How to Fight the Smoke from Summer Fires

August in the Pacific Northwest, while beautiful, usually means forest fires. Lots and lots of forest fires. While these are necessary to our area’s ecology, it can be most troublesome for many who have respiratory difficulties… and the rest of us who are so used to breathing the sweet, sweet mountain air. Please remember to keep our wildland firefighters and those displaced by the fires in your thoughts and prayers.

 

There are 8 easy things you can do to protect your family from the smoke exposure.

  1. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and antioxidants help combat free radical damage. Rose hips, lemon or lime water (made with fresh, organic fruit), and acerola cherries are all good sources of Vitamin C. For the rose hips, I like to steep them for 10 minutes in hot water and drink the tea. Vitamin E also helps protect the body from widespread pollution. A good quality tocopherol, NOT one found at a common pharmacy, vitamin shop, and certainly never generic, will be of great benefit. You can find an adequate quality Vitamin E at a natural foods store (ask their specialist for help) or email me for recommendations.
  2. Vitamin B rich foods, such as pasture-raised egg yolks and liver. They will help support the adrenals (along with Vitamin C) in times of increased stress to the body.
  3. Extra fatty acids. I know I talk about the necessity of fatty acids (you should really look into my Restart Program offerings). Increasing them during times of increased pollution will help keep your lungs healthy during smoke exposure. Wild caught fish, flax seeds (raw and ground in a dedicated grinder), coconut oil, extra virgin and cold pressed olive oil, evening primrose oil, chia seeds, and hemp hearts are all good sources.
  4. Cod Liver Oil. Really this one should have been first. It’s one of the first things that I recommend to my clients. A good quality cod liver oil will help supply the perfect balance of Vitamins A and D, which strengthen the immune system, and omega-3 fatty acids, a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. Make sure to take it with a meal for best digestion and absorption.
  5. Mineral Rich Foods. Mineral rich green leafy veggies have never been more important. Okay. That’s a lie. They’re important just about every day. With every meal because they provide us with so many nutrients. Just make sure they’re organic! Homemade bone broth and stocks, made from pasture-raised animals, kelp and brown seaweed, and organ meats all provide wonderful sources of minerals. And, when in doubt, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt in your water (not so much that it tastes like the salt water you would gargle with), will help increase your mineral status.
  6. The Neti Pot. I never said this list was only food based. A neti pot, used properly, will help clean the sinuses of any residue and debris from the smoke, allowing sinus passageways to not be as inflamed. Neti pots can safely be used twice a day during increased pollution to help keep things clean. A plastic neti pot system can be purchased from many local pharmacies, or you can buy a pretty sustainable ceramic pot from your local health food store or co-op.
  7. Water. This should really go without saying but, drinking filtered WATER (no additives) will help keep your body hydrated and provide a way to filter out the toxins. If you find yourself rushing to the bathroom too often, take a look at the salt suggestion in #4.
  8. Rest. As tempting as it might be (and I was tempted today to go for a nice long bike ride), now is not the time to over-exert yourself by training for your couch-to-5k or the next decathlon. Even you morning power walkers and leisure strollers should allow your body the time it needs to rest… which allows your body time to strengthen and heal and detox.

For more answers to questions you may have, please feel free to email me.

 

 

Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

Spring is here! Finally! This winter has been cold, wet, and dreary. Normally, I would consider it a delightfully wonderful winter if you’re a native Northwesterner. But, after months and months and months of hardly seeing the sun here in Seattle, I’m ready for a change in the season. This Raw Beet and Carrot Salad is a wonderful spring detox food… or just a food to support bile flow.

 

Beets provide anti-inflammatory, detox, and antioxidant support. They are also high in minerals and vitamins. Their greens are a wonderful food, too! We like to saute them in pasture-raised ghee and sprinkle truffle sea salt on top prior to serving. For clients with liver and gallbladder issues, beets are usually one of the first foods I ask them to introduce as they help promote healthy bile flow. This salad is a wonderful introductory to the world of beets! As a beginning amount, I usually recommend a forkful per meal and slowly increase from there.

Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

  • 2 Organic Raw Beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 Organic Carrots, scrubbed and shredded
  • Juice of an Organic Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, toss the shredded beets and carrots. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and olive oil together. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the salad. Make a few hours ahead of time and let sit in the fridge in order for flavors to marinade.

Homemade Chicken Broth

*This post contains affiliate links.*

I remember reading my mom’s recipes when I was a little girl. There was a recipe from my Great Grandma Ruth entitled “Bone Soup” and I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Why would ANYONE want to make soup out of bones? There’s no meat on them?! I used to think that my great grandma, who raised 7 children in the hills of southern Oregon was crazy. I mean… who makes soup out of bones? Well, growing up has a way of saying “I told you so” and the simple answer is: Me. I drink a quart or two a day, it is the stuff that gives me energy and has been so instrumental in my healing journey. I use it for all of my soup bases and will add it to casseroles, roasted veggies, mashed veggies. You name it and it’s probably being added to a meal. Incognito style.

Broth is ancient – think Stone Age ancient and go back to the time where organ meats were king. The first soups were made by placing hot rocks in the abdominal pouches of butchered animals in order to slowly cook up mixtures of meat, bone, fat, herbs, wild grains and vegetables. To this day, there is some record of nourishing broth, either oral or written, in almost every culture.

Until the modern invention of mass canning (think Campbell’s and Progresso), many homes had a cauldron or large pot in which they kept broth simmering on the back burner. Even Downton Abbey gave a nod in Season 5 to the importance broth had in by-gone eras with The Dowager Countess (I just love her character) quipping, “every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” While I have no dreams or aspirations of becoming a lady’s maid, I do think that every single person should know how to make a restorative broth. 

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Grapefruit Torte

Fresh citrus in the winter is one of my favorite things. It’s dreary here in Seattle and the cloud cover and constant drizzle, really puts a damper on the mood. It’s no wonder people around here take Vitamin D supplements, fake-and-bake and become snowbirds to beat the winter blues. I’m a fan of Vitamin D and take it daily. (Feel free to send me a message to learn what my favorite brand is.) I’m also a fan of eating happy fruit. I don’t know why, but I consider citrus happy fruit. This breakfast dessert is fantastic. And super easy to make. So easy, in fact, that most people will think you slaved over it when they eat it (which makes it fantastic for a last minute Christmas brunch dessert). When they make those comments, smile sweetly and say “Thank you” – this recipe will be our little secret. Unless you decide to share it with them. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.

If you have never segmented and cleaned a grapefruit, here’s a short little video to help you out. It’s super easy. And looks fantastic. I squeeze the remaining fruit meat and use it to for a second ferment for my kombucha or water kefir. Talk about major yummy!

Grapefruit Torte
Serves: 8            Cook Time: 30 minutes

For the Crust:

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 pasture-raised and organic egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 1 package organic pasture-raised cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche (Trader Joe’s sells it for a reasonable price. If you can’t find it, grass-fed whole fat Greek yogurt will work)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp organic ginger
  • 1 tbsp organic grapefruit zest
  • 3 cups organic grapefruit, peeled and segmented (About 2 grapefruit)
  • Coarse sea salt

To prepare the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. With a fork, sift the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the crust’s wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until incorporated.
  5. Using wetted (with water) fingers, press the dough evenly into a 9-inch pie or tart pan, making sure to cover the bottom and the sides of the pan. If you don’t have a torte pan, use a spring form pan.
  6. Let the crust cool and leave in the pan.

For the torte filling:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, creme fraiche, honey, ginger and grapefruit zest and mix at medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
  2. Spread mixture over crust with a spatula.
  3. Line grapefruit segments on filling to cover.
  4. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over tart, slice and serve immediately.

Fire Cider

My mom first told me about fire cider. I was over at my parents’ house and was complaining about a sore throat. She handed me a bottle of liquid that smelled awful and instructed me to take a teaspoon. She didn’t tell me what was in it. Just to drink it. So I did (because it’s my mom). The taste wasn’t as bad as I thought. But I like garlic. A lot. A few more doses and my sore throat was gone and I was feeling back to my old self.

What was this liquid concoction? Fire Cider. It’s a popular folk remedy, inspired by the work of Rosemary Gladstar (an awesome herbalist from New England), that’s really easy to make. A few key ingredients, a month of sitting, and you have yourself a beverage that’s going to do wonders with either warding off a cold or helping get rid of it at the first signs of illness. And, with looking at all of the ingredients, it’s no wonder it’s called fire cider!

Fire Cider

  • 1/2 cup grated organic ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh organic chopped horseradish root (This will open your sinuses when you chop it – be prepared!)
  • 2 medium organic onions, chopped
  • 10 organic garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 organic jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced thin (and seeded)
  • 1 organic lime, sliced thin (and seeded)
  • 1 organic orange, sliced thin (and seeded)
  • 3 tbsp dried organic rosemary
  • 1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder
  • organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • raw local honey, to taste
  1. Stuff ingredients into a half-gallon jar, putting the roots on the top to hold the roots down below the vinegar line.
  2. Pour organic raw apple cider vinegar over everything, working out air bubbles and submerging everything.
  3. Put a piece of parchment under the lid, if using a metal lid, or use a glass or plastic lid. Store in a dark cool place and shake daily for one month.
  4. After one month, strain out the liquid using a cheesecloth and store in a clean jar. Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the pulp as possible. Add a bit of honey to taste (I usually add no more than 1/4 cup) and stir until incorporated.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for all of winter and take 1 tbsp daily to help boost your immune system and 2-3 tbsp if you start to feel a cold coming on!

 

On Being Grateful

Some of you might read this and wonder how a post on gratefulness really ties in with health and nutrition. Well, trust me. It does.

Exhibiting gratefulness isn’t something that has come naturally to me. It wasn’t that I was ungrateful – quite the contrary! But, showing someone my appreciation for their generosity, no matter how small, isn’t a natural-born quality. For years I had post-it notes around my house with phrases like “Attitude of Gratitude” and “Be Grateful for Today in All Things.” (Yes, that included being stuck in traffic.) They were on my door, on my dresser, on my vanity mirror in the bathroom, above the sink in the kitchen, in my car visor – the list went on and on! I knew this was a handicap to life and that it needed to change.

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Polish Hunter’s Stew

If you’ve never had Polish Hunter’s Stew, known as Bigos, it’s fantastic! Traditionally a winter stew that was made to help pump the lifeblood back into someone (let’s be honest, Polish winters are brutal), you don’t have to be a fan of sauerkraut to enjoy it. The flavors mute while cooking and the result is a fantastic creamy stew that is so so so fantastic, all you want to do is eat and eat and eat. I’ve had worse problems in life than wanting to eat all the bigos. Homemade sauerkraut is best for this dish – I make my sauerkraut by the 2 liter container and weight out how much I need. You can buy sauerkraut for this dish, but make sure it’s a good quality sauerkraut, many of the canned stuff and even the “barrel cured” brands have cruddy additives in it.

This is one stew that really does get better with age. It was about day 3 of leftovers and everything was enhanced and fantastic. Enjoy it the first night and love it a few days in! Either way, here’s a fantastic stew if you find yourself with a superabundance of homemade sauerkraut (not that that ever really happens in my household).

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Common Is Not Normal

We love statistics. Okay, we may not love stats class (I cried my way through it in college), we love looking at statistics. How much alike are we to others? What percentage is voting for whom? Or not voting at all? How many women will get heart disease? Get my drift? Statistics rule our world and help us calculate what risks we may or not take.

But statistics also normalize behavior. And make us think that things that aren’t normal are.

What do I mean? For starters, over the past few decades, the incidence of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) has increased, with women now reporting PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder aka PMS on steroids). Don’t believe me? Ask women who are a few generations older than you. Chances are, they won’t remember being home from school or work for days on end with cramps. We’re told by the medical establishment that most women suffer from some level of PMS. So, all of a sudden, it’s considered a normal side effect of Aunt Flo.

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Probiotic Ketchup

Some people are the ketchup with fries people. And I have yet to understand them. I’ve always been the fries with ketchup person. As in, “Yes. I did just go through half a bottle of ketchup in one sitting, why do you ask?” So when I started becoming more aware of what I was eating in ketchup – high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, additives, “natural flavors” – whatever those mean, MSG, gluten (WHY does gluten have to be in ketchup?!) and random chemicals that even my five hundred courses in biology, chemistry and nutrition didn’t set me up to understand, I knew it was time to look elsewhere.

My first course of action was to buy “safe” ketchup at the store. There are some great brands out there of ready-made ketchup (and the manufacturers don’t use BPA in their bottles, either!  Here’s a few if ready-made is more your cup of tea:

Annie’s Organic Ketchup
Woodstock Farms Organic Ketchup
Nature’s Promise Organic Ketchup
Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Ketchup
Muir Glenn Organic Ketchup

I tend to stay away from Heinz and Hunt’s – I disagree with their use of and support of GMO products and their lobbying against a consumer’s right to know what’s GMO and what’s not GMO. Even though both make an organic line, I just can’t bring myself to support them and take my business elsewhere.

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