health

How I'm Healing After Miscarriage–Physically & Mentally

This miscarriage has been very different from our first, now over 3 years ago. My heart is still aching from the emotional aspect and my body is weary from the physical trauma, but my faith is stronger and I know without a doubt that the Lord is using it to encourage other women who’ve experienced this same loss, to connect us. It’s an odd feeling and even hard to explain, how I can go through such a rough season yet still see the joy and the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m OK with His plan.  

Miscarriage is odd in that you can grieve and mourn so hard over a little one you’ve never met. I like the way Emily from the Tethering Place explains the loss you experience with miscarriage, “The wave is coming again. A wave of tears and sadness and loss. An odd loss though, for can you lose something you never had? You never held? It is odd because nothing has changed and everything has changed.”

It’s so true. Like, painfully, heart-wrenchingly true. And that wave has hit me over and over the past few weeks.

But for my husband and I, this unexpected pregnancy (and loss) has allowed us to see that we DO want to grow our family. We thought we were happy with just our sweet little Elle, but out of this hardship, we know there’s more to come and I’m grateful, even in it’s yuckiness, that we had the opportunity to feel the realness of expecting again, making plans, dreaming of four.

So, in true Justine fashion, I am putting my best foot forward, seeking out the help and support I need to heal my body–physically and mentally–and get ready for conception in the future!

And in my last post sharing our story and my heart on miscarriage, I told you that I would keep you in the loop on my own health journey––the good, the bad and the ugly.

My greatest health goal at the moment is to heal my body because miscarriage is messy and hard and bloody. Gross, but true. There’s inflammation, internal stress (physically and emotionally), battle wounds of the heart, blood loss, hormonal chaos and all that good stuff that needs to be addressed and supported so that I am left in an even better place than before.

The flip side to this–avoiding the physical and emotional aftermath of miscarriage–is a body who’s left to fend for itself, scars that aren’t tended to that build up fear, resentment and pain, nutrients lost, hormones a mess, inflammation and lots of other imbalances that can affect my future attempts to create life from within. That, I am not going to allow.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years being in the holistic and alternative world of health is how important it is to be self aware and practice mindfulness in every area of your life...not just in what you put in your mouth. Being able to take a step back and look at myself–my emotional, physical and spiritual wellness–allowing myself to see, touch, feel and experience the hurt, the joy, the trauma...all of it...and know that I can make a difference with my own two hands, that I don’t have to sit in fear or whatever the negative emotion is forever, but that I can take action to move forward, to grow, to be better, to love well, to experience more joy and contentment is foundational to a healthy life.

This experience is no different. As hard and awful as it is, there is so much I can do to heal my body with my own two hands, with the help and support of gifted practitioners and the endless love of God. That’s so empowering and so so encouraging to me.

So here’s what I’m up to currently…

Building blood.

Last week, I had my first real acupuncture experience with a super cool friend of mine, Kerry Carlos. He’s a Licensed Acupuncturist and all about holistic wellness and is well loved by his patients. I have been reading a lot about acupuncture and the benefits on fertility health so when I ran into Kerry at the wellness center he practices in after a massage I enjoyed last week, we got to talking about what I was going through and he quickly talked me into how he could help along my preconception journey.

During my initial appointment with Kerry, he found that I am lacking blood post-miscarriage, my adrenals are very weak, my body is holding on to a lot of stress and anxiety, something about grief in my lungs aaaaaand I can’t remember what else because there was a lot going on (and I don’t quite understand all the chi stuff and energy flow and organ connections quite yet). He worked on my main concerns and we joked and laughed about it all, but I kid you not, when I got off that table, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Seriously. I can’t wait to go back!

So in focusing on building blood specifically, I am taking some herbs that Kerry recommended to help with this as well as some other problem areas and I am focusing on getting in certain foods, specifically iron-rich foods to help generate new, healthy and strong blood.

That sounds weird...strong blood? But blood does a lot of important things like transport nutrients, oxygenate your entire body, fight off invaders, remove toxins, transport hormones and sooooooo so so much more. It’s important that it’s healthy...and strong.

Over the next few weeks (and I guess throughout my preconception, pregnancy and nursing journey because these foods nourish these phases as well) I'll be focusing on eating plenty of beets, beef, liver from pastured animals, and pastured, organic egg yolks. I’m also focusing on getting plenty of vitamin C along with these foods since vitamin C helps with iron absorption (think broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and strawberries...vitamin C superfoods!).

Overall, it’s important to nourish with a variety of vitamins and minerals so until I see my Nutritionist (yes, this Nutritionist has her own Nutritionist!) for more specific nutrient support, I’ll continue my prenatal and a few other supportive supplements.

Tonifying and draining my uterus.

This is an interesting one, huh? But it’s an important element of healing your future babe’s home. I am currently taking a Gemmotherapy that helps to tonify and drain the uterus (I also used this in my third trimester and totally credit it to my speedy labor and birth) and bovine uterine tissue (via supplement form people!) to nourish my own uterine tissue.

I understand this point may sound odd to some, especially if you’re new to the holistic world, but this is a big piece of my healing protocol and I’ll take both therapies morning and night for 6 weeks.

Addressing stress and giving my adrenals all the love.

Oh this is a big one. When I first started miscarrying, I had a lot of peace about everything and I still do, BUT there was a lot of physical and emotional stress that was goin’ down that I didn’t really realize. About a week after the initial news, it was like it all came to a head and I began feeling the acute symptoms of stress–chest tightness, a super short fuse, overwhelm, sugar cravings, etc.

I know my body well enough to understand what was going on and I immediately had to hit the pause button and take a chill pill. Massage, asking for help, all the essential oils and magnesium before bed to help me relax and sleep, adrenal support supplements, acupuncture, etc..

But this doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to heal emotionally and to nourish the adrenal glands.  

This is one of the most important pieces of a healthy life, but it’s also one of the most challenging so this is always an ongoing focus. Stressors like miscarriage aren’t a chosen stress (like putting your kids in too many sports or taking on too much at work), they just come, without warning or invite. And they’re inevitable in life.

Stress management is at the top of my list because it sneaks in everywhere. Especially during this time of year. So each day I wake up and choose to take one thing at a time, to eat well and keep my blood sugar stable, to take my adrenal support (supplements), to say “no” when I need to, to create much needed quiet, alone time (#onlychildproblems), and to nourish my soul with God’s word.

It’s a process, but when you’re able to strengthen your body’s ability to deal with stress (and give it the rest to be able to do so), you kind of kick ass at life. It adds to your patience, your energy, your drive (in life and sexually!) and creates a new will to rock out life. No joke, having strong adrenal function is down right amazing.

So there you have it, a little inside look into my healing process. I am working on getting in with my Nutritionist in San Diego and I know we will be looking at thyroid function and sex hormones as these can cause issues with fertility and miscarriage. I have a pretty long cycle so I am looking forward to getting that in check and creating more balance from within.

If you have experienced a miscarriage this year, I am praying for your heart and your healing friend. I know it's awful and heartbreaking. I hope that sharing my journey of mourning and healing will help encourage you. 

Before I go–I just wanted to thank everyone who has been lifting Matt and I up in prayer, for all your kind and supportive words and your outpouring of love. We are more grateful than you know!

xoxo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

* indicates required

 

Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell

Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell Being healthy is not just about the food we eat, though that is very important. It really is about so much more—it comes down to sleep, relationships, contentment and a big portion especially in today’s world is non-toxic living.

We wanted to specifically talk about safe skincare, products that as women, we use most days of our lives. This topic is gaining so much popularity in the mainstream news or circles today and we truly believe that this is more than just a movement, it’s not a fad that is going to fade in a week or even a year.

On today’s episode, we welcome Kate Criswell, a woman passionate about safe skincare and a Managing Director with Beautycounter who shares it all with us!  Join us for this eye opening conversation about how the products you use daily affect your hormones, fertility, children (even future children) and weight loss!

So go hit the “Subscribe” button on iTunes and share the podcast with your friends and family!  We are so excited to be here with you all each and every Monday morning!

Download in iTunes!

 

This podcast episode is proudly sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association: Real Education for People Who Believe in Real Food.

 


 

Link Love:

Shop Beautycounter Products

Environmental Working Group’s “Health Living” App

The Nantucket Project with Gregg Renfrew

Hibiscus Cream Blusher

Fig Lip Gloss

 


 

Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell

3 Ways to Love On Your New Mom Bod & How to Drop the Baby Weight While You're At It

Oh the dreaded baby weight. You spend 9 months gaining the weight and 4 weeks after that precious bump appears in your arms, you’re looking in the mirror like, “Shouldn’t this fluff be gone by now!?” I know because I’ve been there. Actually, I’m there now.

I had my precious baby girl at home on Christmas Day and about a month into sweet motherhood, I found myself staring in the mirror wondering why all this nursing hadn’t eaten up the 30 pounds I gained. I swear someone said it would!?

They lied.

Post-BabyAloWellnessAnd the hardest part? Now that you’re a mama (of one, two, three or more), your time all of a sudden drops off the face of the earth.

Aren’t there 24 hours in a day?

Nope. Not after you have a baby.

Can I get an “amen”?

The struggle is real and if you’re a new or seasoned mama, you know the feeling. As a Nutritionist, I thought that getting back into the grind of meal prep and my usual fare (minus the added preggo carbs and such) would be a cinch and all would be well. I honestly thought the weight would fall off in the first few weeks and I’d be feelin’ like a million bucks in no time.

The reality, as many of you have experienced, is that taking care of a sweet little or young children takes a ton of energy, time, focus, etc., all of which we give willingly as our babes are our greatest treasures! This makes taking care of ourselves more challenging than ever. And that baby weight? Good night!

But, if there were ever a time in your life that you needed to take care of yourself, now is that time.

As mommies, we forget that taking care of ourselves is one of the best ways we can care for our families. And for a few reasons.

  • As a pillar of the family, everyone is watching and learning from you. What mama eats, how she talks about herself, how she looks at herself in the mirror, what she says, what she believes in, etc. Our kids are watching our every move (creepy, right!?) so our moves as mamas matter and can affect our children for the rest of their lives. Self-care is no exception to this.
  • It is hard work taking care of a family so if you are not taking care of yourself, your energy, focus, patience and overall wellbeing will be affected. When you feel like crap, often times you act like crap. Get it?
  • If you are like every other mom in the universe, you want to be around for your little ones for a long, long time, you want to feel good, you want to run and jump and play with your babes and even their babes (I know, I know. I’m getting ahead of myself on that one!). I find that most moms put themselves last thinking that they are doing the best for their family. But without you mom, life would be in shambles, let’s be honest.

3 ways to love on your new mom bod (and how to drop the baby weight while you're at it)...

1. Nourish that bod.

Question of the day. Do you want to get back to your pre-baby weight? “Um, duh!” you say? What you put in your mouth is key to dropping that baby weight, but keep in mind that every body is different. For me, doing Whole30 affected my milk supply in a bad way so doing something that strict is just not in cards for me right now. BUT! Keeping sugar off of my plate and focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods is definitely doable.

Elevated blood sugar and therefore insulin levels puts your body in storage mode rather than the desired fat burning mode. Take the time to nourish your amazing body with whole foods, making sure to include plenty of healthy fats and protein sources and making sure to avoid processed carbohydrates and junk food like chips, white bread, cookies, candy, soda, Frappuccino’s, etc. I'm not asking you to be perfect, I absolutely love to enjoy a homemade cinnamon roll or a grain-free chocolate chip cookie here and there, but the majority of your intake needs to be rich in nutrients and low in sugar.

Though you’d literally kill for a quadruple shot frilly Frap, these types of food items not only mess with your blood sugar, but can also have a negative affect on your gut health, hormones and cardiovascular system. Choose to reward yourself with non-food related goodies and fill up on whole foods.

After all, a healthy mama is a healthy family!

FullSizeRender

2. Get your "me" time in with a detox bath.

What better way to reward yourself for all that hard mommy work than an hour of quite time, sipping on a big glass of champa…I mean, lemon water, while enjoying some much needed “me” time in a warm detox bath? Arrange for the hubs to hang with the babe(s) for an hour so you can get some much needed “mommy time”, at least once a week, where you can unplug and de-stress.

A detox bath is a great way to gently cleanse the body and just unwind from the busyness of the day. Emotions can often times be all over the place as a mommy so you can choose different essential oils based on the mood you are trying to achieve. Here’s how to make it happen: fill your tub with warm water, add 1 cup of Epson salt, ½ cup baking soda and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend (I absolutely love Balance and Serenity together and this combo helps to balance emotions and creates a calming affect naturally). Soak in the bath for 20 minutes. I know, I know. You’re welcome. [Details below on how to get the purest essential oils into your bath and wellness routine...I've got goodies to giveaway so scroll down!]

Detoxification is part of healthy weight loss. If your body has the opportunity to gently detoxify on a regular basis, it won’t need to store toxins in your adipose tissue (aka fat! Think of the fat cells like little jail cells for toxins!). When your fat cells are keeping your body safe from all these toxins, it doesn’t really want to let go of the fat. Give it a reason to by taking regular detox baths and exploring other gentle detox methods.

Breast feeding mamas...beware of detoxing...we don't want baby to get your junk. Gentle, everyday methods that encourage natural detoxification like dry brushing, rebounding, detox bathes, etc. are fine, but definitely stay away from intentional detoxification programs where you may be moving large amounts of toxins or heavy metals around your body.

3. Get out the house.

Get out of the house, even if baby is in tow. One thing I’ve heard from mamas who have suffered from post-partum depression is that getting out and about with other mamas or loved ones is a great way to help overcome some of those really difficult times. Figure out what brings joy to your heart, makes you laugh, gets you excited and do it! Often. And with others. By creating opportunities like this, you create a plethora of “happy chemicals” or neurotransmitters in the brain leading to more contentment and happiness in your life. When our neurotransmitters are stable, our mood, eating habits, blood sugar and so many more important aspects of life become balanced as well.

IMG_5736What are some ways that YOU love on that amazing mom-bod? What's helps you to feel nourished, rejuvenated and full of life? Please share!

xo,

Justine

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness workshop + events!

Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

[Video] 4 No-Brainer Tips to a Healthy Holiday Season

photo-11 The holiday season is upon us and there is no better time than now to make healthy choices for ourselves and our family. But this is no easy task my friends. Not with all the cookie exchanges, party invites and lazy days lounging by the fire.

I absolutely adore fall and the start of winter because it means more excuses to throw parties, spend extra time with loved ones and cook up a storm. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

These very things we are so grateful for during the season can be the very things that leave us 10 lbs heavier at the start of the New Year, tired and in a sugar coma. The holidays have become for many, a time of total and utter indulgence, but I’d like to challenge you to a better way this year.

One that involves YOU feeling fabulous by the start of 2015.

So, how does one conquer the holiday season and come out victorious?

Take a peak at our very FIRST YouTube video for tips to nourish and flourish this holiday season!

Head over to YouTube: CHECK IT OUT HERE!

 

Like what you see? Please, share the love!

Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness products and services! 

The Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to Avoid + Real Food Swaps

Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to AvoidThe more I learn about our food industry, the more I wonder where else I’ve been completely brainwashed and utterly mislead in my life. Our ideas of what makes up a healthy diet and even how much we should be eating each day come to us from government recommendations that have had little to no research behind them with plenty of industry financial backings. Shocking? I know. In high school I was the diet queen. I did everything I heard on the news or read in health magazines. I restricted fat and counted calories. I increased my whole grain consumption and diligently watched my cholesterol intake.

And I was only in high school. 

The funny {and very sad} part is that I was a smidge overweight, had all kinds of digestive issues and never really felt well.

I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. Countless individuals do their best to eat “healthy” by our country’s standards, yet live their lives feeling tired, depressed, bloated and cart around unwanted, excess weight.

Can you relate?

Are the “healthy” foods we have been told to eat {and in abundance} actually making us sick? Let’s explore the top 5 “healthy” foods that may be causing more harm than good {plus a “real food swap” to help you truly feel energized and live well!}.

Top 5 "Healthy" Foods to Avoid {+real food swaps}

  • Fat-free or reduced-fat food items. Dressings, chips, candy, and dairy products are some of the top offenders. When the fat is removed from the product, it is typically replaced with some sort of sugar source to adjust flavor and nutrient content. Not only are these highly processed “Frankenfoods”, but also chalk full of added sugars and chemical additives. 
    • Real food swap: Although demonized for decades, fat is actually good for you and necessary for optimal health. Choose healthy fats from grass-fed animals {think butter, duck fat, beef, etc.}, pastured or organic, free-range eggs, coconut and olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Avoid partially- and fully hydrogenated oils and processed vegetable oils from corn, soy and rapeseed. Here is a great article in Time magazine. 
  • Energy bars. Most energy bars on the market are packed full of sugar, GMO soy, synthetic vitamins, processed fats, and artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners and more! Most people think of energy bars as the perfect fuel for a busy lifestyle. The reality is that they add to our toxic load, energy cashes {think blood sugar roller-coaster} and inflammation.
    • Real food swap: Combine a vegetable or low glycemic fruit {think berries, nectarine, etc.} with a clean protein and/or fat source which will help give you stable, lasting energy and avoid a blood sugar bust. Choose ½ cup organic blueberries and a small handful of raw almonds, an ounce of raw cheese wrapped in organic turkey or ham, or half an avocado with sea salt and a cup of carrots. If you are traveling or in need of something nonperishable, try an Epic bar, Larabar or Raw Crunch bar {Alo Wellness approved brands!}.
  • Multigrain and whole-wheat products. From insulin resistance and gut disorders to obesity and heart disease, wheat products are being linked to a whole host of health issues. If you have not already removed wheat from your diet, I would strongly advice that you consider phasing it out ASAP. Those with a gluten allergy/sensitivity need also be aware of cross-reactivity with gluten-free grains that the body may view as a similar threat.
    • Real food swap: Play with grain-free flours like coconut, almond or hazelnut flour. You can make muffins, bread, tortillas, cookies, cakes and so many more delicious items that are packed full of healthy fats and protein. If these flours intimidate you or you’re dealing with a nut allergy, go back to real food basics: use eggplant cut horizontally as a base for pizza, butter lettuce cups as taco shells and grated cauliflower for a low-carb rice or quinoa alternative.
  • Fruit smoothies and juice. Get this, Jamba Juice’s small Apple ‘N Greens smoothie packs in 60g of total carbs and 45g of sugar and the large contains 100g of carbs and 78g of sugar! That is about what we should be getting in a day, depending on your body and health goals. Smoothies and juices can have some beneficial properties, but the amount of carbs and sugar outweigh their vitamins and mineral content in my humble opinion.
    • Real food swap: Try juicing colorful veggies with half a green apple or lemon and add a teaspoon to tablespoon of melted coconut oil to help balance blood sugar. When making smoothies, use berries for sweetness and always make sure to add good quality fat. Check out my smoothie tips here.
  • Soy. Oh, where to begin? Soy’s popularity has heavy backing by the multi-billion dollar soy industry. Most of the soy in our country is genetically modified, contains anti-nutrients that inhibit digestion of certain minerals and protein and can even irritate the GI tract. You can learn more here and here.
    • Real food swap: If you’re a vegetarian, use sustainably raised animal proteins like pastured eggs, raw milk and cheese and wild fish to add protein and healthy fats to your diet. Choose unprocessed whole foods for meals and snacks and read food labels to avoid soy protein and other soy products. There is soy in more than you'd think. Reading food labels is the best way to avoid it. 

Did I just turn your health knowledge upside down and inside out? Good. That's my job.

May your tummies be filled with nourishing foods and your hearts filled with love.

Shine Bright!

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness seminars! 

Why I Love My Work + Grain-free Zucchini Apple Muffins

photo

Last week, a woman came into my office after being brutally tortured {dramatic, yes} by an RD pushing “healthy” whole grains, margarine and diet drinks. Her food plan looked like a supermarket bread isle with 1-2 servings of grains during 4-6 meals each day. She is insulin-resistant and dealing with some less than desirable thyroid issues. She’s looking for relief, knowledge and empowerment to take charge of her health. I could hear the despair in her voice as she laid out her history and deep desire to feel well.

Unbaked muffinsAmidst her bags of supplements and meds, food journal, paperwork and a stack of Paleo cookbooks, she pulled out two recipes she had printed for me, “that I just HAD to try!” I was so excited that she shared one of her favorites with me, knowing how finding a good recipe, a tasty meal, a new ingredient can make a foodie’s whole day!

My clients are awesome. They come to me, often times desperate for something more than they’re getting from other healthcare providers, looking to change the course of their health. They want to feel better, move better and live fully.

The most rewarding aspect is when they kick-butt and totally rock out whatever crazy awesome protocol I put them on.

They come in astonished by how well they’re sleeping {I even had one guy get mad at me, saying, “How am I supposed to catch up on my TV if I am sleeping through the night!?”}, they’re new-found energy and lack of sugar cravings and how they can’t believe they’re not bloated after meals. They feel good. They feel alive.

I am so thankful for each one of my clients and am inspired by their drive to take action.

Today I wanted to share my version of my client’s recipe, {Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins. Enjoy these nutritious muffins for breakfast with butter or coconut manna or as an afternoon snack. These are also a great for children’s lunches!

photo-1

{Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 cup nut butter {almond, organic peanut butter, sunbutter, etc.}
  • ¼ cup or less raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped {soaked and dehydrated is best!}
  • optional: 1/2 chocolate chips {I like the Enjoy Life brand}

Preheat over to 350°F.

Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or strong paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Place zucchini, apple and carrot in a medium mixing bowl and lightly toss. Add nut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into a lined or greased cupcake pan. I like the If You Can brand, Unbleached Baking Cups or using coconut oil to grease the pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Enjoy!

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness seminars! 

Merry Christmas + Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” {Insert Frank Sinatra voice here}

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and share this delicious + super simple recipe for one of my favorite holiday treats, Peppermint Hot Cocoa.

May you all be blessed beyond belief in the coming year!

Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa + Fresh Whipped Cream

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk (I use raw, full fat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (I used Organics brand, you can also use a few drops of pure peppermint oil)
  • ½ cup heavy cream, preferably raw
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Beat heavy cream and honey with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and chill.

Whisk milk and honey in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in peppermint.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

IMG_5013

Interested in receiving Alo Wellness updates, delicious + nutritious recipes and super awesome nutrition info? Join our mailing list here and get the goods! 

Shine bright my friends!

Justine

The Big Fat Lie

Myth: Fat makes you fat.

Truth: You need fat to burn fat.

The human body NEEDS fat. Fat is one of 3 fuel sources the body can use.

Fat is imperative for:

cellmembrane

  • Healthy cholesterol levels
  • Optimal liver and gallbladder function
  • Healthy hormone balance
  • Cell wall integrity (permeability) {see cell wall illustration above}
  • Production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins

And remember, fat is the main slow burning, long acting fuel. Think glucose = twigs on a fire and fat = logs on a fire. Which would you prefer to keep you warm?

Thus, fats are absolutely necessary for healthy blood sugar regulation and optimal liver/gallbladder function and therefore optimal weight control. Most of my clients initially associate eating fat with gaining fat, but this cannot be further from the truth. I will say that if you increase your healthy fat intake and continue to eat processed carbohydrates and grains, you will most likely gain weight.

Shoot to eliminate all processed forms of carbohydrates and increase you intake of avocado, properly prepared nuts/seeds, organic butter from grass-fed cows, organic virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed flax oil, wild fatty fish, organic grass-fed animals, etc.salmon4

Caveat!

Not all fat sources are created equal. There is a difference in the QUALITY of the fats available to us.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

The difference between a good fat and a bad fat is in the way they are processed, not in the inherent nature of their source. {Exceptions: canola, soy and cottonseed oils – not recommended…ever} “Bad fats” are extracted from their sources using high heat and/or chemical solvents leaving the oils rancid, dead and potentially toxic to the human body. { Check this out - How It's Made- Canola Oil }

The body needs a balance of the various components of saturated and unsaturated fats.

coconutHow do you know the difference between a Good and Bad fat?

When reading food labels (please, read food labels my friends! You will be amazed at what you find…), look for these terms…

Good Fats:

Cold Pressed / Unrefined / Organic / Extra Virgin / Expeller Pressed

Bad Fats:

Hydrogenated / Partially hydrogenated / Cold “processed” (dirty trick!)

Our chose of fats and oils is one of extreme importance. Most people, especially infants and children, benefit from more fat in the diet rather than less, but the fats we eat must be chosen with care. Avoid all processed foods containing newfangled hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils. Instead, use traditional vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil and small amounts of unrefined flaxseed oil (never heat flax oil or any other omega 3 oils.) Acquaint yourself with the merits of coconut oil for baking and smoothies. Eat egg yolks and other animal fats with the proteins to which they are attached making sure to choose organic, grass-fed sources whenever possible. And finally, use as much good quality butter as you like, with the happy assurance that it is a wholesome, (and indeed an essential) food for you and your whole family.

butter-ad

 

Did I just make everyone’s dreams come true?

 

 

Dark Chocolate Coconut Biscotti

I love birthdays. It doesn’t matter if it’s yours or mine, I love everything about them! My mom has always gone out of her way made me feel so special so birthdays give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. This year was a wee bit different. The day I look forward to for most of the year was muffled by the roar of Loma Linda's transition to a new electronic access portal (aka our online charting/scheduling/billing system). The stress level associated with this big move was off the charts and the anticipation leading up to it was hard to handle. And wouldn't you know, "go-live" landed smack dab on my birthday...yipee! I wrote the day off long before it ever arrived. Sad. Day.

I figured I deserved a little something special so I decided to treat myself to one of my favorite morning goodies...grain-free style! Biscotti is delicious dunked in a raw milk cappuccino or along side your favorite hot tea. I have never made biscotti before, but I thought I would test out a recipe using y favorite, almond flour.

Biscotti1

Those of you who attend my monthly Whole Foods Gluten/Dairy/Soy-free cooking class know that almond flour is my go-to grain-free flour. This recipe is easy (as all almond flour recipes tend to be) and can be changed to fit your own flava! I used unsweetened, shredded coconut to boost the nutrient value and dark chocolate…well…because it’s my birthday!

Biscotti3

Dark Chocolate Coconut Biscotti

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼- ½ cup raw honey

2 organic eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

3 cups blanched almond flour/meal (I love Bob's Red Mill or Honeyville brands)

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

Dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

½ c. pecans, chopped

½ c. shredded coconut, unsweetened

Dried fruit (cranberries or raisins), optional

Preheat over to 350. Blend wet ingredients with a hand mixer or KitchenAid until frothy, about 2-3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together almond flour, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients into the wet and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate, pecans and coconut. Form dough into two 9 x 3 inch logs, place on parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Let cool for 1 hour. With a serrated knife, cut logs on a diagonal and place pieces back on parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes, flipping once.

Biscotti2

Allow to cool and proceed by dunking one into your favorite morning beverage!

Remember, I would LOVE to work with you! Find out about the incredible impact nutrition can have on your life! Contact me at alowellnessredlands @ gmail . com to set up your complimentary Health Consult!

Alo Wellness