100 Day Gelatin Challenge Q & A

This challenge is EASY!
Truly, this can be as easy as you want to make it. Collagen hydrolysate is a tasteless, textureless, odorless powder that is easily mixed into anything. Yes, anything – water, applesauce, soup, scrambled eggs, coffee… Plus, it travels easily. It’s light-weight. Kids won’t even know it’s there. How can it get any better than that?

OK, I know this statement isn’t going to quell all concerns and since I have been approached by a number of people wanting to participate in this Challenge but hesitant due to questions about moving forward I will be addressing some of these very questions and concerns below.

At any point, throughout the Challenge, please feel free to continue to ask any questions or state any concerns in the comments section on any relevant post or on the Facebook group page – 100 Day Health Challenge – Glorious Gelatin.

Q & A

Q: I’ve been making bone broth and consuming 1 cup a day. I’m not sure I can consume 3 cups of it every day. Can I still participate in this Challenge?

A: YES, absolutely! The guidelines in Take the 100-Day Gelatin Challenge! state that one is to consume ½ – 1 cup broth three times a day – OR- 1 tablespoon gelatin or collagen hydrolysate three times a day. This is set as an “ideal”. I would like to encourage participants to strive toward this amount for more optimal nourishment and benefit. Of course, there is still benefit to consuming 1 cup a day of bone broth, just as there is still benefit to consuming one tablespoon of gelatin a day. It stands to reason that taking the suggested amounts within the Challenge guidelines will likely result in more noticeable benefits over the course of the Challenge.
In addition, if consuming 3 cups of broth a day feels daunting, remember that you can substitute the gelatin (gummies, jello, desserts, breads, etc.) or collagen at anytime. 

Q: If I participate in the Challenge does that automatically enter me in the contest to win the prizes?

A: In short, NO. Participation in the Challenge is one part of being eligible for the contest.  Anyone can participate. In order to be eligible to be entered to win one of the prizes, you need to fill out and return the forms provided (100 Day Progress Assessment and Informed Consent and Disclaimer) to marissaworkowski@gmail.com or message me for snail mail address to send paper forms.
I apologize that the forms are not in writeable pdf format, I am still learning the tricks of the trade.
Important Note: Please fill out the forms prior to December 1st to get record of your baseline symptoms and state of health. This is for your benefit as much as mine, as this provides a way for you to track your progress throughout the course of the Challenge. Copies of the initial assessment and consent forms are to be sent via email or snail mail to enter you into the contest. (Please keep a copy for yourself). You will be filling out the Progress Assessment form again mid-way through the Challenge (day 49-50), and at the end of the Challenge (day 100-101), where again, they are to be sent via email or snail mail to ensure completion of the Challenge. I will post reminders at Two Sisters and on Facebook.

Q: What if I miss a day? Does this disqualify me?

A: It’s OK to miss a day, occasionally. You won’t be disqualified. Life can be unpredictable and sometimes our flow gets disrupted. It’s understandable that you might miss a day, or one days ‘dosage’ might be more lean. I encourage you to strive for every day adherence. New habits take a while to form (some experts say 21-28 days), so be diligent.
If accountability is your challenge, try checking in on the Facebook group page and asking a question or sharing a success. Better yet, find a Challenge buddy, someone who will do the Challenge alongside you and you can be accountable to one another.
If you are participating fully in the Challenge and have sent in your forms to enter in the contest and find yourself struggling to keep up with a consistent ‘dose’ or you start missing more days, please make note of this in the comments section on your Progress Assessment form. Again, you won’t be disqualified for this. It simply assists me as I go over your pre- and post-Challenge forms.

Q: Why are you collecting our Progress Assessment forms?

A: I am not a scientist, nor am I a medical doctor. True and True. So why would I want your forms? While this is certainly not anything truly scientific, I would like to see what kind of results people are getting. One hundred days is a solid chunk of time for someone to dedicate to one specific healthy daily addition. I believe we may just see some wonderful and maybe unexpected shifts for some of you. Also, I would love to potentially use some of these findings as “testimonials” as I move forward in my new business venture. What business venture, you ask… well, I can’t say just yet as it is still in the infancy stage, but I am working on a business plan, something in the nutrition field.

Q: How flexible is the Challenge in regard to amounts of gelatin consumed in a day?

A: This is similar to a question above, but there are a few more things I can add here. You are welcome to try consuming more gelatin in a day. Studio Time Out hosted a gelatin challenge some time ago and state “For more intense leaky gut healing and reduction of inflammation, consider taking up to 7 tablespoons a day, for a week.” While I haven’t found any science to back this one up, it may be worth a try for those with more serious inflammation. It’s a judgment call on your part though.
If you are going to adjust the amount you consume throughout the Challenge, please keep in mind that consistency is important. If you choose to do 1 tablespoon of gelatin or 1 cup of broth a day, try to stick to that throughout. If you choose to do one week at 7 tablespoons a day and then reduce to 3 tablespoons a day for the remaining days of the Challenge, take note of that in your Progress Assessment and try to stay consistent. This helps in determining your success and analyzing your results.

Q: With the holidays upon us, I know I will be traveling. How can I keep up with the Challenge while I am away?

A: Purchase a container of the collagen hydrolysate. This is the easiest form to take. It is tasteless, textureless, odorless, and mixes into anything. Truly! Mix it in your water, coffee, tea, food… anything!
You can put the collagen in a smaller container for travel. If you are flying, you might want to consider at least labeling it, in case TSA gives you a hard time about it.

Hopefully this answers some of the questions you have had floating around in your head. Again, please feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page if there is something still niggling away inside you. I look forward to embarking on this journey with you. Only a few short days away!

Side Note:
I wanted to share this article again, because I believe it has some important points in it. Please take a moment to go over and read it.
Butter Nutrition – What You Don’t Know About Gelatin May Hurt You – 5 Things You Need To Know

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30+ Ways To Incorporate Gelatin Into Your Daily Diet

With only 4 more days until the start of The 100 Day Gelatin Challenge, I wanted to motivate and inspire you all with some great ways to incorporate gelatin into your diet. I believe that in order to cultivate healthy habits, we need to have fun while doing it. Here are some easy, fun, and tasty ways to obtain your daily dose.

Remember, I am participating in this challenge right along with you. I have not yet tried the recipes I am providing links for below. We will be experimenting together, so please feel free to share your experience, either in the comments below or on the group page on Facebook – 100 Day Health Challenge – Glorious Gelatin.
I am super excited to try some of these! Let’s go!

THE SIMPLEST WAY: Stir 1 tablespoon of collagen hydrolysate into a large glass of cold water and drink. (Note: If you use straight gelatin, you will want to drink it up all at once. Don’t let it sit and don’t sip it, or it might gel and you’ll be swallowing a big glob of water… sounds delicious doesn’t it?!)

THE BEST WAY to obtain gelatin, in my opinion, is to make your own homemade bone broth. I will add, I completely understand that it is unrealistic of me to think that everyone of you will be able to make bone broth on a consistent enough basis to be able to consume the amounts I am encouraging you to during this challenge. Heck, I’m pretty sure I won’t even be able to keep up with the demand with the pace of my life at present either. So, I encourage you to get a bottle of collagen hydrolysate and/or gelatin. It is always handy to keep a jar on hand, and it’s much easier to travel with.

Here are some Not So Obvious Ways to get your gelatin:

Smoothies – Add 1 tablespoon of gelatin to smoothie in place of a protein powder
Superfood Smoothie Mix – Gnowfglins
Brain Power Smoothie
– Wellness Mama

Add To Coffee or Tea – great instructions over at Oh Lardy!

Snacks (go easy on the marshmallows, they dole out a heavy dose of sugar along with that great gelatin.)
Marshmallow Fluff
Peppermint Marshmallows
Kombucha Jello
Herbal Tea Gummies

DIY Vitamins
Immune Boosting Elderberry Jigglers – Rooted Blessings
Homemade Vitamin C Gummies
 – Eat Play Love More
Kefir & Fruit Gelatin Dessert – Real Food RN
Healthy Gummies for Cold, Flu & Sleep
 – Real Food RN
I have tried making these with probiotics (powder from capsules) and magnesium powder (Natural Calm) and found both to be quite awful. So I am looking forward to trying some more natural means of getting the probiotics and vitamins.

Soups and Stews 
How To Thicken Soup With Gelatin – Everyday Life

Sauces and Gravies 
Jellied Cranberry Sauce (just in time for Thanksgiving!)

Simple Demi-glace
Homemade Bouillon

Panna Cotta – Nourishing Joy (Here are countless other flavor possibilities)
Crustless No Bake Cheesecake – Coconut Mama
Allergy Friendly Chocolate Custard – Gnowfglins
Silky Banana Bread Bites – 20 Something Allergies
Superfood Chocolate Pudding Cups – Health Starts In The Kitchen
Trifle Cakes – Strands Of My Life
Egg Nog Pudding – The Grass Fed Girl (great for the Holidays!)

Nourishing Joy had these great tips:

  • Add it to homemade whipped cream to help it hold shape better – Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water (per quart of whipping cream), warm over low heat until fully dissolved, then when the cream begins to hold soft peaks, drizzle it in while whipping and continue whipping until the cream holds firm peaks.
  • Add it to Homemade Ice Cream, which also helps it not become so rock hard in the freezer. Soften 2 teaspoons of gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water (for the standard recipe that makes 1 quart of ice cream), warm over low heat JUST until fully dissolved, then whisk it into the ice cream mix prior to churning. (I actually like to use a blender to mix the ice cream ingredients anyway, and this makes adding gelatin all the easier.)

5-Ingredient Paleo Banana Pancakes – Paleo Gone Sassy
Raw Milk Yogurt – Kitchen Stewardship

Miscellaneous Kitchen Creations
Grain-Free Sandwich Wraps – Real Food Outlaws
Grain-Free Butternut (or Sweet Potato) Flatbread – Empowered Sustenance
Paleo Pizza Crust With Green Plantain – Collagen Queen
Egg-Replacer – The Curious Coconut

Health & Home
Skin Mask – While gelatin is most effective when used internally, and collagen is said to be too large to be absorbed by the skin, it still seems to help smooth and strengthen the skin. Here’s another tip from Wellness Mama: Mix 1 tablespoon gelatin with 2 tablespoons warm water and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and apply to face. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.
DIY Pore Strips – The Crunchy Moose
Liquid Lullaby Sleep Tonic – Real Food Girl: Unmodified
Hair Treatment: I am really curious to try this out after reading Wellness Mama‘s post. She said this is an intensive conditioning and strengthening treatment.
To make, carefully whisk 1 tablespoon of gelatin into 1/2 cup of room temperature water until well mixed. Add 1/2 cup warm/hot water, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and 1-2 teaspoons of honey to create a thick gel/liquid. Pour into hair and massage through hair and scalp. Leave on for at least 5 minutes and rinse with warm/hot water. Shampoo as normal. (It is suggested to do this up to a few times a week to get desired hair thickness/strength and then once a week for maintenance.)  

For those of you wanting to support your children’s health, here is a great article for you:
How to Sneak Extra Nutrition into Your Kids – Divine Health 

For 80 More Ways to use Gelatin, head over to Delicious Obsessions or click on the link provided.

There you have it, more than 30 ways to get started incorporating more gelatin into your daily diet. Have fun with it! And please feel free to share some of your favorite ways to consume gelatin in our comments section below.

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Take the 100-Day Gelatin Challenge!

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As we move into this holiday season, I thought I would give myself the gift of health. I admit it’s a little daunting. Thanksgiving and Christmas are probably the most food-rich celebrations. This is about the time of year that I start hearing people say things like, “I’ll start that January 1st “ or “That’ll be my new year’s resolution”. Well I’m saying, why not create a new tradition and start ringing in the end of the year with good health!

I’m going to share with you an easy way to get started. I thought it would be fun to host a health challenge over the next 100 days; something we can all benefit from.

I have taken gelatin in the form of bone broth and collagen hydrolysate sporadically for some time as part of my daily health regimen. Lately, I have been seeing more and more articles on bone broth and the many health benefits of gelatin. I started thinking that I need to give this a better go and start consuming gelatin daily to really see the true benefits for myself. What better way to do this than to host a challenge.

The Challenge:
This challenge is easy, even with the holidays coming up.
All you have to do is consume gelatin-rich foods every day for the next 100 days. This can be done by consuming homemade bone broth, eating homemade gummies, or taking gelatin or collagen hydrolysate powder.
Challenge starts December 1st. So go order your goodies and get started making your broth now. (Challenge will run from December 1st, 2014 through March 1st, 2015)
I will be participating in this challenge as well and will be sharing several gelatin-rich recipes over the next 100 days to inspire and motivate us all. 

Important Note: I am using this challenge as a sort of research tool for my nutrition practice. Those of you who are willing to participate fully in this challenge by filling out and returning the forms below will be entered into a giveaway where you could win the following prizes.
100 Day Progress Assessment
Informed Consent and Disclaimer

The Prizes:
1) a copy of Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon And Kaayla T Daniel

2) a canister of Great Lakes Kosher Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate

What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is an odorless, translucent, flavorless dietary protein derived from cooking down the bones, joints, cartilage, connective tissues and skin of animals, all of which are rich in collagen. Gelatin contains collagen, which is easily absorbed by the body improving collagen throughout the entire body. Collagen is found in our bones, joints, hair, nails, skin and teeth, to name a few.
Many cultures of old practiced nose-to-tail eating in which they essentially consumed all parts of the animal, especially the aforementioned gelatin-rich tissues. This nutrient-dense way of eating has been lost on many of us in the modern world. Consuming gelatin and gelatin-rich foods on a regular basis is imperative to reclaiming our health.

Benefits of Gelatin

  • Good for joints; helpful in arthritic conditions and joint recovery
  • Aids in better, more restful sleep and relief of insomnia
    • Glycine in gelatin acts as an “inhibitory” neurotransmitter, acting similar to GABA.
  • Helps regulate hormones; promotes thyroid health; aids in stress-reduction (Empowered Sustenance)
  • Helps build the immune system
    • Shortens recovery after exercise and sports-related injury (WebMD)
    • Speeds wound healing
  • Easy to digest protein improves nutrition
    • Contains 6 grams protein per tablespoon, and 18 amino acids (9 of which are essential)
    • Gelatin seems to be especially effective when taken with meats, as it balances out the amino acids
  • Supports liver detox
    • Gelatin is rich in glycine, which the body needs a good deal of for detoxification from exposure to chemicals.  Without adequate glycine we will not produce enough glutathione, which is crucial for Phase II liver detoxification. (Healthy Home Economist)
  • Nourishes the gut lining to help heal leaky gut, food allergies and other intestinal issues
    • Glycine in gelatin can help increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed for digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
  • Supports skin, hair and nail growth
    • 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. Healing the gut will help heal skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.
  • Can help improve cellulite, wrinkles, stretch marks
    • Gelatin (collagen) makes up the connective tissues of the skin responsible for giving it elasticity.  Degradation and loss of collagen is the real cause of wrinkles. Taking collagen internally in the form of gelatin helps make the skin much less prone to wrinkles.
    • Gelatin helps improve skin’s firmness, elasticity and function by boosting collagen production, which is the elemental in preventing stretch marks.
    • Cellulite is caused by a breakdown of collagen, often exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies.
    • Collagen is too large to be absorbed by the skin, so collagen skin creams are relatively useless… take it internally to reap the benefits.
  • Can help reduce sugar cravings

How To Begin The 100-Day Gelatin Challenge
1) Purchase 1-2 containers of either gelatin or collagen hydrolysate
2) Make homemade bone broth (freezing excess is a great way to ensure you will have some on hand at all times).
3) Search for recipes through links provided or through recommended bloggers – make them ahead (see below)
4) Consume ½ – 1 cup broth three times a day – OR- 1 tablespoon gelatin or collagen hydrolysate three times a day

  • Take a tablespoon dissolved in water (or herbal tea) right before bed to assist sleep. Best if your stomach is empty.
  • For more intense leaky gut healing and reduction of inflammation, consider taking up to 7 tablespoons a day, for a week.

Remember Challenge will run from December 1st, 2014 through March 1st, 2015

Important Considerations:
1) If you have a known or suspected Histamine Intolerance, you may want to consider doing Collagen Hydrolysate versus Bone Broth. Bone broth is known to be high in histamines. Check out this article on Histamine Intolerance by The Paleo Mom
2) Ensure adequate Vitamin C intake – Vitamin C is a key nutrient in collagen and elastin production and can be a limiting factor if you don’t obtain sufficient quantities in your diet. Eat vitamin C rich foods such as guavas, red bell peppers, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, leafy greens, cauliflower and cabbage. Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so foods eaten in their raw form will retain more of their vitamin C than cooked foods.
I like to keep one of these whole foods supplements on hand for when I’m feeling a
little deficient in Vitamin C (they both contain acerola powder which has 65 times
the vitamin C as an orange):
Pure Radiance C by The Synergy Company
Truly Natural Vitamin C by Healthforce Nutritionals
3) Butter Nutrition – What You Don’t Know About Gelatin May Hurt You – 5 Things You Need To Know

How To Use Gelatin
Taking gelatin internally is the best way to reap the benefits. Ideally we would all be consuming high-quality bone broth each day, eliminating the need for extra gelatin. Since I know I am certainly not at that point yet, I will continue supplementing with a high-quality powdered form in addition to my homemade bone broth.

  • Put a tablespoon in your smoothie, applesauce, yogurt…
    • To mix gelatin powder into liquid without having it clump – first mix it into a small amount of cool water and stir well. Let it sit (bloom) for 2 minutes and then add the needed amount of warm water. This does not apply to collagen hydrolysate.
  • Put a few tablespoons in your soups or stews
  • Make gummies or jello
    • Do not add gelatin powder to things with fresh pineapple, kiwi or papaya, as the powerful enzymes will inactivate the thickening properties. Also, don’t boil gelatin, as it will lose its thickening ability.

Where To Get Gelatin
1) Great Lakes Gelatin or Collagen Hydrolysate
The orange canister will gel – use for anything you want to gel or thicken
The green canister does not gel – use it to dissolve easily in tea or water or mix into
your food. Both are easy to digest, but the green is easiest. Check out the following
articles to further support your choice in gelatin:
Butter Believer – Choosing Gelatin Powder
Healthy Home Economist – What’s the Difference
2) Bernard Jensen Gelatin
3) Vital Proteins – 1 lb. Collagen Protein, 2 lb. Collagen Protein, 20 oz. Collagen Peptides
4) Homemade Bone Broth – check out these links to get started:
Nourished Kitchen – Perpetual Broth
The Paleo Mom – Chicken Bone Broth
Autoimmune Paleo – Pressure Cooker Bone Broth
5) Order bone broth frozen from these online sources:
Bare Bones Broth
The Flavor Chef – aka The Brothery
Wise Choice Market

I am not a medical doctor and this challenge is not intended in any way to serve as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any disease, mental or physical. If you decide to use Gelatin as a supplement and participate in this challenge, check with your doctor or a medical professional, especially if you have a medical condition. This challenge is intended for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes only.


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A Mid-Summer Treat!

Kale Cashew Pesto (GF, DF, Vegetarian, Paleo) 

2 cups kale, roughly chopped, steamed and packed tight (about 3-4 cups raw)
¼ cup scallions, chopped 
(or for a twist on the end flavor, use half an onion, carmelized – YUM!)
½ cup cashews, raw or roasted
2 cloves roasted garlic
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Rough cut kale and place in steamer basket. Steam for about 8-10 minutes or until greens turn a vibrant green and are sufficiently wilted. Measure and place in food processor with all remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds, and process until smooth. Fold in sesame seeds and serve over grilled meat, roasted potatoes, fresh vegetable slices or crackers. No matter how you serve it, you are sure to enjoy!

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30 Day BP Challenge!

I’m IN!

Are YOU?

Whole Family Strong is challenging YOU to a 30-day BP challenge!
Start date is Monday, March 19th!  Will you commit to a stronger, healthier, happier YOU?

Here’s what the challenge entails:

1 min front PLANK

1 min left side PLANK

1 min right side PLANK


I know you CAN do this!
The good news: IT’S ONLY FOR 30 DAYS!
You’ll be amazed at the results!

Whole Family Tip: At the beginning try doing 10 burpees at a time with a 1 min rest in-between each set and slowly add to your sets with less rest in-between as you go.

Make sure you sign up to follow Whole Family Strong blog so you don’t miss any updates and encouragement!

If you don’t know the first thing about burpees or planks, but are intrigued and ready to join, Whole Family has provided a number of links that will aid you in becoming a Burpee Machine!

Click here for a demo on what a burpee is.
Click here for a demo on front planks.
Click here for a demo on side planks.

And if you’re really wanting to challenge yourself, kick up your planks and burpees, as the 30 days proceed, with these following links:
Click here  for a demo on 20 core-shredding plank variations
Click here for a demo on lateral burpees

Go to Whole Family Strong’s blog and comment on their post letting them know “LOUD AND PROUD” that you have committed to the Whole Family 30-Day BP Challenge!!! 

excerpted from WholeFamilyStrong – 30-day BP Challenge

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“…a person’s life span is directly related to the exhaustion of their enzyme potential.
And the use of food enzymes decreases that rate of exhaustion, and thus,
results in a longer, healthier, and more vital life.”
– Dr. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition

I am becoming a major advocate for enzymes!!!!

Without enzymes life would cease to exist.
Whoa! Wait a minute! Back up!
We’re always hearing about the need for vitamins and minerals, not enzymes…  But, did you know, if it weren’t for enzymes we wouldn’t be able to absorb the nutrients from our foods. Enzymes are required for every single chemical action and metabolic function that takes place in our body. Our digestive system, immune system, blood stream, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas, as well as your ability to see, think, feel, and breathe, all depend on enzymes. They play a key role in the elimination of toxins and can be used by our body to reduce or prevent inflammation.

While most often enzymes come up in conversations regarding  some kind of digestive issue, the truth of the matter is, everyone should be taking digestive enzymes, at every meal.

“What nature intended is that you eat enzyme rich foods and chew your food properly. If you did that, the food would enter the stomach laced with digestive enzymes. These enzymes would then “predigest” your food for about an hour — actually breaking down as much as 75% of your meal. After this period of “pre digestion,” hydrochloric acid is introduced. The acid inactivates all of the enzymes, but begins its own function of breaking down what is left of the meal. Eventually, this nutrient rich food concentrate moves on into the small intestine. Once food enters the small intestine, the pancreas reintroduces digestive enzymes to the process. As digestion is completed, nutrients are passed through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream. That’s what nature intended. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live our lives as nature intended!
Processing and cooking destroy enzymes in food. This means that, for most of us, the food entering our stomachs is severely enzyme deficient. (Actually, there are some enzymes present from our saliva. The amount, however, is minuscule since we only chew our food about 25% as much as is required.) The result is that most of our meals enter our stomachs woefully devoid of enzymes. The food then sits there for an hour, like a heavy lump, with very little pre-digestion taking place. Even after the stomach acid has done its work, the meal enters the small intestine largely undigested. At this point, the pancreas and the other organs of the endocrine system are put under tremendous stress since they have to draw reserves from the entire body in order to produce massive amounts of the proper digestive enzymes.”
Jon Barron, Baseline of Health Foundation

I’m inclined to add to this as food sensitivities are becoming more and more prevalent. When you eat a particular food on a consistent basis (dairy or gluten, for example), specific enzymes are required to digest that food. As this eating pattern continues – over days, weeks, years – you may create an enzyme deficiency for that food. Dairy and gluten (two of the most common food intolerances) are often eaten together which further stresses the enzyme systems. Anything consumed on a daily basis can create a potential intolerance – corn, soy, sugar, eggs, pork, as well as the aforementioned… it’s often those foods you crave. So how are cravings and food intolerances connected and what does this have to do with our enzyme systems? (note: I’ve taken the liberty of inserted a few clarifying words or statements in [ ].)

“Cravings and insatiable hunger are characteristic symptoms of withdrawal. When the food is subsequently eaten, the person feels better – another tip-off of addiction [intolerance]. When the addictive food is eaten again, the symptoms disappear temporarily. However, a person can often keep himself in a symptom-free state by eating the addictive food frequently, thereby postponing symptoms of withdrawal. The result is chronic stress to the body, eventually leading to chronic and degenerative disease… All chemical and ingested food allergies and addictions eventually lead to pancreatic injury….
When a food allergen is consumed, the released inflammatory prostaglandins cause the stomach to secrete less HCl, which is necessary to stimulate the production of pepsinogen, a protein-digesting enzyme. Without sufficient pepsinogen, protein cannot be properly digested. [Amino acids are the end products of protein digestion. Antibodies, hormones, and enzymes are all built from amino acids. The immune system is adversely affected due to lowered antibody production. Without sufficient amino acids, more digestive enzymes cannot be made, and a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle begins.] Without sufficient stomach acid, the pancreas underproduces the bicarbonate necessary to alkalinize the food since it depends on the acid to stimulate this production. With less bicarbonate, the pancreas is also not stimulated to produce and release the necessary digestive enzymes to complete digestion. Paradoxically, because the food is not alkalinized, the original under-acidified food now remains in a relative overacidic state in the small intestine… Also when trypsin, a pancreatic protein-digesting enzyme, is inhibited, more undigested fragments of food (macromolecules) can be absorbed through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream. Antibodies recognize these particles as foreign invaders and attack them, creating allergic reactions within the body. The fewer enzymes, the more undigested food particles there are in the intestine… The powerful chemicals released during the allergic reaction cause other serious problems. They are capable of causing inflammation of the intestine, which in turn will cause the intestine to become more permeable to food particles, allowing more incompletely digested particles to gain entrance to the bloodstream to be carried to other parts of the body, creating further reactions in tissues throughout the body.”
– Carolee Bateson-Koch D.C., N.D. author of Allergies – Disease in Disguise 

So are you catching my drift here?!

Bottom line: EAT RIGHT (chew your food thoroughly, eat enzyme rich foods, don’t overeat…) AND TAKE ENZYMES!

Regular supplementation with digestive enzymes takes stress off the entire body, especially the pancreas, by supporting healthy digestion and assimilation. Digestive enzyme support may just be one of the best insurance policies you can give your body.

Which Enzymes To Use?
Look for one that contains:

  • A variety of proteases, including Papain (to aid in the digestion of protein).
  • Amylase (for the digestion of starches and carbohydrates).
  • Lipase (to digest fats).
  • Cellulase (to break down fiber cellulose into smaller units).
  • Lactase (to digest dairy products).
  • A superior formula should also contain large amounts of Bromelain (to aid digestion of protein, helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in joints).

Note: According to Jon Barron, “a dedicated proteolytic enzyme (high protease) formula, will be even more effective in this regard than a digestive enzyme formula forced to do double duty. Ideally, you should use a dedicated digestive enzyme formula with your meals and a dedicated high protease formula between meals.”

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Fermentation & Gut Bugs

“Scientists and doctors today are mystified by the proliferation of new viruses–not only the deadly AIDS virus but the whole gamut of human viruses that seem to be associated with everything from chronic fatigue to cancer and arthritis. They are equally mystified by recent increases in the incidence of intestinal parasites and pathogenic yeasts, even among those whose sanitary practices are faultless. Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation and in our insistence on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms? If so, the cure for these diseases will be found not in vaccinations, drugs or antibiotics but in a restored partnership with the many varieties of lactobacilli, our symbionts of the microscopic world.” – Sally Fallon

cultured vegetables

Not so long ago, fermented foods were quite prevalent in our diet – sauerkraut, chutney, pickles, yogurt, kefir, and so on. You might be thinking, “What do you mean they WERE prevalent?… I eat those foods!” Unfortunately, these days we’ve traded quality for convenience and these food items are no longer truly fermented. Sauerkraut, chutney, and pickles are made with vinegar (resulting in a more acidic, less beneficial product) rather than fermented by traditional methods using salt or starter cultures. Kefir and yogurt are now pasteurized, killing off all the good bacteria that are crucial for our health on many levels, especially digestion. The excessive use of antibiotics by our health care system, as well as the meat and dairy industries, only adds further insult to injury, leading to poorer digestive function and poorer health in general. It’s time we change this!

A healthy immune system hinges on a healthy gut, as 80% of our immune system resides there. A healthy gut means healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients from our foods. We need a balance of LIVE, beneficial bacteria to do this. Therefore we MUST re-integrate fermented foods back into our diets.

Fermented foods:

  • are rich in enzymes and produce antibiotic and anticarinogenic substances
  • improve digestion
  • increase energy 
  • promote health
  • increase the availability of the nutrients in the foods you consume while also assisting in the absorption of these nutrients  
  • help restore proper balance of bacteria in gut 
  • promote regular elimination
  • help reduce sugar cravings

February Health Challenge: Introduce and consume at least one new cultured/fermented food once a day!

How to integrate fermented foods into your daily routine:

Start by incorporating fermented vegetables into one meal a day, starting with a tablespoon at a time, or even a tablespoon of liquid, until you’re taste buds and tummy adjust. Then increase that to one serving at each meal. Slowly increase this amount until you’ve reached a 1/2 cup of cultured vegetables at each meal (or 2 oz. liquid) per day and possibly even as between-meal snacks. 

If you feel gassy or bloated, rest assured that this is completely normal. Your gut is beginning to find its internal balance. This is a symptom of “die off” as the “bad guys” die and leave your body. Keep your portions small and persevere through it. 

How to make your own fermented foods:

Weston A Price Foundation has a great article on LactoFermentation, laying out step-by-step instructions on how to create quality ferments.

Wholesome Goodness has an online tutorial for making fermented vegetables, with step-by-step photos utilizing a culture starter from Body Ecology

Nourished Kitchen has a phenomenal online course in fermentation (you can even learn how to make fermented ketchup and fermented french fries). Head over there now for a special discount through February 19th. Enter Coupon Code SOURPICKLES at checkout for $20 off.

Two sides of the spectrum: Lacto-ferment or Salt…

By The Whey Side – Why I’ve Stopped Using Whey In My Vegetable Ferments – Delicious Obsessions

Why You Should Consider Not Using Salt to Ferment Your Foods – Body Ecology

Below, are some additional online resources for you to explore as you continue along this journey toward optimal health. 

Online Resources:

Cultures for Health – a wide selection of starter cultures and supplies

Fruit of the Vine – Organically grown cultures

Body Ecology – Donna Gate’s is a wealth of knowledge and has countless fermented products and starter kits available. Check out her book The Body Ecology Diet.

Wild Fermentation – great resource for all things fermented and check out Sandor Ellix Katz’s book Wild Fermentation 

Weston A Price Foundation – focused on a traditional diet, this site has everything you need to support you in moving toward a more wholesome nutritious way of living. And check out Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, as well as her interviews – Eat Fat, Lose Fat and Ask Sally Fallon over at Underground Wellness Radio

Posted in Eat Local, Eat Seasonal, Fermentation, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, New Year Revolution, Paleo, REAL Food, Recipes, Research, Sides, Snacks, Sugar-Free, Traditional Foods, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bacon Love on Valentine’s Day!

What do you do when you have

a pound of nitrate/nitrite-free apple-smoked bacon from Whole Foods

Bakin' Bacon

and a bar of Organic Fair-Trade Belgian Dark Chocolate (72% cacao)?

Organic Fair-Trade Belgian Dark Chocolate

You make Chocolate-Covered Bacon,

that’s what!!!!!


1 lb. nitrate/nitrite-free bacon

1 large bar organic dark chocolate (70-90% cacao)

1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil (helps with texture and solidification of chocolate onto bacon)

1 Tbsp. raw honey (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak 20+ skewers in water for about 10 minutes. Then skewer bacon to form ripples as shown above. (This is not absolutely necessary… you can bake the bacon straight on a wire rack over a pan or foil to catch the drippings as well, depending on your aesthetic preference.) Place the skewers above a baking dish so that fat drips down into dish and bacon gets crispy on all sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired crisp is achieved.

About 10 minutes before bacon is done, break up chocolate bar into a double boiler and melt down, stirring frequently to keep from burning. (I don’t have a double boiler so I place a small metal bowl over a saucepan of boiling water). Add coconut oil and honey and stir well to combine.

Remove bacon from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted chocolate mixture onto both sides of the skewered bacon and place on parchment paper to dry. (Or simply coat half the length of bacon in chocolate.) Once all the pieces of bacon are painted, place them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to cool and harden. (Optional/Additional toppings: sprinkle with coconut flakes or finely chopped mixed nuts before chocolate cools.) Serve and enjoy!

Check out this link for a great recipe to make your own Easy, Homemade, Chemical-Free Bacon, from Butter Belle

Posted in Desserts, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, Recipes, Snacks | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Water – A Crucial Element!

The adult body is estimated to be 60-70% water. It is a primary component in all of our bodily fluids as well as a significant portion of our muscles, lungs, and even our brains. Water plays an integral role in the proper functioning of all bodily systems – from regulating our blood pressure and body temperature to clearing out debris that accumulates in our blood and lymph to aiding in proper digestion and assimilation to protecting our joints and organs. Yet most of us take water for granted.

Do you experience (though not limited to):

  • dry, sticky mouth
  • fatigue, lack of energy, tiredness, sluggishness
  • thirst
  • loss of appetite OR increased appetite (cravings)
  • decreased urine output
  • few or no tears when crying, lack of sweating
  • dry skin, eczema, wrinkles
  • headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • constipation, digestive issues, stomach issues
  • confusion, irritation, mood swings
  • muscle cramps, aches and pains
  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol

You may be dehydrated!
Many of us suffer from chronic, low-grade dehydration and don’t even realize it, often not attributing our symptoms with that of a lack of water. Water is essential for all life… AND a delicate balance of minerals, electrolytes and essential fatty acids are also needed to properly utilize the water we ingest for these bodily processes.

You should be starting to see that good hydration is essential to good health. Experience Life did a great piece on hydration back in their June 2010 edition.
Following are various explanations of why water is such an important nutrient for optimal body function:

Energy: Suboptimal hydration slows the activity of enzymes, including those responsible for producing energy, leading to feelings of fatigue. Even a slight reduction in hydration can lower metabolism and reduce your ability to exercise efficiently.

Digestion: Our bodies produce an average of 7 liters of digestive juices daily. When we don’t drink enough liquid, our secretions are more limited and the digestive process is inhibited.  If we don’t get that water, we don’t secrete enough digestive juices, and a variety of problems – such as gas, bloating, nausea, poor digestion and loss of appetite – can ensue. (Note that drinking too much water all at once, particularly with food, can also dilute digestive juices, reducing their efficacy and leading to indigestion.)

Regularity: As partially digested food passes through the colon, the colon absorbs excess liquid and transfers it to the bloodstream so that a stool of normal consistency is formed. When the body is low on water, it extracts too much liquid from the stool, which then becomes hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Slowed elimination contributes to bodywide toxicity and inflammation.

Blood Pressure: When we are chronically dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker and more viscous. Additionally, in response to reduced overall blood volume, the blood vessels contract. To compensate for the increased vein-wall tension and increased blood viscosity, the body must work harder to push blood through the veins, resulting in elevated blood pressure.

Stomach Health: Under normal circumstances, the stomach secretes a layer of mucus (which is composed of 98 percent water) to prevent its mucus membranes from being destroyed by the highly acidic digestive fluid it produces. Chronic dehydration, though, impedes mucus production and may irritate and produce ulcers in the stomach lining.

Respiration: The moist mucus membranes in the respiratory region are protective; however, in a state of chronic dehydration, they dry out and become vulnerable to attack from substances that might exist in inhaled air, such as dust and pollen.

Acid-Alkaline Balance: Dehydration causes enzymatic slowdown, interrupting important biochemical transformations, with acidifying results at the cellular level. The acidification of the body’s internal cellular environment can be further worsened when excretory organs responsible for eliminating acids (e.g., the skin and kidneys) don’t have enough liquid to do their jobs properly. An overly acidic biochemical environment can give rise to a host of inflammatory health conditions, as well as yeast and fungus growth.

Weight Management: Feelings of thirst can be confused with hunger, both because eating can soothe thirst and also because dehydration-induced fatigue is often misinterpreted as a lack of fuel (e.g., sugar). Both dynamics can lead to false sensations of hunger, triggering overeating and weight gain. Inadequate hydration can also promote the storage of inflammatory toxins, which can also promote weight gain.

Skin Health: Dehydrated skin loses elasticity and has a dry, flaky appearance and texture. But dehydration can also lead to skin irritation and rashes, including conditions like eczema. We need to sweat about 24 ounces a day to properly dilute and transport the toxins being eliminated through our skin. When we are chronically dehydrated, the sweat becomes more concentrated and toxins aren’t removed from our systems as readily, which can lead to skin irritation and inflammation.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is an essential element in cell membrane construction. When we are in a state of chronic dehydration and too much liquid is removed from within the cell walls, the body tries to stop the loss by producing more cholesterol to shore up the cell membrane. Although the cholesterol protects the cell membrane from being so permeable, the overproduction introduces too much cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Kidney and Urinary Health: When we don’t drink enough liquid, our kidneys struggle to flush water-soluble toxins from our system. When we don’t adequately dilute the toxins in our urine, the toxins irritate the urinary mucus membranes and create a germ- and infection-friendly environment.

Joint Health: Dehydrated cartilage and ligaments are more brittle and prone to damage. Joints can also become painfully inflamed when irritants, usually toxins produced by the body and concentrated in our blood and cellular fluids, attack them, setting the stage for arthritis.

Aging: The normal aging process involves a gradual loss of cell volume and an imbalance of the extracellular and intracellular fluids. This loss of cellular water can be accelerated when we don’t ingest enough liquids, or when our cell membranes aren’t capable of maintaining a proper fluid balance.

Symptoms of dehydration often occur due to poor eating and drinking habits. Subclinical, low-grade dehydration could be negatively affecting your energy, vitality, immunity, and even your appearance. Try drinking more water throughout the day. Likely you will notice a shift in your well-being. Start establishing good hydration habits now!

6 Tips for Staying Hydrated

  1. Start each morning with a glass of water (room temperature, no ice, maybe a little lemon). Drink it even before you have your coffee, tea or juice. This helps replace fluids that you’ve lost overnight.
  2. Fill a water bottle (glass/BPA Free [by Life Factory] or stainless steel/BPA free by Klean Kanteen) you can take with you throughout your day, wherever you are!!!
  3. Take regular water breaks. Are you bored? Craving something? Reach for that bottle of water first… often you are simply thirsty. Start tuning in and listening to your body’s signals. When you are hydrated you are more focused and clear.
  4. Eat loads of vegetables at every meal (and up to 2 fruits as snacks). Fruits and vegetables are high in water content while also providing the essential minerals needed to help your body absorb and use the water properly. Processed food and drink – sugar, flour, salty snacks, processed meats, coffee, tea, sodas, juices, etc. – deplete our body’s water stores making it necessary to drink more water, while also triggering other undesirable reactions within the body (especially blood sugar surges). Overeating and too much protein will also affect our water levels as they further challenge our bodily systems, using more of the nutrients and water we’ve consumed throughout the day.
  5. Research and install a Water Filtration System for your home and office. While many of us have already considered this in regard to our drinking water, you may also want to consider one for your shower. I love this post by Kelly the Kitchen Kop on Finding the Best Water Filter System.
    Bottled water should be a last resort – a) it’s expensive, b) it’s wasteful, c) it’s bad for the environment, d) it’s bad for your health (plastic contains harmful chemicals [BPA] that leach into the water especially when exposed to the sun and heat AND e) how much do you trust the claims on that water bottle? There’s no guarantee that it is any better for you than the tap water at home.
  6. Trade in that table salt for a high-quality sea salt. A good, unrefined sea salt is rich in trace minerals, which nourish your body, keep your blood alkaline, and even increase the benefits you receive from other foods.

February Health Challenge:
Drink More Water DAILY!!!!!

Read More Here: 8 Myths About Dehydration

Posted in New Year Revolution, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Check IN – End of Month

Can you believe it’s already the last day of January 2012!?!

I can’t believe a month of the New Year Revolution has gone by already! How are those goals taking shape? Will you take the leap of faith in yourself and send them off to us? Join the Revolution!

Here I will offer up some of my own ponderings, in hopes that they may inspire you to do the same.

Take a moment to let these words that follow settle into your being. Notice how your mind automatically starts formulating opinions. Simply notice this. Try not to get too caught up in the actual thoughts themselves. Simply notice and acknowledge their presence. Notice if you have any physical (bodily) ‘reactions’ to these words. Again, simply notice. No need to analyze or judge. As you sit in this place of awareness with yourself, Your Truth will begin to emerge.

You’ve heard this before, but I will say it again, “Change is Constant.”

According to Caroline Myss, in Anatomy of the Spirit,

“Mentally we can absorb that teaching with little difficulty. Yet when change occurs in our lives – when we notice we are aging, when people we love die, or when relationships shift from being intimate and loving to distant – this truth terrorizes us… We knew all along that it would change, but we can’t help hoping that the energy of change will pass by this one part of our lives.”

We often experience this reaction when on the precipice of change. And I believe that this is a major factor in why we feel challenged when it comes to following through on our goals that we have set for ourselves.

“Conciousness is the ability to release the old and embrace the new with the awareness that all things end at the appropriate time and that all things begin at the appropriate time. This truth is difficult to learn to live with because human beings seek stability – the absence of change. Therefore becoming conscious means living fully in the present moment knowing that no situation or person will be exactly the same tomorrow.”

“…No situation or person will be exactly the same tomorrow.” That includes YOU! This is an incredibly important point to remember and take home with you. Another challenge that we face when working on goals is being okay with failure. I rather dislike this word, as it is a very loaded word in our society. Yet, as I sit with that word and all that it ‘seems’ to represent in society, I realize that I have a Choice to react to it (re-act: an immediate, emotional action) or allow my Truth to guide my response (response, comes from responsible: state of being accountable). We are responsible for every one of our choices.

“Success stops when you do.”
– author unknown

Our reactions are choices too, though they are often done with little consciousness. So when we start taking steps toward achieving a goal and we encounter a bump in the road, we have a choice – to let it completely derail us or to realize that Life is giving us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, and if we take up this challenge something beautiful awaits us at the end.

“The promise of ‘Change is constant’ is that new beginnings always follow closures.”

Become aware of your reaction to this statement, both mentally and physically. Simply notice! Take a deep breath and continue reading.

“As change does occur, we work to interpret it as a natural part of life and strive to “flow with it,” as the Tao Te Ching counsels, and not against it. Trying to make things remain the same is useless as well as impossible. Our task is to contribute the best of our energy to every situation with the understanding that we influence, but do not control, what we will experience tomorrow.”

“…We influence, but do not control, what we will experience tomorrow.” This is another important point to take with you, and again serves to help us through those periods of failure. We influence things through the energy of our thoughts. As we learn to practice positive thought, and come from a place of Trust, we begin to flow with Life. Whereas negative thought can cycle upon itself – a resisting of change.

As you move forward with your goals, step by step, remember that life is always changing, therefore your goals will likely shift to reflect where and who you are as you grow over the next six months. Start to recognize each of your actions as the personal choices they are. Start to take responsibility for your Life.

“No one can ruin your day without YOUR permission.”
– author unknown

We are here to support you, for accountability, to share our experience and knowledge, but ultimately this is your life and you must make the choices that are ‘right’ for you.

“…View a successful life as a process of achieving self-control and the capacity to work through the challenges life brings you. Visualize success as an energy force rather than a physical one.” – Caroline Myss

Posted in New Year Revolution, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments