How To Make Eggshell Calcium for PMS at home

How to make Eggshell Calcium: Cheap Calcium Supplement = PMS sugar craving reducer?

PMS make you crave chocolate and sugar?

What if you could ease your PMS with something you probably throw away every day?

How To Make Eggshell Calcium for PMS at home

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:

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Wash your eggs before cracking them for normal use, and save the shells until you have 1 dozen empty shells.

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Place the shells in a pot with enough water to cover and place over high heat.

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Boil the eggshells for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria. This is very important to eliminate any salmonella.

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Drain the eggshells in a fine meshed strainer or colander.

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Place strained eggshells on a cookie sheet and bake at 200F for at least 30 minutes to dry completely.

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Place the dried shells in a clean coffee or spice grinder and pulverize to a powder.

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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:

  1. You know how to make realistic plans and are capable of taking the steps to follow through on them
  2. A positive self-concept and confidence in your abilities
  3. Communication and problem-solving skills
  4. 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

The Cravings Whisperer | Alexandria Jamieson

New Podcast – The Crave Cast: Cravings Whisperer and Women, Food & Desire

 

I’m SO psyched. iTunes released my new podcast show today!

It’s called the Crave Cast: Cravings Whisperer and Women, Food & Desire

Alex and the Crave Cast - Cravings Whisperer 2

I’ll be sharing my best stuff on cravings, health, nutrition, gut health, body confidence, the beauty of our desires, where they come from, and what they really mean. I’ve got a killer line up of expert interviews to share as well.

 

I’ve heard from lots of you that you want to know about sleep, sugar, and gut health, so I’m covering all those in the next couple of weeks!

Please click the link below here to subscribe for free and help me get this great show out into the ears of more people who need this support!

 

First, click here: http://alexandrajamieson.com/itunes

first step itunes

 

 

Then, click “View in iTunes”

Once iTunes opens, click the next blue button that says SUBSCRIBE and you’re all set!

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We CHEERED her last night – now it’s your turn

Is it your turn to share your big win?

I love the live calls in my Cravings Cleanse program.
We get to hear each other, talk, share, and come together.

And last night’s call was the BEST. Ever.

See, I’m about to start a certification program in Positive Psychology (life-long learner, anyone?) and I went to a talk given by my soon-to-be-teacher this weekend.

She told us that most of us have someone we can turn to when things are tough, when things go wrong…

But few of us have people we can go to when things are GOOD.

friends

And when we have a tribe of cheerleaders who will happily support us when things are AWESOME, we are much more likely to be happy and healthy.

So I want to share with you what my amazing Cravings Cleanse women shared on our call last night –

It was so cool, with happy tears in our eyes, to CHEER each other:

“Something is working – I’m down to a size 14 and I haven’t stepped on a scale yet. I’m feeling teary…”
~ A, New York

“This cleanse and eating this way that really helps me to rid myself of bloating. This has been such a help in making me feel healthier…”
~ Dana, New York

“Thank you – I get so much from these calls and hearing everyone talk about the same things I am feeling. I feel very lucky to be with this group.”
~ Kathy, Rhode Island

“I really do feel like eating healthier now!
This cleanse is really showing me how to be super kind mama to myself!”
~ Eileen, California

“I just feel SO much better in this cleanse!
No more gas, the bloating is gone – the cravings are gone!
I didn’t even want the junk food in front of me because it didn’t feel good.
I’m feeling really satisfied with the shakes! They taste so you can actually add a lot of greens and it still tastes really good.
I’m learning and FEELING which foods make my body feel and WORK well!
All the little tricks you’re teaching are really helping – I’m feeling really good about this program. I’m so grateful for the group – the great energy of the posts and the support.”
~ Sara, New Mexico

“My ankles and wrists are getting smaller – it’s really amazing.
I’m having an easier time feeling well, even in the midst of all my moving, unpacking, the crazy life, I’m sticking with the program.
I feel good, I’m comfortable, and I’m not craving, I’m listening to my body, I’m trusting it, I’m even exercising!
~ A, New York

This is what I want for you.
To feel well in your body…
To be free of the annoying cravings and negative thoughts…
To want to treat yourself really well – and do it…
To be cheered, seen, and appreciated for all you are.

The final Cravings Cleanse live program of 2014 starts next Tuesday, 9/23 at 12pm Eastern.

The calls are all recorded, and you do the steps at your own pace, while we come together for live coaching and support.

Click here to join us now if you’re ready for massive love, powerful shifts in your body, and a new relationship with pleasure, and food.

Xo,
Alex

P.S. The Bring-A-Friend offer is good until Saturday! Click here to join now and you can bring a friend for only $10.

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Jen’s survival kit

I saw one of my oldest friends last week, and she totally inspired me, as only a good friend can.

 

I was on my way to Palm Springs for a health conference, and Jen was driving there from her home in L.A. to bury her grandfather.

 

She was tired and feeling the stress of how her family was grieving.  See, Jen had been going out to visit her grandfather, who lived a couple hours from her home, for months.

 

She knew he was fading, but she also knew that his mind was mostly gone, he rarely recognized her, and that she had spent a lot of quality time with him recently to say goodbye.

 

But now she was on vacation, worn out from her high-pressure job producing commercials for television, and she felt she was supposed to end her break early to rush to her grandfather’s side.

 

Yet, she didn’t.

She knew he wasn’t really there anymore, and that there were tons of cousins, children, and other care givers around him.

 

Jen was tired and didn’t see the point in upending her break with her daughter and husband to go see a man who wouldn’t know she was there.

 

“Yes,” she told me, “I love my grandfather! But I’ve said my goodbyes and need to take care of my kid and myself. My mom is there with her dad, and she told me not to wear myself out – she understood. But I feel this pressure to drop my life, show up and grieve in a certain way, when really I just need to take care of me.”

 

Sweetheart, I told her, the living can really mess up a decent death.

Sometimes people think they need to look like the people in movies do – all rushing home for a dramatic end-of-life moment.

 

Not that she needed it, but since my mom died eight months ago, I gave her my older-friend-whose-mom-just-died-permission to do exactly what felt right for her:

 

“If you feel complete with Grandpa, don’t let the rest of the family guilt you into doing something that may make you feel even worse”, I said.

I hadn’t been there when  my mom died. My brother and I had been on the phone, him at Mom’s bedside, and we talked about what we thought would happen. She went so fast, after slipping into a morphine aided sleep, that we were all surprised when the cancer took her life.

Yet, how it all happened was perfect. The final conversation we all had, my brother and I were joking on speaker phone, laughing at silly memories, and Mom piped in, with her clearest voice I’d heard in days, “you two are so silly!”

That was the perfect goodbye. She knew we had each other, and that she had given us everything she could in this life.

 

I mentioned that I was coming to Palm Springs this weekend and would love to see her.

 

It had been a tough week for her, and Jen just wanted to say goodbye to her grandfather without having to upend her life. Her mom had arranged for a small, private service at the funeral home before his body was sent to Oregon, where he would be buried.

 

So Jen drove to Palm Springs and picked me up at the airport when I flew in from New York.

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We went out for Mexican food, reminisced and made each other laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. Sharing a hotel room, we told stories, asked each other advice, and went for a dip in the hot tub late that night.

 

The next morning, as we shared a plate of almost-ripe hotel fruit on the soon-to-be-blistering desert patio, Jen told me more about why life had been so exhausting and challenging lately.

 

Being in show business may seem glamorous from the outside, but Jen knows first hand what a grind it can be to organize, budget, and shoot a multi-million dollar commercial.

 

She has produced a few Super Bowl ads, and has worked one-on-one with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Handling major egos, huge budgets, endless details, and constant changes is a big job, but Jen has a secret weapon:

 

Her sense of humor.

 

One of the things I’ve always loved about Jen is how freakin’ hilarious she is – I mean, she cracks me up! Together we can be raunchy, non-politically correct, and downright lewd in the best possible way.

 

And you know what I like about funny people? How smart they are.

 

So Jen is smart, funny, generous and a hard worker.

 

She works in a job that demands tons of energy, detail oriented mental focus, the skills of a trained diplomat, hours of commuting in L.A. traffic, and she has a family that wants her time and attention too.

 

Oh, and did I mention she’s a total knock-out?

 

Ok, this might feel a bit like a love letter right now, but when you have a friend that make you feel super cool because they’re amazing and they like YOU, it’s pretty fun to share that.

 

And I learned something new from Jen this weekend.

 

I asked how she managed to handle the crazy hours, big jobs, traffic and normal marriage stuff with such grace.

 

And she turned right around and gave me some of the credit.

 

“Alex,” she said. “I’ve been in your cleanse programs and when we talk you always ask how I’m doing. Working with you helped me figure out I was celiac and that the gluten I was eating was destroying my mood and energy.”

 

Looking up from our almost-tasty fruit, Jen said “I used to have pretty bad habits at work, and now I know exactly how to set up my shoots so that the catering truck and editing rooms have what I need to eat to stay healthy! I keep the right foods around because you taught me that I had to prepare to succeed.”

 

Wow… that felt pretty awesome.

 

She went on to tell me how the confidence she feels in knowing her body so well allows her to speak out and ask for what she needs – she doesn’t let her energy, willpower and patience get depleted like she used to.

 

Instead, she made sure she had hard-boiled eggs, veggies, waters, and other snacks on hand for a busy afternoon.

 

She called it her survival kit.

 

Jen knows her body so well, she takes better care of herself, even when it might not be what other people think she should do…

 

Even when she gets nasty comments from her extended family because they think she should act differently, Jen stands her ground and preserves her energy…

 

Even when people at work make fun of her for ordering sautéed spinach when everyone else is eating hot dogs, Jen does what’s right for her…

 

When she orders green protein smoothies (atta girl!) for the entire office for breakfast so that she doesn’t stick out as the weirdo who won’t eat the pastries, Jen is preserving her willpower for the rest of the day.

 

When I think about all the little ways that Jen preserves her energy, strength, spirit, and beautiful soul through her tiny habits, I realize that Jen isn’t just in survival mode…

 

Jen is thriving.

CRAVE WORTHY LIFE CHALLENGE

 

  1. What are the two biggest pain points in your day? When do you get triggered to crave something you know isn’t good for you? Write that down…
  2. What would you like to feel instead of that pain? I call this your Big MODE (big motivating desire –the way you WANT to feel)
  3. What else can you do in that moment to achieve your Big MODE?
  4. Write down at least 2 other things you can do to prepare so that when those pain points arise, you have your survival kit of ideas and healthy food ready (or should we call it a thrive kit?)

  

Creating a life worth craving begins with this kind of awareness.

And it takes guts.

It’s time to be brave and strong and do what’s true for you, sweetheart.

 

It’s time to thrive, not just survive.

 

Xo,

Alex

Gluten-Free Summer Crepes with Berries: July 4th Dessert Recipe

The perfect July 4th brunch for every cravings type!

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Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe for Summer – every cravings type can enjoy!

Eating right for your type

is helpful for keeping your energy, focus on health on track. But what if you have a couple of friends coming over, or there are two types in your house living under the same roof?


(Take the Cravings Type Quiz here to find out your type!) 

Luckily, I’ve learned how to adjust one recipe for all the types – and this summer crepe recipe is great for everyone with a couple of minor changes depending on who’s coming to brunch! Not only is it gluten-free, but you can easily make these crepes dairy-free by using coconut cream (you know, the thick stuff at the top of the can?) instead of whipped cream.
 
With cooling summer berries, these crepes use high-protein amaranth and quinoa flour, which help the light-headed featherweight feel grounded and strong.

Firebrands and Featherweights can choose between organic whipped cream or coconut cream as a topping, while Earth Mama types should avoid the topping and just enjoy the crepe and fruit as too much dairy and coconut can make an Earth Mama (or Papa) feel heavy and muddy.

 

Gluten-Free Crepes with Summer Berries

Serves 4

For the crepes:

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup water
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking the crepes

For the filling:

2 cups mixed organic berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup organic whipped cream or unsweetened coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours in a blender with the water, milk and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the fruit. Wash and dry the berries and toss with remaining maple syrup and cinnamon. Allow to marinate at room temperature.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil on a crepe pan or other non-toxic non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir the batter and ladle a scoop into the middle of the pan. Spread out the batter thinly in a circle. Cook the crepe until the bottom has browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the crepe and cook until the other side is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate or clean baking dish and cover with a lid to allow it to cool, but not lose too much moisture.
  6. Keep making crepes until all the batter is gone.
  7. Serve each crepe with a scoop of berries in the middle, and roll it up around them. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream and a nice little sprig of mint, if it’s handy.

Summer Soups for your Cravings Types

We all know we’re supposed to eat more veggies – but the call of creamy, fatty dairy may be stronger than the whisper of greens!

If you know dairy doesn’t help you feel light, makes you congested, or worsens your adult acne, but you still crave the creamy texture, and want to up your fiber and phyto-nutrient intake, try my new summer soup recipes!

I’ve created them especially for the different Cravings Types (read: Ayurvedic doshas) – and if you don’t know your type yet, take the quiz here and find out if you’re a Featherweight, Firebrand or Earth mama/Earth papa!

Slurp up your soups!

 

Avocado Soup with Cucumber: Serves 2

Firebrand and Featherweight Approved

(not good for Earth Mama/Papa – too heavy with the oils and avocado)

 

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!



Light and fresh, this summer soup is easy and requires no cooking – no hot stoves for those summer meals! Featherweights can add freshly ground black pepper to warm them up from the inside. Firebrands can chill in the refrigerator while resting the soup after the first blending. This soup has too much oil in it for heavy feeling Earth Mamas and Papas. Find your Cravings type here!

 YOU’LL NEED: 

1 tablespoon organic, cold-pressed olive oil

1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cup fresh carrot juice

1 cup water

½ cup cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon ground corander

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh fennel leaves

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, about ½ an orange

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup freshly grated zucchini

 

  1. Combine all ingredients, except zucchini, in a blender. Blend until smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Blend once more for 15 seconds, pour into bowls and top with grated zucchini.

 

 

Summer Pea & Zucchini Soup: Serves 2

Good for all 3 types, especially

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Creamed Minty Pea & Zucchini Soup: Gluten-free and Dairy-free soups for summer!


Fresh peas are vibrant and flavorful. This creamy green soup really delivers satisfying slurps for the heavy-feeling Earth Mama or Earth Papa. Firebrands will love this too, just allow it to cool to room temperature before serving. Featherweights can enjoy with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper! (Don’t know your Craving Type yet? Take the quick quiz here! www.cravingsquiz.com)

 YOU’LL NEED

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (thickener)

½ cup zucchini, sliced

1 cup freshly shelled peas

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

 

  1. Add 1-cup stock to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining stock, zucchini, peas and mint in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk in the chickpea mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Simmering the chickpea flour thickens the soup and removes the bitter flavor from the flour.
  3. Ladle into a blender and blend with salt and lemon juice until smooth.
  4. Featherweights can add a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

 Like these soups? 

In the comments below, I’d love to know what you thought of the recipes, and what other ideas you have for us!

(P.S. these recipes are just an example of what you’ll enjoy in my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program – can’t wait to share it!!) 

balance your hormones in 3 easy steps

3 Ways We’re Hurting Our Hormones + How To Fix It

Balance. If you’re like me, you strive for it daily.
balance your hormones in 3 easy steps
If you were one of those carpenter levels, with the yellow liquid and floating bubble dancing between two lines, would you be straight and balanced or off-kilter and unsteady?

What I mean is, how are your hormones doing lately? 

I get questions about hormone health all the time, so I wanted to put together a quick resource to help you at home right away.
Made by our bodies and used in the right amounts, natural hormones tell our cells and tissues to act in specific ways, and guide our moods and behaviors.

 

In the right way, our hormones turn us on, keep the metabolic fires burning, and keep us in good humor.

 

In the wrong amounts, either produced naturally in uneven flashes by our glands, consumed in foods or through toxic exposure, disregulated hormones lead to fits of depression, bursts of anger and impatience, exhaustion, impaired sleep, weight irregularities, faulty menstrual cycles, and gut dis-eases.

 

Steady your hormones, fix your health, love your life.

It’s often as simple as that.

 

Yet today we are swimming in a soup of synthetic hormones that come into our bodies from air, land, sea, and late, setting our bodies and brains off balance.

 

In order to help you fix those powerful chemical messengers to begin feeling lighter, happier, better, I’ve put together a quick list of 3 simple ways you can take control of your hormonal fate:

 

1. Can do? Can DON’T! Avoid BPA-lined cans

 

Balance your hormones naturally: buy only BPA free cans!

I love timesaving tips as much as any home chef, but canned foods are hiding a dirty time-release bomb, BPA.

Foods in BPA lined cans absorb the chemical into beans, fruits and vegetables. BPA is a chemical used in plastics that mimics estrogen, and has been lined to breast and other cancers, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.

 

Hormone Fixes: Avoid BPA by buying frozen veggies and fruits instead of canned. Some companies, like Eden Organics,  offer BPA-free cans that are safe to purchase, and put it on the label. Buy tomatoes and tomato sauces in glass jars instead of cans.  Avoid foods that come in plastic containers with #7 recycling label, and avoid handling grocery receipts with bare hands, as thermal paper is often coated with BPA.

 

2. Dental Damn – Danger On Your Toothbrush

 

We’ve been told to brush and floss 2-3 times a day, but no one said anything about the dangers of chronic exposure to the fluoride that’s supposed to keep our pearlies white.

According to a 2006 report by the National Research Council of the National Academies, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it upsets the glands that secrete hormones.

Even tiny amounts of fluoride can upset can affect your thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, pancreas and pituitary glands. Toothpaste and fluoridated water are the two most common sources, but since fluoride stays in the water cycle, crops absorb it through watering.

The average American adults consumes 3-6mg of fluoride a day, which can be twice the amount that can cause thyroid disfunction. The average American child consumes 1.5 mg, which is nearly twice the amount that can cause thyroid problems.

 

Hormonal Fixes:

Since chronic exposure can have big, long-term effects on the intellectual, social, sexual and physical development of both adults and children, it’s a good time to switch to non-fluoride toothpaste! Brands like Tom’s of Maine offer fluoride-free versions. If you live in a county, city or town that fluoridates your water, you may want to invest in a fluoride filter for your drinking water.

 

3. Every Thyroid Out Of The Pool! Chlorine & Thyroid 

 

Since fluoride and chlorine are both chemically related to iodine and compete with how the body absorbs it, ingesting either can block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland.

We drink or shower in chlorinated water almost every day. Those small exposures can lead to big hormone problems over time.

 

Protect your thyroid with a good fluoride filter - I use this one!

Protect your thyroid with a good fluoride filter – I use this one!

 

Hormonal Fix: Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools, especially enclosed and indoors, as the chlorine vapors will be inhaled into your lungs as well. Get a chlorine filter for both your shower and your water faucets to avoid both physical contact and consuming the chemical.

 

 

These simple fixes will help your body balance your hormones effortlessly, and get you the happy mood, easy weight loss and long-term health you crave.

I want to hear from you!

How are your hormones now, and what are you inspired to do to feel better?

Leave a comment below about changes you plan on making, and any success story you can share about healing your hormones!

How To End Stomach Bloat For Good

Tired of the gurgle and bloat?
The constipation followed by diarrhea?
The muffin top?

Join the club! Tummy troubles are at the top of my list, too – at least they were until I got a handle on
healing my gut and understanding which foods helped me feel good…

and which ones made me dig out the stretchy yoga pants.

Watch my video below to learn my top tips on ending stomach bloat —

and let me know in the comments if you discovered a new trick to try,

or share it with a friend who needs some support for their gut!

xo,
Alex

Chocolate IS Love… Vegan Valentine Recipes with Raw Cacao

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.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” a unique caffeine with stimulating physiological effects, fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), which 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!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible. They 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 first 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 recently 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.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

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!

 

Hot Chocolate of the Gods

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine's Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine’s Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

I know, that’s a bold statement – really, Alex? Chocolate of the Gods? That’s quite a boast for a cup of hot cocoa. I’m telling you! I first drank something like this recipe in Costa Rica on a chocolate plantation in the jungle, and had my first out-of-body experience. In short, I think I saw God. At least I saw chocolate, and for me, that’s pretty good.

2 pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch sea salt

*1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional – this is how the ancients did it)

* ¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional – don’t combine if using cayenne)

Directions:

Combine all in a blender and blend until super smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.  Pour into mugs, cozy up under a blanket, turn on Cousins, Diva, or Downton Abbey (or any other romantic movie) and enjoy!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe

 

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

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!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

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.

 

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

 

 

Directions:

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.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

 

Serve as is, on top of ice cream, 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.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

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.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

In case you’re wondering, here are some of the health benefits of using 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.

 

Now there 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.

 

I want to hear from you! Share your pictures of favorite chocolate recipes, or your version of these recipes here!

Post your pictures to my Facebook or Pinterest page, and leave a comment below about your chocolate discoveries!

Xo,

Alex

Winter Salads: Waste Not Want Not, Cauliflower Leaves

Don’t throw out those cauliflower leaves!

You know those leaves that frame the white, pillowy florets we love eating?

They’re edible, too!


Just peel them off the florets, wash them, dry them, and thinly slice them.

“You mean I’ve been throwing away good greens all these years?!” you ask…

YES! The vitamins are just as high in the leaf as in the head,

and 1/2 cup of cauliflower (leaves or white florets) contains half of your daily Vitamin C and are super high in fiber.

AND cauliflower is part of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, so hit your antioxidant quota with this simple trick.

Here’s what I did this week while I was steaming the florets:

Slice the leaves up thinly and toss with freshly shredded carrot.

Drizzle with olive oil, a little lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar, and sprinkle with good sea salt.

Toss. Eat. Done.

shredded cauliflower salad Alex Jamieson