Not-A-Grain Bars (Gluten Free ‘Cereal’ Breakfast Bars)

15 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

no grain bars

Do yourself a favor and make these “cereal” bars. They are soft, moist, and taste amazing!  The best thing about them? They don’t have all the crap in them that most breakfast bars do. A certain breakfast bar I used to eat many years ago has these ingredients:

CRUST: WHOLE GRAIN OATS, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN B1 [THIAMIN MONONITRATE], VITAMIN B2 [RIBOFLAVIN], FOLIC ACID), WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SOYBEAN AND/OR CANOLA OIL, SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, FRUCTOSE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, WHEY, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, CELLULOSE, POTASSIUM BICARBONATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MONO-AND DIGLYCERIDES, SOY LECITHIN, WHEAT GLUTEN, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CARRAGEENAN, ZINC OXIDE, REDUCED IRON, GUAR GUM, VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE), VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN), FILLING: INVERT SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, BLUEBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, GLYCERIN, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SODIUM ALGINATE, CITRIC ACID, METHYLCELLULOSE, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MALIC ACID, BLUEBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, RED 40, BLUE 1.

I don’t think I need to go into detail about why those ingredients are so bad for your health; you get the point. I wanted a REAL food bar for my two year old and myself to have on hand when we wanted a healthy treat. And the ingredients in the grain free bars below make this mama more likely to say “sure baby” when my sweet little boy says “more pwease” behind a mouth smothered in crumbs.

These bars are gluten free, grain free, & dairy free. I used raw local honey and pastured eggs from our farmer. I honestly thought they would just taste okay, but they were more than okay. They were delicious!

 

The recipe comes from this awesome book “Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great.” You can find the book here
—> http://amzn.to/1jv2Hq9

 

Not-A-Grain Bars (Gluten Free ‘Cereal’ Breakfast Bars)

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker – AgainstAllGrain.com

SERVES: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup blanched almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp finely ground flaxseed + 1 tbs for dusting*
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups blueberry preserves
  • 3 tbs water

*flax gives these bars the texture of wheat or bran flakes – Omit for SCD and add ½ tsp extra coconut flour

Instructions:

  1. Warm the fruit preserves and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat while you prepare the dough.
  2. Combine the flours, 2 tsp flaxseed, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Combine the coconut oil, honey, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat for 30 seconds on medium-high until creamy.
  4. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients beating until well combined, about 1 minute.
  5. Divide the dough into two parts and shape into balls. Place each ball on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the fruit preserves from the stove and cool to room temperature.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Remove one disc from the fridge and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment over the disc, then roll it with a rolling pin in both directions until you’ve reached a ¼ inch thickness.
  9. Using a pizza cutter, cut the circle into a large square, then into smaller rectangles about 4in x 2in.
  10. Spread 2 tablespoons of the fruit preserves on each rectangle, leaving a ½ inch border.
  11. Remove the other disc from the fridge and repeat steps 8&9.
  12. Use a spatula to carefully lift each rectangle of dough and place it on top of the rectangles with the fruit on them.
  13. Dip your fingers in a little water and gently seal the bars on all sides by pressing the two rectangles together on the edges.
  14. Transfer the parchment paper with the bars onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

The 10 Day Challenge

08 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

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My husband and I are starting a 10 Day Challenge tomorrow (Wednesday), and we would love for you to join us if you’re interested. We can hold each other accountable, share our journeys together, and support each other along the way. I may need your encouragement after day 2 of no caffeine. :) Yes, you heard me right, I said no caffeine. Come on, you can do anything for 10 days, especially if you have a support group. This challenge was not designed by me, but I am changing it some to make it my own. It’s adapted from one of my favorite coaches. The goal at the end of the 10 days is for us to have increased energy, decreased toxicity in our cells, and a healthier body which will prevent/fight disease. Why do I think this challenge is important? And why is it beneficial to go through a “cleanse” or “detox?” Some people will say that cleanses are unnecessary because the body filters everything itself. Yes, the body is designed to eliminate toxins. Our bodies are pretty resilient. Think about how much crap people put into their bodies, whether it be too much sugar, toxic foods, cigarettes, alcohol, rubbing chemicals all over everyday, etc. Sometimes I’m shocked their bodies don’t shut down immediately. BUT, if you put too many demands on your body, than over time, your body reaches a threshold where it just cannot keep functioning properly. With food as an example, toxic food takes more energy to break down because it’s full of chemicals/bad ingredients; therefore, this is the reason you have low energy. All your energy was used up breaking down the fake food you’re eating.

Want to talk about cancer for a moment? The fastest growing cancer group is those under the age of 30. Never before have we seen so many young people with cancer. Some of you are probably thinking, “everything causes cancer.” Toxins cause cancer. If we give the body the proper tools, it has an amazing ability to heal itself.

The Body’s Response to Poisons:

  • joint pain
  • low energy
  • sleep issues
  • heart rate increases/decrease
  • kidney/urinary problems
  • vomit
  • perspire
  • diarrhea
  • phlegm
  • fever
  • cough
  • headaches
  • gas
  • skin eruptions
  • irregular breathing
  • burping
  • cramps
  • rash
  • constipation

The 10 Day Challenge Guidelines:

  • Drink half your body weight in ounces daily (filtered water is ideal). If your urine is bright yellow, you are extremely dehydrated.
  • Consume foods that contain unprocessed fats in their natural state: avocado, nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, oils such as flax seed, olive oil, and fish oil. Eliminate or reduce processed fats (trans fats/hydrogenated fats)
  • Take a high quality fish oil daily. (If you don’t already have one, your local health food store will). *Or you can order one through me. Email me: kristenmpardue@gmail.com
  • Consume 70-80% foods that are alkaline-forming & life giving (green vegetables, almonds, avocados, lemons, limes, etc).
  • Avoid meat (high quality fish is okay a few times), dairy, refined white foods, sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. After 10 days, if you decide to add meat back in, make sure it’s pastured, free-range, antibiotic free, and organic. Don’t buy processed meats. **Side note, I am not vegetarian, and I don’t believe everyone should eat the same way because we are all unique, and our bodies process certain foods differently. People are sensitive to different foods, so there is no one size fits all diet recommendation for everyone. However, we can all agree that processed fake food is definitely not ideal for our bodies as our bodies were not made to digest them. Eat food in its original form and I promise you’ll feel better.
  • Keep it simple! Add fresh lemon juice or doTERRA’s lemon essential oils to your water daily.
  • Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week. Just MOVE! (Turn on some music and dance if you prefer that.)
  • Eat organic and local as much as possible (foods free of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones).
  • You can decide if you want to go gluten free as well. I recommend it, but it’s up to you.
  • Please don’t substitute tofu for meat (it’s processed soy and genetically modified as well). Check out this article here.

If you make a green smoothie for breakfast, make sure you use water, almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk as the base. Don’t use juice as it just adds in a lot of extra sugar that is not necessary. You can sweeten your smoothie with frozen fruit. Here are a few smoothie recipes:
Kale Blueberry Smoothie
Nutrient Packed Smoothie

Last but not least, if you want to speed up the detoxification process, you can try doTERRA’s zendocrine oil blend (detoxification blend). Read more about it here.

Overall, all of the above guidelines are pointing you to eat REAL food. Cut out the processed junk that we tend to resort to in our busy lives. Take the time to prepare your meals and focus on eating for health/energy. You are not eating to become full. The point of food is to give your body what it needs for maximum energy. So what are you waiting for? Give your body the nutrients it needs to not only survive, but THRIVE! You can do this!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

June GIVEAWAY Winners

24 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Giveaways   |  No Comments

 

 

I am excited to announce June’s lucky Giveaway winners! 

If you see your name below, message me your address & I’ll mail your oil to you this week. Stay tuned for our next giveaway ;)  

 

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GIVEAWAY: TerraShield & Wild Orange Essential Oils

12 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Giveaways   |  7 Comments

GIVEAWAY time!! This month I am giving away 2 TerraShield & 2 Wild Orange Essential Oils to 4 lucky winner!

June GIVEAWAYS doTERRA Essential Oils Wild Orange and TerraShield

To enter:
1. Like my page on Facebook “Naturally Free RD”
2. Comment on this post saying how you would use the oil
3. Share this post on your Facebook wall
4. Follow me on Twitter @GFreeDietitian

Deadline is June 20th! Good luck :)

5 New Year Health Tips from an Unconventional Dietitian

01 Jan
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments

5HealthTips

1. Beginner’s Tip: Eat more veggies. Easiest tip of all is to incorporate more vegetables into your meals. It’s extremely easy to add spinach or kale to a smoothie. I also add a raw carrot to mine, and no you can’t taste any of these because the frozen fruit masks the taste. Find my smoothie recipes here. If you’re making spaghetti, add zucchini, carrots, peppers, and/or broccoli to your sauce. 

2. Eat more FAT. Yes, I said it…fat is good for you. And FINALLY, conventional medicine is catching up and realizing the truth behind fat. What fats do I recommend? Well, the ones you were probably told to avoid….fats that are in real butter, coconut oil, ghee, grapeseed oil, avocado, nuts, 100% grass fed beef, and the list goes on. I could write a book on all the reasons fat is good for you, but I’ll try to just focus on a few. For example, fat is essential for your brain health. Your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. Though many people are now familiar with the importance of the highly unsaturated essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish (EPA and DHA) for normal brain and nerve function, the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally. Fat is important for:

  • proper brain/nerve functioning
  • insulation and energy storage
  • protection for our organs
  • absorption of Vitamins D, E, A, and K
  • hormone regulation

The war on fat has been going on for at a least a decade now. Thank goodness, the fat-free craze is not as popular as it used to be. I used to fall into the fat-free trap, buying fat-free salad dressing, fat-free yogurt, fat-free everything. And you know what? I was heavier and sicker then than I am now, and I’m eating a lot more fat these days. Eating fat does NOT make you fat. Eating sugar & processed food makes you fat. And you know food companies have to replace those “fat-free” products with something else to make it taste okay. They replace the fat with sugar, which is so much worse for your health. Want to read more about how fat is good for you. I love this article by Chris Kresser, “The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy.”

3. Cut out the junk. What do I mean by junk? Processed food. As much as possible, try to stop or limit what you eat out of a box. Food companies add an insane amount of chemicals, preservatives, additives, and even sugar to their products. The easiest way to cut out the junk is to eat real food. This means eating foods that are as close to nature as possible. For example, instead of applesauce out of a container, eat an apple. If you must eat something out of a box or wrapper, try to limit the number of ingredients to 5 or less. It’s harder than you think if you’re not used to eating that way. That’s why it’s easier for me to just shop the perimeter of the grocery store (better yet, a farmer’s market) and buy fresh foods.

4. Avoid GMOs like the plague. There are many genetically modified crops, but the 4 main ones are: corn, cotton, canola, and soy. If you use/consume these 4 crops in any way, buy organic. GMOs are linked to infertility, food allergies, cancer, birth defects, and the list goes on. Go to www.GeneticRoulette.com for a full presentation. Here is a teaser of what you’ll find:

  • The only human feeding study on GMOs ever conducted showed that genes “jumped” from GM soy into the DNA of human intestinal bacteria and continued to function. That means that long after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have GM proteins produced continuously inside of you. (What if the pesticide-producing “Bt” gene found in GM corn chips were also to jump? It might transform our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—possibly for the long term.)
  • Most offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks (compared to a 10 percent death rate in the non-GM soy group). Similarly, when a lab switched to rat feed with GM soy, most of the offspring at the facility died within two weeks.
  • Studies with mice also show reproductive problems. Mice fed GM soy had altered sperm cells and the DNA of their embryos acted differently.
  • Hundreds of farm workers complain of allergic reactions when touching GM cotton.
  • After sheep grazed on GM cotton plants after harvest, about one in four died; about 10,000 deaths in one region in India.
  • Farmers on three continents say their livestock became sterile, sick or died, after eating GM corn varieties.

If you want to read more about GMOs & how they’re destroying your health, read my post on it here.

5. Find out your food sensitivities. Trying to lose weight, but it’s just not happening? Or do you have headaches frequently, digestive issues, IBS, or just tired all the time? Hidden food sensitivities could be the reason why you’re not shedding those pounds that you’re working so diligently to lose, and they could be the reason for your symptoms. Identifying food sensitivities is key to feeling better, and I truly believe you’ll see just how good your body was designed to feel if you avoid foods that you’re sensitive to. I offer skype/phone consultations if you need help in identifying your food sensitivities. I’ve seen first hand clients of mine not only lose weight, but their pain went away, their asthma went away, and their energy was back when they identified the food triggers. So just because a food seems “healthy” doesn’t mean it’s healthy for your body. That’s why I don’t believe in a one size fits all diet (technically, I hate the word diet anyway :) Every one of us reacts differently to food or environmental triggers, and we all have a different make up; therefore, what works for one person may not work for someone else so I like to work with people on a individualized plan.

Giving you just 5 health tips was hard. I think I could go on forever when talking about health and nutrition. If you need extra help with your health and nutrition goals in the new year, I would love to be your personal Dietitian. If you don’t live in the Nashville, TN area, we can work together via phone, email, or skype.

Most importantly in the new year, I want to encourage you to stay positive about your health. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or heal your own body from chronic pain, it’s essential that you focus your mind on positive things. “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” -Anthony Robbins

Happy New Year to you! May 2014 be your best year yet.
Naturally Yours,

xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

 

The New Year’s Resolution You Won’t Break

31 Dec
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

New Year’s Resolutions….I feel like this has a negative connotation because most people think of it as a temporary change. You set a goal that’s usually broken within a month or two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting goals. Studies show that if you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. So I definitely think you should set specific and measurable goals. However, in regards to health or weight loss, I feel that many people who “mess up” or “fail” have the tendency to believe that they might as well give up.

So of course I’m going to give you some tips on how to get healthy in the new year, but I wanted to first talk about an easy new year’s resolution that you won’t break. I want us all to remember this in the new year if you’re trying to change your health for the better: Give yourself grace & remember that we are all in different places in our health journeys. When I first started making positive changes for my health 3.5 years ago, I remember getting overwhelmed when reading blog posts of those who “did it perfectly” in my eyes. They knew how to find the cheapest natural food items, they spent a crazy amount of time in the kitchen preparing healthy foods for their families, and it seemed so easy for them to avoid certain foods/additives/chemicals etc. And they understood way more about healing the gut, food sensitivities, & the brain/gut connection than I did (and I am a dietitian so felt that I should have known all this). But I had to constantly remind myself to take baby steps. And now when I help my clients, I try to meet them where they are in their own health journey. So if you’re in a different place in your health journey from where I am or from where other people are, don’t get discouraged. Instead, be proud of yourself for making changes so that your family will be healthier over the years. And most of all, don’t give up every moment that you feel discouraged. You will most likely have your ups and downs in your health journey, whatever your goals may be, but stay positive and remember that YOU are worth it.

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Come back Thursday for New Year Health Tips from an Unconventional Dietitian.

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

30 Day Health Challenge-Starts Oct. 28

22 Oct
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

30DayHealthChallenge
Are you ready for a health challenge? Maybe you want some extra energy, or maybe you want to work on healing your gut. Do you want to see if you could actually feel better in 30 days by doing this one thing? I think we should all be more conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies, and I think this health challenge will definitely make you think before you eat. You’ll also have to plan meals a little better, which is a good thing so that you can take the extra effort to put nutrient dense foods in your body. Ready for the challenge?

Okay here it is: From October 28 to November 26, 2013, whoever wants to join me, we will be going grain free together. That’s 30 days of eating grain free. I’m already grain light, so this won’t be too hard for me, but I understand that it could be very difficult for some of you if you’re not used to eating without them. For those of you who are already grain free, why don’t you do 30 days of a paleo diet. See Robb Wolf’s chart below on what is recommended to eat and to avoid on the paleo diet if you choose to dive in all the way. 

Okay To Eat Avoid
Fruits Dairy
Vegetables Grains
Lean Meats Processed Food & Sugars
Seafood Legumes
Nuts & Seeds Starches
Healthy Fats Alcohol

Some Benefits of Going Grain Free:

  • Stabilized blood sugar
  • Reduced allergies
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Stronger teeth
  • Balanced energy throughout day
  • Burn off stored fat
  • More efficient work outs

So you may be wondering why grain free? I hear it all the time; “I thought grains were good for me.” Well I used to think so too, and I thought I was doing well by making sure to buy my 100% whole wheat bread a few years ago. People have eaten whole grains forever right? Wrong. Grains didn’t become a hot commodity until the Agricultural Revolution. Before that, humans lived as hunter-gatherers: picking berries off bushes, digging up tubers, chasing mammals & scavenging meat, fat and organs from animals, and eventually learning to fish with lines and hooks and hunt with spears, nets, bows and arrows. Another phrase I hear from people all the time is, “If grains are unhealthy, why are they consumed in the Bible and why did Jesus use so many references to Bread” or “Grains are the staff of life, and Jesus even called himself the “Bread of Life” so eating them can’t be bad!” 

Wellness Mama has an amazing post on this titled, “Does The Bible Say We Should Eat Grains?” Here are the main points from her post, but you should definitely read the entire article here. 

1. The Grains of Biblical Times are Much Different Than The Grains of Today.

2. The Grains of Biblical Times Were Prepared Differently Than The Grains of Today.

3. Grain Consumption Didn’t Begin Until After the Fall.

4. Grains Were Often Eaten in Times of Hardship.

5. Meat is Often Linked With Times of Celebration or Redemption.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on her entire post.

Grain Free From A Nutritional Standpoint:

You’ve seen all the commercials about whole grains, and every Dietitian, doctor, and other medical practitioner learned in school to recommend them to you. They’re the base of the food pyramid, so they have to be good for us, right? Unfortunately, no because they aren’t the same grains that our ancestors ate, and our ancestors definitely didn’t eat them in the high quantity that we do now. I could write an extremely long post about every detail on how grains can affect the body, but I’ll try to summarize the main points here. The truth about grains is that they contain phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, & copper. Phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains, and in the outer coating of nuts and seeds. A diet high in improperly prepared whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. And honestly, most Americans today are deficient in at least one of these minerals without knowing it. 

Grains Prepared Properly: 

If you do eat grains, try to prepare them the proper way: soaked or sprouted. By soaking or sprouting grains, it reduces the phytic acid in them. The Weston A. Price Foundation writes this:

“Our ancestors, and virtually all pre-industrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes and casseroles. A quick review of grain recipes from around the world will prove our point: In India, rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days before they are prepared as idli and dosas; in Africa the natives soak coarsely ground corn overnight before adding it to soups and stews and they ferment corn or millet for several days to produce a sour porridge called ogi; a similar dish made from oats was traditional among the Welsh; in some Oriental and Latin American countries rice receives a long fermentation before it is prepared; Ethiopians make their distinctive injera bread by fermenting a grain called teff for several days; Mexican corn cakes, called pozol, are fermented for several days and for as long as two weeks in banana leaves; before the introduction of commercial brewers yeast, Europeans made slow-rise breads from fermented starters; in America the pioneers were famous for their sourdough breads, pancakes and biscuits; and throughout Europe grains were soaked overnight, and for as long as several days, in water or soured milk before they were cooked and served as porridge or gruel.”

Many people do not want to take the time to soak or sprout their grains, which is why many people prefer to just do without grains in their diet.

Improperly prepared grain consumption can increase the risk of infertility, obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, allergies, anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions.  In my own experience with clients, removing grains from the diet has increased energy, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, healed headaches/migraines, promoted weight loss, healed digestive problems, and many other ailments. I just had one of my clients tell me today that she can’t believe how much better she is feeling after I put her on a grain free diet less than two weeks ago. She’s amazed at how much better her stomach is feeling and how much more energy she has. I personally feel much better when eating grain free. I had gotten away from eating grain-free when I was nursing my son, so I need this 30 day challenge to get myself back on track again. 

Are You In?

You may be thinking, “Did she just say grain free as in no breads, rice, pasta, muffins, flours, crackers, rolls etc?” Yes, that’s what it means! I used to live on breads, cereals, and any grain you can think of, and if you asked me back then if I could give them up, I would tell you, “Absolutely not.” But the good news is, “You can do it.” You can retrain your taste buds, and by going grain free, it will help to balance your blood sugar levels and help to heal any systemic candida so that you don’t crave carbs as much. And I’m not against carbs. We need them to survive. There’s plenty of carbs in fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes, and foods that have healthy fats. If you’re ready to join me in this 30 day health challenge to see how much better you can feel, please let me know by writing on the wall on my facebook page.  I would love to know who all is joining in on this challenge with me. And I know some of you may have already checked your calendar to see if Thanksgiving would fall in those 30 days, and I can reassure you that the challenge is over by Thanksgiving. Besides, if you choose to eat grains on Thanksgiving, how you feel after may be just what you need to go back to eating grain free. :) If you have any questions along the way, post them on my facebook page, and I’ll share the questions anonymously to everyone else so that everyone can chime in to the discussion.

Cheers to you for taking charge of your health!

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

Cold & Flu Prevention: 7 Ways to Keep Your Immune System Strong

25 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Cold:FluSeasonBlogPost
It’s that time of year again. The kids went back to school, and already I’m hearing of so many people coming down with an illness. Cold and flu season is arriving, and I think we can all agree on one thing: Who has time to be sick? Not me, not you, not anyone. So I thought I would share with you some tips on keeping your immune system strong this winter.

1. Avoid sugar. This is so hard for many people because cold/flu season happens to fall at the same time as the holidays. Coincidence? Not at all. Sugar suppresses immune system function. Research shows that hours after taking sugar into the body, the immune system’s warriors slow down their responses. So they’re less able to attack invaders like bacteria and viruses. This is why people are more likely to get sick over the holidays; they’re ingesting more sugar than usual, leaving their bodies susceptible to viruses and bacteria. If you’re a sugar addict, you may have a deeper issue such as candida. This fungus causes a vicious cycle in that it feeds off sugar, but it also causes you to crave more sugar. A healthcare professional such as myself or a good integrative doctor can help you if you suspect candida. Also, this supplement can help with sugar cravings.

GlutamineAlso, I do recommend getting to the bottom of why you have sugar cravings to begin with. Is your blood sugar low? Could you have an underlying adrenal fatigue problem? I’m all about getting to the root issue of the problem.

If you must have sugar, read my post on the truth about sweeteners. One sweetener that I love is honey. Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, & antiviral properties (LOCAL raw honey is best, especially for allergies).

2. Get plenty of rest. In one study done at Carnegie Mellon University, even if people said they felt well rested if they’d averaged fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, they were almost 3 times as likely to get a cold as those who got 8 hours or more of sack time. What I’ve noticed with my own sleep patterns is that the QUALITY of your sleep is just as important as your QUANTITY. If you’re in bed for 9 hours, but you were up tossing and turning throughout the night, I wouldn’t call that good rest. There are many things that could be disrupting your quality of sleep: hormonal imbalances, food sensitivities, caffeine too late in the day, and for some people, KIDS :)

3. Vitamin D. Have you ever wondered why the winter brings on all the sickness, and during the spring/summer, everyone is so much healthier? One reason for this is SUNSHINE. People spend a lot more time outdoors during the spring and summer so they are exposed to the best source of vitamin D everyday. Their blood stores of this nutrient builds up and keeps their immune system strong. When cold temperatures come along, we stay reclused in our homes and offices, rarely getting exposed to natural Vitamin D. People’s vitamin D levels usually plummet in the winter. For this reason, I give everyone in my family a high quality vitamin D supplement everyday during the cold months. Find it here:


VitaminD

My toddler’s pediatrician recommended a few drops of this vitamin D everyday.

Many people love Fermented Cod Liver Oil for immune support. This brand is one of the best. It’s very expensive, but such good quality. The key is getting your children to consume it. Many people mix it in applesauce or other foods. I tried the chocolate cream flavor with my toddler, and he absolutely wasn’t having it. I didn’t blame him as I couldn’t stomach it either. I prefer the capsules, but you have to take a lot more of the capsules to get the same amount in a tablespoon of the liquid so it does end up costing more. Fermented Cod Liver Oil is an amazing source of natural vitamin A and D and omega 3s. Since my toddler wouldn’t take the chocolate cream flavor, and I don’t want to risk wasting even more money, he takes 1 tsp. of this fish oil everyday (or when I remember). Find it here.

CarlsonFishOilKids

4. Eat your way to better health. Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthy, but I think that most people underestimate the power that food has on the immune system.  If you’re eating healthy and are exposed to certain illnesses, you have a great chance of not catching it. Foods to enjoy are:

  • Organic fruits & vegetables
  • Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, or ferment your own veggies.
  • Organic, pastured meats & eggs
  • Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil (cold), grapeseed oil, avocados, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds.
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar per day (You can make your own concoction out of this: 8 oz. water, 1 tbsp raw ACV, freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon essential oil, and 1 tsp. raw honey. Mix together and take like a shot. This concoction is best if taken at the beginning of day before breakfast. It’s amazing for your immune system, digestion, and skin health.
  • Bone Broth. Read my post here on the health benefits of homemade bone broth (chicken broth). You can use it as a base in soups, cook your rice/quinoa/vegetables in it, or warm it up and sip it in a mug.

5. Elderberry syrup. “Modern research has identified potent flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins which may be directly related to their health promoting properties. Taken daily or on occasion to support the immune system, this concentrated syrup made from Certified Organic Black Elderberries tastes great. And it contains no artificial flavors or colors no preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup.” This is the brand I use. You can find it here.

ElderberrySyrup

6. Exercise. But It’s SO Cold Out! Many people back off on exercise during the winter because it gets darker earlier, and for those who don’t belong to a gym, they just don’t want to get out in the cold. I get it, I get it. BUT…..A study of 1,000 people found that staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses. So get out there and exercise, not just to prevent a cold, but it also helps prevent seasonal affect disorder (SAD) and depression, which happens more during the winter months.

7. Keep Calm & Carry On. Stress weakens your immune system. In the early 1980s, psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, and immunologist Ronald Glaser, PhD, of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, were intrigued by animal studies that linked stress and infection. From 1982 through 1992, these pioneer researchers studied medical students. Among other things, they found that the students’ immunity went down every year under the simple stress of the three-day exam period. Test takers had fewer natural killer cells, which fight tumors and viral infections. They almost stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon and infection-fighting T-cells responded only weakly to test-tube stimulation. So whatever you need to do to keep your stress levels at a minimum, do it. A few examples would be: Prayer, yoga, journaling, walk with a friend, and don’t over commit yourself (learn to say no). The last one is something that I need to work on. Being busy is sure to suck the life out of you.

Even if you still get sick doing all of these tips, your symptoms will be a lot milder than if you weren’t following these healthy guidelines.

Have a Healthy Fall & Winter!
Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

 

My Favorite Essential Oil for Sleep

17 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

RomanChamomile1As most of you know, essential oils have revolutionized my family’s health. Are they an end all be all? Absolutely not as I believe that health consists of healing in a variety of areas including but not limited to: nutrition, exercise, good rest, & stress management. That being said, when I started actively using essential oils at the beginning of this year, my husband was not on board. Actually, he was a little angry with me that I was spending money on MORE natural health options. Of course I explained to him that these oils were literally pennies per drop compared to expensive doctor visits and co-pays. Last January, I took Owen to the doctor when he was sick, and it cost us $150. That’s crazy! Now if he ever gets sick, I use a few drops of essential oils on him, and those few drops cost me less than $1. I don’t have to waste time going to the doctor office, AND I feel empowered as a mom to actually do something for my sick baby rather than feeling helpless.

Back to my point. I had been using Roman Chamomile on Owen as he was teething, and not sleeping well. My husband couldn’t believe how well the oil was working on our son. Our whole family was getting more sleep, and it felt awesome. One night, my husband broke down and said, “Okay, let me try one of these oils. I’ll see if they really work.” He really didn’t believe that they would. I had him rub roman chamomile on the bottom of his feet and on his temples that night. The next day while he was at work, I received this text: “Whatever oil you gave me last night, I slept like a rock.” He came home saying that every guy at his office wanted a sample of this oil. From someone who wasn’t a believer, Roman Chamomile quickly changed my husband’s mind. He’s been on board with the powerful effects of essential oils ever since.

So if you’re stressed, have problems sleeping at night, or you have a child who could use some extra support at bed time, you need Roman Chamomile. Read here why all essential oils aren’t created equal. And if you have any questions, email me at kristenmpardue@gmail.com.

Sweet Dreams,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD

How I Healed My Son’s Ear Infection Naturally

11 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

EarInfectionMy son got his first ear infection while we were at the beach in July. At 15 months old, he was at such a fun age to actually enjoy the beach this year compared to the previous year when he just laid there. So I was so upset that he got sick while we were on vacation.

Some of you may be thinking, “Get antibiotics fast.” I try to avoid antibiotics when possible because they kill not only the bad bacteria in your body, but the good bacteria in your intestines also. When you do so, you upset the delicate balance of your intestinal terrain. Yeasts grow unchecked into large colonies and take over, in a condition called dysbiosis. Antibiotics may help fungi to proliferate within your body and cause drug resistant bacteria to thrive. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, amoxicillin is not an effective treatment for otitis media (ear infection). In fact, after administration of amoxicillin, occurrence of fluid in the ear was two to six times greater. The British Medical Journal reviewed the use of antimicrobials for ear infections and published, “We conclude that existing research offers no compelling evidence that children with ear infections routinely given antimicrobials have a shorter duration of symptoms, fewer recurrences, or better long term outcomes than those who do not receive them. The authors went on to warn that, “Antimicrobial use in children with otitis media results in the emergence of resistant organisms in those children and in the community.” Most of the time, ear infections resolve on their own. And yes, you can use natural treatments to speed up this process.

If we hadn’t been at the beach, than I would have taken Owen to our chiropractor immediately. Chiropractors suggest that reduced drainage or blockage in the drainage system of the cervical (neck) lymphatic chains causes a reduction in the lymphatic outflow from the eustachian tube. This allows fluid to build up in the middle ear, making it an inviting environment for bacteria and viruses. Doctors of chiropractic focus on restoring homeostasis to the body. Several studies indicate a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and a quicker resolution of otitis media in children.

Essential Oils for Ear Infections:
What I did have on hand at the beach were my essential oils
. Thank goodness I take them with me everywhere! These are my favorite essential oils for ear infections:

Melaleuca

Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Melaleuca: Very powerful antimicrobial activity against all three of the infectious organisms: Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi. When diffused, it helps to prevent the spread of infection(URI, flu etc.). Together with its powerful immunostimulant properties, Melaleuca is a real ally in combating many illnesses and ailments. (colds, flu, URI, UTI, Cystitis) 

Basil

Basil

Basil: Basil Essential Oil tends to be one of the first oils that I select to relieve cold/infection symptoms. It is considered anti-bacterial/anti-viral, it acts as an expectorant and it also helps keep one alert. 

Oregano

Oregano

Oregano: Oregano essential oil is often called one of nature’s strongest antiseptics. Jean Valnet described Oregano oil as one of the strongest known anti-inflammatory drugs in reversing pain and inflammation with nearly the power of morphine as a painkiller. I call it “Nature’s antibiotic.”

On Guard

On Guard

On Guard: The best blend for strengthening the immune system and fighting off bacteria, infections, viruses, mold, etc. It also works great as a topical disinfectant.

I didn’t have Basil essential oil at the time (you can bet I do now), so I used Oregano, Melaleuca, and On Guard on Owen every 3-4 hours. I rubbed Melaleuca on the outside of his ears and behind the ear bone. You can also put the oil on a cotton ball and then put cotton ball inside the ear. I diluted Oregano and On Guard with coconut oil and rubbed 1-2 drops on his feet. I used Peppermint essential oil for his fever. If I would have had probiotics with me, I would have also given that to him, but thankfully he was getting plenty of vitamin D from the sunshine for extra immune system support. I did take fermented hummus to the beach with me so he was getting some probiotics. After a day or two, he was starting to feel much better; not 100% but better. He was still able to enjoy the beach as you can tell in the top picture. :)

Owen’s gut health was never compromised by giving antibiotics. And as a mom, I felt empowered knowing that I didn’t just have to sit and watch my baby live in pain and misery. I had my essential oils to not only treat his symptoms, but to work at a cellular level to fight the infection and shorten the duration of his illness. And in case you were wondering, I did call his pediatrician to let her know that he had an ear infection, and you know what she said? “90% of ear infections that are actually present clear up without antibiotic treatment. Feel free to use ibuprofen every 6 hours, and keep using your essential oils.” I love our pediatrician.

What do you use if your child gets sick? Have you ever tried essential oils?
Email me if you have questions on essential oils. I love educating others on their powerful healing effects. kristenmpardue@gmail.com

Ask me how to get essential oils at wholesale price: kristenmpardue@gmail.com
These are Retail Prices: http://www.mydoterra.com/kristenpardue/

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD

References:

Cantekin, E.I.: McGuire, T.W.; Griffith, T.L.: Antimicrobial Therapy for Otitis Media With Effusion (Secretory Otitis Media), JAMA 1991; 266: 3309-3317.

Williams,R., MD MPH; Chalmers, T.,M.D., et al; Use of antibiotics in preventing recurrent acute otitis media and in treating otitis media with effusion. JAMA, Sept. 15, 1993- Vol. 270, No.11.

Fysh, P.N.: Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 1, No. 2, 1996. The author has presented a case series of five patients.

Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 1985: 10(1):27-35. Musculoskeletal eustachian tube dysfunction is an important etiological factor for otitis media.