpkin.
Pumpkins are wonderfully round, sweet, and immediately make me feel cozy.
They’re also super healthy! The health benefits of pumpkins or winter squash are long:
Considered an energetic tonic and a warming food, pumpkins and winter squash are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, large intestines and lungs. It improves energy and blood circulation, and is high in beta-carotene, which is good for eye health. Rich in vitamins A, C and potassium + magnesium, pumpkins are high in carotenoids and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
So this recipe is healthy, easy, fun to make, and really fun to eat with someone you love. Go be happy, love.
Pumpkin Soup Baked In A Pumpkin
For this pumpkin soup recipe, you’ll need:
1 pumpkin (edible and sweet)
2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion
2-3 cups stock or broth (vegan, chicken, etc)
The pumpkin I was growing in my back yard was carried off by what I can only assume was a whole gang of New York City squirrels – so I had to buy one from the local farmers’ market.
I chose a 3 lb. “Sugar Pie,” which is sweeter than the standard carving pumpkin you see around Halloween. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Carve the top of the pumpkin just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, and save the seeds to salt and bake later.
Do not leave the pumpkin seeds baking for too long while you talk on the phone to a friend like I did. Please set a timer.
Use 1-2 Tablespoons real butter, ghee, or coconut oil to coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin. Scatter a couple pinches of salt around the inside, and don’t forget the bottom of the pumpkin lid!
Chop a yellow onion into large dice.
You could do this step first, and carve the pumpkin while the onions are cooking to save time.
Brown the onions over medium heat for 8-10 minutes with 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or coconut oil.
Fill the pumpkin with cooked onions.
Pour home made vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) over the onions, filling up the pumpkin to about 1-inch from the top.
If the broth is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.
Place the pumpkin lid back on, and place the entire pumpkin into the oven.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, checking to test for doneness. You’ll want the inside of the pumpkin to be spoon-ably soft.
Remove from the oven and gently remove the top.
Use a towel to grasp the stem, as the pumpkin will emit hot steam when you open it. Have your spoons at the ready…
Eat that soup straight from the pumpkin!
I like placing it on the table amongst the family and allowing everyone to take a spoonful from the pumpkin before scooping servings out to individual bowls.
There’s just something really fun about eating soup directly from a pumpkin.
Make sure that everyone gets a bowl-full of stock, onions and cooked chunks of sweet pumpkin.
Willing to take the risks…
And being kind to ourselves when we’re less than perfect.
That’s what “growth mindset” is all about.
Telling yourself (and really believing) that “I’m working hard, learning and I’ll get this…”
…instead of telling yourself “I’m just not smart about this and never have been.”
Knowing that learning from challenges is an amazing way to rewire your brain…
…rather than beating yourself up for “not being good at something…” yet.
Looking at what you did well…
…instead of always focusing on what you did wrong.
Appreciating yourself for the effort and hard work that’s moving you forward…
…not just aiming for perfection, which is totally exhausting.
Rather than focusing on judging and labeling yourself as “good at” or “bad at” something, we all feel more confident when we look at what we learned and how we showed up to try.
This is as true in life as it is in the kitchen.
Feeling confident in the kitchen comes from allowing yourself to grow, evolve, try, and even “fail.”
I’ve been experimenting with healthy animal-protein meals, and started with the basics: roast chicken.
I was worried when I started eating meat again…
Worried that I wouldn’t be good at it (I was a vegan chef for over 10 years)…
Worried that I’d feel guilty about eating it…
Worried what other people would think about me and label me as…
But then I started cooking, just to cook.
I started with eggs, then advanced to chicken.
(guess that answers the age-old question, doesn’t it!?)
And I’ve learned a lot in the process:
- how to roast a whole chicken (please remove the gibblits)
- how to make chicken broth (have to add enough water when simmering overnight)
- the best of vegan cooking can make cooking meat recipes even healthier (sea veggies!)
So if you’ve told yourself that you’re no good…
not creative in the kitchen…
can’t do it like your grandma did…
I encourage you to take a risk and switch your mindset.
Try these 3 chicken recipes, all from 1 chicken, over the next week.
Not only is the chicken broth incredibly delicious, even heated up in a mug for a quick lunch, but it’s filled with nutrients and minerals that build your bones and heal your gut.
Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon & Rosemary
1 organic, free-range chicken (5-6 pounds)
fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 lemon, halved
1 large bunch fresh rosemary
8-10 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb fennel, cut into 6 wedges
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Remove the giblets from inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle the outside with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Stuff the cavity with rosemary, lemon, and 3 garlic cloves.
- Brush the outside with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
- Place the onion, carrots, fennel and remaining garlic cloves in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and more pepper.
- Spread around the roasting pan, and place the chicken on top.
- Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, on the middle rack of the oven, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken and veggies to a platter and cover with foil for 15 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy the chicken, saving all bones and carcass, plus any bits of chicken still clinging to the bones for the bone broth recipe below.
Throwing chicken bones and veggies in a pot with some water is like magic – you end up with a healing, flavorful, CHEAP home remedy for healing your gut and building your bones. The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion – bone broth “heals and seals” your gut.
Adding a bit of vinegar to the cooking stew helps draw out the calcium and magnesium and other minerals from the bones, making this super nutritious!
Bone broth also helps with reducing join pain and inflammation due to the chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage
Place leftover chicken bones and carcass with clinging bits of meat in a large pot. Add a variety of vegetables for flavor. I like:
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 head garlic, sliced in half (no need to peel)
1-2 chunked carrots
2-3 celery stalked, chopped
handful of shiitake mushrooms and stems
1 chopped leak
1-2 pieces Kombu sea vegetable
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add enough filtered water to cover all of the chicken.
Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Add more water and bring back to a low, low simmer. Cook for 12- 24 hours, adding water to keep the chicken covered.
Strain the broth and press the vegetables and chicken to extract all possible liquid.
Store in glass jars for future use, drink hot for a quick snack or lunch, or use to make Chicken Soup recipe below!
Chicken Soup with Bone Broth
6 cups bone broth
1-2 cups cooked leftover chicken, cubed or shredded
1/4 cup yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
1/4 cup minced celery
6 shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients into a soup pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and add 1/4 teaspoon salt if you like.
Learning how to roast a chicken, and use it 3 different ways, while creating a deeply nourishing meal for my family kinda makes me feel like a bad ass.
What’s cooler than knowing how to heal your body with food? Not much.
PMS make you crave chocolate and sugar?
What if you could ease your PMS with something you probably throw away every day?
I love discovering new ways to use what I already have, especially when it means finding a use for something I would normally throw out.
Like any good hippie I’ve been composting my eggshells for years, knowing that returning the minerals from the shells to my potted plants nourishes the soil.
But wait – why don’t I use the rich calcium from those same shells for my bones and health?
Several studies show that “chicken eggshell calcium is a useful way to enrich human bone strength.”
But the more I looked into the benefits of calcium on our health, the more excited I got. It seems that calcium mal-absorption and osteoporosis are at epidemic levels, as is our addiction to sugar.
And since sugar’s high acidity actually causes our body to leach calcium from our bones to balance our blood pH levels, it’s even more important that we get enough calcium, and stop draining it with poor diet choices, to protect our bones.
How can we protect our bones and naturally reduce our sugar cravings?
1,000-1,500 mg of calcium a day can help reduce and even eliminate many symptoms of PMS, including “hypocalcemia,” a hormone-induced state that makes it harder for our female bodies to absorb calcium.
Estrogen, the chief female sex hormone, can lower the absorption of calcium from the intestines by inhibiting the activities of the parathyroid hormone. Which means we need even more calcium, and balanced hormones during our cycle to help our body get the calcium we need.
And I’ve just discovered that eggshell calcium, that is calcium made from powdered egg shells, are a wonderful source of the mineral to answer this problem.
Since eggs are so cheap (get it “cheep”) using your otherwise discarded eggshells as a calcium supplement seems like a great way to help keep your bones strong and your PMS symptoms (including cravings) low.
In addition to making strong bones and teeth, calcium is critical in the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals that serve as messengers between cells within the nervous system, which means when you have enough calcium in your body, your brain and moods are healthier!
1/2 teaspoon of chicken eggshell calcium contains roughly 90% of your daily recommended calcium intake, or 1,000-1,500 mg.
And since most dairy products have an acidic effect on the body, and just can’t be digested by most adult humans, getting enough calcium from cheese isn’t possible.
Yes, greens like kale and bok choy are good sources of calcium too, but many of us are walking around without sufficient calcium stores in our bones, and it’s high time we did something about it.
Here’s a safe, easy way to make your own eggshell calcium at home:
Wash your eggs before cracking them for normal use, and save the shells until you have 1 dozen empty shells.
Place the shells in a pot with enough water to cover and place over high heat.
Boil the eggshells for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria. This is very important to eliminate any salmonella.
Drain the eggshells in a fine meshed strainer or colander.
Place strained eggshells on a cookie sheet and bake at 200F for at least 30 minutes to dry completely.
Place the dried shells in a clean coffee or spice grinder and pulverize to a powder.
Keep your new eggshell calcium in an airtight jar and take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day for 1,000-1,500 mg of easily absorbable and cheap calcium.
I tried adding the powdered calcium to my Green & Clean Protein smoothies at breakfast, but it made it more a CRUNCHY than a SMOOTHIE.
So I recommend just adding the 1/2 – 1 teaspoon to 1/2 cup of water and slurping it down. Easy!
Resilience is your ability to adapt to and handle stress and adversity. When you feel resilient, you own your confidence.
It’s the bones of your life and character that keep you upright and alive.
It’s the skills and mindset that keep you moving positively forward, with hope and a sense of humor, gosh darnit.
There are 4 factors which develop and sustain your resilience:
- You know how to make realistic plans and are capable of taking the steps to follow through on them
- A positive self-concept and confidence in your abilities
- Communication and problem-solving skills
- The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings
These are the mental steps you can take to feel your strength and abilities every day.
But what about your body?
How strong do you feel in your physical self?
How are your bones doing, holding up your frame and moving you boldly through life?
We don’t just need confidence, we need calcium.
Chicken Eggshell Calcium Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23607686