Cooking with Bone Broth.. and why you should use it!

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

Cooking with Bone Broth | The Organic Beauty Blog

After years of maintaining a mostly vegetarian (or at most, pescatarian) diet, I struggled with the concept of incorporating bone broth into my eating.  But after tons of research, discussions with my colleagues in holistic healthcare, and seeing the benefits in my own body, I’m sold.

I started adding Brothee Organic Bone Broths, made locally here in Southern California, to my weekly Milk & Eggs grocery delivery orders a few months ago, and I’ve never looked back.  Here are just some of the many health benefits of using organic bone broth:

  • It promotes and supports strong immunity
  • It helps to treat and overcome digestive issues like leaky gut and IBS
  • It supports the body in overcoming food intolerances and allergies
  • It improves joint health and mobility
  • It supports healthy skin, hair, and nails
  • It fights inflammation in the body

Crazy, right?! So basically, this humble broth, made simply by simmering beef or chicken bones (though duck or fish bone broth is a thing too) with some vinegar and spices, is pretty much the world’s most perfect health and beauty food.

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3 Gut-Healing Recipes to Make Your Stomach Happy

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

One of the most common health concerns I hear about from my clients is stomach troubles.. I’m not just talking about the serious, diagnosed kind, but rather just a feeling like something is off.  From bloating and gassiness, to occasional stomach pain or just feeling crappy after a big meal or a wild night, digestive issues are so commonplace that we almost kind of take them for granted.

Our digestive system is a barometer for the state of our whole body.  An out-of-balance digestive system can lead to emotional and psychological issues (heightened stress, anxiety, depression), nutrient malabsorption, headaches, skin problems, fatigue, and so, so, so much more.  It’s the first place I look when a client comes to me with a myriad of mysterious and seemingly unrelated issues.

Healing the gut leads to healing throughout our whole body, so getting our gut to a happy place should be our number one health priority!

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How to Winterize Your Smoothies

Winterize Your Smoothies | The Organic Beauty

I love green smoothie. I’m not going to go so far as to say I moved all the way across the country to California so that I could have green smoothies for breakfast every day without any consequences — but that isn’t as far from the truth as you would think.  I really LOVE my morning green smoothies.  They are my absolute favorite breakfast, and I find them to be the most wonderful vehicle for getting insane amounts of nutrients and superfoods into my body in a very efficient fashion.

But as great as green smoothies are, drinking them in the colder months actually messes with your health, digestion, energy, and immunity.  Eating and drinking cold foods, especially during periods of cold weather, forces your body to work harder to warm it up and digest it.  Cold foods can throw off the delicate balance of your stomach lining, can increase phlegm, decrease immunity and cause or exacerbate digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea.  No fun.

In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, eating and drinking warm foods is a big part of keeping one’s body running smoothly and optimizing digestion.  I get chastised about my smoothie habit by my acupuncturist every time I see her, and I am in a constant heated back and forth with the Ayurvedic practitioner inside me every time I opt for a smoothie or salad in the middle of December.

So what’s a smoothie and salad loving girl to do?

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5 Ayurvedic secrets to digest better this Thanksgiving

5 Ayurvedic Secrets to Digest Better This Thanksgiving | The Organic Beauty Blog

I’ve always been super irked by that image we all have in our heads of post-Thanksgiving bloat, fatigue, and fullness. Truth be told, it is totally possible to eat a big, filling and festive meal and not go into a food coma immediately after, or worse yet, throw off your digestion for days. All it takes is employing a few Ayurvedic secrets to digest better this Thanksgiving!

Try these tips and enjoy this lovely holiday with no side effects:

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Keep your Belly Happy with Chia + Probiotics

Kunachia on The Organic Beauty Blog

A happy digestive system is the basis of a slender waistline, glowing skin, and elevated mood, so I am a huge proponent of daily steps to boost digestive health.  I take my probiotics daily, I add awesome soluble fiber to my daily smoothies and oats, and I eat all kinds of prebiotic foods like greens, bananas, and alliums every day.

But when I find a way to combine some of these steps into one, I get super pumped. Enter: Kunachia, a perfect blend of organic, milled chia seeds and probiotics.  Loaded with omega-3’s, antioxidants, fiber and protein, Kunachia scrubs your intestines of toxic buildup, while populating your gut with beneficial bacteria.  This nutritional one-two punch is super powerful for all areas of your health, making it the perfect addition to your morning smoothies, oats, yogurt, and desserts!

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Say Buh-Bye to Belly Bloat!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Say-Goodbye-to-Belly-BloatBelly bloat is one of the most common issues that my clients come to me with, and if you’re anything like them (and I know you are!), that “food baby” nasty bloat is something you are ready to say goodbye to, forever.

Unless you’re suffering from an unmanaged food intolerance or IBS (and if you are, please schedule a consult with me so we can get you feeling all better, fast!), belly bloat is a matter of compromised digestion or simply sub-par food choices.  And guess what? It’s a pretty easy fix.  Follow the tips below to make that belly bloat a thing of the past!

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Get Your Green On: Juices and Smoothies

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Eat Your GreensYou know by now that you’ve gotta eat those greens.  Dark leafies are the single healthiest group of foods out there.  Loaded with nutrients, they are major health powerhouses, and the best part is, you can eat them as much as you want!  If you’re not doing so already, make greens a big priority in your eating — shooting for a full serving at least twice a day.  Salads, cooked greens, greens in your eggs, greens tossed into soup, and as a side for pretty much anything you’re eating — they are super easy to make into a daily habit.

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To Juice Or To Blend? That is the question…

By: Stephanie Heino

juicingversusblendingLately, it seems juicing and blending are on every health fanatic’s lips, and we wanted to weigh in.  For a long time I was wondering what the actual difference was between blending and juicing foods, and I know that I am not alone so let us clear this confusion by listing the pro’s and con’s of each so you can see what fits you best. First of all, it’s important to note that just because it is a smoothie doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Buying pre-made smoothies in stores is probably not a good idea if you are looking for optimal health benefits. Often times they are loaded with sugar and preservatives to be kept fresh (a major no-no!).

Let’s start by defining juicing to clear the confusion. “Juicing is a process in which a machine, either through centrifugal force, grinding or mastication (chewing), extracts juice from its source. The juice will contain most of the nutrients, but not all of them, despite what ardent juicers claim. This process removes the insoluble fiber and some of the soluble fiber from the juice, which contains healthy colorful antioxidants. According to studies, juicing delivers 80% to 90% of the antioxidant potential of a veggie or fruit. Blending provides close to 100%.”

After extraction, it is best to consume the juice or blended foods within 10 to 15 minutes because antioxidants are activated and used as soon as air and liquid hit the food. There are some juicers that claim a vacuum extraction, however that doesn’t totally stop the loss of antioxidants.

Some also say juicing and blending gives the body more energy than solid food because the only nutrient that is quickly available for energy is sugar. Remember, with blended foods the sugar absorption is slower and steadier (which is a good thing), but even juice requires some form of digestion.

Benefits of Juicing

  • green_juice_smoothies_recipes_apple_cucumber_Broccoli_spinachVery fast delivery of nutrients to the blood stream. Only a small amount of digestion is required.
  • Gives the digestive system a break. Primarily the stomach, pancreas and colon.
  • Because of the lack of fiber, a lot of plant juice can be consumed. You can effectively drink more, consuming more nutrients.
  • Helpful for people sensitive to fiber since there is no insoluble fiber content. Juice does have some soluble fiber, but only a small amount.
  • Provides 80% to 90% of the nutritional value of the food being juiced.

Negatives

  • Allows very fast delivery of sugars to the blood stream.
  • Removes most of the fiber and some antioxidants from the juice.
  • Not as filling or satisfying for most people.
  • More time consuming and more difficult to clean.
  • Good juicers are expensive.

Meanwhile, blending is a process in which the whole foods, along with some liquid, are put in a machine and blended to form a puree. You get everything the whole food has to offer: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber.

tofu-banana-strawberry-smoothieBenefits of blending

  • Fast delivery of nutrients to the blood stream. Only a small amount of digestion is required.
  • Gives the digestive system a break. Primarily the stomach and pancreas.
  • Because the food is blended, it takes up less space than a full meal would. This allows for more nutrient intake at one time.
  • The natural fiber slows the release of sugars into the blood stream.
  • More nutrient availability due to the whole plant being consumed.
  • More filling due to the fiber.
  • Very fast to make a smoothie (or Blast) and clean up.
  • Blenders are less expensive than juicers.

Negatives

  • If someone is sensitive to fiber, it could make a person bloated and a little gassy.
  • You can’t consume as much liquid as you could juicing.
  • Some blenders can create too much heat if you let them blend too long. The heat will kill the naturally occurring enzymes. (This is not the case with NutriBullet, as it doesn’t heat to the point of destroying enzymes.)

In the body, nutrients work together and support health through their interaction. For example, when the pulpy white part of the orange is removed in the processing of orange juice, the flavonoids in the orange are lost. This loss of flavonoids is one of the many reasons for eating the orange in its whole food form. The skin on a apple contains other antioxidants that you are not going to get in the juice and skins of vegetables and fruits contain some of the highest concentrations of nutrients and juicing is not as efficient as the body at extracting those nutrients.

There’s a jungle of blenders and juicers out there, but here is a few great ones to help you chose the best one for you!

Nutribullet ($90-$120)

The praised blender has taken the health market by storm and it truly takes blending to a whole new level by enhancing the absorption of nutrients. It has been called the superfood nutrition extractor since this powerful blender is used to grind up all types of foods into drinks yet keeps all the nutrition. Not only can you use it to make health shakes and juices, but you can also make soups, dressings, desserts, flour, and peanut butter.  We’ve been using this amazing kitchen tool for almost a year and love it.  At under a hundred bucks, it’s an amazing value and is the easiest way to start making super healthy smoothies at home right away!  You get 4 convenient to-go smoothie cups that you can take with you anywhere. (Click to read our full review of the Nutribullet.)  Get it here!

Ninja Mega Kitchen System ($160-$220)

If you’re ready to take your blending up a notch, and want the option for higher capacity blending and food processing, this is the blender for you.  It has a super high powered motor, and is an all-around great blender, because of the combination of the patented Ninja technology and powerful pulsing action. It comes with two to-go sized blender cups (like the Nutribullet), a full-size blender, and a food processor, making it a truly indispensable kitchen tool. At less than half the cost of the Vitamix, this puppy does pretty much everything it’s big expensive brother can do, but at a much friendlier price point.  We recently upgraded to this blender and couldn’t be happier! (Click to read our full review of the Ninja.)  Get it here!

Vitamix ($330-$650)

This healthy kitchen favorite not only makes perfect smoothies, but Vitamix machines are also built to stand up to years of demanding use in commercial kitchens and decades of daily use in your home. Impressive!  It can liquify almost anything, making blended soups and smoothies a cinch.  The high powered motor also warms blended soups without cooking them, which is essential for raw foodies in the colder months!  Get it here for less!

Breville Juice Fountain Compact ($99-$139)

This juicer is one of the best! It collects all the pulp and extracts 8 oz of yummy, refreshing juice in less than 5 seconds. Amazing.  Plus it’s nice and compact, which makes it much more flexible a kitchen tool than many of the bulkier juicers out there.  An awesome value!  Get it here!

Check out these delicious blended soup recipes, perfect for a cold winter day!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is delicious, and did you know they’re low in calories and fat and packed with vitamins A & C as well? This soup makes a fabulous, nourishing soup.

Ingredients:bowlcloseup

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2½ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup of coconut milk or soy milk
  • ½ cup of cashew puree
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

Directions:

Sauté onions and apples in a stockpot with olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, except coconut milk, cashews and quinoa. Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Add batches of mixture to the blender, add coconut milk, cashews, and quinoa, and puree until smooth. Add a crispy green salad and you have a complete, healthy dinner!

Delicious Tomato Soup

This tomato soup recipe really gives you the nutrition your body needs thanks to the Nutribullet. It’s a great way to heat up on those cold winter days, and in addition to that it is so easy to make.

Ingredients:Tomato-Soup-1

  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Italian tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup brown rice or quinoa (cooked)
  • ¼ cup of cashews
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (optional)

 Directions:

1.      Place tomatoes, 1 cup of broth, onions, garlic and sweet potatoes in a pot.

2.      Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are fork soft.

3.      Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

4.      Place cashews in blender and grind.  Add to soup.

5.      In small batches add soup and puree with extractor blade until smooth.

6.      Add brown rice or quinoa to soup and finish with coconut milk.

Happy blending everyone!

Don’t forget to check out our delicious Nutribullet smoothie recipes!

Good vs. Bad Bacteria – How To Maintain Balance In Your Gut

By: Stephanie Heino

The human body plays host to a number of micro-organisms, most of which are our friends.  But we do have some that create imbalances which show up in your overall health. Our colon has the largest microbial community in the body, and this is where the micro-organisms live. In this part of the body, the bacterial population usually doubles once or twice a day. Many of these bacteria are, of course, also eliminated during the course of the day, so that a healthy balance is maintained. Under normal circumstances, the microbial community in the colon – which includes more than 300 different species of micro-organisms – regulates itself. These micro-organisms normally prevent infection and growth of “bad” bacteria (parasites like Salmonella and clostridia, for instance), and have a positive effect on nutrition.

However, the intestinal flora of the colon can very easily be disturbed. This may change the balance of normal micro-organisms in the colon greatly. Several factors, like stress, altitude changes, starvation, parasitic organisms, diarrhea, and use of antibiotics, could contribute to such an imbalance.

When the balance is disturbed, one can become susceptible to disease. In these circumstances, boosting the numbers of “good” bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract can be particularly useful. This is where probiotics come into play. Probiotics are microbial foods or supplements that can be used to change or improve the intestinal bacterial balance to boost the health of the host. The most common forms of probiotics include Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These good guys destroy the overgrowth of toxic bacteria by competing for attachment sites and nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria also produce organic acids that reduce the intestinal pH and retard the growth of “bad”, acid-sensitive bacteria.

If you are like me, and aren’t a fan of fermented dairy products, there are tons of other forms of fermented foods, such Imageas sauerkraut (white cabbage cut finely, salted and fermented in its own liquid shown in picture) or kimchi, miso (a thick paste made from fermented and processed soy beans) and tempeh (a dish made from split soybeans and water), which are also cultured with Lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and other forms of beneficial bacteria. However, the potency and number of live organisms in commercial products may vary greatly. And many manufacturers are finding it difficult to overcome technical problems, especially in terms of keeping the micro-organisms alive under unfriendly conditions.

When it comes to intestinal health, we also need to consider prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they form a symbiotic relationship. Prebiotics include foods like dietary fiber that nourish the beneficial micro-organisms in the gut. It is therefore essential to include enough fiber in the diet by eating fruit, vegetables and whole-grains, as well as bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes.

So if you are not a fan of dairy (like me!) make sure to get enough of these foods, or choose a dietary supplement like NOW Dairy-Free Probiotic-10. You don’t necessarily need probiotics to be healthy. However, these microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing “good” bacteria in your body already do.

Probiotics may help to:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu