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Help reduce exercise-induced inflammation!

“EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!”

We have all heard or said the phrase a million times in our lives.

We all know that produce is good for us, but many people don’t always know “WHY”

I do a lot of research when I am highlighting my favorite foods, and come across many articles that give the information so much better than I could write it.  The following is a portion of one such article written by Trevor Thieme C.S.C.S. A link to Full article below.




… Odds are you, [like many people, have ignored advice to “eat your veggies” at some point or] for even your entire life. Your mom nagged you about eating your broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Your doctor advises you to “eat the rainbow.” And you likely have at least one vegan friend who wants to convert you — or at the very least replace some of the meat in your largely carnivorous diet with plants. Even Michelle Obama has got in on the act, imploring you and every other American to eat more fruits and veggies. And like Murphy (and most other Americans), odds are you don’t listen: Only 1 in 10 people in the United States eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to a report from the CDC.

That’s a problem. “If you’re not eating at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day, you’re not building ‘foundational health,’ which is key for preventing disease and supporting athletic performance,” says Susan Kleiner, PhD, R.D., author of The Powerfood Nutrition Plan. If she had her way, you’d eat eight servings.

While nutritionists have long known about the athletic advantages of increasing protein intake, they’re only just beginning to comprehend the fitness benefits of eating more phytonutrients — bioactive (i.e., body-boosting) compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other “phyto” (plant) foods.

“One of the most exciting benefits of phytonutrients is their strong antioxidant potential, disarming free radicals that wreak havoc in the body,” says Kleiner. “But it’s also bigger than that—scientists are learning that some phytonutrients seem go deep into the genetic matrix, turning on and off genes that protect us from disease development.”

That potential of phytonutrients to bolster the immune system is hugely important for athletes, who often run themselves down through overtraining. “One of the biggest things that holds athletes back is getting sick, and research shows that some phytonutrients can act as prebiotics, stimulating the growth of bacteria in your gut, thus helping to boost immunity,” says Kleiner.

Polyphenols — found in abundance in green tea — are among them, according to Japanese researchers.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of phytonutrients — especially as far as athletes are concerned — is their ability to fight exercise-induced inflammation. “The nature of training is to tear the body down, and the body is extraordinary in its ability to repair and rebuild its tissues to become stronger,” says Kleiner. “But part of that process involves an inflammatory response — inflammatory cells rush to the damaged tissue, heat it up, and begin repairing it.”

If you’ve ever felt sore a couple of days after a tough workout (a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), you’ve felt the inflammatory process at work. A little inflammation is a good thing — it helps your muscles adapt to the demands of training (and you to become more powerful). “But if you don’t have enough anti-inflammatory factors in your body, the inflammation process can proceed unchecked, which can delay recovery,” says Kleiner.

Fortunately, you don’t have to eat every single plant to reap the benefits; you just have to eat a variety of them, according to Kleiner. “And by variety, I mean not only among food groups, but also within food groups,” she says. In other words, while you might love bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard, don’t just eat bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard. Becoming stuck in a dietary routine is just as detrimental as getting stuck in training rut.
Click for suggestions on what to eat to stay out of a food rut


In short, your mom, doctor, and vegan friend were right — you should eat a greater number and variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. “And whenever possible, skip pills for whole foods,” says Kleiner. “There’s a lot we have yet to discover about phytonutrients, but one thing we do know is that they’re more potent when they work synergistically with other nutrients in foods than when they’re taken [and working] alone.”

Click Here for the full article by Trevor Theime C.S.C.S

As always leave your comments and questions here, or on Facebook or Instagram

I will see you on the other side.

Bringing Back the Plant Based Diet

We are now well into the post holiday season.  I have a ton of bone broth stored in my fridge and deep freeze, and now I’m on to my next adventure…bring back the plants!!!!🌱

As a diary free family we have a lot to work around during the holidays and I feel like I’m cooking and baking in all of my spare time, just to keep up with the demands of school, family and sports celebrations.  So I tend to let some of our healthier habits slide, simply because I’m too tired (i.e.:lazy) to keep them up.  One of the things I have let slide is the variety of plant based foods and meals.  Typically we try some new vegetable each month, my kids get to help pick it out and help me find recipes.  Some things we like and add into our regular meals and others, well lets just say my family is opinionated and leave it at that!😂😉

During the holidays, I let that tradition go and resort back to frozen peas, corn and standard mixed veggies and keep carrots and cucumbers in stock, but that’s about it.  So, we still get some serving of veggies, but I’m definitely over it by the end of January.  I star counting the hours until I can plant my garden, spend extra time digging through produce to find the freshest one, and even start pulling out my spring time recipes to kill off some of the cabin fever.

You know me, I love me some research!  I scoured my library for a new take on plant based foods and I’m only 2 chapters in but I’m loving The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer RD.


She has a great take on adding in plants to a standard American diet, achieving a “plant based omnivore” diet and how to transition on the “Plant-Powered Diet Spectrum.”  I love that she covers all facets of food consumption, allowing it to be okay that you consume meat and animal products, go completely vegan, or find a comfortable place inbetween.  She give healthy alternatives to the processed foods that we have become accustomed to.  I have flipped through the recipes in the back and have 3 on my list for this upcoming week!

She also has a great pantry resource. This was, by far, my favorite thing in the book.  Many people assume that to eat a plant based Diet you have to go to the store multiple time each week to get the freshest ingredients, and who has time for that?!?!  Most of the things on her list are things I make at home or I can buy with my Amazon Pantry account and have them delivered, SCORE!

There is even a 14-Day meal plan for newbies!!

Just to be clear, I’m not an affiliate for this book or author, I just love sharing great resources that I find work well for myself and my family. But I do give credit where is due!  Here’s Sharon’s blog sharonpalmer.com check her out!

  I have always noticed a huge shift in personality with both of my kids when we eat better, and I have found that I can handle their drama better when I have a better diet. Simple things like being a regular bathroom user💩 can actually have an affect on how your brain works!😱. When your body is a toxic waste dump and it can’t get rid of the waste your body begins to reabsorb the toxins! And that’s just one benefit of simply adding more whole plants into your diet, imagine what else will start to fix itself when your body is working properly!!! 

That’s all I have for now!  See you on the other side!

Turkey Bone Broth!

Alright!  It has begun!  My first Bone Broth recipe from the Bare Bones Broth Cookbook by Katherine and Ryan Harvey.

I am rocking the turkey bones left over from Thanksgiving.  I am extremely excited because my kitchen smells amazing and I don’t even have all of the ingredients in yet.

This broth will get immediate use. We are in the midst of holiday productions in my home, including school and dance shows all falling in the same week, beginning this weekend.  We are experiencing longer nights and earlier mornings just keeping up with the schedule. I am excited to have the immune boosting power at my fingertips to keep us all healthy, and frankly to stave off hangriness during our long days!

The first hour has me skimming fat and “scum” off the top!   Yummy!

As this is a time intensive process I will add a new blog post during each phase.  This is (almost) real time people!!!

See you on the other side!!!

Back in Action with Bone Broth!!

I’ve been MIA from the blog taking care of some family priorities!😉

Now I’m back at it and really diving into Bone Broth this round.

Many people think of Broth or stock as the meat flavored liquid that comes in a box and you make soup with.  The truth is it (kind of) is and can be So. Much. More!

It is one of THE simplest things to make from scratch too.  You throw your ingredients in a pot add some good, clean, filtered water and let it simmer!! Done!

Just to give a shout out I am referencing The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook by Katherine and Ryan Harvey.

Yes! that is a chicken foot you see on the cover!

I make Bone broths a few time a year in big batches and then freeze them for when I need them.  I try to reference a new and updated book when I do. I am a nerd and love the science behind things, and  food science is HUGE and ever changing right now. So this is my book of choice fresh from the library! 📚

Bone broth can help support very common health conditions like digestion, asthma, diabetes, joint injuries, colic, osteoarthritis, RA, inflammation, and the list goes on. Bonus!

It is also a sustainable way to consume food.  By using local suppliers and also using parts of the animal that are typically discarded we are supporting responsible and sustainable food pathways. Double Bonus!

This book goes through the many health benefits in more detail and it also has a chapter on Broth 101 to help you get the basics down if you are new to this adventure!

I am very excited too because this book explains how to use a crock pot to make the Broth over a longer period of time.  To get the most nutrient value out of Bone Broth it should simmer it for at least 24 hours. This is one thing I have never done out of fear of leaving my stove on over night or while I’m away.  The longest I have gone is 8-10 hours (if I was prepared enough to start early!😉). I can’t wait to try the slow cooker method!😍

Another great benefit of making Bone Broth at home is that you know what’s in it!! Many commercial broths/stocks have preservatives and MSG in them. Neither is something you want to consume.

As you know I have kids with food allergies and my own body does NOT appreciate it when I consume certain things. We eat as clean as possible while still living in a kids-go-to-school-with-a-birthday-party-every-other-day world 🌎 

I do my best, as many other parents who work with food allergies and sensitivities, to keep my kids as included as possible when it comes to food.  I love the idea that I have another tool in my belt to help prepare (or recover) their digestive system from something that doesn’t agree with their system.  They are both becoming very active in sports and this same tool can help them train, improve and recover better than any sports pill/powder/drink out there.

The nutrition we can get just from consuming Bone Broth is crazy!

  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Glucosamine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Chondroiton Sulfate
  • Electrolytes
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Silicon
  • Collagen
  • Gelatin
  • Amino Acids

It is definitely with the effort!!

I am getting my shopping list ready and I’ll let you know how my first ever batch of crockpot Bone Broth turns out!!

Hay Bale Garden – Post Vacation

So I started out this gardening season with an experiment using hay bales instead of pots or a raised bed.  After some research I found that the idea behind using the hay bales was because they hold water well and will keep the plants hydrated even on extremely hot days. I also read that the root system would be stronger due to the ease of growth for the roots through the hay.

It has been an interesting adventure for sure. We had a cold front come through late May that was unexpected and I lost all my seedlings. Then round 2 seedlings were planted into June, well after frost, only to be taken by a cute little rabbit that has taken residence in a field behind our house.🙄🐰

Third time was a charm for me!  All my seedlings went in just fine, and I was able to use my dogs’ hair around the bales to prevent the rabbits from getting to the plants again.

As my plants took root and grew I was excited to see if they would make it through my next challenge…family vacation.

We were gone for two weeks total and I didn’t ask anyone to check on the plants or water them.  I wanted to see if the theory that the bales would hold water well and allow the plants to grow even in a drought situation.

I was pleasantly surprised at the results I came home to…

With the exception of two plants, all of my plants survived and I even had a couple surprises too!

Broccoli plants growing well even with some caterpillar munching


Corn is looking a little droppy, but still growing


cucmbers are ready to go even if a little light. They were shaded by the zucchini leaves.


Speaking of zucchini, these got huge! I clearly missed a couple before we left

our biggest zucchini is as long as my son’s leg!


The only this I am working on bringing back is my tomato plant. It was in a pot that had a well in the bottom to give it continuous water. The pot blew over and  the well drained. I’m not giving up on it yet though. There is still plenty of green to give me hope, and this plant has been a strong one. It is actually a clipping from our plant last year. It broke off an my 5 year old asked if we coule put it in a vase of water. Little did I know that over the winter it would develop an amazing root system and then take to being replanted in the spring!🍅 Tomatoes are the best!


I can’t wait for the recovery of this guy!
Til next time!

Teen Athlete Nutrition – Topic 2 – Food Timing

Food timing has been a hot topic for as long as I can remember.  Most people think of “game day” when they consider food timing, which is important, but timing your food on a daily basis can actually help your body prepare for your game day.  I actually found very little research available for basic food needs for teens/teen athletes. So here’s an average from a couple different sources as to what kids should be getting in on a daily basis.


So here’s my opinion; eating clean on a regular basis is the most important way to train your body to use the nutrients you give it.  Your body will learn to anticipate when you are going to feed it and your hunger mechanism will begin to function properly. 

Unfortunately, we  now have food available all the time and everywhere.  Food is packaged to last outside of a fridge, in our gym bags and backpacks. This has been a lifesaver for many a busy person, but we have come to rely on these products as food replacements so we don’t have to cook or because we are convinced we don’t have time to prepare food.  These products are loaded with preservatives (i.e.: sugar, sodium, and other unpronounceable ingredients) and many of the ingredients have been processed down so much we don’t actually get any nutritional value, causing us to reach for more food. We have, as a society, stopped listening to our internal “hunger clock.”  The problem with this is our body only begins digesting when we stop chewing food.  Our digestive system does not multitask, when the stomach is working the intestines are not, and it takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to digest a meal completely (everyone is different). So, if you start eating before the previous meal is done digesting, your body stops focusing on the intestines and moves back to the stomach, leaving the undigested food rotting on its own in your gut😖 that’s a pleasant picture isn’t it?!  

With this in mind, make sure that your regular snacks/meals are no closer together than about 2 hours.  If you feel hungry before that time try drinking water. When your body is dehydrated, it will do whatever it takes to get you to consume something with fluids to rehydrate.

Bottom line, get good food in every day! Train your body to crave good nutrient rich foods that will help with performance on and off the field.

As for game day, this includes days when you will be practicing or training for 2+ hours, you can load your body with energy that will give you your best performance and keep you from getting hangry after the game or practice.

4-5 hours before the event: heavy meal

  • Get in  whole grains, vegetables, a small amount of protein and good fats
  • Ex: whole grain pasta with roasted squash and sweet potato and 4 ounces of grilled chicken

2-4 hours before event: light meal

  • Small amount of whole grain carbs and raw veggies, protein and fruit
  • Ex: PBJ or turkey sandwich or a leafy green salad with kidney beans and tons of veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper

1/2 – 1 hour before event: light snack

  • Green and cruciferous  veggies (broccoli, cauliflower) and ranch dip ( DO NOT use low fat, there’s a ton of chemicals and sugar😡)

Post Event (within two hours): Recovery

  • Plant based proteins, these are easier to digest and help the muscles recover faster. Fruit to replace natural sugar stores and if the event lasted 2+ hours a sports drink or coconut water to replenish electrolytes.

It should go without saying that you should be getting water in with all of these meals.  A good rule of thumb is to get half your body weight in ounces everyday, just for basic life functions. Once you start adding in additional exercise you want to increase you water intake. I usually do about 12 ounces per hour of intense exercise.  Just remember to listen to your body and drink water when you are thirsty.  And to keep from feeling like you are drowning and peeing every five minutes😰 drink a couple sips of water every 10 minutes or so.

Remember to always check with your primary care doctor before making and major changes to your eating lifestyle!
Till next time!!

Healthy Cupcakes!!! WHAT!!😱

I have been drinking Shakeology for 2 years now, and LOVE it!

I have tried a few recipes with Shakeology in it. Like Tony Horton’s Shakeology Balls (yes, they are a thing! Google it!😉)

With 2 kids allergic to dairy, I’m always looking for sweet treats that are quick and simple to make. Cause I get to make them from scratch😁 always!!

Searching for something completely different I came across this recipe from Christa Briggs. It sounded amazing so I decided on a whim, “I’m so making these tonight!”

Because it’s me, I altered the recipe a bit strictly because I didn’t have all the ingredients. So check the link for the original recipe. Mine is below.

Double Chocolate Shakeology Cupcakes

  • 1 c Pamela’s gluten free flour (a staple in my house from Costco)
  • 1 c Vegan Chocolate Shakeology or other Vegan Chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c honey/agave
  • 1/2 c cooled coffee
  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2T coconut or grapeseed oil
  • 3 eggs

I did not have applesauce so I added one more egg and 1-2 Tbsp almond milk to thin the mix a bit. Mine was a little dry and thick.  I got it to just wetter than a brownie mix. My 7 year old also suggested using sweetened almond milk “because the sugar is already in it and we don’t have to put more in.”🤔 I agree and wish she wasn’t so much smarter than me😆

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl beat wet ingredients together with hand mixer or standing mixer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour wet into dry and beat until completely smooth. (This is where I discovered mine was thick and added some more almond milk)

    Notice the halo surrounding this heavenly mixture!

  4.  Scoop into lined muffin cups or spray the pan well

    I got a little crazy with the scoop

  5. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until cooked thru. 

    Crazy Looking and DELICIOUS!

 You can add a tsp of nut butter in the center just before baking, because really, who doesn’t LOVE chocolate and nut butter?!?!
These are not overly sweet. If you like your cupcakes sweeter add more honey/agave. I would also venture to do a stronger coffee or use instant coffee to enhance the mocha flavor.

Or, just go for it and use peanut butter as your frosting

Workout and Nutrition Basics for Teen Fitness

This post gives great tips for teens who workout or are looking to start working out.  Just remember that fitness and nutrition go hand in hand for all athletes, but are especially important for teens because they are still growing.  Getting good sources of plant proteins and plant based calcium is crucial for strength and recovery, they are also easier to digest than animal sources.  I’ll put a list of great sources at the end of the article. 

5 Tips for Fitness Minded Teens 

1. Don’t do chest exercises everyday.  Or any single large muscle group exercise everyday for that matter.

2. Learn muscle balance.  Train all muscle groups, this will allow your body to work effectively on and off the field.

3. Focus on breathing.  Breathing on the exertion part of the exercise helps with effective movement.

4. Follow great biomechanics.   POSTURE MATTERS!  Unless you are training with a trainer with a sport specific exercise, use the 90 degree rule.

5. Don’t go super heavy on weights.  Sport specific exercises might require heavier weights, but work with a trainer if you are going to lift heavy. Body work exercises can be very effective training too.

 For a Full article on these 5 tips visit www.activekids.com .  

Some great sources for plant protein are:

  • Lentils
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp seeds
  • Spirulina

There is a great article from Www.NutritionStripped.com giving details on these and more plant based proteins. 

Here are some great Plant based calcium sources:

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • Book Choy
  • Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • Almonds
  • Sea Vegetables
  • Quinoa

Check out the details of these foods from www.youngandraw.com

 I also want to clarify why I talk so much about plant proteins and plant based calcium versus animal proteins and calcium, before anyone has a 😫 hissy fit 😉. I assume that, unless you are living a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle you are getting plenty of animal protein/calcium sources.  I believe that as a society we get too many animal products in our diets in general.  (that is coming from someone who eats a fairly “paleo” styled diet) We need to get more plants in anyway so we might as well get in the most nutrient dense ones.  I’m all about getting the most bang for your buck!🤑

Hay Bale Garden 2

So I told you I’m going to try a hale bale garden this year because we are renting our house and I can’t plant a garden and of course I like to be difficult!  Why plant in the pots you already have when you can try something new, right?!? 😉 My husband loves it!

After going through The Idiots Guide to Hay Bale Gardening it takes about 2 weeks to prep the bales, which is about the same amount of time for most of my seedlings to come up.  And with a possible frost this weekend or early next week I decided to wait until we got back from our Spring Break trip to get started.  It is a simple prep though; 1 Cup of 10-10-10 all purpose fertilizer on completely saturated hay bales every other day for 2 weeks.  The first week seems pretty simple, at about day 8 though you have to start paying attention to the internal temperature of the bale, because it is basically decomposing in a controlled fashion.

I have enough space for cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and just because the book said it should sustain corn, I got some of those seeds too!  Second Harvest also sent me a packet of carrot seeds to grow and donate!

I like the Burpee brand of seeds, I have never had any trouble with seeds growing and they are non-GMO and to my knowledge not affiliated with some big takeover seed companies that will remain nameless here!😉. I buy Organic as much as possible and use as much compost as possible to keep the veggies I grow at home as clean as possible.

  

5 Simple Clean Eating Tips