I have a big announcement that I've been waiting to share with you all!
As of this month, I am the newest Nourishment Instructor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine for their Thrive Community Program!
Being able to teach even MORE people how to cook, bake and eat gluten-free and dairy-free is a dream and I love this journey more and more everyday.
If you're local to Arizona, come join me April-June, where I am scheduled once a month to teach the basics of GF/DF cooking and baking. I will be focusing on how to create the perfect Italian Dinner, a delicious Weekend Brunch and a special class on integrating Anti-Inflammatory cooking into your day to day menus.
You'll get to learn how to make the dishes seen here on Nosh and Nurture, a few surprise treats and of course, you'll get to taste ALLLL the deliciousness first hand in a state-of-the-art kitchen facility at one of my FAVORITE schools in the country!
Located in the new building on the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Campus in Tempe, Arizona, my class schedule is as follows:
You can get more information of the classes offered, pricing details and register here:
It's that time of year again! The Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo returns to Phoenix and I am SO EXCITED to attend!
With baby in tow, (and his second blogger event in his 3 months so far!), I will be scoping out the healthier, hottest and yummiest new additions to the allergen free food and health world.
Taking place this weekend November 12th and 13th at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, AZ from 10am-4pm each day, the event offers free parking and an array of vendors offering safe samples and plenty of info on what we can expect in the GF/AF market in 2017.
You can save on your ticket by visiting this link today or tomorrow and entering the code ADVANCE to save 20% off of the door price.
I'm looking forward to seeing some of my favorites! Follow me on Instagram [ @noshandnurture ] to watch my live Instastories throughout the day as well as snaps of baby Grey and me checking out our favorite booths!
Will I see you there? If you'll be following along online, what types of products are you looking for?
Guest Post Contribution
A new season of bright, fragrant, ruby-red strawberries always holds my attention. I’m tempted to load up on as many as I can carry and head home with little else and hunker down for some serious enjoyment.
But strawberry season is a long one, lasting well through June in my region. I’ve found that branching out to incorporate berries in everyday meals and treats really pays off. Creative, unexpected uses for them is one of the highlights of spring eating!
Strawberry Tips & Tricks
A Guest Post
Protein is still considered the “it” nutrient for satiety, plus there are often many nutrients packaged with protein. Here’s how to make the best choices if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian.
According to the FDA, an average American needs about 50 grams of protein per day. Those are the grams you see on a Nutrition Facts Panel for foods. So, for example, two tablespoons of peanut butter would provide about 7 grams towards that 50 grams daily protein goal. However you count your protein, vegetable-based sources can also be nutrient-dense, providing many other nutrients for the calories consumed.
For example, one-half cup of black beans contains 7 grams protein, 8 grams fiber (almost a third of your needs for a day), almost 20 percent of daily folate needs and more than 10 percent of daily iron allowances. Canned beans, which you can find in no-salt-added options, make it easy to rack up those protein grams to bolster salads or soups; make dips, refried beans or quickie mole; or toss with pasta. Other good protein-rich legumes to try include edamame, split peas, white beans, red beans and lentils.
Lentils work wonders in salads, dips and soups, and they supply nearly 9 grams protein for one-half cup cooked. Furthermore, that portion of lentils come with nearly 8 grams fiber (almost one-third of your daily needs) and nearly 20 percent daily iron needs.
Soybeans and nuts are processed to make a world of protein options from tofu and tempeh to nut milks and vegan cheeses. These can be excellent protein resources and hearty additions to your repertoire.
Three ounces of tempeh contains nearly 17 grams protein and 10 percent iron needs. The same three-ounce portion of tofu has seven grams of protein and 10 percent of your daily calcium needs, plus a little of your day’s iron allowance. Both are great grilled, roasted, marinated or stir-fried.
Plain nuts and seeds are another quality protein choice. Be aware that nuts and seeds — because of their higher fat content — are also higher in calories. Nut and seed butters are ideal because they can be used in smoothies, on sandwiches, on crackers or bananas and apples. (Just make sure to choose no-salt-added butters to minimize sodium intake) And two tablespoons of almond butter has more than six grams of filling protein, more than three grams of fiber, about 10 percent of daily calcium needs, and small amounts of zinc and iron (two nutrients commonly found in meats). And many nuts provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as filling fiber.
Your protein goal adds up quickly when you’re making smart choices at mealtime. And while the nutrition profiles of these quality plant-based protein choices are stellar, the best part is that they taste good, too. Here are our picks for delicious protein-packed options for veggie-lovers.
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Food Science Matters, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #foodsciencematters
Food science matters.
Getting to the meat of it, as gluten-free and dairy-free consumers (as a majority of both my readers and clients are) we consistently see a lot of new or unfamiliar ingredients in prepackaged food and beverages. Due to the fact that they're new to us, a controversial conversation starts on whether it's something we should be consuming. While we have every right to question the foods we consume, we need to understand that learning the science and research behind each ingredient is key to making informed opinions.
After all, we are a group that meticulously has to watch what eat, a group of label-readers, recipe creators and food lovers who want the safest ingredients and options for ourselves and our families.
The questions I get asked most often involve labels, grocery shopping choices and food additives, both synthetic and natural. And when it comes down to it, most of my readers and clients aren't educated on items like carrageenan, different types of sugars or natural food colorings, they base their opinions on hearsay, so often times I get the following question...
"Where do you stand on carragennan?".
I'm here to share my thoughts on this naturally derived ingredient found in many of the dairy-free and gluten-free products found in your local market.
Many consumers get the wrong idea of products when they are unfamiliar with such and that is understandable. There are a lot of fear-mongering publishers who pick apart foods that aren't widely spoken about. Many nutritionists and scientists want to start breaking through those myths and share the real science, and truth, behind what these ingredients are comprised of.
The World Health Organization has placed carrageenan in the best possible category for any food additive, noting it “does not, in the opinion of the committee, represent a hazard to health.” This includes for the most vulnerable of humans, infants.
I myself am a consumer of carrageenan. I choose to omit artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives and unnatural fillers and instead opt for naturally derived ingredients, such as those from seaweed. Check out my "Creating Carrageenan" graphic below to see how simple and straight-forward the process truly is.
When it comes to ingredients in our food, there is usually a battle between countries or governing bodies that argue if a food is safe to consume. Carrageenan is one that has been labeled safe by all U.S. governing bodies as well as those in Europe, Japan, China and Brazil. It's not often that so many agree, and this holds great value to me and my colleagues.
Another aspect of obtaining ingredients such as this from natural sources, is that it can help with food sustainability in a way that does not bring harm to our environment - a very important topic when opting to live more natural and green. Food insecurity is an issue worldwide, and the ability to produce nutritious ingredients that boost food flavor and texture impact those in need. Creating these natural preservatives is a crucial need that is being muddled by misinformation.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has found carrageenan to be non-carcinogenic. Noting also, that there have been no findings on it causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Why do you stand behind carrageenan?
We have a lot of choices to make when it comes to food. When I started researching additives and ingredients in 2011, I made a choice to cut out many, many ingredients. You may contact me to speak on any questions you may have on label reading and ingredients, however, my extensive research on carrageenan and how I feel when I consume it, is what made me make the ultimate choice to keep it in my diet. I believe whole-heartedly in using plant resources over synthetic chemicals and I have maintained a healthy diet with great improvement in all my symptoms with this as a regularly consumed ingredient in my food.
We know its seaweed, but how is it sourced?
It is a soluble fiber derived from red seaweed, a natural food ingredient that has been used for hundreds of years (it is not "new" like read in some claims) in food preparation worldwide, replacing our need for synthetic and animal-based products. This fact makes it a great option for the vegan lifestyle, as well.
What foods do you find this ingredient in and what are the benefits?
Acting as a natural stabilizer, it offers benefits in texture, structure and physical appearance to foods such as dairy-free milks, ice creams, yogurt, dressings, jams and jellies and meat products. It adds creaminess and helps foods retain moisture and freshness.
How is it used elsewhere and what are it's benefits outside of food consumption?
It is also found in make-up, face wash, toothpaste and shampoos, allowing companies to cut the use of harmful and synthetic chemical stabilizers.
How can I learn about it's safety and read more research on this?
All of the research can be found through Food Science Matters. With many scientific studies and reports to back up the safety of this food additive. You may also follow Food Science Matters on Twitter and Facebook to interact and start a conversation.
The recipes you have seen throughout this post are personal recipes of mine that utilize delicious, healthy ingredients that are kept fresh and are enhanced by the use of carrageenan. The recipes I create with such yogurts and milks include:
Chocolate Frosted Cake Donuts (gluten-free/dairy-free/egg-free/soy-free)
Mango + Greens Smoothie (gluten-free/dairy-free/nut-free)
Glazed Spiced Apple Bundt Cake (gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free)
Salted Caramel Vanilla Hot Cocoa (gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free)
My chosen brands of coconut and almond milk, yogurts and meat sources often use the seaweed-derived product that ensures my food stays fresh and allows me the convenience to have these items on hand for my family and events without having to make them at home.
I'd love to keep the conversation going. If you have additional questions on the research behind this natural and safe food ingredient I'd love to help or direct you to those who create, test and study food everyday.
It's important to keep in mind when making food changes to thoroughly research to make the best informed choices for you and your family. And remember, Food Science Matters.
Pairing up with the Aetna Foundation for the Healthiest Cities Challenge inspired me to share with you some ways that me and my family infuse health and wellness into our everyday. Implement one of these each day, or each week, for a couple of months and they will become a healthy habit!
01. Start Your Mornings Slow -
Each morning I take my time to get ready for my day. Prayer, devotionals, cuddles with the puppies and a nice breakfast are key to centering me and setting me up for my best day working from my home office or heading out for events or meetings with clients.
02. Connect With Your Inner Child -
Playtime isn't just for elementary school and recess. Even as adults we need to take the time to connect to our inner child and play. For my full post on ways you can play as an adult, click here.
03. Drinking Water & Meal Planning -
Make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. (credit Aetna Foundation) For assistance in healthy, effortless meal planning, contact me.
04. Make Playtime Count -
When it comes to playing with the kids, opt out of video games and TV time and do something that will stimulate you all mentally or physically. Whether this is a craft project or getting outside for some old fashioned sports and sunshine, it will benefit you all more if activities such as these become part of your regular routine.
05. Physical Care -
Aside from your daily workouts, activities like getting regular massage, joining a sports team, or yes, even regular sex with your spouse can greatly boost your endorphins, pumping the feel good chemical through your body, thereby lowering stress levels naturally.
06. Get Involved -
Volunteering, meeting new people and staying connected to your friends and families is shown to improve health outcomes. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course. Websites like Volunteer Match or Big Brothers, Big Sisters are great places to start to connect to new people and help your community in the process.
07. Micro-Breaks -
Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breaths, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. Remember to take breaks even on busy days, not just the slow ones and if you work from home, having animals is great because it helps force you to take mini-breaks. (credit Aetna Foundation)
08. Daily Workouts -
Of course one of the most important aspects of daily wellness is exercise. Aetna shares some great tips to making working out fun: Break it up throughout the day! Watching TV? Have a competition with your family members during commercials: Who can get the most steps up and down the stairs? Or who can do the most push ups or sit ups? Another way to make it fun is to put on music and dance! Me and Mr. Charming also turn up our iPods when we clean the house so we can clean and dance around, burning extra calories and making chores fun. Taking an after dinner walk as a family is also a great way to get in your fitness while bonding.
09. Power Down -
Hearing this one at the Aetna Foundation event reminded me that this is a weakness for me and something I want to implement in our home.
Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible. This includes unplugging from electronics an hour or more before bed time. Remember that you can turn off notifications when you go to sleep. It keeps you from waking up when your phone receives messages throughout the night. Also remember to shut down the Wi-Fi! It forces everyone to have quiet time and it can have a positive impact on the morning routine. (credit: Aetna Foundation)
10. Help Your City! -
Help your city become the healthiest it can be by joining the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge. For more information read my blog post on ways to increase health and wellness citywide in your area.
Going completely gluten-free in 2011, (and doing it cold turkey), was both one of the hardest things, and most rewarding things I've ever done. Food, for many of us, is more than just a means of survival. Even if we have a healthy relationship with food. It can be a social aspect of our lives, or a true lifestyle if it's a career for us or if we spend time in the kitchen baking or cooking for our families or guests on a regular basis.
So when you have to make a major diet change, of any kind for any reason, whether it be medical or for diet, it's going to take some getting used to.
It was hard for me in the sense that, in the beginning, I had no idea what was safe. What I could and couldn't eat. I did a lot of research and learned quickly, but those early months brought upon a lot of panic and uneasiness about shopping, dining out, attending events and travel.
If you have any questions, I'm always here to help. However, this post isn't going to be focusing on the how or the what's of what to eat, it's to focus on some of the mistakes or challenges that many new gluten-free foodies and clients of mine face that I wanted to address today. (P.S. I dislike the word mistake, as all of this advice comes out of love and we are all navigating these waters one day at a time, in our own way.) This is just here to serve as a helper along the journey.
Mistake #1 - The Processed Food Trap
This one is number one because it is the one I see most often when I am helping my readers through the gluten and wheat removal process. They find comfort in the boxes emblazoned with a "now gluten-free" label on it. Now while some of these items are fine, most boxed and processed foods lack real nutrition of any kind. Developing an intolerance to gluten can come about for many reasons, but for me and many of my clients, it was a breakdown in our gut health. Gut health cannot be restored through processed grains from another family, or through nutrient-lacking, sugar laden products that are so readily available today.
The best thing you can do when making your transition, is stick to whole, natural, healthy foods such as tolerated vegetables, fruit, healthy meats and fish, opting for gluten-free packaged goods in very low moderation so that you don't feel deprived.
Mistake #2 - The In-Home Contamination Issue
Many of my readers and clients say, "I have to go gluten-free, but my (husband, parents, kids, etc.) don't want to or don't have too. How can we co-exist?" Or the unfortunate instance to where they say they've gone gluten-free but continuously feel sick after eating at home with family members who aren't gluten-free.
One of the tasks I took on when I switched over, was claiming "my" safe spaces in the kitchen. Mr. Charming for the most part is gluten-free, out of support, for his health and because I cook most of the meals, haha, but he isn't 100% and does have his own snacks, occasional bread or waffles, etc.
I purchased my own toaster (this one is key because it's not cleaned like other dishes, such as pans, plates, etc are.) for starters because of waffles and other morning goods I need to heat up after a weekend of baking. I also have my own Ninja, which I know is pricey to own two, but we don't like to dishwasher clean them after each use, and it makes it easier for him to be able to use his milk-based proteins if he wants too and I don't have to worry about residual powder in my smoothie. I also have my very own shelves in the pantry. Crumbs are evasive little buggers, and those with Celiac or an allergy know they can't have even just a sprinkle of gluten, so your own shelves, preferably at the top are best. That way all of our food stays separate and his cookie crumbles don't touch my packages.
Other precautions we take are no double dipping in condiment jars. I have my own almond butter and mayonnaise. We also don't share off of plates, drink from each others glasses, etc. It may seem like a lot at first, but once it becomes a habit it will become second nature. It feels like a normal routine to us now and isn't seen as an inconvenience at all.
Mistake #3 - The Dining Out Question Conundrum
Being prepared and doing research ahead of time can make dining out a pleasurable experience. This one took some learning and trusting for me, but once I had my tools ready at my disposable I found dining out enjoyable again and actually became a professional gluten-free food reviewer nation wide.
Find Me Gluten Free is an amazing app that allows you to find gluten-free places in your area and read reviews. The reviews are number one to me when choosing a new restaurant in a new city. Also, visiting restaurants websites and reading their menus, and even calling, can be a huge help in booking.
Mistake #4 - The Unprepared Traveler
This one I see a lot, I get many people telling me they were stuck at "the airport, hotel lobby, amusement park... etc.) with NOTHING to eat. My biggest tip for you, SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS. Always have a snack for every two hours you'll be gone and then an extra emergency one if there is a delay or it turns out the place you planned to go doesn't have safe food.
Using the Find Me Gluten Free App is always a God send in this situation too. I always map out where the closest markets are and the closest gluten-free or vegan eateries are in the area I'll be traveling too so I can make a plan to go straight there and stock up on food. Not without a stash of protein bars, fruit, veggies or nuts in my purse, just in case.
Mistake #5 - Not Speaking Up
Having a food intolerance or allergy isn't the time to be shy. Whether it's at a restaurant or a friends or families home, it's always better to ask questions, ask for a list of ingredients or ask to bring your own dish. Asking in certain situations may be uncomfortable, but better to be uncomfortable for a few moments than sick for days, or worse.
This one was especially hard for me in the beginning because I always like to be a "good guest". So I ended up starving at most social events, haha. Then as I started to open up and take back my life as an "out of home diner" I learned that most people DO care and would RATHER you ask than starve or risk getting sick at their event.
Mistake #6 - Not Embracing The Versatility
This one took the longest for me in my process. I stayed really safe with a bland rotation of the same foods for many months. It was when I started exploring my kitchen with a fresh, healthier perspective that I got to learn about God's amazing food supply and the creations I could make that could still satisfy that "home cooked meal" desire we all have inside.
Cooking delicious GF/DF meals for family and friends is a challenge I love taking on. When I see their faces light up over my lasagna (you can't even tell there's no cheese in here!") or my banana bread french toast (best. thing. ever.) it warms my heart to know that there is purpose in this journey. There is purpose in your journey too, find the blessings in it and get creative.
All of these are learning curve moments, and I was victim to a couple of them myself in the beginning. As we grow in the change, it becomes easier to handle and we begin to learn to love to cook again. Finding new ways, new recipes and holding a new appreciation for just how powerful food can be to our bodies. Either as poison or as a life-giving, nutrient dense experience.
The question I get asked the most is, "how do you live without (insert food here)?"
I simply answer, "I live healthier, happier and easier without that in my life."
Plain and simple.
Join me this Saturday on TMI Radio on the Deeper Than Music radio show while I talk about the importance of nutrition for performers in studio, on the road and for overall good health. This talk also pertains to speakers and professionals who travel.
We will also be talking about my professional background in music, how I came to nutrition in this new endeavor, how I'm still involved with NVE Records/Universal Records and much more!
I hope you tune in and call in! I look forward to sharing my love of nutrition and my love of music in the same space!
4. Keep A Journal. By keeping a journal, I am able to share food ideas as well as my specific struggles along the way. I can reference back to how it went the last time each time I embark on a new cleanse, and it gives me hope to read about the days I felt lighter, lost weight or felt super energized!
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Remember that you are doing this for YOU. For you to feel GOOD. To feel LIGHT and HEALTHY. If you mess up, it’s OK. Be kind with you
& if you havn't yet, read my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving A Sugar Cleanse
Last year I guest posted on Around My Family Table on my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving Sugar Cleanse. And as many of you are working hard at your resolutions, getting healthy and striving to stay healthy if you're on a good health path, I wanted to share it here in this space this year.
t’s that time of year again. When we all set out to refresh. Wipe the slate clean. Become A “New” Person, whatever that last one means. This intention is masked with words like “resolutions”, “goal setting” and “complete turnaround”, and while the effort we make is commendable, sometimes we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if our January 1st To-Do list isn’t completed by the next time the ball drops.
Today I wanted to focus on healthier goal setting, specifically one of the most popular trends on every social media feed and that is “Completing a Sugar Detox” or a “Sugar Cleanse”. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a basic whole food diet that eliminates starches, breads, pastas, starchy vegetables and sugar in any form. As someone who has personally done a sugar detox in the past, and as someone who doesn’t consume dairy, my diet looked a little something like this.
– Grass-Fed and Free-Range Organic Meats
– Organic Vegetables and Some Organic Fruits
– Nuts and/or Seeds
– Healthy Fats (Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil)
Diets rich in these foods with help to cleanse and reset your system from all the holidays treats that it had to endure over the last few months and it will help you realize what you crave, what you’re sensitive too and what you can most likely live without.
As someone who has been through this, I am here to paint the honest picture of the roller coaster that you might, er, will endure, and how to fight off your sugar dragon like a superhero.