Guilt Free Autumn Treats

Guilt Free Autumn Treats

Are you sick of pumpkin spiced everything yet? This blend of spices tastes great on a lot of things I eat including in cinnamon tea, in oatmeal, in yogurt, the options are ENDLESS Y’ALL. And it is the perfect essential in any paleo autumn treat. That does not mean I am 100% on team pumpkin spice, and definitely not a fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (or Lattes in general), I just have an appreciative taste for cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

But – if you are unlike me and aren’t necessarily a fan of pumpkin spiced things, I wanted to share a few of my overall autumn and winter seasonal snacks. A lot of these things still contain pumpkin based ingredients, but not all are strictly pumpkin based.

Either way, there are a lot of seasonal snacks and treats that disappear come January, so you can bet I am stocking up now for when I am sick of summer and heat next year (lol).

Also, not all of these items are strictly paleo. Most of them are gluten free & dairy free though. Just a friendly tidbit – all snacks are guilt free because food is neither good nor bad, right or wrong. < 3 

Bars

Nutty Pumpkin Bread – This nutty pumpkin bread is like a combination of a pumpkin muffin and a pumpkin granola bar all in one. It has a similar texture to Larabars. The Nutty Pumpkin Bread Bar is made with cashews, pecans and pumpkin spice.



Pumpkin Spice Protein Bar – We all are familiar with RX bars, they are great easy options especially when traveling. They have two great seasonal flavors, pumpkin spice, and apple cinnamon. If you have not had an RX bar, it is important to note the texture resembles that of almost a laffy taffy, so be careful with those fillings and crowns! Get the no B.S. treat here.

Nut Butters

Pumpkin Seed Butter – Okay so not only is this pumpkin seed butter (YUM) but it is sprouted pumpkin seed butter. The only ingredient in this delicious butter is just pumpkin seeds. This butter is great for those that do not like sweeter nut butters; pumpkin butter has much more of a savory taste. 

Tiger Nut Butter – If Tiger Nuts are more your thing, than this is the nut butter for you. The team over at Toots blended honey and cinnamon into this delicious spread, making it the perfect companion for your oatmeal, smoothies, or accompanying a delicious apple. Get the delicious Tiger Nut Butter here

Granola

Apple Cinnamon Granola – Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO, this granola is a great alternative to gluten-filled granola. It is a hearty and delicious blend of organic nuts, fruits, seeds, and spices. This granola is insanely delicious with the new GT’s living coconut yogurt, or my favorite, mixed with other trail mix staples for a sufficient snack. 

Chewy Pumpkin Granola – Another splendid granola, this one is definitely more pumpkin-y. The ingredients contain a blend of nuts like almonds and walnuts, along with honey, coconut, and vanilla. I know this may be overdoing it with the pumpkin, but this crunchy granola is splendid on top of a fluffy gluten free pumpkin pancake. 

Bonus Treats

Apple Cinnamon Plantains – With three ingredients, these make the perfect easy snack for when you don’t feel like pulling anything together. Plantains definitely lean on the side of sweet to me, so the addition of cinnamon is an easy transition. Get these tasty treats here.

Coconut Cinnamon Wraps – Looking for the ultimate tortilla to wrap your pumpkin seed butter in? This is it! These coconut wraps only have four ingredients, and are versatile for any delicious autumn spiced snack. These are great with apples and nut butter, or bananas and nut butter! Snatch them up here

 

Power Loaded Cinnamon Creamer – This creamer has all the coffee essentials loaded into one bottle. It is made with 100% grass fed ghee, organic coconut based MCT and cinnamon. If you are looking for an easy way to spice up your coffee, this is it. This creamer does contain sunflower lecithin though, so if you are sensitive to lecithin be wary.

So there you have it! Stock up those pantries with these seasonal items while you can. AND definitely let me know – are you Team Pumpkin Spice or Team No Pumpkin Spice?

<3

The Truth About Maca Root

The Truth About Maca Root

We have talked about adaptogens on the blog, and the benefits they can have on regulating our hormones, nervous systems, and adrenal functions – amongst other things. (If you aren’t sure what an adaptogen is, check out this post. ) Maca is one such adaptogen that has been touted as a superfood. I wanted to get to the bottom of this buzzword “superfood” and see if Maca really has standing power in the world of verified and beneficial adaptogens.

I have seen several people in the paleo community rave about Maca, but what is it really? How is it used? Does it taste earthy like a lot of adaptogens? Well loves, I did the lifting for you and have unearthed the truth regarding Maca.

What is it?

Maca Root is found in the Andes region of Peru; a common staple in Peruvian cooking. The Maca Root is amongst the same family of foods as kale, broccoli, and cabbage. Maca was used as currency and in trade for the Peruvians, and it is even believed the Incans may have used the root as a delicacy within the royal families.

A very interesting point to consider, Maca Root is used often when there is a disruption in the endocrine system or in the sex hormone systems of the body, or to increase overall sexual health and libido. It is important to note that Maca is not creating a libido for you (curious how to improve your overall libido? Check out this post). Maca is essentially allowing your body to move through stressful periods or less stressful periods as a way to ease the nervous system. It is actually working towards eliminating the stress that may be causing the libido system to be hindered.

What is it used for?

  • Reducing Menopause Side Effects – Maca has been studied in trials regarding menopausal systems, with positive results. Overall, the women that were tested saw significant decrease in night flushes, nervousness, mood swings, fatigue, stress and depression, to name a few. These women also experienced higher energy and mood levels overall. It should be noted this study was conducted on a small handful of women.
  • Overall Anti-Inflammatory Effects – Phytonutrients are found in Maca Root. Phytonutrients contain large quantities of anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to boost the immune system. Maca root also contains a decent amount of vitamins and minerals including the following: 
    • Vitamin C
    • Copper
    • Iron
    • Potassium
    • Vitamin B6
    • Manganese
    • Vitamin B12
    • Niacin
  • Fertility – There is a lot of speculation revolving around Maca’s true potential to support fertility and libido health. Mainly, most of these studies have been conducted on men, so the effects it may have on women are still unsure.
  • Improving Learning and Memory – Those that supplement with Maca Root Powder have seen improved energy levels which may be associated with cognitive benefits (key word here is may). Increased energy levels are correlated to improved mood and also improved learning and memory skills. This is kind of a give-in, when you feel like you have the energy to conquer a task it can be a confidence and mood booster, especially if you struggle with fatigue.
  • Improving Mood- Maca supports the HPA axis helping the body support its own production of hormones. This can help create a support system for your cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic and nervous systems. Instead of hitting a hard collapse or flight mode, your body is supported and the impact is less intense on the body, resulting in less inflammation and overall stress. There have been clinical studies showing a reduction in depression levels for those that take Maca, along with a reduction in blood pressure levels.

How do people use it?

Maca definitely has a very distinct taste. I have heard it be referred to as a malt-y taste, and the smell is definitely reminiscent of that. I have friends that add it to their morning coffee swearing it turns it into a milk-shake like taste. With most adaptogens, it depends on your biochemistry on whether or not you will be a fan of this creamy earthy adaptogen. If the taste is overwhelming, mix it with something that has a stronger taste base, like a peanut or almond butter smoothie. I have seen recipes containing Maca that vary from bars to smoothies to cookies or other treats.

Warnings:

Maca root has not been associated with an any ill advised side effects. Its apparent effect on the endocrine system though should be considered with caution, especially if you are in treatment for any types of cancer or hormone therapy. Definitely consult with your doctor before starting any adaptogens to make sure they are right for you.

I do not typically use adaptogens as I have had negative side effects and reactions to each adaptogen I do try. I hope to get to a point in the future where I am able to try out some of the milder adaptogens, but in the mean time I stay clear. Please let me know if you are trying these and what effects and reactions you have!


Favorite Brands & Recipes

I have three fantastic recipes that are easy and delicious below. Most of the recipes that Maca Root is found in are typically on the sweeter side as the malty notes in it play off of sweeteners very well. If you are looking for a particular Maca Root Powder to use, this one is a well-rated great option (will insert aff link).

Hormone Balancing Smoothie From Grass-Fed Girl

Maca Root 101

Chocolate Maca Tahini Brownies

maca root 101

Happy Hormones Hot Chocolate

Maca Root 101

So the long story short, Maca has a lot of mixed results. Some people swear by it, some people point to flawed studies on small demographics. I think the history and prevalence of Maca points to a lot of good theories, I am just not sure the science is fully there to support every claim at this point. I am curious though, have you tried Maca? If so, have you had any noticeable effects?

<3

 

Does Your Skin Need A Pick Me Up?

Does Your Skin Need A Pick Me Up?

I have been using Annmarie Natural Cosmetic products for a few years now. They are a fantastic company focused on making beauty products that are natural & organic.They do this really well, along with cultivating an experience for their customers by packaging their products in well-thought out and beautiful gift sets.

Their organic, wild-crafted herbs and ingredients, infused and extracted at low temperature, are of the highest quality. The main reason I love this company so much is that they offer travel size products and a money back guarantee, so you are not making a long term commitment if you purchase their products and they don’t work for you.

All of us have varying skin types. I 100% believe the only way to find the best product for our skin is by trying it out.

Annmarie Skin Care is having a special promo right now where you can try out three of their best products for a super low price. Their 3-step Restore Trial Kit restores skin back to life using the best ingredients from nature.

This kit contains an aloe vera based cream cleanser, soothing toning mist, and herb-infused facial moisturizer, guaranteed to deliver beautiful, glowing skin or your money back.

The Skin Restore Kit Contains:

  • Aloe-Herb Cleanser: Because this aloe-based cleanser removes impurities without stripping away your skin’s natural oils, you will feel like your skin is breathing for the first time. You’ll notice visible results that compound over time versus a quick fix that strips your skin. 
  • Neroli Toning Mist: Positively intoxicating, instantly revitalizing, this is the perfect product to keep in your purse for those moments when you need to freshen up. I can’t think of a better way to hydrate and soften your skin. A quick spritz and you’ll be in an orange-blossom aroma oasis, in the middle of a busy day. This product is comparative to the Beautycounter Rose Facial spray, but I think it smells so much better. I am slightly obsessed with neroli. Neroli is a very loud scent though, so if you are sensitive to these kinds of things know that it may be slightly intense.
  • Anti-Aging Oil: A few drops of this herb-infused formula delivers a concentrated dose of moisture for those autumn and winter months when dry air and indoor heating make it difficult to feel beautiful, and for dry and mature skin year round. The fragrance on this reminds me a lot of vetiver, another essential oil. I love this product, it does give me a little redness at first around my eyes but overall my experience has been positive with this anti-aging oil.

If you are looking for new items to include in your regime, I definitely recommend giving these a shot. Get the trial kit for $9.99 ( I definitely did a double take when I saw the price ).

Click here to get it! This deal ends midnight on October 12th.

I wish fabulous, clear & nourished skin to you! <3

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Bone Broth

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Bone Broth

I have already experienced and survived the first gross cold of the season. I, fortunately, did not succumb to this illness, although all of my acquaintances and coworkers got hit with it. It is the worst hearing a cascade of different coughs at varying octaves throughout the library and knowing “the cold” is coming for you next.

BUT! I started immune system preparation early this year by drinking bone broth the second it was cold enough outside to drink a hot beverage again. (Living for soup season!) Bone broth is a seasonal must have for me, and I do believe it has positively contributed to my stellar immune system (for the most part, I am definitely not immune to everything, unfortunately. I am hoping to get sick a few less time then last year but I swear it is inevitable). I love the taste too; I know it can be difficult for some people to enjoy, but there are other ways to consume it other than drinking it, too. You can mix it into stews and soups, or cook vegetables with it to achieve the same benefits as drinking it.

Bone broth is great for other things besides your immune system too.  Check out all of the awesome ways bone broth is beneficial to us in addition to immunity, below:

1. Protect Your Immune System :

Eating chicken noodle soup is a tale as old as time. I always believed this was a myth, but when I started to dissect this myth, the truth came out. Chicken broth was and is the OG of the broth movement. The anti-inflammatory properties of chicken broth have been easing respiratory illness symptoms for decades now. Not only is the warmth comforting but the minerals and nutrients in bone broth are attributed to buffing up our immune system. 

2. Joint Health :

it is no secret that collagen is revered for its joint strengthening properties. In fact, collagen has been used as a supplement by athletes in formal studies to deduce whether or not its properties were really effective or not. Check out the study here. Still skeptical? Test out bone broth yourself to see if it really has a strengthening effect on joints.

3. Improve Cognitive Function :

If you are looking for a warm beverage to replace caffeine in your diet, bone broth is the way to go. The umami taste of bone broth combined with the amino acids and collagen make it the perfect, if not superior, replacement to coffee or caffeinated beverages. By decreasing your caffeine intake over time and replacing with bone broth which contains fat, your body is able to draw its energy from the fat instead of a chemical dependency on caffeine molecules.

4. Improve Skin Quality :

In the same fashion that collagen helps increase the elasticity and buoyancy of our joints, it also has the same effect on our skin, nails and hair. As we age the elasticity of our skin and the strength of our nails and hairs weans. Consuming bone broth directly contributes to replenishing our stores of collagen.

5. Heal Your Gut  :

This is the reason I initially started drinking bone broth. The act of drinking a warm mug of bone broth in the morning is appealing in itself, but once I realized the gut healing properties of bone broth, they were a game changer. The gelatin in bone broth has been proven to have an anti-inflammatory affect in our gut, as well as introducing healthy bacteria to our gut microbiome. And you know what they say about the gut (if you don’t, start here.) 

6. To Get a Wide Variety of Minerals :

According to Chris Kresser, the following minerals have been found prevalent in bone broth:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

When we talk about getting our minerals from our food, this is one of the foods we look up to. The abundant mineral, nutrient, and amino acid properties in bone broth make it an easy choice when you’re looking for simple ways to supplement.

7. Sleep Better :

Glycine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter – found in bone broth has been studied to reveal its anti-inflammatory and anxiety reducing effects on our bodies, which could help us sleep better. Thinking of a warm mug of bone broth before bed instantly makes me sleepy. 

You Can Make it Yourself!

You can either purchase the bone broth, my fave right now is from Bonafide Provisions. They have bone broths of different varieties including Chicken, Beef, Turkey, & Frontier (a blend of lamb, beef, turkey, & bison bones). They also have delicious pre-made soups you can purchase like broccoli cheddar. For those that are okay consuming dairy, the broccoli cheddar is GOLD. Imagine Panera broccoli cheddar but 100 times richer, more flavorful, and so much better for you. You can get 20% off all Bonafide products when they use the code: PFW at checkout! Check out their products here.

OR

You can make bone broth at home. Bonafide Provisions has a super easy recipe to do so, here. I used to make my own at home often but the smell in the crockpot is pretty overwhelming after a while. I imagine an instant pot would be an effective alternate to making it in a crock pot!

Best of health & wellness to you!

 

 

Things I Am Loving This Week

Things I Am Loving This Week

The wind and brisk weather is cascading over Oxford; the heat has finally broken and I am so appreciative. It means fall produce season, pumpkin spice, cinnamon and crunchy leaves!

There is nothing like the fall to bring out what society calls the “basic” ness. But y’all, it is far from basic to appreciate the changing of the seasons. There are certain regions that don’t get to experience all four seasons, and I am not sure how they survive without all four!

Climate change is quickly eliminating the changing of the seasons; so frequently we hop from summer to winter, and winter to summer, without a glimpse of spring or fall. Every year the changing geography and landscape gets more vivid and I take a longer moment to appreciate the world’s beauty.

There is something entirely refreshing and fulfilling about a new season; it almost feels like a clean slate. A time to check in with your body and mind and re-establish any goals or achievements for the year.

How are you appreciating the changing of the seasons? Are you still holding on to the last few weeks of summer?

I am going full throttle into Autumn and these are the products I am loving most throughout this transition. Check it out!

Things I am loving

Stainless Steel Straws

The hype is real with Starbucks eliminating their plastic straws. Let’s be honest, we here at the Paleo community have been in support of eliminating plastic straws long before Starbucks trend. Stay away from the paper straws that disintegrate before you even finish that Pumpkin Spice Latte, and get these stainless steel, easily cleanable straws here

Things I Am Loving

Perfect Keto Nut Butter

I have talked about how much I enjoy this stuff a lot lately. Nuts can be challenging for me to consume, occasionally wreaking havoc on my skin and on my digestive system. However, this blend using macadamia and cashew nuts is really quite delicious and easy on my digestive system. Use these to make the apple cookie recipe we feature in Coconuts & Kettlebells, the book, for a tasty fall treat.

Things I Am Loving

Smoothie Box, Cacao Flavor 

I have been traveling a bit too, and these babies are so perfect because everything is already in a bag, ready to blend. I have always wanted to be someone that was able to meal prep smoothies into their own perfect baggies, freeze them and pull them out when I need them. However, I don’t have time, and I have stopped convincing myself this is a thing. Instead, give me those premade smoothies! Get them here

Hot Apple Cider 

Do I need to even define why this is a go to? Apples, pressed, into a drinkable delicious warm autumn treat. Yes please! I put cinnamon in mine, and if it is hot enough, I will throw some collagen in there too.

Honey Drop Lemonade

During a recent trip to Brooklyn, I stumbled across this bottle of goodness while on a late night grocery and snack hunt while feeling a bit under the weather. I was honestly looking for something non-caffeinated with anti-inflammatory properties. Normally, I wouldn’t consume anything with Stevia before bed, but I made an exception and ended up really loving this stuff. It wasn’t overly sweetened and the combination of lemons, turmeric and raw honey were the trifecta of anti-inflammatory I was seeking out. Do you have this product available in your local stores? I definitely didn’t spot it in Michigan.

Being My Own Coach

Also, I have been really digging being my own advocate lately. I have been in a crevice full of sour mood for a few weeks, and for a justified reason. And it is incredibly difficult to pull myself up by the bootstraps, by myself, out of a depression cycle. However, I have been trying to make a conscious effort in really digging at the supportive voice in my head, and letting this woman be the focus of my consciousness. Support systems really help, but the emotions I am feeling right now really call for righteous acts of self-love and compassion, and these are things I can only pull out of myself.

What are you digging this fall? Have you tried any of the products I mentioned? Likes, loves? Hates?

<3

9 Plus Ways to Activate Your Parasympathetic Nervous System

9 Plus Ways to Activate Your Parasympathetic Nervous System

In a recent blog we really dove into why rest is important not just for the reasons we hear often, but underlying reasons.

When we are relaxed we aren’t consistently shooting adrenaline throughout our body causing an inflammatory response like when we are stressed. Our body is able to maintain a balance that keeps us healthy. Being in a parasympathetic state can reduce stress on our heart, chronic illnesses, and immunity in general.

Parasympathetic states also affect our metabolism. When we are in fight or flight mode our cortisol is spiked, causing the blood sugar to spike. This can lead to weight gain.We know that stress can lead us to carry weight in different areas of our body. This stress weight is often related to being in a highly functioning, yet overwhelming sympathetic state.

If we don’t rest, things start to go wrong. We become exacerbated, exhausted, and fatigued.

How to Find Balance

So now that we know the ins and outs of our nervous system states, how do we achieve balance between them? The first step we can take is being cognizant of what our body and mind is telling us. I find it much easier to recognize cues of being in a fight or flight mode (sympathetic state) in my body than in my mind. These cues like racing heart beat, fidgety limbs, sweating, or wanting to run away (literally), help tell me that I need to reflect on the situation and see if I really should be engaging in fight or flight rsponse.

The more aware we are of our bodies and when we begin to track our varying cycles, the more we will be able to respond to the correct state with an educated and effective response.

How to Activate PNS

There are several ways to activate your PNS system. You can typically hack this by being in the company of others, or self soothing. Some of these items below may not apply to you; or you may have other activities that help you achieve PNS. It is important to take note of your physiological and psychological state to see whether the activity is right for you.

Our paleo ancestors did this. They groomed each other, slept together, communicated to each other in their own ways. This part of being human is ingrained in our DNA.

But sometimes it is difficult to understand how to enter a rest state; especially if this is a state we are unfamiliar with.

Soothing with Others

Some of my favorite ways to soothe around people include the following:

  • Talking nature walks with my friends, either on the phone or together in person
  • Taking a yoga class with a friend
  • A couples massage
  • Reading a book in the same space as a friend or lover
  • Watching Netflix on the couch together
  • Having a picnic with a friend
  • Taking a study break at the library with a friend
  • Sitting on a beach with a friend
  • Massages or general welcomed and consented touch from others. If touch from others isn’t an option right now, check out this personal massager that does an amazing job as an alternative

This may seem counterintuitive if you are an introvert who gains energy by being alone. However. It is important for our mental state to be able to soothe with others around. This fosters connections and allows us to enter a parasympathetic state. Simply, because we are with others and our defenses aren’t drawn, as in a sympathetic state.

Basically, any soothing activity you can do with a friend can be beneficial. A soothing activity is something that won’t push you to create more “should do this” or obligations while completing the task. Notice how I said taking a study break, not studying with a friend. To soothe, it has to allow you to slow down.

 

Self-Soothing

A lot of times when I need to get into a PNS state, I need to be alone and the reason I am in that state is because I exhausted my social capacity with others. The following are my favorite ways to get back in a parasympathetic state all by myself.

We are rounding a full circle here; no pun intended. A healthy lifestyle includes eating proper foods, moving your body, taking care of your mind, and incorporating balance and rest. In the paleo community, and in any western society,  it can be easy to forget that the end goal isn’t always weight loss, physical appearances, or accomplishments, but that it’s sustainable health and wellness over the course of our lives.

In order to achieve this ideal state of wellness, we need to incorporate balance.

<3