Author: Vibrant Life

Un-Potato Salad (Cauliflower Salad)

Un-Potato Salad (Cauliflower Salad) Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Cauliflower Head
  • 2 Hard boiled eggs
  • ⅓ cup Mayonaisse
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dill Relish
  • 2 tsp Diced Onion
  • 1 tsp Fresh Dill
  • 1 tsp Chopped Chives
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt or Pink Himalyan Salt
  • ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Paprika

Instructions

  1. Cut washed cauliflower into small pieces {think potato salad!}.
  2. Steam in small pot {or use steamer basket} for several minutes until cauliflower is soft enough {I like mine slightly crunchy still…do what you prefer!}.
  3. Put cooked cauliflower into medium sized bowl along with diced hard boiled eggs.
  4. In a small bowl, add all the remaining ingredients except for the Paprika {this is to sprinkle on top of the salad at the end}.
  5. Pour “dressing” over the cauliflower/egg mixture and gently combine well.
  6. Sprinkle with Paprika & refrigerate for an hour before serving.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2

Toxins in Our Daily Products Matter More Than You Might Think!

Toxins in Our Daily Products Matter More Than You Might Think!

Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we expose it to.

When my kiddo was little, I started switching things up that I use in our household because his skin was pretty sensitive and dry. I am such a sensory oriented person (give me all the yummy smells!) and was particular about how things like my laundry detergent smelled because it just made me happy. Well, I gave up the typical detergents when I realized they were likely adding to my kiddos skin issues. That was a tough one for me! I hated moving to the bland “free and clear” options out there. (BORING)

Truly this was the beginning of my understanding of just how our products impact our health on a much deeper level than I had ever considered.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself turning 40 and getting hit with hormone issues that I only thought happened to OTHER PEOPLE! I guess I figured since I am so strategic with my health that I wouldn’t go down that road. Boy was I wrong.

There are many pieces to the hormone puzzle, but what I have come to understand is that my shampoo & conditioner, my body wash, the lotion I put on after my shower, my make up and skin care, the laundry detergent I use, the things I use to make my home and car smell good…and on and on and on…. all these things impact my HORMONES!!

Do you realize that these chemicals that we use daily build up in our bodies?

Do you realize that this could be the cause of your body’s resistance to weight loss?

LOVE YOUR LIVER
By inundating our bodies with these chemicals on the daily, we over tax our livers. Our livers are a key player in our natural detoxification process. When our livers can’t keep up, our hormones are effected. Estrogen Dominance is a very common hormonal imbalance in our culture due to the foods we eat, stress, the xenoestrogens we are constantly exposed to (pesticides, certain preservatives, phthalates, for example) and overloading our detox pathways (liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system, lungs, etc).

ONE THING YOU CAN DO TODAY TO HELP YOUR BODY HAVE BALANCE
Start switching out your products!!!

Two apps I LOVE for detecting the harmful chemicals in my products are:

These are both free to download and allow you to scan products at home and at the store, and give you information on the ingredients that can be VERY EYE OPENING!

Over the past several years I have been switching up my products in my home. I use essential oils in my diffuser rather than the melty wax smelly things that you plug in (ya’all know what I’m talking about). I use essential oils and a natural concentrate for my cleaning as well as my laundry detergent. I use essential oils for everything, lets be real here!

All the items in our showers and bathroom cupboards are free of toxins. I have also recently switched to a makeup company that I 110% align with and feel SO GOOD about what I am putting on my face every morning! And the best part…IT LOOKS GOOD! Nothing worse than getting natural products only to find they….well they suck. I have some darn good stuff that has some darn good ingredients in it!

I hope you take a minute today and at the very least, download one of the apps I shared and scan some of the items in your home. Make some changes! Even if it’s one thing at a time, it is well worth it.

For a deeper dive in to hormone imbalance check out my recent blog post here.

If you are interested in some one-on-one coaching surrounding this issue in your own life and/or some direction with replacing products in your home please click here to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with me!

Do These Hormones Make My Butt Look Big??

Do These Hormones Make My Butt Look Big??

ATTENTION WOMEN WHO ARE IN MENOPAUSE OR BEYOND…. this applies to YOU TOO!! Keep reading for explanation on this!

Are you struggling with your weight, but you can’t figure out why?
Do you have sleep issues?
Do you have fibrous breast tissue?
Do you have heavy periods?
Do you have painful periods?
Do you have an irregular period?
Do you have raging PMS?
Has your sex drive up and left?
Do you feel bloated?
Do you experience swollen and tender breasts?
Do you experience regular headaches (especially before a period)?
Are you moody and/or depressed?
Are you hanging on to fat around your belly and hips?
Have you experienced infertility?
Do you experience cold hands and feet?
Have you noticed hair loss?
Have you been told by a doctor you have thyroid issues?
Does it seem you have the slowest metabolism ever?
Do you experience brain fog and memory issues?
Is fatigue a normal part of your life?
Have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Have you had ovarian cysts?
Have you been diagnosed with uterine cancer?
All of these symptoms are a sign of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE.

Before you close this article because you think, “that couldn’t possibly be true for me because (fill in the blank)”, please understand that estrogen dominance is EXTREMELY COMMON and MISUNDERSTOOD!

Why is it so common?? Keep reading.

Let’s first set the stage for some basic hormone understanding. Both men and women produce the hormone estrogen in their adrenal glands as well as fat tissues. Women also produce estrogen in the ovaries and men in the testes.

WHAT DOES ESTROGEN DO?

Estrogen is responsible for the physical development in a woman having to do with child bearing: breast development & curvy hips, for example. However, it’s also a driving force in regulating serotonin which plays into mood, sleep and appetite.

Progesterone is important to recognize in that it is a team player with estrogen. It interrupts continuous effects of estrogen in situations such as stepping in to end the menstrual cycle to start the 28 days over again. When the balance between estrogen and progesterone is off, a woman will experience symptoms that our culture tends to embrace as normal and blame hormones in general and/or age. The truth is, the symptoms many women experience that have to do with PMS and menopause (and post menopause such as weight gain) are truly signs of imbalance.

Here’s where you really need to pay attention!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE ARE OUT OF BALANCE?

THIS is the question to ask right here! Why? Because it is SO. Darn. Common.

There are three scenarios we are looking at here:

  • 1) Estrogen is high
  • 2) Progesterone is low
  • 3) A combination of both high estrogen and low progesterone

This is keeping it pretty basic, but what you need to understand is that either way, your body will experience the symptoms mentioned above and this is due to ESTROGEN DOMINANCE.

NOW, for you ladies who are in menopause or beyond, YOU STILL HAVE HORMONES!!! So, you do not escape this scenario! Yes, your hormones look different, but you are very much still at risk for estrogen dominance. A LOT of it has to do with our culture. Keep reading.

WHAT CAUSES ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?

The crazy thing is how common this is becoming. In fact, this is why people think such symptoms are “normal”. They are in fact not NORMAL but becoming TYPICAL. Big difference.

Here are some root causes:

  • Excess body fat
  • Too much stress, resulting in excess amounts of cortisol, insulin, and norepinephrine, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion and can also adversely affect overall hormonal balance (hello adrenal fatigue)
  • A low-fiber diet with excess refined carbohydrates and deficient in nutrients and high quality fats (hello Standard American Diet, AKA: “SAD””
  • Impaired immune function
  • Environmental agents (which both overload the liver so it cannot properly detox as well as allows our bodies to absorb substances that act as estrogens in our bodies.)

What I truly want to drive home today are both the affects of stress and environmental agents on estrogen. The others causes are more cut and dry; these two are SO important and can be complicated.

STRESS
I have mentioned adrenals and adrenal fatigue a couple of times here. What happens when our bodies are chronically stressed? Our cortisol eventually bottoms out (this is a super simplistic way of describing it, but essentially, that’s what happens). To make up for it, our bodies will convert progesterone in to cortisol, trying to maintain that homeostasis. What then? LOW PROGESTERONE.

Before we leave this topic I want to draw attention to what STRESS is. It’s not just a big fight with your spouse, money issues or a car accident…it is also:

  • never resting (always on the go)
  • not getting adequate sleep
  • not exercising enough
  • exercising too much (can’t tell you enough how bad this is and how often I see it these days!)
  • always being plugged into technology
  • constantly being inundated with artificial light (throws off the circadian rhythm)
  • chronic health conditions
  • not having healthy boundaries (raise your hands all you people pleasers!)

ENVIRONMENTAL AGENTS
This is one that frustrates the living daylights out of me. WHY? Because people don’t think it’s a thing!

The problem with that is that, not only is it a thing, it is one of the biggest culprits having to do with our underlying health (not just hormone disruption, but chronic disease, autoimmune conditions, mental health conditions…I’ll save this for another article on another day).

How exactly do environmental agents impact our hormones?

Let me paint you a picture:

You wake up in your spring fresh smelling bed with sheets bathed in artificial fragrances from the detergents, softeners and dryer sheets. You then shower using body and hair products full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. You dry off and head to the vanity where you lather lotions on your face and body…then move on to the hair products and makeup: all with chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Next comes breakfast! Coffee with creamer made from milk that has hormones. A breakfast sandwich made from meat that has been treated with antibiotics and hormones…OR you opt for a soy-based food which is a quick ticket to high estrogen. You top it off with a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables all covered in pesticides.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

“Xenoestrogens are any chemical we are exposed to in the environment that has an estrogen like effect or promotes more estrogenic activity. The big ones that people hear about are BPAs and phthalates, but unfortunately, they are in our drinking water, shampoo, deodorant, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, and all plastics, even the BPA free ones. Besides having an estrogenic effect, xenoestrogens also have to be detoxified by the liver and compete with the same pathways to get out of the body.”

WHAT CAUSES ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

This is not meant to overwhelm you. We have these agents around us 24/7. What YOU CAN DO is take baby steps in order to reduce exposure! Then do things to support your body in being able to detox the way it should (I’m not talking about a major, intense cleanse, but giving your body the help it needs using things like supplements/herbs/essential oils in order to do what it is designed to do!).

WHAT NOW?

TESTING

If you are experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance but want to know exactly what that looks like (low progesterone, high estrogen, etc??) I would suggest getting a DUTCH test. DO NOT get your hormones tested through blood. This will not give us an accurate picture of where your hormones really are. Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones is gold standard as it tests metabolites you simply can’t get in a blood or saliva test. In addition, you can test cortisol which is what you need to see in order to address adrenal issues.

If you work with a functional or holistic practitioner, they will very likely be on board with ordering this test for you. If not, you can absolutely order the test yourself and complete it in the comfort of your own home.

Go here for more info and/or to order: https://dutchtest.com/ Please use my code in order to receive $100 OFF any DUTCH test on their site: hwj100

There’s a lot of great information and education on their site as well!

STEPS TO BALANCING HORMONES

Whether or not you test to get the real snapshot of what your hormones look like, you can do something about it starting NOW!

1) REDUCE STRESS
Even if you can’t do something major like leave the job you hate, you can do a lot to manage your stress:

  • Exercise
  • Get the right nutrients to support your body
  • Take an adrenal support
  • Pray/meditate
  • Connect with friends/family/church/some kind of network on a regular basis
  • Regularly turn things OFF. Take time to allow your brain to decompress at the end of the day.
  • Take steps to get adequate sleep

2) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FOOD

Grass fed/finished
No hormones
No antibiotics
No pesticides
No artificial “stuff”
DITCH sugar and refined carbs
Consider going low carb to regulate blood sugar and insulin

3) LOVE YOUR LIVER
Your liver is responsible for cleansing excess estrogen. The problem is that we are overwhelming our livers with all sorts of stuff in our food and environments. In order to support it in doing its job, you can:

A) avoid those things that cause overload (mentioned above)
B) eat foods that support your liver in detoxing: cruciferous veggies for the win!!
C) take supplements that support your liver (herbs such as turmeric, dandelion, milk thistle, peppermint, yellow dock root, garlic, artichoke)

The bottom line here is that all the things that set us up for having estrogen dominance are directly related to our standard American lifestyle! YOU can take steps RIGHT NOW to help support your body and get back to feeling VIBRANT!

I challenge you to take a good look at your body/hair/makeup products, your cleaning products and any other household items such as things that you plug in or spray for odor control.

Download the FREE Think Dirty App to assess the products you use and replace them!
FEELING OVERWHELMED? NEED MORE SPECIFIC HELP?
Connect with me and we’ll schedule a FREE consultation to see where I might be able to jump in on this journey and help guide you through this process!

Email me at jessica@healthwithjess.com

Article sources:
https://www.drnorthrup.com/estrogen-dominance/
https://www.drberg.com/blog/why-estrogen-dominance-after-menopause

What to do About the Daily Toxins We Encounter (a link to DIY recipes included!)

First, let’s all be honest, this stuff is confusing and can be super overwhelming. I swear, if you listen to everything that floats around on the internet you can get really scared, really fast about toxins in our environment.

I mean, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had frustrating moments where I’ve felt like I must live a totally secluded life on some untouched land somewhere with no makeup (gasp), none of life’s treats, no creature comforts etc. just to ensure I am healthy and not in danger of cancer or some neurodegenerative disease or something along those lines from my shampoo or car fumes or…you name it!

Let me try to simplify this for a minute.

First of all, it is important to understand that we have SIX systems & organs that are in charge of detoxing our bodies naturally:

  • the skin
  • lungs
  • kidney
  • digestive system
  • liver
  • the lymphatic system

Together, these different parts make a strong and effective army to protect our body from things that can interfere with our health by getting into our system through what we breathe, what we put on our skin and what we ingest.

I won’t go into the specifics of what each of these organs and systems individually do for us, but they have very important jobs that makes everything work well as a whole.

What happens when our bodies get overwhelmed with so much junk that the cleansing systems can’t cleanse fast enough?

Think of your body as a car (this is a SUPER simplified way of looking at it since a car isn’t impacted by emotions, hormones, sleep, stress, etc.). If the oil doesn’t get changed and the air filter gets super dirty the car won’t run right. The same thing happens if you use bad fuel. Our bodies are the same in that, it might be fine for a while, but eventually there will be toxic build up.

What does this look like?

Here are several ways build up in our bodies can impact our health and how we will recognize that something is wrong:

  • Food sensitivities from our gut lining & gut microbiota being compromised
  • Skin issues
  • Mood issues (depression and anxiety)
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Hormone disruption
  • Weak immune system
  • Allergies
  • Brain fog
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Sleep disorders
  • Low energy
  • Chronic illness
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • The list goes on and on…the common theme here is INFLAMMATION.

INFLAMMATION is designed to be GOOD!

When our bodies are attacked somehow, inflammation occurs as an immune response to heal the body rapidly. When you injure yourself blood flows to the location to cleanse the wound and you get some redness and swelling which is the immune cells jumping into action the way they were designed to.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
In our modern culture we are so inundated by foreign substances that easily and CONSTANTLY make their ways into our bodies, that inflammation is very commonly chronic amongst people in our culture. That list you just read: that’s what happens from CHRONIC inflammation (when the inflammation just keeps going as an ongoing defense) and for whatever reason people think these things are NORMAL. Although they have become TYPICAL in our culture, they should not be accepted as normal. We are not meant to be in a constant state of inflammation. When this happens, things within us start attacking the good things and our system gets corroded in a sense.

A DAY IN A LIFE:

Picture this…

You wake up from a night of sleep in your sheets and PJs that have been washed and dried in detergents, softening agents and dryer sheets that all have artificial dyes, chemicals and scents that are in the form of teeny tiny particles that super easily get into your blood stream through your lungs & skin.

You jump in the shower and use shampoo, conditioner and body wash all containing parabens, Phthalates, artificial ingredients and chemicals that are endocrine disrupters and wreak havoc on our internal systems even though they smell good and lather up nicely to make us think we are extra squeaky clean!

You head to the kitchen where you dose up on caffeine with dairy that contains hormones along with sugar and artificial ingredients in that oh so yummy creamer (it’s like a drug I swear). Your taste buds are happy, but the rest of you may eventually tell you otherwise as you start to have hormone issues, skin issues, you can’t kick your sugar cravings, your blood sugar is out of control, you cant seem to lose weight, etc.

You are inundated with car fumes, artificial light up the ying yang, stress from your job, pesticides on your food… you come home too tired to exercise OR you exercise too much, and your body is holding on to weight, getting injured, on a hormonal roller coaster because of it. You need to relax at night so, you stay up too late watching TV with more artificial light and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

Sound familiar?

OK. THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE ALL DOOM & GLOOM! BEAR WITH ME!

While it’s important to be AWARE of what we are doing to our bodies, it is also important to NOT live in fear!

What we can do is support our bodies in being able to cleanse themselves in two ways as much as possible:

1) Restricting exposure to harmful substances
2) Using foods, supplements and protocols that make our organs and lymphatic system happy and healthy
Here is an easy system for getting started without feeling overwhelmed:

Think, REMOVE & REPLACE

1) Pay attention to the ingredients in your products and REMOVE those that are harmful

I suggest using a FREE app such as Think Dirty or the EWG’s Healthy Living App. You can scan products in your home or in the store and see how they have been scored in a number of areas to decide whether it’s a product you want to keep using or purchase. It can be VERY surprising as to which products you will decide to ditch because you “thought” they were less harmful than they are.

2) REPLACE harmful products with natural products.

You don’t have to do this all at once. Start small. Start by switching to a clean detergent. I suggest a “FREE & CLEAR” or something like doTERRA’s onguard detergent. OR even using a FREE & CLEAR & adding an essential oil that you love (for more on essential oils click here!).

This is a good place to start.

Pretty soon you can start diving in and learning more but keep in mind, this is NOT about living in a bubble! This is about setting ourselves and our families up for more success with our health! We can do SO much to support our systems without getting hyper focused on it all and stressed out. Truly.

I personally have started using doTERRA essential oils as one way to help me replace other more harmful products. Along the way I have learned SO much, not about how they can replace other things, but the benefits they hold!

I have also started replacing my makeup and skin care products with products by Beauty Counter. This company is all about educating people on the ingredients in our products that shouldn’t be there and offering CLEAN products!

Please click the links above to learn more about doTERRA and/or Beauty Counter and feel free to reach out to me for more info!

In the meantime, please go here for a BUNCH of awesome “do-it-yourself” household and body product recipes from doTERRA that contain HEALTHY ingredients!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Lettuce Cups

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Lettuce Cups Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

People probably get sick of me saying “this is delicious” or something similar about these recipes I share. Well…it’s because I don’t share recipes that aren’t delicious! This one, definitely my new favorite. If you like dynamic flavor…spice {but not spicy hot}…and lime…you’ll LOVE this!


Ingredients

Scale

Chicken

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped

 

Lime Mayo

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • course sea salt, to taste

 

Tacos

  • 1 head butter lettuce

Instructions

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add jerk seasoning & sauté for a minute to release the flavors.
  2. Add the shredded chicken & cook 2-3 minutes to warm through. Crush and add thyme & adjust seasoning to your preference.
  3. Turn off heat. Juice the lime and stir in lime juice. Finely dice bell pepper and combine with seasoned chicken.
  4. For the lime mayo: combine minced garlic, juice of the lime & zest in small bowl.
  5. Spoon some of the prepared chicken into the butter lettuce leaves. Top with diced bell pepper & lime mayo. Roll up and enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

Blueberry Muffins (Low Carb)

Blueberry Muffins Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Blueberry Muffins (Low Carb)

  • Author: Jessica Parker
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45

Description

I had you at blueberry muffins, right? I mean my mouth watered a bit just typing it. Warm, fresh out of the oven Muffins with juicy blueberries is such a comforting, yummy thought. Think you can’t have them once you’ve ditched sugars and processed wheat based flours? Think again! This recipe gets a big win from my house!

Recipe adapted from www.peaceloveandlowcarb.com


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup erythritol {or sweetener of choice, just adjust amount as needed}
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 erythritol

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners {approximately 9}.
  2. Cream together butter, cream cheese & vanilla.
  3. Add eggs & beat until light & fluffy.
  4. Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl and then combine wet & dry gradually also adding in heavy cream until well combined.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries last.
  6. Scoop batter into lined muffin tin. Batter will be thick.
  7. Sprinkle remaining Swerve on top of batter once it’s divided in the muffin tin.
  8. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until muffins start to turn golden.
  9. Enjoy!!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 9

What Exactly Are Ketones and What is So Great About Them?

There sure is a TON of hype about the ketogenic diet these days! I used to be SO against the concept of low carb and especially going much further with it into ketosis. I thought it was unhealthy, a fad and for people looking for a quick fix.

Fast forward, I have been following the ketogenic protocol for almost 3 years now (with some carb cycling in there as well)! I can attest that the benefits are awesome and go far beyond fitting into your jeans better. But, rather than just take my word for it, let’s take a dive into what ketones are and just why they are beneficial above and beyond weight loss.

KETONES
What we know is that when we starve our body of glucose it ends up switching to using fat for fuel and producing ketones which are also used for fuel.

What are ketones?

Ketones are an energy source. They occur when the liver breaks down fat into fatty acids and glycerol — a process called beta-oxidation. There are three types of ketone bodies {molecules} that are created in the liver once we have run out of glucose: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.

BENEFITS OF KETONES
Ketones are a preferred fuel source for the brain:

  • Glucose build up in the brain causes inflammation and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s. This build up starves the brain. Ketones are a clean fuel source that the brain thrives on.
  • The ketogenic diet increases the permeability of the blood/brain barrier which provides more nutrients to our brain to increase our brain health and productivity. Although the brain uses glucose as about 30% of it’s fuel source, we do not need to get glucose from the diet in order to have it for fuel. Our body will create the needed glucose itself!
  • Ketones limit neuronal loss and preserve synaptic function. This means communication from cell to cell is more efficient and effective. This all increases brain function and clarity.
  • Ketones are a more efficient fuel source for our entire body. Fuel sources need to be converted in to ATP for our body to use it for energy. Converting ketones into energy rather than glucose is a much more efficient process which takes less effort and gives us more energy!
  • Ketones offer increased mitochondria function. Mitochondria protect our cells, regulate cell growth and death. This can protect us from oxidative damage, disease, cancer and just give us more energy in general.
  • Ketones help reduce inflammation. Eating healthy fat and less carbohydrate helps reduce inflammation. BUT, ketones add to this! Back to the oxidative stress as seen above. Ketones help reduce this oxidative stress which creates inflammation.
  • Increases adenosine which naturally fights inflammation and acts as a pain reliever (this why often people notice a reduction in joint pain). Down regulation of the inflammasome nlrp3 through the production of ketones.
  • Increased Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a naturally occurring protein in the brain that improves brain function and lowers risk of mental disease.
  • Cancer prevention. Cancer results when cells grow faster and live longer than they should. Ketones give mitochondria the boost they need to be able to regulate this overgrowth much more efficiently.
  • Increased GABBA. GABBA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Responsible for reducing activity in the nervous system as appropriate. Without enough GABBA we can feel depressed, stressed, anxious…Also increases our growth hormone which increases muscle and helps boost metabolism.
  • Regulates insulin and blood sugar levels beyond just low carb/high fat
  • Ketones help regulate appetite
  • Ketones help balance leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone that tells us we satisfied).
  • Ketones help balance ghrelin which tells us we are hungry.
  • Ketones will balance this leptin/ghrelin relationship.
  • Improves cardiovascular markers. Ketones has been shown in studies to increase HDL and reduces triglycerides. This will improve overall cardiovascular function and risk of disease.
  • Better mood. A ketogenic state reduces the intracellular sodium levels. This is the same thing we get form mood stabilizing drugs.
  • Ketones can increase athletic performance. Gives us more efficient access to fuel during exercise/competition.

If you are interested in applying this to your own life by following a ketogenic diet and would like some help, I offer a monthly group for Women that is run through a private FB group. I also offer individual coaching. Please email me at jessica@healthwithjess.com for more information!

RESOURCES
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/474296/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11569918
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14769489
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7554586

My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

My Journey from Vegetarian to Owning a Pasture Raised Meat Business

Once upon a time I was vegetarian. Now we own and operate a pasture raised meat business. (Grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and chicken all minus antibiotics or added hormones)

Quite the switch.

When I was ohhhhh around 20 (feels like just a couple years ago) and I went to Alaska for the first time (as a vegetarian), I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with a family who was homesteading in the middle of absolute nowhere. The nearest town was 30 miles away by dog sled or snow machine during the winter and by boat in the summer. And that “town”…well if you’ve seen the show Northern Exposure {popular in the early 90’s} then you know what kind of town I’m talking about. You know, where the “airport” and post office are all in one and smaller than my house. You get off the plane outside on the tarmac regardless of the fact that it’s 30 below outside. Oh, and the plane is half cargo. Some of the cargo was fresh produce that people living way up there eagerly anticipated once a month.

ONCE a month! Can you imagine fresh veggies and fruit only once a month??

Needless to say, when the woman of the house {i.e. cabin with no running water and heated only by wood stove} I was staying at asked, “what should we have for dinner?” my first night there and it turned out my options were moose, caribou or….well…moose, I was not surprised.

“My first experience in temperatures so frigid. No store anywhere within reach. Yup, I’ll be eating meat” was how my thought process went. Then, off we went into the “yard” with a chainsaw where she started uncovering something from under a mound of snow. There was dinner. Not even kidding.

My reasons for following a vegetarian lifestyle back then were pretty weak. I was early into my whole health and fitness journey and was very much following trends {and more interested in being skinny than anything else related to health}. So, low fat and vegetarian it was! I would go out with friends and order a pizza with just veggies {cheese was too fattening}. No joke. Thankfully I had good friends who didn’t give me too hard of a time or try to force feed me pepperoni and cheese *gasp*. I will tell you, however, the biggest driver for me was my disgust with how meat was farmed in our country and I really associated it with fast food. Yuck.

Eating meat in the far Northern regions of Alaska in the dead of winter with a family that was completely living off the land, changed my perspective.

After that experience, I moved to a small town in Alaska, not nearly as remote as Kotzebue, however the grocery store was a 2 hour drive away from where I lived (still accessible any time of the year). {I lived in Healy, just north of Denali National Park}

What I noticed when I lived up there was that people hunted and would feed their whole family for the entire year from a moose they shot; and they were SO thankful. I hunted with friends and the experience was completely different than what I expected. The word honor comes to mind. When you work hard for something versus just picking up a package at the store or ordering it off the menu at a restaurant…it makes you really understand and appreciate what you have in front of you.

This was such a far cry from what I was used to down in the lower 48. Not to mention, wild meat had SUCH a different taste.

There is a lot of confusion today with what is good and what isn’t good for you. What I find that many people overlook WHERE things come from and what that means for the integrity fo the food. I haven’t ate a burger from a fast food restaurant in ….you know I can’t even tell you how many years. But, I was still buying meat from the grocery store and not really thinking much about it until in the recent few years. Then I started getting grass fed beef locally and fast forward to now where we have partnered with Pacific Northwest farms who meet our strict standards and we are selling it!

One of the biggest reasons to go for grass fed over grain fed is that grass fed beef contains far more omega 3 than omega 6. Why do we care about this? On our Standard American Diet {S.A.D.} we eat an alarmingly off balance ratio of omega 3/omega 6. This causes systemic inflammation which is at the root cause of basically any known chronic disease in our modern culture. Meat is not the only culprit; not by a long shot. We get an overabundance of omega 6 from all the highly processed vegetable oils in our processed foods {canola, soy, corn, safflower…}.

According to holistic practitioner Chris Kresser, “Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef, and the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all the way up to 7.65:1”. {For more on this subject AND why meat and saturated fat are not to blame for heart disease like we’ve been told for so long, go here.}

Minus the hormones, minus all the inflammatory omega 6, minus the antibiotics, what do you get?

You get significant amounts of B vitamins, including B 12, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, and vitamin B6. You get vitamin D, iron & zinc. You also get a good amount of other vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, chromium, nickel, and selenium. And the best part is that these nutrients from a meat source are far more bioavailable than any other sources {meaning your body will actually absorb and use much more than it will from other sources}.

I totally respect those who choose to be vegetarian. That’s not what this article is about {and I’m not interested in debates. You respect my decision, I’ll respect yours}.

What this is about is my own journey, and digging deep into the science behind health rather than just following trends.

It sure feels good to know exactly where our food comes from, to know that they are happy, healthy, well cared for cows! And I will say that I feel like a happier, healthier, more cared for human being having much more nutrient dense food in my diet every day.

Creamy Reuben Soup (HFLC/Keto)

Creamy Reuben Soup Recipe from That Vibrant Life
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Description

I made this for my hubby’s birthday dinner. It looked delicious on paper and did not disappoint! The original recipe is for a slow cooker, but I made mine in the stove stop and it was amazing.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 MEDIUM ONION, DICED
  • 2 RIBS CELERY, DICED
  • 2 LARGE CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
  • 3 tbsp BUTTER
  • 1 lb CORNED BEEF, CHOPPED & COOKED
  • 4 cups BEEF STOCK
  • 1 cup SAUERKRAUT
  • 1 tsp SEA SALT
  • 1 tsp CARAWAY SEEDS
  • ¾ tsp BLACK PEPPER
  • 2 cups HEAVY CREAM
  • 1 ½ cups SWISS CHEESE, SHREDDED

Instructions

  1. HEAT SLOW COOKER ON HIGH SETTING.
  2. TO A LARGE SAUTÉ PAN, OVER LOW-MEDIUM HEAT, ADD ONION, CELERY, GARLIC AND BUTTER.
  3. SAUTÉ UNTIL SOFT AND TRANSLUCENT.
  4. TRANSFER TO THE SLOW COOKER, ADD CORNED BEEF, BEEF STOCK, SAUERKRAUT, SEA SALT, CARAWAY SEED AND BLACK PEPPER.
  5. COVER AND COOK ON HIGH FOR 4.5 HOURS.
  6. ADD HEAVY CREAM AND SWISS CHEESE AND COOK 1 ADDITIONAL HOUR.
  7. ENJOY!!

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

Why the KETO Diet Might Not Be For YOU

There really is no one size fits all approach. We all know that.

There are some key ingredients to any kind of “plan” out there that I would argue are essential for anyone, though:

  • Based on whole foods
  • Includes a good amount of healthy fats
  • Eliminates (or at least drastically reduces) processed foods
  • Gives your body what YOUR body needs (this is where things get confusing)

So. This list really leaves a lot under its umbrella. I consider this a good thing.

We all have different needs, but also different values surrounding our diet and lifestyle and different things we just plain are or are not interested in.

It’s no secret, I am a big fan of the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m also a big fan of the paleo lifestyle. Why do I promote KETO so. darn. much?? Because I have seen it help people over and over again, get to a place they JUST COULDN’T no matter what they did. It allowed them to start burning fat for fuel and reduce inflammation and FEEL GOOD.

My goal is to share how to follow a keto diet focusing on a whole foods approach AND my programs are targeted toward women. This is HUGE. We are so very different in how our bodies operate then men. You just can’t put your body on the same exact protocol as your husband or boyfriend and expect things to go well.

“Aside from all of this stuff, how do I know it’s the right avenue for me?” Is this what you’re thinking? Well…let me share a few ways to know when it’s NOT right for you:

1) You’re just doing it for some quick weight loss
You need to do your research. The ketogenic diet is not something meant for just dropping a bunch of weight fast and then going back to the standard American diet. This should really be thought of as part of a lifestyle: teaching your body how to burn fat for fuel and creating habits that are sustainable and that promote a healthier overall you.

2) You’re not ALL IN
The ketogenic diet is not something you can “sort of” do. You’re either following it 100% or you’re not. Now, there are big benefits to eating a higher fat/lower carb diet of any kind. However, the ketogenic diet is very specific in terms of how much fat and how little carbs in order to get into ketosis. If you’re not willing to fully commit, it’s not for you.

If you are married to your excuses more than your desire to be healthy: not for you.

3) You’re vegetarian
Ok hold on here: before you get ready to send me a nasty-gram, hear me out. I am not saying that you CANNOT be vegetarian on the ketogenic diet. But, if you are, it will be DIFFICULT. If you are dairy free on top of it…10x harder. Lots of people are dairy free and do amazing on KETO {in fact some people say it’s absolutely necessary but I disagree}. BUT, dairy free AND vegetarian…different story.

I am a big fan of seeing people include good grass fed, hormone free, organic meats in their diets. The ketogenic diet is NOT high protein, but moderate. And those protein sources are important. I also don’t like to see women try to meet their protein needs with soy based products do to potential hormone disruption.

Here is some further information on the topic: red meat in particular.

4) You’re mourning over the thought of giving up your sugar and fast food.

Okay. I’m not saying the ketogenic will NEVER be for you. However, a much better plan if this is you, would be to taper down. Start with Paleo, which cuts out the sugar and processed foods and go from there.

Truly, there is A LOT of tasty food you can eat on the ketogenic diet that makes it pretty easy for people to follow compared to other plans. But, if you have not yet pried your little fingers off the convenience foods and sugar, it will be harder.

5) You feel like you’re “all in” but you don’t want to worry about the “details”

Well, you’re going to have to worry about the details if you want good results AND if you want to feel good doing this.

The ketogenic approach is not just any old “diet”. Think of it like this: your body has been used to a certain kind of fuel for quite awhile. That means at a cellular level your system has adjusted and adapted to what you feed it. Truthfully, the ways in which it has adjusted and adapted are very likely NOT IN YOUR FAVOR! But, any change, even good change, takes some deliberate effort.

Changing the type of fuel your are giving your body will mean changes big and small from the outside in…all the way down to your individual cells.

This is why the type of fats & proteins are crucial. This is why {you will hear this in my programs} electrolytes are CRITICAL. This is why you HAVE TO BE PURPOSEFUL.

Okay, I know I probably made KETO sound like a big scary, hairy, overwhelming thing to jump into: but it’s not.

You just have to have a good talk with yourself and do your homework before deciding if this is a good fit for you or not. No one wants to try a program without being fully committed only to walk away feeling like they failed. Again. I sure don’t want that for you.

Did you make it through the list and you’re STILL interested in KETO? You’re saying: “heck YES. I went through that list and I know: I’M 110% READY!!” Then I want to invite you to join one of my upcoming programs OR, if you’re the person who has done gobs of research and you just need a meal plan and a little jump start: I have an option for that too!

Starting January 1st my KETO for Women Groups are starting {I run them monthly}! Find out more and/or sign up here.

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC Christmas and that NO MATTER WHAT you do with your health and fitness, that you do it with purpose and intention and that you FEEL AMAZING! <3