Quick and easy paleo granola

granolaDo you have children? I do! Without them, I’d likely never even think about making granola. But they dig it, and they are bored with eggs. Heck, one of them doesn’t even eat eggs. A friend of mine (hi, Sharon!) shared her homemade granola with our class recently, and she mentioned ingredients like almonds, cocoa powder, and honey. I went home and forgot about it. Until about a week later, when there was drama because of a lack of “decent breakfast foods”. I checked my pantry and found some ingredients, I thought would work. And did it ever! Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:
3 cups almonds
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup chia seeds
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup honey (warmed up)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Instructions:

In a food processor, blend the almonds and walnuts, until you have some bigger pieces and some nut meal. Add the chia seeds and cocoa powder and stir them in until well combined. Finally add the honey and coconut oil and mix until completely combined. I did this with a spoon. You can add a little more liquid if needed. Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 200F for about 30 minutes. Set out to cool completely and fill into jars. Enjoy with yogurt, coconut milk, ice cream, or just by the handful. :)

And she’s back

Wow, it’s been a busy time around here, still is actually, as I am in the midst of my course to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. The course work is fun and intense, and it’s taking up most of my time besides my family and household of course. Here’s a little update on me, and my plans for the future. Enjoy, and hope to see you back here soon. :)

1) I will be in school until October. At that point I will graduate and start my nutritional counseling practice.

2) Grokette will ultimately go away and be replaced by a new site, with better design, better content, and of course with prices about my services that I will offer.

3) I am now also a certified Reiki practitioner! Woop woop! I love Reiki!

4) No, I did not continue to lose weight. As a matter of fact, I started gaining again, and I am in the process of finding out why that is, and what needs to be done. Plenty of great blog posts on this subjects are waiting to be written.

5) I have about four cookbook reviews to write, and will post them here, and will give away at least one.

I am thrilled to be back. I can honestly say, that I’ve been missing this little old blog here. And I am beyond excited about what the future holds for me. Are you still out there? Would love to hear from you.

Why you really want to keep that gallbladder!

gallbladder1At lunch yesterday I forgot to take my bile salts. I had a delicious meal of ahi tuna, bok choy, broccoli, and glass noodles (made of peas, beans, water), cooked in plenty of coconut oil. Twenty minutes later I rushed to the bathroom with stomach cramps and diarrhea. I forgot to take my bile salts just once, and this was my reward. The sad truth about the removal of most of my liver, and with it, my gallbladder, remains, that I have to take this stuff with each meal… indefinitely. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes down to it, I am glad to be alive and well, and that I do have the option to do something about this.

However, since I first reported about my issues with the missing gallbladder, I have talked to about two dozen people, who came out of the wood works to tell me that they, too, are experiencing problems with their digestion. Not, that any of them have been informed by their surgeons beforehand, what the consequences of a gallbladder removal might be. According to most surgeons, “the gallbladder is a useless organ”.

I beg to differ! The gallbladder, as any other organ in your body, is there for a reason. It serves a purpose, that only the gallbladder can. Your liver produces bile, and your gallbladder absorbs the water in it through its walls and stores the concentrated bile until it is needed to break down fats. When chyme (partially digested food) enters the duodenum, cells in there release cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK enters the bloodstream and signals to the gallbladder to contract and release bile to break down the fats in your food.

NONE OF THIS CAN HAPPEN, if you do not have a gallbladder. A logical step may seem to eat a low fat diet, which is what lots and lots of medical professionals recommend to their patients. This is not the solution to the problem. (See my disclaimer below post, please.) If you eat a diet low in fat, you deprive your body of essential fatty acids. Also, as you cut out your fat intake, you are more than likely increasing your carb intake, and in a Standard American Diet, sadly these carbs come as bread, rice, and other “healthy grains”. Carbs are digested in the mouth. They give quick energy, but this energy won’t last long, and since you digest them in your mouth mostly, you’ll be hungry again soon. More food is needed. More carbs… You see where I’m going with this, right?

My very non-professional (but common sense) recommendation is to try to keep your gallbladder if you can. Of course, a severe attack, big gallstones, or acute pain may warrant surgical removal of your gallbladder. And I won’t argue with that fact. But, if you are not in severe pain, then it may be helpful if you just sat down and did your homework on how to make sure you can keep your gallbladder. I highly recommend The Liver Doctor as a source for your research, or google Dr. Jack Kruse.

If your gallbladder is gone, and you are experiencing symptoms like pain in the upper right quadrant, diarrhea after meals, stomach cramps, even a feeling of acid reflux (yes, I experienced all of these), pain between your shoulder blades, then it is up to YOU to help your gallbladder!

1. Take those bile salts. Religiously. With every meal!

2. Eat dark leafy greens!

3. Include things like milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke in your diet, or take them as a supplement.

4. Drink plenty of water.

5. Most important, don’t fear eating fat. With the right bile salts product, you will be able to get rid of these symptoms and enjoy the great paleo/primal foods you love.

6. Never stop doing your homework. No matter, what anybody tells you, always seek a second opinion. Read up. Read the pros and cons. Do yourself a favor and take care of your own health. Nobody else will do it for you!

Having said all that, I am of course NOT a medical professional. I am merely a patient, a student of nutritional therapy, a seeker of truth. My opinions here are just that… opinions based on the research that I have done, and on my own experience with the subject matter, and the conversations I have had with other people who are sitting in the same boat. I am not prescribing any drugs, nor am I making any recommendations for anyone in particular. You are responsible for your own health, and by reading this you understand, that I am not diagnosing or treating you or anybody else reading this post.

Also, I hate legal talk. But I suppose it’s important. :)

Grokette on Instagram and Twitter

instatwitterYes, I have arrived in the 21st century! You can now find me on Instagram (Username GROKETTESMUSINGS) and on Twitter

After Facebook made it extremely difficult for me to reach my almost 1,400 followers, I decided to go a different route, and see where it takes me.

What you can expect on my blog in the future are a lot more health related posts. I will talk a lot more about digestions, the functions of the various organs, some motivational writing, and of course I’ll share my experiments with food. (Today I’m learning to pickle beets!)

In addition, to support my income, I will occasionally post a review of certain products and place affiliate links on here. Please consider supporting me by using these links when you purchase an item I recommend. :)

Finally, I invite you to comment now and then to let me know you’re there. Yes, yes, the stats confirm that you are, but it’ll be so nice to communicate with you, and of course, to understand what you are particularly interested in reading.

Oh…. there will be a giveaway on SATURDAY!

Learn to eat

moonmeditationEating a delicious meal is one of the greatest pleasures in life. The explosion of flavors, of herbs and spices combined, paired with a glass of wine, usually manages to make me calm and happy. Even the preparation of such a meal gets me excited, and I look forward to arranging the food on our plates, to set the table nicely. I envision the faces around the table, when my family tastes my new creation.

But how often do we eat in a rush? How often do you throw on your clothes, gather your things and grab a quick bite, before you hurry to work? How many times do you eat your lunch while working or running some errands? Did you know, that an increasing number of people eat their meals behind the wheel?

The problem here is this: eating should happen in a parasympathetic state. What does this mean? You should chillax before you start eating! You see, your digestion starts in your brain. And if you’re in a sympathetic state, meaning you are in your fight or flight mode, you cannot start your digestion properly. Yes, you’re functioning great, because you’re pumping plenty of blood into your muscles and brain, but you’re not pumping it into your digestive organs, and that’s bad news.

The quick and easy solution is to make a little more time for this most important time when you eat a meal. Before you eat, take a few deep breaths, slow down, relax!

Next, chew your food thoroughly. This is extremely important to let that salivary amylase start the digestion in your mouth. Set down your fork while you chew. Be aware of the taste of your food. Is it spicy, sweet, or salty? Can you taste the spices and herbs?

Don’t think you can get away from work? Come on, it’s not going to run away from you, if you leave your desk for even 15 minutes. Get rid of distractions that keep you from getting into that parasympathetic state. No phone, no TV, no computer… just you and your meal. Your work will be there for you upon your return. I promise. ;)

Really, do yourself this very important favor. Your body is going to thank you for it. I’m not telling you to meditate in front of a full moon. But a few deep breaths and some happy thoughts will go a long way.

Being healthy in the 21st century

vitruvian-man-leonardo-da-vinciImagine a world where you live happily. You live away from stress, anger, and wars. You don’t have to deal with chemicals, GMOs, stressful jobs, rude employers. In this world, you eat what you were made to eat, based on what your ancestors ate many thousands of years ago. Your body, a perfectly functioning organism of cells, tissues, organs, and systems, knows just what to do with the food you eat. It nourishes you, keeps you strong and healthy.

Of course, our reality looks somewhat different. We are always on the go. We start early in the morning, and we power through days, until late at night, we zonk out in front of our televisions with a bottle of beer and a bag of chips. The next day we do it all again, and again, and again. In the process of this evolution, we have forgotten to listen to our voice from within. We have stopped listening to our innate intelligence, that tells us what is good for us. And as we go about our days, eating the wrong food, making sure to function as is expected of us, we start experiencing symptoms, that are treated with prescribed medication from our doctors.

We do not understand, that our ailments may be rooted in this modern lifestyle, in these terrible foods we eat. And we fail to see, that each one of our organs relies on the others. If you look at your digestion as a North to South process, you will recognize, that a problem in your esophagus may be related to a problem in your stomach, which in turn may be related to a problem in your small intestine, which may be related to a problem in your liver/gallbladder and so on. But, because we don’t know this, we don’t take the time to take a step back, to look at the bigger picture. We pop our pills and continue down the same path.

We end up at the doctor’s office, our low fat diet having depleted us of precious fatty acids, our liver overworked from the high and refined carbs, our adrenals shot from our busy lives, when the solution to a majority of our problems could be so simple.

I am not making the case against modern medicine. I know it has its place in our lives, and a very important one at that. My own liver resection is evidence enough to me not to demonize doctors, hospitals, and medication.

But, if you are, like most of us, a “regular, healthy human being”, then your answer may not be medicine. Your answer, your solution, is food, and yes, supplementation. Don’t feel like you have to stick to a strict paleo diet to be healthy. Bioindividuality plays an important role in the foods we can eat and digest. If your ancestors ate certain grains, properly prepared, then you would likely respond well to them also. But take into consideration, that our 21st century wheat cannot be compared to that of even 100 years ago! And what’s also to be considered, is that our wheat in the United States cannot be compared to that in Europe.

Case in point: After giving up wheat, I started reacting with terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. When I go to Germany, I can actually eat bread without these awful side effects. My very non-researched opinion is, that Germans don’t eat GMOs. Granted, after a couple of weeks of indulging in German bread and pastries, I still start feeling bloated and will retain water.

Eating well is a job. It’s true. We actually have to make time every day to come up with meals and then prepare them, too. This takes time, that we may not think we have. But think about it. How much time do you spend on Facebook? How long do you sit on your couch and watch TV. And most importantly, can you really say, that your health is not important enough to make the time to take care of yourself? This includes a healthy ancestral diet and the ability to calm down and relax to give those poor, overworked adrenals a break.

Make YOUR world the beautiful place you want it to be. You, and nobody else can start taking control of your life.

 

 

The missing gallbladder continued…

1_question-markA week and half has passed since my last post on the missing gallbladder, and I find it’s time for an update.

I have spoken with many people in the meantime, only two right here on my blog, but many others on Facebook, and even some in real life. I’ve come to the realization, that I am far from being the only one who struggles with this. People have approached me based on my blog post, telling me their stories. Many have gone through gallbladder surgery uninformed. No surgeon or other physician has told them that there may be pains, problems with digesting fat, things like diarrhea, nausea, trouble maintaining weight. Some have lived for years without a solution to their problems. They’re told that these pains are “phantom” pains, that it’s normal, and worst of all, they’re told that the gallbladder is a useless organ, that you don’t need it at all.

I am not a medical professional, so I speak as a layman. But I really have a hard time believing this statement. The gallbladder is an organ in the digestive system. Together with the pancreas and liver it serves a purpose in your digestion. In a common duct, the pancreatic juice and bile flow into the small intestine when food comes through. When the gallbladder is removed, the liver produces endless amounts of bile that are consistently dripping into the small intestine. The gallbladder is a storage room for bile. It holds the bile until it is needed for digestion. The constant dripping of bile into the small intestine can mean, that once you actually need it, there won’t be enough of it.

If you have symptoms after gallbladder removal, then you know your body needs help. Why is it so difficult to inform a patient of this? It is not impossible to support your liver and bile production. We live in the 21st century. We have access to enzymes in a capsule. We can take ox bile in a pill. And we have natural ways of treating biliary problems as well. At the liver doctor website, I found these recommendations:

  • Do raw juicing using cabbage, carrot, ginger root, mint and apple etc. (see juice techniques and recipes in Raw Juice Can Save Your Life book by Dr Cabot)
  • Include fresh green leafy herbs in your salads and raw juices – the best liver cleansing herbs are mint, parsley, garlic, chives, shallots, basil, coriander and small amounts of thyme and oregano
  • Increase the amount of raw vegetables in your diet
  • Taking digestive enzymes at the beginning of your meals may reduce symptoms
  • Take a good liver tonic twice daily; ensure it contains Saint Mary’s Thistle, B group vitamins, vitamin C, and sulphur bearing amino acids such as glycine and taurine
  • Supplement with the amino acids taurine and glutamine and the mineral selenium to support good bile quality and healthy bile ducts in the liver.
  • Increase intake of Omega 3 fatty acids – Suitable sources are oily fish, good quality fish oil, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Keep oils in the fridge.
  • Sip one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar mixed in a small glass of water during your meals
  • Drink plenty of pure water
  • Drink dandelion tea and coffee
  • Be careful not to overindulge on dairy products – the best ones are natural cheeses and plain yogurt
  • Hot spices are good for the liver and bile ducts and good choices are wasabi, horseradish sauce, mustard, garlic, curry, turmeric and chilli. If you have a sensitive stomach or gastritis only use small amounts of these spices or avoid them.

There is a wealth of knowledge on Dr. Cabot’s website, plus, she writes in a way that is easy to understand for people like myself. How much of it you find to be right for you, is of course entirely up to you. Take any or all of her advice. I would make the case, that at the very least this list of natural treatments can’t hurt you. Some of them are super easy to incorporate into your daily life.

IF you are struggling with gallbladder issues and your doctor recommends surgery, please at least consider the possibility that surgery can be diverted. Do your homework. Read Dr. Jack Kruse’s articles on the subject, and of course read Dr. Sandra Cabot’s website. If at that point you still feel it is best to have surgery, then at least you will know you’ve done your research. You will know that you really are well informed.

A word on Dr. Kruse’s phrase, “You’re a ticking time bomb” as he refers to those of us unlucky enough to have lost their gallbladder, in my case of course as part of liver resection. I am not a fan of this kind of language. Instead of sticking with good advice, I spent days fearing for my life. But I am a rational thinker, and after doing more research, I’ve come to my own conclusion, that with the way I eat, and with the supplements I take, chances are that I will, in fact, live a long and healthy life. Please don’t let this one sentence scare you. As with everything you read, take it into consideration, think of your signs and symptoms, maybe talk to someone you trust, then decide for yourself what’s right and good for you.

And finally, thanks to the supplements I’m taking with each meal (hooray for Super Enzymes), I’m feeling much better. Occasionally I still have a feeling of acidity on my digestive tract. But in general, I am 90% better than I was before. Also, I’ve lost 5lbs. I will continue taking the supplements, and I will also continue doing my research.

If you have a story to tell, please let me know. Comment here, write to grokettesmusings@gmail.com. I want to hear from you.

 

 

"Grokette's original muse" ~Mark Sisson

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers