HEALTHY HOLIDAY GIFT CHOCOLATES: 3 EASY INGREDIENTS

I’m squeezing in one more blog article before the holiday season, in case you are like me, and love to give food as HOLIDAY GIFTS. Chocolate is always a holiday favourite, and it’s possible for it to be healthy too! So here is a recipe that is easy to make, that you can package up to give away, or that you can finish off a special meal with. You can feel great about gifting this healthy version!

 I tucked freeze dried strawberries or pineapple into a few of these chocolates! Candied ginger is also a nice treat to find inside.

I tucked freeze dried strawberries or pineapple into a few of these chocolates! Candied ginger is also a nice treat to find inside.

This recipe uses 3 ingredients: raw cacao paste, raw cocoa butter, and yacon syrup. Cacao paste is the least processed form of the cocoa bean next to the bean itself (which you can purchase as whole beans or cacao nibs). It is rich in magnesium, potassium, iron and other minerals, and is a good source of polyphenols, which have antioxidant activity (1). Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from the cocoa bean. Yacon syrup is made from yacon root, which is a root vegetable grown in South America. The syrup’s sweetness is derived from fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which is a prebiotic that feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut. We can’t digest these carbohydrates, so they stay in our gut and are used by our bacteria instead. Since we can’t digest FOS, there are no sugars that enter the blood stream, making this a possible option for people with diabetes (2). FOS would not be suitable for someone with IBS or SIBO as it can aggravate symptoms in individuals with these conditions. Caution should be used for anyone with digestive symptoms such as bloating, cramping or abdominal pain. I’m including a variation for those who don’t tolerate FOS.

REASONS TO GIFT CHOCOLATE

If the taste of chocolate isn’t enough to tempt you, there are also numerous health benefits that can result from consuming chocolate, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, support for the immune system, cancer protection, and as already mentioned, there are antioxidant benefits (3).

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RECIPE

140g raw cacao paste
140g raw cocoa butter
1/2-2/3 cup yacon syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)

DIRECTIONS

Place cacao paste and cocoa butter over a double boiler, and melt.  Once melted, remove the top section and mix in the syrup.  Spoon the liquid mixture into candy molds, and place into the refrigerator or freezer until hard.  It only takes about 10 minutes in the freezer.  Once it has solidified, remove pieces from the molds, and put them into a container, or gift bag.

Candy molds can be found at Amazon or various stores such as Michael’s. The variety of shapes you can find is amazing! You can customize your chocolate shapes to fit the person you are gifting to. This recipe should fill 4 trays.

VARIATION

You can replace the syrup with honey. This version is just as tasty, but the honey doesn’t emulsify into the mixture as well as yacon syrup, so you’ll need to keep stirring the mixture as it goes into the molds, and the chocolates need to be kept refrigerated. I make this a lot, and love it, but for gift giving it’s nice not to have to refrigerate the chocolates.

Add the 3 ingredients to your shopping list, and put “chocolate making” on your list of things to do! If you don’t have candy molds, the easiest thing to do is order them online, or make a chocolate bark instead by adding your favourite nuts, seeds or dried fruit, and pouring the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat.

What’s your favourite way to use chocolate?

Happy, Healthy Eating and Gifting!
Best Wishes for the Holidays!
Tracey

TURN YOUR FAVOURITE TEA INTO A FAT BOMB

Heard of intermittent fasting?  It’s one of the latest dietary trends that has some good research to support it. There are some great benefits to intermittent fasting including balancing of blood sugars (1), decrease cardiovascular risk (2), and improved brain health (3)… and it can be an easier way to reap these benefits, than a more restricted diet such as ketogenic diet or calorie counting.  Turning your favorite teas into a Fat Bomb, can be a great way to support intermittent fasting.

The goal with intermittent fasting is to extend your nightly fast.  As you sleep your body uses up glucose stores in your body, and by the time you wake up your body is starting to metabolize fat stores.  Your body will use the fat on your body, and convert it to ketones, which are an alternative fuel source for your cells.  The goal is to keep using energy from your own fat cells, which is one of the reasons this approach is so great for weight loss.  By waking up, and continuing to fast (not eat), you encourage the continual burning of stored fat into ketones as a source of energy for your body.  As it happens, your brain cells really like ketones too, so even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting will do a great job of fueling your brain, and it’s a great way to support neurological health.

 Here’s my favourite Herbal Chai Fat Bomb, straight out of the blender.

Here’s my favourite Herbal Chai Fat Bomb, straight out of the blender.

One of the favorite drinks amongst intermittent fasters is Bulletproof coffee.  This drink was popularized by Dave Asprey, who has created the Bulletproof brand.  Many people refer to the blend of ingredients in this coffee as Bulletproof coffee, even if they aren’t using the Bulletproof brand.  The formula is pretty simple.  Good quality brewed coffee + MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil + grass-fed butter.  You put your hot coffee into a blender with the oil and butter, and blend on high speed to emulsify the ingredients into a creamy beverage.  This beverage is consumed in the morning as breakfast. The MCT oil rapidly converts to ketones in the liver, which supports the body’s continuation of using ketones to fuel your cells.  Typically people will try to fast for 14-16 hours (or longer), and not eat a meal until mid-morning, noon, or even later.  Bulletproof coffee can help sustain your energy until your first meal of the day. Typically intermittent fasting is done in conjunction with a low carb diet such as a Paleo or gut-healthy diet that removes grains and legumes.

But what if you are on a dietary protocol that doesn’t recommend coffee, such as an AIP diet, GAPS diet or other protocol focusing on gut health.  While coffee is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, it can be problematic for many people.  For a detailed look at the complexity of coffee’s affects on the body read Sarah Ballantyne’s recent blog article Coffee and Autoimmune Disease.  If you don’t know how coffee is impacting your health condition, it is always a good idea to remove it for a period of time.

The good news is that tea can be the perfect replacement, or if you are like me and dislike coffee, then tea can provide a morning beverage to support your intermittent fasting.

Tips Before Starting

You’ll need to make a strong tea. I recommend using 3 times the amount of tea you usually use, otherwise the flavour of the tea will get lost when you add your choice of fat.

If you are new to this type of drink, then make sure you start with a small amount of the fats, and slowly work your way up. If you get diarrhea, or start to experience stomach upset, then you have more fat than your system can handle. Use the amount that works for you. You may find that later you are able to tolerate greater amounts of fat, but you need to listen to what your body can handle now. Remember: start small and slowly build up (trust me on this!)

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy, you may be able to use grass-fed ghee instead of butter, but you know your body best. If you know you react, then don’t use dairy fat.

Initially you may only be able to extend your fasting period for an hour or two, but as you slowly increase your fat intake, and your body gets used to using ketones as a fuel source, you’ll be able to go for longer periods of time without a solid meal.

You cannot add any kind of sugar, including honey to your drink. If you do, then your body will preferentially start using the glucose, and it won’t continue using ketones. If you need a bit of sweetness for your Tea Fat Bomb then try mixing in a bit of monk fruit.

3 Ways to Create Tasty Tea Fat Bombs

1.    Follow the same formula as a Bulletproof coffee.  Start by adding 1 teaspoon each of MCT oil, and grass-fed butter or ghee to your strong tea and remember to blend at high speed to emulsify those fats into a creamy drink. You can gradually build up the amount of oil and butter to 1 tablespoon each, but doing so too quickly can cause diarrhea, so it’s important to start slowly and gradually build up the amount (I can’t emphasis this point enough!)

2.    Blend full-fat coconut milk or coconut oil into your tea.  Coconut milk and coconut oil are rich sources of MCTs.  Try a spoonful of coconut oil blended into your favorite tea, or try blending in some full-fat coconut milk.  If you like the milk, look for a brand that is carrageenan free (I like Natural Value, which is available at health food stores.)  As with the previous formula, slowly build up the fat content to avoid diarrhea. 1/3 cup of full-fat coconut milk is roughly the equivalent of 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil. Start small! You can also add the grass-fed butter or ghee to this if you want.

3.    If you tolerate dairy, and know you don’t have a food sensitivity toward it (word of caution – many people have a hidden sensitivity), then you can add heavy cream or whipping cream.  The nice thing about this option is that it doesn’t require blending, but the fats in dairy also won’t convert to ketones as easily as MCT oil, so you may not get the rapid energy that you need to support your fasting.

Best Teas

Black teas are good choices if you have troubles stopping caffeine consumption.  Since black teas are traditionally consumed with milk or cream, this can be a comforting, familiar beverage.  Try an Earl Gray, English Breakfast, or other traditional flavour. There is evidence that caffeine supports the production of ketones (4), so you might find black tea works well for you with intermittent fasting.

Chai teas are also excellent choices, and there are a wide variety of these teas.  Some include black tea, but there are herbal varieties as well for those trying to avoid caffeine.

Rooibos teas can also be great options depending on the flavours.  Try a plain rooibos, or something like a vanilla or Earl Grey rooibos.

If you love herbal teas, there are some great possibilities.  One of my favorite tea shops in Calgary is The Naked Leaf.  I love the Herbal Chai, and am excited to try creating a Fat Bomb with their new Powerhouse Tea, which has some medicinal mushrooms.

Have you tried turning your favourite hot drink into a Fat Bomb? Try this with your favourite tea, and let me know how it works out for you.

Happy, Healthy Drinking!
Tracey

 

READY FOR RADICAL WEIGHTLOSS?

A gut healthy diet aims to address a contributing factor to your health, and if you’re on the diet you are hopefully beginning to see it’s benefits. But what if you aren’t? Have you failed to see desired weightloss results despite doing everything right? If this sounds like you, you may be interested in the latest book by Anne Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. In, Radical Metabolism, she lays out a 21-day plan to support weight loss by rebooting your metabolism while adhering almost completely to a traditional gut healthy approach. Anne Louise, who is respected for her integrative approach to wellness nutrition, ties in research and anecdotes to support her Radical Metabolism plan, while including a meal plan and recipes to help you implement it. In this, she recognizes the importance of gut health, but focuses on addressing a much more overlooked aspect of health which may be causing your problems – the gallbladder.

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Why Does Your Gallbladder Matter for Weight Loss?

Your gallbladder acts as a storage facility for bile, and bile is key for the proper digestion and utilization of those healthy fats I’m always encouraging you to consume. The benefits of healthy fats are increasingly gaining recognition, and are well supported by the research literature. Many gut-healthy dietary approaches such as SCD, GAPS, Paleo, and AIP are encouraging the consumption of healthy fats.  The highest fat consumption is with a ketogenic diet, which is widely being promoted for successful weight loss.  But what happens when you can’t actually digest all that good fat you are eating?  For people who are experiencing weight loss resistance while on a higher fat, lower carb protocol, Radical Metabolism is worth reading.

Your Poop Can Tell You a Lot

Next time you poop, take a minute to look in the toilet.  Your poop can give important clues as to the health of your gallbladder, and whether or not you are digesting your fats properly.  Signs that you may have poor fat digestion include an oil slick on the surface of the water, stools that float, diarrhea (especially with high fat consumption), stomach upset or nausea when fatty foods are consumed, and light coloured stools.

Additionally, if you’ve had your gallbladder removed, have ever had gallbladder attacks, or have pain under the right side of your rib cage, then these are all indications that you need some additional support for your gallbladder.

Who should read this book?

Anyone struggling to lose weight.
Anyone who has any of the symptoms listed above.
Anyone who has had their gallbladder removed.
Anyone who has had gallstones.

Anne Louise Gittleman shows how the digestion and absorption of healthy fats is critical for successful weight loss, and for overall health.  She ties this information into a comprehensive nutritional approach that takes a holistic view.

She lays the book out in a simple format that is easy for the reader to understand and follow.  Her tables and quizzes add to the user-friendly aspect, and make this a good book to pick up even for those who don’t like to read.

Where to get Radical Metabolism

At Amazon for a Kindle, hardcover or audio version, or
at Indigo for hardcover or KOBO ebook

Happy, Healthy Eating Fats!
Tracey

BECAUSE AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET JUST ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH

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There is a lot written about anti-inflammatory diets, and there is a ton of research looking at the anti-inflammatory effects of foods and supplements.  Fish oil and tumeric are examples of supplements that have been extensively researched.  Take a minute and google 'anti-inflammatory diet', or 'top anti-inflammatory foods', and you'll see just how much information is out there.  Dietary approaches that are anti-inflammatory emphasize vegetables, fruit, healthy fats such as olive oil and the omega-3 oils found in fish, and nuts and seeds.  At the same time they eliminate foods that contribute to inflammation such as refined grains, sugars, and deep-fried foods.  The Mediterranean Diet is a good example of a well researched anti-inflammatory diet.

People can experience some great benefits when they make changes to their existing food choices that include more anti-inflammatory foods.  There is a dilemma with this approach though.  The problem is that an anti-inflammatory diet just manages inflammation.  It does not address why there is inflammation in the first place.  It can be a bit like trying to put out a fire that is still being fed fuel at the same time.  Imagine a fire that is being sprayed with water, while at the same time gasoline is also being continually added.  A similar thing can happen in your body.  You can be feeding it anti-inflammatory foods, but if the inflammation is still being fuelled, then the inflammation might diminish, but will never go away.  If you have an ongoing health condition, then this is likely the case.

WHAT IS FUELLING MY INFLAMMATION?

All chronic health conditions have an inflammatory component.  Whether you have a skin condition, a brain condition, an autoimmune condition, heart disease, digestive struggles or any other ongoing health issues, inflammation will be part of that condition.  Inflammation is a normal part of your body's healing cascade.  It is a part of your immune system's response to fix whatever is wrong in your body.  When a health problem becomes chronic, you need to ask yourself "what's fuelling my inflammation?"

HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHERE MY INFLAMMATION IS COMING FROM?

To understand what is fuelling your fire, it is important to start digging into possible contributing factors.  Here are some steps you can take to help determine where your inflammation is starting.

1.  Visit your family doctor and request some blood work.  Good markers of inflammation include:
- CRP (C-reactive protein) - this test is a good indicator of overall inflammation
- Fasting insulin and Hemoglobin A1C - these tests will provide a good picture of blood sugar imbalances, which can help you determine if this imbalance is fuelling your fire

2.  Visit a naturopathic or functional doctor.  There are some private lab tests that will help you figure out where your inflammation is stemming from.
- Urine Element Analysis - this test identifies heavy metal toxicity.  Heavy metals can include mercury, aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, lead, and thallium.  If you have worked with any of these substances in your job, if you wear lipstick (many contain lead), if you eat a lot of predatory fish such as tuna, shark or swordfish or if you have received vaccinations, then you may have accumulated some of these metals in your body.  These can be inflammatory, and your doctor can help support safe removal of these from your body.
- Environmental Toxicity - in addition to heavy metals, we are constantly being exposed to other toxins through the air we breathe, the body care products we use, the cleaning products we use, the pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on our food etc.  As with heavy metals, these can accumulate in some individuals and contribute to inflammation.
- Food sensitivity testing (IgG and IgA) - these tests measure whether or not certain foods are causing an immune reaction.  Any immune reaction involves inflammation.  If you are reacting to foods, then there is something deeper going on, so you'll still need to go one step further to figure out the origins of your inflammation, such as testing for leaky gut.
- Leaky gut - there are a variety of tests available to test if your intestines are permeable.  Intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) allows a variety of molecules (including food molecules that trigger an IgG response) to leak through the intestinal barrier into your body.  When this happens your immune system reacts, resulting in inflammation.
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis - this test gives you a general picture of what is going on with your gut microbiome.  Your microbiome plays a large role in modulating and regulating your immune system, so if something shows up with this test (an overgrowth or an insufficiency) it can directly or indirectly impact inflammation.  Food sensitivities can result when your microbiome is imbalanced.  This test can also help determine if you have a parasitic infection.
- Organic Acids Test (OATS) - sometimes metabolic products resulting from your body's own processes, or those produced by your gut microbiome can contribute to inflammation.  This test will show you if some of your metabolites are outside of the normal range.  I find this test useful when you have had some of the other tests done, and have addressed those aspects of your inflammation, but are still struggling with ongoing inflammation.
- Infections - infections can be bacterial, fungal, parasitic or viral.  Acute infections are easy to identify, but low-grade chronic infections can be harder to figure out, and might be fuelling your inflammation.  The kind of testing you do will be based on a doctor's evaluation, but might include the amount and type of antibodies found in your blood, white blood cell counts, or testing for something specific like H. pylori.  It's important to work with your doctor to figure out if any type of infection is present.

A DIET THAT ADDRESSES INFLAMMATION

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There are dietary approaches that address the root causes of your inflammation.  A Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet, and Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) are all designed to address leaky gut, and feed your microbiome in a way that supports beneficial species and starves out pathogenic ones.  An AIP diet also addresses many of the most common food sensitivities, but SCD and GAPS can also be customized to address these. All three of these protocols can be considered Paleo or ancestral types of diets that are gut-healthy.

Once you have explored possible sources of toxicity or low-grade infection, then the option exists to pursue various treatment options through your naturopathic or functional doctor, and you can support those treatments with dietary recommendations specific to your area of concern.

If you are eating a lot of anti-inflammatory foods, then keep up the good work!  You are already  well on your way!  

 If you are still struggling with your symptoms, then maybe its time to start digging a bit deeper, and ask yourself where your inflammation is coming from.  Start by scheduling an appointment with your family doctor.

What is fuelling your fire?

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey
PS - I'll be taking a break for the summer, so you won't see a blog article until the fall.

 

 

AMAZING, SIMPLE PANNA COTTA YOU'LL LOVE.

Sorry I'm a bit later than usual in writing my blog!

As happens in life sometimes,  I've had a really busy couple of months.  Between teaching days and evenings, and giving workshops and presentations on the weekends, there was just no time left to write.  The little time I had left was spent with my family.

When things get that busy, having simple recipes is really important.  My kids like sweet treats (who doesn't!), so Panna Cotta fit my criteria for REALLY SIMPLE.  Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian custard-like dessert made from cream.  It is easy to make a gut-healthy version, and takes about 15 minutes of preparation time.  I hadn't made Panna Cotta until recently, but because it was so simple, I was still able to experiment with different flavours despite my busy schedule.  I could make a batch before heading out to work, and it would set in the fridge and be ready for my family that evening.  Since they were in charge of their own dinner preparation for many of these days, being able to prepare something special for them made me feel I was still nourishing them.

Usually Panna Cotta is a simple vanilla flavour, and gets topped with berries or fruit sauce.  It's a beautiful dessert, and looks lovely for special occasions, but I came up with some flavourful variations.  This delicious treat contains gelatin to support your gut lining, and healthy fats too!  

CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA

Chocolate is always a big hit in our household, so it goes without saying that I had to try a chocolate version.  Chocolate is rich in polyphenols and minerals!

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Ingredients
1 can full-fat coconut milk (I like the Natural Value which is carrageenan and BPA free)
1/3 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons grass-fed gelatin (like Vital Proteins or Great Lakes Gelatin)
1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder (sifted so there aren't any lumps)

1.  In a small saucepan (without heat), whisk 1/2 the can of coconut milk with the gelatin.  Allow to bloom for 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heat over medium-low, whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Don't let it boil!
2.  Remove from heat and add the honey, cacao and remaining coconut milk.
3.  Pour into 4 small dishes and place in the fridge to set.  This takes about 4 hours.

To make this recipe AIP compliant, swap the cacao with carob powder.
 

MANGO PANNA COTTA

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I love the mango for it's sweetness and beautiful colour, but mangos are also high in fibre and rich in anti-oxidants.

Ingredients
1 can full-fat coconut milk (I like the Natural Value which is carrageenan and BPA free)
3 cups cubed mango (or 400g) fresh or frozen (if using frozen, thaw the mango first)
1/4 cup raw honey
1 Tablespoon gelatin (like Vital Proteins or Great Lakes Gelatin)

1.  In a small saucepan (without heat), whisk the full can of coconut milk with the gelatin.  Allow to bloom for 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heat over medium-low, whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Don't let it boil!
2.  While the coconut milk is warming, puree the mango in a blender until smooth and creamy.
3.  Remove the milk from heat and add the honey, and mango puree.
4.  Pour into 6 small dishes and place in the fridge to set.  This takes about 4 hours.

 Be creative.  For a Chia Tea version, replace the cacao powder in the Chocolate Panna Cotta with 1 teaspoon of chai spice blend.  This is my daughter's favourite.  Use spices you tolerate to create your own blend.

Be creative.  For a Chia Tea version, replace the cacao powder in the Chocolate Panna Cotta with 1 teaspoon of chai spice blend.  This is my daughter's favourite.  Use spices you tolerate to create your own blend.

MAKE UP YOUR OWN PANNA COTTA

The varieties of Panna Cotta you can make are endless, so be creative.  It's hard to make a mistake with something so simple.

Besides being quick and simple, this is a great recipe to impress friends with, or to add to a summer barbeque or potluck.

Do you have a favourite simple dessert?  Add your favourite flavour by commenting.

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey

 

 

HORRAY! PRIMAL KITCHEN HAS MADE IT TO CALGARY

I'm a bit late it sharing this news, so I apologize for that.  I don't often promote or endorse a product unless I know it strictly complies to a gut-healthy diet, and the quality is good.

Primal Kitchen mayonnaise has long been a favourite of mine.  It is the only mayo on the market that I know of that is 100% grain free (using a non-grain derived vinegar), and it uses only avocado oil (a healthy fat).  Additionally it is sugar free, soy and canola free and dairy free.  Every time my husband would travel to the States for business, I would ask him to pick up several jars of Primal Kitchen mayonnaise to bring back, but now he doesn't need to do that anymore!  Prior to discovering it, I made my own mayo at home, which was amazing too, but it takes time to make, and I didn't always have the time.  Sound familiar?

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For the last couple of months Primal Kitchen mayonnaise and salad dressings have been in most of the health food stores in Calgary, so next time you are shopping have a look to see if it's on the shelf of your local store.

If you don't tolerate eggs, then these products aren't suitable for you.  But if you do, go out and grab some!  Dip grilled shrimp into it, mix it with cultured pickles (like Bubbies brand) for a quick tartar sauce to go with fish,  add some garlic to it for a mouth watering aioli, spread it over your bunless burger, or use it in salad dressings.  

 The salad dressings have some thickening agents in them like tapioca starch and cream of tartar, so these won't be suitable for everyone, especially if you are in the early stages of your gut-health recovery.

The salad dressings have some thickening agents in them like tapioca starch and cream of tartar, so these won't be suitable for everyone, especially if you are in the early stages of your gut-health recovery.

On a similar note, I continue to be an advocate for you in getting more gut-healthy products on store shelves.  I communicate with local businesses about the need for these products, but change is happening slowly, so I'm starting to explore other options.

I recently placed my first order with Vitacost in the States.  There are some great products available in the States that haven't made their way into the Canadian market yet, but Vitacost will ship to Canada, and it's free over $100.  My order is on its way, and will be here very soon.  I've ordered a variety of grab-and-go items that fit a Paleo, gut-healthy lifestyle.  I'll be sharing these items with you on Facebook as I try out each one.  If you aren't already following me on Facebook, but want to find out about the foods I'll be trying, just click on the link.

What condiments do you miss, or not have time to make?  Ketchup? BBQ sauce?
Add Primal Kitchen mayo to your shopping list!

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey

WHERE VEGETARIAN AND PALEO MEET

A couple of months ago my 15 year old daughter, Anya, decided to become a vegetarian.  This is a reasonably common decision for teenage girls during a developmental period when their empathy grows, and they make the decision to stop eating meat for ethical reasons.  

If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know that I support a Paleo or Ancestral way of eating that is especially focused on restoring gut health.  I had to go through my own health crisis and journey to reach where I am at today, and that journey included being vegetarian for 10 years.  While I was a vegetarian, my health declined even as the quality of my food increased.  I spent several days completely bedridden each month with extreme nausea and fatigue, and I suffered from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder that at times left me vomiting and exhausted after exposure to perfumes or chemicals that off-gassed.  Finally an alternative practitioner told me I had to start eating meat again, and that was the turning point in regaining my health.  That was long before I became a nutritional consultant and started researching the gut microbiome and intestinal permeability (leaky gut).  Once I understood how inflammatory grains and legumes were in the gut there was no turning back.  I am not 100% free of my chemical sensitivities, but the nausea and fatigue are long gone, and the hay fever that I've suffered from since I was a child is also gone.

So you can probably imagine my reaction when my daughter stopped eating meat.  I should mention that like me, she also suffers from chemical sensitivities and hay fever.  We have spend many hours discussing leaky gut, and how being a vegetarian will make it worse, but at 15 years of age she doesn't have a frame of reference to really understand what it means to be in poor health.  At this stage, the life of an animal is more important to her than her own health.

When I realized she had stopped eating meat we had a discussion about what a good vegetarian diet looks like to ensure she is getting complete proteins (all the amino acids the human body needs to repair and grow).  I told her that legumes, and nuts and seeds needed to be part of her diet.  I emphasized how often people just take meat out of their diet without understanding the need to replace the nutrients that meat provides.

The next step was to inspire Anya with great vegetarian recipes that were still nutrient dense.  Sadly there seem to be very few good vegetarian cookbooks.  I think I have signed out every cookbook the Calgary Library offers, and have been dismayed by most of them.  Entree recipes typically rely on pasta or bread with vegetables.  Rarely are there recipes that ensure adequate protein combinations.

WHERE VEGETARIAN AND PALEO MEET

One of the biggest dilemmas has been finding meal ideas that everyone can eat, but luckily there are a few sources of complete protein that fit into both a vegetarian and a Paleo diet.  These ideas can be great to take to dinner parties or social events where you don't know the dietary needs of people.

Vegetables and Fruit
Luckily all vegetables and fruit can be eaten on both diets with the exception of potatoes.  Some people on a Paleo diet can eat potatoes, but from a gut-healthy perspective they are too high in carbs, and people with autoimmune conditions can react to them.  It's very easy to find a wide variety of vegetable dishes including salads, stir-fries, roasted vegetables and soups.

Fats
Avocado oil, olive oil and coconut oil are all plant based fats that are great for both vegetarians and Paleo eaters alike.  Use coconut oil for cooking.  Olive oil should only be used for salads or drizzled over dishes - never cooked with.

Protein Sources
Hemp Seeds - these offer complete proteins and can be used in a variety of ways including making hemp seed milk.
Chia Seeds - these great little seeds also offer complete protein, as well as omega 3 fatty acids.  
Spirulina - an algae that contains complete protein.  Can be added to smoothies.
Other nuts and seeds - not complete proteins, but a great source of fats, and flours and butters can be used for baking.
Eggs - a nutrient powerhouse and a complete protein.  They are incredibly versatile for those people who tolerate them.
Raw or Cultured Dairy - raw milk is difficult to get in Alberta.  I suggest everyone avoid pasteurized milk.  Cultured dairy includes yogurt, kefir and aged, lactose-free cheeses, which all offer complete proteins.  Dairy isn't tolerate well by many people, and lactose should always be avoided when restoring gut health.

NOTE:  If you are in the early stages of an autoimmune protocol, then none of these sources of protein are good options - stick to animal proteins.

MEAL IDEAS

Cooking for the whole family has been challenging over the last couple of months, but we have found some great favourites that everyone can eat.

 I don't need to sweeten my hemp seed porridge when I add seasonal fruit, but my daughter likes hers sweetened.

I don't need to sweeten my hemp seed porridge when I add seasonal fruit, but my daughter likes hers sweetened.

Frittatas - eggs and a collection of a variety of vegetables.  An easy and simple idea for any meal.  Try mushrooms, spinach and black olives.  Cheese can be added for those who tolerate it.
Smoothies - leafy greens, fruit, MCT oil and water or a milk alternative.
Hemp & Chia Seed Porridge - served with fruit this dish makes a hearty breakfast.   Try this recipe.  For a gut-healthy version use honey as the sweetener.
Vegetable Fritters - grate up a variety of root vegetables or zucchini, and mix them up with eggs.  Form into patties and bake or fry.  Great to freeze or grab on the go.
Almond flour or coconut baking - muffins, cakes, and breads can all be made with a variety of Paleo flours and eggs.  My current favourite are Blueberry Lemon Muffins.
Nut & Vegetable Patties - These add variety to the Vegetable Fritters we make.  Try this recipe.

Are you living in a household with a variety of dietary needs?  What are your strategies to simplify meal preparation?  

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey
PS:  Do you want more relevant information about gut health?  Check me out on FaceBook.

I HAVE THE GENETIC MARKER FOR ALZHEIMER'S! HERE'S WHY I'M NOT WORRIED.

Ever wonder if you are going to get a dreaded disease that you have a family history of?  That was the case for me with Parkinson's disease.  My grandfather had Parkinson's, and sometimes I wondered if I had the same genetic markers that predisposed my grandpa to getting the disease. About a month ago I got an email from 23andme letting me know that they were going to be changing their website, and that if I wanted access to locked genetic information, I would have to access it before those changes came.  The locked information included genetic markers for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and breast cancer.  I had previously decided to keep that information locked, because I know that diet, exercise and stress management are key factors involved in gene expression.  As a nutritional consultant I'm pretty confident that my diet is good, I exercise regularly, and while my life can be pretty stressful, I do have regular practices that I use to manage it.  

I changed my mind though when I realized I would lose access to that information.  I gave a huge sigh of relief when I found out that I don't have any of the known Parkinson's markers, but was surprised to find that I have the APOE 4 gene.  APOE 4 carriers are prone to high LDL cholesterol and Alzheimer's.  The reason the E4 variation is associated with higher risk for high LDL is because the Apolipoprotein E (the protein produced by the gene) binds with VLDL, which reduces the clearance of LDL from the blood, resulting in higher blood levels of LDL.  Ideally you want low LDL, so having a genetic variation that predisposes you to higher LDL increases your risk for certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.  The connection between APOE 4 and Alzheimer's is not well understood at this time.

WHY I'M NOT WORRIED

1. Known risk factors:
There are many known risk factors for Alzheimer's including family history, having the APOE 4 gene, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, stroke, depression, smoking and traumatic brain injury (Source).  
Besides the genetic marker, I have no other risk factors for Alzheimer's.  A good reason not to worry.

2.  A healthy gut microbiome:
Research into the area of the microbiota-gut-brain axis has exploded in recent years, and includes the effects of the microbiome on Alzheimer's (Source).  Since my area of specialization as a nutritional consultant is teaching people how to eat to support a healthy microbiome, I feel pretty confident that I'm addressing my microbiome.  I eat a Paleo, gut-healthy diet that includes animal proteins, lots of vegetables, some fruit, healthy fats like fats from grass-fed animals, coconut oil and olive oil, as well as some nuts and seeds, and fermented foods.  

3.  Occasional ketosis as prevention:
A 2008 study showed that glucose transport across the blood brain barrier is impaired in an Alzheimer's brain (Source).  When brain cells are deprived of glucose they need another fuel source, which can be obtained from ketone bodies.  There are different ways for the brain to get ketones.  One is to eat a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet (also known as a ketogenic diet), which will cause your body to shift from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism.  When you metabolize fat, you start producing ketones, which are a great fuel for brain cells.  The other way is to supplement with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which rapidly get metabolized into ketones. A double blind, placebo controlled study has shown that MCT supplementation improves memory in Alzheimer's patients (Source).  It's important to note that no dietary changes were made in the study, but that the changes happened with supplementation alone.

A ketogenic diet that is high in saturated fat could be problematic for someone like me who has the APOE 4 gene variation.  I never recommend a diet low in fats, but at the same time I don't necessarily want to eat a high fat diet if I can't metabolize fats well. I decided on a modified ketogenic diet with MCT supplementation.  Right now I'm eating a very low-carbohydrate diet, moderate protein, moderate fat with the addition of MCT oil supplementation daily.

My long-term plan is to go back to a Paleo, gut-healthy diet, with occasional periods of ketosis.  Some of those periods might look like the one I'm in right now that uses a modified ketogenic diet, but some of those periods might be a 3-4 day fast, which also induces ketosis.

Have you considered a preventative approach to your brain health?  Have you reversed symptoms of a neurological condition using diet?  What has worked for you? Or what hasn't?

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey


 

FAT BOMB LATTES - A GREAT WAY TO START THE DAY

As I write this, I'm about a week into a ketogenic diet (I'll explain why in next week's blog).  I'm doing a modified or low-ketogenic version of the diet, because it allows me to keep the nutrient density high in terms of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.  Historically a ketogenic diet has been used to manage epilepsy, but now studies are revealing a significant reduction in symptoms of Alzheimer's (on a modified ketogenic diet), and David Perlmutter recently discussed promising new research showing a reduction in Parkinson's symptoms (watch here).  The use of a ketogenic diet or a modified version of the diet has significant implications for neurological conditions.

Here's a brief outline of what my meals look like:

Water with electrolytes:  I drink a huge glass of warm water with some added electrolytes when I wake up.  The added electrolytes help me transition into a ketogenic diet without common side effects.  I also drink this between meals.  I like to use ConcenTrace, a liquid ionic mineral supplement.  I won't always need to add electrolytes - it's just to help get my body through the transition of using glucose, to using ketones as my primary fuel source.

Fat Bomb Latte:  I drink a large Fat Bomb Latte an hour or two after waking. (see recipe below)

Lunch:  A combination of 3 cups of vegetables like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts...) or other low-carb vegetables, like celery, cucumber, asparagus, or zucchini.  Grass-fed animal protein like a chicken drumstick, a hamburger patty, a couple of eggs or any other meat (I love liver, so often have it at lunch).  Then I add a few tablespoons of fat that include MCT or coconut oil.  My current favourite is asparagus (which is seasonal right now) drenched in grass-fed butter.

Dinner:  Very similar to lunch except that I have a carb-up, which means that I have a small serving of a carb-rich vegetable like beets, carrots or winter squash, or some berries.  These foods provide a small amount of carbs, but also allow me to get a variety of nutrients and antioxidants that might otherwise be lacking in a ketogenic diet.  An evening carb-up can also help mitigate some of the side effects that some people experience on a ketogenic diet, and many people find they sleep better with the addition of a carb-up.

MCT Oil:  Since I am doing a modified or low-ketogenic diet I make sure to include some medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil) with each meal.  MCTs are able to enhance ketone production.  MCT oil is easily absorbed and doesn't require bile or pancreatic enzymes, so anyone suffering from digestive issues or compromised digestion can still absorb MCTs.  Once absorbed, these fatty acids easily cross into cell mitochondria where they are metabolized and form ketones.  The best food sources of ketones are coconut and palm oils.  Grass-fed butter also has some MCTs but lower amounts than the coconut and palm oils.  You can also purchase a supplemental version of MCT oil, which is what I use in my Fat Bomb Lattes.

The two main meals above don't look that different from a gut-healthy, Paleo diet except that they are higher in fat.  The main difference is that I've replaced breakfast with a Fat Bomb Latte.  It's possible to skip breakfast completely, so that you have a longer fasting period (through the night and later into the day), but I like to spread my fat consumption out a bit, and it's nice to start the morning with a hot, comforting drink.  If you are familiar with Dave Asprey's Bulletproof coffee (coffee with grass-fed butter and MCT oil), then these lattes are a bit like that.

Fat Bomb Latte.JPG

SPICED FAT BOMB LATTE

I love cacao butter, because it provides a rich creaminess that has the flavour of white chocolate, so this latte recipe uses cacao butter.  

2 cups almond or coconut milk
2-3 tbsp raw cacao butter (approximate)
1 tbsp MCT oil
2 teaspoons Spice Blend such as Smooth-y-Golden Milk Spice Blend or Sweet Delight Spice Blend
1 scoop of collagen powder (about 1 1/2 tbsp)
1-2 teaspoons of monk fruit (low-carb sweetener)

Put the almond or coconut milk, raw cacao butter and spice blend into a small saucepan and heat until the cacao butter has melted.  Pour the mixture into a high-speed blender and add the remaining ingredients.  Blend on high speed until the mixture is frothy.  Pour into a large mug and enjoy.  The monk fruit is optional, but I find adding it helps bring the flavour of the spices out.

What is your favourite fat bomb drink?
Add cacao butter, and MCT or coconut oil to your shopping list.  Buy or make your own Spice Blend.  Start experimenting, and then let me know if you come up with a good recipe.

Happy, Healthy Eating!
Tracey

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR THAT PALEO, GUT-HEALTHY PERSON ON YOUR LIST

Looking for a gift idea for that person in your life who is working hard to improve their health.  Or maybe you are that person, and would like to give your loved ones a few hints to help them make a gift choice that will support you towards wellness.

BOOKS

Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook - Bestselling author Mark Hyman M.D. follows his latest book Eat Fat, Get Thin with a cookbook.  Mark has coined the term Pegan diet (Paleo + Vegan), which refers to a diet that is high in plant foods, and where meat is viewed as a condiment rather than the main part of the meal.  His latest book obviously focuses on the health benefits of eating healthy fats, so if you are looking for ways to include those healthy fats into great recipes, then this book is for you.

Against All Grain Celebrations - Danielle Walker has come out with another cookbook where she chronologically lays out beautiful recipes for holidays throughout the year.  Menu plan ideas are included, and the recipes are visually stunning, making them a perfect way to celebrate special days.  She has also included a section for birthday celebrations.  If you enjoy time in the kitchen, making special meals, then this is a good choice.

FOOD

Kombucha Starter Kit - Kombucha is all the rage right now.  It's tasty, effervescent, and teaming with beneficial organisms for your gut.  Kits are available to get you started and you'll need a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).  You can order a scoby online, grow your own from a store-bought unflavoured kombucha or see if anyone you know has a scoby they can give you.  A starter kit can be a great gift for someone who is already a kombucha enthusiast, or for someone who likes experimenting in the kitchen.

Chocolate - In our home there is always a bit of chocolate in stockings and the kids still love checking the advent calendar each day until Christmas.  There aren't a lot of options when it comes to gut healthy chocolate, but Heavenly Organics has melt-in-your-mouth patties with a creamy honey-chocolate filling.  Individually wrapped, or in packages of 3, these make great stocking stuffers, or can be a treat for yourself and friends at social gatherings.  Check out Heavenly Organics.

Smooth-y-Golden Milk Spice Blend - This spice blend can be added to your favourite milk alternative and heated to create a hot drink that not only satisfies your taste buds, but the golden tumeric has many health properties, including soothing the gut.  It can be sweetened with honey, and makes a great drink for any cold, wintery day, or while enjoying time in front of the fireplace.  This blend is created by Spice Sanctuary.

Honey - Did you know there are hundreds of different honeys?  Types are categorized by their source, and their colour, flavour and aroma differ significantly.  Much of the honey on store shelves is clover honey.  Surprise someone with a bold, dark buckwheat honey, or a pale orange blossom honey.  Visit your local health food store or farmers market to find a variety of distinct, unpasteurized local honey.

BODY CARE

Routine Deodorant - Maybe deodorant seems like an odd gift, but when you think of reducing a loved one's exposure to chemicals it makes sense.  Routine is made locally in Calgary and it does a fantastic job of reducing body odour without any of the crazy chemicals.  It comes in a variety of subtle scents for both men and women, as well as unscented (my favourite) and a couple of varieties for those with extra-sensitive skin.  It's sold in many locations throughout Calgary, and is a great stocking stuffer.

Hand Made Soaps - Many health food stores and farmer's markets sell a variety of hand-made soaps.  These come in a unique assortments of scents and are made with an assortment of natural ingredients.  It's nice to wash with soap that has an ingredient list that you could actually eat.  Another good stocking stuffer, or small gift idea.  

Hopefully these ideas will help you with your holiday gift giving, or inspire a few more ideas.

Happy Healthy Shopping and Giving!

Tracey

 

HIGH FAT FOR A HEALTHY HEART

Have you heard the news that fats are good for us?  Maybe you’ve even heard that saturated fats are good for us.  It’s true.  After decades of being told that we should be eating a low-fat diet, research is proving that low fat is detrimental to our health.  It’s bad for our brains, it’s bad for our hearts and it’s bad for hormone related conditions, but today I’m going to focus on the heart.

We’ve all heard about HDL (the good cholesterol) and LDL (the bad cholesterol).  Doctors look at blood levels of these as indicators of heart health.  In a healthy individual we typically see high HDL and low LDL.   High LDL is seen as being problematic.  But it turns out that not all LDL is bad.  There are different types of LDL particles:  large and buoyant, or small and dense.  It’s the small, dense particles that are the ones that put you at risk for heart disease.  It’s possible to have high LDL levels, and have low risk for heart disease if they happen to be the large particles, and conversely you can have low LDL levels, but if they happen to be small particles then you may be at risk for heart disease.  Just looking at total LDL is NOT a good indicator.  We can thank researcher Ronald Kraus for unraveling the complexity of LDL.

Diet and LDL

With the knowledge that we want high HDL, high large LDL and low small LDL, it’s important to look at how we can accomplish this through diet. In addition to changing how we view LDL, Kraus looked at how different diets affect different LDL particles.  Kraus demonstrated that when people eat a high carbohydrate, low fat diet, it correlates with small, dense LDL, which is the marker that increases your risk of heart disease. In contrast, a low carbohydrate diet increases HDL and large LDL particles and decreases small LDL particles.  That is exactly what you want!  (Source

The idea that saturated fats contribute to heart disease doesn’t hold up against the research. (Source)  It’s time to accept that fats aren’t artery clogging!

The Fat-Carbohydrate Relationship

When we take fats out of our diet, we tend to replace them with carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are found in vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes and of course sugars. People need a feeling of satiety when they eat (or else they don’t stop eating).  Consuming protein makes us feel full and then fat makes that feeling last.  When proteins and fats are not consumed, then people eat more grains and legumes to get that feeling of satiety. In processed foods, more sugars typically get added as fats are removed.  Low-fat yogurts are an example where when fat is taken out, more sugar is added in. 

If you eat a whole-foods diet, you might be asking yourself, “What’s the problem with eating more grains, legumes or fruits and vegetables?”   After all, isn’t this what we’ve been told is a healthy diet?  As we’ve just seen with HDL and LDL, it’s not necessarily a healthy diet if we want a healthy heart.  But let’s look at some other factors involved in fat consumption and heart health.

 Gut Health = Heart Health.

The health of your gut also has significant implications for the health of your heart.  Living inside our guts are trillions of organisms collectively known as the microbiome.  Just like humans have wastes that we excrete through our feces, urine and sweat, the organisms in our guts have metabolic byproducts (or waste products) known as metabolites.  Different species produce different metabolites.  Let’s look at a group of organisms known as Gram-negative bacteria.  These organisms are lumped together based on a staining procedure used for viewing under a microscope. Gram-negative bacteria produce a metabolite called lipopolysaccharides (LPS).  LPS normally isn’t a problem.  However it becomes a problem when you have intestinal permeability (leaky gut).  Leaky gut allows LPS to leak through the barrier of the small intestine.  Just outside that barrier is our gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT).  An easy way to understand GALT is to think of it as the largest part of our immune system.  It makes up 80% of our immune system, and all of it is imbedded in the tissue of our digestive system.  So when LPS leaks out, it comes into contact with our immune system where it binds onto immune cell receptors.  When this happens, it initiates a whole sequence of metabolic changes that lead to inflammation and heart disease. 

Diet and Gut Health

 So by now it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet is also the best diet to restore the health of the intestinal barrier.  The GAPS diet is one of the best diets to repair intestinal health, and its founder Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride strongly advocates the use of saturated animal fats as part of a nutritional approach to heal the gut.

Nutritional Approach to Heart Health

If heart health is to be addressed using a nutritional approach, it needs to specifically address small LDL particles and intestinal permeability.  Knowing that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet is beneficial for both of these aspects of heart health leads us to protocols that have these two features.  Ancestral and GAPS diets are good places to start.  These diets include animal proteins such as meat, fish and eggs, vegetables, seasonal fruit, raw nuts and seeds and of course fats.  For people who tolerate dairy, these diets can also include high-fat, fermented dairy items such as yogurt, kefir, cultured cream, and cheeses.

Fat Sources

Great sources of healthy fats include:
Avocado
Coconut milk (full-fat), coconut butter, coconut oil
Raw nuts and seeds, and butters made from them
Grass fed and finished meats
Eggs from organic, free-range poultry
Wild fish
Butter, cream, yogurt, kefir and cheese from pasture-raised animals (if dairy is tolerated)
Olive oil

Further Reading:

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
Eat Fat Get Thin by Mark Hyman MD or order the Fat Summit http://fatsummit.com
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride


Happy, Healthy Eating!

Tracey

 

FATS ARE OUR FRIENDS

Contrary to the popular belief that fats are detrimental to our health, they are actually a necessary nutrient that is vital to our body’s ability to function well, and to help reduce inflammation.

Each and every cell in our bodies has a membrane made of fat.  Your body will take whatever fat it is given to make those membranes, so if you eat trans-fats or fats that have oxidative damage, then your cell membranes will be made with those fats.  When this use of unhealthy fats happens, then our cells can’t function optimally.  Likewise, when you eat good fats, your cell membranes will be made from these, and can carry out their job well.

Our brains are also made mostly of fat.  Our brains are about 70% fat.  The same principle applies to brains as to cells.  We need the healthy fats if we want our brains to function optimally.  Fats are considered to be neuro-protective.  Neuro-protective means that the brain is protected from degeneration or shrinkage that can occur with aging or illness.  Research studies indicate that people with low cholesterol levels have increased risk of neurological conditions.  We keep hearing we should reduce our cholesterol consumption, but doing so has grave consequences for brain health.

Fats Can Help Reduce Inflammation

Besides being a necessary nutrient, many fats have anti-inflammatory properties that can help bring down inflammation in the body.  Inflammation can be found in most chronic health conditions including arthritis, allergies, skin conditions, digestive conditions like IBS, Crohn’s and Colitis, autoimmune conditions and many neurological conditions. 

The most important fats for reducing inflammation are the omega-3 fatty acids.  Sources of these fats are found in fatty fish, raw walnuts, eggs, flaxseeds and chia seeds, so it’s important to consume these foods regularly.  Pasture-raised meats have a much higher omega-3 profile than conventionally raised meats, so switching to pasture-raised meats is another way to increase your omega-3 consumption.

While olive and coconut oils aren’t high in omega-3, these also have anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s important to get good quality organic oils in order for them to have these anti-inflammatory properties.

How Do I Add These Fats to My Diet?

Raw nuts and seeds make great snacks.  Walnuts are a great source of omega-3, so mix them up with your favorite dried fruit, or eat them as they are.  Walnuts and chia seeds can be sprinkled on cereals, added to granolas or mixed into any salad.  To get omega-3s from flaxseeds, you need to grind them in a blender or coffee grinder.  Add these ground seeds to smoothies or sprinkle onto soups and salads.  Health food stores sell a large variety of nut and seed butters which can be used in a variety of ways.  Try dipping apple or pear pieces into walnut butter.  YUM!

Eggs are an easy and versatile food.  Besides the usual dishes like omelets or boiled or poached eggs, eggs dishes include quiche, soufflés, and flans.

Wild fish is a bit difficult to get in Alberta.  Salmon is almost always available, and trout is probably the next most readily available.  Steam, bake or grill your fish and serve with your favorite cooked vegetables and a salad.

Avocados, besides being a good source of fat, are very nutrient dense.  Add them to salads, smoothies, and guacamole or serve them on their own.  Guacamole can also be used as a salad dressing, or throw avocado and olive oil into a food processor with some seasonings. 

Olive oil makes the perfect salad dressing with a bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  Try drizzling it over soups, stews or vegetables.  The varieties of olive oil are endless, so if you enjoy being creative in the kitchen, try visiting one of the olive oil specialty shops in Calgary.

Coconut oil and clarified butter (ghee) are some of the best fats for cooking with.  They are heat stable, so don’t get damaged with heat.  Use these when making stir-fries, or for any other cooking in a frying pan where you don’t want foods to stick.  You can also use them to make granolas or for baking with. 

Pasture-raised meats are easy to swap for any meats you already consume.  Visit your local farmer’s market or health food store to obtain these, and look for pasture-raised or grass finished on the packaging. 

So go ahead and indulge.  You can feel good about drizzling your veggies with a good organic butter, having organic eggs regularly for breakfast, or pouring olive oil over a warming soup or stew.