I recently had the opportunity to talk with Megan Leatherman, who writes a blog on wellness in the workplace. She asked me about a term that has been buzzing around lately... Adrenal Fatigue. Click HERE for the full article.
Most people I speak with want to eat healthy but feel that they don't have enough time to prepare home-cooked, balanced meals regularly. A trip to the grocery store can be paralyzingly overwhelming with all the choices.
Local, organic, grass-fed, free-range, no-spray, no gmo, bulk or packaged, white or brown...plus all the marketing for Superfoods and the dizzying array of coconut products on the shelves. It's so easy to rack up the bill buying “impulse” items, then get home and realize that you didn't actually buy much food to make meals but instead have some tasty packaged snacks. That's alright, but ultimately does not satiate the hunger for balanced meals.
Eating well should not take up all your time, or be expensive.
The key is timing.
I want to share with you my shopping list and some easy meal prep ideas to get you started. The idea is not to follow this to a T but to use it as a starting point and adapt this guide to work for you. We are not all alike (thankfully) and our tastes, preferences, time, nutritional needs, and budget varies. My goal is to inspire and guide you to create a program that works for you, so that a trip to the grocery store and making dinner all week can be a fun and delicious experience.... not stressful.
I'm on a tight budget so I try to maximize the nutritional value of basic staples by soaking and sprouting seeds and grains and cooking with broth instead of water. Plan ahead by soaking and sprouting a day or two before using it in a meal. I tend to soak things overnight, then let rest in a colander or strainer out of water to sprout the whole next day. Soaking and sprouting is a rhythmic process and very forgivable. Let it work for your schedule. Not only does soaking and sprouting make the grain or legume more digestible, it becomes sweet and creamy as the starches are converted to sugars.
beets w/ greens
something new: celery root, turmeric root, black radishes (anything that catches your eye)
a few seasonal fruits
raw extra virgin coconut oil
extra virgin olive oil
tallow from bone broth
cultured butter from grass-fed cows
an occasional avocado
almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts
ume plum vinegar
apple cider vinegar
eggs (local, free-range)
beef stew meat (grass-fed)
bacon (pastured, no nitrate or nitrite)
ground lamb (pastured)
bones (knuckle and long marrow)
lentils (red, green, brown..)
yogurt (whole milk, organic. I like Strauss Creamery.)
frozen berries (organic blueberries are great)
Love Your Liver Spring Cleanse “RawSlaw”
Grate in a bowl:
1 Whole red beet
a knob of ginger
1 green apple
Extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
Kidney Support Stew
Ham hock+Adzuki bean+Seaweed Crock. Adzuki bean and seaweed are especially nourishing to the kidneys, which are the organs that need the most support in the Winter months. They regulate and filter the waters of our system. Which in turn, nourish and honor our emotional body. Salt is very important for kidney and adrenal health and in Chinese medicine, kidneys are seen as the root or foundation of the body.
Serve with sauerkraut, miso paste, and a sprinkle of ume plum vinegar.
Fermented Millet Cakes
If you have ever had polenta, it's similar, but more creamy. Like polenta, it gels into whatever mould you pour it into. When completely chilled, slice cakes like bread and fry in oil until crispy on both sides. I prefer the taste of coconut oil.
Time Saver Tips
Tired of plain ol' rice? Spice it up by tossing in a few cardamon pods, cloves, sea salt, and turmeric powder. Don't forget what a perfect opportunity to boost the nutrition and taste by cooking the rice in at least half bone broth.
So, as you can see, you will need a constant supply of bone broth for many of your meals. Bone broth is amazing nutritive food that provides important easily assimilated minerals and amino acids, collagen and gelatin for healthy bones and joints and is very anti-inflammatory and provides great kidney and adrenal support. It strengthen the immune system to keep you healthy all year long. It's calming, grounding, energizing and mouth-watering delicious. After a while your body will ask for more and start to crave this nutritious healing broth. Aim to consume about a quart a broth per day. Read more about bone broth HERE and HERE.
Winter is the season for immune support which means stoking your digestive fire. About 80% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract! In the cold, dark, and damp winter months of the pacific northwest, a little extra kindling to stoke your inner digestive fire, agni, in ayurvedic terms, goes a long way.
This infused vinegar elixir is also known as "fire cider" though I think of it more as fuel to ignite the fire within and activate the body's vital force. Thus, "fire starter" is a easy and delicious winter ritual you will love. I make this seasonal tonic a part of my daily dose of medicinal food. I like taking it as a 1/2oz shot or adding olive oil and using it as a dressing.
Horseradish: hot and dry, expelling, respiratory support, sinus opening, anti-fungal, anti-viral
Ginger: warming circulatory tonic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, relieves gas and bloating
Onion: boosts cardiovascular health, strengthens bone and connective tissue, anti-inflammatory
Garlic: hot circulatory tonic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial
Tumeric: warming, drying, pain relieving, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, liver protectant
Peppers: improves circulation, regulate blood sugar levels, eases joint inflammation, reduces pain
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: aids digestion through maintaining an acidic pH in the stomach, preserves medicinal constituents of ingredients
Raw Local Honey: vitamins and minerals, anti-fungal, anti-viral, seasonal allergy support
1 Horseradish (fresh)
1 Ginger (fresh)
1 Red onion
1/2 Tumeric root (fresh preffered)
1/4 Peppers (jalepeno or other spicy variety)
Raw apple cider vinegar
Honey to taste
Optional: rosemary, beets, sage, peppercorns, lemons, burdock root
Coarsely chop all vegetables and put into blender. Add vinegar until soupy consistency and pulse so that the ingredients are coarsely blended. Over-blending into a paste will make it difficult to strain. I make 1/2 gallon at a time in a one gallon jar, which yields about a quart. Cap jar with lid and let sit for about 2 weeks. Shake or stir to make sure all vegetable bits are submerged in in vinegar. Taste it. When it tastes potent, it's time to strain the matter out and transfer the infused Fire Starter vinegar into a glass bottle. Add raw, local honey to taste and also for immune support and moistening action.
Take as a digestive stimulant, a circulatory warmer, at the onset of a cold, or a seasonal allergy attack.
Dilute Fire Starter if you have too much systemic heat or have an active cold.