Combining Tradition and Innovation in Holiday Meals—Without Stress!

by Will Martin, The Coffee Gounds

Having traditional dishes is so important to the holidays, our family gatherings, and the sense of familiarity and calm that comes with those days. Don’t be afraid to make the same meal this year as last: roast a turkey, make a casserole, simmer a cranberry sauce, and mash some potatoes. Your family probably hasn’t eaten this meal for a year. It will be both fresh and nostalgic for them. Do what you are comfortable with and add a riffon it: “That cranberry sauce last year was great, and I had tons of leftovers.  I’m going to make it, remove half from the pan, and add a chipotle in adobo to it.” This lets you keep the tradition and try something new without adding much extra work to your plate.

Or you can complicate a classic but make it so much better. Sauté some green beans in a little (or a lot) of butter and salt and set them aside. Then use the same pan to make a mushroom gravy. You can either serve the beans with a little gravy on them, or go the casserole route and bake them together.

Want to challenge yourself this year? Scorpacciata (score-pah-chee-ahta) means to eat a lot of an ingredient that is currently in season. We have a monthly food and wine pairing meal at The CoffeeGrounds (TCG) that we did sweet corn for last September–it was fantastic. Every dish highlighted sweet corn in a different way. For the coming season that means storage- and weather-hardy vegetables: onions, garlic, potatoes, squash, cabbage, turnips, celery root, carrots, beets, storage radishes, sweet potatoes, etc. Try picking one of these vegetables, incorporate it into a few of the dishes, and make it the highlight of one.

Fall also means Midwesterners eat more meat.  Right around the holiday at TCG we start taking orders for local turkeys.  My dad got the family’s turkey through Block and Cleaver meats in Siren (where TCG gets our turkeys) and thought it was fantastic. And he gave me the turkey stock he made after the meal.

Enjoy your holiday. Eat well. Relax while you’re cooking (if you struggle with that, take a hint from my parents and grab a G&T, the kitchen will be hot enough for it). And cook what you’re comfortable with.

A Healthy Heart Starts with a Heathy Gut

By Heidi Toy, NTP

Do you have a heart disease or a family history of heart disease? Do you want to actually heal or avoid heart disease without having to take pharmaceutical-grade drugs? Then finding the real issue is the answer.

he real causes of heart disease are: poor nutrition, environmental toxins, lack of or poor sleep, stress, physical inactivity, and vertebral subluxations. All of these contribute to what is called leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Heart disease is not the lack of a pharmaceutical-grade drug like a statin or high blood pressure medication. It is the health of your gut, and the answer is healing your gut.

The body produces a protein molecule called zonulin. Zonulin opens up the spaces between the cells in the intestinal lining so that nutrients and other molecules can exit the intestines [1]. When leaky gut syndrome is present, these spaces open up too much, allowing too large of foods particles, protein molecules, and bacterium to pass into the bloodstream. When this happens, an immunologic reaction occurs and the body is now primed to react to these foods and bacterium every time they appear. Two of the primary triggers that swing the zonulin door wide open are gluten and anaerobic gut bacteria. This happens to those people who have celiac disease and to those who do not. In short everyone is affected,and therefore everyone, even none celiac people are susceptible to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut means inflammation,and inflammation is the root of all disease, including cardiac and vascular disease. So we now know that gluten can contribute to leaky gut, and interestingly enough there are other foods and substances that also contribute to leaky gut syndrome, which are wheat, barley, rye, and [2] alcohol [3].

Another contributor to leaky gut is decreased melatonin production [4]. However, this is not a melatonin problem; it is actually a sunshine problem. Forget the myth that the sun is bad. Sunshine is the giver of life and the creator of melatonin. When sunshine hits the retina of the eye, melatonin is produced. It is stored in the pineal gland in the brain and released at night when we are in total darkness. Get out in the sun and when it is time to go to sleep, sleep in a room that is completely dark—no lights, no cell phones, and no alarm clock (put it in a drawer).

Stress is another major contributor to leaky gut [5], and healing the adrenal glands is crucial to managing stress, healing the gut, and ending diseases that are linked to poor gut health. Testing for adrenal fatigue is easy, and healing the adrenals is effective in many chronic health issues including leaky gut, heart disease, autoimmune issues, female hormone health, chronic fatigue, weight issues, and many more.

In my practice, one of the primary goals for all of my clients is gut integrity because without gut health, we do not have health. There are several tests that can be used to test for leaky gut. One is simply looking at a person’s blood chemistry according to functional medicine lab values (these are not the ranges printed on the lab chemistry result page). Another is via an exceptional test called the wheat zoomer test. Once we have the data needed to determine if the gut is permeable, we heal it via proper diet, supplementation, and lifestyle modification.When this happens, we see heart conditions subside and the need for drugs go away.

What you can start doing today is avoid all processed foods including gluten/wheat products. Adopt a healthy diet by eating green vegetables at every meal, eating quality proteins from pastured animals, consuming healthy fats, and staying hydrated via a pure water source. Move more. Find ways to destress and receive regular chiropractic adjustments.

 

 

Meet Seibel’s Organic Meats

Seibel’s Organic Dairy is a fifth-generation family owned an operated dairy farm near Bloomer, Wisconsin. You want only the best for your holiday meal, and all of our beef is 100 percent certified organic. e do not use antibiotics when raising our beef, nor are they fed any genetically modified crops. We seek to raise our animals in harmony with nature.

How Are the Animals Raised? All of our animals are raised in up-to-date, well-ventilated facilities. From birth until two months of age, the calves receive milk, water, and calf starter, which is a mix of oats, corn, and all the right minerals to help them get off to a great start. Calves are housed in a state-of-the-art calf facility with individual pens. From two to six months the calves eat oats and dry hay and are grouped in adjustable pens to comfortably house anywhere from two to fifteen calves Once the calf reaches six months of age, they receive a majority of their feed from their rich, lush pastures. If the weather is not ideal for them to be outside, they can come into the barn to cool off in the summer or warm up in the winter.

What’s on the Menu for Your Holiday Meal? We offer many cuts of frozen organic beef, as well as frozen whole chickens. All products are available year-round. All items are available for pick up at the farm. Check out our website for pricing and contact information. Local, organic meat makes a fantastic gift!

Contact us! Contact us at seibelsorganic@gmail.com, call Chuck at 715-568-2587 or Adam at 715-933-2494. Visit them on the web at https://sites.google.com/site/seibelsorganic, or find them o Facebook.

Food Planning Tips for Success

By Emily Schwartz

It’s that time again: back to school time! Although exciting, the new school year often means more activities and less time to focus on meal planning and nutrition. Taking even just a moment to plan ahead can help keep your family healthy while maximizing your time and allowing you to do more of the things you love. Here are quick and easy tips to set you and your family up for success, anytime of the day!

Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day as it helps give us the energy and nutrients necessary to focus and function properly throughout the day. Kids that enjoy healthy, balanced breakfasts are also set to perform better in school and maintain a healthier weight. Putting together a nutritious breakfast doesn’t have to take much effort. Just pair a source of protein with a source of fiber—two hunger-fighting nutrients—to help carry you and your family to your next meal or snack. For example, try having a Greek yogurt cup with berries or whole grain toast with nut butter and banana slices.

Keep the “health train” going throughout the day with a delicious and nutritious packed lunch. Take a little time on the weekend to prepare and portion foods, like fresh cut veggies, hard-boiled eggs, or popcorn, to help streamline the packing process on more busy weekdays. Also, keep nutrient-rich, ready-to-pack foods like granola bars, hummus, or guacamole cups and whole fruit, like apples, bananas, or oranges, on hand to easily round out packed meals. Try one of these packed lunch favorites or create your own:

● Nut Butter and “Jelly” Sandwich (try mashed fresh fruit like bananas or berries in place of jelly), baby carrots, popcorn, and milk

● Hummus, whole grain pita bread, bell pepper slices, grapes, and milk

● Cheese slices, whole grain crackers, snap peas, and strawberries

Although breakfast and lunch are important, supper is the meal most likely to be enjoyed as a family. And, family meals are associated with their own positive benefits. In fact, kids who partake in more family meals each week tend to be healthier, both physically and mentally, perform better in school, and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors as they get older. To help enjoy more meals as a family, try planning meals ahead of time, making a list of go-to meals, and enlisting your entire family to help in the meal preparation process.

For even more ideas, we at Festival Foods will be celebrating National Family Meals Month™ the entire month of September. Started in 2015 by the Food Marketing Institute, National Family Meals Month™ is a national campaign aimed at promoting the commitment of enjoying more meals each week as a family. Throughout September, we will be sharing family meal ideas on our blog at FestFoods.com/blog, sampling our Dine at Home Deli meal options in our stores and sending you home with a Festival Foods oven mitt. We invite you to join us for #FestivalFamilyMeals and to commit to having one more family meal each week this fall.

Emily Schwartz is a nationally accredited, registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) serving the Eau Claire and La Crosse communities as Festival Foods’ Western Wisconsin Regional Dietitian. 

Real Food Is Healthy

By Heidi Toy, NTP 

When you think of traditional foods, what pictures come to mind? Little children running around a homestead pulling eggs from under chickens as in Little House on the Prairie? Grandma skillfully rolling out pie crusts made with lard? Or perhaps the booths at the local farmers market bursting with the colors of the spring harvest?

Simply put, traditional foods are those in their most natural state, unadulterated, unrefined, and grown in nutrient-dense soil. It is these real, whole, nourishing foods enjoyed for generation upon generation that provide the cells of our bodies with the necessary fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients needed for vibrant health. This state of well-being is characterized by a quiet and strong digestive system, blissful sleep, sturdy bones, a calm and clear mind, and an immune function that prevents infection.

A number of factors influence ones vitality: sleep quality, rest, companionship, physical activity, chemical exposure, and more. Yet food remains the key player for nourishing the body’s every cell. We now know that epigenetics is more important than genetics, that 75 percent of our health is dependent on whether we encourage good genes to express and bad genes not to express. The body’s genes are constantly communicating with the nutrients we take in through food. In other words, food either feeds or poisons a cell. And this is a powerful concept when one considers that cells make tissues, tissues make organs, and organs make us—our brains, our bones, our reproductive organs, our joints.

Health is a choice: we can say we “don’t have time to cook a meal.” But remember the old wisdom: pay the farmer today or pay the doctor later.

A study published in 2001 of organic versus conventional produce found that the organic versions contained 27 percent more vitamin C, 29 percent more magnesium, 86 percent more chromium, and 375 percent more selenium. The chemical-free foods were also lower in cancer-causing nitrates and toxic heavy metals.

Another study published in 2003 of the levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine found that children eating organic had 6 to 9 times lower levels than children eating conventionally grown food. Bear in mind, pesticides are up to 10 times more toxic to children than adults, due to their smaller body size and developing organ systems, so it is especially important to minimize their exposure.

The meat of cows roaming on pasture, munching away on their natural diet of fresh grass, have more omega-3s and more vitamins A and E than their commercial grain-fed, feedlot cousins. Hormone residues in meat and dairy products can disrupt our body’s natural hormone balance; many experts suspect that consumption of hormone-treated beef and dairy products may contribute to girls reaching puberty earlier. Chickens allowed to forage for bugs and grass and to soak up sunshine in the great outdoors produce eggs with greater amounts of vitamins E and A than their commercial, cooped up, pellet-fed counterparts. Eggs from pastured hens also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the beneficial ratio of approximately 1:1, unlike commercial eggs, which average an unhealthy 1:19.

In my practice and with my clients, it is my job to help them understand that purchasing organic doesn’t have to be all or none; pick and choose, evaluate your budget, the price of items, and re-organize your meals to include more seasonable organic choices. We are fortunate to be living in an area where there are many affordable options when it comes to purchasing organic and pastured animal products.

Heidi Toy is a Functional Nutritional Therapist, and the owner of “Educated Nutrition”, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on digestion, weight loss, depression, female hormone issues, and fatigue.