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:
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.
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!
Today ButcherBox is sharing a super yummy recipe with us!
They’re also offering us an AMAZING deal this week, so scroll down below to find out more or click here.
With the kids back in school and summer vacations and travel coming to end, it is time to dust off the crock pot and return to convenient, one – pot dishes. For a non-cooking pro like myself, crockpot meals are truly my secret weapon. That and sheet pan meals! Anything that requires literally dumping the ingredients into one form of dish and cooking is a win for me.
Can we talk about how impressive it is to pull a delicious meal out of a crockpot that took little to nearly any effort?
In addition, everyone who signs up as a new member of ButcherBox gets a free 2 pounds of ground beef for life. If beef is a cooking staple of yours, definitely take advantage of the promo. Click here to get it.
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 c cooked long-grain rice
- ¼ c fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)
- Rub pork butt all over with 4 Tbsp Cajun spice. Place in slow-cooker and cook on low setting for 6 hrs or high setting for 3-4 hrs. Let rest in liquid for 20 min before shredding. Reserve ¼ c liquid for finishing rice.
- Preheat medium sauté pan, and add oil. Once oil is hot, sauté onions and peppers for 3-5 min, or until color brightens and onions begin to release liquid.
- Add cooked rice, 2 Tbsp Cajun spice, paprika, and reserved pork juices and stir to combine. Cook for 3 more min, or until rice is hot. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve with a healthy dollop of shredded pork on top and fresh parsley for garnish. Enjoy!
Have you heard of pairing tasks? I believe this was something Gretchin Rubin really discusses as a concept in her book, the Happiness Project. This is the idea that if you pair tasks together you are more likely to do both tasks, especially if you pair the task with something you are already doing daily. Think along the lines of brushing your teeth in the shower, or listening to your favorite podcast only when you work out.
This is a pretty solid way of developing and sticking to new habits. And we need to remember that consistency is key when it comes to maintaining our health. Today we are all about the 30-day challenges and cleanses, but it doesn’t affect us if we drop those habits after the 30-days. Hence the pairing of tasks to reinforce the habit and as a result, becoming a more effective way to change your behavior.
So! I have been trying to be very consistent about the supplements I put in my tea (Coffee works too, just not for me.) What happened was that I was getting to the end of the day and realizing I didn’t take any of the supplements or vitamins that I had promised myself I would squeeze in. So instead, I decided to pair them with another habit, drinking tea in the morning.
As a result, my tea became my one-stop-shop for healthy supplements. I was ensuring I was getting everything I needed at the start of the day versus trying to fit it in throughout my hectic days.
The supplements below are a few of my favorite supplements to put in my morning tea!
This is a give-in. We have talked about collagen a lot on the blog; this is a supplement that’s accessible and well rounded as far as supplements go. I put a scoop on my breakfast tea every morning; and wait for the glorious powder to sink in and refresh my skin making it like soft, supple and glow. Whenever I stop taking collagen for a period of time my joints seem to bear the effects the most. As soon as I incorporate it back into my diet the pain starts to wane.
Some of my current faves are:
Further Foods Collagen Peptides – Get 10% off with this link
So I recently have written a lot about MCT oil on the blog including basically an MCT 101 course. I wished for a long time that MCT’s could come in a different format; the oil version gets all over my mugs and makes me break out around the mouth because it literally gets everywhere.
WELL GUESS WHAT! The universe listened! Perfect Ketones is now making powdered MCT that lacks the messiness of the oil but has all the same great properties of regular MCT oil. Check it out here.
Still on the fence about integrating MCT in your diet? Learn why and how it could benefit you, here.
This blend of superfood ingredients like turmeric, cloves, and ginger to name a food comes in a powder form that you can scope into any beverage you would like. The taste of this powder is very reminiscent of chai tea; I imagine the test would pair well with coffee. Check out the full benefits of their ingredients below. Click this link to purchase it at 10% off.
Plain old cinnamon! This anti-inflammatory spice is one I have incorporated in my diet for a long time. I love the taste of cinnamon anytime or any day; it reminds me of fall so much and I get transported every time I consume it. There are tons of antioxidants in this spice, and it has antifungal properties, cognitive improvement associated with its use, assists with the common cold and is suspected of being able to lower triglycerides.
This was also a game changer for me. I normally eat raw sauerkraut or kimchi, but there are days where I just cannot eat enough that my gut needs to be healthy. Also the fact that they make probiotics in powdered form these days is insane on its own accord. Check out this one.
You may have heard of this company because they are featured as a sponsor on our podcast. I want to reiterate that the companies we have on as sponsors are only sponsors because we approve of what they are doing as a company, not for the money.
Four Sigmatic a well-known medicinal mushroom company. They offer drinking mushrooms that come in the form of elixirs, hot cocoa mix, coffee, superfood blend and matcha. (So you can add it to your coffee or tea, or drink their versions of coffee or tea. There are a variety of different mushrooms to choose from based on what you struggle with. There is Reishi for relaxation, Chaga for overall wellness, Cordyceps for energy and Lion’s Mane for productivity.
My fave is the superfood blend because you get all of the mushroom species in one blend.
Mix it all up and sip away, loves! Nothing is better than starting your day with a cup of tea or coffee. When you add your supplements in the morning you know you are starting your day on the right foot, taking care of your body and mind at the same time.
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!
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.
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.
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?
So I believe there are two generally allocated camps of people out there. Those that want to lose weight because they believe they should weigh and look a certain way, and those that need to lose weight for health related reasons.
The first camp is often fueled by society’s ideal body type, and the standards women have placed on their heads regarding what their bodies should look like. We have all heard stories of women that just want to lose that LAST FIVE POUNDS. I used to be one of them. But I would like to ask you, how important is that last five pounds really? Will it truly bring you happiness? Probably not. Will it make a difference in how your clothes fit? Most likely no. So why do we put ourselves through hell to lose five pounds which is already just an arbitrary number?
Healthy Weight Loss
Those in the second camp are looking for weight loss based on a health based need. This may have been a conversation you have had with your doctor or based on your physiological bodies language to you such as underlying illnesses, you may have been able to determine this was a proper course. To you, I absolutely recommend my program, Weight Loss Unlocked. In this program I detail the following:
- Healthy Weight Loss Goals
- The Metabolic System Basics
- How to Accelerate Weight Loss
- Developing Your Own Personalized Plan
- Quantity and Quality of Exercise Needed
- And so much more.
Get Weight Loss Unlocked here
If you have been dieting and are consistently not experiencing weight loss, the following items could be contributing.
1) You are not healing underlying issues
No matter how hard you try to lose weight, you might not be able to if you suffer from an underlying health condition.
Thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are super common problems for people trying to lose weight, especially women.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and leaky gut are all gut health problems. They might not seem like they are important for weight loss, but they are some of the most important. Without a healthy gut, you cannot absorb nutrients well, or have a healthy hormonal response to food.
Autoimmune diseases are also very important to tackle. The best guide for overcoming them, in my opinion, is Sarah Ballantyne’s, here on Amazon.
Figure out your underlying issues by taking stock of your body. What symptoms do you experience? When? For how long? How long have you had them? Take your answers to google and to the doctor. Get some tests done. Paleo is fantastic for healing, but a more targeted approach can help heal you all the faster.
Then, the faster you heal your underlying problems, the faster you can lose weight.
2) You are Under Eating
People are not wrong when they say that you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.
This is one of the reasons paleo can be so great for weight loss: it spontaneously helps you eat less, by being more simple and satisfying than processed foods.
But there is such a thing as over-doing it.
If you undereat, and especially if you do so for an extended period of time, your thyroid gland will slow down. The body starts to burn body fat more slowly because it detects an energy decrease.
Depending on how restrictive you are, your body might even stop burning fat altogether, or will gain it. This is especially common for women. The female body is so much more sensitive to body fat levels (which you can read more about at my post here) than the male body is.
This is a weight loss plateau. The solution? Eat when you’re hungry! If you need more specific advice than that, do not eat below 1800 calories a day, and if physically active, then at least 21 or 2200.
3) You’re stressed out:
Stress, for a third, is also incredibly important. Many studies show that stress, like fitness level, is more important than body fat percentage in promoting health and longevity. For example, some studies show that implementing Healthy At Every Size practices, which means ignoring weight regulation in favor of intuitive eating and living, significantly decreases mortality in overweight adults, and promotes better lab results, health behaviors, and self-esteem than weight loss treatment. For those who are stressed out about losing weight this can be a never ending cycle, try not weighing yourself and paying more attention to how your body feels. You can read more about how the parasympathetic and sympathetic states of the body are influenced by stress and can influence your weight loss.
4) You’re not getting enough sleep:
In 1960, a survey of over 1 million people found a modal sleep duration of 8-9 hours. In 2002, polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicated that the average duration of sleep for Americans had fallen to 6.9-7 hours. Recent data indicate that a higher percentage of adult Americans report sleeping 6 hours or less. In 2005, in the US, more than 30% of adult men and women between the ages of 30 and 64 years reported sleeping on average less than 6 hours each night. This decrease in sleep duration has occurred over the same time as the increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. These studies have shown correlations with hormone leptin, sleep, and weight loss.
Leptin has a distinct diurnal and circadian rhythm. It has minimum values during daytime and a nocturnal rise with maximum values during early to mid sleep. The amplitude of the circadian variation averages approximately thirty per cent. Leptin levels rise during the night to suppress appetite while sleeping.
Moreover, with sleep deprivation, the reduction of leptin at night spells bad news for the rest of the day: it sets the individual up not just with lower leptin levels in general but also decreased glucose tolerance and an increased craving for carbohydrates. So not only are our bodies hungry, but they are craving foods that are less nutrient rich.
Putting away electronic devices or wearing blue blocking glasses before bed can help melatonin production which will help you fall asleep easier as well. You can learn more positive sleep hygiene tips here.
5) This is the weight you’re meant to be:
Just because your body might not burn through fat as efficiently as someone else’s doesn’t mean they are more healthy than you.
If there isn’t an underlying health condition associated with fat storage, it may be a simple matter of genetics, the quality of nutrition and a body type you had as a child growing up, or of having a history of dieting (which so many of us do), which leads to slower fat burning mechanisms in the long run.
It is also incredibly important to bear in mind that fat cells don’t go away once created. They can shrink, but they never go away. This makes it much easier for people who have been overweight in the past to keep weight or to regain it once they’ve lost it. This has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with the biochemistry of fat storage.
But by and large, you may just be at a satisfactory weight especially if you do not have an existing or underlying health conditions. I know it is scary to approach the thought that you just may not be destined to be a size zero, but that is OKAY. Body types vary, and that is what society doesn’t show us. It also doesn’t show us the extremes that it may take to maintain that size of body.
All I ask, is that you consider this on your weight loss journey: How important is this weight loss to the grander scheme of life and my purpose in life? Will losing weight allow you to achieve your goals and make shit happen? Is this something I am doing for my health or to live up to somebody else’s expectations of who I should be?
If I had a dollar, or even a penny for every time I have heard that rest is a crucial factor in keeping our bodies and minds stable and functioning, I would be entirely too rich for my own good.
We hear this from medical professionals, our friends and family, blogs, and people we may not even know that well. Everyone tosses around the word “rest” like it is something easy to obtain. However, I find it quite challenging to hit this idealistic state that is rest. (hello insomnia).
We are culturally and socially programmed to believe rest is not okay. Success comes to those that don’t rest, not those that do. Every seen that quote, Beyonce has the same amount of 24 hours of day as you? I had a therapist at one point suggest I rest more, despite the counterculture characterization that comes with resting.
Well big news loves! It is possible to rest in a way that won’t consume your entire weekend, or force you to cancel plans, and I am not talking about meditating either.
The Truth about Rest and Digest:
Rest and and digest is a common phase thrown around describing the state you should be in when you are eating. We want to be in a rest and digest state to avoid causing digestive issues or inflammation from eating too fast, while stressed, or on the go. But what does this really mean? And why is it important to be in rest and digest while eating?
Rest and digest is a term describing when your body is in a parasympathetic state. This is the opposite of the term “Fight or Flight” which is when our body is in a sympathetic nervous state. Read more about this, here. Like all things with our bodies, we need a balance of both states to maintain optimal health.
When our body goes into rest and digest, which can happen after eating, our body is able to restore and repair itself. When activated, the body has the following physiological responses:
- Slower breathing
- Relaxed muscles
- Heart rate drops
- Saliva is increased
- Pupils constrict
Why is the Parasympathetic Rest and Digest State Important?
When we are relaxed we aren’t consistently shooting adrenaline throughout our body causing an inflammatory response. 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, immunity in general to name a few.
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.
To read more on how this can affect our metabolism and other systems, check out this post.
What is Sympathetic State:
Sympathetic state is what we often refer to as Fight, Flight or Freeze. This is the state our body naturally goes into when we sense danger. This can be as minimal as something like seeing a gardener snake on a trail ( so minimal, I know ). Our body may tighten up, we recoil and run or fight. We often feel a burst of energy, or adrenaline as the body initiates this reaction in a moment of danger.
However, we can also be in a sympathetic state in a less obvious moment of danger. Stressed at work? Home? Feeling overly fried? You could be extended out of the sympathetic state. The longer we are in sympathetic state without a balance of parasympathetic states, the closer we creep to what’s known as collapsing.
Sympathetic State Physiological Responses
- Clenched muscles
- Fast talking
- Pupils dilate
- Heart pumps faster
- Gut is inactive
- Thoughts that others are enemies
Why Too Much Sympathetic or Fight or Flight is dangerous
When you are constantly in sympathetic without a return to parasympathetic, your body and mind is put into a state of exhaustion.
Think about a time, maybe work or home, when you supported and cared for everyone else, and met that deadline, only to be followed by a weekend of booked plans, and no downtime in sight. Instead of canceling plans, you pursue on and meet all of your plans and deadlines, but feel yourself wanting to run away and hide to get time to bounce back.
This is your body creeping towards collapse mode. We will get into that in a second.
When the body releases cortisol, it is also stimulating an immune response. If your body is continuously in this state, it is always issuing immune responses. The Paleo Mom has an incredibly in depth article on this that can be found here. She notes that cortisol can affect the way our chemical messengers are transmitting information to our immune system. There are theories that this is contributing to the effect of our immune systems fighting back at us, due to confused signaling from those messengers or Cytokines.
Collapse or Freeze Mode
This system engages when your body is unable to reach a parasympathetic state. I have seen colleagues and students in these positions many times, using caffeine and reducing their sleep quality and quantity to complete as much work as possible.
When you are in collapse mode, your body is forcing you to rest. Collapse is often used interjectly with freeze, in reference to fight or flight. Collapse or Freeze is what happens when Fight or Flight is not engaged fully, but your brain is fully trying to complete the cycle of Fight or Flight. This is your body conserving all energy so when the “fight” is over, you are able to go find help when it pushes more cortisol throughout your system.
Putting it together:
We ALWAYS talk about how stress and lack of rest can contribute to so many dangerous ailments and conditions from autoimmune to physiological distress. There is proof that being in a highly stressed state, even if it is your normal functioning state, can be seriously detrimental to your health.
The Benefits of a regulated nervous system include
- More stable blood sugar
- Better overall energy
- Better Sleep quality
If you want to read more about hormones, stress, and your health and happiness, I have a whole book on the subject that is – well, it’s the place I went to dump all the knowledge I have about all the things, and what to do about it. You can check it out, here.
Stress is a dangerous thing, and I know it can be overwhelming to manage, but there are ways. Next week we will be discussing easy ways to activate the parasympathetic response system.