My bags are packed...wellll...maybe not quite, though I am about to head off on an adventure...but not without checking in with the Nourish Newsletter readers first to leave you some food for thought while I am away...
As the summer starts to heat up, remember to have FUN - to listen to your body, get outside to soak up some Vitamin D (check out this great resource from EWC on the safest sunscreens), try a new activity, smile, hydrate, enjoy the fruits and vegetables of the season (check out some of the local farmer's markets from last month's newsletter!)
When I return in July, I'll be excited to share insights from my travels - and fun seasonal, local foods I sample along the way...not to mention some fun new offerings as I'll be returning from AcroYoga teacher training.
AcroYoga is a practice that combines yoga, acrobatics and thai massage. It is a partner practice (as in not an individual practice, but you don't need to have a partner to participate - you work with lots of different people as you practice), and it just lights me up - it regularly takes me to my edge, and yet it makes me smile and completely fills me with joy. I've learned so much from this practice and community and I look forward to spreading the love!
Now that's food for thought...what lights you up??
How happy can I be?
How good can my life get?
I recently participated in a retreat where one of my teachers posed these questions to the group. She shared that she challenges herself with these questions regularly and as a result is really learning just how much happiness and joy is available to her if she is open to it.
This really struck a chord for me. I realized that in the process of trying to minimize emotions of sadness, anger and fear, many of us can also miss the abundant potential for happiness, joy and love.
For some reason, it can often feel more comforting, or even somehow safer,, to settle in to the negative, to expect the worst, to embrace good enough.
I challenge you to take a minute to sit with these questions:
"How happy can I be?"
"How good can my life get?"
How does it feel to think about that?
Let it expand so you can start to see the potential.
Can you feel the possibilities?
Do you start to physically feel the joy? Or do you feel anxious?
I want to remind you that not only are you 100% worthy of being fully, wonderfully deliriously happy, it is indeed your right and you primary responsibility.
This is not only for you, but for the greater good.
Happiness is contagious.
So don't hold back your happiness. And don't block your potential for happiness. Embrace it, and share it!
What brings you joy and happiness?
Share the joy and spread the happiness by sharing on the Nourish Facebook page!
Does the thought of this all sound somewhat overwhelming? I hear you - Give me a shout - I can support you in discovering and embracing the best nourishment for you - from food to lifestyle choices.
I'll meet you where you are and help you take manageable steps to successfully get where you want to be!
I hope you can excuse the awful photo and see beyond my photography skills to understand how yummy this recipe is.
It is a great way to incorporate whole grains AND seasonal veggies and it can be made vegan, vegetarian, or you can add in ground meat, sausage, chicken, seafood...whatever floats your boat! So play around with it and enjoy!
- 2 zucchini - blanch in boiling water for about 3-5 minutes to par cook. Cool in ice water so that you can touch. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the middles. Chop middles and reserve.
- cooked millet or quinoa or brown rice...or whatever other grain you have available - I'd say a couple of cups
- chopped veggies of your choice - I love to do onions or shallots, a little garlic, mushrooms, cauliflower and tomato (along with the chopped zucchini middles) - about 2- 3 cups total
- saute chopped veggies in a little olive oil or sesame oil (you can also saute up some meat if you choose before adding in the veggies)
- mix in cooked grain
- here I like to toss in some salt, pepper and some Parmesan cheese if you're not going vegan (about 1/2 cup)
- place zucchini halves in a baking dish
- spoon the veggie/grain mixture into the zucchini halves until overflowing and you use up all the mixture
-bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes - until zucchini is fork tender.
The WHOLE Truth
Whole grains, whole wheat, white whole wheat, 100% whole wheat, made with whole grains...man, food labels are really confusing!
With such robust access to information these days, it is actually even easier to get confused. And food product marketers aren't afraid to take advantage of this confusion by using buzzwords on their packaging to grab your attention. They know you're trying to make healthier choices, but in many cases they are making it even more challenging to actually make well-informed selections!
Well let's see if we can't simplify that a little when it comes to whole grains.
A whole grain consists of three parts, bran (outer covering), the germ (the embryo of the seed) and the endosperm (the starchy part that envelopes the germ). Refined grain products remove the germ and bran - which is where most of the nutrients are.
Some will add those nutrients back in, but, at the risk of repeating myself, I need to say, this is not ideal. The nutrients in this case are not as available to our bodies to use, and you just can't rebuild nature quite like this. While modern science is really quite spectacular and mind-blowing, and we get closer and closer to deeper understanding, mother nature still has some secrets on us, and we have yet to find that magic ingredient in each natural, whole food that makes the processed version as healthful and nutrient rich as the original.
With whole grains you are getting a carbohydrate package rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, hormones, and hundreds of other phytochemicals. This stuff is good for you - it is energy (calories) with value and many studies show that whole grans contribute to these health benefits:
Refined grains not only eliminate the bulk of the nutrients, but they also digest much faster and hit your bloodstream as glucose much quicker. This results in energy spikes and crashes that most of us would really rather avoid!
- Help prevent constipation
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
- Offers protection against some forms of cancer
- Helps protect from developing type 2 diabetes
What are Whole Grains?
This is not an exhaustive list - but a selection to keep your eye out for at your local market or health food store. Try a new one this month and let me know what you think!
- Brown rice
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Whole-wheat pasta or couscous
- Wheat berries
- Wild rice
What about Packaged Foods (bread, crackers, cereal, pasta, etc.) How do I make informed choices at the supermarket?
One way is to look for The Whole Grains Council Whole Grain Stamp. The 100% Stamp assures you that a food contains a full serving or more of whole grain in each labeled serving and that ALL the grain is whole grain. The basic Whole Grain Stamp appears on products containing at least half a serving of whole grain per labeled serving.
The second way is to ignore the flashy claims on the package and go straight for the ingredient list. If the first ingredient listed contains the word "whole" (such as "whole wheat flour" or "whole oats"), it is likely - but not guaranteed - that the product is predominantly whole grain. If there are two grain ingredients and only the second ingredient listed is a whole grain, the product may contain as little as 1% or as much as 49% whole grain.
If there are several grain ingredients, the situation gets more complex. For instance, let's say a "multi-grain bread" is 30% refined flour and 70% whole grain. But the whole grains are split between several different grains, and each whole grain comprises less than 30% of the total.
The ingredients might read "Enriched white flour, whole wheat, whole oat flour, whole cornmeal and whole millet" and you would NOT be able to tell from the label whether the whole grains make up 70% of the product or 7% of the product. What? So - not a ton of clarity. Bottom line here - as much as you can - go for products where the first ingredient is a whole grain product!
If you're drawn to the more prominent claims on the packaging, here are some guidelines to help you decipher those: Many whole grain products will list the grams of whole grain somewhere on the package, or say something like "100% whole wheat." You can trust these statements. But be skeptical if you see the words "whole grain" without more details, such as "crackers made with whole grain." The product may contain only miniscule amounts of whole grains.
I borrowed this fun list from The Whole Grains Council:
|Words you may see on packages||What they mean |
- whole grain [name of grain]
- whole wheat
- whole [other grain]
- stoneground whole [grain]
- brown rice
- oats, oatmeal (including old-fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal)
|YES -- Contains all parts of the grain, so you're getting all the nutrients of the whole grain.|
- wheat flour
- durum wheat
- organic flour
- multigrain (may describe several whole grains or several refined grains, or a mix of both)
|MAYBE -- These words are accurate descriptions of the package contents, but because some parts of the grain MAY be missing, you are likely missing the benefits of whole grains.|
- enriched flour
- degerminated (on corn meal)
- wheat germ
|NO -- These words never describe whole grains.|
One additional thought on whole grains - while whole grain breads, crackers, pasta, etc. do deliver the nutritional benefits of the whole grain, be mindful of making these types of items your only source of whole grains. The grains are still processed (into flour, etc.) and there can also be digestive and energy benefits from consuming the whole grain itself as you would brown rice, quinoa, etc.
Ready to kick-start your healthy habits? This is exactly the kind of work I do with my clients, I'll help you navigate the supermarket shelves, create shopping lists that feed your body and soul, and help you find your ideal balance and learn to listen to what your body needs and how you can answer that call with solutions that fit your lifestyle.
So don't be shy, give me a call or email to set up your complimentary nutritional power session to see how I can support and guide you in finding more energy and happiness then you knew you could have!