Got Gas? Or Sugar Cravings? Probiotics & Fermented Foods May Help!

The Gut Microbiome, Fermented Foods, Probiotics, Prebiotics have all been the hot topics in the nutrition world, but what does this mean for you? First the “gut” is the small intestine and to be in a healthy state there needs to be a balance of both beneficial or good bacteria and the bad stuff.  We need a little yeast (or bad buggies) to “eat” heavy metals and remove them from the body. The good bacteria are what we need for a healthy intestinal tract and to boost the immune system. Prebiotics are the plant based fiber that feeds the probiotics. 

 
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
 

So how do you know if your gut microbiome needs some extra support? If you have belly bloating, gas, or cravings for sugar this could be a clue that you need more probiotics. Most of us need some every day to stay in balance since stress or drinking chlorinated Baltimore city water or eating processed foods or even taking a Motrin for a headache destroys the good bugs. Populating the gut with these good bugs can be done by taking a probiotic supplement (look in the refrigerated case at Mom’s Organic Market at the Rotunda), drinking 1 tablespoon of Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in water and using it as the vinegar in salad dressings or eating fermented foods. 

Shopping

Fermented foods need to be cold and never heated or pasteurized which kills the good bacteria. You might have heard about local food producer Hex Ferments www.hexferments.com based in our own backyard in the Baltimore Food Accelerator on York Road next to St. Mary’s Church and Belvedere Square. Hex makes kombucha tea, a fermented drink and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkrauts plus seasonal varieties. Hex uses only locally produced and organic foods and follows traditional methods of fermentation, so their products are loaded with digestive enzymes along with the beneficial bacteria. Only a little is needed (1 - 2 tablespoon) to compliment any meal, salad or even eggs at breakfast as my husband does.  One of my favorite ways to make a salad is to use Hex Ferments Glo Kraut in lieu of a salad dressing and topped with sautéed veggies plus chopped egg. Hex’s largest selection of products can be found at their retail outlet in Belvedere Square and also at the year round Waverly 32nd Street Farmers Market on Saturdays 7am – noon and at Mom’s Organic Market. Check their website for more locations and information. 

Once you add probiotics to your healthy food lifestyle you might notice more energy because food is digested more fully, less cravings, less belly bloat and since they help to detoxify the body your skin may look brighter and clearer.  You might also notice less inflammation (stiff joints and puffy morning eyes). There’s not a down side and if you have any questions or aren’t sure how to incorporate probiotics and fermented foods please reach out to me through my website.

 

 

10 Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas...an alternative approach to giving!

One of the biggest holiday “stressors” has become what gifts to give spouses, family, co-workers, and friends. Our lives are full, and at times we don’t feel like there is room for one more “thing”. Here are fun, unique, and easy alternatives for your gift giving. 


 

#1:  Cryotherapy Facial

www.CharmCityIntegrative.com
Tom Ingegno

 
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Charm City Integrative Health is Baltimore’s spot for full body cryotherapy (inflammation, pain), oxygen therapy, salt therapy (respiratory health) and now Cryotherapy Facials. These facials go beyond regular topical treatments by building collagen. Each treatment is 12 minutes long and the immediate after effect is a glowing complexion.  For best results and longer term collagen building a 10 package is recommended with 2 to 3 treatments per week until expired. 
 

#2  Yerba Mate Tea

www.LoveFromArgentina.com
Ana Goldseker

Starter tea packages or subscriptions, tea blends (detox, skinny, chocolate & more)
Yerba Mate, the tea of Argentina, is the hottest new tea on the scene! One drinks the tea loose in the mate (cup) with a bom (filter straw). Yerba is an autogenic herb rather than a tea leaf. It has both an awakening and a calming effect. Love for Argentina’s website lists the various benefits of enjoying the tea which range from weight loss to focus to constipation relief.
 

#3  Aluminate Life by LL Coconut Wax Candles

www.AluminateLifebyLL.com
Liz Lehman

 
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Aluminate Life is a lifestyle collection of organic natural products to enhance your mind- body well being. The candles are made with clean burning coconut wax infused with essential oils that range from restorative to energizing scents (Clear, Lift, Still, Bloom, Dream). Each candle has a healing crystal in the base plus the container is a reusable high ball glass! The collection was developed by a local anesthesiologist who found she was burning the candle at both ends. An injury “forced” her to reevaluate her over-stressed lifestyle. As a result she combined her love of chemistry and the desire to create therapeutic aromatherapy healing products to enhance life. Along with the candles, Liz has essential oil sprays that can be used on linens, yoga mats, bathrooms, and even in the car and Reed diffusers. 
 

#4 Splendid Spoon Smoothies, Meals or Soup Cleanse

www.SplendidSpoon.com 

 
 


Splendid Spoon is the perfect gift for the “on the go” type on your list!  Their smoothie plan is perfect for breakfast or afternoon snacks. The meals can be warmed up for a quick lunch or for dinner served on a bed of sautéed veggies. And if you have a health nut who loves juice cleanses or has plans for a New Year’s Detox, the Soup Cleanse is a new approach. It’s a one day program where 4 bottled and 1 meal soups are enjoyed to reset the body’s hunger signals. The meals arrive frozen and can be defrosted the night before or warmed under water. 
Discount Code BGSPLENDIDSPOON20
 

#5  Massage

Thai Massage
www.TouchAlchemy.com
Gregory Oed
This is a fully clothed massage where Gregory moves your body through positions to release tension and elongate muscles so pain is reduced and mobility increased. 

Therapeutic Massage
www.WilliamJohnMassageStudio.com
Bill Rodick
Bill has a magic touch! If there is someone on your list who needs a little “self-care” and calm, this is the perfect gift. Light touch and deep tissue available.   

#6  Private Yoga Class

www.BethGrahamWellness.com
Beth Graham
Yoga is a practice for everyone from compettive athletes to those requiring a more therapeutic approach. The best way to learn yoga or improve a current practice is with one on one instruction so proper alignment and form in the postures can be understood. If you have someone on your list who has back, hip or shoulder pain from hours of sitting at the office or is feeling a little stressed, yoga has been shown to help and reduce pain along with increasing mobility and strength. 
Packages and single sessions available. 
 

#7  Personal Trainer

www.NewFitnessCreations.com 
Carlos Dorsey
New Fitness Creations is a program created by Carlos to help participants reach their fitness goals by developing strength and cardiovascular health. He will help you sculpt your body while building agility and flexibility. Carlos can help you create a home based program or one in a gym. He has a “never give up attitude” and is committed to supporting you reach your goals.  
 

#8  Mom’s Organic Market or Trader Joe’s

Gift Cards available
www.MomsOrganicMarket.com 
www.TraderJoes.com 

 
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Mom’s is located in The Rotunda in Hampden and Lutherville at York & Ridgely Roads.   Trader Joe’s is in Towson at Kenilworth
 

#9  Dry Farms Wine Subscription

www.DryFarmWines.com 
Wine Subscription
Dry Farm Wines is not a vineyard but a wine distributor and all wines must share natural farming and traditional wine making practices. Wines are low sugar/slow carb, biodynamic (organic), mold free, low sulfates and low alcohol (12.5% or less). Wines must meet their exact and specific standards including lab analysis by a certified oenologist. Along with wines meeting specific criteria for nutrition/diet programs, they must also meet standards for the optimal mind and body enjoyment! 
 

#10  Feng Shui Consultation

www.TouchAlchemy.com 
Cheryl Oed
This is the perfect gift for a new homeowner, someone who has recently moved, or the home decorator on your list. Think of Feng Shui as acupuncture for the home.  It’s about placement of furniture and use of elements (water, wood, metal, earth, wind) to enhance the feeling of well being by moving energy. The home is divided into sections (health, love, work, wealth/abundance etc.) and Cheryl will show you how to stimulate the specific areas. 

Quick Yoga Tip…Mind Your Shoulders

Many yoga students struggle with tense shoulders when raising arms above their head. My suggestion is to modify. Doing the final yoga posture is not the “goal” when practicing. The goal is to move towards the alignment principals of the posture. You will gain more benefits from the pose rather than winding up with poor posture and form.

 
 

In poses with arms extended over the head (Warrior 1, Crescent Lunge, Chair pose)

  • Release shoulders down your back away from your ears
  • Rotate triceps forward (externally) to broaden the upper back and help soften the scapula down the back
  • Straighten elbows and enegetically reach up through your fingers

For many, hands touching is not accessible using these instructions. Instead, keeping hands shoulder width apart works nicely.

 
 

To modify extended arm poses

  • Bend elbows at a 90 degree angle
  • Stack wrists over elbows
  • Tip the elbows slightly forward to draw the bottom of the shoulder blades flat and slightly in 
  • Energize the fingers

The Goal of Yoga   (No, it’s not the Handstand)

The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal.

The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are.

The goal is to love, well…You.

Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.

-Rachel Brathen-

Summer's Best Blueberry Muffins

All Purpose Paleo Flour Blend
2 cups Almond Flour (Trader Joe’s)
1 1/3 cup Arrowroot Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
2/3 cup Coconut Flour (Trader Joe’s)
Mix and store in the fridge or freezer

 
 

Muffin Ingredients – makes 12
2 cups of Paleo Flour Blend (above)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup Kerrygold grass fed unsalted butter
¼ cup dark maple syrup (Trader Joe’s)
1 tablespoon Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (Mom’s Organic Market)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large pasture raised eggs
½ cup nut milk (almond, coconut, cashew)
1+ cups blueberries
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

 

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pan with paper muffin cups

Beat butter with maple syrup and monkfruit sweeteners until whipped and creamy

Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla

Add dry ingredients to a separate small bowl and mix well

Alternate adding dry ingredients and the milk to the butter/sweetener mixture while blending

Fold in berries gently

Scoop even amounts into the muffin tin and bake 25 minutes until golden.

 

Cool and Enjoy!

 

This is a fantastic muffin base to use with other ingredients like cherries & chocolate chips or diced peaches or chopped apple & walnuts. Or add some lemon zest, candied ginger or cinnamon to the blueberries.

Get creative and have fun! 

Yogi Gal adds WEIGHTS...and how it can work for you!

After breaking a second toe last fall, I took it as a sign that I needed to add something to my routine. I could work on my basic walking skills as my husband Scott suggested, or add Resistance Training back! I hadn’t lifted weights since 2001, so when I opted to add them, I enrolled Carlos Dorsey  to help. The question was where to fit it into my schedule between private and corporate clients, group classes, and nutritional work. Also I was not going to give up the 2 to 3 yoga classes that I attend as a student each week.

My original plan was to meet with Carlos once a month and have him give me a routine that I could continue to work on at the gym. This worked initially when it was new, exciting, and my endorphins were high, but it wasn’t as effective long term as I hoped. Life happened with its highs and lows and what was lacking was my planning skill on when to fit it in. Many times I said to myself, “Darn if I had only planned my time better and brought my “trainers” I could have lifted.” 

Even with what some would perceive as a “failure” because of my lack of regular workouts I did notice that my yoga practice was getting stronger.  I was feeling steadier in poses like Crescent Lunge when I was adjusting my hips and engaging my core, so I knew I had a good thing going and refinement was all that was needed. 

So for Plan B I knew I needed to simplify the process and have Carlos create an at-home routine for me. Based on my past training with Carlos I wasn’t surprised after the initial workout with light weights (5, 8, 10 lbs) and an exercise ball how sore I was!  Now most days I can do a part of the workout like squats with an overhead press or do 2 to 3 sets of the 20 minute plan when I have the time.  The weights were roughly $20 a set and the ball and pump $15 at Target and they do not take up much space.  I’ll still go to the gym when I can fit it in to use the machines and larger weights, but with my new “home gym” it’s not hard to commit!

Meet The Detoxinista

Megan Gilmore known by her followers as The Detoxinista  loves her vegetables and includes them in every meal category from appetizers to main dishes and even in desserts like her Raw Cheesecake! I’ve been making her recipes and adapting some of my own based on hers since before the release of her first book. Everyday Detox in 2015. All of her savory soups (Carrot Ginger) and main meals (Quinoa Mushroom Burger) were a hit and the family ADORES her Chocolate Pecan Crumble Bars renamed as “Magic Bars” as well as the cheesecake that I’ve made some slight changes to make it stand higher.

The theme of her second book. No Excuses Detox, is so well laid out that I have been recommending it since the release in early 2017. She gives some basic nutritional advice, kitchen lifestyle and time-saving tips plus a Beginner Meal Plan and Shopping List. The recipes are all quick and easy to make (many is less than 30 minutes) plus budget friendly and noted $1.63 per serving for example although the Grahams all tend to eat a 2 serving size portion, so I often add more vegetables to a dish or double ingredients.

 

Most of the dinner and salad recipes are flexible and user friendly.  Baking is more of a “science” then an “art” so stay true to those recipes like the Morning Glory Snack Muffins. The Skillet Breakfast Hash has become a weekly dinner favorite for me because I can have dinner served in 20 minutes after teaching an evening yoga class. I’ve added chopped zucchini to the recipe and increased the pepper and onion from a half to a whole. I usually use a large bag of shredded cabbage from Sam’s Club or two from Trader Joe’s to save prep time.  I’ve added goat cheese to the eggs (increase to 6 or more) some nights and not on others.  I’m sure the chopped chives would be a lovely addition, but it just hasn’t happened for me. 

Both books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, plus her website and Instagram have links to additional recipes. My hope is she gets you into the kitchen and is a support to see how easy it is to eat real whole foods with a little guidance and “how to”.

Cookies for Breakfast

Remember the comedy skit “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast”? Our family still quotes it anytime we eat something “unhealthy” but so yummy for breakfast! Now you can have both: a complete whole ingredient food, and one that’s delicious. These cookies are easy to make and both husband and kid friendly as well. Perfect for a quick meal or snack option. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Vegan and a balance of Macro Nutrients (Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein) and loaded with Fiber.

Please click here for the recipe!

All ingredients are available at Mom’s Organic Markets in Timonium & Hampden or online through Amazon. It’s a forgiving recipe so substitutions work. A lot of folks have bean sensitivities and find chickpeas easier to digest so trade those in. I’ve used 2 small bananas OR 1 banana plus applesauce if the dough seems too “dense or thick”. Also I don’t have a food processor so I use my Vitamix. Lastly I increase the CHOCOLATE by adding raw cacao nibs and any dried fruit works organic raisins, fruit juice sweetened cranberries or dried cherries.

 

P.S. Also try a handful of Organic Gemini NUTFREE Tigernuts as a snack or the sliced ones on a salad for some “texture”. These goodies are actually tubers like a sweet potato and sorta have that taste with plenty of pre-biotic fiber.

LIVE - Yoga Tutorials

I’m a stickler when working with clients and in classes on practicing with proper alignment. My belief is always to work towards the alignment principles of the final pose by modifying. This is how we “re-wire” the body’s circuitry that gets confused by an injury, overuse, or under-use. Meaning if you’re a runner and your hamstrings are short, watch the Downward Dog video on how to benefit and lengthen the spine without the hamstrings restricting the benefits gained by lengthening the spine.

Make sense? Click on the link below and give it a try!

http://www.bethgrahamwellness.com/videos/

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BethGraham
Simplify.Connect.Enjoy
www.BethGrahamWellness.com

Un-Caesar Salad


This salad has been a huge hit and is perfect for winter gatherings! The "creamy" dressing makes a satisfying salad in colder months. Plus it hits all of the "macro nutrients" with good carbs, proteins and fats, so it makes a complete meal. 


Bon Appétit! 

Un-Caesar Salad

Chickpea Croutons  
1 14oz can low sodium organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1T unrefined organic coconut oil
1t curry powder or any spice blend
1/2t garlic powder
1t pink Himalayan sea salt

Romaine, chopped
Kale, chopped
(Or any greens on hand!)

Dressing
1/2 c soaked cashews or raw Tahini
1/2c olive oil
1/3c Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3c water
Juice of lemon (optional)
2t capers
1T organic GF vegan Worcestershire sauce
2t French mustard (grains) 
1 clove garlic
1/2t powdered garlic

Preheat oven 425. Mix chickpeas with melted coconut oil and seasonings. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, toss and roast another 15-20 minutes until crispy. Let cool and store in the refrigerator. Recipe can easily be doubled. 

Mix dressing ingredients in high speed blender. 

Toss chopped greens with dressing and top with chickpeas. You can also sprinkle Nutritional Yeast or Trader Joe's Ancient Grains and Seed mix on top. 

Chickpeas also make a great addition to Avocado Toast!  

Let me know what you think!