Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Best Chili Recipe I Ever Made

When it comes to chili I've got your back. This recipe won the Chili Cook-off at the South Bend Relay for Life and the all time a fav of pot-luck meals.You can cook it in the crock pot, on the stove top or in the oven. This recipe is adopted from my all time favorite cookbook put together by the Junior League of Denver, Colorado Cashe Pot Luck Chili. The original recipe calls for steak, Big Oven (with meat) published the recipe with ground hamburger. I leave all the meat out and convert to vegetarian, a family favorite. 

  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz can baked beans: vegetarian
  • 1 15 oz can chili beans; vegan
  • onions; chopped
  • 3 carrots: chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, small; chopped
  • 1 7 ounce can green chilis ; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic ; minced
  • 1 pound canned baked beans
  • 1 4 ounce can pimentos
  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes ; chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery ; chopped
  • 1/2 pound portobello mushrooms ; chopped thick
  • 1/2 red bell pepper ; chopped
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 hot red pepper ; chopped
  • 2 cups pitted ripe black olives ; chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley ; minced
  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic; chopped
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
Chili topping bar: Chili is more fun when toppings are added.  Pick one, or all. Enjoy the flavors and the textures!
  • Cilantro; chopped
  • Red onion; chopped
  • Vegan cheese
  • Avocado; sliced
  • Olives; sliced
  • Tomatoes; chopped
  • Tortilla chips or Fritos chips; crushed
  • Salsa
  • Corn Bread

Prep Instructions: Chop ingredients into bite size. Place in cooking dish. Follow the directions below for crock-  pot, stove - top or oven cooking times. Serves 16. 

Crock-pot (large) Directions: Add all at once, all ingredients. Cover. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Stove-top Directions: In a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high to boiling, turn down heat simmer uncovered 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Oven Directions:  Preheat over to 325. Add ingredients all at once. Blend well. Cover and bake 1 hour, stirring occasionally, Uncover and back 30 minutes longer. 

We look forward to hearing from you. Upload your photo in the comments!


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

You can't make me eat fruits and vegetables!

Who hasn’t heard it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables? Every day you turn on the TV, tune into radio and log into the internet the latest "expert" chimes in with Dr. Google is telling us to eat this not that, or not don't do that do something else along with eat more of this vegetable, less of these fruits to the point it leaves your head spinning. It doesn’t end there we're also bombarded with what times to eat, how much to eat, how long to eat, oh gosh it seems like it never ends leaving me so confused I'm paralyzed into inaction.  

No matter how bad you may want to eat healthy you find that voice inside your head repeating on a daily basis “Just forget it, eating fruits and veggie are just too hard, I am going to eat what I want, when I want it then at least I'll feel happy!” Then you start to wonder, "Will I really be happy knowing there may be some truth in good health relies in the fruits and veggie I’m eating?"  

Do you ever stop to wonder what happens if you don’t eat enough or the widest variety, the freshest or even organic? Is eating fruits and veggies it really that important? How many servings of fruits and veggies can you miss before something bad happens to your health?
How important is it to eat fruits and vegetables anyway?

Even if you think you’re eating enough fruits and veggies chances are you’re wrong. Studies show that most of us eat only 2 servings of vegetables per day and only 1 fruit. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommends adults eat 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day depending on you overall health. If you're a heavy exerciser or you're sick you need more. And those aren’t just numbers; skipping those key nutrients can seriously affect your overall ability to stay healthy and to get well, not a good thing.  

No, we can't make you eat your fruits and veggies, here's what we do know  …

The World Health Organization "estimates that 1.7 million deaths worldwide are connected to not eating enough fruits and vegetables, breaking it down further by attributing 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of heart disease deaths and 9% of deaths from stroke to insufficient fruit and vegetable intake."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases, like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and obesity. By not eating fruits and vegetables, you increase your risk of developing these conditions significantly. On the other hand, eating a diet that contains a lot of fruits and vegetables can help prevent them, or at least reduce your risk."

Researchers are just beginning to investigate the connection between what we eat and our mental health. A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry supports the premise that "increased inflammation may play a role in depression revealing that people with a diet high in fruits and veggies have a lower rate of depression and are more happy."

The Journal of Immunology Research weighs in with connecting increased "inflammatory response is closely associated with many chronic diseases, especially in autoimmune diseases …” In case you're wondering what an immune system disease might look like the most common autoimmune diseases are Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Lupus (SLE), Celiac sprue disease, Pernicious anemia, Scleroderma, Psoriasis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, These include Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis, Hashimoto’s disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, and Type 1 diabetes.

All this research along with many other medical studies demonstrates the solution to disease prevention is lifestyle management with a focus on the foods you eat on a regular basis not the supplements you take. In fact along with many other studies a recent study from the World Cancer Research Fund and the AICR, "have shown vitamins do impact cancer however getting vitamins alone is not enough, the evidence suggests the “synergy of compounds” working together in the overall diet offers the best protection." They recommend getting your vitamins from whole foods.  We recommend medically researched whole food nutrition.

Here’s 5 strategies you can use to help you keep your focus on eating more fruits and veggies on a regular basis:

1. Keep fresh fruits and veggies available, in your line of sight either on the kitchen counter-top and / or when you open the door to your refrigerator  

2. Add, mix in, hide fruits and veggies into your favorite dishes such as add beans (mashed), spinach, pureed pumpkin to spaghetti sauce or chili. Serve salad with fruits, veggies, nuts and beans to each meal

3. Divide your food intake into 6 – 8 smaller meals instead of 3 big meals. This allows for more opportunity for variety of foods
4. Eat fruits and veggies for breakfast. Have smoothies for breakfast, lunch and snacks

5. Fill your 1/2 plate with vegetables, 1/4 protein, 1/4 fruit for each meal

There you have it. What you need, why you need it, when and how to get all those fruits and veggies on your plate. We're now back where we started with that little voice in your head saying "you can't make me".  You can choose to ignore it and add "it's not that hard" to add in extra fruits and vegetables every day or not. I guess it depends how important it is for you to live your life without chronic disease, depression, be healthy and happy. Only you can decide, I don’t think anyone can decide for you. What do you think?

Your partner in health, 

Certified Health Coach 


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to Basics: Healthy Habits

Any time of year is a great time to strengthen or refresh healthy habits — for the whole household, or just for any time of year is a great time to strengthen or refresh healthy habits — for the whole household, or just for ourselves.

Since it's easy to overthink, we've gathered some quick tips for each of our Core Four healthy living areas:

1.    Nutrition
2.    Hydration
3.    Physical activity
4.    Better sleep + less stress 

You can also create your custom checklist to help you keep track of your progress!


Take the lead by making sure you have a nutritious breakfast at least three times each week. It doesn't have to be anything big! Involve kids (or spouses) in age-appropriate meal prep. Vegetables and other foods can be more fun to eat when you've helped transform them. Make big-batch meals that you freeze — this ensures you'll have something healthy to eat on super-busy days. Snack on more nutrition tips
Have a glass of water first thing when you wake up. Drink 1 more glass of water daily. (If you need to, start out by thinking of it as an extra glass.) Ask the kids to help you keep track of when they have their own "extra" cup. Replace a soda with sparkling water. Bonus: Add a slice of citrus for the taste, scent, and color. Drink up additional hydration ideas

Physical Activity 
When the weather cooperates, park slightly farther away from your destination than you usually would. Every extra step counts! Exercise doesn't have to be a full workout. TV commercials are a great time to stand up and stretch or walk around the room — even better if you can involve the kids and/or be silly.Take a short-term class as a family. Check out local gym or community center for parent-child classes. Stroll over to more activity prompts

Better Sleep + Less Stress 
End your screen time an hour earlier than usual. For kids, you might want to try this in 15-minute increments. Model the positive self-talk thing. Does it make you feel silly? Embrace the silliness! (P.S. You're probably not nearly as silly as you think you are)  Add a small, soothing ritual to your bedtime. This will be different for everyone. Examples might include taking five deep breaths (also good for kids) or writing in a paper journal for a few minutes.  Relax into more ideas about sleep and stress.

What do you think? 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Fundamental Link Between Body Weight and the Immune System

Inflammation plays a critical role in determining how we digest food, and it’s only now starting to reveal itself. 

It’s simple: Eat less.

Sometimes combined with the directive move more, this mantra has a clear point. If you can’t lose weight, you are either stupid or lazy—or, probably, both. See also: Calories in, calories out.

But if things were that simple, diets would work. Middle-aged people would not suddenly start gaining weight despite eating and moving similarly year after year. No one would have to endure the presence of that one friend with the “fast metabolism” who can eat anything he wants. And who, even though he knows you’re on a diet, says through his overstuffed mouth, “I couldn’t even gain weight if I tried.”

Instead, it is becoming clear that some people’s guts are simply more efficient than others’ at extracting calories from food. When two people eat the same 3,000-calorie pizza, for example, their bodies absorb different amounts of energy. And those calorie-converting abilities can change over a person’s lifetime with age and other variables.

The question is, why? And is it possible to make changes, if a person wanted to?

If so, the solution will involve the trillions of microbes in our intestines and how they work in concert with another variable that’s just beginning to get attention. (gut health) The immune system determines levels of inflammation in the gut that are constantly shaping the way we digest food—how many calories get absorbed, and how many nutrients simply pass through.

The relationship between microbes and weight gain has long been overlooked in humans, but people have known about similar effects in animals for decades. After World War II, antibiotics became affordable and abundant for the first time. Farmers began giving the drugs to their livestock—for example, to treat a milk cow’s infected udder—and noticed that animals who got antibiotics grew larger and more quickly.

This led to a flood of patent applications for antibiotic-laden foods for all sorts of livestock. In 1950, the drug company Merck filed a patent for “a method of accelerating the growth of animals” with “a novel growth-promoting factor” that was, simply, penicillin. Eli Lilly patented three new antibiotics to mix into the feed of sheep, goats, and cattle because the microbe-killing agents “increased feed efficiency.” In the ensuing decades it became standard practice to give livestock copious doses of antibiotics to make them grow faster and larger, even though no one knew why this happened, or what other effects the practice might have. 

Steven Lindemann, a researcher at Purdue University who was not involved in the Utah study. He studies the effects of foods on the gut microbiome. “Although we know that, on the balance, diet is the strongest contributor to gut microbiome composition,” he said, this study suggests that when immune control of the colon breaks down, growth can become unchecked and cause problems with metabolic regulation.

Lindemann says the fact that the immune system regulates the inhabitants of the small intestine is well established. He compares the bowel wall to a customs checkpoint: The goal is to weed out bad actors and illegal cargo, but allow legitimate trade to progress as rapidly as possible. In the case of the immune-altered mice, he says, “we have a colonic border patrol that is seemingly out to lunch, allowing bad actor Desulfovibrio to bloom.”

If similar microbial changes have comparable effects in humans, it could have far-reaching implications for our diets. The very ideas of “nutritional value” and “calorie content” of food seem to vary based on the microbial population of the person eating it and, potentially, her immune status. 

To read the entire article click here

Editor Note: To learn about gut health Love Your Gut presented by StaciJoy is a great resource. Love Your Gut: The story of Your Microbiome. StaciJoy Ellis, Board Certified Holistic Public Health Nurse, travels across North America teaching you how to stop the ongoing war inside and create peace and harmony in your gut. She helps you find the heal in health so you can get stuff done and have more fun! StaciJoy recommends the whole food nutrition to learn more click here

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Eating a plant-based diet might help prevent type 2 diabetes

A new study published on July 22, 2019 shows sticking to a plant-based diet could help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
That link between plant-based eating habits and type 2 diabetes is even more beneficial when only healthy plant-based foods -- such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts -- are included in your daily diet, as opposed to refined grains, starches and sugars, according to the study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.

"We found that eating plant-based diets was associated with, on average, 23% reduction in diabetes risk," said Dr. Qi Sun, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and senior author of the paper.

"We further showed that individuals who consumed a healthy version of the plant-based diet by emphasizing the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and minimizing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and refined carbohydrates, had a further 30% reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes," he said. "I would describe these risk reductions as being quite significant."

Doctors have long known that a healthy diet -- along with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking -- are among the ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

"Indeed, a vegetarian or other plant-based diets that are high in free sugars and refined carbohydrates is likely to increase risk of type 2 diabetes especially when associated with low levels of physical activity," Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London noted in a written statement distributed by the Science Media Centre in the UK. He was not involved in the new paper.

More than 30 million people in the United States, or about 1 in 10, have diabetes and up to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Globally, diabetes is on the rise -- the number of people with diabetes has climbed from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.
The new paper involved reviewing nine previously published studies on plant-based eating habits and type 2 diabetes among adults. Those studies included a total of 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes.

After reviewing the data in those studies, the researchers found that a higher adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes -- and that was consistent across all age groups and despite a person's body mass index.

Body mass index, or BMI, is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters, and the measurement is used to screen for obesity. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.
Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Read the rest of the article click here>>>

Editor Note: For years we have been proponents of a healthy plant based diet. This is a radical change for the Standard American Diet and a big change from a healthy plant diet. Replacing the old eating habits with new eating habits with ones takes education, commitment and time. To help you make those healthy diet modifications we recommend the One Simple Change program including the whole food nutrition of Juice Plus+ (backed by research). It's healthy, safe and effective. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FDA names 16 brands of dog food linked to canine heart disease

The FDA is investigating more than 500 reports that appear to link dog foods that are marketed as "grain free" to canine dilated cardiomyopathy.
Sixteen brands of dog food may be associated with a heightened risk of heart failure in dogs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA isn't suggesting that pet owners stop feeding their dogs the particular brands yet, but some vets are already advising against "grain free" foods.
The FDA is currently investigating more than 500 reports that appear to link dog foods that are marketed as "grain free" to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (heart disease). The FDA has been warning about the foods based on peas, lentils or potatoes since July 2018, but the statement released late last week is the first time the agency has identified the 16 brand names.
The brands are ordered by the number of cases linked to them, which ranged from a high of 67 to 10:
  • Acana
  • Zignature
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Earthborn Holistic
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Fromm
  • Merrick
  • California Natural
  • Natural Balance
  • Orijen
  • Nature’s Variety
  • NutriSource
  • Nutro
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish
Most of the reports were associated with dry dog food formulations, but raw food, semi-moist food and wet foods were included. The FDA has not suggested owners change their pets’ diets. Read the entire article >>>

Dog Food Recall 2019 — Full List

Click the links in the table below provided in this article to see the specific, important details about each recall. Is your brand on the list? Click here >>> to see.

Editor note: I thought it would be fun to keep up on your pet's health too. I am especially interested in this FDA finding as I have a puppy and of course like my family I care about her nutrition and health I care for too. If you like the idea of occasional articles about your pet's health comment on this blog nay or yay. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Over-the-Counter Medications Linked to Dementia and Alzheimer's

This very important study may have slipped right past your radar. In case it did, I'd like to call it to your attention as it may impact the health picture for so many of you and those you care about. In case you missed this in the headlines the new medical study published about anticholinergic prescription drugs and dementia. It all sounds a bit scary thinking the medications that are prescribed for you to increase your ability to live with a disease may be causing an even more devastating medical condition but it happens. Always remember every medical decision needs to be measured ie. risk of harm vs. benefit of improvement. You are the only one who can decide if the risks of treatment are worth the benefits. May be this information will help you decide what's best for you. 

First of all the research demonstrating the link of anticholinergic medication to dementia and Alzheimer’s both a neurodegenerative disease is not new it has in fact has been researched from may years. Just to give you some insight here’s a couple of studies that popped up from my Google assistant related to anticholinergic medications, research, dementia, including Alzheimer demonstrating this dementia research as been reported since 2015.

January 2015

Widely Used Drugs Tied to Greater Dementia Risk for Seniors published in on January 26, 2015 reported on the research published in journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Shelly Gray, the study's first author and a pharmacy professor at the University of Washington in Seattle said researchers have known for some time even single dose of drugs that have “anticholinergic effects demonstrate a change in cognition, slower reaction time, and reduced attention and ability to concentrate. Originally, "the thinking was that these cognitive effects were reversible when you stopped taking the medication."  However Gray's study found a link between heavier use of these medications and dementia, "which is a non-reversible, severe form of cognitive impairment," she said. Another interesting aspect of this study is the inclusion of prescription and over-the-counter medications for allergies, sleep and anxiety. For a list of anticholinergic drugs, click here.

May 2018

A study funded by the Alzheimer's Society in the UK, research (led by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England) warned us there may be an increased risk of the development of dementia in individuals using certain anticholinergic medications. The study found Drug exposure to medications used as antidepressants or for urological and Parkinsonism treatment appeared to carry the greatest risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's. The points out, it is estimated that an average person between the ages of 65 and 70 has a 10% increased risk of developing dementia. With the usage of anticholinergic medications, this could increase to around 13%.
June 2019
MSN published this article Dementia risk tied to these commonly prescribed drugs in a new study reporting a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday (June 24) suggests there is a direct link between is strongest for certain classes of commonly prescribed anticholinergic drugs and are recommending physicians evaluate their perceptive practices. The study reported 50% increased with long term exposure odds of developing future dementia including Alzheimer, specifically indicating after consuming 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period.  

Here’s a list:
  • Overactive bladder
  • Movement problems in Parkinson's disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Motion sickness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma, seasonal allergies
  • Mental health disorders
  • Sleep disorders

The current studies recommend when possible health care practitioners should not be prescribing anticholinergic medications when other options are available. 

You may be asking yourself OK now what?

  • Do not stop. If you are currently taking prescription anticholinergic medication as directed by your physician, or health care practitioner continue taking your medications until you check in with your prescriber. In some cases when you abruptly stop these medications you will experience withdraw or other unwanted side effects.
  • Check in with your doctor or medical professional you who is managing your treatment. It’s important to discuss the best strategy for anticholinergic medication adjustment or discontinuation and the introduction non-medical natural remedy options.
  • Change your lifestyle to a healthier one.  If you are currently taking over-the-counter anticholinergics, you might want to consider healthy lifestyle modifications studies demonstrate in some cases there may be as much as a 35% improvement in your condition with lifestyle adjustments.  Surprisingly many of the discomforts you experience causing you to utilize OTC medications are successfully managed with lifestyle modifications to boost and strengthen your immune system such as making healthy food choices, staying hydrated, getting good quality sleep and staying active.  
  • Start with diet for the greatest impact. Here’s a good place to start with the one’s outlined in the One Simple Change, Choose My Plate NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and / or consider legitimate natural remedies.

Healthy lifestyle, diet interventions, alternative and natural remedies all can and do positively impact chronic disease and work well alongside mainstream medicine.

Consult a health care professional.If you are not sure where to get started, a good place is with a health care professional,  such as a MD, DO, ND, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Registered Dietitian, or Certified Health Coach. If you looking into alternative care I would recommend a making sure you are seeking help from a credentialed certified professional.

Your partner in health, 

Certified Health Coach
Wellness Consultant