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Hunting for Duck Eggs?

AZ Ducks

I’ve been on the hunt for duck eggs recently here in the Charlotte area.  I’ve been surprised at how many people have asked about them lately, but for good reason.  Many people that are sensitive to chicken eggs actually do just fine with duck eggs.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Maybe because most of us end up eating chicken eggs so much that our bodies just want a break?

I have done some research and asked around and have come up with some resources that may be helpful in the duck egg hunt.  I haven’t bought eggs from any of these places myself, but I’m hoping if any of you have, you’ll share your experiences so we can help other people that are on the hunt.

Some of these are general resources for farms or farmers markets in the area.   I am hoping as we move closer towards spring and more of the farmers markets start happening around town, we may find even more people who have duck eggs.  The next time you are at your favorite farmers market, start asking the vendors there.  If the farms know a lot of people are wanting them, maybe we can convince them it’s a product that they should bring to market.  It can’t hurt to try!

Charlotte Regional Farmers Market

7th Street Market

Matthews Community Farmers Market

Rooster Hill Farms, China Grove

Bosky Acres

Allee’ Bubba Farms

Super G Mart

Kuska Winasun Homestead – They have a great page about duck eggs and why they work for a lot of people.  Check it out here:

Eat Wild

Agrilicious

These resources are all over the Charlotte area and beyond, so check out which ones might be convenient to your area.  If you find a good resource, let us know!  It’s so important to support our local farmers and, in turn, we get a high quality product that will help us eat healthier!

 

 

Got That Gut Feeling?

I talk about preparing and eating healthy food a lot, so I guess it’s only natural that the subject of gut health would somehow come up in conversation.  It is finally getting some much deserved “buzz” in the media as many experts talk about the incredibly important link between what happens in your gut and the overall state of your physical, mental and emotional health.  I always knew it was responsible for the obvious things – digestion, weight gain/loss, etc. but do you know that serotonin, that ever so important balancer of our moods is primarily found in the gut?  What about the immune system?  Did you know that it is also primarily found in the gut?  So many reasons to have a healthy, balanced gut, and there are so many things that go badly when it’s not.  (Yes, I’m personally familiar with many of those!)

It is my opinion, and my personal experience, that healing your gut is the foundational step that needs to happen in order to heal anything else that might be going on.  Think of your car as a great example.  Say you’ve been putting in the wrong type of fuel and all of a sudden, the motor starts making a weird noise, or the fuel injection is freaking out and the car just doesn’t accelerate the way it is supposed to.  Maybe the car just stops working entirely, so you bring it into the shop.  Now they can fix all they want to under the hood, they can even totally replace your engine, and your fuel injection system.  It’s still not going to work right  – you’re putting in the wrong fuel!

Same thing is true with our bodies.  They run on the fuel we choose, every meal, everyday.  Everything we eat and drink is a specific choice towards or away from a happy gut, and a healthier you.  To add to that mix, things like stress management, how much sleep you get, etc. all have an additional impact.

So, if it’s time to see if your gut might be causing/adding to some of the health issues you are having, I have a few suggestions on which way to head down your road to recovery.  Obviously, there is not just one way down this path, but I can share some of the things I’ve learned along my journey in hopes they may help you with yours.

HELPFUL STEPS TO TAKE TOWARD HEALING YOUR GUT

1.GET SMART

However you get your information, get as much as you can.  Books, internet, T.V. specials, YouTube videos….. we live in the information age, so we certainly can’t complain about lack of knowledge.  The trick, of course, is discernment.  Check your sources.  You’ll learn which voices to listen to amongst the crowds of people talking about health and wellness.  Be a healthy skeptic as you get to know who they are and if what they are saying makes sense to you.  You might be surprised at where your answers come from. (Check down below for some of my favorite resources.)

2.  GET HELP

Just as we have lots of sources of information available to us, we also have a lot of different types of health care providers available.  Finding someone that specializes in or is at least knowledgeable about gut health is imperative.  In my opinion, that is typically not your primary MD or other allopathic doctor.  There are certainly exceptions, but even my doctor friends have told me that they get next to no training in nutrition (still!) and really can’t help until something goes wrong.  Instead, you might look for a functional doctor, integrative doctor, wellness doctor or practitioner, or a Naturopath and see if they can give you the assistance you need.

3.  GET TESTED

Although you can certainly start healing your gut without them, you might consider having your practitioner order some tests to find out if there is anything going on in your gut that you should know about.  Some tests aren’t all that fun, I will tell you, but knowledge is power!   See if you can pinpoint or at least get an idea as to which part of your gut might be giving you a problem.  For example, your tummy might be digesting food just fine, but your issues begin in the small intestine.  You might even have food allergies or sensitivities.  It’s important to know what’s up and what needs some attention.

Best case scenario is that it’s all working just fine, it’s just out of balance.  Most people have guts that are full of “bad” bacteria and are sorely lacking in the “good” bacteria.  That comes from our food/drink choices, toxins in our environment, stressful lifestyles, heavy metal toxicity, and the big one – the heavy use of antibiotics not just being prescribed but added to our food sources.  Every time we ingest antibiotics, we are killing off bacteria, so the “good” bacteria is lost along with the “bad”.  We all know about the diarrhea that often comes with a round of antibiotics, but there are many other side effects as well.  I have been told that just one round of antibiotics can do a pretty good job at destroying your gut bacteria.  Considering I was on antibiotics constantly during my childhood, is it any wonder I have had to learn about healing my gut?!

4.  GET COOKING

There are so many easy ways to make your gut happier and your body healthier, and most of those start in the kitchen.  In my experience, it’s usually easier to start adding more of the foods that feed the good bacteria (more veggies, high fiber, lots of greens, fermented foods) so it makes it much easier to stay away from the foods that are less healthy, and feed the bad bacteria (sugars, grains).  The resources below include lots of great information about how to implement a gut-healthy eating plan

5.  GET PRO – ACTIVE

Because of my health challenges over the years, including weight issues, food allergies, etc., I have spent years of fine tuning when it comes to what I eat.  But it wasn’t until I really paid a lot of attention to gut-healing foods that I really noticed a huge difference.  The big category of foods that helped the most was fermented foods, a natural source of probiotics that help to make your gut balance healthy.  I had taken probiotic supplements for years but I found that, for me, adding probiotics via food was much more efficient.

A couple of my favorite go-to fermented foods are:

  • Plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt  – So Delicious makes the only one I know about (dairy free) but I really like making my own at home (it’s yummy!).  It has become a great treat with a bit of chopped fruit or wild blueberries.  (Don’t make the mistake of eating yogurt with all that sugar in it – it actually can make the problem worse by feeding bad bacteria, regardless of what all those commercials say!)

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  • Raw sauerkraut -I have just a few bites at dinner each night.  It is a huge help in getting all that good bacteria into your gut!  It is simple to make at home either with just cabbage or mix a few veggies together.  There are many ways to do it, but here’s a link to how I got started.  There are also some great sauerkraut products ready made and found in your local health food/whole food stores.  Look for them in the refrigerated section and make sure the label includes like “Fresh”, “Probiotic”, “Raw” or “Fermented”.  Here are a few that I like – Farmhouse Culture is organic and comes in several flavors, while Trader Joe’s brand is not organic but significantly less expensive:

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  • Celery Juice – One of the newest additions to my food regimen is perhaps the most unexpected, at least it was to me.  I heard Anthony William speak about the benefits of celery juice, of all things, and I had to try it.  I am a big advocate of green smoothies, but I rarely had my juicer out since I totally overdid making fresh fruit juices a bunch of years ago.  Fresh fruit juice is so yummy, but way too much sugar for me, so I am now re-learning how to make super healthy veggie juices.  Celery juice is beneficial for many systems in the body, but it’s super great for bringing helpful HCL (digestive acid) to the whole digestive system.

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6.  GET RESOURCES:

As I mentioned before, there are a lot of experts putting out information on gut health.  These are a few of my favorites:

SKINNY GUT DIET by Brenda Watson – she has been the go-to woman for digestive health for years, has many books out, and a number of PBS specials.  I think she is informative, easy to understand, and a great resource.  Even if you don’t follow the specific diet outlined in this book, I think it’s the best overall resource for all things relating to gut bacteria.

WHEAT BELLY BOOKS by Dr. William Davis – great resource for what happens when we eat grains and how you can regain your health when you change the type of diet you are eating.  He also has a good PBS special on occasionally so check your local listings!

YOUR PERSONAL PALEO CODE by Chris Kresser – although geared more towards a Paleo lifestyle (again, you can ignore the diet plan and recipes) but he has a good explanation about gut health.

MEDICAL MEDIUM – SECRETS BEHIND CHRONIC AND MYSTERY ILLNESS AND HOW TO FINALLY HEAL by Anthony William – This book doesn’t come out until November, but he is doing a radio show on Hay House Radio that is really informative.  He might be a little “out there” for some people, but I find his nutritional information to be really helpful.  His Facebook and Twitter posts about healthy foods are great!

BODY ECOLOGY DIET by Donna Gates – Pretty much the gold standard when it comes to fermentation and a serious commitment to gut health.  It might be a bit overwhelming for a beginner, but full of great information as you want to learn more.

All these authors have great resources on websites, Facebook, Twitter, their PBS specials, newsletters in addition to their books.  These are just a handful of my favorites, but there are so many others.  I would love to know your favorites so feel free to share!

There is so much to this topic!  I hope this gets you motivated to start healing your gut today.  The most important lesson I have learned is to be your own health care advocate!  It’s your gut, your health, your life, so be sure to get the help that you need to have the healthiest life possible!

It’s Cocktail Time!

Cocktail grapefruit, that is!  I love cocktail grapefruit and I’m always frustrated (and amazed!) at how hard they are to find.  I first found them at Trader Joe’s several years ago, and they are usually the only store that carries them. Every week since the holidays, I have been asking if they would be in this season since I didn’t see them at all last year.  My persistence finally paid off when I walked in the other day and saw an entire display of them at my local T.J.’s!  (I also saw a few at my local Harris Teeter grocery store – they were on the end caps with exotic fruits and veggies so keep your eye out for them, but they are cheaper at T.J.’s. if you can find them.)

I like grapefruit, although I don’t typically get overly enthusiastic about it.  When I first saw cocktail grapefruit, one of the nice Trader Joe’s workers explained that they are sweeter than other grapefruit and less acidic, so I decided I would try it.  An obsession was born!
They are, indeed, sweeter and less acidic but also way more interesting than that.  And they aren’t even grapefruit!

Their official name is a Mandelo, and they are a combination of a frua mandarin (tangerine) and a Siamese Sweet Pummelo.  (Hence the name, Mandelo).  It was never officially released to the public, so somewhat of a mystery as to how it is now available.  Gotta love a fruit mystery!

They are a bit smaller than what we’re used to seeing with standard grapefruit, they are super juicy, and they have lots of seeds.  I was once told that the reason they are not more readily available is that the typical American consumer won’t buy fruit with seeds in it.  Seriously?  They are big seeds, so you just move them out of the way.  Better yet, plant them and grow more fruit!

They make a great juicing fruit, but just peeling and eating is pretty great too.  This morning I combined some with pineapple, cara cara oranges, banana and homemade coconut milk yogurt for an amazing start to my breakfast.  So good!

High in Vitamin C and fiber, keep an eye out for them at your local store and give them a try.  They are delicious, and because they are only available once a year, they are a a special treat!

Need To Heal Your Gut?

I never thought I would be saying this, but I love raw sauerkraut!  In many cases, fermented veggies can really help heal gut issues (not always, so ask your health care provider first!) and yes, I sometimes make them at home  But I tend to make everything at home, so I’m so excited when I can find something ready-made that is good for me and tasty at the same time.  These are a couple of the brands that I’m able to find locally, so they are definitely at the top of my favorite products list!

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Zucchini Pizza Boats!

If you are like me, you are so happy when fruits and veggies come in season.  They are cheaper, more readily available and they taste better.  It’s even more exciting when you are growing your own, or can share what is growing in your neighbor’s garden.  But what happens when all your zucchini comes in at once?  Or you buy a ton of it at the Farmer’s Market because it looks beautiful and you can’t resist?  Zucchini Pizza Boats!

Zucchini Pizza Boats are a great meal anytime, one of my favorite leftovers (yummy for a quick lunch or afternoon snack), and they also makes a really fun appetizer.  Just cut them up into bite sizes and serve – your guests will love them.  They are so easy, too.  Get all your favorite pizza toppings out and let everyone make their own!

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Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve seen lots of recipes for these, but I took my inspiration from Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott

Preheat oven to 400º.  Clean the zucchini, then split in half lengthwise and scoop out part of the center and seeds to make a shallow trough.  Place the zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment with the hollowed-out side up.

Fill the hollowed-out center with pizza sauce, your favorite marinara sauce or bruschetta topping and then start layering all your favorite pizza toppings.  I use turkey sausage and mushroom and I’ve also made some using turkey canadian bacon and caramelized onions.  (Just make sure that the toppings, like sausage, are already cooked).  Quick Note:  If using dairy-free cheese (I use Daiya), I typically put the cheese over the sauce and then put toppings on top of that.  It seems to melt a bit better for me that way.

Bake about 30-40 minutes or until toppings and sauce are bubbling and zucchini is soft.  After cooling a bit, serve as is or slice into 3-4 bite-sized pieces if serving as an appetizer.

 

Make a Healthier (and easy!) Pancake

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a pancake.  Ok, quite a while, actually.  Although gluten-free pancakes are pretty easy, grain-free is a different story, especially for those of us who find almond flour too tough too handle.  Then I saw something online (I think it was on Facebook) about making pancakes from eggs and a banana.  Seriously!  Well, I was so curious I just had to try it.  It works!  I’ve made them a few times now, and I have been pleasantly surprised.

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The recipe is easy – 2 eggs, beaten + 1 smushed banana.  That’s basically it, although I usually throw in a dash of cinnamon and a couple drops of vanilla, just because.  As you can see in the picture, they aren’t as thick as a “grainy” pancake, more like a thicker crepe. Still yummy, especially smeared with almond butter.  (Fair warning:  a pretty strong banana flavor so if you aren’t crazy about banana, this recipe might not be your favorite).

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It’s Citrus Season!

Have you noticed all the different types of citrus in the stores lately?  This is prime time for all those beautiful oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and more.  I, personally, have become quite the pest at my local Trader Joe’s, waiting a bit impatiently for the cocktail grapefruit to come in.  They usually show up for a very short time in January or February, and only at Trader Joe’s.  They are delicious, but they aren’t here yet!

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While we wait, you might try something a bit more exotic than your typical navel orange like these beautiful blood oranges.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I cut into this one and didn’t want to eat it until I took pictures because the coloring was so amazing.  Did you know that they are considered an anti-aging orange?  Maybe it’s because there is even more vitamin C in blood oranges than a regular orange?

Then I sliced open a Cara Cara orange – have you tried one yet?  You can see them with the blood oranges in the banner on the front page.  They are bright orange outside and look like a regular navel orange, but they have beautiful rosy colored flesh inside that is seedless and so sweet!  According to the Sunkist website, they are a cross between  the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel, and were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela.

While reading about Cara Cara oranges, I found a really helpful resource from Sunkist – it is all the nutrition information for different types of citrus.  Check it out here when you want to feel good about adding some citrus into your meal plan!

 

Vitamix sale!

Click on the Vitamix banner to your right and take advantage of a great sale -$50. off containers!

Upcoming Healthy Priorities Class!

Eating Outside the Box 

 

Come Join Us For A Great Event!

Join Us Thursday Oct 24th for Fitness Classes, Giveaways, & More!

Natural Intuition and our friends at Fit 4 Mom – Stroller Strides are turning 1! To celebrate, we have put together a fun celebration filled with some FREE fitness classes, some health & wellness talks from some of our favorite local businesses, a chance to taste Beachbody’s famous Shakeologygiveaways, & so much more!

Bob Strollers will be on hand at our event for some fun along with several other awesome vendors you will have the chance to meet in person!

We hope all of our local Charlotte area friends can join us! What’s even more fun?

The first 25 to pre-register will take home some swag of some of our favorite stuff!!

Read below to check out the full schedule of events & find out how to pre-register!

When? Thursday, October 24

Where? Pineville Lake Park 1000 Johnston Drive Pineville, NC

Time? 9am 

9am-9:15 – Registration and check in

9:30 – 10:30 – FREE Stroller Strides Class! Bring your kiddos in their strollers and get your work-out on!

10:30 – 11:30 – Meet & Greet with some of our favorite local vendors and get to hear some of them speak! Check out short presentations from  :

  • Court Creeden Parent Financial
  • “Eating Outside The Box : Healthy Snacking” with Jamie from Healthy Priorities
  • “Are You on the Birthday Party Diet? Simple Health Solutions for Busy Families” with Toni Branners of Whole Foods & Nutrition
  • Try out Beachbody’s famous super foods smoothie, Shakeology and learn more about how you can get healthy with Team Beachbody!

11:30 – 12:00 – Choose between a yoga class & a T25 Beachbody workout. Bring your yoga mats or wear your workout gear and try out one for yourself! Both the yoga class & the workout WILL be kid friendly!