Category Archives: Superfoods

Learning From A Pregnant Woman

I’ve been a bit MIA for a while…perhaps you noticed. The last time you heard from me, I was hating on the microwave.

Well, I haven’t forgotten about you. And I have missed you. But I’ve been quite busy…busy growing a baby!

As you can imagine, I have been researching up a storm. No surprise, I’m all about being pregnant and raising a child in the most organic, healthy way possible. As a result, I have come across some amazing info over the past several months – info I will be sharing with you now and in future posts!

But don’t stop reading if you’re not a pregnant woman, or if you’re not a dad-to-be, or if you’re not someone who knows someone who is pregnant.

This is all good info for everyone.

And I’m not just talking about the typical things, which I will mention just in case we need a refresher:
1. Get up and move. Don’t sit for too long in one place.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Get plenty of rest.
4. Reduce stress.
5. Get plenty of fiber.
6. Eat your veggies.
7. Eat whole grains, not white stuff.
8. Exercise.
9. Embrace changes in your body.
10. Laugh daily.

Okay, that’s all old news – good stuff – but let’s get to some NEW information.

Here’s what I’m needing now…

1. THE BODY PILLOW
If you’re pregnant or just someone who needs more body support while sleeping (backaches? insomnia? other concerns?), this pillow has been a lifesaver…I mean a life raft…no, wait…both? Yes. It’s a lifesaver…but we call it the life raft. This thing is huge. But I will say, I couldn’t sleep without it right now. Best if you have a king bed, but doable in a queen. (That’s not me, btw.)

Body Pillow

2. COCONUT OIL
Organic, unrefined, virgin. This has been my go-to moisturizer. Pregnant skin gets very dry and itchy and I’ve been slathering coconut oil on my face, arms, and hands and it really makes a huge difference. So, if you’re the dry skin type, you don’t need any fancy, stinky, chemical-laden creams. You just need some high-quality coconut oil.

Coconut Oil

3. TREATS
Every pregnancy is different and mine has been, how shall we say…not so much in the food department? I have had no strange cravings. In fact, I have had serious food aversion for months now. No joke. There are just a few things that actually taste good to me, and one of them is chocolate.

While I try not to eat too much, as it does have caffeine and sugar, sometimes we all just need something a little sweet. These days, I’m really enjoying Theo, which is organic, fair trade, and soy-free and available at local specialty markets and grocers like Whole Foods.

Theo Chocolate

Another way I enjoy chocolate is with Chocolate Nuttzo, which is an organic nut and seed butter with chocolate…and it’s delicious (they also have other nut and seed butters without chocolate).

With only 2g of sugar per serving, it’s a good way to have dessert. And when I’m being especially naughty (yes, you can all breathe a big sigh of relief – Health Coach Jillian ain’t perfect!), I put it on Strauss Organic Vanilla Ice Cream and it’s like a sundae. 😉

If I’m going to indulge, I always try to make it healthier – with organic and wholesome ingredients…and by eating in moderation!

Nuttzo and Strauss

4. CALCIUM
Now that I’m responsible for someone else’s bones, I’ve had to try a little harder to beef up my calcium intake. Here are my favorite (and unexpected!) sources:

1) Chia Seeds – 1 tbsp will give you 8% of your daily calcium intake. 2 tbsps now find their way into my day.

2) Greens – Greens are the absolute best thing to eat, for calcium and other vitamins and minerals. We could all eat more of them.

A half bag of Trader Joe’s Power to the Greens or Spinach gives me another 8% of my daily intake. I make sure to get at least one serving of one of these each day.

Green juice gives me yet another 8% per serving. I drink two servings of Columbia Gorge Organic Just Greens every day.

Now, fresh juice is better, and whole veggies are best, but I like that this brand has several greens only (no fruit), almost no sugar, and is pasteurized, which is safest for pregnant women and anyone else with a compromised immune system. I don’t have time to juice every day…sometimes you just have to be practical. If you can juice organic greens regularly, or get organic green juice from a local, reliable source, do it.

Also, if you’re pregnant, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT substitute a meal with green juice. Now is not the time to be cleansing. Add green juice into your day along with everything else you are eating. And DO NOT drink unpasteurized juice unless it was made fresh at home or somewhere reliable (and drink immediately) – it could have harmful bacteria and that’s too risky.

Greens3) Garbanzo Beans – Add ’em t0 a salad, pasta or quinoa, or mush ’em up in guacamole, or make some hummus. Whatever. We all know what to do with these guys. But did we all know that a serving (1/2 cup) gives us 6% of our daily calcium needs (plus a good dose of fiber and protein)? Choose Eden Organics for BPA-free cans.

Garbanzos
4) Sparkling Water – Pellegrino and Perrier both have 4% of daily calcium per serving. Big bottles have about 3 servings…12% of your calcium! Extra bonus is it’s in glass, not plastic. Ditch the soda and drink one of these, with or without some fresh fruit added. I choose Perrier first, as it is sodium-free.

5) Sesame Seeds – These little powerhouses top people’s list of favorite seed. And they are tops in the calcium department. 1 tbsp delivers 8% of your daily calcium needs.

**Now, one thing of concern just recently came to light. Salmonella can be found in spices and seasonings. This includes sesame seeds. Best thing to do is cook them instead of adding them straight into your food. I now sauté my sesame seeds with a little coconut oil before adding them in – and I’d never know the difference. Read more about this HERE (and if you want to get interesting articles like this on a regular basis, follow me on Twitter 🙂 ).

5. FRUIT AND VEGGIE WASH
With our immunities down, us pregnant gals and other immunocompromised folks are more susceptible to infection. And an infection is the last thing I want. So I make sure to wash all of my produce really well. But the rest of you should do this, too. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other markets sell produce wash, which gets the dirt, waxes, and pesticide residue off your food.

Fruit and Veg Wash
Think I’m being extreme? Then think for just a moment about where your food has been. Have you ever driven down the highway and either seen it growing two feet away (love those freeway-adjacent farms), or on the back of a truck, open, traveling next to you, getting a fine coat of dirt and exhaust?

And have you ever seen the Porta Potties on those farms? Let’s face it, Porta Potties don’t really allow for a good hand-washing in between food handling.

Well, if you haven’t driven the I-5 up and down California for this agricultural view as many times as I have, then I ask you this – ever seen produce fall to the floor at the grocery store? Or ever seen someone feel a piece of fruit and put it back? That produce goes home with someone…

So, do yourself a favor and wash your food well. Bottom line is, you don’t know where it’s been and what it’s wearing.

And my final lesson learned in this remarkable journey of pregnancy is something I’ve said before but I feel needs repeating:

Listen to your body.

Tired? Rest. Hungry? Eat. Just listen to your body. Really listen. It will tell you what it really needs. Don’t eat just to eat or fuel yourself with caffeine and sugar because you’re tired. Get back to basics and treat your body right…whether you’ve got someone growing in there or not.

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Filed under Chocolate, Coconut, Health, Organic, Spices, Sugar, Superfoods, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables, Water

Microwave Goodbye

If you’re trying to eat healthy, wave goodbye to that invention that is destroying your food.

micro w x

Your microwave doesn’t just take up space in your kitchen, it denatures your food, destroying the nutrients and causing mutations in the molecules and proteins, turning some into carcinogens and rendering others useless.

So think about all that money you spent on organic food (because you read my blog and want to get on the organic bandwagon 😉 )…

…and think about how nutrient-poor our soil is to begin with…

…and then think about how long that food was sitting in the grocery store and now in your fridge before you decided to eat it…

…and now think about how you’ll destroy what little is left when you put it in the microwave.

That’s just a waste of money, a waste of calories, and a waste of trying to eat more veggies (which I know you are doing!).

And those containers that are in there with your food?

Microwaving both paper, plastic, and melamine causes them to release toxins that are extremely harmful to your health: BPA, dioxins, PET, and benzene, to name a few.

Think those microwaveable popcorn bags are safe? Think again.

Next time you reach for the Jiffy Pop, keep in mind the corn is genetically modified, the “butter” flavor in no way resembles real butter, and the bag lining has harmful chemicals that leach into your food (if you can call it that). Now add the microwave damage on top of that. That disaster in a bag just made the list of of 10 Most Unhealthy Cancer Causing Foods.

And hey, New Mamas: don’t even think about warming baby bottles in there. Consider all the reasons above and also consider that microwaving causes hot pockets in food and liquid which can end up burning your baby.

In retrospect, it shocks me that it didn’t occur to me sooner…like when I was younger and everyone said, “Don’t stand in front of the microwave while you ‘nuke’ your food.”

Um hello? That should’ve clued us all in right then and there.

We can’t stand in front of it, but we can put into our bodies whatever was in there, even though our cells are made from the food that we eat.

Oh, and we call it “nuking.”

Great.

I’ve been microwave-free for quite some time now, but it still doesn’t feel like long enough because I can remember a time – oh, like the majority of my life – when it was the only way I knew how to cook my food. Since I discovered that other invention called the stove, and it’s neighbor, the oven, things have gotten much more fun in my kitchen.

Microwaves have long been embraced by those who want to expedite the cooking process. Because we’re all in a rush. Because we have no time to wait or to cook. Because we want things easy.

If you’re anything like me, you see some BIG RED FLAGS there.

Ask your favorite health coach and I’m going to tell you that we shouldn’t be living our lives in such a rush. (And next time you buy one of those microwavable plastic pouches full of vegetables, and put it all in the microwave the way they tell you to do it, know that I’m cringing somewhere.)

Cooking is meant to be a celebration of food and taste, a recreational activity to be shared with others or to be enjoyed by oneself as a time out from the madness. For me, it is like a laboratory experiment, and things can get interesting when I ditch the recipe and go rogue.

But if you still really want some fast food, try a bag of baby carrots. Raw. Can’t get any faster than that.

And if you’re hungrier than that and don’t want to bother “cooking,” throw together a big salad with all kinds of fun ingredients in it, fresh or leftover:
-your favorite veggies (raw, steamed, sauteed, grilled, marinated…)
-avocado
-olives
-lentils
-seeds (hemp, chia, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, buckwheat…)
-nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts…)
-fruit (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, berries, pears, apples, kiwi, dried fruit…)
-beans (garbanzo, black, white, kidney…and always Eden Organics if canned because they’re BPA-free)
-fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley…)
-organic chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, or low-mercury seafood (salmon, sardines, bay shrimp)
…get creative!

And slow down.

Enjoy your food.

Enjoy preparing your food.

And wave good riddance to your microwave.

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Filed under BPA, Chemicals, Fast Food, Health, Superfoods, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

No More Cheeri-(GM)Os!

That’s right. I finally weened The Husband off GMO-tastic Cheerios. They have that ubiquitous “Whole Grain” stamp on them, but they’re loaded with GMOs. So I can’t stress to you enough how huge this was for me.

HUGE.

How’d I do it?

As always, I’m so glad you asked.

Answer: BABY STEPS!!!

It was, at times, a bit tricky. The husband was not always thrilled. But after trying countless organic cereals to a less than enthusiastic response, we finally found some honey flakes that worked great. I was happy.

But then I thought I’d try one more thing…

…because box cereals are still processed and there are healthier options out there…

So what’s he eating now?

That’s just the best damn part.

He’s now eating and loving…drumroll, please…

HUBBY OATS!

(It ain’t so pretty but it’s oh-so-tasty)

Ingredients (all organic)

1/3 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats 
1/4 cup-ish of homemade cashew milk (basically, just enough to wet the oats without being really wet and sloshy)
1 tsp of chia seeds
2 tbsp of raisins
1 tbsp of dried currants
2 dried figs (he asked for more of those without even knowing – didn’t see that one coming!)
1/2 banana
1 tbsp of organic peanut butter 
1 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 tsp of coconut sugar
a sprinkle of salt
shakes of cinnamon 

What Do I Do?
Put it all in a bowl and mix it up. No heating necessary. Serve.

You could add berries, hemp seeds, different nuts. The sky’s kind of the limit on this one. And it’s so easy being a one-pot-dish. Have fun with it and report back on what you add in!

Speaking of baby steps, if you’re a mom or mom-to-be looking for help in getting healthier for you and your kids (or kids-to-be!), contact me. Initial consultations are always free!

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Filed under Baby Steps, Coconut, GMO, GMO-free, Health, One Pot Dish, Organic, Recipe, Superfoods, Victories

Falling Into Fall

Wow. Summer is done. I think it’s officially the fastest season of the four. Every year it seems to fly by in a flash!

I hope you all managed to squeeze in a relaxing vacation. Ever noticed how amazing someone looks after some R & R? Yeah. Vacations are super healthy.

I wish I could say I took one, but alas, there’s too much going on for me right now. I’ve been working ’round the clock!

And although it was a VERY busy summer, it was a fulfilling one. The most rewarding things are those we work hardest at, and I can say that I’ve seen many labors of love come to fruition of late. (Keep reading for more on that!)

As we settle into Fall, I’ll revisit some old recipes I haven’t made in awhile and stick my hand into a fresh pumpkin again!

Pumpkin is absolutely one of my favorite foods – I love the taste and I love that it’s high in fiber and low in calories, as well as rich in so many vitamins and minerals. I add it to oatmeal, smoothies, steamed veggies, baked goods…pretty much anything I can.

And pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are a superfood – loaded with good stuff we need like magnesium and zinc – as well as high in protein and fiber. But don’t over-roast them: 20 minutes is the max.

**For all my pregnant readers, you should know that pumpkin seeds are a fantastic food for you and your growing baby. With important vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, you should make these little guys a regular addition to your snacks or meals.

As for those labors of love I mentioned above, I am thrilled to announce that we have opened our much-anticipated Roastery Roll-Up Bar at Barefoot Coffee Roasters. It looks amazing and our incredible team has worked incredibly hard on it. Many thanks to them for making my vision a reality.

So come on over to Barefoot Coffee Roasters at 76 Sunol Street in San Jose for some kickass coffee!

 

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Filed under Health, Superfoods, Vegetables

It Was A Shock…It was a Chocolat

That’s right. This post is about chocolate. How fun is that?!

I’m all about health, but I’m all about chocolate, too!

But I should specify – I love quality chocolate. I don’t like weird filler ingredients. I don’t like soy lecithin and emulsifiers. I don’t like artificial this, that, or the other thing. Oh, you know this about me by now. No need to repeat myself. 😉

So that means I like pricey, fancypants chocolate, but we all have our guilty pleasures, right? Craft chocolate is totally having a moment right now, just like beer and coffee. And I am all for taking advantage of it!

What do I look for in my chocolate? Only two ingredients and a whole lotta taste.

Ingredients: cacao and sugar.

Okay, you know I don’t think sugar is so great, but this is my one exception because dark chocolate – when 70% or higher – has antioxidants and deliciousness, and helps to curb hunger. And just a little bit goes a long way. We gotta treat ourselves sometimes, you know? We’re not nuns, here.

Alright, here we go. My favorite gourmet chocolate finds (click on the link to buy):

1. Dandelion – Venezuela and Colombia (both 70%)
Columbia has notes of caramel. Venezuela has notes of cinnamon and fruit. I love caramel, cinnamon, and fruit!

2. Rogue Chocolatier – 70% Rio Caribe
Notes of coffee, blood orange, nuts. Yum, yum, and yum.

3. Askinosie – I love the 77% from Davao, Philippines
This one contains a 3rd ingredient – cocoa butter. I can make exceptions.

4. Mast Brothers – 72% with cacao nibs (which is technically a 3rd ingredient, but doesn’t really count because they’re pure, unsweetened cacao pieces)

5. Ritual – 75% from Costa Rica
I’m not joking when I tell you this tastes like blackberry jam. Sometimes I can’t taste the notes they list on things, but I can tell you, there was no mistakin’ the blackberry in this. (It reminded me of the Friends episode with Joey and the jam.)

The grocery store selection can be good, too, but they typically have more than just two ingredients.

Here’s what I look for:
*soy-free
*organic
*gmo-free
*high cocoa content

I know I’m not going to get all of these from every chocolate bar, but there are a few that come very close. And here they are:

1. Dagoba – 74% Chocodrops
This one does contain soy but it’s organic and gmo-free soy. They make bars, too, but I like the drops because you can just pop a few…or a handful…you know how it is…

2. Fearless – 70% Organic, Direct Trade
They have a few different flavors. All are good, but this is made with raw cacao and tastes a little different. It’s super healthy because preparing it at a low temperature preserves the antioxidant content, but the taste might not be for everybody.

3. Alter Eco – Gmo-free. Organic. Vegan. Soy and gluten-free. Fair trade.
I especially like the quinoa flavor even though the chocolate isn’t as dark.

4. Snake and Butterfly – Fair trade, organic, and milk, soy, and gluten-free.
They have some interesting flavors, like bacon toffee. Never tried that one, though…

Things to keep in mind when it comes to chocolate:

  • Chocolate processed WITH alkali is not as healthy because the alkali strips out most of the antioxidants and flavonoids
  • The higher the cocoa content, the lower the content of sugar (and other stuff if you’re eating chocolate that has more than just cacao and sugar), and that’s a good thing. We want higher cocoa content. So that 85% dark chocolate bar? It has more cocoa and less sugar than that 47% bar. And more antioxidants.
  • For the most antioxidants, eat raw cacao (this is where chocolate comes from but when we heat it at high temps and add in sugar, etc., it loses it’s nutritional punch). It’s delicious in smoothies, chia pudding, oatmeal, in a mix with walnuts and goji berries, in greek yogurt…the possibilities are endless. In fact, raw cacao is a superfood – and it’s the food with the highest antioxidant content on the planet. Yes, you read that correctly. Raw cacao has more antioxidants than blueberries – by a lot. And when eaten with berries, the antioxidant effect multiplies. Pretty amazing, right?  Chocolate is awesome.
  • 1 oz is the recommended daily dose (about the size of a dental floss container) because as we all know, chocolate has fat and sugar and most of us are getting plenty of those from other sources, too. 😉
  • Organic and raw is always a better choice when it comes to chocolate
  • Don’t choose a chocolate…or anything, really…with a long list of ingredients

So there you have it. Go grab my grocery faves or indulge in one of my high-end finds. Either way, it’ll be tasty!

p.s. Oh, husband…if you made it to the bottom of this post…feel free to shop those first 5 links, should you need to find a treat for me in the near future… 😉

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Filed under Chocolate, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Health, Organic, Product Review, Products, Raw, Sugar, Superfoods, Vegan