The Multivitamin Diet

I decided to create a one day meal plan that provides, by eating whole foods, the same nutrients, and amounts of those nutrients, that eight capsules of Thorne Nutri-Fem multivitamin in one daily dose provides. This is a reminder that we should always use supplements as a supplement to real food!

24 nutrients, one days worth of food, 100% of daily recommended value of each nutrient to equal what you would get in a multivitamin. I used whfoods.org to help me with the menu plan listed at the bottom.

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  • Vitamin A – ½ cup carrots, ½ cup sweet potato
  • Vitamin C – ½ cup strawberries, ½ cup pineapple
  • Vitamin D – 4 ounces of salmon
  • Vitamin E – ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 cups spinach
  • Vitamin K – 100 mcg – 1 cup asparagus
  • Thiamin (or vitamin B1) – you can get this from your sunflower seeds!
  • Riboflavin (or vitamin B2) – 2 eggs, (that one cup of spinach) and 1 cup yogurt
  • Niacin (or vitamin B3) – 4 ounces chicken
  • Vitamin B6 – part from 4 ounces chicken, 4 ounces salmon and 1 banana
  • Folate – part from 1 cup spinach, part from asparagus
  • Vitamin B12 – plenty from salmon, some from chicken
  • Biotin – almonds, eggs and carrots
  • Pantothenic Acid – 1 avocado, sweet potato, chicken
  • Calcium – spinach, yogurt, at least 1 ounce cheese
  • Iodine – yogurt, egg, salmon
  • Magnesium – spinach and sunflower seeds
  • Zinc – spinach, asparagus, yogurt, ½ cup cashews (A harder mineral to get when maxed out on meat already for the day. Beef and lamb are also high.)
  • Selenium – salmon, asparagus
  • Copper – sunflower seeds, asparagus
  • Manganese – pineapple, raspberries, strawberries
  • Chromium – 2 cups broccoli? * This is a tough one, but we don’t need to get every nutrient all the time. Another day could be a higher chromium day)
  • Molybdenum – eggs, carrots, yogurt, almonds
  • Potassium – spinach, asparagus, carrots, sweet potato, avocado
  • Choline – eggs, asparagus, spinach, chicken

The meals: gluten, soy, dairy, corn free (you could totally go vegetarian on this, and nightshade free, as well)

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, ½ avocado, ½ cup raspberries
  • Snack – ½ cup carrots, at least 1 oz cheese, 1/2 cup of cashews
  • Lunch – 2 cups spinach, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, ½ cup strawberries, 1/2 avocado, 4 oz chicken, (salt and pepper to taste, olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing)
  • Snack – 1 cup yogurt, 1 banana, ¼ cup almonds, ½ cup raspberries
  • Dinner – 4 oz salmon, ½ cup mashed sweet potato, 1 cup asparagus
  • Dessert – ½ cup pineapple

Doesn’t seem too hard, right!?

Lean Cuisine? More like Sugar Cuisine

This is a bit of a rant, but an educated and gentle rant. I will try to keep it relevant and succinct.

While searching for new “food” movies on the web, I found a 1 hour British documentary called The Truth About Sugar; non-alarmist, very civilized, almost fun to watch and educational. As I watched, recalled an ad for Lean Cuisine that I saw at some point. This ad struck me because I had a baby 8 months ago in a hospital and had an amazing and very positive experience, especially with he delivery nurses. Please watch and then read on. Here is the ad.

Yes, certain jobs are more stressful and ask more of us than others. And we could argue that doctors, nurses, and teachers should get paid more than other occupations because of how much they serve and give of themselves, or at least get more time and coverage for self care. I wish for doctors and nurses a healthier lifestyle because of the responsibilities that come with their jobs. Donuts in the break room is the last kind of fuel anyone needs.

Getting back to the ad, first let’s look at how much sugar a particular meal contains. Let’s break down, using a Nutrition Facts label, TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES into DIETARY FIBER in grams (doesn’t count, it’s good for you. The more the better), SUGAR in grams and the leftover CARBOHYDRATES that don’t get a label, STARCHES (which essentially turn into sugar when they hit your mouth). The very outdated Nutrition Facts labels are hard to understand. What do they mean and why should we care?

So to get back to the ad for Lean Cuisine, here is a simple comparison that is alarming. A Lean Cuisine meal of macaroni and cheese, when looking at the Nutrition Facts label here, tells us there are 35 grams of TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES, and only 1 gram of those is DIETARY FIBER. We also read that there are only 5 grams of SUGAR. BUT WAIT! and this is the most important part: what about the rest of those TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES not accounted for? STARCH (they just don’t label it on the label where it should be labeled). What this basically translates to is that there are 34 grams of carbohydrates (or just under 9 teaspoons of sugar) in the form of sugar and starch, that breaks down in your mouth very quickly into glucose, or refined sugar in one form or another. So, keep that fact in your head: one Lean Cuisine Macaroni and Cheese has 34 grams of starch and sugar combined that break down in your body into sugar, essentially.

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How does this compare? This is the fun part: a Hershey bar. It has 25 grams of carbs – total, only 1 of which is DIETARY FIBER, 24 grams are SUGAR. So – Lean Cuisine macaroni and cheese, advertised as a healthy meal for a hard working delivery nurse who might benefit from a well rounded and whole food meal, is getting 10 more grams of CARBOHYDRATES in her meal than if she just ate a Hershey bar for dinner.

All I can say is yikes. Embrace real food, my friends.

 

 

Join The Online Clean Eating Circle to Change Your Life

This 3 week program is designed to help you gain energy, lose foods that aren’t serving you and give your body a break from fatigue, fuzziness and feeling flustered. The Online Clean Eating Circle will help clean out the cobwebs and give your body a rest from foods that aren’t serving you. Join us on June 13 (start date) for the cleanse, and stay tuned for the free information call coming soon. Details can be found at The Online Clean Eating Circle webpage here.

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  • Give your body a break. We will meet you where you are!
  • Embark on a fresh, new journey while gaining knowledge about what triggers your body, the best foods for you personally, and how to feel confident in your food choices
  • Gain nutrient density and lose some excess weight and inflammation
  • Get group support lead by two nutrition professionals
  • Enjoy eating real food while cleansing your body
  • No starving on this plan! And no expensive supplements or powders.
Join two Health Coaches and Nutrition Consultants, Michelle Dwyer and Amy Griffith, for an informative introduction to this dynamic and supportive clean eating circle.
What is Included in the free first information meeting? Details here: http://cleaneatingcircle.strikingly.com
Introduction to the circle and eating techniques around what foods we will focus on and which ones we will take a much needed break from for a while. ***If you can’t join us on for the free info meeting call, you can listen to the recording. You can still join our program and there will be more programs to come!
As a registered participant you will also receive:
  • Customized Oakland Clean Eating Circle materials, including recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages, menu plans and ideas and BONUS recipes to help you make the most out of your three weeks within the circle.
  • We are here for you! Continued access to two of the East Bay Area’s premiere nutrition professionals: Michelle Dwyer and Amy Griffith. We are available to answer questions and support you throughout the three weeks.
  • Access to a weekly support group that will be crucial in helping you to stick with the program, sharing ideas and stories on how we are succeeding, and the challenges we are facing as we follow through this program.
  • Weekly check in calls where we will offer feedback, outlining ways to better utilize the program, and celebrating the ways in which you are already succeeding
  • Educational handouts, links and resources
  • Access to the private Facebook page
Why a food cleanse or clean eating group? You will learn…
  • How to effectively take a break from food products and common allergens, toxins and stressors
  • How metabolism, inflammation and your overall health and wellness relates to clean eating
  • How to cleanse gently and realistically
  • That you are worth it (if you didn’t know that already)!
Who Should NOT Cleanse
  • Those on heavy medications for chronic health conditions
  • Children under 18
  • Anyone with cancer, a terminal illness, serious mental illness, kidney or liver failure, anemia or who is underweight.
Your Clean Eating Circle Supporters:
Michelle Dwyer supports her clients through compassionate health coaching and nutrition consulting services. She helps her clients feel a greater sense of wellness, vibrancy, and energy.
Amy Griffith shows her clients how to love their food while still eating healthful, nourishing meals. She helps her clients fix their food first!
Visit http://cleaneatingcircle.strikingly.com for details.
Makeover Mondays: My Makeup Gets a Makeover

I remember when my mother took me to the Clinique counter at Nordstrom’s when I started taking an interest in make up (because other girls were wearing it). The “all natural” look that Clinique exhibits is still a far cry from how I look at make up these days. My thoughts have evolved from wearing make up for looks to wearing it for protection (at least 30 SPF on the face) to wearing it to nourish my skin and my body, topically – remember, you absorb much of what you put on your skin, so why not buy products that you could, essentially, eat? My husband has expressed his slight disappointment in me when I wear too much makeup, telling me I don’t really look like myself, while also telling me how beautiful I am without it (no, I do not take this for granted). This expression and almost permission to not wear it, paired with research and more knowledge around how many toxins and chemicals we not only put in but on our bodies, and I have broken free from my 15 year old make up routine and have found the perfect solution for me. I thought I would share it here.

When I started looking for new, cleaner products, I went for unscented, no parabens or other chemicals that recent studies consider unsafe, and may interfere with metabolism and overall health (not to mention the chemicals that we don’t yet  know are harmful). I started to use what I have learned about plastics and parabens, and links to hormone imbalance and cancers, when shopping for cosmetics. There is much to learn through ewg.org’s Skindeep site. And then there are the links that xenoestrogens have to metabolism and unhealthy weight gain.

Then I thought I would push it further. I started moisturizing with coconut oil (yep, the kind you cook with), washing my face with grainy raw honey and thought about making my own toothpaste (powder)  - I have yet to get to that one.  One aspect of looking for a better beauty and hygiene protocol is always the cost of trying different products. But low and behold, I was led to Sequioa Beauty through a networking meeting with a physical therapist. I got some samples, heard some enthusiastic testimonials and of course, it being local, I was sold on trying this stuff. And it is practically edible. My routine is as follows:

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  • Wash face twice a day with Sequioa Purify and Release Cleanser
  • Dab problem areas and potential pimples with the Sequioa Anti-Inflammatory Serum
  • Apply Juice Beauty SPF 30 tinted concealer. I don’t plan on purchasing this once what I have runs out. It’s a bit too heavy.
  • Apply Juice Beauty powder if needed, for less shine.
  • I use brown eye pencil, brown mascara and shimmery brown eye shadow for special occasions, or when I have more time. I like eye shadows that last a long time.

Other:

  • Brush teeth with Sonicare electric toothbrush, Tea Tree Therapy toothpaste (but I wanna start making my own tooth powder)
  • Moisturize body after shower with raw coconut oil or Awakening skincare products (right now I have Hands)
  • For the lips, homemade chapstick from my friend Ilah Jarvis in Peppermint. I think it’s pretty easy to make!

Yes, Sequioa is a bit of an investment, but I use one pump of the cleanser and two to three drops of the serum everyday, so it lasts a long time. There is a slight scent, but it isn’t artificial and I rather enjoy it. Earthy but sweet.

 

Amaze-meatballs!

I went through a meatball phase a couple of weeks ago, and was craving them since dinner at Pizzaiolo. I had the best meatballs I have ever had there. The best.

We don’t eat many processed foods in our house, but brown rice pasta works its way in every once in a while (pasta was a huge part of my childhood). I try to use spaghetti squash and zucchini ribbon “noodles” as much as possible for pasta alternatives. I found that using my improvisational methods and applying them to savory meatballs was pretty successful: playing around with various ingredients in the food processor made for surprising results. Here is what I played around with:

Amaze-balls Meatballs 

Ready for pulsing and mixing.

Ready for pulsing and mixing.

  • 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato pesto (or just sun dried tomatoes, with the oil – if so, add a large pinch of Herbs de Provence)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (or use nutritional yeast if dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • red pepper flakes, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  1 pound ground, grass fed or pastured beef, lamb, chicken or turkey (I used lamb here)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse everything but the meat in the food processor until made into a thick, well-incorporated paste. Place meat and paste in large bowl and mix together loosely, taking care to almost fold the processed ingredients in to the ground meat.

I shaped the meatballs more into flat, mini patties, making sure they weren’t super round so they would cook through easily. I also took care not to shape them too tightly (the meatballs at Pizzaiolo almost fell apart and melted in the mouth – this is what I was trying to go for).

Serve with any sauce over spaghetti or spaghetti squash and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!

They were legit.

They were legit.

This recipe is a sneak preview of just one of the many amazing recipes that will be featured in the new cookbook collaboration I am working on (#ready4healthcookbook) with my friend and colleague Michaele Kruger.. Coming soon in pdf form – stay tuned!

The Art of Behavior Change: Guest Post

Many of us cringe at the thought of making a behavior or lifestyle change. After all, how many people do you know that have successfully changed their lives or behavior patterns? According to the New York Times, only 8% of the population is able to sustain long-term behavior and lifestyle change. This can be quite discouraging, especially if you are at a point in your life where major changes are needed in order to reclaim your health and happiness. Not to worry, there are a variety of ways to make behavior change possible and stick with it. First we must identify our biggest mistakes when it comes to attempting change.

According to a Stanford University Study, there are 10 major mistakes that people make when it comes time to make a change. The top ten mistakes are as follows:

  • Relying on willpower to make long-term change
  • Attempting big leaps
  • Ignoring how the environment shapes behavior
  • Trying to stop old behaviors instead of creating new ones
  • Blaming failures on lack of motivation
  • Underestimating the power of triggers
  • Believing that information leads to action
  • Focusing on abstract goals rather than concrete behaviors
  • Seeking to change a behavior FOREVER
  • Assuming that behavior change is difficult

So how many times have you said to yourself “I don’t have strong willpower” or “I must not want it badly enough”? In truth, strong willpower and motivation are not the keys to success; the most important element are understanding how our brain works in relation to making changes and creating a good plan. It’s time to learn how to set yourself up for success.

When it comes to behavior change and the brain, you can think of the brain being broken up into two parts. The first part is the part that doesn’t want to make a change. Unfortunately, this encompasses the majority of our brain. Think of this part of the brain as about the size of an elephant. The second part of the brain is the part that actually wants to make changes; it’s the part that sets New Year’s Resolutions and decides to start a home garden. Think of this part of the brain as the size of a person; now think of that person sitting on the elephant’s back. Our goal, when it comes to making a change, is figuring out how to get that small person to maneuver and change the path of that huge elephant. If we want to motivate that elephant to leave the watering hole or change directions, we need to take small, gradual steps. If we all we do is give the elephant a good kick and turn him around completely all at once, he’ll get disoriented, confused, and turn right back around to that watering hole.

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is understanding that small, gradual changes are key. Small, gradual changes, celebrated along the way, are more likely to lead to a major change. In my consulting practice, I work with individuals on establishing goals, creating a realistic timeline, and identifying challenges. These are all keys to success. You must move slowly if you are going to get that stubborn elephant-sized portion of your brain to change direction and stick with success!

So, here are my suggestions to overcoming the 10 biggest mistakes made in behavior change:

  • Willpower is like a muscle that must be flexed; eventually you have to relax your flexed muscle and that’s when your willpower runs out; rather than rely on willpower, create a plan full of small steps you know you can achieve
  • Many small steps lead to big change; think of a ladder or staircase, each step does not seem that big and feels great to have accomplished; when you look back you will see how far you’ve come
  • Understand the influences of your surroundings; think about what will distract you at the office, in your home, and in your daily routine from making the change you wish to make
  • Create new behaviors rather than quitting something cold-turkey
  • Look at each failure as an opportunity to learn what did not work for you this time
  • Set yourself up for success by identifying your challenges and obstacles; think of ways to get around them
  • Education is important but at some point you have to begin
  • Set concrete, achievable goals for yourself
  • Think of making each small change for a short period of time rather than in terms of FOREVER
  • Behavior change doesn’t have to be hard if you have a good plan and a great coach!
  • These steps will get you started down the path to a sustainable lifestyle change. Support and guidance will also help you succeed

Michaele Kruger is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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She believes that real, whole food has the power to change your life and partners with her clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals.  She is a graduate of Bauman College of Nutrition and a member of both the National Association of Nutrition Professionals and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She can be found at betterbitesbetteryou.com and don’t miss her blog: thebetterbitesgirl.blogspot.com

Protein for Breakfast: Options You Will Love

Once my clients subscribe to the notion that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day,  they ask how they can pack more punch into breakfast. Breakfast either has the potential to make you feel like a million bucks for the first few hours of the day, or can spike your blood sugar within the first hour of eating, sending you crashing by mid-afternoon or even earlier. Here are some yummy ideas for how you can truly create a dish worth calling “a breakfast of champion”:

Make it Ahead Soft or hard boil up to a dozen eggs for the week and serve 1-2 alongside a smaller portion (1/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats) of your oatmeal/cereal, fruit or other carb-loaded usual meal. Fruit, nuts and seeds sprinkled on top with cinnamon and a touch of honey – wonderful breakfast!

Soft boiled eggs with millet (grain) and fresh tomatoes

Soft boiled eggs with millet (grain) and fresh tomatoes in a jar – a whole new way to think of the “on the go” breakfast.

Dinner for Breakfast Ground turkey with fresh herbs (or beans and rice), roasted garnet yams sprinkled with coconut oil and cinnamon, and sautéed onions with greens – not just for dinner anymore!

Fresh veggies with pesto sauce for breakfast? Absolutely.

Fresh veggies with pesto sauce for breakfast? Absolutely.

Blend it Up! You DO have time for breakfast. Toss in some greens, nut butter, milk or yogurt, banana or your favorite frozen fruit, water, splash or flax seed meal and blend. Pour into a mason jar and there you have a grab ‘n’ go breakfast. And the better the blender, the better the texture!

A Better Cereal Homemade granola chalk full of more nuts than oats sprinkled over Greek, 2% or full fat yogurt or cottage cheese – add dried cherries for a subtle sweet kick. Greek yogurt can have up to a whopping 20 grams of protein in 1 serving and will keep you satiated for a couple of hours.

Ready for the oven

Granola ready for the oven

Go Nuts! Add nuts, seeds or nut butter…to anything! To smoothies, to your whole grain toast (1-2 spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter, which most people with regular nut allergies or intolerances might tolerate, has more protein than almond butter!)

Wrap it Up! For a quick solution to getting something in your body before your blood sugar takes a steep dive, putting pressure on your adrenals and metabolism, reach for a sprouted grain or brown rice tortilla and pick one of these options:

  • natural nut or sunflower seed butter, banana or mashed berries, sprinkle of cinnamon
  • lettuce or greens, sprouts, 2 scambled eggs or turkey slices, half a mashed avocado and mustard with beans
  • hummus, sliced carrot, cucumber, red pepper, avocado, sea salt and pepper.

Email me for detailed recipes, including homemade granola, slow cooker oatmeal or burrito in a jar options for any meal of the day, contact me at amy@embracehn.com. Embrace your health!

Home Cooked Date Night on Oahu

We have been taking time away from work with my husbands’ family on the North Shore of Oahu. Needless to say, we feel so lucky to have had the chance to get away from work and our regular routine for a while. Our plates have been filled with a lot of fresh fruit and some wonderful fresh fish, not to mention locally made pickled green papaya with sweet plums – amazing.

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Last night my sweetie and I opted for a date night in and visited Celestial Natural Foods about 15 minutes up the road for some hand-picked goods. With the help of my homemade almond-lime-garlic dipping sauce, our plates of baked brown rice, sauteed broccolini, squash and zucchini with lots of garlic and onion, sprouted beans, peas and lentils and fresh sunflower sprouts made for the perfect vegetarian spread. With our chairs on the beach and feet in the sand, we enjoyed ocean-side dining at its finest, ending with a fierce game of dominoes and some Coconut Bliss Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge.

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Today, I made a creamy congee with leftovers. The house that we have had the pleasure of staying in has a plethora of amazing books: Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods and Essential Ayurveda, to name just a couple. Herewith is the recipe for my experimental congee, portioned out to feed about 8 people with hefty leftovers:

  • one heaping handful of brown rice, cooked
  • 5-6 cups heaping cups of water
  • vegetables and flavor agents of choice (we had broccolini, yellow crook neck squash, zucchini, onion, garlic)
  • sprouted peas, lentils and peas (about 2 cups works)
  • soy or tamari sauce
  • fennel seeds
  • ground mustard
  • dried marjoram
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • sprouts to garnish

congee

There are many ways to flavor or enhance congee. I simply diced and chopped the veggies, onion and garlic, threw in large dashes of the soy sauce, herbs and spices, and mixed everything together in a large pot, brought to boil and set down to simmer for about 3 hours. We ended up with a wonderful savory porridge, perfect for a light lunch before Opal Thai for dinner. Aloha!

 

Skill Exchange Mixer a Success

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a workshop at the Makeshift Society. Little did I know just how much fun it was going to be, and how much I would be learning myself. Kate Koeppel, creator of Skill Exchange (and my website), brings folks together to teach, share and learn from one another, promoting self-reliance skill building.

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Mixing up the local, seasonal, medicinal onion dip. Yum

Quite the crowd

Quite the crowd

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Supportive friends from the health and wellness world, Jessica Mishra and Michaele Kruger

That being said, the first mixer of a series open to the public was a party; we learned how to stitch a tie from This Humble Abode, properly store produce and why we should buy local from Mission Community Market, pickle green strawberries from Fermenters Club (for all you in need for a kick to your digestive system!), and how to make date sweetened almond milk from Project Juice . All in all, the night was a sweet success.

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A super happy me getting ready to perform

For additional press and information about this event, visit the DIY Network’s Made+Remade blog. Hope to see you at the next Skill Exchange! Photo credit: Kara Brodgesell.

Teach, Share, Learn with Skill Exchange

My amazing website designer Kate Koeppel, who also created a custom logo series, is a mover, shaker…and maker.

Skill Exchange Mixer May 17

Join your neighbors and friends at the Makeshift Society this Friday, May 17th, from 7-9pm for an evening of mixing, learning, sharing and creating. I will be doing a cooking performance (sounds so much cooler than a “demo”), along with other skilled makers and creators, to promote self-reliance. With all this talk around slow food, slow clothing and slowing down (period), this is the perfect re-introduction to handcrafting. And drinks and snacks with your friends isn’t a bad way to spend an evening, is it!?  Get your tickets here – they are goin’ fast!