Need something unique to serve at your next Christmas dinner party?
For the next week, I'm going to share five of my own favourite recipes that I serve at this time of year. Not only are they delicious, but they get people thinking about how tasty food can also be good medicine!
Each recipe is packed full of immune-supporting nutrients to help keep your loved ones healthy through the party season, and lots of probiotics to nurture their "inner garden" and support good digestion during the feast!
RECIPE #1: Start today!
Spruce Tip Kombucha by Katherine Belisle RHN
What a great way to SPRUCE up your usual kombucha for a festive Noel celebration!
This recipe makes just over a litre, and I'd recommend at least 2L for a party. Keep it tightly capped until its time to serve to maintain the fizz. This kombucha is also a great substitute for alcohol since its festive and interesting, and looks great in a wine glass. Enjoy!
It’s time for the final tip on how to keep your gut happy through crisis or busy/stressful times.
And I know you’re busy NOW, so I’ll keep this really short! Let's look at what we've covered so far:
So let's talk about the that last tip… Why take Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C daily?
You may notice I didn’t talk about DIET much. That’s okay. We’ll get to that later… after Christmas!
BUT If you need more help now,..
...or if you'd like to offer some real relief to someone you care about with food/gut problems...
I have gift certificates available here that you can request for you, or to give help to the one you love. Click on the link for information.
Hurry though, I can only take a limited number of new clients and the discount ends December 24.
PS Remember you can always join our It Takes Guts Community for daily support and guidance!
We’re moving into the Christmas season and times are getting b.u.s.y! Right?
So let's keep up with how to keep your gut healthy and happy for the season, even if you've got some stressful situations that are messing with your best efforts.
Now we focus on FOODS TO EAT - and NOT what to avoid - as that is just a minefield for stress, especially during the holiday season. So, let’s not go there today!
Here are two powerful foods to focus on to build and maintain a healthy gut through crisis:
Start with a small amount and work up to 1/4-1/2 cup a day. Try this recipe as a delicious way to add kraut to your smoothie! (Yes, it actually tastes great!)
Start with a small amount and work up to 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day. Try this recipe as a delicious way substitute for dessert coffee!
Look, its not just me, many studies show that rebalancing our gut microbiome leads to positive changes in our brain chemistry. (Like in this study)
That affects how you think and feel (ie. calmer) and that affects how well you digest.
Do you see how it all connects?
The steps I am sharing with you are simple, yet effective, because they engage the parasympathetic nervous system (ie. you're relaxed) so that digestion is fully activated, and they provide the necessary "team support" (aka. prebiotics and probiotics).
Stay tuned for the final step I took to keep my gut happy during crisis. It’s another easy one, but one you cannot afford to miss.
With love for your gut,
DO YOU ALREADY EAT sauerkraut and kefir? What are your favorite recipes? Feel free to comment below or come join us in the Fermented Foodies Culture Club where we share live cultures , recipes and knowledge.
Get support and tips to heal and maintain good gut health in our private It Takes Guts Community!
The opposite is true as well. Too many negative emotions create stress in our mind and body which disrupts this special messaging from happening, and weakens digestion and immunity.
(Another reason why its so important to find calm and peace before eating!)
So no matter what shape your gut or health is in, a little gratitude can make it better because…
Gratitude puts us at ease and so aids digestion!
SO what gets in the way of this simple practice?
I look at authentically religious men and women, and I notice that their gratitude seems to flow effortlessly from them. Why do you think this is?
💗 Note to Self: I am grateful my life is full of looking after those I love 💗
So the solution here is to make time to step out of the hustle to just BE and FEEL.
And if we want to be kind to our gut, start simply with giving thanks before your meals. Just think about how that food came to be on your plate!
All the sun, water and soil required.
The people who grew it, harvested it, shipped it, stocked it.
The materials for the pan you cooked in or the plate you’re eating off of.
There is a lot of effort put into each morsel of food you are about to consume. Let's give thanks to the Creator and everyone involved in getting it to us.
Because our gratefulness sends an "all is well" signal from our brain through the vagus nerve to our digestive tract, and that’s going to help you feel balanced, happy and healthy.
And who wouldn’t be grateful for that?!
Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! And for rest of us, let’s be grateful that we can relax this weekend 😊
And if you are FEELING LESS THAN GRATEFUL, check-in... do you need a quiet retreat to re-charge and re-focus? Check out my retreat which combines nutrition, yoga and dance to renew your spirit, reboot your gut, and revitalize your body! I am offering a GRATITUDE SPECIAL (U$300 value) for February's Vitality Renewal Retreat that runs UNTIL SUNDAY, DEC 1. Grab it here!
Last week, I mentioned that during a recent crisis, I had no time or energy to uphold the standards of my specialized diet. But by giving it up, I learned that:
Well, there’s the first secret –>
HOW we feed ourselves is AS important as WHAT we eat!
Take note. We are talking about a seriously effective gut hack here and for once, we are NOT TALKING ABOUT FOOD! Yippee! (This would a great place for back flip emojis, ha ha)
And now let’s recall how our digestive system works best – that’s right – under the governance of the parasympathetic nervous system. IE: relaxed.
Good digestion - regardless of what we are eating – requires some serenading, a warm-up if you will.
If we are constantly on the go – in mind or body – and not paying attention to how we eat, our brain does not register "RELAX" and so our organs are not prepared for food to arrive.
Unprepared organs = bloating, gas, heartburn, stomach aches, nausea, etc
So, here is how you set yourself up for good digestion when under pressure or on the run:
2. Take a Pill
If you can’t calm down, taking digestive enzymes with your meals helps break down food in your stomach and intestine, therefore reducing gas, bloating and stomach aches as a minimum. This is the product I recommend most often.
3. Count to 10, 20 or….
Try observing how many times you chew each bite. The more your chew, the more you coat your food in alkalizing saliva – the most critical step for the rest of the digestive process!
So, if you are always stressed – or just always on the go – try one or more of these steps. You'll:
Learn more in the It Takes Guts Community Facebook group or send me an email at email@example.com for help.
In my last post, I was telling you that during a long crisis, I had to take deliberate steps to protect and support my gut – because I couldn’t uphold the standards of my specialized diet anymore.
I told you that this is when I figured out that HOW we feed our body is just as important as WHAT we feed our body, and that TARGETING specific foods was more effective than ELIMINATING foods.
This is because our health depends upon a fully functioning digestive system – and digestion is very disrupted by stress. Here’s how:
1. When our brain registers fear of any kind - a bear on the trail, or angry words with your boss or friend - it triggers our flight or fight response through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This shunts blood to our heart and brain and away from our gut. It is meant to be a short lived response but these days we are often enduring ongoing fearful/stressful situations.
2. Good digestion depends upon a relaxed state of mind and body – our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) needs to be engaged so our digestive organs can do their jobs secreting digestive fluids, moving food along at the right pace and keeping our gut bacteria happy.
So as you can see, if we’re constantly worried, fearful, angry and stressed – our gut is not functioning properly.
This leads to gas, bloating, food intolerances, cravings, diarrhea, constipation, and more.
But again I say - don’t despair! Remember, I was in crisis for years, and I figured out how to nourish and support my gut through those stressful times without a specialized diet.
Now that I’ve introduced to you how and why stress affects digestion, I’m going to give you first step to take to help your gut in the next email, so stay tuned.
BUT FOR TODAY – I want you to mentally turn on your lightbulb of awareness and ask yourself:
What is happening on a daily basis that is causing me stress, fear, anger or despair? OR what stress took place prior to the onset of my health problems?
Take note. It's more important than you may realize. You'll understand why in the posts to come.
P.S. Want to share your AHA moments with me? Send me a note and share a personal find if you like. Oh, and don't forget you can always learn more from me and others - everyday - in the It Takes Guts Community Facebook group.
I received so many responses to my last post that I want to follow up with some helpful advice.
Hey, I've been there. Ten years ago, I had two babies under 2, I was busy, exhausted, overwhelmed and really, really sick. Everyday. No one had any answers for me so I set out to find out myself.
A few years later, after school and healing myself and a number of others, I had it all figured out... but then there was a hiccup - a crisis that put everything I knew about gut healing into question!
The crisis meant I had no time or energy to uphold the standards of my specialized diet. But by giving it up, I learned that:
Why? Because it is HOW our digestive system is working (or not) that determines whether we are nourished or poisoned by our food - basically, if we thrive and heal or succumb to disease.
And our health is reliant on both good digestion and good gut bacteria... and both are totally, unequivocally disrupted by STRESS :(
Now I was under a lot of stress at this time, and I knew that it would screw up my gut function, so I took very DELIBERATE SIMPLE STEPS TO PROTECT AND SUPPORT my gut - and they worked!
Wanna know what they were?
Well, stay tuned, cuz I'm going to share them with you in the next few weeks.
I just want you to know... to give you hope... that there are SO many steps you can take to begin healing the gut that aren't complicated or require massive change.
Yes, specialized diets are helpful - I'm not discrediting them - but they are also difficult to implement and maintain inside a hectic life, and they just are not doable for many people.
I'm here to show you another way. You CAN confidently start the healing journey with very simple steps that are incredibly helpful, sometimes without even changing what you eat!
So stick with me. I'm going to show you how it can be done. And it doesn't have to hurt your brain or complicate your life. I can't wait to share with you how!
With love for your gut,
PS Tell me in the comments below WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU THE MOST about your gut or diet right now? I'll address them in the next few articles.
Oh, and don't forget you can always learn more from me and others - everyday - in the It Takes Guts Community Facebook group! (and it's free!)
Do you ever wonder if your health problems stem from a gut problem or something else?
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a woman who told me that she was so sick of feeling tired all the time. She woke up tired. She was tired after coffee. She was tired after eating.
She was too tired to exercise.
She was tired of health magazines because she was too tired to cook.
She was especially tired of sinking into the couch at the end of the day, totally defeated and depressed, and eating crap she knows she shouldn’t eat.
I offered her some help, but she didn’t think she had any "stomach problems".
Well, after assessing her, it turns out she had MANY digestive problems - just not the typical ones that people associate with the gut.
Fatigue can have many causes, but it is definitely linked to what you eat and how you digest it.
Knowing she had digestive problems was a great AID to her, because then she knew what to work on. For example, low stomach acid was preventing her from breaking down protein and absorbing iron – two essential nutrients for energy production.
After just four weeks of working together, she started waking up with energy, feeling more positive at work, and feeling inspired to go walking everyday.
Many steps in the right direction.
So I decided to put this little chart together to help you decide if your symptoms might be related to digestive problems. See anything that relates to YOU?
Hit reply and tell me about it, or join us in the It Takes Guts Community group as we discuss what it means and what to do about it.
With love for your gut,
And maybe they even stutter as they try to tell you how or what they’ve been up to (they may even seem amazed themselves) but without a doubt, they’ve been sooooo busy.
It makes me think: What keeps us sooooo busy?
Yes, we have jobs and families, projects and activities – but why does it seem like so much, all the time?
You probably know the answer: “Too much I have to do... Even more that I WANT to do!”
I think our minds can spend a lot of time in the latter while we are trying to do the former… thus that feeling of being scattered and maybe an unhappy, unsatisfied feeling too.
Not that long ago, it was standard practice to have a day off every week for physical and spiritual rest(oration). And, for most people, work days had their boundaries too – ending at a specific time, and not overflowing too often into the rest of their life via cell, text, email, etc.
But those days are gone.
So HOW DO WE TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES when life is so busy??!
What if we started by prioritizing what is most important for our well-being?
Looks pretty simple, right?
And yet, not…. because if you are caretaker, it can be very difficult to put #1 and #2 first.
However, we need to think of these two steps as our FUEL so that we can do #3 to the BEST OF OUR ABILITY! Otherwise we will suck at service and we will be tired, grumpy and depressed (and usually sick) because we are neglecting what inspires us.
It took me a full mental, emotional and physical breakdown at the age of 33 before I finally learned to listen to my body and take care of myself so that I could not only fulfill my responsibilities, but also have energy for life itself!
Because the time is now. It always has been!
There is no better moment that this one,
and no more powerful moment than the quiet one
where you stop, listen, and heed of what you already know:
Slow down. Take time for YOU.
It will benefit your gut, your health, your life and those that you love and serve.
But strangely, on the eve of my birthday, when I was feeling so much else starting to shift (I blame it all on my haircut, lol) I looked at my glass of wine and said, "Ick...
I am not drinking for fun anymore, I'm drinking 'cuz I NEED to. I'm drinking to CHILL OUT. But its just makes me DULL OUT. I don't want to be dulled down anymore!"
There was a quiet voice in me to stop drinking. I chalked it up to birthday/new year drama, but somehow this was different. The decision was known and made in a second - I just wasn’t sure about how committed I’d be the next day... so I didn’t tell anyone in case I failed!
But half way through my second week…. There. A light came on that I didn’t know it had been out!
Clarity of thought.
A feeling of groundedness yet a little more bounce in my step.
Definitely more stamina for the day.
And, interestingly, emotionally I got very clear on my boundaries – both in parenting and my relationships.
IT IS LIKE A STRENGTH has returned that I didn’t know I had! And guess what? I’m definitely not looking for that glass of DULL at night because I don’t want it!
Sure there are days are crazy no matter how much positive thinking voodoo you practice. Maybe then, occasionally, a drink is good. But everyday? Who was I kidding? That is a crutch.
I’m not saying that I’m never going to drink again, cuz to be honest, I like it... BUT – as a solution to unwind everyday? NO. As a way to soften the pain of how I didn’t stand up for myself today? NO. As a way to deal with isolation and loneliness? NO.
Have you ever give up booze or something else for a while and been surprised at what you learned? I'd love to hear about your experiences!
Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?
Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
Well, I have been!
Maybe you’ve heard that I’ve spent all summer creating on a new online program for Guts to Heal, and you would not believe the long hours and (too) early morning I’ve been pouring into it. Honestly, I love it, but it’s a lot of work, and worry, and sometimes I’m just too jazzed up to sleep.
You know it. That harsh, stingy, burny sensation at the back of your eyeballs. The falling backwards feeling when you close your eyes for longer than 3 seconds. That HORRIBLE sensation of wanting to fall asleep in your cozy, comfy bed... but NOW your eyes won't stay closed and your mind is racing with all. the. things. Oh, the horror!
Having a hard time sleeping through the night - even with all my knowledge of foods, the body, and the brain-gut connection – is obviously a challenge all humans share from time to time. So it made me what to take note and assess what I could be doing (or not doing) better.
So, listen up, fellow sleepyheads. I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing
Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.
Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body, mind and gut. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Lack of sleep also means lack of sleep for our gut bacteria, who sleep when we do, and since our bodies make more cortisol the less we sleep, we end up with slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation in the gut and body. All this impacts our moods, memory and decision-making skills!
Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!) OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???
Knowing this it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:
Do you know how much sleep adults need? It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night. For real!
Try not to skimp!
(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)
Tips for better sleep
So how many of these tips can you start implementing today? Maybe you have some other tricks you’d like to share? Post them now!!! Inquiring (sleep-deprived) minds want to know!
Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte
1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
2 dates (optional)
Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?
My family and I had an amazing opportunity to spend five months in Mexico this winter.
Of course, the weather is much sunnier and hotter there than we were accustomed to here in the Canadian North. We would all crave something sweet and cool in the afternoons.
It didn't take a language degree in Spanish to see that the packaged ice cream treats from the local tiendas were full of refined sugars, hydrogenated fats and chemical additives! Five months of eating those everyday, and we wouldn't have been feeling too good.
We did have lots of milk kefir at home though so why not add calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and probiotics to our bodies while we enjoy a delicious treat?! Here's the recipe:
For 12 popsicles
If you love sweets and chocolate, you will love these truffles!
You'll also love that they are a worthy and healthy alternative to store bought chocolates.
I love to make these for Easter in lieu of store bought chocolate eggs which are full of hygrogenated vegetable fats, GMO's, high fructose corn syrup, artificial additives, refined sugars and tons of added calories!
In comparison, these truffles contain prebiotic fiber that feed and support your gut biome while packing serious antioxidants and healthy fats.
They are easy to make and do not require any baking.
I’ve also made these balls with almonds, just substitute a cup of shredded coconut for almond meal. These can be made very pretty by dipping in white chocolate and sprinkling dried chopped cherry on top. You can also make these with a little rum, just cut back on the honey for the amount of rum you use.
Enjoy and let me know how you enjoy them!!
WOW! It is hot! I am currently on Vancouver Island, BC but its looking like this heat wave is extending to Yukon and the rest of Canada.
If you’re like me, you may find you’re not too hungry on hot days. Maybe you and family are looking for something to eat that satisfies yet doesn’t make you feel like a slug.
Here are 5 ways that you can avoid over-consuming calories and still stay cool today:
Dine on Frozen Favorites - Something ice cold always sounds good on a hot day, but ice cream packs on calories and can be full of gut-irritating ingredients. Instead, freeze your favorite fruits and snack on bite sizes, or mix into smoothies or popsicles (I add kefir for a probiotic boost!). You can even freeze veggies – my kids love to eat frozen peas and let them melt in their mouth!
Eat Small Meals a Few Times a Day, instead of two or three big meals. After we eat, our body temperature rises as we digest the food, so the larger the meal, the greater this effect.
Say No to Spice!! I know, I know, people in hot countries eat a lot of spicy foods. Spice raises body temperature and makes you sweat – ultimately cooling you down. That's what they say. However, I’ve yet to meet anyone who seems more chill and comfortable after eating a hot taco!
Eat Your Water. Did you know that 20-30% of your fluid needs should be met through high water foods like fruits and veggies? Eating plenty of these foods can help you stay hydrated and cool throughout the summer. Some produce is as much as 85% water, so shoot for those with highest water content: watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots.
Eat Yin. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches that some foods have cooling properties (yin), while other foods have heating properties (yang). TCM states that eating the right heating or cooling foods can help balance our energy. Some yummy cooling foods include: banana, clam, crab, grapefruit, lettuce, salt, seaweed, star fruit, water chestnut, watermelon, cucumber, barley, bean curd, chicken egg white, marjoram, oyster, pear, peppermint, radish, strawberry, tangerine, yogurt, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, pineapple, turmeric.
So enjoy swimming in rivers or lakes, and crank up the air conditioning if you must, but also try some of these ways to stay cool!
WATER KEFIR POPSICLES RECIPE
Water kefir, or tibicos, is a naturally carbonated beverage made with a culture, water and sugar. The culture consumes the sugar and ferments the beverage, leaving you with a slightly sweet, effervescent and probiotic refreshment! You can make it at home or buy in a health food store.
Most of us attribute summer fatigue to long days, late nights and too much to do. For some of us though, summer insomnia is more complicated and serious than that.
Without proper rest, we cannot be sufficiently restored and recuperated. Our bodies become vulnerable, our minds go dull, and our spirits wither. It is no way to enjoy life, or summer.
Northerners get really excited about summer; winters are so long, and dark. When daylight returns, we just want to get out, do stuff, get busy.
We plan. We prepare. June whizzes by in a frantic blitz. Then mid-July sneaks up and we realize our summer bucket-list is much longer than the days left in the season.
And therein lies one cause of summer insomnia — the belief that time is running out.
Summer, like youth, is a period of rapid growth and progress. As Nature explodes all around us, we are reminded of what is to be bountiful, beautiful and brief. This can be inspiring or depressing, depending on how we feel about “the fruits of labour” in our own life.
We may find ourselves asking: Am I in the right place, doing the right thing, with the right people? Is my own “season” passing? Have I made the most of my opportunities? Am I growing and maturing into what I want? What comes next?
During the daytime, distractions make it is easy to suppress such thoughts. But if daily life is not meeting our needs or reflecting our inner truths, our spirit goes on high alert.
In the quiet of the night, it will let us know that something essential to our being is being unheard, unsupported, repressed, or taken.
Insomnia is our body's way of saying, “Wake Up!”: It is an opportunity to assess what is not working in our life, and why. It is a call to change.
Being called to change in the summer is probably the safest time. But what are we to do when we are too tired to think clearly or take action?
To help us relax and sleep, we need minerals like magnesium and potassium. (I love to use magnesium oil)
Eating green leafy veggies, seeds, nuts, and bananas are a good start. Alcohol, drugs and some medications will leach minerals from the body, so supplements may be required.
Also, since certain health conditions prevent mineral absorption, the efficacy of our digestive and urinary systems may need to be assessed.
Natural remedies and therapies that can help include vitamins, herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, and especially hormone therapy. Hormones are impacted by stressful thoughts because of the increase in cortisol. High cortisol increases levels of estrogen which will change the ratio of estrogen to both progesterone and testosterone and this will change metabolism and sleep patterns.
It is also important to accept and acknowledge our feelings, whatever they are. Feelings are just feelings and they will pass, but for the moment consider them important indicators. They can help us stay healthy and “on course” if we pay attention.
We can restore ourselves in other ways too.
Remember those long lost friends, Laughter and Fun? Dancing, singing, painting, sailing, bowling, fishing, cooking,… Whatever it is that reunites you with them, do it. Nothing improves the ability to sleep and heal like a little happiness (and fresh air).
This weekend is a perfect opportunity to restore your body, mind and spirit! Seek out a local music festival (like the Atlin Music Festival) or host a simple BBQ and celebrate health and happiness with your friends or neighbours.
My thought is, if you’re going to be tired anyways… why not have some fun? Fill your heart with what you love to do, renew your spirit and feel your weariness slip away.
Tag me and tell me how you've beaten it!
This past winter, when events in my life seemed unbearable, I would eat way too much at dinner – I was trying to fill up a big empty hole that the day had not filled.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals that work in any mood, place or party.
Turn These Into Habits and Ditch the Willpower!
However, did you know that it's possible to confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?
Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast. This is very probable in the North during the winter when indoor heat or cold air saps your moisture!
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, but drinking enough water has been shown to improve digestion and increase metabolism.
present moment, being mindful of your eating environment helps to focus your attention on the meal.
Try taking note of your surroundings: the ambience, the music, the buzz of conversation and laughter - and how these fill you up emotionally.
Take smaller bites, eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly, and savour every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe. Enjoy.
Eating slower often means eating less. The more you chew, the more you mix your food with saliva and leptin – the hormone that decreases appetite.
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full! So take your time, pay attention to your surroundings and food - and enjoy every bite.
Tips: You can also try eating off of a small plate, and putting your fork down between bites.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They're “satiating”and these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
Raw veggies also contain live enzymes that help you to digest your meal more fully, meaning you won't be snacking later becuase you feel like you are still "missing something". Another win-win!
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Recipe: Tasty Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
Tip: You can buy a bag of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut!
This is one of my most asked for recipes at the Fermented Foodies meetings. This deadly delicious dessert is always a hit with kids and adults alike! Makes one 500ml jar. Note: You need to start this 24-30 hours in advance!
1 can Arroy-D Coconut Milk
2-4 Tbl Live Milk Kefir Culture
1 Tbl Cocoa powder
1-2 tsp Fine Ground Expresso Coffee Beans (I use Midnight Sun, decaf)
1-3 Tbl Maple Syrup (optional)
In a clean jar, empty one can of coconut milk and add the live milk kefir culture. Cover the jar and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. It look clumpy and taste a little sour.
Remove the milk kefir culture and set aside for your next ferment.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir or shake well.
You can consume it immediately or for best results, allow to flavor to develop by fermenting another couple hours. It tastes best cold and if you refrigerate it for a few hours, it will be more like a mousse than a drink.
Obviously, everyone is an individual. Coffee can be good for you and bad for your spouse because we all react differently to coffee. It's a matter of your genetics, your gut bacteria profile and how much coffee you're used to drinking.
Let's look at caffeine metabolism, the effects it has on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.
NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains many things over and above caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill - and decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine though it still contains some.
Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.
About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half are "fast" metabolizers of caffeine - getting energy and increased alertness then back to normal a few hours later.
This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!
The Effects of Coffee (and Caffeine) on Mind and Body
NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.
So, as I said earlier, the effects that coffee has on the mind and body differ due to our metabolism. It also has to do with our body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects more strongly than people who have coffee every day.
Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):
New research is also shining a light on how coffee affects our gut bacteria. A recent German study found that coffee beverages contain fiber - indigestible polysaccharides - that feed our good bacteria and help them produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFAs are very important for colon health as they are the primary energy source for colonic cells and have anti-carcinogenc and anti-inflammatory properties.
So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.
Coffee and health risks
There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.
Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:
Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).
NOTE: What’s most important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.
Should You Drink Coffee or Not?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.
Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:
If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:
Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.
Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte
3 tbsp coconut milk or milk kefir
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup organic coffee (decaf if preferred)
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy. Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can also use tea instead of milk if you prefer.
Curtido is a spicy version of sauerkraut from El Salvador... something like a pickled coleslaw or a mild kimchi.
It is quick to prepare and awesome on just about anything!
I love to eat it with rice, lentils and melted cheese; or slathered on a warm piece of buttered sourdough! (I did say I was part Ukrainian!)
Definitely a staple in my fridge throughout the year and particularly wonderful to ferment with fresh autumn veggies.
Curtido: A Spicy Salvadorian Sauerkraut
Prep Time: 20 minutes
I use my food processor to grate the cabbage and carrot but you can use a hand grater or slice very thin.
This salsa has a kapow that simply cannot be recreated with any other spice, herb or process. You will love its deep, zippy and brilliant flavours! This salsa always gets a lot of WOW's and smiles! Best to make with fresh tomatoes.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ cup whey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ cup water kefir
Once the fermentation period is complete, the salsa can be removed to a storage container and stored in the refrigerator or root cellar… if it lasts that long!
Makes approximately 1 litre.
There are many ways to make traditional Korean Kimchi, but I am a Yukon Girl so I like to make my own version using what is locally available (minus the ginger – if you know of any one growing/selling local ginger, please let me know!)
Kat's Yukon Kimchi
Why must we suffer?
As much as we try to run away from it, I believe suffering serves two important purposes that we are otherwise likely to sweep under the carpet in our everyday, (somewhat) manageable lives.
When we are suffering, we want it to stop. So we begin to pay attention to what isn’t working for or nurturing us.
When it comes to serious illness or chronic conditions that threaten our normal state of well-being or our very life, we must be willing to see the opportunity for such new beginnings!
Disease can be emancipating. When else do we have the excuse and the courage to cut away from our lives the people, places or activities that are harmful and draining of our energy?
Some even argue that we subconsciously create or allow illness into our lives for this very reason: to provide the setting in which we can change our life and save our soul from the misery of living without joy - the joy that comes from following our truth and purpose.
Here’s something that struck me this week as I struggled with a new health fear of my own.
How much of my day is spent doing activities that give me energy, rather than those that drain my energy? (And how many months and years has this been going on?)
Continuing to live days full of “have-to’s” with rare opportunities for “want-to’s” is not living. It is setting ourselves up for a serious wake-up call, an illness or some other catastrophe that will force us to look after our health. Is it any wonder we say things like, “I’m so sick of this”?
Spring is a really good time for changing our ways. We can harness nature’s energy of fresh starts and new beginnings to create a few of our own. What “seeds” do I want to plant in my life? How will I prepare the “soil” so they will germinate? Who will support and help me tend the “garden” so they are nurtured and grow to maturity?
No matter what your creed, we can gain inspiration from this week’s Easter story: A respected healer and teacher living in days of greed, prejudice, and tyranny - surrendering to those very social ills to be captured, tortured and put to death, only to RISE AGAIN into a NEW life. This story helps us realize that we need to suffer through, and put an end to, the things that are killing us in order to resurrect our life.
If you are finding yourself “sick of” feeling stressed out – anxious, moody or depressed – and “tired of” your daily life being disturbed by stomach aches, fatigue, body aches, lack of sleep, and cravings for sugar or junk food - try my FREE 7 Day Challenge to reset your digestive system so it can properly nourish you and lift your energy. You can get it here (Soon to be $35).
You may also be interested in the one-day Discovery Workshop coming up Saturday, April 29 from 9:30-3:30pm. It will help you assess what is going wrong in your gut and how your body is being affected, and you'll enjoy a fermented foods demonstration plus practical solutions and strategies for building healthy guts. You can click here for more information. Grab the early bird savings of $26 if you register before April 18th.
Or if you are ready to start a healing protocol right now with me, to walk you step-by-step through a process of assessing your health (history, symptoms, challenges) and designed to specifically meet your goals by providing for your physical, emotional and mental needs, contact me here to set up an appointment.
I hope you’ll take time this weekend to rest, reflect and plan out your” garden”. You deserve to live life with ease and joy! We don't have to suffer if we take time to address our dis-eases now.
Hi, I'm Katanne - Nutritionist and Gut Health Specialist. My talent and passion is helping busy women to enjoy food and life again by resolving their digestive issues and boosting their energy. I'm a busy, outside-loving, homeschooling mom myself, so I understand that your time is precious! My life is full and yours is too, so here are some simple tips to heal your gut, nourish your body, and feed your spirit.