Good Bye Foodie Bitch – Hello Natural Life Foundation!

Natural Life Foundation

Wondering why we haven’t been posting much lately on Foodie Bitch?

We’re still here!

Head on over to Natural Life Foundation and see what we’ve been up to!

In all honesty, I was getting a bit frustrated with limiting our conversation to just food.  Although I absolutely ADORE food, and am fascinated with the amazing healing qualities (as well as the disease-causing qualities) food can have, I know that there is so much more involved in living a healthy life than just what we eat.  I felt I needed to include these other areas in our conversations.

Think about it: Haven’t we all seen some people who eat all the right kinds of foods, yet still seem sickly and depressed?

And, contrarily, haven’t we all seen people who live on fast food and convenient snacks, but still look healthy and happy?

I wanted to start sharing some of my research and experience that may shed light onto why this happens.

So, over at Natural Life Foundation, we’ll still be talking about food – it’s still a huge passion of mine and is such an integral part of our lives, culture, economy, and history.  Now, however, we’ll also be sharing insights on exercise, happiness, relationships, philosophy, organic gardening and farming, herbs, essential oils, alternative healing, animals and nature, and a number of other areas.  Our hope is that, with this broader range, we can all move closer to a more balanced, healthy, and passionate life… naturally.

Come and join the conversation at Natural Life Foundation!

Nancy  Smorch

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Homemade Cough Syrup

Homemade cough syrup

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

The ups and downs in the temperature this fall can put a strain on the immune system – one day it’s in the 60’s and sunny, and the next, it’s raining and in the 30’s!  Or snowing, in Michigan!  Add to that any stress (or perceived stress)  you are experiencing with travel, family situations, new experiences, work-related issues, or any other uncertain environment, and your immune system is compromised even more.

And so Lindsey’s immune system has recently become compromised.  She just returned from Dallas (yes, we let her go to Dallas – no worries about ebola).  She was at Tony Robbins’ UPW (Unlimited Power Within) weekend, and from Thursday night, when they did the “fire walk,” until Sunday evening, when they covered some really great health information, Lindsey was going non-stop.  She and another 6,000 people were packed into the convention center for some pretty intense personal work and discovery.  If you ever get a chance to go to one of Tony Robbins’ events – take it!  They are amazing!  Check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like:

To make a long story short, Lindsey got a little run down and caught a bit of a cold.  So we’ve been strategizing to make sure she’s getting enough of the right foods and nutrients to allow her immune system to heal her body.  A couple of things we’re doing in addition to food is using essential oils.  I’ve been giving her capsules filled with frankincense, lemon, and lavender essential oils twice a day, and I put together a “cough syrup” with a honey base.  She doesn’t have much of a cough, but the honey is a great base to get the oils in so they can go to work on her congestion and start attacking whatever it is that is causing her to  feel less than 100%.

This cough syrup is something I’ve used for years and it really does help with coughing, sore throat, and overall recovery.  So, I thought I would share it with you in case you need some extra tools in your cold and flu first aid kit this season!

Cough Syrup Ingredients

1/4 cup raw honey

1 drop Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil)

1 drop clove essential oil

1 drop rosemary oil

2 drops cedarwood oil

3 drops peppermint oil

2 drops frankincense oil

Remember when using essential oils, use therapeutic grade essential oils; that way you can be confident they are made in such a way that preserves the oils’ therapeutic qualities rather than destroys them.

I mix all of the ingredients together and take 1 tsp. as needed.  If this is too strong for you (although I think it can’t possibly be worse than the cough syrup you get at the drug store!), you can dilute it with more honey.

I actually like the taste of it.  You can even add it to a cup of your favorite tea or with a cup of warm water and lemon juice.  If you’re up for an extra zing, try adding some grated ginger!

Remember, the best defense is a good offense (I’ve got college football on my mind – go Michigan State!), so make sure you take care of yourself in the first place.  Get plenty of good quality sleep, eat fresh organic foods, do some sort of movement and exercise, and take time to be good to yourself and have fun!

Oh, and have a Happy Halloween!

How Food Affects Your Brain

Dr. Drew Ramsey

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

The content of this talk should really come as no surprise: basically, you should eat whole, nutrient-dense foods, and you’ll have a healthier brain!  Common sense, right?

But some of the specifics were surprising to me, and some of his stories of dealing with people with mental issues really put things in perspective for me.  Here’s what I mean:

Our diet has changed drastically over the past 100 years, and our brains are actually shrinking, partly because of this change in diet.  There are key nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning and growth of the brain, and a majority of Americans are deficient in these nutrients.

Take Zinc, for example.  Zinc is fundamental to over 300 chemical reactions in the brain, and over 70% of us are deficient in it.

Magnesium, which tells the brain to grow more and connect more is deficient in 60% of Americans.

Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to the proper function of the brain as well, are seriously deficient in the American diet.

There are over 2 billion people on the planet who are iron deficient, and scientists predict that the global IQ would go up 13 points if we gave them all enough iron – thus we would have a smarter planet.  Think about that one for a minute.

Also, did you know that the top causes of disability in the world are mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.), and that 12% of American adults take antidepressants?  They are the number one prescribed drug.

What if rather than always turning to drugs, we looked to food to address mental disorders?  Dr. Drew Ramsey talks about how he looks at various mental issues differently now – especially when the woman who comes into his office who just had a panic attack that morning, didn’t eat breakfast or lunch.  He is also connecting the dots between those who complain of lack of cognitive function and then noticing that they haven’t had any B12 for the last 5 years.

Also interesting was the fact that we have over 100 billion cells in our brain and that the brain, which is 2% of our body weight, consumes 20% of our calories we take in.  And, the brain is totally electric – it contains about 62,000 miles of electric “wiring” and is mainly made of fat and cholesterol (another reason to eat good fats!).

Dr. Ramsey also talks about BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which coaxes the brain to “give birth” to new brain cells.  BDNF goes up when we eat a diet of whole, minimally processed foods, and goes down when we eat the typical American diet.

So what are the foods that are good for the brain?
Omega 3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, eggs, and better quality meat, to name a few!
I’m sure this will be a new area of research and more information will be flooding the Internet about what foods and nutrients are good for your brain (there’s already quite a bit of information out there).  But when you look at what is good for your brain, you can get a glimpse at why so many people have mental health issues – because they aren’t getting any of these foods and nutrients.
Probably the most important thing you could take away from this post is to check out Dr. Ramsey’s website and this page in particular.  I am soooo excited about this page.  I’ve been talking about a “Farmacy,” and here, he has done a ton of research and put together a list of nutrients that are good for the brain, a little bit about them, and then what foods to find them in.  I seriously about teared up when I saw this page.  I love it!!!!  Thank you Dr. Ramsey for doing this!!!
I’ll let you watch the video to get the rest of the details, but I’ll leave you with this.  The next time you are feeling a little anxiety, depression, fogginess, or other emotional challenges, take a look at what you have eaten that day, and take a little extra time and feed your brain the food it needs.

Gluten Free Veggie Red Pepper Boats

photo

Kudos to Frankie again for this week’s recipe.  She reminded me of a dish I used to make (and hadn’t made in years), and said she would help me make it.  Her suggestion worked out perfectly because I was going to make something with chicken and it wasn’t thawed out in time, so it was great to have a vegetarian back up.  She even helped me make it – thanks Frankie!

Ingredients:

3 red or yellow peppers
8 oz. brown rice noodles
1 cup snow peas, sliced
2 cups sliced green cabbage
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup carrots, diced really small
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Olive oil and dark sesame oil for stir frying veggies
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Sauce:
3 Tbsp. Asian BBQ sauce (or poison sauce)
2 Tbsp. gluten free soy sauce

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Clean out the peppers and cut in half lengthwise (top to bottom).  Oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 glass pan and put the peppers seasoned with salt and pepper, cut side down.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until crisp/tender.

Cook the brown rice noodles according to package, and drain when done.

Heat 1 Tbsp. each olive oil and dark sesame oil in a wok or pan to medium, and add the snow peas, cabbage, carrots, and garlic.  Saute for about 5-10 minutes or until just about your desired tenderness.  Add the kale the last couple of minutes to finish cooking the veggies.

Mix the Asian BBQ sauce or Hoisin sauce with the soy sauce.  Add it to the veggies along with the noodles and toss with the cilantro.

Scoop the noodle and veggie mix into the pepper halves and serve.

Note:  You can add meat or tofu, if desired – just make a little extra sauce if you do.