Monday, February 22, 2010

Coconut Water

Coconut water, the liquid from a young unripe coconut, is a natural isotonic beverage filled with immune boosting vitamins and nutrients. This healthy drink offers replenishing electrolytes, as well as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

This nutrient rich beverage contains organic compounds with beneficial growth properties that can dramatically improve your health. It is completely free of chemicals and is save for children and babies. Some pregnant women prefer drinking coconut water as a natural aid for digestive problems during pregnancy. The lauric acid found in coconut water is the same as human breast milk.

Regular consumption of coconut water can naturally improve immunity, increase metabolism, alter HDL and detoxify the body. Consistent consumption of coconut water can help regulate intestinal function which is known to provide a wide variety of health benefits including a clearer complexion. Coconut water also contains monolaurin which acts as an antiviral monoglyceride which has the abiltiy to kill a variety of viruses and bacteria in the body.

Coconut water is a natural sports drink. Providing 15 times the electrolytes than most sports drinks, coconut water promotes hydration by stimulating the plasma which contributes to 55% of human blood. It is contains calcium and serves as a nutritious cholesterol free boost after a workout. Coconut water has fewer calories and sodium than most soft drinks or juices.

In addition, coconut water is high in potassium and consumed regularly can significantly reduce the risk of hypertension.

Health Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water Regularly
  • Naturally boost immune system
  • Improve intestinal health
  • Increases metabolism & weight loss
  • Balance body ph
  • Detoxify & fight viruses
  • Stop fatigue
  • Helps prevent hypertension
  • Control diabetes
  • Aids in circulation
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Treats kidney stones
  • Eases stomach pain & vomiting

Today there are several ready-to-drink organic coconut beverage available. Some popular brands are Vita Coco, Zico Pure and O.N.E. They all provide fresh coconut water in tetra packaging to preserve nutrients.

Give it a try! - Shannan


Monday, January 11, 2010

Hearty Salsa

It has been a crazy day around here with little time to eat. So at now 8:30 p.m., after the kids have been tucked in, I am enjoying a healthy, filling snack and a glass of organic red wine.

Hearty Salsa

1 15 1/4 oz. can corn, drained (you could also use frozen corn, thawed)
1 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. jar mild or spicy salsa

Mix the above ingredients and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips. Mine are always the Trader Joe's Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips.

You can also add avocado and olives for a little variety.

My wine...Our Daily Red. It is organic and contains no detectible sulfates. I got mine at Whole Foods.

The perfect ending to a busy day.

- Shannan

Friday, January 8, 2010


I just love the technical term for herbs or medications that are used to stimulate an increase in milk production while breast feeding. It sounds like something you might encounter while watching Star Trek.

Most of our regular readers know that I'm pregnant. I have about 5 weeks left until baby and I'm finally getting a few things ready for the big day. This is our third and it's funny how much less you actually "do" to get ready the third time around. I've had some issues with low milk supply during breastfeeding with my other two though and have been researching ways to encourage my body naturally to produce enough milk. There are so many things out there, but one thing I'm definitely stocking up on is herbs to make teas. I thought I would share some of my research with you - if you aren't currently breastfeeding, pass this information on to an expectant or new mother that you know - she will thank you!

Most Common Herbs: These herbs are the most commonly used to stimulate milk production. They can all be purchased in bulk and used as a tea and/or mixed together for a tea blend. My favorite place to buy cut, bulk herbs and seeds is our affiliate Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a great variety of herbs, fantastic quality, and reasonable prices.

  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

  • Goat's Rue (Galega officinalis)

  • Milk Thistle (Sklybum marianum)

  • Blessed Thistle leaves (Cnicus benedictus)

  • Borage Leaves (Borago officinalis)

  • Hops (Humulus lupulus)

  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

  • Raspberry Leaf (Rubus Idaeus)

  • Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)

  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulagare)

  • Caraway Seed

Galactogogue Brew: My OB gave me this great recipe for a breastfeeding tea that can be made at home.

1 oz dried Blessed Thistle or Borage leaves

1 oz dried Raspberry leaves or Nettle leaves

1 teaspoonful of any of these seeds: Anise, Cumin, Fennel, Caraway, Coriander, Dill

Place leaves in a half-gallon jar and fill to the top with boiling water. Cap tightly and let steep overnight. Strain out herbs and refrigerate liquid until needed. As you get ready to nurse, pour off one cupful of the brew and heat it almost to a boil. Pour it over a teaspoonful of any of the aromatic seeds listed above. Let it brew and cool for 5 more minutes before drinking.

I know that some may not want to mess around with cut herbs or making your own teas. Weleda makes a highly praised nursing tea that incorporates several of the herbs listed above. You can read more about that by clicking the link below.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Serving Size

As I implement my New Year's resolution to eat more fruits and vegetables (again), I realized that I needed a refresher on what a serving actually equates to.

The United States Department of Agriculture sets a serving size for fruit or vegetables to be equal to about one-half cup. Greens like spinach and lettuce have a serving size equal to one full cup. One serving of sliced fruit is equal to one-half cup; however a single piece of fruit, such as an apple or an orange counts as one serving. How did the USDA decide that one-half cup is a serving size? The decision was based on the portion sizes that people typically eat, ease of use and nutritional content of fruits and vegetables.

Many experts suggest we need from five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That is a total. Older or inactive women and smaller children need at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. Growing kids, teen girls, most men and active women would eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit everyday. Teen boys and active men should eat at least five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit. Unfortunately many people fail to eat even five servings each day.

Here are some typical serving sizes for fruits and vegetables:

one banana
six strawberries
two plums
fifteen grapes
one apple
one peach
one half cup of orange or other fruit juice

five broccoli florets
ten baby carrots
one roma tomato
3/4 cup tomato juice
half of a baked sweet potato
one ear of corn
four slices of an onion
a serving of lettuce is about 1 cup or a cereal bowl full

And don't forget the easiest way to pack in the fruits and veggies - smoothies and juice. When I need a boost, I start juicing. It seriously energizes me and it will do the same for you.

- Shannan

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Making Your Own Sauerkraut

Just before the Christmas holidays I tried my hand at making my own sauerkraut. I've never been a huge fan of sauerkraut, but after reading more about the benefits of fermented foods and especially vegetables, I decided to give it a shot. Well now I'm hooked. I love it and try to find a way to eat a little of it every day. As is usually the case, I couldn't believe how incredibly simple it is to make your own sauerkraut.

Why eat lactofermented foods?

Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut contain lactobacilli that enhance the digestibility of the food and increase the vitamin and mineral content. These beneficial bacteria produce helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti carcinogenic substances. The lactic acid produced in the fermentation process keeps the foods in a state of perfect preservation and promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.

How to make your own sauerkraut

It can really be just this easy...

  1. Shred a head of cabbage very fine and add a tablespoon of salt.

  2. Work the cabbage either with a wooden mallet, potato masher, or like I did, with my bare hands, until the cabbage starts to get soft and release some moisture.

  3. Pack the shredded cabbage in a glass, quart mason jar and pour any liquid over the top. Pack the cabbage down until the liquid completely covers the cabbage.

  4. Put a lid on the jar and store in your pantry for two weeks. I stored mine for two weeks and found the flavor was great. I've read that sauerkraut needs only one week for good flavor or that some even let it ferment 3-4 weeks.

  5. Once you open the jar, keep it in the refrigerator and use. It will continue to slowly ferment and add flavor in the refrigerator.

How to use your sauerkraut

This was hard for me as I didn't use sauerkraut regularly before, but my favorite thing to do is to make a lettuce and tomato sandwich and top it with sauerkraut. Yum! I've heard of using it on tacos, with any meat, over salads, and etc. Some like to just eat it plain. Of course there is always corned beef decide.

If you want to make a lot of sauerkraut at once and have a few extra bucks laying around, you might consider purchasing a German crock. Check the link below for some great recommendations!



Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well here we are - 2010, today is the day that most everyone goes back to work or school and life's routine is restored. The new year is a time to reflect on where we are and where we want to be. So I am here to say, clean out your cupboards and throw away whatever cookies remain from your holiday celebrations.

I, of course, made some pretty hefty healthy eating resolutions at the beginning of 2009 that I kept for a while but have definitely strayed from this holiday season, but that is not going to stop me this year. I won't bore you with the details, but I am back on track as of today. In fact, I have already enjoyed a delicious bowl of granola for breakfast vow to eat up all of the fruits and vegetables delivered to my door a couple days ago.

I will also be recommitting to the gym and my workout this week. My kids don't start school again until tomorrow so that is the first day of the rest of my exercise routine. I hope you start yours too. Remember how great walking is? Try to do it 3-5 times per week.

And lets not forget about water. I feel a little puffy from the salty foods I have eaten over the holidays. I am also recommitting to water, drinking my eight glasses a day.

So, whatever your 2010 goals are, I wish you luck. Karla and I are looking forward to a great year of blogging and learning more about what we can all do to Live a Whole Life.

- Shannan
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog is intended to replace the advice of a physician. We recommend consulting a physician before embarking on diet changes or a fitness routine. In addition, we recommend that you thoroughly research alternate points of view and make your own decisions as an informed consumer. You are ultimately responsible for your health.